A trivia question for all you ticket guys . . . . .
There are 18 starting players in tonight's all-star game. ASER's (All-Star Ex Rangers) account for 22.22% of the combined NL and AL starters (4 out of 18, Kenny Rogers, Alex Rodriquez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano). That is an incredible percentage of the starting lineup(s).
So the question of the day for you guys is . . . . Is there ANY other team in all of MLB who can claim such a distinction, with so many ex-players dominating the combined starting lineups? Is any other team even close?
Well, Ron, I have no answer for you, but it does make one ponder that question. Ouch.
Ryan Howard wins the Home Run Derby …
Howard, the Philadelphia Phillies' power-hitting phenom, held true to that vision but still managed to get eight balls wet -- two on the fly -- in beating out the New York Mets' David Wright for the 21st Home Run Derby last night at PNC Park.
It was the second year in a row a Philadelphia player won, Bobby Abreu having taken the title in Detroit.
"I was just trying to take some good hacks to center or right-center, and it just
wound up there," Howard said, holding his tall, silver trophy in the interview room. "It just wanted to go in the river, I guess, so I didn't have any problem with that."
Ramon Henderson, the Phillies' bullpen coach who threw Howard's rounds, saw the plan a bit differently.
"I was hoping he was going to kill some fish," Henderson said.
In all, five balls reached the Allegheny on the fly, 12 on a bounce. Since the park opened in 2001, only 20 home runs have reached the water in real games, the only one making it on the fly Daryle Ward's on July 6, 2002, as a member of the Houston Astros.
Meanwhile, the official non-Ranger of Bob’s Blog, Francisco Liriano was sent to Pittsburgh for tonight …
Of course, it couldn't be that easy for the Twins to get another all-star selection.
Liriano (10-1 overall, 1.83 earned-run average) already was home in the Dominican Republic when the decision was made, and team and Major League Baseball officials were having trouble reaching him.
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, manager of the AL squad, turned to Boston's David Ortiz, a former Twin and a Dominican teammate of Liriano in the World Baseball Classic in March.
Ortiz eventually tracked down Liriano through his brother in the Dominican Republic, and Liriano immediately turned around and headed for the nearest airport, 90 minutes from his home, and got a hotel room there for this morning's scheduled early flight.
"He was receptive," said Twins general manager Terry Ryan, who's in Pittsburgh and eventually spoke to Liriano on Monday. "He doesn't have a big personality. He's quite reserved. But he was very receptive and honored, I think, to come up here.
"It's a heck of an accomplishment for him. It doesn't come around too often. Hopefully, it will be a few more times for him."
Liriano was expected to arrive in Pittsburgh about 4 this afternoon.
I got some complaints about not even mentioning UFC 61 yesterday in this space. Well, the reason was that UFC 61 was painful, and those of us who love the UFC should pretend that it didn’t even happen. It certainly wasn’t Tito’s fault, but, it was poor. That was very close to the boredom that drove us from boxing. Let’s not let that happen again soon.
But, in happy news, boxing writing great, Ron Borges of the Boston Globe offered a huge feature today on the UFC …
UFC has mushroomed into a powerful threat to the long-term economic health of boxing. It has become a force on cable television, where it has four shows on Spike TV, and on the Internet, where it regularly makes Yahoo's sports buzz index leading up to a major pay-per-view event, such as last Saturday's rematch between Shamrock and rising star Tito Ortiz on a card fittingly entitled ``Bitter Rivals."
That show sold out the Mandalay Bay Events Center, even with ringside seats going for $700 and the cheapest seat $100. With interest so high, White added three closed-circuit sites in Las Vegas. He had no concerns that it could affect a paid gate he estimated upward of $4 million.
The main event didn't last long as the 31-year-old Ortiz stopped Shamrock in just 1 minute 8 seconds. It was Shamrock's fifth loss in six fights. On Saturday, former world champions Fernando Vargas and Shane Mosley, bitter rivals themselves and two of the boxing's most recognizable names, will square off across the street at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The fight will not be sold out. There will be no closed-circuit sites because promoters fear it would reduce the live gate. Unlike UFC's show, it won't be available via streaming video on the Web.
The marriage of the Internet and UFC has been an integral part of the sport's stunning rise because when White and the Fertittas bought the business they had no other outlet with which to keep their dying product viable. Thus a sport of choice for a new generation subsisted on that same generation's favored form of communication.
``We have over 2 million people a month checking us on the Web," White said. ``For the `Ultimate Fighter' finale [the June 24 episode on Spike in which 16 competitors vied for a six-figure promotional contract] we had more hits the day of the weigh-in on Yahoo than they had for World Cup.
``If there was no Web when we started we wouldn't have been able to sustain it. UFC stayed alive on the Web. Our [demographic] could never have found out about us without it because the mainstream media was ignoring us."
Not any longer. UFC has been spotlighted over the last year in Time, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and many major daily newspapers around the country. The Las Vegas Review-Journal now has its chief boxing writer regularly cover UFC events and media outlets debate over how much space to devote to the results.
The Mike James story continues …is this dude really worth this much trouble?
Avery Johnson met with Mike James on Monday in Las Vegas as the Mavericks continue to woo the free-agent guard.
Sarah Melton, media-relations director for the Mavericks, said James met with owner Mark Cuban last week and met privately with Johnson before the Mavericks played Houston in a Vegas Summer League game.
James averaged a career-high 20.3 points and 5.8 assists in 79 games last season for Toronto. He also has received interest from Houston, where he spent part of the 2004-05 season, and Minnesota.
Wow, Boras grabs Danks! …nice…
The Rangers don't have good memories of negotiations with agent Scott Boras. Think Alex Rodriguez and Chan Ho Park. Enough said.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, however, was able to get Mark Teixeira, another Boras client, to agree to a two-year extension during the last off-season.
Now comes word that minor league pitching prospect John Danks has changed agents and has hired Boras, which could complicate negotiations if Danks achieves his potential. But Danks is not arbitration-eligible for at least three years.
CBS to lose the pain …
CBS Sports telecasts of NFL games in the 2006 regular season will not include sideline reporters.
The network didn't use sideline reporters during the NCAA men's basketball tournament last season until the Final Four.
Zidane, the day after …
Zidane has yet to say anything publicly about the incident. But family members, in telephone interviews, said they believed the Italian defender Marco Materazzi had called Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, a terrorist.
“We think he either called him a terrorist or a son of Harkis,’’ said Mokhtar Haddad, one of Zidane’s cousins, who studied the pivotal scene on a big screen with friends and family in their home village, Aguemoune, 160 miles east of Algiers.
The Harkis reference is a term for Algerians who fought on the French side in Algeria’s war for independence, and it is a severe insult for someone with Zidane’s heritage.
“The insult went in that direction,’’ said Djamel Zidane, Zinédine’s brother, adding that Zidane was expected to call his family in Algeria on Monday evening or Tuesday to tell them exactly what had happened. “Otherwise he would not have reacted that way.’’
An anti-racist organization based in Paris, SOS Racism, issued a statement that said Zidane had apparently been called a “dirty terrorist” by Materazzi in the 109th minute. The group said it based its report on sources it did not name.
Materazzi denied making any such remark, according to the Italian news agency Ansa. “It is absolutely not true,” he was quoted as saying. “I did not call him a terrorist. I’m ignorant. I don’t even know what the word means.”
Wow. He called you a bad name? In that case, flush the entire World Cup hopes of your country down the toilet. Because names and stones will break my bones…
Zidane incident on youtube.com …
Today is the birthday show, although it is a month late. We are 7+ years old, today, so expect a show about the last year today...