Thursday, May 30, 2013

An Interview with Cito Gaston and Bobby Cox 5/30/13

Hey baseball fans!

As you know, I just went to the Hall of Fame Classic and got to interview some of the greatest players and managers in baseball history. The two managers I briefly interviewed were Cito Gaston and Bobby Cox. Because the interviews were not filmed, I will tell you their answers to the two questions that I asked each one with a short bio about the two managers.

Bobby Cox had a short career as a player, playing from 1968-1969 with the Yankees. His love for the Yankees expands beyond the time he played with them, as he said to me that the one World Series-winning team that he would have enjoyed coaching would've been the 1927 Yankees. Cox began his managing with the Braves in '78 and continued with the team until 1982, in which he became the manager of the Blue Jays. He actually won the AL Manager of the Year Award, leading the Blue Jays to a 99-62 record, first in the AL East. That was his last year north of the border, as he became the manager of the Braves again in 1986.

As the 1990s came around, the Braves were not looking good, until they went worst to first in 1991 and won the NL pennant. They eventually lost the Fall Classic to the Twins in seven, but it was a sign of things to come. The next year, the Braves got to the big one again to face the Blue Jays, who were managed by... Cito Gaston! How funny is that? The Jays won that series, but the Braves won the '95 Series against the Indians, the first ring of Cox's career. Two more World Series losses to the Yankees in 1996 and 1999 followed, but Bobby established himself as one of the greatest managers in baseball history. Sadly, he could not manage Hank Aaron, who is Bobby's favorite Brave that he could not manage, according to Cox himself. Overall, Bobby retired in 2010 with four Manager of the Year Awards and a World Series ring. Now let me talk about the manager that Cox faced off against in the '92 Fall Classic.

Cito Gaston as well had an 11-year career as a player, playing with Padres, Braves, and Pirates from 1967-1978 (he was in the minors for 1968), but I'm focusing more on his managing career. He became the Blue Jays manager in 1989 and took the team on a roll into the 1990s. Against Cox in the 1992 Series, the Blue Jays soared, winning the title in six. The next year, the Jays were one of the best teams in baseball, but still acted as kids. In one game, Joe Carter and two of his teammates drove out rookie Derek Bell's jeep onto the field. Bell was shocked at first but laughed when he realized it was a prank. Gaston said that he did not know it was a prank at first as well, but started laughing when he saw Carter and his teammates in the car. The Blue Jays also won the 1993 Series over the Phillies in six, making the Jays the first team to go back-to-back in the World Series since the '77-'78 Yankees and Cito couldn't be happier. After the 1997 season, Cito took a break from baseball but came back to manage the Jays from 2008 until his retirement in 2010. Gaston did say that he would enjoy taking another Jays team to the top, but he is enjoying his retirement just as much as Cox.

Well, I hope you liked this style of an interview. Thanks for reading it and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Adventures at the Hall of Fame Classic 5/26/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just went up to the Hall of Fame because I had press credentials to attend the Hall of Fame Classic and I wanted to tell you about my trip.  In case you didn't know, the Hall of Fame Classic is a game played between former players (and some Hall of Famers) and managed by former managers. The press credentials were issued to me by Craig Muder, the Director of Communications at the HoF. Here is a complete rundown on my trip to Cooperstown, New York:

It was pouring rain when I got to the Hall on Friday with my dad. We went out to dinner with the Director of Education for the HoF, Jamilyn Cole, and her friend, Tony (a really good guy). She was telling me about what was going to happen on Saturday and how I would be able to interview the former players and managers.

The next day, my dad and I went to the Clark Center to get our press credentials, but it was still rain very hard. After that, we went directly to the Hall to hear an interview at 10AM with the two managers, Bobby Cox and Cito Gaston. They both had some very cool stories. At about eleven, I went back to the Clark Center for the interviews and also I heard that the Hall of Fame Classic baseball game was cancelled. Nonetheless, about a half an hour later, I got to interview some former players, including Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, and Phil Niekro! I also interviewed HoF President Jeff Idelson (a really nice guy who I've interviewed in the past), plus Will Clark, Jim Leyritz and Dennis Rasmussen.

