Tag Archive | "Bud Selig"

A Modest Proposal

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A Modest Proposal

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Will Emerson

Once again the baseball world is rocked with news of Performance Enhancing Drug use.

SteroidNeedle

In case you live under a rock or something to that effect, The Miami New Times News printed an article Thursday that reported on the busting of a Miami clinic that has sold performance enhancing drugs to professional athletes, including several Major League Baseball players. Think BALCO-East. This is news, no denying that, but the whole PED thing in baseball is old. MLB continues to try and crack down more when it comes to not only preventing PEDs from finding their way into MLB clubhouses, but also punishing those who get caught with said PEDs. But in light of these recent events, many have to, and have, asked if the current punishment is enough to scare players away. First of all, these are the ones who get caught, which is not necessarily all, or close to all, of the players who have used PEDs. The first offense is 50 games, which clearly has not scared off every, if any, ballplayer from taking the risk. So naturally, many people think maybe there should be a harsher penalty, which may be true, but I feel like there is a simpler answer that we are all overlooking. Allow PEDs!

Yeah, you heard me! Is this not the most obvious answer? The biggest concern for fans, other players, Bud Selig, etcetera, etcetera, more or less,  is that using PEDs is cheating and gives these players an unfair advantage, right? Some might even say it “enhances” their “performance”. Well? Go ahead and allow a free for all! Level the playing field, so to speak. Now, all of a sudden, it becomes about who can get the best stuff and utilize it. In theory, aside from the fact that certain players could get better “stuff”, there would not really be any advantage to taking PEDs, as everyone who wants to be, will be, bigger and stronger without that pesky worrying about being caught and punished. Homeruns would be leaving the parks, left and right! Straight away center too, I suppose. We know MLB loves the longball, after all there’s no Opposite Field Single or Sacrifice Bunt Derby at the All-Star break. Only a Home Run Derby, folks. Plus the free for all with the ‘roids and other PEDS would help us really determine how much these help players who are just not as skilled and talented. PEDs won’t necessarily help you hit Uncle Charlie, right? (For those not up on baseball slang that means curveball, not some old uncle that gets rolled out to be hit repeatedly.) That is one arument, sure, and it is has a bit of a point. You do need to have some talent to begin with, but let’s not completely dismiss what PEDs can do. But isn’t this kind of just the rich getting richer, so to speak?

Well, sure, the players who are more talented and are already making more money as a result of this can probably afford better PEDs and whatnot, but how would this be different than if no one used PEDs? In that no-PED scenario the more talented players are better and make more money, in theory, anyways. So if everyone used PEDs this would not change the overall tiers of talent in Major League Baseball. Everything is back to a level, or at least the same, already off-kilter, playing field that would exist without PEDs, right? It would be like playing a friend in a video game where you both know all the cheat codes, would it not? So, where’s the downside? Players have no advantage, really, other than their natural skill levels, which they had to begin with and they can go ahead and shatter home run records to the delight of fans all over! Well, wait a tick, there is that whole side-effect, danger of doing these drugs, thing.

Do you remember that SNL sketch from the 90s, where they had the All-Drug Olympics? If you don’t, let me lay it out for you. Basically the sketch starts with Dennis Miller as the Weekend Update Anchor leading in with, “In response to what its sponsors claim is an idea whose time has come, the first All-Drug Olympics opened today in Bogota, Columbia. Athletes are allowed to take any substance whatsoever before, after, and even during the competition. So far, 115 world records have been shattered!” Miller then goes to Kevin Nealon, as the correspondent at the All-Drug Olympics. Nealon informs us he is at the weightlifting competition, where a Russian competitor is about to compete. Nealon goes on to list off the drugs the weightlifter is on and that the Russian is about to attempt lifting 1500 pounds which would triple the existing world record. Well, the weightlifter attempts to lift the weight and, basically, he pulls his arms off, to which Nealon says, “Oh! He pulled his arms off! He’s pulled his arms off, that’s gotta be disappointing to the big Russian!” It is hilariously delightful. I am not sure if I can link the clip through this post, but if you just enter “SNL All-Drug Olympics” in the search engine of your choice everything else is gravy. But the point is, yeah, there are consequences beyond just being penalized.

