New Reality Series “Who Wants to Own the Dodgers?” on MLB Network

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April 21, 2011 1pm EST

Los Angeles, CA April 21 (Rooters)

The quest for a new operating officer for the Los Angeles Dodgers has begun.

On Wednesday, Dodgers owner, Frank McCourt, lost control of the struggling franchise amidst his very public divorce with estranged wife and former CEO of the team, Jaime McCourt.  With “deep concerns for the finances and operations,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced that he would be appointing a representative to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers.

In an effort to find this representative, while also generating revenue for the franchise, Selig announced a deal with the MLB Network to broadcast the search via a new reality series, “Who Wants to Own the Dodgers?”

In the vein of popular formats like American Idol and The Apprentice, the show will be a competition among 10 contestants vying for the coveted position of running the Dodgers organization.  Contestants will be put through grueling tasks (ie, driving to and from Chavez Ravine on game day) with 1 contestant being eliminated per show via voting from the general public.

The show will be hosted by former Dodger Mike Piazza, as no one else wanted the position, and quite frankly, Mike wasn’t doing anything else with his time.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted celebrities on the show or ordinary Joes” Selig explains, “so I opted for a mixture of both.”

After a screening process of 3 hours among tens of applicants, the final 10 were narrowed down to 8 ordinary Joes and 2 celebrities, Haley Joel Osment, most famous for his role as the creepy kid who sees ghosts in “The Sixth Sense” and Brian Wilson’s Beard.

With Brian Wilson’s Beard currently the only one holding down a job, it is not considered a favorite to win the competition.

“Who Wants to Own the Dodgers?” will begin airing Monday nights at 9pm ET.

Tampa Bay Rays to Move Franchise out of Florida

April 6, 2011 1PM EST

St. Petersburg, FL April 6 (Rooters) Despite winning the
American League Pennant in 2008, the Tampa
Bay Rays
have continued to struggle in gaining any true fan base within the
St. Petersburg area, home to Tropicana Field. 
With the continuous loss of revenue due in large part to lack of
attendance, the Rays have opted to move their franchise in 2012 to Brian Wilson’s beard, the All-Star closer for the San Francisco Giants.

Wilson has agreed to terms with The Tampa Bay front office
that will see the eccentric closer receiving 25% of all stadium revenue.  Funding for the construction of a new Stadium
(projected to be named, Fear the Beard Stadium) will be provided by Just For Men, best known for their
facial hair coloring products.

The choice in location was due in large part to the
popularity of Wilson’s Beard among the general public, its’ history of winning
as opposed to the Rays, and its’ ability to maintain more “likes” on its’
Facebook Fan Page.

“I love the idea,” said the All-Star closer, “since they are
an American League team, I see no conflicts of interests, unless it’s during
interleague play or the World Series.” 

Who would have home field advantage? “Well, I normally don’t
play in my beard, so, I would say the Rays, definitely,” explains Wilson,
“although I do talk to it quite often.”

“All I can really say is that I’m really excited, although I
wasn’t too happy with the location for the indoor parking garage.”

A new name for the franchise has yet to be determined.

Pujols Traded to the Yankees?

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By Fano Baseballo

New York, NY April 4 (Rooters)  In a stunning move made days after the start of the season, the New York Yankees have pulled the biggest trade of the season thus far.  The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to trade 1st Baseman, Albert Pujols to the Yankees for catching prospect Jesus Montero, pitching prospect Andrew Brackman, and two minor leaguers to be named later.

In a winter offseason where the Yankees failed to land top free agent pitcher, Cliff Lee, the Yankees remained relatively quiet in addressing their starting pitching needs.
With the free agent loss of Javier Vazquez and retirement of Andy Petitte, acquiring a starting pitcher to add to their rotation became top priority.

So why make this trade when the Yankees already have All-Star 1st Baseman Mark Texiera and still no solid 5th starter?

“Well, we plan on using Albert as our #5 starter in the rotation.” explains Brian Cashman, General Manager for New York, “Our tradition stipulates that we make big trades and pick-ups via free agency to address our needs, and this falls within that category.”

“We are well aware that Albert has never pitched a Major League game in his career.  Or minor career. Or, well, ever. But there is no question that he is the biggest name
out there.  We’ll work out the details later.”

Cashman goes on to explain, “The trade doesn’t have to make sense, and we have the resources to get the deal done.  I mean look at acquisitions of Kevin Brown, Nick Johnson, Carl Pavano…I mean the list goes on and on.”

