Thursday, October 30, 2008

You're Booing? You Just Won the World Series!

How great are Philadelphia Fans? They have the reputation for being the most rude, passionate and flamboyant of sports fans. Everyone knows the story of them booing Santa and throwing snow balls. However, I couldn’t help but to chuckle just a little bit during the presentation of the World Series Trophy.

Keep in mind, the Phillies just won the World Series, just their second in franchise history! They have not won since 1980 and they have just two Championships in 120 years.

You would think that the city and the fans would be so full of euphoria and excitement that they would be cheering like crazy during the Trophy presentation. Nope, not Philly Fans.

As soon as Commissioner Bud Selig was introduced to present the trophy, the cheers immediately changed to a large chorus of BOOOOOOOOOOOOS. It was loud too.

Then, when the Phillies GM Pat Gillick and manager Charlie Manuel gave praise to the Tampa Rays for a great season, another strong chorus of BOOOOOOOS came down. Some say the only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner.

Come on Philly, act like you have been there before! Sure, you only had one other time in the previous 120 years, but come on, so some respect.

Only in Philly.

At least there were no chants of E-A-G-L-E-S. I will never forget going to a game in Philly back in 2006 when the Phillies were playing the Nationals and Washington took a 2-1 lead in the second inning, the second inning now, and boos started raining down and chants of E-A-G-L-E-S started coming from the stands.

I turned to one of the fans and said, “It’s the second innings, are you serious?” His response, “These guys are terrible, I can’t wait until football.”

Congratulations Philadelphia fans and enjoy it. You are World Champions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What’s Happening to Baseball?

So it seems like the sport I love is getting more and more out of wack. All you have to do is look at Game 5 of the World Series in Philadelphia.

With a torrential downpour and temperatures in the low 40’s, baseball played on with everyone assuming that if one team was winning when the game was official, that team would win should the field become unplayable.

After all, those are the rules. Apparently nobody was aware of a little secret meeting headed by commissioner Bud Selig with him coming up with an on the spot rule change in which the game would be suspended, regardless of the score, should conditions deteriorate too much.

Luckily the Rays were able to tie the game in the sixth inning allowing the game to be suspended with a 2-2 tie, makes more since.

However, back to my original point. What is happening in baseball? Has the almighty dollar just flat out destroyed the national pastime? Playoff games are starting at 8:30 on the east coast, not ending until one and two in the morning. There was the All-Star game fiasco a few years back leading to the American League having all-time home field advantage in the World Series, at least it seems that way. Now on the spot rule changes?

Don’t even get me started on the umpire fiasco. The fact MLB does not use veteran umpires, or umpires that have more experience, is beyond me. However, fans of either team that are the victim of a bad call won’t get any sympathy from me. Just look to 1985 and Don Denkinger. That still hurts.

There are a host of other things that just don’t make since, which makes me think the powers that be need to take a step back and look at the product that was once so successful, and earned the title of “That National Pastime.”

First thing I would propose, is bring back the Sunday double-headers. Back in the golden age of baseball, Sunday double-headers were the highlight of the week. Fans would plan out their summers based around spending a day at the ball park watching baseball. This would shorten the season and prevent the World Series ending in November when it is cold out and the weather is miserable. How many teams actually play in domes or are in geographical locations where weather won’t be a factor? It’s not the majority.

I understand how the season is an endurance test and the World Series is a culmination of all the hard work put in during the regular season, but the playoffs should not wrap up at the end of October, it should be the beginning of October.

Baseball should double up games on Sunday to shorten the season. Finish up the year by October 15.

What’s wrong with playing a World Series game on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon? Is the ad revenue so incredibly higher for a spot that airs at midnight on the east coast, opposed to three in the afternoon? It’s afternoon baseball, played without the use of artificial light, just the way God intended it to be.

If you are going to play all of them at night, mix it up for a few of them, start one or two at 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Fans out west can still see the majority of the game, especially if it’s on a weekend.

I love baseball; I can still sit down and watch any game from beginning to end. However, when the integrity of the game is compromised, that’s when I start to lose interest. Seeing all kinds of standing water on the field in Game 6 and the weather getting worse was just another example of how the integrity was compromised. It’s no wonder why sports like Mixed Martial Arts and NASCAR are beating MLB ratings.

There are no hidden rule changes, they are played during times when people will watch and they don’t last five or six hours and end at two in the morning.

Monday, October 27, 2008

GreenJackets Named Team of the Year

Minor League Baseball named the GreenJackets as the top team in all of Minor League Baseball and the best Single-A team. It's not surprising actually since the 'Jackets finished with the best winning percentage (.638) among all full season MiLB teams.

