Tag Archive | "Blogathon"

#Blogathon Guest Post from Tyler Maun, Media Coordinator for the ABL

By Tyler Maun

Growing up in Denver, Colorado, my life began on an isolated baseball island. We were a big league town in football and basketball—and had been one in hockey in the past—but baseball was a different story. Where over 70,000 people gathered to watch the Denver Broncos on Sundays in the fall, a handful of thousands would watch the Denver Zephyrs, a Triple-A team on borrowed time, in the spring and summer through the first seven years of my childhood.

That was until 1993 when the Colorado Rockies arrived. And even though a lot of the early years, and a lot of the later ones, have come with their trials and their heartache at a far higher rate than any happiness and success, nothing compares to the big leagues. And the wins mean nothing without the losses.

In the summer of 2007, I was freshly out of college, a degree in hand but no plan as to where I’d go next. So I started going to the ballpark. As the summer, and my job search, wore on, the team I loved began playing baseball. Real, meaningful baseball. On June 6, they escaped last place for good. They went on the road and took a series in Fenway Park. From the 19th-21st, they swept the Yankees in Denver. And then, one day, it began.

I went to Coors Field for a doubleheader on Tuesday, September 18 against the Dodgers, a couple of days after I was there to watch the Rockies crush the Marlins 13-0. Something always felt good about beating the Marlins. Our expansion brethren, who had (and have) done virtually nothing right by any measure in terms of fan support and treatment, had two World Series rings. We had a 1995 Wild Card berth and one National League MVP. I loathed the Marlins.

That Tuesday afternoon, the Rockies rode 6.2 strong innings by Jeff Francis to a series-opening win. That night, after a climb into third place, it looked like the win streak would come to a halt before it reached three. I sat a few rows above the first-base dugout—seats a friend and I had moved to after it became apparent that we’d be among a crowd of less-than-half capacity—and watched as the Dodgers carried an 8-7 lead to the ninth. Takashi Saito came on for Los Angeles. Nobody hit Saito for the Rockies. That year, he was riding a streak of 16 straight saves overall, five straight against the Rockies, and no Colorado player had a hit off of him over his last six innings against them.

It looked like game over.

And then things happened. With two outs, Matt Holliday singled to give the Rockies life. And one batter later, with two strikes, Todd Helton connected with a Saito slider and hammered it to right. I jumped out of my seat. Helton didn’t even need that element of surprise. He watched his walk-off sail over the right-field wall and let out a roar of emotion he rarely showed in the first ten years of his career—and the six more since—leaping into the pile of Rockies waiting for him at home plate.

From there, they lifted off. They swept the Dodgers in four. They took all six on a road trip through San Diego and L.A. And when they came home and dropped the first game of their homestand to Arizona, giving the Diamondbacks the division, it looked like it might be over. San Diego was up two games in the Wild Card standings with two to play.

But it wasn’t. They crushed the Diamondbacks 11-1 on Saturday, September 29 and held them off on Sunday afternoon, taking advantage of back-to-back season-ending losses by the faltering Padres to move into a tie. It all came down to Monday and the tiebreaker at 20th and Blake.

It was all there. The Rockies’ 3-0 lead. The Friars’ five-run third. Garrett Atkins’s disputed non-homer in the seventh. Scott Hairston’s homer to give San Diego an 8-6 lead in the top of the 13th. The boos that rained down on Jorge Julio for allowing it. And then…

Kaz Matsui’s double off Trevor Hoffman, the best in the game, in the bottom of the 13th. Troy Tulowitzki’s double to follow. 8-7. Matt Holliday’s triple off the wall. 8-8. Jamey Carroll’s fly ball to medium-depth right. Holliday’s slide. Jubilation.

I’m a Rockies fan. Hell no, Holliday didn’t touch the plate.

Two weeks later, Arizona’s Eric Byrnes rolled a feeble ground ball to short, and Troy Tulowitzki’s cannon gunned him down at first. Byrnes laid face-down in the dirt beyond the bag. Todd Helton dropped to a knee and let out another scream. I stood with tears in my eyes staring around the ballpark. My ballpark. My town. Where a couple months earlier, I could’ve had any seat in the house due to a fanbase that didn’t expect anything of this season, now 50,000-plus crowded in, shoulder to shoulder, screaming and hugging and crying, witnesses to baseball history.

In 22 games, 21 wins. A franchise that had never made it past the first round found itself the darlings of baseball. And an eight-day layoff that preceded a World Series letdown didn’t make any difference. For that year, they mattered in a way they never had before.

Those are the moments we’re here for. Those are what drive us to the ballpark day after day, season after season, decade after decade. Hoping for a chance, just once more, at a moment that takes our breath away. Those are why we cheer.


Tyler Maun is the Media & Communications Coordinator for the Australian Baseball League

Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Shankees Baseball President Paul Perry

Left field is for the birds!!

By Paul Perry

He hailed from Europe, Germany to be more precise. Which city I cannot recall, but I know that he stumbled onto the Shankees like many others before him; baffled by baseball in Buenos Aires. However, he was unique in his own right, as Fritz Krug was the first German player to join the ranks; thus automatically placing him in the Shankees Hall of Fame. But not all is about nationality, especially in this story, as there is one other tiny tidbit of team trivia that places Fritz in the Shankee Scrolls; one of those moments that never gets left behind on the field. Each player leaves his mark on a team, and Fritz surely did too.

It was another sunny day in Buenos Aires and another great day for baseball at Shankee Field, which was located a stone´s throw from the pristine waters of the Riachuelo River and just across from perhaps the most symbolic housing developments built by the Peron Era. Back in the German league, Fritz, blond, blue eyed and of a burly stature, played first base. But on the Shankees, he patrolled the outfield.

Today, he was put in charge of left field to track down any fly balls put into play by our hard hitting opponents; the always dangerous Cubans. However, the Cubans weren’t the only adversaries Fritz would face on this day, for in Shankee field, a strange sort of bird lurked about, hovering from above and soaring at you from the sides.

They were called teros, and looked like thin seagulls with long, skinny legs, which they scurried across the outfield on. Their wings were narrow, with a touch of black around the beak and chest.

