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Posted on: August 8, 2009 5:34 pm
 

AAA Baseball - Still a lot of fun

Last week, I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My brother in law asked me if I wanted to go to an Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game. The Isotopes are the AAA farm club of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Pacific Coast league. At first, I thought it wouldn't be that much fun, but I recalled some previous years when I had watched the Toledo Mudhens play, so I took a chance.

Only a week or two prior to my visit, Manny Ramirez had a rehab assignment in A,buquerque and they sold out every game. Well, fortunately for me Manny was back with the big club, so I got to watch the Oklahoma City Redhawks play the Isotopes. The Redhawks are the farm club of the Texas Rangers...

One thing I have to tell you from the beginning is that the stadium only seats about 15,000, but it is a very picturesque ball park. There are mountains in the background, and an ammusement park behind the right field picnic area, and the weather was perfect. We had great seats behind the 3rd base dugout, and paid 11 bucks a piece. Now, I also remember when I watched to Toledo Mudhens back in the early 90s and some of the best seats in the house were only 5 or 6 bucks. It was entertaining, and besides, watching a ballgame at tiger stadium was very painful all around.

Anyway, the night we went, they had Albuquerque Dukes throwback night, and they brought back some of the old players from the 1972 Dukes...this team was amazing and went 92-56 and won the league. They were managed by none other than Dodger Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. Some of the notable major leaguers on this team were, Ron Cey, Joe Ferguson, Larry Hisle, Charlie Hough, Davey Lopes, Tom Paciorek and Rick Rhoden, just to name a few. It was an impressive list of players who played for the Dodgers and other MLB teams throughout the 70s and 80s.

Tom Paciorek was on hand for the ceremony and since he is a broadcaster for the White Sox, he was pretty impressive. I have alittle better appreciation for him after that night. You know, when you are in a small stadium, everything seems so close, and the players are right there. We had a great time, and the Redhawks beat the Isotopes/Dukes 6-2.

Now, I know it's not majot league baseball, but i can tell you one thing...it's baseball, it's fun and a great place to take kids to see a game. Some of the players on the field last week, are probably going to be major league players, so if you get a chance and you're near a AAA or lower minor league city, give it a shot and see a game...I think you'll be glad you did. Besides, it's cheap and it won't break your budget to take the whole family.

Enjoy...and talk to you all again soon.
Category: MLB
Posted on: May 14, 2009 1:48 pm
 

These Baseball Streaks Will Never be Broken

After seeing Ryan Zimmerman's 30 game hitting streak broken last night, I decided to put together a list of baseball streaks I think will never be broken. I'm only going to list 10, so it's my top ten and my opinion. These are offensive stats only. I may look at pitching later. Have a look, and see what you think.

1. Joe Dimaggio - 56 Game hitting streak(1941) - it's been 30 years since anyone was in the 40s(Pete Rose 1978)

2. Ted Williams - 84 - Consecutive games reaching base(1949) - it's been 60 years, and no one has been close.

3. Joe Sewell - 115 - Consecutive games without a strikeout(1929) - with all the pitchers who are specialists, do you see this happening?

4. Ray Cullenbine - 22 - Consecutive games with a walk(1947) - I thought it would be Barry Bonds, but no.

5. Ray Grimes - 17 - Consecutive games with an RBI(1922) - are you kidding me???

6. Billy Hamilton - 24 - Consecutive games scoring one or more runs(1894) - this one is over 100 years old.

7. Ty Cobb - 23 - Consecutive seasons hitting .300 or better (1906 - 1928) (50 or more games) - hard enough to find someone who plays long enough for this one. This could be in the top 5.

8. Sam Crawford - 3 - Consecutive seasons with 20 or more triples(1912-1914) - This guy had to be a jackrabbit

9. Ted Williams - 17 - Consecutive seasons, .400 on-base percentage or better(1939 - 1958) - Teddy Ballgame had a great eye at the plate.

