Friday, November 20, 2015

Former Seattle Mariners coach Andy Van Slyke slams Robinson Cano during CBS Sports radio interview-Seattle Times

11/19/15, "Ex-Mariners coach slams Robinson Cano," Seattle Times, Ryan Divish

"Former Seattle Mariners coach Andy Van Slyke blasted Robinson Cano on Wednesday, blaming the star second baseman for many of the M’s dysfunctions during 2015 that led to the firing of general manager Jack Zduriencik, manager Lloyd McClendon and the rest of the coaching staff.

In a radio interview for CBSSports 920 AM in St. Louis, Van Slyke basically torpedoed his chances of future employment, spilling gossip not only about the Mariners but also the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Van Slyke was in charge of Seattle’s outfielders and also served as an assistant hitting coach for part of the season until Howard Johnson was fired and Edgar Martinez was brought in to replace him. Along with much of the coaching staff from the last two seasons, Van Slyke was not brought back for this year.

In the third segment of his radio appearance, he started off by saying the Dodgers’ highest-paid player — implying Clayton Kershaw — told L.A.’s general manager to get rid of Yasiel Puig. Van Slyke’s son, Scott, is an outfielder for the Dodgers. Van Slyke was then asked about Jason Heyward and where he would hit him, but he started talking about lineup protection and he mentioned Cano and Nelson Cruz.

Then he just kept rolling into talking about the Mariners. He pretty much skewered his former organization, specifically Cano, labeling him as the reason for the team’s failures and the firings of general manager Jack Zduriencik and McClendon, and by extension the coaching staff.

Here’s the link to the segment. The Mariners talk starts about three minutes into the conversation.

Here’s a partial transcript:

Van Slyke: “In Seattle, we had (Nelson) Cruz, who was probably the most dominant hitter that I’ve ever personally seen for four months and Cano hitting in front of him. So you would think that Cano would have had a terrific year. But he had probably the worst single year of an every day player that I’ve ever seen in 20 years at the big league level.”
Host: “How did that happen?”
Van Slyke: “He was just the most awful player I’ve ever seen.”
Host: “It wasn’t work ethic. He tries.”
Van Slyke: “He does sometimes.”
Host: “So what happened there, so much promise for your club after you and Lloyd McClendon joined two years ago. What happened last year?”
Van Slyke: “Well our bullpen blew up. Fernando Rodney was horrible. He blew nine of the first 18 chances. Your highest paid, supposedly best player – I mean Robbie’s not a bad guy, let me say that before I say anything bad about how he played. But Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place, every-day player I’ve ever seen – I’ve ever seen for the first half of a baseball season. He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered. He played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second base. I mean I’m talking about the worst defensive second baseman ever – I’ve ever seen in 20 years in the big leagues. He couldn’t catch the ball. No, I take that back. Any ball that was hit to him was an out. Any ball that he had a chance to turn a double play, he’s still maybe the best in the game today. He’s got a great arm. But I’m telling you, Frank: Robinson Cano cost the GM his job. The hitting coach got fired because of Cano. And the manager and the coaches got fired because of Cano. That’s how much impact he has on the organization. He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”

Then conversation then turned to the hitting coach position and Edgar Martinez when the host asked if the hitting coach was fired midseason.

Van Slyke: “Howard Johnson was a joy to work with. This guy, I’m telling you, he is a wonderful person. He loved his job. I didn’t coaches could care – I wish I cared about the players as much as he did. This guy took every at-bat personally. The guy was unbelievably joyful when a guy got a hit or a home run or we won a game because of the offense. He took total responsibility when we lost because we didn’t score enough runs. He lived and died every night with those players.”
Host: Did they force Lloyd McClendon or pressure him to fire Howard Johnson?
Van Slyke: Here’s what happened. Edgar Martinez wanted to get back into baseball and there were teams inquiring about him for their hitting coach. Now how would it look like if the offense that struggled for a year and a half in Seattle let Edgar Martinez walk to some other organization when Howard Johnson is the hitting coach and you can’t score runs. He was fired from upstairs, not the manager’s office. And Edgar Martinez walked in the next day and had a job and will have a job in Seattle as long as he’s breathing air because he’s Edgar Martinez. Let me ask you this: ‘Are you going to fire Edgar Martinez when he has a restaurant in the stadium and an exit ramp to the stadium with his name on it. He has a lifetime contract with them.”

What’s mildly amusing is that Van Slyke goes on to say that the hitting coach position has very little role.

Let’s get to his criticisms.

Cano was awful in the first two months of the season. There’s no debate about that. The numbers...

But if that’s the worst he’s seen in 20 years of baseball. Well, then he hasn’t been watching closely. Yes, based on what Cano makes, it’s awful. But from a baseball standpoint, this is an organization that started Jose Lopez, Dustin Ackley and Chone Figgins at second base for extended periods and went with a tandem of Jack Wilson and Brendan Ryan and second base and shortstop. To be fair, Cano was dealing with some intestinal issues from an offseason virus and was having trouble eating and holding food down. I think that was a factor along with horrible pitch selection and a pull-happy approach. So he was bad for two months.