The Teros are a common Buenos Aires bird, and they too called Shankee Field their home. Thus, they didn’t take kindly to anyone invading their territory. Short-tempered and eager to repel your presence, they gawk loudly and fear not swooping down at you from above; at full speed straight at anyone that stepped foot onto the outfield. With their menacing sounds and aggressive fly-bys, they were not to be taken lightly, as they were there to protect their nests, which they built in the remote parts of the outfield.

Sometimes, I would spot an egg or two as I looked for baseballs gone astray after the games, but I never interfered; leaving their nests and eggs untouched. However, they did not know that.

During the pre-game warm-up Fritz stood in left field, occasionally dodging a Tero or two. I watched, everyone found it both funny and frightful at first, as it was a normal occurrence among all outfielders. Eventually, the game got underway and the Cubans managed to score a run on an error. The inning ended and the Shankees trotted back towards the dugout.

I watched and spotted Fritz, somewhat flushed, looking concerned. “What’s up man, everything cool?” I asked.

He looked at me, half a smile on his face; “I killed a bird,” he said, sensing a sense of remorse.

“What do you mean you killed a bird,” I asked, puzzled.

“I killed a bird, in left field,” he replied.

“How?” I asked.

“With the ball,” he retorted.

“With the ball!?”

“Yeah, it was flying towards me, and I threw the ball and it hit it in the head,” he explained.

“Well, where is it now?” I asked.

“Out there,” he answered, pointing towards left field.

“Well, don’t leave it out there!” I said.

Meanwhile, the Shankees struck out, grounded out, and popped out, and the inning was quickly over. The Cubans had their turn at bat and then it was time to switch sides again. I had forgotten about the bird, until Fritz once again silently approached me. “There’s the bird,” I heard him say, as I tried to pay attention to what was going on in the game.

”What?” I asked.

“The bird, there it is, I brought it in from the outfield, like you said.”

“Cool, where is it?” I asked.

“There,” he replied, pointing into the dugout. I turned my head and saw the dead Tero on the dusty floor of our dugout. I got a little closer, spotting some blood on the bird’s head.

“Dude, get that dead bird out of our dugout!” I shouted, “It’s gonna jinx the shit out of us!”

“Where do you want me to put it?” he asked.

“I don’t care where you put it; just get it out of our dugout.”

So, in response to my command, Fritz walked into the dugout, picked the bird of by one of its thin long legs, and hurled it into foul territory; just along the right field fence. I watched the bird sail through the air and then turned to Fritz.

“The bird’s gone,” he said.

“Cool,” I replied.

We eventually came back and beat the Cubans. But not before Fritz, would be eternally remembered as The German Bird Slayer.

The End


Paul Perry is president of the Shankees Baseball Organization in Buenos Aires, an expat baseball team. For more information on the team, visit ShankeesBaseball.com

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Kim Hyun-sung of Baseball in Korea

By Kim Hyun-sung

My favorite baseball memory is Chan-ho Park’s first stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Back in 1994, a Korean newspaper had a report on a Korean pitcher who may have a chance to play in the big leagues.  At that time, I was an elementary school student in New Jersey, in my third year of watching Major League Baseball.  I did start out with Korean baseball when it was dark, when grown men were the only spectators at the stadiums.

Korea was pretty much an unknown place to the post-Korean War generation in the United States, and people knew I was Korean by having been told after running out of options asking whether I am Chinese or Japanese.  The man at the baseball card shop sold me a Chan-ho Park card at one-tenth of its original price after saying, “I have this (*pause*) Asian guy.  I don’t need it.  Maybe you need it.”

03_Kim Hyun-sung

Almost half way around the globe, Major League Baseball was an unexplored territory here in the “Hermit Kingdom.”  The only games televised here were shown through the American Forces Network on Saturday and Tuesday mornings when everyone was at work (back then Koreans worked six days a week!).

Because of Chan-ho Park, a Korean broadcasting company began to feed Dodgers games to the public hoping for him to make an appearance.  This was how Korean MLB fans were created.  Park began starting games in 1996, and had the public hooked on to his games.  And, by the next year, he was pitching full time in the rotation putting up numbers like 14-8, 3.38 ERA, 166 K and 15-9, 3.71 ERA, 191 K.

01_Kim Hyun-sung

This was when Korea suffered an economic crisis.  The bubble had burst in Asia.  Many fathers lied to their wives that they were off to work, when actually they had nowhere to go.  People who ran their own business fled town unable to pay the debt they had created after their company went down.  The price of won plummeted, causing students studying overseas to return.  Opportunities became thin and moral was down.  Korea received loans from the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and IMF, to Koreans, means 1998, the year in which the government admitted they were in crisis.

However, all eyes were on Park.  People gathered wherever there was a television.  Companies had his games on during work hours.  Students, like myself back then, brought portable radios to class with black earphones when Park had a start, thinking the teachers would not notice us listening to the games.  Those with radios relayed play-by-play to the rest through paper notes like MLB.com’s Gameday.


Park’s journey through the Majors was somewhat of an underdog story.  A player who overcame the language barrier, stereotypes of being an Asian, and hardships of living abroad to become a quality pitcher.  People gained the hope and determination to resurrect from the economic deficit as Park set himself as an example.

Although his days after the Dodgers were not so successful, the Korean people consider him a hero until this very day.  Which brings me to think baseball is a sport that keeps the dreams and hopes alive.  And, it is wonderful to see that dreams and hopes will be kept alive through this meaningful blogathon organized by Baseball de World.


Kim Hyun-sung is the creator of Baseball in Korea a site dedicated to bringing you Korean baseball news in English. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter @BaseballinKorea.

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Sunny Shimizu – @NPBBaseball

It is way too difficult to choose a single favorite baseball moment, but I would say that I have to pick my favorite baseball moment out of the games I watched live.

Being in the middle of the famous (infamous?) Japanese cheering section in the outfield in the decisive game 7 of the Japan series was an experience I will never forget.

