Tuesday, February 10, 2004

News and Notes 

MLB has a nice fluff piece on Blogosphere fave Quinton McCracken and his pride in Black History Month. They should have fun with this quote:

"They (Quinton's brothers) laid the foundation for me to follow in their footsteps, and that's what I did. I was a football player playing basketball. Baseball is the sport [for which] I lacked the most [talent]."


He credits the work ethic instilled in him by his parents, and a green light from his first professional manager to become a switch-hitter, for his success.

"I had played around with switch-hitting in my junior year of college," he recalled, "but my coach wanted me to stick with batting right-handed. It was something I always wanted to experiment with, and Gene Glenn, my manager at Bend [Oregon], let me try it.

"My career took off after that."

Sometimes its easier to blog as a sarcastic pessimist. These quotes are just too easy to have fun with.

March 5 Surgery May Signal End of Norm's Career
Norm Charlton will undergo exploratory surgery on March 5 to find the cause of continuing shoulder pain. Given these four objectives, a return to the major leagues seems like a distant longshot...

"I want it where (the pain) doesn't wake me up at night the way it does now. I want to be able to go hunting and fishing and play a game of 'fetch' with my dogs. I would like to be able to throw batting practice and, finally, repair it well enough that I could pitch at the Major League level again. If I can accomplish those things, in that order, that would be fine with that."

Of course, you can't rule out a return to the bigs as a right-hander.

Brewers Pitcher Continues to Misfire
Brewer's pitcher Luis Martinez surrendered to police today to face accusations that he shot a Dominican IRS agent in a dispute over parking spots. Consistent with his 9.93 ERA in his major league debut, Martinez fired three times at the man, but did not kill him, showing the Brewer trademark lack of killer instinct.

Umpires reviewing umpires
Buried in this article on the MLB umpires medical plan, is this tidbit on the umpires performance, and how they are now 99.9% correct, probably due to their improved conditioning. Umm, I take this with a big grain of salt...

Last season, in fact, the six umpire supervisors viewed about 46,000 calls made during games as part of MLB's constant internal evaluation process.

"We found only 37 that we disagreed with," said Jim McKean, one of the supervisors. "That's an incredible record."

The current umpires respect the evaluations because the supervisors -- all retired umpires -- have 108 years of combined on-field experience.

But Letendre credits much of that incredible success to an improvement in conditioning and the oversight provided by the medical program.

"You wouldn't believe the difference in the size of the uniforms from four years ago," Letendre said. "We have a multitude of umpires who request smaller belts. You can see how they hustle on the field. They have to be in shape for them to be doing what they're doing now.

"Baseball finally realized that these guys are athletes. They're not professional athletes. They're industrial athletes because they are on the field doing athletic moves."

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