July 16, 2019

A-Rod Reaches 600 Club

Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run (youngest ever) today after 46 at-bats, 12 games and 50 ESPN programming interruptions since his 599th homerun. 28 year-old Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum gave up A-Rod’s A-Bomb which means he will go down in the record books along with Alex. I think we can all agree this milestone is tainted with a capital T, but at least it is over and we can all move on to bigger and better things. It would be fantastic if we could just skip over to September so baseball actually begins to mean something and football season will be upon us.

Bob Sheppard Has Died

We have lost a great name in sports today because Bob Sheppard the long time announcer of the New York Yankees home games passed away. There wasn’t rock or hip-hop music when a player went to the plate instead there was a simple announcement of the man, his position and his number. That is all we really needed to know and Bob Sheppard did it so well.

This like when we lose man like Chick Hearn, Jack Buck, Donny Most or Curt Gowdy. These long-time voices of sports teams are true icons and it’s very sad each time one of them passes away.

Here is Bob Sheppard reenacting the announcement of the line-up from Game 6 of the 1951 World Series. If this video doesn’t get your arm hairs rising with the ‘Field of Dreams’ theme playing then I guess you just aren’t a fan. Also, listen to who bats eighth in the New York Giants line-up. There was no DH which means they were one slot above the pitcher.

A-Rod Still Has It

Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz were seen out again this weekend at a New York restaurant having dinner with some friends. This can only mean Cameron isn’t just a wham-bam-thank-you-maam considering just a couple of weeks ago she was spotted leaving A-Rod’s love palace the morning after they were seen having a romantic dinner. In the whole scheme of things this really means nothing, but the Cam-Rod clock has started and it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

Hit the Road Kate Hudson

There are tons of big stories popping up around Major League Baseball in the last few days, but are there any stories bigger than K-Hud and A-Rod splitting for good? Yes, Roy Halladay is getting traded to the Phillies and I know Cliff Lee is headed to Seattle yet those stories just seem to pale in comparison. A friend of Kate told US Magazine that the couple was kaput and People magazine caught Rodriguez partying at an Armani shindig over the weekend down in Miami. Whispers from people who attended the party said A-Rod was all hugged up with a blonde for most of the night. Is there any chance Elin Nordegren has constructed the almighty master plan to get back at Tiger? Obviously that is a bad joke, but boy would it be pure gold if it happened. A-Rod never takes long to move on and I can assure you Kate Hudson will be swapping spit with some other high profile athlete/musician very soon.

Rickey Henderson’s Hall of Fame Speech

There was a lot of anticipation around Rickey Henderson’s acceptance speech into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this past weekend in Cooperstown, New York. Some people were even touting it as potentially the best acceptance speech to ever be given on the hallowed grounds of baseball’s all-time greats. In my opinion it was excruciating to listen to so we offer you a condensed video version because it becomes irritating very quickly. Rickey toned down his extreme arrogance for the acceptance speech, but his grasp of the English language leaves a lot to be desired. I do dig the all white suit though!

Play Ball!!!

Ryan Howard will again hit more home runs than any other National League player and Johan Santana will win the NL Cy Young award.

Not exactly upsets, there. More intriguing picks run in more intriguing categories. Who will be the first manager fired? The first GM? Who will be the breakout hitters and pitchers? The free-agent flops? How many victories will the Yankees get from CC Sabathia in the first year of that landmark $161 million deal?

My Predictions for personal awards

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AL MVP – Josh Hamilton

NL MVP – David Wright

AL Cy Young – Josh Beckett

NL Cy Young – Johan Santana

AL Rookie of the Year – Matt Wieters

NL Rookie of the Year – Jordan Shaefer

My Team predictions

AL Pennant Winner – NY Yankees

NL Pennant Winner – Los Angeles Dodgers

World Series Winner – New York Yankees

It’s Going, Going … Did You See Where It Went?

The Mets and the Yankees together have spent more than $2 billion on new stadiums partly to bring fans much closer to the action. But that access comes at a cost. For the best views, fans will have to pay eye-popping prices to sit on the field level and in the decks behind home plate in seats angled toward the infield.

Fans on tighter budgets, though, will have to settle for seats in far-off sections, some of which have obstructed views of the field.