Aside from the penalty of being caught, in the simplest terms, PEDs are really not good for you. But the dangers and side-effects of most, if not all, of these drugs are known and these effects go a lot further than backne (on an unrelated note, typing “backne” made me wonder want Brandon Backe is up to). So without risk of penalty, there is still a “do this at your own risk” caveat. But there it is! At your own risk. Perfect! You know what you’re getting into, you’re adults, go for it! If you think it’s worth it, then do it tto it! Let’s start the All-Drug MLB!*

*If not obvious enough to you, the reader, this proposal was in jest. It is an oversimplified and, quite frankly, asinine idea that I would not seriously propose, although I am sure there are some that would throw this idea out there. PEDs should never be allowed and they probably do need harsher penalties that will actually make players think twice about using them.

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25 random thoughts

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25 random thoughts

Posted on 10 January 2013 by Chris Caylor

The hot stove has been anything but for the past couple of weeks and spring training is still over a month away. To help tide you over, here are 25 random thoughts about baseball:

ToriiHunter

  1. I am still shaking my head at the Hall of Fame voters. You sanctimonious, self-important knuckleheads.
  2. Speaking of knuckleheads, don’t you just feel bad for poor Torii Hunter? He gets misquoted and taken out of context more than any athlete in history. To be on the safe side, maybe he ought to just shut up.
  3. The Orioles’ 2012 season = the Arizona Cardinals’ Super Bowl run in 2008.
  4. What do you suppose Kevin Youkilis’ reaction would have been at this time last year if you suggested he’d be playing for the Yankees in 2013?
  5.  “Dear Michael Young: the grass isn’t always greener.” – Nomar Garciaparra.
  6. Listen up, people: the Stephen Strasburg and Robert Griffin situations are completely different. Strasburg was not injured; Griffin was. Apples and oranges. Guys like Jon Heyman, who droned on and on about how smart the Nationals were to shut Strasburg down, seem to lose sight of that fact. The Nationals were three outs away from the NLCS without Strasburg; where might they have ended up with him? World Series victories don’t grow on trees.
  7. Although I don’t see it happening, the vision of Michael Bourn and a healthy Rafael Furcal at the top of the Cardinals’ lineup greatly intrigues me.
  8. Although if they did sign Bourn, the Cards could use Jon Jay as part of a package to acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians. Cabrera could play 2B and slide over to SS when (note: not if) Furcal ends up on the DL, then take over SS full-time after Furcal’s contract expires next year.
  9. If the Cardinals were to end up trading some of their young pitchers as part of a Cabrera deal, I wonder if they would reconsider their stance on Kyle Lohse, who has got to be frustrated watching Edwin Jackson get $52 million from the Cubs while his phone sits silent.
  10. Here’s an idea: Lohse to the Pirates. If Francisco Liriano’s deal indeed falls through due to his non-throwing arm injury, adding Lohse would fortify the rotation in front of James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez.
  11. Nobody asked me, but here are some things that would improve the watchability of a baseball game:
  12. Forbid the players from stepping out of the batter’s box after every pitch. You do not need to adjust your batting gloves (or spit on them and smack your hands together) after you watch a ball bounce in the dirt, you anal retentive jocks.
  13. Automatically award a ball against every pitcher who takes longer than 30 seconds to come set and throw a pitch. You want to put that stupid little slingshot that shoots t-shirts into the stands between innings? Use it to drill Josh Beckett with a water balloon next time he takes 15 minutes between pitches. Throw the bleeping ball already.
  14. A 4th umpire in a replay booth to review close plays on the bases, fair/foul calls and questionable home runs. Come on, Bud. It’s time. Don’t be as obstinate and out of touch as Roger Goodell.
  15. Get rid of umpires like Bob Davidson and Joe West. A Walking Dead zombie could do a better job than these chumps. Seriously. Nobody goes to a game to see the Ump Show. Now then, moving on to other things…
  16. Football fans who call baseball boring need to really look at all the down time between plays of a football game. Truth be told, it’s nearly equal, particularly when you factor in all the officiating delays in a football game.
  17. I still believe Justin Upton is the Rangers’ starting right fielder on Opening Day.
  18. Speaking of the Rangers, I presume that Lance Berkman’s signing means that Nolan Ryan has gotten over that World Series Game 6 thing.
  19. At the risk of blaspheming, I have accepted that the DH likely is coming to the National League. Watching pitchers try to bunt – or even swing a bat – is often excruciating.
  20. In fact, with interleague play becoming an everyday part of the baseball schedule, it may as well be sooner rather than later. Just give each team an extra bench spot. The players union ought to be pleased with the 30 new jobs, no?
  21. Not counting teams that have deliberately blown themselves up (coughMARLINScough), is there a team that has done less to improve itself during the offseason than the Rockies? It’s
  22. Player A: .244/.333/.344, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 26 SB in 453 PA. Player B: .263/.299.504, 20 HR, 57 RBI in 398 PA, 2.0 WAR. Player A is the Giants’ Gregor Blanco, who was considered by some baseball writers to be their most underrated player in 2012. Player B is free agent Scott Hairston. He shouldn’t be used too much against righties, but teams needing an outfielder could do a lot worse.
  23. For you Mets fans hoping the team will sign a free agent to upgrade your team’s outfield, here’s what remains out there besides Bourn and Hairston: Grady Sizemore, Delmon Young, Nyjer Morgan, Rick Ankiel, Travis Buck.  YEESH.
  24. Anyone surprised that no one has taken an interest in Roy Oswalt after he whined and pouted his way through that “comeback” in Texas? Me either. Don’t call us, Roy, we’ll call you.
  25. I end with one of my favorite quotes, by Rogers Hornsby: “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do: I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Follow me on Twitter @ccaylor10

