This year marks the 10th anniversary of one of the greatest moments in baseball…
From Time Magazine June 21 1999:
DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME PLATE
Over the years, baseball players have devised numerous ways to outsmart umpires: corking the bat, throwing spitballs, using steroids. But amazingly, until last week, no one had tried the fake mustache. The ingenious ploy was hatched by New York Mets manager BOBBY VALENTINE after being thrown out of a game for arguing with the plate umpire. Once ejected, players and managers are forbidden to go back into the dugout, but that’s exactly where a camera spotted Valentine. Even sporting facial hair, shades and a hat, Valentine was recognized by officials, who later suspended him for two games and fined him $5,000. Valentine will appeal the suspension, claiming he was only near the dugout and meant no disrespect. “I did it to lighten up the team,” he said. And it looks as if for two games at least the team will be one manager lighter.
An interesting view on Valentine can be seen in the documentary “The Zen of Bobby V.” A fascinating look at how the country of Japan has embraced Valentine and conversely how he respects the nation and baseball in the country. Also includes interviews with Benny Agbayani who played under Valentine for the Chiba Lotte Marines during their 2005 championship.
Santana is still feeling that tightness in
his elbow so there’s no good news on that front…but in
other important news we have yet another reason to return to
Flushing…Professor Reyes is back! The NYTimes
reported that after a one year hiatus the skit will return.
Get ready Gangstas…
As a fan of baseball I’m excited to see how the World Baseball Classic pans out this year. I’m not super pumped about a specific team, but this is a time to see how players might perform this year and what new faces may crop up in the majors at some point. Round 1’s first game is that of China vs. Japan and I have to say the odds are stacked in Japan’s favor.
Japan, not only the current title holder, but a strong baseball nation. The lineup is stacked with some well known major leaguers but also a good deal of experienced professionals. Some players to watch:
Toshiya Sugiuchi – Pitched 10.2 innings in the 2008 Olympics with an ERA of 0.84.
Yu Darvish – Second youngest MVP in the Japan Pacific League, said to have more control than fellow countryman Matsuzaka according to past Met Masato Yoshii
As for China, while I can respect their baseball development…well, I wouldn’t put money on them…then again I wouldn’t have put money on the Rays last year and I always stand on a soft 17. Players to watch for:
Chenhao Li – In 10 innings in Beijeng threw a 1.80 ERA for a modest team.
Fenglian Hou – Batted .381 in the Olympics, the highest by far of team China, many of whom are playing in the WBC
It will be a good battle if only because it means baseball is back and the MLB season will be starting soon, however I’m guessing Japan will take this one quite easily.
Watch “The Zen of Bobby V” (ESPN), or watch Mr. Baseball and say you watched “The Zen of Bobby V”
As a Mets fan, some of the best words I heard last week were confirmations that the Mets have no intention to sign Manny (Not to get all Marty Noble or anything…) While his bat would be appreciated the true reason I travel to Queens and watch at home isn’t just for a winning season and a World Series trophy. Sure that’s great, but I watch because I love baseball. We all do, otherwise you wouldn’t be on this site. When Reyes makes that jump to steal, when Wright has to be ‘told’ to take a day off, when Maine pitches through the pain we all root harder for the Amazin’s. Of course when I go to Citi Field this year I want to see them win, but more importantly I go to see the players respect the game we all care about. Regardless of what Boras says, I don’t go to the game to see one player who feels that he’s bigger than the sum of the parts. That’s what makes Santana great. He’s part of the team, I don’t go to see him, I go to see the Mets. Let Boras ruin the Yankees…not my team. When Murphy and Evans show they have the fight to do it and Tatis does it to prove to himself he still can…well I’ll take them anyday over an overpaid free agent. Money can’t buy drive.
Let’s Go Mets!
I was trying to forget how blasted cold it is in Vermont right now and with spring training starting I decided to geek it up and pop in MLB Power Pros (2008). Fantastic game but sometimes I miss the games of old. Awful graphics + no MLB licenses = A wasted youth and several wasted summer vacations.
Back in the day of ‘Texas Heat’ I was a huge Nolan Ryan fan. That being said “Nolan Ryan’s Baseball” on the SNES was truly bad amongst the bad. Team R vs. Team B?!? I’ll just assume the artistic creativity was lost in translation. I wasn’t merely confined to games involving humans partaking in baseball however.
Being a fan of the finer, more sophisticated things in life I sought out ways to expand my mind causing me to stumble upon Super Baseball 2020. This forgotten ‘gem’ involved teams of robots who apparently didn’t feel the need for an infield fly rule leading to awesome (translated: lame) triple plays.
However, some cartridges contained true glory. When World Series Baseball on the Genesis came out it was the first game I remember that actually used commentator, if only to announce what teams were playing. The fellow, who sounded suspiciously like Dr. Stephen Hawking, would announce something in a super realistic manner like “TODAY’S GAME IS BETWEEN THE …(long pause)… BLUE JAYS …(long pause)… AND THE …(long pause)… ORIOLES.” Not since we heard “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” did simple words move the world so much.
Remember you and a friend sat down to one of the best, if not the best baseball game ever, Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (Oh yes, that was the full title that I’m sure we all used as kids) and went into the homerun derby mode? There was always that fight of who got Griffey and who got one of the characters with the most awesome names ever, Nick Noheart, Sammy Scrapp, or Can O Corn. Granted the wall in Camden Yards wasn’t ideal for Griffey, it was still better to play as him than some no name sprite with the biggest steroid induced muscles this side of a World’s Strongest Man competition. Seriously Bud, you wonder why kids today consider roids to be a major part of baseball? Speaking of awesome unlicensed names, the article for this game at wikipedia has some really interesting notes about the names for all the players. Example:
I knew there was a reason I always listened to “I Wanna be Sedated” and “Fool’s Gold” when these two teams met.
My other favorite baseball game was for the NES, and if you remember this one break out the Ecto-Cooler, slam a can of Surge, and don’t cut yourself on that slap bracelet as you gear up for “Little League Baseball: Championship Series.” When I return home for Christmas my brother and I still blow in the cartridge for 15 minutes and play this game because in what other game does the squatty fat kid get all the home run mashing glory? Also, the home run scene with the twin cheerleaders and the children of the corn fans…priceless.
While MLB: The Show may be a better game technically, the old games are the ones that stand out in your memory. Now where did I put that copy of “Mutant League Hockey?”