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Vintage Video: George Springer Channels Joe Rudi With Playoff Catch 1

Posted on October 21, 2017 by Dean Hybl
The catch by Astros outfielder George Springer in the 2017 ALCS was remeniscent of the grab by Joe Rudi of the Oakland A's in the 1972 World Series.

The catch by Astros outfielder George Springer in the 2017 ALCS was reminiscent of the grab by Joe Rudi of the Oakland A’s in the 1972 World Series.

When Houston Astros outfielder George Springer raced to the wall and made a crucial catch of a Todd Frazier blast in game six of the 2017 American League Championship Series it brought back memories of another great catch by the wall in a previous post season.

In game two of the 1972 World Series, Catfish Hunter and the Oakland A’s were clinging to a 2-0 lead when the Cincinnati Reds batted in the bottom of the ninth inning. Future Hall of Famer Tony Perez led off the inning with a single. The next batter, third baseman Denis Menke, hit a long blast to leftfield that looked destined for extra bases. However, lanky outfielder Joe Rudi raced to the wall and made a backhanded catch at the wall to secure the out and force Perez back to first base. At the time, the catch was considered one of the greatest postseason catches of all-time and was an iconic moment of that seven-game series.

It also proved critical, as Hal McRae eventually drove home Perez with a single, but Rollie Fingers came in to get the final out in a 2-1 Oakland victory. Had Rudi not made the catch off Menke’s blast, the Reds would have likely tied the game and had an opportunity to win it in regulation. Given that the A’s ultimately won the Series in seven games, that moment was certainly pivotal to Oakland winning the first of their three straight World Series.

While it is yet to be determined whether Springer’s catch will help propel the Astros into the World Series, it certainly was important in game six as it came with two runners on and only one out in the seventh inning. Had Springer not made the catch, Justin Verlander would likely been pulled from the game and the Yankees could have been poised for another big inning as they have done several times throughout the 2017 playoffs.

Instead, Verlander eventually finished the inning without giving up a run and the Astros went on to win 6-1 and force a decisive seventh game.

Below are videos of Rudi’s catch in 1972 and Sprringer’s in 2017. You can see that they each made a long run to grab the ball at the wall and help save victories for their teams.

Joe Cronin: Player-Manager 1

Posted on October 01, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Joe Cronin

Joe Cronin

In recognition of the start of the baseball playoffs, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month a man who managed pennant winning teams in Washington and Boston and spent more than decade as a player-manager.

When the Boston Red Sox acquired Joe Cronin following the 1934 season they didn’t just get an All-Star player, they also got a new manager. Read the rest of this entry →

How to Clean up Old Baseball Equipment 1

Posted on August 31, 2017 by Scott Huntington

Sometimes, the new baseball season demands new equipment. If your favorite pair of cleats is separating from their hardened soles, for example, it’s time to trade them in. However, lots of the equipment we put aside as worn out actually has life left in it.

As companies look for cheaper ways to manufacture gear, consumers can be forced to deal with what is ultimately a lower-quality product, and who wants to spend more money on new equipment when you can get more use out of pieces you’ve already paid for? Instead, why not breathe some new life into that old mitt or bat?

Reconditioning Your Mitt

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A good baseball or softball glove can last decades, but you’ve got to take care of it properly. Some newer gloves are made of synthetics, which are softer when new but break down more quickly than their natural counterpart, leather. A leather glove requires care, or it will dry out.

When you pull an old leather glove out of storage, it will probably be dry and stiff. A good cleaning and some leather conditioner go a long way toward restoring its supple feel. Wipe the glove down with a damp cloth, and if it’s stained or dirty use rubbing alcohol to remove discoloration. If mold or mildew have grown on it, use a rag soaked in vinegar.

Next, select a conditioning agent. Since so many things are made of leather, you’ve got your choice between old-school options like saddle soap or more recent synthetic conditioners. Use a damp rag and work the conditioner into the glove. Read the rest of this entry →

Doping In Sports: Through The Lenses Of Time 1

Posted on August 21, 2017 by Tyrion Smith

doping-sportsWitnessing the whole BALCO fiasco and long trials of Barry Bonds along with Mark McGwire would have made you wonder that these are the first cases of doping in sports, especially in baseball, but that’s farther from the truth. Yes, the baseball doping was highlighted way more than other incidents of steroid use by athletes in the US, partially because of congressional hearings in 2005 and critically acclaimed movie ‘Bigger, Stronger, Faster’.

Initial Phase

The fact is doping history in sports goes all the way back to ancient Rome when chariot racers were used to drink an herbal pre-workout of sorts before races, heightening their focus and endurance. That’s one of the earliest forms (100 AD) of competitive sports known to mankind. Fast forward to 1889, and ironically, a baseball player openly admitted using testosterone, a rather organic form derived from pigs and dog’s testicles. Sure, there were few instances of athletes experimenting with caffeine and liquor here and there, but come on, caffeine and booze can’t be considered doping despite their proclaimed performance enhancing effects.

