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Bong-Man

The 2009 Major League Baseball Thread

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I remember the 69 series all too well. My Orioles got upset.

I also remember the 69 series, which is why I'm a huge Mets hater!! :)

I have no use for the Yankees either, don't get me wrong, but I'll hold a lifelong grudge against the Mets...

And since I'm no Sheffield fan either, this works out!

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I'll always hate that little cocksucker Maier. Jeter should pay him 10% for making his career right there.

I'll always hate the Mets and Yankees.

I'll be at the game today, if it goes. Hopefully the Orioles won't lose a zillion to nothing.

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http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009904050437

A Class Act by the Best Owner in Sports !

When the Tigers open their season this week, fans will look to centerfield at Comerica Park and see the greenery, the flagpoles and the giant fountain. And, as usual, every time there's a Detroit home run, those fountains will erupt.

That spot, in the stadium business, is what they call prime real estate. Companies pay big money to have their logo smack dab in the middle, so that every time fans gaze out there, the brand is what they see.

For the last few years, General Motors has sponsored that fountain, and paid a substantial fee to do so. This season, with all that has happened in the auto business, GM's folks called the Tigers and said, regretfully, they could no longer afford it. Given the layoffs, the bailouts, the threat of bankruptcy, well, owning centerfield was too great a luxury.

GM had to step aside.

Which is when Mike Ilitch, the Tigers' owner, stepped in.

There were other bidders. Other offers. Who wouldn't want that real estate? A deal of three years worth between $1.5 million and $2 million was on the table.

Ilitch said no thanks.

He was going to give it away.

Or maybe "give it back" is a better way of putting it.

Chalk up an outfield assist

"It just seems strange to have the car companies in trouble," he told me this past week. "The Big Three, where would this city be without them? I mean, my father came from the old country and got a job at Ford's. It put food on our table.

"It's scary to think that any of those carmakers could go away."

So Ilitch told his people to thank the potential paying customers, but to say that the centerfield fountain this year was spoken for. It would be the feature site for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

For free.

No charge.

Not one penny.

"It's just a small opportunity to respond to what's happening," Ilitch said, embarrassed by the attention.

There's nothing small about it.

Every business has been affected by the collapsing economy; baseball teams are no exception. Walking away from a couple million dollars is not considered a wise financial move. Who turns away paying customers?

In this case, Ilitch did.

Because sometimes it's about the where and the who, not just the how much.

A message from the ballclub

"I thought for a few weeks before deciding," Ilitch admitted. "I didn't want to offend anybody. I didn't want to put off the foreign carmakers. And I didn't want people to think we couldn't sell the fountain. As a businessman, you do worry about those things.

"But I finally said, 'The heck with it.' I want to do something to help."

So starting with the home opener this Friday afternoon, the Chrysler, General Motors and Ford logos will be on an equal plane above the fountain. And beneath those logos will be a few new words:

"The Detroit Tigers support our automakers."

It may be as close to a social statement as centerfield has ever made.

Visitors in Detroit for this weekend's Final Four may think our small, thriving downtown looks a lot like other cities' downtowns. But there is something different beneath the surface.

Here, we construct in the face of adversity. We build on hope. Pure investors will tell you a city with rampant unemployment, enormous budget shortfalls, a troubled school system and a laughable city council is not a place to put your money. We do it anyhow.

We do it because we love our past and we believe in our future. We do it because the alternative would be to close shop altogether. We do it because last week there were stories about the gleaming new Yankee Stadium, which cost $1.5 billion and has seats as high as $2,625 a game -- and here is Ilitch giving away his fountain for free.

Detroit may be the new home of the bumpy ride, but as the Three Musketeers once discovered, it's a little smoother when you grab hands with others. Think about that the next time a home run sends that fountain shooting up to those logos. Sometimes it really is all for one and one for all.

Contact MITCH ALBOM: 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com. Catch "The Mitch Albom Show" 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).

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The Red Sox are looking better than in 07 while the D-Rays look worse off than last year, although I'm quite sure the Yankees will not be in first there looking better than last year. I'll bet an arm and a leg the team for the AL in the world series will be from the AL East and the favorite for that is my Red Sox.

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I'll always hate that little cocksucker Maier. I'll be at the game today, if it goes. Hopefully the Orioles won't lose a zillion to nothing.

Funny that the announcers recalled that play, and showed clips from it, right after Damon had a homer bounce off his glove amid a group of fans reaching out in the stands today. It wasn't interference, though.

The Mets new park boasts a rightfield porch that actually sticks out over the field, where "lucky fans get the chance to snatch high flies right from the waiting outfielder's glove". Not good enough for them to ruin their own games, I guess...

Not a good day for the Yankees pitching, or Posada behind the plate. He's not going to get any better, but they have no choice but to keep him out there most games, as with Jeter and Damon.

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Nice job the guy did singing the National Anthem in Baltimore. The guy who made the flag, though - not such a good job?

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Nice job the guy did singing the National Anthem in Baltimore. The guy who made the flag, though - not such a good job?

Why? I love that flag!! I try to get a close up of it every year...

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15 stars and stripes?

That's the flag that flew over Ft McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner - 15 stars and stripes at the time.

Ft McHenry being right down the street (so to speak) from the ballpark...

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Indeed! If only the other 161 games could be like this one. We have a good team. Just lack the starting pitching. But now we have a better bull pen. So if we can score alot, and we have some good bats, who knows how long we can stay in the race? I cant stand Texiera. I hate traitors. Its hard to compete with teams like the Yankees who have the money and spend like drinken sailors.

That was the most fun part of the day (well, except for the winning part :) ) - the lusty booing of Texiera every time he came up to bat, or made a play in the field. Kinda reminded me of Elway... :D

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That's the flag that flew over Ft McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner - 15 stars and stripes at the time.

Ft McHenry being right down the street (so to speak) from the ballpark...

O.K. - that's very appropriate, then. Never saw that one, before. Have used the tunnel, though...

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I'll tell you the only reson the Sox are down is because of that dam umpire, if I ever see him I'm gonna kick him in his balls.

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First of all, let me start off by sending my deepest condolences to the family of Nick Adenhart, as well as the Angels organization. Just a terrible, terrible story.

My predictions (I made these before the season started)

1. Rays

2. Red Sox

3. Yankees

4. Jays

5. Orioles

1. Indians

2. Twins

3. White Sox

4. Tigers

5. Royals

1. Angels

2. Athletics

3. Rangers

4. Mariners

1. Phillies

2. Marlins

3. Mets

4. Braves

5. Nats

1. Cubs

2. Reds

3. Cardinals

4. Brewers

5. Astros

6. Pirates

1. Dodgers

2. Diamondbacks

3. Giants

4. Rockies

5. Padres

ALDS

Rays over Indians

Angels over Red Sox

NLDS

Cubs over Dodgers

Phillies over Reds

ALCS

Rays over Angels

NLCS

Cubs over Phillies

World Series

Rays over Cubs

AL MVP: Evan Longoria, (Runner Up: Grady Sizemore)

NL MVP: Hanley Ramirez, (Runner Up: David Wright)

AL Cy: Roy Halladay, (Runner Up: Josh Beckett)

NL Cy: Johan Santana, (Runner Up: Chad Billingsley)

AL Rookie: Travis Snider (Runner Up: Matt Wieters)

NL Rookie: Dexter Fowler (Runner Up: Colby Rasmus)

AL Manager: Mike Schosia

NL Manager: Dusty Baker

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Not a bad first week for the O's - 4-2. If we can win 2 out of 3 all season... hahahahaha.

Sorry, don't know what came over me. Possiby sunstoke from sitting in the bleachers at the end of the game today... :)

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Saturday May 2..3:40PM...

South Philly...

The Mets..

The Phillies..

Me and the old man 5 rows behind the home dugout!

:P

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Without a doubt, the saddest day in my entire Phillies career.

RIP Harry, you were our voice and forever will be.

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I almost cried when I heard this. :(:(

I was 16 during that magical Summer. Our team sucked that year, except when Fidrych was pitching. My parents took me and a couple friends to see that Monday Night Baseball game when Mark beat the Yanks 2-1. Howard Cosell was standing in the tv booth cheering at the end of the game right along with us. He was not a fluke. He threw in the low 90's....he threw strikes....and always at the knees. He never changed either. Ironically, I just saw him interviewed on ESPN a couple of days ago.

http://www.freep.com/article/20090413/COL2...e+boy+of+summer

22693_lg.jpg

Fidrych was a true boy of summer

By MICHAEL ROSENBERG • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • April 13, 2009

Mark Fidrych reminded you of your childhood, no matter how old you were when he pitched. This was his charm, his curse, his legacy. He personified athletic innocence.

The Bird got his nickname from walking like Big Bird and his fame from talking to baseballs. He jumped over the white lines on his way to the mound — and when somebody got a hit off him, he spit out his gum and refused to throw that ball again.

When he walked past a phone booth, Fidrych would always check the coin slot to see if there was any loose change. He walked into the Tiger Stadium clubhouse looking like he’d hitchhiked all the way from Massachusetts. General manager Jim Campbell had to buy him a suit.

When Fidrych endorsed Aqua Velva, he had to push the lotion, not the aftershave, because he wasn’t really shaving yet. As Fidrych dominated the American League in 1976, he told reporters that what he really wanted to do was drive a dump truck.

He wasn’t kidding. He drove a dump truck in retirement. Monday, he was found dead underneath his truck, of an apparent accident.

