Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Take a look back at highlights of
Chipper Jones' farewell tour will reach a new level when he reaches New York, where he routinely has tortured the Mets over the years.
Foley's Pub and Restaurant, a popular Manhattan watering hole for sports types, will rename itself "Chipper's" when the Braves visit from Sept. 7 to 9.
Foley's also will serve "chips" (french fries) in 10 different ways in honor of Chipper's No. 10.
Final journey
Atlanta Braves' switch-hitting third baseman Chipper Jones, who turns 40 later this month, has announced he will retire after the 2012 season. Take a look back at his career highlights in a Braves uniform.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jason Getz - AP Images

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tall Tale: Origin of the Pesky Pole Feeds Red Sox Lore

[Jim Davis/The Boston Globe]
Mel Parnell, a former pitcher and
broadcaster, is believed to have
invented some Red Sox history.
By Peter May
New York Times
August 14, 2012

The truth is, no one really knows exactly how — or why — the right-field foul pole in Fenway Park came to be known as the Pesky Pole. The truth, too, is that no one was really giving the subject that much thought until Johnny Pesky died on Monday at age 92 after seven decades with the Boston Red Sox as a player, manager, coach, broadcaster and beloved baseball ambassador.
But his death created some curiosity — after all, it is not as if numerous foul poles in other major league stadiums are named after people living or dead. So why Pesky?
The answer, or what passes for one, probably has something to do with Mel Parnell, a former Red Sox pitcher and broadcaster and teammate of Pesky's who is believed to have coined the term, or at least popularized it, while doing color commentary on radio and television broadcasts for the team in the 1960s.
It is part of baseball folklore that Parnell was inspired to name the pole in Pesky's honor because the former Red Sox shortstop, a good hitter with little power, once hit a game-winning home run that curled around the pole. And that the home run — Pesky hit all of 13 in his seven-plus seasons in Boston, and just 6 at Fenway — made Parnell the winning pitcher.
"That makes for an interesting story, but it isn't true," Dick Bresciani, the Red Sox's vice president-emeritus and team historian, said Tuesday. "The real origin is unknown, but Parnell is involved. It just took on a life of its own over the years."
"We know Mel said it," Bresciani said of Parnell. "But there's a lot of mystique as to what he really meant. You can't really put a finger on it and, in a way, I suppose that makes it even more intriguing a story."
Pesky and Parnell were teammates in Boston from 1947 until Pesky was traded to Detroit in June 1952. But it was not until Parnell became a Red Sox broadcaster that the term Pesky Pole became part of the Red Sox lexicon. Parnell apparently never elaborated much on the topic — at least not for publication — and he died in March at 89.
The Red Sox officially named the pole after Pesky on Sept. 27, 2006, his 87th birthday. This was some 40-plus years after Parnell became a Boston broadcaster and talked of the Pesky Pole and more than 60 years after the Red Sox owner Thomas Yawkey reconfigured the right-field line to make it more homer-friendly for a young Ted Williams.
As a result, the distance to the foul pole was reduced to 302 feet from 325, making it an easy home run if the ball is hit down the line.
One theory is that Parnell coined the term to poke fun at Pesky, and his utter lack of power. But is it possible that Pesky actually hit a home run or two around the pole?
"It's an open question," said the Vermont-based author Glenn Stout, who wrote "Fenway 1912," an account of Boston's first season at Fenway Park.
"In the end, however, it doesn't really matter," Stout added. "If this gives us another reason to remember and appreciate Johnny Pesky, so much the better."
In doing research for his book, Stout said he did not come across another park that had named a foul pole in someone's honor. Not that it matters, either, in Stout's opinion.
"There's only one foul pole that has a name," he said. "Any other is just an homage to the original."
Parnell's first year in the broadcast booth came the year after Pesky finished the second of his two years as the manager of the Red Sox. When Parnell left the booth after the 1968 season, he was replaced by Pesky, who, as far as can be determined, never attached Parnell's name to a piece of Fenway.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gary Carter's 'f-bomb' defines discretion

Newsday Editorial
August 14, 2012

Language constantly changes to keep up with the evolution of society.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary got its annual face-lift Tuesday, amending previous definitions and adding about 100 new words, including "e-reader," "flexitarian" and "sexting."

