Monday, December 10, 2007

Movie Review: "The Life and Times of Hank Greenburg" (1998)

Hank Greenburg is a fan generation or two before my time so I didn't know much about him before I watched baseball documentary "The Life and Times of Hank Greenburg." The 90 minute movie is shot in color with lots of black and white archival footage.

Greenburg was a big, tall, handsome baseball player that was a big hitter for Detroit for most of his career (although he played his last season at Pittsburgh where he closed his career with twenty-five home runs when that was a pretty good total). He hit fifty-eight home runs in 1938.

One of the most interesting aspects of Greenburg's career is the amount of anti-Semitism he experienced. All baseball fans remember the impact of Jackie Robinson and the racial integration of Major League Baseball, but for most of us the problems of anti-Semitism are unknown. Included in the movie are the reactions of various Jewish entertainers such as Walter Mathau who viewed Greenburg as a hero because he was a great baseball player and a Jew.

This is a good documentary about a player is not as well remembered by Baby Boomers and subsequent generations as he should be.

It's almost Christmas, here are some DVDs to put in your favorite baseball fan's stocking.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Friday, December 07, 2007

"Viva Baseball"

I'm starting to find myself getting ready for the 2008 baseball season. I've watched a couple of baseball documentaries.

One of these is "Viva Baseball" a documentary about Latino baseball players and the affects they have had on baseball. It's a pretty good documentary with lots of historic footage and interviews. It's worth watching just for its description of the infamous Juan Marichal incident.

You can find this review an others at my movie review website. Click on the alphabetic list of movies that contain the letter "V" in the left column. Sorry I can't give you a more definite link, but the page name keeps changing as I add more reviews and I have to break the page down into smaller sections so it will load at a reasonable speed.

There hasn't been much going on in the Winter meetings this year. I am at least interested, with the possibility of being excited that the Mariners have picked up R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer, under the rule 5 draft from the Twins. I've always had a fondness for the knuckleball. It seems kind of odd that the Twins would have signed Dickey to a minor league contract. With half of their games indoors I have to wonder why they would want a knuckleball pitcher that needs the uncertainties of outdoor weather.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

TF Edge

Friday, August 17, 2007

"How to Get a Baseball at a Major League Game"

As a longtime baseball fan I am frustrated that I have never caught a ball that leaves the playing field. In fact, I've never even come close to doing so. Naturally I was intrigued when I found out about a guy who has more than 2,000 baseballs caught at major league games and more than four hundred consecutive games where he's gotten a baseball. Here's a link to the video on Youtube.

The video features Zack Hample. Besides being a great collector of baseball balls, Hample is a big fan and has written a couple of books about baseball. I've read How to Watch Baseball Smarter, but haven't been able to find a copy of his other book How to Snag Major League Baseballs, a book written in 1999 for kids and apparently out of print. How to Watch Baseball Smarter is a good book that is both entertaining and educational. I didn't always agree with what Hample wrote, but I did find some answers to questions that had been nagging at me.

Go Cubbies!

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wrigley Field Web Cam

The Cubbies won big today (August 16) and Milwaukee lost big to St. Louis. This leaves the tope three teams separated by only 2.5 games. This upcoming four game series at home against the Cardinals is a big one. Meanwhile Milwaukee plays the Reds at home.

I'm going to be watching the games on my computer except for Saturday's game that will probably the Fox game of the week where I live. I'm not a big fan of Fox broadcasting, but the recent color commentary provided by Joe Girardi has been very good. As it is I listen to Pat and Ron on my computer with the game showing on my wife's, unfortunately the radio broadcast is delayed a few seconds so I only use the video when watching replays.

For those of you (us) who can't go out to Wrigley to watch ballgames very often, I've found a very cool web cam that at least allows you to watch the entrance at Clark and Addison.

You can also get a look at the field at this location.

For those who want more here's a link to the DVD about Wrigley Field and a couple of nice posters of the Friendly Confines.

Keep cheering for the Cubbies. Could this be the year?

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two! -tfedge

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ankiel Hits 3 Run Homer in MLB Re-Debut

What a classic baseball story!

In 2005 Rick Ankiel threw in the towels as a major league pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals when he developed control problems. In 2000 he three five wild pitchers in one game and was never quite the same since then.

To his credit Ankiel, who didn't pitch in the MLB in the 2003 and 2004 seasons but worked his way back to St. Louis in 2005 where he pitched in five games with a 1-0 record in ten innings spread over five games. His ERA approached 6. At this point Ankiel announced he had pitched his last game.
Ankiel decided to become a position player and restarted his career in the lower minor leagues.

Despite his control struggles he has a winning record as a pitcher with 13-10 and a 3.90 ERA. This is better than a lot of pitchers currently in the MLB.