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You’ve Done It Again Mr. Selig

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You’ve Done It Again Mr. Selig

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Will Emerson

So we have officially been through Bud Selig’s first ever one-game, Wild Card games and I have to say, as something of a baseball purist, I was a bit iffy going in. But here’s the thing, I actually kind of like it. Now sure, the inaugural games did not go off without a hitch, as they say, but slightly more on that to come since I know you’ve probably heard very little about that already. The natural argument against a one game, winner take all, match-up for a right to head to the LDS is that it is just one game. That is to say that many feel that boiling down a 162 season into one do or die situation, to put it eloquently, sucks.

Well there is no arguing against that point, I guess. Does it suck? Well, yeah. A team works hard through 162 games to get a Wild Card birth only to have their season end just like that. The point of the Wild Card games and adding the extra Wild Card team is to put more emphasis on winning the division. Which you have to admit, makes sense, right? Not only that, it adds a layer of advantage to the team with the best record in each league. The wild card team they face will already have had to fight through a draining game and hopefully have burned their ace or at least their bullpens before facing them. Now Chipper Jones, among others, said it stinks that a season could come down to a blown call or miscue or anything of that sort, so it should be at least a best-of-three series. But this is where we could start down a slippery slope.

From there the LDS could become a best-of-seven series and who knows, we could end up back to the early 20th century with a best-of-nine World Series. Here’s the thing, would it be different if the Braves were down one game to none and the bad call came in game two and it ended the season? The bottom line is, win your division and you don’t have to worry about that at all. Now I’m sure Chipper was just mad that his career, more than his season, could be decided by one game or one call. The thing is, to say that call cost the Braves the game is a bit simplistic. They still loaded the bases after that and failed to plate a run against arguably one of the worst closers in the game. So to have this point to argue against the one-game Wild Card does not quite hold water with me. I mean that could happen in a game seven, but would that make a team feel better about being on the wrong end of the call? I highly doubt it. It was a big game and there was a blown call. We’ve seen it before, but you know what, good, mentally tough teams can overcome this during a game and fight back into the game. If you still have your chances after the bad call then don’t blame the call. Do not use this to argue against the one-game playoff. Move on and let it be. What you should really be mad about is the change Bud Selig slipped into the equation while no one was looking.

You see, when baseball went to three divisions and added a playoff round, the higher seed would actually start the playoffs on the road. A 2-3 format, where the higher seed would play games one and two on the road and the next three at home. Which at the time I found ludicrous. I guess they were trying to lay this out like the best-of-seven series’ as if it stopped at five? I’m not really sure, but I was certainly opposed to it. But then, finally, one of my strongly worded letters must have reached the commissioner or something as the 2-3 format was abolished and more reasonable 2-2-1 format was adopted and all was good with the world. But then lo and behold, what do I notice this season? The gosh darned return of the 2-3 format!

This seems even more ridiculous now then it did in the early 90s. Now, as opposed to then, the Wild Card winner gets to come off a win and host, yes HOST, the first two games of the LDS round. Say what? First off, if you subscribe to that sort of thing, you’ve given a Wild Card team (you know a non-division winner) momentum launched right into a home game to start a series. Now if you are, like me, more of the momentum-shmomentum side, there is also the fact that the two teams who earned home field advantage, are only guaranteed one home playoff game. One? That hardly seems fair.

