Tagged: MLB

A Special Thanks To Baseball Bloggers Alliance

It has been a while since I have posted anything but unfortunately I have had some personal issues to deal with.  I apologize for the delay.  However, I’m back!  There has been alot going on in the baseball world so I will try to get up to speed with the rest of you.  One thing that I have failed to do was write a post about the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

For those of you unfamiliar with the BBA, I would like to share with you some of the benefits of joining. 

I started blogging back in September.  Not too long after that I decided to join the BBA even though I knew nothing about who they were or what they did.  Since joining, I was asked if I had any interest in having my blog, A Diehard Cubs’ Fan Speaks Out, listed on the new I-Phone App.  Of course, that was intriguing so I agreed.  Amazingly, to my disbelief, my blog is now on I-Phones.  Wow!  I couldn’t believe it, but there it is.  Therefore, I owe a debt of gratitude to the Baseball Bloggers Alliance for their excellent work.  I would like to thank them for adding me to the list.

The BBA is simply a bunch of bloggers like myself who have joined forces to raise blogging to the next level.  There are many exciting things to participate in, such as voting for Hall of Fame inductees, post-season awards like the MVP and many many more fun stuff.  I am still a rookie in this league so I have not experienced all of the fun stuff yet, however, I certainly look forward to it and encourage my fellow bloggers to consider joining.  There is no cost, just alot of fun baseball-related things to do.  Again, I would like to give a thousand thanks to the Baseball Bloggers Alliance for allowing me the opportunity to take part.

                                                                                                    Scot Blust

Why Ron Santo Deserves To Be In The Hall Of Fame

The best baseball player to never get inducted in the Hall of Fame, Chicago Cubs’ third baseman, Ron Santo has died.  It’s a sad day at Wrigley.  Before he died, Santo only wanted two things.  One, to gain the respect of the Hall of Fame voters.
santo.jpg  The other, to see the Cubs win a World Series.  The poor man was denied on both counts.  Time after time, Ron Santo suffered the pain and heartbreak of rejection and failed to garner enough votes to punch his ticket to Cooperstown.  The rejection hurt, but it wasn’t as painful as watching the Cubs choke time and time again.  All he really wanted was to see the Cubs win it all.  Unfortunately, that never happened either.  Ron Santo was an icon.  He was, without question, the #1 diehard Cubs’ fan.  His love of the Cubs was unsurpassed.  As a player, he was a leader.  Billy Williams and Ernie Banks fed off of him.  They had a team that seemed destined to go all the way, but as luck would have it, the Cubs would fall short of their goal.   That seemed to be a recurring theme for Cubs’ teams over the years.  As a broadcaster, Santo wore his heart on his sleeve.  When the Cubs performed well, he would get excited.  When the Cubs’ fell apart, Santo’s heart would bleed.  Listening to him on WGN Radio, he made it sound like the end of the world.  As a diehard Cubs’ fan, I felt his pain.  It is very frustrating to be a Cubs’ fan.  We have so much hope going in to Spring Training, but the ending is always the same.  We cry, “Wait till next year!”, but the promise of a new season always ends in frustration.  “Just once”, Ron Santo cried, “Just once, I want to see the Cubs win it all”.  He never did. 

santobbcard.jpgRon Santo seemed to be just as cursed as the Cubs’ have been.  He should be in the Hall of Fame, but for some reason, he has been overlooked.  Why?  Any Hall of Fame voter who has not voted for Santo obviously did not do their homework.  A closer look will reveal that Ron Santo’s numbers are just as good as anyone’s.  He is arguably the greatest all-around third baseman of his time, rivaled only by Brooks Robinson.  ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote a book called ‘The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History.  You can read an excerpt at http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=5879992.  Jayson Stark reveals why Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  It is very cool.  It really makes you wonder how Santo was never enshrined into Cooperstown. 

Santo played 15 seasons in his career. 
santosi.jpg He was a 9-time All-Star and won 5 Gold Gloves.  He was a leader.  He was a loyal Cubs’ fan.  He was not only the voice of the Chicago Cubs, but the voice of diehard Cubs’ fans.  The man batted between Ernie Banks and Billy Williams.  He was at the heart of the batting order.  He was the heart and soul of the Cubs.  Ron Santo was a special player, but more importantly, he was a special person.  He will be missed.  The Cubs have countless diehard fans, but Ron Santo was the most loyal and passionate diehard Cubs’ fan of all.  When the Cubs finally win a World Series, the Heavens will open and tears of joy shall fall down upon Chicago, because Ron Santo will finally find fulfillment and peace.  If the Hall of Fame never opens its door to Santo, it will be a shame.  I hope that some day both of his wishes come true.  He deserves it!

