Young Yankee fan wins Pitch, Hit, and Run Gold Medal

May 16, 2010

Eight year old Dylan Verschleiser, a life-long Yankee fan, won the gold medal in the sectionals in the MLB/Aquafina Pitch, Hit and Run competition for his age group (7-8) yesterday held in Lebanon, NJ.  He might also qualify for the regionals in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park (where the Phillies play).  Only the gold medalists with the 8 highest scores in the state (New Jersey) will qualify to advance to Philadelphia. Qualifiers will be announced as soon as all the sectional competitions have been held and the scores tallied. The winners in Philly get to compete against winners from across the USA in Anaheim during MLB All-Star week!

Contestants compete within their age group and are judged in pitching, hitting, and running.  From a distance of 45 feet, Dylan was able to throw 5 out of 6 pitches for strikes.  He also won the hitting competition, and did well in the running portion as well.

Dylan was also thrilled to obtain the autograph of former pitcher and current Yankee announcer Al Leiter.  Mr. Leiter was on hand to support a family member involved in the competition, and was nice enough to sign Dylan’s mitt.  Dylan recognized him from Yes Network broadcasts.

The competition is open to boys and girls aged 7 through 14.  (Boys and girls compete separately.)


Damon and Melky and Matsui, oh my!

February 1, 2010

Did you get the Wizard of Oz thing in the title?  Whatever.  Anyway…

Of the the three “outfielders” we lost (and I use the term “outfielder” loosely for Matsui and Damon), the one I find most disturbing was Melky. 

I think we caught lightning in a bottle with Matsui in October, so I don’t have a problem with him clogging up the basebaths in LA.

I like Damon, but he’s the only one to blame for the situation he finds himself in now.  Blame Boras if you want, but Boras works for Damon.  If Damon didn’t agree with Boras’ tactics, numbers, or whatever, he should have stood up like a man and said so.  This little Mr. Innocent act isn’t fooling anyone.  As I’ve written before, I fully expect him to end up somewhere making less money than the Yankees originally offered him.  Serves him and his pig-agent right.

Melky, on the other hand, was a young star with his entire career ahead of him.  I know we needed to sacrifice him to get Vasquez, but I wish it could’ve worked out differently.  If Vasquez pitches well, then I guess it was worth it.  If not, well, I don’t like to say “I told you so” but…

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Brent Mayne: Pitchers need to work faster

February 1, 2010

The following was taken from former Royals catcher Brent Mayne’s blog:

Here’s a question for you. From 2003 to 2009, can you guess who the five quickest working pitchers were? Just five schleprocks named Greg Maddux, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Jake Peavy. I’m might be crazy, but I’ll take that starting staff. Once again, let me reiterate that working quickly works . . . Pitchers who work quickly are more effective. The defensive players behind a fast working pitcher are more consistent. Hitters facing a quick pitcher are less effective. Girlfriends of pitchers who pitch quickly are happier. Short games are a thing of beauty.

As a fan, I can tell you that nothing puts me to sleep faster than a 4-hour baseball game (unless it’s a slug fest).  I remember as a kid in the 60’s and 70’s when games averaged about 2 1/2 hours.  You could get through a Sunday double header at Yankee Stadium with a 1:00 starting time by 6 or 6:30.  Night games during the week started at 8:00 and you could watch the whole game on WPIX and still get up in time for work in the morning. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not one of those guys who thinks everything was better in “the old days”.  I mean, in those pre-internet days you’d have no idea what the rest of the league did until the next morning’s paper came out, and you’d have to wait for the afternoon edition to read about the west coast games.  So, things are definitely better now.  I, like Brent Mayne, just wish pitchers would move things along a little bit.

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Time To Boycott Nike, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN The Magazine

January 31, 2010

Within a week of the Gilbert Arenas / Javaris Crittenton suspensions for having whipped out their guns on each other in the locker room, Nike has the hair to run a two-page ad in both Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine featuring LeBron James and Kobe Bryant facing each other on opposite pages.  The ad is entitled “Prepare For Combat”, and the caption under Bryant’s picture says, “I don’t leave anything in the chamber”.

Of course, Nike denies any wrong-doing:  “The Nike print ad featuring Kobe Bryant was intended to illustrate his all out play and commitment on the basketball court,” Nike said in a statement.  Bullshit!  What, this was a coincidence?  And what about SI and ESPN?  Did no one at either of those publications see this connection? 

