Monday, March 31, 2014

Desperately seeking some global warming in New York City for Mets opening day

3/31/14, "Welcome to Mets SnOpening Day, CDerespina, Newsday twitter pic, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY. via newsday.com

3/31/14, "Rain and snow dampen Nats-Mets opening day," Washington Post, James Wagner

"UPDATE, 11: 35 a.m.: The tarp is off the field at Citi Field and the grounds crew is preparing the field for what appears to be an on-time start. The rain and snow, which wasn’t sticking, has stopped. The forecast still isn’t calling for any further precipitation around first pitch, but it will still be cold. It is 39 degrees now and a predicted 43 by game time
UPDATE, 9:55 a.m.: First pitch is more than three hours away, but the weather in New York is bleak this morning. The tarp is on the field while a combination of rain and snowflakes fall. The little bit of snow, however, isn’t sticking. The forecast calls for it to clear up by first pitch at 1:10 p.m. By 2 p.m., the temperatures are expected to rise to 52 degrees. Based on the weather along this morning, it doesn’t quite feel like opening day yet."...image from Washington Post


3/31/14, "Snowpening Day: The Scourge of Winter Encroaches on the Boys of Summer," Breitbart, Daniel J. Flynn

"The Mets opened the season at Citi Field today against the Washington Nationals. Snow opened the day in New York City. Is freezing anyway to play America's pastime?

Thankfully, the only white sticking on the Queens field was the tarp protecting the infield from snow, sleet, and rain. So, the game went off, if not as planned, at least on time."...

final in 10 innings, 9-7, Washington Nationals over Mets 

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

No drought in Tampa, last Yankee spring training game cancelled due to rain

3/29/14, "Poncho-covered baseball fans wait in a light rain before the New York Yankees final spring exhibition baseball game, against the Miami Marlins, was canceled due to rain in Tampa, Fla.," AP

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Beginning MLB Opening Day, March 31, SiriusXM MLB Network Radio will simulcast Chris "Mad Dog" Russo's one hour MLB Network TV show at 12N ET

2014 MLB games, channels: www.SiriusXM.com/MLBschedule
3/27/14, "SiriusXM Offers Its Most Extensive Coverage Yet of 2014 MLB Season," PR Newswire via XMFan.com

"MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM offers daily in-depth baseball talk and analysis."

"SiriusXM, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of Major League Baseball, will provide its most comprehensive coverage to date for the 2014 MLB season, offering subscribers the most extensive coverage available in radio. This year marks the first full season that all SiriusXM subscribers will have access to every regular season and postseason game on their satellite radios, as well as on their mobile devices and online.

MLB games are available on Sirius radios with either a Premier or All Access package and on all XM radios. Through SiriusXM's agreement with MLBAM, MLB play-by-play is also available to all subscribers on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at SiriusXM.com.

SiriusXM subscribers listening to MLB games through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online have access to a suite of 30 play-by-play channels dedicated to streaming the official radio broadcasts of every MLB team. These channels give fans access to both the home and visiting team broadcasts for every MLB game, allowing them to hear their favorite team's announcers all season long.

Listeners also get access to multiple Spanish-language broadcasts each night of the regular season from a select number of teams. For a schedule of games in English and Spanish with their channel assignments visit www.SiriusXM.com/MLBschedule

Listeners will continue to get the most in-depth radio coverage of the league 365 days a year with MLB Network Radio, SiriusXM's 24-hour baseball talk channel (XM channel 89, Sirius channel 209). The channel features the latest baseball news and daily baseball talk with a roster of expert hosts that includes former GMs Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette, former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth, former manager Kevin Kennedy, former All-Stars Cliff Floyd, Brad Lidge, Steve Sax, Mike Stanton and Rico Petrocelli, plus Casey Stern, Mike Ferrin, Jim Memolo and others.

Starting on Opening Day, March 31, the channel will feature a [one hour] simulcast of Chris "Mad Dog" Russo's new MLB Network show, High Heat with Christopher Russo, every weekday afternoon [beginning at 12N or 1P]. Listeners also get simulcasts of additional MLB Network television programming, including the flagship studio show MLB Tonight.

On Opening Day, MLB Network Radio will broadcast live from Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles will host the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin will host their daily show live from the ballpark starting at 10:00 am ET. Then on Friday, April 4, Duquette and Ferrin will broadcast from Nationals Park in Washington DC before the Nationals open up their 2014 home schedule against the Atlanta Braves.

