Tag Archives: MLB

Fish Migrate South

Greetings readers,

It soon will be an end of an era, as the Florida Marlins will be no more. Taking their place in the World of MLB, are the Miami Marlins. When the Fish move into the new ballpark created just for baseball on the old site of the Orange Bowl, the Florida part of the name will be shed.

While the logos and jerseys will be officially revealed Friday the 11th, leaks have shown us that the possibility is real that the new South Beach Fish will dispose of the teal and go with a more orange appeal. Granted, the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami have orange in their color scheme. Also according to the leaks, it looks like the Marlins will have an away jersey with their city name, which they had until about 2009 (they didn’t wear the Florida jerseys at all in 2011.) Keep in mind, they are leaks and could be totally different from what we see now.

Things have been busy in this 2011-2012 off-season, such as naming the bordering streets around the new field. Let’s not forget, there’s a new manager at the helm in former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Also an important change, this Marlins group is looking to spend some serious cash. Usually this is a team that would rather save the money rather than spend it. Also, the Marlins have created an unique display whenever a Marlin hits a home run. You can see it here, also I have no comment. I do like the fish tanks near the good seats, though.

In my honest opinion, I’m a bigger fan of teams that use a city name rather than a state. There’s some teams that make the state-name work, like the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Indiana Pacers, and others. I do like that Miami’s name will be along with the team, as well as the new stadium on the old grounds of some great Miami sports history. It will be an interesting season.

I know basing an opinion on a leaked, unofficial picture is quite absurd, but I’m not completely on board with the neon-inspired colors. Orange, I do get is a Miami sport color. Such past teams like the Miami Hooters had orange. I would like to see the teal stay along with the orange, because that would symbolize when the franchise first began in 1993 and the new move in 2011.

Come Friday, November 11th, 2011: the Florida Marlins will be no more. The Miami Marlins will begin their life and prepare for the 2012 season.

Sources of information from the Miami Herald, sportslogo.net, and SB Nation.

Until next time,

-Lee

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Sports+ – An App Review

Greetings readers,

There’s a new app on the market for people who love sports who want to write their own story. It’s called Sports+, created by Hitpost. It’s available at the App Store, the Android Market, and online as well.

As of 10/7/11, Sports+ has an average rating of 4.0 out of 5 at the Android Market. In the App Store, it has a 4.5 out of 5 rating with about 12 ratings and one review. There has also been a few interviews done, with one coming from the Huntington Post.

I looked up sports apps for this purpose, and found this to be one of the Android Market’s featured apps. Wondering if it was anything similar to Google+, I decided to download it and give it a try. I have yet to do so, but it could always be something I do down the road if I go to a Wright State game.

While there is an option for scores, what makes Sports+ different is the option to write stories on photos and sporting events. When you boot the app up, it asks you to create an account (which involves linking up to either your Facebook or Google+ account.) Then you can pick the teams you’d like to follow, and it will trim down the stories.

With my two-hour test drive, the app ran fairly smooth but did crash three times. Your results may vary. Some reviewers did complain about the constant crashing, which crashes are minor annoyances.

I will say, I was really impressed with the lists of teams. In the NCAA section, they have teams that are not Division I, like the Urbana Blue Knights, the Wilberforce Bulldogs, and the Anderson (Indiana) Ravens. There are other smaller schools not listed, such as the Wilmington (Ohio) Quakers and the Wittenberg Tigers, but the list is still massive. To me, having the Wright State Raiders as an option is the most important thing. Most apps don’t have that as an option.

There are a few sports that aren’t available yet, like MLS. However, nobody has ever said enough to updates, so don’t be shocked to see it included in an update one day.

I did a little experiment with the sharing/story feature, and it works quite well. Granted, it was one of the last things I done, but it does work well. You might have seen a story where I shared something from Sports+, as well.

Overall, I recommend Sports+ if you love sharing sports with your friends.

Sources of information from Hitpost, the Huntington Post, the Android Market, and the Apple App Store. I am not affiliated with Hitpost.

Until next time,

-Lee

ScoreMobile vs. ESPN ScoreCenter – An App Comparison

Greetings readers,

Today I have another app review for you. Actually, two. Today, I’m comparing the ESPN ScoreCenter application with the ScoreMobile app.

