I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more advertising and tourism surrounding Mexican and Caribbean baseball leagues, especially for the Caribbean Series or Serie del Caribe. Well, this year Culiacán, Mexico, is doing just that. A website about the Serie del Caribe 2017 advertises tourist attractions in Culiacán and provides travel and lodging information. It also has information on the history of the Serie and a schedule for the 2017 competition. I’ve never seen this much information on the Caribbean Series this far in advance.
It’s all in Spanish, of course, so it may not be reaching all baseball fanatics. But it’s still totally cool.
The local Mexican League Team, Los Tomateros de Culiacán, are also gearing up for the series and have a YouTube video featuring one of the tourist attractions in the city, the Sinaloa Art Museo (Museo de Arte Sinaloa):
By the way, the Mexican League’s season just began last week.
Happy Fall Baseball Season!
One of my favorite things about Baseball Sociology is looking at the relationship between baseball and the community. I stumbled across the Alaska Baseball League the other day and the video blow, which is on their website. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between the amateur (collegiate-level) teams in Alaska and the surrounding communities.
The video is a trailer for a documentary called Touching the Game: Alaska, the second in a documentary series about collegiate baseball. I haven’t seen the entire documentary yet, but I plan to soon!
On Wednesday this week, three senators, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Xavier Becerra from California introduced the following resolution in the U.S. Senate to recognize the contributions of Vin Scully:
Honoring Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully, the United States baseball broadcaster who has magnificently served as the play-by-play announcer for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 Major League Baseball seasons since 1950.
Whereas Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully was born in the Bronx, New York, on November 29, 1927;
Whereas Vin Scully was raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York;
Whereas when Vin Scully was 8 years old he decided he wanted to become a sports announcer;
Whereas in 1950, at the age of 22, Vin Scully joined the radio and television broadcast team for the Brooklyn Dodgers;
Whereas in 1953, at the age of 25, Vin Scully became the youngest individual to announce the broadcast of a World Series game;
Whereas Vin Scully announced Brooklyn Dodgers’ games through 1957, after which he moved with the Dodgers to Los Angeles as the first team in Major League Baseball to play in Southern California;
Whereas Vin Scully is credited with teaching the game of baseball to Los Angeles;
Whereas since 1950, Vin Scully has announced more than 9,000 Major League Baseball games and almost 1/2 of all Los Angeles Dodgers games ever played;
Whereas Vin Scully has announced numerous iconic moments in baseball history, including—
(1) on September 9, 1965, Vin Scully announced Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Chicago Cubs, concluding, “Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with a flourish. He struck out the last 6 consecutive batters. So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record book, that ‘K’ stands out more than the ‘oufax’.”;
(2) on April 8, 1974, Vin Scully called the 715th homerun by Hank Aaron to break Babe Ruth’s longstanding homerun record, stating, “What a marvelous moment for baseball, what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the State of Georgia, what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron.”; and
(3) on October 15, 1988, during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series at Dodger Stadium, Vin Scully announced a game-winning, pinch hit homerun by injured Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson against Oakland Athletics’ reliever Dennis Eckersley, declaring, “High fly ball into right field. She is gone … In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”;
Whereas Vin Scully has described the exploits of some of baseball’s all-time greats, including Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Duke Snider, Don Sutton, Fernando Valenzuela, Tommy Lasorda, Orel Hershiser, Mike Piazza, and Clayton Kershaw, among many others;
Whereas Vin Scully has been nicknamed “The Shakespeare of Baseball”, “The Voice of the Dodgers”, and “The Voice of Summer”;
Whereas Vin Scully has been awarded the honors of—
(1) National Sportscaster of the Year from the National Sports Media Association in 1965, 1978, and 1982;
(2) Ford Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982;
(3) induction into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame in 1991;
(4) induction into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1992;
(5) Life Achievement Emmy Award for Sportscasting in 1995;
(6) induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995;
(7) Sportscaster of the Century from the American Sportscasters Association in 2000;
(8) induction into the California Sports Hall of Fame in 2008;
(9) induction into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2009
(10) Ambassador Award of Excellence from the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission in 2009;
(11) Top Sportscaster of All-Time from the American Sportscasters Association in 2009;
(12) Baseball Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award in 2014; and
(13) 32-time California Sportscaster of the Year;
Whereas, on September 23, 2016, during a pregame ceremony at Dodgers Stadium to honor Vin Scully for his iconic life and contributions, he was likened to Norman Rockwell and film character George Bailey; and
Whereas Vin Scully will announce his final game on October 2, 2016, when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the San Francisco Giants: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That Congress—
(1) honors the life and legendary career of Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully, whose character, artistry, and storytelling as an announcer for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers has set the standard for sports announcing; and
(2) wishes Vin Scully a fulfilling retirement as he bids farewell to the broadcast booth following the 2016 Major League Baseball season.
