Tag:Derek Jeter
Posted on: November 26, 2008 1:01 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, and here's to good causes

So what are you thankful for?

Loving family? Warm house?

Close friends?

Difficult to think of a better time than Thanksgiving Week for Nelson and Alisa Figueroa to hold an online auction of baseball memorabilia to help their friend Ricky Stone, the former big league relief pitcher who is battling a malignant brain tumor.

Stone was dealt a very tough break last summer when, after suffering an injury in Taiwan while playing in the Chinese Professional League, he returned to the United States and suffered a Grand Mal seizure. Subsequent tests revealed the brain tumor, and Stone now is in the fight of his life.

Looking to pitch in, Nelson Figueroa, who pitched for the New York Mets last year, his wife, Alisa, and Erin Pote, wife of former big leaguer Lou Pote, founded Rally for Recovery to raise funds for the Stone family.

They're not messing around, either. They've recruited more than 100 major leaguers to donate, and over here on eBay, you can help out (and perhaps do some early Christmas shopping?) by bidding on all sorts of items. Signed jerseys from Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, a Yogi Berra autographed cap, an Adrian Beltre autographed bobble-head doll, the list goes on.

You can find signed items from 100 or so players, including Ichiro Suzuki, Johan Santana, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Jeff Kent, Jose Reyes, Ryne Sandberg, John Smoltz, Brad Ausmus, Joe Nathan, Roy Oswalt and many others.

Most of the Yankee stuff was signed on Sept. 21, the day they played their final game in Yankee Stadium, and the jerseys include the last year of Yankee Stadium patches that were sewn on. The list of items continues for four pages, and if you're a baseball fan -- or, especially, a memorabilia collector -- it's worth a look and it's a good cause.

The Rally for Recovery auction started on Sunday, and will continue through Sunday evening, Nov. 30. Items are listed at http://stores.ebay.com/Rally-For-Re
in random order. The auction will end on Sunday evening, November 30, 2008.

Likes: Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie. ... Happy Thanksgiving to all. Here's to a weekend of being surrounded by loving family members, close friends, good food, warm memories and bright futures. Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions are and however you celebrate, I hope it's wonderful. And I hope we all can take a few minutes during the day to pause and count our blessings during these scary economic times.

Dislikes: Tough end to a fantastic season for the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central team in the Michigan high school football playoffs. My Falcons fell to Leslie 22-19 last weekend, but what an accomplishment, advancing all the way to the state semifinals in a season in which they started seven sophomores (eight before an injury).

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"As I was walking a ribbon of highway
"I saw above me an endless skyway
"I saw below me a golden valley
"This land was made for you and me"

-- Woody Guthrie, This Land is Your Land

Posted on: September 23, 2008 8:06 pm

Last word on Yankee Stadium closing

MILWAUKEE -- They did it the way you knew they would, with pomp and ceremony, and by blasting Frank Sinatra's New York, New York 6,000 or so times. That's not a knock. In that city, in that stadium, I could listen to Sinatra's New York, New York 60,000 times.

From what I saw on television, the whole night was nearly perfect.

Except for one thing.

The snubbing of former manager Joe Torre was awfully small for such an outsized organization.

The fact that they blew off Roger Clemens wasn't surprising, because that's apparently the way we're going while emerging from the Steroid Era. You see it in San Francisco with Barry Bonds -- or rather, you don't  see anything in San Francisco with Bonds.

For years, baseball's official position on performance-enhancing drugs was to pretend they didn’t exist.

Now, baseball's official position on players who pumped up and set records and won World Series is to pretend they don't exist.

Is it right?

Of course not.

But is it right when you bump into an ex-girlfriend at a party that you hem and haw and avoid her?

It's just the way it is with awkward circumstances.

Mostly, we just avoid dealing with them.

Clemens helped the Yankees win two World Series, but if there's anybody now who believes some of his career numbers aren't vastly inflated with PEDs, I'm a part-owner of the new Yankee Stadium.

Having Clemens there in person, or even unspooling highlights featuring him on the scoreboard, would have been a huge distraction for an historic evening. Given the way Clemens even threw Andy Pettitte under the bus, I don't blame the Yankees for conveniently forgetting about him.

The snub of Torre, though, was classless.

Esepcially on an evening in which the always classy Derek Jeter delivered an eloquent final address that ranks right up there with some of the great ones in Yankees history.