The heavily favored home-team Giants easily scored in the 1st on a wild pitch and tacked on another with sensation Hayato Sakamoto’s homer in the 2nd.  Nobody thought that the visiting Lions stood a chance.  But, pinch hitter Hiram Bocachica belted a surprise solo shot into left field to start the scoring for the Lions.

Speedster Yasuyuki Kataoka pretty much ran around the bases on no hits to tie the game at 2-2.  Lights-out middle reliever Daisuke Ochi walked 3rd string catcher Kosuke Noda (who was 1 for 9 for the season!) which led to a go ahead single by Hirosi Hirao and the Lions were the Japan champs.

Fan of one team or not, what a great moment to see the last pitch of the season.


Sunny Shimizu blogs about Japanese baseball in English at NPBBaseball.blogspot.com and you can follow him Twitter as well – @npbbaseball.

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#Blogathon Guest Post from International Scout Aaron Tassano

Only Ball

By Aaron Tassano

I first met Lim in Suwon. I was scouting, he was chasing foul balls in the stands. His reads off the bat put him ahead of a good number of the players, and he was working from angles that were much more difficult than left, center and right.

By the end of the day Lim had close to 20 balls. Sure, the place was empty save small clusters of parents and random jobless men hiding in the rafters chains-smoking. But the stadium, built in the late 1970s, was a deathtrap of steel rails, and rows of seats that abruptly ended at five foot drops. Unattended children and drunken men alike, both of whom seemed to lack general experience of physical pain, hurled their bodies into harm’s way with abandon.

Lim was a little off. For one, he was a Korean in his mid-30s whose primary occupation was chasing foul balls. “No job,” he told me, waiving his arm in front of my face. Lim insisted on speaking English to me, even if I spoke Korean to him. “I catch ball. Only ball.”

I wasn’t clear on why Lim was the way he was. Mental illness was a possibility. “No military,” he told me, pointing to his head. “No good. Think no good.” I also wondered if Soju intake had left him with imperfect mental faculties. Smoking two packs a day indicated that was feasible. An ex-con shunned by Korean society? Lim seemed way too nice.

As it turned out Lim had been a computer programmer in another life. “Too much work,” he explained later, “80 hour one week. Can’t sleep. No sleep two weeks.”

I wasn’t the only person who noticed Lim’s talents. The Korean high school player’s association, in charge of things like ticketing and the groundscrew, gave Lim a job as a ballboy. It was a perfect match. He’d perch himself like a vulture near the on-deck circle, hunting down whatever foul balls didn’t find the stands, just as he’d done so impressively as a spectator. Lim had a quick first step. His jumps were always plus even if his ball handling skills left something to be desired — Lim had long, thin fingers; dry and cracked from years of smoking and general lack of care.

But there was no doubt about it — Lim got the job done. And even better, he fed me information. What better source than someone sitting next to the dugout during the game?

“Was that a splitter?” I’d text him.

“Player say no split. Just changeup.”

“Always was pitcher?”

“He say catch middle school.”

Lim and I became friends, in a sense. Occasionally after games I’d buy him dinner. He told me his father was sick. The job as a ballboy didn’t pay well and there was little possibility for advancement. I think part of him was hoping I’d be able to pay him for the information he was giving me. I really wish I could have.

One day I showed up at the park and there was a different ballboy. I texted Lim: “where r u?”

“No more ball. Only job”

And that was it. Lim had re-entered the Korean workforce. There was little point in trying to maintain contact, but in good faith I wrote him back. “When see again?”

But there was no reply.


Aaron Tassano is an international scout based in South Korea.

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Dan Glickman of the Baseball Continuum Blog

By Dan Glickman

What’s my favorite baseball memory?

Oh, golly, this is hard.

Was it one of the two no-hitters I’ve seen in person? Was it hearing a stadium full of Canadians sing their national anthem before the USA-Canada game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic? What about seeing thousands of orange towels being swung around by Baltimore fans who had waited since 1997 to see postseason baseball again?

Well… well…

I don’t know. Well, I know, but it depends on the day. Some days, it’s one of the things above, other times, it’s more personal, like getting walked with the bases loaded to force in the winning run of a Little League game. Another time it could be a 18-inning minor league game, or watching my childhood baseball hero, Cal Ripken, homer in his final All-Star Game.

Actually, scratch that, I now know what my favorite baseball memory is:

2007. Cooperstown, NY. Me, my father and tens of thousands of our closest friends at the induction ceremony of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. Just the energy there, the energy throughout the town, the feeling of being surrounded by other pilgrims who were there for the sole reason that they loved baseball and admired the two men being inducted. It’s impossible to describe.

That’s my favorite baseball memory. At least, it is right now.

Dan Glickman is a freelance writer who runs the Baseball Continuum blog (www.baseballcontinuum.com)

You can also follow him on Twitter – @DanJGlickman

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Author Nicholas Henning

Our next guest post comes to us from a great friend of the site, author Nicholas Henning. This memory comes from a special extract from his book Aussies in the Majors (which you can find on Amazon).

Whilst there have been many great achievements by Australians who have played Major League Baseball, one that is perhaps the utmost individual performance belongs to Graeme Lloyd. It was game four of the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves on October 23, 1996. It was the ninth inning, and the situation was certainly a tough one for the Yankees as the Braves had two runners on base, and they needed two outs to send the game into extra innings with the score locked at six all. But if the Braves scored a runner they would win the game and be one win away from claiming back-to-back World Series. It wasn’t the first time Lloyd had been called upon during the Series to do a very difficult job, yet he was proving to be a secret weapon, and when he got Braves slugger Fred McGriff to ground into an inning-ending double play, he had done his job to perfection.

There are many defining moments in a player’s career, and if fans of baseball didn’t know who Lloyd was before the 1996 World Series he would be impossible to forget after game four. He pitched the first out at the bottom of the tenth, facing another heavy hitter, Ryan Klesko, for no damage, and then Series Most Valuable Player John Wetteland recorded the last two outs of the tenth. The Yankees won the game 8–6, and Lloyd made even more history for Australia. Not only was he the first Australian to play in a World Series, he was the winning pitcher in game four, something no other Aussie pitcher has achieved to date. He also had a World Series at-bat, which didn’t result in a base hit, but it was another piece of history, and he was the first Australian to be on a World Series Championship team when the Yankees claimed the series by winning game six 3–2, on October 26, 1996.

