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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coronavirus could prevent Hanshin Tigers from breaking the Curse of the Colonel

The coronavirus pandemic has had all sorts of unfortunate effects on the world of sports, both in America and around the world. Just as Major League Baseball is on indefinite hold, so too is Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Commissioner Atsushi Saito has said that he hopes to pick things up sometime in April, but it’s unclear whether or not that’ll happen. Calls to postpone July’s Tokyo Olympics have already begun.

That’s bad news for everyone involved in NPB, including the Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers haven’t won a title since 1985, and some attribute it to a curse involving not Babe Ruth, but Kentucky Fried Chicken. No baseball in 2020 would mean Hanshin won’t get a chance to break the Curse of the Colonel.

The finger-lickin’ curse was placed on the team following their triumph in the 1985 Japan Series over the Seibu Lions. Revelers took to the streets of Osaka in celebration of their favorite team’s first championship, and many of them gathered on Ebisu Bridge for a familiar ritual.

Japanese baseball fans are like soccer fans. They don’t stoically sit in the grandstand and only make noise when prompted to by organ players or jumbotrons. They have chants and songs for all sorts of occasions and for every player, with brass instrumental accompaniments. Japanese baseball, you see, actually encourages fun.

The story of a curse- goofy, yes, but we’ve all seen goofier…..

QLE Posted: March 22, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: curse of the colonel, fans, hanshin tigers, japanese baseball

Friday, March 20, 2020

Mets player Pete Alonso surprises terminal cancer patient with video call

NEW YORK (WABC)—Pete Alonso of the New York Mets made a video call to an 82-year-old lifelong fan recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

New Mets skipper Luis Rojas also called to send some happy thoughts to Kathleen Selig.

Selig was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cancer, fans, luis rojas, pete alonso

Friday, March 06, 2020

Longtime Giant Pablo Sandoval still feeling fans’ love

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Pablo Sandoval endeared himself to San Francisco fans while helping the Giants win World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

He continues to give to the team.

Sandoval, who at 33 is heading into his 13th major league season, still seems very much like the 22-year-old kid who debuted with the Giants in 2008. His smile is omnipresent, he pops in on interviews teammates are doing in the clubhouse and, out of nowhere during Thursday’s pregame workout, embraced manager Gabe Kapler. Just because.

But energy and experience isn’t all the man lovingly called the Kung Fu Panda since his rookie year provides the Giants. He has embraced the role of mentor to the many young Giants who are part of the team’s rebuilding process.

A sign of the natural aging process at work: baseball players younger than you being described as mentors and elder statesmen.

 

QLE Posted: March 06, 2020 at 01:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, pablo sandoval

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Johnny Antonelli and Me

Johnny Antonelli, a star pitcher for the New York Giants in the 1950s and my boyhood hero, died at age 89 on Friday.

Some people who get to meet their childhood idols are disappointed to discover they are not very nice people. I was fortunate to meet my boyhood hero and discover he was a warm, gregarious, generous, and humble person.

It happened two summers ago. I was scheduled to give a talk at a symposium at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. A few weeks before my visit to Cooperstown, I wrote a letter to Johnny, who grew up and still lived in Rochester (three hours from Cooperstown), and asked if I could take him lunch. I explained that in 1954 – when I was six years old — my uncle Augie, the day after going to a game at the Polo Grounds, brought me an 8-by 11-inch glossy photo of Johnny in his New York Giants uniform, posing as though he had just completed his follow-through. In the upper right-hand corner, in dark black ink, it said: “To Peter Dreier (a future major leaguer) Your friend, Johnny Antonelli.”

It was my first baseball autograph, and I have treasured it ever since, making sure whenever I moved, it came with me. Sixty-four years later, I still had the photo. The ink had faded, but it was still legible. My wife had the good sense to put it in a frame as a birthday present. I included a copy of that photo in my letter to Johnny, hoping it might entice him to allow me to visit him.

Some thoughts on loyalties, between both people and communities.

 

QLE Posted: March 04, 2020 at 01:38 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, johnny antonelli

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Fans heckling Astros spring opener get signs stolen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Fans hoping to heckle the sign-stealing Houston Astros at their spring opener were met with quite the coincidence.

They got their signs stolen.

In the Astros’ first spring training game since their sign-stealing scandal rocked baseball, some fans brought signs jeering Houston, and ballpark personnel confiscated them before the exhibition opener against the World Series champion Washington Nationals on Saturday night.

In a Series rematch, the Nats got hearty cheers, while everyone in an Astros jersey — including the mascot, Orbit — was booed. Houston did not use any players implicated in MLB’s probe.

