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Thursday, April 05, 2012

MSN: Ali depresses the world on baseball’s Opening Day

Muhammad Ali ruled Miami once, back in ‘64 when he took down Sonny Liston for his first heavyweight championship, but his appearance to throw the first pitch at the Marlins new ballpark wasn’t a celebration; it was just…sad. Fans initially cheered him loudly but the stadium fell into an awkward silence as an excruciatingly slow cart drove him and team owner Jeffrey Loria onto the field. Ali’s arms shook violently from the effects of Parkinson’s disease and, although the PA announcer coerced the crowd into an “Ali! Ali! Ali!” chant, it wasn’t a feel-good moment like seeing the champ light the cauldron at the 1996 Olympics. Nice job, Jeffrey. You found something more depressing than Marlins baseball.

McCoy Posted: April 05, 2012 at 02:24 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: miami

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   1. Into the Void Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4099082)
Ouch. I can't imagine Ali being able to throw a baseball in his condition.
   2. Dan Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4099085)
He couldnt even HOLD the baseball. It was depressing and terribly awkward.

I'm sure the sentiment behind this idea was nice, but someone in the chain of action should've shot down this idea long before it came to fruition.
   3. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4099094)
I will attempt to brighten the thread by recommending anybody going anywhere near Louisville check out the Ali museum there. It's pretty darn great.
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4099097)
He couldnt even HOLD the baseball. It was depressing and terribly awkward.

It must have been torture to watch, but not as torturous as that Star-Spangled Banner train wreck before the NCAA basketball final.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4099104)
It must have been torture to watch, but not as torturous as that Star-Spangled Banner train wreck before the NCAA basketball final.


Which, in turn, was not as torturous as an NCAA basketball final.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4099116)
Which, in turn, was not as torturous as an NCAA basketball final.

As with all overhyped sporting events, if they'd just let them play the ####### game without all the surrounding ########, the whole experience would be a lot more enjoyable. About the only remaining major event that gets covered "right" is the Masters golf tournament, with minimal commercial interruption and no cheesy music.
   7. Loren F. Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4099121)
Wait. Did Andy and Ray just agree?
   8. Repoz Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:21 PM (#4099129)
Wait. Did Andy and Ray just agree?

Ali...still bringing people together.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:29 PM (#4099137)
People with Parkinson's should be kept away from public areas at all costs. Its a shame Ali had to ruin Opening Day!
   10. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4099145)
Watching, I was reminded of when they carted Ted Williams out at the All-Star game in Boston. That was a gem of a moment, with that day's hitters spending precious time with the Splinter. My guess is that this was drawn up to echo that, and it's interesting how different this one ended up looking.
   11. McCoy Posted: April 06, 2012 at 12:40 AM (#4099153)
I had the same thought. I thought Mr. Original thought he could pull a Ted Williams moment out of his ass on his big day. Only problem is that he picked a boxer with Parkinson's and no real connection to the sport or town. Ali may be a legend but he isn't a legend to baseball or to the kids on that field. Ted Williams appeared in Boston and was surrounded by all-stars that grew up in an era just after the one Williams left.
   12. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 06, 2012 at 12:58 AM (#4099157)
Only problem is that he picked a boxer with Parkinson's and no real connection to the sport or town.

Ali trained at the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach for years and he beat Liston in Miami, but I doubt more than 5 percent of the people at the game were aware of the Miami connection. If not for seeing a small plaque on a wall on 5th Street while roaming around South Beach a few years ago, I wouldn't have known it, either.
   13. Blastin Posted: April 06, 2012 at 08:29 AM (#4099204)
I can't imagine taking that many hits and still being alive at all.
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 06, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4099211)
The famous photo of Ali with the Beatles was taken in Miami.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4099214)
The Pirates had a blind guy throw out the first pitch yesterday. He did a really good job, too - hit the catcher right in the chest.
   16. TDF, situational idiot Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4099231)
The Pirates had a blind guy throw out the first pitch yesterday. He did a really good job, too - hit the catcher right in the chest.
Unfortunately, Ruiz wasn't expecting the throw.
   17. Lassus Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4099241)
Was not Ali who depressed the world, it was that idiot Loria.
   18. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4099242)
This was a really bad way to manage it. If they wanted to feature Ali, have him in the front row and have him hand off the ball from there.