The most attention-grabbing addition came straight from these pages 24 years ago in a quotation by then-Mets player Gary Carter. [Editor: Gary Carter died on February 16, 2012 of brain cancer]

The catcher, known for avoiding profanity, was explaining to Newsday reporter Steven Marcus how in earlier years he had indeed used foul language when ejected from games. "That was when I still used the f-bomb," he said.

Carter could have stuck with the derivative, but instead found a cleaner way to say a dirty thing.

"F-bomb" found its way into lexicon and was later used in headlines across the country to describe the foul-mouthed utterings of the likes of politicians Dick Cheney and Joe Biden. Now it has wandered into the pages of the nation's most popular dictionary.

Additions to the 114-year-old compendium often include technological and scientific terms, along with popular slang and cultural references. The edition will include altered definitions to better depict our depressing economic times, revising "underwater" to include the deflating discovery that you owe more on a mortgage than your property is worth.

Everything is in constant change, and language must stay with the times.

Now watch what you say -- you may change the dictionary one day.

This NEWSDAY article was
originally published on Aug. 11, 1988

Photo credit: AP | Gary Carter, who played for the Mets from 1985-1989,
was a fan favorite after he homered to win his first game as a Met at Shea
Stadium. The enthusiastic “Kid” was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003.
CHICAGO – Is there baseball life for Gary Carter after his catching days are over?

Possibly. Carter, in an unscheduled but rousing audition, has shown he can be an effective pinch hitter. In fact, two more pinch hits will tie him with Lee Mazzilli for the team lead.

Carter was 0-for-his-last-10 years as a pinch hitter until this season. Suddenly, he is 4-for-5 with four RBI. "It's definitely a specialty that not everybody can do," Carter said. "Rusty [Staub] was outstanding, Manny Mota - Greg Gross has made a career of it. Don't think it's easy."

Carter said his 0-for-27 start at pinch hitting comes with an explanation. "In the past, whenever I was given time off, it was to nurse an injury or I desperately needed the time off," he said, meaning he came up as a pinch hitter in less than prime condition. The successful pinch hitters have found their art to be a career extender. While Carter, 34, does not see the end of his regular playing days for several years, he seems intrigued by the thought of pinch hitting for a living some day. "I could," he said, "but I don't know if that's quite in store for me."

Curses from an ump
Carter rarely uses profanity, so he was taken aback when umpire Greg Bonin leveled some on him in the seventh inning Monday night in Pittsburgh. Carter was called out on strikes and told Bonin he thought the pitch was outside. "He started cursing me and said I accused him of being a liar," Carter said. "After he started cursing, I walked away and I said, 'Why are you cursing at me?' He said, 'I talk like that.' I said, 'OK, guttermouth.' " Carter said he has been thrown out only twice in the majors, both times by Eric Gregg. "That was when I used to use the F-bomb."

Shedding light
Some players have a dim view of the new lights at Wrigley Field. "You can't say they were major-league standard compared to the other ballparks," Cubs rightfielder Andre Dawson said.

Mets leftfielder Kevin McReynolds offered an even less glowing assessment. "It kind of reminded me of playing in the minor leagues," he said. "The lighting wasn't that good."

While Wrigley has come out of the dark ages, it is still light years away from offering the modern conveniences fans have come to expect at other ballparks. There are no elevators, so elderly fans must trudge up steep cement runways to reach their seats in the upper deck. The scoreboard is still run manually, and there is no DiamondVision to see a replay of a great play.

Doc's record eaten up
One of Dwight Gooden's long-standing records has fallen. Gooden once consumed eight Philadelphia steak-and-cheese sandwiches during a three-day series in 1986. Vinny Greco, the Mets' assistant equipment manager, downed nine on the last visit to Philadelphia. "I went after Dwight's record. He's my eating idol," Greco said.

A prime-time rating
The Nielsen rating for Monday's rainout on WGN, which carries the Cubs' games, was the second-highest ever for the station. The game had an average of a 24.3 rating and 39 share. A rating point equals 30,000 households, and the share is the percentage of sets that are in use and tuned into the event.

Tuesday night's rating of 9.8 was the highest for a prime-time, regular-season baseball game since 1986, when ABC recorded a 10.4 for a Monday night telecast featuring the Yankees-Angels and Red Sox-Rangers. The Cubs-Mets game was also NBC's highest rating for a prime-time, regular-season game since 1983, when a Yankees-Brewers game drew a 10.4.

