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September 30, 2012

Jose Canseco Looking to Join WWE

I'm not sure what desperation smells like...but I'm fairly certain it reeks of Axe body spray and looks like this.

That's right, gang. Our good friend Jose Canseco is back on the Twitters and this time, he's asking WWE for a job.

Sure, the wrestling outfit is known for giving embattled pros second and, even, third chances at legitimacy (both Pete Rose and Mike Tyson are members of their Hall of Fame), but something tells me they'll stay far away from this one. You see, this isn't the first time the embattled big leaguer has tried to get in the ring.

This year.

Matter of fact, in the past twelve months, dude has tried everything in his power to get between the ropes.
Last October, it was announced that Canseco would square off, for some reason, against "notorious White House gatecrasher" Tareq Salahi. Salahi was subsequently replaced by former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra. "Nails" then bailed...and the fight was shelved.

That, of course, led to the now infamous Twitter war between the one-time American League MVP and basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. And, no, despite Shaq's pleas...UFC president Dana White wasn't aboout to bite.

"I have a buddy in Boston trying to make (the fight) happen," White told The Hall exclusively. "Listen, I'm friends with Shaq and he doesn't want that. Can you imagine if he got clipped by Jose Canseco? (Laughs)."

So where else to turn?

A ha! Ever heard of TNA, er, Impact Wrestling? No?!? You better believe Jose Canseco has. More than a few times.

This is a lot of effort for a guy who, in March 2011, (in)famously sent his twin brother Ozzie to a "celebrity" boxing match in his place.

And, yes, I went this entire post without making a steroid reference...pretty hard to do when talking about (A) Jose Canseco and (B) the world of professional wrestling.

September 29, 2012

Is Famed Ballhawk's Streak a Farce?

It's been more than a week since the story of famed ballhawk Zack Hample getting kicked out of a Washington Nationals game for, alledgedly, selling baseballs hit the internets.

And, like everything you read online nowadays, dude's story is not without controversy.

Wednesday, after Hample teased that his story was going to be re-posted here at The Hall, I was greeted with this anonymous email.

Personally, I think the story that everyone is overlooking here is the fact that Zack's 20-year streak of snagging at least one baseball at every game he's attended should have been snapped by his ejection from the park, however Zack has failed to address it in his blog AND continues to count games toward his streak.

What gives?

Uh oh! It continues.
His own blog posting for that game shows a picture of the field during the first inning of the second game of that day's doubleheader and states: "and here’s what my view of the field briefly looked like in the top of the 1st inning". Then shortly after he took that picture he was escorted out of the stadium.

At the end of his posts he always includes a bunch of statistics about his snagging of baseballs, including this one at the end of the 9/19/2012 game posting: "861 consecutive games with at least one ball". He definitely snagged a bunch of baseballs prior to and during the first game of the doubleheader (hence 861 consecutive game), but I don't see how any of those can count towards the second game of the doubleheader for which -- by his own blog posting -- he clearly was in attendance -- and during which he didn't snag any balls.

So, if you do post something about him, maybe you could pin him to the wall about why his consecutive game streak is now at 863 (and counting)... and if he tries to feed you some crap about it only counting as one game "because you only needed one ticket to attend both games" remind him that (a) it counts as two games in the standing for the Nationals; and (b) sometimes baseball is REALLY unfair -- just ask Armando Gallaraga (the Detroit Tigers pitcher who lost a perfect game because the first base umpire, Jim Joyce, blew the last call of the game at first base), or Bill Buckner.

The anonymous emailer makes a good point. So, naturally, I had to reach out to Hample and find out exactly what the deal was. Suffice it so say, homeboy was quick with a response and some clarification.

Heck, the baseball collector even went so far to post about it over at his site.

I’ve heard from a few people lately who’ve been asking if (and insisting that) my consecutive games streak is over. Why? Because I was ejected last week from Nationals Park during the second game of a single-admission doubleheader.

Did I snag any baseballs during the second game? No, I snagged 11 balls before and during the first game.  So, then, is my streak over? No...and I’d like to quote myself to prove it.

If you turn to page 317 of The Baseball, you’ll see the following line near the top: "Single-admission doubleheaders should be counted as one ‘game'."

