Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

New 2015 All Star Game caps are amazing

Behold, the greatest caps in All Star Game history.

Behold, the greatest caps in All Star Game history.

UPDATE II: Turns out the caps are a hoax. Oh well. Hopefully we get something cool for this year’s Midsummer Classic!

UPDATE: Well, good ole Paul Lukas from Uni-Watch has done some digging and apparently players are NOT wearing the pillbox hats during the ASG. Such a shame. Once I know what the pillbox hats are for, I’ll post an update.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Coach Joel? Seriously?

New GYB Logo

A while back, my good buddy Keith Lee posted a guest blog about his experience with baseball. Fast forward a few years later, Keith and I are both graduate students at the University of Florida. Keith is a coach and serves on the board for Gainesville Youth Baseball, the city league in town. Already a coach at the tee ball level for his son, Keith decided to take on an additional challenge this season and signed up to coach the 11-12 year old team. Looking for assistants, Keith asked a huge baseball fan that happens to stink at playing the game: me.  Continue reading

Henry Aaron remains the king

hank-aaron

An unsuspecting man from Mobile, Alabama, with a quiet demeanor, and one hell of a quick swing broke Babe Ruth’s vaunted home run record on this date 40 years ago. April 8, 1974 is a date forever etched into the minds of baseball fans, whether they were alive or not. I wasn’t around when Hank smashed a 2-run home run off the Dodgers’ Al Downing in the fourth inning, but I’ll never be able to shake the image. It’s a glorious moment for baseball, and a man we all strive to be. Unlike more recent home run hitters, Aaron was a man–and still is–a man of few words, who played the game right, and despite the endless hate mail and death threats, Aaron persevered, never throwing it in the faces of his detractors.

As I write this blog post, I’m looking at the box score from April 8, 1974, when the Braves defeated the Dodgers 7-4 in the fourth game of the season. On the surface, it appears to be any other game as the Braves managed 7 runs on just 4 hits, but walked 7 times. Aaron’s only hit of the night was the dinger in the 4th; he went 1-3 for the night and also managed a walk. Braves’ pitcher Ron Reed pitched 6 innings, giving up all 7 of the Dodgers’ hits and all 4 runs, and managed to pick up his first win on the young season.

On the surface it appeared to be any other game.

Except time stood still in the bottom of the 4th as Aaron stepped to the plate and mashed one of the left field wall. The sold out crowd at Fulton County Stadium went bananas, and two young fans joined Aaron as he trotted around the bases. For a moment, time stood still and the entire country watched as Henry Aaron took his place in history.

It’s funny, I can’t remember seeing the moment admitted steroid-user Mark McGwire hit number 62, breaking Roger Maris’s single season record, nor do I care to remember Barry Bonds’ home run that broke Aaron’s record, but even though I wasn’t alive, I will always remember the image of Aaron hitting that home run. Unlike Bonds, who stuck his arms in the air, admired the shot, and trotted around the bases patting himself on the back, Aaron did what you should: he tucked his head, rounded the bases, and scored. He didn’t seem to mind or notice the two kids running with him, or the throngs of people waiting for him at home plate. To Henry Louis Aaron, it was a home run that tied the game, 3-3.

He was thankful the chase was over and has always seemed so humble about the record. Unlike certain characters, Aaron never martyred himself and he kept playing the game. Today, the Braves honor the true home run king, and unlike San Francisco that quickly stripped itself of anything Barry Bonds, the Braves celebrate Hank Aaron today and everyday.

Hank is a man who always put his team before himself, did his job without question, and played some of the best baseball anyone’s seen. Aaron is a 25 time All-Star, won the 1957 World Series, was the NL MVP that same year, won 3 Gold Gloves, 2 batting titles, was the NL home run champion 4 times, and holds the record for most RBIs, total bases, extra base hits, and yes, home runs.

Even if you despise the Atlanta Braves, today, we can all root for baseball’s true home run king, Henry Louis Aaron.

 

Cheers to 40 years, Hank.

Additional thoughts on the Braves’ move

Just 3 short seasons left to enjoy the Ted

Just 3 short seasons left to enjoy the Ted

Throughout the day, I’ve stopped what I was doing to scroll through my Twitter feed, listen to Atlanta sports talk radio, and read through the endless number of news stories regarding the Braves’ stunning announcement that they are leaving the city of Atlanta and Turner Field for Cobb County. After nearly 9 hours, I believe I’ve started to process the decision and provide a few rational thoughts before my day comes to an end.

