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Author Topic:   MLB 2009
fred
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From:Redmond, WA
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posted December 02, 2008 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Giants’ ticket prices to change by the day
By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Next season, San Francisco Giants fans buying single-game tickets for an April game against Milwaukee might pay half as much as they would for a weekend game with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers later in the year.

The club is trying something new with ticket sales in a few tough-to-sell upper-deck outfield sections of its waterfront ballpark for 2009: cost based on demand.

The walk-up sales price for up to about 2,000 seats could even go up or down on game day. The change would be minimal, say somewhere between 25 cents and $2.

Team president Larry Baer calls it “dynamic pricing” and figures it might just become the way of the future for professional sports franchises. The Giants have partnered with a software company that will make it possible to quickly change the ticket prices based on the popularity of a given game—not to mention weather, a possible milestone or a player from a visiting team who brings extra interest.


“We’re going to experiment with this a little bit in a few sections of the park,” Baer said. “What this really is, is the ticket business is changing dramatically and quickly. There’s a chance we might wake up 10 years from now and tickets will be priced according to demand, like the airlines.”

Baer said, for example, fans might spend $25 to see the Giants host a team like the Dodgers in August or perhaps even the always-popular Chicago Cubs in September, but might only charge $8 for the same seats in April when the Brewers come to the Bay Area.

The team plans to accept feedback from the fan base on how the process is working before determining whether to go forward with the same or a similar approach in 2010. The Giants—minus the hype surrounding Barry Bonds and the All-Star game they hosted in 2007—failed to reach 3 million in home attendance last season for the first time at their 9-year-old waterfront ballpark. It certainly didn’t help the team played so poorly at home.

“We’re talking hundreds of seats, not thousands of seats,” Baer said. “We’ll see how it works and how the fans like it. This would be a first. We have innovative people in our ticket office.”

Baer vowed after the 2008 season ended not to increase ticket prices, especially considering the economic challenges. He said for the most part the team’s prices will be flat for next year. Four or five categories will be stay the same, while two or three will go down and one section has gone up slightly.

For 2009 individual ticket sales, 50 percent of prices were reduced, 38 percent remained the same and 12 percent were increased. Of season tickets, 55 percent were either reduced or stayed the same and the other 45 percent had what Baer called “minor contractual increases.” One section is up $2, he said.

Still, someone who shows up expecting to pay $10 to see a game could wind up spending a little bit more—or less. The Giants also have worked on promotions that drop the ticket price based on the number of strikeouts a starting pitcher records or even deals at the concession stands.

“In sports, entertainment and theater, some tickets are on demand,” Baer said. “This might be the way of the future.”

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indiedan
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posted December 18, 2008 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Baseball Channel To Debut On New Year's Day

New Year's Day usually features back-to-back college-football bowl games, but baseball fans will also be handed a treat this year when The MLB Network debuts on January 1 by rebroadcasting the 1956 World Series baseball game (including vintage commercials) in which Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The game, originally televised live on NBC, was announced by Yankees broadcaster Mel Allen, who died in 1996 at age 83, and Vin Scully, who remains the lead Dodgers announcer at age 81. A kinescope recording of the game (beginning in the second inning) was recently discovered, allowing the new channel to rebroadcast it for the first time in history beginning at 7:00 p.m.

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indiedan
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posted January 08, 2009 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Sources: Smoltz could sign with BoSox
By Buster Olney
ESPN.com

John Smoltz has pitched his entire major league career with the Atlanta Braves, but he is on the verge of a deal with the Boston Red Sox, according to sources.

Smoltz, 41, has pitched in 708 games for the Braves, winning 210 games and earning 154 saves. He has been rehabilitating his shoulder since having surgery last season, and there have been reports that he has made excellent progress.

Smoltz's departure from Atlanta would come in a winter in which the Braves have struggled to fill holes in their rotation; Atlanta was unable to land Jake Peavy, after extensive trade talks, and was unable to sign free agent A.J. Burnett.

Boston's proposed deal with Smoltz is for $5.5 million in base salary, and $5 million in incentives.

