Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Tip from a Canary named Jose

I read recently where Albert Pujols got angry that his name was incorrectly linked to the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs and he banned a St. Louis television station (KTVI) because of this action.

The incorrect broadcast, Pujols told reporters, showed "50% of the things you guys write is not true, and I'm glad that happened."

KTVI had no comment. Of course, it's tough to speak with the proverbial foot in your mouth.

When I first skimmed across the article I thought, 'He's right.' Then I grabbed the book, I'm currently reading: Juiced. Wild times, Rampmant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball got Big, to reference how Jose Canseco says the writers and umpires have some sort of hold on the players that allows the writers and umpires a little kickback if the "smart" players play along.

He goes on to say that the umpires can make or break you on the field (small strike zone if you toe the rubber, big strike zone if you dig into the batter's box) the same way the media can make or break you with the public.

The media has reporters who give a modicum of truth and then it's up to the incapacious readers' confabulated imagination to create their own story. Sort of like taking a course in college and studying the highlightings of the lunatic who used the book before you.

Unfortunately, an apology cannot undue some people's reputations that may have been built on some of the wildest imaginations known to mankind.

Kevin Marquez

Remembering those Who Left Us in 2007

In the Sports Illustrated issue dated 12/31/07 - 1/7/08 there was an obituary for those athletes who passed away in 2007.

For Lew Burdette (pitcher, Milwaukee Braves): A crafty righthander with a sinkerball that some thought a little too moist- Red Smith suggested his record should include wins, losses and relative humidity- in 1959 he hurled 13 shutout innings to beat the Pirates' Harvey Haddix, who had been perfect through 12 innings.

For Rod Beck: His portliness aside- the righty once noted that he'd "never heard of anyone going on the disabled list because of pulled fat."

For Shag Crawford: In 1956, SI declared Crawford, then a rookie, "our favorite umpire."
He was a hustler- he'd get down on his belly to make a call- and he brooked little nonsense. He was forced out in 1975 after criticizing baseball for using a rotation system instead of a merit system (which is in place now) for postseason assignments.

Arbitrating ran in the family; in 1977, the National League hired his son Jerry as an umpire and the NBA hired son Joey as a referee.

Kevin Marquez

2008 in the Valley of the Sun

It's not too far from another trip to Scottsdale, Arizona.

The time in Arizona is relaxing. For some it may be a chance to see who the San Francisco Giants are planning on putting on the field. And although the games in March are meaningless it's also full of hope that this roster of no-names will not be playing meaningless games in July.

The Spring Training schedule appears in last week's Sports Weekly.

Saturday March 1, 2008 has the Oakland A's at Scottsdale to face the San Francisco Giants...starting time is 12:05.

On Sunday, 3/2 the Giants' fans will have to travel to Mesa, AZ to see the Chicago Cubs play the Giants again at 12:05.

Then on Monday, 3/3 the Giants will be back home in Scottsdale, AZ to face the Texas Rangers at 12:05.

Hoping that somehow through the proper execution of small ball (since the roster as of 1/26/08 is sans the long ball, i.e., anyone who has consistently hit home runs...except maybe for Ray Durham and newly signed Aaron Rowland)and solid pitching that Bruce Bochy's boys will flourish the way his San Diego teams have been doing since he laid the groundwork for the division rival San Diego Padres.

Hope does and always will spring eternal during the exhibition months of February and March. As well it should, for what is anyone without hope? Miserable and not worth spending time with, to be sure.

The Giants' organization has done such a wonderful job in Scottsdale, Arizona to invite the fans to see baseball in a beautiful park with it's picturesque surroundings it is most definitely something all baseball fans should consider seeing. (Especially those who root for the San Francisco Giants.)

Kevin Marquez