January 31, 2012

Hall of Famer Hurt After Fall

Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is said to be "resting comfortably" after suffering a fall this past weekend at a Florida casino.

According to witnesses, The Baltimore Orioles legend was seated on an elevated stage during a baseball dinner at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino when he leaned backward and fell about six feet to the floor.

Robinson fractured his shoulder in two places. Paramedics treated the 74-year-old and transported him to a nearby hospital.

No word as to whether or not the ghost of Anna Nicole Smith is what forced Robinson off the stage.  But I don't mind starting the rumor.

The 16-time Gold Glove winning thirdbaseman was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame 1983.  This past October, the Orioles unveiled a statue of Robinson to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards.


This Week in Baseball Cards: January 31


It was a week of desperate cries of “look at me!” from attention whores Jose Canseco, Heath Bell, Logan Morrison and Dallas Braden.

Here's Bo Rosny with This Week in Baseball Cards!

Braden’s cry for attention was the most interesting, with a tattoo of Rollie Fingers on a dolphin. Too bad he didn’t get art that better showed off Fingers’ handlebar mustache, like this great Diamond King card.


Tim Tebow has been invited to throw out the first ball of a minor league game, which continues a long tradition of quarterbacks and minor league baseball. Which brings up a great trivia question. What do John Elway, Dan Marino and Jay Schroeder have in common? In 1979, they were all picked in the MLB draft before Don Mattingly.


Finally, there was a pretty good interview on this blog with Anna Benson, featuring a great game of word association. On my blog this week was an interview with her husband Kris. Find out why this card is his favorite.


And remember, gang, you can check out Bo's daily insights over at his site...Baseball Cards Come to Life.

Kenny Powers is Back!

"Eastbound and Down" is back, baby!

And, thankfully, I've got a Kenny Powers bobblehead on my desk to remind me daily of the glory of the embattled reliever's signature mullet and the comedic stylings of Danny McBride.

This season, the last of the series by the way, Powers finds himself, again, with a new team...the fictional Myrtle Beach Mermen.  But he's not alone on this journey to the Grand Strand.  Also along for the ride are Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey, Jason Sudeikis and Academy Award nominee John Hawkes.

The show recently concluded its production in South Carolina at BB&T Coastal Field...the home of the Carolina League's Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

"The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are honored to share our home with the Myrtle Beach Mermen," team General Manager Scott Brown told The Hall. "It allows us to showcase our premier facility and the Grand Strand community throughout the country and world."

Season three of "Eastbound and Down" kicks off February 19 on HBO.

And, no, Jose Canseco...this show is NOT about you.


January 30, 2012

Jorge Posada Trying to Unload Condo

Well, that didn't last long.

Just days after Jorge Posada announced his retiring, word came that his $11.5 million condominium was on the market.

But, I guess when the Yankees don't need you in New York...you cease needing to own property on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Curious about what the condo contains?  Be curious no more...thanks to The Real Estalker.

Property records suggest Mister and Missus Posada purchased and subsequently combined two adjacent mid-floor condo residences in to one mansion-sized sprawler at The Seville, a 31-story, full-service white glove condo tower that lords over a busy but fairly ordinary corner of East 77th Street and 2nd Avenue. The glassy tower offers residents round-the-clock door people, direct access to a private garage, and a state of the art fitness center complete with the requisite body torture devices, an outdoor terrace, swimming pool, spa, and sauna.

We're not entirely sure when they snatched up the first piece of their hoity-toity New York City real estate puzzle but we do find clear evidence Mister and Missus Posada paid $3,600,000—or $3,500,000 depending on where one peeps—for the nearly 2,300 square foot condo next door in August 2007.

Listing information and marketing materials for the Posada's now- and rather smartly-combined 10-plus room urban oasis show it spans approximately 5,600 square feet of interior space—and 0 square feet of exterior space, offers four highly desirable exposures—those would be north, south, east and west, of course—and is currently configured with 4 bedrooms and 5 full and 2 half bathrooms.

Oh...on a less stalkerish note, the five-time World Champ was inducted into the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame over this past weekend.

And that concludes conversation including both "Jorge Posada" and "Hall of Fame".

