Maybe it was race driver Jeff Gordon’s shout out to the fans at “Wrigley Stadium.” Or Ozzy Osbourne, who decided the lyrics of “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” were not nearly as interesting as the mostly unintelligible words he’d picked out for himself. Or perhaps it was actress Denise Richards, who brought along a little cheat sheet in case she forgot the words.
Whatever the reason, the Chicago Cubs have decided to make the broadcast booth at Wrigley Field, and more importantly, the microphone, off limits to the likes of Vanna White, Erik Estrada and Mickey Rooney. No more Kid Rock, who, as the story goes, knew it was customary to say something at the end of the song, but went with “Let’s get some lunch!” instead of the more traditional “Let’s get some runs.”
“It was a good idea at first,” Al Yellon, who runs bleedcubbieblue.com, said of the Cubs’ decision to allow celebrities to take over the job the late Harry Caray handled so famously for so many years. “But it turned into a celebrity fest with D-list celebrities.”
The song is played during the stretch around the major leagues, usually the ballpark organist leading the fans in song. Some parks have their own traditions, of course — Fenway Park and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth inning, for example. The Florida Marlins tried to skip “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” to go with dancers leading fans to Gloria Estefan songs, a tradition that lasted all of two games.
For a team that doesn’t exactly have a long history of embracing change, lights didn’t arrive until 1988, messing with a musical tradition tied forever to Caray might seem a dramatic step. But the Cubs have a new regime in place, with Theo Epstein and other front-office personnel trying to turn around baseball’s famous losers and chairman Tom Ricketts pressing for upgrades to Wrigley, the oldest ballpark in the majors behind Fenway.
Caray, then with the White Sox, is credited with singing the song first at a game. He was so bad that team owner Bill Veeck had the idea to secretly put a microphone in the booth so everyone could join in and, well, mask the warbling.
And join in they did, first at White Sox games and then at Wrigley, when Caray started his run with the Cubs in 1982. Fifteen years after his death, Caray is still part of the celebration, both inside the park where some guest singers still mention him, and outside, where fans can see a statute of Caray in his famous singing pose.
Former major league infielder Josh Booty has won a reality television show by throwing the best knuckleball, and will go to spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Booty is set to report to camp Friday with a non-roster invitation.
The show on the MLB Network was called “The Next Knuckler.” Booty met Thursday with Diamondbacks announcer Tom Candiotti, a longtime knuckleballer in the majors.
Despite being new to the knuckleball, this won’t be Booty’s first Spring Training. He was the fifth-overall pick by the Florida Marlins in the 1994 First-Year Player Draft and appeared in 13 Major League games for the Marlins from 1996-98. He also played quarterback at LSU.
Booty was among five former college quarterbacks in the competition. His brother, John David Booty, was joined by Doug Flutie, David Greene and Ryan Perrilloux.
San Francisco Giants reliever Guillermo Mota was suspended for 100 games on Monday, becoming just the third major league player penalized twice for positive drug tests.
The commissioner’s office said the 38-year-old right-hander tested positive for Clenbuterol. In November 2006, while with the New York Mets, Mota was suspended for the first 50 games of the next season.
“We won’t have Mota for a while. It is what it is, and you move on,” manager Bruce Bochy said before the Giants began a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “If we get into a situation where we need a pitcher, we’re going to have to make a change. Right now we’re going with 11 pitchers, and if we have to adjust, we will. We’ve got some pretty good options, we think, and Brian (Sabean) and I will continue to talk about them.”
Mota’s agent Adam Katz said in a statement that the Clenbuterol was in children’s cough syrup.
“Players are responsible for what they put in their bodies. Guillermo understands that,” Katz said. “A 100-game suspension for taking a children’s cough medicine that contains trace amounts of a prohibited substance, which is what happened here, is severe and unfair and does not reflect the intention of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We will appeal it.”
The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance challenging the suspension that will be heard by an arbitrator. Under baseball’s drug agreement, grievances for initial positive tests are heard before a suspension is announced but cases involving second or third positives are argued after the penalty is made public.