Assuming the Red Sox close out negotiations with Smoltz, they will go into spring training with six veteran starters -- Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny and Smoltz. Penny agreed to terms on a one-year, $5 million deal and will be in Boston Thursday for his physical examination.

But the Red Sox have come to believe in the idea of going into each season overloaded with starting pitching; their assumption is that, at some point, injuries will factor in the equation, or some members of the rotation will need rest.

The signings of Smoltz and Penny also give the Red Sox the flexibility to consider trading one of their young starting pitchers -- most notably Clay Buchholz, whose name has come up in trade talks with the Texas Rangers, for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, as well as with other teams.

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fred
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posted February 11, 2009 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
A-Rod Admits He Lied On TV About Steroid Use

10 February 2009 1:25 AM, PST

Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez admitted during an ESPN interview Monday that he lied when he denied using steroids during a December 2007 interview with Katie Couric on 60 Minutes. Asked by ESPN's Peter Gammons about a report in Sports Illustrated linking him to steroid use, Rodriguez said, "At the time, I wasn't being truthful with myself. How could I be truthful with Katie Couric or CBS?"

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indiedan
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posted February 19, 2009 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
MLB.tv
http://www.businessinsider.com/help-mlbtv-hear-a-little-more-chatter-from-viewers-2009-2

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fred
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posted March 01, 2009 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
A's, Marlins could be goners as contraction looms

Saturday, February 28th 2009, 3:36 PM
Margot/AP

With no new stadium in sight, A's fans could be watching the last days of their baseball team, which is on endangered list.

TAMPA - The rumblings already have started. With three years to go in the basic agreement, baseball's owners are once again sounding the flashpoint "c" word - as in salary cap. But this past week, events in Oakland and Miami - where a new stadium plan for the A's was pronounced dead and one for the Marlins once again put on life support - may leave the owners no choice but to revisit another ominous "c" word: contraction.

In both cases, though, it's always been with an eye on their teams getting new ballparks and the accompanying significant increase in revenue streams. But the seemingly never-ending battle between the Marlins and the south Florida bureaucrats hit yet another impasse when the Miami city commissioners failed to approve the financing for the proposed $609 million retractable-roof stadium to be built on the site of the old Orange Bowl targeted for 2012.

Instead, they are now seeking three significant amendments to the deal: In the event the Marlins are sold, the city wants to get back all its stadium costs before owner Jeffrey Loria could reap any profit from the sale. The city is also asking for a share of any naming-rights deal and wants the Marlins to pay any cost overruns on the proposed $94 million parking garage. All of them are non-starters for the Marlins and more and more it appears former Florida owner John Henry was right when he said there is nothing more impossible than south Florida politics.

At the same time, the A's owner, real-estate developer Lew Wolff, announced last week he was abandoning his three-year quest to move the team 30 miles south on Interstate 880 to Fremont. Wolff spent $80 million, of which $24 million was non-refundable, exploring construction of a shopping center in Fremont with a 37,000-seat stadium for the A's as the central drawing point.

But Wolff, too, ran into considerable opposition from both the Fremont city bureaucrats and the local merchants and finally concluded his grand vision was doomed. In the opinion of San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ray Ratto, it was a doomed folly from the very beginning. "It was nothing more than a real-estate deal with a baseball team as a hook," wrote Ratto, "and it made less sense than moving the A's back to Philadelphia and exhuming Connie Mack."

"For the past couple of years, we wanted to upgrade our farm system, which had become depleted, to one of the best in the game while freeing up payroll for this year," Beane said by phone Friday. "The key to our success this year will be how our young starting pitchers perform, but we've sought to help them by getting a much-needed offensive upgrade behind them."

After Justin Duchscherer, who led the A's with 10 victories last year, lefty Dana Eveland, who was 9-9 as a rookie in '08, and Sean Gallagher, who came over from the Chicago Cubs in the trading deadline deal for previous team ace Rich Harden, the A's will have a grab bag of young, inexperienced starters from among lefties Gio Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, and Dallas Braden and righty Trevor Cahill - all of whom are rated among the top 25 pitching prospects by various scouting publications.

"I agree that for us to legitimately compete with the Angels, we need at least two of them to come into their own sooner rather than later," said Beane.

