Archive | September, 2010

Hello Win Column: Wild Walk Off Strikeout in Texas

I have seen walk off walks, home runs, singles, and many others.  But a walk off strikeout where the winning team struck out?  This was a first and it came in Arlington on Wednesday.

In the bottom of the 9th with Mitch Moreland on first base and two outs, Nelson Cruz swings at a wild pitch that gets away from the catcher.  Cruz realizes it got away and starts to run to first as the Mariners catcher retrieves the ball and promptly throws it into right field.  Still running on the play, Mitch Moreland continues around the bases scoring all the way from first with the winning run.

You have to see it to believe it.

Walk Off Strike Out Win for Texas Rangers

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Daejeon – Hanwha Eagles and Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium, home of the Hanwha Eagles, was the last stadium for me to see in Korea.  It is also the closest to Daegu so I kept putting it off.  So Sunday September 26th, I decided to head up and see the final game of the season with the home team Hanwha Eagles squaring off with the Kia Tigers.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium is another older stadium in the KBO.  I am not sure of the year it was built, but I am guessing at least the early 1980s.  It holds just over 13,000 fans and is different in one aspect from most stadiums I have been to. The concession stands are not in a concourse but out among the seats, so if you are getting a drink you can still see the action.  It is a typical KBO stadium in that it has a lot of uncomfortable plastic seats and a lot of concrete.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

I was surprised with how many people showed up for the final game of the season, especially since both teams are near the bottom of the standings with Hanwha being in last.  It was a beautiful Sunday evening, and a lot of people showed up for the game which gave it a great atmosphere.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Hanwha got off to a great start with 2 home runs in the first 2 innings, and after 2 innings they led 4-2.  The game got a little more interesting when early on a fly ball was hit to left field.  The left fielder took a bad route and wound up diving, but the he over ran the ball and it dropped.  I had a great view sitting down the left field line, and I could easily see how he overran the ball.  A few pitches later, he was replaced mid-inning.  That is not something that is seen very often, but he was pulled for another fielder.

Another interesting note was how the pitcher at one point threw over to first base at least 10 times while only throwing 2 pitches to the hitter.  If that happens in the US, fans are booing nonstop.  There wasn’t a word said while he was doing it. I didn’t hear any boos until the Kia runner was eventually picked off, and the Kia fans let him have it.

It was a lot of fun.  Hanwha won big 11-3.  I saw 2 home runs, some great defense, and the fans were amazing. I even got to see the wave done for the first time in Korea.  I love the wave back home.  I don’t really know why. I think it stems from being a child and going to MLB games where they would do it and having so much fun then.  When I am at a game now I am still like a little kid.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

The stadium itself was uneventful, but I am glad I got to see it. It doesn’t rate at the worst, but its not near the top either. Soon I will be ranking the stadiums in Korea.

‘Till then,

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Posted in KBO, Stadiums1 Comment

Gwangju – Kia Tigers and Moodeung Stadium

Last week I was able to take off a day from work and head over to Gwangju to see the home of the Kia Tigers.  This was one of 2 stadiums I had yet to see in Korea with the other one being the stadium in Daejeon, home of the Hanwha Eagles.

Kia plays at Moodeung Stadium in Gwangju.  The stadium was built in 1961 and seats just under 14,000 fans.

The bus ride to Gwangju from Daegu is a long one.  This was the main reason why I had put it off for so long.  I headed over to Seobu Bus Terminal to catch the 10:40 bus not knowing that it was going to take me over 4 hours.  The ride was slow since it was a long drive through the mountains and hills.  It was a beautiful drive however with green rolling hills and small villages along the way.  I got a nap here and there which was nice and arrived in Gwangju around 3pm.  The game didn’t start till 6:30 so I grabbed some lunch before hopping into a cab.

