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Vintage Video: There Will Never Be Another Vin Scully 0

Posted on September 25, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Vin Scully has been an icon since announcing his first major league game in 1950.

Vin Scully has been an icon since announcing his first major league game in 1950.

After more than six decades, legendary Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is saying goodbye to the broadcast booth. To say that we will never see another Vin Scully may be quite an understatement.

Since he debuted as the third announcer along with Red Barber and Connie Desmond for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950, Scully has been baseball’s great storyteller.

Listening to a Vin Scully broadcast is not just an afternoon enjoying live baseball. It is an afternoon remembering both legendary and relatively obscure players from baseball’s past while also likely having American culture and history woven into the conversation.

Scully is not just a walking baseball encyclopedia, he is a walking American history book.

Having grown up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, Scully spent two years in the U.S. Navy before attending Fordham University. During his college career, Scully played on the baseball team while writing for the school newspaper and broadcasting football and basketball games on the radio.

Following his graduation, Scully was a fill-in announcer for CBS Radio station WTOP in Washington, DC. It was during this time that Red Barber, the Sports Director for the CBS Radio Network, recruited him to broadcast college football games.

After joining the Dodgers broadcast team in 1950, Scully continued to learn his craft from the legendary Barber. In 1953, Barber got into a salary dispute with World Series broadcast sponsor Gillette, propelling the 25-year-old Scully into the broadcast booth for his first World Series. He still holds the record as the youngest broadcaster to announce a World Series game.

He eventually became the lead announcer for the Dodgers and stayed with the team when they moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 season.

Though he is originally a New Yorker, it was in California where Scully truly became a broadcasting legend. Announcing Dodger games during the era of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Maury Wills, Scully became a fan favorite as many would bring transistor radios to the stadium just to hear Scully call the action. Read the rest of this entry →

Alex Rodriguez: Is This Really How It Ends? 1

Posted on August 08, 2016 by Dean Hybl
The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Rather than completing his career in a generally meaningless game on a Friday night in August, Alex Rodriguez was supposed to exit either with a dramatic World Series performance or after eclipsing the “bogus” home run record of a disgraced cheater.

Instead, following a hastened Sunday morning press conference, Rodriguez will serve on the active roster for the Yankees only through August 12th before being released. While there is still a chance that he will be picked up by another team, the fact that he is still owed more than $25 million dollars over the next year means he will likely instead move to an advisor role with the Yankees.

It seems like forever ago, but it has actually only been eight years (2008) since Rodriguez was seen by most in baseball as the savior who would free the game from the purgatory of having Barry Bonds and his chemically supported body at the top of the prestigious career home run list.

Of course, we all know about his dramatic fall from grace. It started with a Sports Illustrated article and a somewhat confusing explanation in 2009 where Rodriguez admitted to taking PEDs given to him by a relative while with the Texas Rangers, but insisted it was a short-term thing and hadn’t significantly enhanced his performance.

While his explanation was hard for some to accept, for the most part people (most particularly Yankee fans) took it hook line and sinker. Especially when he overcame past playoff failures and helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009.

Interestingly, while Rodriguez still showed above average power for the next couple seasons, he never again hit .300 for a season (something he had done nine times between 1995 and 2008). He also started regularly missing time with injuries starting in 2009.

After reaching 30 home runs and 100+ RBI in 2009 and 2010, from 2011-2013 Rodriguez played in only 265 games (out of 486) and totaled only 41 home runs and 138 RBI in three years.

During this time, his insistence that using PEDs was not a regular part of his career also came into question as he was prominently mentioned in the investigation of the Biogenesis lab in Miami. It was his inclusion and supposed attempt to cover up his involvement that resulted in Major League Baseball coming down with a historic suspension that ultimately saw Rodriguez miss the entire 2014 season.

Despite some wondering whether the Yankees would want him back, the fact that they owed him $65 million guaranteed that he would return.

