Jun 23, 2009

Today In Mets History: 2007- Mets Trounce A's in '73 World Series Rematch

June 24, 2007: A beautiful Sunday afternoon brought a crowd of over 50,000 to Shea for an inter-league game between the Mets & A’s. This weekend series marked the 1st time the A’s had returned to Shea since the 1973 World Series, 34 years ago.

Willie Randolph’s Mets were in 1st place with a three game lead, and all was good as the Mets rode off with a 10-2 victory. John Maine got his 8th win of the year, going 7 innings allowing two runs on five hits & striking out six Athletics. His ERA was 2.87 with an 8-4 record as he made a good case for the All Star team. Guillermo Mota & Scott Schoeneweis pitched the 8th & 9th innings, not allowing any hits.

Jose Reyes lead off the game in exciting fashion as he doubled to right and scored on Jack Custs throwing error. John Maine drove in the 2nd run with a sac fly. In the 3rd, Damion Easley hit a two run double scoring David Wright & Paul Loduca. Jose Reyes singled off Joe Kennedy in the 4th driving in Carlos Gomez, putting New York up 4-0. The A’s got as close as 4-2, but in the 7th, Jose Valentin hit a three run HR over the left field wall making it 7-2. Carlos Beltran topped it off with a cheap single past 3rd in the 8th, scoring Julio Franco & Reyes, as the Mets rolled 10-2.

Jun 17, 2009

New York Giants Broadcaster: Russ Hodges "The Giants Win the Penannt"

NY Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges made the legendary call for the baseballs most famous home run. Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard round the world” in the bottom of the 9th inning of the 1951 NL Playoff at the Polo Grounds.

“Hartung down the line at third, not taking any chances. Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he'll be running like the wind if Thomson hits one. Branca throws. There's a long drive. It's gonna be, I believe -- The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant! And they're going crazy! They're going crazy! Oh-ho!”

Legend has it, the only reason the broadcast exists is because a Dodger fan began recording the last inning to hear the Giants announcer Hodges, "cry" after the last Giants lost. Hodges said the next day the fan called him and said “you have to have this tape” and mailed it to him. It has since become one of the most famous calls in baseball history.
Russell Patrick Hodges, (no relation to Gil) was born in Dayton, Tennessee on June 18, 1910. He began his broadcasting career in 1939 bouncing around with the Cubs, Senators & Reds. In the 1940s the NY Giants & the A.L. NY team shared the same broadcast team, covering just home games. Hodges landed the job alongside Mel Allen. By 1949 he was strictly a Giants broadcaster and would call the Thomson home run in 1951, the 1954 World Series Championship, and the last season at the Polo Grounds in 1957. He moved with the Giants to the West Coast and called the 1962 World Series as well. After 13 seasons in San Francisco he retired in 1970 . His signature home run call was “Bye Bye Baby” as the Giants theme song played behind him.

Hodges also called many boxing bouts covering such greats as Jake Lamotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson, Joe Louis & the famous Ali vs. Sonny Liston bout in 1965. In 1971 he died of a sudden heart attack in Mill Valley California, he was 61 years old. Hodges is in the Baseball Hall of Fame & Sports writers Hall of Fame. The Giants broadcast booth is named after him & long time partner Lon Simmons.

Jun 15, 2009

Mike Piazza Coaching Baseball In Italy

These days as Mike Piazza awaits his induction into Cooperstown, he is serving as an Ambassador to baseball, promoting the game in Italy. Piazza being of Italian heritage played on the 2006 Italian National Team in the World Baseball Classic. This past March he was their hitting instructor.

Recently he was holding clinics in Tuscany on hitting. Also coaching the players as they prepare for competition in The European Champion Cup & the World Baseball Cup. Italy has improved greatly in world baseball competition, most notably their victory over the heavily favored Team Canada in the WBC.

Alexi Maestri is the first Italian player to sign with an MLB club, the Cubs. He currently pitches for the Tennessee Smokies but suffered a huge set back as a shoulder injury shut him down for the rest of the year. Alex Liddi is one of the top prospects in the Mariners system, a third baseman who is only 18 years old. He is expected to get up to the major league level in 2012. Alot of hope on Euopean baseball players coming to the American game rides on his shoulders.

Piazza is just one of a few former MLB players promoting the game around the world, after latin America, Japan & the likes, Europe is it's latest target.