The HoF asked me to be a junior reporter, so I had a microphone and all of my interviews were filmed by Roger Lansing, the Manager of Muti-Media Production at the HoF, who was very friendly and helpful. Ultimately, all of the players were awesome. Even the Hall of Famers were exceptionally nice. What was really cool was that Rickey Henderson said these words to me: "Keep it up, Matt. You are doing a great job." That really warmed my heart. Note that I'm going to be posting all of the video interviews in future blog posts.

After the interviews, it was time for a meet and greet at the Hall of Fame for the fans to meet the players. I actually got a knuckles fist bump from Phil Niekro (also known as "Knucksie"), which was awesome, considering he is famous for his knuckleball. I also got in some trivia in a game of "So You Think You Know Baseball", which was hosted by Jamilyn. The questions were surprisingly hard and I had trouble with a lot of them. I also got to speak with Cox and Gaston personally and asked each of them a couple of questions. They were both really nice and I'm glad I got to talk to them. As you may know, Gaston managed the winning team in my favorite World Series, the 1993 Jays-Phillies one.

At about four o'clock, my dad and I went to Sal's Pizzeria. While I was eating, a kid named Nick Dennison and his father came over to me, and Nick asked to take a picture with me. I didn't know why he wanted to take a picture with me, but he told me that he recognized me from my appearance on MLB Hot Stove. My first actual fan! Nick was super cool and I can't thank him enough for being the first person to recognize me. Here's a picture of us.

After a quick pit stop at the Cooper Inn, the bed and breakfast where my dad and I were staying, we went to the Cooperstown Diner for some grilled cheese and I got recognized again!! I was in such shock, but it was so cool. After dinner, it was off to the Hall once again for a Night at the Museum, where I got to talk some more with Rickey and Goose and took a picture with them and my dad. I got in some more trivia afterwards and, wouldn't you know it, I got recognized for a third time! What a CRAZY, FANTASTIC, AMAZING weekend!

Overall, I loved my experience at the Hall of Fame. Although the game was cancelled, it was awesome  meeting all of the former players, managers, and Hall of Famers. I hope that I can go again next year, but I will have to see.

Well, thanks for reading this post and I hoped you enjoyed it. I hope that anyone who went to Cooperstown enjoyed their time there as much as I did, and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Top Five Red Sox Hall of Famers of All Time 5/23/13

Hey baseball fans!

In case you don't know, I'm a huge Yankees fan. That means that I am literally forced to hate the Red Sox. However, I don't hate some of the Sox's past players. In fact, by the end of this post, you will know my top five favorite Red Sox Hall of Famers of all time, starting with number five.

Number Five: Ted Williams
Why? Ted was a great player, in fact sometimes he's considered the "greatest player that ever lived." He would be higher on this list if he hadn't done some of his better hitting against the Yankees. However, he hit well off every team, considering he batted .344 lifetime. He was a great player, just not good enough to get to the top spot on this list.

Number Four: Tris Speaker
Why? The Grey Eagle was one of the greatest players of all time. The best part was that he was in his prime when the Yankees were the laughingstock of the American League! Anyway, the 3,000+ hit club member batted .345 lifetime, won two Fall Classics with Boston and became a great manager as well.

Number Three: Jim Rice
Why? For one thing, Rice didn't pummel the Yankees every chance he got, but he was still a great player and is in the Hall because of it. The eight-time All Star outfielder was a two-time AL Champion for the Sox, but never won a World Series, because he played in the midst of the Curse of the Bambino, which was ironically started by a guy who went from the Sox to the Yankees. Anyway, the 350+ homer club member may not have been the best that there was, but he isn't in the number three slot on this list for nothing.

Number Two: Carl Yastrzemski
Why? Besides being the only Triple Crown winner with a last name consisting of ten of more letters, Yaz is one of the best all around hitters of all time. With 3,000+ hits and 450+ homers, Carl was one of the best players of his era in the Majors. To top it off, he went to 18 All Star Games! That's amazing, if your last name isn't Aaron or Mays.