The GreenJackets swept their way through the playoffs and captured the 2008 South Atlantic League Championship. This was a team full of young talent, teenagers at that, and they put up unbelievable numbers. The pitching staff led the Minors in ERA and had the best walk to strikeout ratio.

It wont be long before you hear guys up at the big league level that came from this team. Leading the front will be the top pitcher in the Minors, Madison Bumgarner. Followed by guys like Nick Noonan, Charlie Culberson, Angel Villalona and a whole host of others.

This was a very special team and hopefully the city of Augusta and everyone that was part of the staff and season realize what a special team that was. They deserve all the recognition they get. To read the full story on the GreenJackets being named the top team, click here and read the story.

The Giants have been sending unbelievable talent to Augusta over the past four years and look to continue it for another two years after signing a two year deal to remain in Augusta. Enjoy it Augusta, and take advantage of it, not too many teams at the Minor League Level get to have such a winning team in their own backyard.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The World Series Set

So I was at a local watering hole the other day when Boston was playing Tampa and I was wearing my Lakewood BlueClaws hat. While watching the game a guy comes up while wearing a Red Sox shirt and says, what is that hat?

I respond, “The Lakewood BlueClaws, Minor League team in Lakewood New Jersey.”

He asked me who they are affiliated with and I say the Philadelphia Phillies. He then assumes that I am a big Phillies fan I guess and begins to trash the Phillies and tells me the Red Sox will beat them too, just as soon as the Sox beat the Rays.

I just smile and say, whatever.

For most people that know me, they know I was born and raised in St. Louis and cheer on the Cardinals. However, I did work for the BlueClaws for a season so I have a link to the Phillies, so that is why I wear the hat. Plus is just fits my head really good!

So now that the Phillies know who they are going to be playing, since the Rays knocked off the Red Sox, I have to step back and wonder who I will root far. If Boston had made it, I would have cheered for any National League team just because that guy that came up to me I feel represents 90% of Red Sox fans now, arrogant and loud mouthed.

All of a sudden Boston is the best team in the world. Before 2004, that fan would have never walked up to a complete stranger and said that while wearing a Boston shirt.

But I digress, the World Series is set. I do feel I have more of a vested interest in rooting for the Phillies. I worked for a Phillies affiliate and spent two years in the north east and went to a good number of Phillies games.

I have more friends and know more people that cheer for the Phillies and are from the area. In fact, I don’t know one person that is a die hard Rays fan; I know a number of people that jumped on the band wagon though.

However the Rays are the new thing, a young exciting team that nobody every expected to get this far. Just check the Las Vegas odds at the beginning of the season on where the Rays stood.

I wont be distraught if one teams looses opposed to the other, I do hope for a really good series though. So here is to a good series, free of the teams that “everybody wanted.” Two teams with their own stories, own characters and own reasons to win.

I am not going to mention any names, but one sports writer (Mike Freeman) on CBS Sportsline said this series will be as boring as the Tigers and Cardinals. I didn't realize that series was so boring, it had two franchises that met in the World Series many times and two franchises with great baseball tradition.

I don't think this will be a boring series, this is going to be a series with a lot of dramatics, great fan atmosphere, and a tremendous amount of heart on both sides.

Maybe the next time I go out to watch a game for the World Series, I will just wear my Notre Dame hat, that is always a good conversation starter too…. “What are you, a Notre Dame fan or something?”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Updating the Web Site

Everyday I continue to make my web site easier for the many people that visit the site. If you go to my demo page, you will notice new sound clips. The sound clips are actually embedded in the page so all you have to do is click on the play button and the audio plays automatically.

This is much better than the way the old coding was, in which you clicked on the link and the file had to load before playing. Some operating systems required the visitor to actually download and save the file before listening. This new way of embedding the clips in the page makes it look sharper and it is WAY easier to listen to. I should have done it a long time ago.

I am working on doing the same with the video side as well, so be sure to check back.

I am also kicking around new designs for the site. I am looking at different color schemes and layouts, trying to figure out the easiest and best way for things to be displayed so it is easier on the eyes and the clicking.

Changing subjects, I really appreciate all the emails I got too from you GreenJackets fans through out the summer and toward the end of the season. I really appreciate all the nice things you said and some of the comments really blew me away. Obviously I am not with the team anymore and some of the emails I got at the end of the season revolved around how much I will be missed.

I will miss broadcasting the games as well. The Giants are a great organization with some great talent coming up through the ranks. My job was made easy by how good the team was and how great the staff was to work with. Everyone I ever met associated with the Giants have been great and I will truly miss working in Augusta with the GreenJackets and the Giants. However, life is all about moving on and tackling new projects.

I will always look back on my two years in Augusta with many great memories and I couldn’t have picked a better way of going out then the way I did, with a Championship. Thanks again to all the fans, to the GreenJackets, Ripken Baseball and the Giants.