Rest In Peace Yogi

GC YB

Around 1986 I fell in love with baseball.   I watched when I could (mostly Cubs and Braves since they were on cable all the time), played little league, and casually followed the New York Yankees. Something changed that summer though.  Oddly enough, it involved the New York Mets, but led me down the road to being a die-hard Yankees fan.  The summer of 1986 is when the New York Mets went on their magical run to the World Series.  Despite being a Yankees fan, I could not help but follow the ‘Mazin Mets. To this day, I think I can name every starter from that team, but the player I loved more than all was the catcher, Gary Carter.  After that summer watching “the Kid”  I was determined to be a catcher.  The problem was, I was very small for my age. I still tried.  I bought all the gear, brought it to Babe Ruth and High School tryouts, and I wanted so bad to be like Gary Carter.  I kept being told that I was too small for that position.  But I do remember that someone (maybe my mom?) told me about the legendary catcher from the New York Yankees, who stood only 5’ 7″.  Yogi Berra was small for a professional athlete, yet was one of the greatest to ever play catcher. As much as I wanted to be like Gary Carter, I really wanted to be like Yogi.  I still have a fondness for the ’86 Mets, but around that time I fell in love with Yogi and the incredible history of the New York Yankees.  I was hooked from that point on, and have never turned back.

If nothing else, the story of Yogi Berra can tell us that no matter what, you can do whatever you want.  Yogi was small, yet lived a life that many of us would dream of – World War II hero, 10 time World Series Champ, Hall of Famer, and probably most importantly – known as an incredible friend and all around great human being.

I never made it as a catcher – I was barely even good at baseball period – but Yogi inspired me to try.  Rest In Peace Yogi, you will be missed.

 

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The Boise Hawks need to be investing – not cutting costs

In 1987 the future of baseball in Boise was bright.

As a kid growing up in the 1980’s, baseball was everything to me. My friends and I played in our backyards and at school whenever possible and I watched as many games as I could on television.  Being a Yankees fan in Boise I was usually stuck watching the Cubs on WGN or the Braves on TBS, but I didn’t care.  I wanted to consume baseball in any way possible.  And even though I was a Yankees fan, the magical run of the New York Mets officially got me officially and finally hooked (I can still to this day name the starters on that 1986 Mets team).  My mom told me stories of my father taking me to the Boise A’s games when I was younger and I wanted so much to see a professional team in Boise again.

In 1987, I got my wish when it was announced that the Boise Hawks would begin play as a member of the Northwest League.  The Hawks played their first two seasons at Borah High School’s Wigle field, and although it was a High School park, those first two seasons were filled with great memories (including getting Ken Griffey Jr’s autograph) that I will never forget.

When it was announced that the Hawks would be building their own stadium, I was even more excited for baseball in Boise – the team was investing in the future and with a shiny new stadium, baseball would be here to stay.

Almost 30 years later and the Boise Hawks are still here in Boise.  But now, I am neither excited about their future, nor optimistic that they will be here much  longer.

In January, the voice of the Boise Hawks, Mike Safford announced that his contract had been terminated and he would no longer be on the “Mike” for the Hawks.  It was an end of an era for the Hawks, and although saddened by the news, my hope was that either the Rockies or the new Hawks ownership had plans for a new radio guy

Unfortunately, it is not meant to be.

The Boise Hawks will not be broadcasting their games this year.

For those of us die-hard baseball fans, there isn’t much better than having a radio broadcast on while you are going about your summer chores, and there is NO other way to follow the team.

Admittedly, there are much bigger issues with the Boise Hawks – their 25-year-old stadium being the biggest of them.  The hope was that the new ownership would re-invest in the future – plans for a new stadium, a better game experience – and hopefully reconnecting with the community.  The team needs to keep the die-hard baseball fans while new fans in the Boise area have a reason to come to games.  By cutting one of the greatest thing about baseball – the radio broadcast – they are possibly, finally, giving fans like me, who don’t want to spend the time and money attending games at a run-down stadium, a reason to finally give up on following this team.

The Boise Hawks need to be improving on ALL areas of the team if they want to keep the fans they have, and attract new ones.  Cutting the radio broadcast is not going to help build a new stadium, and with they are cutting the cord on the connection many local fans have with the team

In 1987 the future of baseball in Boise, was bright.

Now it feels like the lights will be turned off at Memorial Stadium sooner than later, never to be turned on at another stadium for baseball fans to watch a local team.  And as the last light goes out at Memorial Stadium and the field goes dark, so will go the future of baseball in Boise.

Rivera plans to pitch again

“I am coming back, put it down. Write it down in big letters. I’m not going down like this. God willing and given the strength, I’m coming back.”

Those were the words of Mariano Rivera today to the media, answering the question I posed in my blog earlier today, as well as answering the prayers of Yankee Universe.

It is good news for sure, and something all Yankees fans were truly hoping for.  Although the time will most certainly come that Mo’ will no longer pitch, the time is not now, and the end will be on his own terms.

Thank God the greatest career in the history of closers will not end on a warning track in Kansas City.

 

 

Is this the end for Mariano Rivera?

Mariano Rivera after tearing his ACL

This isn’t how it is supposed to end.

A career that began as a starter in 1995 and transformed into that of the greatest closer in the history of baseball may have ended on a warning track in Kansas City during batting practice.

Mariano Rivera tore his right ACL while shagging flies during batting practice before last nights game against the  Royals, certainly ending his season , and possibly his career.  It can’t end like this, can it?

Although Rivera vowed not to make a decision on retirement, it was a forgone conclusion that this was his last season.  Yankees fans, myself included, vowed to relish every pitch, every walk from the bullpen with Enter Sandman blaring from the stadium loud speakers, every save.  We all knew we were witnessing the last games of a legend and future Hall-of-Famer, and wanted every moment etched into our memories for good.

But not like this memory.

His career should have ended like the 2009 season ended: with his arms in the air and a smile on his face  as the fielders behind him record the final out of the World Series.  A celebration of a championship, and a celebration of  a champion.

But it is not to be.  Not this year.

Rivera said he has no idea if he will pitch again, that he must first get through this injury.  My hope is that he does.

Because it can’t end like this.

Mariano Rivera injured shagging flies

Mariano Rivera injured his knee before the Yankees game against the Royals today while he was shagging flies during batting practice.  The initial diagnosis was a twisted knee however Mo was taken to a Kansas City hospital for a MRI.  Here is the video of the injury:

I will post an update as soon as one is available.