Number One: Carlton Fisk
Why? I know you are probably thinking, "Why not Cy Young?" Well, if you check back to my Dream Team, you will see that Fisk is my favorite catcher of all time. To go along with that, the 11-time All Star won Game Six of the '75 World Series with a dramatic homer and hit 376 homers. He also had to survive the wear and tear of kneeling behind home plate for 20 years, so you got to give him some credit.

Well, that's my list. If you have a comment about it, comment about it in the comment section down below. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

NJBM Kids' Hot Korner: Sam McDowell 5/18/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just put up my latest post in the Kids' Hot Korner section of New Jersey Baseball Magazine. This one is about Sam McDowell, a pitcher on the Indians in the 1960's and 1970's. If you want to read more about Sam, just click here.

Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, May 17, 2013

An Interview with Yankees Reporter Ken Davidoff 5/17/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have a really cool interview for you today! It's with BBWAA member, Ken Davidoff! "Ken Davidoff?" you ask. "Who is Ken Davidoff?" Well, if you read the following paragraph and interview, you will find out.

Ken has been a member of the BBWAA since May 2001 (and was even its President).  He now writes for the New York Post and before that was at Newsday for over ten years. The Michigan Wolverine has written all about baseball, but mostly covers the Yankees, a topic that I am all too familiar with. Anyway, Ken has also produced at WCBS Radio and has interned at CBS News, but he does not currently work in those businesses.

Well, that's all the info about Ken, so let's get to the interview.

Matt: What sports did you play and watch as a kid?
Ken: As a kid, I played organized baseball and soccer, but also loved bowling. I watched all the American sports, from baseball to football to basketball to hockey.

Matt: When did you start realizing that you wanted to write about baseball?
Ken: Probably when I was about seven or eight. I would read all the articles about sports in the Star Ledger and I would even write articles on the Yankees with my grandma's typewriter.

Matt: From the time that you’ve covered the Yankees, who has been the most exciting Yankee player to watch/write about?
Ken: Hands down it's got to be Mariano Rivera. His consistency on the mound and his courtesy to others makes him one of the coolest people I have ever met.

Matt: What do you think is the best Yankees team of all time?
Ken: I'm gonna have to go with the 1961 Yankees. They were a stacked team, with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris duking it out in the home run race and Whitey Ford on the mound.

Matt: Who do you think belongs in the Hall of Fame that currently isn’t from all time retired players?
Ken: Guys not on the ballot, but who I think should be in the Hall, are Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker and Willie Randolph.  I vote for Edgar Martinez, and Larry Walker. Some other people who deserve to be in are Kenny Lofton and Kevin Brown.

Matt: Which Hall of Fame Yankee has the best nickname?
Ken: I will have to go with Jim "Catfish" Hunter"

Matt: Right now in baseball, who would you vote for to win the MVP and Cy Young Awards?
Ken: In the AL, Robinson Cano should win MVP and Carlos Gomez in the NL. For the Cy Young Award, I will have to go with Matt Harvey for the NL and Matt Moore in the AL.

Matt: What’s the funniest or weirdest story in baseball that has happened to you in your career?
Ken: In 2001, there was a pitcher on the Yankees named Brian Boehringer. I asked him if I could ask him some questions in Spring training and he said that he wasn't doing any interviews for the whole year, and I had no idea why. Midseason, he gets traded to the Giants and the Giants play the Mets at Shea Stadium, a game I had to cover. So I go into the Giants clubhouse and I see Brian doing an interview and I said to him, "What the heck, man? I thought you said no interviews?" And he says to me, "I swear, this is my first one all year!" I got a kick out of that.

Matt: If you could’ve met Babe Ruth, what questions would you ask him?
Ken: I would ask him about his childhood because not much is known about it.

Matt: If you could add one non-Yankee pitcher and hitter from baseball history to the current Yankees roster, who would they be?
Ken: The hitter would be Barry Bonds because I think he is one of the greatest hitters of all time and the pitcher would be Christy Mathewson because he had a very successful career.

