“You always think you have one more hit in you.” ~ Alex Rodriguez
Sure, the 2016 season has and will see several retirements, some more heartbreaking than others: Adam LaRoche, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, and David Ortiz. The one that makes me saddest of all, however, is Alex Rodriguez’ retirement.
Today is A-Rod’s last game as a New York Yankee. Much will be written about A-Rod’s retirement over the next few days and months as many will ponder: why it happened now, whether or not it was fair, and whether this is really the end of A-Rod’s playing career. While I never was much of a Yankees fan, I’ve adopted A-Rod over the past few years. In fact, it’s been four years since A-Rod was benched during the 2012 playoffs. Though I was rooting for my O’s in the ALCS, I still felt bad for A-Rod. (I even attempted to start a “#LetA-RodPlay” hashtag thing on Twitter, but it never caught on.)
In fact, as the week has worn on, criticizing A-Rod has seemed to have been replaced with reluctant acceptance of his impact on the game to downright sympathy. Here are links to a few of the most interesting commentary:
- New York Times, Tyler Kepner, “Alex Rodriguez Remains a Lightning Rod Until the Very End”
- The Undefeated, Ryan Cortes, “Alex Rodriguez’s Lonely, Unfair Farewell”
- ESPN, Dave Shoenfield, “Five Ways Alex Rodriguez changed the Game”
- New York Daily News, Mark Feinsand, “Anonymous All-Star questions why Alex Rodriguez is being treated differently than Mark Teixeira”
- Sporting News, Jesse Spector, “Why your take on A-Rod and his retirement sucks”
What’s more interesting, perhaps, is what his colleagues and peers think of him:
- “Alex was one of the greatest young players I think baseball will ever see again,” Chris Bosio, Chicago Cubs pitching coach
- “He’s always going to surrounded somewhat by controversy, but I saw a really good baseball player with enormous ability,” Joe Maddon, Cubs Manager
- “I am going to miss what he brought to the table. I enjoyed him in the clubhouse, I enjoyed the effort he always gave me, the help he gave me, he was always a guy who loved to work, loved to learn, I didn’t really consider him a superstar for the fact he was always more of a blue-collar type guy,” Kevin Long, New York Mets hitting coach
- “A very smart baseball guy. The things he talked about on a baseball level probably the best and intriguing out of all the guys I ever played with. It was not always about him, just about the team or individual pitchers, other guys on the team, guys we were about to play,” Curtis Granderson, New York Mets
- “Best player in the game for a long. Thank him for everything he did because he set the bar high for a lot of guys,” Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
- “When you get to know A-Rod, he’s a special person, special teammate, & one of my favorite teammates of all-time,” Johnny Damon
- “He was a great teammate. Passionate about the game of baseball, passionate about winning,” Carlos Beltran
And how do his current teammates feel?
- “I think everyone is going to be a little emotional on Friday because Alex has meant so much for this organization…I think there’s only one other guy I’ve ever met that likes to talk about baseball more than Alex, and that’s Cal Ripken (Jr)…And we’re going to support Alex every step of the way,” Mark Teixeira
- “Al’s probably the best player of my generation… He was a great teammate. He’s been nothing but helpful to me since I’ve been here. And his baseball mind is unbelievable,” CC Sabathia
- “Alex always has been great to me over the years…and a good teammate. It’s sad to see how it’s all gone down. I’m not going to get a chance to play with him anymore, and that sucks,” Brett Gardner
I will miss A-Rod. But I’m sure this won’t be the last we’ll hear from him.
Happy retirement, Alex!
The other day I walked past the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and was surprised to see a familiar face staring back at me. Right outside the museum was a poster featuring Babe Ruth. It was an announcement for a recently opened exhibit. Naturally, I had to go inside and check it out.
The exhibit, One Life: Babe Ruth, depicts several points in Ruth’s life through several images, including photographs, videos, caricatures, and drawings. The coolest part is that the entire exhibit is in both English and Spanish. I’m pretty sure the Babe would love it.