Outfielder Manny Ramirez and catcher Eliezer Alfonzo are the only previous players to twice test positive. No player has tested positive a third time, which would result in a lifetime ban.
Alfonzo was suspended for 50 games in 2008 while with San Francisco and for 100 games last September while with Colorado Rockies. By the time Mota’s suspension is over, the Giants will have 34 games left on the schedule.
Mota was 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in nine games for the Giants this year. This is his 14th season in the majors. He has been a setup man and middle reliever throughout his career. He is 39-45 with 10 saves in 726 games while playing with Montreal Expos, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, Cleveland Indians, the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco.
Clenbuterol acts as a stimulant, increasing heart rate. In medicine, it is used to treat asthma. Like some steroids, the drug also has anabolic effects. Athletes and body builders use it to build muscle and burn fat.
New Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein wants to bring scapegoated fan Steve Bartman back from exile. During an interview with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption Tuesday, Epstein said he’d like the Cubs to reach out to Bartman.
The Little League coach who was crucified by Chicago fans and media for interfering with a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lost in 7 games to the Florida Marlins and Bartman became the poster boy for sports scapegoats.
When Kornheiser asked about reaching out to Bartman, Epstein said he hasn’t discussed it with the Cubs. But he likes the idea of extending an olive branch:
“From afar, it seems like it would be an important step. Maybe a cathartic moment that would allow people to move forward together. I’m all about having an open mind, an open heart and forgiveness. Those are good characteristics for an organization to have as well. He’s a Cubs fan. That’s the most important thing.”
Jack McKeon said Wednesday that he had to lock the door to the Florida Marlins clubhouse in 2003 to keep Josh Beckett and other players out of it during games. In an interview with The Palm Beach Post, McKeon said Beckett and fellow righthander Brad Penny would retire to the locker room between innings, “to get a drink or hang out.”
The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that Beckett was part of a group of Boston Red Sox pitchers who drank beer, ate fried chicken and played video games when not pitching.
In addition to locking the clubhouse door, McKeon had bathroom passes printed.
“I said, ‘Hey, I got no rule against going up if you have to go to the bathroom or something, but get back,’” McKeon told the Post. “A couple of times I looked down the bench to talk to somebody and they weren’t there. They were in the clubhouse. So I went up and got them out and said, ‘OK, boys that’s it. We’ll lock the door.’”
McKeon stressed in the interview that he wanted players in the dugout so to remain mentally sharp and gather intelligence on opponents.
“What I wanted them to do is teach them how to focus. If they wanted to be good they’re going to have to focus by watching the opposition and learning something instead of running up to the clubhouse and getting a drink and kibitzing and stuff like that,” McKeon told the Post.
McKeon refused to criticize former Red Sox manager Terry Francona for his handling of the situation in Boston.
Minutes into Ozzie Guillen’s first media session as manager of the Florida Marlins, the subject turned to politics and specifically fellow countryman Hugo Chavez. Guillen shrugged off the suggestion he was a fan of the Venezuelan president Chavez.
“Don’t tell my wife that, because she hates that man. She hates him to death,” Guillen said. “I supported Chavez? If I was supporting Chavez, do you think I would be manager of the Marlins? I never supported Chavez.”
The topic arose because Chavez is unpopular with many Venezuelans living in Miami. Guillen said he has never spoken to Chavez, but in fact he appeared on the Venezuelan leader’s national radio show twice in October 2005, when Guillen led the Chicago White Sox to the World Series title.
At the time Guillen said: “Not too many people like the president. I do. My mom will kill me, but it’s an honor to talk to the president.”
Sun Life Stadium, home to the Florida Marlins, saw one of it’s largest crowds of the season 34,615 and it’s last game for the Major League Baseball club. There were standing ovations for manager Jack McKeon, who entering retirement; for Charlie Hough, who threw the first pitch in franchise history; and for former Marlins catcher and current Washington Nationals Ivan Rodriguez, a hero on the 2003 World Series championship team. The one person that didn’t receive cheers from the generous crowd was former Marlins founding owner Wayne Huizenga who was booed when he was introduced. Many fans have never forgiven him for dismantling the 1997 World Series champions in a payroll purge.