Well, that's the interview. Thanks a lot to Ken for agreeing to let me interview him. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Virtual World of Duke Snider III 5/15/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today I have something a little different to share with you. As you know, I am a teenager and, as a teenager, I enjoy playing video games. There is this one video game on the PlayStation3 called: "MLB 13: The Show", which is a realistic baseball game where you have the option to also create your own players. I actually created a guy in the game and I thought it would be fun to share it with you.

The player I created, Duke Snider III (the imaginary grandson of Dodgers legend Duke Snider) was drafted by the Brewers in the 2012 MLB Draft as a homer-hitting switch-hitting first baseman. He played the 2013 season with the Brew Crew's Double-A affiliate, the Huntsville Stars. He was brought up for the 2014 season to Milwaukee, not having to play a single game in Triple-A. In his rookie year, he had 46 homers, 112 RBIs, and batted .309 to take home the NL Rookie of the Year. He got a taste of postseason ball in 2016, in which he batted .290, hit 48 homers and drove in 138 RBIs to win the NL MVP Award and eventually won Playoffs MVP and the World Series against the Royals in seven.

After the end of that season, he was traded to the Texas Rangers. He had a great season in 2017, selected to start in his first All Star Game and winning the Home Run Derby in Cincinnati. Duke led Texas to the World Series with the help of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer and eventually took out the Rockies in six. 2018 was a season filled with sorrow, as the Rangers lost the ALCS to the Royals, who went on to win the Fall Classic. However, in 2019, Duke had possibly his best year ever, winning the AL MVP Award, batting .336 with 50 homers and 148 RBI and won his first Silver Slugger at first base. He became the first player since Frank Robinson to win the MVP Award in both leagues. Sadly, the Rangers finished out of the playoffs.

The Rangers did not sign Snider for the 2020 season, so he became a free agent. He ended up teaming up with Stephen Strasburg, signing with the Red Sox, but the team didn't do well that year. However, Duke won his first Gold Glove at first and won the AL MVP again batting .339 with 50 homers and 153 RBIs. In 2021, the Red Sox bounced back, with Duke hitting .344 with 45 homers and 156 RBIs. Boston got to the World Series to face none other than the Brewers, who made it to the Fall Classic with the worst record for a team to make the Fall Classic in baseball history, at 80-82. Surprisingly, the Sox who were down in the Series three games to none become the first team to come back from that deficit in World Series play! And it was all because of Duke Snider III, who won Playoff and World Series MVP.

In eight seasons so far, Duke has batted .322 with 357 homers and 1,038 RBIs. His career is long from over, so he will probably get into the Hall, just like his grandpa. For now, he is on top of the world, because his team has just won the World Series!

I hope you liked this different post. I had fun writing it and I hope to do at least one more in the future. Well, check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Interview with Mets GM Sandy Alderson LIVE!!!!! 5/11/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have another interview for you! It is with Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson! I actually got to interview him live at his office in Citi Field and the video of the interview is on YouTube! So, please click here to see me interview Sandy.

However, I'm not sure that you all know about Sandy's history, so read the following paragraph in order to learn a few things about the mentor to Billy Beane.

Sandy was the son of an Air Force pilot who flew planes during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Sandy himself joined the Marines and also served in Vietnam, like his father. He went on to Dartmouth College and then Harvard Law School. After law school, he worked for a law firm in San Francisco, California. Roy Eisenhardt, one of his bosses, left to become president of the Oakland Athletics and in 1983 Sandy joined him to become the team's general manager until 1997. Sandy almost completely revamped the A's minor league system, which produced back-to-back-to-back Rookies of the Year in Jose Canseco (1986) (who was in the system before Sandy joined the team), and Mark McGwire (1987) and Walt Weiss (1988). The Athletics won three pennants and the 1989 World Series during Alderson's tenure, a four game sweep of the Giants. In 1995, because of cost cutting, Alderson began using sabermetric principles, which was basically using all sorts of mathematical calculations to find undervalued players to make a winning team. He also helped introduce Billy Beane (who is written about in the book "Moneyball") to these ideas. Alderson left the A's to work for the MLB Commissioner’s office, where he served as Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations from 1998-2005. Sandy then became CEO of the San Diego Padres from 2005-2009, leading the team to back-to-back division titles in '05 and '06. Finally, Alderson was hired by the New York Mets before 2011 to replace Omar Minaya as their general manager .

