Archive | October, 2012

Player Spotlight: Lee Seung-yeop of the Samsung Lions

Lee Seung-yeop, better known in Korea as the Lion King, has been a fan favorite in Daegu for years. Lee played for the Samsung Lions for nine years from 1995-2003 and has returned this season after spending the last eight in Japan.

Lee is a power hitting first baseman and arguably the greatest hitter in Korean baseball history.

Prior to leaving for Japan, Lee was a five time KBO MVP (1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003), won two gold gloves (1998, 2000), and won two Korea Series titles (2001, 2002) all with Samsung.

He holds the Asian record for most home runs in a season with 56 in 2003. He was also the youngest player ever to hit 300 home runs at the age of 26. That is even younger than the MLB record held by Alex Rodriguez at just under 28 years old.

The stats he put up during his first run with Samsung were staggering. He drove in 100 or more runs 5 times (the KBO plays 132 game seasons). He hit 30 or more home runs 7 times including twice hitting 50 or more. He hit .300 6 times and was a lifetime .305 hitter in Korea before this season in which he hit .307.

After the 2003 season, Lee moved to Japan to play for the Chiba Lotte Marines. He got off to a slow start in Japan hitting only 14 home runs with a .240 average, but he picked it up the following year with a line of 30/82/.260 helping Chiba win the Japan Series.

His best year in Japan came in hits third year there. He moved to the Yomiuri Giants and thrived. Lee blasted 41 home runs, drove in 108 runs, and hit at a .323 clip for the season.

With the potential to leave and play for a MLB club, Lee stayed in Japan. He had another good season in 2007 but the next few were plagued by injuries. In limited duty he helped Yomiuri win the Japan Series in 2009 fulfilling a wish of his.

In his last season in Japan, Lee played for the Orix Buffaloes. There he hit just .201 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI.

There was a lot of talk that he was finished, but he decided to return to Korea signing a 1-year deal with Samsung.

This season, at the age of 36, he hit 21 home runs, drove in 85, and hit .307. He has kept it going so far in the postseason hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning of Game 1 in the 2012 Korea Series.

He is a well decorated veteran. Having won 4 titles (2 in Korea and 2 in Japan) and 2 Olympic medals including a gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing Lee is looking to add another title with Samsung this year. They lead 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.

Career Statistics in KBO

Season Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB SF BB HBP K GIDP E AVG SLG OBP OPS
1995 Lions 121 365 55 104 29 1 13 73 0 9 33 4 54 4 8 0.285 0.477 0.345 0.822
1996 Lions 122 459 57 139 32 6 9 76 4 6 34 5 42 10 5 0.303 0.458 0.354 0.812
1997 Lions 126 517 96 170 37 3 32 114 5 5 49 6 79 10 4 0.329 0.598 0.391 0.989
1998 Lions 126 477 100 146 32 2 38 102 0 8 78 5 97 4 3 0.306 0.621 0.404 1.025
1999 Lions 132 486 128 157 33 2 54 123 10 4 112 12 114 7 0 0.323 0.733 0.458 1.191
2000 Lions 125 454 108 133 33 0 36 95 4 3 80 7 113 5 2 0.293 0.604 0.404 1.008
2001 Lions 127 463 101 128 31 2 39 95 4 3 96 12 130 6 4 0.276 0.605 0.412 1.017
2002 Lions 133 511 123 165 42 2 47 126 1 2 89 15 109 11 4 0.323 0.689 0.436 1.125
2003 Lions 131 479 115 144 23 0 56 144 7 6 101 10 89 11 5 0.301 0.699 0.428 1.217
Total - 1143 4211 883 1286 292 18 324 948 35 46 672 76 827 68 35 0.305 0.614 0.410 1.024

[edit]Career statistics in NPB

Season Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB SF BB HBP K GIDP E AVG OBP SLG OPS
2004 Lotte 100 333 50 80 20 4 14 50 1 3 42 3 88 6 4 0.240 0.328 0.450 0.779
2005 Lotte 117 408 64 106 25 2 30 82 5 3 33 1 79 9 2 0.260 0.315 0.551 0.886
2006 Yomiuri 143 524 101 169 30 0 41 108 5 7 56 5 126 5 3 0.323 0.389 0.616 1.003
2007 Yomiuri 137 541 84 148 29 2 30 74 4 1 38 1 119 8 5 0.274 0.322 0.501 0.823
2008 Yomiuri 45 153 21 38 4 0 8 27 1 0 11 6 37 3 0 0.248 0.324 0.431 0.755
2009 Yomiuri 77 223 33 51 9 0 16 36 1 1 28 5 65 1 3 0.229 0.327 0.484 0.811
2010 Yomiuri 56 92 13 15 1 0 5 11 1 0 12 3 26 0 2 0.163 0.280 0.337 0.617
2011 Orix 122 394 28 79 20 0 15 51 0 6 32 0 121 8 4 0.201 0.257 0.365 0.622
Total - 797 2668 394 686 138 8 159 439 18 21 252 24 661 40 23 0.257 0.324 0.494 0.818

Photo Courtesy Korea Times

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Korea: Samsung Takes Game 1 of the Korea Series

DAEGU, South Korea – The Samsung Lions opened up Game 1 of the 2012 Korea Series with a 3-1 win. The Lions are in a rematch of the last two Korea Series with the SK Wyverns. The two teams split the two previous series with the Lions coming out on top last season.

The hometown fans in Daegu were treated to a 2-run home run by returning star Lee Seung-yeop in the top of the first inning, and that is all they would need.

Yun Sung-hwan shut down the Wyverns bats tossing 5.1 innings allowing only 1 unearned run on 4 hits to pick up the win. Oh Seung-hwan picked up the save striking out 2 in 1.1 innings of relief.

Neither team did much offensively as both teams picked up 5 hits.

Game 2 starters will be Jang Won-sam for Samsung who went 17-6 on the season with an ERA of 3.55. He will be opposed by 6 game winner Mario Santiago (6-3/3.40).

Samsung is looking for its 2nd straight Korea Series title and a return trip to the Asia Series to defend its title.

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Posted in Asia, News1 Comment

New Zealand names provisional Roster for WBC Qualifier

by Baseball New Zealand

Diamondblacks Coaching Staff Name First 25 Members of Historic New Zealand World Baseball Classic Team to Compete in Taiwan this November

AUCKLAND – Baseball New Zealand is pleased to announce the provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier being held in Taipei from 15-19 November 2012. The roster features some familiar names and faces to New Zealand baseball fans, including a cross section of the country’s domestic baseball talent and some exciting new Kiwi talent from as far afield as Canada, the United States and Australia as New Zealand prepares for the biggest tournament in the program’s history.