First of all, I’m not particularly thrilled with the Braves moving to the suburbs. While it brings the Braves closer to the fans that attend games on a regular basis, it puts them in the middle of endless sprawl with nothing aesthetically pleasing about the surrounding area. Sure, the Braves are promising a massive multi-use complex, which was completely lacking at Turner Field, but the new park won’t have the gorgeous Atlanta skyline in the background (a driving factor behind Turner Field’s lack of outfield lights), nor will they be anywhere close to downtown. The team points to Colorado, San Francisco, and Cincinnati as key examples of what they want for the new stadium and other developments. What those parks have in common that the new Braves’ park does not: they’re in the cities. Continue reading

Braves bolt for ‘burbs

In a stunning move that shook fans of the Atlanta Braves to their core, the team announced that following the 2016 season, they’ll move to the cozy confines of Cobb County, abandoning the city of Atlanta after 50 years. Unless you are omnipotent, no one saw this coming. The team’s lease on Turner Field expires on December 31, 2016 and it was no secret that Braves’ officials were not pleased with the current arrangement. However, few, if any thought the team would actually move.

It was a lot to process this morning for everyone. News outlets scrambled to report the story, while fans reacted with excitement, hesitancy, and in some cases, anger. Personally, I was shocked and a bit dismayed. Earlier this year, the Braves and the city looked at several proposals to redevelop the parking lots around Turner Field, turning them into the mixed-use development that Braves desperately want (and apparently will get in Cobb County). I knew full well that the Braves’ lease on Turner Field expired and it was going to take something big for the city to retain the Braves. However, I assumed a deal would be reached, because let’s face it, a 20-year old ballpark isn’t that old (Wrigley Field celebrates hits 100 next year) and despite already being one of the older National League parks, Turner Field is in pretty good shape. Yes, the team and city desperately needed to fix an untenable traffic and parking problem, and there’s no question that the area surrounding Turner Field wasn’t exactly pretty, but to pack up and leave? Seems a bit sudden and drastic.

We don’t know a ton about this move, other than the expected cost, the location, and when the Braves are packing their bags for Cobb. However, it will be a sad day for me. Turner Field was my second home as a kid. I’ve been a huge Braves fan my entire life and when I moved to Atlanta in 1998, I was beyond ecstatic for the chance to hang out at the Ted every summer and I did. Every season since then, I’ve attended multiple games at Turner Field and loved every minute of my time there. Over the next three seasons, I hope to make a few more great memories and regardless of where they go, I will always root for my home team.

Anyways, I’ll provide my full thoughts on the move in the coming hours or days as I process everything.

Details on the move:

  • It was going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million to make infrastructure improvements to Turner Field
  • The Braves started discussing improving the parking, traffic, and overall infrastructure surrounding Turner Field with the city of Atlanta starting in 2005; those negotiations didn’t go very far
  • Cobb County offered $450 million to help cover the cost of a new stadium (estimated at $672 million overall)
  • The new stadium will be located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285 near Cumberland Mall in Cobb County
  • The team started talking to Cobb County sometime in July
  • The Braves want to build a large, mixed use developed featuring shops and restaurants to keep fans engaged before and after games, and throughout the year
  • The Braves are meeting with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Governor Nathan Deal on Wednesday at the State Capitol
  • On November 26, the Cobb County Commission will vote on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Braves (this means no new taxes can be created to fund the stadium, but it’s likely some taxes will increase in order to coverthe $450 million cost Cobb County agreed to pay

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from RFTHT!

Happy New Year from RFTHT!

A very Happy New Year from Root for the Home Team to all of those that stop by our humble little blog and follow us as we discover baseball in America. We are very thankful for the parks we visited in 2012 and we’re looking forward to a productive year during the 2013 baseball season as we continue to visit new ballparks, revisit our favorites, and continue to discover why baseball has endured since the American Civil War. Millions flock to ballparks across the country each and every year, creating memories with family and friends as they root on their home team. I can’t wait to meet more of the wonderful people that keep this sport America’s pastime, even as some are ready to declare football number one. We’ll be starting to look at 2013 schedules in the coming weeks, and we’ll be putting together a tentative schedule that we hope will include multiple Major League parks as well as several MiLB parks. Washington and Baltimore are close to the top of the list for MLB teams and we’ll certainly focus on visiting with the Nashville Sounds, Savannah Sand Gnats, Asheville Tourists, and Charleston RiverDogs.

We of course always love the support we get from readers who love the RFTHT concept, follow us, tweet with us, and meet up with us at games. If you keep reading, we’ll keep going to ballgames and even if you stop, our love for baseball won’t. In 2013 we pledge to continue to cover baseball games and also focus on the issues affecting the game of baseball, big and small, to provide a different and unique perspective on the beautiful game.

Hiatus nearly over

Yes, baseball season is over. Like really over. We haven’t, well I haven’t been able to write lately due to work requirements and just the sheer fact that I can’t seem to find the time to write anything right now. However, with that said, we’ll return to regular action in the coming days and weeks with plenty of commentary on the hot stove season and some overall thoughts about 2012 and what we can look forward to in 2013. A belated congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning their second World Series in the last three years. Naturally disappointed we didn’t see a lengthier series, but to no surprise, once the Giants caught fire, it was damn near impossible to stop them.

Anyways, enjoy the start of the hot stove season, where speculation runs amok, and we’ll soon know where big stars are going and for how much cheese.

Until I can return full time, stay classy.