My goal is to add perspective to subjects other than the regular headlines.
Contact Stephanie at s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com



Friday, January 22, 2010

Grant Desme, Top Prospect, Quits Baseball

Oakland A's farm director, Keith Lieppman has confirmed to numerous media outlets today that Top Prospect, Grant Desme has decided to leave baseball to become a Catholic Priest.

Desme, a 2nd round draft pick for the A's in 2007, was recently named the Arizona Fall Leagues MVP after leading the league with 11 home runs. In 2009 he was also the only player through the entire minor league system to record a 30-30 season with 31 homers and 40 stolen bases. At the young age of 23, Baseball America had him ranked 8th on their Top 10 Prospects list for the Oakland Athletics organization.



As reported by Baseball America, when Desme made the decision a few days ago he called the A's GM, Billy Beane and informed him of his choice. As reported by Desme, Beane was very supportive and understanding although surprised.

Lieppman made a statement to reporters saying, "To do that when you are at the top of your game, it's a powerful thing, and the organization has to respect that. Somebody will step up, somebody will take advantage of the opportunity they may not otherwise have gotten, but he will not be easy to replace. With the tools he has, he had tremendous potential. But I would imagine his potential is equally great on this new path considering his commitment."

After being drafted in 2007, he missed most of 2008 with shoulder and wrist injuries. Desme is quoted as saying the injuries were a blessing. "In a way," said Desme, "baseball had become my idol... When it was taken away, it was an eye-opener." Past interviews support this view he held, as he always indicated his strong religious beliefs. In 2007 he said in an interview, "Above all, my faith comes first and I dedicate myself to church," (From an interview with Conor Glassey, now with Baseball America). More recently he says he realized there was more to life than baseball. "With the injuries, it kind of put everything in perspective," Desme said. "There are much bigger things in life. Baseball could be taken from you at any moment... You step on the field and that could be your last game. There are a lot of other things that matter more... baseball's just a game."

Desme will be joining a congregation in Orange County, California called St. Michael's Abbey where he will start his 10 year process to become a member. His last game was the Arizona Fall League Championship on November 21st, 2009.



I was amazed when I first heard this story this morning from two of his, now former, teammates. It was hard for me to believe that someone with a God given talent like his could just up and leave the game, but when I found out more about him I learned that his true calling in life really is his religion. And what a life lived that is not fulfilled? It made me put baseball into perspective a little bit. I know I live by the game, and that most people would describe it as my life, but that's not the case for all of us involved in the game. Obviously when Grant was injured that year he learned a lot more about life in general. Baseball players, especially minor leaguers, do have a very hard lifestyle, which I know from all my friends who currently play or use to play. It's a constant battle everyday just like all of our jobs can be, but most don't get to come home to their family each night like we do. Living in hotels and traveling on long bus rides every 3 days isn't the life for some. I wish Grant the best of luck in his future endeavors, and I hope he's found his true calling in life. God knows there's someone right behind Grant who maybe wants it a little more, and who's life calling truly is baseball. It's admirable that he could step away while being such a promising prospect, because it shows he has the guts to follow his life calling despite what could be the easier path to fame and fortune.

-S

Thursday, January 21, 2010

McGwire, Steroids... I'm Over it.

If you know anything about me it's that I hate to write about issues that are the common trend in the sports media. There's nothing more annoying than a surplus of repeated information being shoved down your throat on a daily basis, then coming online and seeing bloggers rehash the same stories over and over and over again. That being said, I've stayed away from everything McGwire related. Before all of this nonsense I wrote on this blog that I felt McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame. I've taken in all the available information on this issue possible. I've been a dedicated listener to MLB on XM radio and heard legends, current players, analysts, and managers all voice their opinions on the issue. I've listend to each opinion and been unbiased when making my own.

My former opinion has changed.

Little background on me. I'm a die hard Red Sox fan. I will forever hold 2004, not only in my memory, but in my soul. It's a part of me in every way and in every thing I do every single day. I think about that 3-0 comeback and get that little push I need to get over rough patches. Everytime I succeed, I think about being in Big Mac Land in Busch Stadium watching them win it all. I think about Big Papi's clutch late inning home runs, and that Manny spark in each game. I hope I see all those moments in the Hall of Fame when I visit this summer. But, I never want to see those individuals honored as Hall of Famers. I've had enough.