As for Holliday, Beane admits, win or lose, the 2007 NL MVP runner-up, is a one-year rental.

"I believe everyone has the responsibility to put your best team on the field," Beane said. "(Holliday) is one of the best players in the game but I know retaining him is not a possibility in this environment. So if we lose him, we either get two first-round picks or have the option of trading him."

Challenging as it has been for Beane to keep the A's viable despite an annual payroll of $50 million or less and attendance of barely 20,000 per game, it has to be discouraging knowing that he is going to have to operate under the same financial constraints for the foreseeable future. Having rebuilt the farm system, the hope was when all these good young players developed, the A's would have their new ballpark and Beane would have the means to retain them.

"It would be nice to have these kids play their entire careers with us," Beane said. "I admit the toughest part for me has been turning over very good players every year. It's not good for fan loyalty seeing all these new jerseys every year. I love what I do. I love developing players. I just wish I could keep them. From that standpoint, it does wear on you a little. Larry Beinfest faces it every year too. Then again, I guess this has been going on throughout the A's history. Before me, Charlie Finley was selling off all his players and before him Connie Mack broke up all those great A's teams in Philadelphia."

But at least Mack and Finley found buyers for the team and, in Mack's case, buyers who could move it. Baseball has run out of places to move struggling franchises and, especially in this economy, who in their right mind would buy either the A's or Marlins with their bleak stadium situations? And just as Wolff, his partner John Fisher and the Marlins' Loria are going to be looking for a way out from under their mounting losses, baseball can't afford to keep dumping revenue-sharing money into hopeless franchises. Like just about every other industry in this country right now, baseball is going to have to take stock of its situation and downsize. There are too many teams in baseball anyway and it makes no sense to continue operating them in places that can't or won't support them.

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fred
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posted March 24, 2009 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message

Strasburg is on the all-time fastest track

By Steve Henson, Yahoo! Sports 5 hours, 49 minutes ago
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SAN DIEGO – The radar gun blinks wildly. It’s not used to this. No one makes it strain to read out a third digit. It looks like binary code, not the speed of a pitch from a 20-year-old kid: 101.

It keeps showing up, 101 again and again, and as scouts peek at the number, they ask aloud what everyone else in the baseball world wonders: Will Stephen Strasburg someday throw a baseball harder than anyone has before?

Two men holding radar guns as well as his pitching coach said he has touched 103 mph this season. Only three others have done that, and all were major league relief pitchers, not juniors in college. Strasburg is a starter for San Diego State, and his velocity levels off in triple digits, something never seen, not from Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson or any of the modern fireballers since the advent of the radar gun.

So it’s no surprise that Strasburg is dominating college like no pitcher ever has. He has 74 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings, meaning only 29 outs have come via batted ball. He fanned 23 batters in one game last year, and in seven outings with Team USA last summer, culminating with the Beijing Olympics, he struck out 62 in 41 innings.

And the stories about standing 60 feet away from Strasburg, apocryphal though they may seem, are more of the horror variety even if they sound comedic. His catcher, Erik Castro, tells of the time he thought a changeup was coming and Strasburg went fastball. Decapitation was barely averted.

“You feel fortunate when you make contact,” said Rance Roundy of UNLV, who had an opposite-field single and only one strikeout in three at-bats against Strasburg.

“He’s that overpowering.”

The day after a recent outing – he had 15 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings against BYU on Friday – Strasburg leaned back in the dugout and marveled at the rapidity of his rise. How he went from an immature, overweight high school senior ignored by every major league team to the most coveted amateur player ever in three short years. How in another three months he’ll have super-agent Scott Boras negotiating on his behalf the largest contract ever given to a ballplayer out of the draft.

Executives believe the asking price for the Washington Nationals, who hold the first overall pick, will start at $15 million. It’s even been suggested that Boras could pull a fast one and attempt to destroy the draft slotting system by shooting for a deal that essentially would treat Strasburg as a front-of-the-rotation starter before he’s thrown a professional pitch.

Just like teams pay for home run power, they pony up huge money for power pitchers who can sniff 100 mph. Strasburg sits there, a red and black cap pulled low on his head, and when asked to contemplate the prospect of throwing a baseball faster than anyone in history, he can’t help himself. A smile begins to creep over his face.