The slow crawl across the field was very sad.
   19. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4099246)
I understand the desire to have a big name but why not have Jeff Conine do it? The Marlins have enough of a history now (20 years! I'm getting old!) that they should honor one of their own. Failing that given that it's the site of the old Orange Bowl either Don Shula or Dan Marino would have made a lot more sense than Ali.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4099254)
Wait. Did Andy and Ray just agree?


Not really. I think watching college sports (or professional golf) is an utter waste of time. I doubt Andy would agree.
   21. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4099277)
As with all overhyped sporting events, if they'd just let them play the ####### game without all the surrounding ########, the whole experience would be a lot more enjoyable.


If this were the approach taken to the Super Bowl in particular & NFL games in general, I probably wouldn't hate pro football nearly as deeply as I do.
   22. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4099291)
Ali trained at the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach for years and he beat Liston in Miami, but I doubt more than 5 percent of the people at the game were aware of the Miami connection. If not for seeing a small plaque on a wall on 5th Street while roaming around South Beach a few years ago, I wouldn't have known it, either.


He also trained at the Allen Park boxing gym in North Miami Beach for the Trevor Berbick fiasco.
   23. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4099323)
Not really. I think watching college sports (or professional golf) is an utter waste of time. I doubt Andy would agree.


If you put it that way, watching ANYTHING is a waste of time. But wasting time is fun.
   24. Morty Causa Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4099339)
Watching, I was reminded of when they carted Ted Williams out at the All-Star game in Boston. That was a gem of a moment, with that day's hitters spending precious time with the Splinter. My guess is that this was drawn up to echo that, and it's interesting how different this one ended up looking.


I had the same thought. I thought Mr. Original thought he could pull a Ted Williams moment out of his ass on his big day. Only problem is that he picked a boxer with Parkinson's and no real connection to the sport or town. Ali may be a legend but he isn't a legend to baseball or to the kids on that field. Ted Williams appeared in Boston and was surrounded by all-stars that grew up in an era just after the one Williams left.


Are we sure it was Loria's idea and not Ali's? If it were Loria's, that is poor judgment, however well-intentioned it may have been to start with, but if it was Ali's, I don't know many people who could have turned Ali down.

As for the Williams moment, I have to say I'm not prone toward the sentimental, even as to old-timers, but that was real, and really touching. Especially memorable was the way some of the then current players kind of gathered around him as if they wanted to protect him, make sure he was safe (and it wasn't as if the fans were going to attach him--Williams and Boston fans had made their peace long ago).

Of course, Williams could still still and vigorously wave his cap. Ali seems to have made people feel like that Kirk Douglas moment at the Academy Awards.
   25. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 06, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4099409)
Too bad the Mets already had their home opener and ceremonial first pitch. They could have gotten Dick Clark!
   26. PreservedFish Posted: April 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4099417)
As for the Williams moment, I have to say I'm not prone toward the sentimental, even as to old-timers, but that was real, and really touching. Especially memorable was the way some of the then current players kind of gathered around him as if they wanted to protect him, make sure he was safe (and it wasn't as if the fans were going to attach him--Williams and Boston fans had made their peace long ago).


The players also seemed visibly star struck, which was cool.
   27. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4099459)
I'm actually a bit surprised that no one attacked Jose Reyes for not showing "proper deference" to Ali. Now if he were still a Met, I can guarantee that the papers would be talking about it the next day.
   28. McCoy Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4099472)
Jose Reyes can't catch a break. If you google Jose Reyes and Ali almost all of the hits come back for Left for Dead.
   29. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4099475)
Just in general having old players or other figures emerge from center field is a bad idea. The moment they are introduced you get the spectacular roar but then unless they are in good shape the trek to the pitcher's mound takes a long time and you get this period where it's just awkward and that is a best case scenario. If they are at all disabled (I don't know a better or more PC word for it) it really gets uncomfortable in the ballpark. Having them come out of the dugout is the best move.
   30. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4099490)
...why not have Jeff Conine do it?