Playing almost exclusively as the designated hitter, Rodriguez actually had a solid season at the age of 39 in 2015. He appeared in 151 games, his most since 2007, and hit 33 home runs with 86 RBI. However, he struggled over the final two months of the season and went hitless as the Yankees lost the Wild Card Playoff Game. Read the rest of this entry →

Head Shot: Sports with the Highest Rates of Brain Injuries 7

Posted on June 03, 2016 by Brooke Chaplan

soccer-headHead injuries are a common occurrence in many sports and can range from mild concussions, to severe or even traumatic brain injuries. All athletes, regardless of the sport, risk injuries, but some sports have much higher rates than others. Here is a look at some of the most dangerous sports out there.

Boxing
Boxing has one of the highest rates of brain injury of any sport. On average, being hit by a professional boxer is like being hit with a bowling ball moving at 20 miles per hour. About 90 percent of boxers, both professional and amateur, have received some type of head injury from the sport, and one in five have received a traumatic brain injury.

Football
Tens of thousands of people visit the emergency room every year with head injuries caused by football. This sport has the highest concussion rate for high school sports, and at least one third of NFL players have received traumatic brain injuries from playing. Read the rest of this entry →

5 Reasons You Should Encourage Kids To Play Team Sports 0

Posted on May 18, 2016 by John Harris

LL-baseballWhere do you stand on competitive team sports and children? In recent years, many parents have started thinking twice about encouraging sport for their kids. However, there are a lot of benefits for them that they would miss out on if you didn’t at least offer them the opportunity.

And, the further involvement won’t just help your kids – it’s also good for your family and the local community, too. Here are five reasons why you should allow your children to get involved with team sports.

It’s good for social skills

When your child plays in a team, they learn to be more friendly. It’;s good for communication skills, too. Players in teams are always talking to each other, and putting their ideas across in the shortest possible way. Plus, it gives kids an opportunity to talk with other adults, such as their coaches, referees, and other parents. It’s an excellent life skill that might just draw them out of their shell.

It’s good for your family

Of course, the further your child progresses in team sports, the more commitment it takes. But, all those early morning starts and weekends driving to other fields of play can be valuable family time, too. It’s good bonding time, and sports events are also great social occasions.

It’s great for your community

Communities benefit greatly from local sports teams. They provide an outlet for people young and old to get fit and socialize. But, community sports teams need people to join in. Without participation, there is no team. And, without parents and players raising money for the team, there is no funding. So, think about getting more involved. Hold some events and offer prizes for a draw, as an example. You can use Online Sports Memorabilia Auction sites to find attractive rewards that fit your team’s sport. Or, you could ask local companies to sponsor you with products or services. Read the rest of this entry →

Major League Baseball Honors Jackie Robinson Today 3

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Comic 125 Jackie RobinsonOn April 15, 1997 Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig mandated an unprecedented edict. It was never before witnessed in any American professional sport.

Selig ordered all Major League Baseball teams to officially retire the #42 jersey in honor of Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson.

Selig’s historic move recognized Jackie Robinson on the 50th anniversary of his 1947 debut. On that day Robinson became the first black baseball player in the modern era to cross the color barrier that existed in the sport.

It’s hard for us to image today, but Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson’s bold, courageous decision to break the color line in 1947 opened the gates for other worthy, yet unfairly discriminated against, black baseball players.

Thanks to Robinson, other talented black baseball players quickly followed and begun playing on other previously all white teams in Major League Baseball.

As a player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, #42’s fortitude also kindled dialogue beyond the baseball diamond when it came to our country’s ugly segregation policies. Many attribute that Robinson’s brazen baseball move of crossing the color barrier helped propel the long overdue and ultimately successful Civil Rights Movement.

The Movie 42 Tells Robinson’s Story

Robinson’s heroic and individually spectacular personal life story was told in the motion picture 42 (release date: April 2013). It chronicled Robinson’s struggles and success as one of America’s most respected athletes ever.

When he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as a 28 year-old rookie, #42 overcame significant public scrutiny as well as regular cruel and unnecessary racial abuse. He was the target of ugly taunts, knock-down pitches and hateful insensitivity directed at him because of his skin color.

However, the Dodgers’ tough talking manager Leo Durocher took a firm stand in defense of Robinson. Also, legendary Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reece’s comment in support of Jackie Robinson will never be forgotten. While standing with his arm draped around Robinson’s shoulders, Reece said, “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.”

