August 31, 2009

Twitter Tuesday...September 1, 2009

We're in the home stretch baseball fans...welcome to September's first Twitter Tuesday. Still don't know what Twitter Tuesday is?

Don't waste Google's time...click the link.




I've learned at least three things since starting the chatter a month ago...baseball players LOVE to talk about food, former Blue Jays hurler Todd Stottlemyre is crazy (about stocks) and if you're not following C.J. Nitkowski...you're missing out.

So here's today's chatter...no theme required.

ESPY_TEAHEN: John Buck and Mark each drank a Verve before the game tonight. John Buck and Mark each hit homers tonight. Verve= Results. Verve 4 everyone

ToddStottlemyre: china futures now higher, could set up for us to have big day tomorrow


chopper63: Sat next to a guy that looked like blue from old school, he was dressed in a wife beater and construction ear muffs. No joke

GrillCheese49: I am a Joe Mauer fan.Nice guy! He signed bat for me. WOW! I have a limited but very cool small collection of things for my mini HOF room.

BrentMayne: Tarantino officially rules. Basterds is long, violent, lots of subtitles...and GREAT. Who played the Nazi detective? Give him the award now.

BlakeHawksworth: If you don't like Salt & Vinegar chips you go ahead and get out of here!!!


CJNitkowski: Have you ever sat down to get your haircut and thought "Why am I getting a haircut? I like my hair today." That was me this afternoon.





Last week, we suggested you follow The Batting Stance Guy. This week (and yes, it IS just a coincidence), more people seem to be talking about him more than ever. Mostly positive, but some negative. Why the hate?

WIZfromDC: just talkin baseball with the FSN Batting Stance Guy while eatin bacon on a stick. Aren't state fairs great?

GrillCheese49: Stellar victory for the Rangers in Minnesota! Just met Gar the Batting stance guy B 4 getting on bus.

TwinsNow
: Batting stance guy at the Dome tonight. Had the players rolling before stretch. Favorites were DY, OC, GoGo, Casilla and Kubel.

ClarenceHill: Can someone throw a 90 mph fastball into the chest of Batting Stance Guy?

aaronsellars: Watching the Batting Stance Guy on Youtube and he is hilarious!

DAlen3311
: Ok now I'm officially sick of "the batting stance guy" dude needs to take his whiffle ball bat, go home, and get a real job.

And from the man himself...

BattingStanceG: Got online comment wanting Prince Fielder to deck me at the same time actual Prince tells me he and his kids love our stuff. Who to trust?

In July, Gar was a guest on The Late Show. If you missed his appearance with David Letterman...here it is in all its glory.




If the Yankees have their Universe and the Red Sox their Nation. Isn't is appropriate that the Astros have their own municipality?

Earlier in the season, Houston was setting milestones left and right. Thankfully, I was already friends with the boys over at AstrosCounty or it would have seemed like I was begging for their attention.

That being said...I will be hitting you up for some freebies next time I am in town, James!

Have someone you think everyone should follow? Perhaps you yourself have read some interesting tweets in the past week…drop me a line or leave a comment below.

See you next Tuesday!


BallHype: hype it up!

August 28, 2009

Talkin' baseball with Jeff Cirillo

When Jeff Cirillo walked away from the Major Leagues following the 2007 season, he took with him some unique accomplishments…a record 99 consecutive errorless games at third base, the distinction of being the only player to hit 45 or more doubles in both leagues and the dubious honor of hitting the game’s 200,000th home run since 1900.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to the 14 year Major League veteran about a litany of things.

HOVG: Of all the accomplishments you had throughout your career…what achievement means most?

CIRILLO: I believe my greatest achievement in baseball was going down to Mexico back in 2004 and playing six weeks in the winter league at the age of 35 to break a mechanical flaw I had in my swing. From outside perspective, it could have been easy to walk away. For me, I had put myself into a huge mechanical flaw where I tinkered with a toe tap and eventually couldn’t break it. I knew the only way to have a shot at playing was to go to Mexico and work this flaw out. It wasn’t easy, considering my family didn’t endorse it…I had to produce or be sent home and the stigma of playing in Mexico at 35 years old. This six week quest enabled me to play three more productive MLB seasons and when I retired, I was able to let it go knowing that I had made it all the way back.

