Monday catchup

It’s tough being a Cubs fan who has Albert Pujols on his APBA league team.  It’s even tougher when you find out he’s out for six weeks.  My favorite headline today… Rays to miss play against Pujols  Yeah, I’m sure they’re heartbroken. 

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Chad Cordero retired. In other news, Chad Cordero was still playing baseball.

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On a personal note, I just attended my first roller derby event Saturday.  The Twin City Derby Girls are making a go at it in Champaign-Urbana and from the attendance this weekend, it seems pretty popular. 

I can see why.  It’s quite exciting what with fast-paced action, healthy looking women going at each other, and even a campy atmosphere.  I even began to understand the rules after a while.  I’ll be back for more.  A few more photos from Saturday’s event.

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Nasty weather at the College World Series tonight

The tornado sirens are blaring tonight in Omaha during the College World Series postponing the games and flights from the local airport are even being evacuated.

Brian from College Baseball Daily uploaded this video of the sirens going off at the CWS tonight.

 

…and here’s a pretty nasty looking photo of the sky.

get somewhere safe everyone. 

[update] looks like they are going to actually resume the current game tonight at 10:45pm.

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Putting Jack McKeon’s age in perspective

Eighty year-old Jack McKeon has been put in charge of the Florida Marlins.  I’d say he’s the “new” manager but that just doesn’t sound right.  Just to show that he’s in charge, JMac has already benched Hanley Ramirez for one game because “didn’t like the way that Ramirez was running during Sunday’s game”.

Just how old IS Jack McKeon?  Let’s put it in perspective:

  • Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Lefty Grove were all in their prime when he was born.
  • For that matter, Pete Alexander was still pitching when he was born.
  • McKeon managed now-retired manager Lou Piniella when Lou was with the KC Royals in 1973.
  • Had Bobby Cox returned to manage the Braves, he would still be 10 years younger than McKeon.
  • Finally from Deadspin, of the 671 managers in all of MLB history, over 23% of them started AND finished their managerial tenures during McKeon’s career.

McKeon’s appointment is indeed an interim one but here’s hoping for a lengthy one.   

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Links to ponder or ignore

For a quick WTF, here’s a photo of John McGraw with a baby leopard in his arms.  Even more amazing, he’s actually smiling.

I collaborated a tiny bit with PitcherHit8th.   Yes, they’re a Cardinals blog and podcast but they do a good job over there and it’s worth a plug.  If you’re a Redbird fan, check them out.

Interesting bit of digging by Illinois Loyalty.  Seems that the firm that was hired by the University of Illinois to consult them on the search for a new Athletic Director (Parker Executive Search) was paid $90-105 grand by University of Tennessee to do the same job.  No word on how much the U of I is paying but I bet we’re not getting a discount.

Finally, some are pushing for the Pirates to be the lucky (?) ones to move to the American League.  What now, when they are having a winning season?  The Pirates haven’t had a winning record this late in the season since 1999. 

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Former ump wins medical settlement

From Law Firm News Wire, former MLB umpire Mark Hirschbeck won a settlement from Wright Medical Technology for a faulty hip device that was placed inside him.  The device was shown to have a faulty defect.

a month after surgery, as Hirschbeck was at home watching TV, he heard a pop. Reports show that the ceramic hip had exploded. The former ump later found out that Wright had paid thousands of dollars to a foundation that Keggi helped run and also doled out a trip to a Bahamas conference for him. Many surgeries, and even a hip infection, left Hirschbeck permanently disabled and unable to be in the sport in which he loved officiating.

Mark Hirschbeck umpired in the majors for 15 and was one of the umpires in the 2001 World Series.

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Is building a new park going to help attendance?

Athletics Nation has a interesting post about what exactly happens to attendance to MLB ballgames after the team builds a new stadium.  The results aren’t what you might suspect or even necessarily consistent. 

