Tag Archive | "major league baseball"

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It’s Time For More Weekly Awards …..

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Rex Snider

Another week, another list. Enjoy …..

Man Of The Week
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Could it rightfully be anyone else? The “Earl Of Baltimore” celebrated his 80th birthday, last Saturday. I can luckily count myself among a generation that distinctly recalls the memory making experiences provided by the Weaver-led Orioles. And, I don’t take this for granted …..

We’ve practically raised our next generation into adulthood. Many of my friends’ kids are beyond their 18th birthday. Heck, some of my friends our GRANDPARENTS. I know hundreds of devout baseball fans who’ve never witnessed #4 sitting in the dugout. I did …. and I’m fortunate for it. Happy Birthday, Earl !!!!
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Narcissist Of The Week
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I’m thinking Jose Canseco could’ve won this award during an entire year’s worth of weeks over these past 20 years. In fact, this estimate might be a little conservative. Nobody loves Jose as much as Jose, right? Better yet, nobody shuns blame and culapbility like Jose …..

Last Sunday, this half of the BASH BROTHERS was evicted from a home he was renting in Los Angeles. He was two months behind in rent. Instead of raising the funds he OWED to his landlord, Canseco took to Twitter for an opportunity to bemoan his situation …. “I guess I’ll have to sleep in my car” …. “I had to give my dog away, because I can’t afford to keep it.” Yes, this is the point where I scratch my head …..

Who does he blame for this dysfunctional situation? Not himself. Not a chance of that happening. He blames Major League Baseball. Yeah, he tweeted about this too …. “Major League Baseball did this to me, they blackballed me.” Lets say they did BLACKBALL him; he still made more than $45 million playing the game. He’s earned an additional $10 million on his name, as it relates to baseball, over the last decade

Yet, he’s broke. And, somehow, it’s Major League Baseball’s fault? “I’m a great guy,” he tweeted. “I don’t deserve this,” he continued. I suspect Jose Canseco will leave this world penniless and lonely. I hope that doesn’t happen. I don’t wish loneliness on anyone. But, he’s betrayed his friends and the GAME that made him rich. Still, he thinks he’s blameless. He’ll go down loving himself for all the wrong reasons …..
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Nobody Of The Week
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No, Tiger Woods is NOT this week’s Mister Nobody. But, his half-brother, Earl Woods Jr., is quite deserving of the honor. Earl is known to be a very reclusive, camera shy kinda dude. I couldn’t even find a photo of him for this blog. Earl is not fond of doing interviews, either.

But, that all changed this week.

Earl broke his silence over his brother’s personal problems. In an interview with the World Wide Leader, Earl dove straight into Tiger’s relationship with estranged wife, Elin. He further advised that he hasn’t spoken to Tiger in nearly a decade. Really? Well, how do you know anything about your brother’s marriage? Be a good brother, Earl, and SHUT UP. I’d suggest this is probably the toughest time in Tiger Woods’ life, regardless of his own culpability. Perhaps, it’s not a stretch to think another human being, who has the same blood flowing through his veins, could just support his brother, huh?
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Chick Of The Week
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Oh yeah, I’m rolling out an ALL TIME BEAUTY. Forget the buxom newcomers we usually feature in these entries – although, I’m HIGH on them, too. Today, we’re featuring my favorite actress, ever. And, yes, she’s my favorite for a variety of reasons. She is certainly Oscar-worthy, as she nailed the role of down and out prostitute “Sera,” in Leaving Las Vegas.

Hail the one and only ELISABETH SHUE

These days, she appears in movies, sparingly. Fortunately for me, she has a new movie premiering, this weekend. Shue stars in Piranha-3, which opens in theatres, today. I’m not a fan of these fish-horror flicks. But, I’ll toss out 9 bucks to see a rare glimpse of my favorite Hollywood-Crush, ever. Damn, she’s still HOT …..
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Player Of The Week
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Over these past couple years, I’ve seized opportunities to praise Josh Hamilton for overcoming challenges much greater than hitting a baseball. While self-inflicted, Hamilton has defeated great odds and found his way to sobriety. My law enforcement career, especially as an undercover narcotics investigator, afforded me a firsthand look at the world of heroin and cocaine addiction. Full blown addicts usually don’t recover from their personal hell.

Josh Hamilton did.

And, as we all know, he recaptured the talent that led him to being a #1 draft pick a decade ago. I’ll admit he really hasn’t a very productive week, but he’s still meriting MVP numbers, with a .353 batting average, 26 homers, 81 rbi and 37 doubles on the season. The guy doesn’t run from his past and he seizes opportunities to help others. You can find find Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards, thru Sunday.
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Father Of The Week
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Thanks to the good folks at HBO’s Hard Knocks, with cooperation from Rex Ryan Inc., we’re learning some interesting things about the New York Jets. The most compelling? Well, how about the fathering abilities of Antonio Cromartie? I don’t know about his parenting skills, but he’s a BABY MAKING MACHINE …..

On the most recent HK episode, Cromartie took a calculated stab at listing (and naming) his kids. Funny? At the moment, yes. But, in reality, no. Antonio Cromartie is 26 years old and he has fathered 8 children by 7 different mothers in 6 states. The oldest is 5 years old, and four of them were born in the same year – and they weren’t quadruplets, triplets or twins.

