The Classiness of Jordan Spieth Leads Podcast #26

Jordan Spieth (photo by Erik Charlton [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Jordan Spieth (photo by Erik Charlton [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

In this age of the “me generation,” it is refreshing, and thrilling, to find an athlete like Jordan Spieth. Participating in what most people consider an individual sport, Spieth never stops talking about “we” and recognizing the contributions that others have made that led to his success. My admiration for the young man reached new heights, and that is why he is topic number one in this week’s podcast.

After claiming a $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup, Spieth had the most humble and heart-warming reaction ever.

Here is what he said:

“What it allows me to do is, it allows me to now even more so, take care of the people that have given me this position and allowed this to happen. Like I always say, it is a team effort. A lot of behind the scenes work goes in when we’re at home, when we’re in the early stages and on course here . . . I have an opportunity now, with a year like this and a bonus like that, to celebrate and to share it with the people that have made it possible.”

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Also in this episode:

  • The American League West and wild card races come down the stretch
  • Adam Wainwright returns for St. Louis!
  • Jonathan Papelbon making himself unemployable
  • Can the Red Sox possibly finish at .500?
  • Don Orsillo taking broadcast talent west
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for continuing to listen every week!

Wesleyan University and Yale Celebrate 150 Years of Baseball

Your intrepid blogger will be broadcasting a special baseball game on Saturday night, September 26 at 7:00 pm Eastern time when Division III Wesleyan University and Division I Yale square off to commemorate the 150th anniversary of baseball at the two schools. The webcast can be heard here.

 

Below is a compilation release from the Yale and Wesleyan sports information offices about the event:

Wesleyan and Yale are both celebrating the 150th anniversary of baseball at their respective colleges in 2015 as the two met on Sept. 30, 1865 to inaugural intercollegiate competition at their respective landmark institutions.  Wesleyan was founded in 1831 while Yale, the fourth oldest institution of higher learning in the nation, dates back to 1701.

To commemorate that first contest, the teams will play an exhibition game at Yale Field Sat., Sept. 26, beginning at 7 p.m.  The idea for the game was spawned more than five years ago when Wesleyan head coach Mark Woodworth and Yale head coach John Stuper talked about playing the game while together at a summer camp. “It seemed really important to me to celebrate the great traditions of both of these historic programs,” said Woodworth.  “Both schools have been at the forefront of establishing college baseball and we are excited to recognize all the alums and all the players that have been a part of it.”  More than 40 Wesleyan baseball alums plan to attend the game at Yale.

throwback baseball uniEach team will wear throwback uniforms (see photo of Wesleyan’s) as the Cardinal will hope for a better outcome than the 39-13 final score of the original contest, concluded after just eight innings so Wesleyan could make it back home on the last train for the day.  The game lasted 3:05.

Coach Woodworth and Coach Stuper will both make opening comments in the ceremony, which will precede the contest, followed by the remarks of two very special guests: Wesleyan’s Jim Dresser ’63 and Yale’s Fay Vincent ’63. Vincent, a graduate of Yale Law School, served as the Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1989 to 1992. Dresser, for whom Wesleyan’s baseball field is named, was a former standout in the sport and chairman of Wesleyan Board of Trustees.

Special guests are also expected to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, representing both squads.  Pregame activity is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Elis hold a 59-17-2 advantage in the all-time series with Wesleyan in regular season contests. The two squads played at Yale Field earlier this year on April 21, with the Bulldogs beating the Cardinals, 7-3.

The exhibition game Sept. 26 will have LiveStats and also a webcast.

Yogi Berra Remembered in Podcast #25

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra (photo by Googie man at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Yogi Berra was a New York Yankee, but he belonged to all of us. His passing Tuesday night at the age of 90 is as sad a time for baseball fans in general as it is for fans of the team he played for for 18 years. The legacy of this great baseball player, and perhaps an even better human being, leads off episode 25 of the Sports Microscope podcast this week.

Perhaps the greatest ambassador for the game of baseball in the last fifty years, Yogi Berra played for the Yankees, managed the Yankees and the Mets, and coached for the Houston Astros. He retired when I was a toddler, so I never had the chance to see him play. However, as a student of the game’s history, I feel like I did (if that makes any sense).

A look at a few of his accomplishments:
  • A 15-time all star
  • A three-time MVP
  • Finished second in MVP voting twice (lost to Al Rosen and Mickey Mantle)
  • .285 career batting average
  • 2,150 career hits
  • 358 career home runs
  • Played in 14 World Series (winning 10)
  • His 71 World Series hits is an all-time best
  • Took the Yankees and Mets to World Series as manager

Think about these two facts. In his career, he caught both ends of a doubleheader 117 times! His top salary? $60,000 in 1958.

A navy veteran, Berra joined the service at the age of 18 and was a machine gunner on a ship during the D-Day invasion in 1944. Despite not going past the eighth grade, education was also important to Berra, and he established a scholarship at Columbia University while still a player. He was also involved in the development of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University.

The younger generations probably best remember him for his beer commercials and appearances on television talk shows and sitcoms, and the number of “Yogi-isms” that have become part of the American lexicon is amazing. The best way to end this tribute to Yogi Berra might be with something he once said to his beloved wife, Carmen (who died a year ago). She asked him where he wanted to be buried when he past away. His answer? “Surprise me.”

Priceless.

Also in this episode:

  • Can the Cardinals hang on without Yadier Molina?
  • The Houston Astro nose dive
  • Saturday nights Tim HudsonBarry Zito matchup.
  • Tom Brady sticking it to the haters
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for continuing to listen every week!