The exhibit runs through May 21, 2017, so there’s plenty of time to get to DC and check it out.
Remember Wilmer Flores last year? That was almost me as tears welled in my eyes. We’d heard that the Nationals had traded for pitcher Mark Melancon. As usual, I was tuning out the sports announcers that tended to drone on and provide little detail. However, these names stood out in the story: Felipe Rivero, Jose Lobaton, and Taylor Hearn. Wait – did they just say Jose Lobaton?
Questions immediate flooded my brain. Who would Gio Gonzalez’ personal catcher be now? Most importantly, who would remove the Nationals’ helmets when they returned to the dugout after hitting a home run? Lobaton was the best helmet snatcher in the business.
Jose Lobaton is one of my favorite Washington Nationals, although he doesn’t get much playing time serving as back-up catcher to Wilson Ramos. But Pedro Severino had caught on Saturday – did this mean it was true? (Queue melodramatic music and declare, “Say it ain’t so!”)
Yesterday, I took a peak at the Nationals’ roster on my MLB app. No, Lobaton was not there anymore. Wait a minute. What if I click on “40-Man Roster”? And there he was, still listed in the “L’s”.
So what went so terribly wrong? Apparently, whatever show I was half-listening to had reported that there had, indeed, been a trade. The Washington Nationals acquired Melancon from Pittsburgh. In turn, the Nationals sent Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn to the Pirates. Naturally, as reporters do, they then started babbling about Rivero’s record with the Nats since the 2014 trade that brought him and catcher Jose Lobaton to D.C. They also may have been discussing Severino being called up after Lobaton had been placed on the DL with tendinitis. Like I said, I really wasn’t listening.
So, I should pay more attention in the future. Especially as the trade deadline nears.
Happy Trade Deadline Day!
I get you, Chris Sale.
Let’s be honest – who amongst us hasn’t, on occasion, felt like slashing their restrictive suit and tie or smashing their uncomfortable high heels with a sledge hammer? As someone who grew up going to Catholic school and having to wear a uniform (complete with navy blue knee socks and saddle shoes), I, too, have experienced the pain of ugly and uncomfortable uniforms. So, while most sports commentators faulted Chris Sale, I wondered if maybe there was more to the story than we were being told. Regardless, maybe it was just time for someone to stand up to the uniform madness that has been sweeping the country for quite some time. What baseball really needs is some fashion police.
For the record, several writers and media sites have counted down the ugliest uniforms, bolstering my sympathy for the players who must wear them. Here are just a few:
- Jim Caple, ESPN
- Greg Maiola, Bleacher Report
- Corey Nachman, Business Insider
- Josh Benjamin, Bleacher Report
Some of the above articles are a few years old, but it just goes to show that our fascination with ugly uniforms goes back quite a way. Digging deeper into the issue, I found that ugly uniforms are nothing new. However, I do believe they are on the rise. There seem to be more and more uniform variations every year.
Calling Sale a “fashion martyr,” Breitbart.com stated that “He found the jerseys uncomfortable and accused the club of valuing marketing gimmicks over victories.” Has anyone ever stopped to think that as MLB has moved toward marketing schemes and attention-grabbing devices to sell more tickets and merchandise, maybe they forgot to ask the players how they felt about the many variations of uniforms? Perhaps it’s time to put a stop to the madness.
Maybe the minor leagues are to blame. After all, they’ve come up with some uniforms that are quite interesting. If I were the Commissioner of Baseball, I think I’d abandon attempts to do things like shorten the game and focus instead on banning scissors from all clubhouses – at least as an interim measure until we can cut back on ugly uniforms.
Here are some more images from the San Diego Padres’ Hall of Fame museum, which opened on July 1, 2016. Enjoy! ~ baseballrebecca
The San Diego Padres unveiled their new Hall of Fame museum at the Petco Park on July 1. Fortuitously, I just so happened to be there on July 2.The space provides a nice overview of Padres history as well as the history of baseball in San Diego.
