Tag Archive | "Feature"

2009 Ohio Cup Vintage Base Ball Festival


UNITED STATES – The 2009 Ohio Cup Vintage Base Ball Festival will take place from September 5-6 at the Ohio Village and 17th Avenue Fields in Columbus, Ohio.

For two days over the Labor Day Weekend, 27 gentlemen’s and two ladies’ vintage base ball teams will square off on fields around the Ohio Village to celebrate base ball “the way it was meant to be played.”

Teams from Ohio (including the local Ohio Village Muffins) and other states will play matches on at least four fields using rules based in the year 1860 in period uniforms and equipment. The Ohio Cup represents the largest gathering of vintage base ball clubs in the country.

Admission is $8.00 for adults, $4.00 for youth, and free for OHS members. There is also a $4.00 parking fee for non-members.

For more information, visit the website.

Photo courtesy of hstc.org

This article is a press release. BaseballdeWorld offers baseball-related outlets the chance to reach a targeted market of baseball enthusiasts by submitting press releases at news@baseballdeworld.com. However, BaseballdeWorld reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

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Hank Aaron To Visit RBI World Series


USA – Home Run King Hank Aaron will be among the roster of dignitaries who will address players during the 17th annual RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) World Series, which is kicking off on Tuesday in Jupiter, Florida.

Aaron will be among the speakers at receptions hosted throughout the 11-day national tournament, which features 24 teams from around the country. The program is designed to increase participation and interest in baseball for youths and minorities—one of the primary issues Aaron is working on.

The Senior baseball championship will air live on MLB Network on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET and the softball championship will be taped to broadcast on Aug. 23 at 1 p.m. ET, also on MLB Network. Those two championship games and the Junior baseball championship game will be streamed live on MLB.com.

Others scheduled to speak include Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball president and chief operating office; Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson; and two former Major Leaguers who serve as special assistants to Marlins president David Samson — Hall of Famer Tony Perez and 1987 National League MVP Andre Dawson.

Photo courtesy of rhapsodyinbooks.wordpress.com

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2009 Hottest Wives In Baseball Finalists


USA – Fantasy baseball tips and advice provider Fantasy Baseball Dugout announced the kickoff of its second annual contest to determine the hottest wife in Major League Baseball, an online vote starting July 30 and running through Thursday, August 31.

This year’s extended lineup of “hot” baseball wives includes:

– Anna Benson, wife of Texas Rangers pitcher Kris Benson
– Karen Burnett, wife of New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett
– Lisa Dergan, wife of Chicago White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik
– Heidi DeRosa, wife of St. Louis Cardinals infielder Mark DeRosa
– Ashley Eckstein, wife of San Diego Padres infielder David Eckstein
– Heidi Hamels, wife of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels
– Jamie Kotsay, wife of White Sox outfielder Mark Kotsay
– Misty May-Treanor, wife of Detroit Tigers catcher Matt Treanor
– Yuka Okajima, wife of Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima
– Laura Posada, wife of Yankees catcher Jorge Posada
– Diana Roberts, wife of Baltimore Orioles infielder Brian Roberts
– Jordan Schneider, wife of New York Mets catcher Brian Schneider

“Our readers really did the ‘work’ of choosing who the hottest baseball wives are this year,” said Jonathan Bentz, one of Fantasy Baseball Dugout’s primary bloggers. “Now they have a chance to support their favorite team’s hott wife and help us determine the hottest.”

Last year, the fantasy baseball blog created a page devoted to the gorgeous wives of Major League Baseball players and noticed an immediate boost in incoming traffic. After several profiles of these same famous baseball wives generated similar interest, the team of bloggers behind Fantasy Baseball Dugout decided to let their readers have the final say in who truly is baseball’s hottest wife.

In 2008, ten finalists were selected for the contest based on search trends and page views of hottest wife nominees. Voting to determine the winner was text message driven and handled entirely by mobile marketing company PromoTXT. The blog received over 3500 votes with former fashion model Heidi DeRosa, wife of then Chicago Cubs infielder Mark, named the winner with almost 50% of the vote.

This season, text message voting will once again be provided thanks to mobile marketing solution 84444.com, but Fantasy Baseball Dugout will also enlist the online voting services of Poll Daddy.

“Text message voting is a great way to gauge public opinion,” said Bob Bentz, publisher of Fantasy Baseball Dugout. “We were certainly impressed by the thousands of people who participated in our text message vote last year for Baseball’s Hottest Wife and we are glad to be able to include online voting as well this year.”

Voting for your favorite hott baseball wife is easy at Fantasy Baseball Dugout. Polls are setup at the top of the right sidebar of the website and on the exclusive homebase devoted to baseball’s hottest wives. You can also text message your vote by texting HOTT(space)(number) of your favorite hott baseball wife to ‘84444.’ For example, to vote for Anna Benson by text message, send ‘HOTT 1′ to 84444.

Full details on the 2009 Hottest Baseball Wives contest can be found online at fantasybaseballdugout.com.

Photo courtesy of ntxe-news.com

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World Team Wins MLB Futures Game


USA – The World team used back-to-back RBI doubles in the final inning to finish off a game-winning four-run rally to beat the United States 7-5 on Sunday in the XM All-Star Futures Game. With the win, the World sqquad became the first team to win three straight games in the event’s 11-year history.

The annual showcase for top minor league prospects was delayed for more than 4 hours during the opening frame by a heavy storm that hovered over Busch Stadium. Due to the delay, the game was reduced to seven innings.

The World went ahead early after plating two runs off Baltimore Orioles prospect and U.S. starter Chris Tillman in the opening frame. Then a storm forced a long delay that foced World starter Junichi Tazawa of the Boston Red Sox – whose arm had went cold after warming up in the bullpen, to be replaced without having thrown a pitch.

The World team padded its lead in the top of the third when Seattle Mariners farmhand Tyson Gillies singled off Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles, stole two bases and scored on a double play to stretch the lead to 3-0.

Colorado’s Eric Young belted a solo home run, and Houston talented minoR leaguer Jason Castro drilled a three-run blast that put the U.S. ahead 5-3 heading into the final inning. However, the World team rallied against Los Angeles Angels pitcher Trevor Reckling highlighted by game MVP and Twins outfield prospect Rene Tosoni’s pinch-hit, RBI double to claim the impobable comeback win.

Photo courtesy of thunderbaseball.wordpress.com

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Save Olympic Baseball Website Launched


USA – SaveOlympicBaseball.org is an organizational website promoting the sport of baseball’s hopeful return to the Summer Olympic Games.

SaveOlympicBaseball.org was created in an effort to help, aid, and assist in the facilitation of the world-wide grassroots campaign that the baseball world is conducting that advocates the reinstatement of their sport to the Olympic programme.