HOVG: Before appearing in the 2007 NLDS, you had played in 1617 regular season games…and no post season contests. What was it like getting that monkey off your back?

CIRILLO: It wouldn’t have killed me to not make the playoffs! I do feel that people apply a sense of credence to post season play however.

HOVG: You’ve had more plate appearances (65) against Randy Johnson than anyone else…and in 2004, you became his 4000th strikeout victim. Earlier in the season, I was fortunate enough to get
some interesting perspectives on “The Big Unit”. What are your thoughts on the recent 300 game winner?

CIRILLO: Facing Randy Johnson was by far the greatest experience I had in facing a pitcher. He was either going to strike me out or I was going to get him. I liked facing him because I knew he would bring out the best in me. If I got a hit, he would glare at me from the pitcher's mound. I would spit at him from first if he ever did…which wasn’t often.

HOVG: You’re no stranger to pitching yourself. In 2007, you took the hill against your former team (Milwaukee)…tell me about that experience.

CIRILLO: Pitching is something I have always enjoyed having pitched at USC for 4 years. (My manager) Bob Melvin, asked if I wanted to pitch the ninth if we didn’t score some runs. I told him I had been waiting 14 years to pitch the ninth!

HOVG: Outside of Rusty Meacham (three for three with two home runs and a triple), who did you absolutely love to see opposing you on the mound?

CIRILLO: I loved facing Andy Pettitte! I hated facing Corey Lidle. (Note: Cirillo was 16 for 33 against Pettitte and hitless in 13 at bats against Lidle.)

HOVG: Is there a pitcher from the past or one that is coming up in the game now that you wish you had a chance to face?

CIRILLO: Nolan Ryan would have been the only one I wish I could have faced…or Rob Dibble back in his prime.

HOVG: You’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside some potential Hall of Famers. Trevor Hoffman and Ichiro are obviously shoe-ins. Let me throw some names your way and you let me know what your thoughts are about some former Rockies teammates.

HOVG: Todd Helton.

CIRILLO: Todd Helton will be a shoe-in!

HOVG: Larry Walker.

CIRILLO: Walker won’t get in, although he is the best talent I’ve ever played with.

HOVG: Anyone I missed?

CIRILLO: (Former Brewers teammate) Carlos Lee has a chance. He’s one of the most fun teammates I have ever had…I loved that guy!

HOVG: Some people are already talking about Joe Mauer as being (potentially) the best hitting catcher to play the game. Any thoughts on the young hitter?

CIRILLO: Joe Mauer's grandfather told me his grandson would hit .400. I didn’t believe him considering he played such a demanding position and gets dinged up a ton. He is an unreal human being…very reserved and respectful. He is also one of the top three defensively in the game. If I was starting a team it would be him or Hanley Ramirez…but probably Mauer.

HOVG: In July, I was able to get
some All-Star Game thoughts from some other former Major Leaguers…I’m hoping you’d share some with me as well. You were selected to two All-Star Games (1997 and 2000), once representing the American League and once representing the National League. What is it like being selected?

CIRILLO: All-Star Games are time consuming and stressful for a younger player. In my first one, I felt more comfortable with the clubhouse guys than the players. The second, I had Helton with me so it was much easier. It is really a smoke and mirrors show, with players having their own agendas.

HOVG: Since the 2002 tie, the Classic is billed as "this one counts"...should it?

CIRILLO: It should count. It is all about creating a buzz. The buzz is the seller…they should also do more skills competitions.

HOVG: Before we end this…how are you keeping busy?

CIRILLO: Currently, I am helping out the Diamondbacks as a major league scout. I am also in the process of buying a baseball team and will oversee several areas. I’ve been doing a ton sports psychology and being a Dad. I still follow the crew and I miss Milwaukee.