I got to the stadium around 3 hours before game time.  Typically the gates don’t open until 2 hours prior, so I wondered around the stadium to check out the surroundings.  There wasn’t a lot to see.  Next to the baseball stadium is an old track stadium where some younger kids were practicing.  Other than that I watched some Korean guys play catch with a ball as one tried pitching to the other off of a mound outside the stadium.

Finally it was time to head into the stadium.  It was a Thursday afternoon and Kia is way out of the playoff race so there were very few fans there early.  I had the chance to walk around most of the stadium to take some photos, but I was not able to get right behind home plate.  There are two main sections of the stadium.  Most of the stadium, maybe 95%, is general admission while the other 5%, which is right behind home plate, is reserved and requires you to enter via a certain entrance outside.  With only a general admission ticket, I had to settle with walking the rest of the stadium.

It’s a small stadium and very old.  Without a doubt it is the worst professional stadium I have ever seen anywhere.  It is an old concrete monstrosity with seats falling apart and no sign of anything being upgraded in the past 30 years.  Given that, it is a small stadium so every seat in the house has a good view of the game.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium home of the Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium home of the Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium home of the Kia Tigers

The game itself wasn’t very exciting as the visiting Samsung Lions won easily against the defending champion Tigers.  Kia looks nothing like they did a year ago when they won the title, but I think that has a lot to do with injuries and players not performing like they did a year ago.  Samsung on the other hand looked good.  I got to see former MLB pitcher Tim Redding pitch for the Lions.  He started off bad with the first pitch being hit for a triple, but he settled down after that and pitched well.

Prior to the start of the game, I got the chance to walk around and get a feel for the stadium.  During batting practice there were 2 young kids out getting home run and foul balls.  I found 3 myself which goes to show there weren’t many people out to get the balls.  I gave 2 to the boys and kept 1 for a souvenir.  The boys wound up with around a dozen balls when it was all said and done.  They also got a few autographs.  They asked me a few times for a pen so someone could sign a ball.  They wanted a sharpie at one point so they could get their glove autographed, and I felt bad that I didn’t have one in my bag.  I’ll have to add one to my bag for next year.  They found one somewhere because they both had their gloves autographed when I saw them later.  They were very polite and gracious for the balls I gave them, even though they already had quite a few.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

One of the boys getting the home run balls.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

One of the boys getting the home run balls.

As the game began, a few Korean guys out in the outfield asked me to watch the game with them.  So I did.  They were very polite and happy to be watching the game with a foreigner.  One spoke very good English, but the other did not so he would ask his friend to ask me questions about MLB teams and players.  He was very happy that I was a Braves and Rangers fan because he was too.

It was a lot of fun watching the game with them.  They were very vocal and were really into the cheers and chants for the hometown Tigers.  I cheered for the Tigers with them, even though they knew my favorite team was Samsung.  At one point, a group of fans sitting to our left, a section or two over, left early and had some food to spare so they gave it to us.  I was told we were given the food because we were cheering the loudest.  I think it had more to do with the fact that nobody else was around.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

The two guys I watched the game with

Korean Food Jokbal - Pigs Feet

Korean Jokbal

The food was delicious, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  The opened up the container and we all dug in.  I could tell it was a pork product with some spicy dipping sauce.  I had a few bites and then tried to pick up a piece that was quite big.  Then I noticed it.  We were eating pig’s feet. Here they eat what amounts to the foot and shin.  The shin part has some good meat on it and that is generally what is eaten.  I was a little turned off to find the whole feet in the package however, but was grateful for the generosity of everyone.

The game was fun.  The stadium was a piece of crap, but all in all I had a great time.  I was glad I got to see the place, but I don’t plan on going back anytime soon.

With that stadium visited, I have one left to go to see all 7 in Korea.  I hope to change that tomorrow after visiting Daejeon for the final game of the season there.  I’ll be back early next week to tell you about my trip there, and then I will break down each of the stadiums.

Posted in KBO, Stadiums5 Comments

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Announces New Award Names

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Announces New Award Names

Changes reflect appreciation for history of the game

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) recently announced the renaming of their annual postseason awards to comply with the wishes of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), thereby avoiding confusion between the two organizations.  This allowed the BBA an opportunity to recognize some of the legendary greats of the game, naming their highest honors after them.

“Earlier in the year, the BBA reached an agreement with former Yankee reliever Goose Gossage to name our newest award, recognizing the best relief pitcher in each league, after him,” said Daniel Shoptaw, founder and president of the Alliance.  “It only seemed fitting, then, that we rename the rest of our awards after other legends of the game.”

The five awards are given to a player in each league: The Connie Mack Award, given to the top manager; the Willie Mays Award, for the top rookie; the Goose Gossage award, mentioned above; the Walter Johnson Award, which would be analogous to the BBWAA’s Cy Young Award; and the Stan Musial Award, awarded to the most valuable player in each league.

According to Shoptaw, “These names are synonymous with quality, achievement, and dedication.  These names have not only stood the test of time, but have been strengthened by it.”

The schedule for the announcement of these awards is as follows:

Connie Mack Award: October 14
Willie Mays Award: October 18
Goose Gossage Award: October 21
Walter Johnson Award: October 25
Stan Musial Award: October 28

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was founded in 2009 and numbers 222 blogs covering all major league teams and various other aspects of baseball, as well as blogs and sites that are affiliated as Friends of the BBA.  The official website of the BBA is located at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com.  The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes.

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Hello Win Column: Rangers with Walk Off Wins

As the rangers has hit a tailspin in September and looked to blow their 9.5 game lead in the AL West, the Evil Empire came into town.  Things were not looking good for Texas since they are only 1-4 against the Yankees heading into the weekend series in Arlington. There has been talk, even in Dallas, about the possibility of Oakland coming back to win the division as the Rangers fail miserably down the stretch.

Players are hurt, the pitching is struggling, and the hitters can’t seem to get timely hitting which has led to a meager 4-6 record in their previous 10 games.  Even with winning 2 straight against the Blue Jays prior to the dreaded Yanks heading to town, the Rangers were in coast mode, which is not good.

Then something happened that many, including me didn’t expect.  The Rangers win 2 in a row on walk-offs versus the Yankees.  Not only did they win both in walk-off fashion, but Mariano Rivera blew one of the games.

On Friday night, the Rangers went down early as the Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  This was not looking good for the Rangers as CJ Wilson go the hook early after only 3 innings.  The Rangers would battle back and tie the game in the 8th inning at 4-4 with a Nelson Cruz home run off of Jaba Chamberlain, and Cruz wasn’t done.  The game continued into the night, until Nelson Cruz came up again in the 13th to face Chad Gaudin.  Cruz only needed one pitch to send the fans home happy into the night as he hit the first pitch of the 13th inning over the right center field fence for a walk-off home run.

Nelson Cruz Walk Off Homerun in 13th

Now with 3 wins in a row, the Rangers came back Saturday night to face off with the hated Yankees again.  This time the Rangers sent out Tommy Hunter in search of his 13th win.  Hunter would last 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hits but would not factor into the decision.  The Rangers would wind up throwing 7 pitchers into the game on Saturday night, as they took a 5-3 lead into the 8th inning.

Standing in their way of a 4th straight victory was former Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez.  With the bases loaded facing Matt Harrison, Arod doubled down the left field line clearing the bases and putting the Yanks up 6-5.

The Rangers would come roaring back in the 9th once again.  With Mariano Rivera on the hill, the Rangers fought back.  Vladimir Guerrero led off the inning with a walk, and was quickly replaced with a pinch runner as he was the tying run.  Nelson Cruz again came through with a single to right putting runners at the corner for Ian Kinsler.  Kinsler came through with a huge double over the 3rd base bag to tie the game and giving Rivera his 3rd blown save of the year.