SaveOlympicBaseball.org is a nonprofit worldwide organiZation and an ever-growing source of information for the sport of baseball’s quest to be reinstated as a sport in the Summer Olympic Games.

SaveOlympicBaseball.org locates its head office in Dakota City, Nebraska (USA), and is currently operating satellite offices in Melbourne, Australia; Vienna, Austria; Gent, Belgium; Brno, Czech Republic; Paris, France; Almaty; Kazakhstan; and Moscow, Russia.

SaveOlympicBaseball.org is headed up by Managing Director Bob Protexter, an international baseball veteran with more than two decades of service to the sport having traveled to over twenty countries world-wide spanning from Latin America to Europe to the Far East.

Protexter’s Olympic experiences include working as a Russian translator at the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in 2002. Protexter is also the Founder and President of Russian International Baseball and is the Owner and Operator of Total Baseball Development.

Baseball’s Olympic Predicament

In 2005 baseball was voted out of the Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Baseball was the first sport to be voted out of the Olympic Games since 1936.

In 2008 baseball was played for the last time in the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Baseball was originally voted into the Olympic Games as a medal sport in 1986 by the IOC.

In 1992 baseball was first played in the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. In 2009 baseball is seeking reinstatement and inclusion, once again, into the Olympic sports program by lobbying and appealing to the IOC. If baseball is voted back into the Olympics by the IOC this year then the sport will once again begin competing in the Olympics in 2016.

Decision Makers

The IOC Executive Board, founded in 1921, consists of the IOC President Count Jacques Rogge, four Vice-Presidents, and ten additional members to equal fifteen members total.

Rogge overseas the Executive Board as they manage the affairs of the IOC, assume the ultimate responsibility for the administration of the IOC, and conduct the procedure for acceptance and selection of candidatures for the organization of the Olympic Games.

He was born in Gent, Belgium, and is an Orthopaedic surgeon, but spent years as a sportsman himself in Yachting competitions in the Olympic Games in Mexico in 1968, Munich in 1972, and Montreal in 1976, while also competing as a rugby player on the national Belgian team.

The Executive Board last met in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 15 and 16 where the four candidate host cities for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games gave technical briefings to ninety-three of the one hundred seven members of the International Olympic Committee.

Those cities are Chicago (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Madrid (Spain). The seven sports seeking to join the Olympic programme displayed their vision for inclusion in the Olympic Games in a series of individual presentations. Only two Olympic programme slots are available, and those two chosen sports will next appear at the 2016 Games.

The IOC Executive Board will meet next in Berlin, Germany on August 13 and 14. At that time the Executive Board primary focuses will be which two of the seven candidate sports will be recommended for acceptance in the Olympic sports programme.

The IOC Session, scheduled in conjunction with the Olympic Congress, will be in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 1 and 2 where the final voting process will take place, and a final decision will be made for those two sports.

Why is baseball in the Olympics important?

In 1986 baseball was voted into the Olympic Games by the IOC. In that year there were sixty countries listed as having ‘National Baseball Federations’ with memberships in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) – (www.ibaf.org). The IBAF was founded in 1938 and is a non-governmental organization recognised by the IOC as administering men’s and women’s baseball at the world level.

An individual country’s ‘National Baseball Federation’ is that nation’s official governing body for the sport, and is responsible for growing, advancing, and developing that country’s baseball. Following this positive IOC vote in 1986 for baseball in the Olympic Games, the sport of baseball started immediately to grow and prosper in many, many countries.

This year the IBAF lists more than one hundred twenty-five countries as having ‘National Baseball Federations’. The Olympic Movement is directly responsible for this explosion and increased popularity of baseball across the globe. Countries all over the world have started new baseball programs from very humble beginnings in the last twenty years. Now in 2009 that progress is severely threatened unless baseball is reinstated back into the Olympic Games.

Many countries rely simply on Olympic recognition to merely sustain and maintain their baseball programs. Many baseball burgeoning countries are now in perilous danger of losing their programs without this Olympic recognition.

The work of the International Baseball Federation

The IBAF is working diligently day and night on returning baseball back into the Olympic Games as part of what they call a ‘New Dynamic Direction’ for the sport. ‘Mission Critical’ is another term deemed by the IBAF for their project of inclusion for the sport of baseball once again to the Olympic programme.

The group presentation of the IBAF to the IOC Executive Board in June was a success, and their work continues. As well the IBAF has repeatedly encouraged people in all parts of the globe to write letters and make calls to IOC members in support of baseball. The IBAF also frequently states that it is very important for people to constantly update IOC members about the new developments of baseball around the world, especially on the grassroots level.

Additional efforts of the International Baseball Federation

The IBAF is covering every detail with things such as creating a partnership with Pitch In For Baseball (www.pitchinforbaseball.org) to provide equipment for youth groups around the world. Pitch In For Baseball is a nonprofit organization that provides one of the world’s leading equipment donation services, and has collected and redistributed baseball equipment and uniforms to underserved children in more than 50 countries. Their mission is to help kids and make friends all over the world by sharing the great game of baseball.

The IBAF has even gone to the lengths of sending copies of the book ‘A Glove of Their Own’ (www.agloveoftheirown.com) to key members of the International Olympic Committee. ‘A Glove of Their Own’ is an award winning book that illustrates and tells a story of sandlot kids who inspire an adult to share in their baseball and life experiences.

Bob Salomon, one of the book’s creators along with authors Debbie Moldovan, Keri Conkling, and Lisa Funari-Willever share in the book’s message of generosity by donating proceeds from each book sold to various nonprofit organizations. The IBAF likes the principles of the book as an example of how baseball can again be a social unifier and teach values bigger than the game itself.

This is one of the key foundations of the IBAF’s pitch to be reinstated to the Olympic programme in 2016; that it is a game for all. IBAF President Dr. Harvey Schiller said that, “Baseball is a game that teaches teamwork, how to overcome adversity and discipline, and was the game that broke the color barrier in sport, and we thought that this book was a perfect way to help explain how those simple ideals are conveyed through the sport. The lessons in the book can be understood by anyone and adapted to any of the lessons we learn in life, and really captures why baseball is so much a game for all.”

SaveOlympicBaseball.org is answering the call for the request of world-wide participation by having the primary purpose of showing people around the world how they can partake in the global grassroots campaign that is seeking baseball’s inclusion, once again, into the Olympic program.

SaveOlympicBaseball.org fulfills this purpose by providing public listings of contact names and mailing addresses of International Olympic Committee members enabling supporters to directly voice their enthusiasm through letters supporting baseball’s return to the Summer Olympic Games.

SaveOlympicBaseball.org encourages teams, coaches, administrators, parents, and fans world-wide to write letters and postcards supporting Olympic baseball, and then to send those letters and postcards to members of the IOC Executive Board and to the IOC members themselves as well.