The Marlins did end up losing to the Nationals 3-1 as they prepare themselves to move into a new ballpark with new manager Ozzie Guillen. The crowd included more than 20 former Marlins who were honored after the game and among the old-timers were Hough who returned to the same mound that he threw out the first pitch in 1993 to throw out the final ceremonial first pitch. The entire Marlins team and owner Jeffrey Loria congregated in the left-field corner before the sixth inning to tear the last number off the 2-year-old sign counting down the games remaining in the stadium. Florida played 1,504 games there and went 781-723.
In conjunction with the move to a ballpark near downtown the team officially becomes the Miami Marlins on November 11.
The Florida Marlins, who will become the Miami Marlins in the 2012 season when they begin play in their new stadium, will be sporting a new logo. How the uniforms will look just yet hasn”t been released but the re-branding of the logo has been confirmed by Marlins officials. The use of the multi-colors in logo allow for a broader palate of merchandise that can be sold that still is in the official team colors.
Florida Marlins closer Leo Nunez was placed on the the restricted list and suspended him for the rest of the season after the team became aware of the fact that he had been playing under an assumed name and the incorrect age. Nunez’s, who’s real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he’s 29, a year older than listed in the team media guide, prompted his to return to his native Dominican Republic yesterday.
Nunez had pitched recently as Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves and has 36 saves on the season while carrying a 4.06 ERA in 68 games. The right-hander has an effective changeup and a fastball that reaches 97 mph, and in three seasons with Florida he has 92 saves.
Nunez will be entering in his final year of arbitration after this season and was expected to make about $6 million in 2012.
Yesterday the Cincinnati Reds and the Florida Marlins played a double headed as Hurricane Irene is expected to approach the area sometime soon. In preparation for mother nature the Reds and Marlins unexpectedly crammed in a game, moving Thursdays game into Wednesday. Any other franchise this would be a good excuse for a team to hide behind but we are talking about the Marlins here and for years they have set record low attendance figures Major League Baseball.
On Wednesday Hurricane Irene had reduced the Marlins attendance to an unofficial headcount of 347 fans according to by a local radio broadcaster at Sun Life Stadium. He counted five sections with three or fewer people in it and three completely empty sections. The Marlins haven’t announced the official attendance but it would likely be lower than the record of the 1979 Oakland Athletics 653, the smallest crowd in modern history.
Florida sports fan base as a whole makes me sick.
The Atlanta Braves became the second franchise in Major League Baseball to lose 10,000 games in its history after suffering a 3-1 loss to the Florida Marlins. The Philadelphia Phillies reached the mark in 2007 against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves however picked up their 10,000th win just a couple of weeks ago on July 15, which has included their time in Boston and Milwaukee. The Braves franchise has seen won a World Series in each city that has hosted the team and each city has also seen its troublesome years.
The franchise has seen 13 100-loss seasons but only two of those seasons were in Atlanta, while the other 11 were near the start of the team history during their tenure in Boston. The worst stretch in team history was seen from 1903-13, when the Braves went a combined 595-1,062 between winning seasons. The biggest contributors to the team’s losing ways are four current Hall of Fame members and two future members. Knuckleball specialist Phil Niekro has the most losses in franchise history with 230, followed by Warren Spahn at 229 and Kid Nicholas at 183. Tom Glavine and John Smoltz recording 147 losses each while Vic Willis also had 147 help make up the rest.
Overall the franchise has seen 619 players earn a loss to help bring the team to this.
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who used to be the Florida Marlins third base coach, is known to give his opinions freely and that even goes for his thoughts on Steve Bartman.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan is Major League Baseballs version of Ron Artest. Morgan started his big league career off with promise of potential and then came accusation he threw a ball at a fan during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park back in August 2010. Just one week later Morgan was involved in a brawl with Florida Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad after bowling into Marlins catcher Brett Hayes and separating his shoulder the previous night. Morgan was hit with an eight game suspension and a $15,000 fine in addition to the suspension.
