The Emotion of Baseball

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So if you weren’t sitting with two boxes of Kleenex last night during the Say Good-Bye to Mariano Rivera segment of Yankees-Rays, you’re a heartless bastard with no feelings or emotions.  At least that was the consensus on social media last night.

No doubt it was a special moment at Yankee Stadium last night when Rivera came in to pitch for the last time at home (or anywhere) and I watched and thought it was great but did it punch my emotional buttons? No. Did I get misty eyed with Andy Pettite and Derek Jeter came out to remove Rivera from the game? Nope, sorry. Did I think it was a nice moment? Sure.

Mariano Rivera is without a doubt the greatest closer in baseball history. He is a sure first ballot Hall of Famer –he won’t be a unanimous first ballot honoree because we all know some shithead from the BBWAA will leave him off their ballot in “a look at me moment”-but  since he was not a New York Met, then my emotions stayed in check.

Sorry if that pisses off the ultra-sensitive types but I save my baseball tears for the New York Mets, both happy and sad occasions.

I don’t get why the baseball writing eggheads get so bent out of shape over events on the field that fall under the “unwritten rules” of baseball. Seriously, what is it about this code of conduct that baseball players have amongst themselves that pisses you off? Is it that it doesn’t fall under your view of baseball through the eyes of statistical analysis? This is no way a knock at the analytic work done by many of these folks, if you are a MLB organization that doesn’t have a fully staff analytic department, then you’re in the working in the dark ages. I love how  baseball execs have so much data to look at and study to make help make important decision in player personnel to help achieve the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.  You still have to take the human side into account as well.    

When Brain McCann waited at home plate for Carlos Gomez to arrive after putting on an embarrassing display of being an ass hat when he hit a home run of Paul Maholm, I thought it was one of the best on field statements I’ve seen in baseball in a long long time. McCann just standing there explaining to Gomez just what an asshole he was and daring him to go through him to touch home plate showed me that McCann was standing up for his pitcher, his teammates and his organization. He should be applauded. Sadly some folks didn’t see it the same way I did and to tell you the truth I was a bit surprised by some of the reaction.

As I said, it was mostly the people who seem to be the baseball intellectual types that thought McCann was a jerk.  None of the McCann bashers mentioned that Gomez was still holding a grudge from being hit by a pitch from Malhom (who throws about 85 mph tops and that’s with a running start) earlier in the year. The first pitch of the at bat, Gomez nearly swung himself out of his uniform as he wanted to hit the pitch to Buckhead . He damn near succeeded on the next pitch which he hit a towering home run. Gomez stood and admired the shot then glared at Maholm to which Freddie Freeman screamed at him and he yelled back at Freeman while he leisurely strolled the base paths like he was out for a constitutional on the deck of the Queen Mary. As Gomez went down the 3rd base line, staring into the Braves dugout, he was startled by McCann standing in his way of touching home plate, a destination Gomez never arrived at. At that point the benches emptied and the Braves went after Gomez and any Brewer that stood in their way.     

Now why anyone who watches, covers or has played baseball was surprised at McCann’s actions baffles me. It’s the same way I can’t understand people getting upset when Tiger Woods curses after he hits a bad shot.  Those people have obviously never been on a golf course, same with the folks who are appalled by baseball player’s behavior on the field.  

What do they think happens on the field and in the dugout and clubhouse? This may come as a shock to some of the finger sandwich and high tea crowd but baseball players use very bad language at times, in fact they use the bad language a lot on the umpires. Ball players (I hope I don’t offend anyone here) also spit nasty tobacco juice and sunflower seed shells and (hold on to your pearls Francis) blow their nose without a tissue. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. The floor of a dugout is as nasty as a subway platform.

As much as baseball has to go forward using statistical analysis in decision making it also cannot forget the on field emotion of the game as well. I don’t know about you but my love of baseball didn’t come from a calculator it came from first watching it, then playing it , then embracing the camaraderie of being on a team. There’s no better feeling than being on a team that has each other’s back. There’s no better feeling than playing on a team that wins. There is no better compliment in baseball than “he plays the game the right way”.  If you can’t understand that, then I have pity on you, you’re missing a great game.

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Mike Piazza Jumps Into The Literary Field

Not much Mets on field news today as we await the official opening of camp tomorrow with pitchers and catcher ready to check in, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any off field Mets news.

Mike Piazza has written a book with Lonnie Wheeler called Long Shot (Simon & Shuster) which I hope to get my hands on tomorrow. But before the book drops, there have been some excerpts of what to expect in this tome that I can guarantee won’t come close to approaching R.A. Dickey’s book in both substance and style. If the excerpts I read this morning with my bagel and coffee are any example I hope I don’t get whiplash from all the head shaking I’m anticipating while reading Long Shot. You know what? That’s really not fair, I should hold final judgment until I read the complete work but still there are some things I’ve read so far that made me take notice.

Piazza is still haunted by Roger Clemens and the night he took one Clemens fastballs off the side of his head.