Web page: MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Twitter: @MLBNetworkRadio"


3/5/2014, ""High Heat with Christopher Russo" set for Opening Day debut on MLB Network," mlb.com

"This spring MLB Network will launch a brand new weekday studio program as Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo, one of the most accomplished sports radio voices in the country, hosts his first TV-based baseball talk show, High Heat with Christopher Russo. Starting on Opening Day, March 31 at 12:00 p.m. ET, Russo will bring his passionate opinions and energetic delivery to MLB Network for a one-hour live program every weekday with discussion on all 30 MLB clubs and interviews with players and club personnel.

Each show will begin with "The Brushback," Russo's opening monologue on the day's biggest headlines, followed by "Coast to Coast," a fast-paced look at the top news around the league with a roster of on-air contributors including MLB Network analysts Al Leiter, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds and Bill Ripken, insider Tom Verducci, and national and local beat writers and broadcasters. High Heat will also highlight the voices of the game with "Curtain Calls," where Russo will give his take on the most talked about game calls from the previous day, while viewers will have the chance to give Russo their feedback in a voicemail segment called "Man Bites Dog" to close out every show.

After Opening Day, High Heat will lead off MLB Network's live studio programming schedule at 1:00 p.m. ET unless a game telecast is scheduled at that time, in which case it will air live at 12:00 p.m. ET. High Heat will be produced by MLB Network and simulcast on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.

Russo joins MLB Network's programming lineup in addition to his roles hosting "Mad Dog Unleashed," his all-sports radio show, weekdays on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio, and serving as SiriusXM's Baseball Ambassador on MLB Network Radio. Russo joined SiriusXM in 2008 after nearly 20 years in New York hosting the popular Mike and the Mad Dog show. Russo can be followed on Twitter via @MadDogUnleashed."

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Parents pay for new bleacher seats at Michigan High School baseball field, but Obama Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights forced school to tear them down since nearby girls softball field didn't get new seats-WJBK

3/27/14, "The battle over bleachers: Do high school sports facilities have to match?" WJBK, myfoxdetroit.com, Plymouth, Mich.

"A new set of seating is being torn down outside the Plymouth Wildcats varsity boys' baseball field, not long before the season begins, because the fields for boys' and girls' athletics must be equal.

A group of parents raised money for a raised seating deck by the field, as it was hard to see the games through a chain-link fence. The parents even did the installation themselves, and also paid for a new scoreboard.

But, after a complaint, the U.S Education Department's Office for Civil Rights investigated the new addition and says it must be torn down. It says the facility was no longer equal to the girls' softball field next door, which has old bleachers and an old scoreboard.

The school agreed to take the seats down after receiving a citation. The seating was also not handicapped accessible.

The superintendent says the seats and materials will be stored until they can form a plan that complies with the rules and is fair to everyone. He adds the money is not available to build a similar seating deck at the girls' field, but their field will be getting a new scoreboard." via Free Rep.


A parent comments:


"Rebecca Tell Minch

I was one of the parents that worked hard to raise money for those bleachers and I don’t understand why the school district gave us permission to construct them in the first place. The fact is that the district did provide equal facilities to the boys’ baseball team and the girls’ softball team. The boys’ booster club simply organized themselves and worked very hard toward improving their facilities. I guess what I’m hearing is that there is no room for improvement…unless everyone can improve at the same rate. That’s a good lesson for these kids…playing a competitive sport. Now, if the girls’ softball field was a muddy piece of crap, then I whole-heartedly understand the problem. But it’s not. It’s a beautiful, well maintained field as well.

In terms of the “seating not being handicap accessible,” are the aluminum bleachers they provide handicap accessible? Are the basketball bleachers in the gym handicap accessible? Are the weed-infested, rundown visitor bleachers on the Varsity football field handicap accessible? No, they aren’t even accessible period. They lack railings and aisles for spectators to use when climbing to their seats. So, I don’t think handicap accessibility is really the issue.

Unfortunately, this is just a case of sour grapes. After all, I don’t think I ever heard anyone from the Canton boys’ baseball team complain about their facilities compared to Salem’s and Plymouth’s. That’s because they know it was not a gift from the school district, rather it was the result of a tremendous team effort on behalf of the players and their parents over many years. All this is doing is hurting the kids."

"Kevin Curl · Top Commenter · Hard Knocks University (School of Hard Knocks)
You opened a whole can of worms here because all school sporting events have to be handicapped accessible and this is a federal regulation!"

