Tagged: Roberto Alomar

The Hall calls to the deserving and snubbed


Last spring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomed me with open arms for a glorious day.

On Tuesday the Hall opened its doors to Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar to forever be immortalized in its hallowed shrine.
One of the most colorful characters in Major League history sits atop his rightful place among pitching legends. Blyleven’s career spanned six teams and two World Series appearances, including one with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was his 14th year on the ballot with just a year remaining for his eligibility it was nearly a make or break campaign. He earned the needed percentage of votes by a fair margin and becomes the 60th player enshrined. 
Notoriously seen as a “Happy Gilmore” type player, Blyleven has made a name for himself in the pop culture realm. His famed “I Heart to Fart” shirt and off the cuff tangents in the broadcast booth never really hurt his image, but presented him as a hard nosed party boy. His mound presence was seen with the same intimidating sense. 
Seeing Roberto Alomar get the Cooperstown call makes me feel old. He made his way onto the big league diamonds right around the time i was born. I do remember his Padres and Orioles days and although he will be adorning a Blue Jays cap on his plaque I think he will most be remembered by his time in Cleveland. With him at second and Omar Vizquel at shortstop they formed a double play combo that will forever be looked at as a benchmark for infielders. He brought fire and energy to the Indians during their glory days of the late ’90s and fans of the franchise still bask in those special years. 
Alomar is one of the first players that introduced me to baseball. Of course, there are a host of others, most notably irrelevant Pirates, but he was a centerpiece in developing my love for the game. It is exciting to see him be rewarded for an astounding career.
This years ballot consisted of many other players, much like Alomar. Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff. It is hard to believe that these stars of my childhood are being recognized with the ultimate baseball blessing. I knew at the time they were all the best of the era, but far from Hall of Fame performers. Maybe its just that my mindset of the Hall consisted of the legends. The Roberto Clementes, Hank Aarons and Sandy Koufaxes of the world, not players such as Bagwell, Larkin and McGriff.
While this is a feast day for the baseball world it is also a time of despair for some. Dave Parker missed his chance to be forever seen as baseball’s elite.
The Cobra was snubbed for the 15th and final time and will see his name removed from the ballot and will never again be considered for Cooperstown. 
This is a shame. 
Now I never saw Parker play a game in my life, aside from the 2006 All Star Game Legends and Celebrity Softball Challenge held at PNC Park, but from what I hear he was superstar. Not only does being part of the famed “We-Are-Family” troop bring instant notoriety, but being an integral part of it gets you rewards. Parker was a two-time batting champion, all-star and league MVP, yet future generations will never know it. JIm Rice, inducted last year, but up less stellar numbers than Parker and got in. Parker had no such luck. In fact, he received a slap in the face as he was presented with just one measly vote. The same number as former Baltimore Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff.
B.J. Surhoff? Honestly. 
It had to be depressing for Parker and it surely is for me. I want to be able to go to Cooperstown in the first weekend of August and see a player I fell in love with as a fan get inducted. While today it is an eye sore to even see a Pirate eek his way onto an All-Star roster, I don’t believe I will ever be granted a special moment to see one of my guys get enshrined. 
I still offer my congratulations to Blyleven and Alomar and will forever be grateful that we are fortunate enough to witness a great sport like baseball and see its stars properly honored. I cherish it, I really do. 
But I don’t think I will ever experience it with the proper boyhood joy.
photo credits: minnpost.com, apacktobenamedlater.com, corbisimage.com, baltimoresun.com

Famous umpire blowups

The Buccos lost the final 2 games of the series in Wrigley Field. On Wednesday the Bucs lost the rubber match 5-2 at the hands of the Cubs. On the entire roadtrip in Chicago Pittsburgh went 2-4. Really under par and not what I would like to see but hey, we weren’t swept in either series so I guess that is always a plus.