I've reached a point where I have no tolerance for it. I'm done making excuses, saying maybe he only did it a few times. If you cheated, you cheated. You are not naturally elite and should not be honored as such. To me, a Hall of Famer is one who represents his generation of the game while being one of the best to ever play, and while doing it the right way. If you have to cheat to gain elite status, you are not elite.

I've talked about this numerous times, almost daily with my peers, coworkers, friends and family. It's hard not to when it's such a debatable issue. The only reason I am writing this now is to answer all the questions that I've been asked about the subject. After this, it's in the past and like baseball I'm moving forward. It is hard for me to accept that some of my heroes and favorite players cheated. We all looked up to them, we all believed that when they swung that bat and we cheered as it went over the fence, that it was with possible because of a force that they created after laboring for their lifetimes for it. We all believed that these people allowed on the turf had something we didn't, a special unique talent that made them heroes. Now we all see that they injected themselves with steroids and THATS how they did it better than the rest. No talent, no extra special uniqueness that made them stand out. It's disappointing. I can't say anything that you haven't heard before... But I'll try to explain it from my viewpoint with my job.



These players cheated the game and they cheated the system. Think about the job you go to everyday. Imagine your coworkers. This is what went through my head when I thought about this subject. So, every week at work I have to do a performance report for the company I work for in Major League Baseball. It's a grueling report that takes a good 3-4 hours of tedious work just to complete. I share this report with another coworker. Now lets say every Wednesday when I come in and do this report, I'm slaving over it, I'm double, even triple checking numbers, pulling numbers to compare market research from the previous month, etc. By the time I'm finished I'm exhausted and tired, maybe a little annoyed at the process, but I put in the work and I made sure it was all correct. Now let's say my coworker tapped into the Owners private numbers and had it feed her the numbers so she didnt have to do the research. So in 30 minutes, she had all the numbers I had after 3 hours, but her's were garanteed to be right so she got to fine tune other things in order to put her report over the top and make it way better in the amount of time alotted to us. So here we are turning in the same report every week. She had 2.5 hours longer than me to put extra emphasis on certian areas of the report to make it better, while I couldn't. So she gets promoted. She keeps working her way up, impressing everyone, and finally makes it to the top of the company.

One day she gets caught. She says that she illegally gained the information and used it to feed her the numbers instead of looking it up on her own and doing the actual work that came with the job. Should she still be allowed to be at the top? Is her past not tainted from her cheating? Is she someone her colleagues can still look up to? "But," she says, "I still had to come to the office and type on a keyboard and give presentations. So clearly, cheating did not help me."



I don't see a difference from that scenario to the one we have here in Major League Baseball with these steroid users, but thats just me. McGwire says that steroids did not help with his hand eye coordination and that he would still have as many homeruns. Well, while other guys were in the gym putting in the hours to get bigger, he was fine tuning little quirks in his swing to move himself past them. It's so rediculously a matter of the fact that he cheated and he does not deserve to be a Hall of Famer because of it.

At this point, you can't play "what if." His number are his number, astrick them if you want, I don't care. Someone will beat his record someday and then he will be forgotten. He will not be a Hall of Famer. He, along with my heros Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, will not be the men to represent our generation of baseball. I refuse to allow that. And if something happens and they do, then baseball is dead. I fell in love with this game because of how sacred it is.

It's a pity that guys like Roberto Alomar (who is a HOFer regardless of this years pathetic voting) may have to share the Hall with these cheaters, while guys like Dave Parker, Ron Santo, and even Don Mattingly get rejected.

Recently, Fergie Jenkins wrote an open letter to the Associated Press were he wrote about McGwire:


"You have yet to apologize to all the pitchers you faced while juiced. You altered pitchers' lives. You may have shortened pitchers careers because of the advantage you forced over them while juiced. Have you thought about what happened when they couldn't get you out and lost the confidence of their managers and general managers?"


I think if Mac wants us all to forgive him, then he should donate some of that $60+million he made after 1993 when he needed the steroids because otherwise his career should have been over. I know some GREAT causes, or even the local animal shelter I volunteer at that could use even $50K . I think that's the only way I could forgive him at this point. Start contributing to this earth positively and STOP spreading the message that it's OK to take steroids if you are recovering from an injury.

-S
(images from goole image search)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teams that Got the Most Bang for Their Buck Last Decade

Click the link to see a VERY interesting article written by Sport Illustrated's, Tom Verducci.

