Category Archives: baseball photos

JUST IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…..

Just in case you were wondering what the 2015 Cy Young Award winners looked like when they weren’t staring at you from a distance of 60’6″ with that menacing beard, here’s a couple of photos captured from this article that appeared in MLB AT BAT news.

 

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Jake Arietta In High School

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Dallas Keutchel In College

JUNIOR AND THE HALL OF FAME

A lasting image I have of Ken Griffey Jr. came on a morning the Reds were scheduled to play an unusual noontime game at Great American Ballpark on a very hot Cincinnati day in July.

The night before, I had driven frantically from a game in Milwaukee trying to get to the ballpark autowhen the gates first opened. Batting practice had concluded and all of the players escaped into the air conditioning in the clubhousespring5 – except for one. All smiles all the time, Junior held court posing for pictures, signing autographs, and just chatting. I noticed two things about him. One, he never took his bat out of his hands. And secondly, he always gave special attention to the kids who had come to see him perform. Continue reading

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT….(CHAPTER THREE)

Once again, a-siegel-deadline
in tribute to the late newspaper journalist and reporter Jimmy Cannon, this piece attempts to capture the flavor of what he might be writing about today………

…..The Chosen One in this year’s free agency field images (9)appears to be Ben Zobrist, (right) who is flexible regarding defensive positions and has just enough offensive power to make him a valued addition for several teams. Reasonably priced, watch the scramble for his services carry well into the winter.

…..When are the owners of the Tampa Bay Rays just gonna images (10)wave a white flag and move the team to a real (potentially) big league city? San Antonio, Texas comes to mind……cynically the answer might be pretty simple….despite the underwhelming support of their fan base, the owners are still making $$$$.

…..Even more than his outstanding abilities with a ball imagesor bat in his hand, Zach Greinke is a student of the game. So much so that he was a welcome resource in the Dodgers war room on Draft Day last year. If he wants, his next career will be as a General Manager of a (lucky) major league team. Continue reading

A TRIBUTE TO PLAYERS WHO SERVED

On the day we honor Veterans who served in the American Armed Forces, I thought it would be time well downloadspent and interesting to do some research on Major and Minor League players who have served their country. The sheer number is startling – 336 during the Korean War (view list here)  for example according to Baseball Reference, my go-to source for anything about baseball.

Some of the names we are familiar with and a few such as Ted Williams (above) deservedly gainedWhiteyFord-Korea-044-1307011627_4_3 renown for their efforts. Williams (view MLB’s tribute here), a distinguished fighter pilot for the Marines forfeited three prime baseball years to serve. Hall of Famers Whitey Ford  (above right) and Willie Mays WillyMays-Korea-033-1307011639_4_3( right with another Veteran, Don Newcombe) also served in the Korea struggle in the early 1950′ s.  Other names are not as much of note, but count players like Jerry Coleman, who appeared in six World Series for the New York Yankees,  Roger Craig, a 20 game loser for the first New York Mets team in 196 , Don Larsen (no introduction needed), Billy Martin, a journeyman player but a dynamic manager, and Frank Torre, the brother of Joe hit .273 in seven big league seasons, among those who served too. Continue reading

WHEN ALL THE PIECES FALL INTO PLACE…….

As in life there are times in baseball when everything just seems to fall into place. A hitter goes on a stretch where the ball coming to the plate looks as big as a beachball. Likewise, a pitcher goes through a series of starts where home plate seems 30ft away. Teams also have runs where twenty five players and the coaching staff come together to form a juggernaut that seems destined always find a way to win.

The New York Yankeesimages-8 are giving every indication thatimages-9 they are that kind of a team this year. Under the laid back (but focused) leadership of Brian Cashman (left) and Joe Girardi (right) we are watching – not a great team by any means- but certainly a solid and steady team that is avoiding the predictable highs and lows of a long and arduous baseball season.

No, this is not the team of the five year run. This year’s edition of the Yankeesimages-7 images-6is not even comparable to the 2009 team. Except for Mark Teixeria, there’s not even a true All Star on the team.

What the team does have are a bunch of role players who complement and support each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Brian McCann (upper right) for example is proving clutch at the plate while handling a relatively young staff seamlessly. Mashahiro Tanaka (upper left) seeks perfection every time out there. To hear him talk about his start that day, you’d think he gave up ten runs if you hadn’t watched the game.

It goes even deeper than that with contributors like Jacoby Ellsbury (right) who if not the best leadoff images-10 hitter in the game today,  must  surely  be in the discussion. A natural center fielder who runs like a deer, clutch is fast becoming his middle name too.

Flying under the radar too is Chase Headley (left). A star by no means….your everyday ball player who shows up for work every day andimages-15 gets his one hit a night when it means the most. So too with Brett Gardner who Cashman refused offers for a year ago when the season was already lost. Now, he’s having a career year as a graduate of the Yankees much underrated farm system.

This is a good team that certainly can win its imploding division. And when they get to the crapshoot playoffs, look out because they just might find their way to an unexpected but well earned title.

