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



Friday, December 9, 2011

CJ Wilson Thanks his Fans

I thought this was pretty cool, especially since CJ Wilson is one of the few players who goes above and beyond to connect with his fans. This morning at about 5:30am CST time, he uploaded a message to his facebook account that read as follows:

I just want to say thank you to all the ranger fans who have supported me, and my efforts in the community the last six years in Texas. Surely it's both hard for some to understand that I left for a different team let alone a division rival- it was bittersweet for me as well. At the end of the day the rangers didn't make a push to keep me on the team. The angels an marlins wanted me on their... teams and proved it. everything written about an asking price etc was media speculation and never had an ounce of truth. The rangers are a great organization with talented front office and players and will be a difficult team to beat and it's very sad to leave such awesome teammates and fans. The last few years in ranger stadium were special- going from a losing team to bankrupt to american league champs was a complete transformation and obviously everyone should be proud of it. The charity will continue even stronger now and we will continue to support North Texas kids as well as SoCal kids. Please keep that spirit of philanthropy alive for your local causes like cooks children's hospital, Scottish rite, dallas children's and the boys and girls club. - C.J. Wilson

I thought that was an appropriate and grateful response given by the 31 year old southpaw. It wasn't needed nor required, but it goes to show you how much his fans mean to him. Not only will CJ be joining a new team on a 5 year/$77.5MM deal, but he will also be going home. Wilson grew up in Southern California in the city of Newport Beach. Like Pujols, Wilson was offered more to play with the Miami Marlins, but declined. I think the Angels are a perfect fit for CJ... if you follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/str8edgeracer) or are friends with him on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheLefty) then you know the Cali lifestyle was made for him. Comfortability can go a long way in someones career, just ask Carl Crawford.

Happy offseason,
TBL,
-S

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good for Albert Pujols

Congrats to Albert Pujols. Today it was announced via internet blast, that the best player in baseball has agreed in terms to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 10 years/$250MM contract.

Good for him. Sincerely.

I am a fan of Albert Pujols. In fact, I am a fan of any hard working ballplayer who leads a respectable life on and off the playing field. I am a fan of players who take advantage of their time in the spotlight by leading the world with a good example. I am a fan of players who spend their extra time to promote charity movements or volunteer their time and effort to help those less fortunate.


Like him or hate him, Pujols has earned respect. And not just from us fans, but from teammates, opposing players, coaches, general managers, front office personnel, and children around the world. He has been everything expected from an allstar. He has produced results on the field that have pushed him into a category of his own while maintaining a respectable life off the field. He has no arrests or steriod issues surrounding his name. His pictures online are those of him playing, not of him galavanting around with numerous women or of alcohol infused escapades. He has been a strong role model for young kids around the world. He's made valuable contributions to countless charities and remained active in participating in his free time.


Pujols was offered many lavish contracts this offseason, but thats not what he was going for. Pujols gave each team the opportunity to present him with a contract based on what those teams felt he deserved. The Marlins offered an outlandish 10 year deal, some say amounting to $300MM, but they did not include a no-trade clause. Seriously? If Aramis Ramirez "earned" one with the Cubs, then surely Pujols should have that respect given to him, as well. In the end, the Angels seem to have offered Pujols the contract and life he wants for him and his family for the next ten years of his life.

My facebook newsfeed and twitter timeline are littered with complaints about Pujol's decision. GREEDY. SELFISH. SELLOUT. These are not words to describe a man who has committed his life towards bettering himself at baseball and as a human. Here is a man who has worked his behind off his entire life, perfecting every little detail about his mechanics in order to gain the level he has with us today as one of the elite, arguably best ballplayers of all time.


Here's my persepective. I understand that Cardinal fans can be irrate. But don't blame the man for taking an offer from a team that probably showed him a better deal, not just financially, but respectfully. Albert Pujols has worked his whole life for the chance to decide where his life can go from here. If he wants his family to live in California, without having to be uprooted for the next ten years, then respect his decision. Disagree all you want, but greedy? selfish? sellout? Yes contracts are outlandish. Yes millions upon millions is hard to rationalize for someone who "plays a game" for a living, but that is the market. There are other rediculous contracts out there but if anyone has earned it, it's Pujols.

TBL,
-S

Monday, December 5, 2011

Remembering Ron

Remembering Ron

By: Stephanie Paluch
12/03/2010

It’s been hours now since the news of our beloved Chicago icon has hit the airwaves, and we’ve all dealt with the passing in various ways. When I first got the news, my initial thought was “I have to be at Wrigley. I have to be home.” I've spent the majority of today in thought - remembering Ron in his best, recounting all the times I've met him, and rationalizing how Wrigley will ever be the same.

When I originally wrote this article, I was on a flight to Arizona. Now that I am here, I keep re-reading what I've written, trying to find the right words, but none of it does him justice. Our language has not given us enough words to thoroughly explain how much this individual who lived among us means to us and will always mean to us. No phrase or paragraph written here seems to fulfill the honor of the life of Ron Santo.

For that matter, no amount of grieving has been suffice. With some instances, you assure yourself that in a few hours life will come back to your body- maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and feel a little better. You rationalize that maybe instead of missing the passed, you will be able to celebrate their former life. I’m not sure how long it will take, but the tears don’t stop. With every memory, I dive deeper into sorrow.

Ronnie mean't a lot to us in Chicago; he mean't a lot to us in the baseball world. Ronnie was as true a Cub and you can find. He was the ultimate fan, and those of us who watched the games with the volume muted and Pat & Ron live on the radio, we know how much he loved these Cubbies. He respected us as fans. He accepted us into his family, and he graciously acknowledged everyone who came to meet him.

