MLB celebrates Black History Month – Andre Dawson Classic


There’s the Hammer (Hank Aaron), and there’s the Cobra (Dave Parker) and so many other great African-American professional baseball players who earned their unique nicknames.   Then there’s the Hawk, the nickname given to Andre Dawson.

 

In 2008 as part of their outreach and recognition of Black History Month, Major League Baseball launched the Urban Invitational Classic to showcase the talent of HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).  Over the last several years the name was changed to recognize “The Hawk” and is now called the Andre Dawson Classic.   Dawson played his college ball at famed Florida A & M.  The games will be featured on the MLB network so check your local provider for game times.


SAT. FEB. 15TH

Southern University (HBCU) faces Alcorn State (HBCU) at 2:00 p.m. ET, then the University of New Orleans plays Grambling State University (HBCU) at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Baseball bombshell of 2020 – Alex Cora, AJ Hinch and Carlos Beltran out as managers


[updated 1/17/20]

Do cheaters profit?

Just in.  Managers of three of baseball’s perennial organizations have been fired or otherwise parted ways.   For the upcoming season and in the foreseeable future, A.J. Hinch manger of the Houston Astros, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets will not be watching any baseball games from their respective dugouts.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 28: Manager Alex Cora #20 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with the World Series trophy after his team’s 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The season for 2020 hasn’t even started yet Commission Robert Manfred dropped the bombshell of the year, and for many it may be the decade or perhaps a lifetime.  His announcement came yesterday morning by concluding the Houston Astros were guilty of a sign or signal calling scheme.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 01: Commissioner Rob Manfred next to the podium as Houston Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy after the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in game seven to win the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

What!!!  You may ask…..stealing signs, what is that?

 

Ever since sport was created as a competitive exercise many have a “win at any cost” or “whatever it takes to win” mentality.  Fortunately, over time those who have operated to “bend” the rules are usually ferreted out.  Of course, the credibility of fair competition is the result.

 

In most sports there are enough rules and regulations to choke a horse!!!  Yet, the manner of mankind has always found a way to manipulate those rules and regulations as an advantage to them.  Most define that as stone-cold cheating.

 

That is the situation the Houston Astros found themselves in following Major League Baseball’s (MLB) investigation into the signal scheme.

 

The investigation covered the period from 2016 through the present. During the investigation, the DOI interviewed 68 witnesses, including 23 current and former Astros players.

 

Signs or signals are used to communicate a variety of things during the game.  Metrics or analytics is also used as a complement so that players can be positioned based on sequences, probability or the likelihood of when and where the batter will hit the ball.  Assuming he is lucky enough to make contact.  As difficult as it is to hit a baseball that is coming in at 80 to 90 or even 100 mph, and is also moving requires great skill!  Yet, knowing what kind of pitch is coming in helps improve the odds of being able to make contact or to not swing.   MLB has specific penalties for team’s or player’s who are caught stealing signs.

 

A bird wouldn’t get caught if it never opened its mouth!

 

Interestingly, MLB’s investigation started following an allegation made by a former player of the Astros!!!  As quoted in Manfred’s finding, “On November 12, 2019, former Houston Astros player Mike Fiers publicly alleged in an article published by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic that the Astros had engaged in sign-stealing methods in 2017 that violated MLB’s rules.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 1: Houston Astros owner Jim Crane hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy after the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)

The Astros were dealt swift punishment by Manfred.  Starting with the ownership led by Jim Crane, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager, AJ Hinch also received news they were not expecting.  Surely, more punishment and fallout is expected.  At the top of the lineup is Alex Cora who was a coach with the Astros during the period in question and who subsequently was selected the manager of the 2018 Boston Red Sox.  Many have posed the question?  Did the antics he employed with the Astros go with him to Boston as during his first year they became world champions?  For many the answer is a resounding yes.  As mentioned at the top of this article – Cora and the Red Sox have parted ways.

Then there is Carlos Beltran who was quoted in Manfred’s report but somehow was exonerated from any illegal behavior.  His last team as a player was with the 2017 Astros.   Even though he was not fined by MLB on Thursday Jan. 16th the heat became too much so he and his new employer of just two months, the New York Mets have parted ways.  The result is not only has he lost out as being a freshman manager but now his prospects of being selected into baseball’s coveted Hall of Fame is in jeopardy.