The Padres’ Hall of Fame dates back to 1999, when it was created to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the team. Now it has a physical location as well. The following players, managers, owners, and announcers, have been elected to San Diego’s HoF:
- Randy Jones (Padres pitcher 1973-80)
- Nate Colbert (1B, 1969-74)
- Ray Kroc (Owner, 1974-84)
- Dave Winfield (OF, 1973-80)
- Buzzie Bavasi (President, 1969-77)
- Jerry Coleman (Announcer/Manager, 1972-2013)
- Tony Gwynn (OF, 1982-2001)
- Dick Williams (Manager, 1982-85)
- Trevor Hoffman (P, 1994-2008)
- Benito Santiago (C, 1986-92)
- Garry Templeton (SS, 1982-99)
- Ted Williams (OF, PCL Padres, 1936-37)
- Ken Caminiti (3B, 1995-98)
The courtyard just outside the Hall of Fame features 16 replicas of the National Baseball Hall of Fame plaques of Hall of Famers associated with San Diego – those who either played for or coached the the minor- or major league San Diego Padres, including: Ted Williams, Willie McCovey, Rollie Ringers, Larry Doby, Sparky Anderson, Tony Perez, Ozzie Smith, and Ricky Henderson. Mike Piazza will be added after his formal indication into Cooperstown. In front of the wall are pedestals with the Hall of Fame plaques of Dave Winfield and Tony Gwynn, who are the only two players inducted into the National Baseball Hall Fame as San Diego Padres.
In case you were wondering, minor league baseball was played in San Diego from 1936 up until the MLB Padres were born in 1969. The team, known as the San Diego Padres, was a member of the Pacific Coast League and was affiliated with the Boston Red Sox (in 1936), Cleveland Indians (1949-51, 1957-59), Chicago White Sox (1960-61), Cincinnati Reds (1962-65), and Philadelphia Phillies (1966-1969) over the years.
I need a pinch hitter for Lucas Giolito Bobblehead Night at the Potomac Nationals, since I’ll be out of town. So, I’ve enlisted the help of my cousin. I figure if I prepare him early, he’ll be ready to come off the bench and get me the coveted bobble. Besides, he has been on several bobblehead and gnome missions before. He’s ready to go out on his own. I’m sure he’ll hit a home run.
Naturally, he needs to know the important details of how to get in the special Season Ticket holder line in order to be one of the lucky 1,500 to get the Giolito Bobble. At the beginning of the season, I purchased the special ticket pack so that I would have the ability to get into the stadium early, potentially ensuring my success at obtaining the elusive P-Nats bobbleheads. He needs to know exactly where to stand and exactly when to get there. The details of the operation are critical. It must be executed according to plan. Nothing can go wrong. We know what happens when things go wrong.
Unfortunately, I did not realize how complicated it sounded until it put it in text message form:
Text #1: You need to get there early. Like 45 min to an hour before. Take someone who can stand outside in the sun that long.
Text #2: The game is at 6:35. Gates open at 5:05. You’ll have my passes to get in 15 min early – so that’s 4:50. Need to be in line by maybe 4:15 at the latest.
Text #3: Unless it’s a double header, because of a rainout or something. Then the timeline will change.
Text #4: Have cold water handy when you stand in line. The line forms on the right hand side of that baseball field in front of the stadium – so take the second path, not the one that leads straight to the gate. Maybe I need to send a map so that makes sense.
Response: Ok. I will need instructions based on double header or not.
Text #5: LOL. Yeah. I’ll make a map.
Yeah. I’m not sure I’d understand those directions even with the map. It’s not that I doubt my cousin’s abilities. I doubt my ability to write decent instructions.
Giolito bobblehead night isn’t until August 6. We’ll have time to prepare. Maybe we can do a dry run. Hopefully, all will go as planned.
Generally, I dread the All-Star Break. Annually, the day after the All-Star Game is a sad day, because there are no MLB games scheduled. But this year, the day after the day after the All-Star Game is also a day without Major League Baseball.
What are we supposed to do?
We have come to expect baseball to be a part of our daily existence from April through September, with that one day off. Usually at least one Major League team has a game the Thursday after the All-Star Game. But this year, we get nothing.