Mets fans learned this the hard way on Sunday, when St. John’s and Georgetown played the first game at Citi Field. Steven Gottesman, who has a 15-game ticket plan, went to see his four seats in Section 533, Row 15, near the top of the upper deck down the left-field line. To his “shock and horror,” he could not see the warning track or about 20 feet of the outfield from the left-field line to center field.

“In other words, I will only know if a home run is hit if I am listening to a radio at the game or I wait to see the sign from the umpire,” Gottesman, 45, said in an e-mail message. “If Endy Chávez made his catch in this new stadium and I had been there, I would not have seen it.”

Some Yankee fans will have it even worse. That is because the 1,048 bleacher seats in Sections 201 and 239 have views partly blocked by the walls of the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar, which sits above Monument Park behind the center-field fence. Fans in Section 201, for instance, will not be able to see left field and, in some cases, even third base.

ny-yankeesThe Yankees are mounting five flat-panel screens on each side of the restaurant’s outer walls so fans can see on television what they miss live. After Newsday reported that these sections had obstructed views, the Yankees said they would charge $5 for seats there, less than the $12 that season-ticket holders will pay for other bleacher seats.

Alice McGillion, a spokeswoman for the Yankees, said obstructed-view seats were always supposed to cost $5 and that an invoicing problem led to the mix-up that had them originally being offered for more than twice as much. (The Yankees’ Web site does not reflect the new, lower prices.) Fans there will also get access to other parts of the park and to the Bleachers Café, which is above the sports bar.

“In the old stadium, you had no place to eat and you came in and stayed there,” McGillion said, adding that fans will be able to buy beer, which was not sold in recent years in the bleachers at the old stadium. “People can get up and watch the entire game from the cafe, plus there will be TVs.”

As for the Mets, they continue to maintain that there are no obscured-view seats in Citi Field, despite what some fans were contending after Sunday’s game. Fans might miss a play or two, the Mets conceded. But, they added, the game action will be replayed on the scoreboards and the fans are closer to the field to begin with.

“Whenever you bring seating closer to the action, and put seating in fair territory, there will be certain angles where you lose a sightline here or there,” said Dave Howard, the Mets’ vice president for business operations. “That’s typical in new ballparks, but a little different for our customers because Shea didn’t have much of anything like that.”

Howard admitted that the seats in Section 533 are angled in such a way that fans will be unable to see the warning track and some of the field. He said the team has no plans to lower its ticket prices or label the seats in question as having obscured views.

Seats in many ballparks have blind spots. But Mets and Yankees fans are angry now because the teams did not tell them about the obstructed views before they sold them the tickets. Until recently, fans could not visit the stadiums and had to rely on three-dimensional representations on the teams’ Web sites.

“How they ended up building brand new stadiums and not realize this is a head-scratcher,” said Jim Holzman, president of Ace Ticket, the official reseller of Boston Red Sox tickets. “Here they are with all these high-end seats to sell and they dropped the ball on the cheaper seats.”

The Red Sox, Holzman said, routinely mark their tickets when the seats have obstructed views. That helps the first fans who buy them, but does not necessarily inform fans who buy them when they are resold on StubHub and other ticket-selling sites. That means Mets and Yankees fans who buy their tickets from these sites could be in for a shock, too.

The problem is thornier for the Mets because Citi Field has only 42,000 seats, 26 percent fewer than at Shea Stadium. (The new Yankee Stadium will have 53,000 seats, a 5 percent decrease.) At Shea, seats in the last rows of the loge and mezzanine decks were discounted because the roofs above them obscured views of the field.

But because Shea was so much larger, opportunistic fans could often find better seats sometimes just a few rows away. With far fewer seats at Citi Field, some fans may end up standing in concourses to get better views.

Fans in the bleachers in the old Yankee Stadium, which was routinely sold out, learned to compromise.

“You were clearly giving up views and really being able to call balls and strikes and see close plays,” said Jason Fenton, who had season tickets in the right-field bleachers until 2005. “I would clearly prefer three rows behind the dugout. But you’re buying the tickets in the hope that you can go to the World Series.”

And while the Yankees may have disappointed some fans in the new bleacher seats, the team stands to earn money from the naming rights to the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar and the food sold inside and above it. And fans seem to be willing to put up with their seats’ defects if the price is right. Those $5 bleacher seats at Yankee Stadium are sold out for the season.