Monday January 5, 2004
PRIDE OF THE YANKEES
THE AMAZING GREG MADDUX - WHAT’S NEXT?
TWINS SIGN AL MARTIN
ROYALS GET JUAN-GONE
A BIG FOOTBALL WEEKEND
BRITNEY SPEARS MARRIED - FOR NOW
This morning, it is about 26 degrees BELOW 0. No, seriously! It is cold. The wind chill is at -45 degrees. It is just frigid.
I’ve just got a bunch of issues that I will be discussing today. None in too great of depth, but all pretty interesting, I think. I hope you enjoy it. We’ve got baseball, football, basketball, and the Britney Spears wedding news! So, enjoy. As always, if you’ve got any questions or comments, or ideas for future posting topics, please e-mail us and let us know what you are thinking. We appreciate your input.
Tomorrow, we will find out who gets into the Hall of Fame this year. Jim Souhan today wrote a great article on Paul Molitor, so be sure to check that out.
PRIDE OF THE YANKEES
Remember last summer when I wrote up a posting on my top 15 baseball movies? All of those movies have been made in the last 20-25 years. After writing it, I received a number of e-mails, but one of them asked me why Pride of the Yankees had not been on my Top 15 list. That was a very fair question, and the honest answer was because I had never seen it.
Well, I happened to find the DVD in a $5 bin somewhere over the holidays and finally took the time to watch it. And it did take some time as the film is over two hours long. It was a good movie, and a good movie for the era.
Many think that Gary Cooper’s portrayal of Lou Gehrig was great. Well, I would tend to disagree. First, he looks way too old, especially for the early stages of the movie when he is supposed to be in college at Colombia. Second, he clearly can’t play baseball at all. Third, I just don’t think he’s that great of an actor.
Is Lou Gehrig potrayed well? That is debatable, I guess. He is portrayed as a very good family man who does many things to make people happy. One of the best scenes in the movie was when they were at the hospital and all of the media is there to see and photograph Babe Ruth talking to a crippled, little boy, and promise him a home run in that day’s game. After Babe Ruth leaves the room, along with the cameras, Lou Gehrig sneaks back into the room and spends real quality time with the boy. On the other side, he is totally made out to be a momma’s boy as well as a socially challenged person. However, in the end, of course, Lou Gehrig was known as a great man, and that comes out in the end.
Is the movie great? It’s very good. I wouldn’t say that it would jump into my top 5 baseball movies, maybe not even the top ten. I kept hoping that the ending would be a surprise. You know, kind of like in Titanic, you hope that they do something to rescue all the people before the ship sinks. But, we all know how the movie ends. It ends with his infamous “Today I consider myself… the luckiest man… on the face… of the earth” speech and Gehrig walking off the field and into the clubhouse for the last time. Watching that, I don’t know who could keep their eyes from tearing up.
There was a lot of ‘Hollywood fluff” in the movie that made it about 45 minutes longer than it really needed to be. For instance, there was a scene in the movie of he and his girlfriend (before they were married) going out to dinner. First, they showed some dancers performing for over five minutes. That was followed by listening to a singer sing for another five minutes. Finally, we got to the important conversation between the two characters. That was followed by more of the singer. I really think that if this movie was re-made, it could be done really well. It could be made to last just an hour and a half and really hit the audiences emotions.
That said, I was very glad to have watched it. It is a classic movie. It is about one of the all-time baseball greats, who just happened to be one of the good guys in the game’s history. It is a dramatic movie that tests a person’s emotions throughout. Babe Ruth actually plays himself in the movie, and it isn’t just a cameo. He is in the movie quite a bit and really does a good job. Hall of Fame Yankee catcher Bill Dickey is also an important character in the movie, although in a smaller role. The movie was made in 1942, and in my mind, some of the history of the movie is as interesting as the movie itself. Teresa Wright was nominated for an Academy Award for the movie. Here are two very interesting notes found on the Internet Movie Database about the movie:
· Since star Gary Cooper was right-handed and Lou Gehrig was left-handed, and since Cooper's athletic skills were barely passable right-handed let alone left-handed, the close-up baseball scenes were shot with uniforms in reverse type. Cooper would hit the ball and run to third, and the prints would be reversed.