An Open Letter To Bud Selig Re: Reinstatement of Pete Rose

The BBWAA Hall of Fame ballots have officially been released.  One name that is not among the candidates to be enshrined is Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader. 
thumbnailCAAMARXE.jpg Some names that will appear on the ballots are names connected with steroid use.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, unless your method of cheating was by steroid use.  Why?  Why is betting on baseball a worse crime?  Pete Rose never bet against the Reds so it wasn’t like he “fixed” the games to ensure he would win a bet.  He lied about his gambling at first, but finally broke down and admitted his wrong-doing.  He regrets his mistake.  Players like Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro denied any wrong doing despite the evidence that proves otherwise.  Roger Clemens will deny his actions till the day he dies and even then, will never admit it.  Alex Rodriguez denied reports of his usage, but finally revealed the truth after the evidence was leaked to the press.  His reward?  He gets to keep playing as if he did nothing wrong.  Why?  Why does a player that tests positive for steroid use gets to get caught 3 times before he faces a lifetime ban?  Why are steroid users allowed to be on the Hall of Fame ballot?  Are they not cheaters?

thumbnailCAF2K6Q0.jpg          Dear Mr. Selig, I don’t understand why Major League baseball has crucified Pete Rose.  Sure, he made a mistake.  He bet on baseball and that is strictly against the rules.  He made a mistake and is truly remorseful.  As the Commissioner of MLB, are you afraid to overturn a previous Commissioner’s ruling?  Why?  Is there no forgiveness in baseball?

In light of the steroid era, haven’t we learned anything?  The steroid users have been glorified.  In 1998, fans of MLB enjoyed the greatest homerun race ever.  Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire slugged it out and the fans went wild.  At the time, we thought we were witnessing history, only to discover that it was all smoke and mirors.  In hindsight, it was a major disappointment.  Then there’s Barry Bonds, who belted 70 homeruns to become the homerun king.  Again, it was all an illusion, wasn’t it?

Considering the fact that steroids not only tarnished the game, it destroyed the integrity of America’s past time.  So why do players like Palmeiro get rewarded by appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot?  I don’t get it.  MLB has always taken the stance that baseball is a pure sport, a sport with integrity.  Let’s face it, baseball has been stained by steroids.  Players looked for an extra edge and found it.  They cheated, pure and simple.  The problem that I have is that if a player fails a drug test, he gets suspended for 90 days or whatever it is.  then, if he tests positive again, it’s a 180 game suspension.  The third offense results in a lifetime ban.  So why is it, that Pete Rose received baseball’s death penalty for one mistake made after his playing days were over?  Pete Rose played the game the way it should be played.  He set the example for everyone.  He never used steroids or cheated in any way, shape, or form as a player.  As a manager, he bet on his team to win.  Big deal.  Why is his case a greater crime than steroid use?  I think there is something wrong with that picture.

Here is my proposal, Mr. Selig.  I have an idea that might actually prove to be the right thing to do.  I hope that you read this post and seriously consider what I am about to suggest.  Why?  It is the right thing to do and I am confident that you are a man of integrity.  Here’s my idea. 

Since Pete Rose bet on baseball while managing the Reds, then he should be banned as a manager.  However, since Pete has alot to offer, he should be allowed to coach, mentoring young players and teaching them how to play the game the way it was meant to be played and teaching them about the dangers of cheating.  Pete Rose should be allowed to participate in the game of baseball in some capacity.  He was the greatest hitter ever.  Have some respect and give him his due.  Pete Rose has paid the price for his mistake and is sorry.  He should be forgiven.  Perhaps a little forgiveness would bring back some of the integrity that has been lost in Major League baseball.