Jeff Cirillo took his final cuts (ironically, during a playoff game) on October 15, 2007. He batted .296 during his career…six times topping .300. Currently, he can be found coaching his kids in any one of a host of sports ranging from soccer, flag football, basketball, golf and baseball.



BallHype: hype it up!

August 27, 2009

Do you Goulet?

In the last two years, the sports world has done much for the Mustached American people.

Former Athletic and Yankee (and current Rockies minor leaguer) Jason Giambi was on his way to an All-Star Game appearance when he had a lower nose garden and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Eric Byrnes used the lip sweater to become relevant...for a short period.

This year, the Cardinals have emerged as pennant contenders by growing out the lip fur. Diamondbacks reliever Clay Zavada became a Major Leaguer by channeling friend of The Hall Rollie Fingers.

Which brings me to this.

The American Mustache Institute is accepting nominations for the second annual “Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year”, recognizing the most impactful Mustached American of the past twelve months.

Read what Hall contributor Dr. Aaron Perlut had to say HERE.



BallHype: hype it up!

August 25, 2009

Twitter Tuesday...August 25, 2009

It's a longish version of Twitter Tuesday today, gang. So, pack a sack lunch and wrap that soda can in tinfoil...we're in this one for the long haul. Still don't know what Twitter Tuesday is?

Don't waste Google's time...click the link.




If there is one thing I've learned since starting the Infield Chatter is that ballplayers like to talk about food...and fashion.

GrillCheese49: Always enjoy people at the deli line in grocery store. amazing to watch impatience. Oscar Myer is already sliced for those who hate waiting!


stevefinley
: Heading to dinner with burt bacarach this evening and looking forward to some great stories!


BrentMayne: Folks don't dress as snappy here. No white pants and no red shoes.


CJNitkowski: Limited menu here, I ordered the "cheeseburger steak" & "shrimp fried rice". It came with about 1,000 pickles.


str8edgeracer: Standing on a corner near central park, not sure if that is fear or hunger on the faces of the hot dog cart customers


RaysJoeMaddon: Want 2 stir boys up, With hair know blonde/bleach done many times Chose black 4 ring of fire roadtrip When in doubt askwhat would JCash do?

And my absolute favorite tweet of the week...only because I DO understand sarcasm but I'm not sure if this is it or not.

G_Sarge_M: Some people just do not understand sarcasm. Also, congrats to #Alyssa_Milano on her recent nuptials!





20 years ago yesterday, Pete Rose was given a lifetime ban from then commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti. Plenty of people spent the day on Twitter comparing his suspension to dog fighting, murder and steroids...whereas Rose spent his day at Caesars Palace in (of all places) Las Vegas.

Missed from most discussions is the fact that IF Rose ever gets reinstated, he is not a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame since they are controlled by different entities.


justintbrown: "Will Pete Rose ever get into the Hall of Fame?" is the sportswriting equivalent of a "How did the dinosaurs really die?" column.

popbanter: Murderers, rapists and dog killers are reinstated to play in pro sports but Pete Rose can't get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Shame.

TheRandomManiac: pete rose DOES deserve to be in the HOF, gambling a way smaller sin then taking PED

Josh1938: Pete Rose is not allowed into the HOF, but OJ is allowed to remain in football's. I guess gambling is worse than murder and armed robbery.

socratic: The one thing that Pete Rose has going for him, I think, is that a lot of athletes are just kinda dumb. Has he ever tried the dumb defense?

Paneech1472: If Pete Rose would have ran a dogfighting ring, he would have been in ten years

kkolks: 20 years ago today, Pete Rose accepted his lifetime ban from baseball. If only he had shot himself in a club or ran over someone while drunk

PlacesRated: $279.99 - That's what Pete Rose charges for an autographed baseball inscribed with "I'm sorry I bet on baseball.

bakerdave127: 20 years ago today, pete rose heard his fate. so i think i'll head over to the red rooster for a "hall of fame" worthy baked chicken lunch.




