This fight is brought to you by the letters H and R as in HR. This is between the Lansing Lugnuts and the West Michigan Whitecaps. TrueTv does a great job showing the fight with some closeups and who gets hurt.
Posted on 30 May 2011.
This fight is brought to you by the letters H and R as in HR. This is between the Lansing Lugnuts and the West Michigan Whitecaps. TrueTv does a great job showing the fight with some closeups and who gets hurt.
Posted on 27 April 2011.
What ever happened to the old 80’s kids shows like the Baseball Bunch? I didn’t grow up in the age of baseball on TV 24/7, but I had some good shows to look forward to as a kid. On Saturdays we could look forward to seeing shows like This Week In Baseball (TWIB) with the late great Mel Allen or The Baseball Bunch with Johnny Bench. Both of these shows were kid friendly and helped introduce a whole new generation to the great game.
But what do kids have now? Yes I know TWIB is still around on Fox, but to be honest it doesn’t have the same feel to it since Fox took it over. It’s still a great show, but it seems kids are too busy now to watch it. Are we just a victum of too much available TV? Or are we a victum of the 24 hour networks that show sports non-stop?
All too often I hear kids are intersted in other sports and baseball is falling by the wayside. As someone who has been passionate about the game for as long as I can remember, that is just hard to wrap my mind around. The game has such a history, but when we start to look at the history it seems to deal with a slower paced society. Fathers were playing catch with their sons and coaching little league. Sandlot games were played by the kids in the neighborhood after school and on weekends. Maybe I was just one of the more fortunate ones to experience things like this, or perhaps as Dylan once sang, “The times they are a changing”.
I know this isn’t the case everywhere, but it does seem like life is starting to go at a faster pace. Does this have anything to do with baseball’s loss as the biggest sport in the US? Baseball in itself is a slower paced game than most others. With society becoming an “instant fix” society perhaps the game of baseball just doesn’t fit.
Of course, I don’t believe that and I feel people who don’t give baseball a chance are missing out, but I am biased.
Baseball’s popularity might not be fading. Overall the decade of 2000-2010 was the best the sport has ever seen attendance wise. However, it seems more and more young players are choosing other sports over baseball. The NFL has become the biggest sport in the US although that might change with a long protracted lockout this next season. In the grand scheme of things, baseball seems to be picking up steam worldwide even without it being a sport in the Olympics anymore.
I guess my main point to this long rant is I would like to see more kids baseball programming. It was such a great show with Hall of Fame baseball players each week giving tips to kids in little league. Add in the greatness of the San Diego Chicken and it was a great combination to not only entertain kids but to educate them as well on baseball and just being a good sport. But I wonder if a show similar to The Baseball Bunch would be a hit today with so much competition on the TV front?
Posted on 25 April 2011.
This is an older fight, but one that most of us remember seeing on ESPN or the news. In this crazy world of baseball fights it seems nothing is off limits. Just look at what happened to Don Zimmer, but that’s a story for another day.
This took place back in July of 2001. Feeling he had been thrown at twice, Pawtucket Red Sox player Izzy Alcantara takes matters into his own hands. From his reaction, I get the feeling he felt the catcher was in on it.
Take a look at this beauty from ’01.
Posted on 22 April 2011.
I love baseball commercials and over the course of time there have been some great ones. Nike had a great one with Chicks Dig the Long Ball. The Seattle Mariners have had some great ones as well over the course of time, but I have found a new one coming from the hotbed of baseball in Japan. Hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think.
Posted on 14 January 2011.
This is simply one of the greatest catches in a baseball game….ever! It comes from Hiroshima Toyo Carp’s Masato Akamatsu. He performs a “Spiderman” like catch and amazes the crowd.
What do you think is the best catch of all time?
Posted on 20 December 2010.
Who Says a Pitcher Can’t Tackle?
This is a fight between two teams in Mexico (Mexicali Aguilas and Obregon Yaquis). It all started with a walk and a stolen base. Then the pitcher proceeded to hit the runner on a pickoff attempt at second base. Immediately the runner and second baseman start jawing at each other and proceed to get into a fight.
The second baseman gives him a shove but before the runner can retaliate with a punch, the pitcher tackles him like he is a runner going up the middle.
After that, chaos ensues as the benches clear.
When it is all said and done, 6 players are suspended even though only 2 were thrown out of the game.
Thanks go Bruce Baskin at BASEBALL MEXICO for the story/link.
Posted on 19 November 2010.
The one thing I have learned watching baseball in Korea is the fans are passionate. It is a great thing to watch, especially coming from a place where most fans are fair weather fans only coming out when the team is winning. Thanks to things like Facebook and Twitter, I have been able to meet more and more baseball fans including some in Korea. So when I had the chance to sit down and ask some questions to a new friend of mine in Korea, I jumped at the chance. I really want to thank Kihoon for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions so we can better understand the baseball culture in Korea.