Now...pictures of that massive crib dude is trying to unload!  Click below to see all of them.


January 29, 2012

Behold...the Rollie Fingers Bobblehead!

Quick question...are bobbleheads getting better or is my taste in baseball tchotchkes getting worse?

Both.  But that's neither here or there right now.

When the Oakland Athletics square off against the Cleveland Indians at home on April 21, the first 10,000 fans are taking home a Rollie Fingers bobblehead as part of the team remembering their 1972 World Series win.

Now, you might think to yourself...self, is this the first time Mustached American folk hero Rollie Fingers has ever been celebrated in bobblehead form?

The answer?  No...it's happened at least twice.

On August 20, 2004, the Birmingham Barons had a Fingers bobblehead giveaway.  And even though, the future Hall of Famer wore a lip sweater in the minors...he did in bobblehead form.  The Barons would lose 10-4 against the Carolina Mudcats.

A year later, July 16, 2005, the Milwaukee Brewers would honor their former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner with two bobbleheads (one wearing the home unis...the other in roads).  Unfortunately, the Crew would also fall...5-3 against the Washington Nationals.

Hopefully, Oakland can reverse the trend against the Tribe at the end of April.


January 27, 2012

Team Extends Invite to Tim Tebow

You can't blame a team for trying to draw fans.  And that's exactly what the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs are trying to do.

Last week, following the Denver Broncos 45-10 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots, the minor league club sent out an invitation to Tim Tebow to throw out the first pitch before their June 21 contest.

"Tebow has undeniably been the story of the NFL season this year. He and the Broncos made a great run, but as we all saw, Tim doesn’t exactly have a Tom Brady arm. And we’d like to help him with that as he enters the off season," Blue Crabs Assistant General Manager Brian Radle said.  "To make the invite more attractive, we’ve even booked the Cowboy Monkeys which have been a national sensation themselves! All the more to set the stage and get Tim’s mojo back!"

Hold on now. 

No one said there were monkeys involved.  Much less...monkeys that ride dogs.  And really, isn't that the best way to describe Tebow's meteoric rise this past season?

That's right, I just said that Tim Tebow is on par with cowboy monkeys riding dogs.  Except he's probably not as entertaining.

And monkeys hate Jesus.

Please disregard this whole story and enjoy the awesomeness below.


Talkin' Baseball with Michael Schlact

If you’re not hip to Michael Schlact…you’re missing out.


Whether it’s going back and forth with his followers (nearly 11,000 of them!) or live tweeting an ill-fated bus trip…the former Texas Rangers farmhand is no stranger to social media. Recently, the righty was even named Baseball Digest’s top Minor League player to follow onTwitter.

But it was this past Tuesday that Schlact took Twitter to a whole new level and tweeted to his nearly 11,000 followers where he’ll be playing this upcoming season.

If you missed it, I've signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League. So excited and grateful for the opportunity!

HOVG: Michael, first off…congratulations on re-signing with the Blue Crabs. Was returning to Southern Maryland an easy decision for you?

SCHLACT: Absolutely. It's a great place to live, a beautiful stadium, an awesome coaching staff and team, plus the league has such high caliber competition!

HOVG: You’re heading into your ninth season in baseball. What’s the plan going into this year and where do you see yourself a year from now?

SCHLACT: My mission in 2012 is to show everyone that I'm healthy. Yes, a shoulder surgery for a pitcher is a definite negative, but with hard work and taking care of your arm, it is possible to return to full health or stronger! I set statistical goals for myself each year. I hit those marks last year and I plan to up the ante this year for myself.

HOVG: What’s the atmosphere like there in Waldorf? I’ve gotta think playing for an owner like Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson has some advantages.

SCHLACT: The Blue Crabs really take care of us. Regency Furniture Stadium is beautiful, and the fan base there is phenomenal. We can always count on the fans to have our back at home or on the road! The city is close to Washington DCso there's plenty to do!

HOVG: I mentioned the infamous road trip live tweet from this past June earlier. Now, I know I wrote about it here at The Hall, but were you surprised to see it pop up over at The Washington Post’s website?