Of course, a good team should be able to win on the road and beat the lesser team regardless, this is true. But as we have seen time and again, anything can happen in a short series in baseball. So, yeah, the higher seed should still be able to win the series, but it think about the home team fans, concessions, street vendors, etc. Even if the home team sweeps the series, they are losing out on one game they should be guaranteed. Playoff tickets, for instance are sold by series, right? So if you’re team clinches home field advantage, you think, “oh cool, I have tickets to the second LDS game!” Cool, except if there’s a sweep and now you miss out on a playoff game. Is this a bit extreme to argue my point? Sure, but I still stand by the fact that the 2-3 format is rubbish.

So Mr. Selig, I’m okay with the Wild Card games and will have your back should people doubt these new playoff games, but I implore you sir, return to the 2-2-1 format in the LDS! Don’t make a step forward and then step back at the same time, Bud! Give the teams and fans that deserve it, another guaranteed playoff game. It’s one game, I understand, but think about the little people in all this and do it for them. Do it for the little people Bud before my strongly worded letters start hitting your desk again.

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Requiem For A One-Eyed Batter

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Requiem For A One-Eyed Batter

Posted on 12 September 2012 by Gary Perilloux

A day like any other? Hardly. Soon, Larry Mize would plunk a 140-foot chip into the final playoff hole cup at Augusta, giving Greg Norman the most bitter defeat of his career at The Masters.

But the day belonged to baseball, really. Here we were, a dozen general managers, an auctioneer, several wives, girlfriends and hangers-on in a downtown watering hole about four Mickey Mantle home run blasts from the Mississippi River.

Doug’s, a Beaux-Arts establishment, sported 20-foot ceilings, massive maroon drapes, heavy tables with captain’s chairs, a dartboard and jukebox at the back and a curved-screen, cathode-ray tube piping The Masters in over the bar, helmed by a discreet bookie who’d triple as our barkeep and auctioneer.

Draft Day – all’s right with the world, and just as we pored over our cheat sheets, penciling in last-minute strategies in our Rotisserie reveries, the scene-stealer burst through the door with a stack of research in one arm and a stack of neon yellow caps on the other.

Lyman Gore, a wiry, 40-ish attorney with curly, dishwater blond hair, strode in from a nearby print shop with a gleam in his one good eye and a gift for every Fantasy Baseball owner at the table: A purple logo printed on the yellow caps, LSU-like, but this was no Eye of the Tiger. No, Lyman – confident of claiming his first championship – lavished upon us custom caps with a purple bat striking a purple baseball festooned with his trademark glass eye and a caption below his team name: “Cyclops – In the Bat of an Eye.”

CYCLOPS CAP

Laughs cascaded to the ceiling, and the loudest was Lyman’s, a hoarse cackle that crinkled the corners of his eyes and that echoed through every River City League draft until, finally, two decades later he would claim his first title.

‘I Hate Pitchers’

Pitchers were the bane of Lyman’s existence. It was as if his mind’s eye suffered from a loss of perspective the way his physical eye suffered from a lack of peripheral vision.

Seated with his roster sheet and inside baseball publications – typically at a separate table – he’d grab his thermos and swill some coffee of the Irish kind. When it came his turn to nominate a player in the draft auction, he’d slap his thermos on the table and mutter an oath, “I hate pitchers,” usually followed by the corollary phrase, “with a passion.”

Year-in, year-out, the Cyclops couldn’t seem to break that cycle. The pitchers seemed to hate Lyman as much as he hated them. He’d spend big on sluggers and base-stealers until someone would say, “Lyman, when you gonna draft a pitcher?” His rejoinder: “I hope never.”

Some years he’d sit out the bidding altogether until, at the first break, one of us would say, “Lyman, when you gonna draft somebody?” His rejoinder, “I’m saving my money,” reflected his upbringing as a banker’s son, and then the corollary “I don’t want to blow it all on pitchers” would precede another cackle and a round of good-natured ribbing.

But clearly a pattern was setting in. Lyman, who scouted spring training and pored over player rankings with the best of us, usually exceeding the preparation any of the rest of us could muster, slowly but surely sank into a bidding paralysis. He seemed not to want to pull the trigger and, eventually, seemed incapable of doing so in the crucial moments of the draft.