This year’s World Baseball Classic (WBC), the sport of baseball’s world championship held every four years, represents the first time that New Zealand has been invited to compete in the 28-nation event and is considered a reward for the significant growth that has been made by the national program domestically, including a number of Major League Baseball and collegiate signings and dramatic rise in overall player numbers and new clubs across the country.

The roster announcement follows successful tryouts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Further scouting was done throughout the professional leagues in Australia and North America, as well as United States colleges, with no stone left unturned to enable manager Andy Skeels to put together the strongest ever New Zealand roster with the sole intention of qualifying for the World Baseball Classic’s second round in March 2013. Skeels is the current manager of the San Francisco Giants High A club in San Jose, California.

“We’re incredibly excited about the roster we’re going to have on the field for us in Taiwan,” remarked Paraparaumu-born Skeels of the previously unranked (and mostly unknown) Diamondblacks team. “It’s great to have identified so many New Zealand-eligible players of this caliber, current and former collegiate and professional players, plus talented and up-and-coming New Zealand domestic players who will, for the first time, reveal what they can do on the world stage.” Skeels said it was incredibly difficult to cut the squad down from 50 to 25 with so many eligible talented Kiwis, and indicated that the coaching staff will have three more selections to make during the 10-day Auckland training camp over the next two weeks.

The 25 players named to the provisional roster for the WBC Qualifier includes 13 who play or have played professionally overseas. Three players on the roster are currently with professional baseball teams in North America, including first baseman Boss Moanaroa (Greenville Drive – Boston Red Sox), catcher Te Wera (Beau) Bishop (GCL Red Sox – Boston), and infielder Daniel Devonshire (GCL Blue Jays – Toronto), who was drafted this year out of Colby Community College in Kansas. Former professional players also dot the roster, including former Blue Jays minor leaguer and Future’s Game infielder Scott Campbell, former Red Sox 40-man pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom, his brother John, a 6’8″ right-handed pitcher who most recently played with the Bakersfield Blaze, the Cincinnati Reds High A team, and former San Diego Padres minor league hurler Riki Paewai who was mentored by future Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman.

The roster includes five sets of brothers including David Skeels, brother to Kiwi-born manager Andy, and former minor league catcher with the Rangers, Athletics, and Mariners organizations, while Sam Bishop is the 23-year-old right-handed pitching brother of Red Sox catcher Te Wera, who in his fifth pitching appearance won the Golden Arm award in Australia’s National Under-23 Tournament this year.

They will be joined by an additional four collegiate and high school players, including the youngest member of the team, Joseph Boyce, a native New Zealand ballplayer who pitches for Chaffey Baseball Club in Washington State.

THE COMPETITION

Clearly an underdog in the WBC tournament, New Zealand will be competing against Thailand, the Philippines and host nation, the 7th ranked team in the world, Chinese Taipei, with the victor progressing to the World Baseball Classic’s next round in March in various locations across the globe. New Zealand’s National Baseball team is considered the Cinderella team and arguably the biggest unknown of the 28 teams in the tournament, as they are currently unranked in the International Baseball Federation world standings.

The World Baseball Classic has expanded for this year’s competition, adding 16 new teams to those that competed in the last World Baseball Classic won by Japan for a second consecutive time in 2009. This has led to the creation of a new qualification round made up of 12 new national teams (Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain and Thailand) and the four national teams who failed to win a game at the 2009 tournament (Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa). These 16 teams have been split into four qualification groups, each of which have played or will play a modified double-elimination format. Spain and Canada have already advanced respectively from the Florida and Germany qualifying pools in September. The other remaining pool between Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua and Columbia takes place in Panama at the same time New Zealand begins play in Taipei.

The New Zealand team will stay in Auckland, New Zealand for a 9-day training camp from 26 October to 3 November before travelling to Australia on Sunday, 4 November to participate in a number of warm-up games against professional Australian Baseball League teams the Sydney Blue Sox and Canberra Cavalry. The team will then fly out to Taiwan in preparation for their opening game of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier against Chinese Taipei on Thursday, 15 November 2012. All New Zealand games will be shown both live and on repeat broadcasts on SKY Television in New Zealand during the tournament, as well as broadcast live around the world online at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. Further details about the trial venues and times are available at www.baseballnewzealand.com, with further tournament details available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

2012 New Zealand World Baseball Classic Provisional Roster

Pitchers POS Hometown 2012 Club
Adelman, Landon LHP Regina, CAN Regina Red Sox
Bishop, Sam RHP Porirua, NZL Wellington
Boyce, Joe RHP Auckland, NZL Chaffey
Bremner, Wayde RHP Brisbane, AUS Redlands Rays
Dawson, Nick LHP Auckland, NZL Doane College
Holdzkom, John RHP California, USA Canberra Cavalry
Holdzkom, Lincoln RHP California, USA N/A
Marck, Andrew RHP Auckland, NZL Brisbane Bandits
Paewai, Riki RHP Brisbane, AUS Pine Hills
Wilson, Jamie RHP London, CAN Howick Pakuranga
Wise, Christian RHP Perth, AUS South Hedland
Catchers B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Bishop, Te Wera R/R Wellington, NZL GCL Red Sox (Boston)
Campbell, Aaron R/R Auckland, NZL Howick Pakuranga
Skeels, David R/R California, USA Orange County Waves
Infielders B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Campbell, Scott L/R Auckland, NZL Howick Pakuranga
Devonshire, Daniel R/L Auckland, NZL GCL Blue Jays (Toronto)
Hoet, Regan R/R Auckland, NZL Edmonton Blackhawks
Lamb-Hunt, Daniel R/R Auckland, NZL Brisbane Bandits
Moanaroa, Boss L/R Newcastle, AUS Greenville Drive (Boston)
Schoenberger, Alan S/R Brisbane, AUS Brisbane Bandits
Outfielders B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Auty, Tim R/R Sydney, AUS Sydney Blue Sox
Bradley, Daniel R/R Auckland, NZL South Perth Cubs
Brown , Max R/R Washington, USA Bellevue College
Lezaic, Marko R/R Auckland, NZL Preston Pirates
Moanaroa, Moko L/L Newcastle, AUS Sydney Blue Sox
Staff Position Hometown 2012 Club
Andy Skeels Manager Paraparaumu, NZL San Jose Giants

 

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Posted in News, Oceania, Tournaments0 Comments

MLB Network to be Exclusive Broadcast Partner of the World Baseball Classic in the USA

World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) has selected MLB Network to be the English language telecast partner in the United States for both the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic tournaments.

The third edition of the tournament, in 2013, features the best players in the world. There will be thirty-nine games over a 2 1/2 week period beginning March 2 and ending March 19, 2013. The games will be played in seven stadiums in four countries.

MLB Network serves 70 million homes and this will help to add to continue its growth through exclusive premium content.

In the previous tournament in 2009, MLB Network televised 16 games. This time not only will they televise the games but they will also cover the tournament in its studio programming. With its shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, Clubhouse Confidential, and Intentional Talk the network will have full tournament coverage for its viewers.

