May 10, 2013 |
THE CLUB, by description and definition, is a small one. In a world of bulging biceps and shrunken ballparks, the slap-hitting speedsters who populated the 1970s and '80s era of spacious, artificial-turf stadiums are nearly extinct, the few remaining required to prove their worth on almost a nightly basis, their margin of error as slim as their hips. "There sure ain't that many of us left," Juan Pierre said the other day. "Me. Ben Revere. Michael Bourn maybe, but he's got some pop . . . " So does Denard Span, the Nationals centerfielder who had 38 doubles and four home runs for the Twins last season.
April 22, 2013
By Stephen F. Ross The new film 42 celebrates the heroic story of Jackie Robinson, who integrated baseball in 1947 and, many agree, set the stage for the more complete integration of society that followed. However, the movie belies a sad contemporary reality: If Jack Roosevelt Robinson were a teenager in North Philadelphia today, it is highly unlikely he would play professional baseball. Today, baseball's color line is not formally black or white, but green with a racial tint: The opportunities to be a big-league ballplayer divide between those whose families have the money to provide their kids access to elite traveling teams, and those who don't.
April 13, 2013 |
Joe Schooley stepped into the batter's box and into the biggest moment of his life. It was the bottom of the sixth inning. The game was tied, 6-6. The 1983 Little League state baseball championship was on the line. Talk about pressure for a 12-year-old. To make matters worse, Schooley had to wait. Playing for Cherry Hill American, Schooley watched as Morristown brought in a new pitcher to face him. The pitcher was uncomfortable with the mound, causing a five-minute delay that felt closer to 45 minutes for Schooley.
April 2, 2013 |
HOUSTON - Rick Ankiel and the Houston Astros made an impressive debut in the American League, trouncing the Texas Rangers, 8-2, on Sunday night in the major league opener and giving Bo Porter a win in his first game as a manager. Ankiel launched a pinch-hit three-run shot for the first home run this season, Bud Norris pitched well for the win and Erik Bedard threw 31/3 scoreless innings for his first career save. Having switched from the National League to the AL in the offseason, the Astros earned their first opening-day victory since 2006 and the 4,000th regular-season win in franchise history.
April 1, 2013 |
Price could be pricey Justin Verlander set the market with his $200 million contract. So what does that mean for David Price, who edged him for the Cy Young last season? And a better question may be, what does it mean for his budget-conscious employer, the Tampa Bay Rays? Price, 27, will be a free agent after the 2015 season. If the Rays believe they can't afford a long-term extension, they may dangle him in the trade market this season to maximize their return. A midsummer bidding war for Price could turn the season upside down.
March 14, 2013 |
A cautionary tale: One century, you're the "Eighth Wonder of the World" - the next, you're just another derelict. The Astrodome, the awe-inspiring home and namesake of the National League Houston Astros when it opened in 1965, has been unfit for occupancy since 2009, still has about $30 million in construction debt, and sits deteriorating next to Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL Houston Texans. The 'Stros? They are now in the American League and have played in a retractable-roof arena since 2000.
January 28, 2013 |
You can't blame the World Baseball Classic website - worldbaseballclassic.com - for trying. When the provisional rosters for the 16-nation tournament were announced recently, the site declared that "there is no shortage of big-name stars on the rosters for the 16 countries in the World Baseball Classic. " The WBC web fairies sprinkled pixie dust over the fact that the Team USA roster did not include National League MVP Buster Posey, American League Cy Young Award winner David Price, American League rookie of the year Mike Trout, National League rookie of the year Bryce Harper, and other American stars such as Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander, and Andrew McCutchen.
November 26, 2012 |
Rich Westcott is the author of "Native Sons: Philadelphia-Area Baseball Players Who Made the Major Leagues," and the forthcoming "Philadelphia's Top 50 Baseball Players" It was another feather in the cap of Philadelphia-area baseball when the 2012 major league Rookie of the Year awards were announced last week. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels was a unanimous winner in the American League, and Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds captured third place in the National League voting.
November 13, 2012 |
The accomplishments on the field were astonishing, which is why Millville, N.J.'s Mike Trout became the unanimous winner of the American League rookie of the year award Monday night and could be named the league's MVP on Thursday. What's compelling about Trout's story is his age - he turned 21 in August - and unaffected manner. When his amazing season with the Los Angeles Angels was complete, he returned to the Cumberland County home where he grew up. Even after a year of being the star of stars on a team that included Albert Pujols, Trout remains more a rural South Jersey kid than a Southern California dude.