Only then he shows he’s more than a hard thrower. He’s becoming a pitcher, so he delivers a curve.

“No,” he said, the smile suddenly gone. “I don’t think about that at all.”

How can’t he? The only pitch ever clocked faster than 103 mph was a 104.8 mph fastball by Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya on Oct. 10, 2006, in the American League Championship Series. Mark Wohlers and Matt Anderson are the only other pitchers known to have touched 103 mph on a radar gun, and each did it once.

If Strasburg knows anything about Zumaya, Wohlers or Anderson, he doesn’t let on. If he realizes that none of them accomplished much more than a record reading on a radar gun, he doesn’t say. Zumaya is out again with another injury in a never-ending string. Wohlers lost his control and flamed out quickly. Anderson, the first pick in the 1997 draft, lost his velocity and career to a bum shoulder.

No wonder talking about his fastball is uncomfortable for Strasburg. He knows pitching involves so much more. Besides, what on earth could possibly speak for itself more definitively than his crackling heater? Ambiguous it is not. If one day it becomes a pinnacle of human achievement, something noted by Guinness and baseball historians, the feat won’t have required anything more from him than a windup, a delivery and a follow-through. Words would be superfluous.

“The scary thing is he could develop a little more velocity in the next couple of years,” said a scout from a National League team. “He absolutely could be recognized as the fastest pitcher ever, at least since pitches have been clocked.

Any hitter bracing only for Strasburg’s fastball is set up for failure, however. His breaking pitch – a cross between a slider and curveball – is jelly to the fastball’s peanut butter. He often gets ahead in the count with the fastball then puts hitters away with the 86-mph hook.

“It’s got curveball action and slider velocity,” San Diego State pitching coach Rusty Filter said. “Stephen has an idea how to pitch. He’s not a thrower.”

Unlike almost everything else young and fast, Strasburg is rarely wild. In 210 innings of college and international competition since 2006, he’s walked only 45 batters while striking out 316. He’s a strike-throwing strikeout artist, the rarest of commodities.

“A challenge for him is to hit more bats and keep his pitch count down,” Filter said. “That should happen naturally as he moves on to pro ball.”

Strasburg wasn’t always in such fast company. He’d been at San Diego State all of a week in 2006 and he was doubled over in the corner of the dugout, heaving and vomiting after a routine conditioning workout.

Tony Gwynn, the Hall of Famer and the Aztecs’ coach, shook his head. The sorry spectacle confirmed everything he feared about the freshman pitcher. Filter had convinced Gwynn to give a scholarship to Strasburg, a local kid nobody else wanted.

One thought kept coming back to Gwynn: How can somebody who throws so hard be so soft?

Sure, Strasburg could throw 91 mph, but he was a good 30 pounds overweight. He couldn’t run a few laps without getting sick. He didn’t know how to bench press. The school’s conditioning coach nicknamed him “Slothburg” and told him he ought to quit on the spot.

Questions arose off the field as well. After five days living in a dormitory, Strasburg moved back with his mother, who had recently purchased a house near the campus to help care for Strasburg’s grandmother.

“I wasn’t the most mature guy out of high school, and moving to my mom’s gave me a place to sleep and relax,” Strasburg said. “The dorm was an overload, too much, too soon.”

PhotoFamed “Guitar Hero” victim Joel Zumaya leads a group of flame-throwing pitchers. Here’s an unofficial list of the hardest tosses.
(Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Fast company
Team MPH Year Age
Joel Zumaya Detroit Tigers 104 2006 21
Stephen Strasburg San Diego State 103 2009 20
Matt Anderson Detroit Tigers 103 1998 22
Mark Wohlers Atlanta Braves 103 1995 25
Aroldis Chapman Team Cuba 102 2008 21
Matt Lindstrom Florida Marlins 102 2007 27
Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers 102 2007 24
Bobby Jenks Chicago White Sox 102 2006 25
Randy Johnson Arizona D’backs 102 2004 40
Armando Benitez N.Y. Mets 102 2002 29

Easily overwhelmed. That was becoming the label. During high school games he would melt down at the slightest provocation.