A skimpy sellout
The Mets are amused by the Cubs' continual reference to sold out Wrigley Field. The Cubs drew 36,399 to Tuesday's first "official" night game. The Mets are averaging more than 38,000 fans at home.

Exclamation points

Carter, on his quest to hit his 300th home run: "Even if I never hit another one, I'll still have 299."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Before Baseball Left Brooklyn, Koufax Left Basketball

[Michael Temchine for The New York Times]
Burt Abramowitz, 76, played basketball with
Sandy Koufax and Fred Wilpon at Lafayette High
School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, in the mid-1950's.
August 14, 2012
by Richard Sandomir
New York Times

Sandy Koufax’s sports odyssey took him from a muscular, leaping center for the Lafayette High School basketball team in Brooklyn to left-handed bonus baby for the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Hall of Fame as one of the most dynamic pitchers in baseball history.

His path from basketball to baseball was the reverse of Brooklyn’s better known but tortured major league history: losing the Dodgers in 1957 and, 55 years later, gaining the Nets, whose first season in the borough is to start Nov. 1.

Regardless, Koufax now stands as a link between the two sports. He is, after all, one of Brooklyn’s most famous athletes, and the fact that he was a talented basketball player first and foremost gives the Nets’ arrival just a little more heft, as if it had all been preordained all those years ago.

When the 6-foot 2-inch Koufax graduated from Lafayette High School in 1953, his yearbook declared that he “has been scouted and will most likely be a professional basketball player.” The N.B.A. was a backwater in the mid-1950s, but Koufax’s friend, the talk-show host Larry King, class of ’51 and team manager from an earlier Lafayette class, said that Koufax aspired to play for the Knicks.

Yes, Koufax also played baseball at the time, manning first base for the school team, but he was not much of a hitter. And no one had any premonition that he would become the pitcher that he did.

Instead, it was mostly basketball. In a Lafayette team photo, Koufax, No. 16, his biceps rippling, stands smiling beside his pal Fred Wilpon, No. 5, the future owner of the Mets and star pitcher on the baseball team. The Frenchies at the time were nearly all Jewish: Abramowitz, Weiss, Levine, Stolzenberg, Horwitz, Lichtman, Lichtenstein. And Koufax, whose yearbook entry featured these rather modest goals: “To be successful and make my family proud of me.”

Koufax and his friends played in the school gymnasium, with protective padding on the walls that were just a few feet behind the baskets; in Bensonhurst at the nearby Jewish Community House, “the J”; or in schoolyards. Jerry Doren, one of the Frenchies, said, “You practically slept with the basketball.” He paused, then added, “They were the best years of my life.”

Joel Comiteau, whose surname was originally Comito, said: “It was like Princeton basketball. Nice teamwork, give-and-gos and back doors.”

Lafayette had a decent team in the early 1950s. It competed against Brooklyn public high schools like Lincoln, Madison, Jefferson, New Utrecht and Erasmus. Koufax, now 76, was not the best high school basketball player in Brooklyn at the time but he set himself apart on his team as its star. And as he and his teammates head toward 80, and the Nets’ era in Brooklyn nears, they relish talking about him.

“Sandy was an incredible athlete,” said Burt Abramowitz, a real estate broker in Maryland. “When he was 14 he had these muscles. He didn’t lift weights. No one did back then. We lifted radiators. And he could jump like a kangaroo. I’d play on the second team and we’d guard each other and he said, ‘If I could shoot like you, I’d be in the N.B.A.’ I’d say: ‘Give me your legs. I’d start in the N.B.A.’ ”

Abramowitz added: “We used to say he was the white Sihugo Green,” who years before had been an African-American star at Boys High School in Brooklyn.

“We called him the Jewish Li’l Abner,” said another teammate, Martin Stolzenberg.

Asher Jagoda, who later changed his surname to Dann when he became an actor, said: “He could leap, boy, and you know the size of his hands. He’s the only one who could hold the ball in one hand.”

Doren remembered that Koufax “looked like a David even when he wasn’t working out.”

More prosaically, Comiteau said: “He was a regular guy. A mensch. Always a mensch.”