So far in 2007 Ankiel had 32 home runs and 89 RBIs in 102 at AAA Memphis Redbirds. On Thursday, August 10, Ankiel capped his re-debut with a three run homer off of of San Diego Padres pitcher Doug Brocail in his first start in the majors as a non-pitcher. When Ankiel first came to the plate he was greeted with a standing ovation.

The only thing that could have made the story any better would have been a walk-off home run in extra innings.

This kind of story is one of the reasons I watch baseball. Congratulations to Ankiel and the St. Louis Cardinals for supporting him in his efforts.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moe Berg-Brainiest Man in Baseball

Here's an interesting article about Moe Berg, the player best known for spying on Japan while on an all-star tour during the 1930s. Oddly enough, it is published by the CIA.

So far today Barry Bonds hasn't tied Hank Aaron and A-Rod is still at 499 career home runs. Thome is eleven away. If he gets one home run each week he should make it.

Oh, and by the way, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame today.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Who's on First for President Bush

Here's a very cute and surprisingly scary version of Abbot and Costello's famous "Who's on First" for your entertainment.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!


Monday, July 23, 2007


Living close to Seattle I've had the privilege to watch some of the best baseball players in the last twenty years, some of the among the best all-time: Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and, of course, Ichiro.

Ichiro seemingly defies all the "rules" about batting but consistently gets 200 hits per year and makes it look easy. Recently I ran across an article by Scott Campanella about Ichiro that provides an interesting analysis of the great Seattle Mariner.

As I was listening to some sports talk show the other day, they were giving highlights of the previous evening's MLB All-Star Game. I heard the voice of Ichiro Suzuki, the game's MVP, come over my radio, speaking perfect English during the post-game interview. I was shocked to hear the progress he has made with our language. Of course, then I realized that Ichiro was speaking through an interpreter.

While Vladimir "The Impaler" Guerrero was bashing the baseball 500 feet on his way to winning the Home Run Derby, Ichiro demonstrated his skills when it counted. He went 3-for-3 in the Big Game, showing NL pitchers and fans what they've been missing over the last seven years. In the first inning, he drilled a patented Ichiro single off of Jake Peavy. Later in the game, he hit a long fly ball off the wall in right field. When the ball took a funny bounce off the wall right by the venerable Ken Griffey Jr, everybody in the park knew Ichiro had a chance to score. And he did.

The mystical Mariner outfielder has been a fixture in Seattle since 2001, when he was imported from Japan. He has not (or will not) speak fluent English, although some sources claim that he does this intentionally in order to avoid reporters. He reportedly keeps his bats in a humidor, listens to rap music, and loves "Star Wars". Ichiro's limited American vocabulary consists of phrases such as 'What Up Dog' and 'Yo Mama'.

As I write this post, The Seattle Mariners have just agreed to a five-year contract with Mr. Suzuki in the neighborhood of one hundred million smackers. Although the Mariners have their Moose, Ichiro is the true Mariner mascot. He is solely responsible for drawing thousands of fans to the stadium every night. What other player has their name chanted in unison by an entire ballpark when he gets ready to hit?

Hitting for contact is one thing Ichiro can do better than almost anyone who has ever played. His batting style is unorthodox, to say the least. He does not keep his balance back, as the book on hitting says to do, but often shifts his weight to his front foot, bringing the bat through the hitting zone as though it were a broom. You would not teach your child to hit the way Ichiro does, and yet he has proven extremely effective. He has hit over .300 every year in the majors, including .355 so far this year. If Vlad is the Impaler, then Ichiro is the Acupuncturist, sticking it to the other team one line drive at a time. He is the Peter Pan of the American League, gracefully flitting here and there, swatting cue shots up the middle, always just beating out the grounder to short.

Sabermetricians must hate him. He draws fewer than one walk for every fifteen plate appearances in his career, although his ratio is a little better in 2007. He displays little power, preferring to hit 'em where they aint (see Wee Willie Keeler). Although he has a .333 career batting average, his On Base Percentage is only .379, and his Slugging Percentage is .439, a hardly Ruthian figure. Yet, if you asked today's GMs about guys they would like to start a team with, Ichiro's name rises to the top.

In addition to Ichiro's incredible hitting prowess, he is a gazelle on the basepaths. He reportedly gets down the first base line in a nifty 3.2 seconds, putting him there with the fastest players ever. If he hits a chopper into the ground, forget it. If he sends one into the gap, he will likely be standing on third in less than ten seconds.

His throwing arm is a cannon, especially for someone who is so slight-of-build. Players and fans everywhere know that you can't run on Ichiro, so rarely does anyone try. His move from right field to center has allowed the Mariners to bring in Jose Guillen this year, a big improvement over Jeremy Reed or Willie Bloomquist. Ichiro is one of the best center fielders in the game, although we don't often see him on ESPN's Web Gems. Who needs to make a leaping or diving catch if you can beat the ball to the spot?