I think this is a step in the right direction for both MLB Network and the World Baseball Classic. There needs to be more coverage of the tournament both from a live game standpoint and everything that goes on around the games. Now fans will have one place to look to get all of the news and games. Sure they could have gone with a larger network like ESPN, TBS, or even Fox, but in the end I like that the tournament will be covered by baseball people.

I don’t think the difference in viewership will make too much of a difference at this point. Now fans won’t have to search for which network the games are on. It will also give MLB Network a chance to improve its coverage to the point that in 2017 they should be able to do a great job. Hopefully by that point the network will have grown as well.

The Classic needs to keep improving on and off the field and I think this is a step in the right direction. They improved the play on the field with the addition of qualifiers this year. If they can continue to make small steps toward improvements each year, they will keep building on the already great tournament that exists.

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Toronto Blue Jays to conduct first National Baseball Coaches Clinic at Rogers Centre

Press Release Toronto Blue Jays

Baseball Academy

The Toronto Blue Jays in partnership with Baseball Canada will host the first Blue Jays Baseball Academy National Baseball Coaching Clinic at Rogers Centre from January 4-6, 2013.

The clinic will be targeted to baseball coaches working at all levels of competition. Baseball Canada will provide professional development credit for coaches that attend, as well as host four Instructor Stream NCCP certification modules, Baserunning, Infielding, Outfielding and Hitting. The cost of the NCCP modules is built into the Clinic registration fees and there will be no additional cost to participants.

“Baseball Canada has been a tremendous partner and this clinic is another opportunity to promote and support the growth of the game of baseball at all levels across the country. Assisting Baseball Canada in improving the quality of coaching will only enhance the experience for all who participate in this great game.” – Stephen Brooks, Senior Vice President, Business Operations

Baseball Canada’s NCCP Professional Development (PD) program will begin on January 1, 2013. In a three-year timeframe, coaches must acquire 12 PD points in order to maintain certification. Baseball Canada will provide 3 PD points for attending the full weekend, as outlined in the NCCP PD program. Coaches that attend the Baserunning, Infielding, Outfielding or Hitting session, will be awarded 5 PD points per module.

“The Toronto Blue Jays continue to be tremendous supporters of Baseball Canada and we strive to improve the development and promotion of amateur baseball in Canada. From the extremely successful Blue Jays Honda Super Camps to supporting our National Championships and now this key coaching initiative we are very pleased with the growth of these programs since our partnership began.” – Baseball Canada President Ray Carter.

Instructors will include Duane Ward, Lloyd Moseby, Sandy Alomar Sr., Rance Mulliniks, Homer Bush and Doug Davis with more names to be added at a future date. Participants can register at bluejays.com/baseballacademy for a cost of $120.

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Team Australia announces Roster for Australia Series

by Australian Baseball Federation

Following the rousing success of Aussie A’s Balfour and Blackley this season, Australia’s best baseball talent will don the Green and Gold vs. Sydney Blue Sox for the Australia Series from 26-28 October.

The three game series, hosted by the Blue Sox in Sydney, will provide national coaching staff a chance to assess how the fresh crop of Australian talent sizes up in the senior roster; an important measure in the lead up to 2013 World Baseball Classic roster selection.

“This series is an opportunity for the younger players to show us and the fans what they’ve got” said Team Australia Manager Jon Deeble; “the roster is a mix of experience and the best up and coming talent in Australia”.

The experience is founded in the selection of Dushan Ruzic (Adelaide Bite), Luke Hughes and Tim Kennelly (both ‘Alcohol Think Again’ Perth Heat) and Justin Huber (‘Jet Courier’ Melbourne Aces), who combined have over twenty senior representations for Australia.

Following a big year of MLB signings for Australia, three prospects; Robbie Perkins (Colorado Rockies), Daniel McGrath (Boston Red Sox) and Zac Shepherd (Detroit Tigers) will take to the field at Blue Sox Stadium to show us exactly why they are a hot commodity at their young age.

ROSTER
Corey Adamson Outfielder WA
Tim Atherton Pitcher ACT
Ryan Battaglia Catcher QLD
Adam Bright LH Pitcher VIC
Jeremy Cresswell Short Stop SA
Mitch Dening Outfielder NSW
Justin Erasmus RH Pitcher QLD
Darryl George Third Base VIC
Justin Huber Utility VIC
Luke Hughes Infielder WA
Tim Kennelly Outfield/Pitcher WA
Cameron Lamb Pitcher WA
Daniel McGRATH LH Pitcher VIC
Paul Mildren LH Pitcher SA
Scott Mitchinson RH Pitcher WA
Mitch Nilsson Catcher QLD
Richard Olson RH Pitcher SA
Kyle Perkins RH Pitcher ACT
Robbie Perkins Catcher ACT
Josh Roberts Outfielder QLD
Dushan Ruzic RH Pitcher SA
Zac Shepherd Infielder NSW

COACHING STAFF
Jon Deeble Manager
Phil Dale Pitching Coach
Tony Harris Assistant Coach
Paul Elliott Assistant Coach
Glenn Williams Assistant Coach

SUPPORT STAFF
David Nagy Executive Officer
Bruce Rawson Physiotherapist

 

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Posted in News, Oceania, Tournaments0 Comments

Movie Review: Knuckleball

I spent many hours in the outfield and on different mounds of baseball fields all over Texas practicing my knuckleball. Growing up in Texas in the 1980s, I was always Charlie Hough when pretending to be a knuckleball pitcher. It was a lot of fun, but my knuckleball was never that great.

Fast forward to the 1990s and I can remember watching Tim Wakefield pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitching well. I’ve always been a fan of knuckleball pitchers. It’s a fascinating pitch that people think is easier to throw than it really is.

So when I saw they made a movie about the pitch, I had to see it. Knuckleball! was a great film. It is a documentary on the most unpredictable pitch in baseball.

The main stars of the film are Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey and it takes place during the 2011 season which was Wakefield’s last. I loved how the film documented the careers of both Dickey and Wakefield as neither of them started off as a knuckleball pitcher. Both converted to one in a last ditch effort to make it, or in Dickey’s case stay, in the big leagues.

They showed the path of both careers pretty well which made for an interesting story since both had completely different paths to big league stardom. They demonstrated that they are not only pitchers but good athletes. Sometimes knuckleball pitchers are seen as lesser athletes because they don’t throw as hard and many times are much older. I liked that they showed this wasn’t really the case.

I was glad they brought in some of the older guys to talk about the pitch including Jim Bouton, Charlie Hough, Wilbur Wood, and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. The pitchers seem to have a special bond with one another that I found interesting.

What I didn’t like is they didn’t talk much about the history of the pitch. They talked to a few old timers that threw the pitch, but I would have liked them to go further back in time and talk about when and how it started and why some of the older guys started throwing the pitch.