Next up was Chris Davis who was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the double play.  With Blanco pinch-hitting for Treanor and the bases loaded, Rivera coaxes Blanco to pop up for the first out.  Next up was recently acquired Jeff Francoeur.  Mariano Rivera did the rest of the work for the Rangers as he hit Francoeur with a pitch to bring in the winning run extending the Rangers win streak to 4 games.

Now this does not automatically send the Rangers into the playoffs, but it does 2 things that are huge for Rangers and their fans.  First of all, it helps stop all the talk of a Rangers complete collapse in September.  Sure there are still a few weeks of baseball left, and it is still possible for a total collapse, but winning games like this gives the Rangers so much confidence heading into the rest of September.  The second thing that it does is give the Rangers confidence if and when the Rangers face the Yankees in the playoffs.  This might be the most important factor.

No matter what happens Sunday night versus the Yankees, the Rangers have a new found confidence heading into perhaps the most critical part of the season as they prepare for a possible run at the World Series.

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Interview: Gar Ryness The Batting Stance Guy

When I was a kid I would stand for hours in the back yard going through all-star lineups.  I would be Will Clark and Dale Murphy, and I know I was horrible at it but it was fun.  Even in the batting cages now it is fun to be Julio Franco or Will Clark.  I know I have never been good at this, but I have found someone who is, Gar Ryness – The Batting Stance Guy.

He has formed sort of a cult following with his amazing ability to mimic hitters from past and present.  He has appeared on Letterman, ESPN, MLB Network, and has become a YouTube favorite. I did a review recently on his new book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball.

Recently he was kind enough to sit down and share some of his insights with me.

I just finished your book, and I have to say I really enjoyed the stories. But I have one burning question.
What does your personal batting stance look like. Does it resemble anyone or have you lost any ‘natural’ stance at this point?

a) In high school I tried to be Ryne Sandberg. It was a pretty boring stance which might be why I didn’t get off the bench much. In the City Rec Softball playoffs I’ll try either David Justice or Will Clark from the left side. From the right side I’m Greg Gagne.

You have really blown up since I first saw you on the MLB network in 2009. What initially got you started?

a) Falling in love with baseball in 1980 is the real answer, but certainly my buddy and co-author Caleb asking to videotape me imitating Red Sox so he could show his friends in Boston was the start of the ride of the last few years.

Did you think it would ever get this big?

a) Once it got views on YouTube, I thought maybe season ticket holders, or geeks like me could like it, but I certainly never imagined players watching it in the clubhouse. No.
However, everyone with kids will know, it doesn’t matter how big anything gets it’s no big deal to them. They wish I imitated Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers, at least then they could meet someone cool.

In your book, Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball, you talk about Kevin Youkilis being the Michelangelo of stances. I know you get a lot of requests to do Youkilis, but do you have a favorite you like to perform?

a) If baseball stance requests were songs from a rock band, then Youkilis, Jeter, Manny, Rickey and Franco are all on the greatest hits album and they’re great to play because everyone can sing alone. But I’m the geek who secretly prefers the B-side songs of that obscure concept album that nobody bought. Guys like Moises Alou, Gary Matthews Sr (The Sarge), and Ben Oglivie are my favorites. There are also some spectacular Japanese stances that are fun to do. The world needs to know about Hitoshi Taneda.

I’ve seen a lot of videos where you perform for players, and every time they are beside themselves with laughter. Has there been any one particular reaction that stands out as either the best or strangest?

a) When visiting Minnesota, I was told my disclaimers about Joe Mauer – “He’ll enter the field right before stretching time. Don’t bother him, let him be, etc etc”. I had no plan to approach him. Jason Kubel, Carlos Gomez and Alexi Casilla were calling out names and laughing when Mauer and Morneau entered the dugout. The entire Twins team laughed pretty hard at my Delmon Young impression. The teams then went into the OF to stretch. I then have a thrilling conversation in the dugout with Bert Blyleven and his brother. Fifteen minutes later, tap on the shoulder, holy smokes, it’s Joe Mauer. He introduces himself, asks me my real name and we talk off camera for 5 minutes. That was pretty great.