The sort of story for which drum riffs seem to be the only appropriate comment…..

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fans, hecklers, sign-stealing

Friday, January 31, 2020

Late Cubs fan has one last wish: Donate to ‘impoverished’ Ricketts family

Joanne DeVrieze lived to the ripe age of 95, raised five children, enjoyed the company of nine grandkids and was a great-grandmother of 16. She passed away Jan. 19, and the Cubs fan had one final request — aid the pockets of her team’s owners.

“Donations in Joanne’s memory may be directed toward the impoverished Ricketts family of Chicago, Illinois, for purposes of assembling a near-Major League-caliber bullpen,” her obituary reads, “or to be dispersed per family wishes.”

Talk about shots fired from beyond the grave.

Someone after our hearts, it appears.

 

QLE Posted: January 31, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, fans, obituaries, ricketts

Monday, January 27, 2020

Dodgers’ fan group ready to vent at Astros for sign stealing

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A group of Los Angeles Dodgers fans is making plans to vent its frustration at the Houston Astros about baseball’s sign-stealing scandal.

Houston and the Dodgers don’t play each other during the upcoming regular season, so Pantone 294 is snapping up tickets to the Los Angeles Angels’ home opener against the Astros on April 3 in Anaheim, the Los Angeles Times reported. The group regularly organizes trips to support the Dodgers on the road.

“Spirits are great, man,” utilityman Kike Hernandez said Saturday about the fans. “Positive vibes.”

They aren’t about to become a firm, are they?

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dirty rotten cheaters, dodgers, fans, pantone 294

Monday, January 20, 2020

Astros superfan ‘Mattress Mack’ loses $2 million betting against Chiefs

It hasn’t been a great year for a certain Houston gambling enthusiast’s bank account.

Houston-area furniture chain owner Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” lost nearly $12 million last year betting on the Astros to win the World Series, ostensibly as a way to hedge against a refund promotion for his stores. He had done the same thing in 2017, but it obviously worked out much worse last year.

McIngvale kicked off a new year of sports betting by turning his attention to a new sport, according to The Action Network. His bets: $1 million on the Houston Texans to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC divisional round, then $1 million on the Tennessee Titans to beat those same Chiefs in the AFC championship game.

Yeah, that didn’t work out.

Turns out it’s been a bad last few days for even people only tangentially tied to the Astros…..

 

QLE Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:29 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fans, gambling, winners and losers

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Cubs Fans Boo Chairman Tom Ricketts at Team Convention

Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts heard his share of boos at the Cubs Convention on Friday while the team remains quiet in free agency.

Coming off a season in which the Cubs fell short of the playoffs, Chicago has yet to add significant pieces or sign its core players to extensions. Former NL MVP Kris Bryant has been on the trade market throughout the offseason, beloved former manager Joe Maddon is gone and the team is no longer the favorite in the NL Central. There’s uncertainty in Wrigleyville for the first time since the Cubs returned to prominence in 2015, and the Convention’s usually positive atmosphere has soured.

“I’m sorry we don’t have a prize free agent or something sexier to talk about right now,” Ricketts said in an interview with WSCR-AM 670 on Day 2 of the Cubs Convention.

To add to the tension, fans also brought heavy boos when Ricketts mentioned the “Marquee Sports Network,” the Cubs’ new television outlet set to launch in February. With the new season approaching, the network has yet to make a deal with Comcast’s Xfinity—the area’s largest carrier—keeping some fans without a method to watch the team.

On the bright side, at least Tom Ricketts didn’t buy the Phillies…..

 

QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fans, tom ricketts

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

A group of Phillies prospects was in town this week for the organization’s annual prospects education seminar.

One of those lessons came from a legend.

Brian Dawkins, the most motivational athlete this city has ever seen, shared with the group his thoughts on playing in Philadelphia and responding to the passionate fan base.

“Playing in Philadelphia is different,” Dawkins said. “If you get on the field, there is a 99.99 percent chance you will be booed. The thing I always knew though was that you may boo me that one time but I’m not gonna make the same mistake again.”

Sometimes, the jokes write themselves…..

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:21 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: brian dawkins, fans, phillies

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Future sign: Cole arrives with old placard of Yankees fealty

NEW YORK (AP) — On his first day in pinstripes, Gerrit Cole admitted to stealing a sign — no, not those signs.