SCHLACT: Haha! Yes, that story got around. I was surprised to see how popular a broken down charter bus could be. Playing Minor League Baseball definitely has interesting stories that go along with it, but that one takes the cake for me.

HOVG: Do you have any lasting memories from that night? Was there any fallout?

SCHLACT: To be honest, it was amazing to see a group of guys stay upbeat and positive in a situation that was less than appealing. We made the best of the situation. If you're referring to fallout from the story being published, no. It showed that even in a bad situation, we could be positive and make the best of it. I think it was a more noticeable story because at the time, three or four other teammates were tweeting about it too. There's a right way to go about tweeting things like that, and I feel like we all did a good job of keeping it entertaining and honest.

HOVG: Lastly, Southern Maryland is also the baseball home to Josh Caray. I had the opportunity
to catch up with Josh this past season and we talked about his legendary family. Has anyone on the team taken advantage of situation and attempted a Harry Caray impersonation around Josh or is it something that just isn’t approached?

SCHLACT: Oh trust me, it's approached. Just ask him. I probably did it more than anyone. He has a sense of humor, and everything was in good fun. But, in all seriousness, Harry was one of the most legendary announcers in history. Josh takes that very seriously but also knows that he'll get his fair share of impersonators...especially thanks to Will Ferrell on SNL.

This past season, Schlact was 6-4 with a 4.61 ERA with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The best way to reach to him is
via Twitter. He is also on Facebook and maintains his own blog.

Best Tattoo Ever?

If you're like me (and best of luck to you if you are), you've had the conversation with your friends about what tattoo you'd like to get.

For me...it usually ends up being some sort of tophat wearing skeleton or monster driving a hot rod.  The reason?  No reason at all.  I just want something to regret for the rest of my days.

But now, after seeing Dallas Braden's new ink...I feel as though I've let everyone down with my choice.

The Oakland A's pitcher was recently seen sporting a tattoo of Rollie Fingers riding a dolphin...jumping a rainbow.

Word is that the tat was for a commercial Braden shot with the Hall of Fame closer.  I choose to believe that he's juse embracing the gloriousness (gloriousness?) that is one Rollie Fingers.


January 26, 2012

Introducing...LoMo-ing

In case you were tired of planking and Tebowing...Miami Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison has got the latest meme for you.

LoMo-ing.

I could go on and on or...you could just watch Morrison's video below.  It's up to you, really.


January 25, 2012

Heath Bell Has a Sick Backyard

So, yeah...I know what you're thinking.  What do you get the All-Star reliever that just inked a three-year, $27 million contract with the Miami Marlins?

Answer...a Benihana grill in his backyard, dummy.

Check out this backyard that Heath Bell had custom-made for his family.  I'm pretty sure the patio area is bigger than most places I've called "home".

I can tell you this...it has more TVs and more fire.

And in case you were wondering, Benihana is based in suburban Doral, Florida...right outside Miami.  Kinda makes that dumb Q&A at the top all the more relevant now, doesn't it?

Oh yeah!


Jose Canseco at the Porn Awards

Lost in the hype surrounding Jose Canseco's movie reviews and apparent desire to return to the bigs is a much more fascinating story.

This past weekend, Canseco and his girlfriend, model Leila Shennib, decided to hit the 2012 Adult Video News Awards Show in Las Vegas.

Given in attendance, fellow former "Surreal Life" cast member Chyna and one-time Charlie Sheen "Goddess" Bree Olsen, seeing the 1988 American League MVP walking the red carpet doesn't shock me.

And seeing how the last twelve months gave us Canseco appearing on (and quitting) "The Celebrity Apprentice", taking the reigns of a baseball team, a pair of high profile boxing misadventures, a challenge by Shaquille O'Neal and numerous acts of desperation via Twitter...nothing the guy does really shocks me anymore.

Here's to the rest of 2012!


Adam Dunn: "I Don't Want to Make Excuses"


In 2010, Adam Dunn hit 38 homers...running his career total to 354.

How good is that?  Try this on for size.  In Major League history, only Albert Pujols (408), Eddie Mathews (370) and Ralph Kiner (370) were more prolific through their first ten season.