First Causalities

Soon after the use of testosterone in 1889, the world witnessed the horrors of steroids in 1896 when Ephedrine intake caused death of English cyclist, A.Linton. Then in 1904, Tom Hicks collapsed at St. Louis marathon, and though he won the event, doctors proved use of Strychinine and Cognac.

The Booming Period

After that we saw a boom in the use of drugs that enhance performance of humans to somewhat super human level, across sports and in wars as well. Call it leaked secretive documents or conspiracy theories, soldiers in WW II were given Amphetamines to boost their endurance and focus, both Allied and Axis.

Finally, we see the mid-1900s, when the use of anabolic steroids was rampant and we witnessed highly tuned muscular physiques. It was the era of superiorly muscular bodybuilders like Sergio Oliva, Arnold and later Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman and Phil Heath ushered a ground-breaking phenomenon where human limits were pushed to the max. Soon HGH joined the list of anabolic doping agents as the most potent activist. Ironically, the very sport of bodybuilding highlighted the absolute potential of HGH and doping agents, in addition to its side effects. The number of causalities and deaths directly related to abuse of HGH, insulin and anabolic steroids, in bodybuilding is among the highest and the facts are widely documented on social media. However, that happens only when you misuse them. Learn more about HGH here. Read the rest of this entry →

How to Choose The Best Pitching Machine 1

Posted on August 15, 2017 by Lily Jolie

Best-Pitching-Machines-in-2017A pitching machine can be of great benefit to baseball players if used appropriately. This tool is designed to enable players to improve and enhance their hitting skills. The machines are also quite reliable for fielding practice as it helps players refine their accuracy skills when hitting the ball towards a particular target. Most baseball players find it overwhelming when strategizing on how to choose the best pitching machine. This is because these machines come in different variations and with different features. Here are a few tips to remember when choosing the best pitching machine:

Type of pitching machine 

Pitching machines come in different types depending on the level at which the machine of choice will be used. These levels include:

Youth pitching machines 

If you are a youthful baseball player preparing to take part in a league or competition, there are various options of pitching machines to settle for. Most importantly, the right machine for you is one that throws balls at fast speeds from 50mph and above. You also need to ensure that the machine of choice throws consistent strikes. In addition to this, you also need to ensure that you choose a portable pitching machine. This is because you may have to be wheeling the machine to and from the field during practice sessions. It is also necessary to ensure that the machine of choice is considerably light weight and effortlessly mobile.

Things you might be intested for choose a pitching machine:

http://baseballeagle.com/best-pitching-machine-for-youth-review/
Read the rest of this entry →

Waiting for the Weekend: MLB Is Trying to Force the Orioles Out Of Baltimore 0

Posted on July 15, 2017 by Dean Hybl
There are a lot more empty seats for a Saturday afternoon Orioles game than there used to be.

There are a lot more empty seats for a Saturday afternoon Orioles game than there used to be.

I used to think that the New York Yankees were the greatest enemy of my favorite team the Baltimore Orioles. However, it is now becoming abundantly clear that the greatest threats to the future of the Orioles is not a division rival, but instead the evil duo of the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball.

While it may take another decade or two to come to fruition, it now seems abundantly clear that the goal of the Nationals and Major League Baseball is to force the Orioles out of the city they have called home since 1954 (during which time three different franchises have called Washington home).

Considering that for 50 years the Orioles were one of the model franchises of the league, the fall from grace is quite surprising and disappointing.

It all started when Major League Baseball seized ownership of the Montreal Expos and in 2005 moved the team to Washington, DC.

At that time, Baltimore owner Peter Angelos fought the effort to move the team fearing that it would negatively impact the Orioles television revenue and fan base since Northern Virginia and Washington had long been an important part of the fan base for the Orioles, but while he could not stop the move, he did get some short-term financial concessions.

The Orioles received majority ownership of the MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) network and were given the rights to broadcast Nationals games at a discount from 2005 through 2011. While this was a short-term win for the Orioles, it seemed to have created resentment from both the Nationals and MLB.

When the initial broadcast compensation agreement ended in 2012, the Orioles were looking to secure future rights at a rate of $34 million per year, but the Nationals and MLB wanted closer to $100 million. Eventually, an arbitration panel made up of executives from other franchises said the value was as much as $66 million. The Orioles appealed the ruling saying the rate should be decided by a group not selected by MLB. The case was in the courts for several years before the ruling came back this week saying that MLB had the right to select the arbitrators.

So, in the five years that this issue has been festering, it appears that MLB and the Nationals have decided that they don’t just want more money from the Orioles TV network, they eventually want the Orioles out of the market. Read the rest of this entry →

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