Not surprisingly, attendance is up in the initial year but after that, the data is mixed and in some cases, such as San Diego’s PETCO Park and New York’s Citi Field, the figures drop drastically.  Of course, many factors figure in to this… team performance, city demographics, but as Athletics Nation tries to point out, building a new stadium is not a cure-all for dwindling fan attendance. 

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Cubs affiliate pokes fun at LeBron

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

This Thursday, the Peoria Chiefs who are a Cubs’ single-A affiliate, will be holding a LeBron James NBA Championship Replica Giveaway night.  “Replica Rings” (in other words, air), will be given out to fans.

The Chiefs said they are "looking into" whether they can skip the fourth inning to poke fun at James, who scored just 18 points during the fourth quarter in six NBA Finals games.

"We aren’t sure if the league will allow it," Peoria president Rocky Vonachen said in a statement. "But if LeBron doesn’t need to show up for the fourth, maybe we won’t either."

All in good fun, I guess. Anything to take their mind off their parent organization.

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Rain delay boredom leads to crazy antics

It’s all fun till someone tears a muscle, guys.

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Book Review: Campy: the Two Lives of Roy Campanella

campysimonschusterThe last three years have been a major boon for the publication of significant baseball biographies featuring one of baseball’s most neglected positions- the catcher.

The much maligned defensive spot featuring the uniquely named tools of ignorance has come into its own since 2009. For that was the first year that launched a triple crown of baseball backstop biographies with the publication of The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain- the Biography of Thurman Munson by Marty Appel.

In 2010, another all- time Yankee and the subject of numerous books in the past Yogi Berra was covered in a very thorough and excellent biography- Yogi Berra- The Eternal Yankee by Allan Barra.

Now in 2011, completing the baseball biography trilogy of great backstops and not insignificantly the third player from New York, the Brooklyn Dodger great and Hall of Famer Roy Campanella is profiled. Neil Lanctot’s new biography called Campy The Two Lives of Roy Campanella (Simon and Schuster 2011 516 pages) came out in March and is a nice addition to anyone’s baseball shelf.

The two lives of Campanella refers to his life before and after his tragic automobile accident in early 1958 that nearly took his life but did leave him paralyzed, although the book spends relatively little time on that particular aspect of Campy’s life.

Since Campanella appeared to have had several contrasting phases in his life, the two lives might also have referenced his baseball life in the Negro Leagues (while still in high school at that) and his second life in the major leagues for the powerful Brooklyn Dodgers. Perhaps the two lives encompassed Campanella’s status as arguably becoming the most popular black superstar in baseball in the 1950’s after languishing in the shadow of his teammate the great Jackie Robinson for the early part of his career.

Whichever the case, I especially enjoyed Lanctot’s look at Campy’s early years in the Negro League with Baltimore and also his many winters in the Mexican League.

Lanctot also brought to life what to me was relatively unknown aspect of Campanella’s life, his on-going feud later in his career with his long time teammate and former good friend Jackie Robinson . Lanctot discovered that it’s really difficult to know the real Roy Campanella, since he made every effort to avoid any shred of controversy, unlike Jackie Robinson . Campanella’s failure to take a significant stand on race relations Lanctot intimates, may have been at the root of his disagreements with Robinson, although it is also suggested and possible that Jackie may have simply resented some of Campy’s growing popularity, once reserved for Robinson himself.

After Campanella’s tragedy, his upbeat personality and his love of and involvement in the game of baseball kept him in the public’s subconscious until his death in 1993. This three- time MVP should be remembered fondly as not just one of baseball’s all time great catchers but as one of baseball’s all time greats – period! Lanctot succeeds at doing just that.

Lanctot’s book should bring back fond memories for those who still remember those times as well as new insights into Campanella and his impact on the national pastime and Brooklyn baseball in the1940’s and 50’s

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Slo-mo baseball

Someone has a pretty slick YouTube channel called Baseball in Slow-Motion.  Appropriately enough, it’s populated with high quality slow motion videos of Major League baseball players in action. 

Here’s an example showing Buster Posey’s hitting mechanics:

 

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