Do you believe in miracles?
I am extremely honored and excited to play for Team USA in this weekend’s (9/29 - 9/30) Asian Adult American Baseball Classic in Los Angeles. The round-robin tournament also includes Team Korea and Team Japan. I’m listed as an infielder and catcher, but I’ll play anywhere to represent the red, white and blue on the baseball field!
This is not my game jersey in the photo above. I won’t see my game jersey until Saturday, but I can’t wait to put it on. I’ll try to tweet and take photos during the games, but my main focus will be on the game action. Hopefully I’ll be able to enlist the help of an experienced photographer and videographer.
If you live in Southern California or plan on visiting this weekend, come out to the ballpark to cheer on Team USA. Admission and parking is free! For more information including game times and maps, see the Asian Adult American Baseball Classic website.
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Bonus - Columbia University
You won’t be able to find my name or my stats listed anywhere in the archives of the Columbia University Sports Information Department. My navy blue batting practice jersey and my best friend who now lives in Tampa Bay, FL are the only ties to my collegiate baseball career, which officially consisted of two innings of one game played, two putouts (one on a diving catch in foul territory along the third base line), one plate appearance, zero hits (I grounded into a fielder’s choice), zero runs and zero runs batted in.
Yes it’s a humble career stat line, but at least I can say that I played for the same university as the legendary Lou Gehrig. My dorm room over looked the South Field where he once played wearing Columbia blue. The baseball field has moved, but I did play Whiffle Ball with my friends on the lawn that remains in its stead.
Footnote: One of my Columbia teammates was a future major leaguer, Frank Seminara, who finished seventh in the 1992 NL Rookie of the Year voting and pitched for the Padres and Mets during his career.
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 30 - Washington Nationals
My parents took me to Montreal once. I don’t remember anything about it though because I was only 21 days old. I never saw the Expos original home, Parc Jarry, but I do remember Stade Olympique with its metric dimensions written on the outfield wall, and its artificial turf that destroyed Andre Dawson’s knees.
Now L’Équipe des Expos has abandoned Montreal for a new home with real grass, and a new name, the Washington Nationals (and fortunately for them, a new owner). No need to change the team colors though. Red, white and blue work just fine.
Mike Morse, by NatsNewsNetwork
Stephen Strasburg, by Scott Ableman
Vladimir Guerrero, by David Zalubowski/AP
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 29 - Philadelphia Phillies
My family and I lived in Philadelphia for a couple years when I was a toddler. Even after we moved away, my parents would regularly pack up my brothers and me for short getaway weekends back in Philly. Usually we would see Sixers games at the old Spectrum, but we also caught a few Phillies games at their former home, Veterans Stadium. I never did see Steve Carton pitch in person though.
You couldn’t be a Tom Seaver fan without knowing about Carlton. As the aces for their respective teams, they faced off against one another 17 times, including five times on opening day. Their first meeting was April 12, 1970. Seaver took the win in a 6-4 game, while Carlton, then with the Cardinals, took the loss. Their last meeting was opening day April 5, 1983. Seaver threw six scoreless innings but did not get the decision in the Mets 2-0 win over the Phillies. Carlton took the loss to finish with a 3-12 record (with 2 no decisions) against Seaver.
Despite Carlton’s lack of success against Seaver (and the Mets in general), I still recognized and respected his mastery. He was the first to win four Cy Young Awards (‘70, ‘77, ‘80, ‘82), he was the first to strikeout 4000 batters (he finished with 4136, still fourth on the all-time leaderboard), and his slider was so filthy that it is regarded not only as the best slider ever (Randy Johnson and Ron Guidry are his main competitors) but also as one of the best pitches ever.
I would love to put Carlton’s name and number on the back of a Phillies jersey someday, but not the one I’m wearing above. He never wore that particular style in a game. Only a throwback with the Phillies old logo and maroon pinstripes or the powder blue would be fitting for Carlton’s 32.
So who’s name and number would I put on my current jersey?
It has to be 50 for Jamie Moyer.
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 28 - New York Mets, Part 2
My previous Mets post has me feeling a little nostalgic. I also have a lot of Mets jerseys. Two more are not pictured in either post. I would like to add at least two more, the current alternate creamsicle home jersey and a wool flannel reproduction home jersey from Mitchell & Ness. Come to think of it, I’d like to purchase the reproduction of the 1969 Mets wool jacket from Mitchell & Ness too.