If you have a smart phone, you might not want to have two applications that are designed to do the same thing. Both are designed to give you scores around the nation. Both give you options to pick your favorite teams so you can see those scores first.

Before we begin, let’s get to the basics. ScoreCenter is created by ESPN, and you can find their webpage here. ScoreMobile is created by Score Media, and you can find their website here.

On the Android Market, the ESPN ScoreCenter has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 (as of 10-6-11.) Recent comments talk about how slow the app runs and how unstable it has become. Recently, users have been complaining about having “No Internet Connection” when in a Wi-Fi or a 3G zone. At Apple’s App Store, ScoreCenter has a 3.5 stars, where the main complaint is the ads.

ScoreMobile ranks in the Android Market with a 4.4 out of 5. The recent comments describe how they like it, but one does say it’s slowed down as of late because of the Gingerbread upgrade. In the App Store, it has three stars and two user comments liking it better than ScoreCenter because of the vast selection of options.

From personal experience, I have used ScoreMobile on my phone and ScoreCenter twice; on my iPod and my phone. I loved using ScoreCenter on my iPod, since it was smooth to use and the sliding from league to league was well designed.

When I got my phone, I downloaded it first and was disappointed with the lack of sliding to get to the next league, as well as the slow loading times (it took about a minute to load the NFL scores.) It  ran a lot slower than the iPod counterpart. It took me awhile to decide to download ScoreMobile, but I was glad I did. It runs so much smoother on Android than the ScoreCenter app. This one has options for standings, stats for games, and more leagues available.

I also emailed the makers of ScoreMobile to suggest adding a sport, and I got an email the next day. They were quick about replying, and very kind as well. (By the way, I requested College Baseball scores, which neither app has.)

As of recently, you can slide on ScoreCenter. It takes a few seconds to load, but the sliding animation is a bit jerky. With ScoreMobile, you have to pick the league from a button. Both have options to pick your favorite teams, both show scores, both have previews. Both have tons of sports to follow.

With ScoreCenter, you have the ESPN signature scrolling news bar below, as well as news in the league, and full standings. There’s also a page just dedicated for your teams, as well. With ScoreMobile, there are injury reports, options to looking at entire schedules, stats, standings, video, and news underneath the option button.

In other words, both are very similar. The main difference: performance. ScoreMobile wins in this regard, with its smooth operation and fast load times whereas ScoreCenter is still a bit jerky and does take a bit to finish.

To wrap it up: both are terrific apps. If you’re a fan of news and ESPN’s coverage, check out ESPN ScoreCenter. If you want the same features but a quicker app, download ScoreMobile.

Sources of information from the Android Market and the Apple App Store, as well as ESPN.com and thescore.com. All ratings and comments are recent as of October 6th, 2011 at 9:21AM. I am not affiliated with either company.

Until next time,

-Lee

Creative Names – The Clinton LumberKings

Greetings readers,

Today begins a new series in my blog, called Creative Names. It’s where I take a team with a creative nickname and write about the team, the history, and whatever interesting comes afloat. That said, what better way to kick off a series than to focus on the sport being played right now: baseball. As an employee of the Dayton Dragons, I get to see Midwest League baseball teams day in and day out. There’s some creative names in the league (some that I will be writing about), but none that are more creative than the Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings.

While Clinton has had a baseball team since 1937 as the Owls, the LumberKings name was born in 1994. Before then, Clinton mostly had teams based on the name of their MLB parent. The one exception is when the team was named the Pilots, which started with the affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates (they were affiliated with the Seattle Pilots eventually.) Clinton held on to the Pilots name tag until teaming up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in ’77 and San Francisco in 1980. In the last year of San Fran’s alliance, the LumberKings were born. Since then, Clinton has partnered up with San Diego, Cincinnati, Montreal, Texas, and back to Seattle with the Mariners. The records can be found here.

Clinton, Iowa’s claim to fame was being the “Sawmill Capital of the World” around the 1850’s. Some of the millionaires of Clinton were lumberjacks. The city and county is named after DeWitt Clinton, who was the governor of New York State. More history about the city itself can be found here.

The mascot is called Louie the LumberKing, the self-titled “King of Midwest League Mascots since 1994.” Measuring up to 6’4′ (with the crown, of course) and as heavy as the Mighty Oak, Louie bats and throws with his right hand but can chop and saw switch-handed. More about the mascot can be found here.

