Sunday, July 29, 2007
Two great players enter the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY today. Tony Gwynn, who seemed to always put the ball in play when he was up to bat, and Cal Ripken, who was always there, every day, period.
After the jump, we'll read the reaction to this auspicious event through the words of newspaper columnists from San Diego, Baltimore, and Cooperstown itself.
In addition, we'll fit in some coverage of the other big event today: Arena Bowl, baby!!!!
The Cooperstown Crier gives us the welcome news that local residents aren't jaded by living in the shadow of the sport's ultimate destination. Some Cooperstown residents are going gaga because their favorite players are going in the Hall today. This, from Gwynn superfan Frank Vito:
This weekend, Vito hopes to get a chance to talk with Gwynn when he serves as a driver for the Hall of Fame. "I'm hoping maybe I get to pick him up at the airport in Albany, and have a chance to talk to him the whole way back," Vito said. "That would really be a dream come true."
And the HOF librarian is a former Baltimore resident:
"It kind of comes under the responsibilities of the job, which is kind of neat," Gates said. "I had fun speaking with Ripken about the longest game when he was with Rochester." Baseball's famous "Longest Game" between the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox lasted a record 33 innings and took more than eight hours to complete. The game began on April 18, 1981, and the teams played until after 4 a.m. before the game was suspended and resumed on June 23 with Pawtucket winning, 3-2.
Ripken was 2-13 in the game, and, of course, played in all 33 innings.
Said Gates: "It's kind of fitting that the Iron man played in the longest game in baseball history."
Our very own weekend editor One More Dying Quail once worked at the HOF, so I'll bet he enjoys this weekend on a personal level as well.
Let's check the reaction in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Gwynn played 20 ultra-productive seasons as a Padre. He now coaches the San Diego State baseball team, and his son now plays for the Brewers. He still can't believe this is happening to him:
“We were talking at breakfast this morning,” Gwynn said. “Here's Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, Carlton Fisk. For me, still, it's like 'Wow. Look at these guys here.' . . .
“We're in awe. We're still in awe. The fact that you're going to be inducted doesn't change that all that much.”
From the Baltimore Sun, Maryland's native son and most famous Oriole also goes into the hall today. Cal Ripken, The Iron Man, says he's awed by his induction, but it's still second on his list of career moments.
Ripken said the Hall induction falls behind the Orioles' 1983 championship in his list of career highlights. He spent his career putting the team first and said he has enjoyed stepping back and appreciating what he achieved.
"It endorses who you are as a player and what your contributions were," he said of entering the Hall. "And it doesn't take into consideration the team. Being elected to the Hall of Fame is about your career pretty much and your impact on the game."
It may rain in upstate NY today, pushing the ceremony back until Monday, but that won't dampen these guys' spirits any.
And in even bigger news, today is Arena Bowl number something-or-other, and the San Jose Sabercats take on the Columbus Destroyers. For some people, this is life or death sports action. Here's a great primer on the sport from the Columbus Dispatch:
The team now has its own fight song, though.
Destroyers Battle Cry, written by Christian rappers Domonice Thompson and Clay Armstrong, made its debut this week.
The Columbus artists, who perform onstage as CeriOus, said they wrote the song about all of life's battles.
"It also translates into football," Thompson said.
And the San Jose Mercury News is watching for signs of a letdown in a team that unexpectedly lost in the American Conference championship game last year. They think this year's version has a not-so-secret weapon:
The Destroyers have gotten superb play from quarterback Matt Nagy, who is no stranger to the playoffs. Two years ago, he was the losing quarterback when Colorado beat Georgia in the ArenaBowl.
In a league in which defensive stops can be more unusual than a cool summer day in New Orleans, Nagy will probably have to play extremely well to keep pace today. SaberCats quarterback Mark Grieb has thrown 15 touchdowns and just one interception through two playoff games.
And if the MSM coverage of the event doesn't float your boat, I highly recommend that you check out It's Still Football. They've been blogging the Arena League all season long in hilarious fashion, and somehow wrangled press credentials for the big enchilada. They're taking reader suggestions for features and interviews, so hop over there and check them out.
Enjoy what's left of your weekend!