Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“The Redhead Up North” congratulates fellow Frick Award winner

How cool is this? Ford C. Frick Award winner Dick Enberg taking a congratulatory phonev call from Vin Scully! Two of classiest acts in our universe! (Picture by Hall of Fame).y and 

Enberg lauded radio immortals in his acceptance news conference today, but saved the greatest show of respect and gratitude to the man he called “The Redhead up north."

Velvet prose, velvet voice earn Enberg, Gage HOF berths

Lovely start to the third day of Winter Meetings as Hall of Fame announced that the great Dick Enberg is the recipient of the 2015 Ford C. Frick Award for outstanding announcing. Said an emotional Enberg: "When I think of this honor today … ‘Enberg, you hit a grand slam.’” 
Indeed! Congratulations, Mr. Enberg. To use your signature line, “Oh, my!”
Enberg, who will turn 80 on Jan. 9, was a long-time tennis play-by-play announcer for ESPN, calling the majors, such as Wimbleton, the US, French and Australian opens.
He has 22 years of experience broadcasting Major League Baseball, the last five as the television play-by-play voice of the Padres.
He will be joined in the spotlight by Tom Gage of the Detroit News, the BBWAA’s recipient of the 2015 JG Taylor Spink Award for outstanding contributions to baseball writing/reporting. 

Tom could not be at the meetings. The paper he’s graced wrote the following: 

Gage, The Detroit News' Tigers beat writer since 1979,  has covered countless Hall of Famers in his career, and next summer in Cooperstown, New York, Gage will be joining them on stage as the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
"We're thrilled for Tom to win this honor," said Jonathan Wolman, publisher and editor of The Detroit News. "He's been a master storyteller from the ballparks of America and he's made the Tigers come alive for our readers. We tip our Olde English D to his terrific coverage, and to the others who were on the ballot. Tom was in strong company from the day of his nomination to the day of his election."
"It has been a great ride, which has included literally years of shared life in Lakeland during spring training," said Detroit News baseball writer Lynn Henning, who first met Gage at Tigertown in 1979, when Gage was a rookie on the beat, and Henning was at the Lansing State Journal. They were colleagues at The News months later.
"I've seen through the years how Tom's steady passion for his work has kept him fresh and galvanized to his beat."
Gage, known in press boxes for wearing his baseball caps and his creative leads, figures he's covered games in 54 ballparks, and written more than 11 million words and covered more than 5,000 games — including five no-hitters — plus one night game in Boston, after undergoing a root canal in the morning.
In 1989, he famously wrote only an act of God could save the San Francisco Giants in the World Series against the Oakland A's. The next day, an earthquake suspended play for 10 days.
"Extremely happy for Tom," said Dave Dombrowski, Tigers president and general manager. "Cannot think of a more deserving individual. Tom is a true professional in every aspect."
Next July, Gage will become the first Detroit News writer to enter the Hall since the late Joe Falls in 2001.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Baseball Tonight kicked off its Day 1 coverage of the Winter Meetings today. Manning the Desk at 11:30 PT:, from left to right Jayson Stark, Buster Olney, anchor Karl Ravech, Tim Kurkjian and Keith Law. Next show: 6:30 PT.

Kevin Cash, Welcome To the Winter Meetings' Mgr. Scrums

Kevin Cash, new manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, led off the annual roundup and interview scrum for the men on the dugout's hottest seat. He appears to the right of Rays Baseball Ops President Matt Silverman.

The only news made here: Cash said all the right things, and he appears to be 15 years old. I feel rather ancient today!

No Room for Dick Allen, Tony Oliva As Both Fall Short

Only one percent of the professionals who played in the Major Leagues are in the Hall of Fame. It is a tough road, as well it should be. It is the Hall of the greatest, not the Hall of the Very Good, as Jim Kaat once said.

Well, today, the Hall's 16-member Golden Era Committee considered more than a handful of their
contemporaries and decided that none rose to the category of Hall of Famer. No nominee reached the required 12 votes (75 percent). Still, the announcement drew emotions as it was announced that Dick Allen and Tony Oliva each received 11 votes from the panel.

So, so close. Allen's son, Richard; on hand and hoping, showed the human side of such decisions, valiantly answering questions about his father's near-miss. 