I was fortunate to spend a little time with Fidrych in the summer of 2006. He spent most of his post-baseball years driving that truck, laying sewer pipe, and helping out at his mother-in-law’s restaurant, Chet’s Diner in Northborough, Mass. If that seemed like a sad retirement to other people, it didn’t feel that way to the Bird. It was what he wanted to do.

He set me straight on talking to the ball. He said that wasn’t what he was doing. He was talking to himself, demanding he get his act in gear. But with the Bird, people saw what they wanted to see. It was too irresistible.

In retirement, most ballplayers become shadows in our mind — we can picture them, but can’t fill in the details. Mark Fidrych was different. As baseball moved into an era of millionaires, and then multimillionaires, and finally multi-multi-damn-near-billionaires, the Bird just stood out even more.

He wasn’t just a phenom from 1976. He was 1976.

This is what people don’t remember about the Bird’s career: in 1977, his second season, he pitched even better than he had as a rookie. At the end of June he was 6-2 with a 1.83 earned-run average.

He was so dominant that Tigers manager Ralph Houk never wanted to take him out. So Houk never did. Fidrych had pitched six straight complete games, including two on three days rest. No manager today would even think of doing that. But in 1977, pitchers were expected to throw complete games.

Cincinnati manager Sparky Anderson was in the process of creating the modern bullpen, but most managers were skeptics. One of the great, sad what-ifs in Detroit sports history is: What if Sparky had managed the Bird?

Surely Sparky would not have had Fidrych throw six straight complete games. Maybe then Fidrych’s arm would not have gone numb in his first start of July 1977. Maybe he wouldn’t have torn his rotator cuff. We’ll never know, of course.

Three years ago, he told me people often expressed concern when they met him, like life had stopped in 1977. They asked, “How are you? Is everything OK?”

“And you go, ‘Yah, everything is.’ ” Fidrych said, in his thick Massachusetts accent. “They show concern. I’m a lucky guy to have that.”

The Tigers were resurgent that year — the best story in baseball again. Fidrych was hoping to get his name back in the mainstream. He wanted to find a few endorsement opportunities, capitalize on nostalgia. As far as I can tell, that never really happened for him. But baseball fans never needed commercials to remember the Bird. Close your eyes, and you can see him still.

Contact MICHAEL ROSENBERG: 313-222-6052 or mrosenberg@freepress.com.

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Phillies announcer Harry Kalas dead at 73

By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer Apr 13, 2:29 pm EDT

  • WASHINGTON (AP)—Longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, who punctuated innumerable home runs with his “Outta Here!” call, died Monday after being found in the broadcast booth before a game against the Washington Nationals. He was 73.

“We lost our voice today,” team president David Montgomery said, his voice cracking. “He has loved our game and made just a tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our organization.”

Kalas was found by the Phillies director of broadcasting at about 12:30 p.m. and taken to a local hospital, Montgomery said.

Kalas had surgery earlier this year for an undisclosed ailment that the team characterized as minor. He looked somewhat drawn last week as the Phillies opened the season at home.

Kalas joined the Phillies in 1971. Before that, he was an original member of the Houston Astros’ broadcast team from 1965-70. He also did voiceover work for NFL Films and for commercials.

In 2002, he received the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for his contributions to the game.

Kalas joined the Phillies radio and TV broadcast team the year the club moved into their former home, Veterans Stadium, replacing fan favorite Bill Campbell.

He wasn’t immediately embraced by Phillies fans, despite being paired with Richie Ashburn, a Hall of Famer as a player, and longtime announcer. But Kalas evolved into a beloved sports figure in Philadelphia. He and Ashburn grew into a popular team, and shared the booth until Ashburn’s death in 1997.

April 13 2009 a sad day in MLB with the loss of 'The Bird' also.

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Yo, Ebk, my fellow Orioles fan. We are getting some excitement early on. Baltimore has a damb good lineup. Its the pitching we need. Its on the way soon. Good prospects coming up within the next two years. But who knows about this year? We have the bats. Huff and Luke Scott just hit homers tonight. We have a great young outfielder. Jones. And we have Markakis and Roberts too. I like this team. We have waited a long time.

I think Adam Jones is a real find! And the shortstop, Izturis, is doing pretty well defensively. And tonight, even the bullpen has stepped up. What started as a slugfest has turned into a pitchers dual.

Howevah - we have too often in recent years started off looking pretty good only to fall flat on our face come July-ish. I'll enjoy it while I can, but I'm not holding out any long-term hope.

Go O's!!!

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I heard this today. Sad news for sure. What a freakin' character he was and a solid pitcher as well. The world of NA sports could well do with a few more like him. For the Brits on the forum, he was akin to say....Ginger Thompkins :D

RIP Big Bird

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Man, I put my Orioles sig up and they just whacked us for a grand salami. We are gettin whacked 10-3. Ouch. Well at least we won the first two. Go get some pitchers damb it!

You know, Yukon, if we can go through the seaon winning 2 out of 3 every time, I'll be quite happy!!!

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