With that being said, the film was very interesting. I was curious how they would show the pitch in they eyes of conventional thought. They basically had the pitch coming off as unreliable and a second tier pitch that is almost looked down on at times. I can understand that to an extent, but if it was so unreliable then guys that throw it well wouldn’t have lasted so long in the big leagues and gotten so many starts.

I’d definitely give it a look if you’re a baseball fan. It’s an interesting film about a pitch that not many people throw.

 

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Posted in Interviews/Reviews1 Comment

Korea: Lotte Giants and SK Wyvers Face Off in Round Two of Playoffs

The KBO has entered the second round of the playoffs here in Korea as the Lotte Giants upset the Doosan Bears in the first round.

The KBO playoffs are set up a little differently than what most are used to. The league consists of eight teams with the top four making the playoffs. The first round pits the third and fourth place teams against one another. The winner advances to face the second place team, while the first place team automatically advances to the Korea Series.

With Lotte advancing, they set up a rematch of last season’s second round match with the SK Wyverns.

The Wyverns have reached a record five straight Korea Series winning 3 of the 5. They have a wealth of playoff experience heading into the start of the second round on Tuesday.

Last season the rolls were reversed as the SK Wyverns were seeded third and Lotte second. SK knocked off the Giants in five games to reach the championship series.

The Giants are looking to reach the finals for the first time since 1999. The franchise’s lone title came back in 1992.

The regular season match up was very close with SK winning the season series 10-9.

The series kicks off Tuesday with game 1 in Incheon as the Wyverns will host the first two games. The series will move to Busan on Friday for game 3 with game 4 Saturday if necessary.

The winner will take on the defending champion Samsung Lions in the Korea Series which is stated to start October 24.

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Posted in Asia, News0 Comments

MLB: Do You Agree with the Nationals Sitting Strasburg?

Washington Nationals fans should be up in arms over the decision to sit Steven Strasburg.

Strasburg was one of the best pitchers in the NL this season, and a solid number 2 behind Gio Gonzalez. He was 15-6, but more importantly he had a 3.16 ERA, a WHIP of only 1.155, and struck out 11.1/9 innings. He is a dominate pitcher and when he was needed most, he was left on the bench.

The Nationals made the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, when they were the Montreal Expos, and it was the first time a team from Washington made the playoffs in 79 years. How do you leave one of your best pitchers on the bench?

I fully understand the situation. Strasburg is young. He is coming off a season that ended early due to arm surgery. But do you know if you will make the playoffs again?

You never know what will happen in this great game of baseball. Look at the Red Sox the past few years. In 2010, many people thought they were a lock to make the playoffs. They finished third. In 2011, many thought they would be back in the World Series and they went on to have one of the worst collapses in baseball history again missing the playoffs. The point is you just don’t know.

With the baseball futility that has been known in Washington for so many years, it is hard to justify the decision. An injury to one or two people can really mess up a season and it happens all the time.

Washington finished the season with the best record in baseball with 98 wins. They dominated the NL East and were clearly the best team in the NL all season long. That is until they came back down to the pack when they decided to sit Strasburg.

The Nats were bounced in the divisional round of the playoffs by the St. Louis Cardinals. The series went the distance to 5 games, and you can’t tell me that if the Nats threw Strasburg the odds of them winning that series, and possibly the next, wouldn’t have gone up exponentially.

Not only that, but I think the Nationals robbed baseball of a chance to see Strasburg on the national stage. He is one of only a handful of pitchers that people actually stop down to watch throw. He is that electric.

I for one am not a Nationals fan or detractor. I root against them during the season because I am an Atlanta Braves fan. But seeing new blood in the postseason is always great, and in my mind they had the best chance of any team in the NL to bring the title home. That is with Strasburg pitching.

Now I am glad they are out. I think they go what they deserved. Unfortunately for their fans, and fans of baseball, they were robbed of a chance to see jut what could have been.

I will find it harder and harder to ever root for them to even make the playoffs again in the future.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Finkstonball Dates Announced for 2013 #BaseballJourney

One country I am dying to visit is Austria.

My sister-in-law went to high school there. I’ve been fascinated with so many photos of travelers visiting. Everything I have read and heard about it makes it seem like an amazing place to me.  The history, scenery, people, food, and beer really interest me. So how could you add all of this together and package it to make it even more attractive? Throw in a baseball tournament!

That’s exactly what they have done in Attnang-Puchheim with the Finkstonball Tournament each year.

Each summer they host a weekend long baseball tournament that is also paired with a music festival.

The dates for 2013 have been announced, and I am going to try to make it next year on my European trip, at least that is the plan right now.

For 15 years, the fine folks here have been putting on the tournament. Over 2000 players from more than 80 teams in 19 different countries have played here.

To me it doesn’t get much better than this when you add up the baseball, the location, and the people.

Have you been before? Or would you like to go? Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear some feedback.

The dates for 2013 are May 18th – 20th.

For more information visit Finkstonball.com.

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Posted in Europe, News, Tournaments0 Comments

Movie Review: The Emerald Diamond

Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com

What country won its first international baseball game against a country that no longer exist and the first player to get a hit in international play was born in another country?

Ireland

I have always been fascinated with baseball played in countries other than the USA. Sure it’s the same game, but at the same time it’s not. Awhile back I came across a documentary on baseball in Ireland, and I had to see it.

The Emerald Diamond is a beautiful film. It chronicles the emergence of the Irish National Baseball Team on the European baseball scene. It is an interesting story told by film maker John Fitzgerald.

Up until 1995 there was no Irish National Baseball Team. It basically formed out of the desire of a few softball players who wanted something a little more. They continued the hope and formed a team that would eventually play internationally in 1996.

The European B Pool Championships were being held in England in 1996, so the boys in green got ready and made the trip.

Most of the players on the team had very little or no experience playing baseball growing up. For the most part they were far outmatched by their European counterparts, but they never quit.

After a successful trip to England, for a developing team at least, they received some help from an Irish-American. Peter O’Malley at the time was the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers but was a player in helping develop baseball globally. He helped build the  O’Malley baseball fields in Corcaigh Park in Clondalkin, West Dublin, Ireland which is considered the home of Irish Baseball. It also happened to be the first baseball field in Ireland.

The team continued to play in the European Championships gradually doing a little better each time as they gained more experience. However, it was when the team raised funds and took off on a trip to the USA that things really seemed to turn around.

In 2001, the Irish National Team and an all-star youth team took a two-week trip to the east coast of the States to play exhibition games. They learned a lot on this trip and it eventually helped them improve in the long run. Both the youth team and the National Team quickly learned from seeing other teams practice and play. They also received some help from coaches in the States that they met in the games. It was a great learning experience that helped propel the team to further heights.

However, the highlight of the trip had to be playing an exhibition game at Fenway Park.