It’s been an emotional week. At 2:16 p.m. yesterday, the procession from Marlins Park to the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity began in Miami, Florida. A public viewing was held at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church. By all accounts, it was a fitting send off for a beloved player.
Today will be the private funeral for family, friends, and teammates. Other MLB players, including Washington’s Gio Gonzalez, will be in attendance.
Meanwhile, the entire baseball community – including those of us who are fans in far away places – will forever remember Jose Fernandez. As the days and months go by, we will continue to celebrate his life and his contributions to the game he loved.
I am so sad, I have no words…
“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
The “LG Presents WBSC Women’s World Baseball Cup 2016” (seriously, that’s its name) begins tonight! Just yesterday, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced that it will live stream the event on YouTube. The World Cup begins tonight/tomorrow, at 8 pm (Eastern). (Korea time is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.) Unfortunately, not all games in the first round will be available on YouTube.
The tournament will take place at the Gijang-Hyundai Dream Ballpark in South Korea. The opening round is this weekend. Tuesday (in South Korea) is an off-day before the “Super Round” begins on Wednesday (or late Tuesday night, if you’re in the U.S. and on Eastern Time). (International time zones get confusing!) The Super Round runs through September 10, with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, September 11. All games in the Super Round as well as the Championship will be live-streamed globally on YouTube.
The Women’s Baseball World Cup was first held in Canada in 2004, and has been held every two years since then. The teams compete for bronze, silver, and gold medals. Of the six times the championship has been held, Japan has won the gold medal four times (2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014) and the United States has won it twice (2004 and 2006).
Set your alarm clocks or just stay up all night tonight to watch!
|India v. Netherlands||9:00, 9/3||8:00 pm, 9/2|
|Hong Kong vs. U.S.||10:00, 9/3||9:00 pm, 9/2|
|Korea vs. Pakistan||13:00, 9/3||12:00 am, 9/3|
|Cuba v. Venezuela||13:00, 9/3||12:00 am, 9/3||not live-streamed|
|Chinese Taipei vs. Australia||14:00, 9/3||1:00 am, 9/3|
|Japan vs. Canada||19:00, 9/3||6:00 am, 9/3|
|Pakistan v. Venezuela||11:00, 9/4||10:00 pm, 9/3||not live-streamed|
|Chinese Taipei vs. U.S.||12:30, 9/4||11:30 pm, 9/3|
|Netherland vs. Japan||14:00, 9/4||1:00 am, 9/4|
|Canada v. India||15:30, 9/4||2:30 am, 9/4||not live-streamed|
|Australia vs. Hong Kong||17:00, 9/4||4:00 am, 9/4|
|Cuba vs. Korea||18:30, 9/4||5:30 am, 9/4|
|Pakistan v. Cuba||11:00, 9/5||10:00 pm, 9/4||not live-streamed|
|U.S. vs. Australia||12:30, 9/5||11:30 pm, 9/4|
|India vs. Japan||14:00, 9/5||1:00 am, 9/5|
|Netherlands v. Canada||15:30, 9/5||2:30 am, 9/5||not live-streamed|
|Hong Kong vs. Chinese Taipei||17:00, 9/5||4:00 am, 9/5|
|Venezuela vs. Korea||18:30, 9/5||5:30 am, 9/5|
What do the symphony and baseball have to do with one another? Apparently, a lot. Glenn Donnellan is a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. He is also the inventor of the “Electric Slugger,” which is kind of a violin made from a baseball bat. Last night he played the National Anthem on it at Nationals Park.
Here’s a clip of him performing the Anthem at Camden Yards in 2011:
Here he is at Nats Park a few years ago discussing his unique musical instrument:
This is so amazingly cool. Just another example of how baseball, music, and art influence one another…
“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!