This is kind of a late — very late — post but I think I really wanted to comment on it. This weekend held two cool sporting events: WTA Bank Of The West tournament and the 2007 MLB Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Both semifinal matches were cool, one involving India’s Sania Mirza (who apparently is a rising star) and Austria’s Sybille Bammer (who is massively fit), and the other involving two very attractive players Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova and eventual champion Russia’s Anna Chakvetadze.
Hantuchova is a very solid player, but Chakvetadze has been leap-frogging ahead of many other players.
Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were inducted into the MLB Hall Of Fame on Sunday. Both collectively amassed over 6200 base hits, and well their stats can be Yahoo!ed if you want to look at them.
Congrats to them.
For a cool story by Buster Olney about the true player that Ripken really was (Insider access only).
Ripken went through a big slump after his breaking of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record. His way of dealing with it:
About an hour after the game ended, a lone figure stepped out of the dugout and walked onto an otherwise empty field. It was Cal, and he had a batting tee and a bucket of baseballs. He set the tee on home plate, stood in the right-handed batters’ box, set the first of perhaps 50 balls from the bucket on the tee — and proceeded to spray balls all over Tiger Stadium, one by one. Cal was in a slump, he didn’t like it, and this was his way of finding a solution.
He emptied the bucket, then walked around the field retrieving all the balls himself; there was a nation of baseball fans and some clubhouse kids who would have done this for them, but Cal did it — his penance, it seemed, for his slump. Then he returned to home plate, and started over, hitting balls into the twilight. What we saw that day was closer to the essence of what he was as a player, I thought, than what we had seen in the very public setting of consecutive game No. 2,131.
It gives you a real good indication of how much respect that he had for everyone who has ever played baseball. There are some players like Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax that people swear were blessed by the baseball gods. There are other players who toil through the minor leagues and will probably never fulfill their dreams of reaching the show.
Ripken was somewhere in the middle. He knew it. He was never as talented as someone like Gwynn at hitting a baseball, but he worked his butt off to try to hit a baseball as good as Gwynn. Gwynn was so good at hitting a baseball that he had one swing his entire career. They say Ripken had six hundred swings.
Olney uses the word “penance” in describing Ripken’s attitude. This is in stark contrast to some modern players who feel it’s their right to play baseball (and I’m thinking of that interview with Devil Rays players Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young). Hopefully, history would recognize Ripken for his career contributions to baseball, instead of just breaking that one supposedly unbreakable record.
Here’s a quick snapshot of Yahoo! Baseball’s hot players. (Sorry if the picture is a little squeezed.
My question is: what idiot playing fantasy baseball doesn’t have Matt Holliday or Curtis Granderson in their league if no one else does? I mean 2% of all Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues has Holliday being on NO ONE’s team, and more leagues have Brian Roberts (no offense) on a team than Granderson.