“I had a hard time handling anything that would go wrong, whether it was a call, a bad hop, an error, a guy hitting the ball hard,” he said. “I beat myself up. Anything negative would carry over. High school was the dark ages for me.”

Credit Filter with seeing a glimmer of light. Strasburg had a 4.37 grade-point average at nearby West Hills High, so he was a smart kid. He had a live arm despite his woeful conditioning. Filter convinced Gwynn that Strasburg had an upside, that he was worth a gamble.

“After two months on campus he went from 6-foot-3, 255, to 6-5, 225,” Gwynn said. “His was killing it in the weight room. His fastball went from 91 mph to 97. It happened that quick.”

The ascent hasn’t abated. Strasburg was a closer as a freshman, a starter as a sophomore and the only collegiate player on the U.S. Olympic team last summer. His fastball hit 100 mph for the first time last year, and now it exceeds that barrier in nearly every outing.

In a recent outing, Strasburg struck out the side in the first inning, then gave up two opposite-field singles on fastballs to begin the second. Time to adjust: He struck out the next three hitters, all with his breaking ball.

“It’s fun to watch a guy out there with that kind of stuff thinking his way through at-bats and having a plan,” Gwynn said. “You can see him figuring it out on the mound.”

No one ever doubted Strasburg’s brains. His GPA is close to 4.0, and even though he’s a junior, he’ll need only 12 units for a bachelor’s degree in public administration by summer because he accumulated so many Advanced Placement credits in high school.

Yet when it comes to numbers, the ones that measure his velocity and academic progress will pale in comparison to those representing the dollars he will ask from the major league team that drafts him.

The largest guaranteed contract for a draft pick was a $10.5 million, five-year deal the Chicago Cubs gave USC pitcher Mark Prior in 2001. First baseman Mark Teixeira – a Boras client – got a $9.5 million contract that same year. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, the first pick in 2007 out of Vanderbilt, signed a six-year, $11.5 million deal that included an $8.5 million guarantee. Sour economy notwithstanding, Boras will try to shatter those numbers.

The Nationals, with the first pick, have scouted Strasburg extensively. Acting general manager Mike Rizzo plays coy, suggesting that the Nationals could pick someone other than Strasburg, but the consensus among executives is that Washington has little choice but to cough up the exorbitant sum Boras will demand. The team lacks a drawing card. The Nationals were outbid for Teixeira during the offseason. Last year’s first-round pick, Aaron Crow, didn’t sign because of a squabble over a few hundred thousand dollars.

The Nationals have told San Diego State officials that their scouts have clocked Strasburg at 103 mph. Yet they won’t say so publicly, perhaps fearing the information will only inflate his price. Asked to confirm the 103 mph readout, a Nationals spokesman checked with top brass and replied via email, “We’re gonna take a pass on this one. Thanks for reaching out.”

If the Nationals don’t take Strasburg out of sheer Boras-phobia, the Seattle Mariners, who pick second, certainly will. The San Diego Padres draft third and they’ve already come to terms with having no shot at the hometown boy.

“There’s no guarantee drafting pitchers, but barring injury, he is as close to a surefire top-of-the-rotation starter as I’ve seen,” one scouting director said. “And that’s the hardest role to fill without going out and paying $100 million on the free-agent market.”

The leverage is with Strasburg. He could create more by holding out until moments before the Aug. 15 signing deadline or threatening to play in an independent league or returning to San Diego State, classic Boras tricks. For now, he’d rather just continue to rear back and fire.

“It’s tough to get it out of my head when people bring it up all the time, but it’ll take care of itself,” Strasburg said. “I’m going day to day and trying not to think about that stuff.”

Strasburg knows he’s the heat of the moment, that his velocity is on the minds of every batter he faces. Don’t get him wrong. He understands the allure of velocity, the bigger, better, faster, stronger ethos that runs professional sports. Knock 5 mph off his fastball and knock $5 million off his asking price.

Strasburg understands, too, that velocity alone will not lead to enshrinement in the Hall of Fame alongside his coach. The list of pitchers who have had fastballs recorded 102 mph or higher confirms that flamethrowing often equates to flaming out.