Now we know that Cano picked it up, specifically starting around June.  Here are the numbers from June 1 on:...

Let’s not forget that Cano also played the final two months with hernia issues that would require double hernia surgery. Here are his numbers after he came back from the injury....

Cano has had better years and his failures early hurt the team along with several careless/thoughtless base-running miscues on a team that committed far too many. But to sit and blame one guy as the only reason the general manager and manager  and coaching staff lost their jobs is hyperbolic.

Failure in baseball over 162 games is far from an individual thing. One person wasn’t the sole cause of the Mariners’ 76-86 record this season. A flawed 40-man roster construction, massive bullpen regression highlighted by27 defeats in their opponents final at-bats and 12 walk-off losses, failures at catcher, injuries to two key starting pitchers and poor performances were all factors.

Also, Lloyd McClendon and the coaching staff lost their jobs because a new general manager was brought in. And most times when a new GM comes in, they want to put their own people in those positions. And for Jerry Dipoto that desire was even higher based on what transpired in Anaheim.

Zduriencik was fired for the organizational failure. And saying Robinson Cano was the reason why is grossly overlooking the previous seven years, poor trades, failed drafts and a sagging farm system to go with a general lack of a coordination.

The 2015 Mariners were a collective failure. Perhaps Robinson Cano had a bigger role in it than others. But he wasn’t the sole reason for it.

So there’s the Van Slyke interview and a few thoughts. You can make of it what you will."

Robinson Cano, Baseball Reference

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Saturday, November 07, 2015

Lance Berkman seeks tolerance and equality for views that differ from those on the left-Larry Brown Sports

"(Lance) Berkman does bring up a common complaint held by those with conservative political beliefs. They feel like liberals want equality yet they shame anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. It’s a fair complaint, too; the people who are fighting so hard for equal rights for mainly are focused on an LGBT agenda and forgetting about the religious beliefs of others."

11/5/15, "Lance Berkman speaks on media bias against right wingers," Larry Brown Sports, by Larry Brown

"Lance Berkman has been vocal in his opposition to HERO – the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance which failed at the polls on Tuesday.

The ordinance, which was approved by city council last May but got voted onto the ballot as a referendum to repeal it, sought to protect people from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation/gender identity, in addition to many other items such as gender, race, age, religion, etc.

Berkman, a six-time former MLB All-Star, opposed the ordinance, feeling that it would leave the door open for men to enter womens’ restrooms based on the gender identity aspect. He called into the Michael Berry Show on KTRH in Houston to explain his stance.

“Too many Christians don’t want to offend,” Berkman said of those who haven’t spoken up.

“To me tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country. We’re tolerant of everything. Everything is okay, and as long as you want to do it and as long as it feels good to you, then it’s perfectly acceptable do it. Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you’ll get in trouble in a hurry.”

Berkman then explained why he speaks up.

“Whenever I have an opportunity to make a stand for Christ and to make a stand for values that I think are right and that I know work and practice…I’m going to do that. I’m going to try to use my platform for good. There are consequences for that — you get called names.

One of the great things about this country is we can have different opinions. We have two different political parties, two different opinions on the way government should be run, and it’s okay. It’s okay for me to have an opinion that’s different from your opinion. What’s become a shame is that it seems like anybody who has an opinion from the right immediately gets castigated, called a bigot by voicing that opinion, whereas the other side can voice their opinion and we’re expected to pander to them, give them their respect …”

Berkman does bring up a common complaint held by those with conservative political beliefs. They feel like liberals want equality yet they shame anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. It’s a fair complaint, too; the people who are fighting so hard for equal rights for mainly are focused on an LGBT agenda and forgetting about the religious beliefs of others." 

I disagree with Berkman’s beliefs, but I agree with some of the criticisms he raises. And I also think it’s poor form that some outlets just jump on one line he says about “tolerance” and disregard — or worse yet — not even listen to everything else he said.

I’m against depriving anybody of their civil rights but by the same token the ordinance was so poorly-written, Berkman also said in his comments.

To me that’s a very fair comment by Berkman, and it’s unfortunate people just flogged him without reading that part. Berkman isn’t saying tolerance is a bad thing; he’s saying that lines have to be drawn in society. For instance, we have decided that people can’t have sex with anyone they want; we have lines about what age is old enough to consent to sex; whether intercourse among family members is acceptable; or even whether you’re allowed to have relations with non-humans. We’ve drawn a line and decided what of that is illegal. Drawing some lines is what I believe he’s talking about when he mentions tolerance."

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mets win World Series game 3, 'Big Shots,' Newsday back page, Sat. Oct. 31, 2015

10/31/15, Newsday back page after Mets win World Series game 3 v Royals, 9-3. The Grandyman can.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

American flag, ALCS game 1, Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals, 10/16/15

10/16/15, "Doug Padilla ESPN Staff Writer: A fly over, two anthems and it's time to play ball in the ALCS," ESPN. Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals, ALCS game 1

10/16/15, American flag at opening ceremonies of ALCS game 1, Kansas City Royals twitter 

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YES! Mets win game 5, move to NLCS v Cubs-Newsday back page, Fri., October 16, 2015

Fri., 10/16/15, Newsday back page, "YES!"