Cole affixed his signature to a record $324 million, nine-year contract at 10:45 a.m., walked into a news conference at Yankee Stadium and pulled out the crinkled placard he took to one of New York’s World Series games at Arizona in 2001. A newspaper photo from Game 6 or 7 shows the 11-year-old holding the sign reading: “Yankee Fan Today Tomorrow Forever.” Cole brought the banner to the Bronx, its letters no longer blue but now tan.

“I’d like to start with something that’s pretty special to my heart,” he said, pulling out the sign in a stroke of showmanship that would have made George Steinbrenner proud. “I’d just like to say, I’m here. I’ve always been here.”

Cole held up the sign of fealty with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner — George’s son — and admitted he didn’t make the poster but was gifted it from other fans who had brought it to an earlier Series game. They gave it to him at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix, where Cole stayed with his family, along with the Yankees.

A reminder of the importance of the love of the game for those who participate in it, as well as the rest of us.

 

QLE Posted: December 19, 2019 at 01:29 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, gerrit cole, yankees

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Everlasting Bond Between Baseball Fans and Broadcasters

Some time between a fly ball whizzing over my head and another trudge back to the bench after striking out, I knew I wouldn’t grow up to be a Major League Baseball player.

That was OK. After all, other aspects of the game intrigued me more. Maybe I’d be an umpire. Managing seemed like a good gig, too. But growing up in the Bay Area, I could never shake the wonder of what it would be like to be Kruk & Kuip.

The San Francisco Giants television broadcasters, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow are not mentioned individually. They’re a package deal. And for more than 25 years the duo has exemplified the unmatched bond baseball fans can have with their team’s announcers. I’ll unapologetically romanticize this relationship because it’s my favorite part about the sport.

Local broadcasters become extended family, their voices filling living rooms and kitchens, cars and garages, ear buds and ballparks for months on end. They bridge the perspective gap between fans and whatever fans think it’s like to be a player. Your team’s broadcaster feels like someone who is in the trenches with you, the fan, through the epic walk-offs and sluggish blowouts. Better said: They’re one of us. Perhaps the best part about local broadcasters is that they, like baseball from April to October, are always there. Death, taxes and Kuiper belting OUTTA HERE, as the saying goes.

Some thoughts on announcers, and what they mean to our understanding of the game.

 

QLE Posted: November 27, 2019 at 10:06 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasters, fans

Friday, November 08, 2019

Nats World Series Win Affirmed Their Once-Questioned Existence in D.C.

From our own(?) Chris Needham:

D.C. baseball fans are told that their baseball history is actually Montreal’s. Hipster baseball fans who’ve never set foot in Quebec and can’t name any Expos other than Tim Raines and Pedro Martinez push for a version of history that prefers a corporate lineage to the over 100 years of baseball history in Washington: of Walter Johnson and Goose Goslin; of Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard.

Bote Man Posted: November 08, 2019 at 08:20 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, nationals, world series

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

MLB bans two women after they flashed Gerrit Cole at World Series

Major League Baseball has banned two women from games indefinitely after they flashed Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole during Game 5 of the World Series. Julia Rose and Lauren Summer performed the act during the seventh inning of the contest. It was captured on camera.

MLB must have quickly reviewed that footage, because Summer received a letter from the league Sunday night. USA Today was able to confirm MLB sent the letter.

Rose and Summer were banned for “violating the fan code,” according to the note.

The two women claim they flashed Cole “for breast cancer.” They also did it in order to promote their business, a digital magazine called Shagmag.

QLE Posted: October 29, 2019 at 12:02 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: banishment, cancer, fans, gerrit cole

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Astros fan pelted with beer at Yankee Stadium gets free tickets, celebrity treatment at World Series

HOUSTON — Cruz Arcia Jr. took a sip of his beer and was mid-sentence when another Astros fan came his way.

He looked at Arcia like many people already had before Game 1 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park.

“Are you the guy?” he asked Arcia.

He was the guy — the guy who got pelted with beer and food at Yankee Stadium in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, the guy who police had to escort out of his seats, the guy who then taunted the Yankees fans with a 3-1 hand gesture, the guy who immediately became a Houston legend in that moment.

 

 

QLE Posted: October 23, 2019 at 12:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, world series

Friday, October 18, 2019

Report: Yankees fans taunted Zack Greinke about his mother, battles with anxiety and depression

This postseason hasn’t been the best look for the Yankees or their fans. Astros outfielder Josh Reddick was upset after Yankees fans hurled bottles and souvenir baseballs onto the field following a replay review that didn’t go in the Yankees’ favor. Astros skipper A.J. Hinch warned that if that behavior was repeated, he would pull his players from the field until order is restored. The Yankees even had to remind fans, via a message and a video featuring manger Aaron Boone, not to throw objects on the field.