Only Randy Johnson and Justin Verlander are major league starters. There are eight relievers and 21-year-old left-hander Aroldis Chapman, who pitches for the Cuban national team and hit 100 mph in a World Baseball Classic loss to Japan. Chapman was clocked at 102 mph earlier this year.

Radar guns never caught Ryan faster than 100.9 mph. Walter Johnson and Bob Feller are considered the hardest throwers of the pre-gun era, and it’s impossible to quantify their fastest pitches. Feller once threw a pitch alongside a speeding motorcycle that was approximated at an impossible-to-verify 104 mph. The pitcher widely acknowledged to have thrown harder than anyone in modern baseball history, Steve Dalkowski, never made it to the big leagues because of wildness.

The hardest throwers pitch from a precipice. They are always one delivery away from a catastrophic injury, something tearing in their shoulder or elbow, a direct result of their singular prowess. Mark Prior, the last golden-armed, can’t-miss product from San Diego, hasn’t pitched in more than two years because of injuries.

If Strasburg thinks about any of that, it doesn’t show in his day-to-day routine. He loves golf and unwinds at night by putting into a glass in his bedroom. Although his diet has improved since high school, he devours fast-food chicken sandwiches. And he cracks the books more than a player soon to become an instant millionaire needs to.

Strasburg, it seems, wants to separate himself. Not just from every other college pitcher – he’s already done that. No, he wants something beyond the Zumaya, Wohlers and Anderson numbers. Something beyond their fate.

“When I came here I wanted to prove I wasn’t soft, that I was a bulldog,” he said. “Now I want to leave behind a tradition, that this school is somewhere a player can come to develop, and to win.

“I’ll have more to prove later. I understand that. Maybe if I keep the same approach and just pitch, just get batters out and not worry about the other stuff, I can keep doing this for a long time.”

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fred
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posted April 09, 2009 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Angels rookie Adenhart killed in hit-and-run crash

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and two other people were killed Thursday when a minivan ran a red light and struck their sports car, authorities said.

Adenhart, 22, died after undergoing surgery, University of California, Irvine Medical Center spokesman John Murray said.

A fourth person remained hospitalized in critical condition.

Adenhart, of Silver Spring, Md., was the Angels’ No. 3 starter. He threw six scoreless innings Wednesday night in his fourth major-league start and first of the season. Oakland won the game 6-4.

Adenhart and three other people were in a silver Mitsubishi that was struck shortly before 12:30 a.m. by a minivan that ran a red light and also hit another vehicle, police said.

The sports car struck a light pole, killing three people inside.

Police Lt. Craig Brower said the minivan driver fled the crash scene and was captured a short time later. The driver was arrested and booked for investigation of felony hit-and-run.

Adenhart, a right-hander, earned a spot in the starting rotation on an injury-plagued Angels staff by impressing manager Mike Scioscia late in spring training.

The pitcher made his major league debut May 1 of last year, also against Oakland. He made two other starts, getting his only decision in a victory over the Chicago White Sox on May 12. He was 37-28 in the minor leagues from 2005-08, including 9-13 last year at Triple-A Salt Lake.

There was to be a moment of silence before the start of the Texas Rangers’ home game against the Cleveland Indians.

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fred
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posted June 15, 2009 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Why I mostly support Bryce Harper's decision to skip high school

By 'Duk

When big Bryce Harper made the cover of Sports Illustrated two weeks ago, I knew we'd soon again be hearing from the 16-year-old 'chosen one.'

But not quite this soon.

On Sunday, the sophomore from Las Vegas found his way into national headlines again when his father told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Bryce will forgo his final two years of high school and use a GED to enroll in a community college this August. Though it more or less makes a mockery of our education system, the Harpers' plan would make Bryce eligible for the 2010 draft, where he could conceivably be the Nationals' No. 1 pick and eventually join forces with Stephen Strasburg to save Washington baseball from itself.

It's a controversial decision, to be sure, but Ron Harper says he and his son are prepared to hear from the inevitable haters:

"There are going to be critics. I can't worry about what people think," Ron Harper said. "People are going to see what they want to see and say what they want to say. I think this prepares him for life, playing the game of baseball.