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Kansas City Royals CF Jarrod Dyson does back flip after team wins ALDS

10/14/15, "Royals CF Jarrod Dyson didn't throw an epic bat flip -- but he did have this celebratory back flip after advancing to the ALCS." ap via ESPN. Final, 7-2 Royals over Astros in Kansas City, Missouri. Dyson has been in Royals post season lineups in 2015 and 2014. He didn't play in the game tonight but was of course happy his team won.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jose Bautista hits 3 run homer in 7th and and flips his bat

10/14/15, "That bat flip, though. #JoeyBatflip," Baseball Tonight twitter. Final, 6-3, Blue Jays defeat Rangers in Toronto. Blue Jays advance to ALCS.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

NLDS game 3 tonight in Queens, Dodgers v Mets

10/12/15, NY Mets twitter, NLDS game 3 v LA Dodgers tonight in Queens

from NY Mets twitter

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Roof closed at Minute Maid Park for ALDS game 3, Kansas City Royals v Houston Astros

10/11/15, Roof closed at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros, ALDS game three. Final, 4-2 Astros

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Friday, October 09, 2015

Tarp proves as inexorable as lack of global warming drought in Kansas City, Royals crew member doing fine

10/8/15, Above, tarp moved faster than grounds crew member, 10/8/15, ESPN, Baseball Tonight

10/8/15, Above, ESPN Baseball Tonight, rain delay in Kansas City for ALDS Game 1 v Houston Astros. Rain delay at end of second inning lasted 49 minutes, final score 5-2 Houston Astros over Kansas City Royals

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Monday, October 05, 2015

CC Sabathia helps restore order during Blue Jays-Yankee game, Sept. 15, 2009

9/16/2009, Newsday back page, Pettitte and Sabathia accompany Posada to the dugout, 9/15/2009 game v Blue Jays. Brawl happened in bottom of 8th, Cervelli replaced Posada behind the plate in the top of the 9th. Final score, Blue Jays 10, Yankees 4. Image caption for above from Newsday: "(Credit: John Dunn) Jorge Posada is restrained by Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia after a brawl with the Toronto Blue Jays in the eighth inning. (September 15, 2009)" More pictures of brawl. Sorry, don't have link to 2009 Newsday cover, but here's link to my original post on 9/16/2009 with Newsday back cover.

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Arod at practice before Wild Card game at the Stadium

10/5/15, "Big showdown just one day away. Astros-Yankees gets MLB's postseason started Tuesday (8 p.m. ET on ESPN) with the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez helped the Yankees reach their first playoff game since 2012." ap photo

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

LA Angels Halo lights up after David Freese walk-off home run

To see Halo animation, visit Angels twitter. 9/26/15, "FINAL - Angels 3, Mariners 2 David Freese wins it with his first career walk-off home run!" Angels twitter, MLB

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera reflect on business and baseball at Carnegie Hall, Thursday afternoon, Sept. 24

9/15/15, "Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez Headline "Refections on Business and Baseball" September 24th," AthleteSpeakers.com, Carson Ingle

"Steiner Sports has put together another great night featuring New York Yankees legends.  Baseball’s all-time great closer Mariano Rivera is teaming up with current comeback success Alex Rodriguez for a great [afternoon] catering to Yankees fans and business professionals.

On (Thursday) September 24th, “Reflections on Business and Baseball” will take place at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York at 1:00.  Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Mark Lasry will also join Rivera and Rodriguez.

General Admission includes one mezzanine seat and costs $99.  To purchase tickets call 914-307-1065 or email CorporateMarketing@SteinerSports.com.

Rivera tallied an MLB record 652 saves during 17 seasons as Yankees closer. The 13-time All-Star won five World Series titles in pinstripes and holds postseason records with a 0.70 ERA and 42 saves.

In 2013, the Yankees retired Rivera’s jersey.  He has also devoted his efforts in retirement to the several charitable causes through the Mariano Rivera Foundation.

Rodriguez has been one of the biggest stories in baseball after missing the entire 2014 season.  He collected his 3000th hit this year and is currently hitting .257 with 31 homeruns and 82 RBI.

