Umps get bad wrap, where are the dolls and talking with Ralph Garr

As far as I'm concerned, MLB umpires are getting a bad wrap in this study by Boston University.  The Dodgers want to know what happened to 42,000 Tommy Lasorda bobblehead dolls and the Phillies are packing them in, since signing Bryce Harper.  Those are the topics I discuss in the latest The Baseball Beat podcast.

My look back interview is with Ralph Garr, which I recorded in June of 1986.  Garr was one of the best hitters of his day and in 1974 led the National League in batting with a .353 average.  I hope you enjoy the interview, as much as I enjoyed posting it.

Look for Judge to miss significant time

Aaron Judge/You Tube grab
The New York Yankees will not put a timetable on when slugger Aaron Judge will return to their lineup, following his latest injury.  Who can blame them.  I'm no doctor, but the guess here is he will not return, until June 15 at the earliest.

On Saturday against Kansas City, after homering earlier in the game, Judge left in the sixth inning after suffering an oblique strain.  On Sunday, manager Aaron Boone called it a "significant strain" and Judge was placed on the 10-day IL.

On Sunday, Lindsay Berra tweeted that she once wrote a story about oblique strains and that on average it takes a player 27 days for the injury to heal. 

Far be it from me to disagree with Yogi's granddaughter, but considering the way things are going for the Yankees and even looking at Judge's wrist injury last year, where he was supposed to be out three weeks and ended up missing seven, my guess is the Yankees will be minus Judge double the time Berra predicted, if not more. 

Meanwhile, the Yankees keep on winning with most of their starting lineup on the IL, proving that for some players, when one door closes, another door opens.

No losers in womens NCAA Final Four

There were no losers in this weekend's NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four.  The men can only hope Monday's night's national championship game is as exciting as the women's finish.  Baylor overcame an injury to starter Lauren Cox and withstood a furious Notre Dame rally to win its third national championship with an 82-81 win that went down the wire.

I was riveted in watching the action, admiring how players on both sides played as if they had the proverbial "ice water in their veins." 

Friday night's semifinals were no less scintillating, as Baylor outscored Oregon, 72-67 and Notre Dame dropped Connecticut for the second straight year in the semis, this time by an 81-76 score.  The Fighting Irish unleashed a relentless attack, after trailing by nine points with 7:52 left in the game, as these two schools continued their heated rivalry.

With Baylor's thrilling win in the title game, UConn remains the last school to defend its national championship.  Notre Dame was attempting to make it back-to-back titles.

But here is the bottom line.  There were no losers this weekend.  I know that sounds trite, but it is the truth.  Pull out any cliche in the books.  They all apply to this weekend.  All the schools provided entertaining basketball.  What more can you ask for? 

Rooting for Geno and UConn

Geno Auriemma
You bet I'm rooting for the UConn women's basketball team Friday night, when they play Notre Dame in the NCAA semifinals.  In my lifetime, the success of the women's basketball program at Connecticut has become one of the great stories in sports.

Coach Geno Auriemma has built a program that in many cases placed Connecticut on the sports map. And to continue to dominate the sport for more than two decades is remarkable.  UConn may not win the National Championship every year, it just seems that way.  Eleven national titles, 12 straight trips to the Final Four and Connecticut seems to make it look easy, but it is anything but.

The players' success is the result, not only of talent and great coaching, but hard work.  As far as I'm concerned, this nearly three-decade dominance by UConn ranks right up there with other dominant teams in sports history be it the Yankees, Patriots, Packers, Celtics, Canadiens or UCLA.

But Geno is the leader, the pacesetter, the majordomo.  He is not afraid to put his neck on the line, whether it be for his team or to give an opinion.  His latest cause is exhibit A, suggesting that coaches just might be afraid of their players.  Read what he has to say.  He's right on.

Meanwhile, my TV will be right on Friday night, ready to root, root, root for Geno and the Huskies.

Fired up for Hartford Yard Goats baseball

Warren Schaeffer
As I write this post, the Hartford Yard Goats have played their first game of the season, losing a tough one on Opening Night to the Richmond Flying Squirrels, 1-0.  But it is going to be an exciting season, and once again I am looking forward to broadcasting the games with the "Voice of the Yard Goats," Jeff Dooley.

On Tuesday, the Yard Goats held their annual media day, a chance for the ballclub and its staff to rub elbows with the media.  For me, it was the chance to renew friendships with numerous people and meet new friends as well.  We are fortunate in Hartford to be affiliated with such a great organization as the Colorado Rockies.  Led by manager Warren Schaeffer, who starts his second year at the helm, hitting instructor Lee Stevens and new pitching coach Steve Merriman, it should be a season to remember.

I can tell you the staff and players work hard, putting in long days to develop as major league players. I can't wait for the new season to get underway.  See you on the radio.

Major moves by MLB and remembering Phil Rizzuto

As the 2019 Major League Baseball season gets underway, word is MLB is reducing the television package it has with Facebook and removing the "exclusivity" tag.  That is among the topics I talk
Phil Rizzuto/Credit: You Tube capture
about in the latest edition of The Baseball Beat.   Other items we discuss:

And I look back at the time former New York Yankees shortstop great and broadcaster Phil Rizzuto visited my hometown of Torrington, CT.  Rizzuto's visit and talk that night - which you hear on the podcast - was a special night in the history of sports in the city.


Busy day for Mets and remembering Willie Stargell

Willie Stargell/Credit: You Tube
Mar. 26, 2019 turned out to be a busy day for the New York Mets, as we explore in my latest edition of The Baseball Beat.  The Mets and pitcher Jacob deGrom have agreed to a contract extension and Mets owner Fred Wilpon is buying back more of his ballclub.

The Boston Red Sox and catcher Sandy Leon were in the news and so are uniforms, as Sports Illustrated examines uniform changes for the coming season.  You can read the article by clicking here.

We also take a look back at my interview with Willie Stargell.  At the time the former Pittsburgh Pirate was a member of the Atlanta Braves coaching staff.  The Braves were in Richmond to play their AAA affiliate, when I caught up with Willie and hosted a press conference at which he was featured for being elected to the Hall of Fame.