Your voice matters.

Photo courtesy of theonion.com

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USSSA Global Baseball World Series


USA – The summertime fun continues in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as the area welcomes the fourth of five USSSA events. The USSSA Global Baseball World Series is set for July 16th through 19th.

“We have seen a large impact from our entire summer lineup, especially the USSSA events,” said Beth Gendler, director of sales at the Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission. “Thanks to a very productive spring and first half of summer, we have already surpassed the total number of room nights in 2008.”

Following the same tournament format as the other USSSA World Series tournament that was held last weekend, this event features competition in the 9U, 11U and 13U age divisions. Nearly 1,000 young athletes will compete in 250 games during four days of competition.

Opening ceremonies will be held Wednesday, July 15th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex, and admission is free.

Both the Gulf Shores Sportsplex and the Orange Beach Sportsplex will host tournament play. Games will be held Thursday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day. Adult admission (age 15 and over) is $10.00 per day or $25.00 for a tournament pass. Daily admission for children ages 6 through 14 is $6.00 while a tournament pass is $20.00 for these age groups. Children age 5 and under will be admitted free of charge.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission will welcome these upcoming events: USSSA End of Summer Beach Trip (baseball) (July 24-26), the 2009 Summer’s End Softball Tournament (July 31-August 2) and the Gulf Coast Region Beach Series Grand Championship (August 1-2).

For information, please visit www.alabamagulfcoastsports.com, or call 1-800-745-SAND.

Photo courtesy of usssa.com

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2009 MLB All Star Game Necklace Released


USA- Phiten has released the 2009 MLB All Star Game Necklace to commemorate the Mid-Summer Classic to be played in St. Louis on July 14th, 2009. This official necklace will be worn by this year’s participants.

Phiten, based in Japan, has been granted the Authentic License by Major League Baseball. The Authentic License is awarded only to manufacturers whose products are worn or used by the players on the field. Phiten is the first Japan based company to garner this honor and the 10th company overall.

Professional athletes all over the world have embraced Phiten products, not only utilizing them during training but incorporating them in their daily lives as well. Athletes such as Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum, world class runner Kara Goucher and professional golfer Sergio Garcia.

Photo courtesy of sportstlc.com

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Global Baseball World Series Set To Begin


USA – On the heels of a busy June schedule, the Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission is not slowing down in the summer heat as it announces a youth baseball tournament during the first half of July.

USSSA action returns for the third time this summer with the Global Baseball World Series. Approximately 96 teams representing age divisions 10U, 12U and 14U will compete in nearly 250 games from July 9th through 12th.

“Hosting this World Series is a great opportunity,” said Beth Gendler, director of sales for the Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission. “This baseball event will attract about 1,000 children to our area. Traveling with these young athletes will also be about 1,500 family members and friends, who will have the opportunity to experience all that our beach destination has to offer.”

Opening ceremonies for the tournament will be held Wednesday, July 8th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Orange Beach Sportsplex, and admission is free.

Both the Gulf Shores Sportsplex and the Orange Beach Sportsplex will host tournament play. Games will be held Thursday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day. Adult admission (age 15 and over) is $10.00 per day or $25.00 for a tournament pass. Daily admission for children ages 6 through 14 is $6.00 while a tournament pass is $20.00 for these age groups. Children age 5 and under will be admitted free of charge.

For more information, visit www.gausssabaseball.com/sa.cfm?TPID=183.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission will welcome these upcoming events: USSSA Global Baseball World Series for 7, 9, 11 and 13-year olds (July 15-19), USSSA End of Summer Beach Trip (baseball) (July 24-26), the 2009 Summer’s End Softball Tournament (July 31-August 2) and the Gulf Coast Region Beach Series Grand Championship (August 1-2).

For information, please visit www.alabamagulfcoastsports.com, or call 1-800-745-SAND.

Photo courtesy of get-thedl.com

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2009 Aflac All-American Baseball Classic


USA – The 2009 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic is slated to take place on August 16 at PETCO Park in San Diego, California. The event is an annual all-star game featuring 40 of the top prep seniors in the United States.

Las Vegas High School standout catcher Bryce Harper (see photo) headlines a West All-Star squad dominated by 18 players from California (11) and Texas (7). The East All-Star team consists of 18 players from Florida (6) and Georgia (10).

Below are the rosters for this year’s event.

EAST ALL-STARS

CATCHERS
Tyler Austin, Heritage HS (Georgia)
Brandon Stephens, Lassiter HS (Georgia)
Shane Rowland, Tampa Catholic HS (Florida)

INFIELDERS
Stetson Allie, St. Edward HS (Ohio)
Zach Alvord, South Forsyth HS, (Georgia)
Tyler Austin, Heritage HS (Georgia)
Yordy Cabrera, Lakeland HS (Florida)
Kaleb Cowart, Cook County HS (Georgia)
Conrad Gregor, Carmel HS (Indiana)
Jacoby Jones, Richton HS (Mississippi)
Connor Narron, Aycock HS (North Carolina)
Justin O’Conner, Cowan HS (Indiana)

OUTFIELDERS
Michael Arencibia, Key West HS (Florida)
Chevez Clarke, Marietta HS (Georgia)
Reggie Golden, Wetumpka HS (Alabama)
Trey Griffin, King HS (Georgia)

PITCHERS
RHP – Stetson Allie, St. Edward HS (Ohio)
RHP – Robert Aviles, Suffern HS (New York)
RHP – Cameron Bedrosian, East Coweta HS (Georgia)
RHP – Yordy Cabrera, Lakeland HS (Florida)
RHP – A.J. Cole, Oviedo HS (Florida)
RHP – Kaleb Cowart, Cook County HS (Georgia)
RHP – DeAndre Smelter, Tattnall Square Academy (Georgia)
RHP – Karsten Whitson, Chipley HS (Florida)

WEST ALL-STARS

CATCHERS
Bryce Harper, Las Vegas HS (Nevada)
Stefan Sabol, Aliso Niquel HS (California)

INFIELDERS
Josh Sale, Bishop Blanchet HS (Washington)
Kellen Sweeney, Jefferson HS (Iowa)
Tony Wolters, Rancho Buena Vista HS (California)
Kris Bryant, Bonanza HS (Las Vegas)
Jared Lakind, Woods HS (Texas)
Matt Lipka, McKinney HS (Texas)
Marcus Littlewood, Pineview HS (Utah)

OUTFIELDERS
Krey Bratsen, Bryan HS (Texas)
Josh Sale, Bishop Blanchet HS (Washington)
Kellen Sweeney, Jefferson HS (Iowa)
Stefan Sabol, Aliso Niquel HS (California)
Michael Lorenzen, Fullerton Union HS (California)
Brian Ragira, Martin HS (Texas)
Austin Wilson, Harvard-Westlake HS (California)