Likes: Teams that are out of it right now that still play hard. Case in point: Cleveland, which had won seven consecutive games heading into Tuesday night's contest in Boston. I've always thought that's one way you can identify a good manager, if the players keep playing hard when there's nothing to play for. And the Indians' play speaks very well of manager Eric Wedge. ... Same for Trey Hillman, with Kansas City winning eight of 10. ... Maybe it's because I live in Southern California and spend half my life trapped in freeway gridlock, but I always enjoy driving through the Midwest, where traffic generally is light and population bases are few and far between. I also love some of the sights, such as a couple I passed while flying across I-94: Signs for the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum and the Mousehouse Cheesehaus. I only wished I had time to stop. Especially at the cheese shop. ... Really enjoyed the Chrysler Sebring convertible rental and the Sirius satellite radio on the trip, too. It's beautiful right now in this part of the Midwest, right around 75 and no humidity. Crisp, clean days.

Dislikes: Aw, I'm going to be working during the first presidential debate Friday night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
"A nation turns its lonely eyes to you"

-- Paul Simon, Mrs. Robinson


Posted on: February 28, 2008 7:26 pm

The best kind of Little League dad

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- One of Roger Clemens' favorite self-deprecating lines is that he just doesn't do retirement very well, given all the times he's tried and failed.

But compared to Troy Percival, Clemens is an expert.

Percival signed a minor-league deal with the Angels last April specifically so he could retire as a member of the franchise with which he grew up.

That was two organizations, 40 innings pitched and three victories ago.

The guy arrived at Tampa Bay's camp at 6:15 a.m. Thursday.

"Anytime I can put the uniform on, I'm pretty happy," says Percival, 38. "It took me a couple of years to come to grips with retirement. I didn't think I had any choice. But once I knew I could play. ..."

It was -- and seems like it still is -- a total fluke.

Percival blew out with Detroit in 2005, tearing the flexor tendon in his elbow clear away from the bone -- and breaking off a half-a-fingernail-sized piece of bone with it.

He didn't have surgery because doctors basically told him the odds against it helping much far outweighed the odds that he could come back.

So two things happened.

Feeling horrible that he only made 26 appearances in '05 despite a two-year, $12 million contract, the always classy Percival purchased a luxury suite in Detroit's Comerica Park in '06 for the Tigers' wives to use.

Second thing that happened was, two years after playing what he thought was his final major-league game, Percival was coaching his son's Little League team in Southern California and was throwing easy batting practice from 40 feet to eight-year-olds.

He noticed that the pain had receded. One day while playing catch with one of his assistants, the assistant backed up further ... and further ... until Percival was winging the ball 150 feet, on a line.

Long story short, he had his agent ask some clubs to come out to watch him throw, nine clubs were interested and he wound up back in the majors last summer with St. Louis.

How did it all happen?

"By accident," Percival says.

The flexor tendon appears healed -- at least, healed enough to allow him to throw.

The piece of bone that broke off?

"It's still in there somewhere," Percival says. "I don't know where it is, but wherever it is, it's out of the way."

Tampa Bay pursued him this winter after he went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 34 games for Tony La Russa's Cardinals last summer, and the Rays intend for Percival to be their closer in 2008.

And coaching nine-year-old Cole's Little League team?

"I actually miss that as much as anything," Percival says. "I had a lot of fun with it."

Likes: No, Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria is not related to Desperate Housewives' star Eva Longoria. And don't ask him again. ... Here's to Mark DeRosa's continued good health after the Cubs infielder underwent a heart procedure Thursday in Chicago. ... Finally, some hope in Tampa Bay. ... Players union boss Don Fehr actually saying that the union would consider blood testing for human growth hormone if a legitimate test is developed. Among others Derek Jeter has said he would support it. And good for him. ... Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central whipping Romulus Summit Academy 68-37 in a Michigan boys' basketball district game Wednesday night. Next up for the mighty Falcons is Gabriel Richard in Friday night's district championship game.

Dislikes: Time was, back in the early 2000s, that Scott Spiezio was such a popular player within the game that the Angels would look forward to his arrival in the clubhouse each afternoon. He was personable, funny, the kind of guy everybody loved having around. I just hope his release by the Cardinals this week after police issued a six-count warrant for his arrest following a December traffic accident is the bottom for Spiezio, and that he can start to get his life back together from there. He's battled alcohol and drug issues and become a mess.

Sunblock day? Don't even ask. Temperature reading in the car was 44 degrees at 7:30 this morning as I was driving toward Tampa Bay's camp. The sun did come out and stay out for most of the day, but it came with a chilly breeze that wouldn't quit. Jacket required, all day. The security guard at the Rays' complex this morning was wearing ear muffs. At spring training.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"George is in the jungle
Knockin' on the door
Come to get your children
Wants to have a war

"Come on, lord you'd better run,
Be a long dark night before this thing is done

"Brownie's in the outhouse
Katrina on the line
Government's a disaster
But George, he says it's fine"

-- John Fogerty, Long Dark Night

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