Hample continues citing some other examples and insisting that "single-admission doubleheaders have always been one 'game' for me, and whenever I’ve gone and snagged a few balls and the game got rained out before it even started, that has also been a 'game'."
Alright, I get both sides of this debate...but what do you think? Should Hample man up and concede that his consecutive games was over at 861...or, should his streak continue?

Or, well...does it even matter?

September 27, 2012

Keith Hernandez Has Done the Unthinkable

Earlier this month, New York Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez made waves when he announced that he was planning on losing his signature lip sweater.

As you can imagine, word of the potential massacre was not well received among the mustached community.

"Keith Hernandez removing his lower nose foliage is a crime against nature akin to the Washington Monument ceasing to be phallic or Todd Akin being sane," American Mustache Institute Executive Director Dr. Aaron Perlut said.

Well, it happened.

And, yes, by "it"...I'm referring to Hernandez making good on his threat.  On Thursday, dude was publicly shaved in front of Citi Field to the delight of those on hand and in the name of charity.

"I want to thank all of my fans who supported my mustache over the years," Hernandez told the crowd of hundreds, "but it's time for it to take a back seat and let my upper lip some time to shine."

And while it might all be fun and games for the former National League MVP, his 2007 title of "Greatest Sports Mustache of All-Time" now hangs in the balance.

“His title will either be given to runner-up Rollie Fingers, an athlete and role model who has never turned his back on the Mustache American community, or we Keith’s actions may necessitate revisiting the voting effort altogether,” according to AMI chairman Dr. Aaron Perlut. “We are deeply disappointed in Hernandez and feel we have to take this action.”

However all this shakes out, here's hoping the Miami Marlins step in and offer the shorn 'stache a one day contract.

Adam Greenberg to Get His One At Bat

The Miami Marlins were locked and loaded coming into 2012.  They had a new name, a new stadium, some new, big name players and high hopes.

With less than a week to play, and a lock on the worst record in the National League East, they've had just that one story to tell.

Until now.

More than seven years after he was hit in the head by Valerio de los Santos fastball, Adam Greenberg is going to be back in the Majors.  Ironically, the team that ended his big league the one resurrecting it.

"I'm ready," Greenberg said on the "NBC Today Show" Thursday, holding back tears as Marlins general manager David Samson offered him a one-day contract.

“I’m extremely proud to extend this opportunity to Adam,” team owner Jeffrey Loria in a statement.   “He has earned this chance as his love and passion for the game never diminished, despite his career tragically being cut short. I look forward to seeing Adam step up to the plate and realizing his comeback dream next Tuesday night.”

But it won't come easy.  Scheduled to be on the mound Tuesday night for the New York Mets...Cy Young candidate R.A. Dickey.

According to The Palm Beach Post, Greenberg has agreed to donate his one-day salary to the Marlins Foundation.  In turn, they'll make a donation to the Sports Legacy organization that advances the study, treatment and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups.

You'll recall that it was just a few weeks ago, filmmaker Matt Liston's "One At Bat" campaign started getting national attention.

September 26, 2012

Famed Ballhawk Ejected for "Selling Baseballs"

Zack Hample is a good friend of The Hall, and to say that the guy has been ballhawking for a while (he snared his first souvenir in 1990) would be an understatement.

Matter of fact, dude is currently riding a 863-game streak where he has snagged at least one ball...388 consecutive with at least two.

But, last week, an seemingly overzealous Nationals Park stadium cop tried to single-handedly end Hample's ballhawkery.  You see, for just the fifth time in his career (career?), Hample was kicked out of a game.

As he says "way back in the day, the security goons of Shea Stadium kicked me out four times for catching too many baseballs and refusing to hand them over and for refusing to obey the special set of unfair rules that they invented just for me."

Hample has since taken to his blog and laid out his case...and it's a pretty good one (complete with some great pictures!).

Here's the condensed version of what happened that "The Baseball Collector" told Deadspin immediately following his ejection last week.

I was approached by a police officer. He told me he'd gotten a call from someone who reported that I was selling baseballs. I was like, WTF, and told him very calmly that it simply wasn't true and that there must've been a mistake. Then more cops showed up. Then the head of stadium security showed up, along with his assistant and other stadium personnel. There were seven of them, and they insisted that I'd sold a baseball, which they told me is illegal to do on their private property.

