Marc Maturo’s official sports column
Baseball, FOX TV swing and miss mightily at All-Star Game
Baseball and FOX TV both swung and missed at its mid-summer showcase, the All-Star Game, held this year in Minnesota, where Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was once again deified, glorified and nearly anointed.
Jeter, the Yankees legendary shortstop who strategically announced his retirement before the season to supposedly deflect the spotlight but instead has predictably attracted the spotlight in whatever city he visits, was a virtual one-man show, as if the game itself, such as it is, was a mere sidelight.
Don’t get me wrong, Jeter, a decent guy and a wonderful player, deserved some preferential treatment, but in no way, shape or form, should it have been done to the exclusion of the late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn – who passed away nearly a month to the day before the game — and war hero and all-star Jerry Coleman, huge names in baseball and not merely in San Diego,.
Major League Baseball (MLB) and FOX TV easily could have introduced a segment, however brief, on these figures, each of whom are generally known not only for their abilities but for having been among the most pleasant and approachable guys in the game.
Rather than admit a mistake – and it clearly was a gigantic mistake, so help me Buddy “Revenue” Selig — MLB and FOX TV offered rather lame reasoning, er, excuse, for not bringing up either Gwynn or Coleman, or for that matter Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner and baseball lifer Don Zimmer — both of whom also having died this year.
The Jeter tribute – he was mentioned more than 100 times according to Deadspin – was understandable, and not something we find any fault with, other than the excessive treatment. Gwynn was mentioned not once. Something, certainly, was missing.
But all MLB and FOX TV could or would come up with was this joint statement: “The Baseball family has sadly lost a number of people this year – including Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, Frank Cashen, and former All-Stars Jerry Coleman, Jim Fregosi and Don Zimmer – and did not want to slight anyone by singling out one individual.”
This putative explanation fell soundly on deaf ears to 68-year-old John Greenburg of Dunedin, Fla., a sports historian,, author of “James Salerno, Boxer,” “Grand Old Man: Amos Alonzo Stagg,” and a general gadfly.
“How in the world do you hold an All-Star Game almost one month to the day that Gwynn died and not pay any sort of tribute to him?” Greenburg, a native of Chicago with no connections to baseball, told the Rockland County Times. “This is another example of East Coast bias. This is very disturbing to me: TV people don’t care about the past; they just promote the here and now. It will change the face of sports. MLB and college football have already changed big-time.”
Greenburg, who confessed that he doesn’t even own a TV, said he was flabbergasted when he saw the news about Gwynn’s omission.
“I couldn’t believe it!” he exclaimed. “I looked into it, to see if it was true, and it was mind-boggling. He (Gwynn) was a true asset to the game, that’s the key. If you slight him, you slight a lot of other people, too. So their (MLB and FOX TV) excuse was lame, to put it mildly.”
Greenburg’s annoyance, however, has little to do with Jeter, a player who he truly admires.
“Let me say this,” said Greenburg. “Players like Jeter and Tony Gwynn are like a breath of fresh air, especially today with the arrogance of so many players, like ARod, with the terrible history of PED’s.
“There are not many like Jeter and TG, that’s the problem. You might never see another player with 20 years with the same team. TG was a role model, just like Jeter, a tremendous role model. He was right there with Ted Williams. It was a great story, and they dropped the ball. It was a no-brainer.”
The San Diego Padres, for their part, perhaps cowed by the power of TV and MLB, had little to say about the situation, offering only this after several email exchanges: “There has not been comment from the Padres on this.”
Shame on the Padres; shame on MLB; shame on FOX TV.
LEAVE IT TO THE WOMEN: Caitrin Demchko, 24, of Nanuet, the reigning champion for the past two years, placed third and set a course-personal-best of 18:31 while Lorri skenazi, 54, of New City won the 5K walk in 36:18 as a record number of 527 women participated in the Rockland Road Runners’ 27th Women’s Distance Festival 5K run/walk at Rockland Lake State Park in Congers. Grace Kahura, 21, of High Falls earned the winner’s cup, running the flat and fast course in 17:21, well ahead of Caroline Pennacchio, 16, of Briarcliff Manor, who clocked 18:25. Katie Pfeifer of Nyack was ninth in 19:56.
The event raised more than $8,000 for the Center of Safety and Change’s mission to end violence against women and children in Rockland County.
Leading age-group finishers: Under 19 – Annie McCormack, Pearl River, 2nd; 20-29 – Sarah Callagy, Nyack, 7th; 30-39 – Jessica Redis, Garnerville, 2nd; 40-49 – Kim Chalfin, Nanuet, 4th; Lindsay Obrig, Valley Cottage, 5th; Peggy Neil, Spring Valley, 6th; Laura Dimarino, New City, 7th; 50-59 – Fayne Frey, New City, 2nd; Liz Olsen, Valley Cottage, 4th; Karen Cappuzello, South Nyack, 7th; Kathleen Mallon, Valley Cottage, 8th; Olga Carriel, New City, 9th; and Ilene Graff, New City, 10th; 60-69 – Sylvia Blaustein, Nyack, 5th; Beth Kiosley, Pearl River, 6th; Cheryl Kalter-Schloss, New City, 8th; and Diane Cobb, Pearl River, 10th; 70-79 – Ann Singer, Suffern, 1st; Ann Smith, Congers, 2nd; Dorothy Wood, Valley Cottage, 3rd; 80-99 – Maria Heisler, Valley Cottage, 1st. Walkers – Enilda Indyk, Valley Cottage, 2nd; Jill Murphy, Stony Point, 9th.
For complete results access: http://www.rocklandroadrunners.org/races/WDF/2014results.html
ALL HAIL HARROLD: Rockland Boulders starting pitcher Stephen Harrold, a 6-foot-1 right-hander, was named the Pointstreak Pitcher of the Week in the Can-Am League, becoming the sixth Boulders player to earn the league honor, and the second hurler. In two starts in the marking period, Harrold went 1-0, pitching a total of 15 innings and allowing just four earned runs. Harrold, whose league-leading ERA stands at 1.90 more than halfway through the season, ranks fourth in the league in strikeouts (50) and is tied for third in wins (4). The Boulders, who embark on a four-day, four-game trip to Quebec on July 25, visit the New Jersey Jackals at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University at 11:05 a.m. on July 31, and then host the Jackals at Provident Bank Park in Pomona on July 31 at 7 p.m.
THIS & THAT: Former Nyack College player Brandone Roberts will be joining the Mercy College women’s basketball team in Dobbs Ferry for the 2014-15 season. Roberts rounds out a 12-member incoming class as an overpowering 6-4 graduate student, and will play for Coach Rashidi Aikens of Nyack, who is also an alum of Nyack College. Last season, Roberts averaged 8.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in just 18.3 minutes per game after missing nearly two years due to injury. … Fans of the Pomona-based Rockland Boulders in particular and Independent League baseball in general might get some enjoyment by visiting www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. Fans may subscribe to Bob Wirz’s Independent Baseball Insider column at www.WirzandAssociates.com or comment to RWirz@aol.com.
SPORTS CAUSE (courtesy of Joe Favorito, PR & marketing pro): The United States Blind Golf Association, established in 1953, is organized and operated for the purposes of benefiting blind and vision-impaired persons and promoting the public good through programs that advance, and increase public awareness of golf among the blind and vision-impaired throughout the United States. Access: http://www.blindgolf.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org