It's rare that a guy with a WiffleBall bat becomes a YouTube sensation. It's even more rare when that guy ends up chatting it up on national television with David Letterman and featured in ballparks everywhere. Phone the neighbors, wake the kids...it's the Batting Stance Guy!

The good thing about following Gar is that he'll let you know when he's updated his repertoire AND ask for your insight on who he should tackle next.


Have someone you think everyone should follow? Perhaps you yourself have read some interesting tweets in the past week…
drop me a line or leave a comment below.

See you next Tuesday!



BallHype: hype it up!

August 24, 2009

Let's bring Rose back, under some conditions

***As I was looking up some stories on the anniversary of the Pete Rose banishment, I was drawn to something that was in the Rockford Register Star...the very same paper that published my drivel close to 20 years ago!
Here it is, courtesy of its writer Tony Garcia. ***

It is with a profound, sincere and slightly cholesterol-elevated heart that I offer my apologies to the late John Lennon and still-kicking Paul McCartney for this lil’ ditty:

It was twenty years ago today/Charlie Hustle fought for his final day/Sheriff Bart told him to sit a while/For deadbeat bets in his massive file/So may I introduce to you/The act you’ve known for all these years/Charlie Hustle’s Permanent Baseball Ban!

It’s 20 years since Pete Rose accepted his lifetime ban from baseball. Baseball’s all-time hits leader and, at the time, Cincinnati Reds manager, gave up his attempts through the court system to stop Commissioner
A. Bartlett Giamatti from implementing his punishment.

Much has happened since, none of which included a parade celebrating a World Championship for Chicago’s North Side ballclub … not that I’m bitter. The Reds have gone through 11 managers, two stadiums, one World Series title, 455,000 Skyline chili dogs and Corey Patterson.

Rose has had a six-month prison sentence, three appearances at WrestleMania, two autobiographies (I did not bet on baseball; wait, yes I did) and one really, really bad ESPN movie. He’s also had dedicated fans who make health-care town halls look like Osmond family dinners.

When I’ve had my long and colorful debates with the pro-Rose crowd, it usually boils down to: a.) “How come the players using steroids haven’t been banned?”; b.) “He never bet against the Reds!”; and c.) “How can you keep the career hits leader out of the Hall”?

My comeback is, has and always will be, “What part of ‘Don’t bet on baseball’ didn’t he understand?”

But I’m not here to continue Rose’s pain. Rather, I would like to see his reinstatement into pro baseball.

Officially, he’s been kept out because, by definition, it’s a lifetime ban. Unofficially, Rose has been kept out because he caused Giamatti’s fatal heart attack eight days after the suspension was meted out. (Although I’m willing to guess Bart’s fondness for food and chain-smoking contributed.)

But I always said he should be banned until he admitted betting on baseball. He did in 2004. So, bring him back, on one condition: Make him manager of the Washington Nationals, baseball’s living example of NBC’s fall schedule.

Rose has a small history with the franchise, signing a one-year deal in 1984 with the then-Montreal Expos. He has more than enough ego to believe his baseball acumen will be enough to turn the 44-80 NL East doormats into a competitive franchise faster than he can say, “I’ll take the Vikings and give the points!”

As for the Hall of Fame, it isn’t automatic for Rose. He’s in the Veterans Committee’s hands. While there is support from the likes of Joe Morgan, Mike Schmidt and Hank Aaron, former teammate Johnny Bench is one who has been against Rose’s reinstatement.

So, I have another plan: Rose should activate himself for a few pinch-hit appearances. First off, he’d set a record for oldest player to appear in a major-league game (beating Satchel Paige), for batting in a major-league game (topping Nick Altrock, if Wikipedia can be believed), and a chance to be the oldest player to hit safely in a game (besting 54-year-old Jim O’Rourke in 1904).

And by appearing, he can get himself on the writers’ ballot in five years.