What cruel human beings are they to deprive us of baseball for two days in a row?
Thankfully, Minor League Baseball is there to fill the void. And I am one of the lucky ones because my hometown team, the Bowie Baysox, are in town tonight! In fact, 96 minor league games will be played today, including the Cedar Rapids Kernals v. the Lake County Captains, beginning at 11 am (Eastern). Several evening games will even be on MiLB.TV, if you subscribe. But even if you don’t have access to MiLB.TV, many teams provide audio links to their radio broadcasts on their websites, and you can always watch the graphic representation of the games on the teams’ Gameday pages. I’ve posted today’s MiLB schedule below, or you can go to the MiLB website for more info.
|MID||Cedar Rapids||Lake County||11:00 AM|
|FSL||Clearwater||Palm Beach||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Blue Jays||GCL Phillies||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Cardinals||GCL Marlins||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Nationals||GCL Mets||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Pirates||GCL Yankees East||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Rays||GCL Red Sox||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Tigers East||GCL Braves||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Twins||GCL Orioles||12:00 PM|
|GCL||GCL Yankees West||GCL Tigers West||12:00 PM|
|FSL||Daytona||St. Lucie||6:30 PM|
|FSL||Jupiter||Brevard County||6:35 PM|
|FSL||Fort Myers||Tampa||7:00 PM|
|NYP||Hudson Valley||Staten Island||7:00 PM||YES|
|APP||Johnson City||Burlington||7:00 PM|
|EAS||New Hampshire||Portland||7:00 PM||YES|
|NYP||Auburn||West Virginia||7:05 PM|
|SAL||Augusta||West Virginia||7:05 PM|
|INT||Buffalo||Lehigh Valley||7:05 PM||YES|
|CAR||Frederick||Myrtle Beach||7:05 PM||YES|
|NYP||Mahoning Valley||State College||7:05 PM||YES|
|MID||Quad Cities||Fort Wayne||7:05 PM|
|MID||Great Lakes||Burlington||7:30 PM|
|MID||South Bend||Clinton||7:30 PM|
|MID||West Michigan||Kane County||7:30 PM||YES|
|MID||Wisconsin||Bowling Green||7:35 PM|
|AZL||AZL White Sox||AZL Indians||8:00 PM|
|AZL||AZL White Sox||AZL Indians||Game 2|
|PCL||Fresno||New Orleans||8:00 PM||YES|
|TEX||Frisco||Corpus Christi||8:05 PM||YES|
|TEX||Midland||San Antonio||8:05 PM||YES|
|PCL||Sacramento||Round Rock||8:05 PM||YES|
|PCL||Salt Lake||Omaha||8:05 PM||YES|
|CAL||San Jose||Lancaster||8:05 PM|
|CAL||San Jose||Lancaster||Game 2||YES|
|TEX||Springfield||NW Arkansas||8:05 PM||YES|
|PCL||Las Vegas||Iowa||8:08 PM||YES|
|PIO||Orem||Great Falls||9:00 PM|
|PIO||Grand Junction||Billings||9:05 PM|
|PCL||Nashville||El Paso||9:05 PM||YES|
|PIO||Helena||Idaho Falls||9:15 PM||YES|
|AZL||AZL Athletics||AZL Giants||10:00 PM|
|AZL||AZL Dodgers||AZL Reds||10:00 PM|
|AZL||AZL Mariners||AZL Padres||10:00 PM|
|AZL||AZL Rangers||AZL D-backs||10:00 PM|
|AZL||AZL Royals||AZL Cubs||10:00 PM|
|CAL||Visalia||Lake Elsinore||10:00 PM|
|PCL||Col. Springs||Tacoma||10:05 PM||YES|
|CAL||Inland Empire||Rancho Cucamonga||10:05 PM|
|PCL||Okla. City||Reno||10:05 PM||YES|
|CAL||High Desert||Stockton||10:10 PM|
Here’s a classic Dusty Baker statement, as reported by the Washington Post yesterday: