Archive for the ‘A Can of Corn’ Category

Chicago White Sox Unretire Number For Vizquel

February 9, 2010

There is a pretty cool story coming out of Chicago. And no it’s not that Chicago Bears’ coach Lovie Smith got fired or Chicago Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry figured out how to be a major league GM.

The Chicago White Sox are the team in Chicago that is doing a cool thing.

Vizquel will wear No. 11 with the Chi Sox

The White Sox are unretiring Luis Aparicio’s No. 11 and giving it to newly signed SS Omar Vizquel. As long as the player whose number is being unretired doesn’t have a problem with this, then this is completely fine by me.

Aparicio clearly doesn’t have a problem with this.

“If there is one player who I would like to see wear my uniform number with the White Sox, it is Omar Vizquel,” Aparicio said in a statement through ESPN.com. “I have known Omar for a long time. Along with being an outstanding player, he is a good and decent man.”

What’s cool about this is that it’s one Venezuelan Hall of Fame shortstop giving his number to another Venezuelan future Hall of Fame shortstop. When Vizquel does hang up his spikes, he will be a HOF’er.

I think it’s great when a player of today remembers of the players of yesterday. If Vizquel can get just one fan to find a new found appreciation for Aparicio, then this decision is worth it.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Major League Baseball And The College Game

February 8, 2010

First, I hope everyone enjoyed the Super Bowl yesterday. It was quite a game. I wrote on Saturday that I thought the New Orleans Saints would cover, but I didn’t think they would win.

I am really happy the Indianapolis Colts didn’t win. It would have angered me to see a coach like Jim Caldwell win a Super Bowl. Is there a more useless coach in the NFL than him?

He is exactly what George Seifert was with the San Francisco 49ers. He just stands there, does nothing and wins with someone else’s talent. That act won’t act much longer.

Now that the football season is officially over, it’s baseball season again. And now that we all can focus on baseball full-time, I wanted to talk about an article I came across the other day.

I was reading Buster Olney’s article on Saturday (which every baseball fan should be reading) and the beginning of his article focused on how Major League Baseball can help the college game.

Here are some of the suggestions Olney got in regards to how MLB can help college baseball:

1. As Major League Baseball restructures the draft in the next labor negotiations, it could help the colleges by moving their draft signing deadline up to July, somewhere in the middle of the month, so there can be an adjustment period for schools that lose kids to MLB teams. Under the current deadline, in mid-August, colleges are left in a really difficult position regarding maximizing their use of scholarships when kids who would be on scholarship suddenly sign with the pro ranks. As it stands, college coaches don’t have a clear idea about their needs or available money until after the signing deadline.

Moving up the deadline might also be more attractive to MLB teams, because this would mean the drafted players would be signed and playing in short-season leagues by the middle of the summer.

2. There would be support in the college ranks for some sort of baseball combine where players go and get the meetings with teams and physicals out of the way instead of having area scouts track the players all winter and spring. As it stands, says one insider, “there are tons of meetings for these kids — they become redundant and it is a distraction during the most crucial time [before the college regionals and College World Series], right before draft. They could have the combine in January before we start school.”

3. Move the draft so it comes after the College World Series. As it stands, the draft falls right in the middle of the college baseball playoff season, which has an impact on the teams.

These are all really good suggestions and suggestions that I agree with. I think that MLB could be doing even more. Here are a couple of more suggestions I have for improving college baseball.

4. MLB and the NCAA needs to work better with ESPN and the MLB Network and start televising college baseball games on TV. Let’s face it, the only time you hear about college baseball is during the College World Series or the Draft.

However, you can hear about college football or basketball 12 months a year if you want to. That’s because ESPN covers these sports on a yearly basis.

How great would it be if ESPN or the MLB Network starting showing the College Baseball game of the week on a Tuesday night during the summer. If baseball wants to put some juice into their draft, then people need to know who their favorite team is drafting.

Stephen Strasburg was the most hyped prospect maybe of all-time and nobody ever saw him pitch on TV. That needs to change. Putting college baseball on TV would really help the sport tremendously.