Jane  Forbes Clark, CEO of the Hall, fielded questions on the Veterans Committee procedures in light of another shutout of candidates. She said the staff ad board continuously examine the procedure. She said "it's not a matter of a trigger, it's matter of our general operating procedure."  

Veterans Committee Decision Looms

Here in San Diego, it is the quiet  before the storm at Baseball’s Winter Meetings. John Lester continues to occupy the lead role in the ever-wonderful free-agent drama this off-season. But the first orcer of business is but 30 minutes away as we await the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee announcement on whether any former legends have been selected to join the immortals in Cooperstown.

The list of candidates:

Dick Allen
Ken Boyer 
Maury Wills
Gil Hodges 
Jim Kaat
Billy Pierce
Tony Oliva
Minnie Minoso
Luis Tiant

Who, if anyone, will emerge as a Hall of Famer? Time will tell!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Career Or A Limp?

One of my favorite stories as told by Don Baylor was about the dueling suitors he had in his senior year of high school: The University of Texas football team and the Baltimore Orioles. 

Don, born and raised in the Austin, Texas, area, always wanted to play for the Longhorns. But the bird-dog baseball scout sent by the Orioles won out after he asked Don a simple question: did he want a career or a limp?

I wonder what the 2014 version of that question is? 

I can only pray that health is still in the equation, and that in this day and age, it is the athlete and his or her family pushing the issue, demanding to know, precisely, what institutions pledge to do to prevent head injuries. Because limps have got nothing on concussions.
Kosta Karageorge

The death this weekend of Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge brought that into clear focus as never before. The 22-year-old’s body was found in a dumpster near campus, police said Sunday. The player, who was reported missing Wednesday, appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to authorities.

Last week, Karageorge’s family told police that the young man had suffered multiple concussions and was being plagued by periods of confusion. Wednesday morning, he’d texted his mother, cited the head injuries and wrote: "I am sorry if I am an embarrassment.’'

The real embarrassment here is that organized sports at the highest levels had to be dragged into this fight against arguably preventable injuries by lawyers rather than doctors. Sadly, no matter how many millions in damages will be won by the walking wounded or their survivors going forward, there is not enough money in the world to right the lives of athletes already permanently damaged. 

We've read the stories, seen the interviews, heard the eulogies. The human toll is stamped on the world-weary faces,  reflected in the frightened, lost eyes of broken gladiators, buried with haunting murder-suicides. Heartbreakingly, the well-documented sagas continue to mount. How many other under-reported results -- nerve and brain damage, concussion-related Alzeimer’s and Parkinson’s -- we may never know.

Players, be they in Pee Wee football, Little League baseball or the highest professional tiers in the world, should be assured by their sporting bodies that every precaution is being taken to protect what is arguably the body’s most precious organ. 

Parents -- remember the dance? -- should ask the toughest of questions. Equipment manufacturers should be made by law to make the toughest, not the cheapest, protective gear. The medical profession, even the portion represented in the team-doctor class, should always vow that “do no harm” will always trump “win at all costs.” 

Protocols need not only be written on paper. They should be chiseled in stone, in every clubhouse, locker room and stadium. And those protocols should drive policy with an authority a thousand times stronger than that of the most prestigious coach in the land.

Lastly, any team, university or professional league that knowingly cuts corners or plays loose and free with an athlete's health should face the harshest penalties. If that means criminal as well as civil litigation, so be it. Because the victims of neglect, deceit or, most ominously,  medical malpractice, need the ability, and deserve the right, to hit back as hard as they were hit playing mere games. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hello, it’s been a long time.

Thanks to, I can identify just how long my period of hibernation has lasted. My previous post was in 2010. That’s a minute. That’s a writer’s block. That’s over.

So much has occurred since I tucked away to abilities to put words together, abilities that defined me for much of my career. Very much included in those events were life-altering scenarios, some I can proudly say made me stronger, some not so much. But there are constants that I am convinced will never change, no matter how long the dormancy. I suppose that the love of baseball -- one of those constants -- will follow me to the grave.

So what do you say that I come back to one of my loves. If there is something to say, bear with me as I attempt to regain my voice and say it.

Missed you. God bless. Play ball.