Currently, Rodriguez ranks fourth in baseball history with 685 homers.  The 14-time All-Star has long been a prodigy since being the first overall pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1993."... First image from Athlete Speakers, second image from CarnegieHall.org

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Friday, September 11, 2015

World Trade Center Jumpers, September 11, 2001

Above, Jumpers, 9/11/01, Reuters photo

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"The Falling Man," 9/11/01, ap photo by Richard Drew, via Esquire

  •  -------------------------------
9/10/11, "The 9/11 victims America wants to forget: The 200 jumpers who flung themselves from the Twin Towers who have been 'airbrushed from history'," UK Daily Mail, Tom Leonard
  • "Almost all of them jumped alone, although eyewitnesses talked of a couple who held hands as they fell."...
9/10/11, "Children of 9/11: Life with a parent missing," Newsday, Carol Polsky
9/9/11, "WaPo's Dionne: 'Time to Leave 9/11 Behind' as 'A Simple Day of Remembrance'," NewsBusters
A witness saw people jump to their death from the World Trade Center: "Then the crowd let out a collective gasp, I looked to see the first of many people falling through the sky. The television stations and the newspapers downplayed this aspect of a day already filled with enough shock and terror, but I place great importance on it because it immediately human-ised the situation for both myself and those around me. This wasn’t just a burning building; it was suddenly full of people, friends, and family. For me, it is the most haunting memory of the day. When I focussed on what the crowd had noticed, I too let out a cry so involuntary and so primeval that I barely recognised it as my own. It was not a piece of building falling to the ground, but a man, recognisable by his flapping tie and flailing arms and legs as he fell through the air. The situation was surreal no longer; my body shook with shock, my knees buckled and a light-headedness overwhelmed me with such severity that I thought I was either going to throw-up or fall down.
I sat down and looked up only to see more people jumping. I thought for a moment that they might have fallen, but there were too many people, their arms windmilling as they subconsciously tried to fight gravity and avoid the inevitable. Haunted by these visions numerous times since the incident, I have tormented myself by trying to imagine the extreme conditions that those people must have faced that they should choose certain death by leaping from the building over clinging to any hope of rescue. What were they thinking when they jumped; what did they think on the way down?...But my fear is that to forget is to fail the lesson and lose the opportunity. That’s why this raw wound will never completely heal and that things can never go back to ‘normal’. Because even as a simple bystander I have a responsibility to incite change for the rest of my life or I watched all those people die in vain."
  • --------------------------------------------
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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Testing eyes to see if they predict future sports stars-BBC

9/9/15, "Eye test to spot future sports stars" BBC, by Susanna Jolly

Top sportspeople often seem to possess visual "superpowers", making near-impossible rapid reactions look easy.

Researchers in Bradford are looking for the link between visual processing and sporting performance. Their research could lead to a lab-based test that finds hidden talent and the cricket stars of tomorrow.

It could also help elite sports teams to place individuals into their optimum roles within the team, or plan specific vision training to improve performance.

In cricket, fielders in the slips often have less than half a second to respond and catch a ball travelling towards them - all with the added pressure of a match- or series-winning, or losing, moment.

This skill of tracking a trajectory, such as that of an oncoming ball, and coordinating your movement to catch or intercept it, is called "coincidence timing". It is pivotal in fast, dynamic sports like cricket, football and tennis.

A team at the University of Bradford, led by Dr Brendan Barrett, secured a £500,000 grant from the BBSRC to see if there is any scientific link between vision and coincidence timing. They have put elite cricketers and rugby league players through a battery of dynamic visual tests....
Members of the public were also tested and divided into "sporty" and "non-sporty" groups; over 400 participants were tested overall.
Eye on the ball

This is not your average visit to the optician. Tests included repeatedly attempting to count the number of dots on a screen after glimpsing them for just 150 milliseconds (0.15 seconds).

Another involved trying to catch a tennis ball travelling towards you at 35mph, wearing goggles programmed to increasingly restrict your vision, while your movements were tracked by infrared motion-capture technology.

This was a feat at which most of the elite cricketers excelled.

Dr. Barrett commented that a couple of "non-sporty" people had unexpectedly high levels of attainment.
However, no hidden talent was discovered among the assembled journalists today at the British Science Festival in Bradford.

With collaborators from John Moores University, Liverpool and St Andrew's University, as well as links with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the team has collected all its data and started the lengthy task of analysing the results, which should be available in the next year.

Dr Barrett said: "Our belief is - we have some preliminary evidence - that faster pickup of visual information is extremely important in sports like cricket. Better performance on the counting task and better performance on the catching task, matched with evidence from the kinematics, [would be] strong evidence that the two are linked."
If there are particular aspects of visual processing that improve performance and are specific to the elite players, such super-vision might be a natural or an acquired ability. "We don't know whether this is an innate skill," Dr Barrett explained, "because [they have done] many thousands of hours of practice. Once we find the link then we will be able to explore it."

This research could pave the way for finding hidden talent amongst children and encouraging them to pursue sports in which they are likely to succeed.

It could also help team selectors identify the best position for a player - for example a player with excellent dynamic visual skills may be placed in the slips rather than the deeper field.

Trying to gain that extra 1% or 2% at the top end of elite sport is crucial, and being able to identify which players would benefit most from focussed training could make the difference between winning or losing a match…or the next Ashes series."