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Piazza talks about taking karate lessons after the beaning with the premeditated thinking of confronting Clemens if or when he faced him again. That time came just about three months later in Game Two of the World Series when Clemens threw the barrel of a shattered bat at Piazza who did turn and walked toward Clemens but as he said:

“There were complications,” he ( Piazza) recalls. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”

Maybe in the book Piazza goes into more detail and at least using getting tossed out a World Series game and possible suspension of another game in the series as reason for not charge at Clemens because turning tail fearing an ass kicking is mighty weak.

It seems not only was Piazza intimidated by big powerful pitchers he also got smacked around by ex-girlfriends as well:

One of his best-known girlfriends was Debbe Dunning, the actress who played the “Tool Time” girl on the hit comedy “Home Improvement.” One Halloween night when Dunning came over with a pumpkin and her dog, Piazza decided to break off the relationship.

There was screaming and crying and then the Tool Time girl waffled my ass,” he recalled. “I hadn’t taken a punch like that in a long time.”

WOW!

Piazza speaks about taking androstenedione and of course everyone’s skirts go up in the air when they hear this. This morning on WFAN, Richard Neer was all up in arms over this revelation and in his ranting over this proclamation by Piazza failed to remember (I could see him falling asleep listening to his own voice) that Andro was both legal  to use in MLB and was sold over the counter at health and nutrition  stores like GNC. This never occurred to Neer who acted like he was Bobby Goren cracking a Major Case.

Piazza also fesses up to taking amphetamines which puts him a class with over three-quarters of those enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Piazza also states that he needed to grab some Vioxx on those days when the grind of squatting behind the plate was taking its toll. Vioxx,, a powerful anti-inflammatory has since been banned in the U.S. due to the bad side effects from the drug, the most harsh being death.

The excerpt goes on about the stories of Piazza’s sexuality and his rough relationship with Latin teammates, which will be more strained after the read his quotes about “Latin’s should learn English and not be as pampered as they are by MLB teams” and the “Latin Mafia” that had it in for him. Safe to say a managerial or coaching spot in pro baseball is not in the cards for Piazza.

Again I shouldn’t pass judgment on the book until I read it, I just pray it’s better than this book which may be the worst written book of all time

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THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN TONIGHT AT 9PM ET ON BLOG TALK RADIO

Lots of baseball news breaking today with Cliff Lee returning to Philly-a shocking development to say the least-and putting a huge hole in the Highlanders and Texas Rangers off season plan and of course the Tea Party Mets fans are slobbering over themselves with vitriol over the Mets not spending any money after Sandy Alderson has said over and over again in every interview he’s done that the Mets will not sign a big ticket free agent this offseason. Speaking of Sandy Alderson, I had the pleasure to meet his acquaintance today at Citi Field, as myself and other Mets bloggers were invited to the Mets holiday party at Citi Field and we were given time for Q and A with Alderson, Terry Collins (quite the intense fellow) Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and David Wright.

Tomorrow here at Kranepool Society, I will have a more in depth post of my day at Citi Field, but tonight at 10PM ET on THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN on BLOG TALK RADIO, I will talk about my meeting with Alderson, Collins and the palyers as my guests will be MatthewCerrone of Metsblog and Alex Belth of Bronx Banter. Alex is also the author of the book “Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories: Unforgettable Tales From The House That Ruth Built”

It should be a great hour of baseball talk. If you can’t join us live the be sure to download the podcast at the show page or listen right here at Kranepool Society (lower right side bar) or download the show oniTunes

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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SAN FRANSISCO GIANTS OF UPPER MANHATTAN FOR WINNING THE 2010 WORLD SERIES

If my beloved New York Mets can’t win the World Series then I’m glad my dads beloved Giants won. My father came to America from Ireland in 1929 and landed with four of his brothers in Salem MA to live with their aunt. In 1930 my dad and one brother took off for NYC and never went back. He and my uncle wanted to see Babe Ruth play as they heard all these stories about the great baseball slugger. So off to Yankee Stadium they go but one problem, the Yankees were on the road. A cop walking the beat around the ball park told them if they wanted to see a baseball game today go over the bridge into Manhattan as the Giants were playing that day.

The legend as my father told me time and time again was ,when they got to the Polo Grounds, John McGraw was barking orders to his players. My dad asked who he was and a guy next to him said “That’s McGraw he runs this team”. With that my father looked at my uncle and said, “They let an Irishman run a baseball team”? They were both flabbergasted. Remember this was back in the day of businesses putting up signs “NO IRSH NEED APPLY and “ALL DOGS AND IRSH KEEP OFF THE GRASS” so to see a man who traced his ancestry back to the Motherland in a position of authority was extraordinary.

So from that day on, my father’ baseball devotion was to the NY Giants and to Little Napoleon. My dad would tell me it was heartbreaking when the Giants moved West (I’d tell him, you couldn’t have been that broken up since I was born in 1958 eighteen years after my sister) but then in 1962 the Mets were born and he had another team to root for.

But I always remember as a kid, when the Giants and Dodgers came to Shea, it seem like it was always a weekend series, and we always went to the games when the Giants came to town. Even though his new allegiance was to the Mets, my dad always remembered the Giants were his first baseball love. I’m sure he would have loved to see this years Giants celebrate wining the World Series, not as much as if it were the Mets but I know he would light up a cigar and say “At least it’s not those god damn Yankees”

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