PITCHERS
RHP – A.J. Venegas, Redwood Christian School (California)
RHP – Dylan Covey, Maranatha HS (California)
RHP – Kevin Gausman, Grandview HS (Colorado)
RHP – Aaron Sanchez, Barstow HS (California)
RHP – Tyler Shreve, Redlands East Valley HS (California)
RHP – Peter Tago, Dana Hills HS (California)
RHP – Jameson Taillon, The Woodlands HS (Texas)
RHP – Michael Lorenzen, Fullerton Union HS (California)
RHP – Brian Ragira, Martin HS (Texas)
LHP – Jared Lakind, Woods HS (Texas)

Photo courtesy of powershowcase.us

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State Farm “Call Your Shot – Aim For The Arch” Contest


USA – Offering one of life’s big moments, the State Farm “Call Your Shot. Aim For The Arch” sweepstakes will bring winner Mark Weinberger to St. Louis for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to call a historic home run shot for St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.

“State Farm is all about being there for life’s big moments,” said Mark Gibson, Assistant Vice President of Advertising for State Farm. “Giving Mr. Weinberger a chance to hit the field for the 2009 State Farm Home Run Derby with Albert Pujols — an ultimate baseball experience — is certainly one of those moments. We wish Mark luck in calling Albert Pujols’ shot.”

Before the State Farm Home Run Derby competitors begin getting their licks in at the 2009 State Farm Home Run Derby, Weinberger will step to the plate with Pujols, judge the wind and select a direction — left, right or center field–for Albert to go yard.

“A long-time staple of Major League Baseball’s All Star festivities, the State Farm Home Run Derby is now even more exciting with the ‘State Farm Call Your Shot. Aim For The Arch’ sweepstakes,” said John Brody, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales & Marketing, Major League Baseball. “Mark Weinberger is in for the time of his life when he steps to the plate with Albert Pujols. We wish Mark luck.”

If Pujols connects and hits the called shot, Weinberger wins:

– A 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid.
– A MLB Fan Room (65″ TV, two Dream seats, Sharp Sound Bar, and Pepsi products).
– A chance to throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to a 2009 MLB World Series Game.
– A once-in-a lifetime experience at Busch Stadium and the State Farm Home Run Derby.

“As a huge baseball fan, this is going to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life,” said Mark Weinberger. “To get to meet one of the game’s preeminent sluggers and stand at home plate with him is almost too much — it’s one of my life’s big moments. I have to thank State Farm for being there for me and making this experience possible.”

For Weinberger, the “Call Your Shot” grand prize includes a one-of-a-kind fan experience on field before the State Farm Home Run Derby, four tickets to the State Farm Home Run Derby, a meet and greet with MLB superstar Albert Pujols, round trip airfare for four to St. Louis, first class hotel accommodations in St. Louis (five days/four nights) and a $1,000 MasterCard Gift Card.

For fans who missed their chance for “Call Your Shot,” there is still an opportunity to win other prizes through the Gold Ball Ticket promotion which runs through July 13. Each Gold Ball Ticket will include a Home Run Distance and Gold Ball Code. If the distance on the ticket matches the distance of a Gold Ball Home Run hit during the State Farm Home Run Derby, consumers can enter the code at www.sfcallyourshot.com July 14 for a chance to win.

Gold Ball Prize Package:

– Grand Prizes (2): Three day/two night trip for the winner and one guest to attend a 2009 World Series game.
– First Prizes (100): MLB Authenticated Autographed Memorabilia
– Second Prizes (25): $100 MLB.com Gift Cards

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2009 Prep All-Europe Baseball Team


GERMANY – The 24 players selected for DODDS’ first All-Europe baseball team might well have left lasting marks in their sport.

Of the 12 selected for the first team, five batted .400 or better, four surpassed .500 and two, senior Jimmy Drago of SHAPE and junior Matt McDonald of Ramstein, hit safely better than 60 percent of the time — Drago hit .618 and McDonald, a pitcher, went 20-for-32 for a school-system best .625.

On the mound, eight of the 12 first-team selectees who pitched were just as productive.

Need a strikeout?

Ratios approached almost two per inning, with AFNORTH junior E.J. Ruiz and SHAPE’s Drago fanning more than two per frame. Ruiz whiffed 58 in just 27 innings for Small Schools champion AFNORTH; Drago rang up 26 batters in his 12 innings.

Approaching those figures were Bitburg senior Tyler Tucker, who fanned 60 in 33 innings, Vicenza junior Jack Buffington, who struck out 51 in 27?1/3 innings, and McDonald, who whiffed 30 in the 13 innings he pitched before moving to DH at tournament time with a shoulder injury.

Ruiz, an All-Europe quarterback and wrestling champion, led the system in ERA at 1.56 and for good measure batted .533. He proved to be an iron man, too, striking out 19 Vicenza batters in seven innings in the Small Schools title game, played one hour after he caught and played shortstop against Sigonella in the semifinals.

“This type of performance was par for the course for E.J. throughout the year,” AFNORTH coach Jack Clark wrote in nomination of Ruiz.

All the first-teamers made the grade defensively, too, according to their coaches.

Buffington, a catcher and third baseman when not anchoring the Vicenza staff with a 1.96 ERA, had just three errors or passed balls all season according to his coach, Mike Wilson. Drago booted just three chances during his stints at short and second base, reported SHAPE coach Kenneth Goff, while Tucker made just five errors in 66 chances at shortstop and catcher. His .974 fielding percentage cemented his leadership position with a young Bitburg club, according to coach Matt Lawhun.

“As the only senior on a team made up mostly of freshmen and sophomores,” Lawhun wrote, “Tyler embraced the leadership role. He was another coach on the field….”

Even if their numbers are erased in future seasons, the 2009 All-Europeans will retain forever the distinction of being the first.

“The first time for anything,” Patch second-teamer Quinton Austin said, “is really special.”

FIRST TEAM

Jack Buffington, Vicenza, Jr. – P/C/3B
1.98 ERA, 51 K in 27.1 IP. .572 BA, .666 in tourney.

Cavan Cohoes, Lakenheath, Soph. – SS/P
.419 BA, 2 HR.

Jimmy Drago, SHAPE, Sr. – SS/P/2B
.618 BA, 10 doubles. 26 K, 2 BB, 5 saves in 12 IP.

Tyler Hall, Vilseck, Jr. – 2B/3B/C/OF
.468 BA, 10 RBI, 10 SB.

Kyle Krajcovic, Vilseck, Jr. – P/SS/OF/C
5-1, 1 save. .488 BA, 10 RBI, 2 HR, 15 SB.