My name is Kihoon and 29 years old. I am from Pusan and now working at Doosan magazine Digital Innovation team. I am sport mania. Baseball & Basketball are my all time favorites. I used to be a Intern basketball journalist during undergraduate years.
How long have you followed baseball in Korea?
Since Forever. I was born in Pusan, Mecca of baseball in Korea, in 1981 and Korean Professional league was launched the next year. My father used to play baseball at his company and loved to take me Giants games when I was young. I grew up playing and watching baseball games since I was a child. It has been over 20 years now. All of these led me be a huge fan of baseball.
What is your favorite team? Why?
Since I was born in Pusan, I was born to be a fan of my home town team Lotte Giants. It is a Korea professional team in Pusan, Korea and one of the most beloved teams in Korea as well. I used to be a Giants youth club member and have supported them for a long time. Trading is not common yet in Korean League and Many pro players are playing for their region team. It means that many of Giants players are from Pusan and that make fans give them more emotion. They are more like our friends and neighbors. Other teams are the same. I believe basically it stems from unique *KBO Draft system which changed since 2009 and Korean culture. Along with Samsung Lions in Daegu, Lotte Giants is one of only 2 teams that never changed their team name since Korean pro-league established. They won the championship 2 times in club history, 1984 and 1992. After a long Dark ages in early 2000, they are becoming champion-caliber team again by making 3 consecutive play-off appearance.(2008~2010). In addition to this, I am looking for my favorite MLB team. I have thought of Cubs, Red sox, Rangers, Indians. I heard that Cubs and Red sox are really popular team in US and known for devoted fans and tradition. I personally like the State of Texas.
Last year I supported Indians cause Shin-soo Choo is playing for them. These teams are in my boundary.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6djJhOOwTVA&feature=related (1992 Korean Series)
With 1st pick, all teams have priority over their region until 2008 regardless of their rank in previous season. This system encouraged teams to support school teams in their region. But many experts pointed out that this system was advantageous to Kwangju, Seoul, Pusan teams since they have more top tier teams in their farm. Thus, Draft system has been changed from 2009. It is now overall draft like US. Draft system is still controversial issue.
What is your greatest memory of baseball?
If I have to pick a single game in particular, That would be 1999 KBO Play-off series game 7 between Lions and Giants. Giants dramatically got over 1-3 series to 3-3. The Game 7 was really close and heated until until the end of it. Giants broke the tie and won 6-5 in the 11th inning. The game still remain as one of the most incredible match in Korean play-off history.
I uploaded a highlight clip here.
Every single game between huge east rivalry Korea and Japan is always fun to watch. 2009 WBC final, Semi final in 2008 Olympic, 2005 WBC tournament.
What team would you say has the most passionate fans in Korea?
The Giants have the most passionate fans in Korea. In fact, they are a little bit crazy sometimes. The Giants have the attendance record for a single season (1.38 million) in KBO and they gathered more than 1 million attendances 3 years in a row from 2008. For your information, the total attendance number of KBO in 2010 was 5.92million. Giants fan have lots of unique and dynamic cheering repertories and they are overwhelming than other team`s Among them, two songs, “Pusan Sea gull” , “Please come back to Pusan port” are famous and wearing orange plastic bag, shaking newspaper are also unique stuff. There ia a documentary movie about Lotte Giants (2009) named “I am a sea gull” I will send you if you want. Besides Giants, Kia tigers also have very enthusiastic fans. The 2 big market teams in Seoul, LG twins and Doosan Bears are popular team too.
Do you follow baseball in Japan or the USA?
I think I am pretty much involved in MLB baseball. Since Chan-ho Park became the first Korean major league player, I have watched MLB games in Korea sometimes. Every one of Chan-ho`s games were available and also I was able to see Mariners games through NHK. I really like some dynamic Latin keystone players like Furcal, Reyes, Cora. They please my eyes. I check news articles and highlight clip on MLB web site on a daily base now. It is one of ways to study English for me. I enjoyed watching the World Series this season, too. Compared to USA, I have not experienced much about Japanese baseball. I only check Korean player`s news. There are 4 Korean players in NPB now. I have a good personal impression on Japanese baseball, though. I have traveled in Japan a few years ago and pleasantly surprised about their baseball facilities. Lots of baseball fields were readily available. I could easily see many people playing baseball. When I visited Osaka, neon signs of Hanshin tigers, one of the most popular Japanese Professional team were everywhere. I heard that Hanshin is also known as crazy fans. Their traditional home stadium is very famous. I hope to venture out there!
How do you feel the baseball in Korea compares to Japan or the USA?