If that's the best you can trot out on Opening Day in a brand new stadium, that is REALLY depressing.
   31. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4099498)
Having them come out of the dugout is the best move.

I don't think Ali could have handled the stairs. CF lets them get him into the cart nice and early. My grandma has MS, and her getting to the car and/or up and down the front steps to my parents' house is a lesson in patience.
   32. shock Posted: April 06, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4099506)
I'm sure the sentiment behind this idea was nice


I doubt it. He probably went "I need to improve my image! I'm going to enter with the most popular athlete around!" It reminds me of Mr. Burns wanted Honus Wagner to play for his softball team.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: April 06, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4099752)
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4099794)
As with all overhyped sporting events, if they'd just let them play the ####### game without all the surrounding ########, the whole experience would be a lot more enjoyable.

If this were the approach taken to the Super Bowl in particular & NFL games in general, I probably wouldn't hate pro football nearly as deeply as I do.


Anyone who can tell me right down to the second when the Super Bowl kickoff will take place will earn my everlasting gratitude. From the screaming banshees who introduce the lineups to the pop singers who think the Star Spangled Banner has to be done in Vegas style to the same stupid commercials that repeat themselves 30 times a game, it's a testament to the pull of big time sports that it can remain as appealing as it does in spite of all the endless bullshit that surrounds it.
   35. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 06, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4099799)
Ali was so shaky and hard to watch, the Minnesota Twins signed him for their bullpen.
   36. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4099805)
If this were the approach taken to ... NFL games in general, I probably wouldn't hate pro football nearly as deeply as I do.

This. The games themselves are OK I guess if there's nothing else on. What I hate though is the unending narrative on Sunday night and Monday of why the just-completed game is either the biggest win or most devastating loss of the season and the Tuesday through Sunday morning storyline of why the next game is a must-win game with playoff implications that could shape the entire rest of the season.
   37. AndrewJ Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:57 PM (#4099812)
Without hijacking this thread, I frankly suspect a lot of people have trouble with the entire "Ali's-the-most-beloved-athlete-in-the-world!' meme, Parkinson's or no Parkinson's. My dad still hasn't forgiven Ali for calling Joe Frazier a "gorilla" before the 1971 MSG fight. Florida is also home to a lot of retired vets, many of whom just might have a few words to say to Ali about his stand on Vietnam.
   38. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2012 at 07:03 AM (#4099850)
Without hijacking this thread, I frankly suspect a lot of people have trouble with the entire "Ali's-the-most-beloved-athlete-in-the-world!' meme, Parkinson's or no Parkinson's. My dad still hasn't forgiven Ali for calling Joe Frazier a "gorilla" before the 1971 MSG fight. Florida is also home to a lot of retired vets, many of whom just might have a few words to say to Ali about his stand on Vietnam.

I'm not a huge fan of Ali myself, and largely for the same reason as your dad, but if "most beloved athlete in the world" is what you're looking to establish, as opposed to the "most universally not-disliked athlete in the United States", then Ali would be a pretty clear winner. There are probably some soccer players most Americans like us have never heard of who are far more beloved on a worldwide basis than any of our own sports heroes, including even Magic or Ichiro.
   39. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: April 07, 2012 at 07:44 AM (#4099853)
I don't think Ali could have handled the stairs. CF lets them get him into the cart nice and early. My grandma has MS, and her getting to the car and/or up and down the front steps to my parents' house is a lesson in patience.


I do this daily as part of my job. When the clients fret about taking so long, my standard answer is "Don't worry about it. I'm paid by the hour."

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