In February 1953, a Koufax legend was born, not one as grand as his perfect game at Dodger Stadium in 1965 against the Chicago Cubs but one that came alive inside Lafayette High School on a winter’s night when a group of Knicks, including Harry Gallatin, staged a clinic at the school, in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn. Jane Leavy, in her book “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy,” described a scene that featured a packed gymnasium and Lafayette’s cheerleaders “in full pompomed confection.”

Said Comiteau: “That was one of the highlights of my life.”

Sometime that evening, during drills or the scrimmage — depending on who is telling the story — the 6-foot-6 Gallatin, nicknamed the Horse, tried to dunk. Twice, he failed.

“Well, I needed a step stool to dunk the ball,” Gallatin said by telephone from Edwardsville, Ill. “That wasn’t in my repertoire.” According to Leavy, Lafayette Coach Frank Rabinowitz, apparently eager to show off the 17-year-old Koufax, gestured to him to demonstrate just how a dunk was done.

Koufax threw it down once, left-handed, then Rabinowitz asked for an encore. Koufax obliged.

“He surprised the heck out of me, and I said, ‘Who is this kid?’ ” Gallatin said. “I thought the kid had some special skills. He had real big hands, but he had stumps for legs, which I think is probably one of the reasons he pitched so well.”

Abramowitz believed that during the scrimmage another Knick, maybe Nat (Sweetwater) Clifton, teased Gallatin that Koufax was outrebounding him during the scrimmage and showing him up.

The New York Post, which covered the clinic, reported that Gallatin was so impressed by Koufax that he told Rabinowitz: “We’ll be coming back for this kid some day.” Gallatin never saw Koufax again but he said, “I read that he called me his favorite player.”

Koufax ended up going to the University of Cincinnati, where he walked on to the basketball team and got a partial scholarship, Leavy wrote. Back home in Brooklyn on Christmas break, Koufax surprised Stolzenberg when he told him that baseball was now his focus. (Koufax was 3-1, with a 2.81 earned run average, for the Bearcats in 1954.)

“I saw him on 36th Street in Bensonhurst,” Stolzenberg said, “and I asked him, ‘How are you doing at school, Sandy?’ and he said, ‘I’ve been playing fall baseball, and Cincinnati, the Dodgers and Pittsburgh are interested in me.’ I nodded my head, said uh-huh, and I went around the neighborhood saying, ‘Sandy is out of his mind; he thinks he’s going to be a baseball player.’ ”

Through the years, some of his high school teammates have stayed in touch with him, although a recent reunion in Delray Beach, Fla., went on without him, Comiteau said.

“Guys hugging, kissing, crying,” he said.

Meanwhile, his old teammates still summon the memories of the moments after high school when Koufax was present — at restaurants, Final Fours, a grandson’s soccer game or a long-ago Dodgers game. Sid Young recalled how Koufax occasionally joined pickup basketball games in the Los Angeles area in the late 1960s with some Lafayette teammates who had gone west like the Dodgers. But autograph-seekers turned the gatherings into spectacles.

Young, whose family name was Yallowitz, said, “He held my son at birth in his gigantic hands.” Young, one of Koufax’s closest friends, added: “He stayed at my house when he got divorced.” Abramowitz’s daughter twice contacted Koufax to ask him to call her father on his 65th and 75th birthdays. Abramowitz said, “Last year, he says, ‘Happy birthday, Big Job,’ and then, ‘Would you get your daughter off my back?’ ”

“I remember every time and place I met or spoke with him,” Abramowitz added.

Stolzenberg, who was working in Pittsburgh in the 1960s when the Dodgers and Koufax played the Pirates, said that during a conversation there Koufax asked him: “ ‘Did you get married? Did you marry a Jewish girl?’ ”

Koufax did not respond to requests for an interview for this article, but it is hard to imagine that he is not tickled by the idea that the first major league franchise to return to Brooklyn plays basketball, his original sports passion.

Young and King are trying to establish a more tangible connection between the Lafayette High School of old and the Nets. The two are stockholders in the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. chain and partners in an outlet in Beverly Hills, Calif., and have been negotiating to bring a store to the Nets’ new home, the Barclays Center.

What better than a bagel to help things come full circle?

“When we have breakfast,” Young said, “Larry and I watch ESPN, and they keep saying, ‘Brooklyn Nets.’ We say: ‘Brooklyn Nets? It sounds good. We like it.’ The Brooklyn never goes out of us.”

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bewildering Barters Nothing New For Baseball

Harry Chiti in 1952 at the Polo Grounds
First Player Ever Who Was Traded For Himself 

Seattle PI Staff
May 24, 2006

Strange trades have been with us since Shakespeare's Richard III blurted, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

Oddball sports trades have been with us since 1890, when a minor league baseball club in Canton, Ohio, traded future Hall of Famer Cy Young to Cleveland for a suit of clothes and $250. Ever since, and running through a befuddling swap some years later in which, according to intelligence provided by the Society for American Baseball Research, a first baseman named Jack Fenton was dealt by his San Francisco minor league club for a box of prunes, innumerable sporting barters have crossed the transaction wire.

Among the most flummoxing:

Player traded for himself 1962
In April, the Mets traded catcher Harry Chiti to the Indians for a player to be named later. On June 15, the Mets received the PTBNL, who turned out to be Chiti, making Chiti the first player to be traded for himself (in 1987, in the same sort of scenario, Cubs pitcher Dickie Noles was also traded for himself).

Swapped for stadium rent 1913
When the St. Louis Browns concluded spring workouts, they didn't have enough money to pay the rent they owed on the Montgomery, Ala., ballpark where they'd trained. So they gave the local minor league team a rookie infielder named Clyde Ellsworth "Buzzy" Wares to satisfy the bill.

Traded for an outfield fence 1920
Before he made it to the majors, Lefty Grove pitched for the Martinsburg (W. Va.) Mountaineers. In June, a storm leveled the outfield fence at the town's ballpark. The Baltimore Orioles, then of the International League, agreed to pay the price of a new fence, about $3,500, if Martinsburg would fork over Grove. According to SABR historians, it did.

Traded for oysters 1921
According to Texas League archives, after the Dallas minor league team swapped pitcher Joe Martina to New Orleans in 1921 for two barrels of oysters, he was forever known as "Oyster Joe."

Traded during a doubleheader 1922
On May 30, the Cubs and Cardinals swapped outfielders between games of a twin bill against each other, Chicago sending Max Flack to the Cardinals for Cliff Heathcote. Both had gone hitless in the first game. In the nightcap, Flack, now a Cardinal, went 1-for-4. Heathcote, now a Cub, went 2-for-4. The pair became the first major leaguers to play for two teams on the same day.

Traded for a live turkey 1930
Joe Engel, owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts, developed a reputation as the "Barnum of Baseball" after he assumed ownership of the club in 1929. Among his innumerable stunts: In 1930, he swapped shortstop Johnny Johns for a live turkey.

A manager for an announcer 1960
Cubs owner Phillip K. Wrigley traded his manager, Charlie Grimm, to the Cubs' flagship station, WGN, for radio announcer Lou Boudreau. At the end of the season, Wrigley traded Boudreau back to WGN for Grimm. Instead of reappointing Grimm as manager, Wrigley eliminated the position and installed a "College of Coaches," of which Grimm was one.

Traded for $2,500 worth of pork 1998
A Romanian first division soccer club named "Jiul Petrosani" found itself so strapped for cash that it traded one of its players, midfielder Ion Radu, to a Romanian second division team for $2,500 worth of pork. At the same time, Jiul Petrosani also transferred defenseman Liviu Baicea to another Romanian club for 10 soccer balls.

Traded for a soccer ball 1971
The Kitchener Concordia Kickers of the Canadian National League deemed Istvan Gaal such a pathetic player that they swapped him to the Toronto Hungarians for a soccer ball worth $27.50. Kickers president John Fischer said, "I think it was a very fair trade. We didn't give him away for nothing."

Players swap families 1973
In March, Yankee pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich (a Mariners reliever in 1977) swapped families and houses. Marilyn Peterson, her youngest child and their dog went to live with Kekich. Susanne Kekich, her youngest child and their dog went to live with Peterson. The unusual trade prompted Yankees GM Lee McPhail to declare, "We may have to call off Family Day."

A manager for a player 1976
On Nov. 5, the Pirates traded C Manny Sanguillen to the A's for their manager, Chuck Tanner. The precedent having been set, in 2002 the Mariners allowed Lou Piniella to forgo the final year of his contract so he could become manager of the Devil Rays. In exchange, the D-Rays sent Randy Winn and Antonio Perez to the Mariners.

Traded for a team bus 1983
The Seattle Breakers of the Western Hockey League traded the rights to left-winger Tom Martin to the Victoria Cougars for a team bus. At the time of the swap, Martin was playing at Denver University and had stated that he wished to play in his hometown of Victoria. The Spokane Flyers purchased the bus from Trailways in 1981 for $60,000. When the Spokane franchise folded, the Cougars purchased the bus, but it remained in the United States because Victoria could not afford to pay customs, excise and sales taxes. The Breakers finally obtained the bus for Martin as well as $35,000. "I didn't think much about it at the time," Martin recalled later. "But it was a real nice bus."

Managers traded for each other 1960
On Aug. 3, the fourth-place Indians traded manager Jimmy Dykes straight up to the sixth-place Tigers for their manager, Joe Gordon, marking the only trade in-season of managers in major league history.

The ultimate player to be named later 1985
On Feb. 1, the Cardinals sent SS Jose Gonzales to the Giants in a package that included Dave LaPoint and Dave Green. After the swap, Gonzalez traded his old last name for his mother's maiden name, thereby becoming Jose "Uribe." Giants coach Rocky Bridges aptly noted, "Jose Uribe really is the player to be named later."

A horse for an apartment 1988
Trading for Wayne Gretzky wasn't the only astounding piece of sports commerce consummated by L. A. Kings owner Bruce McNall in 1988. He also traded a racehorse to Donald Trump in exchange for an apartment at The Trump Towers in New York City.

Traded for 12 dozen baseballs 1989
Tom Fortugno pitched for 15 pro teams during his career, among them six major league clubs. He is most remembered for a transaction in which his Reno minor league team sold him to Stockton for 12 dozen baseballs and $2,500.

Traded for 33 pounds of meat 2006
Romanian soccer club UT Arad sold defender Marius Cioara to Regal Horia in exchange for 33 pounds of meat. The deal turned out badly for Regal Horia because Cioara decided to retire. A Regal Horia official told Romania's Pro Sports daily, "We are upset because we lost twice -- firstly because we lost a good player and secondly because we lost our team's food for a whole week."

Traded for a cartoon 2006
As part of the shift of "Monday Night Football" from ABC to ESPN, broadcaster Al Michaels was allowed to jump to NBC in exchange for, among other things, the rights to a cartoon bunny named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt Disney, owners of ABC and ESPN, had created the Oswald cartoon in the 1920s, but NBC owned the rights to the character. Said Michaels: "I'm going to become a trivia question."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

10 years later: J.T. Snow hoists Darren Baker one more time at Giants reunion

Then and now: J.T. Snow and Darren Baker. (AP Photos)
By Mark Townsend, Yahoo Sports
July 2, 2012

One of the enduring images in baseball over the past 10 years has been that of J.T. Snow grabbing and pulling 3-year-old Darren Baker out of harm's way after the San Francisco Giants batboy — and son of their manager at the time, Dusty Baker — wandered too close to the action during Game 5 of the 2002 World Series.

Well, both were on hand at AT&T Park on Sunday afternoon as the Giants celebrated the 10-year anniversary of that team that fell one victory short of a world championship — Dusty was there, too, managing his Cincinnati Reds — and during the pregame ceremonies, Snow and the now 13-year-old Baker decided to reenact their famous moment after the latter threw out the game's ceremonial first pitch.

Needless to say, it was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from the sellout crowd of 42,039.

In addition to Snow and the Bakers' involvement, several other key members of Giants' 20th National League pennant-winning squad were also on hand for the festivities. That includes Jeff Kent, Benito Santiago, Rich Aurilia, Kirk Rueter and, of course, Barry Bonds.

"That team had a great impact, especially on Dusty's son," Barry Bonds said with a laugh Sunday about the 2002 version of the Giants. "Little Darren out there, he was like our good-luck charm. It's good to see him back here, too."

With their good-luck charm close by, San Francisco was nine outs away from capturing that championship 10 years ago in Game 6, until the Angels rallied from a 5-0 deficit to force a Game 7.