“Well, I do prefer to hit in the 3 hole or clean-up, I mean, that’s what I’m good at, y’know,” explains Pujols, “If they want me to hit #5, that is fine by-…wait, what, not hit #5, pitch
#5?!?
……I guess I could…..Will I still get my $300 million contract next year?”

The Cardinals, after an offseason where a contract extension could not be worked out with the slugging 1st baseman, jumped at the chance when the Yankees proposed the trade.

“That clears up my payroll big time,” explains John Mozeliak, General Manager for St. Louis.

Pujols will make his pitching debut for New York against the Tampa Bay Rays , with New York remaining the favorite to win that game.

The Batting Cage: A Conversation with Joe West

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The umpiring world has recently moved into the spotlight marred by controversial calls and untraditionally vocal comments by players, managers, and umpires.  In the thick of it all is Joe West, president of the World Umpires Association.  After numerous calls from Mr. West’s publicist, we agreed to interview him.

FANO BASEBALLO: Hi Joe, thank you very much for sitting down with me to discuss the current state of officiating in Major League Baseball.  With all the recent controversial calls and debate on instant replay, it’s great to get a chance to speak to someone from the other side of the plate.

JOE WEST: You are very welcome, Fano.  Here, have an autographed CD.

Fano: Um, thanks.  Well, let’s jump right in shall we?  At the very beginning of the season, you made comments that the Red Sox and Yankees were “pathetic” for taking so long t—-

Joe: Speaking of taking long, is this interview going to take long?  I have a gig at 7pm that I have to go to.

Fano: Oh, sorry, I didn’t know you were scheduled for a game.  Which ga—

Joe: Game?  No, I’m performing at Rusty’s Crab Shack tonight.  131 Wilshire Blvd. Tickets available at the door or call 845-555-2356 for reserve seating.  Parking located at the Dunkin Donuts next door.

Fano: Ummm, okay.  Well, as I was saying, you made headlines–

Joe: Speaking of headlining, from November 15 through November 16, I’ll be performing a one man show at the Monroe Community Theatre, 475 State Route 17M, next to the K-Mart and the Grand Union.  For tickets, call 845-555-2356.

Fano: Right.  Well, as I was trying to say, the umpiring world has been scrutinized for questionable calls and acts.

Joe: I agree. A lot of umpires have been getting out of hand.  Not just umpires though, the fans are acting ridiculous, not to mention players.  Remember the whole A-Rod/Dallas Braden incident?

Fano: Well, yes.  Dallas Braden chastised A-Rod for breaking an unwritten rule, thus prompting Braden to create a line of bracelets, “WWJD” or “What Would Jeter Do?” in reference to how a player should act.

Joe:  Exactly.  That is why I have come out with “WWJWD” bracelets.  “What Would Joe West Do?” Basically, fans, players, other umpires can wear the bracelet and know that if they ever have a problem, just think about what I would do!

Fano:  Why on earth would-

Joe:  And if they order within the next 20 years, they will receive a free copy of my latest CD, Diamond Dreams!  Just call 845-555-2356 and mention promo code “Payattentiontome” The bracelet is normally $59.99, but they can get it for only $19.99 through this promotion!  Add in the CD, and that’s a $45 value!

Fano: That would mean the CD is only worth $5. And isn’t that your cell phone number?  Anyway, tha-

Joe:  I’ll be performing songs from the CD tonight!  You have to come! I can get you in at a 5% discount!  Please come. Please. 

Fano: Errr, I have to interview Stephan Strasburg later today, sorry.

Joe: Well, all right. Do you want to take my picture?

Fano: No………  Well,….bye?  You can go now.

Joe:  http://www.cowboyjoewest.com!

Fano: Just go.

Political Correctness wins over Cleveland

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May 19, 2010 8:00AM EST

By Fano Baseballo

(Cleveland, Ohio)   After years of debate on the political correctness of the team name for Cleveland’s baseball franchise, The Indians, the organization have agreed to change the team name to the Cleveland Midges.

Beginning with the 2011 season, Cleveland will officially phase out the Indians name and logo, and replace it with the Midges, with new uniforms and logos to be revealed at the end of the 2010 season.

Midges are small flying insects that were made famous during the 2007 ALDS series between the Indians and New York Yankees.  During the contest, the midges swarmed onto the field, disrupting the rhythm of relief pitcher, Joba Chamberlain.  The Indians went on to win that series, only to fall to the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS.