Has anyone not been receptive to anything you have done?

a) Josh Beckett and I had an awkward interaction. It was spring training and he wanted me to do pitcher’s hitting stances. I joked with him about doing imitations of catchers like Mike Napoli hitting homers off of him in the post-season. *Crickets*. He told me to keep my day job. We talked for a while longer and he ended shaking my hand while saying, “You’re a funny dude.”

Thanks Josh Beckett.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your stories and insights on the different teams and ballparks that you have visited. When I visit a new stadium I feel like a kid at Christmas about to open his first present. What are your favorite places to watch a game?

a) Thanks for the kind words about the book. Glad you liked it. Wrigley and Fenway are great but AT&T Park in San Francisco is beautiful. San Diego might be the best for kids w/ tons to do, including building sand castles and playing Wiffleball just outside the park.

As you have gotten more popular over time, have you ever had any strange encounters from fans at games requesting players, hitting tips, or been given suggestions?

a) I’ve been at parties where semi-recognizable actors have asked for a Chipper Jones as their introduction to me. My favorite suggestions are from folks that introduce themselves saying they can do it waaaaay better, then they make me watch them and imitate George Brett right handed or Frank Thomas left handed and implore me that that’s how they bat. Awesome.

Last year you were on the David Letterman show. What was that experience like?

a) Surreal. Like walking on stage at a graduation where you just hope you don’t fall down. If there wasn’t footage, I’d honestly think it never happened. I was thankful he invited me and I can’t think of a Bucket List item that was higher. For real.

You said on Letterman you would like to get your bat into the Hall of Fame. Have you used the same bat since you started?

a) More or less yes. I bought a lot of 6 on ebay. They are all used, because we broke several filming various backyard or FoxSportsNet Bo Jackson bat breaking videos. Then one broke in half while in middle of SFGiants stretching circle. They requested Juan Uribe and he finishes his swing slamming the bat on the ground while quickly raising both hands over his head. Top of the bat broke off. So kids, be careful imitating Juan Uribe’s follow-thru.

You had a lot of great stories in the book. Getting onto the A’s field on an off day, the earthquake during the 1989 World Series. Included in those was watching the 1992 NLCS. You mention how Braves fans love that moment more than the 1995 team winning the World Series; and as a die-hard Braves fan myself, I have to say you are right. I still get goose bumps when listening to the call (although I prefer Skip Carey’s call). What memories stand out the most for you?

a) You won’t like this, but my favorite player of all-time is Kent Hrbek and when Gene Larkin singled home Dan Gladden off Alejandro Pena in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series I sprinted out of my freshman college dorm room to find someone from Minnesota to share the moment with. My roommate from Greece who was into pop art and motor sports didn’t share my excitement. The craziest moment I’ve seen live was Scott Podsednik’s walk-off HR off Brad Lidge to win Game 2 of the 2005 WorldSeries. Crowd went insane. Mostly because we were all frozen.

Lastly, as a huge baseball fan myself, I got to know where you get all of your great t-shirts from? The Rated Rookie, I Still Call It the Jake, and others are simply classics.

a) I agree. Company called No Mas. (NoMas-NYC.com) has a bevy of hip choices. Got them all from there.

I’d like to thank Gar again for taking the time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answer some questions for me.  Pick up his book Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball and check out some of the funny stories he has to tell.  His book brought me back to my childhood in my own backyard.  He is just a baseball fan like the rest of us, and this book shows it.  So take a trip down memory lane to some of the crazier stances of the last 30 years.  It’s worth the ride.

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Chicks Dig the Longball – Nike Commercial

This is by far one of my favorite baseball commercials of all-time.  Featuring Mark McGuire, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux.  If you haven’t seen it enjoy; and if you have, enjoy again.