In acquiring Cromartie from the San Diego Chargers during the recent offseason, the Jets “fronted him” a cool FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS to reconcile delinquent child support payments. Reports have indicated the Chargers traded Cromartie, because his production was being affected by the personal issues. Is $500k going to cure it? Nope …. it just postpones the inevitable.
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Rockstar(s) Of The Week
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Hmmm …. this reunion with David Lee Roth must be working just fine, huh? Indeed, Van Halen is in the studio and recording an album due for release in March, 2011. Tidbits of information are leaking from VH camp, via Warner guru, Irving Azoff. The hot rumor is a couple longtime fans are lending some support. Their names? Stevie Wonder and Kenny Chesney; both of whom are very good friends with Eddie Van Halen. An interesting mix, I suppose.

According to Azoff, Van Halen will be hitting the road for a U.S. Tour in 2011, as well. I guess we shouldn’t hold our collective breath – the band has certainly divorced each other a couple times, and 2011 isn’t here, yet. Perhaps, they’ve just outgrown the ego driven challenges. Or, maybe, Ed and Dave have simply realized they’re a better fit while on the same stage. I wonder what the album will be titled? Van Halen IV …..
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Blogger Of The Week
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I think it’s a pretty fitting choice, huh? I blogged four times, this week !!!! And, I covered nearly every imaginable sports topic. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear my ego is resembling that “Rex Guy” up in New York.

Thank God for the SHAKEWEIGHT …. it’s gonna make me a star. And, perhaps, this blog will finally garner me a spot in Crabs & Beer …..

After all, Glenn Clark is a big supporter of FLEXING MIC MUSCLES. And, by my account, this photo portrays a MICROPHONE & MUSCLES, along with a pretty handsome mugg …..

Have a GREAT WEEKEND !!!!

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Note To Bud Selig .... Stay Out Of Arizona Issue !!!!

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Note To Bud Selig …. Stay Out Of Arizona Issue !!!!

Posted on 03 May 2010 by Rex Snider

Since Major League Baseball has an established track record of usually doing the WRONG thing when it comes to big decisions, I’ve decided to help them out …..

And, it’s a very simple issue.

Of course, everyone has heard about the new Arizona Immigration Law, which is set to take effect this summer. While few people, outside Arizona, probably know the legal ramifications of the law, the pending sanctions are causing reactions throughout our culture.

Responsible citizen debate and activism are never considered bad things – so long as certain “Politics Free” zones are not penetrated.

Got that, Bud ???
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The contentious feelings of people on both sides of the immigration issue make the topic a HOT BUTTON situation. And, while the law and its legality will be dissected through traditional American means, certain entities should stay as far away from any stance, as possible. This list includes …..

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUES

SPORTS TALK RADIO STATIONS

CELEBRITIES (but they won’t)

Major League Baseball is being lobbied to take an opposing stance on the new law. DON’T DO IT, Bud. And, for the record, DON’T OPENLY SUPPORT IT, either. Simply stay out of the fray ….. and stay out of a mess.

If Major League Baseball takes a side, it will cause division among some fans. And, at the same time, it will cause many people to question MLB’s status as a sanctuary from the grind and stress of everyday life.

I realize some notable baseball personalities have spoken out about the new Arizona law. They’ve threatened to take personal sanctions against the economy of the state if the new law is not repealed. That’s certainly their choice and right. However, it shouldn’t influence Bud Selig’s ultimate decision.

If Ozzie Guillen wants to boycott the 2011 All Star Game, good for him. I’ll still enjoy his antics, whether I agree with his position, or not. And, I’ll still hold out hope that he’s skippering the Orioles someday …..
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If Adrian Gonzalez wants to boycott the 2011 All Star Game, more power to him. He’s figuratively cutting off his nose to spite his face. Besides, with Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols and others vying for a slot, Gonzalez isn’t assured of being forced with a decision to go, or not. And, yes, I’ll gladly take him in an Orioles uniform, too.

Since Guillen and Gonzalez are outspoken opponents of Arizona’s new law, I’d be interested to know if they’re truly familiar with intimate details regarding it. But, I don’t want to hear their views by way of a sports-related format.

Do it on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News.

It’s the same expectation I’d have of any stakeholder ….

KNOW THE SUBJECT, IF YOU’RE GONNA TAKE A PUBLIC STAND ON IT.

I’ve got an odd feeling that Major League Baseball will continue with it’s blunders of the past. I’ll imagine Bud Selig will cave to paranoid player and public reaction, regardless of whether those opposed to Arizona’s law are really speaking for the majority. It’s all about perception, with Bud Selig. And, he’s pretty bad at playing such a hand.

If I use the Rex & Ray Show to convey my personal feelings regarding the Arizona topic, what will listeners do? I’d bet they’ll turn the dial …..

Major League Baseball is in a similar situation. But, I doubt they even realize it.

I’m also betting Ozzie Guillen and Adrian Gonzalez don’t really know this law. They’re just shooting from the hip and making reckless, irresponsible statements. But, I don’t expect anything less …. THEY’RE A COUPLE BASEBALL PERSONALITIES.

Thus, I give them the same relevance as the celebrity who tells me how to vote in each election.

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Fire Dave Trembley Yesterday

Posted on 15 April 2010 by Jay Trucker

The Orioles may want to take a day trip to Malibu and ask Brady Anderson for a dose of his vitamins while they’re out on the West Coast. The O’s will play seven games out West in Oakland and Seattle, and things couldn’t be worse.

If I told you before the season that the Orioles would really miss Aubrey Huff’s speed, how would you react?