“We chose midges because, well, we have a lot of them.” says Indians President, Mark Shapiro.  “We did hold a contest with the fans to come up with a new name, but their suggestions were, well, less than stellar.”

Like what you may ask?

“The Cleveland Lifesavers” in honor of the candy

“The Cleveland Public Housing” One of the first cities to institute the program

“The Cleveland LeBron James” Another attempt to keep the famed basketball star in Ohio

“The Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame even though Abba is not aR&R group” was surprisingly submitted more than once.

Shapiro continues, “As you can see, we don’t have anything really going on here in Cleveland, so we decided to name the team after one of our prouder moments.”

“I think it’s a good change,” confirms Grady Sizemore, Indians outfielder, “the name is rather embarrassing and offensive, what are they changing the name too again? Wait, you mean they are keeping the Cleveland part?  If you ask me, that’s the part of the name they should get rid of, I’m actually okay with being called the Indians.”

Los Angeles Market Teams to Reduce Innings!

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April 26, 2010 8:00AM EST

By Fano Baseballo

(Anaheim, CA)   In a stunning move approved by Major League Baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, all games played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Angel Stadium in Anaheim will now run for only 8 innings. 

“Due to the early exit of “fans” in the Southern California market, and in conjunction with the hard economy befallen to the state, it has become fiscally sensible to close the stadiums early.” says Cal Jaggy, Director of Stadium Operations for Anaheim.

The cost of running a stadium for the 9th inning, from utilities to paying staff can add up to quite a bit, approximately $346,000 for the whole inning.  By cutting the 9th inning, each organization looks to save over $28million per year in stadium operations cost. 

The fact that there were no fans left after the 8th inning helped in making this decision even easier.  For the most part, the early departure from fans were said to be due to “beating traffic on the 5 freeway” and “having better things to do.”

“Granted, by keeping the stadium running for the 9th inning would help the local economy and state in utility and employment wage revenue, but keeping those lights on when there were nothing but empty seats just seemed wasteful from an organizational standpoint.” says Stadium Director for Los Angeles, G.F. Rivera.

“Well, it’s kind of good, I suppose, looking at it from an environmental standpoint,” comments Mike Scioscia, manager of the Angels, “and I get to go home early in time to catch Leno.”

“One less inning of (Manny) Ramirez will always be good in my book!” says Joe Torre, manager of the Dodgers.

For fans that did stay for the ninth inning, the clubs apologize for the inconvenience, and hope the fans continue to come to the stadium whenever their respective team is in town.

Dallas Braden to Start New Line of Bracelets!

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April 23, 2010 8:00AM EST

By Fano Baseballo

(Oakland, CA)   A’s pitcher Dallas Braden has respect for the game of baseball, and an even greater respect for players that follow the traditional “unwritten rules” of baseball.   On Thursday night against the visiting New York Yankees, Braden expressed just how much respect for these rules he has.

After rounding third on a Robinson Cano foul ball, Yankee 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez jogged across the pitcher’s mound returning to 1st base, disobeying what Braden maintains is one of baseball’s unwritten rules. 

“He should probably take a note from his captain over there and realize you don’t cross the pitcher’s mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind — being someone of such status.” 

The captain Braden referred to is Yankee Shortstop, Derek Jeter, considered one of the games most well respected players.  A dedicated leader, who has never been known to taint the game with controversy or show any signs of disrespect toward fellow players and fans,  Jeter continues to achieve a saintly status among the baseball community.

It is this admiration for Jeter that brought Braden to make such a comment, and thus, decide that more players should be following Jeter’s example.

Braden has begun production of “What Would Jeter Do?” Bracelets, and will begin selling them through MLB.com shops and his own personal website.   These bracelets are a reminder to players and fans alike to look upon Derek Jeter, and think before conducting oneself in any type of inappropriate behavior.

Featuring the familiar acronym “W. W. J. D” made famous by the “What Would Jesus Do” campaign, Braden hopes other players like Rodriguez will begin to look upon Jeter as he does, with admiration, respect, and guidance.

Braden has personally donated a supply of bracelets to Rodriguez, Seattle Mariner Milton Bradley, LA Dodger Manny Ramirez, and Pro Golfer Tiger Woods.