5. Turn college baseball from a regional sport to a national sport. The way college baseball is setup now, it’s a regional sport. If you look at the College World Series over the last 20 years, it’s teams predominately from the southeast, southwest, and west.

I think the NCAA should bring back the northeast and midwest bracket like they had in the 1980’s. Back in the 80’s, schools like the University of Maine, St. Johns, and James Madison made the College World Series. Now, those schools don’t have a chance.

If you give those schools a chance to compete at the highest level, it will attract more kids from the northeast to baseball. The reality is a coach from let’s say Penn State, can’t walk into a kids home in Pennsylvania and say “You will have a chance to play for a National Championship.”

If college baseball gave everyone a chance, it would help the sport.

This is a pretty interesting topic and I think we can all agree that baseball needs to do a better job of integrating itself with the college game. Hopefully these suggestions are a start.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham of Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Andre Dawson To Enter Hall As An Expo

January 27, 2010

When Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month, many wondered which cap he would wear going in? Would it be the Montreal Expos or the Chicago Cubs?

That question was answered today.

According to a report by MLB.com, the Baseball Hall of Fame has decided that Dawson will enter Cooperstown as a Montreal Expo. On his Hall of Fame plaque, Dawson will be wearing an Expos cap.

Dawson will go into the HOF as an Expo

Dawson will become the second player to enter the Hall wearing an Expos cap. Gary Carter or “Pop up Gary” as my dad used to call him, was the first to enter Cooperstown wearing an Expos hat, when he did so in 2003.

While Dawson was obviously pleased with being elected to the HOF, he clearly is not pleased that he will be wearing an Expos hat. In an interview with WMVP-AM Chicago, Dawson said “I’m disappointed. I can proudly say that because Chicago was my preference.”

So which hat should Dawson being wearing? The Cubs or the Expos? Here are Dawson’s lines with both teams.

Expos: .280 with 225 home runs, 838 RBI, 253 stolen bases, and a .326 OBP in 11 years.

Cubs: .285 with 174 home runs, 587 RBI, 57 stolen bases, and a .327 OBP in six years.

It’s a tough call. Dawson played longer and was more of a five-tool-player with the Expos. However, he did have his MVP year and became a household name with the Cubs.

This whole to-do about which hat a player enters the hall with, is very silly to me. This whole Tom Foolery started when Wade Boggs wanted to enter the HOF as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray.

If that clown wanted to enter the Hall originally as a Boston Red Sox or New York Yankee, like he should have, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It was rumored that the then Devil Rays were offering Boggs monetary compensation to wear their hat on his HOF plaque.

The HOF changed their policy as to which cap a player would wear thanks to Boggs and some other players (Dave Winfield) in 2001. Boggs is wearing a Red Sox cap on his HOF plaque.

I don’t think things like this were an issue 30-40 years ago because players didn’t change teams as often as they do know. Now with players changing teams every couple of years, I don’t have a problem with the HOF deciding which cap a player should wear.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Texas Rangers Find A New Owner

January 26, 2010

Update

The sale of the Texas Rangers has been finalized. The group led by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg has completed the initial step of purchasing controlling interest in the Rangers from owner Tom Hicks.

The official announcement was made on Saturday night.

Greenberg will serve as managing partner and CEO of what will be known as Rangers Baseball Express. Ryan will be a limited partner and remain club president.

Dallas businessman Ray Davis of Dallas and Bob Simpson of Fort Worth, who is chairman of XTO Energy, have been named co-chairmen of the board of Rangers Baseball Express.

The next step is to submit the agreement to Major League Baseball for review by the ownership committee and approval by 75 percent of club owners, as well as approval by the lending institutions.

Greenberg is hoping to have everything finalized by April of 2010.

Original Post

Texas Ranger fans got some very good news today.

According to the Dallas Morning News, a group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan have been selected by current owner Tom Hicks as the winner in the bidding process for the team.

