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Cubs vs. Indians: Baseball Gods Send America a Much Needed Distraction 0

Posted on October 23, 2016 by Dean Hybl
The Chicago Cubs got to celebrate their first National League pennant in 71 years. Will they have another celebration following the World Series?

The Chicago Cubs got to celebrate their first National League pennant in 71 years. Will they have another celebration following the World Series?

With just two weeks remaining in one of the bitterest presidential elections of all time, the Baseball Gods have provided a much needed national distraction that has been a combined 176 years in the making.

While many Americans likely cannot name the last five World Series Champions, even casual sports fans are already aware that the Cubs and Indians will be playing in a World Series for all ages.

After all, these are not just any two Major League teams, these are two teams with epic histories of finding new ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. There have been movies, songs, poems and books chronicling the failures and collapses of these two storied franchises.

What we do know, is that within the next 10 days either the 68 year streak of futility for the Indians or the 108 year streak for the Cubs will be over.

How we get from here to that moment is a compelling story that seems likely to shift at least some of the Facebook and Twitter focus from the Trump-Clinton election to America’s pastime.

The Cubs are not only making their first World Series appearance since 1945, but they finished the regular season with the best record in baseball for the first time since they lost that dramatic seven game series to the Detroit Tigers 71 years ago. Their 103 victories is the most in a season for the Cubs since winning 100 games in 1935 (they lost that series in six games to the Tigers).

Though the Indians have made three World Series appearances since last winning a championship in 1948, until the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship earlier this year to end the 52-year championship drought for the city of Cleveland, their burden seemed just as daunting as that of the Cubs.

However, now that the pressure of a city has been lifted from their shoulders, it almost seems like the Indians are playing with house money. While their 68 year World Series drought is certainly significant, it pales in comparison to that of the Cubs and the national fan base that watched much of their misery over the last several decades thanks to the WGN super-cable network. Read the rest of this entry →

5 Surprising Facts about the Most Famous Sports Stadiums 0

Posted on October 08, 2016 by Dixie Somers
Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used for Major League Baseball today.

Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used for Major League Baseball today.

Sports stadiums are the modern gladiator arenas. Rabid fans descend upon the booming bowl of seats to watch their favorite athletes perform out on the field. And modern stadiums have great influence over the way we experience the spectacle. Through innovative design, fan interaction concourses and a curated ballpark menu, stadiums have come to be a spectacle unto themselves. And you could learn all about these unique fan experiences with an online athletic administration master’s degree. Get a head start. Here are 5 facts about the most famous stadiums in the world.

1. Fenway Park

Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used in the major leagues. Built in 1912, the park is older than many West Coast states. But many people don’t know the Green Monster wasn’t designed that way. Leftfield used to have a large hill that tapered up to a smaller wall during the dead ball era. It was called Duffy’s cliff, named after the Red Sox leftfielder that roamed the area. When it was removed in 1933, the Green Monster emerged.

2. Roman Colosseum

There are many spectacular facts about planet Earth’s original massive stadium. The side of the Colosseum collapsed during an earthquake in 847, the West exit is known as the Gate of Death for the dead gladiators dragged through it, and the word Colosseum is always capitalized for the famous structure despite the fact that the word translates into “large arena for entertainment.” But the most amazing fact is that the wooden floor of the Colosseum would be removed and the open channels below would be filled with water for mock naval battles. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Video: There Will Never Be Another Vin Scully 1

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 →

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