Podcast #24: Houston Astros Try to Hang On to AL West

(Photo by Eric Enfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo by Eric Enfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0  (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via  Wikimedia Commons)

With three weeks left in the season, the Houston Astros find themselves clinging to a minuscule lead in the American League West. In Podcast episode #24, host Gene Gumbs breaks down the three-team race between the Astros, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels.

In addition to the division race, the second place team in the West currently holds the second Wild Card slot. However, the surprising Minnesota Twins and a suddenly spry Torii Hunter are only a game behind and could spoil the party.

The only race with any intrigue in the National League is in the Central Division. The Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten hot at the same time the St. Louis Cardinals have his a rough patch. Andrew McCutchen has returned to his MVP form, and the preseason trade for Francisco Cervelli with the New York Yankees may have been the steal of the year.

The episode concludes with some quick hits from week one of the NFL season. Your intrepid host has one plea: Can we please stop acting like everything that goes wrong around the New England Patriots is part of some grand conspiracy? Please. I’m begging you.

Also in this episode:

  • David Ortiz hits #500
  • Adrian Peterson’s return to the NFL less than scintillating
  • Marcus Mariota, on the other hand, makes a splash
  • David Feherty’s next gig
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for continuing to listen every week!

What We Learned in MLB Last Night

mlblogo

A few things became pretty clear in Major League Baseball last night:

 

  1. Matt Harvey cannot easily set aside issues off the field. After he and his agent made a mess of an innings limit controversy Harvey came up pretty small on the field. He allowed 8 hits and seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. That performance is not likely to change the minds of thousands of Met fans who skewered the Connecticut native after he failed to temper the comments of his agent, Scott Boras.
  2. We also learned that the Washington National fans may have been justified in leaving in the seventh inning Monday night, drawing the ire of Bryce Harper, who blasted them. After blowing Monday night’s game late, on Tuesday the Nationals coughed up a 7-1 sixth-inning lead and lost to the Mets 8-7, effectively putting a fork in Washington’s playoff hopes. I wonder if Harper had anything interesting to say last night?
  3.  Teams have managers for a reason. The Boston Red Sox roster showed what happens when players try to think for themselves. A day after Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart tried to lay down bunts on their own early in a game on Monday, Rusney Castillo may have cost the Sox a chance to beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday. After David Ortiz singled with one out in the ninth of a 1-1 game, manager Torey Luvullo used Castillo as a pinch runner. Castillo then proceeded to try to steal second base on his own and was promptly gunned down by Russell Martin.

Now I’m not saying these guys are dopes (exactly), but it does seem to me to be the perfect example of why it is always important to stop and take a minute to think before you speak or act – MLB players included. If you don’t, you had better be prepared to take responsibility for the fallout.

The Arrogance of Scott Boras Leads Podcast This Week

Mets logoSuper agent Scott Boras forgot who was supposed to be in charge when he mouthed off about innings limits to the national media this week. In doing so, he put his client (read: employer), Matt Harvey in an impossible spot this week. His arrogance and stupidity leads off episode 23 of the Sports Microscope podcast this week.

Short of Harvey coming out and saying “Screw my agent. I’m pitching as much as I want to this year” there was no way for him to win. The Met fans have jumped all over Harvey. Even if a conversation like that needs to happen, it needs to happen in private. I hope Harvey had the courage to contact his agent and warn him if he ever does something like that again he’s fired. Hell, for PR sake, he should fire the man now.

That fiasco aside, the New York Mets are in a great position to win the National League East and return to the post season. And with their stable of young pitchers and an ageless Bartolo Colon, who knows what might happen. It will be interesting to see how Harvey weathers this firestorm and is able to help the Mets get to the promised land.

Also in this episode:

  • The exciting races in the AL East and West
  • The Minnesota Twins quest to sneak into the wild card game
  • Bryce Harper‘s comments about National’s fans out of line
  • The red-hot Red Sox youngsters
  • Some NFL notes
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

Judge Frees Tom Brady to Play

Patriots logoNew England Patriot fans, your long nightmare is over. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension this morning. This (hopefully) puts an end to this drawn-out, painful, ridiculous witch hunt by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

In making this ruling, Berman has made Goodell look like the fool that many people thought he was. While it became fairly obvious that many NFL owners pressured Goodell into the actions he took, it may well be that the commissioner will now have to fall on his sword. After this, his perceived authority and ability to discipline other players and owners has been seriously undermined.

Patriot haters will be up in arms about this. Nothing short of nuking the entire New England season would satisfy them. There is no objectivity in that corner. Patriot fans will be overjoyed and feel vindicated, though it IS possible there was some kind of hanky panky by members of the equipment staff.

I just hope to the heavens that this is the end of it.

 

Miguel Sano has been a pleasant surprise in Minnesota this season. (Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Spotlight on AL Wild Card Race in This Week’s Podcast

As the calendar turns to September, five of the six division races seem to be well in hand, but race for the AL Wild Card has suddenly gotten very interesting. In episode 22 of the Sports Microscope podcast, host Gene Gumbs breaks down the chances for the six teams bunched up for two spots in the American League.

The Yankees or Blue Jays, whichever team loses the AL East seems a lock, but the Rangers, Twins, Orioles, Rays, and Indians find themselves in shouting distance of the number two position. Could the Indian schedule that seems them play 18 of their final 24 games at home be the difference?

Over in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals continue to roll, despite having an injury list the size of War and Peace. Rookie outfielder Stephen Piscotty has been a big reason the Cards haven’t missed a beat, as has the recent hot play of Jason Heyward.

There’s plenty more baseball talk in this episode, including a stop in Boston and a look at the dynamic Red Sox outfield of Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo.

Also in this episode:

  • Why are we celebrating Ichiro’s accomplishments in Japan?
  • The continued furor over NESN’s ouster of Don Orsillo
  • Miguel Sano‘s splash in Minnesota
  • Deflategate is almost over!
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!