I was on the scene for the Bonds arraignment. Hear my podcast at http://byrnesblog.azsportshub.com/
Joe Kennedy, who pitched briefly for the Diamondbacks in 2007, collapsed and died early Friday morning in Florida. He was 28. He leaves behind a wife, Jami, and a 1-year-old son, Kaige.
Kennedy, a Denver-area resident was in Florida to be the best man at a wedding.
Cause of death has not yet been determined.
Condolences to the Kennedy family and the friends whose wedding he was going to help celebrate.
A message from Mike at "Donateyourtaco.com":
Thanksto Jacoby a site has gone up that asks you to donate your FREE Taco
Bell taco in hopes that Taco Bell will add that value up as a donation
to help the victims of the California wildfires.
Donate your taco before 5pm on Tuesday!
So go donate, people! Let’s turn Taco Bell’s and MLB’s greed into something GOOD!
ByrnesBlogger1 via Red Sox Chick
Arizona via Slough linked to an article by Andrew Gimbel from the Independent, a well-regarded newspaper in the U.K. It detailed the pervasive influence of "born-again" Christianity in the Rockies organization. In the article, called Batting for Jesus, Gimbel reported that:
The team’s chief executive is a born-again Christian. So is thegeneral manager and the team coach. Their two star players, along with
many other members of their regular line-up, are not only believers but
attend team-organised Bible studies.
The team doesn’t like to talk about it much – mainly because the
overlords of Major League Baseball don’t think it’s good for business –
but they have an explicit policy to recruit as many Christian ball
players as they can.
Gimbel cited as his source a USA Today article called Baseball’s Rockies Seek Revival at Two Levels (6/1/06) in which Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd and other club officials talked about the team’s Christianity.
There’s things about this that are absolutely no problem, such as the Rockies looking for players of good character. Having a religion can (but not always does) confer that. There’s also nothing wrong with players, coaches, or front office personnel having a faith. Or magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse, and obscene rap music being banned from the clubhouse. And players who wish to come together for a Bible study should have the same right and opportunity to do so as players who wish to come together to play cards and video games.
But former Rockie Mark Sweeney hit the nail on the head when he told USA Today:
"They have a great group of guys over there, but
I’ve never been in a clubhouse where Christianity is the main purpose. You wonder if some people are going along with it just to
keep their jobs. Look, I pray every day. I have
faith. It’s always been part of my life. But I don’t want something
forced on me. Do they really have to check to see whether I have a Playboy in my locker?"
And that is the issue: the team organizes the Bible studies. The team strongly encourages Sunday chapel attendance. Would a player who is a good citizen, but also an atheist for example, be comfortable knowing that his paycheck is signed by a "born-again"? If he were the guy sent down or DFA’d in a roster shuffle and told by the manager that he was the one chosen to leave because of a "numbers game," could he be sure that that, and not his lack of Christianity, was the real reason?
And as Gimbel points out in his article, the Rockies are one of the whitest teams in the majors. Does their particular brand of Christianity, and their location in a region of the country that is home to some major right-wing political and religious organizations, preclude black players from being drafted or traded for, even though African-Americans, as a group, have strong Christian roots? Pitcher LaTroy Hawkins is the one African-American. (The Rockies do have minorites: catcher Yorvit Torrealba, and pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales and Manny Corpas, and outfielder Willie Taveras are Latinos of color born outside the U.S. Pitcher Brian Fuentes is a Latino born in California. Second baseman Kaz Matsui is Japanese.)
If the Rockies win the World Series–I don’t think they will; the Red Sox are just too strong–but if they do, let’s hope we don’t see their followers hyping religion as the reason. With a different team winning the World Series every year this decade, God/dess is showering His/Her favor on just about everyone, if He/She really cares at all. (Take a look at my photo album called "An Astronomical Perspective" and ponder that question). The notion that a particular group of people have Divinity on their side is one of the deadliest ideas in the world.
On the first Saturday of college football competition, Arizona defeated Colorado 13-7…in baseball. It was a game that featured Tony Clark tying his career best with 5 RBI, and Eric Byrnes going 3-4 and a walk with 3 RBI, 2 R and stolen base no. 39. Byrnes needs to put more days like that close together. Yesterday got his batting average up to .294. But he needs to get very hot to get his average over .300 to stay. He now has 156 hits, 75 RBI, and 85 Runs. 6 more hits, 5 more RBI and 7 more runs for new personal bests in those categories. 1 more homer for 20. He’s got 7 more games to play before he comes to San Francisco. 6 hits, including 1 homer, 5 RBI and 7 runs (and one more stolen base for no. 40) in 7 games is not too much to ask from a team leader on a contender.
Go Snakes! Webb starts today.
On a personal note, I went back to work yesterday. Being a broadcast tech for an evening news cast drives up my blood pressure, even with medication. (I have a portable monitor; I brought it to work). Anybody got any better ideas for making money?