Image caption: "The researchers used infrared motion-capture sensors to observe the catching hand and arm," copyright University of Bradford, via BBC

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fab five together at Yankee Stadium for Jorge Posada induction to Monument Park

8/22/15, Fab Five together for Jorge Posada induction to Yankee Monument Park: l-r, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams. final 6-2 Yankees over Indians

Above, 10/16/2003 ALCS game 7, elimination game, bottom of the 8th, Posada 2 run double to tie the game. Yankees win in 11, 6-5. Winning pitcher, Mariano Rivera

8/22/15, Yankee Stadium today

More photos of Posada, Thank-you Jorge Posada


Added: 10/16/2003, team lifts Mariano Rivera after 2003 ALCS game 7. With score tied 5-5 v Red Sox, Rivera pitched scoreless 9th, 10th, and 11th innings. Yankees won in bottom of 11th, 6-5. sending the team to the World Series. Winning pitcher, Mariano Rivera

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Charleston survivor and college baseball player Singleton surprised by Yankees Gardner, Rodriguez, and Betances, on Today Show, later took BP and threw first pitch at the Stadium

8/17/15, "WWE’s John Cena helps Yankees surprise son of Charleston shooting victim," Washington Post,

Monday on the “Today” show, several members of the New York Yankees surprised a young man who has had more than his share of heartbreak, with WWE’s John Cena sitting in as co-host.

Chris Singleton, a 19-year-old college baseball player, lost his mother on June 17 when a gunman opened fire on a prayer group in church in Charleston, S.C., killing her and eight others. Since then, his maturity and message of compassion have left an impression.

On Monday, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances came onto the “Today set (watch the video here) to greet Singleton, an outfielder at Charleston Southern University, and give him tickets to Monday night’s Yankees game, at which Singleton will throw out the first pitch.

“When something like this happens, you never think it would happen to you, so I think everybody praying for me has allowed me to be this strong,” Singleton told Tamron Hall and Cena....

Update, 7:15 p.m.: Singleton did, indeed, throw out the first pitch at Monday’s Yankees-Twins, and he also got his name shouted out during a traditional “roll call” by the stadium’s “bleacher creatures.”
Charleston survivor Singleton at Yankee Stadium

Before that, the college baseball player took batting practice and hit a home run, according to team officials. He was in the same batting group as Gardner, a South Carolina native who played at the College of Charleston."

Image caption: "Chris Singleton is taking
his swings with the @Yankees during BP." Yankee PR Sept. via Washington Post. final 8-7 Yankees over Twins in 10 innings

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Saturday, August 01, 2015

Jersey Shore welcomes American Pharoah to Monmouth Park in his first race since winning Triple Crown, extra NJ Transit trains running to Monmouth Park Sunday, August 2

7/31/15, "Want to see American Pharoah at Monmouth Park? Here's what you need to know," AP, Oceanport, NJ, via 7online.com

Courier Post

"American Pharoah took an easy tour of the track at Monmouth Park on Thursday morning, another step toward the $1.75 million Haskell Invitational.

The Triple Crown winner is the overwhelming 1-5 favorite in a field of eight 3-year-olds for the race, which will be American Pharoah's first since he swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes and became the 12th Triple Crown winner and first in 37 years.

American Pharoah will leave from the No. 4 post following Thursday's draw and be ridden by Victor Espinoza. He is owned by Ahmed Zayat of Teaneck, New Jersey, and trained by Bob Baffert.

A winner in seven of eight career starts with more than $4 million in earnings, American Pharoah is not taking on the most formidable field. Upstart, who ran 18th in the Kentucky Derby in his last start, is the second choice at 6-1, and will be ridden by Monmouth favorite Joe Bravo.

The colt was taken for a slow, one-mile jog on his first trip over the surface for Sunday's race. American Pharoah stepped out on the track shortly after 7:30 a.m. and hugged the outer fence down the backstretch and grandstand rail, where fans gathered to snap cellphone shots.

Back at the barn, he alertly posed for photos after receiving a bath on the warm morning under the supervision of Jimmy Barnes, Bob Baffert's assistant trainer.

"He had a very high energy level this morning," Barnes said. "We couldn't be happier. The first day, we usually do something very light and we gave him a good look at the place."

Barnes said American Pharoah would have a more vigorous gallop Friday morning.

"He's a very well-mannered horse," Barnes said. "It makes it very easy to travel with him and experience new places."

And if you want to see American Pharoah run the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and New Jersey Transit have announced plans to help move a record number of attendees expected to turn out to see the Triple Crown winner this Sunday, August 2.

"With record crowds expected to come out to see Triple Crown winner American Pharoah at the Haskell Invitational this weekend, NJDOT and NJ TRANSIT have developed a plan to move people in and out of Monmouth Park as safely and efficiently as possible," NJDOT Commissioner and NJ Transit Chairman Jamie Fox said. "We are adding additional trains dedicated to fans departing after the race, and implementing traffic management plans with local law enforcement to keep traffic moving on Route 36 to the Garden State Parkway."

Route 36 is the primary access route to Shore destinations in Long Branch and neighboring towns. With the large crowds expected for the Haskell, Route 36 and neighboring roads are expected to be congested and have delays, particularly Sunday evening after the race. Motorists should plan extra time for arriving and departing Monmouth Park.