Throughout the film you see the want and desire on every players face as they go through a learning curve. But that desire to compete and improve never leaves. It’s an infectious thing that no matter how bad the loss might have been would always creep back into the minds of the players and coaches.

That’s the beauty of the film. It’s great seeing the improvement of the team, and they really did improve but I don’t want to give everything away (you’ll have to watch the film). But the real beauty if seeing the growth of the game on every level. Not only did the adult program expand and improve, but so did the youth programs and that is really where the growth of the game will come from. The first adults to play the game will get old, but if the kids find a love in the game you will have baseball forever.

It’s a great film. Head on over to IrishBaseballMovie.com to read more about it and don’t forget to pick up a copy. You might be surprised how quickly the team went from nothing to winning games internationally.

I have to give this a 5 glove rating. It’s definitely one you’ll want to own.

Stay tuned for more reviews coming soon….

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Team Australia Begins 2013 WBC Preparations with Series Against the Blue Sox

Team Australia will open its preparations for the 2013 World Baseball Classic with a series against the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League. Three games are scheduled for October 26 to 28.

The games will be played in Sydney at Blue Sox Stadium in Blacktown International Sportspark.

Team Australia will use this as the first stage of player selection.

They will be playing in Pool B in the first round of the 2013 Classic facing powerhouses Korea, the Netherlands, and the winner of one of the qualifiers.

Round one will begin in Taiwan from March 2 to 5, 2013 at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.

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Most-Watched Telecast in MLB Network History

Press Release Major League Baseball

Social Media Comments Already Surpass 2011 LDS Total

MLB Network’s first-ever Postseason game broadcast — Sunday’s 5-4 win by the Tigers over the A’s in Game Two of the ALDS — set several records for the four-year-old network, including:

  • Most-viewed telecast: 1.3 million viewers, up +107% over the previous high, Yankees vs. Red Sox last Tuesday night.
  • Highest-ever coverage rating: 1.3, +63% greater than the previous high, the June 8, 2010 debut of Stephen Strasburg.
  • By far its highest-rated game telecast ever in Detroit (+644% better than previous best) and Oakland/SF (+280% higher than previous best).

Continuing its great run this Postseason, TBS is averaging 3.6 million viewers through its first three days of coverage, +14% higher than its first three days of coverage in 2011, based on Fast National data from Nielsen.

In addition, social media comments regarding the 2012 Postseason have already surpassed the total from the entire 19-game 2011 Division Series. Through Sunday’s games, there have been 1.34 million public Facebook and Twitter comments vs. 1.28 million for the entire 2011 LDS, according to data from Bluefin Labs.

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Australia: League Games to be Televised Nationally

AUSTRALIA – Some good news for baseball fans in Australia as Fox Sports has announced they will broadcast a ‘Game of the Week’ throughout the 2012-13 ABL season.

The hour-long weekly program will show a condensed game along with highlights and news from around the league.

This is a big step for the ABL as it gets expanded coverage beyond the all-star game and championship series as the game tries to continue its growth.

The ABL games of the week will be:

1st Nov                        Team Australia vs. Sydney Blue Sox
8th Nov                        Sydney Blue Sox vs. Canberra Cavalry
15th Nov                      Brisbane Bandits vs. Sydney Blue Sox
22nd Nov                     Melbourne Aces vs. Perth Heat
30th Nov                      Perth Heat vs. Sydney Blue Sox
6th Dec                        Adelaide Bite vs. Canberra Cavalry
13th Dec                      Canberra Cavalry vs. Sydney Blue Sox
20th Dec                      Adelaide Bite vs. Brisbane Bandits
27th Dec                      Perth Heat vs. Adelaide Bite
3rd Jan                         Adelaide Bite vs. Sydney Blue Sox
10th Jan                       Brisbane Bandits vs. Melbourne Aces
17th Jan                       Melbourne Aces vs. Sydney Blue Sox
24th Jan                       Sydney Blue Sox vs. Canberra Cavalry
31st Jan                       Brisbane Bandits vs. Sydney Blue Sox
7th Feb                                ABL Playoffs Round 1

For more information on the Australian Baseball League visit www.theabl.com. Opening weekend is just 3 weeks away

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Japan: Koji Yamamoto Named Manager for 2013 World Baseball Classic

Koji Yamamoto was named the manager of Team Japan for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Yamamoto played in the NPB, major league in Japan, from 1969 to 1986 with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. As a 14-time all-star, he won two MVPs (1975 & 1980), a batting title (1975), and 4 home run titles (1978, 1980, 1981, and 1983).

He later went on to manage the Carp to a Central League title in 1991. He last managed in the NPB in 2005.

Yamamoto’s coaching staff will consist of two former managers in Osamu Higashio andMasataka Nashida, along with Koichi Ogata, Tsuyoshi YodaKazuyoshi TatsunamiTsuyoshi Yoda, and Nobuhiro Takashiro.

Japan and Yamamoto’s first action will come in an exhibition match against Cuba. The two teams will play a 2 game series on November 16 and 18 in Japan.

Photo courtesy IBAF.org

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MLB: Colorado Rockies 4-Man Rotation Dead For Now

DENVER, Colorado – The Colorado Rockies 4-man pitching rotation experiment is dead, at least for the time being. Rockies manager Jim Tracy stepped down after the team set a franchise record for losses with 98.

The Rockies 4-man rotation was something new this season. Each starting pitcher was matched with a reliever with both scheduled to pitch on the same day. The starter was limited to 75 pitches and the first reliever to 50.

They started the system in late June, but then bowed to convention going back to a 5-man rotation when Jhoulys Chacin came off the DL late in the season. It is designed so the starting pitchers only see a lineup a few times through as batting averages tend to be higher the more a batter sees a certain pitcher.

However, with or without a 4-man rotation the Rockies pitching was the worst in the league this season. Their 5.22 ERA was last in the Major Leagues this season which was nearly a run worse than they were the year prior.  Of course, pitching at Coors Field doesn’t help as their ERA at home was much worse than on the road (5.97 at home vs. 4.41 on road).

The Rockies now are stating they will stick with a 5-man rotation for the 2013 season, but they will still have pitch counts (pitcher dependent) that will be lower than the norm.

Of course if you want to stick with a more conventional thinking of how to improve the pitching in Colorado, improve the defense. The Rockies defense was last in the league in errors and fielding percentage.

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Interview: Filmmaker Eric Soussanin of ¡Indestructible!: Baseball on the Isthmus

Today we sit down with Eric Soussanin who is producing a documentary on baseball in Panama called ¡Indestructible!: Baseball on the IsthmusThe film looks at the history and uncertain future of the game in Panama along with those who are fighting to ressurect the sport from the grips of crisis.

I’d like to thank Eric for taking the time to answer some questions for us about both the film and the game in Panama.

First of all, why Panama?