The LumberKings have had two sets of logos. The first one lasted ten years and had a lumberjack wearing a silver crown, holding a piece of lumber with a nail in it. The color scheme was green, silver, and white. After 2004, the LumberKings had a new logo, with possibly the same lumberjack wearing a gold crown and holding an actual bat. Also notice that it took Louie ten years to grow a full set of facial hair rather than just a mustache. The Crown C logo and the LumberKings script went through the same change from a silver to a gold crown.

The LumberKings have been playing ball at the same field since it opened in 1937. It was renamed to Alliant Energy Stadium in 2002, to help with the renovations of the park. More info and pictures can be found here.

Currently (as of 8-4-11) Clinton sits in last place overall in the Western Division with a 43-65 record, but is in line to make the playoffs with a 2nd Half record of 19-19 (if you are in first or second place in one of two halves, you go to the playoffs. If it’s the second half and there’s teams that are above a team that already clinched a spot, the next two go in.)

So there you have it, a little history on Iowa’s monarch lumberjacks in Clinton County. The team is currently celebrating 75 years in Clinton, here’s hoping to at least 75 more!

Sources of information from the Clinton LumberKings website, Clinton, Iowa’s website, SportsLogos.net, and littleballparks.com. Picture from littleballparks.com.

Until next time,

-Lee

Tough Love

Greetings readers,

Fans are an important staple in sports. Basically, no fans equals no money. No revenue; no team. The fans are the ones who buy the jerseys and merchandise, who pay the cable company for Pay-Per-View, and who pay to have a seat.

So let’s ask something, what does a fan do when that team isn’t easy to follow? What if their team is consistently losing?

Today’s topic is going to be covered by two articles. We have ESPN‘s list of the best-ran professional teams and we also have Puget Sound’s Business Journal with their list of the toughest MLB teams to watch (here’s a little guide into how this list was created.)

From the ESPN list, we have a team close to the Miami Valley that is 15th overall in the nation…and one dead last. That’s right, the Reds are 15th and the Bengals are dead last (122nd, if you wondered.) The rankings are based on a few categories, such as players’ effort, ownership honesty, strength of the coaching staff, and values that effect fans. This list took the NHL, NBA, MLB, and the NFL into account.

For the Bengals, the ownership (which, if you ask the majority of the fans and Who Dey Revolution, that’s the problem) is 120th overall. Only the Maloof family of the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Spirit of the former Thrashers scored worse. For the Reds, ownership was ranked 17th.

For a look up north near the lake, the Cleveland Indians were the top team in town, ranking 53rd. The Cavs were 65th, followed by the Browns at 91st. For one last stop, the Columbus Blue Jackets were 87th. Out of the ESPN list, the Green Bay Packers were 1st, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With the Biz Journal, the Reds are the 11th toughest team to root for, with the Indians 9th. The Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs are the top two teams in the list. The easiest teams to root for are the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Stats aside: when a team consistently loses, it becomes difficult to continue alliances with that team. While it might become frustrating to continue seeing that team lose, it also affects the social part of lives. For example, Person A is a fan of a team that continues to lose. Person B is a fan of a team with a 24-game winning streak. Person B could rag on Person A for liking that team. That’s just part of the Circle of Sports.

From what I’ve seen, the media seems to cover teams that keep on winning. That’s why you keep seeing the same teams on national broadcasts. The more your team wins, the more you win.

I know this article has mostly been reciting stats and saying obvious things, but it does matter how much people  invest in their team. For the fans, they feel like they’re part of the team and have become family. For the front office, the more they invest usually results in more fans. When the players/coaches invest in the team, that usually brings fans in, as well. It’s the Circle of Sports, if that exists.

One last thing: you might wonder why I used a Seattle Mariner as the picture. Well, while looking at the Puget Sound article, I got the idea to type this article. The Mariners were picked seventh, and that was originally going to be the article. However, I remembered the ESPN list and thought it would add more to the post. That wraps up the closest thing to director’s commentary you’ll see on this blog.

Sources of information from ESPN and Business Journal.

Until next time,

-Lee

Sports on the Screen I – Angels in the Outfield (1994)

Greetings readers,

I thought that I would try to start a new series in my blog. As you know, there are a lot of movies out there. There’s a lot of sports coverage out there. What happens when you mix two together? Movies about sports? You’re right, readers! So to honor the baseball season, I’m going to review one of my favorite movies out there: Angels in the Outfield.