"People question your parenting and what you're doing. Honestly, we don't think it's that big a deal. He's not leaving school to go work in a fast-food restaurant. Bryce is a good kid. He's smart, and he's going to get his education."

From my viewpoint, I'm not going to act like a truant officer on Harper's decision when viewed in a vacuum. It's quite clear that Harper has loads of talent, lives to play baseball and has been groomed to play professional baseball ever since he and his family realized that he was much better than everyone else. It's obvious he has that physical attributes to succeed and he'd be drafted in two years anyway, so why delay the inevitable? Is an 18-year-old really that much better equipped to handle the pressures of grand expectations than a 16-year-old? As much as people will want to say that Harper should stay in school like a normal kid, the truth is that whatever normal life he had disappeared the minute he showed up on the cover of a magazine at homes across the country.

Plus, in an age when tennis and golf prodigies leave their families for top-flight academies before the age of 10 and future basketball studs are identified in the sixth grade, what's the problem with Harper setting out on a very defined career path? Being the top pick in the draft could net him $20 million or more, so making a play while the chips are on his side is just simply a smart move — especially in the volatile world of baseball talent.

The problem I do have with it, though, is that there are no doubt thousands of delusional parents who will see this news and think that maybe it's a viable path for their nowhere-near-as-talented sons and daughters. While the Harpers can't make their decision based on what other lemmings might do, I hope the door closes behind them.

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indiedan
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posted June 26, 2009 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Live Baseball Comes To The Iphone

26 June 2009 12:42 PM, PDT

It may be hard to track the ball on such a small screen, but Major League Baseball said Thursday that it has begun streaming live baseball to owners of Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices. The webcasts -- two games each day chosen by Mlb -- will be made available free to the 7 million users of Mlb's $9.99 At Bat "app." Later, it indicated, it will begin to roll out every game played in the two major leagues, although by then it is expected that it will start charging users. The At Bat application will also allow viewers to pause and rewind plays, as if the device were a DVR.

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indiedan
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posted July 14, 2009 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
All-Star Game Is Dream Come True For Hamm

14 July 2009 12:11 PM, PDT

Actor Jon Hamm will fulfil a childhood dream on Tuesday night when he takes part in a celebrity softball game in his native Missouri - because he'll get to play on the same soil as his beloved baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mad Men star will join fellow fan Billy Bob Thornton, The Office actress Jenna Fischer and rappers Nelly and Chingy for the All-Star Legends and Celebrities Softball Game at Busch Stadium.

Hamm admits he cannot wait - because the huge honour will be a dream come true.

He says, "Oh my God. I've always been a huge Cardinals fan. I remember going to the World Series in '82, '85 and '87, and this is amazing. The fact that the All-Star Game is in St. Louis and that I'm playing here this week, it's all pretty cool. I would have come for the game anyway."

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fred
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posted August 21, 2009 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Cubs, Wrigley Field sold to billionaire Ricketts
Tom Ricketts is diehard fan who met wife in bleachers of legendary park
The Associated Press
updated 2:14 p.m. PT, Fri., Aug 21, 2009
CHICAGO - Tribune Co. has reached a long-awaited definitive agreement to sell the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field to the billionaire Ricketts family.

The announcement came Friday, nearly 2 1/2 years after the marquee baseball franchise and historic ballpark were put up for sale. Tribune said it is selling all but a 5 percent stake, for about $845 million.

The Ricketts family founded online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. and was led in the Cubs bid by Chicago investment banker Tom Ricketts, the son of company founder Joe Ricketts.

Tom Ricketts is a die-hard Cubs fan who met his wife in the bleachers at Wrigley Field.

The sale includes a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which broadcasts many Cubs games. It must still be approved by Major League Baseball.

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fred
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posted October 06, 2009 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message

Police look into fight involving Tigers 1B Cabrera

By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER, Associated Press Writer Oct 5, 6:38 pm EDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (AP)—Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera(notes) was drunk—three times above Michigan’s legal limit for driving, according to police—between two key games over the weekend as his team was trying to win the American League Central title.

The 26-year-old Venezuelan first baseman was taken to a police station Saturday after arriving at his suburban Detroit home at 5 a.m. and getting into a fight with his wife, Birmingham Police Chief Richard Patterson said.