I chose Panamá because, as an avid baseball fan, I had heard that the Panamanians had a pretty good tradition of producing quality major leaguers, but I realized that I knew little else about their baseball history. So much attention was and is being paid to DR and Venezuela (and rightfully so), but Panamá just appealed to me as this kind of “mysterious” baseball powerhouse.

What sort of reception did you get from players and fans when making the film?

A pretty good one. The fans were surprised to see someone making a doc about their baseball culture. The overall reaction was sort of “Really? A movie about our baseball?” From the players, it was more of a mixed bag. Some were very warm and shared their experience easily (like minor leaguer José Camarena, who is featured in the film), and some were a little more nervous about my intentions (Bruce Chen, for example). Panama is a small country, and once word got out that I was asking tougher questions (about the politics, for example), it was understandable that some would act this way.

As the sport has struggled in recent years there, what is the people’s feeling toward the current state of the game now?

The die hards still love the sport, and for the games toward the end of the national tournament, the stadiums are full. But the issue is with the younger people, who in the last 10 years have suddenly become crazy for soccer. With young and old, however, there is totally a sense of almost self-deprecation around baseball, like “Great! Our politicans have mucked up the sport again. Another black eye for Panamá.” This is why we made the documentary, because this needs to be fixed if baseball in Panama is ever going to rise again.

What is the feeling of where the sport might be heading in the future?

Though there is a kind of cynicism surrounding baseball, there is also currently a new sense of hope for the future of the game. The work of former major leaguers like Omar Moreno and Olmedo Saenz has sparked a sort of ‘baseball revolution” there, which has woken people up to begin fixing baseball. Also, a budding relationship with MLB is reason for hope.

Was there any one thing that stood out to you when doing your research or making the film?

I love the different cultures within Panama that give the country it’s unique flavor. For example, you may have noticed that many of the Panamanian players did not/do not posses common Hispanic surnames (see: Carew, Oglivie, Kelly, Robinson, Stennett, Lee, Lewis). That’s because there is a huge West-Indian polulation that came to Panamá during the contruction of both the Panamá Railroad and the Panamá Canal, mostly from Jamaica and Barbados. You still see the massive cultural imprint of this migration, all the way down to the food, music and surnames.

How will the upcoming World Baseball Classic Qualifier being hosting in Panama City help the sport there?

It will provide a spotlight, however brief, on a nation that’s played baseball for more than 160 years, and deserves to be known on the world stage. Let’s hope Panama can get a win after going winless through the first two WBCs.

What are the former players doing to help the game out there?

Obviously, each of the current/former Major Leaguers contributes in their own way. Carew, Kelly, Mendoza, Rivera, Lee, Chen, Sanguillen, and the others have all given their time and resources to help the Panamanian game, and that should be recognized. However, the two undisputed leaders in terms of former major leaguers helping the cause are Omar Moreno and Olmedo Saenz. Moreno opened a free baseball academy back in the early-mid 2000s, and that was a huge deal at the time. He was the first to be very vocal against the politics that were suffocating the game, and he began garnering a lot of support. So much so, that in 2009, he was appointed by the President to run Panama’s ministry of sports (Pandeportes). In the years since, Olmedo Saenz has really become a ferocious spokesperson for cleaning up the game. He also runs a free baseball academy, and was instrumental in bringing professional baseball back to Panama. As far as non-Panamanians, Candy Maldonado and Elias Sosa both have been important figures in helping Omar and Olmedo’s cause.

What is need most in Panama to help the sport get back on the right path?

The fans (and tourists, for that matter) need to support the newly formed professional league (PROBEIS). Also, the politicians need to be distanced from baseball, and all sports there, so as to stop the in-fighting, and allow the resources to flow all the way down to the youngest players.

What can our readers do to help the film?

First and foremost, they can support our Kickstarter campaign, which only has a mere 13 days to go!!! This film likely will be delayed if funding is not secured.  They can also write to organizations like MLB network, and let them know that they want to see these kind of films aired. Additionally, they can reach out via social media to Omar Moreno and Olmedo Saenz, and let them know that world is watching them and routing on their cause. And lastly, visit Panama and take in a game! It’s really a great experience. Just watch out when they toss their beers : )

The film has less than 2 weeks left to secure the needed financing in order to finish the project. Take a look at the trailer and what Eric has been doing. If you can contribute even a few dollars, please visit their Kickstarterpage to help out. For a mere $10 you could get a copy of the film when it is complete.

You can learn more about the film as well as see the trailer on its website at PanamaBaseballMovie.com or follow what is happening with the film on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks again to Eric for taking the time to answer some questions for us. We hope the project is completed. We are very excited from what we have seen and can’t wait to see the finished film.

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Video of the Week: Funny Base Running by Ruben Rivera

Our video of the week comes to us from San Francisco. Jon Miller gives the call of a Ruben Rivera base running blunder in which he calls it “the worst base running in the history of the game”.

I really like how they did a rewind of the play. You’ll have to watch it to see. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Website of the Week: Routine Baseball

Our website of the week today is Routine Baseball.

This site offers a great variety of t-shirts and other items including hats, hoodies, women’s wear, and other items.

To me it is difficult to find an interesting and new take on the baseball t-shirt, and Routine Baseball has done just that. They use some baseball slang for their t-shirts which makes it interesting. Don’t understand what the slang means? Don’t worry. They have a section called Slanguage which details the slang they use and pretty much every other bit of slang used in the game.

So head on over and check out the great selection of new and interesting items they have.

 

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Cuban National Series: New Structure, Less Baseball

By Reynaldo Cruz

After having a forgettable seventeen-team tournament last season, the Cuban Baseball National Commission decided to make changes. So they held a nationwide interview, visiting each and every one of the provinces to find out the opinions of journalists and players alike.

The result, which we can say for sure that did not surface in any province, is a Frankenseries. Finally, after a whole two years of
controversy surrounding the seventeen-team field and the presence of an in-season farm team —which had extended for over twenty years— the decision was to eliminate Metropolitanos and change the competition format.

Forty-five games will be played in the first stage, with no zones or pools to qualify, in a round-robin-like first round, all teams will
play three games against every contender. Meaning that from 45 matches at home, fans will only see their heroes 21 or 24 times, depending on how lucky they are… and we can bet who will be benefited from that “luck”.

When game 45 stops, the top eight teams, ignoring pools or zones, will move to the second round and each contender will be reinforced with five players from the eight remaining clubs —who will have no choice but to go home and call it a season— in a draft-like selection system. The top eight will then play another 42 matches (six against each opponent) and four of them will make it to the semifinals and therefore the finals.

What have we gained?

Nothing, honestly. Half the teams will be gone for the rest of the season, and some young prospects will lose seasoning games and the opportunity to develop skills.