Just to make things crystal clear, I am not reviewing a movie on acting performances. I am not rating a movie. I am not summarizing the entire film. There’s two zillion blogs for that. Instead, I’m looking to see how accurate the movies are to the sport itself and the setting of the movie. WARNING: these will contain spoilers. Also, I will NOT provide links to watch the movie itself. Let’s get started with the review!

The movie starts off right outside Anaheim Stadium (named changed in 1998 to Edison International Field), and we see the “Halo over the A” a few times. The main characters J.P. and Roger (played by Milton Davis Jr. and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) bike down to their foster home. When Roger’s dad bikes up to the home, we learn that he probably won’t be reunited with his family unless the California Angels win the Pennant. In the previous scene, the radio announcer was talking about the Angels, on a 14-game slide and in last place of the AL West, hosting the Toronto Blue Jays.

The next scene sees the two boys in a tree right behind the stadium, watching the Jays vs. Angels in the 8th, with the birds up by 7. We see Norton and Williams collide in the outfield on a routine flyout, followed by another bonking of the noggins to add insult to injury. The manager George Knox (Danny Glover) comes out and pulls his relief pitcher. The pitcher, not being too terribly happy about the outfield missing a simple catch, gets into a fight with Knox. The Angles bench clears to separate the two, as well as the Blue Jays bench, but the manager pulls them back. The manager of the time was Cito Gaston, which is not accurate in the movie. I won’t go into detail on the roster differences though, throughout the review.

As Knox gets ejected, the kids are as well as the idle guard catches them and yells “You better have tickets for that tree!” The broadcasters goes off the air and says he can do better blindfolded. Spoilers: the broadcaster Ranch Wilder (Jay O. Sanders) is Knox’s rival. You can see that in the scene after the locker room where Knox decks him after the color commentator pulls the camera away towards him so the two can sort things out. You also hear that Knox managed the Cincinnati Reds for ten years but never won the World Series.

The next scene might not be related to sports, but Roger asks for God’s help to get him a family. So what do we get after that? Angels.

Next game, we see the same Blue Jays take on California. The starting pitcher, Whitt Bass (Neal McDonough), shakes up an 8-ball asking if he will win. First shake results in a “No”, and a quick second shake says “Maybe.” The first pitch was taken to the outfield, ruled as an error. Skip through a few innings, and the game is scoreless. The first batter for Toronto smacks the ball to deep left center field, and there’s the first Angel of the game. We’ll see them up throughout the regular season, as the Angels help the baseball team go from last to first.

By the way, Williams made the catch in the air, robbing Lazzato of that extra-base hit. After the catch, we see Al (Christopher Lloyd) come down and explain why the Angels are there. We’ll continue to see him control the Angels until the last game against the White Sox.

Since this review is probably reaching the “Too Long” status, I will only go over errors, important scenes, and the ending.

One of the scenes I will talk about is the Oakland Athletics coming to town.  In short, there is 19 errors in one play. ONE PLAY. Also, Bass starts in two straight games. Of course, that’s assuming that it hasn’t been five games between. Nowadays, pitchers aren’t as durable and need some rest, starters especially. It should of been a hit, followed by an error by the infield. Later, Knox says it was a home run (inside-the-park, obviously) when it should have just been a single with a few errors.

The scene where the kids play some ball against Knox is strange, mainly because half the kids are wearing a different team hat and jersey. Perfect example is “Babe Ruth”, wearing a Brewers hat and a Tigers jersey. Also, “running home” was funny as well.

The following montage sees the Angels play against Toronto and Detroit again, followed by Kansas City at home, New York and possibly Baltimore away (look for the orange top in the stands on that one scene.) It sets up the last game against the Chicago White Sox for the AL Division…but not before Knox almost loses his job believing in those Angels.

Last game is a showdown, as Mel Clark takes to the mound. The Angels need to win this game by themselves, since it is for the AL West Division. Chicago has a 2-0 lead until the 6th when a home run ties it. A squeeze play gives the Angels the lead at 3-2. Mel Clark pitches a complete game (with about 160 pitches) and the Angels win by the same score. The last play was a 3-2 Lineout to the pitcher.

Also, Ranch is fired after his comments about Knox not being smart for leaving Clark in to pitch. “You can’t fire me! I got a contract! I’M RANCH WILDER!”