Yet, that’s the type of season The Birds have had thus far. On the day that Huff hit an inside-the-park home run for San Francisco, the O’s fell to 1-8. And this hasn’t been just any 1-8. This is a 1-8 start that includes an 0-6 opening homestand and a pile of heartbreaking late inning meltdowns.

It’s mid-April, and already the club has found a half dozen ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

That’s why Andy MacPhail, on the record for saying the O’s should be judged by wins and losses this year, should have fired Dave Trembley yesterday. Yet, while fans turn out by the dozen, MacPhail went on record to say that he would not scapegoat, indicating that Trembley’s job is safe for now.

In other words, he’s not about to fire the captain of the ship while it’s going down.

Dave Trembley is not to blame for Brian Roberts injury or
the Mike Gonzalez signing. He’s not the one in the field, on the mound, or at the plate. But he does have some accountability here.

Firing Trembley would be, in part, an effort to change clubhouse morale. This is the guy who said the following while the team was showering up after an 0-6 homestand:

“It’s not the end of the world.”
“We expect that we’ll play better.”

Sure, what is he supposed to say? Trembley’s comments weren’t delivered casually, but they sound like the words of a man who has grown accustomed to losing. Do you think Lou Pinella would say that if the Cubs went 0-6 at Wrigley?

That’s a rhetorical question.

To be sure, a Dave Trembley firing would not be merely symbolic. He is the guy making the lineup and the pitching changes. He’s the guy who has kept Nick Markakis in the three spot despite the fact that he is hitting .207 with a .410 on base percentage so far this season. Kakes has 10 walks to only 6 hits and 0 home runs. In other words, as most people have known for the last two years, Nick Markakis is a number two, not a number three hitter. And if you don’t think that makes a difference, tell me what you think the next time he comes up with two outs and a runner on second and stares at strike three while hoping to take a walk. And shouldn’t Adam Jones have a more clearly defined role in this, his third season with the O’s?

And then there is the pitching. At least three losses, both of Millwood’s and Matusz’s, can be attributed to Trembley leaving his SP out there one inning too long. In this way, the thing that the team has been lacking for nearly all of the last decade, quality starts, have been ruined by poor pitching management.

Of course, there are also bullpen management and base-running debacles to review. How many times does a reliever have to give up a rocketship or a hitter stretch a single into a long out before management takes responsibility? It’s not like the base-running issues are new. Do you mean to tell me there is no way to make professional baseball players stop running the bases like they’re playing in a Patterson Park rec league?

Trembley apologists say that a baseball manager’s job is in many ways symbolic. Unlike in football, for which the coach typically draws up each play, in baseball, the manager has only so much control over his squad. But if managing is largely symbolic, then it is time for a symbolic gesture. The Orioles are in dire need of a fresh start and the fans are more restless than ever. MacPhail should have let Trembley go yesterday and hoped the club could scratch out a few wins out West. They are in desperate need of a clean start before we’re 75 games into the season and the season is out of hand.

MacPhail already missed his first major opportunity. Let’s hope that if this downward spiral continues, the esoteric GM shows that he really does care about wins and losses, by firing the manager who has overseen the club’s worse start since 1988 and who says things like “it’s not the end of the world.”

Firings, like beheadings, should be swift and severe.

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Orioles Flailing, Failing, and Fading Fast as Fan Frustration Mounts

Posted on 11 April 2010 by Jay Trucker

We’re not a full week into baseball season here in Baltimore, and already the fans in Baltimore are somewhere between restless and disengaged.

With a full day and an empty stomach, I set out today for a game of baseball “on the town.” Unfortunately, with The Birds already reeling, there was little baseball buzz to be had in my part of Baltimore on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

At the first establishment I ventured into, the bartender and a few regulars were cranking music and sipping bloody marys instead of going for the Bohs and O’s. They were nice enough to turn down the music when they noticed I was watching the game, but they couldn’t bring themselves to care about the game or the club, exchanging a few casual mentions of the “stinkin’ team” before moving on to happier subjects.

Can you blame them?

At the second place I stopped, a few fans were actually invested in the game. But there was little surprise when everything fell apart for the club in the eighth inning. The guy sitting next to me leaned over at one point after the Jays went ahead for what would be the Orioles fifth loss in six games and casually asked, “When does football season start?”

Later, I heard two fans chattering about the club while standing in line at the grocery store. Only in Baltimore will you regularly hear the words “good for nothing closer” and “freaking asbestos law” together.

April in Baltimore is starting to feel like July. The team is in the cellar, the fans are either booing or moving on with their lives, and the thirteenth year of losing baseball seems, at least at the moment, inevitable.

Ironically, the club has actually had a pretty good week from their starting pitchers. With the exception of Brad Bergesen’s 8 hit, 5 run performance, each of the club’s starting pitchers has given the team a chance to win. There are two schools of thought about this. It is possible that the starting pitchers fared better in their first outing than they will on average in the future. If this is the case, the club really missed a few choice opportunities this week.

Another school of thought says that the team truly has a better pitching staff than they have had in years. If this is the case, it’s entirely possible that the team will turn it around and at least find their way to respectability by mid-summer.

But right now, it’s hard to see that happening. Right now, fans around town are cynical and unconvinced that the Orioles will be worth rooting for even casually this season.