Two players which I saw play as I was growing up remind me of Ichiro at the plate. Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn defined pure hitting in the 80's, forsaking power for the ability to consistently hit line drives to all fields. If you look up Ichiro's comparables based on stats, though, you get guys like Bake McBride and Ron LeFlore...good players, but not nearly of his caliber. In fact, it is difficult to find a player like Ichiro anywhere in the history of baseball.

Ironically, the player Ichiro is least like is his own teammate, Richie Sexson, who hits one ball out of the park every five games and somehow makes millions of dollars doing it. Today's baseball is committed to the long ball, building behemoths who can drive towering shots over drawn-in fences. Sabermetrics preaches the value of the walk and the home run. Ichiro's greatness transcends modern-day wisdom.

I've come to a profound realization: Baseball is not (or should not be) about winning. The game I love is about Ernie Banks, the curse of the Bambino, and Pine Tar. We revel in blown calls, fan interference, and coaches jawing with an umpire face-to-face. In fact, my favorite part of the game is the pitcher-batter duel. The universe comes to a stop when John Lackey deals filth to Alex Rodriguez. Pitch by pitch, moment by moment, who will win the battle? Ichiro wins his wars more than any other player.

My daughter just turned one year old last month. I plan to share my love of the game with her as she grows up. I relish in the thought that she will see Ichiro Suzuki play, even if he is an old man. I will tell her that he is the Peter Pan of baseball - that he is from Neverland, sprinkled with fairy dust, always just a little too fast to be caught in the dreaded grasp of Captain Hook.

Sometime in the future, on a warm summer day, a crowd of people will gather in Cooperstown, New York. They will turn their attention to the man at the podium who has enthralled them with his bat and glove. He was not like any other player they had ever seen. He will not speak in a language that they understand, but his words will be relayed through another. That is because he comes from another place, seemingly not of this world. Mustering up the few English words that he knows, he will exclaim "What up Dog?", and the people in return will chant I-CHI-RO, I-CHI-RO!

Roto Journal

Good Job Scott!

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

-Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!">tfedge

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Great Game at Wrigley

Monday July 16, 2007 at Wrigley Field in Chicago was the best game I've seen this year with the hometown Chicago Cubs scoring two in the bottom of the eighth to defeat the San Francisco Giants 3-2. To top that, the eighth inning is probably the most exciting inning I've seen in a several years.

In the top of the eighth with the score tied 1-1 Giants third baseman Pedro Feliz gets on and is bunted over to second. Guillermo Rodriguez singles to left Feliz scores. Soriano commits an error trying to field the ball and Rodriguez moves to second. Bunt base hit by Roberts. Rodriguez goes to third with one out.

Giants Manager Bruce Bochey puts on the suicide squeeze. Lou Piniella counters by calling for a pitchout and Rodriguez is tagged out by Theriot after a brief rundown.

As the bottom of the eighth begins the Giants lead 2-1. Fontenot pinch hits for Hill. Fontenot grounds out to first Rich Aurilla. Soriano flies out to left. Broken bat single for Theriot up the middle. Derrek Lee comes to bat. Lee hits a grounder to the left of second that Theriot hurdles while moving to third. Derrek Lee on first. San Diego makes a pitching change bringing in Randy Messenger. Aramis Ramirez doubles off the left field wall driving in two. Howry holds the Giants in the ninth to pick up the save and Rich Hill gets the win even though the Cubs were behind when he left the game.

Great game!

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

07-07-07 Has got to mean Mickey Mantle

I meant to get this out on Saturday, but got distracted. For fans of the Mick, 07-07-07 has got to be a special day. Mickey Mantle has always been special because my family knew his back in Spavinaw, Oklahoma before Mickey became famous first as the Commerce Comet and later as "The Mick." I went through and dug out a few pictures of Mickey Mantle Steakhouse and nearby attractions. Of course, there are always pictures I couldn't find, including on of the 550 foot home run that is featured in the restaurant along with other memorabilia.

The food at the restaurant is pricey, but excellent. Just a chance to look at the numerous pictures is worth the extra cost. Located at #7 Mickey Mantle Drive, the restaurant is just across the street from the Bricktown Ballyard, the ballpark for the Redbirds, the AAA affiliate for the Texas Rangers. I went there on a Sunday and it wasn't open for lunch, but was perfect for a nice dinner after an afternoon game across the street. I visited the restaurant where a casual shirt, shorts, and sandals and felt comfortable even though it is a higher class restaurant.

Mickey was one of the great all-time players. I strongly advise you to visit his restaurant and especially visit the Bricktown Ballyard for a minor league game.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!


Friday, July 06, 2007

New Cubs Fan!