Other similarities he shares with Artest is his aloofness such as his game winning walkoff hit against the New York Mets on June 8th. When he spoke to reporters after the game he said he didn’t know he had hit the game winning hit even as his teammates mobbed him. Morgan said he didn’t even know what inning it was “even with all the scoreboards and everything.”
The most recent incident happened to come yesterday on the Brewers off day. Left with time on his hands and no game to play he went to Twitter and ask how he should spend his day and that’s when fan told him to go fly a kite. Within hours Morgan was taking twitpics of himself flying a shark kite.
Now Morgan still has a ways to go before he’s actually on the level of Artest but as he continues to come out of his shell, his acts look awfully familiar.
After losing 19 of 20 in June and 11 in a row overall, Florida Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison ripped shortstop Hanley Ramirez on Monday for his excessive tardiness which even came about on interim managers Jack McKeon first day. Morrison reportedly addressed Ramirez for repeatedly arriving just minutes before the team stretch. He scolded the three-time All-Star and blamed the tardiness as the reason for Ramirez’s season-long slump.
According to reports, Ramirez waited for Morrison to leave before reacting and yelling at no one in particular. The incident occurred on the same day in which McKeon benched Ramirez in his first day on the job.
On his first day on the job for the Florida Marlins 80 year old manager Jack McKeon had some business to handle before setting foot back on the diamond. McKeon benched all star shortstop Hanley Ramirez in last nights games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reportedly for showing up late to the ballpark missing the team meeting.
When asked if there was a particular reason the star shortstop was not in the lineup, McKeon reportedly said, “Yeah, because I didn’t put him in there.”
Team sources said McKeon made the move after Ramirez arrived late for a 3:30pm team meeting which came just hours after the team officially introduced him as the interim replacement for Edwin Rodriguez who resigned Sunday.
The rocky road between manager and player is nothing new for Ramirez as he had previous run ins with former and now current Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez but interesting it would start on day one.
Over the weekend Clarence Clemons, saxophone player for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band died Saturday night due to complications of a stroke he suffered earlier this month. Here’s the Big Man playing the National Anthem for the Florida Marlins opening day game against the New York Mets this year.
Every Thursday Sports Grind Entertainment will present you with the Mama Margie’s Major Meltdown. The recipient of this honor goes to the Florida Marlins who have now gone 1-14 since starting the month of June. The Marlins finished May only two games behind the first place Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East Division to now a full 10.5 games behind and have lost six straight. In the midst of this June losing streak the Marlins went ahead and fired hitting coach John Mallee after languishing in most of the key offensive categories and replaced him with ESPN studio analyst Eduardo Perez. The team as a whole though is 24th in the majors with a .235 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Some of the reasons for the slump is that ace pitcher Josh Johnson went on the disabled list May 17 with an inflamed shoulder but was recently moved to the 60 day disabled list and won’t return until after the All-Star break. Chris Volstad (6.07 ERA) and Javier Vazquez (7.09) have been very hittable and All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez is only hitting .206 with four homers.
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey has released a three paragraph statement regarding the whole collision with Florida Marlins Scott Cousins and all that has surrounded the season ending injury:
“I appreciate the continued support of Giants fans and others as I begin the process of working my way back. But in no way do I condone threats of any kind against Scott Cousins or his family.”
“As I said last week, I’m not out to vilify Scott. I appreciate that he made the effort to reach out to me on the night of the play, but I was in no physical condition to talk to anyone. I have not been back with the team since that night, so I haven’t even been aware of any other messages he’s left for me. We all need to move on, so it isn’t necessary to have a conversation with him at this point.”
“My only focus right now is looking forward, getting healthy and returning to catching for the Giants.”
Too bad he didn’t call out his general manager Brain Sabean and his whining for catcher safety, who did no such preaching when his own player J.T. Snow bulldozed over then Marlins catcher Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez back in game 4 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.
Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench says that San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey’s season ending injury was because he put himself in a bad position. Posey was lost for the season on a collision play at the plate with Florida Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins that has been widely debated for the past week and a half. Cousins says he has received death threats over the play, while the Giants manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean continue to beat the drum that there was malicious intent on the play.
In an interview with Tulsa World, the 10-time Gold Glove Bench was highly critical of Posey’s positioning.