 

PETE ROSE BELONGS IN THE HALL – IT’S SIMPLY A NUMBERS GAME

Putting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame where he belongs is simply a recognition thof what he did on the playing field,  the numbers he put up, and the relentless zeal with which he played the game. The man has the most hits ever over a career for God’s sake! And besides, some of the greatest players in the game could also be a jerk at times by demonstrating questionable character. 

Ted Williams who is often credited with being the the best pure hitter to everted-williams-with-bats play the game once was fined $5000 (a princely sum in 1956) for – get this – for spitting on fans during a game in his own ballpark. He was also known as a loner and egomaniac who was certainly not the go-to guy in the clubhouse. Ted Williams is in the Baseball Hail of Fame.

Joe DiMaggio is also in the Hall of Fame. He’s also one of the surliest joe-dimaggio2men to ever don a Yankees uniform. His own teammates viewed him as “unapproachable”. But he did hit in 56 straight games so he is forgiven and everyone moves on. You can read more on his character in Richard Ben Cramer’s  definitive biography  Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life.

And then of course there’s Ty Cobbty-cobb who is said to be one of the meanest – most vindictive  – players to ever have put on a pair of spikes. Those spikes high sliding into second – be damned if you’re in my way. He too is in the Hall of Fame.

For every Cal Ripken with no visible character flaws in the Hall, there’s a Joe DiMaggio with a tainted image. And for every Derek Jeter (a sure first ballot inductee), there’s a Ted Williams who never really apologized for his spitting episode. The Hall of Fame was built to house and honor the best who ever played the game. No one would ever suggest Pete Rose as a candidate for Sainthood. He doesn’t have to be a Saint……….all he has to be is one of the greatest to have ever played the game. At least, give him that.

“Where Have You Gone Giancarlo – A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You…..”

Bah injuries! The bane of all professional athletes. They’ll tell you it comes with the territory but when you’re restricted by age time on the playing field is paramount.     And any time lost cannot be given or earned back.

And yes we argue about Ted Williams and how he missed three years piloting a plane during the Korean War during his prime playing years…….and what his numbers would have been…..but that’s just it……the numbers are the numbers.

And so it was sad  to see Giancarlo Stanton mag_giancarlostanton001_saint_1600x1000go down this weekend while (of all things) swinging  at and missing a pitch. He’s scheduled to miss four to six weeks and that includes the All Star Game for which he was to be the starting right fielder for the National League.

With no argument, he is the premier power hitter in the game today.

Another Towering Blast

Another Towering Blast

Moreover, he is the consummate professional the game so dearly needs following the departure of Derek Jeter.

Consider this.  In just 74 games prior to going on the DL, he amassed 26 home runs and 67 RBI. At that pace he could (and in his case probably would) be closing in on 60 home runs and 150 RBI by the end of the 2015 season.

And so,  like Williams his numbers will be his numbers falling far short of those projections and this injury will be a mere footnote in his career narrative.

It’s not like the Florida Marlins are going anywhere. They are a miserable team made even worse now by the loss of Stanton.

Instead it’s the fans who are the real losers when a player of this caliber goes down. Because you don’t leave your seat when he comes to bat…………somthing really special could happen and often it does. One of those towering majestic drives that takes forever to land…..or maybe one of those heat seeking missles that comes off his bat and leaves the yard in a split second……..

Indeed…….a nation of your fans turns its lonely eyes to you………..Come back soon…..we miss you Giancarlo.

 

 

The Sounds (And Sights) Of Baseball

In the 21st Century, we live in a video world. YouTube posts go viral and police wear “cop cams”. ……..If we can’t see it,  we don’t believe it or it simply didn’t happen.

But there is another way to explore and experience life…….seemingly long forgotten but once the only way we “knew” anything……….and that is by exercising our auditory senses.

Sounds Of Baseball is predicated on that concept. It is a not for profit website that is the work of Ronnie Redmond (Santa Cruz, CA) and myself.  Completely reworked by Ronnie, the new mobile friendly site offers a trip back to yesteryear when sound was all that existed. Here’s a sample…….

Ted Williams Last At Bat…………..tell me the radio announcer doesn’t draw you in to the moment with his radio call……..

We are (openly) trying to promote our site. Please consider posting or sending it to your friends on Facebook and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Enjoy the  Sounds Of Baseball.

THE RITUALS OF BASEBALL

   In addition to the intrigue and mysteries of the game itself, there is a whole lot more to witness while enjoying your stay at the ballpark. Among these are what I term as baseball rituals. No matter what ballpark you visit, these rituals will be choreographed in a manner so precise that you will find yourself following the beat of their serene rhythm.

Rule number one (gloriously there is only one rule) is to get to the ballpark early – as soon as the gates are open. rituals5Not only is this often a good time to snag an autograph or two, it’s the best time to Restwatch the players go about their ritualistic way of “doing business”…….or to put it another way…….their job.

From the stretches loosening the hamstrings to the soft long tosses by pitchers strengthening their arm……..to the quiet conversations between a manager and player………and on to the endless banter between men playing a boys game you will see and hear it all. Continue reading