One of my neighbors just had their first baby, a boy named Jaxon. As the oldest, if not most alpha male on the block I've proclaimed myself his godfather of baseball. I do renounce the DH. I do renounce the wave in baseball. Oops, sorry, I got carried away with "The Godfather" idea.

Anyway I've taken the opportunity to make certain Jaxon is properly trained as a
Chicago Cubs fan. You can see he already has the baseball stare working for him. You can just see him scowling at an umpire after a questionable call or glaring at a pinch hitter he's preparing to strike out in the bottom of the ninth.

It's going to be awhile before he's ready for a trip to Wrigley, in the meantime, as his self-appointed godfather of baseball I'll make sure he has Cubs clothes to wear and I'll try to cultivate a taste in Chicago Dogs, without the sport peppers for now.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Shoeless Jaxon, Chicago Cubs fan 2007.

Everyone have a nice, good day!
Let's play two!

-tfedge, the godfather of baseball

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

MLB 2007: Season of individual milestones

With the Major League Baseball season half over, 2007 looks like it's going to be a season of some major individual milestones:

  • Sammie Sosa, Texas Rangers, has become the fifth person to reach 600 home runs
  • Craig Biggio has reached and passed the 3,000 hits club. Notably all of his MLB games have been played for the Houston Astros.
  • Roger Clements has won his 350th game.
Still to come and a lock to happen barring injury:
  • Tom Glavine needs just three wins to enter the 300 club.
  • With two more saves Mariano Rivera will reach 425 saves and claim the third most saves all time.
  • Barry Bonds will pass Hank Aaron as the all-time home run king. If the pitchers pitch to him he could get the five HRs he needs any time.
  • Alex Rodriguez needs eight home runs for 500. With twenty-eight so far A-Rod should reach this in July or August.
  • Ken Griffey Junior needs sixteen home runs to reach six hundred.
  • Jose Mesa needs just seven appearances to make his 1,000 caree appearance.
Possible personal records to come:
  • Barry Bonds may appear in his 3,000 game. He has 2,934 going into today. Depending on days off he could reach 3,000 in September.
  • Jim Thome needs sixteen home runs to reach 500. As of today he has 484. He needs to pick up the pace a bit. He's only had twelve home runs this year.
  • Garry Sheffeld has 574 home runs. Twenty-six for the rest of the year is a bit of a stetch, he has nineteen so far.
  • Randy Johnson went back on the DL so 300 wins appears unlikely this season but should be a lock if he returns for 2008. Currently he has 284 wins.
It's been an exciting season so far regarding personal milestones. The only bad thing is that it will cause talk about the diminishing of the value of milestone levels. I suppose that's okay. Talking about baseball and baseball stats is an important part of the game.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two! - tfedge

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thomas Hits Number 500

Frank Thomas hit career homerun #500 in the top of the first inning off of Twins right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva. The three-run blast brings Thomas career RBI total to 1,616 24TH all-time. This compares to Sosa with 600 HRs and 1637 RBIS. Thomas capped it off by being run from the game in the ninth.

That leaves Craig Biggio as the next hitter to conquer a major milestone. He needs 3 hits. Houston has just returned to Houston to start a four-game weekend series. with Colorado followed by three games with Phillies and four with the Mets so a home celebration on Biggio's milestone is all but certain. Biggio is the only player in history to reach all of the following milestones: 600 doubles, 250 home runs, 2,700 hits and 400 stolen bases. The Astros infielder is just one shy of 1,000 extra-base hits with 999.
Coming up soon after the break should be A-Rod at 500 HRs, Griffey Junior at 600, and of course Bonds will go all-time leader when he passes Aaron as soon as pitchers have the courage to pitch to him.

Tom Glavine is now at 297 career wins with just three to more to join the elite 300 wins club. He's scheduled to start Sunday's game against Philadelphia. With at least one after that before the All-star Break. It seems likely he won't break the record until after the break, but it shouldn't be long after that.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Headlines and Haiku

Frank Thomas still needs one HR to move into the 500 HR club. He's at 499 and playing the next three games at the so-called homer dome so hopefully he should get a home run before the weekend. Too bad it couldn't be on the Chicago Southside where he played for so long.

Craig Biggio needs 4 hits to enter sacred territory. The Astros are on the road for the next three games, but home for the weekend series against the Rockies so his home park fans have a good chance of seeing him hit his three hundredth hit.

If you missed the eighth inning in Sunday's Cubs Sox game, you should watch the highlights on MLB. You can read my account of the very strange play on my Sporting News Blog.

One of the thinks I like about baseball is the way it lends itself to fiction, music, and poetry. Often I overhear and get involved in discussions about the best baseball movie. Some lines from baseball movies have even made their way into mainstream language. "There's no crying in baseball" and "if you build it he will come," for example.