"In addition to our regularly scheduled trains stopping at Monmouth Park, NJ Transit plans to operate unscheduled trains to help facilitate the movement of people safely out of the park," Executive Director Veronique Hakim said.

Read more about his arrival


To assist fans getting to and from the event, every local NJ Transit train on Sunday will stop at the Monmouth Park Station. After the race, four additional trains will be dedicated to fans departing Monmouth Park heading toward Newark, and one additional train will be dedicated to fans heading south toward Bay Head. After the regularly scheduled 6:09 p.m. northbound train leaves, the additional trains will be moved into the station one at a time. Once a train is full, it will depart and the next train will be moved into the station. The extra train heading southbound is expected to depart after the regularly scheduled 6:34 p.m. train.

If capacity allows, the Summer Shore Express trains heading to New York Penn Station also will stop at Monmouth Park. However, if the Express train picks up passengers at Monmouth Park, it will become a local train making stops at each station.

Riders are advised to purchase roundtrip tickets in advance because there are no ticket vending machines at the Monmouth Park Station, and they should be prepared for longer than average wait times. In addition, NJ TRANSIT customers should be aware that the Monmouth Park Station is not ADA accessible, and no open containers of alcohol will be permitted on the trains.


In order to ease congestion for motorists leaving the event, NJDOT will close one through lane of Route 36 westbound and the right-turn lane onto Oceanport Avenue north to keep traffic departing Monmouth Park moving freely onto Route 36 westbound toward the Garden State Parkway in an effort to minimize delays. NJDOT will be working with local law enforcement, which will be manually controlling traffic signals before and after the race, to help keep traffic flowing and to minimize congestion.

Variable message signs will notify motorists of the exercise while it is underway. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT's traffic information website 511nj.org for real-time trAvenuel information.


Motorists are advised that Oceanport Avenue between Port Au Peck Avenue and the Main Gate of Monmouth Park will be closed to all vehicle traffic from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Detours will be in place, but it is advised to plan alternate routes to avoid the large pedestrian flow, and additional vehicle traffic in and out of Monmouth Park. Motorists will also encounter delays on Port Au Peck Avenue near the New Jersey Transit Railway line and the Picnic Area entrance to Monmouth Park. This area of Port Au Peck Avenue is subject to closure anytime between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Heavy traffic congestion will occur on surrounding roadways from 8am, due to the inbound flow of traffic into the Track. This heavy inbound flow should last most of the day into mid afternoon.

At 4 p.m. Port Au Peck Avenue will be closed to all traffic from Myrtle Avenue to Oceanport Avenue. Detours will be in place to direct motorists to utilize Asbury Avenue and Bridgewaters Drive for crosstown travel.

Note: The posted speed limit on Asbury and Bridgewaters Drive is 25mph. This speed limit will be strictly enforced.

Parking vehicles on roadways near Monmouth Park will be prohibited. No Parking signs will be posted on those roadways around Monmouth Park. Vehicles parked illegally will be ticketed and towed.

Following the running of the Haskell Race at 5:50pm, a heavy outbound flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic will enter surrounding roadways causing heavy traffic buildups in the area.

During this outbound flow the following roadways will be closed:

Oceanport Avenue between the Main Gate of Monmouth Park and Port Au Peck Avenue.
Oceanport Avenue northbound from the West Long Branch Line to the Main Gate of Monmouth Park. Port Au Peck Avenue between Oceanport Avenue and Myrtle Avenue (near the New Jersey Transit Rail line.)

Port Au Peck Avenue eastbound from Oceanport Avenue to East Main Street
Eatontown Blvd southbound between Wolf Hill Avenue/Port Au Peck Avenue and Crescent Place.

Main Street between Oceanport Avenue and Wolf Hill Avenue. (Residents will be allowed to enter Main Street to travel to their residences).

East Main Street southbound from Lake Drive to Port Au Peck Avenue.

Roadways that will experience heavy traffic flow will be Port Au Peck Avenue from Myrtle Avenue to Eatontown Boulevard (County Rt 537), Eatontown Boulevard from State Highway 36 to Wyckoff Road/Broad Street in Eatontown, Main Street, Monmouth Road (State Hwy 71), and Oceanport Avenue near the Racetrack, and Oceanport Avenue from Port Au Peck Avenue to the Little Silver Line.

Drivers travelling on State Highway 36 will experience heavy traffic flow from Monmouth Park westbound to the Garden State Parkway. Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes and plan for extra time when traveeling in the area."

Arrival 7/31/15 Atlantic City airport, ap

First image, "American Pharoah is at Monmouth Park," courierpostonline

Second image, 7/31/15, "Triple Crown winner American Pharoah arrives at the Atlantic City airport en route to the Haskell Invitational. AP," via philly.com

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Arod fan sign in Texas

7/27/15, "Looks like we're not alone in wishing a happy 40th birthday!
twitter, NY Yankees at Texas Rangers 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rain-delayed baseball games, social justice, among possible exhibits at Climate Museum planned for NY City. Visitors will be invited to contribute to imagined CO2 solutions by for example taking a semester off college-AP

7/20/15, "State board grants provisional charter for NY Climate Museum," AP, Jim Fitzgerald

"The plan for a museum in the city that would focus on climate and climate change, with exhibits that could relate to health, social justice and rain-delayed baseball games, moved a step forward Monday, officials said.