When I woke up this morning at 6am and heard the news, the only thing I was certain of was that I needed to be at Wrigley with my family... with my cubs family. I couldn’t risk missing my flight, so I promised myself I'd go straight to Wrigley as soon as I got home on Tuesday. When I checked in at the airport it was 9:30am- 2 hours away from my scheduled departure. As soon as the lady behind the counter told me the flight was already delayed an additional hour, I wasted no time. I literally ran, like my life depended on it, down the corridor opposite the security check point. I bought myself a $5 fare for the L-train, hoped on and headed straight for Wrigley Field. I had tears in my eyes the whole way through as I struggled to find the right words. I had 20 minutes on the train before I'd be at Wrigley and I couldn't for the life of me decide what to say or do.
When I got to Wrigley Field, the sorrow intensified. It was very quiet, yet not isolate. People roamed the streets - Sheffield, Waveland, Addison and Clark. Cubs fans wandering, one to the other, hugging and crying... remembering their favorite stories to reporters.

I had found some words and wrote them the other half of my boarding pass while on the train. Holding the paper in my fingers, I walked up to the stadium and knew this was going to be hard, not only today but for every future game. I walked up to the stadium wall and leaned in close putting my bare hand against the concrete wall. I closed my eyes and remembered Ron. I smelled the air in Wrigley and I heard the cheers with Ronnie leading the way. For a few moments I just stood there replaying my favorite memory, over and over again.

I walked by the Billy Williams statue, where the Harry Carey statue once stood, and remembered my first time meeting Ron at that very spot. It was early in the morning and he was so full of joy, so optimistic. I saw him in passing and said with a smile, “Hi, Mr. Santo!” and he stopped in his path, greeted me just as excitedly and lead the conversation beginning with our beloved Cubbies. Ron was always like that, with every fan. He took his time to greet anyone who wanted to speak to him, signed for children if they asked, and always, always told those who would listen stories from his past.

I saw Ronnie a lot after that, and every time he always seemed to remembered me, or at least I think he did. But that was the thing that made him special - even if Ron had never met you, he acted like you were family.

Last year, in 2010, I didn’t see Ron as much around the ballpark. He was hospitalized a lot more, as expected with his diabetes, but still every time the fans would greet him, a huge smile would stretch across his face and you’d feel his glow of optimism. The last time I spoke to Ron one-on-one, I was working at Wrigley for MLB Network Thursday Night Baseball. It was early August 2009, and the Cubs were set to play the Brewers that day. To get ready for a 7pm game, we started setting up in the production truck around 10am. One of my jobs was running things from the trucks outside to the press box and then to the field if needed. There was one break in the chaos, where all I had to do was wait - and no better a place was this asked of me than when I was in the Cubs dugout. So I sat down on the bench in the Cubs dugout, admiring the field, and waited.

Within half a minute, Billy Williams came and took a seat right next me, sighs, and says, “What a beautiful day for a ball game.” “Absolutely, Mr. Williams,” I replied, “It’s breathtaking from this view.” I sat there and smiled and tried to take in what had just happened, and Billy kept talking. At the end of our short conversation about the weather and cubs, I shook his hand, told him it was a pleasure to meet him and told him I’d see him later in the booth.

Walking down the tunnel, back to the concourse I turned the corner and there was Ron Santo, who exclaims, “Look who’s behind the scenes!” and comes over to hug me. Never before had I hugged Ronnie, but he saw me back there probably looking frantic and in a rush and decided to stop me and say hi. I quickly kidded back by saying, “Ssshhhh! I snuck in!” and held my finger to my lips. We laughed for a second, told him I was on the go and said that I’d say bye before I left the stadium that night. I was never able to see Ronnie again and talk to him after that, and I never said goodbye. Had I moved from that dugout just a moment before or after I had, I would have missed him completely and never would have had that experience.

I will miss Ron, the joy he brought to the ballpark, his voice on the radio, and the optimism he entered each season with. I’ll laugh every time I re-listen to one of his broadcasters, where the cubs just can’t do anything right! And every time I enter Wrigley I'll remember him, and I'll honor him by loving the Cubbies and respecting the game.

I'll see my fellow cubs family at his visitation in Chicagon on thursday where we can all say our goodbyes.

Love you all and thank you to everyone who had reached out to me today. I appreciate all the support we have as a united family. Go Cubs Go!

The Baseball Life,
-S

12/06/2011
Wrigley was not the same this year. I found myself only attending the games I worked for FOX, instead. We still miss Ronnie, everyday and wish he could have been alive to hear the Hall of Fame announce his acceptance, one that was greatly overdue. But we can all rest assured, he is celebrating above us and within our hearts. Thank you to the veteran committee for finally making this right.
#10 you are always with us...
-S

Friday, December 2, 2011

Best Sports Stadiums, Wordwide!

Recently, a lady named Katina from ZenCollegeLife.com forwarded a link to my email entitled “The 10 Most Spectacular Sports Stadiums in the World". After viewing the article, and learning that she's a long time reader on my site (bonus!) I thought I'd share it with everyone here, since it really does blend well with the content already in place. The article highlights the ten most interesting stadiums in the world... not just baseball, but we do have some reprensentation.

Sports are a huge part of our daily lives. The incredible popularity of sports has made them big business, with the most elite teams and the most successful franchises building incredible stadiums to hold the millions of adoring fans who loyally follow their favorite teams. These stadiums have become an essential part of major cities and whole continents throughout the world. They are a source of local and national pride and feature some of the most innovative technology and entertainment advances that the world has ever seen. Here are the top 10 most spectacular stadiums in the world: CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story...




Feel free to pass along your articles or other interesting ones you think the readers here will enjoy, our own little pay it forward in the baseball enthusiast world ;-) Also, keep in mind the site will be changing it look soon as I've been working with a graphic designer to spruce the place up! Always, thanks for your dedication & happy offseason.

-S