Along these lines I recently I picked up a book at the library Baseball Haiku edited and translated by Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura. There are some marvelous haiku here. I recommend you take a look at the book.

Three of my favorites:

Rookie's first hit- picked off at first (page 5)

In memory of the recently deceased Clete Boyer and Rod Beck:

April shower

the obituary leads me

to an old baseball card (page 55)

And finally a perfect Little League or sandlot haiku:

long day

the right fielder is playing

with a dog (page 22)

Sorry about not providing better citations but I broke my left wrist on Monday and am typing (very slowly) with one hand.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No-Hitter in Bellingham, WA

After being a baseball fan since the 1960s, I finally saw my first live no-hitter!

The local Senior American Legion Post 7 is hosting a weekend tournament. With the opening game, Kai Hatch pitched a seven-inning no-hitter allowing only one walk as the King Nissan team beat the Bethel Huskies 5-0.

What a beautiful day for baseball. Bright blue skies with soft Microsoft-like clouds (you do remember Windows 95 don't you). Sun and baseball. It was a perfect day with hardly a cellphone in sight or sound. The only thing missing was singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." However, since there was no seventh inning stretch, the absence was hardly noticeable

Throughout the game King Nissan played well and paid attention to fundamentals. It was a well-played game by the local team. They look like a good team with dominating pitching. In the twilight game they defeated Hudson's Bay 10-0.

I don't want to take anything away from the Kings' win, but sadly the Bethel team did not play with any interest in the game at all. They lacked verge and panache and all of those other qualities Annie Savoy talked about in "Bull Durham." The third baseman seemed glued to the spot where he chose to stand, failing to run in on slow hit grounders or even move side to side. His throws to first almost always gave the first baseman a chance to practice his acrobatic catches. The lackadaisical attitude of the Huskies showed itself when their firstbasecoach lacked focus and looked dazed as he adjusted his earring (or at least did something to his right ear) while in the coach's box.

It's cloudy here in Bellingham today, but I'm hoping to sneak over for at least a few innings before the College World Series starts this afternoon.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Major milestones being passed

Sosa's 600th home run has to be acknowledged. Personally I don't care about any of the claims of steroids, etc. for any of the players. Hitting 600 home runs is amazing and Sosa deserves credit for being the fifth to do so. With any luck we'll be able to see Ken Griffey Junior do the same later in the season. BTW for those who wonder about the Hall of Fame. If I had a vote, he'd be in.

The same goes for Bonds passing Aaron. I for one can't wait for him to break the record. I mean no on complained when David Aardsma took his place as the first player in the record book ;).

Continuing with HRs, Frank Thomas needs 4 HRs to break 500, the supposed Hall of Fame barrier. Alex Rodriquez needs just nine HRs to break in that elite 500 HR group. One can't help wondering if Frank Thomas will be voted into the HOF since many of his HRs have come when he has been at DH. Personally I say yes. 500 HRs is 500, but some so-called purists will probably will not vote for him. I don't understand why the Baseball Writers have such power. Some of them don't seem to know much about baseball and less about writing. I don't mind them having something to do with the voting, but it seems to me that baseball professionals also should be involved. They are the ones who really know what's going on.

And let's not forget that Craig Biggio is about to breakthrough that other HOF barrier: he needs just 11 hits for his 3000th hit.

From the pitching side of the game we should see Glavine get his 300th win this season. The last time I checked he was at 295. Randy Johnson needs 16 to break that barrier. It looks like he's going to come off the DL next week, but I don't see him winning 16 more games this year. If he's able to come back next season he should make it. After that it gets pretty thin. It might be awhile before we see another 300 game winner.

Thanks for reading. Congratulations again to Sammy.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Andy MacPhail Takes Over at Baltimore

Andy MacPhail hired as Chief Operations Officer for the Baltimore Orioles. At the press conference MacPhail plans on building a team that has an "identity." Unfortunately he didn't say what kind of identity. He did refer to Ozzie Guillen's remark that the Minnesota Twins were like piranhas. Hopefully he is planning on putting together a scrappy team like Baltimore has had in the past. He'll never be able to match Boston and New York for hitting power, but if he puts together a little ball team and spends money within the organization instead of trying to buy a championship.

Speaking of the press conference. When are MLB clubs going to realize they need to put a microphone in the press conference rooms throughout the league. How many times have you heard the answer to a question without any idea of what the question was? Lots of times for me. It's not like it would be that expensive.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Favorite Seats in Baseball

I've just started frequenting The Sporting News Website. I'm pretty impressed. It's more interesting than some of the sites I've seen that feature only professional writers without room for the fans to participate.

There is a lot of fan participation and I just read an article about the best seats and food in sports. I think the question and the responses are interesting.