I watched the series on television back in 1996, and remember game four and much of the series went late on school nights—but feeling tired for school was completely worth seeing Lloyd step up to so many challenges and succeed. The image of the Yankees’ dugout when he got McGriff to hit into the double play was so jubilant, and all the high fives and pats on the back are among my all-time favourite baseball memories.

You can read more of Nicholas’ writing on his blog at Nicholas R.W. Henning Blog

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Christine E. of Boston Red Thoughts

By Christine E. of Boston Red Thoughts

The Boston Red Sox have always been a part of my life, and I have many fond memories of my beloved ball club, despite the fact that I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which is about 6 hours from the hallowed ground of Fenway Park.

When I was a very young girl, I used to listen to my maternal grandfather tell stories about The Scranton Red Sox of the Eastern League, who played in the field next to my grandmother’s house in Dunmore, PA from 1939 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1951.

Joe Mooney, Director of Grounds Emeritus, and the longtime groundskeeper of the Holy Land (aka Fenway Park) lived and grew up across the street from the same grandmother.

When I was 13, my parents took me and my sister to Fenway Park, which is where my own love of the Boston Red Sox was born. We sat on the 1st base side, and that day I saw Mike Torrez, Dewey Evans, Rich Gedman, and Jim Ed play in that beautiful ballpark (which wasn’t even remotely crowded in 1982). And it was such a safe time in the world that my parents actually allowed me and my 11 year old sister to roam the park on our own…

While I never lost my love for the Olde Towne Team, it would be 20 years before I got back to Fenway Park. But when I walked to our grandstand seats in 2002, all of the old memories came rushing back. And in that moment I was oh so grateful that whatever powers that be who were pushing that a new park be built, never got their wish…THIS was the same park, with the same seats my Grandfather sat in, and, someday, my daughter will as well.

But I would have to say the BEST memory I have is the day I met Johnny Pesky in 2005. Me and my boyfriend were taking in a game, and we heard that Johnny Pesky was on Autograph Row. And there was NO way I was missing that. The Elder Statesman of the Boston Red Sox, who was part of “The Teammates”–Bobby Doer, Dom DiMaggio and Ted Williams–who were best friends on the field and off. And the man who would probably die with a fungo bat in his hand, teaching young players, by word and deed, the honor it is to play for the Boston Red Sox.

So we stood in line, waiting to meet this true living legend, and when it was our turn, I asked him if I could get a picture and he immediately agreed. What struck me most about our brief time together is he made me feel like he has ALL the time in the world to chat, asking me questions about where I was from (he said he remembered the area well), and how long I was a Red Sox fan. He also made me feel like I was the only person there and we were just having a friendly chat among friends.

I know I got less than 5 minutes with the man, but when I walked away with my picture with him, and my autographed black and white, I knew there was not a kinder or classier man in all of baseball–and that I was so honored to have met him and spent some time with him. THESE are the players that our children should look up to, not the ones who do not conduct themselves with dignity, or dishonor the game…


Read more from Christine E. and follow her on social media at:

Boston Red Thoughts – Red Sox Commentary from a Red-Headed Boston Fan in Yankeeland
Follow Boston Red Thoughts on Twitter  @bostonredthots
Or on Facebook

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Michael Rusignuolo of Baseball Oogie

By Michael Rusignuolo

First of all, I’d like to say that I’m honored to be participating in this post-blogathon event. And as one of the countless people whose family has been affected by the disease, here’s hoping I am following up a successful effort at raising money for the V Foundation for cancer research.

The story I’m about to tell requires a bit of back-story. Over the last decade, I’ve taken “Baseball De World” to heart. I started out by visiting all the Major League Baseball parks in America over the course of several years. Having completed my original goal in 2009, I just kept going to the next largest professional league in the world, the NPB. With two trips in 2010 and 2011, I saw all the home stadiums Japan had to offer. I did all of Korea’s KBO in 2012, and this year I visited the more modest, gambling-contracted Taiwanese CPBL.

I don’t consider a park “visited” unless I watch an official game at the stadium with the home team, take pictures of the park, and keep score for the game with the home scorecard (if one exists). Scorekeeping is as much a part of watching baseball for me as breathing is to living. I enjoy the fact that I can recreate every out of every game I’ve witnessed as part of this effort. I realize baseball scorekeeping is a bit of a dying art, and if anything, it just re-enforces my love of it.

[The story that follows is a modified excerpt of my longer travelogue about the first game of the Taiwan trip at http://baseballoogie.blogspot.com/2013/06/new-taipei-city.html. I think you’ll see why the above is relevant as you read. I was taking in my first game in Taiwan at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium, and as luck would have it, it was Manny Ramirez‘s EDA Rhinos visiting the Brother Elephants in New Taipei City. Not expecting anything too outrageous, I had gotten to the stadium a little later than I normally would, and I found myself unable to get tickets anywhere but the outfield bleachers.]

This is really the story of the trip. And not just this trip. Perhaps if all my ramblings around America and Asia to see all the baseball had a point to prove, it was proven this evening.

As I had gotten my tickets late, Manny-mania had relegated me to the segregated outfield bleachers, which were a first-come, first-served affair. After lining up in the outfield entrance, we were all let in, and those there quickly scrambled for the best available seats, saving them in Asian fashion by putting some personal items on them. I decided to wander around and take as many photos as I could from the outfield, and maybe find a way to sneak out of the bleachers. For whatever reason, I decided to start in right field and work my way over to left. I took my shots and poked around, eventually going down into the first row of seats in the corner of left field to take some pictures, and then I headed back up to the top of the stairs to go find someplace with good sight lines to sit down.

As I reached the top of the stairs, I saw an older gentlemen pulling out some papers and getting settled in by the top row of seats by left field foul pole. I had to do a double-take, but it appeared that he had some scorecards with him. This was the first person besides myself in all my trips in Asia who I’d found scoring a game. What I had wanted to do was to walk up to him and ask if those were, in fact, scorecards. What I actually did was practically run up to him and said, rather energetically, “Oh my god, are you keeping score?”