Excuse me, but I don’t think the folks at Nike, SI , and ESPN are as stupid as they would have us think.  I think they knew exactly what they were doing, and it’s irresponsible to say the least, and bordering on criminal.  Don’t we have enough problems in this country?  Will we now have to deal with ads plastered in magazines, newspapers and on TV encouraging our youth to shoot each other?  I think it’s high time we fought back with the best weapon we have – our wallets.  I’m calling for a boycott on Nike, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN The Magazine until they publicly admit they were wrong.  Maybe they should sponsor some public service announcements in favor of gun control just for good measure.

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Damon Open To Coming Back To New York? Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

January 29, 2010

“My heart is in New York,” Damon told WFAN’s Mike Francesa Friday. “I loved playing there, I loved playing with the team. Unfortunately, there’s some differences in what was talked about, and here I am looking for another team right now.”

Let’s take a look at this for a minute.  Damon and his agent, Scott Boras, wanted $22 million for two years.  The Yankees came back with $14 million for two years.  Damon/Boras (or “Doras”)  scoffed at that, after which the Yankees stuck to their guns.  They ended up signing Nick Johnson to a one year contract for $5.75 million, and Randy Winn to a one year deal worth $2 milion instead.  “Doras” got exactly nothing.

So what will happen to Johnny Damon?  My guess is he’ll end up signing somewhere for less than the Yankees original offer.  Who is to blame for this?  I’m tempted to blame Scott Boras.  After all, it’s Boras who whispers in his clients’ ears convincing them that they’re worth way more than they actually are.  This is 2010, not 2005.  It’s a different world than it was back then. 

But the reality is that it’s Johnny Damon’s fault.  If Damon really wanted to stay in New York like he says, he could have spoken up just like A-Rod did in the exact same situation a couple of years ago.  When Alex felt the Yankees slipping through his fingers because of Boras’ (and his own) greed, he went to the Yankee brass directly and worked out a deal that everyone is still happy with today, including Boras who made his cut any way.   I’m not a huge A-Rod fan, but the guy did the right thing that time.   Maybe Damon thought the Yankees were bluffing, or maybe the voice of Scott Boras over his shoulder convinced him they were. 

Maybe I’m being naiive, but I think it’s time for players to take a good look at guys like Scott Boras and realize that their goals are really not the same.  An agent like Boras doesn’t have his client’s back.  Ridiculous numbers submitted by agents to start negotiations only hurt the player, except for the cream of the cream.  When an agent screws up a deal for one player, he has any number of other clients with which to balance out his screw-up, and ultimately his bank account.  The agent doesn’t really suffer all that much.  A player, on the other hand, has only one shot to do it right.  It’s his career on the line, not his agent’s.  I just hope some of the other players who have contract negotiations coming up in the near future realize that when it’s their turn.

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Kurt Warner Set To Retire

January 29, 2010

Kurt Warner, 38 year old QB of the Arizona Cardinals, has a news conference planned for tomorrow at which he is expected to announce his retirement.  To say that Warner has had a roller-coaster career would be an understatement.  After completing his college career and not getting drafted by an NFL team, he was invited to the Green Bay Packers’ training camp in 1994 for tryouts, but was released before the regular season began.  (Warner was competing for a spot against Brett Favre, Mark Brunell and former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer.) 

As a result, Warner soon found himself stocking shelves at a Hy-Vee grocery store for $5.50 an hour.  He also went back to Northern Iowa and worked as an assistant coach, still hoping for another NFL tryout.  No invitations were forthcoming, so he turned to the Arena Football League, and in 1995 signed with the Iowa Barnstormers.  He led the Barnstormers to the Arena Bowl in both 1996 and 1997.  He  subsequently requested and received a tryout with the Chicago Bears, but an injury to his throwing elbow caused by a spider bite he got during his honeymoon prevented him from attending.  (Seriously.)

He finally signed with the St. Louis Rams in ’98, and was shipped off to NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals, where he wound up leading the league in touchdowns and passing yards.  He returned to the US for the start of the 1998 NFL season and played third string behind Tony Banks and Steve Bono.  Warner finally got his shot in 1999 after Banks and Bono were both released.  The Rams had planned on starting free agent signing Trent Green, but Green tore his ACL in the pre-season.  Warner ended up putting together one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, throwing for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes and a completion rate of 65.1%.  He was named the 1999 NFL MVP at the season’s end, and led the Rams to a Super Bowl win.