Here is my response:

Gotta modify the question a little since I don't attend games other than baseball. For my money, the best seats in baseball are any seat where:

  • The game is in the afternoon, not at night.
  • People actually watch the game and talk about it.
  • The big leather lunged fan sits on the other side of the park.
  • People don't run in and out for concessions and bathroom breaks. A game only lasts two or three hours. Learn to hold it.
  • There isn't someone behind you talking on a cell phone about everything except the game.
  • The scoreboard doesn't encourage fans to make noise.
  • No one does the wave.
  • Someone gives me free tickets.
  • Real Chicago Dogs are served and dark beer is available (these could be free too, for that matter).
  • There isn't a two hour wait for the parking lot to clear out because public transportation is close by and easy to use.
  • Singing take me out to the ballgame is a major part of the game.

That sounds a lot like Wrigley Field to (except for the free tickets part). I've only been to one game at Wrigley, but it was the best.

I can't wait to go back.

While you're there, you might want to take a look at my new baseball blog, "tfedge's SportingBlog." I know the title is awful, but I haven't come up with a more clever name.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Sacked MLB Manager

The first MLB ex-manager of the 2007 season has hit the road. Sam Perlozzo, manager of the Baltimore Orioles has been fired. The O's are 15.5 back of the Red Sox with no hope of catching them. Sam won't be traveling too far as the O's have announced he will stay with the organization in some capacity.

I always liked Sam. He was with Lou Piniella here in Seattle for a while. I always liked his calm, steady presence, especially when compared to the fiery Lou Piniella.

Sam had a brief major league career, but really blossomed as a minor league manager in the Mets' organization during the eighties. He always struck me as one of those managers who teaches better than inspires. This seems to be to be increasingly important. Especially these days when fundamentals seem to have disappeared from professional baseball. Frankly, I don't see the need for a rah rah type of manager. If someone needs to be inspired to play baseball professionally, something's wrong with them.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Watson Breaks the Record!

Brandon Watson broke the forty-two year old hitting streak record today in Ottawa so he's first in the International League. That ties him for eighth all-time in minor league baseball. For the all-time streak list.

Congratulations Brandon. There's got to be room for him somewhere on a MLB roster.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Chicago Dogs

As a Cubs fan, I think I'm required to love Chicago Dogs. Fortunately I do love them. I've just launched a new blog dealing with one of my favorite passions, food and cooking. In honor of Chicago and the Cubbies, my first post has to do with how to make a Chicago Dog. I also found a link where it's easy to buy the necessary Sport Peppers for a genuine Chicago Dog.

Meanwhile, I'm listening to the Columbus Clippers game to see if Watson extends his hitting streak to forty-three. In his first at bat, he flied out (flew out?) to leftfield and lined out to short in the third. Ottawa seems to be scoring at will. I'll let you know how it comes out.

Do any of you recognize the young baseball player in the pitcher below? I didn't. Any guesses?

How about a very young Greg Maddux.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Near No-Hitter Baseball Game and a No-hitter Brawl at Wrigley

Saturday, June 16, 2007

In case you didn't notice, Carlos Zambrano had a near no-hitter today at Wrigley. Marcus Giles hit a single in the top of the eighth to end the no-hitter. Russell Branyan's ninth inning solo home run scored the only run as the Padres defeated the Cubs 1-0.

In the fourth inning, after being hit by a Chris Young pitch, Derrek Lee charged the mound. Well, he actually sauntered along the first baseline jawing back and forth with Young. As near as I could tell, it looked like Young hit Lee by accident. As Lee walked toward third it looked like Young asked him if he was all right because Lee nodded his head smfsaid I'm okay. At that point it looked like Young made a remark about getting on down to first then. Lee took offense and threw a punch. None of the punches landed. San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy was also run.

Oddly enough, the Chicago hitting coach Gerald Perry was thrown out too. I couldn't help wondering if Perry had worked with Derrek Lee a little bit more, one of his punches would have landed.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

42 Game Minor-Leage Hitting Streak

Brandon Watson extended his hitting streak to 42 game hitting streak with a double in the fourth inning. Watson plays for the Columbus, Illinois Clippers the AAA team for the Washington Nationals. Forty-two games ties him with Jack Lelivelt had a 42 game streak in 1912 while playing with the Rochester Hustlers.

Brandon Watson plays outfield and currently sports .338 batting average. He doesn't have too much pop in his bat since he has no home runs or RBIs but does have 12 stolen bases. He appeared in thirty-five MLB games with a batting average of .233.

Despite Watson's remarkable achievement, the 42 game streak only ties Watson for eleventh on the all-time hitting streak. Care to guess the name of the player with the longest all-time streak? It's not Joe DiMaggio who managed a mere sixty-one game streak in 1933. It is Joe Wilhoit with sixty-nine straight games with a hit during the 1919 series when he played at Wichita.