Teams that Got the Most Bang For Their Buck Last Decade

Thank you to my friend, Mike M who passed this along to me today!

-S

Manny being a Translator

A night time laugh if you can't sleep like myself! Share videos with me by sending them to s.betweenthelines@yahoo.com. Enjoy!



-S

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cubs Convention 2010



It's that time of the year again for Cubs fans! Our offseason seems hardly an offseasons with the 1985-John-McDonough-invented Chicago Cubs Convention!  In it's 25th annual year running and this year the Cubs main event will be surrounding the 2010 induction of former right fielder, Andre "The Hawk" Dawson, to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


For those of you familiar with the Convention, when you register you get a scratch off ticket which may be valid for one of 4 or 5 lines of autoraphes for bigger named players. Dawson surely will be one this year, probably joining Ryne Sandberg, Carlos Zambrano and Ernie Banks. If you are heading out, definitely let me know. My favorite part of Convention is the Opening Ceremonies which kick off the event tomorrow, Friday, January 15th, 2010.

For those interested here is the schedule of events; autograph opportunities not listed: (bolded are ones I usually go to)

Friday, January 15th

  • 5:00-5:30pm- Opening Ceremonies. (With this one get there early otherwise you will be stuck in the back unable to see, or you may not even get into the ballroom they hold it in. Also, plan for this to run an hour)


  • 6:00-6:45pm: Autograph Treasure Hunt (Various Cubs will be placed around the hotel waiting for you to find them to get an autograph- I always pass this one up, I'm there more for the talks/questionaires rather than the autographes anyways.)


  • 7:00-9:00pm: Sports Central Live with David Kaplan...the 2 hour show will be broadcast live on 720am WGN with the following guests during the given time segments:

7:00-7:30pm: Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and Rick Suttcliffe
7:30-8:00pm: Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, and Oneri Fleita
8:00-8:30pm: Ron Santo, Pat Hughes, Bob Brenly, and Len Kasper
8:30-9:00pm: Rudy Jaramillo, Marlon Byrd, and Larry Rothschild

  • 7:00-8:30pm: Cubs Bingo (We do this sometimes b/c it gives you a chance to sit down and relax, plus they give away flags that have flown over Wrigley Field, signed memorbilia, etc.)

Saturday, January 16th

  • 9:00-10:00am: WGN Radio's Meet Cubs Management with Bob Sirott and Dave Eanet (Guests: Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, and Randy Bush)


  • 11:30-12:30pm: WGN Radio's Think You Know These Guys? Hosted by Garry Meier (Guests: Justin Berg, Ryan Dempster, Sam Fuld, Micah Hoffpauir, and Ryan Theriot)


  • 1:00-2:00pm: WGN Radio's Major League Days - Hosted by John Williams (Guests: Bobby Dernier, Jody Davis, Jeff Samardzija, and Geovany Soto)


  • 2:30-3:30pm: WGN Radio's Lou Piniella: My Life in Baseball Continued... A one on one with Lou hosted by Steve Cochran


  • 8:00-12:00am: Rock 'n Roll Revue

Sunday, January 17th

  • 9:00-10:00am: Meet Cubs Business Management


  • 10:30-11:30am: Down on the Farm presented by VineLine with Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilkin

 From open to close each day, there are players signing autographs and doing photo opps in the actual convention area of the Hilton Hotel. Also there are stand set up all over selling Cubs Memorbilia and hosting games. THis really is a fun event and if you are a Cubs fan it's the place to be this weekend. Like I said if you are out at the Convention, let me know! I'd love to meet you and get to know some more Cubs fans!

Slide show temporarily removed!


Happy Offseason,
-S

Friday, January 8, 2010

Expo or Cub? Hall to make the final decision...

"Dawson awaiting decision on Hall of Fame cap, source says he'd like to go in as a Cub"


(picture from ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

In an article written yesterday by sports columnist, Paul Sullivan, the issue of hat choice is brought into question based on Dawson's most impactful years and based on which hat he prefers to wear. View clips of his article below. To view the whole article click here.

"At the end of the day you want the logo to represent where this guy made his greatest impact," Hall president Jeff Idelson told the Associated Press. "He was impactful in Montreal. He was impactful in Chicago, and to a much lesser extent Boston and Florida, but it's more of a case sitting down and collectively make a decision." ...........