I told them that I'd snagged more than 6,300 baseballs in my life and never sold one — that I was proud of never having sold one . . . that I once turned down a $10,000 offer for a Barry Bonds home run that I caught, that I'd turned down a $500 offer last year after catching the Mike Trout homer, that I give away baseballs to kids at just about every game I attend, that I've raised all that money for charity, and so on. I even offered to take a lie-detector test, but they didn't want to hear any of it. They simply insisted that I'd sold a baseball, and they ejected me from the stadium
Alright...all this aside (and more on this soon), Hample did get a pretty cool snapshot out of the whole ordeal.

September 25, 2012

White Sox Announcer Named Biggest "Homer"

If you've never had the opportunity to listen to a Chicago White Sox television broadcast,'ve been fortunate enough to be spared listening to the guy The Wall Street Journal calls baseball's biggest "homer".

Yeah, I'm talking about Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.  And, well, it shouldn't come as a shock to anyone...dude is actually proud of his "homerism".

"You just made my day," Harrelson told The WSJ. "That's the biggest compliment you could give me, to call me the biggest homer in baseball."

But just how big of a "homer" is Harrelson?

Consider this.  The Grandpa Munster lookalike and his broadcast partner Steve Stone were hit with 104 different citations.  In second place...Cleveland's broadcast team of Matt Underwood and Rick Manning.

And what exactly was the criteria?

The WSJ issued a citation to "anyone with a microphone" who used a pronoun like "we," "us" or "our" to describe the home team.  Also, announcers who referred to players with "obscure pet names" or displayed "excessive moping after miscues or unrestrained glee after big moments".

All charges, good old "Hawk" is guilty of.

"Everybody I work with, I tell them, 'I announce my (butt) off for my team,'" Harrelson added.  "Let's just say that if we're losing, you're going to know it...I won't sound happy."

Oh, if you have a desire to listen to some of Harrelson's best/worst Hawkisms...head on over to Heave the Hawk.


***Props to Big League Stew.***

September 21, 2012

Former Yankee Breaking Records in Korea

In 307 big league appearances (including a league best 83 in 2006), Scott Proctor saved only one game.  And that was back in 2005...his second season in the bigs.

Now playing for the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization the former New York Yankee hurler is a record breaker.

Early this week, the veteran righty picked up his 32nd save of the season...breaking Brad Thomas' record for saves by a foreign player.  Proctor had a wild pitch and then struck out the last two batters to end a rainsoaked game.

***Thanks to @mykbo for the head's up.***

Top Ten Most Scandalous "Commons"

The last time our baseball card guru Bo Rosny did one of these, he unintentionally offended an uptight blogger (his words...not mine).  This time,'ve been warned.

When looking at the cards in your collection, there are many star cards that you just look at and think of off-the-field problems.  Guys like Jose Canseco, Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Dave Parker, Pete Rose, Darryl Strawberry or Ugueth Urbina.

There are also plenty of lesser players who have gained significant infamy from off-the-field troubles, like Rick Camp, Jim Leyritz, Lary Sorensen or Brien Taylor.

But here are ten minor players you probably have cards of, that you probably didn’t know had major legal problems after their careers.

10. Lee Tunnell
I wrote about this guy before, but it’s still funny – “Former MLB pitcher and Christian baseball ‘Ambassadors’ founder busted for prostitution.”

9. Jay Baller
Jay Baller is the perfect guy for this list – he is perhaps best known for his baseball card with the gold chains and chest hair. He had to have been into drugs, right? You bet. Said the arresting officer in 2007, “That’s pretty stupid to pull over in a residential neighborhood and snort cocaine in broad daylight while playing with a gun.”

8. Matt Keough
Keough stands in for the epidemic of drunk driving that dozens of current and former major leaguers get arrested for. I chose Keough because, unlike the others, he’s now better known as the husband of a “Real Housewife of Orange County” than as a former big leaguer.

7. Ron Musselman
Baseball players aren’t usually known for being great fathers. Case in point, former Blue Jay Ron Musselman, who was such a deadbeat dad that he lost his legal rights as a parent. This became news when his son, Lucas Glover, became a PGA star.