Matt McDonald, Ramstein, Jr. – P/SS
2-0 with 30 K in 13 innings. .625 BA, 3 HR, 13 doubles, 9 SB.

Justin Phelps, Patch, Jr. – P/CF/SS
3.13 ERA, 44 K, 14 BB in 31.1 innings, 1 no-hitter. .553 BA, 2 HR, 27 RBI.

Jamal Pope, Heidelberg, Jr. – P/C/1B
.493 BA, 8 RBI.

Andre Porterfield, Ramstein, Soph. – P/SS
22 K in 15 IP, 8 H, 4 BB. .463 BA, 16 SB.

E.J. Ruiz, AFNORTH, Jr. – P/C/SS
3-1, 2 saves, 1.56 ERA, 58 K in 27 IP. .533 BA, 15 RBI.

Josh Sloan, Ramstein, Soph. – 3B
.556 BA.

Tyler Tucker, Bitburg, Sr. – P/C/SS
3-3, 1.91 ERA, 60 K in 33 IP.

SECOND TEAM

Quinton Austin, Patch, Sr. – P/OF/1B
.313 BA, 26 RBI, 2 HR. 5-2, 40 K in 23.2 IP, 2.66 ERA.

Kaden Baum, Vilseck, Jr. – 1B/OF/P
.421 BA, 18 RBI, 7 SB. 4-1, 1 save.
Matt Benoit, Mannheim, Sr. – SS/P
.540 BA, 16 RBI, 10 SB. 4 wins, save.

Cameron Henry, Rota, Soph. – SS/P
.571 tourney BA. 2-0 as starter in tourney. Batted .444 vs. D-I pitching.

Nick Holba, Ramstein, Sr. – 1B/P
4-0, 13 K, 5 BB in 13 IP. .333 BA.

Matt Less, Bitburg, Jr. – P/3B/SS
18 K in 14 IP. .288 BA, 8 RBI.

Johnnie Mesch, Hohenfels, Sr. – 3B/P/C
.442 BA, 23 RBI. 3 wins, save, 3.10 ERA.

DreShawn Murray, Ramstein, Sr. – 1B/P
.390 BA, 10 SB.

Justin Patrick, Heidelberg, Sr. – C/1B
.352 BA, 15 RBI.

Logan Porchie, Naples, Jr. – P/C/SS
73 K in 8 games, 2 1-hitters. .475 BA right-handed, .600 left-hander. 21 SB.

Zachary Saunders, SHAPE, Sr. – 2B/SS/LF/P
2 CG wins. .468 BA, 21 RBI, 5 HR, 2 grand slams.

Fletcher Taylor, Naples, Jr. – SS
6-for-9 to open season, 16 SB.

Selection panel: Karen Seadore (DODDS-Europe), Jim Clark (AFNORTH), Jim Hall (Vilseck), Steve Jewell (Wiesbaden), Glenn Porter (Ramstein), Gene Rinaldi (Sigonella)

Article and Photo courtesy of Stars and Stripes

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2009 MLB Futures Game Rosters


USA – A collection of some of the top talent in the U.S. minor leagues will be on showcase at the 2009 Futures Game slated for July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The annual event is a part of the All-Star Game festivies organized by Major league Baseball.

The United States roster boasts a Who’s Who of top draft picks including infielders Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) and Jemile Weeks (Athletics). Other notable selections are Astros’ catcher Jason Castro, Josh Vitters (Cubs) and Brian Matusz (Orioles).

The World Roster is dominated by players from the Dominican Republic (9), Venezuela (4), and Canada (4). The Asian continent is represented by three prospects while Europe has one native son on the roster.

Highly-touted Japanese pitching prospect Junichi Tazawa (Red Sox) and Texas Rangers’ prized young hurler Neftali Feliz headline a talented corps of pitchers for the World squad.

2009 FUTURES GAME: USA ROSTER

CATCHERS
Jason Castro, Astros (AA)
Tyler Flowers, White Sox (AA)

INFIELDERS
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates (AA)
Chris Carter, Athletics (AA)
Danny Espinosa, Nationals (A+)
Scott Sizemore, Tigers (AAA)
Josh Vitters, Cubs (A)
Brett Wallace, Cardinals (AAA)
Jemile Weeks, Athletics (A+)
Eric Young, Rockies (AAA)

OUTFIELDERS
Chris Heisey, Reds (AA) CIN
Jason Heyward, Braves (A+)
Desmond Jennings, Rays (AA)
Daryl Jones, Cardinals (AA)
Mike Stanton, Marlins (AA)

PITCHERS
Madison Bumgarner, Giants (AA)
Kyle Drabek, Phillies (AA)
Danny Duffy, Royals (A+)
Casey Kelly, Red Sox (A+)
Mat Latos, Padres (AA) SD
Brad Lincoln, Pirates (AAA)
Brian Matusz, Orioles (AA)
Jarrod Parker, D-Backs (AA)
Trevor Reckling, Angels (AA)
Chris Tillman, Orioles (AAA)

2009 FUTURES GAME: WORLD ROSTER

CATCHERS
Carlos Santana, Indians – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (AA)
Jesus Montero, Yankees – VENEZUELA (AA)

INFIELDERS
Pedro Baez, Dodgers – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (A+)
Starlin Castro, Cubs – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (A+)
Alcides Escobar, Brewers – VENEZUELA (AAA)
Wilmer Flores, Mets – VENEZUELA (A)
Brett Lawrie, Brewers – CANADA (A)
Alex Liddi, Mariners – ITALY (A)
Dayan Viciedo, White Sox – CUBA (AA)
Angel Villalona, Giants – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (A+)

OUTFIELDERS
Luis Durango, Padres – PANAMA (AA)
Tyson Gillies, Mariners – CANADA (A+)
Kyeong Kang, Rays – SOUTH KOREA (A)
Rene Tosoni, Twins – CANADA (AA)
Nick Weglarz, Indians – CANADA (AA)

PITCHERS
Manny Banuelos, Yankees – MEXICO (A)
Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies – VENEZUELA (AA)
Yohan Flande, Phillies – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (A+)
Neftali Feliz, Rangers – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (AAA)
Chia-Jen Lo, Astros – TAIWAN (AA)
Jenrry Mejia, Mets – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (AA)
Luis Perez, Blue Jays – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (AA)
Leyson Septimo, D-Backs – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (A+)
J.C. Sulbaran, Reds – CURACAO (A)
Junichi Tazawa, Red Sox – JAPAN (AA)

Photo courtesy of survivinggrady.com

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Obama To Toss First Pitch At 2009 MLB All-Star Game


USA – President Obama will be the fourth U.S. President to throw out the first pitch at the Midsummer Classic joining John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. President Obama will be the seventh U.S. President to attend the All-Star Game. The first U.S. President to attend an All-Star Game was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, with pre-game ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised in more than 200 countries and territories by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.