And these are fans that care. These are fans who have followed the team through a lot of losing, fans who tracked the team’s minor league system and read up on their hot stove moves. These are fans who know that the club’s leadoff man is heading to the DL and that their $12 million closer is taking some time to work on his form. These are the fans who waited in earnest for Opening Day and jump through hoops to get tickets and take off early from work, only to watch The Birds get swept in the first series…to the only club picked to finish below them in the division.

There’s nothing but West Coast games and tough divisional matchups between now and mid May. By that time, will anyone even care enough to boo?

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2010: The “Well Then?” Season

Posted on 05 April 2010 by Jay Trucker

For all of its history, complexity, and drama, every baseball season can be boiled down to a two word slogan. The Orioles have had their “Why Not?” campaign in 1989. They’ve also had a “Never Quit” year (’95), and a “What Happened?” era (2005). Last year, unfortunately, was the “Why Bother?” season.

But it’s Opening Day 2010. It’s a new season and time for a new slogan. That’s why I’m labeling 2010 the “Well Then?” season. That’s “Well Then” as in, “This club is finally coming together. Well then, let’s see what they’ve got.”

Will the team make the playoffs? Highly unlikely.

Are they much better on paper than they have been in a long time? Absolutely.

Are they in the toughest division in baseball? Definitely.

Will they finally parlay the fruits of Andy MacPhail’s “plan” into a .500 season? It’s hard to say.

Is this entire article going to be a series of self-directed rhetorical questions? Maybe, because this is sports commentary and that’s what sports commentators do.

Anyway, the 2010 season is the year in which MacPhail has stated publicily that the team will be judged by wins and losses. That’s because it’s the first year that all of his pieces are in place.

This is the first full campaign for 2007 1st rounder Matt Wieters and 2008 1st rounder Brian Matusz. It will be a year in which Matusz will be accompanied by fellow youngsters Brad Bergesen, David Hernadez, and sooner or later Chris Tillman. All of these pitchers are legitimate prospects.Compare them to ’09 Opening Day rotation members Alfredo Simon and Adam Eaton. While not all four of the young SPs will win 15 games, they are a clear upgrade in talent and potential.

Meanwhile, the Orioles have a rangy, young outfield that can hit for average. Heck, they even have two or three left fielders worth playing on a regular basis.

They brought in a veteran hitter in Miguel Tejada, who may not be a true number four hitter anymore, but he should be good for close to the 199 hits and 46 doubles he had in ’09. And youngsters Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Nolan Reimold, who accounted for a total of 43 home runs last year should each take a step forward in power production this season.

They have Brian Roberts at the top of the lineup, and they even upgraded their insurance policy in the event that Roberts’ back acts up when they traded a bag of balls for Julio Lugo. If you don’t like Lugo that much, keep in mind that he is an offensive upgrade over Robert Andino, and the Red Sox are paying 17/18 of his salary to play for the Orioles.

Kevin Millwood probably won’t reproduce his 3.67 ERA for a second consecutive year, but he will more than likely pitch 200 innings and provide better stability than last year’s de facto ace, Jeremy Guthrie.

The team faces a brutal first month of the season, playing 18 games against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, and 6 more games on the West Coast. Many of their players are young and untested. Key veterans like Roberts, Guthrie, and Garrett Atkins are have question marks.

But it’s April, a time for optimism. Overall, this team has a lot more potential than any Opening Day roster the Orioles have put on the field in quite some time. They have the potential to be the first O’s team to reach .500 since the invention of google. They have the potential to give the big boys in the AL East some trouble. They have the potential to make Baltimore care about baseball again.

Well then, let’s see what they’ve got.

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Tuesday With Rex & Ray .....

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Tuesday With Rex & Ray …..

Posted on 30 March 2010 by Rex Snider

It’s Tuesday, so that means we’ll welcome Allen McCallum in-studio for a couple hours of prime baseball talk. We’re less than a week away from the start of the Major League Baseball season, and it’s time to breakdown the Orioles prospective roster. 

We’ll discuss the announcement regarding the Orioles final spot in the starting rotation …..

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In addition, we’ll take a look around the American League, and provide our thoughts and predictions for each division. Hey, it’s the only opportunity to work the Kansas City Royals into the conversation. Who wins the AL EAST, CENTRAL and WEST? We’ll provide our analysis and certainly invite your input, as well.

Of course, at 4pm, we make our daily detour for the ‘NST NEWS – which is brought to you by our friends, at Liberty Tax Service of Brooklyn Park …..
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If we’re hitting TODAY’S quirky and lighthearted news topics, you know CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS are included, right? A wide collection of celebs celebrate a birthday, on March 30th …..
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Of course, we’ll also cover the biggest events in history and monitor the breaking souces, in the event another member of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs afoul of the law.

It all starts at 2pm !!!!

As always, follow REX & RAY on Twitter, as well as the new REX & RAY page, on Facebook !!!!

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Major League Baseball's Endangered Species .....

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Major League Baseball’s Endangered Species …..

Posted on 17 March 2010 by Rex Snider

For the first time in our brief existence, last Thursday’s edition of the REX & RAY SHOW got a little heavy. The subject matter wasn’t conflicted or confrontational …. but, everybody had an opinion of some very disturbing statistics regarding Major League Baseball.

No, we weren’t talking about STEROIDS, SCOTT BORAS or the YANKEES/RED SOX RIVALRY.

We were talking about true implications for the history of America’s Pastime. Forget about the small stuff, like “Joe Mauer’s 2011 destination” and “Prince Fielder’s next zipcode.” Major League Baseball has an inherent crisis; an inevitable, foundational problem on its plate, and nobody recognizes it.