........ "I'm grateful the Cubs organization gave me the opportunity to wear their uniform," he said. "I played a little bit longer in Montreal. Of course, that's where I got my initial start. But I'll tell you, going to Wrigley Field, playing in the Friendly Confines amongst the Cubs fans, that was amazing in itself."

Whole article can be viewed here: http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/01/dawson.html

-S

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Details of Holliday deal with St. Louis

Today, the signing of Matt Holliday became official with the St. Louis Cardinals. Hollidays contract is for $120 million over 7 years (2010-2016), with incentives.



 

 
Here are some of the incentives and details included in his deal:

  • His deal breaks down to $17 million per year.
  • If he finishes within the top 10 for MVP voting in 2016, he earns a vesting option for 2017 for $17 million. Otherwise there is a $1 million buyout.
  • The Cardnals will have 5 days after the 2016 World Series to decide whether to exercise his option (unless he finishes top 10 MVP, then it's guaranteed).
  • According to CBS News, "Depending on whether the option is exercised, Holliday will receive $1.4 million or $1.6 million each July 15 from 2020 until 2029."
  • He has a full no trade clause protection in his contract.

  • Also in his contract, he gets a hotel suite on road trips.
The incentives/award bonuses he can receive are the same as Albert Pujols:
  • $50,000 for election to the NL All-Star team
  • $25,000 for All-Star selection
  • $50,000 for division series MVP (Award does not exist yet)
  • $100,000 for league championship series MVP
  • $150,000 for World Series MVP
  • $200,000 for NL MVP
  • $50,000 each for Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award

Holliday, who turns 30 on January 15th,  hit .353 with 13 homers and 55 RBI in 63 games for St. Louis last year. He and his agent, Scott Boras, had originally sought a contract worth $18 million a year but with the lack of intrested in long term, high cost contracts this ends up a perfect victory deal for the two.

-S

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Hall of Fame Inductees



Congratulations to ANDRE DAWSOM for being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame!

The ceremoy will take place July 25th in Cooperstown, New York. Of the 26 possible candidates, only Andre was voted in by receiving 77.9% of ballot votes by the BBWAA writers.



The induction of Andre Dawson is beyond a thrill for me. I'll tell you one thing about being a Cubs fan.- we obviously dont come back year after year because all we care about is winning the world series. If that were the case, we would have stopped coming after 30 years, after 50 years, and even after 70 years. The reason we stick around is becuase being a Cubs fan is an honor. The players that have come before us, that have paved the way for today, are responsible for keeping baseball popular at Wrigley Field. People like Andre Dawson who won the MVP on a LAST PLACE TEAM. We live for players like this, who respect the game and never see themselves above it. The passion that we have for the game comes from watching players like The Hawk perform on the field. Watching his work ethic, the way he treated his teammates and the other team, his respect for the game and the fans, and his contributions to the game have transformed baseball from a game to a love.



I will be going to the induction ceremony this year to see this Legend be inducted, and I can't wait!


As happy as I am, it is also a shame that Ron Santo and Mark McGwire have yet to be inducted. Bert Blyleven recieved 74.2% and Roberto Alomar received 73.7%.
-S
(images from google search)


From the baseballhall.org:
"The vote: Andre Dawson 420 (77.9%), Bert Blyleven 400 (74.2%), Roberto Alomar 397 (73.7%), Jack Morris 282 (52.3%), Barry Larkin 278 (51.6%), Lee Smith 255 (47.3%), Edgar Martinez 195 (36.2%), Tim Raines 164 (30.4%), Mark McGwire 128 (23.7%), Alan Trammell 121 (22.4%), Fred McGriff 116 (21.5%), Don Mattingly 87 (16.1%), Dave Parker 82 (15.2%), Dale Murphy 63 (11.7%), Harold Baines 33 (6.1%), Andres Galarraga 22 (4.1%), Robin Ventura 7 (1.3%), Ellis Burks 2 (0.4%), Eric Karros 2 (0.4%), Kevin Appier 1 (0.2%), Pat Hentgen 1 (0.2%), David Segui 1 (0.2%), Mike Jackson 0, Ray Lankford 0, Shane Reynolds 0, Todd Zeile 0."
TUNE IN NOW TO the MLB Network to watch LIVE!!!!


We are 17 minutes away from finding out if the HAWK makes it in!!!!