· While filming the movie, Teresa Wright who played Lou Gehrig's wife Eleanor, wore the actual bracelet that Lou gave to his wife on their fourth anniversary. Gehrig's wife brought the bracelet to the set to be used in the movie. The bracelet is made up of seventeen metal medallions which celebrate the seven World Championships and six All-Star game appearances that Lou Gehrig made. The bracelet is now displayed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
So absolutely every baseball fan should watch this movie. It is a classic and it is a great baseball and human story. Where would it fit in with the rest of the baseball movies on my list? After reviewing my list, I would put Pride of the Yankees into the #10 spot on my favorite baseball movies, behind A League of Their Own, but in front of Little Big League.
Have you seen Pride of the Yankees? What do you think of it? Send me an e-mail.
The Amazing Greg Maddux
If you are like me and can never get enough baseball information and knowledge, be sure to check out David’s Ultimate Baseball Blog. It is a relatively new site, but he has already written a lot of articles that I have really enjoyed. I want to briefly discuss a two-part posting he did on Greg Maddux. He asks a number of good questions like Have we seen the last of the best of Greg Maddux? He provides some impressive numbers to back up his points, numbers that can not be argued. His standing as one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past couple of decades is unquestionable.
The other question that David asks on his site is, obviously, where will Greg Maddux end up playing next year? I figured that it was pretty clear that he would end up in San Diego and mix with that potent offense in their new ballpark. But, instead of giving Maddux a 3 year, $30 million offer, they chose to sign three cheap veterans in Ismael Valdes, Sterling Hitchcock and David Wells. I think that the merits of three roster spots and probably 550 innings out of the three is worth considering. However, those three together don’t have the talent as Maddux, but are probably 1/3 the cost of Maddux.
So, what are the other options for Maddux for 2004 and beyond? Well, I think that the best team for him is the St. Louis Cardinals. They will be able to put up some offensive numbers in support of Maddux, which should help him win 15 games for the 17th straight season. Not only can the Cardinals hit, but they can also play defense. The left side of their infield (Rolen, Renterria) both won Gold Gloves and Bo Hart could be their second baseman and he did a very good job offensively and defensively. I think that the Cards are stuck with Jim Edmonds in center, but with Albert Pujols probably moving to 1B, their LF position should be better defensively. All that basically says that it would be a good place for Maddux.
The Chicago Cubs seem to be an option for Greg Maddux as well. His return to Chicago would really make the Cubs pitching staff strong! Imagine him sitting in the middle of Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Clement! It would certainly provide a different look, which I think is a good thing. The Cubs should be better offensively. Also, the Chicago Tribune could afford him, and the Cubs don’t seem to be too concerned about payroll this year.
The Yankees? I don’t see it happening, but if he did go there, he would combine with Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez and Jose Contreras to make another potentially dominant staff. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but two things do make it possible. First, Steinbrenner wants to win and money isn’t an issue in that. Secondly, well, he’s the best available pitcher, so of course the Yankees should be mentioned.
The Red Sox? Now that they are currently out of the Alex Rodriguez sweepstakes, they may be able to allocate that money elsewhere and Maddux could fit in with Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield to create another incredible rotation.
The Twins? No! I mean, I would love for the Twins to go out and make a big move like this. I just think that it would not be a good deal for either team. The new Metrodome turf may help slow down ground balls a little bit, but it is still turf. Greg Maddux is a groundball pitcher who does rely on his defense. Corey Koskie and Doug Mientkiewicz are incredible. Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman make the plays that they get to. But, with the fast infield, there could be a lot of seeing-eye ground ball singles. The outfield defense would be better with Jacque Jones in left rather than Shannon Stewart, but they all do cover a lot of ground. I just think that those extra singles could add up.