In addition, Pete Rose deserves to be in the hall of Fame, period!  His numbers speak for themselves.  His success came the old-fashion way, he earned it.  He worked hard to get where he had gotten.  He deserves to be on the ballot to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  It doesn’t mean that the writers will vote him in, although I think he deserves it.  He should at least have the opportunity to be on the ballot.  It’s time to be a leader, Mr. Selig, and give Pete Rose a reprieve.  It has been long enough.  Don’t you believe in giving people second chances?  Steroid users get second and third chances.  Pete Rose needs only one second chance and you are the only one that has the power to forgive.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, but maybe there should be.

thumbnailCARERZJN.jpgPete Rose
was my favorite player when I was a youngster.  He inspired me to play baseball.  He inspired me to hustle.  He inspired me to dive head first into whatever base I was trying to reach.  He inspired me to aspire to becoming a big leaguer some day.  Pete Rose was awesome.  My very first MLB game was at Riverfront Stadium and Pete Rose was playing third base.  He was the reason I wanted to see the Cubs and the Reds play.  Rose captivated my imagination and made me realize that a player had to work hard and give 100% all the time.  He inspired a strong work ethic in me.  Watching Pete Rose chase Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak was unbelievable.  Every game was exciting.  That was what made baseball so great.  He chased the 3,000 hit milestone.  Then, the incredible 4,000 hit milestone.  He finally broke Ty Cobb’s record for most hits all-time.  It was amazing.  Pete Rose kept me interested in baseball, no, more like obsessed.  Pete Rose deserves some credit.  He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  Have a heart and reinstate his eligibility status.  It’s the right thing to do.  If it wasn’t for Pete Rose, I would not be the diehard baseball fan that I am today.   I hope that somehow you read this, Mr. Selig.  I have the utmost respect for you and your integrity and I trust that you will consider doing the right thing.   Thank you,  Scot Blust.

Ryne Sandberg Is Officially Back With The Phillies

After the bitter disappointment that followed as the Cubs named Mike Quade their new Manager, Ryne Sandberg left the Organization for good. 
thumbnailCAOA84V0.jpg Today, he landed another job.  Not as a Major League Manager as he had hoped, but a managing job nonetheless.  Ryno will take over for the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate.  Sandberg won the Pacific Coast league Manager of the Year last season with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa.  Cubs’ fans will miss Ryno. 
thumbnailCAS36DY2.jpg He has been a fan favorite since the eighties and now, will return to the team that traded him to the Cubs all those years ago.  Good luck to Ryno.  He will do an outstanding job for the Phillies.

A Tribute To Sparky Anderson

A legend has passed away today.  Sparky Anderson will be remembered for his World Series Championships in Cincinnatti and Detroit, but I will never forget my very first MLB game in 1977 between the Cubs and the Reds.  Sparky was managing The Big Red Machine and I got to see the legend with my own eyes.  I was only 9 at the time, but even then, I knew that I was witnessing a part of history, a legend.

thumbnailCALHKW4M.jpgAs a nine year old, I was all about baseball.  I lived and breathed it.  I collected baseball cards and made trades like a GM would, using my keen insight and intuition to determine what players would hold their value and who I could afford to part with.  Back then, I could rattle off every stat for every player at any given time.  There wasn’t much about baseball that I didn’t know at that age.  I only wish I could have played the game as well as I would have liked, becoming a professional baseball player was my dream, but that’s another story.  Anyway, I was really into the Reds at the time.  The Big Red Machine was the ultimate team, in my opinion.  Sparky Anderson was the Manager, arguably the best in his time.  There was something special about him, you could just tell.  He was like the grandfather everyone wished they had.  I remember having his baseball card and refusing to part with it.  It didn’t matter that I had duplicates, because I knew that I had something special.  I had Sparky Anderson.  Well, my child’s intuition was correct in that assumption.  Sparky turned out to be a Hall Of Famer and deservedly so.  When I saw Sparky in person while attending the game between the Cubs and the Reds at Riverfront Stadium, I was in awe. 
thumbnailCA6LUK6U.jpg At the time, I don’t think I fully appreciated his managing prowess as I do now, but intuitively, I knew.  It was an honor to be in his presence. 
thumbnailCAAF4EFT.jpg Sparky Anderson exemplified what a Manager should be.  He was a kind-hearted man and a fierce competitor.  He was wise, intelligent, and a keen strategist.  He understood the game of baseball and knew what it takes to win.  He was a leader and a motivator.  Sparky Anderson was beloved by all, especially me, because Sparky was the kind of coach that I would want.  Even though I am a Diehard Cubs Fan, have been since 1978, there will always be a special place in my heart for Sparky.  God bless his soul.  He will be missed.

The San Francisco Giants Win The World Series!