To sum it all up, this movie stays faithful to the sport, minus the whole “Angels taking over the game” thing. The uniforms are all true to the era.

In real life, the California Angels were five and a half back in 1994. They finished 47-68 when The Strike wiped out the remaining season. The film does get that wrong, but it’s not entirely clear when this actually takes place. It is filmed during football season, hence why the home games were in Oakland. A few years later, Disney would buy the team and rename them the Anaheim Angels, as well as update old Anaheim Stadium to make it a baseball-only complex (remember the Los Angeles Rams?)

As a last interesting note, Tony Danza plays as Mel Clark, who we see for the first game against Detroit and the last game against the Chicago White Sox. Oddly enough, there was a Mel Clark which there was a player named  was a rightfielder for the Phillies and Detroit Tigers.

Give this film a chance, as it is a great movie.

Thanks for reading my review. Hopefully I can find a way to shorten it for next time.

Sources of information from IMDb, Sports E-Cyclopedia, and Baseball Almanac.

Until next time,

-Lee

Keepers of the Final Score

Greetings readers,

It’s been a while. Over two weeks to be exact. Where have I been? Working. Lots of working, including a new sportscasting project in Miami County. The other is a retail job to brush up on my selling skills. Anyways, I’ve been busy and I do feel bad for not updating like I normally do. Anyways, it’s time for a brand new post!

To introduce you to this topic, I started keeping score for baseball broadcasts during my first year as the WWSU Sports Director. At the station, we had a NCAA scorebook, which was used once before. I gave it a whirl and thought about how it improved my broadcast.

Late into that Wright State Baseball season, the SID at the time gave me a Bob Carpenter scorebook worth $40. That was when I really took it seriously and vowed to use it at every single game that I could. There I noticed that I livened up completely on my baseball broadcasts. I got the job again the next year and I improved each and every time in the book.

As I look to begin broadcasting baseball and softball, I found that old Carpenter book and looked back on how much I filled it out as time went by. There’s still things I can work on, but I think it’s some solid work.

Recently, I was asked by a friend on how to keep score in baseball. I figure this is a nice little way on explaining how to.

I’m going to say right now, you don’t need the expensive scorebook. There are cheaper ones out there, close to $6 if you look closely enough. Find one that will fit what you need it for. If you like to fill everything out, get one that gives you plenty of space to do so. I like to recommend that you find one that gives you more than nine innings to keep, because extra inning games can be common. Remember this though: the only person that matters in buying a book is YOU. What are you going to use it for? How much do you want to spend? What do you want to fill out?

How do you ACTUALLY fill out a scorebook? Well, you have your area for stats which you should fill out (but if you don’t want to, that’s your choice.) Next is actually filling it out during the game. Usually, you will find an example page in the scorebook itself. What I do is very basic, I just say “Hit” or “Walk” and draw a line with a dot on where that at-bat landed the batter (first base would be single or walk, second base double and so on…) If they advance, draw from that dot to the next base (but don’t dot it.) Runners crossing the plate receive a circle around their at-bat, but make sure to put a RBI somewhere for the batter that drove in the run.

For strikeouts, you could use the K and Backwards K, but I don’t do that. I write “SoL” (strikeout looking) or “SoS” (strikeout swinging) along with the count. For walks I use both BB and Walk. Stealing bases is a little tricky, since you don’t have that much space to write “Stolen Base” or “Caught Stealing.” I write the initials and put a little circle around it in the box. Passed Balls and Wild Pitches are the same story. If the runner is erased by being caught, I put an X near that base to simulate that event.

I’ll be honest, I have never seen a balk before. I have seen Batter’s Interference and Catcher’s Interference before, but I write that at the top of that player’s at-bat because those are rare to see.

For other outs, I will write “Line #”, “Pop #”, “Fly #”, “GO (groundout) #-#”, and “Foul #.” The numbers represent the defensive numberings on the field (1-9.) Errors are about the same setup, minus the whole base-runner.

For pitching changes, batting changes, and end of innings, I draw lines. For the changes, they are wavy lines.

This is a way that works for me. It’s clear, it’s precise, and it helps me keep track of every at-bat. You might follow along closer to the books tell you to do, instead of writing hit and whatnot. The point is, you need to keep score in a way that helps you.

Until next time (hopefully it isn’t another two week wait),

-Lee