Cabrera went 0-for-4 and stranded six runners in a 5-1 loss to Chicago on Saturday night, a game that started about 12 hours after Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski picked him up at the station.

On Friday night, Cabrera had gone 0-for-4 and left four runners on base in an 8-0 loss to the White Sox. Cabrera went hitless in three at-bats on Sunday, a 5-3 Tigers win.
In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009, photo, Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera(notes) is seen in the dugout before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Detroit. Cabrera was taken to a police station over the weekend after getting into a fight with his wife at their suburban Detroit home when he came home drunk, authorities said Monday. Birmingham Police Chief Richard Patterson said Rosangel Cabrera called 911 at 6 a.m. Saturday, requesting police assistance. An alcohol test found that Miguel Cabrera was at three times the legal limit for driving, police said.
In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009, …
AP - Oct 5, 4:32 pm EDT
In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009, …
AP - Oct 5, 4:32 pm EDT

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Detroit finished the regular season tied with the Twins for first place in the American League Central. The teams will play Tuesday in Minnesota, with the winner advancing to the playoffs.

Dombrowski had no comment when contacted Monday by The Associated Press.

“I have had a conversation with Miguel,” the Detroit GM wrote in an e-mail over the weekend. “It is a personal situation, and I am not at liberty to discuss it further.”

Cabrera, who hit .323 with 33 home runs and 101 RBIs this year, is in the second season of an eight-year, $152.3 million contract.

“There was an incident that took place on Saturday, and it is a personal matter,” Cabrera said in a written statement released Monday by the Tigers. “I am sorry this has become a distraction, and I apologize to the Tigers, my teammates, and all of the fans. I would appreciate it if you would respect my family’s privacy as I prepare for our next game.”

No charges will be filed, and both Cabreras refused medical attention, Patterson said.

“We determined that they both contributed to the domestic assault,” the chief said. “It was minor in nature. They did have some marks on their faces. We could not determine who the aggressor was.”

Patterson said Rosangel Cabrera called 911 at 6 a.m. Saturday, requesting police assistance.

According to a police report, Miguel Cabrera “suffered an injury to the left side of his face” and his wife “suffered an injury to her lower lip.” Miguel Cabrera’s gold neck chain was broken and a cell phone was damaged.

His wife “was upset when Miguel came home intoxicated, woke up their child and was talking on the phone,” the report says.

Rosangel Cabrera asked that her husband leave the house, so officers took him to the police station, Patterson said. Cabrera was administered a breath test by police and registered a 0.26 blood-alcohol reading, the chief said. The legal limit for Michigan drivers is 0.08.

“Mr. Cabrera was very uncooperative and highly intoxicated,” the police report says.

Cabrera, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, was picked up at the station by Dombrowski around 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Patterson said officers also investigated an incident involving Cabrera earlier this year at the Townsend Hotel, which is a common destination for visiting professional sports teams.

That time, Patterson said, Cabrera got into an argument with a young man, telling him he was “overweight and needed to work out.”

Another person at the bar took offense to Cabrera’s comments and called police, who investigated. No charges were filed.

“It was a nothing incident,” Patterson said.

AP Sports Writer Larry Lage contributed to this report.

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indiedan
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posted October 15, 2009 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
With teams in some of America's biggest cities playing in Major League Baseball's Division Series last week, TBS was able to claim the biggest ratings in its 33-year history. The cable network averaged 5.4 million viewers, up 11 percent from the comparable period a year ago. Nearly half of those viewers -- 2.5 million -- were in the Adults 18-49 demographic. As expected, the most-watched series was the one between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees, which averaged 6.6 million viewers. TBS and Fox will share coverage of the National and American League Championship Series beginning on Thursday. The figures, however, paled in comparison with the 21.8 million who tuned into ESPN's Monday Night Football game between the Packers and Viking, which drew 21.8 million viewers, biggest audience for any program in cable-TV history.

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cruzjennifergirl
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posted July 04, 2010 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cruzjennifergirl   Click Here to Email cruzjennifergirl     Edit/Delete Message
Ferne check http://usmlereview.net for Maddy's USMLE prep.

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