Well, nobody, except Torii Hunter.

And, if Bud Selig, or his successor doesn’t prioritize and publicize Major League Baseball’s cultural conundrum, these gentlemen might be among the beginning of an end for a distinct group …..
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That’s right, the African American ballplayer is becoming a scarce reality. Sheer roster numbers are evidence that a cultural shift within baseball, itself, has consumed the identity of the sport throughout the past 35 years. Indeed, the product of pro baseball looks alot different today, as opposed to 1975.

I can distinctly recall that era, and African American players were a common, if not heralded group compromising the game’s core. A quick glimpse around the diamond, in any big league park, would yield an impressive representation of AMERICAN athletes, both black and white.

Yet, today, things are much different and if you look closely, the difference is obvious for the eye to see. The numbers don’t lie. Just consider the following demographical data regarding racial makeup in Major League Baseball, over the last 35 years …..

1975 – Caucasian – 60%, Hispanic – 13%, African American – 27%

1995 – Caucasian – 57%, Hispanic – 22%, African American – 19%, Asian – 1%

2009 – Caucasian – 60%, Hispanic – 29%, African American – 8%, Asian 2%

It’s quite clear to see Major League Baseball is experiencing a cultural shift as it relates to the players who comprise its rosters. In just 35 years, the amount of players from a Hispanic heritage has increased more than 100%, while the African American base has dropped more than 200%.

At the same time, a modest amount of Asian players are now playing Major League Baseball.  The overall number of Asian players is still minimal – and interestingly, the percentage of Caucasian players remains UNCHANGED in comparison to the 1975 figures.

I’m sure some readers have reached this point, while thinking “So what are you trying to say, Rex?” To be honest, I was just curious why the COLOR or CULTURE of baseball has changed so drastically. I don’t think it’s a case of discrimination – the best players are going to end up on Major League rosters, regardless of color.

I don’t care if they’re WHITE, BLACK, GREEN or ORANGE.
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In fact, I think the racial makeup of Major League Baseball is more than likely just the end result of what is happening in the game of BASEBALL, in the United States.

I suspect American kids are no longer obsessed with baseball as a recreational sport. And, I’ll imagine several influences impact the situation.

When I was a kid, we LIVED baseball and God knows we created so many hybrid forms of the game to fit the amount of players available. If we had 10 kids on a particular day, we would close half of the field. If only a half dozen showed up, we’d move to the nearby tennis courts or a backyard and make do.

Heck, we played Homerun Derby, as well as the contradictory form of the game – yep, we’d play on a very small field and a homer was an out.

We LIVED for it.

Nobody played soccer or lacrosse. And, an invention called Atari was a scarce, but fun diversion on hot days.

We didn’t enjoy 376 different television channels, either. It was a simple choice : 2, 11, 13, 45 …..

Computers and cellphones were non-existent. I guess we didn’t know what we were missing, because I loved life as a kid – and baseball was a huge part of it.

Today, things are much different. If I walk through Towson Town Center or Arundel Mills, I will witness dozens of kids talking on their cellphones or texting. More kids will be communicating with that handheld device than with the person standing alongside them.

Most people would suggest that a different reason must be impacting the lack of African Americans playing baseball. Perhaps, I’m wrong – I’ve never walked a day in the shoes of an African American kid or adult.

But, I do see baseball’s popularity decreasing in American culture. In fact, a 2005 survey, called the “Boyd Study” computed and analyzed the racial makeup of NCAA – Division I Baseball Programs. The numbers are pretty clear, and they support the reality of Major League Baseball’s demographical data. Here’s the breakdown …..

2005 NCAA – Division I : Caucasian : 91%, African American : 5.5%

While most statistics would indicate the overall number of African Americans playing baseball is substantially reduced throughout the ballfields and stadiums around the United States, I suspect it’s really just a partial result of what is truly happening. I believe fewer American kids are playing baseball, regardless of race. And, in proportion to the respective populations of African Americans and Caucasians, there are simply far more “white” people in this country.

Thus, while kids of both races are not nearly as interested in baseball, the amount of Caucasians, in the United States, is so vastly superior to African Americans that the 60% threshold of Causcasian Major Leaguers remains unchanged. These numbers, too, don’t lie …..
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As I’ve indicated, I can only sympathize and understand this situation through the eyes of a white kid. I am 100% reliant on input from people and technology to understand other races and their relationship with baseball.

During the REX & RAY SHOW, dominating opinions of African American callers regarded single parent households, as well as fewer opportunities to play baseball in inner-city neighborhoods, as mitigating causes behind the notable disconnect between their race and the game, itself.

While I don’t think it’s entirely fair to ignorantly assume that inner-city communities are exclusively inhabited by minorities (I’ve seen plenty of whites in Pigtown, Morrell Park, Highlandtown, South Baltimore and Waverly), I do see the connection between many prominent African American athletes and inner-city roots.

Many of these same athletes come from single-parent households. It’s the truth.

Callers did suggest that single-parent households aren’t likely to produce many baseball players, because baseball is a sport that usually requires parental intervention – from the perspective of a dad teaching a son the game’s basics. Say what you want, it’s relatively easy to pickup a basketball and start some crude form of dribbling and shooting, and an overly aggressive kid can find some initial success in a pickup football game.