I got into the habit of listening to sports talk radio while I was off. The Vick case was a major story but it also brought reminders of other sports figures who were or had been in recent trouble with the law or their leagues. When I hear about baseball players, football players or other sports figures getting arrested, and/or suspended for misconduct, I think the fools don’t realize how good they have it. They should walk a mile in my shoes. I make less than 1.5 times the Federal poverty line. I am being dunned for unpayable medical bills. (And I have doubts about the quality of some of the care). A proposal I made to create a better job at the radio station for myself has been completely ignored, which is worse than being told something like, "Nice idea, but we don’t have the budget for it."
I keep wishing that a judge or a league commissioner would sentence the bad actors to get some obscure, low-paying job and to live on that income for 6 months. Maybe then they’ll appreciate how good they have it otherwise, and then they’ll stay straight and be nice to the working-stiff fans who pay good bucks to see them.
D’Backs "buzztails", keep your noses clean! We’ve already had one of you in trouble this year and that’s one too many.
My meticulously-kept chronicle of Eric Byrnes’ season is going to have to fall by the wayside for at least two months. On July 4, I suffered a heart attack at work, and instead of helping to put on the Evening News, I had an angioplasty, to open a blocked artery, followed by a second procedure on two more arteries the next day.
I have been home for several days now. I was able to watch the most of All-Star game — reception would have been better at the hospital — and put up with that last comment about the karma of the end of the game, but I am for all practical purposes, on life’s 60 day DL list. At least that’s as long as I’m supposed to stay off work. I can run my mouth as well as I ever could, so with the help of my dictation program I get things like this post done. But I don’t have much strength for things that require a lot of thinking, such as a long article in evaluating Eric’s first half. Let’s just say B+ again because, although he’s getting a lot of hits, he is also striking out at a faster clip than last year, and his performance against left-handed pitching leaves much to be desired this season; I don’t know why.
Also, keeping up the lists of his stats and top plays is going to have to fall by the wayside. I’m trying to avoid having to do anything every day. But that might be the first thing I can get back to doing regularly once I get a little stronger.
One thing I will do every day as usual is watch the Diamondbacks, and I will post a short comment once in a while when Eric does something remarkable, good or bad.
Here’s hoping Eric Byrnes has a great second half, a greater second half than he’s ever had. His doing well brings a smile to my face and that is some of the best medicine I can have. Doctors can talk about how the cardiovascular disease that has brought me down is a product of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and family history. But at the root of all of those things, including family history, is high levels of stress, due primarily to years of inadequate income, and my feelings of lack of respect for my work, which is another way of saying, at least in part, inadequate income, but also other factors such as the stress that can crop up near deadlines when you’re putting together a newscast and stress over what is in the news each day.
To all of the women who read this blog, know the symptoms of a heart attack for women are different from those of men quite often. Sometimes we don’t know what’s happening, because, like me, we don’t get the crushing chest pain and pain radiating down the arm that men often get. It feels more like indigestion to many of us — I thought I was having a hypoglycemic incident related to diabetes because I had not eaten in 5 1/2 hours. But when I was given something to eat, nothing happened that made me feel better, and my blood sugar tested out normal in the ambulance. So, sisters, if you’re feeling indigestion and you haven’t eaten recently, that could be a sign of heart attack. Don’t just take antacid and go to sleep.
I feel lucky that I was at work where my coworkers were there to see that I got help. It felt ironic, however, that on this July 4, I needed a procedure to open a completely blocked artery, when last July 4, I rode my bicycle to and from this very same job, a round trip of over 10 miles.
It sure helps to know that Doug Brocail came back from heart surgery and that David Wells is pitching after a diabetes diagnosis. It helps to have baseball to watch every day and to know that various players fight back from injuries that first appeared devastating. Now I have a little inkling of what it must be like to come back from something like Tommy John surgery, because I know that beyond the initial 60 day DL, I’ve got a lot of work to do to come back to being the journalist, baseball analyst, and Eric Byrnes chronicler I want to be. But right now, the focus is on the next two months. I look forward to being up to seeing the Diamondbacks at "Ballpark by the Bay" on September 10, 11 and 12. I’ll say this much for my heart: at least it did not give me any trouble June 29, June 30, and July 1, when I saw the last Diamondbacks-Giants series. In fact, on Sunday, July 1, we had a day game and I was thinking how clear my head was from three days largely away from computers and totally away from the news. It seems obvious to me that even when your team is losing, as the Diamondbacks lost two of three that weekend, that going to the ballpark is good for the body and the soul. And I had an extra benefit: Eric Byrnes waved me that day.
Jim Leyland gave the All-Star start to Dan Haren of the Oakland Athletics in part because he felt that to have a local guy start would be a nice touch. Haren pitched well, as did CC Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians, who grew up in the Bay Area.