He proudly showed me his scorecards, which turned out to be for a *Yankees* game. There was a bit of a language barrier, as he spoke a little English, and I spoke a very little Chinese, but I immediately whipped my scorecards out of my bag, and we were quickly showing each other “1-3″s and “DP 6-4-3″s and when he proudly showed me a “DP 3-6-3,” I nearly hugged him.

I asked if I could have a seat, and we quickly spent the time before the game exchanging what non-baseball information we could. It turned out that he was 81 (and he didn’t look a day over 50), and he had two sons living in America in Oklahoma City who were in their 50s. He had been up since early this morning watching the Yankees and then the Orioles games on Taiwan TV and keeping score on them before he came out for the game tonight. I told him where I was from and what I was doing out here, and he approved. We kept going through our scorebooks to see the different way we scored things and any new things the other had, and when language failed, pantomimes got across enough information to make ourselves understood. He had never seen the backwards “K” before for a strikeout, and some play-acting later, he had gotten the meaning. He hoped there was a strike out looking tonight so he could try it out.

This was just transcendent. I thought of the string of events that had to happen to get me here at this place at this time to make this happen. I had to go to right field before left field, or I probably wouldn’t have noticed him. I had to try and buy a ticket too late to end up in the bleachers to begin. I had to decide that I was going to go to this first game at all, since I wasn’t scheduled to start going to ballgames until the next night. The only reason I knew about this game because a friend of mine was planning to be in town on business before his plans changed, and he wanted to see a game with me before he had to leave for home. I had to have everything earlier happen to make me feel lucky enough to try for the game tonight at all despite the rain. I had to think going to Japan was a good idea after finishing up America. Heck, I had to start going on these trips at all. And it led me to this point in time.

Needless to say, we spent most of the game going back and forth after each playing, showing how we scored it, and about other things such as 1,2,3 innings (or yi, er, san, as the case may be). Eventually, a family ended up sitting by us, and the father spoke better English, so he was able to act as interpreter for us both. It was a hell of a way to spend an evening. Around the end of the seventh inning, my friend decided to call it a night and go home, and since it was the third ballgame he watched today, I didn’t feel in a position to judge.


For more information on Michael’s travels around the world watching baseball, check out his blog – Baseball Oogie

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Pitcher Dan Schmidt

By Daniel Schmidt

I have been lucky enough to experience a lot of fantastic baseball memories over my career but I would like to talk about my most recent awesome baseball memory that actually occurred a month ago this summer. It was a roller coaster ride of a season. I started my season in Wichita Kansas in the American Association for the Wingnuts out of spring training. I unfortunately got released from there and then got signed by the Alexandria Aces in Louisiana  who play in the United League. I only missed the first week and a half of the season and joined the team when we were sitting in 3rd place.

I played with them over the next month and we were having a really solid season. We were now 2nd in the league behind Fort Worth (who are meant to be the force of the United League as the team with the most money) and only a couple of games behind them.

We were one of the poorest teams in the league with a small front office staff, no host families, had our team bus taken away from us and struggling to get our pay checks. We were doing the best we could, with what we had available to us. In all my years of playing, I have never been part of a team that had such a strong team chemistry as what this team had. A group of guys from all over the country that had never met each other before but had the bond of a group that had been playing together for years. Only my Perth Heat team is comparable to the chemistry but even then, that particular group of players had grown up playing in the same team so the chemistry had been built over the years.  Then all of a sudden, our world was turned on it’s head.

We had an early meeting the next day which was strange, our manager (retired 10 year veteran big league player Von Hayes) addressed all the players with the sad news that we were folding as a club and it was effective immediately. The league could no longer keep us afloat and the league was now cut down to 4 teams with the McAllen Thunder also folding.

We were in second place and playing great baseball but now 22 players were all without jobs. Some players went home and called it a season, others went to other teams in the league. I had some good numbers as a starter and tried my luck at getting back into the American Association.

I spent the next 2 weeks living in the Aces clubhouse on a blow up mattress. Waking up each morning and walking straight out onto the field to work out and then come back in and shower and watch TV, do emails and make phone calls trying to find a job. Then another team in the United League, the Edinburgh Roadrunners, threw me a lifeline. They were currently in 3rd place but only 2 games behind 1st with 2 weeks to play and needed another starter. Half of my Aces team mates had been signed by the Roadrunners and told me it was a great place. I took the opportunity with both hands and drove down there with one of my other team mates that they also signed that day.

Ten hours later we get there and join the team. We end up finishing the regular season in 2nd place and make the playoffs to play Fort Worth in Fort Worth. In the best of 5 series, we got blown out in the first game to the tune of 10+ runs. I had the start in game 2 and had one of the best games of my life going 6 innings for 0 runs and taking a no hitter into the 6th. I lost my no hitter in the 6th and due to the high amount of pitches I had thrown, my night was done with the score 2-0. We ended up winning that game and tying the series.

We would end up losing the next game in a close one to go down 2 games to 1 and facing elimination.  We won game 4 to take it to the final game.

I was asked if I could pitch out of the pen on short rest if necessary. I promptly answered my managers (retired big league play Ozzie Canseco) question before he even finished that “I am good to go”. I found myself coming into relieve with our team down 6-2 in the 6th. I managed to throw 2 1/3 scoreless and keep us in the game.

We kept coming back and brought it back to 6-4 in the 8th inning. I looked at my team mate and pointed out that it was a full moon and said to him “all the crazies come out on full moon nights and very strange things happen”. He looked at me and said “we have got this”.

We got into the 9th and Fort Worth’s closer comes in. He gets the first 2 outs in order and we are down to our last out. Our 9 hole hitter and second baseman, hits a single to right to keep us alive. Our lead off man follows with another single to left to put the tying run on base. There is a wild pitch that moves our runners to second and third. Our 2 hole hitter and 3rd baseman on a 2-2 count hits a chopper in the infield to SS. Charging in to make a play on the run, he runs over the top of the ball and both runners score to tie the game.