In 2001, Warner led the Rams to another Super Bowl, making his second appearance in the big game, but the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the Rams were forgettable.  He was replaced as starter in the middle of the 2003 season after a game against the Giants in which he fumbled six times.  The Giants appreciated that so much, that after the Rams released him in 2004, the Giants signed him 2 days later.  Warner started the 2004 season as the Giants’ starting quarterback, winning five of his first seven games, but following a two-game losing streak, highly-touted rookie quarterback Eli Manning was given the starting job.

Warner subsequently signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2005, and has played with them up till now, making several post season appearances, including his third Super Bowl appearance in February of 2009, in which they lost to Pittsburgh.

Throughout his career, through all the ups and downs, Kurt Warner has remained a classy guy.  If he does indeed retire tomorrow as expected, I’m betting he’ll stay retired.  He’s not the type to string a team (or a league, or the fans) along for his own amusement or greed.  This is a guy who knows when to call it a career, and as he does everything else, he will do it with class.

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Brett Banged Up

January 28, 2010

If you saw the NFC Championship game last weekend, especially the last quarter, you probably already knew this, but Brett Favre really took a beating.  Favre sustained injuries to both wrists, both ankles and one leg in addition to having his head bruised.  It looked for a while like they might take him out – he was prone on a stretcher while they worked on his ankle – but the old man came back for more.  And he got it.  According to his brother Scott, “He was beat all to hell.”

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States Consider Youth Concussion Laws

January 28, 2010

Associated Press

 At least a half-dozen states are considering measures that would toughen restrictions on young athletes returning to play after head injuries, inspired by individual cases and the attention the issue has received in the NFL.

Washington state led the way last year, passing what is considered the nation’s strongest return-to-play statute. Athletes under 18 who show concussion symptoms can’t take the field again without a licensed health care provider’s written approval. Several other states, including California and Pennsylvania, have similar bills pending.

Elsewhere, the Maine legislature passed a law last year that creates a working group on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of concussions in young athletes. In New Jersey, there’s no state law to regulate how head injuries should be handled for athletes, but the legislature has allowed a commission to look into brain injury research.

At Murray Hill Sports (, we sell many types of protective gear for all sports, not just football, for youths and adults.  To read the entire text of this article, go to .

A-Rod and Madonna, Part 2? Nooo!!!!!

January 28, 2010

Us Weekly magazine is reporting that Madonna spent the weekend of Jan 16 at A-Rod’s house up in Westchester, NY.  The ex(?)-couple broke up over a year ago, but have supposedly “stayed in touch”.   A-Rod dated actress Kate Hudson during that time, as anyone who watched even a single Yankee game last season can tell you.  Supposedly Kate and the Yankee wives got along well.  Probably not so much for Madonna.

Here’s an interesting tidbit:  In 2009, while dating Kate Hudson, A-Rod hit in the clutch the entire regular season, and then, if you can imagine, he got even hotter in the post season and led the Yankees to their first World Series title since 2000 when they beat that other pathetic excuse for a baseball team that calls New York home.  In 2008, while dating Madonna, his numbers were just as good statistcally, but those homers and RBIs invariably came when they couldn’t make less of a difference in the outcome of any one game, and with ducks on the pond, they were more likely to drown than score.  Not to mention the photos of him kissing himself in the mirror and all that other crap.

So, not only do I hope he gets back with Kate so that we can win another Series, but I’m wondering if maybe Madonna isn’t a secret card-carrying member of Redsox Nation sent back here to mess with our guy’s head.  Maybe we should do something like that to them.  Let’s see, who can we get to turn the heads of Kevin Useless and Big Poopy?  Maybe Chuck Knoblauch will come out of retirement and take one for the team…  Go ask him and let me know what he says.

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Tiger’s Wife And Brett Favre?

January 28, 2010

Elin Nordegren, wife of Tiger Woods, was supposed to be visiting him at the clinic in Mississippi where he’s undergoing sex addiction treatment.  (Gimme a break.  How can he say that with a straight face?)  Anyway, Elin supposedly stayed at the home of none other than Brett Favre.

No confirmation was forthcoming from anyone involved, but a local shopkeeper apparently saw them and reported to Us Weekly magazine: “She definitely stands out. She was beautiful. She was walking around alone and trying to keep to herself.”

So is Erin putting Tiger through all this crap (not that he doesn’t deserve it) while she’s off licking the wounds (both figuratively and literally) of last Sunday’s losing QB?  How the hell should I know!  But if so, it’s not a bad consolation prize for old Brett.  Some guys have all the luck.

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