Wild Pitch

by Norman Horowitz

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, while celebrating civil rights in Georgia, was speaking in Atlanta about the 2011 All-Star game in Arizona. The game is to honor, among others, the great musician Carlos Santana. He was to be the Latino stand-in, a smiling symbol of baseball’s diversity. And maybe, he would even play a song!

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I love it that Selig picked the wrong Latino. When Santana took the microphone, he said that he was representing all immigrants, and he added, “The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.” (He was referring, of course, to the anti-illegal immigration bills passed by Arizona’s and Georgia’s governments.)

The cheers in the ball park quickly turned to boos. Yes, Carlos Santana was booed on Civil Rights Day in Atlanta for having the temerity to talk about — can you believe it? — civil rights.   Continue reading “Wild Pitch”

Fall Classic Preview, Part 2: NL Central & NL West

by Ian Kollar

NL Central

Not much to say about this one. With just weeks remaining in the regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals continue to slide and the Cincinnati Reds are holding steady, keeping a comfortable lead and inching closer to wrapping up the division.

A few years ago, I came out and touted the Reds as an up-and-coming team. People thought I was joking. Okay, I half-was. But I enjoyed watching them when they were occasionally on television (usually against the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Phillies) and checking their box scores. It was like watching a young child grow up before my very eyes now, two years later, where first baseman Joey Votto is turning in an MVP season, second baseman Brandon Phillips is performing extremely well in the field and at the plate, and various others have filled roles, come up in clutch spots and played hard for Dusty Baker. A consummate players’ coach, Baker has done well to not let his team get complacent; they were one of the few teams in the majors this year to not go on a terrible losing streak, though they never were red hot either. A 6-game winning streak in August and a 5-game losing streak in September were anomalies. Everything else was consistent.   Continue reading “Fall Classic Preview, Part 2: NL Central & NL West”

Fall Classic Preview, Part 1: NL East

by Ian Kollar

The familiar sounds of fall are back, and they’re music to many sports fans’ ears.

The raucous crowds. The shrill whistles. The crunch of body-to-body collisions and 800-plus-pound pileups. And of course, the drowned-out playcalling on a mic’ed up field general.

Yes, sports fans, football is back.

But you know what? I’m not your typical sports fan.   Continue reading “Fall Classic Preview, Part 1: NL East”

A Lesson in Futility: Why Are the Pirates So Bad, So Often?

by Ian Kollar

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently checked themselves into the book of baseball infamy by losing to the Chicago Cubs over Labor Day weekend. The 4-2 loss Monday catapulted them into the record books by confirming what was inevitable since opening day: the 17th consecutive losing season by the franchise.   Continue reading “A Lesson in Futility: Why Are the Pirates So Bad, So Often?”