Tag:Bob Feller
Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 9:26 pm
 

Love Letters: The post-Christmas edition

In a perfect world, one would not begin the New Year with an apology. But here goes: I've made plenty of jokes in the past about the Rally Monkey. I had never written about New York Gov. David Paterson until zinging him in my Christmas column for improperly accepting Yankees World Series tickets. Problem was, never even thinking about the fact that Paterson is African-American, I trotted out another Rally Monkey joke. Plus, I referred to him "Peterson" instead of "Paterson." A couple of readers rightly jumped on me, and all I can say is, I apologize for the typo in his name, and especially for the unintended tasteless joke. Didn't mean it that way, but that's how it turned out, and, ugh. My bad, and my regrets. On with this week's letters. ...

FROM: Rick B.
Re: Christmas tidings for those naughty and nice around MLB

As an ex-New Yorker, I don't think Gov. Paterson has served the state well. However, the rally monkey to me came across as racist. I don't know what you meant, but it's what and how it was said.

See above. That may be the last Rally Monkey joke for me.

FROM: Eric B.

A. NY Governor is David Paterson, not Peterson. B. James Brown lyric is, "Sometimes I feel so nice, I want to jump back, and kiss myself." You conflated I feel good with the true lyric and jump up instead of back. Don't channel the Godfather unless you can feel it.

I thought I was feeling it. Turns out, maybe I really didn't know what I was feeling that day.

FROM: Andrew S.

Hope your Christmas was a joyous one for you and yours, Scott. Always enjoy reading the musings from one of baseball's tireless columnists! My Christmas wish for the O's: Don't mortgage the farm system, but somehow find a way to make a splash still this offseason if for no other reason than to show the big boys in the AL East the Birdies are coming back to roost.

I could feel the nostalgia and frustration in Orioles owner Peter Angelos' statement Wednesday congratulating former O Robbie Alomar for election to baseball's Hall of Fame.

FROM: Kurt K.

Hi Scott,

First off, a Merry Christmas to you and your family! I normally don't respond to articles, but I wanted to let you know that your "Christmas tidings for those naughty and nice around MLB" article was great! It was very well written and I really like you stressing the importance of class and sportsmanship. Those are some of what is great about the game of baseball. These things seem lost in the other pro sports. Anyway, keep up the good work. Merry Christmas from Switzerland, Kurt.

If it's up to me, the behavior of Detroit's Armando Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce will be remembered for a long, long time. The way each man handled such an unfortunate situation was the highlight of the 2010 season.

FROM: Rick
Re: If playoffs ain't broke, don't fix 'em with expansion

It is either playoff expansion or a salary cap. I guess Bud Selig sees this as an alternative because he knows the league will never have a salary cap, at least not under him, and it allows small-market teams to make the playoffs.

It's too easy, though, isn't it? And this solution only patches a surface wound. No depth there.

FROM: Terry F.

Baseball has a tight postseason? How do you figure? Baseball teams playing in the World Series have more off days than they have scheduled game days in October. How is that a tight schedule? I would characterize it as a laid-back schedule. Teams play when they get around to it. Personally, I believe that baseball's current post-season is a total disaster.

I was writing in relative terms, Terry. It had been tight up until a couple of years ago, and comparatively speaking, it's far more tight than, say, the NBA. But that was part of the point of the column, too: It needs to be tightened even more, and it needs to REMAIN tight.

FROM: Frank D.

As usual, terrific writing and a very good solution. However ... unlike you, Selig isn't competent, nor logical. He is the worst commissioner in the history of North American sports. This cretin has canceled a season, stood idle while steroids have ravaged the sport's credibility and records and has allowed for unprecedented spending without a real obstruction, tipping the balance in favor of a handful of teams. He has taken the All-Star Game, once a fun event, and turned it into a game where an exhibition determines home-field for the sport's crown jewel. He's a weak, incompetent joke.

Your punches are harder than anything I saw thrown in The Fighter last week.

FROM: Paul

The problem with baseball IS the Yankees & Red Sox. I was once a big-time baseball fan. Seeing other teams compete every year made the game fun and varied, but over the last 15 years, seeing the Yanks & Sox every post season truly made the game boring. Is their rivalry and press coverage any different than say, Brangelina? Or Kate Gosselin? Lindsey Lohan? Over-saturation kills everything.

Baseball seems to think that shoving those two teams down our throat is good for the game. It's not. I'm a football fan first now, primarily because in any given year, with some good draft choices, a team can compete for a playoff spot and be contenders for a long time. Sadly, no matter how well the Indians, Padres, Royals or Pirates draft, their window to compete is short and their rebuild to contender status long. Baseball = boredom these days. Give me the NFL.

I think the next poll we do should be asking how many folks think the Yankees and Red Sox need to check themselves into rehab, prefarably in an adjoining room to Lohan.

FROM:
Christopher from Toronto

Scott,

Love the piece and I think you're bang on. Leave things the way they are. If one game could tell us something, the season would be 82 games.

I'll have you know that I think "bang on" is a very underrated term that I wish were used far more often. "Wanker", too.

FROM: Nathan P.

Scott,

Money will ruin the baseball regular season one day. How do you think guys get paid $150 million contracts over five years? It's all about advertising. The NBA ruined its regular season; the season should be shortened to 40 games. The NFL will expand to 18 games, which is way too long. Just accept it. It's too bad that's the way it is: a pennant used to mean something. Now most people don't know what a pennant is.

I think I had one hanging on my bedroom wall once upon a time. ...

FROM: CHISOX1958

I am a huge fan of baseball. But, as far as expanding the playoffs go, let's get real. This isn't hockey or basketball, where every lame team gets in.