But, NOBODY can pickup a bat, for the first time and start hitting baseballs. It takes patience and the guidance of someone who has a genuine interest in the student of the game …..
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During Monday’s REX & RAY SHOW, we had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Franklin – radio voice for the Houston Cougars Basketball program. During our conversation, Tom took a few seconds to dish about Houston’s Aubrey Coleman, who leads the nation in scoring, with 25.6 points, per game. Tom lauded the young man as being a quick student – he never played basketball before his junior year, IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Got that? Aubrey Coleman was 16 years old before he ever played organized basketball. I don’t care about an athlete’s overall talent – you’re not going to become a “pro caliber” baseball player if your initial exposure to the sport begins as a teenager. It’s not happening – crafting your baseball accumen takes YEARS of development and failure. And, the unconditional love for the sport fosters during childhood.

I’m not diminishing the rigors of basketball and football, at the highest levels. But, notable athletes have transitioned their devotions to these two sports as teenagers and adults. And, they became “decent” football and basketball players – on the pro level.

Heck, you can teach/coach a grown man to play football and score touchdowns on the BEST TEAM IN THE NFL …..
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But, there was absolutely no way Renaldo Nehemiah could pickup a baseball bat and start playing for the Yankees. Better yet, he wouldn’t make the Pittsburgh Pirates final cuts. Baseball is indeed a lifelong journey for the 20 year old ballplayer.

Being a great athlete is not enough for aspiring baseball players. Possessing the most coveted of coordinations skills is not enough, either – but it really helps. I don’t think the greatest or most athletic of sportsmen are found on pro baseball rosters. However, I do think Major League players are unquestionably among the most “skilled” of competitors, when it comes to overall ability.

Such skills are honed from childhood.

Rewind the calendar 16 years and many of us recall the greatest basketball player who ever lived, as he tried to fulfill a dream of playing pro baseball. As WNST’s Chris Pika can recount from firsthand exposure, this awesome athlete worked harder than anyone to recapture some skills and talent he once flashed on baseball diamonds, as a kid …..
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In the end, he couldn’t do it. And, this was arguably within the “peak” window of his athletic life – at 31 years old.

Have I heard of pro baseball players with very little experience? Not really. I’ve delved deeply into baseball’s recent history and I could only find one tangible example of a player who never played the game during their childhood, so to speak.

And, let me assert that I have no problem believing it – if it’s true …..

According to past Orioles sources and media guides, Daniel Cabrera did not start playing baseball until he was a teenager. I can envision it. Daniel Cabrera has always been a “project.” The anticipated hope each and every season, from 2004 thru today, is that Cabrera might finally “get it.”

Everybody certainly hopes …..

Yet, as I look back at Cabrera’s career, he was continually labeled as “stubborn” and/or unwilling to accept tutoring from baseball minds. Jim Palmer finally gave up – as Cabrera did not heed his help and advice. Who would disregard tutelage from one of baseball’s most intelligent and knowledgable Hall Of Fame pitchers?

Daniel Cabrera lacks some of the most basic baseball skills. Have you seen him run the bases or handle his glove? God help him.

Better yet, have you seen him with a bat in his hands? He is, without question, the worst hitter I’ve ever seen in my life.

The statistics prove my suspicions. Just look at Daniel Cabrera’s career batting achievements …..

Major League Career – 26 at bats, 0 hits, 24 strikeouts

Minor League Career – 2 at bats, 0 hits, 1 strikeout

How does a pro baseball player manage to strikeout in 25 of 28 at bats? Daniel Cabrera has been ejected from baseball games more often than he has put the ball in play, with a bat in his hands …..
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It’s easy to answer – he’s not a baseball player. He’s a guy who displayed an ability to throw a mean fastball, as a teenager. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Orioles gambled on a risk. In the end, the risk cost the Orioles nearly $7 million and alot of wasted time. But, that’s a discussion for another day.

However, I do think Daniel Cabrera serves as a prime example of a teenager who tries to start playing competitive baseball for the first time. He might have some amateur success, but the glaring absence of skills commonly instilled as a child will eventually surface.

Perhaps, our African American callers were right – a greater percentage of ALL kids are not playing baseball. However, it’s probably not rooted in a dislike for the game. Yeah, some kids think baseball is boring. But, a greater number either had no exposure to it, or they failed at it.

We’ve all observed this common sight – a high school linebacker needs something to do in the spring, but his skills are not enhanced for good glovework or a disciplined trip to the plate, Thus, he takes his football mentality to the lacrosse field.  Aside from personal tastes, lacrosse is a sport more fitting for an impatient or lesser-skilled athlete.

Make no mistake about it, kids require a teaching component from the moment they handle a bat. You will hear that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do. Well, there’s a twist to that – hitting a baseball with a disciplined eye and sweet stroke is one of the hardest things to do. It’s very much like hitting a golf ball – without proper teaching and technique, a hitter will develop poor habits.

Cite Drew Forrester as an example.  When his son, Ethan, is ready to pickup a baseball bat or golf club, who will be there to teach him?  Exactly …..

Like golf, baseball also requires a hefty expense for equipment. Basketball and football require a BALL for most pickup games.

To be honest, numerous factors are undoubtedly contributing to the decline in African American players, in Major League Baseball. I’m sure there are plenty of answers. As I’ve said, having a father figure in a child’s life is paramount for many causes – and development as a baseball player is just one of the MINOR ones.

I can recall many African American heroes from my childhood …..
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Unfortunately, their cultural presence is disappearing from stadiums across this land. It is what it is ….

