Tag Archives: Major League Baseball

Should Major League Baseball allow steroid users into the Hall of Fame? No, Says Sam Smith.

Part 2 of a series.

How can we honor athletes for cheating and then talk to our children about honesty and integrity with a straight face?

Matt Record’s post yesterday arguing that Major League Baseball should admit steroid users to the Hall of Fame gets a lot of things right. For instance: Ty Cobb? Sub-human PoS, no doubt about it. And Matt could have devoted volumes to the abject malpractice of the sports “journalism” industry during Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s pursuit of Roger Maris’s single season homerun record; they chose to ignore what was obviously happening under their noses because the steroid era was good for business, and the less pontificating we her from them now the better.

And what about the ways in which MLB’s apartheid system kept some of the greatest stars of their time out of the league for decades? If anything, Matt doesn’t stomp hard enough here. Babe Ruth was a legendary hitter, but he never had to stand in against Satchel Paige, whom DiMaggio called the best pitcher he ever faced after playing against him in a 1936 exhibition. Read more

Castro and Miami’s Cuban community and what the hell was Ozzie Guillen thinking?

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen recently lost his freakin’ mind. He told Time that

I love Fidel Castro…I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [SOB] is still there.

Predictably, the world then stopped spinning on its axis.

The complex legacy of Darth Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner is dead.

Let me begin by saying that I’m a Red Sox fan and a lifelong Yankee-hater who loathed Steinbrenner from shortly after I first heard his name. Let me further note that for the better part of the last three decades I have argued, passionately and to anyone who’d listen, that there were precisely three things wrong with Major League Baseball: domes, turf and George Steinbrenner. He was, in a nutshell, the Donald Trump of the National Pastime, and anyone who knows me even a little bit realizes that I don’t mean that in a good way.

Much has been said about Darth George and the Evil Pinstriped Empire, and much more will be said before the week is out, as the first shots are fired in the war for the man’s eternal legacy. Some of it will be positive, perhaps even worshipful. Some of it … not so much. Read more

Predicting the 21st Century: Nostraslammy’s ten-year review

Ten years ago, at the turn of the millennium, Nostraslammy took a stab at predicting the 21st Century, with a promise to check back every ten years to see how the prognostications were turning out. Odds are good I won’t be able to do a review every ten years until 2100, but I figure I’m probably good through 2030, at least, barring some unforeseen calamity. And if you’re Nostraslammy, what’s this “unforeseen” thing, anyway?

Let’s see how our 22 articles of foresight are holding up, one at a time.

1: Researchers will develop either a vaccine or a cure for AIDS by 2020. However, it will be expensive enough that the disease will plague the poor long after it has become a non-issue for the rich and middle classes (although this is one case where political leaders might fund free treatment programs). The end of AIDS will trigger a sexual revolution that will compare to or exceed that of the 1960s and 1970s (unless another deadly sexually-transmitted disease evolves, which is certainly a possibility). Read more

The NBA: where will “fixed” happen this year?

We watch sports for a variety of reasons. To revel in the thrill of head-to-head competition. To marvel at the athleticism. To root for the home team, in which we have somehow invested a piece of our own identities. To mark our place in the timeless ritual. To learn, even.

With the NBA, there’s one more reason: to see which narrative the league has decided is the most compelling.

Now, I’m not generally a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think the world is biased against me personally and I don’t believe that the refs are out to get my team. In most cases, my attempts to explain bad officiating, whatever the sport, need go no further than “basic incompetence.” Read more

AAA-Rod is bigger than the game

It’s always confusing to sports fans, and not a little disappointing, when they encounter great talents with second-rate character. Bobby Knight is a legendary coach but a serial bully who has, on many occasions, deserved a righteous public ass-whipping. Barry Bonds was gifted with first-ballot Hall of Fame skills, but has destroyed his reputation forever thanks to a little problem with the flaxseed oil.