Right now, when Cuban baseball is at a major crossroads, and the quality of international play has increased, players do need to play more. Less games (45 for half of the teams and 87 for the other half) will bring nothing but lower quality, and a shortage in the amount of young talent surfacing every year.

Many players who might later become stars start the seasons slow, mainly as rookies, and it is not until game 30 that they start showing signs of quality and all that. Limiting the amount of games played will hurt the legitimacy of the Rookie of the Year, since not all the players will have the chance to fully develop and many of them will be ignored for the second half.

So we hope that this type of structure does not last long, or the only first-place Cuban baseball still holds, being the IBAF World Ranking, will be gone in a couple of years.

Posted in Latin, News0 Comments

MLB: Chipper Jones Last Game Doesn’t Go as Hoped

Chipper Jones’ career is over. Thankfully there are so many good memories that his final game will be overlooked, because he played horribly.

Atlanta lost to St. Louis 6-3 on Friday night in Atlanta, but the game was sloppy on and off the field.

The Braves committed three errors in the game which led to four unearned runs. Atlanta outhit the Cardinals 12-6 but left way too many runners on base. They just couldn’t get the hit when they needed it.

Throw in a controversial call in the bottom of the 8th inning when Andrelton Simmons fly ball into shallow left field was ruled an infield fly. The ball dropped and the Braves would have had the bases loaded with one out. However, with the call, which many thought was horrible, the Braves only had runners at second and third with two outs and failed to score.

A lot of people were up in arms when the play happened, me included, but we can’t overlook how bad the Braves played in the field and the bad decisions that were made both in the field and on the base paths.

The worst thing that happened was the fans reaction. They immediately started throwing anything they could get their hands on onto the field. It was an ugly site as they had to stop the game for several minutes. It was a sad showing from the Braves fans who are already known as “uninterested” as they typically don’t sell out playoff games. It was a show of poor sportsmanship and not a way to remember the last game of an all-time great.

Chipper finished the game 1-for-5 on a gift single in the 9th inning. Overall he looked slow and at times like a rookie. It was not the way he wanted to go out and not how so many fans of his, including me, wanted to see him go out.

But now the season is over for Atlanta as is Larry Wayne Jones’ career. He will be missed.

The question now is, who will try to fill his shoes at third base in 2013?

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Interview: Ted Smith – Performer with the Nexen Heroes

If you visit a Nexen Heroes game in South Korea, you will notice one particular fan that stands out. That fan would be Ted Smith, and he is becoming famous in Korea. Ted has becoming a performer who helps lead the cheering for the fans at the game which is a big part of the experience of baseball in Korea.

Ted took the time to sit down and answer some questions for us. So let’s see what Ted has to say about performing for the baseball crazed Korean fans.

What was your history with baseball and/or performing prior to coming to South Korea?

Baseball is not a very popular sport with my generation of Canadians, so growing up where I did, I had very little appreciation of the game before I went to college.  I minored in Japanese and spent my summers interning at a firm in Tokyo, and it was there that I got involved with a Seibu Lions cheering club and became a sort of baseball addict. After that I started doing baseball tours every summer to various locales all over Asia and North America.

What was your initial thought the first time you came to a South Korea baseball game?

My first game in Korea was in the summer of ’10 between the LG Twins  and the Hanhwa Eagles at Jamsil stadium. To be honest I was shocked at how empty the stands were, even for a weeknight. I kept wondering why they had these big beautiful stadiums if there was nobody to fill them with, right up until I saw my first game on a weekend and then I started to wonder if Koreans had never heard of a “fire code”. The cheering culture is very similar to that of Japan’s as far as the level of organization and use of cheering songs. But what’s really unique to Korea is the presence of digital PA equipment and the cheerleaders. In a sense the cheering itself is a lot more performative, compared to Japan where the “cheering brigade” sets up behind all the fans in the outfield bleachers and the focus is on the game. The Korean brigade tries very hard to engage the fans face-to-face and add to the spectacle. I really like that, it makes for a more diverse, theatrical experience at the ballpark.

Why did you adopt the Nexen Heroes as your team to perform for?

It was more like Nexen adopted me. Initially I was just attending games at Mokdong because it was the stadium nearest to my house in Singil, Seoul. After long I ingratiated myself with a group of the hard-core Nexen fans, and they welcomed me into their community with open arms and started to invite me out for drinks after games or to travel with them on road trips. I guess the real appeal of Nexen baseball for me was their indomitable fighting spirit. As both an athlete in high school and as a team manager in college I was more often than not on the weakest team in the league. I knew exactly what those guys were going through, and I always admired how they never gave up. They showed a lot of guts last season: scoring late inning runs, trying to fight back from huge deficits, putting out raging fires from the bullpen, and all the while still managing to look like they were having fun doing it. That inspired me to get on my jersey and stand up and get loud for them; let them know how much I appreciated their effort.

When did you first get up on stage and what was it like?

It was the second inning at a game at Hanbat Stadium, there were about two dozen Nexen fans there with me, and about half as many again Hanwha fans in the section immediately in front of the cheering stage. When I got up there everything stopped suddenly and I saw all these faces looking back at me smiling the way a parent does when his child’s on stage at a Christmas pageant. I think everyone who didn’t know me was really confused about who I was and what I was doing, but as soon as I raised the whistle to my mouth everyone (Hanwha fans included) joined in and cheered with me. I was really nervous because I’d never done anything like that in a foreign language, but at the same time it was exhilarating to have a small army of people at your command and to be able to direct their energy at whatever you wanted. Excuse the grandiose comparison, but it made me feel kind of like a rock star.

What was the initial reaction fans had toward your performing?

In Mokdong stadium, I went from being completely anonymous to instantly recognizable. The week after my first performance people would stop and point and say “That’s him, that’s the guy!” Total strangers would walk up and offer me food and drinks. People started asking to take pictures with me. I guess what surprised me the most though is other cheering groups somehow got a hold of my contact information and start calling me to ask if I could lead the cheering at their next outing.

Have you performed with the Heroes squad on stage?

In a sense, yes. At my first Nexen game in 2010, I was sitting down by the stage and I got chosen to participate in a dance contest and I was partnered up with a cheerleader and I won a six-pack of sikhye. Since I started performing on the road I was invited to dance again with the cheerleaders once last year, but I’ve never actually gotten up and lead. I’m hoping that one day I might have the honor, but I have a long way to go until I could actually compete with professional cheerleaders in this league.

What has been the reaction of the players? What about fans of other teams?

The players have been incredibly gracious towards me. They often stop and say hi to me when entering or leaving the stadium. It’s really weird to think that they all know me by name. Kang Byung-Sik, Son Seung-Lak, Jung Soo-Sung, and even Kim Byung-Hyun have all said really nice things about me in interviews. I’ve looked up to guys like them for my entire life, and for them to turn around and say they’ve taken inspiration from me is an incommensurable honour. The player’s families have also been more than generous to me. I got really sick back in April and a player’s mom took me to the hospital and saw that I got taken care of. Working in Korea has taken me really far away from my family, and having this much acceptance from the Heroes Family has helped a lot with the home-sickness.