For information about Watson's streak. For information about Lelivelt's Steak including a picture of him.

While you're at the Minor League Website. Look around. One of the great features is that you can listen lot of free minor-league games just by registering. By paying $30 for the season you can listen to hundreds of minor-league games and watch others (mostly AAA games). Monthly rates are available too. It's a great way to follow your favorite team's prospects and see who will be the players of tomorrow. By the way, it you want to practice your Spanish, you can listen to games from the AAA Mexican League.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We'll Miss You at Third!

I'm greatly saddened to hear that Clete Boyer died on Monday, June 4. I remember watching him and his brother Ken each playing third base during the 1964 World Series: Ken for the Cardinals and Clete for the Yankees

I never got a chance to see either of the Boyers play, but I do remember seeing Clete Boyer as a coach for the Yankees and was thrilled to see one of Yankees I'd watched as a little boy. While growing up I was a diehard Yankees fan. There wasn't a lot of choice. The only national baseball broadcast was on Saturday and seemed to cover the Yankees' games more than anyone else. I still think of the 1961 Yankees' as my all-time favorite team. In fact I've had in the back of my mind to try and get autographs from all the team members. I just purchased a Whitey Ford autographed ball to go with my Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Moose Skowron, and Hector Lopez. As you can see, I don't have an autograph for Mr. Boyer. There's a four signature ball available for about $275 that lists the infield. I've thought about buying it, but somehow I prefer to have only one signature on a baseball. Here's a link in case you're interested.

BTW, the Cubs have gone 2-0 since Lou got suspended. He always had the knack for knowing when to get thrown out to motivate the team. When he was in Seattle there was a commercial where an actor portrayed an umpire and talked about how compassionate Lou was. The actor told a story about how when his daughter was sick, he and Lou got into an argument during which Lou called the umpire all kinds of names but ended the argument with the statement, "I hope your daughter feels better."

Finally, after posting a few links to where you can buy bubbleheads, I found a larger site you might enjoy.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lou Piniella Overcomes His Shyness in Chicago!

Lou's Suspension: I would be lax if I didn't mention Lou Piniella's suspension for an "indefinite" time. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Pagano tried to take third on a passed ball and was thrown out. Replays looked to me like the umpire got the call correct. Most importantly, it provided an opportunity for Lou to express his displeasure with the team. Ironically Lou's fit shortly after he made a statement at a press conference "you don't need to see all of the silliness on the field." In response to questions about the Zambrano-Barrett confrontation in the dug-out and locker room (see my most recent post).

There was an occasion during his spree that Lou reached out and touched the arm of an umpire. It didn't appear malicious, it was more like an attempt to push the ump's arm aside so he could step around it and get closer to the third base umpire. Still, such the rules forbid contact of an umpire and could result in an extended suspension. Except for touching the umpire, I though the Lou's performance was a little restrained. I remember one game in the King Dome when he buried the plate.

Whatever the final fine and suspension, let's hope this whole episode wasn't wasted and the Cubs will start playing like a team. BTW in case you want to re-enact the incident, you can buy a Lou Piniella bobble head figure at the site below. It's head bobs up and down just like Lou's did on Saturday. BTW MLB Manager's Joe Torre, Tony Larussa, and Terry Francona are currently available.

MLB and MILB Broadcasts This year I've been watching and listening to a lot more games than last year. In part this because of my playing a fantasy baseball game. This encourages me to look at games I normally wouldn't because I may have a player on the team. However, I've also added a subscription to that offers many minor leagues games both video and audio. One of my favorite features is the inclusion of the MILB AAA Mexican League where the games are broadcast in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish, but I'm trying to learn. The announcers in Mexico seem much more enthusiastic than those in the States, except for Ron Santo. BTW —I'm 4 and 5 with three more weeks left in the fantasy baseball league, smack on the bubble to see if I'll be in the play-offs or not.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Dugout Fight

I want to applaud both Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano for their recent actions. Not the thirteen hits Zambrano allowed or the passed ball and throwing error Barrett made, but in their standup response. Zambrano admitted the fight was his fault, although Barrett certainly claimed a share as well.

With current trends to deny responsibility and point fingers, it's refreshing to have people own up when they mess up.

BTW, my take on the passed ball was that Barrett had sat up on the inside of the plate, there was a left handed batter, and Zambrano threw a pitch that tailed away to the outside; it could be argued as either a passed ball or as a wild pitch. MLB has a good story about it

I also should mention that I have officially changed my allegiance from the Seattle Mariners to the Chicago Cubs.