Baseball and Pete Rose should come together. Right now. Over me.


Tony Garcia is a news copy editor for the Rockford Register Star. He can be reached at tgarcia@rrstar.com.


BallHype: hype it up!

The banning of Pete Rose...20 years later

Most “where were you moments” begin and end with people talking about the Kennedy Assassination, the Moon Landing and September 11, 2001.

For me…I relate more with the “Pine Tar Incident” (July 4, 1983), “Game Six” (October 25, 1986) and when I heard Pete Rose had been made “permanently ineligible” from Major League Baseball.

Today we commemorate the day that, 20 years ago, Rose was banned by then commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.

In retrospect, things moved a lot swifter back then than they do now.

It only took five months from the time a Sports Illustrated story on Rose’s betting hit the newstands to the time when Giamatti dropped the hammer on "Charlie Hustle".

By contrast…Barry Bonds was first mentioned in the BALCO scandal in 2003 and we STILL have no clue what exactly “the cream” and “the clear” mean and what correlation they had to Bonds’ record shattering home run numbers.

So…back to Rose.

I was in high school when the news broke and the next day (a Friday), it was all the talk among my circle of friends. I remember sitting in the stands at the football game that night talking all about it.

One of us (I think it was Matt Schwartz) even speculated that Giamatti better watch his back because Rose probably had enough money to do him in.

Long before I wrote about baseball (or whatever you would call this) as a hobby (or whatever you would call this)…I submitted an editorial to the local newspaper.

They published it.

Here it is…in all it’s glory.


Rose Deserves Hall of Fame

“Pete, to me, was the greatest pure hitter of all time,” said the late baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.

Pete Rose, a pillar in baseball from the 1960s through the 1980s, was by far one of the greatest players ever. In September 1989, Rose was banished from the sport he loved by gambling.

Since then, he has been applying for his reinstatement back into baseball in order to fulfill his dream of being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Because of his crowning achievements in the baseball world, Rose should be reinstated.

Rose’s life hasn’t always been sparkling, though.

Shortly after his banishment from the majors, Rose was investigated for tax fraud. He was sentenced to five months in jail and had to pay thousands of dollars in back taxes. He served his time, and in January 1991, was released into a half-way house.

Rose had to serve 1000 hours of community service. He taught physical education at a Cincinnati junior high school. All of this went smoothly as he re-entered the world as a different man.

Except for the banishment.

Peter Edward Rose, or “Charlie Hustle” as he was known by his peers and first called by Whitey Ford, entered the majors in 1963, and ended up leaving a significant mark on the baseball world.

Rose won the Rookie of the Year Award in his inaugural season. He won three batting titles and ended his career with a batting average above .300, a very high mark to achieve over twenty-two seasons.

Rose is the all-time leader in games played, at bats and the most distinguished mark of his career, most career hits. He broke Ty Cobb’s longstanding record in 1984 with a single off Eric Show, then with the San Diego Padres.

Rose appeared in many All-Star Games and was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1973 when he hit .338.

In the late 1970s, Rose was teamed up with George Foster, Tony Perez and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench in Cincinnati, where they were known as the “Big Red Machine”. They captured six straight National League Western Division titles throughout the 70s.

Rose also hit in 44 games straight in 1978, second to only Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game streak set in 1941.

On achievements alone, Rose was one of baseball’s greatest and should be reinstated. He was an outstanding addition to baseball on and off the field.

He is a good family man and gives a lot of money to charities. Even though he was excluded from the Hall of Fame ballot, he received 41 write-in votes. Pete Rose should be re-instated and in the Hall of Fame as soon as possible.


Close to 20 years later…I still believe in what I wrote back then. Sadly, I am not sure we’ll see the day when Rose gets let back into the game.

So where were you when you heard about the banishment of Pete Rose? What are your thoughts?

Please weigh in below!


BallHype: hype it up!

August 23, 2009

Blake Street adds a new Bomber

It appears as though Jason Giambi has found a new home according to ESPN.