Heck, there was a time when Dunn was looking to tie Babe Ruth to become the only players to have seven straight seasons with 40 or more home runs.

But, thanks to a dismal 2011, all that is in the past.  The promise of a great career was forgotten thanks to a .159 batting average, 11 homers, 42 RBI and 177 strikeouts.

“Everything I’ve done my entire life has been discredited by one stupid year,’’ Dunn told the Chicago Sun-Times.  “I don’t want to make excuses. There are a few things that I probably look back on and say, ‘I shouldn’t have done this or that,’ a few things I probably would have done a little differently, but it’s over with. I can’t take it back. I don’t want to say anything that would sound like excuses.’’

So, that begs the question...just how bad was Dunn's inaugural season on Chicago's Southside?

I mean, not only did the "Big Donkey" have the worst hitting season this year, but he also had, arguably, worst hitting season in the history of the planet.

He became the second person ever to have a lower batting average number (.159) than strikeout number (177).  The guy was so anemic at the plate...he hit below David Eckstein's listed playing weight (170).

Dunn's average was not only the all-time low for anyone who had 400-plus at bats, but it's also 20 points lower than anyone since 1900. The next closest was Rob Deer's .179 in 1991...but, Deer at least banged out 25 homers.

The Slugging Dunn had two fewer home runs (11) than White Sox teammate Brent Lillibridge.  In 280 fewer plate appearances!

Just by comparison the second lowest batting average in 2011 for someone with 400 or more at bats was Vernon Wells at .218. That means that Dunn didn't even come within 55 points of the game's next worst hitter.

As if the .159 number didn't stand out enough, hit up Baseball Reference and take a look at some of his splits. 
  • .149 batting average at home
  • .115 batting average when he also played the field
  • .115 batting average when batting fifth in the lineup
  • .103 batting average with RISP and two out
  • .084 batting average in the 7th-9th innings
  • .075 (20-264) with two strikes on him
  • .064 (6-94) versus lefties
If nothing else though at least he was consistent.  Dude hit .160 before the All-Star break and .158 after.  And if you're keeping track...he only hit over.160 in one month.  Dunn hit a robust .204 in May.

So...suck on that one, critics!


***A big thanks to stats maven Mike Garrigan for tabulating Dunn's futility.***

  

January 24, 2012

Tony LaRussa Will Manage One More Game

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa is not done yet.

As if people needed another reason to complain about the All-Star Game, the retired skipper is coming back to manage the Midsummer Classic.

This...from the commissioner's office:


News: Tony La Russa will manage the NL team in the @AllStarGame, Commissioner Selig announced today.


This isn't the first time a retired manager has been invited back however.  Danny Murtaugh retired following the 1971 season and returned to manager in the 1972 game.

But back then, it was a true exhibition...it wasn't the farce that it is today.

This one counts people!

Just not for the manager who will be in the dugout for one of the teams.


This Week in Baseball Cards: January 24

So Manny Ramirez might be going to Oakland? I guess he is a personality fit for Oakland...the Oakland Raiders, that is.

Here's Bo Rosny with This Week in Baseball Cards.

Ramirez would be forty the next time he plays in a major league game. Meanwhile, the Rockies have brought in a guy ten years older than Manny to compete for their fifth starter’s slot. When Jamie Moyer made his big league debut, Manny was in eighth grade. Another way to look at it: This is the Rockies’ twentieth season. When the Rockies franchise debuted, Moyer had already pitched in 143 games over six seasons.


Finally, on a serious note, came the sad news that Gary Carter’s illness took a turn for the worst. Carter was well known as one of the nicest guys in baseball. You may not have known that he was also a huge baseball card collector. Check out this 1983 interview from Baseball Cards Magazine.

And remember, gang, you can check out Bo's daily insights over at his site...Baseball Cards Come to Life.


January 22, 2012

Jose Canseco Reviews "Moneyball" and, Naturally, Begs For a Job

When the Academy Award nominations are handed out Tuesday morning, "Moneyball" looks to nominated in a number of categories.

Sure, it was shut out at the Golden Globes, but it does have its fair share of supporters.

Including Jose Canseco...who took to Twitter Sunday night after seeing the film.