 

The Dodgers

 

To get snakebit once is bad enough.  But, to get snakebit twice in back-to-back years has Dodger fans in disbelief as in 2017 they lost the world series in seven games to the Astros.  Then, in 2018, they again lost the world series in seven games to the Cora managed Red Sox.  For some,  equity is stripping the respective winners of their “title” and awarding the Dodgers as the winners.  Unfortunately, that outcome is highly unlikely.

In the meantime, some fans are so incensed about the scandal they are consulting lawyers claiming it resulted in financial harm from the Astros and Red Sox.  Also, led by City Councilman Gil Cedillo a resolution has been passed seeking MLB’s intervention of stripping titles from the Astros and the Red Sox and renaming the Dodgers as the rightful winner.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 31: Manager A.J. Hinch #14 and bench coach Alex Cora #26 of the Houston Astros talk in the dugout during Game 6 of the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)

In the meantime, Crane, Luhnow, Hinch and Cora are tied to this disgrace of the national pastime.  Surely other heads will roll and while the scheme is in the lap of the Houston Astros it is unlikely, they were the only participant.  What other teams will be implicated?   In the meantime, stay tuned.

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 04: Carlos Beltran stands between General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen and COO Jeff Wilpon after being introduced as manager of the New York Mets during a press conference at Citi Field on November 4, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

READ ROB MANFRED’S FULL REPORT HERE

Baseball Legend Frank Robinson passes


“Frank Robinson’s resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career.”  Rob Manfred, Commissioner – Major League Baseball  


Baseball legend Frank Robinson passed today at 83.  The announcement was made today by Major League Baseball.  For the past several weeks he was in hospice and while his passing does not come as a surprise, it rekindles the greatness he displayed as a player and all-around talent in major league baseball.

iconic shot from 2016 Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium. Frank also was there to support Mrs. Rachel Robinson and his dear friend Dodgers legend Don Newcombe.

Following in the footsteps of Jackie Robinson, in 1956 Frank broke in with the Cincinnati Reds.  The rest is history.  He was known for his fierce competitive spirit; as a player, a manager and executive within the league.  Robinson shunned fraternization which is prevalent in today’s game.  Perhaps, because players lack the same team loyalty that once was common-place among teams during Robinson’ era.  They move around within the thirty teams at a more frequent pace as putting in more than five years with a team might be considered rare.

 

During Robinson’s era once the players hit the dugout to prepare for the game, it was unheard of for players to greet those from the opposition or even share a positive nod, let alone embrace them…..even though they may have been lifelong friends.

 

While Jackie is known for the player to break the color-barrier in MLB, Frank goes down as the manager who did the same.

“Frank use to tell us, we don’t talk to the other team…..we just beat them!!  Former Oriole teammate and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer

Key moments from Robinson’s career – click HERE

 

Tributes and condolences have started pouring in to acknowledge a life well-lived.  RIP Frank Robinson

Justin Turner 29 Years to the date


[Chavez Ravine]   Unless you were in a coma, don’t read/view/listen to the news or just can’t stand the game of baseball or you are shaking your head in disbelief that people would waste valuable time to attend/view a game which took nearly 4 hours…………you missed the Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hitting a walk-off (the home team’s last at-bat) hitting a historic home run off Chicago Cubs and well-traveled reliever John Lackey to win the game.

The game is still just a game but the surreal comparison when analyzing Turner’s home run is it just so happened to be 29 years to the date when Kirk Gibson marched into the annals of sports history with his monumental blast which led the Dodgers to their World Series Crown.  Coincidently, that is why Dodger fans are thirsty and hopeful that Turner’s home run is a sign that they may finally claim another World Series trophy.

To keep Turner’s feat into perspective, yes it was a blast but this is just the second round of the playoffs or the NLCS (the National League Champion Series) and the win put the Dodgers up two games to none.  However, they must win four games to claim the seven game series and the defending World Series champs, the Cubs could still rally and knock the Dodgers out?

Here is the extended clip of Justin Turner’s blast which starts with Chris Taylor’s at-bat


Ekersley, shocked to his toes!! Vin Scully

This is the comparison clip and features the full footage of Kirk Gibson’s home start.  The footage starts with Mike Davis’ at-bat