Or, perhaps, the NFL, where the Seahawks not only qualify, but host a playoff game with a 7-9 record? Interesting how there is very little outrage about that.

FROM: Frank L.
Re.: Cleveland loses a true, rare legend in Feller
http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/
14447735/cleveland-loses-a-true-rar
e-legend-in-feller

Your article was right on after the initial sentence -- but the opening was insulting. To mention a hero in the truest sense of the word [Bob Feller] with a draft dodger [John Wayne] is very distasteful. Marion Morrison had no place in that article. You have really ruined my day and possibly many other vets of WWII.

(Signed)
A Feller fan since 1937

Say what you want about Marion Morrison. But where Wayne is concerned, I was simply comparing Feller to some of the same values people in general associate with the characters Wayne played. That part of it holds up.

FROM: Jerry K.

As a lifelong Indians fan whose first game in 1946 at age 8 was pitched by Bob Feller, I say you summed it up perfectly. Especially as to CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, who are not bad guys but are corrupted by the owners' greed.

Alex, I'll take "Corruption for $100 million plus, please". ...

Posted on: January 13, 2010 5:57 pm
 

No Rangers, but scouts' honor for Dennis Gilbert

Dennis Gilbert, man of many hats, was on the move again one morning earlier this week even if the route wasn't taking him exactly where he hoped to go.

A licensed magician, nevertheless, he still couldn't pull owning the Texas Rangers out of one of those hats.

Gilbert -- special advisor to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, life insurance guru, philanthropist, former agent, former professional ballplayer and part-time Houdini -- was zipping through Los Angeles en route to an early morning meeting. Then he was set to spend the afternoon in another meeting planning Saturday's Seventh Annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation awards dinner and charity auction.

The dinner has become a must-stop on baseball's off-season circuit, a great cause that raises money for old scouts who are down on their luck, a huge event that last year attracted more than 1,000 people.

Among those scheduled to attend Saturday's In the Spirit of the Game at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles are Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, Bob Feller and Robin Roberts, manager Tony LaRussa, the Manny Mota family and Commissioner Bud Selig.

This is Gilbert's baby, and he throws himself into it with the gusto of a vintage Feller fastball.

It's just that, well ... by the time they open the auction of sports and entertainment memorabilia (a few years ago, one of Marilyn Monroe's dresses was up, by the way), Gilbert had also hoped to be standing in the on-deck circle for ownership of the Rangers.

But alas, while his group made the cut down to the final two, it was the other group -- led by Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg -- that was granted an exclusive window to negotiate with Rangers owner Tom Hicks. That window expires Thursday, incidentally.

So for Gilbert, a process that started last March is close to ending in utter disappointment and exhaustion. He likens it to a guy in high school whose girlfriend cuts bait.

"The hardest part was that it started out with 11 groups and we got down to the final two," Gilbert says. "But I don't regret a second of it."

From that perspective, though, it's been a difficult year. The whisper campaign against him turned ugly -- that he would fire Texas legend and Rangers president Nolan Ryan (not true), among other things -- and while Gilbert refuses to delve into it, it's clear he was hurt.

Once Ryan aligned himself with Greenberg's group, essentially it was game over.

"I even got a letter from the mayor of Fort Worth telling me how important Nolan Ryan is to Texas baseball and to the community," says Gilbert, who, after a lifetime in the game as a player, agent and front-office man and who once represented such luminaries as Hall of Famer George Brett, Barry Bonds, Bret Saberhagen and Danny Tartabull, maybe had a pretty good idea of that already. "I'd describe that letter as over the top.

"I've been in baseball since the '60s. I certainly know Nolan Ryan and what he means. But, whatever."

Gilbert is passionate, clearly loves the game and could be great fun as an owner. It's telling how he's successfully transitioned from a flamboyant agent into an executive who is widely respected in the industry.

"I must have had a couple hundred e-mails from scouts and baseball executives wishing me well," he says of his quest to purchase the Rangers. "The journey really opened my eyes.

"It's interesting how the baseball community seemed to give me an awful lot of support."

A former Red Sox and Mets farmhand -- he earned his nickname "Go Go" because of his hustle on the diamond -- Gilbert went on to build a highly successful life insurance business. From there, he developed into a superagent in a business he started with the late Tony Conigliaro.

He retired from that gig in '99 and joined the White Sox as special advisor to Reinsdorf the following year. The two men are very close, and Reinsdorf was especially helpful during Gilbert's run at the Rangers.

"He was outstanding," Gilbert says. "I'm supposed to be his advisor, and he was mine."

Most likely, that won't be the last of Reinsdorf's advising. Though Gilbert is licking his wounds now after coming so close to the Rangers, he isn't discounting another run at owning a ballclub.

"I guess it's like going to the Super Bowl and losing maybe by a touchdown, or you miss a field goal with a few seconds to go in the game," Gilbert says. "So, sure, I feel like I'll regroup and take a look at what's out there."

For now, this minute, what's out there is a gala of a fundraiser that combines the best parts of Gilbert: Fun, passion, showmanship and, most importantly, a reverence for the game and, especially, for the people who help make it what it is.

"There have been quite a few people who have come up to me at the event saying things like, 'Thank you, you saved our house,'" Gilbert says. "Keeping people's health insurance has been very important.

"One fellow had been in hospice for four or five months, and when he passed away we took care of the expenses and gave the rest of the money to his widow to give her a new start."

CNN's Larry King is a co-host of the event and comedian Joe Piscopo will be the master of ceremonies. For tickets, call 310-996-1188.

 
 
 
 
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