Just saw the movie money ball .it was awesome congrats billy I especially loved the part about you and your daughter.ps I would have played for you back then for free.I was one of those misfits who needed a second chance

And in 1997, Canseco was granted that second chance by Oakland.

Prior to the season, Canseco signed with the Athletics for a second tour of duty.  He was the second highest paid player on the team behind Mark McGwire...taking home a cool $4.225 million.

On October 17, Billy Beane took over as Oakland's General Manager.  Two weeks later...Canseco was granted his free agency in what was to be one of Beane's first cost cutting measures. 

So, it's particularly interesting that Canseco is now saying he would have played for free even though Beane had a complete lack of interest in the 1988 American League MVP. 

Enter that classic Canseco desperation.

Billy beane call me would love to dh for you just give me a tryout that's all I ask

Ugh.

I've gotta think there's an easier way for Canseco to get in touch with Beane.  Heck...the two even shared outfield space for the 1989 World Champions.


Talkin' Baseball with Anna Benson

Full disclosure here…I haven’t watched every minute of every episode of “Baseball Wives”.

I know.  I know.  But I’ve paid enough attention enough to figure out what’s going on and know that Anna Benson is the only thing worth paying attention to.

That’s gotta mean something, right?

And even if you've missed the show, you know Anna, don’t ya?  She’s the one that famously told Howard Stern that if her husband, then-Mets pitcher Kris Benson cheated on her…she would "do everybody on his whole team."

Well, I had a chance recently to catch up with the with the potty mouthed, gun toting, “cleat chaser” hating baseball wife.  Enjoy!

HOVG:  First off, thank you for being you. And thank you for driving so much traffic to my little slice of the interwebs last month. I’ll get to why traffic was so heavy in a bit, but first, I’ve gotta know…how did “Baseball Wives’ come about? Was this an idea that you had pitched to VH1 or did they come and seek you out?

ANNA:  Actually, I have always thought that a show surrounding the lives of baseball wives was a great idea, so it was fitting that when VH1 wanted to put the show together they asked me to participate!

HOVG:  Is the show a fair representation of what it is like to be a baseball wife?

ANNA:  Not necessarily, the life of a baseball wife depends on different things...how much money your husband makes, how long he’s been in the league, what team he plays for, what you do for a living, etc. But I’d say it’s a decent representation.

HOVG:  Who, if you can name names, should be on the show that isn’t…and why?

ANNA:  No one comes to mind, I enjoyed all of the ladies on the show.

HOVG:  I alluded to it earlier, but your dildo “attack” on Cheri Knoblauch made a ton of news last month and drove my site’s traffic through the roof. What happened? Can you walk us through it?

ANNA:  Absolutely not true, never happened.

HOVG:  Okay. Enough about the show. Let’s have some fun…let’s play word association. I’ll throw you a word or phrase and you tell me what comes to mind first. Cleat chaser.

ANNA:  Desperate.

HOVG:  New York Mets fans.

ANNA:  Hopeful.

HOVG:  Kris Benson bashers.

ANNA:  Anna Benson wanters.

HOVG:  Anna Benson bashers.

ANNA:  Mentally challenged.

HOVG:  Howard Stern.

ANNA:  One of the greatest people to influence my life.

HOVG:  The whole Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries mess.

ANNA:  Boring.

HOVG:  PETA.

ANNA:  Not scientific.

HOVG:  Alright…last question. What’s one thing about you that you’d really like everyone to know?

ANNA:  That I am a sweet girl with a huge heart who I adores her family, friends and fans!

HOVG:  So what’s next for you? Where can people find you?

ANNA:  Hopefully we’ll move on to season two of  "Baseball Wives"!  Until then, people can find me online by checking out my website or by following me on Twitter.  And remember, "Baseball Wives" airs every Sunday on VH1!


Mike Piazza Knows What Cap He Wants to Wear

A year from now, we'll know whether or not Mike Piazza is a first ballot Hall of Famer.

That said, it appears as though the catching great has already thought about what cap he'd want to be wearing should he be immortalized in Cooperstown.

And if that wasn't the most interesting tidbit to come from his interview with Jill Martin from MSG...his choice for "most impressive" pitcher he's caught should be.  Enjoy.