The White Sox? Well, they offered Bartolo Colon 3 years and $36 million, so why would they not offer Greg Maddux 3 years and $32 million? The negative of Maddux going to the White Sox is that their atrocious defense would not help him out. They could still score some runs though.
Big picture? I think that Maddux will, and should, sign with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Any thoughts on Greg Maddux or other free agents? E-mail me.
TWINS SIGN DH/OF AL MARTIN
He was rated only behind Rafael Palmiero on my most recent list of still-available free agents. Al Martin yesterday signed with the Twins. OK, not our Minnesota Twins. Martin signed a contract with the LG Twins of the Korean League. Al Martin has played 11 major league seasons, including time with Pittsburgh, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa Bay.
ROYALS GET JUAN-GONE
Speaking of my list of available free agents, another can be crossed off the list. It was reported last night that the Royals had agreed to terms with OF Juan Gonzalez. The deal is believed to be a one year, $4 million deal. Gonzalez was ranked as the #3 right fielder on my list, behind Vlad Guerrero and Raul Mondesi.
This is another move that would typify the Royals offseason, they added a very overrated, injury-prone player. Sure, he’ll probably do what he does every year. He’ll get every one all excited by having a strong April, and then in May or June he’ll tweak some minor injury and be out for most of the year.
I would certainly question Juan Gonzalez’s desire to win. Last year, he had the opportunity to go to the Royals for the pennant race and instead of accepting that, he declined and then whined about how he couldn’t play. He has never been known as a good teammate. I don’t see him fitting in with the likes of Mike Sweeney and Joe Randa. But apparently the Royals are going to continue to make moves just to make moves, much like they did last summer before the trade deadlines.
This is another move that, as a Twins fan, doesn’t scare me at all. Their pitching staff even with the re-signing of Brian Anderson and Kevin Appier doesn’t scare me. I do like their bullpen though with the re-signing of Curtis Leskanic and Jason Grimsley. They will continue to have the Carlos Beltran situation weighing over them the whole year. Mike Sweeney hasn’t been healthy for a full seasons for awhile. Can Angel Berroa repeat what he did last year? Will the loss of Raul Ibanez hurt them?
In other words, as disappointing as the Twins offseason has been for a lack of additions, I would be really disappointed with the Royals making moves for the sake of making moves.
I could be wrong. There is still a lot of off season left, and then they have to actually play the games. What do you think? E-mail me.
I hate to admit this, I really do. However, it is time for me to admit it that watching the Gophers women’s basketball team is far more exciting than watching the men’s team. Yes, this is Seth speaking.
Over the holiday weekend, I actually watched two Gophers women’s games, and skipped the men’s game. On New Years Day, the Gophers women’s team played the University of Michigan at Williams Arena and won easily. On Saturday afternoon, they hosted the University of South Carolina in a nationally televised game on CBS. They won the game by 10 points, however, the game was really much closer than that. In the game, Gophers All-American guard Lindsay Whalen scored 24 points and had 6 assists. She scored her 2,000th career point, shortly after dishing her 500th career assist. In the history of women’s college basketball, just four others have accomplished that combo. (In the Michigan game, she scored 32 points) Center Janel McCarville scored 18 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and had 6 steals in the South Carolina win.
The women are now 12-0 and the 6th ranked team in the country. They continue their Big 10 schedule Thursday night with a game against Northwestern.
The men got crushed by a far-superior Texas Tech team on New Year’s Eve, then needed a 33-8 second half run on Sunday to beat the powerhouse, Wofford, to win 82-70. Kris Humprhies led with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Moe Hargrow and Ben Johnson each added 19 points while point guard Adam Boone led with 8 assists.
The Gophers now start the Big 10 portion of their schedule with a game at Penn State on Wednesday before hosting Princeton on Saturday. They are 7-4 now.
Thoughts on the Gophers? E-mail me.
