Sunday, May 31, 2015

Baltimore Orioles Youth Baseball Day

5/31/15. "Youth Baseball Day! Baltimore Orioles twitter, Rays at Orioles

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fab Five in the Bronx to celebrate retirement of Bernie Williams #51

5/24/15, "The Fab Five NY Yankees," Bernie Day twitter. Bernie Williams #51 retired to Yankee Monument Park in the Bronx. From left, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter join the ceremonies. Bernie Williams, Baseball Reference. Ceremonies prior to game Texas Rangers at NY Yankees

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Frank Deford on Gaylord Perry

5/22/15, "Frank Deford and Jim Kelly on Brady," Rush Limbaugh

RUSH: "Earlier this week, I think it was actually Wednesday on NPR's Morning Edition, there was a report from Frank Deford, who is the sports commentator there. He may still be at SI, I don't know...He did a report on New England quarterback Tom Brady and his suspension.

DEFORD:  In hindsight, all of us made a terrible mistake in looking upon someone like Gaylord Perry, he the pitcher infamous for loading up his deliveries with what we quaintly call foreign substances, as a sort of a sassy picturesque figure who was merely tilting at the windmills of authority. Nonsense. Perry and his ilk didn't abuse baseballs. They abused baseball.

RUSH: Okay, now, need to put this in some kind of context. For those of you who are too young, Gaylord Perry, who I actually met, Gaylord Perry was a famous pitcher. His brother was Jim Perry.  He pitched for every team in the league, it seems like, and he closed his career out with the Kansas City Royals when I happened to be there. He was traded to the Royals by somebody, maybe Texas, I forget who, and the first day he shows up he's got, honest to God, two lion cubs with him, in cages, and he bought 'em for security on his North Carolina farm.

I said, "What do you need lions for?"

He said, "I gotta protect, there's all kinds of bad people down there and these lions will keep 'em away.

They were cute little lion cubs, and he let 'em out of cage. They were running the locker room.

They're not harmful at that age. They were tiny....But he was known for loading the ball up. Spitballs, they were called. Vaseline, anyplace you could hide the substance on your uniform. If you know what you're doing, it doesn't take much. You put it on the right spot on the baseball, if you can throw the baseball hard enough, what will happen is the bottom will drop out of it. At home plate the illusion is it's dropping straight down. It's obvious when somebody can throw a spitball and has done one well because you can't make a ball do that other than with a foreign substance.

Joe Niekro was a guy who did this. He had a knuckleball, but he also had foreign substance on the ball. I'll never forget, he got caught. He got caught and the home plate umpire charges out to the mound and Niekro says, "I didn't do anything!" and he starts emptying his pocket and all this stuff comes out. (laughing) A fingernail file, he was scuffing up the baseball. All kinds of stuff that he was putting on 'em just came out of his pocket and he tried to act like no, I wasn't, it was just there. It was it is funniest thing....

Anyway, as you can tell, Gaylord Perry back in his day was treated as an artist. I mean, the media marveled at his ability to cheat just like they marveled at Bill Clinton's ability to lie. But, now, Deford is coming here and telling us he now feels guilty about that. In his advanced experienced age, looking back on things, he now realizes it was improper to think it cute or clever and harmless.  We thought that this guy was, you know, a sassy, picturesque player, larger than life, could do things with a baseball. We all knew it but we all looked the other way because it's just what we did, but now we know he was abusing baseball.

So Frank Deford is saying for all sportswriters that we have realized our error. And what made us realize our error was watching Tom Brady do the same thing, by deflating the footballs. He's not abusing the footballs. He's abusing football....

So that is the context, Deford admitting latter career guilt over not taking seriously the damage to the game that guys like Gaylord Perry were causing. And then he continues now with what it all means with what Tom Brady is doing."...image above of Gaylord Perry from Rush Limbaugh

5/20/15, NPR: The Other Sacred Thing Tom Brady Squashed: Sportsmanship - Frank Deford

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fine dining at Washington Nationals stadium

5/20/15, "Dinner Date!" Washington Nationals twitter. Yankees at Nationals

I'm not sure exactly where the above tables are at the stadium. Commenters discuss how you might get seated at one of them. More on Nationals stadium dining options:

9/13/13, "High-End Dining At D.C.’s Nationals Park Is A Hit," Forbes Travel Guide, Mary Beth Albright

"The food scene at the park has consistently been a hit. People buy standing-room tickets at the stadium just to take in the diverse and delicious dining options. “We look at our business as a restaurant business,” says Catherine Silver, executive director of guest services for the Nationals. “We create a memorable gourmet meal, and you’ll be shocked to find that you’re in a ballpark. Our partner, Levy Restaurants, works with the Kentucky Derby and the U.S. Tennis Association, but Levy started in the restaurant business, not concessions, and they still run restaurants.”

The food is paramount at Nats Park, from the Taste of the Majors concession stand that offers food inspired by the opposing team (think fish tacos for the San Diego Padres) to the Red Porch Restaurant, where any ticket holder can dine on oven-made flatbread pizza and house-smoked meats from a table overlooking center field....

Located directly behind home plate, President’s Club seats are actually closer to the batter than the pitcher is. Tickets come with a view of the batting cage and in-seat beer, wine and food service. And there’s serious foodie action happening inside the dining room, too. The executive chef’s buffet rivals D.C.’s best; the four themed tables include a farm-to-fork spread with dishes spotlighting local cheese, meat and produce.

“Both the stadium and Levy are LEED Certified, so sustainability is key for us,” Silver says. The other three tables focus on a revolving theme, from Asian night to a blue crab concept. “The chef switches up the menu for season ticket holders who might eat at the Diamond Club several nights in a row during a series. The servers get to know season pass holders and will prepare custom food for their dietary issues or children. Whatever they want, we will find a way to prepare it.”

In its cherry-walled, chandeliered dining room, the President’s Club also boasts an antipasto bar, housemade gelato and a standalone sweet shop (all included in the $300 or so ticket price, depending on the game). In the mood for concession fare? Hot snack tables with favorites such as nachos and tempura shrimp are set up throughout the game, as is a bar with all-inclusive beer and wine. Not bad for a night at the park watching the Nationals take on division rivals the Atlanta Braves (September 16 through 18) and Miami Marlins (September 19 through 22).

A more casual but still exclusive option, the PNC Diamond Club is only for Diamond seat (sections 119 to 126) season ticket holders. It includes all-inclusive food and beverage and a patio with behind-the-plate views. For individual ticket holders in the Diamond sections, the Diamond Lounge is a step back from the Club, with the same all-inclusive dining plan but a separate tented lounge and patio overlooking the Navy Yard. Both levels come with in-seat service.

Keeping the Nattitude going after the season’s end, the stadium can cater events for all sizes. In addition to weddings in center field and bar mitzvahs in the bullpen, Nats Stadium recently hosted a retreat for all of the Democratic senators and President Obama.

“We served them all three meals here that day, and no one could believe they could get this gourmet food at the ballpark,” Silver adds. “We even did different tables with regional cuisines, a table with Southern food, food from California… The senators were all joking and debating that their home state’s food was the best.”"

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Yankees last in 2015 road attendance through May 15. SF Giants are first, Cubs second, Colorado Rockies third-NY Times

5/16/15, "Yankees’ Road Show Isn’t Pulling in Fans the Way It Has in the Past," NY Times, Billy Witz (5/17 print ed., pg. SP5, NY edition), Kansas City, Mo.

"Michael Pineda seemed on the verge of wiggling out of a jam Friday night, when the Royals’ Omar Infante belted a 1-2 pitch into the left-center gap in the sixth inning. His race to third base was accompanied by an unusual road soundtrack for the Yankees this season — an energetic roar from a near-capacity crowd.

The Yankees may be baseball’s marquee franchise, with their record 27 World Series championships, a rich history and a fan base that has tentacles reaching every pocket of the country.

But this season, the Yankees have been baseball’s least popular attraction. Entering Saturday, the Yankees were last in road attendance, averaging 22,820 fans.

It may be unlikely that the Yankees will remain at the bottom for a variety of reasons, but the drop-off is jarring, given that they have led the major leagues in road attendance in four of the last five seasons. Their road attendance since 2001 has not been below 33,000, or fifth over all.

There seem to be several contributing factors for the drop. With the retirements of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera in the last two seasons, the Yankees lost two widely popular and respected figures who were the last links to their dynastic years. Jeter’s jersey was highest-selling jersey in baseball over the second half of last season.

“People would come just to see them,” Yankees pitcher C. C. Sabathia said.

They have also missed the playoffs the last two seasons, and despite their despite their strong start, they were widely viewed as a team in transition, one with too many veterans past their prime serving as placeholders until prospects were ready.

Alex Rodriguez’s return from a yearlong suspension might have provided the Yankees with a villainous character on the road. But unlike Barry Bonds in the early 2000s, Rodriguez is no longer such a dominant player that he is an attraction unto himself.

Still, the decline is jarring.

“It would surprise anyone,” Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. “They still have a really good team, regardless of Jeter being gone. They’ve got some guys that can definitely play baseball, and that’s all you can ask as a fan.”

Attendance figures can be somewhat tricky, since they generally reflect tickets sold or distributed, not the actual numbers of fans in the seats. The Yankees have seen a negligible dip in their early-season home attendance, fewer than 1,000 total fans through the same number of games (17) from last year. 