Casey at Bat: A Pitcher’s Perspective

With due respect for Ernest Thayer, original author of “Casey at Bat” and Foster Brooks, author of “Riley on the Mound”

My reimagining of this great, classic, baseball tale:

 

The outlook was looking very good for us that long afternoon;
With the score four to two in the bottom of the ninth, it would be over soon.
And then when Cooney and Barrows grounded out to first.
I could feel Mudville, the home crowd, hopes suddenly burst.

As a few fans got up to leave, sensing the ending was near,
Many others stayed, I assumed to finish their beer.
Unless of course they thought, they still had a chance;
or perhaps they wanted to see my famous victory dance.

As long as I didn’t have to face Casey, their elite power hitter;
I should get groundouts from Flynn or Jimmy Blake, using my splitter.
One groundout, fly out, strike out is all that I needed;
To ensure that the mighty Casey would remain only seated.

 I threw a hard splitter to Flynn; catching too much of the plate;

A single he hit up the middle, as he burst out of the gate.
I then threw a fastball to Jimmy, as he hit it for a double;

Now with Flynn at third, and Blake at second, I knew I was in trouble.

The crowd rose to their feet, and started to chant.
My heart started pounding, with my mouth beginning to pant.
The name “Casey” filled the stadium, and I looked where he had sat;
He was no longer there, for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to bat.

He strode up the plate, with a smile on his face and neither a care in his eyes
I gazed upon those gigantic arms, and those tree trunk-sized thighs.
As he tipped his cap to the crowd, still chanting his name,
Everyone knew at that moment, that this here was the game.

He picked up the dirt, and rubbed it in his hands,
Then rubbed it on his shirt, as thunderous roars echoed from the stands.
Grinding the ball into my hip, my well known nervous twitch,
Casey gave me the nod and a sneer, as he awaited my pitch.

I threw my best cutter, and it sailed through the air;
Casey gave a glance, and then a steely cold glare.
The ball caught the corner of the plate, an easily hittable ball;
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one!” was the umpire’s call.

The crowd disagreed, as they started to shout,
As if the unanimous decision went the wrong way, in a title fight bout
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” I heard one of the fans say,
But Casey raised his hand, and their anger faded away.

With the crowd now subsided, Casey signaled me to throw,

I hurled an errant straight fastball, to the left corner below
But as the ball easily went by him, I knew from that pitch;
He’s toying with me! He let it go by! That son of a …..gun!

A second strike now called, the crowd once again, irate
But Casey again silenced them, as if he steadied at the plate.
The look on his face, the determination in his stature
Mudville’s crowd knew at that moment, Casey would hit one out to pasture.

Casey eyes me down, no more lightness in his manner;
As he sets himself ready, and I oblige the fearless batter.
I throw another fastball, by the letters of his chest.
I saw Casey swing, but heard no crack from the game’s best.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
That town is not Mudville,  for I threw the mighty Casey, great Casey…..out.

 

Secret Letters: Joe Mauer

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Yankees Keep it Within the Family

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Feb 12, 8:00 am EST

By Fano Baseballo

New York, NY,  (Rueters)

In a stunning move in last minute trades, the New York Yankees traded away every free agent and trade acquired by the organization in order to return homegrown Yankee players back to the team.

“I was tired of this whole buying championships argument that kept getting thrown at me,” replied Brian Cashman, General Manager of the Yankees, “I told Hal and Hank (Steinbrenner) that I wanted to bring our boys home.”

The Steinbrenners, swayed by Cashman’s argument, agreed to trade away all non-homegrown Yankee players and to see if Joe Girardi, manager of the Yankees, could pull off another World Series win.

“Yes, I know we can repeat,” replied Joe, “I’m just sad to see some of our guys go, like Sergio (Mitre).”

In the trades, the Yankees lose such key marquee players like CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Texiera, AJ Burnett, Curtis Granderson, and, of course Mitre.

Returning to the Bronx, Yankee fans can see old favorites like Alfonso Soriano, Chien Mien Wang, Melky Cabrera, Phil Coke, Jeff Karstens, and Ian Kennedy.  Hideki Matsui, although considered a free agent, was allowed to return to the Yankees, as his status was that of a rookie when he joined the Yankees.

The trades have caused a shockwave of events throughout the baseball world.  Not to be outdone, all Major League clubs have followed suit and traded all players back to their original team.

Although, the Yankees are still favored to win the World Series, the Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates are now #2 and #3 respectively in power rankings.

Subsequently, the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and Cleveland Indians have filed for bankruptcy.

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