Tony LaRussa left local boy Eric Byrnes off the team completely, incurring the wrath, not only of this blogger, but the baseball gods as well. Two outs. Bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. N. L. down by one. Who comes to the plate for the National League? None other than Aaron Rowand, the man LaRussa picked over Byrnes because Rowand was a "true centerfielder." And LaRussa compounds his karmic error by letting Rowand bat when he had Albert Pujols on the bench. Rowand flied out to end the game.
In the grand scheme of things, Rowand didn’t have a chance. He was doubly not supposed to be where he was. He should not have been in the game at all, because Eric Byrnes should have been on the team. And then he should not have been at the plate in that situation, because Albert Pujols should have been there. There are just some things that are supposed to be in this life and when you mess with them, you pay the price. Rowand is a good player, offensive numbers very close to Byrnes’, and defensively of that same "run through walls" style. But this wasn’t his time and place. If the game had been played in Philadelphia, things might have been different. But with the game in San Francisco, leaving Eric Byrnes literally out in the cold was something that could not be countenanced in an All-Star game where so much else had been done right, such as the tribute to Willie Mays and the Haren start.
We don’t get to see Universal Justice in action as quickly and decisively as all that very often. But it’s comforting to see it when it does happen. And don’t think the karmic retribution is over with for LaRussa. He still has Pujols to answer for. The Grand Game and its gods don’t want Albert Pujols left on the bench with the game on the line when it could have been otherwise. He might not have succeeded, but it was a grave offense against the way things are supposed to be to not let him try at all.
Sacramento, Half Moon Bay, San Jose, & Emeryville, CA, Phoenix & Chandler, AZ, Plano, TX, and New York, NY have in common?
1) They are cities from which I get computers that check into the ByrnesBlog quite a bit.
2) The people, at least I hope they’re people, running those computers don’t leave comments!
It’s frustrating, folks. There could be quite a nice little community of Byrnes/D’Backs fans here, but there isn’t. Yet I must be doing something right because you keep coming back.
Wouldn’t it be more fun if you chimed in?
Matt of Diamondhacks has written a thoughtful essay on the Alberto Callaspo situation. Callaspo was recently reinstated from the unpaid restricted list after being arrested on allegations of domestic violence.
Among the several articles on the subject I have read, I found statements about the players’ union filing a grievance (since withdrawn) on his behalf for having been placed on the restricted list, his getting paid for 6 of the 9 days he was on the list, Mgr. Bob Melvin talking about what they have to do to get him ready to get back in the game immediately, and D’Backs president Derrick Hall saying "We have to make sure that we provide assistance to him."
Where are the team or the union when it comes to providing assistance to Marianny Paola, 22, Callaspo’s wife of two years and mother of his 17-month-old son, Igor? It is a sad fact that women who are in this country because their husbands have a visa to work here have no right to remain in the U.S. independent of their husband’s status and often endure domestic violence in isolation.
In the U.S. for a month before the incident for which Callaspo was arrested came to light, Paola says that she didn’t know how to contact the police to report earlier incidents until a friend told her about 911. It makes sense. If you were 22 and in a foreign country for a month, would you know what to do in that situation? (She and her son have since gone back to Venezuela).
Does the team have a program to help the wives of international players get adjusted to life in the U.S. and to know what to do in case there is any kind of trouble or emergency? Does the Employee Assistance Program provide counseling or at least referral for partners, since domestic violence is a problem in baseball as it is in all walks of life?
Isn’t there something missing here between concern that Callaspo gets paid and concern that he be immediately available on the field?
Josh Hancock was legally drunk and talking on his cell phone at the time of his fatal car accident. He was not wearing a seatbelt. The police also say that marijuana and a smoking pipe were found in his rented SUV, although tests are not back yet that would tell if he had any drugs in his system. Even if he hadn’t smoked any of the marijuana, can you imagine more reckless conduct on the road than to drive with nearly twice the states legal limit of alcohol in your system, while talking on a cell phone, and not wearing a seatbelt?
This looks like yet another case of the arrogance of youth, particularly of professional athletes, who think they are invulnerable. Bad enough that a young man, a world champion baseball player with everything to live for: youth, money, fame, the admiration of his teammates and fans, and apparently, female companionship — he was talking to a female acquaintance on the phone and was apparently planning to meet her at another bar — could throw it all away so carelessly. But what’s more important, he puts so many other people in various forms of harm’s way.
His careless actions jeopardized the lives of the tow truck driverwhose truck he crashed into, and the driver of the car the tow truck went to assist. His actions also deeply hurt his family: parents and siblings and who knows who else in his extended family. And of course, the St. Louis Cardinals, who were already in difficulty this season, lost the three games following news of his death. There are other players throughout baseball who played with him and were shocked by the news. The woman who is on the other end of the phone must be traumatized as well.
There just is no excuse for it. Everyone nowadays knows the dangers of driving under the influence. There are all sorts of campaigns to urge drivers to use seat belts. National news reports have recently covered the studies which show what a distraction it is to talk on a cell phone while driving. The information was there. And someone like Hancock has the money to hire a driver when he wants to party. What a waste!