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Playoff Predictions

With a month left in the season, it is nice to still see there are some races left for division titles. In 4 of the 6 divisions, the lead is 3.5 games or less. With so much baseball to be played a lot could happen. I am going to attempt now to predict what will happen by the end of the season as I take a look at each division.

AL East
The lead for the Yankees is at 1.5 games over Tampa Bay. This has been a close race all year, and I don’t see that changing the last month of the season. Regardless of who wins the division, the other will win the wildcard unless one or both have a complete nosedive the last month of the season. Of course, that can happen (See 2007 Mets), but I don’t see it happening this year. What I do see happening is the Yankees holding onto a narrow victory for the division title, and Tampa Bay winning the Wild Card.

New York wins AL East
Tampa Bay wins Wild Card

AL Central
Minnesota has a 3.5 game lead over Chicago. Can Manny help reignite the White Sox to overtake the Twins? I don’t think so. I really don’t see Manny providing much down the stretch. He seems to be a pale image of his old self, which after what he did to the Red Sox, I am happy to see. Anyone who acts like he does I really don’t want to see succeed. I have the Twins winning in the Central by 3 games or so.

Minnesota wins AL Central

AL West
This division is about wrapped up. Texas leads Oakland by 10 games and even if Cliff Lee has to miss some time, the Rangers have too much for the West. The only question that remains in the West is how will the Rangers prepare themselves for the playoffs. Yes I know they could still collapse in the heat of Texas, but I see this happening about as much as I see the Red Sox overtaking Tampa Bay for the Wild Card. Its just not going to happen.

Texas wins AL West

NL West
San Diego leads San Francisco by 3 games. This one is a tough one to call since nobody thought the Padres would be in first, let alone so much of the season. I am actually going to say San Francisco comes back to take the division late in the season by a game or two. I think Lincecum and Cain will lead the Giants back to the playoffs. This will lead the Padres to battle it out for the wildcard.

San Francisco wins NL West

NL Central
This is another surprising division with the Reds up on the Cardinals by 8 games. I don’t see Cincinnati faltering down the stretch. The division might get a little closer, but I see the Reds winning by 4 or 5 games.

Cincinnati wins AL Central

NL East
This one is a tough one to call, especially since I am such a huge Braves fan. Call me a homer if you want but I am calling for the Braves to take the division in Bobby Cox’s last season. It will go down to the wire, but I like the Braves chances with their pitching staff. That is why I am calling for them to win the division and the Phillies to take the Wild Card. I just think Hudson, Hanson, and the staff will take them to the playoffs.

Atlanta wins NL East
Philadelphia wins Wild Card

NL Division Series
Atlanta vs San Francisco – Atlanta wins in 4
Philadelphia vs Cincinnati – Cincinnati wins in 4

AL Division Series
Texas vs Tampa Bay – Texas in 5
New York vs Minnesota – New York in 4

AL Championship Series
With Texas finally winning a playoff series, they must go to Yankee Stadium to face the evil empire. I think they match up fairly well but I am not sure they can get by the Yankees, so as much as I hate to I am picking the Yankees to win.

Yankees win in 6 games.

NL Championship Series
A series pitting upstart Cincinnati against Atlanta I think would be a good one. I really like the Braves pitching, but I think Cincinnati has the offense and enough pitching to take the series. I am going with the Reds in 7 games.

Cincinnati wins in 7 games.

World Series
I think this could be a good one, and while I am not calling for a repeat of 1990 when the Reds swept through the mighty A’s, I see the Reds finishing the miracle season atop the world. Reds in 6 games.

I am going out on a limb. How far out is a question of your loyalties in baseball I guess. I am saying the Reds win the World Series. Of course, I would love to see the Braves and Rangers in the series, but I am not sure that will happen.

World Series Champs – Cincinnati Reds

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Brawl in Florida

Nyjer Morgan charged the mound tonight after having a pitch from Chris Volstad sail behind his back in the 5th inning.