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning the World Series. 
thumbnailCAVNTAJ1.jpgThe Texas Rangers were “freaked out” by Tim Lincecum,
thumbnailCAJ3HBL1.jpgwho pitched an outstanding game in the showdown against Cliff Lee.  Edgar Renteria hit a 3-run homerun off Lee to lead the Giants to victory.

thumbnailCACD65R4.jpgHats off to San Francisco!  The Giants won with pitching and defense, and most importantly, teamwork.  A team built on misfits and rejects, came together to form a team that played as a team.
thumbnailCAGR3Q2P.jpg  There were no superstars, only team players.  Perhaps, other teams can learn something from the Giants.  Mainly, that when you work as a team, you win as a team. 
thumbnailCAA26SZX.jpg Once again, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on a fine season and a World Series Championship!

Why Mike Quade Should Consider Ryne Sandberg For Bench Coach, And Why Ryno Should Accept!

As the new Manager for the Chicago Cubs, Mike Quade has some important decisions to make.  Among the first items on his To Do List will be to name his coaching staff.  Q has not ruled out the possibility of adding Ryne Sandberg to the team, but the question that begs to be answered remains, will he name Ryno to his coaching staff?  Would Sandberg even consider the job, considering his bitter disappointment following the Cubs’ decision to hire Quade as Manager?

Let’s consider the big picture.

thumbnailCA8EJEO3.jpgRyne Sandberg was named Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year last season in his fourth year of managing in the Cubs’ Farm System.  He was one of the leading candidates in the Cubs’ managerial search.  Ryno has stated that his goal is to manage at the MLB level.  That is why he may have declined the opportunity to serve as bench coach in his previous discussions with Jim Hendry, the Cubs’ GM.  However, since then, Mike Quade won the Cubs’ job and Ryno’s bid at interviewing for the Toronto Bluejays has fallen through.  The Bluejays have already filled that position.  So what options does Sandberg have left?  With a lack of MLB experience, Sandberg may be running out of options.  His dream of managing in the big leagues may have to wait until he gains a little more experience.  Jim Hendry has said that Ryno would be welcomed back at Iowa should Sandberg decide to return to his former position.  That being said, Ryno may want to move forward, not backward, and decide that serving as a bench coach could actually be the stepping stone that would bring him closer to realizing his goal to manage someday.   Cubs’ fans were disappointed that Sandberg was free to look outside of the Cubs’ Organization for a job.  Ryno is a true Cub and to see #23 in another uniform would scar many fans who wanted to see Ryno get the Cubs’ managerial job.

Would Mike Quade consider making Sandberg the Bench Coach?

Considering the fact that the Cubs are in the process of rebuilding and focusing on developing the farm system, wouldn’t it make sense that Mike Quade and the Cubs bring Sandberg into the fold.  Ryno managed at Triple-A, Iowa.  Who else knows the young, up and coming, players better than Sandberg?  Furhermore, Mike Quade could win many diehard Cubs’ fans over by simply giving Sandberg his due.  Ryno deserves more than having Jim Hendry show him the door.  He deserves a promotion and the opportunity to assist at the MLB level.  Mike Quade could make that happen and the PR disaster of snubbing Ryno could be averted.  Mike Quade would be a hero.

Would a combination of Mike Quade and Ryne Sandberg be awkward, considering that they competed for the same job?

That question has come up many times, but I do not believe it would be a factor.  First of all, Mike Quade and Ryne Sandberg haven proven to be loyal to the Cubs.  The goal is to win ballgames, not argue over who should manage and how.  I think that Ryno and Q are team players and they could easily put their ego’s aside for everyone’s sake.  The best leaders lead by example, and what better example than having two guys like Mike Quade and Ryne Sandberg, putting their knowledge and experience together, to work as a team.  Both are essential to the Cubs’ rebuilding process and I believe they would complement one another.  Mike Quade has been effective with the veterans and Ryno has been effective with the younger players.  It’s a win-win situation.  Besides, the Cubs’ fans that are clamoring for Sandberg would be pacified, not that that should be a factor.  Another thing, it would give Sandberg the additional experience that he needs at the Major League level.

While Ryne Sandberg explores his options and his future, I hope that Mike Quade has the wisdom and insight to ask Sandberg to join the team.  It seems to make the most sense.  Winning is about teamwork.  Winning is about have the right pieces in place.  Winning is about making the right decisions.  I hope Mike Quade will consider hiring Ryne Sandberg as Bench Coach and I pray that Ryno has the wisdom to accept.  It just seems to be the right thing to do, not only from a PR standpoint, but from a managing standpoint as well.