6. Troy Neel
Musselman has nothing on Troy Neel, who the Texas attorney general once called “the worst dead beat dad in the history of Texas.” Instead of paying what ended up being nearly $800,000 in child support, Neel fled to Vanuatu where he owned a resort island.

Troy Neel 1994 Leaf  baseball Card

5. Alex Cole
Ballplayers often end up being arrested on drug charges. Rarely are they arrested at the ballpark, like Alex Cole when playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2001. He later served eighteen months for heroin trafficking.

4. B.J. Wallace
Brien Taylor isn’t the only “Future Star” whose on-the-field fall was followed by an off-the-field one. B.J. Wallace and his wife were arrested last year for running a meth lab in the house in which they lived with their three children.

1993 Topps #33 B.J. Wallace Front

3. Kevin Wickander
Why do so many players (including, recently, three Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguers), get into meth? “I ain’t gonna bullshit you man, it’s an awesome drug,” says Kevin Wickander, who spent several years in jail for meth possession and burglary.

CLEVELAND INDIANS - Kevin Wickander #528 Topps 1990 Baseball Trading Card

2. Brandon Puffer
Half of the classic Bong/Puffer card, Brandon Puffer’s baseball career ended in prison after being convicted of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault.

1. Byron McLaughlin
A former major leaguer who is a genuine fugitive from justice, eluding American authorities for over two decades. He skipped bail after being arrested for money laundering, and was later involved in selling cocaine and check kiting. He is believed to be living in France.

Who'd we miss...who is your favorite?  Let us know in the comments below!  And as always you can follow Bo over at his site Baseball Cards Come to Life.

The Trailer for "42" Has Dropped

Is it possible to already be looking forward to next April?

If you're a Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs fan...probably.  Your teams are out of it and that's pretty much all you have going for you.  But, April 2013 also marks the time the Jackie Robinson bopic "42" hits theaters.

Last December, news broke that Hollywood hotshot Harrison Ford was tabbed to play legendary executive Branch Rickey.  And as for who is playing Robinson in "42"...that honor goes to the relatively unknown Chadwick Boseman.

Behind the camera is director Brian Helgeland, who, as a screenwriter, penned both “L.A. Confidential" and "Mystic River”. In 1998, Helgeland became the first person to win both an Academy Award ("L.A. Confidential") and a Razzie ("The Postman").
This isn't the first time Robinson's story has been brought to the silver screen. In 1950, "The Jackie Robinson Story" was released with Robinson himself playing, um...himself.

September 19, 2012

Five Baseball Players Who Should Have Their Own Reality Show

After dozens of athletes from the NBA, NFL, auto racing, the Olympics and the like making the rounds on primetime reality programming, it's about time Major League Baseball (and someone NOT named Jose Canseco) got some play in the reality show genre.

As you know by now, when the latest installment of "Survivor" premieres on CBS Wednesday night, former National League MVP Jeff Kent will be in the fold.

His involvement has been covered enough (HERE and HERE for example), so, now that the door has been opened to the baseball world...why not specualte as to who else might make a great addition to a reality show.  And who better to do it than friend of The Hall (and one of TV's greatest reality show villains), Jonny Fairplay?
Fairplay on John Kruk:  "He's not as big as he was, but he's not that small either."

Fairplay on Roger Clemens:  "I'm still not buying it and I know LIARS!"
Fairplay on Goose Gossage:  "What are they going to do with that mustache?"
Fairplay on Doc Gooden:  "Nevermind. Been there, done that."
Fairplay on Dale Murphy:  "The most famous Mormon baseball player and my personal favorite player ever. Do all Mormons get multiple wives? If so, sign me up!"
Who do you think should have a show?  Let us know in the comments below!  And feel free to follow all the antics and exploits of two-time "Survivor" contestant Jonny Fairplay on Twitter at @jonnyfairplay.

September 18, 2012

Live From New's Chipper Jones!

In 37 seasons on the air, "Saturday Night Live" has had 35 sports figures host the show.  And of those 35, only five (Bob Uecker, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, Deion Sanders and Derek Jeter) have had any sort of baseball pedigree.

Our friends over at the MLB Fan Cave want to change that and they think they have the right host in mind.

So before you think the idea of making a campaign-style video (shown below) to get Chipper Jones to host the show is unfounded...all the Cave Dwellers are doing is responding to a post that popped up on the SNL Backstage Blog.

