Results tagged ‘ olympics ’

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First of all, welcome to all the new MLBlogs created while I was out of the country. We’ll start with Hot Air From a Born Again Giants Fan, aka The Shrimps.

Hey, crew, we just started an MLBlogs Facebook Page and you are invited to join it as fans. Have fun with it, and use it as another way to alert other baseball fans about a post you just saved. Just remember to include your full URL anytime you post something. Spread the word!

IMG_8344.JPGSo, I am back from Beijing. It was incredible. Climbed the Great Wall, went to Forbidden City, laughed at the Giant Pandas at the Beijing Zoo (I love how they grab a branch of bamboo and then roll onto their backs and eat it like little kings), turned the dog meat page really fast on a restaurant menu, bartered for a suit at the Silk Market, couldn’t believe what I was seeing at Opening or Closing Ceremony, and in between just soaked up a great Olympiad including an awesome baseball competition that proved the sport belongs in the Games. If you go to my Beijing Memories article, you can find my Olympic Scrapbook on the top of the page.

Here are some extra baseball pics.

Some of the two-dozen Major League prospects I got to know quite well. It will be fun to watch their progress now. Also, I was standing next to pitcher Shairon Martis and infielder Yurendell de Caster of the Netherlands in line at Customs (we were surrounded by Russian Olympians), and Shairon told me both of them were on their way to Louisville to rejoin their Columbus Clippers Triple-A team and that he expects both of them to be with the Washington Nationals on Sept. 1. I recognized them by their big, bright orange luggage. A bunch of these guys will be up, too. I think Terry Tiffee needs to be playing first for the Dodgers fast. What a glove and bat.

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See the guys in the middle in navy blazers in the picture below? It was the bronze medal game between USA and Japan, behind home plate for dignitaries/Olympic Family, and the one second from right is IOC president Jacques Rogge. This was the day I broke the news story that Rogge is mandating Major Leaguers be used if the sport is to be considered for 2016, and that there is “no heirarchy” among the seven contending sports (two will be chosen). No one previously had known specific reasons why it was removed and whether MLB players were good to have or a requirement. Knowing Rogge’s PR person was a gatekeeper and that there would be no prayer of her facilitating an interview with all the media there, I climbed through the tape, climbed over the CEO of Mizuno and whoever else was in my way and sat next to Harvey Schiller (the one of those three on the right) in that empty seat next to him, he shook his head indicating not now, I went back to my seat, and 10 minutes later a volunteer came over to me and said, “Dr. Schiller wants to see you.” He then introduced me to Rogge, and I proceeded to ask eight questions, starting with: “Eighty million fans want to know why you removed baseball from the Olympics and whether it will be back.” He left after a couple of innings, talking to no media as I expected.There’s my Journalism 101 reporting tip for baseball bloggers for the day. Be persistent.

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Being around the Cuba guys was like being around the Yankees. The exact equivalent. They are rock stars. They have this aura. Below is Pedro Luis Lazo’s fourth Olympic medal, this one silver. He is such a friendly guy. And a competitor, as you could see from Nixie’s left eye. I will always remember the scene after Cuba dusted the U.S. team the last Friday night to deny the Americans a shot at gold. The bus was pulled up next to the Cuba clubhouse, and it sat there for a long time, and the side luggage compartments were opened and Cuba players were sitting in them, their own makeshift party, some drinking beers, socializing with a handful of females who wore Canada Olympic attire. People just wanted to be around them.  Anyway…take a good look at the word “BASEBALL” on this medal. You won’t see it again for at least eight years.

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I have to give a special shout-out to my friend and YOUR friend, Murray Cook. He is the person responsible for the Wukesong Miracle, the creation of three Major League-caliber ball fields in a place where no one really knew what baseball was. Murray is one of the original MLBloggers, and it was my first chance to meet him in person. He created his blog on the same day that Tommy created his — April 2005. Murray, thanks for always being able to lend a hand to another Western visitor and introducing me to Yang Yang’s dad, the groundskeeping father of the China backup catcher who stole the show one night.

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And then there was one of the most likable bunch of guys you could be around. The Korean team was a perfect 9-0. Nine, the perfect baseball number. Their manager was just someone you looked forward to talking to, even through a translator. Ryu (99), their big
pitcher who almost went the distance in the finale, was a big teddy bear afterwards and he bit his gold medal after obliging my request to check it out. It meant the world to them. It meant the world to baseball. You could see how strong baseball is around the globe, growing stronger every year. The U.S. now knows it will have to field a SERIOUS team for the next World Baseball Classic. You could take either of this summer’s All-Star teams and would not win the next World Baseball Classic unless it has a togetherness and total commitment. One other thing I really noticed at the Olympics was that it was an aberration to see a 90-mph readout for non-USA pitchers. You face heat only as a “changeup”, really. I saw mostly high 70s, lots in the 80s, and many different release points, sidearmers, three-quarters, so much off-balance stuff. That had to be tough on the U.S. guys, who typically look at 90s all the time. Now they go back and will see 90s all the time. International ball is definitely an adjustment. Congrats to Korea.