Fantasy baseball purists know the pitfalls. Never spend too much, too early. Never bring up a player you don’t want to own. And never get so excited about a player that your bid is out of proportion with the player’s Fantasy, not real, value. Sometimes the most modest of bids is excessive. One year, my brother Glen, playing with a Canadian oil man named Lloyd Thomas as his partner, listened while someone opened one of the first bids with “Kevin Ritz, starting pitcher, Colorado.” Now these were the 1990s, and Coors Field was the ultimate hitter’s crib: One simply didn’t draft Rockies pitchers if they could be avoided – and never early in the draft. To his horror, Glen heard the oil man bellow a second bid for Ritz from behind his bushy mustache. A split second of silence ensued, then came the thundering sound of my brother’s foot stomping and the exclamation: “Lloyd!” Wounded, the oil man defended himself: “Well, he won 17 games last year. He’s worth at least one more bid.” Ritz also had surrendered 105 walks and 125 earned runs the prior year to go with a WHIP of 1.601 and a 5.28 ERA.

By then, the jig was up, laughter knifed through the auction tension, and I don’t have to tell you who laughed loudest.

The Comeback Kid

Still, Lyman couldn’t break his lovable loser mold. He’d overcompensate in ways that led to more mirth. When time came for our Minor League picks, Lyman amped up the levity by selecting farm hands for the peculiarity of their names: Razor Shines, Motorboat Jones and Boof Bonser all spent time riding the Cyclops bench.

And yet Lyman flourished in his role as our league’s commissioner. Our River City League began nearly 30 years ago when Rotisserie founders Glenn Waggoner and Daniel Okrent penned the first edition of the classic, Rotisserie League Baseball, and we original owners read it. In those days, we crunched our own stats by hand – ugh! – and delighted in the delayed discovery of who was winning. Lyman joined a couple of years later, when we’d begun receiving weekly faxed stats from a service in Maryland.

When, a decade later, Web leagues burst onto the scene, Lyman stepped up to the plate as our online commissioner. On any given summer night, you could go to our site, glance through the standings and there in the chat room Lyman would be lurking, as sure and certain a presence as the moon outside.

We exchanged hundreds of emails about transactions and trades over the years, often never seeing each other between drafts because we lived in different cities. And then a funny thing happened.

Lyman embraced the baseball strategies of John Benson with a passion and began moving up the standings from his perennial also-ran status. Most miraculous of all, he embraced pitchers. With Benson behind him, Lyman learned that pitchers could be his friends, especially the innings-eaters with low ERAs, stingy WHIPs and frequent W’s in a holy pitching trinity. He learned to eschew saves – you can’t win every category, the reasoning went, so don’t overpay for a bunch of unpredictable relievers.

Gradually, he applied the same systematic approach to hitters. He climbed from 4 pitching points, 21 total points and 10th place (last) in 2001 to ninth a year later, with 14 pitching points and 37 total points. In 2003, he scaled to third place with a balanced line of 24 points in batting and 23 in pitching. The next year, he claimed second place (44 points) in the most competitive year in our league’s history.

And then it happened. In 2005, the Cyclops claimed the no-longer mythical championship, beating my Peripatetics team by 4.5 points and recording the league’s best balance: 26 batting points, 23 pitching points. I couldn’t have been happier if I’d won myself, and I almost felt the same way in 2006 when Lyman edged me by 2 points to take his second consecutive crown.

If anyone deserved to gloat, it was Lyman, but he remained uncannily gracious as a champion and continually competitive in the succeeding years. Shortly after the All-Star Game this year, I pulled into our office parking lot after lunch, heard my phone buzz with what I expected to be a work email and read the impossible: Lyman had died after surgery and a brief illness.

Eternal Summer

I’ll never know what going to war is like, fighting with brothers in arms on foreign soil. But this felt like someone blasted my bunkmate out of our foxhole. I lost it. When I posted a brief email to my fellow owners a few moments later, it stated the unfiltered truth about Lyman: “Devastating: It will never be the same without him.”

Fantasy commissioners aren’t supposed to die, they’re supposed to go on forever – longer than Bud Selig, God love him. Several other league owners had died over the years, but none in mid-season and none more dedicated to this silly, romantic, guts-and-glory game we pursue.

The best I can do is step off the pitching mound and hand the ball over to the late great Mike Royko, whose posthumous collection of columns in 1999 began with this requiem on the final day when his beloved Chicago Daily News ceased publication in 1978:

When I was a kid, the worst of all days
Was the last day of summer vacation,
and we were in the schoolyard playing softball,
and the sun was going down, and it was getting dark.
But I didn’t want it to get dark.
I didn’t want the game to end.
It was too good, too much fun.
I wanted it to stay light forever,
so we could go on playing forever,
so the game would go on and on.

That’s how I feel now: C’mon, C’mon!
Let’s play one more inning.
One more time at bat.
One more pitch. Just one?
Stick around, guys.
We can’t break up this team.
It’s too much fun.

But the sun always went down.
And now it’s almost dark again.