10. Joe Medwick - 7 - Consecutive seasons with 40 or more doubles(1933 - 1939) - Almost as scarey as the 20 triples.

Actually, some modern day players have some interesting streaks...Barry Bonds had slugging Pct. of .600 or better 7 consecutive seasons, but he may have used steroids during that period. Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners is poised to break the record for most consecutive seasons with 200 hits, all he has to do is get 200 this year, and he will be the record holder at 9.

Chipper Jones is tied for consecutive games with an extra base hit(14) and Bobby Abreu is tied with Frank Thomas for most consecutive seasons with 100 walks with 8. 

Well, this one has been fun for me, because I love statistics and I love seeing all of the streaks. It's amazing how many of these streaks have stood for so long. Let me know yours if you like, or make a comment.

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 28, 2009 4:38 pm
 

Top 5 Golf Movies

There was a reasonable response to my 10 favoriteboxing movies post and football movies as well. OK, I don't know a lot of Golf movies, but I will give it a whirl and put in my top 5 golf movies:

I wonder if Tiger Woods will read this...no chance!!!

1. Caddyshack - a host of characters. Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Ted Knight, and Rodney Dangerfield. Hilarious

2. The Greatest Game Ever Played - the true story of amateur Francis Oimet's upset of Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in the US Open in 1913. Some great special effects.

3. Tin Cup - Kevin Costner plays a down on his luck golfer who plays in the US Open. Don Johnson, Rene Russo and Cheech Marin also star.

4. The Legend of Baggar Vance - Post WWI yarn about a former golfer, and war hero played by Matt Damon. Will Smith's portrayal of the caddy is outstanding...Charlize Theron(my favorite actress) plays the rich girl.

5. Dead Solid Perfect - Randy Quaid as a golfer trying to make it as a pro. Kathryn Harrold(still hot) and Jack Warden co star.

Well, those are my favorites...let me know about yours.

Category: Golf
Tags: Golf, Golf Movies
 
Posted on: April 23, 2009 1:46 pm
 

Top 10 Boxing Movies

 I have to say, I didn't expect such a great response from my Top 10 Baseball Movies, and also getting some traction from my top 10 football movies. So, someone asked for a top 10 boxing movies. There's a lot more than you think...

Anyway, my top 10 boxing movies are below...let me know yours.

  1. Rocky - Oscar winning movie which captured America in 1976, Sylvester Stallone.
  2. Million Dollar Baby - Clint Eastwood, HIllary Swank, Morgan Freeman - several Oscars here including best picture.
  3. Raging Bull - Robert Deniro won an oscar for his role as Jake LaMotta.
  4. Cinderella Man - Russell Crowe plays legendary Jim Braddock
  5. The Hurricane - Denzel Washington portrays fomer champ Reuben "hurricane " Carter, and his fight to be freed from NJ prison for being wrongly convicted of murder.
  6. Diggstown - James Woods and Luis Gossett...an interesting film. 10 fights in 24 hours.
  7. The Harder They Fall - Humphrey Bogart is a reporter in the corrupt fight game of the 50s
  8. The Hammer - Adam Corolla, we needed on comedy
  9. Ali - Will Smith as Muhammad Ali. Enough said.
  10. The Champ - the 1979 version starring Jon Voight...Ricky Schroeder won a golden globe for his portrayal of the son.

Well, just one quick note...I only picked one Rocky movie. Or I guess I could have said all the Rocky movies together make it a 1, but chose the Oscar winner instead. Actually, 1,2, and 3 in this list could all switch places, and no one would know the difference. It's your preference

Let's hear about your favorites.

Category: Boxing
Posted on: April 22, 2009 1:41 pm
 

10 Favorite Football Movies

Since the response from my "10 Favorite Baseball Movies" was so good, I thought I would do the same for football. My selections are going to be based on quality, realism, some humor, etc. Remember, this is my opinion.

These are my top 10 favorite football movies. Let me know yours...