Hicks made the decision on Tuesday, picking Greenberg over two other groups, one headed by former players agent Dennis Gilbert and another led by Houston businessman Jim Crane.

What this means is the Greenberg/Ryan group has 30 days to negotiate the sale of the team from Hicks before it goes to Major League Baseball for approval. Once it goes to Major League Baseball for approval, the ownership group must get approved by 75 percent of the owners in baseball.

Ranger fans are probably looking at a final sale to take place somewhere between the middle of January and April.

The first thing this ownership group should so is build a dome, so the Rangers won’t wilt in that ridiculous Texas heat like they do every summer. In all seriousness, this is a good day for the Rangers.

Greenberg made his money as a powerful sports attorney in Pittsburgh. As an attorney, he was instrumental in helping Mario Lemieux and Bernie Kosar become owners of sports franchises.

That is how good Greenberg is at his job–he help Kosar become an owner. Did anyone see him during ESPN’s 30 for 30 on the “U”?

He sounded like he has been smoking 10 packs of cigarettes a day for the past 10 years and he looked even worse. My lord. What happened to that guy?

The “U” was a fascinating piece by the way. It was really great stuff and a must watch.

But back to Greenberg and the story at hand.

Greenberg currently owns two minor league teams in South Carolina and Pennsylvania. He also owns the Greenberg Sports Group, which provides consulting, management, and marketing services across the country.

The Rangers now with Greenberg and Ryan have two baseball guys running the team. I think that is very important.

Hicks was never a baseball guy. Hicks is a business man, who just wanted more toys. The Rangers were a new toy to him and he really didn’t know to play with the toy the right way.

Nothing was more evident of that than the Alex Rodriguez signing.

There was probably nothing more frustrating to the Ranger players and their fans when they weren’t able to add to the payroll last year when their team was in contention.

Last year’s Rangers team was exceeding expectations and worked so hard the entire season and for GM Jon Daniels not be allowed to add payroll because Hicks was all of a sudden poor was sad.

I have no idea how much money Greenberg will put into this team, nor do I even know if this sale will even go through.

But if this sale does go through, the Rangers’ franchise will be better off tomorrow than they were yesterday.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Dodgers To Play Games In Taiwan During Spring Training

January 25, 2010

The Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that has always had strong ties to the Far East, will hope to strengthen those ties this spring.

The Dodgers will travel to Taiwan in March to play two games against a team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League. The two games will be played on March 13 and 14 and the team the Dodgers will be playing has not been announced yet.

This will be the Dodgers’ second trip to Taiwan. In 1993, the Dodgers became the first Major League team to play in Taiwan, when they competed against a team of CPBL All-Stars.

As I mentioned, the Dodgers have always had strong ties to Taiwan. The Dodgers became the first Major League team to sign a Taiwanese player when they signed left-handed pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo in 2000.

Of the six Taiwan-born players to appear in the Major Leagues, four have played for the Dodgers: Kuo, Chin-Feng Chen, Chin-Lung Hu and Chin-hui Tsao.

The two games the Dodgers will play in Taiwan will not be part of the Dodgers’ spring training schedule.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Kansas City Royals Doing Their Part To Help Haiti

January 21, 2010

I know a lot of people, including myself, have had plenty of negative things to say about the way the Kansas City Royals have operated over the last couple of seasons. However, you can’t have anything negative to say about what the Royals are doing today.

Zack Greinke and David DeJesus of the Royals will team up with Heart to Heart International to aid the Haiti earthquake victims.

They’ll be at Sam’s Club, 4100 Bolger Drive in Independence, Mo., between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. CT on Thursday to collect donations and items for Heart to Heart Care Kits.

In addition, DeJesus has pledged $2,500 to Heart to Heart, a donation that has been matched by Royals Charities. That will supply 500 of the kits.

Heart to Heart will be collecting donations and items, including towels, soap and other toiletries, at all five Kansas City area Sam’s Clubs on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Royals fans and anyone also can donate on-line by visiting http://www.hearttoheart.org.