I don’t believe there is any possible way of stopping of it. It’s not a problem Major League Baseball has created or enhanced – while Bud Selig and his cohorts are responsible for many of the games ills, this one isn’t one them.  That said, it’s still a problem for them.

I guess it’s just another example of how our world is changing – for the worse …..

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WNST.net Says It All – Not A Single Mark McGwire Blog …..

Posted on 12 January 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, I’ve waited nearly 24 hours for Mark McGwire’s name to appear on this homepage. As I write this blog, we’re 26+ hours and counting – with no devotion to the guy who shattered Roger Maris’ single season homerun record, a mere decade ago.

They’re talking about it on CNN …..

They’re talking about it on Fox News …..

And, of course, they’re talking about it on ESPN …..

But, here, where REAL SPORTS FANS hangout and gather their daily diatribe of coverage between the baselines and sidelines, not a single ‘NST blogger gave Big Mac any print. And, the topic hasn’t dominated our airtime, either.

The relevant question is WHY ??? As sure as we know pro rasslin’ ain’t real ….. and, as sure as we know Paul Tagliabue doesn’t own any Ravens gear – we’ve also known Mark McGwire was a steroid user. We just KNEW it.

And, on the day following his admission, of sorts, there is very little dialogue and banter about it.

I think the reason is pretty clear – Baltimore’s sports fans don’t care. I’ll suspect you deemed Mark McGwire’s achievements as “ill-gotten” a long time ago. Regardless of what he says – or doesn’t say ….. your mind is made up, and rightfully so.

Maybe this story is a big beal in St. Louis or Boston. Heck, it might have some importance in Los Angeles or New York – or Chicago – or Atlanta – or Philadelphia – or Minneapolis. But, it’s obviously just a mitigating piece to the daily sports news, in Baltimore.

Yep, a couple distinctive, indigenous reasons are probably impacting a story like McGwire’s – as it relates to Baltimore.

ONE – this town’s football team is preparing to play it’s most meaningful game of the season – fresh on the heels of last week’s most meaningful game of the season.

TWO – and it honestly hurts me to suggest this – my hometown might be falling out of love with baseball. And, like a wife or husband who’s the victim of so many years of disappoinment and turmoil, we simply harden to the existence of anything related to something we no longer love.

I’ve got an uneasy feeling in my stomach. It’s a feeling of angst and inevitability wrapped into one.

When the Ravens lose their next game – OR win their 5th in a row ….. the clock will start, and nearly SEVEN MONTHS will pass before another meaningful contest is played by a team from Baltimore. If you think this raw, chilling weather sucks, just wait a short while. It’s gonna be a SUCK SUNDAE, with a cherry on top, real soon.

Baltimore’s fans haven’t been excited or attuned to Major League Baseball’s standings, storylines or salacious scandals for a few years. We’re beyond disgruntled. We’ve grown indifferent, and that’s a telling result for the discerning eye.

A team located closer than Ocean City has appeared in two consecutive World Series matchups. How many of us drove up to see them over these couple seasons? Oh, that’s right -we’ll go to THAT SAME CITY to watch a bunch of guys fight in a cage. But, baseball ??? Nah …..

And, don’t tell me baseball fans don’t travel. Do you know what Yankees and Red Sox fans get for Christmas? You guessed it ….. tickets to Camden Yards.

We don’t care about Major League Baseball’s annual awards. Who’s the defending AL MVP?

We don’t care about Major League Baseball’s statistics. Who hit the most homeruns, in 2009?

We don’t care about Major League Baseball’s Free Agents. Who’s coming to Baltimore? Umm …. seriously, WHO IS COMING TO BALTIMORE?

We honestly just don’t care.

It’s really not about Mark McGwire. He’s just a byproduct of the game’s era of dysfunction and deceit. McGwire has nothing to do with this town’s woes.

A fair share of steroid users have played baseball here. But, their presence didn’t cause our indifference. Perhaps, their effort and contributions lent to the problem ….. but, it wasn’t the performance enhancing drug usage, per se’.

We know the reason(s). It’s LOSING and BEING TREATED POORLY. After a decade of both, I just don’t think people have much left in their hearts. We’re stuck squarely in the middle of a LOSING LIFESTYLE, as it regards baseball.

Terrible, isn’t it?

So, when Mark McGwire and his honesty, or lack thereof, don’t really resonate in this town, I’m not surprised. In fact, ‘ole Big Mac can get in line with every other baseball story to hit Baltimore over the last few years.

To be honest, he could feasibly grab a first baseman’s mitt and head to Sarasota, in five weeks. After all, it’s not like the team has a better option on the roster. In fact, this reality is a perfect example of why people just don’t care.

God help us when the Ravens season ends.

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2009's - "REAL" Sportsman Of The Year .....

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2009’s – “REAL” Sportsman Of The Year …..

Posted on 11 December 2009 by Rex Snider

A couple weeks ago, Sports Illustrated named Derek Jeter it’s “2009 – Sportsman Of The Year” …..

Yeah, it’s just another trophy among a long list of awards handed out every year. And, in truth, the whole SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR concept is primarily tied to Sports Illustrated’s devotion to staying relevant, rather than identifying and honoring the most befitting sports personality.

With no disrespect to Derek Jeter, how did he distinguish himself above any and all personalities, throughout the last twelve months?

He had a good year on the field.

And, he’s a good citizen.

Heck, Derek Jeter is living the dream life of a lot of guys. He evidently has Tiger Woods’ affinity for dating a cache’ of girls. But, Derek isn’t married – and he doesn’t answer to a combustible blonde. Good for him !!!!

He’s single …..

He’s a player – on and off the field …..

I’m envious …..

Actually, I’m not. I love my life and all that’s in it. But, I do respect a bachelor’s incentive to live his life like a playboy. Thus, I would have no problem with naming Derek Jeter “Sports Bachelor Of The Year.”

But, SportsMAN ???

I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve looked at the long list of former sports celebrities who’ve held Sports Illustrated’s prized distinction. Derek Jeter befits their company – and they befit his …..

2007

2006

2005

2004

And, of course, we can’t forget 2008’s decorated selection …..


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I honestly think there are better candidates – and certainly a BETTER CHOICE for “2009’s Sportsman Of The Year”

In early September, Hall Of Famer, Ernie Harwell, disclosed that he was battling incurable cancer. At 91 years old, Harwell has decided not to fight the inevitable, and instead, he’s chosen to enjoy the brief but precious time he has remaining on this earth.

Think about that …..

Ernie Harwell could’ve jetsetted around the world, while seeking radical and experimental treatments. He could’ve spent his remaining time searching for his own remedy, while neglecting the blessed days with his family.

He made an incredibly UNSELFISH decision.

To hear Harwell talk about it, he’s incredibly grateful for the life he was granted. He’s at peace and ready for his life to end – ON HIS TERMS.

In the months following the revelation, Ernie Harwell has been showered with accolades and devotions to his character. He’s handled it with the same class that embodied his career – HUMBLY and MODESTLY.

On September 16th, the Detroit Tigers honored Ernie Harwell, during pre-game festivities. During his speech, Harwell seized the spotlight to do what he’s always done …..

He shined it on the players and fans.

He thanked them for giving him the opportunity to live a dream. He thanked them for letting him SERVE BASEBALL.

Ernie Harwell has never hit a homerun. He’s never stolen a base. And, he’s never thrown a pitch. Indeed, he’s done more for the game of baseball than any All Star could ever do.

He delivered the game to the people who love it. And, he was great …..

We haven’t heard much from Ernie Harwell, since mid-September. Gosh, I hope he’s having a special holiday season, surrounded by family and friends. He truly deserves it.

And, speaking of “deserving” …..

I’m not suggesting Derek Jeter doesn’t deserve Sports Illustrated’s award. He’s a class act.

And, he helps people through charitable endeavors …..

I just think Sports Illustrated missed the mark, in 2009.

Ernie Harwell has given more to the SPORTS COMMUNITY than any active player – in any league.

He’s proof that a SPORTSMAN isn’t required to actually stand on the field. A sportsman supports the sports community, and does it with a humble dedication to sustaining humanity. Nothing more, nothing less …..

I wish WNST had a “Sportsman Of The Year” or “Person Of The Year” award. And, I can’t think of a more fitting choice than Ernie Harwell. He’s always put others first.

Baseball and the world will miss him.

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The Dirty 103 ???

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Rex Snider

Every few months, a new name surfaces in connection to the “2003 Major League Baseball – Administrative Drug Test.” You know, it’s the test players took, with an understanding they wouldn’t be compromised or punished.

In March, Sports Illustrated’s Selena Roberts outed Alex Rodriguez as one of the 103 players, who tested positive, during the 2003 program. After much wrangling and straight-faced denials, A’Rod finally came clean.

A few months followed, but another foot finally dropped. And, to nobody’s surprise, the name revealed was Slammin’ Sammy Sosa. According to the New York Times, Sammy also tested positive, in 2003. There has been no word from Sosa, but we all know he forgets his mastery of the English language, on occasion.

The latest disclosure, last week, also by the New York Times, cites David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez as players who also failed the 2003 sampling. Neither player has wholeheartedly denied the legitimacy of the report. Hey, if you’re not denying such an accusation …..

Still, we’re all waiting around for the next name to drop, right?

In fact, pressure is mounting from within Major League Baseball, to publicly disseminate the findings and names associated with 2003 testing procedure. Personalities, like Ozzie Guillen and Lou Piniella would like to see it. However, I would assume this will be a pretty difficult task to accomplish.

There was no established disciplinary process for using Performance Enhancing Drugs, in 2003. The players consented to the testing procedure with an understanding the findings would remain confidential and with freedom from future sanctions.

The affected players still have an expectation to their negotiated privacy, regardless of the “splash” each big disclosure creates. And, while the mystery of the list has undermined the legitimacy of the sport, the deal must be honored.

Perhaps, the players on the list will collectively decide to go public. That would make it an afterthought, in the span of a week. But, I’d imagine it’s really up to them. Anything less than full disclosure will probably yield the same tidbits of outing we’ve experienced, since the A’Rod debacle.

The website, RotoInfo.com, has released its “Rumored 2003 List.” It’s unconfirmed, but the site stands by its relevance. It should be added that RotoInfo.com is a legitimate web news source, and its postings are not reflective of propaganda or tabloid material.

If the list is accurate, some Orioles fans might be surprised at the naming of a former All Star, who’s feeling “disrespected.” The legitimacy of the list would also disappoint the likes of Drew Forrester (hmmm ….. who could we be talking about?), Franchise (yep, we know which team is MOST REPRESENTED), and wives – Mia Hamm and Anna Benson.

Ahh well, if you’re curious, here’s the list …..

http://www.rotoinfo.com/read_article.php?articleId=380

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