Fort Worth look crushed, heads down and we know we have the momentum. We sit them down in order to take it to extras.  The 10th started with a walk, then followed by a single and then another walk to load the bases with none out.  Our center fielder and 8 hole hits a sac fly to CF giving us a 1 run lead. Then our 2nd baseman that kept the game alive in the 9th comes up and deposits the first pitch he sees into the RF stands for a 3 run HR. We mosh on home plate like it is a walk off win but the job isn’t done. Our closer who threw the 9th goes back out there and slams the door shut by striking out the final batter before all mayhem breaks loose with celebrations on the field.

Was my first ever playoffs in the US and may be my last, who knows but it will certainly be one I will always remember!!


Dan Schmidt is a native of Australia and has played professionally both here in the States and at home in Australia. He was kind enough to do an interview with us earlier this year which you can read here.

You can follow him on Twitter – @big_lefty23

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#Blogathon Guest Post from R. Lincoln Harris of The Blue Batting Helmet Blog

Our first guest posts for our #Blogathon comes to us from R. Lincoln Harris of The Blue Batting Helmet blog.

By R. Lincoln Harris, www.bluebattinghelmet.wordpress.com

I grew up in a world where baseball stats were printed in the paper on Sunday, but otherwise weren’t readily available. Joe Garagiola and the Saturday Game of the Week was a big deal, because baseball wasn’t televised very much. And fantasy baseball? Fuhgettaboutit!

Baseball in the 1970s was a far cry from what it is today. But that’s when I was a kid, and if baseball doesn’t get into your soul when you’re a kid, it probably won’t ever come in at all. There’s time to pick up other activities and interests in life, but baseball needs to get in while you’re very young. And for me, a 1975 double-header in St. Louis is what did the trick.

My father made the 95-mile drive from our home outside of Springfield, Illinois to the old Busch Stadium, and he took me along. For the seven-year old that I was, St. Louis was an exotic place far, far away. This was my entrée into the wider world, and I loved it. The sights and the smells and the bustle of the ballpark were overwhelming to me. Football, basketball, and every other sport were introduced to me at other times, and in other ways, but this trip to the ballpark was one that I’ll never forget.

I watched Tom Seaver pitch, and Lou Brock steal second base. I watched Al Hrabosky do his crazy walking around on the mound, and then slamming the ball into his mitt for motivation shtick. I ate peanuts for the first time in my life. It happened almost 40 years ago, in a stadium that no longer exists, but it still feels like it was only yesterday.

I’ve seen and done so many things since then. I’ve been to major league games, minor league games, and little league games. But nothing ever has, or ever could, be more meaningful than that first time I saw a game in St. Louis. My dad introduced me to the game at just the right moment, and for that I’ll be forever grateful to him.

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#Blogathon Guest Post from Matt Dewoskin of FP911.com

By Matt Dewoskin

My favorite baseball memory is fairly forgettable to the majority of baseball fans, but it’s one of the most important in the history of team, my beloved Chicago White Sox.

My dad and I plunked down for a partial season ticket plan in 2005. It was our first time doing anything like this. We had been to slightly more than a handful of games together, but we never made a full-season commitment to a baseball team like this before.

Thanks to picking the perfect season for the White Sox, we were able to have the first crack at playoff tickets. Our package entitled us all the opening round games, a pair for the ALCS and a pair for the World Series. The first round was a blur, the ALCS was bizarre, but the World Series was a completely different experience. The idea of the White Sox, a team that had been good enough to fail, in the World Series was a little silly to hardcore fans. Especially the ‘05 team. This was a team without a household name as a star. Most casual baseball fans probably couldn’t name someone on the roster than Ozzie Guillen and he wasn’t playing.

The weather was absolutely miserable. It wasn’t just a normal, cold Chicago October. It was raining. Not heavy drops, but an annoying drizzle that ensured that there wouldn’t be any warmth to be found at our seats. There was also no way that FOX was possibly going to allow this game to be canceled. Canceling a national broadcast on a Sunday night would have required a monsoon, hurricane or locusts falling from the sky. This game was being played and I was going to sit in the cold for three hours.

Paul Konerko put the Sox ahead with a grand slam (on the first pitch! I’ve seen almost every at bat Paulie has had and he had never swung at the first pitch he saw. Ever) The White Sox actually had a lead in the late innings…until Bobby Jenks started giving up walks and line drives and Astros managed to tie the game in the top of the ninth. Dad and I were staring at the prospect of extra innings…in this crappy weather. The White Sox could never make it easy on us. Not in ‘83 with an unbelievably likeable team. Not in ‘93 with one of the most talented teams I’ve ever seen. Not in 2000 with a team of young, exciting players. Not in ‘05 with this…group.

Then it happened. The White Sox made it easy on us. A possibly herniated Scott Podsednik stepped to the plate and hit a fly ball to right/center. It kept going. And going. And going. And it landed a few rows back. Homerun. Scotty Pods had been playing hurt for months, but he managed to hit one out to walk-off the Astros and end one of the coldest, longest evenings of my life.

The crowd didn’t cheer right away. There was an audible hiss that was the sound of 40,000 people gasping at the same time. I’ll never forget the look of shock on my father’s face. I’ve never seen him that surprised before and I haven’t seen it since. I don’t remember what we said or what we did after, but I do remember what my dad looked like. For that reason….and the White Sox winning a World Series game with a walk-off homer, this is my favorite baseball memory. I’m probably going to forget a lot of things in my life. I’ll probably forget how to spell ‘Podsednik’. I’ll probably forget the final score. I doubt I’ll ever forget the gobsmacked shock that was on my dad’s face that night.