Great job by Greinke, DeJesus, and the entire Royals organization for doing their part to help out with the crisis in Haiti. I am sure the Royals won’t be the last organization to help out Haiti.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Florida Marlins Doing Some Good, Travel To Iraq

January 14, 2010

A lot people will call baseball players–and most athletes for that matter–overpaid and selfish. While athletes do make a nice living and some of them can be selfish, what usually goes unnoticed is the charitable work that athletes do.

A lot of athletes set up foundations to help raise money for their favorite cause and/or give back to the community they currently play in or grew up in by visiting hospitals or revitalizing little league fields.

Coghlan will be headed to Iraq and Kuwait

The Florida Marlins have decided to give back to the troops in Iraq and Kuwait. This is awesome with a capital A.

The Marlins will be the first Major League Baseball team to visit the troops in Iraq and Kuwait when they travel to that region on Jan. 24. The Marlins will spend about a week with the troops.

Representing the Marlins will be manager Fredi Gonzalez, reigning National League Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, catcher John Baker, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, senior director of team travel Bill Beck and director of marketing and promotions Matt Britten. The club will also be sending four members of the Mermaids dance group.

First, I can’t say enough about what the Marlins are doing.  To go over to Iraq and Kuwait to meet the troops that protect our country is really a great thing. Good for the Marlins being the first team to do this.

Second, what took so long? Baseball should have been sending over players or representatives of teams for years now. If the WWE can send over wrestlers and personalities every year, so can Major League Baseball.

It doesn’t have to be a specific team. It can be volunteers from any team. They could hold clinics, autograph sessions, Q & A, etc…

Kudos again to the Marlins for doing this. Hopefully they won’t be the last team or set of players to go over to Iraq and Kuwait.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Major League Baseball To Play Global World Series?

January 7, 2010

Never hesitant to expand the game of baseball globally, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is working with Japanese baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato to play a Global World Series.

The idea is that the World Series winner from Major League Baseball would play the Japanese baseball champions in a Global World Series. When and where these games would be played is still up for debate, but Selig and Kato met in Milwaukee to get the ball rolling on this concept.

This idea does have some steam as both Selig and Kato seem eager to get something done before Selig steps down in 2012. While I think the concept is great, I have my doubts as to whether or not something like this could be pulled off.

I just don’t see how Selig can make an entire team fly across the world to play another series of games after playing through spring training, a 162 game schedule, and potentially 19 playoff games. That is a hard sell.

Do you think the free agent pitcher, who is set to make maybe $60 million on the open market is really going to play in that series? Do you think a GM like Brian Cashman or Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to let his young pitchers throw an additional 10 or 15 innings?

Highly unlikely.

And lets not forget that players from the United States aren’t too keen on playing in the World Baseball Classic and that’s a volunteer event. Do you know how many players declined playing in that event for the U.S. before they came up with the final team? It was in the seventies.

My point being that the majority of the players just want to play for their team and that’s it. Players want to rest after the season and more importantly, they don’t want to risk injury, which could cost them millions in the long run.

If something like this does get pulled off, I can see where the World Series winner would send over maybe half their roster and fill the other half with minor league players. This would defeat the purpose of what the event is supposed to be–the two best teams in the world playing each other.

I like the concept, but this is going to be hard to pull off.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Andre Dawson Elected To Baseball’s Hall Of Fame, Roberto Alomar Snubbed

January 6, 2010

Perhaps one of the benefits of being unemployed, is that I get to see things happen live right before my eyes during the day.

Take today for example.

Today, it was going to be announced who the Baseball Writer’s Association of America voted into the 2010 class of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The announcement was to be made at 2:00 pm ET today.

Fortunately or maybe unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I was around to watch the announcement as it happened. And what I heard was extremely shocking.

When it was announced that only one player was elected for 2010, I was positive it was Roberto Alomar. Instead, it was Andre Dawson.

Dawson was a beast in 1987

Dawson received 77.9 percent of the vote. Bert Blyleven just missed induction with 74.2 percent of the vote and Alomar was right behind him with 73.7 percent of the vote.

75 percent is needed for election.