Looking for a veteran bat to help their playoff push, the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a deal with the 2000 American League MVP.

The slugger, who (earlier this season)
belted his 400th career home run, was released by the Athletics earlier this month after hitting just .193 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 83 games.

He reportedly will join Triple-A Colorado Springs to get at-bats and then report to the Rockies on September 1 to back up Todd Helton.


BallHype: hype it up!

August 21, 2009

Is Stephen Strasburg destined for greatness?

Being the first pick in the draft means instant success, right?

Wrong.

But try telling that to the 1985 me and I'd sooner spit in your face than agree with you.

Please...allow me to explain.

In 1985, the Topps card company had, among their seemingly ENDLESS amount of sub-sets, a block of cards reserved for baseball's past number one draft picks.

All the big ones were there...Bill Almon, Al Chambers, Bob Horner. Even Shawn Abner, first pick overall by the Mets in 1984 was included.

Suffice it to say...I was hooked and I had to collect all of those first picks.

25 years later, I got to thinking..."is this year's number one pick destined for the greatness everyone seems to think he is?" Think about it...is Stephen Strasburg already knocking on the door to Cooperstown simply because he was picked first?

Well?

Would you be shocked to find out that since the draft started in 1965, there hasn't been a single number one draft pick to make his way to The Hall of Fame?

Matter of fact, only four players that have been selected in the top ten of the respective draft classes have been enshrined...Reggie Jackson (drafted second overall in 1966), Robin Yount and Dave Winfield (selected with the third and fourth picks in the 1973) and Paul Molitor (taken third overall in 1977).


All in all, a pretty good foursome...but you've gotta admit, it is a little surprising.

And before you ask, yes, there appears to be at least three number ones that will be joining Jackson, Yount, Winfield and Molitor in Cooperstown in the upcoming years. Ken Griffey, Jr., Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez were all taken first in 1987, 1990 and 1993 respectively.


BallHype: hype it up!

Old faces...new places

Tired of hearing, reading, seeing the words "Brett Favre" every time you turn on the TV or computer or when you unfold whatever antiquated paper reading material you choose to unfold?

Yeah…me too.

Sorry.

A year ago, Brett Favre looked out of place suiting up for the Jets after playing 16 years in Green Bay. After re-unretiring for the second time in thirteen months, Favre looks just as out of place with the Vikings.

Friend of The Hall Andrew Katz, from over at No, You’re a Towel had a similar thought this week when it was announced that veterans (and future Hall of Famers?) Ivan Rodriguez and John Smoltz were going to be donning some new unis as well.

Take a gander.



BallHype: hype it up!

August 19, 2009

Welcome Back!

How do you know that the acquisition of a veteran means something to his new teammates?

I’ve gotta think it is when they go bang their Twitter accounts and talk about it.

And no…I’m NOT talking about Brett Favre.

Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Rangers brought home one of their favorite sons (and possibly
the greatest catcher ever) Ivan Rodriguez.

So what did his teammates have to say about "Pudge"?

Jason Grilli: Got an old teammate coming to the Rangers! More excitement here in Arlington! Welcome back Pudge.

CJ Wilson: Pudge? WOW! I think we hold the record for most gold gloves on one roster now

And yes, there is some merit to what Wilson has to say. With Rodriguez’s 13 Gold Gloves back into the fold, the Rangers now have a roster that boasts 35 Gold Gloves! That's 13 for "Pudge", 11 for Omar Vizquel, 10 for Andruw Jones and one for Michael Young.

"You always want to come back where you started," Rodriguez told reporters prior to Tuesday night's contest against the Twins. "It has been a long time. This would be a great place to finish my career. I'm very excited to be back."

But while Grilli and Wilson are applauding the return of the 37 year-old backstop…our friends over at Astros County
think something is fishy about the economics.

For the record, Rodriguez is expected to back up Taylor Teagarden…but we’ll see how long that lasts.


BallHype: hype it up!