From George to Fidel and seven in between

George Steinbrenner’s Legacy

  • After the 2010 interleague play, the American League holds an all-time series advantage of 1,808-1,652 and has finished with the better record in interleague play for 7 straight seasons, dating back to 2004.
  • An AL team has won the World Series in eight of the past 13 years.
  • An AL team has had or was tied for baseball’s best record eight times over the last 13 years.
  • The Yankees, Rays and Red Sox, the three best teams in baseball, have a combined 18 players on the AL All-Star roster
  • The AL’s unbeaten streak in the All-Star Game has reached 13 years, including winning the past seven in a row, in between there was Selig’s 2002 tie in Milwaukee.

To win in the American League, teams had to compete with the Yankees. They had to spend to improve their teams. They had to build farm systems to enable them fill their lineups or have material for trades. After years of mediocrity, the new ownership of the Boston Red Sox in 2004 committed themselves to competing and battling the Yankees 365 days a year making baseball more exciting, more fun, more compelling.

This is because George Steinbrenner spent money to win. You may object that the Yankees have more revenue and as a result have more means to purchase contracts, but you cannot object to Steinbrenner working within the existing framework of MLB to help his team win. Fans in Pittsburgh, Kansas City and at least 10 other cities cannot make that claim.

A league does not thrive without a successful franchise in New York. George Steinbrenner took a moribund franchise (you forget in the CBS ownership years, the Yankees were a mediocre team) and rebuilt its brand to higher and greater heights.

I have said before that Steinbrenner deserves to be in baseball’s Hall of Fame, I’m sorry it didn’t happen in his lifetime.

Taiwan on

Hong-Chih Kuo is the first All-Star from Taiwan in MLB history. The Dodger lefty reliever has a 3-1 record with a 0.99 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 12 Holds. Left-handers are 0-for-31 against Kuo this season.

This computes

A leading Taiwanese computer manufacturer, Micro Star International announced last week a one-year deal to promote computer products in the Unites States, including an all-in-one personal computer and a smaller netbook device branded with the Dodgers logo. As part of the deal, MSI provided the Dodgers with 200 new netbook computers for use by front-office staff and Dodgers players.

Quick quiz

What do Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Barry B*nds, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, and David Ortiz have in common?

They were all winners of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.  What were you thinking?!?

“It’s not crazy. It’s sports.”

ESPN has launched a branding campaign with the theme, “It’s not crazy. It’s sports.”

The first spot features the Goldklang Group’s Charleston River Dogs minor-league baseball club and focuses on how they use signs to communicate during a game.

I’m thinking about rolling out a spot entitled “Don’t pay your debts” featuring the Brockton Rox.

Walkoffs

There have been three All-Star walkoff homers: Ted Williams (1941), Stan Musial (1955) and Johnny Callison (1964).

Grand Slam

Only one grand slam in All-Star history and that was hit by Fred Lynn off Atlee Hammaker in the 1983 All-Star Game.

On this date in All-Star history

On July 13, 1960, Willie Mays, Ken Boyer and Eddie Mathews all homer. So does Stan Musial who hits his sixth and final All-Star homer. Vernon Law is the winning pitcher in the NL’s 6-0 win, the third shutout in All-Star Game history.

Hi, Fidel-ity

Today’s National Post reports on Fidel Castro‘s interview on Cuban television in which he says that he “thought the 2009 World Baseball Classic was rigged to allow the United States to avoid playing the best teams until late in the tournament. (Fidel was oddly fixated on that sporting event, which he portrayed as a clash between Asian industriousness and work ethic, Cuban moral superiority and American sloth and excess.)”