  1. North Dallas Forty - Nick Nolte. One of the first movies to go behind the scenes in football. I know the team was the North Dallas Bulls, but to me it was the Cowboys and the coach was Tom Landry. Former Cowboy WR Peter Gent wrote the book.
  2. Heaven Can Wait - Warren Beatty. A funny movie about football, angels, and murder with twists and turns.
  3. Any Given Sunday - Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx and many NFL players. According to critics, the most realistic movie about football ever made.
  4. Friday Night Lights - Billy Bob Thornton. This is a true story about the Odessa Permian high school football team in West Texas. High School football in Texas, is not a sport, it's a religion
  5. Jerry Maguire - Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. An interesting look into sprts agents. Humorous and fun to watch. Gooding won an Oscar for his portrayal.
  6. Brian's Song - James Caan, Billy Dee Williams. True story of the friendship between Chicago Bears players Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo...the original made in 1971. If you haven't seen it, you should.
  7. Invincible - Mark Wahlberg. True story of a Philadelphia Eagles special teams player who won a spot as a walk on.
  8. The Replacements - Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman. Fun, and brutal at times. The story of replacement players used during an NFL strike season. Lots of characters in this one.
  9. The Express - Dennis Quaid, Clancy Brown. Story of college football and race issues during the early 1960s. Chronicles Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis' life and playing days at Syracuse University.
  10. Knute Rockne: All American - Pat O'Brien, Ronald Reagan. O'Brien played Notre Dame legend Rockne, and Reagan was George Gipp. The very first football movie I ever saw.  

Honorable mention: The Junction Boys; We are Marshall

If your favorite isn't in here, let me know...and tell me why.

 

 

 

Category: NFL
Posted on: April 21, 2009 7:04 am
 

10 Favorite Baseball Movies

When I was growing up outside and around the Philadelphia area, there are two things I distinctly remember. The first, was watching my first Phillies game on TV. The second, was the very first time I went to see a Phillies game in old Connie Mack stadium. Ever since then, I was hooked on baseball, and watching the Phillies.

Back then, the only time the Phillies had gone to the World series was 1950, and they lost to the Yankees in 4 straight games. So, I didn't like the Yankees much. When we played the Cardinals(the first real game I saw), I remember they had a young speedster named Curt Flood and he could cover ground and run...and I remember, he dared the Philles Catcher to throw to third as he was halfway there...and off he went, but the catcher threw in the dirt and Flood stole the base. So, I didn't like him either.

Later, I learned to appreciate the Yankees and Curt Flood, and lots of other baseball players, Teams and little nuances about baseball. Another thing that kept me interested, was watching movies about baseball. I guess it was the kid in me, or some other reason, but I loved baseball movies.

So, here's my chance to let you know my top 10 favorite baseball movies. Let me know yours...

  1. Bull Durham - Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarendon (steamy too)
  2. Bang the Drum Slowly - Robert Dinero and David Morse
  3. Eight Men Out - the Black Sox scandal
  4. It Happens Every Spring - Ray MIlland
  5. Field of Dreams - Costner again w/Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe & James Earl Jones was great.
  6. The Pride of the Yankees - a classic with Gary Cooper
  7. The Stratton Story - James Stewart classic
  8. The Natural - Robert Redford
  9. The Rookie - Dennis Quaid
  10. The Sandlot - Our neighborhood was like that with big dogs who took our baseballs.

OK, that's it guys...let's hear about your favorites.

 

 

Posted on: April 15, 2009 8:53 pm
 

Phillies Starters are Dreadful

 The World Champion Philadelphia Phillies atarted the defense of their title last week, with an awful performance. Brett Myers gave up several home runs, the Phillies bats were silent and the Braves won the opener...followed by another 4-2 loss in game two of the series. The Braves should have swept the series, but their bullpen fell apart and the Phillies rallied to win. Then they took two of three in Colorado, but their picthing woes continued against the Rockies.