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No drought in Bradenton, Yankees at Pirates


3/27/14, Tarp coming off the field in Bradenton, light rain continues, Yankees at Pirates spring training game, Erik Boland twitter pic, final 4-2 Yankees

3/27/14, Tarp on the field in Bradenton, Yankees v Pirates spring training, Erik Boland twitter 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

'Wrigley Field, the dead-ball-era ballpark wedged into perhaps Chicago's hippest north-side neighborhood turns 100 this April'-Luke Epplin, Daily Beast

3/28/14, "100 Years of Wrigley Field: Are the Chicago Cubs Horrible Because of the Ballpark?" Daily Beast, Luke Epplin

"Wrigley Field, the dead-ball-era ballpark wedged into perhaps Chicago’s hippest north-side neighborhood, turns 100 this April. With its ivy-shrouded walls, manually operated scoreboard, and concrete-and-steel edifice, it survives as a monument to architectural beauty and athletic ineptitude. The Chicago Cubs, those loveable losers of the National League, have called the friendly confines of Wrigley home for the past 98 years, and not once in that time have they won the World Series. For as much as Wrigley Field has served as a blessing for this bumbling franchise, it has also been, in some ways, its biggest curse.

The Cubs enter the upcoming baseball season 105 years removed from their last World Series title. Their losing streak is unparalleled in professional American sports. When the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, Charlie Chaplin was still a vaudeville performer, the Titanic was nothing but a blueprint, and no human had yet reached the North or South Pole. The Cubs haven’t even played in a World Series since 1945, which represents by far the longest interval between pennants in baseball history. The Boston Red Sox, another team with a historic stadium and devoted fan-base, made their futility seem tragic in a Shakespearian sense. Before winning it all in 2004, the Red Sox survived until the seventh game of the World Series on four separate occasions during their lengthy championship drought, losing only by some agonizing twist of fate. In contrast, the Cubs are the jester figure in a Shakespearean comedy: able to steal a scene or two, but ultimately yanked from the stage when it’s time for the leads to marry. They are diverting but rarely consequential. Their failure is of the everyday variety—accumulative and quietly disappointing.

It wasn’t always this way. When they last won it all in 1908, the Cubs were baseball’s dominant team. As Caitlin Murphy notes in her book Crazy ’08, between 1906 and 1910 the Cubs won a record 530 games, four pennants, and two World Series, and garnered the highest five-year winning percentage ever. The team’s supremacy was so ensconced that Frank Chance, their salty manager/first baseman, once quipped, “Who ever heard of the Cubs losing a game they had to have?” The franchise carried itself with an arrogance that the New York Yankees would later adopt.

The ballpark that the Cubs moved to in 1916 had been constructed two years earlier on behalf of Charles Weeghman, a forward-thinking restaurateur and owner of the Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League. Somewhat cruelly, the Whales won the Federal League championship there in 1915, making them the only home club to clinch a baseball title in the park that eventually became known as Wrigley Field. Between 1916 and 1945, the Cubs would compete in five World Series in Wrigley, losing all of them.

No professional team endures more than a century of futility on bad breaks alone, let alone ++billy-goat curses or inopportune fan interferences. Such sustained mediocrity is indicative of an organizational strategy that does not fully incentivize winning—or, at least, tolerates sub-.500 seasons. In his jaunty, informative new book, A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred, columnist George Will, a fervid Cubs fan, suggests that Wrigley Field, with its idyllic backdrops and festive ambience, has partially enabled the Cubs organization to cobble together middling teams through the decades with reduced financial risk or fear of losing fans to the team’s south-side counterpart, the White Sox. “It is not a good sign for fans,” Will laments, “when their team’s venue is better known for the attractiveness of its flora than for the excellence of the athletes who have played there.”

The Cubs’ losing culture largely originated with Philip K. Wrigley, an heir to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune who took over the team in 1932 upon his father’s death. As Will explains, P.K. Wrigley cared more about enhancing the aesthetics of the ballpark than compiling the ballplayers necessary to compete in the National League. In 1937 Wrigley installed the iconic bleachers and, per the suggestion of Bill Veeck (the future eccentric owner of the White Sox and Cleveland Indians, at various times), festooned the outfield wall with ivy. (A further experiment to plant elm trees beyond center field was mercifully cut short.) “The idea is to get out in the open air, have a picnic,” Wrigley said. “We mention that the things people like to do, to enjoy, are all in the ballpark. We stress the green vines on the wall … You see, people want to go to a park. We are aiming at people not interested in baseball.” As Will succinctly puts it, Wrigley’s business model seemed to be: “Serve cold beer in a pretty place and the score will not matter.”

Happily, P.K. Wrigley’s business model proved successful. I say happily because I should disclose my considerable bias. As a southern Illinois native, I was raised a devoted St. Louis Cardinals fan and an equally passionate Cubs despiser. The two sentiments usually come bundled together, and cut both ways. In a column from 1990, Will wrote: “Cardinals fans probably should be allowed to vote, and perhaps even to enjoy most other civil rights, but Cardinals fans were (and probably still are) insufferable.” Fair enough, and guilty as charged. I have owned T-shirts that reference 1908, and take pride that baseball is one of the few activities that St. Louis does better than Chicago. I would interpret a World Series championship by the Cubs as a sign that the end is near.

In an era when only six of 30 major league baseball stadiums are more than 25 years old, the fact that Wrigley Field has survived at all is a testament to the late owner’s efforts to market the ballpark as an attraction worth visiting even if the home team lingered in the cellar. By and large, Cubs fans bought into this philosophy. Will recounts a study published by financial economist Tobias J. Moskowitz and sports journalist Jon Wertheim in their book Scorecasting that calculated the link between home game attendance and season performance in the major leagues. Unsurprisingly, the authors discovered that attendance at Cubs’ games is the “least sensitive to performance in all of baseball”—that is, fans show up in droves regardless of the team’s win-loss record. (It should be noted, however, that attendance has fallen the last two seasons, when the team lost a franchise record 197 games. Even Cubs fans have limits.) Because of the reliable draw of Wrigley Field, Cubs management at times has shown little urgency in their century-long rebuilding efforts. What does affect attendance?

“Attendance at Wrigley Field is actually more sensitive to beer prices—much more—than it is to the Cubs’ winning percentage,” Moskowitz and Wertheim found.

Always slow to change—the ballpark didn’t host its first night game until 1988—Wrigley Field finds itself in flux on its centennial anniversary. Last season the Cubs ownership announced an ambitious $500-million renovation plan that would install a Jumbotron in left-center field, add new weight rooms and batting tunnels, and increase concession areas and skyboxes. It’s a much-needed makeover for a ballpark whose historic charm barely compensates for its outdated facilities. Some of the ambience might be lost in the renovations, but based on the Cubs’ first 100 years in Wrigley, this might not be a bad thing for the team. The challenge for the organization moving forward, according to Will, is “to preserve the Wrigley Field of 1914 while making it suitable for the fans—and the players, manager, and coaches—of 2014.”

But, as I said, I’m a Cardinals fan. So if the team’s ballpark has indeed played some role in the Cubs’ century of failure, I say: Long live Wrigley Field." via Lucianne

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New scouting app on Yankee player ipads-NY Times

3/27/14, "Yankees Create App for Scouting Reports," NY Times, David Waldstein

"A quick survey of the most popular applications that Yankees players have on their tablets might reveal several versions of Angry Birds and perhaps a stock market tracker. But the one app they will all be expected to have this year cannot be bought on iTunes.

It is a new internal app that will make all the club’s scouting material, including videos and written reports, readily available through the players’ iPads. 

Manager Joe Girardi said the app was developed by Brett Weber, the baseball operations coaching assistant for the Yankees. 

“It’s a better way to communicate important information with the players,” Girardi said. “And it can be tailored to what each guy wants.”

It also enables players to access the information wherever they are. If they want to see what a left-handed reliever throws, or check the video on a right-handed slugger, they can watch at home, at their locker, on a plane or in their hotel rooms, without having to get any special equipment. 

“It’s a good idea,” said Derek Jeter, the team captain. “I don’t know if I’ll be looking at it in my hotel room, but it does mean you can look stuff up whenever you want and you don’t necessarily have to wait for a video screen to be free in the clubhouse.”

Jeter is not one to dwell on complicated scouting reports. He likes to know what the pitchers throw, and how hard they throw it, and the rest is up to him. 

But the new app could prove more useful to others.

Weber and the Yankees started developing the system last year, and a few players, like Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira, received an advance version. Weber then spent time over the winter and this spring training refining it and preparing it for teamwide distribution.

During the season, he and other members of the Yankees’ technical staff will gather and update information daily, and it will then be pushed to the players’ tablets. Players can also get individualized information on their past performances against specific opponents. 

“It’s just like an app,” Gardner said. “I used it last year, and whatever I asked for, it would just appear.” If a player loses his tablet, the Yankees can just wipe away the information. At the very least, the new app could change the way players prepare for games. 

Over the past 15 years, the visiting clubhouse included a table where players sat and watched scouting videos. If all the computers were taken by teammates, they might have to wait their turn.

Many teams, including the Yankees, also handed out scouting reports on paper. 

Girardi noted that N.F.L. teams now use tablets instead of playbooks, and he said the Yankees always try to be in the vanguard of technology.

“The next thing you know, they will just implant chips in their heads,” he said with a smile.

The Yankees are not the only baseball team that uses computers and iPads for scouting. 

Alfonso Soriano said that he had been using his computer and tablet for the past five or six years, primarily for video, going back to his days with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs. He would have the scouting videos of pitchers downloaded on his device and would watch it at home. He said most of the hitters on the Cubs did the same thing.

“Then you don’t have to go to the video room,” he said. “If I’m home and I don’t have anything to do, maybe I’ll watch before I go to bed and then I’ll have an idea for the next day.”

One more benefit of the new system: The Yankees hope they will no longer have to print out daily scouting reports.

“We’re going to save paper,” Girardi said. “We’re going green.”"


Comment: Mr. Girardi may be unaware that ipads and other computer devices used instead of paper aren't making the environment "greener" at all. Highly polluting rare earths minerals mined in China are required for the manufacture of many electronic devices. The US stopped mining rare earths because they said it was too polluting. The planet is still getting polluted every time an American buys an ipad:

1/10/10, "Explosives tear down yet more rock in the vast Baiyun Obo mine." UK Daily Mail. Highly polluting rare earths minerals needed to make laptop computers, wind turbines, electric car batteries, green light bulbs, and other 'green' items. China makes the case that the US and others unwilling to pollute their own air should pay more for China rare earth exports:

10/24/13, "China Tries to Clean Up Toxic Legacy of Its Rare Earth Riches," NY Times, Keith Bradsher

"China has made ample supplies [of rare earths minerals] available to manufacturers within China that produce crucial components for a host of products like laptop computers, compact fluorescent bulbs, wind turbines and electric cars. Some Western and Japanese companies have moved factories to China to make sure that they have access to rare earths. ...

In Guangdong province in southeastern China, regulators are struggling to repair rice fields and streams destroyed by powerful acids and other runoff from open-pit rare earth mines that are often run by violent organized crime syndicates....

In a white paper issued in June last year, China’s cabinet described at length the environmental harm caused by the rare earth industry, an admission that although embarrassing for Beijing may have buttressed its case at the W.T.O. that the rare earth industry is a dirty business for which export restrictions are justified. “Excessive rare earth mining has resulted in landslides, clogged rivers, environmental pollution emergencies and even major accidents and disasters, causing great damage to people’s safety and health and the ecological environment,” the white paper said.

Chinese officials have repeatedly denied that their newfound concerns for the environmental consequences of rare earth mining and refining are driven by a desire to help avoid defeat at the W.T.O., although the cleanup could help on that. 
Whole villages between the city of Baotou and the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia have been evacuated and resettled to apartment towers elsewhere after reports of high cancer rates and other health problems associated with the numerous rare earth refineries there. 

The most hazardous refineries are those that crack the tight chemical bonds that tie rare earths found in mineral ores to a variety of hazardous materials, notably radioactive thorium....A hazardous stew of toxic chemicals and low-level radioactive waste is left behind....

On orders from Beijing, state-controlled enterprises have dismantled Baotou refineries and rebuilt them at an enormous mining complex at Bayan Obo in the Gobi Desert, which mines about half the world’s rare earths. Chinese state-controlled media have reported that tens of thousands of goats and other livestock there have died and many baby goats have been born severely deformed, possibly because of radioactive contamination from the rare earth industry....


In 2012 Obama said China should give the US a better deal on rare earths minerals so Americans could have "a fair shot in the global economy" which shocked China since Obama portrays himself as pro-environment:

3/15/12, "Rare earth case reveals US hypocrisy," Peoples Daily Online, by Chen Weihua (China Daily)

"US President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that the United States, joined by Japan and the European Union, has filed complaints with the World Trade Organization over China's rare earth export quotas.

He said this as an effort to give "American workers and American businesses a fair shot in the global economy".

His words, however, imply that he does not really care about the environmental degradation caused by China's disorderly and excessive mining of rare earth materials, as long as US workers and businesses can profit from China's cheap supply.

Countries such as the US, Canada and Australia, which used to produce rare earth minerals, stopped such manufacturing a decade ago due to the environmental concerns and the higher cost compared with Chinese exports.... 
According to the US Geological Survey, there are about 13 million metric tons of rare earth deposits in the US. Instead of buying from China, Obama should propose tapping the US' own deposits. Such a move would not only enable the US to share the responsibility for the supply of rare earth materials, it would also create jobs for Americans."...

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nation's first line of defense, second sleeping World Trade Center security guard in six days, Abdul Basher, 65, is also half blind

3/26/14, "Half-blind guard caught sleeping at WTC site," NY Post, by P. Messing, R. Fenton and B. Golding

"Only days before President Obama revealed that his worst fear was a nuclear terror attack on Manhattan, a nearly blind guard was caught sleeping on the job at the Freedom Tower — where he was the building’s first line of defense.

In a shocking cellphone photo obtained exclusively by The Post, Abdul Basher, 65, is wearing shades and lying almost completely flat in a chair in the No. 1 terror target’s south lobby, where he was the only guard stationed, sources said.

Even when he is awake, Basher admittedly can’t open his left eye and has “hazy” vision out of his right due to a nerve condition.

“Sometimes, I cannot recognize people, stairs,” Basher said. “That post was so hard to cover for me. It was very, very stressful. I could barely see half of the lobby.”

A Port Authority worker spotted Basher snoozing on duty at around 2:45 a.m. Saturday — six days after a New Jersey teenager slipped past another sleeping guard on the 104th floor of the building on the way to the spire, sources said.

Basher was fired on the spot, suffering the same fate as the guard on duty when the high-schooler got through.

The shop steward for SEIU ­Local 32BJ said Basher — named the union’s “Security Officer of the Year” for 2013 — was “just getting ready to go on disability.

His nap-time photo emerged a day after Obama shrugged off Russia as a major US security threat, saying that he was more concerned about a nuclear attack on New York City.

Basher said he was stunned that his bosses put him in charge of such a sensitive location — and had been expecting merely to guard a stairwell door that night.

The security division is so poorly managed...Every security guard that works for them is mentally stressed,” he said.

The Bangladeshi immigrant with some missing teeth also claimed he hadn’t been dozing. “To my knowledge, actually I was not sleeping. I was mistaken to be sleeping. I was exercising my eyes,” he insisted.

The PA, the owner of the site, referred all questions to the Durst Organization, which supplies guards in 1 World Trade Center.

A high-ranking PA insider called the incident “troubling” and said Durst execs would be called on the carpet.

Durst spokesman Jordan Barowitz confirmed that Basher “was terminated on the spot after he was found sleeping on the job.”

Barowitz refused to specify what measures, if any, would be taken to prevent future security screw-ups.

Construction workers at Ground Zero were appalled by the photo. “There’s our hardworking security right there . . . What a joke!” one said." image from NY Post. via Free Rep.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When Joe Girardi told him he'd be the Yankees 5th starter, Michael Pineda's first phone call was to his mother in the Dominican Republic-NY Times

3/25/14, "In Second Chance, Pineda Is Named the Yankees’ Fifth Starter," NY Times, David Waldstein, Tampa

"Michael Pineda had to pause and collect himself as tears welled in his eyes Tuesday. Yankees Manager Joe Girardi had just told him that he had won the competition to be the Yankees’ fifth starter, and now reporters were asking Pineda to express his feelings about it.

Two years ago, almost to the day, many of the same reporters were questioning Pineda about a shoulder injury that would later require surgery. The recovery from that operation was long and at times tumultuous, a two-year period that included Pineda’s arrest here for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Yankees had traded for Pineda in January 2012, sending Jesus Montero, then a top hitting prospect, to the Seattle Mariners in a deal that centered on those two players. Barely two months later, Pineda’s injury derailed what the Yankees hoped would be a seamless transition to the American League East, and then his arrest that summer raised more serious questions. Pineda, 25, was asked what he learned then.

“Wow, it’s hard,” he said as he put his fingers to his eyes. “I learned a lot of situations that happened with me over the last two years. I learned I’m a professional player and I need a good focus on baseball every day, all the time.”

In spring training, the Yankees were apparently satisfied enough that Pineda had corrected all his issues, physical and otherwise, and felt secure to grant him his second chance at the big leagues. Pineda earned the job by throwing 15 strong innings in spring training, with a 1.20 earned run average and 16 strikeouts, and got his fastball velocity back up to 94 miles per hour.

“He threw extremely well,” Girardi said. “It was what we wanted to see from him. He improved with each outing, and at times was dominant. We really liked what we saw.”

Pineda, a right-hander, beat out David Phelps, who will go to the bullpen, and Adam Warren. Phelps made 23 starts over the last two years, in part because of Pineda’s absence. Asked his preference, whether to be a starter or a reliever, Phelps replied, “My preference is just to help this team win.”

Shoulder injuries like Pineda’s, a torn labrum, are difficult to come back from. Pineda did not pitch in 2012 and made 10 starts last year at three levels of the Yankees’ farm system, going 2-1 with a 3.32 E.R.A. in 402/3 innings. In 2011, his only season in the major leagues, he went 9-10 with a 3.74 E.R.A. with the Mariners. The first half of that year earned him an All-Star nod, but in the second half of the season he mysteriously lost velocity on his fastball and struggled, perhaps because of injury.

Today, he does not throw as hard, but as Girardi said, he does not have to in order to get outs. He is throwing with confidence and using his secondary pitches, including a tough slider and an improving changeup, to get outs along with his fastball.

On Tuesday, after Pineda got the news from Girardi, he called many people, he said. But first he called his mother in the Dominican Republic and told her the news that he was returning to the big leagues.

“I’m happy today and proud of myself,” he said. “I’m so happy, man.”


Jacoby Ellsbury, who is recovering from a strained right calf, took six at-bats as the designated hitter in a minor league game Tuesday and said he thought he could avoid the disabled list. But until the Yankees are certain Ellsbury is completely healthy, they will limit him to minor league games, offering them the option to backdate his move to the D.L., if necessary. ... Catcher John Ryan Murphy was sent to the minor leagues, and Francisco Cervelli appears to have won the job as Brian McCann’s backup."

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Los Angeles Dodgers 2014 top spender in baseball ending Yankee 15 year streak-AP

3/25/14, "Los Angeles Dodgers top spenders, ending Yankees' 15-year streak," AP via Newsday

"Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers have knocked Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees off baseball's payroll perch, part of an offseason spending spree that has the average salary approaching $4 million for the first time.

The Dodgers are ending the Yankees' 15-year streak as baseball's biggest spenders and as of Tuesday had a projected payroll of $235 million, according to a study of all major league contracts by The Associated Press.

New York, which last failed to top the payroll rankings in 1998, was a distant second at $204 million. After that, it was another huge gap to Philadelphia at $180 million, followed by Boston at $163 million and Detroit at $162 million.

Houston is last at $45 million, up from $27 million at the start of last year, and Miami at $48 million remains 29th.

Some large-market teams are among the smaller spenders, with the Mets and Chicago Cubs projected at $89 million, ranked 22nd and 23rd.

Rodriguez, who holds the record for the largest deal in baseball history at $275 million over 10 years, is suspended for the season for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. Because of the ban, he will earn only $3,868,852 of his $25 million salary -- 21 days pay for the 183-day season.

Greinke would have become the highest-paid player, even if Rodriguez was getting all his cash. The pitcher has a $24 million salary in the second season of his $147 million, six-year contract, and because he can opt out of the deal after the 2015 season, baseball's accounting rules call for his $12 million signing bonus to be prorated over the first three seasons.

"We've got great ownership and a great fan base, and we need to do what we can to win games," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said last week in Sydney, where Los Angeles swept its opening, two-game series against Arizona.

"I don't think the guys worry about it. I know we don't worry about it," Colletti said. "We're expected to win, and that's how we go about it. Money doesn't mean you win. Money just means you have a chance to get the best players."

As of Tuesday, the average salary projected to be between $3.95 million and $4 million, with the final figure depending on how many players are put on the disabled list by the time opening-day rosters are finalized at 3 p.m. Sunday. That translates to a rise of 8 to 10 percent from last year's opening average of $3.65 million and would be the largest increase since 2006 or possibly even 2001.

"I'm not surprised. With the type of revenues clubs are enjoying these days, the average salaries are going to go up," New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Illustrating the rate of escalation, the opening-day average was $1.07 million when Derek Jeter first reached the major leagues in 1995, broke the $2 million mark in 2001 and spurted past $3 million in 2008.

"I think it's great. I think it just shows the game is growing, fan interest is there," said Jeter, the Yankees captain who is retiring at the end of this season. "The business of baseball seems like it's booming pretty good right now."

The average U.S. wage in 2012 was $42,498, according to the Social Security Administration, the latest figure available and an annual increase of 3.12 percent.

Following Greinke on the highest-paid list are Philadelphia's Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee at $25 million, the Yankees' CC Sabathia at $24.3 million, and Seattle's Robinson Cano and Texas' Prince Fielder at $24 million each.

The AP's figures include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses and other guaranteed income for players on active rosters, disabled lists and the restricted list. For some players, parts of deferred money are discounted to reflect current values.

Payroll figures factor in adjustments for cash transactions in trades, signing bonuses that are the responsibility of the club agreeing to the contract, option buyouts, and termination pay for released players.

For instance, the Yankees are receiving $18.6 million from the Los Angeles Angels to cover most of the $21 million due to outfielder Vernon Wells, who has been released, and $13 million from the Chicago Cubs to pay most of the $18 million owed outfielder Alfonso Soriano. The Mets' payroll include buyouts to Johan Santana ($4.9 million present value) and Jason Bay ($2.7 million present value)."