I've been thinking about doing this for awhile. I find the American League "wait for something to happen" style of play boring. I also HATE the way fans behave at the games. The scoreboard constantly asks for noise, even in situations where it isn't called for. Fans almost always stand up when it's strike three. You might as well go to a football game. That reminds me of a quotation from Erma Brombeck who said something like "Anybody who watches three games of football in a row should be declared brain dead." It sounds right to me. It's kind of like that going to a Mariners game.

Everyone' probably focusing on the Boston-New York/Beckett-Pettite matchup, but the Dontrelle Willis v. Ben Sheets matchup with the Marlins at the Brewers looks interesting too.

Everyone have a nice, good day! Let's play two!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Baseball Exorcist

According to P-I report John Andriesen the Mariners are finally taking a positive approach to removing the curse that has inhabited the clubhouse for the last few years.

It appears that they are now trying to use an exorcist. Sounds like a good idea to me. Copy the following link into your browser to read Andriesen's column.

Read about the Mariners' attempts at exorcism here

It's time to update your baseball library and get ready for spring training and fantasy baseball. Check out these books to make 2007 your best baseball season ever.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

BR Bullpen Website

I just ran across a very cool website called BR Bullpen. It has lots and lots of information about baseball throughout the world and throughout time. It's definitely worth a look for the baseball fan.

Visit the BR Bullpen, you won't be disappointed.

It's not too late to buy complete sets of Topps baseball cards.
Bring your collection up to date.

"The pitcher only had a ball, I had a bat."-Hank Aaron

Have a nice, good day and let's play two!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lou Piniella on the North Side

I'm looking forward to seeing Lou manage the Cubs.

I watched him manage here in Seattle for several years. I'm not sure how he will do in Chicago. When he was in the American League he played big baseball. He occasionally talked about playing little baseball but it never really happened here. Of course he had some big hitters, Griffey, Arod, Jay Buhner, and Edgar.

I don't know how he'll due in the National League. I know he won the series at Cincinnati, but I've always felt like he was more comfortable in the AL.

I'm concerned about Lou with pitchers. I think there have been several young pitchers over the years that Lou pulled too early and too often so they lost there confidence and were unable to perform in the organization. He's good with older pitchers, but watch out for the young guys.

One thing for certain, he's a colorful character. I'm looking forward to seeing him bury home plate at Wrigley. He's my candidate for the "throwing a baseball fit" category in the Hall of Fame.

If your interested in buying Piniella's autobiography, try here

Whatever happens, it's sure to be interesting. I can't wait to hear Ron Santo talk about him during games.

Have a nice, good day and let's play two!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More Cool Baseball Gadgets

How fast is your best pitch?

I found another cool baseball gadget. It's the Virtual Speed Baseball. According to the blurb, it will show you the speed of your pitches and has a battery life of 100,000 pitches. If you figure an average of about 100 pitches per game, that's about a thousand games. So it should last a good long time in practice.

Warning, the ball is NOT meant to be hit with a bat, just for pitching practice.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hall of Fame

I was just looking through the Hall of Fame ballot and was surprised to see Jay Buhner there. Frankly he doesn't have the numbers, but he sure hit some powerful home runs and was a great leader on the field and in the clubhouse.

One Mariner who might have a chance and probably should be in the hall is Dave Niehaus. Dave has been the Mariners' broadcaster since the beginning. He's broadcast more than 4,600 Mariner games. Anyone who can do that and survive deserves something. Considering that he was the first broadcaster for the Angels and spent 16 years there, he watched a lot of losing teams and still made it interesting. I listen to a lot of online games, both radio and television and find Dave is the best. Some are absolutely terrible, they talk about everything but the game.

Ripkin and Gwynn should be automatics for the hall. McGuire too, for my money. I keep hearing they'll keep him out because of steroids. I don't see that myself.

Have a nice, good day and let's play ball!

Play TV Baseball

If you're anything like me, you start itching for some baseball about this time of year. Here in Bellingham, WA it's way to wet and cold for any outdoor baseball, but playing indoor baseball sounds just about right.

I found this this TV baseball game on Amazon that looks like it might be just the ticket to engage in your own fantasy league while waiting for Spring Training. Unlike the big game systems that cost hundreds of dollars, this baseball only game is less than $50. It looks like it plugs into the front of newer TV sets and should be a lot of fun.

Have a nice, good day and let's play ball!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Curse of the Bambino!

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Curse of the Bambino.

86 years ago today, Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Think of how baseball would be today without the Babe. One of the greatest power hitters of all time. One of the greatest pitchers. And all without steroids but lots of hot dogs and beer.

Get the whole story of this and other baseball curses

The big news in the Seattle PI today was that GM Bevasi announced that they might not be done looking for talent. He said they especially need pitching. Who would have though something so obvious would make the papers.

I'm starting to get in the mood for some baseball. My own spring training is to bring out my baseball movies and watch them again.