“When I heard about the injury, I was anxious to see how this happened. Buster put himself in such a bad position. First of all, my catchers don’t sit in front of home plate. They stand away from home plate and work back to the plate. But we (catchers) are just fair game. You’ve got a guy running around third base at 210 to 220 pounds with 3 percent body fat and with sprinter’s speed. I teach my kids to stay away from the plate when you don’t have the ball so the runner actually sees home plate and his thought is, slide. But Buster is laying in front of home plate, and it’s like having a disabled car in the middle of a four-lane highway. You’re just going to get smacked. Show them the plate. You can always catch the ball and step, or step and catch the ball, as long as you’ve got the runner on the ground. And if you have the runner on the ground, there’s less chance of any severe collision.”
I still don’t remember Sabean whining for safety back in 2003 when his player J.T. Snow bulldozed over then Marlins catcher Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez in game 4 of the National League Championship Series?
Brian Sabean the San Francisco Giants general manager, had some harsh words for the Florida Marlins Scott Cousins, who collided with his star catcher Buster Posey at home plate last week. In an interview on KNBR of San Francisco on Thursday, Sabean called Cousins play at the plate “malicious” and said that he doesn’t blame Posey for not responding to the center fielder’s apology.
“If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another game in the big leagues, I think we’ll all be happy. He chose to be a hero in my mind, and if that’s his flash of fame, that’s as good as it’s going to get, pal. We’ll have a long memory. Believe me, we’ve talked to (Mike) Matheny about how this game works. You can’t be that out-and-out overly aggressive. I’ll put it as politically as I can state it: There’s no love lost and there shouldn’t be.”
Matt Sosnick, Cousins agent, said that it’s an emotional time for the Giants and he understands Sabean’s disappointment however his client has been receiving death threats since the collision. Sosnick also claims that Cousins has tried to apologize directly to Posey on several occasions but has been denied access to the young star catcher.
“What Cousins did was not malicious,” Sosnick said. “A statement that anyone makes implying that he did something on purpose to be hurtful or malicious to Posey is untrue. Those people are misinformed. You can’t determine on a replay if there was a sliding lane for him to get into. It’s impossible.”
“I’d say Brian’s opinion is in the vast minority in baseball. I can understand the disappointment that Posey is out. I’m disappointed. My family is disappointed and I don’t even represent him. I can just tell you that if you know Scott Cousins, you know it was certainly not intentional.”
If the saga for the Los Angeles Dodgers couldn’t get any worse than it is now, last night Dodger Stadium caught fire right in the middle of the Dodgers versus Florida Marlins game. A small fire in a storage area at Dodger Stadium forced the relocation of fans in a section of upper deck seats but did not stop play. The Dodgers said the fire was in a confined storage area and the Los Angeles Fire Department quickly contained it but the plumes of smoke covered the area of the upper deck on the first base side.
Marlins won 6-1 to knock the Dodgers to 23-30 on the season and fourth in the National West.
It’s tough being a New York Mets fan right now. In both 2007 and 2008 they had monumental late season collapses that led to them missing the playoffs and in 2009 and 2010 they had more losses than they had wins. Last night things hit another low when Florida Marlins relief pitcher Burke Badenhop, who hasn’t had a hit in two years, knocked in the game winning hit in extra innings. Badenhop’s hit put the Mets now at 19-22 and dropped them to last in the National League East.
That has Mets fans crying in their seats.
It’s tough being a New York Mets fan right now. In both 2007 and 2008 they had monumental late season collapses that led to them missing the playoffs and in 2009 and 2010 they had more losses than they had wins. Recently they have been connected to Bernie Madoff to having an employee at SNY, the regional network that broadcasts Mets games, chose to insert this clip of Family Guy into their broadcast after the Mets Opening Day loss to the Florida Marlins.
Had no idea the Chicago Cubs needed New York Yankees Derek Jeter to help sell tickets but that appears to be the case with this billboard on display in Chicago. Yes the Yankees are coming to town June 17-19 for inter-league play but this type of advertising campaign is something you would see centered around the Florida Marlins or the Pittsburgh Pirates.