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Baseball summer camp for kids 5-13

3/24/14, Yankees Summer Camps for boys and girls age 5-13. Yankees.com/camps, twitter pic via Yankees Lohud blog

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sydney Cricket Ground becomes baseball field for 2014 MLB opening day, Dodgers v Diamondbacks

3/22/14, "The Sydney Cricket Ground was retrofitted for baseball’s opening day," Nolan, Getty

3/22/14, "Dodgers drive past Diamondbacks in Opening Day in Australia," SI.com, Jay Jaffe, final 3-1 Dodgers

"While most of North America was fast asleep, the 2014 regular season got underway around 5 AM Eastern, 2 AM Pacific and 8 PM local time at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia. In the first non-exhibition major league game on the continent, the Dodgers prevailed 3-1 over the Diamondbacks behind a strong effort from two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and two big blows from reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke."...

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Major league pitchers unnerved by injury to Aroldis Chapman

3/19/14, "Major-league pitchers unnerved by injury to Aroldis Chapman," Newsday, Anthony Rieber, Marc Carig

"News of the horrific injury suffered by Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman when he was hit in the face with a line drive on Wednesday sent shivers through major-league clubhouses Thursday.

Many pitchers who had heard about the incident refused to watch the replay.

"I don't need to see that," the Mets' Zack Wheeler said. "Once you've had a couple of those whiz by your head, it puts you in your place real fast."

Yankees reliever David Robertson -- one of the most approachable local athletes when it comes to the media -- was so unnerved by the topic that he declined to be interviewed about it.

Chapman had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries, the Reds announced. The team said Chapman could begin throwing off a mound in six to eight weeks.

Chapman, the closer from Cuba who is known for his 100-mph fastball, was struck by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City's Salvador Perez after throwing a 99-mph pitch. The Reds and Royals did not resume the game after Chapman was hit.

Before the surgery, Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said a metal plate would be inserted in the bone above Chapman's left eyebrow and will remain there permanently. He said a bone graft might be done. Chapman also has a very mild concussion, but Kremchek called him "a very lucky guy."

Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova said he was hit in the face while pitching for Class A Tampa in 2008. He suffered a cut on the inside of his mouth and a loosened tooth but continued pitching.

Nova keeps a photo of himself, which shows a bruise just above his upper lip, on his phone as a reminder of how fortunate he was. "You never want to see anybody get hit," he said. "Not only your teammates, but anybody in the sport."

Mets reliever Scott Rice had his glove knocked off last July 19 by a rocket hit by Michael Young. "It almost killed me," he said. "I was just able to get the glove up and knock it down . . . It was right at my face."

MLB approved a protective cap for pitchers during the winter, but no hurler is believed to have worn it in a game.

"I haven't even seen it," CC Sabathia said. "I would be open to it. But he got hit in the face, so it wouldn't have helped."" image ap, sheldon


5/3/12, "Mariano sits on the back of a cart that takes him off the field," Nate Bukaty via Twitter

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Electric cars only go half as far in freezing weather AAA finds-LA Times

3/20/14, "Electric cars can go only half as far in freezing weather, AAA finds," LA Times, Jerry Hirsch

"Testing by AAA has found that how far an electric vehicle can travel on one charge varies widely depending on the weather. Frigid temperatures can reduce that distance by 57%.

The research is important to the Automobile Club of Southern California because it maintains mobile recharging trucks for people who misjudge how far they can go in their electric car.

“EV drivers need to carefully monitor range in hot and cold weather,” said Steve Mazor, the engineer who manages the Southern California club’s Automotive Research Center.

The center conducted tests on a 2013 Nissan Leaf,  a 2012 Mitsubishi iMiEV and the electric version of a 2014 Ford Focus

The cars were tested for city driving to mimic stop-and-go traffic and to better compare with Environmental Protection Agency ratings listed on the window sticker, AAA said.

The average EV battery range in AAA’s test was 105 miles at 75 degrees but dropped 57% to just 43 miles at 20 degrees. Heat also sliced the cars' ranges but by not as much: The cars averaged 69 miles per full charge at 95 degrees, 33% less than in 75-degree weather.

The research center tested the cars following the same EPA drive cycles that provide the data for the mileage window stickers on new cars. The vehicles were charged up and then driven on a machine with rollers called a dynamometer in a climate-controlled room until the battery was exhausted."

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bees at the Boss delay Red Sox-Yankee game

3/18/14, Groundskeepers spray insecticide on swarm of bees that delayed Tues. Red Sox-Yankee spring game in Tampa, ap

3/18/14, "Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees game delayed 7 minutes due to swarm of bees (Video)," masslive.com

3/18/14, Bees swarm at Steinbrenner Field, mlb.com

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