The Angels then went on to win that Game 7 behind a dominant pitching performance from John Lackey. But despite that devastating series loss, the 2002 Giants still own the most memorable moment from that series, and perhaps one of the most memorable moments in postseason history, thanks to Darren Baker's innocent enthusiasm and J.T. Snow's remarkably quick thinking.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

When Misty May-Treanor gets gold, Matt Treanor gets emotional

Matt Treanor, Dodgers catcher watches Misty May-Treanor
and Kerri Walsh Jennings' third Olympic gold-medal win via the
Internet at Dodger Stadium. He has to excuse himself after the win

By Dylan Hernandez
Los Angeles Times

August 8, 2012

Matt Treanor had to excuse himself. He walked out of the office at Dodger Stadium where he and the Dodgers training staff were watching his wife celebrate on the sands of London.

Treanor cried.

His wife,
Misty May-Treanor, was an Olympic gold medalist for a third time.

"Honestly, the tears didn't flow right away because there was a bunch of people in the room," Treanor said. "I had to step out of the room. To me, it's a swarming effect. There's all these thoughts and emotions that come into your head. A lot of it is just about Misty and what she wanted to do and what she sacrificed for her to accomplish that."

The backup catcher wasn't ashamed of his reaction.

"I'm an emotional person," Treanor said. "I'm not afraid to cry. I'm not afraid to snap a bat over my neck. That's the way I am, the way I'm built. Irish-Italian doesn't always help either. The funny thing is Misty is kind of the opposite. She doesn't really show emotion that much. She kind of always looks at me when we're watching a sappy movie, waiting for me to shed a tear. She gets a kick out of that."

This was May-Treanor's third gold-medal victory that Treanor had to witness from a distance.

He was a minor leaguer when she and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings won their first gold medal at the 2004 Games in Athens. He was playing for the Marlins when they repeated as champions in Beijing four years later.

Treanor missed the moment of triumph on Wednesday. Late in the second and deciding set, Treanor's Internet connection went down.

"We got the connection again and she was celebrating, screaming into the camera, so I knew things were all good," he said.

This could be the beginning of a new stage in the lives of Treanor, 36, and his wife, 35.

"And now Misty talks about having a family and moving on to that next chapter in our lives," he said.

"Sometimes the unknown is a little scary, but it isn't scary for me right now because Misty was able to go out and do what she did."

Treanor made a rare start on Wednesday, spelling everyday catcher A.J. Ellis for a day.

"He wasn't playing until she won," Manager Don Mattingly joked.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Minor league deejay ejected for playing 'Three Blind Mice'

(David Massey / Associated Press / August 3, 2012
Daytona Cubs intern Derek Dye is asked to
sign an autograph on Thursday.

August 3, 2012

A University of Illinois student playfully taunted an umpire by playing the song "Three Blind Mice" after he made a questionable call during a minor league baseball game between the Daytona Cubs and the Fort Myers Miracle in Florida on Wednesday.

Umpire Mario Seneca apparently didn't find the dig funny and ejected the deejay, 21-year-old Derek Dye.

Dye, a sports management major, was surprised that Seneca was so offended by his music choice.

"It was the first time we've ever played it," Dye told the Chicago Tribune, "and within about three or four seconds, the home plate umpire looks at me, points directly at me and yells, 'You're gone!' as loud as he can.

"He ejected me, said no more music, no more PA."

Dye said the song was given to him by Daytona Cubs team officials who wanted to create an atmosphere similar to that at Wrigley Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

After he got the boot, he was worried he'd be fired.

"Initially when it happened, I feared for my own well-being," Dye said. "I thought Brady [Ballard, Dayton Cubs general manager] was going to send me back to Illinois, get me out of here for the summer. I've never heard of the intern getting ejected. I was thinking of the worst right away."

Dye, however, said he's received support from Ballard and other team officials since the incident -- but he was slapped with a $25 fine from the Florida State League.

The college student has since become something of a sensation. He's reportedly received more than a dozen media requests to discuss the incident, including inquiries from ESPN and ABC's "Good Morning America."

According to Yahoo!, Seneca later posted this statement to his Facebook page, "The good news is that I called my league president afterwards, and he said I did the correct thing. His opinion is pretty much the only one that matters, since he's my boss."