Incidentally, Jeter is the only everyday player that has hosted the show (Sanders was more of a full-time cornerback when he had the duties) and that was back in December 2001!

So why Chipper? Why not?!? 

Basketball star Charles Barkley has taken the reigns of the show three times and, well, let's just say that Jones probably couldn't do worse. 

But let's not kid ourselves, if Jones gets the hosting gig, it'll only be the second biggest honor the Big Apple can bestow upon the future Hall of Famer.

September 17, 2012

Yunel Escobar Wants You to Hate Him Too!

After the Atlanta Braves traded Yunel Escobar to the Toronto Blue Jays, speculation was that the deal was made because no one on the team liked him...not because of what he brought to the field.

Well, more than two years later, the shortstop apparently wants everyone to despise him.

As Craig Calcaterra over at HardballTalk writes:

Caught by Jays fan @james_in_to and featured over at the Drunk Jays Fan blog, pictures taken of Yunel Escobar on Saturday clearly show that he’s wearing eye black stickers on which he — or someone else — wrote the words “TU ERE MARICON,” which translates to “you are a fa**ot.” As @james_in_to explains, in some cases it can mean “you are a p***y,” but the former is more widely accepted as the meaning.

Homophobic slurs, in any language...not cool.

Sitcom Star in Altercation at Dodgers Game

Typically, it's rappers and musicians that get in fights to drum up interest for their upcoming projects, but, on Saturday, it was "Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet getting into the act.

Well, not really.  Probably.

According to The Thirty Mile Zone, Stonestreet got into a verbal altercation (video HERE) with a rival fan while the two took in a Los Angeles Dodgers-St. Louis Cardinals fan.

The video doesn't really show what was said, but, I can't help but wonder if the Emmy-winning actor might not have been simply discussing the cultural divide between his native Kansas City and his I-70 neighbor from Missouri.

Subsequently, both fans were asked to leave, or, as Stonestreet tweeted, they were simply escorted to the top of the stairs by security.

No word as to whether or not Stonestreet was back in his seat (or any seat for that matter) to see the Dodgers thrilling comeback in the ninth inning.

September 15, 2012

Pete Rose Talks WWE

Pete Rose
As if the idea of Pete Rose being inducted into their Hall of Fame (his induction video is below) wasn't surreal's hit king was recently asked by WWE about superstar Kane's recent anger management issues.

"I don’t think Kane needs to be less angry," Rose told  "I think Kane needs to funnel his anger correctly and focus it only on his WWE opponents and not tag team partners, announcers and especially celebrity guests."

So, yeah, if you're keeping track...Pete Rose, banished from baseball (and, subsequently, its Hall of Fame), was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 2004 and, for whatever reason, was questioned about one of its superstar's (Kane, real name Glenn Jacobs) pretend "anger management" issues.

Kinda like asking Bob Hoskins how it was sharing the screen with Baby Herman in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" isn't it?

That said, interviewer Joey Styles did throw out a pretty cool question.

STYLES:  Do you think your infamous 1970 All-Star Game shoulder block that dropped Ray Fosse would be effective against Kane?

ROSE:  To make a shoulder block effective, I need to pick up speed. I wouldn’t be able to pick up enough speed to knock Kane down inside a WWE ring. I’d have to run at Kane full speed from the stage at the top of the ramp. Even then, I think Kane is too much of a monster to topple. I’ll stick with the bat.
I don't know about you...but I'd pay to watch that.

September 14, 2012

Mets Fan Faces Big Fine

Remember the good old days when you could run on the field and tackle Chris Chambliss after a home run or throw on your tightest t-shirt and kiss random ballplayers?

Welp, those days are gone, my friend, and if you make your way to the playing field'll cost you.

Just ask Rafael Diaz.

Following Johan Santana's no-hitter back in June, the 32-year-old New York Mets fan got in on the celebration and now...dude's not allowed back on the team's home turf.

“The defendant’s antics have resulted in a criminal record, the paying of thousands of dollars in fines and civil penalties, and, perhaps the worse punishment for any true Mets fan, precludes him from ever again visiting Citi Field,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the Long Island native was ordered to hand over $4000 in civil penalties to the Mets and $1000 to the city.