Matt is Managing Editor at FantasyPros911.com. You can follow Matt via Twitter – @MattDFP911


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#Blogathon Guest Post from Michael Clair of Old Time Family Baseball

A Favorite Baseball Memory? You’ll Have a Hard Time Narrowing It Down

By Michael Clair
It’s hard to choose a favorite baseball memory, especially when baseball and my life have remained intertwined for as long as I’ve been a conscious human being. Do I choose the first Opening Day I remember, staying up late to watch Raul Mondesi and the Dodgers play the Florida Marlins, having prepared all morning by organizing my baseball cards into ziplock bags? Or is it the years my Dad coached Little League and the endless drills he’d have us run, knowing that he just read them in a book twenty minutes ago, because he had plenty of love for me, but none for the game?
I know what it’s not–the wiffleball game that I took a little too seriously,taking my sister out with a wipeout slide and injuring her arm (Sorry, sis). Or the Little League town championship where I got my required at-bat (I went 1-for-17 and committed about 30,000 errors in right field during the season) and struck out on three pitches, the coach telling me “that was the best at-bat I’ve seen you take all year.”The problem is, there are too many memories. My life is measured less in years and more in seasons.Ken Griffey Jr and the Seattle Mariners upset the New York Yankees when I was in third grade, warring with a teacher who docked me points for writing too many pages on creative writing assignments.

I was ten years old, at home with a teenager from down the street while my parents were out to dinner, when, at a little after nine o’clock, Mark McGwire hit a laser down the left field line to break Roger Maris‘ record. And while McGwire paraded around the field, embracing Sammy Sosa in his enormous arms, I ran around the house, my babysitter trying vainly to keep me from breaking things.

My last year of Little League, where I didn’t enjoy baseball for the first time in my life, was also my first year of middle school, a dark period marked by an unironic enjoyment of Korn and Limp Bizkit. I must imagine that those two moments are connected.

Aaron Boone‘s home run off of Tim Wakefield to end the 2003 ALCS happened while I was up late trying to finish a paper for my English class. The Red Sox World Series run the next year coming during rehearsals for the school musical in which I was Moonface Martin in Anything Goes.

In 2005, I watched the Chicago White Sox sweep the Houston Astros on a 13 inch television while eating steak subs with my freshman year roommate. This was the same year that I started reading Baseball Prospectus and stopped saying things like “I don’t care about walks. I care about RBI,” thanks to that same roommate.

In 2006, I spent two weeks following around the independent Atlantic League’s Road Warriors, a team without a home stadium, being the only people in the stands besides the players’ girlfriends or parents to cheer for them. It afforded us a kind of cult status, even if it was bizarre and perhaps terrifying for the players when we ran into them at the team hotel after their game in Camden, New Jersey.

In 2008, I drove across the country with three friends, making stops in Baltimore for an Orioles game, where a man essentially plied me with beer so he could make fun of me in front of his date, Chicago for Wrigley and Old Styles, and Milwaukee for bobbleheads and CC Sabathia. That fall, in between being an unpaid intern, I’d travel to Dodger Stadium for the first time, finally seeing the place that I’d heard Vin Scully describe so many times before.

I’ve seen Bryce Harper‘s first game, Mike Trout commit an error in his first weekend, and David Ortiz hug a man between first and second of a doubleplay. I’ve made lifelong friends through baseball, cried when I missed my name on the Jumbotron during my 7th birthday and traveled around Arizona taking in two spring training games a day with my saint of a mother.

Just as I can’t have a favorite lazy Sunday or a beloved trip to the grocery store, I can’t have a favorite memory. Baseball is simply a part of my life, one that I spend too much money and time on, but one that’s there every single summer day nonetheless. It may not be as essential as air, or food, but it’s certainly up there with indoor plumbing and human companionship.

Michael Clair writes Old Time Family Baseball and contributes to the Platoon Advantage. Follow him on Twitter @clairbearattack.

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#Blogathon: Thanks for Coming Along for the Ride

I want to thank everyone for their support. I hope there were a few posts here and there that you enjoyed, but we ain’t done yet.

Coming up now are a load of good stories from other writers and baseball people alike. One new one will post each hour on the hour.

They are writing about a favorite baseball memory of their own. I hope you enjoy their stories. I know I did when I read them.

Hopefully by the end of the day we will have reached our goal.

Please keep sharing so we can get to our goal.

It’s been a lot of fun. But now it’s time for some sleep.


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#Blogathon: My Favorite Postseason Call

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My favorite postseason call goes back to the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning season.

The year is 1992. The place is the National League Championship Series. It’s the 9th inning and the Braves were trailing 2-0.

Thanks to a Jose Lind error, the Braves have a chance. But it all comes down to a guy who had only 11 plate appearances in the entire season, Francisco Cabrera.

The score is now 2-1 with the bases loaded. A slow gimpy Sid Bream is the winning run at second base, and Cabrera comes through.

The ensuing play is one I can remember vividly. I was sitting on the edge of my bed at home. Hands covering my eyes because I can’t watch. After the play I had to keep myself from not screaming since it was late.

What a call. Listen here…


What is your favorite postseason call?


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#Blogathon: Bring Back the Baseball Bunch

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Where are the baseball TV shows for kids these days? When I was younger we could get up and watch the Baseball Bunch. Remember that show?

We got to learn from Johnny Bench and Tommy Lasorda and were entertained by the San Diego Chicken. Throw in some big name guest stars of the day, and it was such a great show.

It was the perfect bled of entertainment and instruction. There is such a push these days to get more kids interested in the sport these days, so why not create a show similar to this one.

Or are the kids of today needing something more hip and interactive? I’m not sure. But I do know that the Baseball Bunch was a great show.

I think I would even watch it today if it came on.

Was there a baseball themed show you liked as a kid?


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#Blogathon: Must See Baseball Stadiums

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A few hours ago I told you about a few stadiums I really want to see. Now I’m going to tell you about a few stadiums that I love. If you haven’t seen a game here, do it.

5. Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, Pensacola, FL

This is a great minor league stadium. It sits right on the water and its beautiful. There isn’t much else in the area aside from the beach, but if you are ever there, take in a game.

4. Munhak Stadium, Incheon, South Korea

Home of the SK Wyverns of the KBO. This is the best stadium in Korea and has a lot of the luxuries you would find in a stadium in the States.

3. The Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, TX

This is what I’ve always considered as my home park. I’ve seen so many games here, and I love it. It’s a great place to see a game. Just don’t go in August when the weather is really freaking hot.

The last two go without saying.

2. Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

1. Fenway Park, Boston MA

Where have you seen a game that you loved?