First, congratulations to Dawson. Growing up in New York and without cable for most of the 80’s, I didn’t get to see Dawson play as a Montreal Expo.

The first time I got to see Dawson play on a regular basis and on a national stage was in 1987 with the Chicago Cubs. That year he terrorized pitchers to the tune of 49 home runs and won the National League MVP.

I really wish I had the opportunity to watch Dawson as a member of the Expos. When he was with the Expos, he was a five-tool player who could change the game both offensively and defensively.

As a member of the Cubs, he was more of just a power hitter, who’s legs started to fail him as the years went on. He still had a great arm with the Cubs, but he was became a one-dimensional player in the late-80’s, early-90’s.

Dawson finished his career with a .279 average with 438 home runs, 314 stolen bases, 1,591 RBI, and an .806 OPS. He is one of three players in major league history to have 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Dawson will also have the lowest batting average and OBP of any batter in the Hall of Fame. Dawson’s Hall of Fame status is certainly debatable.

Now on to something that is not debatable.

Roberto Alomar is a Hall of Fame player. The fact that he didn’t get in on the first ballot is a complete joke.

Alomar is one of the top-five second baseman of all time. Did he have an ugly on-field incident when he spit in the face of umpire of John Hirschbeck? Yes, he did.

But I don’t think Alomar should be punished for that incident. There are guys in the Hall of Fame who have done worse.

I loathe the fact that some of these writers have this policy that they can’t vote in a guy on the first try. That is just utter stupidity.

I also have felt for a long time that it is utter stupidity that guys get in on the third try, the seventh try, or even the 12th try. Either you are a Hall of Famer or you aren’t a Hall of Famer.

Once a player retires, his stats don’t change.

Why is Alomar more qualified in 2011 than he was in 2010? Why was Jim Rice more qualified on his 15th try than his first try?

How does a guy get 40 percent of the vote in his first year and then 10 years later, he is a HOF’er? So less than 50 percent of the voters don’t think you are qualified for the HOF, but because of weak classes, 10 years later you are worthy?

That never, ever made any sense to me.

Five years after a guy retires, he should have one shot to get into the HOF and that’s it.

Here are some other notables and the percentage of vote they received.

Jack Morris – 52.3

Barry Larkin – 51.6

Edgar Martinez – 36.2

Tim Raines – 30.4

Mark McGwire – 23.7

Alan Trammell – 22.4

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Peter Gammons To Make MLB Network Debut On Wednesday

January 4, 2010

Remember back in the 90’s when wrestlers switched between WCW and WWE on a frequent basis? A wrestler would leave WCW because his contract was up and would disappear for like three months.

Internet rumors swirled about how he has signed a contract with the WWE and everyone started to wonder what his gimmick would be and when he would debut. The anticipation of when this wrestler would make his debut would be more talked about then the wrestler’s skills in the ring.

Three months later, the wrestler would make his debut on Monday Night Raw or on a Pay Per View with a new name and a new gimmick. That scenario kind of reminds me of what is going on with Peter Gammons these days.

Gammons left ESPN a couple of months ago and everyone started to speculate where he was going to go. He signed a contract with the MLB Network  in December and now everyone was waiting to see when he was going to make his debut.

That question was answered today.

According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Gammons will make his debut for the MLB Network on Wednesday. Gammons will appear on the 2010 Hall of Fame Election Show at 1:00 pm ET. on Wednesday.

Unlike the WWE or WCW, Gammons won’t have a new gimmick or change his name with the MLB Network. He will be his usual outstanding self,  joined by Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci, Jon Heyman, Matt Vasgersian, and National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.

Outside of Reynolds (not the biggest fan), that is a powerhouse panel.

Of course, the topic they will be covering will be who made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2010. Who or who doesn’t deserve to get into the Baseball HOF is perhaps the most debated topic in sports.

I weighed in on the HOF topic back in July, when the 2009 Baseball HOF class was inducted. I still stand by my thought that only Roberto Alomar gets into the HOF in 2010.

Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez will just miss.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg