Preview: Crooklyn Baseball
Baseball fan has his say.
Book wreaks havoc on Bonds
The March 13 edition of Sports Illustrated dropped some bombs after printing excerpts from an upcoming book, "Game of Shadows" by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. It documents the jealosy Bonds felt as McGwire and Sosa
were in the middle of the homerun chase and how he decided to do whatever it took to get a piece of that action. The book alleges that Barry went on a workout and steroid binge that saw him take pharmaceuticals like Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol. It also looks at his involvement with BALCO and their designer steroids that could not be detected through conventional testing.
Kirby Puckett passes away
Hall of Fame baseball player and Twins fan favorite Kirby Puckett died today after suffering a brain aneurysm. Puckett was best known as the Minnesota Twins centre fielder and won two World Series (1987, 1991) with the team. He had to retire in 1996 after suffering from glaucoma in one eye. Puckett was fighting weight problem and had recently gotten through some personal problems in his post-baseball career. Kirby Puckett spent all 12 of his major league seasons with the Minnesota Twins, hitting .318 with 207 home runs and 1,085 runs batted in from 1984 through 1995. He will be greatly missed by all baseball fans.
2006 season is just around the corner
Even as much of North America is under a cold spell, Florida and Arizona are teeming with baseball players, coaches and fans. Spring training has started so it won't be very long before we have ourselves some better weather and baseball games. The off season has been tumultous with the Toronto Blue Jays making a real push for the American League East this year. On a sadder note, it seems like Sammy Sosa's
career has probably ended as he has yet to sign with anyone. And don't forget, this year also brings the first ever "World Baseball Classic" that will pit the best baseball playing countries around the world, against each other over the next couple of weeks.
MLB implements tough new steroid penalties
After getting whacked around by the US Congress and many observers, Major League Baseball and its players union have agreed to implement a new steroid policy that seems to have some teeth. Proposed earlier this year
by Bud Selig, the new agreement includes the following penalties:
- 50 games for first offense
- 100 games for the second offense
- Lifetime ban for the third offense (can be appealed after 2 years)
MLB has also added some penalties for players detected of useing amphetamines. First positive test will require mandatory additional testing, second offense will yield a 25-game suspension and a third offense will see the player suspended for 80-game suspension.
White Sox win World Series
The Chicago White Sox defeated the Houston Astros in four straight games to win the 2005 World Series of baseball. The White Sox were a dominating team throughout the season and even though they stumbled a little in August, like many great teams they bounced right back and blew through the playoffs. This is the team's first World Series victory since the infamous "Black Sox" scandal from 1917. Now if only their cross town rivals the Chicago Cubs could win the big dance and end their even longer drought.
Orioles to Palmeiro: Stay at home
The Rafael Palmeiro steroids saga seems to have taken a recent turn for the worst. Recent reports indicate that Palmeiro testified in his grievance hearing that he may have tested positive after receiving vitamins from teammate Miguel Tejada. Palmeiro spoke of receiving a shot of vitamin B-12 but Tejada has come out denying he gave Raffy any vitamins. This may have broken the horse's back as the Orioles seem to have had enough. In an effort to put an end to the distraction this saga has caused for the struggling team, they have asked Palmeiro to stay at home for the rest of this season. It is more than likely that Rafael Palmeiro may have played his last Major League Baseball game.
Palmeiro tests positive for 'roids
It was about six month ago when Rafael Palmeiro sat in front of Congress and unequivocally denies the allegations put forth by former Rangers teammate Jose Canseco
on the use of performance enhancing drugs. Fast forward to more recent times as Palmeiro crossed the 3,000 hit plateau this season and then to today, when he was suspended for testing positive for anabolic steroids. The 40-year-old Palmeiro became the seventh player to fail a test under the toughened major league policy that took effect in March, rules criticized by Congress as not being stringent enough. Without giving specifics, the four-time All-Star left the impression that the banned substance was contained in a supplement that was not prescribed. Either way, this could keep him out of the Cooperstown and it surely makes Rafael Palmeiro look like a real a$$. Since this is his first offence, he will be suspended for 10 games.
Bobby Abreu hits record 41 homers
The Baseball All-Star game's homerun derby was held in "pitcher friendly" Comerica Part in Detroit, Michigan. Philadelphia Phillies right fielder easily took home the Home Run Derby and in doing so also set a record hitting a total of 41 home runs over 3 rounds. Batting left-handed and teeing off against his personal batting practice pitcher, Phillies bullpen coach Ramon Henderson, Abreu topped out with a 517-foot shot onto the porch above the back row of right-field bleachers, sending the standing-room crowd scurrying for a souvenir. "Just trying to put on a good show. They enjoy it, that's what it's all about," Abreu said.
Kenny Rogers suspended for 20 games by MLB
Veteran Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers has been suspensed 20 games by MLB for his assault on a television cameraman. He was also fined $50,000 and Arlington police is investigating the incident which required the cameraman, Larry Rodriguez to be hospitalized. The players' union filed an appeal on behalf of Rogers, and the 40-year-old left-hander can keep pitching until a hearing can be held. In a statement, commissioner Bud Selig said: "Mr Rogers' behavior was unprofessional, unwarranted and completely unacceptable. Major League Baseball is a social institution and all of us in the game have an important responsibility to act with reason and good judgment." The suspension is one of the harshest imposed by Major League Baseball.
Yankees contemplate $800 million ballpark
There is no place sacred to baseball fans and purists than Yankee stadium. But the New York Yankees are expected to announce plans for a brand new $800 million baseball stadium. It would be built adjacent to the current Yankee Stadium and could be ready by the 2009 season. It would have a capacity of between 50,800 - 54,000 seats and would be built in Macombs Dam Park using funds from the team. The stadium plan calls for the new ballpark to resemble the original Yankee Stadium in many of its details, and the dimensions of the playing field would be identical to the current ballpark. It would have 50-60 suites, up from 18 in the current stadium.
Commissioner Selig proposes tough steroid penalties
The US Congress has taken up the fight against anabolic steroids and threatened to make pro-sports leagues "pay". Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig must have seen the writing on the wall when he made his recent comments to toughen up baseball's recently negotiated steroid rules. Selig's asking players to agree to a 50-game suspension for first-time steroid offenders, a 100-game suspension for a second offense, and to a lifetime ban for a third violation. In his letter to MLB union head Donald Fehr, he also asks for a ban on amphetamines, more frequent random tests and the appointment of an independent administrator of the MLB drug-testing program. Under current rules, a first steroid offense gets a ten-day suspension and a second calls for 30 days while the league does not punish amphetamine use.
MLB kicks off 2005 baseball season
The '05 baseball season got away last night with the New York Yankees thumping the defending World Champs, Boston Red Sox 9-2. The rest of the league began to gets its act underway today with 10 games that featured many firsts - including the first loss for the Washington Nationals. Detroit's Dmitri Young became the third player to hit three homers on opening day as the Tigers beat the Royals. With all the recent scandal still fresh in our minds, here's hoping for a fun baseball season!!
US Congress holds steroids hearings
The US House of Representatives hosted hearings on steroids in sports, most notably Major League Baseball. The hearings included testimony from several baseball notables including MLB commissioner Bud Selig and players Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa
and Curt Shilling. The players (except for Canseco) denied the notion that steroids
were a major problem in baseball. Baseball enjoys a special exemption and tax status in the United States because the sport, known as "America's pastime," has a significant place in American cultural history. Congress has considered withdrawing that special status if baseball does not institute tougher anti-doping policies.
Canseco opens a can of worms
Jose Canseco has always been outspoken, but his upcoming book is raising a few 'Spockian' eyebrows. The Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds revelations about their relationship with BALCO had already forced MLB to add some teeth to its substance abuse policy and Canseco is just adding the exclamation mark. Jose claims that steroid use has been rampant in MLB, sighthing his own steroid abuse and claims of teammates that he provided with the drugs. Amongst those indicted by the former slugger include Mark McGwire, Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmero and Juan Gonzales. As expected, these players have denied these charges but one has to ask if Jose is simply making this up? Probably not, but I doubt anyone will be 'fessing up. I would like to hear more from coaches, managers and owners because they definitely have to have had some clues.
Mags signs with the Tigers
Magglio Ordonez will patrol right field in Comerica Park for the next 5 years. The Detroit Tigers landed the former Chicago White Sox
to a whopping five year, $75 million contract, with two option years. Tigers skipper Alan Trammel hopes he has found his clean-up hitter who can stay healthy. Ordonez's career was rumored to be in jeopardy after knee surgery last season and the latest contract is supposed to have provisions that could void the deal if Ordonez continues to suffer more knee problems. Ordonez played the first eight seasons of his major league career with the Chicago White Sox.
Sammy Sosa traded to the Orioles
It wasn't too long ago when Slammin' Sammy Sosa
was the toast of Chicago with both fans and the Cubs organization feeling pretty good about having the slugger on their team. But Sosa's numbers slipped last year, his relationship with manager Dusty Baker was less than plesant, he walked out on the team during the last game of the season and Cubs fans losing interest were reasons Sammy was dealt to Baltimore. The deal sees infielder Jerry Hairston and two minor leaguers come to the Chicago Cubs for Sosa. It is still not clear if the Cubs will eat part of his remaining contract.
Delgado stakes end, lands with Marlins
Carlos Delgado signed with the Florida Marlins, after playing three MLB teams (Rangers, Mets, Orioles, Marlins) off each other over the last few weeks. Saying that he wanted to come to a winning team, the first baseman finalized a four-year, $52 million contract with the Florida Marlins. Delgado has spent his baseball career with the Toronto Blue and made a whopping $18.5 million in 2004, the final season of a four-year, $68 million contract. He joins a stacked offensive lineup that already features Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell and Miguel Cabrera.
Busy offseason continues in the Big Apple
The two New York baseball teams haven't been shy about the moves they have made this off season. For once, the Yankees seem to have been overshadowed by the Mets in terms of the free agent talent they have attracted. The Yankees sured up their pitching by adding Carl Pavano and trading for Randy Johnson. But the Mets have gotten two of the highest profile free agents this winter. Future hall of fame pitcher Pedro Martinez left the World Series Champs in Boston to sign on with the Mets and was then joined by high-priced outfielder Carlos Beltran. Beltran signed a seven year contract worth $119 million. The Yankees couldn't sign Beltran as they have apparently reached the limit of their spending but Omar Minaya wants to add another bat with first baseman Carlos Delgado in his sights. It should be an exciting baseball season in New York!
Baseball unveils a plan to combat substance abuse
Major League Baseball took a step in the right direction as it finally announced a substance abuse/steroid
use policy. In a nutshell, we are going to see more testing and stiffer penalties for those who are caught. The major points include:
- Random testing, including in the off-season.
- Banned substance list to mirror that of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
- First time offenders would receive the 10 day suspension.
- A second positive test would yield a 30 day suspension.
- A third would result in a 60 day banishment.
- A fourth positive test would result in a one year suspension from MLB.
Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg inducted into Hall of Fame
Baseball writers voted to induct Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Boggs was one of baseball's premier contact hitter with a .328 career average and 3,010 hits. Sandberg
was a fixture at second base with the Chicago Cubs and has a .989 career fielding percentage, the highest for a second baseman. The baseball writers cast 92% votes for Boggs
who joins the Hall in his first year of eligibility while Sandberg got in on his third try with 76% of the votes. Left out were several great ex-players including Jim Rice, Andrew Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage.
Big names on the move
After a quiet couple of weeks, some big name baseball players are either on the move or have already signed with new clubs. Pedro Martinez (who's your daddy) is now a New Yorker, not a Yankee but instead a Met
. Adrian Beltre (not Beltran) signed for a whopping 5 year $64 million dollars with the Seattle Mariners
, who also signed Richie Sexson to a sweet $50 million deal. Troy Glaus and Russ Ortiz signed major deals with the Arizona Diamondbacks
and Jeff Kent moves to the Los Angeles Dodgers
. The Toronto Blue Jays
picked up Canuck Corey Koskie and Troy Percival signed with the Detroit Tigers
There have also been a few high profile trades over the last few days. Atlanta
swapped a bunch of players including Tim Hudson to the Braves for outfielder Charles Thomas and pitchers Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer. But by far one of the biggest deals is still in the works. The three way trade apparently involves the New York Yankees
, Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. The key player in Randy Johnson
and the deal could see him go to New York with Shawn Green moving to Arizona and the Dodgers getting Javier Vazquez and some other prospects/players.
Giambi spills the beans
It shouldn't really come as a surprise that Giambi didn't make enormous gains in size and strength by drinking his milk. In testimony last December from the Balco scandal, Giambi admitted to using anabolic steroids
for several years, including in 2003 when steroid experience was outlawed by MLB. Giambi said he injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003 and used steroids for at least three seasons. Giambi, the 2000 American League MVP with Oakland
, signed a seven-year contract with the Yanks
before the 2002 season, the sixth-highest deal in baseball history. It would be interesting to see how the New York Yankees handle the remaining 4 years on his deal - this may be a reason for them to try to cut him, especially since he barely played last year and seems to be nowhere near his old (juiced up) self.
The quiet period
Not much has been going on in the world of baseball these days. The world has come to grips with the fact that the Boston Red Sox
finally broke the curse and won the World Series Championship. Some players declared for free agency on November 1 and very few have signed with teams - the big names are still out there. It is expected that over the next few weeks we will probably see more news and free agent signings. Until then, its time to bundle up and hope hockey gets its house in order.
Big names opt for free agency
The World Series excitement had just settled down when a barrage of MLB players began opting for free agency. Some of the more big name players include Carlos Beltran of the Houston Astros
, Adrian Beltre of the LA Dodgers, Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays, Chris Carpenter of the St Louis Cardinals
, Matt Clement and Nomar Garciaparra of the Chicago Cubs, Jermaine Dye of the Kansas City Royals
, and Troy Glaus of the Anaheim Angles of Los Angeles
Its all about the Red Sox...2004 World Series Champs!
It had been 86 years since the Red Sox
had popped some few bottles of bubbly. They finally buried their past ghosts this week by winning a World Series, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals. What's most amazing is that less than 2 weeks ago, this same team was on the verge of being swept out of the ALCS by the New York Yankees
. After winning 4 straight games to put the Yanks out of their misery, the Red Sox roller coaster ride continued on with its momentum, sweeping the Cardinals
in four straight games. It is not often that the World Series ends of being so one sided, but the BoSox simply overpowered the Cards in every aspect of the game. This now means that the Chicago Cubs
take over as team with the longest World Series drought.