The son of a Georgia sharecropper and a Southern California domestic laborer, Jackie Robinson immediately proved his mettle and demonstrated his athletic excellence. Despite the racial abuse he suffered, Robinson rose above the fray.

Instead of fighting back on the low ground, he immediately made an impact on Major League Baseball and quickly became a rising star.

Robinson was voted Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year in 1947. Soon after, he won both the National League batting title and the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949.

Jackie played his entire ten year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. A first-time ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Robinson’s career accomplishments included six all-star games, a World Series Championship in 1955 and impressive lifetime stats of a .311 batting average, 1,518 hits, 137 home-runs, 734 runs batted in and 197 steals.

In addition to being selected to Major League Baseball’s All-Century team, Jackie Robinson was named #44 on The Sporting News’ list of top 100 baseball players ever.

As a result of what he accomplished after formally hanging up his baseball cleats in 1956, this remarkable athlete became a cultural icon.

Robinson is widely admired and credited for overcoming other barriers beyond the baseball diamond. He broke additional color lines that existed in mainstream America at the time.

Jackie Robinson Broke Through Other Racial Barriers

ABC Sports hired Jackie Robinson as the first ever black sportscaster ever to cover Major League Baseball. In the late 50s, Robinson crossed a business barrier and became the first ever black Vice President of a major United States corporation when appointed by Chock full ‘o Nuts Coffee.

Before his death in 1972, Robinson accumulated a never-to-be duplicated resume as a distinguished retired athlete.

Besides his Major League Baseball Hall of Fame induction, Robinson chaired the NAACP.

Plus, he received our country’s two single greatest non-sports related individual honors; i.e. the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

TIME Magazine named Jackie Robinson among the top 100 most influential people of the 20th Century.

TIME Magazine’s ranking not only honored a most worthy athlete, but also a courageous American who helped transition our country away from its ugly discriminatory past.

MIKE on sports!

2016 MLB Preview: Is It the Year of the San Francisco Giants (Again)? 1

Posted on April 03, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Madison Bumgarner will look to build on his 18 win season of 2015 as the Giants look for their fourth World Series title of the decade.

Madison Bumgarner will look to build on his 18 win season of 2015 as the Giants look for their fourth World Series title of the decade.

Since winning their first World Series in 56 years back in 2010, the San Francisco Giants have become the kings of the even year in Major League Baseball. It is an even year, so does that mean it is again time for the Giants to win the World Series?

Though the Giants posted a respectable 84-78 record last season, they were well off the pace of the playoffs as they finished eight games behind the division winning Los Angeles Dodgers and 13 games out of a Wild Card spot.

Their past championship teams have been built on a foundation of strong pitching and that will certainly have to be the case again if they hope to make a run in 2016.

The addition of Johnny Cueto would appear to be a great move in that direction. Though he finished 2015 with an 11-13 record and struggled during his tenure with the World Champion Royals, Cueto should benefit from returning to the National League this season. He registered an ERA under three runs a game in each of his final five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (including 2.62 before being traded to KC in 2015).

In addition, Jeff Samardzija is back in the National League after posting an 11-13 record with 4.96 ERA pitching for the Chicago White Sox in 2015. Though he has registered only one winning season during his career, Samardzija has shown signs of greatness and should benefit from being part of a solid rotation.

The remainder of the staff includes three pitchers with All-Star pedigrees. Madison Bumgarner was 18-9 with a 2.93 ERA last season and is the clear staff ace. Jake Peavy was 8-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 19 starts last season.

Matt Cain has struggled the last three seasons, but if he is able to regain the form he showed while winning 55 games between 2009 and 2012 he will be a great end of the rotation anchor for the Giants.

The position lineup is led by perennial All-Star catcher Buster Posey. The 2012 MVP has been a steady performer since missing most of the 2011 season due to a horrific home plate collision. He has played at least 147 games in each of the last four years and in 2015 hit .318 with 19 home runs and 95 RBI. Read the rest of this entry →

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