The state Board of Regents, meeting in Albany, approved a five-year provisional charter for the museum, Regents spokesman Tom Dunn said.

The vote means "there is absolutely going to be a museum," said Miranda Massie, executive director of the Climate Museum Launch Project. She said the museum is now "empowered to hold collections in trust for the public."

Supporters say it would be the nation's first climate museum.

The idea for the museum came to Massie, a former public-interest lawyer, after Superstorm Sandy, she said.

"It seemed like such an obvious thing for us as a city and a people to have," she said. "We have a museum of Tibetan art, a museum of mathematics."

The emphasis will be on solutions, not death and destruction, Massie said.

"Our point is to get people active and engaged on climate in a way that recognizes that if we come together we can solve the problem," she said.

Museum-goers will be encouraged to contribute to solutions, Massie said, "from half an hour of making phone calls to taking a semester off college to reduce the carbon footprint of a middle school."

"We have to act quickly and we have to keep it up for the long term," she said.

Massie acknowledges that not everyone accepts climate change as a fact but says all are welcome. "You can be skeptical, but if you come in with an open mind you can be a part of a climate-engaged population," she said.

It may be five or six years before a grand opening at some new building in Manhattan or Brooklyn, but Massie said the museum will be in front of the public much earlier with pop-up exhibits and education programs. An "interim museum" could be in place in 2½ years, she said.

"All of that will test ideas and build momentum," she said.

Also on the short-term agenda is a design competition for the eventual museum space, even before a site has been found.

But the next step after Monday's Regents approval is some fundraising, she said." via Free Republic

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Record rains in California July 19, 2015, first Los Angeles Angels rainout in 20 years, first San Diego Padres rainout since 2006

"Saturday’s rainfall broke records in at least 11 locations, including five places that had the most rain ever recorded on any day in July."... 

San Diego Padres tarp, 7/19

7/19/15, Remote part of I-10 collapses amid heavy rains in California," AP, A. Dalton, T. Abdollah, Los Angeles

"An elevated section of Interstate 10 collapsed Sunday amid heavy rains in a remote desert area of California, cutting off traffic between the state and Arizona and leaving a driver injured.

A bridge that carries the eastbound interstate about 15 feet above a normally dry wash about 50 miles west of the Arizona state snapped and ended up in the flooding water below, the California Highway Patrol said, blocking all traffic headed toward Arizona.

The westbound section of the freeway remained intact, but traffic was being stopped while it was inspected for safety, and a pair of small nearby highways that could possibly serve as detours were also closed.

One driver had to be rescued from a pickup truck that crashed in the collapse and was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, the Riverside County Fire Department said. A passenger from the truck was able to get out without help and wasn’t hurt.

“The 10 is a dire situation,” California transportation spokeswoman Terri Kasinga told the Riverside Press-Enterprise....

The rains came amid a second day of showers and thunderstorms in southern and central California that were setting rainfall records in what is usually a dry month.

Rain fell Sunday afternoon in parts of Los Angeles County’s mountains, the valley north and inland urban areas to the east. The city also was expected to get a late repeat of Saturday’s scattered showers and occasional downpours as remnants of tropical storm Dolores brought warm, muggy conditions northward.

“We have a chance of some more heavy rain in LA County this evening, thunderstorms, lightning, possibly some localized street flooding,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Sirard.
The showers forced the Los Angeles Angels’ first rainout in 20 years and the San Diego Padres’ first rainout since 2006.

Saturday’s rainfall broke records in at least 11 locations, including five places that had the most rain ever recorded on any day in July, Sirard said.

July is typically the driest month of the year in Southern California. Because of that, Saturday’s 0.36 inch of rain in downtown Los Angeles exceeded the 0.24 inch recorded July 14, 1886, which had been the wettest July day in nearly 130 years.

The record is especially significant, Sirard said, because downtown Los Angeles has the longest recording climate station, dating back to July 1, 1877.

Saturday’s storm brought flash floods and power outages and turned Los Angeles County’s typically packed coast into empty stretches of sand when the threat of lightning forced authorities to close 70 miles of beaches.

AJ Lester of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division said he has been in touch with weather officials and was tracking rain reports.

Signs warned beachgoers to avoid storm drain flows into the ocean because of Saturday’s sometimes heavy rain. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends people avoid swimming within 100 yards of a storm drain for 72 hours after heavy rain.

“All storm drains flowed out yesterday, but it hasn’t rained much this year, so that doesn’t bode well for the water quality,” Lester said Sunday.

Warnings were also in place for high surf and strong rip currents on all south-facing beaches, including Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Zuma, Newport and Huntington, Lester said.