The Wolves lost a shootout to the Dallas Mavericks, 119-112 on Saturday night. The Big 3 took over for the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki led with 31 points (3-3 from 3 point range). Michael Finley added 24 points and was 6-9 from behind the arc. Steve Nash added 20 points and 13 assists.
The Wolves definitely got some scoring. Sam Cassell led the way with 34 points. Latrell Sprewell hit 5 three-pointers on his way to 21 points. Kevin Garnett was the man again with 27 points, 22 rebounds and 7 assists. Gary Trent, starting at center, contributed 22 points as well.
On Friday night, the Wolves were able to make easy work on the Atlanta Hawks defeating them 93-75. Six players scored in double-figures, helping the Big 3 get some much needed rest. Kevin Garnett led with 18 points and 15 rebounds, but he only needed to play 31 minutes. Latrell Sprewell had 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Sam Cassell had 15 points and 11 assists. Trenton Hassell, Fred Hoiberg, Ervin Johnson and Gary Trent also scored in double-figures for the Wolves.
The Wolves now are 21-11 and ½ game behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference, two games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks. Tuesday will present a challenge for the Wolves as they will be hosting the Los Angeles Lakers who put Karl Malone on the Injured List for the first time in his entire career. The Lakers are sitting at 21-9, 1 ½ game behind the Sacramento Kings in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. Shaquille O’Neal is also questionable for the game with a strained right calf muscle. He didn’t play last night in the Lakers 101-98 loss to the LA Clippers, despite Kobe Bryant’s 44 point game.
Any thoughts on the Wolves? E-mail me.
A BIG FOOTBALL WEEKEND
If you look back to Friday’s posting, you will see that I picked Tennessee, Carolina, Green Bay and Denver to win in the Wild Card games this weekend. Well, three out of four isn’t too bad, is it? Tennessee got a 45 yard field goal by The Man, Gary Anderson to beat the amazing Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens. Carolina dominated a bad Dallas Cowboys team. The Packers Al Harris returned a Matt Hasselbeck pass in overtime and returned it for a TD to win the game for the Packers. And Peyton Manning and the Colts blew out the Denver Broncos.
So, next weekend, we’ve got:
Green Bay @ Philadelphia (FOX, Sunday 3:45)-
Carolina @ St. Louis (FOX, Saturday 3:30) -
Tennessee @ New England (CBS, Saturday 7:15) -
Indianapolis @ Kansas City (CBS, Sunday 12:00)
USC crushed Michigan (ok, 28-14) to win the Rose Bowl and claim at least a share of the National Championship. The AP has already as much as said they will be putting USC in the #1 spot. But then in a shocker to me, LSU upset Oklahoma 21-14 in the Nokia Sugar Bowl. Was it just me, or was Jason White WAY off his game the whole night? Hmmm… any conspiracy theories???
Anyway, I wish that that NCAA would think about a game next Sunday night matching the LSU Tigers and the USC Trojans. It just makes sense! As Nike would say: Just Do It!!!
What do you think? E-mail me.
BRITNEY SPEARS MARRIED - FOR NOW
So, Britney Spears was hanging out in Las Vegas with a few friends on Friday night/Saturday morning. They must have been bored and wondering what to do. Hmmm… Las Vegas? What to do? Get married? Why not?!
LAS VEGAS - Pop star Britney Spears’ first marriage will be remarkably brief — even by celebrity standards. The 22-year-old married Jason Allen Alexander, a childhood friend from Louisiana, about 5:30 a.m. Saturday at a Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The bride, wearing a baseball cap and torn jeans, was escorted down the aisle by a limousine driver, a source close to Spears told the Associated Press.
By that afternoon, the couple had arranged an annulment in the presence of several people, including a Las Vegas lawyer, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Oh kids these days… they do the funniest things. So fellas, give it a couple of days and she’ll be available again!
On that note, I’m going to call it a day! If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me. Have a great week!
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