Despite the warnings, Yankees fans continued to act crudely. NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty reports that at least one Yankees fan was ejected from the stadium on Thursday night as fans hurled insults towards Game 4 starter Zack Greinke while he warmed up in the bullpen. Fans, Kuty notes, insulted Greinke’s mother was well as his well-publicized battles with social anxiety and depression. The behavior was not limited to those at the stadium as Yankees fans on Twitter were also encouraging others to use Greinke’s mental illness against him.

You don’t think it’s the baseball gods responding to this that caused the Yankees to lose tonight, do you?

 

QLE Posted: October 18, 2019 at 12:32 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: anxiety, fans, zack greinke

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Giancarlo Stanton did nothing to deserve being booed by Yankees fans

I pitched this column to my editor (literally, the exact verbiage has been copy-and-pasted here because all communication is typed out in the modern newsroom) by saying, “Is ‘don’t boo your own players’ too obvious?”

It’s not, apparently. As evidenced by the fact that I’m writing this, you’re reading it, and Giancarlo Stanton was met with a smattering of boos at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Stanton, who missed all but 18 games in the regular season due to injuries ranging from his biceps to his knee, strained his right quad in the first game of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros. He stayed in the game, homered, and then was out of the starting lineup for Game 2. New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Stanton would stay on the roster for the ALCS and that they hoped he’d be back imminently.

After a day off, the team came home on Tuesday and the 2017 NL MVP was out of the lineup again. The initial prognosis had been overly optimistic. The Yankees, who had won 103 games despite months at a time with key players like Stanton on the IL, would try to win one more without him. I have to assume he was at least as disappointed about this fact as the people who booed him during the pregame introductions.

You know, I don’t mind Yankees fans suddenly turning into Phillies fans- if this means that the Yankees henceforth will have the record that the Phillies traditionally have had…..

 

QLE Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:22 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, giancarlo stanton, yankee stadium

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Reddick: Yankees fans ‘disrespectful’ for throwing debris

NEW YORK (AP) — Houston Astros right fielder Josh Reddick called out Yankees fans for tossing water bottles, baseballs and other objects on the field during New York’s 4-1 loss in the AL Championship Series on Tuesday night.

“You throw a baseball hard enough and hit somebody in the head when they’re not looking, it could do some damage to the player, so it’s definitely disrespectful and at the same time very unsafe,” Reddick said.

Fans erupted after a replay review changed Edwin Encarnación’s infield hit leading off the eighth to a groundout. Houston went on to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Ducky Medwick has known worse….

 

QLE Posted: October 16, 2019 at 12:57 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, josh reddick, projectiles, yankees

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Why Carlos Correa’s walk-off homer was even more special for a Houston teen battling cancer

Carlos Correa’s walk-off homer in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series meant the Houston Astros’ World Series dreams were still in good shape. It meant fans in Houston had every reason to go nuts Sunday night. And it meant something even more special to a 16-year-old fan battling cancer.

Last week, Correa and his fiancée Daniella Rodriguez visited Jalen Garcia in a Houston hospital. He’s from nearby Laredo and batting osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Rodriguez is also from Laredo and went to the same high school Jalen does.

Before he left, Correa told Jalen: “The next home run that I hit is going to be for you. When you see me pointing up, I want you to know that I’m pointing at you.”

For those of us who like the appeal of Johnny Sylvester stories.

 

QLE Posted: October 15, 2019 at 12:10 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos correa, fans

Friday, October 11, 2019

Angry Dodgers fans run over Clayton Kershaw jersey after NLDS loss

Los Angeles Dodgers fans did not handle their shocking National League Division Series loss well. Following the game, some fans thought it would be appropriate to run over a Clayton Kershaw jersey in the parking lot.

The moment was captured on video by LZ Granderson of the Los Angeles Times, who decided to run over the jersey.

Kershaw was one of many Dodgers scapegoats from Wednesday’s game. The 31-year-old Kershaw came on in relief with the Dodgers up 3-1 late in the game and gave up back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning that tied the game. The Dodgers went on to lose 7-3 in the 10th inning.

Kershaw wasn’t the only person responsible for the loss. Reliever Joe Kelly gave up a grand slam to Howie Kendrick in the 10th that gave the Washington Nationals the win. Manager Dave Roberts was responsible for leaving both Kershaw and Kelly in the game.

This sort of thing feels like something that will backfire on the fandom sooner or later, doesn’t it?

 

 

QLE Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, fans, jerseys

 

 

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