Lucky for the Phils they got to visit the Nationals, but had to hang on for a 9-8 vitory. Do you see a pattern here...the Phillies are giving up a lot of runs. Their starters are giving up an awful lot of runs. The Phillies starters ERAs look like this:

Brett Myers    5.54 - our star at the moment. Jamie Moyer - 6.55     Joe Blanton - 15.75   Chan Ho Park  10.38 and Cole Hamels - 17.18

I know we have one of the best bullpens in the league, but if the starters keep this up, they will be on par with the Texas Rangers. It's a miracle the Phils are 4-3...to say they need a 5th starter, well, any starter to go a few innings and get a win, would be an understatement of the highest proportion.

Now, I know what your thinking...he's leading up to something. Well, yes, I am. What about Pedro Martinez? I mean, he's younger than Jamie Moyer. Heck, Jamie is almost as old as me, and that's a lot.  If the Phillies continue to have their starters lit up every game, there won't be a best bullpen in baseball any more. There will only be the remnants of the Phillies bullpen arms out there with the Philly fans trying to get souvenirs.

With the Phillies bats starting to heat up, the starters have to step up, or Charlie Manuel has to make some changes. The Florida Marlins are not going to go away. I know the Braves aren't a threat, but there is the NY Mets wating in the wings to beat us and take our crown.

Speaking of pitchers, I saw Dice K went on the DL...arm fatigue. Hall of famers Warren Spahn and Robin Roberts were probably giggling when they sew that headline. These guys used to pitch 300 innings per year. Those days are long gone.

Earlier this week, Harry Kalas passed out in the press box before the Nationals game and died. We're going to miss you Harry. You have made some great calls in your day, worked with one of my all time favorites(Richie Ashburn), and left us with a lot of memories. I hope there's baseball in Heaven Harry...and I hope you see Whitey there too. I know he's been waiting to talk to you. RIP...

 

 

 

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 7, 2009 2:08 pm
 

Opening Day - MLB - Ya Gotta Love It

 Every spring, it seems the "so called" experts start out with picks for the MLB division crowns, wildcard teams, and eventual World Series winners. They even have it down to predicting who will win the MVP, Cy Young, and comeback player of the year awards.

Then comes opening day and the sportswriters, and bloggers, have a field day with everything that happens on opening day. OMG, the Yankees lost to the Orioles and C. C. Sabathia pitched a horrible game($300 million + down the drain), and Mark Teixeira went O fer. It's the end of the world.i

The Mets actually didn't blow a 1 run lead, and that's big news...they're the next World Champs. Are you kidding me?

And what about the Texas Rangers...Kevin Millwood outpitched Cliff Lee. And the Rangers pummeled the Indians pitchers.

So, what does it all mean? Well, for one day, the Orioles, Jays, Angels, Mariners, Rangers, Braves, Marlins, Mets, Cubs, Pirates, Dodgers and D-Backs - by winning - are all in first place. Plus, there are a couple of 0-0 Teams in first in the AL Central...White Sox and Royals, they were snowed/rained/or frozen out.

Stat people went crazy because two players for the D-Backs(Felipe Lopez and Tony Clark), each hit 2 home runs(one batting left, and one batting right). That was the first time in MLB history(when these stats were kept) that one person hit home runs from opposite sides of the plate on opening day, let alone two. I didn't know they kept stats like that...I wonder if there was a betting line on that happening. I'll bet there's one next year or even tomorrow in Vegas.

Truth is, I love baseball for this reason. It's like the economy...everyone is hopeful at the start. Your team may be in first place for a day, a week, who knows. But at the beginning of every season, we all have hope, that maybe our team can go all the way.

As a long suffering Phillies fan for many years(sorry I can't tell you how many years because it's embarrassing), I undertsand this sentiment. I've felt this sentiment, until the Phillies won their first World Series in 1980. And the way they won it, through the playoffs and the World Series, at times, it was excrutiating, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

So, in this time of economic trouble and disaster, let's look to the coming days, as ones of hope, and recovery for everyone. Hope for us, hope for our country, and hope for the world.

 

 

 

 

Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com