What was more of a plus was the face-time the Pirates got on ESPN. Sportscenter covered teh game very well, mostly because of Carlos Zambrano’s tirade at homeplate umpire Mark Carlson.

big z.jpgBig Z was ticked off by Carlson’s call at homeplate. Zambano had just thrown a wild pitch which got away from catcher Geovanny Soto, the WP allowed Nyjer Morgan an attempt to steal home. Morgan slid gracefully under the tag of Zambrano who was in position tocover the plate. Morgan was called safe, which replay showed he surely was.


big z 2.jpgCarlos disagreed and went bezerk. He bumped into, swore at and dissrespected Carlos which led to his ejection. Big Z then took matters into his own hands and tossed the game ball into the crowd. When manager Lou Pinella came out to intervene Zambrano returned to the dugout but his antics weren’t nearly complete.

big z 3.jpg

Zambrano would then go on to heave his glove into the dugout and slam it on the ground. He had already used a ball and glove in his routine to complete the equipment triple crown Carlos brought out a bat and took his frustrations out on the Gatorade machine in the dugout. He had dented the top and banged up the machine. Now this Gatorade machine was something I had never seen before. It was a fountaine drink dispenser exclusively for Gatorade. That is THE coolest thing I’ve ever heard of. Imagine having that in your kitchen. Gatorade is delicious as it is and now you don’t have to go to the local convienent store to pickup a bottle of the fruity drink. Just get a cup and put it under and push the tab, its ingenious. Why Zambrano would want to destroy this amazing invention is beyond me, if he really didn’t like it he should have just packaged it up and sent it to me.

Watching Carlos go crazy yesterday reminded me of a time way back when, the late ’90’s I believe. Carl Everett, playing for the Red Sox went irate at the umpire for one of the most minor incidents I ever heard of. the ump instructed Everett to move back in the batter’s box because he was crowding the plate a bit too much. Everett disagreed and you know whenever you’re in a disagreement, the only logically solution is to headbutt your opposition, Everett did just that.
carl.jpg Everett also took his frustrations out on dugout beverage dispensers. He busted up the Powerade cooler ripping off the lid and tossing it out on the field. I give Everett the benefit of teh doubt in this one. The cooler did not break, the Cubs Gatorade dispenser however may just be in ruins.

The 1990’s were one of my favorite decades in baseball. Mind you I’ve only been alive for just over 2 decades. I went to my first baseball game then and gathered many of my favorite players from this time period. One of the most notable players from this decade was Roberto Alomar.

Alomar was big aroudn Northeast Ohio in the late 1990’s when he played for the Indians and did very well. He was a fan favorite thanks to his power at the plate. He played with his older brother sandy with the Indians at this time and the two packed a greta punch for Cleveland.

Perhaps Alomar’s most notable performance came before he arrived in Cleveland as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.


He is indeed spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck. Alomar was aruguing a called third strike and everyone knows when you argue balls and strikes nothing good is going to come out of it. Alomar was indeed ejected and after this game in Spetember of 1996 Hirschbeck and Alomar were in a tustle in the clubhouse fighting over the same issue.

I conclude with my personal favorite incident in terms of blowups at the umpire.

We all know Lou Pinella is the flagship manager when it comes to umpire arguments. His long tenure of dirt kicking, yelling and fighting and base tossing has been well documented. However back in 2001 Pirate manager Lloyd McClendon one upped Pinella.


Legendary Llyod was perturbed when first base ump Rick Reed called Jason Kendall out on a bang-bang play at first base. We all know the classic phrase “tie gos to the runner” and McClendon surely heard of it too. When he was explaining the age old baseball statement to Reed, Mac believed the ump was off his marbles for calling Kendall out. McClendon showed that maybe he was the one off his marbles when he ripped out first base from the ground and trotted off with it into the dugout. Once in the dugout he slammed it at a wall and made his way to the locker room. 2001 was the opening year for PNC Park and that moment christened the park liek no other stadium has been before. I still remember watching that game at home thinking how great of a scene it was. The crowd was going wild and ESPN flashed it up the next day all over Sportscenter.Llyod never got a chance to really show what he could do with the Pittsburgh ball club. He lit a fire under his squad but they always lacked the necessary talent to even come close to being good.

Zambrano better be suspended and fined for his actions on Wednesday. The above mentioned antagonists all were suspended and fined. I’ve never been a fan of Zambrano. He is a thug and needs to learn how to control his emotions. After his incident on Wednesday he has now earned a spot on my hate list of 2009. Ryan Braun is already on there and now space has been made for Carlos.


espn.com/AP Photos, bostondirtdogs.com, cbsnews.com, espn.com page 2