On April 22, Major League Baseball dedicated its 2009 All-Star Game and surrounding events to raising funds and awareness for charitable initiatives and celebrating the importance of community service. The charity and community service initiatives, which are themed “Going Beyond,” will be the most extensive in Major League Baseball All-Star history. In addition, Major League Baseball is supporting President Obama’s call for community service through “United We Serve,” a program which encourages Americans to engage in sustained and meaningful community service. President Obama is encouraging all Americans to visit www.serve.gov to find service opportunities in their area.

“Major League Baseball is truly honored that President Obama will be in attendance to throw out the first pitch at the 80th All-Star Game on July 14 in St. Louis,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “The central theme of the 2009 All-Star Game is community service, celebrating the extraordinary work being done by ordinary people. We are thrilled that we can come together with President Obama, who has encouraged a renewed spirit of national service, and illustrate a call to action in our communities. President Obama will continue a great tradition that joins our nation’s leader and the national pastime.”

Following is a list of Presidential appearances at the MLB All-Star Game:

1937 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

1962 – President John F. Kennedy threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1970 – President Richard Nixon threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1976 – President Gerald Ford threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1978 – Former President Gerald Ford threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1989 – Former President Ronald Reagan

1991 – President George H.W. Bush with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

1992 – President George H.W. Bush with President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico

About 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday, July 14th in St. Louis and will feature the best of the American League taking on the top players of the National League.

Taco Bell All-Star Sunday on Sunday, July 12th

– XM All-Star Futures Game
– Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game

Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13th

– State Farm Home Run Derby.

Fans will have an opportunity to experience All-Star Summer through a variety of special events including Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest, the five-day interactive fan festival; the MLB All-Star Charity Concert presented by Pepsi benefiting Stand Up To Cancer, a free concert for fans under The Gateway Arch featuring Sheryl Crow; the All-Star Charity 5K & Fun Run presented by Sports Authority and Nike, a charity run on a baseball-themed route to benefit three cancer organizations; and the All-Star Game Red Carpet Show presented by Chevy, a free parade of All-Stars leading into Busch Stadium.

For more information about 2009 All-Star Summer, visit www.allstargame.com.

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2009 MLB All-Star Game Picks


USA – Voting for the 2009 Major League All-Star Game is winding down and fans are making their choices for the starters at each position. BaseballdeWorld’s Marvin Moore takes a look at who is the leading choice of the fans, and who he believes should be starting in baseball’s mid-season classic.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Catcher

Vote Leader: Joe Mauer, Twins
BaseballdeWorld: Mauer has returned from the disabled list in a big way and should be a landslide winner for the starting nod.

First base

Vote Leader: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
BaseballdeWorld: It’s a three-horse race with Teixeira, Bosox Kevin Youkilis and the Twinkies Justin Morneau. The Yankee slugger is the favorite but my choice is Morneau.

Second base

Vote Leader: Ian Kinsler, Rangers
BaseballdeWorld: Kinsler and Boston’s Dustin Pedroia are the favorites but Aaron Hill of Toronto is also deserving. I’m a native Texan and Rangers’ fan so my choice is surprise…Kinsler.

Shortstop

Vote Leader: Derek Jeter, Yankees
BaseballdeWorld: Tampa Bay’s Jason Bartlett is having a great year with his glove and bat and is my choice over the widely popular Jeter.

Third base

Vote Leader: Evan Longoria, Rays
BaseballdeWorld: George Brett and Mike Schmidt were once All-Star fixtures at the hot corner, and so should Longoria.

Outfielder

Vote Leaders: Jason Bay, Red Sox; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners; Josh Hamilton, Rangers
BaseballdeWorld: Bay is deserving of a starting slot and while Hamilton has been hampered by injuries, it is always nice to see some guys from Arlington in the All-Star gala. I like Ichiro but Toronto’s Adam Lind is my choice for the final spot.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Catcher

Vote Leader: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
BaseballdeWorld: Molina has the defensive skills but Atlanta’s Brian McCann is the better all-around choice and my pick for the starting backstop.

First base

Vote Leader: Albert Pujols, Cardinals
BaseballdeWorld: Both Prince Fielder (Brewers) and Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) are All-Star-caliber players, but Pujols is simply the best hitter in the game. A no-brainer.

Second base

Vote Leader: Chase Utley, Phillies
BaseballdeWorld: Duh! Perhaps in a few years a minor league stud will appear to challenge for Utley’s annual All-Star game starting nod?

Shortstop

Vote Leader: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
BaseballdeWorld: Houston’s Miguel Tejada has found his stroke and passion for the game, again, but Ramirez is my choice by a wide margin.

Third base

Vote Leader: David Wright, Mets
BaseballdeWorld: Some would say the number of quality third baseman in the National League has dwindled. I agree.  Wright is the right choice.

Outfield

Vote Leaders: Raul Ibanez, Phillies; Ryan Braun, Brewers; Carlos Beltran, Mets
BaseballdeWorld: I agree with the fans’ choice, really.

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TruFan.com Social Network Debuts


USA – TruMedia Networks, a developer of social media technologies focused on building online sports fan communities on a local and regional level, today introduced TruFan.com, a new social media platform powering a national network of grassroots sports communities dedicated to each of the 122 professional sports teams in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

The TruFan.com social media platform is designed specifically to power professional sports communities at the local level enabling fans to share and aggregate news and multimedia content about their favorite sports teams from a variety of online sources including traditional print and broadcast media and independent blogs. A beta version of the TruFan.com platform was first introduced in Boston in early 2008 with pilot communities Sawxheads.com (Boston Red Sox), Celtsheads.com (Boston Celtics), Blackandgoldheads.com (Boston Bruins), and Patsheads.com (New England Patriots). Since its inception Sawxheads.com has grown to more than 25,000 active users.

“Each TruFan.com community gives rabid sports fans the opportunity to view and create original content about their favorite team as well as connect and communicate with other fans who share their same passion,” said Rafe Anderson, CEO of TruMedia Networks. “Building community is not a top down approach but starts at the grassroots. The TruFan.com platform provides sports fans with a broad set of social networking tools to enable each community to develop its own unique voice and culture.”

TruFan.com Community Features:

Blogging tools:
Fans will have the opportunity to claim their space in the blogosphere by creating and managing their own sports and team-focused blog.

Content aggregation:
News, blogs and video content taken from a host of relevant sites to provide fans with all of the latest information about their favorite teams in real-time. Additionally, each site will feature the top independent bloggers covering each team.

Personalized pages:
Fans can customize their pages to include specific content, graphics and additional site features.

Messaging tools:
TruFan.com users can interact one-on-one or in groups with a host of messaging applications.