Meanwhile, the summer storm has helped firefighters advance on two wildfires that broke out Friday. Muggy, moist conditions were expected to persist through Monday." via Drudge

Image above from San Diego Padres twitter, 7/19/15

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Friday, July 17, 2015

When asked how he could've been as a closer, Pedro said, “I won’t tell you I could be Mariano Rivera because Mariano was the best I’ve ever seen doing that” NY Post, 7/17/15

7/17/15, "Pedro Martinez: ‘60 percent’ of major leaguers used PEDs," NY Post, Dan Martin

"Pedro Martinez will be in Cooperstown this month to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he knows one of the teammates who helped him build his legacy — Manny Ramirez — is unlikely to follow him there.

The former Red Sox slugger, who also tormented pitchers with the Indians, was suspended 50 games in 2009 for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. But Martinez, on a Thursday conference call, made sure to mention he wasn’t singling out Ramirez.

It wasn’t just Manny,” Martinez said of the use of performance-enhancing drugs. “Probably 60 percent of baseball was doing that.

Martinez said Ramirez, now a coach with the Cubs, would be forced to pay the “consequences” for his actions.

“It’s unfortunate for the Dominican Republic, it’s unfortunate for his career and actually for himself,” Martinez said. “Because Manny probably loves the game more than anybody else that you can think of.

Not that he’s complaining about unfair competition. In fact, Martinez seems to relish having pitched during what is deemed the height of the steroids era.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Martinez said. “There’s no crying.” But he expects the ramifications, as far as entry into Cooperstown, to continue.

“Manny has a great attitude,” Martinez said. “He’s very well-liked by a lot of people. He’s a great teammate. He has so many things going in his favor, but he’s going to have to carry the consequences that many more have had to carry. I don’t condone anybody doing anything bad as far as cheating the game.”

Martinez had high praise for someone who almost certainly will get the call in a few years, Mariano Rivera.

Asked if he could have been as good a closer as Rivera based on the results he had coming out of the bullpen with the Dodgers in 1993, Martinez demurred.

I won’t tell you I could be Mariano Rivera because Mariano was the best I’ve ever seen doing that,” Martinez said, then pointed out he had some success in the role with Los Angeles that season, picking up two of his three career saves.

“I’ll never know,” Martinez said." Mariano Rivera, Baseball-Reference

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

American flag at 2015 MLB All Star game in Cincinnati

7/14/15, "Still amazing each time I see it." Eric Karabell ESPN twitter. 2015 MLB All Star game

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Todd Frazier, from the Jersey shore to MLB

7/13/15, " Jul 13 Media: say someday he'll write a book on his path from Jersey to MLB." Reds twitter

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Saturday, July 04, 2015

Brian McCann brings late night fireworks with 12th inning walk-off home run, 7/3/15, Newsday back page

Sat., 7/4/15, Newsday back page, "McCann's 3-run walk-off blast lifts Yanks in 12th...Late-night FIREWORKS!" Final 7-5 Yankees over Rays

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Teammates greet Brian McCann at home plate in the bottom of the 12th

7/3/15, "New York Yankees' Brian McCann, right, jumps into a crowd of teammates who greet him at home plate after McCann hit a three-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the 12th inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 3, 2015, in New York," AP. Final 7-5 Yankees over Rays

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Reds fans have snow cones during 7th inning stretch

7/1/15, " 5h5 hours ago A 7th inning stretch means a snow cone break on this warm, sunny day! lead 2-1 over the Twins." VoteReds Twitter. Final 2-1 Reds over Twins

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Young Houston Astros fans at Minute Maid Park for game v Yankees

6/27/15, "Young Houston Astros fans watch from the stands before their game against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on June 27, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)," final 9-6 Yankees over Astros

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Andy Pettitte throws bp in Houston for Yankee visit

6/25/15, "Maybe the best starter in a Yankee uniform today," Andrew Marchand twitter. Yankees at Houston Astros

6/26/15, "HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 26: Former Astro and Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte throws during batting practice prior to the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 26, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)" final 3-2, Yankees over Astros

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tarp on the field, Phillies at Yankees

6/23/15, "Menacing skies over Yankee Stadium," Baseball Tonight, Phillies at Yankees

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

A nice night in the Bronx, Arod gets hit #3000

6/19/15, Arod hits #3000, Tigers at Yankees, final 7-2 Yankees, getty. Alex Rodriguez, Baseball-Reference. Hit #3000 was also regular season home run #667. ESPN says it wasn't much of a home run: "Rodriguez's home run traveled 373 feet to right center of Yankee Stadium. The ball would have died short of the wall in any other park."

Sat., 6/20/15, Newsday back page, Arod "3000 hit clubbed"

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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Triple Crown American Pharoah Jockey Victor Espinoza throws first pitch at Yankee Stadium

6/7/15, "Triple Crowns, first pitches does it all." MLB gifs. LA Angels at NY Yankees, final 6-2 Yankees. 6/6/15, "Belmont Stakes: American Pharoah wins Triple Crown! Jockey Victor Espinoza and trainer Bob Baffert react," nj.com

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