Video Epic Rain Delay Theater
"Now we can play some REAL sports."
On July 4, 1939, Yankees legend Lou Gehrig gave a famous speech to the fans at Yankee Stadium. But as a class organization, the Yankees honor not only their stars but their aging, long relievers on one-year contracts, too. So today, before a pack
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today:New York Yankees (2009: 103-59, World Series champion).
Facing a fan base that is irate over 13 years of losing, a dreadful start to the season and now reports that the team turned down franchise icon Cal Ripken for a job, Orioles owner Peter Angelos attempted to extend an olive branch today to Baltimore baseball fans by hiring Billy Ripken as Vice President of Baseball Operations.
"I know many people wanted Cal to re-join the franchise," said Angelos, announcing the hiring at a press conference. "But I think Billy is the next best thing. Look at him. If you squint your eyes, you can convince yourself it is Cal. He is a similar size and shape as his brother. He shares the same genes. And he has literally followed Cal from job to job to job his entire playing and post-playing career. He had to have picked up something along the way, right?"
While the move seems to have placated some Orioles fans who are just happy the team is again associated with the Ripken name, others say it was just another move by Angelos to save a buck. While Cal Ripken would have garnered an executive level salary befitting someone of his stature, Billy Ripken will reportedly be paid $13.25 an hour, game-time only. He will also have complimentary access to the team's post-game spread.
"Cal always picked up the check for him whenever they ate out," said a team source. "Mr. Angelos didn't want to give in on that. Hot dogs don't grow on trees. But in the end it was the only way to get Billy and hopefully put an end to this whole mess with the fans so they'll shut up again."
Ripken will oversee all of the franchise's baseball decisions, including scouting, the draft, signings and trades.
"Or whatever it was that you people were so gung-ho about Cal doing," said Angelos. "You name it, Billy can do it. He has a blank check. Of course, the check will still have to be signed by me, so I'll continue making all the decisions. But, you know, for appearances' sake Billy Ripken is your guy."
Cal's younger brother was tight-lipped at the introductory press conference about what role he will serve with the Orioles.
"Fk face," he said.
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Pronounced: GROW UP!
Even the most old-school baseball fans have probably come to realize the fact that advanced statistics are all the rage in baseball these days.
But without a shiny new sabermetric of their own, they'll never be able to decisively win baseball arguments against the new breed of fan. While the youngsters rely on their VORPs, their WARPs and their xFIPs, the old-timers can now silence them for good with these six even more obscure, yet totally accurate, sabermetric stats.
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today:Philadelphia Phillies (2009: 93-69, National League champion).
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today:Los Angeles Angels (2009: 97-65, AL West champion).
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today: Los Angeles Dodgers(2009: 95-67, NL West champion).
It was 63 years ago that Jackie Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke baseball's color barrier. Major League Baseball honored Robinson yesterday by having all of its players suit up in Robinson's No. 42. But the Baltimore Orioles decided to pay their own unique tribute to the American legend.
"We were all getting dressed before the game, putting on our No. 42 jerseys, and it just didn't feel right. I knew I had to stop it," said Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. "As an African-American, as someone who looks up to Jackie Robinson, I knew he deserved better than having his number worn by the Baltimore Orioles."
Jones asked his teammates to change back into their regular jerseys out of respect for Robinson, and they eagerly complied.
"I am hitting .222," said Baltimore third baseman Garrett Atkins. "I hit .226 last year. It actually felt kind of racist to have Mr. Robinson's jersey number on, like: 'You may have accomplished all of this in your career and in your life, but you're still stuck on Garrett Atkins' back.' He deserves better than that."
With their regular jerseys back on, the Orioles went out and quickly showed they made the right decision, falling behind 5-0 to the A's on the way to a 6-2 loss their ninth in 10 games this season.
"If Jackie Robinson was up there in heaven watching this game, I'd like to think we made him happy," said Jones. "Although I truly hope someone like Jackie Robinson has better things to do in heaven than watch Baltimore Orioles games."
Commissioner Bud Selig said next year's Robinson tribute would be expanded to also ban the Nationals, Royals and Pirates from wearing No. 42.
"It would be great if they also didn't wear the Major League Baseball logo on their uniforms," he said. "But we'll take this stuff one at a time."