Amidst doubt that the club could play well with outdoor home games, the Twins have managed to continue their dominance in Minneapolis.
In its almost 30-year history, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome has been known by many names, including most recently Mall of America Field. Among those which are printable include Homerdome, Humptydome, Thunderdome, and Rollerdome. Typically, every nickname bestowed upon the Metrodome typified how opposing teams felt about it: absolute disdain. This is not to suggest that home players enjoyed playing in the Metrodome either; Torii Hunter complained of the soreness that came from playing on the FieldTurf and Luis Castillo hobbled about like a man of twice his age, but it was widely perceived that this bunch of ragtag ruffians drew a great deal of benefit from knowing the intricacies and quirks that came with playing 81 games per season there.
The Mariners' radio duo discuss their time in baseball, breaking into the business, and their most memorable moments.
Dave Niehaus and Rick Rizzs are more than just the radio voices of the Seattle Mariners, they are baseball icons in the Pacific Northwest. Niehaus, who received the Ford C. Frick award in 2008, has been in the booth since the franchise’s inaugural season, in 1977. Rizzs’ tenure is nearly as long, as he has been Niehaus’ broadcast partner since 1983, save for three tumultuous seasons spent with the Detroit Tigers. Niehaus and Rizzs talked about their storied careers, the art of broadcasting, and Mariners baseball during an August visit to Fenway Park.
Nolan Ryan talks buying the Rangers and why beating the heat is not a priority, along with other news and notes from around the majors.
Nolan Ryan didn't know how to react once he and Chuck Greenberg initially completed the purchase of the Rangers for $582 million from Tom Hicks. A 16-month ordeal that took enough plot twists to fill a suspense novel came to an end when the rest of the Major League Baseball owners approved the Ryan-Greenberg group after it had won the team at auction in bankruptcy court last week in Dallas.
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The Dodgers coach discusses coming to the United States, his playing experiences, and those who influenced him.
Manny Mota is known to most baseball fans as one of the best pinch-hitters of all time, but he might be better described as one of the game’s finest ambassadors and gentlemen. A coach for the Dodgers since 1980, the 71-year-old Mota came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1957 and went on to play for the Giants, Pirates, Expos, and Dodgers for 20 big-league seasons, retiring with a .304 lifetime average and 150 pinch hits. He encountered prejudice along the way, having emigrated to a country that didn’t see racism totally disappear with the breaking of baseball’s color barrier a decade earlier.
The Angels left-hander talks about the pressures of closing among a variety of subjects.
Brian Fuentes is a thinking man’s closer. The Angels left-hander has a deceptive delivery and underrated stuff, but above all he has a cerebral approach to the game. Originally drafted by Seattle, the 34-year-old Fuentes made a name for himself in Colorado, saving 111 games over a four-year stretch, before signing a free-agent contract with the Sons of Gene Autry prior to the 2009 season. Last year’s American League saves leader with 48, the laid-back and always-thoughtful Fuentes is a four-time All-Star.
A conversation about analysis and the game with the former skipper and present-day talking head.
Buck Showalter is in many ways an old-school baseball man, but that doesn’t mean the former Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers skipper doesn‘t value data -- or that he hasn’t for more than three decades. He unmistakably understands the mechanics of the game. Currently an analyst for ESPN, Showalter offered his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including how the game has (and hasn’t) changed, why Paul O’Neill could hit southpaws, why switch-sliders make good switch-hitters, and what makes the Twins the Twins.
"The Capital Punisher" talks about his 16-year career as one of baseball's premier sluggers.
Can you image Frank Howard in the steroid era? A mountain of a man at 6-feet-7, 275 pounds, Howard produced jaw-dropping home runs and some of the most vicious line drives ever seen from 1958-73, a period of time dominated by pitchers. Known as "Hondo" and "The Capital Punisher," the right-handed-hitting slugger began his career with the Dodgers and finished it with the Tigers, but it was in Washington where he made his mark. In a four-year stretch from 1967-1970, the gentle giant averaged 43 long balls while putting up an EqA run of .315, .340, .339, and .334. Howard, who hit .273/.352/.499 with 382 home runs over his career, sat down with Baseball Prospectus during last summer's national SABR convention in Washington D.C.
A conversation with the Braves' backstop on multi-cultural catching, comparisons of young and old, and more.
Brian McCann wants to be thought of as more than just one of the best-hitting catchers in the game. The Braves backstop also wants to be known for his defense. A National League All-Star in each of the past three years thanks to his productive bat-his career numbers are .300/.364/.503-McCann began this season several pounds lighter and with an increased emphasis on his defensive game. Already regarded as a solid handler of pitchers, the 25-year-old native of Athens, Georgia came into the year having thrown out only 20 percent of runners attempting to steal, a number that has improved to over 30 percent in the first three months of the 2009 campaign. McCann talked about his work on the defensive side of the ball, including communicating with a pitching staff, catching Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens, and his desire to spend the rest of his career behind the plate.
The new Yankeee Stadium has received a lot of press this spring for the large number of homeruns hit there so far. On April 21, 2009, Buster Olney wrote at ESPN http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4080195 "The New York Yankees might have a serious problem on their hands: Beautiful new Yankee Stadium appears to be a veritable wind tunnel that is rocketing balls over the fences...including 17 in the first three games in the Yankees' first home series against the Indians. That's an average of five home runs per game and, at this pace, there would be about 400 homers hit in the park this year -- or an increase of about 250 percent. In the last year of old Yankee Stadium, in 2008, there were a total of 160 homers."
Touching base with a skipper at the ballpark, plus news on a few big-name ballplayers with hurts to nurse or rehabs to make.
CINCINNATI-Clubhouses are almost all alike. With the influx of new stadiums, they're all big, roomy, and filled with TVs and comfortable chairs. The clubhouse inside of Great American Ballpark is much the same, though it feels very different without the presence of Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, two larger-than-life personalities who had dominated that clubhouse since the place opened, even after Dusty Baker took over last season. The leather couches and chairs seem empty without those two around, and for the most part, they were.
Salvage in Seattle, the Reds look to cover more green, and a Happy New Year from MLB Network.
The question is one that has been posed countless times during job interviews, yet when Mariners chairman Howard Lincoln and president Chuck Armstrong asked Jack Zduriencik to tell them something about himself that they didn't already know while interviewing for their club's vacant general manager's job, he left them laughing. "I told them that Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, and Jack Zduriencik all had one thing common," Zduriencik said. "We were all quarterbacks from Western Pennsylvania."
The venues are getting smaller, but is this really what's best, and what else can the industry add to the live experience?
Trivia question: Yankee Stadium seats 57,545 fans, which is presently the largest capacity of any park in Major League Baseball. When it closes this year, and is replaced by a ballpark that seats roughly 6,000 fewer fans, which facility will take its place as the largest stadium in MLB?