Game reporting tools:
Fans can submit their own previews, game recap and stories for their teams – before, during or after the game is played.

Fan voting:
Fans have the ability to vote on content such as stories and blogs posted by other fans, slugfest debates and photos.

Survey tools:
TruFan.com users can build their own polls that allow other members to weigh in on specific topics and questions.

Marketplace:
Allows users to buy and sell both tickets and merchandise.

Online Ticketing application:
Fans are given the online tools to buy and sell tickets for local games to other local members cancelling out shipping and handling fees.

About Trufan.com
TruFan.com is a social network dedicated to the local sport fan. TruFan.com is focused on empowering fans and enhancing their overall online experience by providing access to timely and relevant sports media that has been enhanced by other fans that share their passion for the home team. TruFan.com members add to sports media content with their own videos, pictures, comments and more.

About TruMedia Networks
TruMedia Networks is a developer of social media technologies focused on building communities of sports fans on a local and regional level. TruMedia is privately held and based in Brighton, Massachusetts with an office in North Adams, Massachusetts.

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MLB Strikeout Prostate Cancer Challenge


USA – There are more new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year than any other non-skin cancer, and one in six men will face prostate cancer in his lifetime. To support getting the message out about this important cause, Major League Baseball All-Star pitchers John Smoltz of the Boston Red Sox and Derek Lowe of the Atlanta Braves have teamed up to join the “One A Day Men’s Presents MLB Strikeout Prostate Cancer Challenge” in an effort to raise awareness of prostate cancer and the things men can do that may help maintain their prostate health.

“Prostate cancer wasn’t something I ever really thought about until I learned how common it is. Now I want to do all I can to spread the word,” said Lowe. “I know now that there are a number of things men can do to support their prostate health like going to the doctor for regular check ups and getting proper screening to detect problems early. Along with a healthy diet, they can also take a multivitamin formulated specifically for men.”

This is the second year of the Strikeout Prostate Cancer Challenge. During the inaugural 2008 season, the program raised a total of $333,780. Based on that success, One A Day and Major League Baseball will again make a $10 donation for every strikeout recorded this season to The Prostate Cancer Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research.

“Prostate cancer is a disease that will affect one in six men in their lifetime, and yet we still do not talk about it enough. We are helping men realize the importance of prostate health,” said Smoltz. “I’m looking to strike out as many people as possible for such a good cause.”

To show their commitment to this important program, Lowe and Smoltz are also personally donating $10 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation for every strikeout they record during the 2009 season.

“The fight against prostate cancer is extremely important to Major League Baseball, and we’re thankful for all our valued business partner One A Day has done to support this very worthy cause,” said John Brody, Major League Baseball Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales & Marketing. “We applaud One A Day, The Prostate Cancer Foundation, and all within the Major League Baseball family who lend their support to this important initiative.”

“In addition to One A Day and MLB’s continued support, we are thrilled these well-known baseball players have become so involved in the effort to raise awareness of prostate cancer,” said Dave Perron, Vice President, Baseball and Sports Enterprises for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “Through this program and the participation of John Smoltz and Derek Lowe, we know we’ll be able to do even more to find a cure for this deadly disease.”

One A Day is the official multivitamin of Major League Baseball, and both One A Day Men’s Health Formula, and One A Day Men’s 50 Plus Advantage are specially formulated to help support prostate health.

About Major League Baseball Properties

The Major League Baseball Clubs formed Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) in 1966 as the Clubs’ agent for marketing and trademark licensing and protection. Major League Baseball Properties is responsible for managing consumer licensing activities, developing national advertising campaigns, cultivating sponsorship opportunities with major consumer brands and corporations, growing the game and the business of baseball outside the United States and creating national marketing programs in conjunction with Clubs, broadcast rightsholders and national sponsors. MLBP also operates a full-service video and audio production unit (Major League Baseball Productions), a publishing division and stock photo licensing agency, and manages logistics for the All-Star Game and World Series as well as all other special events.
For more information on Major League Baseball, log on to www.MLB.com.

Photo courtesy of myredsoxtoday.com

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MLB Introduces Wanna Play? Program


USA – Major League Baseball (MLB) will introduce Wanna Play?, a new initiative intended to bring baseball activities to African-American communities. The program was launched on Saturday, June 20 at a youth-oriented event at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square.

The inaugural Wanna Play? event was a part of the Youth Summit that is an ancillary event to the 2009 Gillette Civil Rights Game featuring the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox at Great American Ball Park – the first regular season Civil Rights Game after two previous pre-season exhibition games.

A variety of baseball-related activities were available during the event, including batting and pitching cages, baserunning contests, wiffle ball games and demonstrations with current Cincinnati Reds Brandon Phillips and Jerry Hairston, Jr., former Reds outfielder Eric Davis and former All-Star and current MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds.

“The formation of Wanna Play? highlights everything that is great about Baseball-camaraderie, athleticism and fun,” said Jimmie Lee Solomon, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Major League Baseball. “The Gillette Civil Rights Game serves as a perfect backdrop as Major League Baseball takes this important step forward in expanding our relationship with the African-American community.”

“With all the interactive activities, Wanna Play? and the Youth Summit will be a fun way to expose every kid to baseball,” said Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. “The Reds and Major League Baseball are putting together a great weekend of events surrounding the Civil Rights Game. While we look forward to teaching young fans about the game itself, it’s also important they learn the significant role baseball played in the Civil Rights Movement.”

For more information, please visit www.MLB.com/civilrightsgame.

Photo courtesy of memphis.redbirds.milb.com

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Curveball Project Win Best Illusion Award


USA – A Bucknell University professor led researchers in an explanation as to why a curveball in baseball breaks so much when seen by a batter. Their imagery won them Best Illusion of the Year for 2009 by Vision Sciences Society.

Dr. Arthur G. Shapiro, of the Department of Psychology at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania), along with Zhong-Lin Lu, Emily Knight and Robert Ennis (University of Southern California, Dartmouth College, and SUNY College of Optimetry, respectively) won the 2009 award for the Best Illusion of the Year at a meeting of the Vision Sciences Society.

The 2009 contest was held on May 10, 2009, at the Naples Philharmonic Center, in Naples, Florida, during the week of the Vision Sciences Society conference.

Their demonstration, called “The break of the curveball,” explains why a baseball pitcher’s curve ball seems to break so much as it is thrown toward a batter.

The physics of a baseball states that it curves because of the topspin put on the ball. It curves gradually during its flight toward the batter’s box by a couple of feet.

However, for a player standing in the batter’s box, it seems to be going straight during the first part of its flight but then jumps several feet, later on, almost instantaneously.

Why does its trajectory appear to change so abruptly to the batter?