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#Blogathon: Top International Baseball Tournaments

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There are a lot of good international baseball tournaments every year. These are a few that I think everyone should see.

5. Prague Baseball Week

While this may not have the best talent in the world, it is in a great location and has history. There is a lot to offer at this tournament and everyone I know that’s been to it have loved it.

4. World Port Tournament

Played every odd numbered year in Rotterdam, Netherlands, this tournament features international teams such as Cuba and Chinese Taipei on a regular basis.

3. Haarlem Baseball Week

Played every even numbered year in the Netherlands, again this is one of the better international tournaments featuring top talent from all over the world.

2. Any IBAF Baseball World Cup

There are several of these. My favorite is the 18U, but they also run a 16U, 12U and in the future a 21U. These are the best players at this age from the best baseball countries in the world.

1. Caribbean Series

What a tournament this is to watch. I’ve only seen it on TV, but would love to see it in person. The best winter league teams from the Caribbean countries, you just can’t beat that.

Honorable Mention:

European Cup, European Championship, Pan-Am Games, Finkstonball


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#Blogathon: The Time I Met My Favorite Baseball Player

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A few years back I got to meet my all-time favorite player, Dale Murphy.

He was appearing at a Mobile Baybears game against the Mississippi Braves. Before the game there was a softball game before hand with some local celebrities and ex players, including Murphy.

Around the fourth inning or so, they announced Murphy would be on the concourse signing autographs. So, I got up and went to wait in line with all the other Braves fans.

I had worn my 70’s throwback jersey and brought an official MLB baseball for him to sign. I picked up his autograph a few years prior when I bought an Upper Deck card he had signed. But this was different. I was getting the chance to meet him.

When I finally got up to the front of the line, I was anxious to ask him a question. Honestly, I can’t remember what question I was going to ask him because I froze. He commented that he liked my jersey and I went silent. I felt like an idiot as I somehow got out a thank you for the autograph.

I’ve met a lot of celebrities in the past, but I had never been so tongue tied before in my life. Honestly, I don’t know if it would be any different if I met him again tomorrow.

At least I’ll always remember it.

Have you met your favorite player before? How did it go?


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#Blogathon: Museums I Recommend to any Baseball Fan

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Before I wrote about a few museums I need to see. Well there are a few that I have seen that I would highly recommend to anyone that hasn’t.

3. Ty Cobb Museum, Royston, GA

This is a great little museum in a cool little town in Georgia. I highly recommend anyone in the area to stop in and check it out.

2. Louisville Slugger Museum, Louisville, KY

This is a must see for any baseball fan. Take the tour and then view the museum and see some of the bats from some of the greats.

1. Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame (formally the Legends of the Game Museum), Arlington, TX

This is a great addition to the Ballpark in Arlington. If you are ever in the area for a game or just near the stadium, stop in and check out the museum. It’s well worth the trip.

What museums do you recommend to others?


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#Blogathon: Worst Baseball Mascots

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We already looked at the best mascots, now let’s look at the worst.

3. Minnesota Twins T.C. Bear

A bear is just a boring mascot. I need something a little more creative.











2. Arizona Diamondbacks Baxter

So your team is named after a snake but your mascot is a bobcat? I don’t get it.

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1. Colorado Rockies Dinger

He’s a purple dinosaur. Enough said.











What do you think is the worst mascot?


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#Blogathon: Baseball Stadiums I Really Want to See

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I love seeing new baseball stadiums. I love walking around it for the first time, searching out for unique foods, and checking to see what local beers they might sell. A goal of mine is to see all 30 MLB stadiums (I’m currently at 7), but I’d also like to see as many minor league parks as I can.

That is only the start of what I’d like to see. I want to tour Japan, Taiwan, and many of the leagues in Europe. All in due time.

However, some stadiums stand out more than others. I mean I want to see the Oakland Coliseum, but its not near the top of the list.

So here are the ones I’d like to see the most.

5.  Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD

This is the one that started the whole retro stadium craze. I love the old retro stadiums and would love to see a game in Baltimore.

4. Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City, MO

I’ve wanted to see this for some time now. I love the waterfall in the outfield and with the history there, it just seems like a cool place to visit.

3. Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima, Japan

I want to see all the stadiums in Japan, but this one really interests me.

2. AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA

The park by the bay. This is one of the most picturesque parks and I can’t wait to get out there and see it.

1. PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA

I’ve wanted to see this stadium for a long time. I think I might have missed my chance to view it in near silence as the Pirates are winning again.

What stadium do you want to see the most?


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#Blogathon: Top Museums I Need to See

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There are some great baseball museums out there. Some I have seen, and others I haven’t, yet.

Here are a few that I haven’t seen yet and really want to.

3. Alabama Sports Museum/Rickwood Field, Birmingham, AL

Rickwood Field is the oldest surviving professional baseball park having been built in 1910. Add in the Alabama Sports Museum and you have quite a combination.

2. Negro Leagues Museum, Kansas City, MO

This is one of the best museums in the country. Sadly I have not been able to get to Kansas City on anything other than a business trip in the past.

1. Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY

That’s right. I haven’t been to the granddaddy of them all. This is definitely a trip that needs to happen soon.

Honorable Mention

There are a lot of good ones out there including Ted Williams Museum, St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards.


The V Foundation was founded by ESPN and legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano. It is dedicated to saving lives by searching for a cure for cancer and by creating an awareness of the importance of the war on cancer. You can help the cause by donating now.

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#Blogathon: Top Baseball Mascots

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Mascots are a part of baseball. In some places its a bigger deal than in others. I mean how many people know the Rangers have a mascot? Rangers Captain just doesn’t strike me as a top notch mascot, even though he fits good with the team name.

There are some that are icons, and these are my favorites.

3. Tampa Bay Rays Raymond

I’m not fully sure what he is, but he looks awesome.












2. Bernie the Brewer

How can you not love Bernie? Especially with that mustache.











1. The Philly Phanatic

While I may not be a huge Phillies fan, the Phanatic is pretty awesome.











Who is your favorite?


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Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

  • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Venezuela (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Netherlands (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
  • South Korea (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Canada (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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