Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category
Tony La Russa retired as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, three days after winning a dramatic, seven-game World Series against the Texas Rangers.
“I think this just feels like it’s time to end it,” the 67-year-old La Russa said at a news conference at Busch Stadium.
The World Series win over Texas was the third of La Russa’s 33-year career. The manager guided the Cardinals to the championship despite being 10 1/2 games behind Atlanta on Aug. 25 for the final playoff spot in the National League.
La Russa retires third on the all-time wins list, 35 behind second-place John McGraw. He also won world titles in Oakland in 1989 and St. Louis in 2006 and becomes the first manager to retire immediately after his club won the World Series, according to STATS LLC.
“Other than some of the personal attachments, I feel good,” La Russa said. “I feel good that this is the right decision.”
La Russa said there wasn’t a single factor that led to his decision, but he began having doubts about returning for 2012 midway through the season. In late August he told general manager John Mozeliak and other team officials.
La Russa said the timing of those discussions — about the time the Cardinals appeared to be out of wild card contention before their miraculous run — was pure coincidence. He said he simply felt it was time to go, a feeling that didn’t change even as the Cardinals squeaked into the playoffs on the final day of the season, then upset the Phillies, Brewers and Rangers.
He spoke with little emotion at the news conference with one exception, when he paused to compose himself as he thanked his wife, Elaine, and two daughters for putting up without him over much of the past 33 years. But he did say his meeting with players after Sunday’s parade and celebration was short but emotional.
“Some grown men cried,” La Russa said, then he joked, “I kind of liked that because they made me cry a few times.”
Unfortunately, far too many people in this world think that “the very best” at a particular occupation MUST BE those who are actually getting paid the highest salaries to fulfill that specific function at a “pro” level.
Well … the simple fact is:
This fall will mark Ward’s fifth with the Wildcats (and his fourth as Head Coach), a position he took after leaving his post with the Houston Rockets, with whom he’d been an assistant since retiring from the NBA in 2004 . Despite a number of other job offers from around the league, Ward decided instead to take on the dual role of Assistant Football and Basketball Coach at Westbury, a 500 student K-12 Christian school in Houston. Surely, the opportunity to spend more time with his family, and to watch his young children grow up, were motivating factors. But the chance to lead again was anything but a distant second.
“I wanted to have a more hands-on experience,” explains Ward in his characteristically even, calm Southern drawl. “I wanted the chance to put game plans together, implement those game plans, and really mentor kids. Those are the main reasons I am where I am today. That’s my focus.”
in many instances this just not the case, at all.
REALITY IS …
Highly accomplished individuals the world over can – and, frequently, do – decide to ply their chosen trade, and exert their considerable influence, at many different levels of “the game,” whether in sport, education, or industry, etc.
Kudos to Charlie Ward! … for doing precisely what he happens to think is “right” at this particular time in his life.
Baseball’s Hall-Of-Fame induction ceremony took place yesterday and, once again, former Blue Jays’ titan, Pat Gillick/GM, was a virtuoso performer.
On the press-conference stage, Pat Gillick leapt to Blyleven’s defence, but did so clumsily. His fellow Hall of Fame inductee talked about the stats that he thought were important in baseball.
“There’s only one statistic that matters and that’s wins,” Gillick said, misunderstanding the issue. “He’s got 287 of them and at the end of the season you can throw all this other statistics out. It’s whoever wins 90 or 100 games, that’s what matters. Forget about the quality starts, forget about all the other stuff. It’s who wins the game.”
Congratulations Lawrence Patrick David [Pat] Gillick! You have always been a straight-arrow shooter.
As an avid sports fan, the most important reading you will do today, is to be found right here:
But more than anyone, I thought about Pat Tillman. I found myself wondering [if] the 19 year olds who were turning Ground Zero and the White House into a frat party last night even knew who Pat Tillman was. And if they were aware that a man named Pat Tillman once walked among us, which Tillman did they know? Did they know the Tillman the NFL wants us to remember? That Tillman was a star safety who turned down a multi-million-dollar contract after 9/11 to join the Army Rangers, only do die in combat 22 months after enlisting. In the immediate aftermath of his death Tillman became a caricature, used to promote and encourage war.
But the Pat Tillman his family has fought to be known is the actual, thinking, opinionated human being. This Pat Tillman believed that 9/11 had been manipulated to justify an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. As journalist Jon Krakauer said, “He thought the war was illegal. He thought it was a mistake. He thought it was going to be a disaster. And in the Army, you’re not supposed to talk about that. You’re not supposed to talk politics. And Pat didn’t shut up. He told everyone he encountered, ‘This war is illegal as hell.’” He started reading the anti-war theorist Noam Chomsky and sent word that he wanted to meet Chomsky upon returning to the states. This Pat Tillman died not at the hands of the Taliban but in an incident of “friendly fire,” a fact hidden from his own family for weeks after his nationally televised funeral. Pat’s family has spent years fighting to get the true facts of his case known. I thought about Pat’s brave mother Mary and I was just so sad. We killed bin Laden and all it took was three wars, a million deaths, a trillion dollars, and infinite broken families and broken hearts.
When he first began his odyssey in baseball, as a strapping young man, if Clarence Edward Gaston had been asked to describe what a fitting tribute to his legacy might eventually look like in the distant future, one imagines that he could have not have scripted a more fine setting, and occasion, than last night, at his home ballpark, in Toronto ON Canada.