In the 4th inning, with the Nats winning 14-3, Volstad hit Morgan.  He promptly stole 2nd and 3rd base with his team up 11 runs.  A lot of people in baseball look upon that with disdain as the Marlins did Wednesday night.  When Morgan dug into the box in the 5th, Volstad sailed a pitch behind his back.  Morgan didn’t blink.  He just tossed his bat aside and charged the mound.

What ensued was caos.  Morgan got a good shot on Volstad.  Then Gabby Sanchez came flying in clotheslining Morgan and the benches cleared.  The suspensions should come down soon, but the funniest thing is that Morgan was already suspended for throwing a ball at a fan in the stands in Philadelphia.

Check out the video here.

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5 Places to See That Are Not Stadiums

Baseball has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. Driving up to Arlington to see the Rangers play as kids is one of my fondest memories. I have an ambitious goal of seeing baseball all around the world, but for me it all starts at home in the United States. Every one knows the famous stadiums to visit or the one down the street from home. But what about places to visit that aren’t stadiums? Here is my list of 5 must see places for any baseball fan that are not located at a stadium.
#1 Baseball Hall of Fame – Cooperstown, New York

This is the Holy Grail of baseball history. Here you will find all the games greats, and the history behind what made them great. Located in upstate New York, the Hall of Fame offers something for every baseball fan. See artifacts from all the great players, games, and events in baseball history. Adults can read one of 3 million books, take a look at 500,000 photographs, or view one of 38,000 artifacts from the game. Kids have their own section called the Sandlot Kids Clubhouse where they can enjoy various activities and exhibitions.

Baseball Hall of Fame

#2 Field of Dreams Set – Dyersville, Iowa

Not only is Field of Dreams one of the most popular baseball movies, but it helps capture the imaginations from young to old. The movie set sits in a field in Dyersville, Iowa where on a sunny afternoon you too can go out for a game of catch. After many years of uncertainty with the field, it is finally owned by one family. The movie company had built it on the land of two farms, but it has since been consolidated and is currently up for sale. The house and ball field used in the movie are still there.

Field of Dreams Movie Set

Photo Courtesy Cindy Chlapek Berg

#3 Louisville Slugger Museum – Louisville, Kentucky

I have had the pleasure of visiting this great institution (insert link) and I think people of all ages would really enjoy the trip here. Not only can you see the world’s biggest bat, but you can watch the process of a Louisville Slugger bat being made and then have your own name stamped on one. They also have a nice museum where you are able to see the evolution of the bat from the early 1900s till now. Oh and don’t forget to pick out a current stars model to practice with in the batting cages before you leave.

Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum

Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum

#4 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – Kansas City, Missouri

See the history of one of the most overlooked and fascinating parts of baseball history.  See artifacts, photos, and multi-media displays on the history of the Negro Leagues.  Some of baseball’s most influential characters came out of the Negro Leagues, and there should be more to pay ommage to its history.  So stop by, listen to some stories of Josh Gibson, and take in the history.  You will not be disappointed.

Negro League Baseball Museum

Negro League Baseball Museum

#5 The Grave of George Herman “Babe” Ruth – Hawthorne, New York

Arguably the greatest player to ever play the game, Babe Ruth’s legacy has reached legendary status. Roughly 35 miles from NYC, Hawthorne is the final resting place for not only Babe Ruth but other celebrities as well.  Most baseball fans alive now never got to see Ruth play, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pay your respects.  However, do remember that this is an active cemetery and to be respectful of such.

There are a lot of other great sites.  These are just a few of the great baseball sites around the country.  Want to know more?  Check out a great book Roadside Baseball: The Locations of America’s Baseball Landmarks by Chris Epting.  The book will take you from state to state with historic places in the history of the game.  No matter where you are, there is something nearby that is worthy of a trip to see.

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There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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