Regarding Pro-league game, Korea baseball game is more intense than US from my perspective. It is probably because only 8 teams are competing and they know each other well. They tend to use detailed tactics based on detailed analysis data. Lots of substitutions as well. Trade is not that common in Korea. It is becoming more frequent but not as much as US yet. Given the fact that Trade is not that common and only 8 teams are in the league, it would be relatively easy to analyze other teams and use them in games. On the other hand, US players play based on their superb athleticism and very aggressively. There are a lot of back and forth between Major league and Triple A. It makes it hard to analyze other teams, I think. It seems like they tend to cover their weak positions by trading rather than developing their farm youth players. I think Korea and Us have different view on their rookie level players. Korean team think “I bought my boy. I will teach and develop you to explode your potential. Pay me back later” US team think “I paid for you. Now you have to show me” US has deep resource pool thus they don`t need to wait and be patient. Since late 1990` some potential Korean player challenged to Major league but nearly all of them were failed. They had to manage everything by themselves and didn`t have many opportunities. If they had been more cared for or coached, some of them might have been successful. Japanese baseball is similar with Korean style. Their analysis tool is much more sophisticated. Aside from Pro-league, US and Japan has more deep and extended baseball base than Korea. For example, Korea has only 60 or even less high school teams while Japan has nearly 4,000. US is needless to say.
What about the fans, how do they compare?
It seems to me that US people just enjoy game individually and more stay focus on the field. Maybe they respect other`s privacy and try not to disturb others. I think there may be more family unit fans and season members. Still, they are enthusiastic. They are more straight forward and even shout jeers at their players sometimes. That surprised me. On the other hand, Korean fans really like cheering together. Every team in Korea has cheer leader and they lead. If you want to just watch baseball game, it might be distracting sometimes but cheering is fascinating stuff that bring you to the stadium. I saw some people who barely know about baseball go to baseball game just for cheering and enjoying the atmosphere Its like NCAA basketball game. You stand up and shout, sing, dance, jeering whole throughout a game. Some people say that it is a party. One noticeable recent issue is that many young female fans are increasing. Japan is like to be about between them. They have both. As far as I know, If you want to be part of group cheering, you can go to outfield area. If you want to stay focus on game, you can do that in infield area. Whenever I watch Japanese baseball game, there were many old people and individual fans in infield seat and Group cheering was in outfield area.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6REyXnCGdJA Hanshin tigers cheering
I know you play on a team in Seoul. How long have you played?
I play for 2 teams now. I moved up to Seoul for my job in 2008 and I started to play at my company team, Doozins. Some Staffs who love baseball gathered team members and established a team in 2007. Our Senior executives are really supportive. We play at single A level league near Seoul and reached the play-offs this season. It was the first time! I also found another team ‘Khazon’ (Hope in Hebrew) near my neighborhood and have played with them for 1 year now. We have a team practice every Saturday preparing for League in next season. Obviously we have improved a lot and now are about the Double A level in Korea Social league. we are becoming well-organized team and I love to see the proceeding.
What are your thoughts on playing with foreigners?
Actually, a few weeks ago, one foreigner guy from US expressed his interest in playing baseball in Korea and ask if there is a space for him. For me, it would be quite interesting having foreigners in my team. There may be some communication problem sometimes but it really doesn`t matter. You know, baseball is our language. No matter where they are from, they can be part of our team as long as they love baseball and sincerely participate in team activities. In the field, playing with foreigners would not make any huge difference. Beside, playing together, we can be also good friends and share some cultural background of Baseball sitting down over a bottle of beer. That’s something pretty cool I think. I have a one female who is devoted fan of Braves. She did part-time work at Yankees farm before and told me many stories about her baseball experiences. She told me that Cheering culture is really impressive here and few teams have cheer leader in State. She also told me that she miss the big sound of Drum and Band in Turner field. I want to be there one day, too!!
Do you model your game after anyone?
Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle Mariners. I think he is setting such a good role model for non-power Asian players. He is like a Cartoon Character for me. He is really smart. I never have seen any bone head play from him. I believe it stems from good fundamentalism, his high level of intensity on a game and Professionalism. We got some common things too. We are lead-off hitter, Left handed hitter, right handed pitcher, and skinny contact hitter. He is truly a multi-talented player. I mean he has everything. I have seen some people who underrate him by his look and nationality saying that he is selfish and a bad-ball hitter. However, I must say this, all the records he got so far simply demonstrates how great he is as a ball player. I wish we could have that kind of player in Korea, too.
How serious would you say people take baseball in Korea both playing and watching?
Among Pro sports, Baseball is the most popular sports in Korea. I think it is becoming national sports. Baseball is consistently loved regardless of social class and it is going to be the same way in the future. Especially, WBC boosted baseball in Korea again and people not only just watch baseball but also start to play. Many new social leagues have been established recently and it is close to impossible to secure baseball field for new teams. Joining league become really competitive. In my case, the entry fee was raised by nearly 30% this season but it was filled.
I want to thank Kihoon for taking time out of his busy schedule. Not only did he come through with amazing information, but he did it in a 2nd language (quite well too). It’s fans like this that I want to meet across the world. People who love the game, want to spread the greatness of the game, but also have a love and respect for the history of the game. Thanks again Kihoon, and I can’t wait till I get back to Korea so we can sit down and talk baseball face to face.
Posted on 30 September 2010.
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.
Posted on 08 September 2010.
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.
Posted on 03 September 2010.
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.