The animation provided by the Shapiro team illustrates why the batter sees an abrupt change in the ball.

The Shapiro team animation is shown on the website IllusionContest.

The animated baseball, at the website, is spinning and, also, falling vertically. When you look at it directly (with your central system, like a batter would see it coming off of the pitcher) it appears to be moving straight down.

However, when you look at it out of the corner of your eye (looking directly at the blue dot), then it appears to be moving at an angle. When a batter looks at the ball with his or her peripheral vision, it appears to move to the side.

The website states, “In baseball, a curveball creates a physical effect and a perceptual puzzle. The physical effect (the curve) arises because the ball’s rotation leads to a deflection in the ball’s path. The perceptual puzzle arises because the deflection is actually gradual but is often perceived as an abrupt change in direction (the break).”

And, “Our illusions suggest that the perceived “break” may be caused by the transition from the central visual system to the peripheral visual system. Like a curveball, the spinning disks in the illusions appear to abruptly change direction when an observer switches from foveal (central) to peripheral viewing.”

Thus, when the spinning ball is seen moving directly in front of one’s eyes (using our central visual system), it appears to move in a straight line.

However, eventually it is seen out of the corner of one’s eye (using our peripheral visual system), as if standing sideways in the batter’s box, and the spin of the ball makes the ball appear as if it is curving. The batter sees the ball leave the pitcher’s fingers with the central system, but as it gets closer to the plate, the peripheral system takes over.

Somewhere along the trajectory of the ball, the changeover from the central visual system to the peripheral visual system appears to make the ball suddenly change its flight path.

It suddenly jumps. Oftentimes, it’s the ultimate demise of the unwary batter.

Photo courtesy of illustrationsof.com

This article was written by William Atkins/iTWIRE

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MLB Supports Welcome Back Veterans


USA – Major League Baseball will begin its second year of national fundraising and awareness initiatives for Welcome Back Veterans, a program which addresses the mental health and job needs of returning American Veterans. At three key points of national reflection during the baseball season — Memorial Day (May 25), Independence Day weekend (July 4) and Patriot Day (September 11) — all clubs will participate in a number of initiatives to support Welcome Back Veterans.

On Memorial Day, all Major League Baseball Clubs will wear special “Stars & Stripes” caps. The caps will have the American flag etched into the team’s logo and for the first time, will be red in color (the Toronto Blue Jays hat will incorporate a Maple Leaf design instead of the “Stars & Stripes”). These MLB Authentic Collection caps, produced by New Era, are available for sale to the public at www.mlb.com.

Major League Baseball Properties, Inc will donate all of the proceeds it receives from the sale of the caps to Welcome Back Veterans. In addition, MLB.com will donate an additional $1 to Welcome Back Veterans for each cap purchased through www.mlb.com. Also on Memorial Day, Major League Baseball once again will participate in the National Moment of Remembrance, with all games in progress pausing at 3:00 p.m. ET to encourage all citizens to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who have served in the armed forces.

- Phillies Tickets

“Major League Baseball considers it a privilege to assist our troops in any way we can,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “We are proud to support these efforts in every way possible, and we ask our fans to join us on Memorial Day and beyond in this effort to raise awareness and funds for this important cause.”

Welcome Back Veterans was created by New York Mets Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Fred Wilpon and a group of private citizens. Supported by Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the McCormick Foundation, the goal of Welcome Back Veterans is to raise $100 million and provide 100,000 job opportunities for Veterans.

All creative materials for the charitable organization, including television, radio and online creative, were produced pro bono by McCann Erickson North America in conjunction with the Ad Council. This includes a series of public service advertisements featuring Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and directed by Bennett Miller, who was nominated for an Oscar for his direction of Capote.

With its second round of grants in April 2009, Welcome Back Veterans has awarded $5.5 million in grants to 24 non-profit agencies across the country targeting veterans’ greatest needs, including mental health and job training/placement. Welcome Back Veterans has teamed with the University Hospitals of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, the University of Michigan and Stanford University, which are developing treatment procedures for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health issues of returning Veterans and their families. In addition, Welcome Back Veterans is working closely with corporate America to provide 100,000 job opportunities for returning Veterans.

For additional information on Welcome Back Veterans, please go to www.welcomebackveterans.org.

Photo courtesy of healthmap.wordpress.com

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American Soldiers Teach Baseball In Iraq


IRAQ – United States soldiers on active duty in Baghdad helped teach the local children the game of baseball. In coordination with Pitch In For Baseball, an organization that spreads the sport of baseball to the world by sending donated equipment to areas in need, the kids of Baghdad spent the afternoon learning America’s favorite pastime.

The mission, Operation Home Run: Baseball in Baghdad, saw soldiers quickly demonstrating the game of baseball using the equipment donated to the North West Baghdad Youth Centers. Also, the Deputy of Ministry and Youth Sport in Baghdad said a league will be organized, and the U.S. soliders would be invited to the first exhibition game.

To find out more about Pitch in for Baseball, log on to their web site here.

Photo by Conor Browne

Soldiers delivered baseball equipment to youngsters in Baghdad, Iraq.

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BaseballdeWorld Returns With New Features


BaseballdeWorld has been re-launched with a variety of new features and article formats tailored to better introduce our readers to the top leagues in Asia, Europe and South America. Although our recent hiatus offline was not planned, it did allow us to make some well-needed tweaks and adjustments that should help our readers to become more savvy about the leagues, teams and players from around the world.

INTERACTIVE CHAT ROOM
The site has added a new feature which allows visitors to interact “live” with one another, and also leave their comments and opinions. If you have any questions concerning players and teams from any of the leagues we provide regular coverage for, this is the place to ask and find those answers.

NEW ARTICLE FORMAT
Almost all sports fans know the names and faces of Alex Rodriguez, Lebron James and Tiger Woods. But even the most diehard American or Swiss baseball fan would struggle to identify the name/face of talented European players like pitcher Leslie Nacar (Tenerife Marlins), shortstop Jhonny Carvajal (Cariparma Parma), and catcher Sidney de Jong (L&D Amsterdam). Thus, we have re-designed our international league reports to better educate our readers about the players, coaches and individual teams.

EXPANDED USA NEWS
Besides introducing our readers to witty baseball bloggers like Ron Rollins at Baseball Over Here, BaseballdeWorld will also be offering our readers a smorgasbord of new articles. A new weekly feature spotlighting some of MLB past superstars called “Now & Then” is set to debut, and we’ll go back in time again with another new feature titled “MLB Greatest Games.”

EMAIL WOES
From May 2-12 all emails sent to BaseballdeWorld were delivered to a “black hole.” While this problem has been corrected, any email sent previously never reached its intended target.

PLAY BALL!

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

Marvin Moore is a former international baseball coach and the Managing Editor at BaseballdeWorld.com.

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