January 20, 2012

Oakland Interested in Manny Ramirez?

What do Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi have in common?
They were all brought in by the Oakland Athletics in hopes to provide veteran leadership and add a little pop to an otherwise lackluster lineup.

Now, I'm not sure what sort of anything Manny Ramirez would bring to the A's, but according to ESPN Deportes...the team is interested in the 39-year-old slugger.

Last week, ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reported that the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays had a look at Ramirez batting in an indoor cage.

"The Orioles and Blue Jays saw Manny work and Baltimore liked what it saw, but Oakland has been the team that has expressed the most interest, even before having him work out," the source said.

It's a mystery as to who or why anyone would take a chance on the 12-time All-Star, but whoever does...they're looking at Ramirez spending 50 games on the sidelines while he serves his pending suspension.
Your move, Taiwanese animators.


Is the Sergio Romo Bobblehead Too Dark?

Typically if you were to ask yourself what is better, a gnome or a bobblehead...you're going to say "gnome" every time.

Well, on this...I'm torn.

You see, when the San Francisco Giants announced they were doing a Brian Wilson Garden Gnome night, I got excited.  But, have you seen the Sergio Romo bobblehead?

In a word...it's awesome.  And I'd love to be by the Bay May 5 when they give them out prior to the Giants taking on the Milwaukee Brewers.

But, there's one problem.  Dude is a little dark.  And it's something the reliever himself has noticed.


Well im super stoked bout gettin a bobblehead this year! take it everyone thinks its too dark of a skintone? I do! Lol


I guess we'll see if the Giants give the Romo bobblehead the Sammy Sosa skin whitening treatment when it gets unveiled to the fans on the Cinco de Mayo.


January 19, 2012

Gary Carter in "Grave" Condition

It's one of those ledes that you hate to write, but I think Bill Madden from the New York Daily News nailed it on the head and wrote it the most succinctly..."Gary Carter’s fight with brain cancer has turned from brave to extremely grave."

Thursday night, Carter's daughter posted on the family website that the Hall of Famer's most recent MRI revealed “several new spots/tumors on his brain".

She also revealed that one of her father’s doctors “will be coming to my parents’ house (Thursday night) to talk to the family about the next step".

Reportedly, the family is debating whether or not to continue treatments of any kind.

All of this is pretty startling news since, back in August, word from the Carter camp was that everything was progressing well.  But, then again, that was back in August.

First diagnosed with the tumors in May, the former catcher has had a pretty rough go of it that past few months.

According to Madden:

In recent weeks, Carter’s condition has visibly worsened, and he began complaining of severe headaches, fatigue and balance problems that resulted in a fall on Christmas Day in which he tore his rotator cuff.

This past week, “The Kid” spent almost all of his time at his home in Palm Beach Gardens and was too weak Monday to attend his annual charity golf tournament a few miles away.

I had a chance to talk with Carter a while back...feel free to check out the interview.

January 18, 2012

Former Pitcher's Daughter Wows American Idol

Oh, "American Idol"...thank you for bringing a familar face back to my television.

No, I'm not talking about Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, J. Lo or Ryan Seacrest...I'm talking about former big leaguer and MLB Network analyst Joe Magrane!

In case you missed it, the one-time St. Louis Cardinals hurler was on hand at the Savannah auditions when his daughter, 15 year-old Shannon, belted out an Etta James tune.  But it was the exchange between the elder Magrane and Aerosmith frontman Tyler that left a bigger impression.

"How's Beantown," the lefty pitcher asked.

Tyler's response?  "Hot, humid and happening...just like your daughter."

Yes...his fifteen-year-old daughter.


And, no, this isn't the first time the spawn of a former Major Leaguer has made it on to the show.  Heck, it isn't even the first time a family member from one of the 1987 National League Champion Cardinals has made the show.

During Season Four, Niko Smith, son of Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, made the cut and sang his way to ninth place and a recording deal.

But back to the younger Magrane.  Shannon got her ticket and is "off to Hollywood!"...but it won't be her first time performing in front of a crowd.

This past May, she sang the National Anthem before a Tampa Bay Rays game.