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It was a beautiful experience. The hardest part was trying to do my daily MLB.com Olympic show, where I would call into our studios and you would get my voice and picture of me in my peasant hat along with other imagery. I was always 12 hours ahead of New York time, and when there were night games over there, filled with drama and then deadline writing, it was not exactly easy to find a time to break away and talk on the phone with the U.S.! You also should check out Brian Duensing’s final blog post; he played a role in bringing home a bronze, after a touching scene in which the Twins helped raise funds so that his wife could fly there and be with their Triple-A pitcher.

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OK, your turn to post summertime pics. And make sure you join that MLBlogs Facebook Page!

I was just curious what happens when you do a tag search on the MLBlogs homepage for the word “baseball.” Here you go. You’ll find lots of cool MLBlogs that you probably didn’t know about. Check ’em out! Also have to give a shout-out to Cub Fans, which continues to hold the MLBlogs record for most comments on a blog with just a handful of words posted. Great example of someone who knows how to get his own circle of influence to check out the blog. Just makes it happen.

Going for Chinese food

Lots of you are blogging about Manny. Like Sarah and Ian and The Heirloom and Rob (VP of Red Sox Nation). Leave a comment here with your URL if you are doing likewise. Andre Ethier is not blogging about Manny. ‘Dre is blogging about food. Mark DeRosa is not blogging about Manny. The Pulse says to “Bring on the Brewers.”

Gibson is not blogging about Manny. Gibson is dreaming about October.

Meanwhile …

nǐ dài wǒ qù nǎlǐ? (where are you taking me?)

wǒ bèibǔle ma? (am i under arrest?)

wǒ xīwàng gēn lǜshī liánxì (i want to talk to a lawyer)

nǐ qīpiàn wǒ (you’re cheating me)

qǐng zàilái yìlún (another round, please)

Yes, your friendly neighborhood MLBlogs rancher is bound for Beijing next week and the Summer Olympics. I have never been on that side of the world. I have no prayer whatsoever of speaking Mandarin. Even if I could learn “useful phrases” I would have to master the five different “tonalities” and thus I risk asking for coke instead of a Coke and thus I should know those phrases above. Seriously, inasmuch as I am from Indiana and thus still learning my own language, I welcome any input.

I will be with the USA Baseball Team wherever they go for MLB.com and USABaseball.com, from the Wall to the pandas to the Opening/Closing ceremonies to the competition at Wukesong Stadium from Aug. 13-23. We’ll have one of the players blog here as well. So I anticipate many translators. But there will be times when I am winging it and that is when it will get interesting. I am basically going to carry a “playbook” around with me (printouts, manuals, whatever it takes) and point to stuff. I might never open my mouth there, except when I am gasping for air while training 30 miles a week in smog. I am sure I would do nothing but possibly wind up in a prison or something. And let’s hope the security is up to the task because I’m already tired of reading about terrorist plots.

Seriously, it is a great time of year and I can’t wait to be there for it. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with those McDonald’s cards that would give you a Big Mac for gold, fries for silver and a drink for bronze depending on what event is listed on the card. I grew up with Mark Spitz, Mary Lou Retton, Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, and the voices of Jim McKay, Bob Costas, and that singular Olympiad music. I am looking forward to being around a team of players whose lives normally are a single-minded obsession of reaching a parent MLB roster, yet now focused on representing a nation. Next stop Beijing, next week…

Welcome to the proprietor of Brewing for Glory, who is ready for Crew vs. Cubs again. Welcome to Ever Ever After, who seems to have been touched by the October Gonzo spirit. (Did you vote on OG’s blog? Aaron Boone’s walk-off homer in 2003 is leading in the polling results as of this moment.) By the way, how do you like seeing MLBlogs.com on all of those incredible MLB national TV ad spots that started running at the All-Star Game? This community sure has come a long way in three years, folks.

Here are the highs of being a Blue Jays Fan

I am just guessing that Pinstriped Ponderings is not voting for McCain. I may be wrong. What do you think? “America’s most disgraced commander-in-chief” — blog author’s words. Hmmm, there have been some doozies. Jeff at Red State Blue State probably oughta weigh in on that MLBlog. One thing I definitely agree with is the comment about Jeff Samardzija. Watched him on the hill for the Cubs yesterday and this is Mark Prior II as far as Cub hysteria.

Welcome to Phillies #1, who is unfazed by a recent meltdown. Welcome to our own MLB.com Organizational Report, which — similar to Trade Talk — is maintained by 30 writers. … If you are a fan out West and you think East Coast Bias is a real thing, then why not start your own MLBlog? This person did. Sometimes I think I spend way too much of my personal time trying to debunk “East Coast Bias” mythology with reasoned replies. I can speak from personal experience on this one. I will write 15 consecutive articles for MLB.com that are teeming with references to Angels and A’s and other West Coast clubs, and if I write a 16th that fails to mention them (ie my Final Vote coverage last month, when there again were no nominees from the AL West), I get nastygrams saying I have East Coast Bias. Trust me, if you want to look like there is an L on your forehead, email MLB.com with a complaint that we have East Coast Bias. No other media entity sends 30 traveling beat writers out into the world with insane amounts of 24/7/365 coverage for all 30 clubs, regardless of W-L standings. But welcome anyway to West Coast Bias. … More MLBlogs traffic-stat fun in the next 24-48 hours!

Remember to leave lots of comments here and on other MLBlogs like OG’s WITH your URL so people can find you. Have fun!

…and here are the lows of being a Blue Jays Fan.

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