Road attendance reflect the vagaries of the schedule. While it is not surprising that the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants are leading baseball in road attendance, or that the Chicago Cubs, with their prospects bright and their diaspora of fans, are second, it would seem surprising that the Colorado Rockies are third.

Through Friday, the Rockies had the fewest wins in baseball, but of their 19 games away from home, they had played five games against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who led baseball in home attendance, and three against the Giants, who were third.

The schedule has not helped the Yankees. They have played a heavy dose of night games in cold-weather cities — Boston, Baltimore and Detroit, where one game was played during a brief outbreak of snow flurries. They have also played two series in Tampa Bay and another in Toronto, cities that are generally lukewarm to baseball.

The atmosphere for the most recent series at Tampa Bay was particularly abysmal. The Yankees, because there are so many transplanted New Yorkers in the area, which is also their spring training site, have enjoyed solid support there. But the four-game series drew 44,937 fans in all — fewer than the Yankees played before at home on opening day.

Pitcher Adam Warren said he prefers to pitch at night, when the crowds are typically bigger and more boisterous. But most Yankees said it did not matter. And with so many recent newcomers from places like Arizona (Didi Gregorius), Miami (Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones) and San Diego (Chase Headley), some players are not accustomed to regularly playing before large audiences.

“We try to concentrate on the things we can control,” outfielder Carlos Beltran said. “All those things we don’t think about.”

At the moment, that would include getting their offense going and winning games. The Yankees lost their fourth game in a row Friday night, a season high, before winning Saturday, 5-1.

If there was a consolation on Friday, at least they lost in an engaging environment. The fans in Kansas City have taken to their team, which came close to winning the World Series. The Royals’ home attendance is up more than 10,000 per game since last season, by far the biggest jump in baseball.

“Friday night. Baseball season. Fireworks,” Sabathia said Friday night. “That’s what it’s about. If we start playing well, if we start winning, people will come.”"


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Friday, May 08, 2015

John Sterling call of Alex Rodriguez home run #661 and Newsday back page, 5/8/15, Watch out, Babe

5/7/15, Following is John Sterling's call of home run #661 by Alex Rodriguez. Orioles at Yankees, Thursday, May 7, 2015, bottom of the third, score tied 2-2. Final score, 4-3 Yankees. During the broadcast John and Suzyn talked about it being #661, but the record wasn't mentioned within the call which I recorded as it was played back on Yankee radio post game:

"The one-one, swung on and hit in the air to deep left center field, away back goes Jones, in deep left center, that ball is....gone! Alex Rodriguez hit one into the loading dock, just to the left of Monument Park, a long home run. In fact, it's an A-bomb from A-rod! Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez homers and the Yankees take a 3-2 lead."

Image caption: "New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez takes a curtain call after hitting his 661st home run and surpassing Willie Mays on the all-time home runs list in the third inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, May 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)"

Fri., May 8, 2015, Newsday back page after Arod #661

Arod also has 13 post season home runs.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer tosses first pitch in Kansas City, Cleveland Indians v Kansas City Royals

5/6/15, " 1h1 hour ago

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Friday, May 01, 2015

John Sterling's call of Alex Rodriguez' 660th regular season home run, May 1, 2015 in Fenway Park. Newsday back page, Say Hey-Rod

5/1/15, John Sterling's call of Alex Rodriguez 660th regular season home run, 8th inning, score tied 2-2 v Red Sox in Boston:

"And the 3-0, swung on, driven to deep left, it is high, it is far, it is gone! Alex Rodriguez pinch hits a home run, his 660th home run, to tie Willie Mays for 4th place on the all time home run list. What an ultra dramatic moment! An A-bomb from A-rod! And the Yankees take a 3-2 lead."

5/1/15, "New York Yankees pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez hits a solo homer in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Friday, May 1, 2015. Rodriguez has now tied slugger Willie Mays with 660 career home runs. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)," Final 3-2 Yankees over Red Sox in Boston. It was the first pinch hit home run of Arod's career. Arod has 13 post season home runs.

5/1/15, "New York Yankees pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez is congratulated by teammates at the dugout after he hit a solo homer in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Friday, May 1, 2015. Rodriguez has now tied slugger Willie Mays with 660 career home runs. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)" Final 3-2 Yankees over Red Sox in Boston. It was the first pinch hit home run of Arod's career. Arod has 13 post season home runs.

Sat., May 2, 2015, Newsday back page, "Say Hey-Rod"


From Boston Globe:

"Tazawa made his major league debut at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 7, 2009, and allowed a walkoff home run by Rodriguez in the 15th inning."...

5/2/15, "Alex Rodriguez’s homer in eighth topples Red Sox," Boston Globe, Peter Abraham

Two above photos from Boston Globe, 5/1/15


5/2/15, Arod takes BP in Boston: "Alex Rodriguez taking batting practice hoping to hit 661 this afternoon," Baseball Tonight twitter

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