As for fans of other teams, they’ve been more than just tolerant of me, I’ve generally found them to be very accepting and encouraging too. The one exception is Sajik stadium. I’ve been assaulted, pelted with chicken, and had some of my equipment stolen by overzealous (and often intoxicated) Lotte fans. That only encourages me to cheer harder the next time though.

Have you performed at any other sporting events in Korea? If so, how did it compare to baseball?

Yes, I’m the unofficial cheerleader of the Anyang Halla Ice Hockey club as well. Hockey is still a low profile sport in Korea so the scale is much smaller and the cheering culture is not as developed as it is in baseball. There’s no P.A. equipment, we just go out there with a couple drums and make all of the noise by ourselves (in that sense, I guess it’s no different then Nexen road games). On the whole, Baseball and Hockey have completely different paces and dynamics and the difference in cheering styles reflects that. Baseball cheering is very regimented: there’s a lot of routines and traditions, and a predictable order to the cheering songs. Hockey cheering is a lot more impromptu. There are certainly different songs for different game situations, but things change so quickly out on the ice one has to keep a very close eye on the game in order to match the cheering to the action.

Do you have any future plans for Korea or elsewhere as far as performing goes?

I’m not sure exactly, ever since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to work as an entertainer. I think that right now I have a really good opportunity in front of me so I need to stay in Korea and see where it leads me. I also speak Japanese fluently so I could also see myself doing something similar in Japan in the near or distant future. Who knows really? One thing’s for sure, I wanna stay as close as possible to the Heroes for the future.

We’d like to thank Ted for taking the time to share with us. You can learn more about Ted and follow his performances through his website at FamousInKorea.com or on his Facebook page or on Twitter.

 

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Movie Review: 10 Men on the Field

A crisis has happened upon Major League Baseball and the owners have decided to meet to discuss a possible solution. This is the basis of the short film 10 Men on the Field by Scott Essman.

The crisis is a fall off in attendance and a few of the larger market team owners have the solution that will revolutionize the game and put fans back in the seats. And that is to add a 10th man onto the field on defense.

There is a cast of eight owners, mostly of large market teams but others as well. The other man in the room is the assistant GM of the “other” New York team and he is the lone dissenter of this master plan.

I thought it was an interesting approach to what seems like a shot at some of the baseball owners. The assistant GM of the “other” New York team fights a valiant effort to find a way to bring the real fans back to the game that it is slowly alienating due to the high costs of attending games.

I found it a little humorous in the portrayal of some of the larger team owners. In no way do they resemble the present owners, but it really has the feel of a lot of fans these days in that the bigger teams sort of run the show for their own good.

They talk about the expanded wild card system and how it will bring more money to those who play in it each year. Only to have the Kansas City owner bring up the fact that it is only for those teams that play in it each year hinting at the fact that his team won’t be one of them.

The part I really loved was when the assistant GM brought up the salary cap instead as a way to rein in costs and help the average fan get back to the game by lowering the costs of attending. Of course, it was immediately thrown out by the big owners for two reasons. First, the player’s union is too strong and they would never go for it. Secondly, it would only help the big teams by lowering salaries and raising their revenues.

However, the assistant GM of the “other” New York team wasn’t dissuaded at all. He almost laughed at their notions when bringing up how the middle market teams in the NBA were doing under their salary cap.

There were a few other moments I really enjoyed but I don’t want to give it all away.

It’s a short film under 30 minutes, and it was entertaining. Most of it, 95% or more, it just owners sitting in a meeting room talking, but it was nicely put together. I especially liked its message which to me seemed to be make the game more affordable so the average person can get back to attending more games like it was in the past. And make the league more competitive top to bottom so every team can once again compete.

I’ve felt that way for a long time, which is why I think I really enjoyed watching this film.

So check out 10 Men on the Field. You can find more information on their website. If you would like to purchase the film, email Scott Essman at scottessman@yahoo.com. DVDs are $10 postpaid.

Below is the trailer. Check it out for a short glimpse of what it is about.

 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Movie Review – Harvey’s Wallbangers: The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers

I grew up watching Robin Yount play for mostly mediocre and sometimes bad Milwaukee Brewers teams, but I always loved watching him play. I got to see his MVP season in 1989 and know him only as a center fielder as my baseball conscious didn’t start until after he injured his shoulder. I had only heard stories of the 1982 season.

I’ve never been a huge Brewers fan, but I always rooted for them when they had a chance for the playoffs because they always seemed to be on the outside looking in during my childhood. I admit to having my issues. I didn’t like their move to the NL. I’m not a huge fan of their former owner turned commissioner, but I have always been curious about the team I always heard about, Harvey’s Wallbangers.

I finally got the chance to view the video on the Milwaukee Brewers 1982 season, Harvey’s Wallbangers. It was a treat even for a non-Brewers fan.

I think the best description for the 1982 team was a softball team playing baseball. The pounded the ball with 5 guys hitting 20+ home runs (Molitor hit 19), 4 guys with 100+ RBI (Simmons with 97), and 3 guys with 200+ hits. It was a stout lineup that captured the imagination of a hard working city, and it made for a great story.

I learned a lot about the 1982 Brewers. I was glad the film talked about the previous seasons and how a lot of the players came to be Brewers. It was interesting to see how the team was built, and what brought Harvey Kuenn to manage the team.

The cast of characters on this team was amazing. It included four future Hall of Famers in Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, and Don Sutton. Throw in a good helping of colorful guys like “Stormin” Gorman Thomas, Pete Vuckovich, Jim Gantner, Ben Olgivie, and Cecil Cooper and you have not only a great lineup, but a fun group of guys.

The team started off slow, then they fired their manager and handed over the reigns to Harvey Kuenn. That’s when it all turned around. They stared pounding the ball in a fashion that would lead them to an eventual spot in the World Series.

What a great season 1982 had to have been. Unfortunately I was too young to watch any of it having been only 6 at the time. But the American League East came down to the final day of the season in a game that pitted two future Hall of Fame pitchers in Jim Palmer and Don Sutton.

The Brewers won that game, then defeated the California Angels in 5 games after trailing 0-2 to reach the World Series.

The World Series would go 7 games with Milwaukee leading 3-1 late in the game only to see it slip away.

It was a great film that had a lot of character and an interesting story. After all, can you think of another team that lost their major championship and the city still threw them a parade? That’s capturing the fans of a city.

I learned a lot about the Brewers of the early 1980’s, and it was nice to see some of the guys I grew up watching on TV.

If you’re a Brewers fan, I think you’ll love this. If you’re not, you’ll still love it. You can pick up a copy on Amazon.

 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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