Elsewhere, the sun is rising, and I see Ray Kinsella tossing a baseball to his dad, the catcher. Ty Cobb is filing his spikes, and Shoeless Joe Jackson is lacing up his cleats, staring down Cobb. Satchel Paige is on the pitching mound, staring over his shoulder to see how far Jackie Robinson is cheating toward second base.

Perched on the front row of the bleachers, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis casts a quizzical eye at Shoeless Joe and glares at the first baseman, Chick Gandil. Beside Landis, Bowie Kuhn engages A. Bartlett Giamatti in a scholarly debate on free agency, and next to them, wearing the golden cap with the purple eye, sits Lyman Gore – thermos in one hand, stat sheet on his knee.

He winks.

Today, Gary Perilloux’s RCL team stands in sixth place, a point behind the late Lyman Gore’s Cyclops, who are tied for fourth and leading the league with a .282 team batting average. 

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9-11-baseball

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Baseball Post September 11th

Posted on 12 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

You can say a lot about Bud Selig over his tenure. You can complain about what he did wrong. You can complain about what he did right. Nonetheless, not one of us would have wanted to trade places with him eleven years ago today.

Deciding whether baseball should return after September 11th….

This year, baseball once again marks the solemn anniversary with flag patches on caps, special lineup cards, base jewels and pregame ceremonies. Once again Selig sets the tone.

“All of us within Major League Baseball made a solemn promise after Sept. 11, 2001: We Shall Not Forget,” Selig said last year. “When I look back on those days once play had resumed, it gives me pride that the national pastime provided fans with some moments of normalcy and joy.”

Selig continued, “I am very proud of the efforts throughout Major League Baseball to remember and to commemorate, and like all Americans, it is my great hope that acts of kindness and service will renew the spirit of unity that resonated in our nation after Sept. 11.”

It is remarkable how our national pastime has become entwined with memories of the post-Sept 11th recovery process. From players visiting with first responders to Shea Stadium being used as a relief center to the outpouring of patriotism and unity (after play resumed), baseball helped our nation begin to cope with its shock, horror and grief. It’s hard to now imagine commemoration the day without it.

It just seems right.

Since September 11, 2001, the Yankees have played “God Bless America” during the 7th inning. Joe Torre, now Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations, mused to MLB.com “…when they pan the audience, I look at the youngsters and I get a lump in my throat, because those kids aren’t going to grow up with the same freedoms we did. It’s necessary, but they won’t.”

“The No. 1 [change] is the security,” Torre said. “You go through any airport. Not just airports, but theaters and certain sporting events. I know some people resent it, because we’re used to so much freedom, but people were trying to hurt us on our own soil. It was devastating.”

Ok. I’ll keep my mouth shut the next time Yankee Stadium security makes me turn my iPhone on.

Umpire, and now Senior Arbiter, Joe West questions “Did 9/11 change this country? Yes, absolutely.” He goes on to tell MLB.com, “…every now and then, I think we should all be reminded how important life is. I was lucky enough to get reinstated to my position as an umpire [there was a labor action at the time], and I realize how lucky all Americans are to be part of the greatest country on earth. And I promise that as long as I’m able, Merle Haggard’s words in a song are what I’ll live by: ‘When [they're] running down my country, man, [they're] walking on the fightin’ side of me.’”

Retired centerfielder, Doug Glanville, grew up six miles from the George Washington Bridge. He put the plight of baseball in perspective that faithful day. “So many lost lives and how it shook our entire world,” Glanville told MLB.com. “We were trying to do what we do, which is play baseball. I just remember the conflict in deciding if we should play, when we should play in terms of resuming. Everything was so uncertain and everybody was so fearful about the possibility of what could happen next.”

Was it right to move on?

Glanville continues, “I agreed with the idea that baseball could heal, but we also wanted to make sure if we needed to have some perspective first or just digest it. To respect the lost lives and see what possibly could be next, because we were playing sporting events with thousands of people congregating. That seemed pretty dicey given the possibility of another strike.” In our darkest hour, baseball opted to continued. The players quietly supported charities, visited first responders, but most importantly they played.

We might complain about their paychecks or when they single-handedly destroyed our fantasy baseball teams, still Major League Baseball did something eleven years ago for which I will be eternally grateful. They simply reported to work.

Thank you. I needed to say that.

I guess Doug Glanville describes it best. “So that was a concern, but we also did think it was compelling, the idea of giving people something to enjoy, the American experience, the national pastime.”

Baseball, what could be more American than that?

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