Kudos to the man who first came to Toronto, in 1982, as a simple hitting coach … endured all of the heart-breaking years of seemingly repeated close-but-no-cigar finishes, in the lead-up years – i.e. from 1985 to 1991 … and, then, after reluctantly assuming the manager’s role, skippered the franchise to four American League, Eastern Division championships in a 5-year span [i.e. 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993] and its two, back-to-back World Series titles, in 1992 and 1993 … with as fine a display of Organizational Leadership [i.e. integrity, dignity and an underlying passion for winning], in the game of baseball, these eyes have ever seen.
A worthy recepient of the Jackie Robinson Award, for lifetime achievement in the face of adversity, he will leave his managerial role, at the end of this season … on his own terms, concluding his 2nd go-round with the team … with the Blue Jays franchise in immensely better shape than it was 3 seasons ago [upon his return to Toronto], and poised to re-start their climb back up to the top of the East Division Standings, on the backs of what should eventually prove to be the finest rotation of young pitchers in the game today, i.e. Shawn Marcum [RH], Ricky Romero [LH], Brandon Morrow [RH], Brett Cecil [LH] and Kyle Drabek [RH], plus a solid group of everyday position players, led by Vernon Wells [CF], Jose Bautista [RF], Adam Lind [1B?/DH], Aaron Hill [2B], Travis Snider [LF] and Yunel Escobar [SS].
A job most well done, Sir.
What does integrity and dignity look and sound like, when it’s wearing and speaking from a manager’s uniform in Major League Baseball?
Dear Jays Fans,
Before I leave the dugout for the last time as Jays’ manager, I wanted to tell you how I feel about you as Blue Jays’ fans and the city of Toronto. You have been great to me here and I will always appreciate your support and will always thank you. Without the fans we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what we did. Many of you have become my friends.
I call Toronto a second home only because I was born in the States. Deep down I will always consider this city a first home. I lived here for 20 years and I could live here forever. It’s a great city. There are very wonderful people that have treated me very well. I love the city. It’s the best kept secret in North America, from the theatres to restaurants. Some of the best food I’ve ever had I’ve had in this city. Golf courses, the whole works. It’s just a great place to live.
I really got to know and appreciate the fans here after I got fired. I always came back to spend the summers here. My wife and I, we walk a lot. So on our walks we ran into a lot of you on the street. Even the police officers and the firemen, even the mounted police riding their horses would stop and say, “Thanks for the memories. Thanks for the good years we had around here.”
The last remaining link to the Toronto Blue Jays World Series winning teams from the early 1990′s will leave the dugout at the Rogers Centre following this evening’s home game vs the New York Yankees for the final time.
Overall, it’s been a terrific ride for the man from San Antonio, Texas, who eventually adopted The Great City of Toronto, as his second home.
For no reason other than …
… they were only pointed out to yours truly earlier today.
If you have time to read but 1 story on-line today, then, this corner HIGHLY recommends that it be THIS one:
When then-Pirates third base coach Rich Donnelly would crouch down, cup his hands and shout to the runner on second base, his daughter, Amy, once asked him, “Dad, what are you yelling to the runner, ‘The chicken runs at midnight’?” The statement had no origin, no specific meaning, yet became a buzz phrase in the Donnelly home, and among the Pirates. When Pittsburgh second baseman Jose Lind ran on the field before a game in 1992, a microphone caught him yelling to teammates, “Let’s go, the chicken runs at midnight!”
Amy Donnelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor in spring training 1992. She died nine months later at age 18. Four years later, the Marlins won the World Series, and it was third base coach Rich Donnelly who waved home Craig Counsell with the winning run in the 11th inning of Game 7. Counsell was nicknamed “The Chicken” in the Donnelly house because he flapped his left elbow as he got ready for the pitch to be delivered. As Counsell crossed the plate, and bedlam followed at Dolphin Stadium, Tim Donnelly, one of Amy’s younger brothers, looked at clock on the scoreboard. He screamed at his brother, Mike, who also was a bat boy that night. Then they screamed to their dad, Rich Donnelly.
“Dad, look at the time! Look at the time!”
Rich Donnelly looked at the scoreboard clock. It was midnight. The chicken runs at midnight.
“It’s a true story, you hear it and you can’t believe it happened, but it happened,” said Counsell, who is a utility infielder for Brewers 13 years after scoring the winning run in the ’97 Series. “I’ve said that someone should make a movie out of this story, that’s how amazing it is. Anyone who hears it is moved by it. I get chills every time I think about it.”
John Canuso, a home builder in Philadelphia, was so inspired by this story, he called Rich Donnelly. Canuso had also lost a daughter, Babe, to cancer. Canuso was also very close to former Phillies coach John Vukovich, who died of cancer in 2007. Canuso runs the Canuso Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps brighten the lives of children who are coping with cancer, other serious illnesses and disabilities. A division of the Canuso Foundation is called Babe’s Kids, named for his daughter. A fundraiser for 37 years, John Canuso started the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia in 1974.
Canuso is now raising funds for a family with a child with leukemia in Haddonfield, N.J. On May 21, Haddonfield is going to close down the town for two hours and run relays for kids at 5 p.m., then a 3K race at midnight, starting at the Haddonfield Memorial High School football field, and finishing down Kings Highway, all to support 7-year-old Mia Strobel, who has leukemia. Canuso said $30,000 has been committed to Mia’s family.
The theme of the 3K run: The Chicken Runs At Midnight.