So, the Mets, and only the Mets, get a second post of the day.
Grote, Koosman, Selma, Ryan and Seaver, by The Sporting News
R.A. Dickey, by Paul J Bereswill/AP
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 28 - New York Mets
Ah, the Mets. My boyhood team. Dave “King Kong” Kingman. Jerry Grote. Ed Kranepool. Felix Millan. Bud Harrelson. Wayne Garrett. Cleon Jones. Rusty Staub. Jon Matlack. Bob Apodaca. Jerry Koosman. And of course, Tom Seaver.
Those were my Mets.
I loved the Mets uniforms, especially the sleeve patch. My parents bought me one at a game once, and my mom sewed it onto the left sleeve of my jean jacket. I loved that jacket. I loved that team.
I still check on her from time to time. She’s changed a lot. So have I.
But you never forget your first love.
David Wright, AP Photo
Johan Santana, by Michael Baron
Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver, by Walter Iooss/SI
Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, by Seth Wenig/AP
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 27 - Miami Marlins
The Marlins have probably had two of the most obnoxious owners in recent MLB history - Wayne Huizenga and Jeffrey Loria (dishonorable mention goes to the late Marge Schott, who owned the Reds from 1984 to 1999). Huizenga is more remembered for immediately dismantling the 1997 championship Marlins team following the World Series than actually being the owner of a championship team. Meanwhile, Loria destoyed the Montreal Expos and almost did the same to the Marlins until the City of Miami and the County of Miami-Dade finally agreed to help finance a new stadium, Marlins Park, which will open its doors for its first MLB game next week.
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 26 - Atlanta Braves
One of the first posters hung in my room as a boy was this photograph from Sports Illustrated of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run. I didn’t follow the Braves or Aaron, but my parents gave me the poster and I liked it.
I wouldn’t call myself a Braves fan now, but I do closely follow the team. Thanks to TBS, I have had the pleasure of watching the brilliance of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, of watching Andruw Jones catch everything hit anywhere near centerfield, and of watching the career of Chipper Jones’ career unfold. I hope that he can have a good, healthy final season. In five years, I expect to see him elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, as he deservedly should be, but I doubt that he will be a unanimous choice.
Steve Avery, John Smoltz, Pete Smith, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, by Ronald C Modra/Getty
Hank Aaron, by Herb Scharfman/Getty
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 25 - Toronto Blue Jays
I had a passing interest in the Blue Jays as a kid because I lived near Syracuse, the home of the Chiefs, which was then the AAA affiliate of the Blue Jays (it is now the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals). I didn’t follow the Jays much but I did recognize the brilliance of Dave Steib. How he did not receive more support for the Hall of Fame is a travesty similar to the apathy shown to Ted Simmons, Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich.
Dave Steib, by Ronald C Modra/Getty
Joe Carter, by Ron Vesely
Jose Bautista, by Ben Krause
30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 24 - Tampa Bay Rays
I’ve mentioned before that I’m fond of the Rays alternate light blue jersey, which I have not yet added to my collection. I also kinda like the team. Not because they manage to contend against the big budget teams, but because they seem like a fun collection of guys. Their manager Joe Maddon is hipster cool too. They need a new place to play though.
I’ve watched two games inside the Tropicana Field dome. The lighting reminded me of a hospital waiting room, and it is unacceptable that the catwalks suspended over the field are actually in play. Here are the ground rules for the catwalks (source - Tampa Bay Rays website):
Batted ball strikes catwalk, light or suspended object over fair territory:
- Batted ball that strikes either of the lower two catwalks, lights or suspended objects in fair territory: HOME RUN.
- Batted ball that is not judged a home run and remains on a catwalk, light or suspended object: TWO BASES.
- Batted ball that is not judged a home run and strikes a catwalk, light or suspended object in fair territory shall be judged fair or foul in relation to where it strikes the ground or is touched by a fielder. If caught by fielder, batter is out and runners advance at own risk.
- Batted ball strikes catwalk, light or suspended object over foul territory: DEAD BALL
Ben Zobrist, by Jim Davis/Boston Globe
Josh Hamilton, AP Photo
Kyle Farnsworth, by Jason Behnken/Tampa Bay Online