And now we have Alex Rodriguez, who the other night cemented his standing as baseball’s newest king-hell punk. It’s a shame, because he’s probably the greatest player alive (at least, the greatest player between the dates of April 1 and September 30). For those who might have forgotten, let’s review some of A-Rod’s more celebrated Bush League moments. Read more

Great week in baseball history

We’ve seen some major historical moments in baseball in the last few days.

First, Alex Rodriguez became the youngest man to hit the 500-homerun mark, doing so at 32 years and eight days old. There are no guarantees that he’ll break Hank Aaron’s all-time mark of 755 taters, but even if he never plays another game it’s a remarkable accomplishment.

Next, Mets lefty Tom Glavine became the latest pitcher (and maybe the last) to win 300 games. The way the game is played and managed these days, a 15-win season is a big deal, and doing it 20 times is just about unthinkable.

Two very big moments. Two great players. And now, listen to me carefully: during this historical stretch of days, nothing … else … happened. Got it? Good.

Summer of scandal and the death of sport?

I love sports. Always have. I grew up playing all the usual sports and eagerly tried out a lot of others when I got older. I’ve always been a big spectator, too, watching everything from football, basketball and baseball to soccer, track, cycling, volleyball, water polo – whatever was on, you know?

But these days I watch less sports than at any point in my life, and it seems likely that this downward trend is going to continue. The why is pretty simple. I was raised old school by a grandfather who grew up playing through the Depression. People who knew him back then and saw him play said that under different circumstances he might have been good enough to play in the Bigs. Maybe. Hard to say, because the hard realities of life intruded on the dreams of many in his generation. So he wound up working for a few dollars a week and playing ball on the weekends.

There was a right way and a wrong way to play. Hard, but fair. Sportsmanship mattered. Read more

Sheffield’s remarks: who should be offended?

“I called it years ago. What I called is that you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out. … [It’s about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do – being able to control them,” he told the magazine.”Where I’m from, you can’t control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that’s a person that you’re going to talk to with respect, you’re going to talk to like a man.

“These are the things my race demands. So, if you’re equally good as this Latin player, guess who’s going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys.”

These remarks are from a new GQ interview with Detroit Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield. And all I can say is … wow. Read more

The Josh Hancock tragedy: who to sue?

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was recently killed in a tragic automobile accident. You probably saw the story. Now, his father has (yeah, here comes the stunner) filed a lawsuit.

Suit claims restaurant kept giving intoxicated pitcher drinks
Associated Press
Updated: May 24, 2007, 4:14 PM ETST. LOUIS — The father of Josh Hancock filed suit Thursday, claiming a restaurant provided drinks to the St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher even though he was intoxicated prior to the crash that killed him.

The suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court by Dean Hancock of Tupelo, Miss., does not specify damages. Mike Shannon’s Restaurant, owned by the longtime Cardinals broadcaster who starred on three World Series teams in the 1960s, is a defendant in the case along with Shannon’s daughter, Patricia Shannon Van Matre, the restaurant manager. (Story.)

So, let’s make sure we have the scorebook right here. Read more

What to Do When Baseball Goes on Strike

It looks more and more like baseball is going on strike. Again. Let me say before I get too far into this that the issues are very real, and that all things considered a disastrous work stoppage leading to dramatic downsizing of the game may be baseball’s best hope long-term.

The professional game, that is. I don’t think baseball as it is played at the youth and amateur levels across the country will suffer significantly. Baseball no longer occupies a place as the undisputed king of American sports (if football hasn’t surpassed baseball entirely, it nonetheless ranks alongside it in the public mind), but it’s still widely loved and played by millions of Americans ranging in age from under six to over 70. Read more

42: A Tribute to Jackie Robinson

I try to avoid getting teary-eyed about This Great Land in Which We Live. We all know the United States has tremendous shortcomings, and it seems like our every success only reminds us of ten more problems which have not been adequately addressed.

Tonight, though, we saw a remarkable moment, and for a few seconds between innings at Shea Stadium we were reminded of the courage and strength of those who devote their lives – often risking and losing everything in the process – in the service of genuinely ennobling ideals and a basic sense of justice and fair play.

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black to play Major League Baseball in this century. Read more