Well, that's all you need to know about Sandy Alderson. Make sure you watch the interview. It's really good and I thank you for watching it and hope you enjoy it. I also want to give a big shout-out to Sandy Alderson for being such a great sport in doing the interview, plus I want to thank June Napoli, Sandy's assistant, for helping to arrange it, and also Seward & Kissel litigation partner Dale Christensen, Sandy's college buddy, for introducing me to Sandy.

And as always, please check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Bird in the Hall of Fame? 5/8/13

Hey baseball fans!

Remember in my Gary Carter post where I said to stalk my blog like a hawk for new posts? Well, the reason I said that was because I was making a reference to another Expo Hall of Famer, Andre Dawson!

Andre "The Hawk" (got his nickname because his uncle said that he attacked ground balls like a hawk at a very young age). Dawson, ended his 21-year major league career with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and Marlins from 1976-1996 with a .279 lifetime batting average, 438 career home runs, 314 stolen bases, and 1,591 RBIs. Known for his outstanding defense in center field and right field, the eight-time Gold Glove Award winner won NL Rookie of the Year with Montreal in '77 and NL MVP in 1987 with Chicago. The eight-time All Star actually underwent 12 knee surgeries during his career, making him the modern-day Mickey Mantle: got injured a lot and still put up great stats. He is just the second of four players (along with Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez) to be part of the 400HR/300SB club. He was elected into Cooperstown in 2010.

Overall, Andre is one of the greatest players in history and probably the best Expo outfielder of all time. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco DiMaggio!!!!!! 5/5/13

Hey baseball fans!

At the end of my movie review of "42", I forgot to wish you all a happy Cinco DiMaggio!!! I know what you are thinking, "What in the world is Cinco DiMaggio?" It's pretty simple: it is a holiday made up by me that honors the great Yankee, Joe DiMaggio. Why is it on May 5th, you ask? Well, that's pretty simple, too: Joe's record-setting 56-game hitting streak started in May and he wore the number five.

So, remember that today is Cinco DiMaggio for the rest of your lives. I know you aren't all Yankee fans like me, but celebrate it just for me. If you don't want to celebrate it, maybe these Cinco DiMaggio customs that I've come up with will persuade you to celebrate this great holiday:
  • Eat a spaghetti and meatball dinner with 56 noodles and five meatballs (Joe was Italian)
  • Watch a video with Marilyn Monroe in it (Joe married this famous actress)
  • At precisely 11:25 at night (Joe was born on November 25) make five seal noises so that you will receive a nail clipper under your pillow (Joe's nickname was the Yankee Clipper) from the Great Bay Seal (Joe started his career with the minor league San Francisco Seals) when you wake up the next morning

So, I hope you do these three simple tasks so that you may properly celebrate Cinco DiMaggio. Remember, I made this holiday up, so don't think that the baseball gods will smite you if you don't celebrate it. Anyway, check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

My First Ever Movie Review 5/5/13

Hey baseball fans!

I'm sure you've all heard about the movie "42" that recently came out in theaters. Well, I decided to do a movie review of it!

The movie "42: The True Story of an American Legend" is the story of how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and joined the major leagues, the first black man to do so. (To learn more about Jackie Robinson, just click here.) The stars of the movie were Jackie Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman), and Branch Rickey, the owner of the Dodgers at the time (played by Harrison Ford). In the movie, Jackie overcomes adversity when he becomes the first African-American ballplayer in the MLB after he gets signed by Rickey. He is brought up to The Show in 1947 and a lot of people don't really like him because of the color of his skin, including Phillies manager Ben Chapman, who was very mean to Jackie. However, as the movie continues, the hate starts to turn into respect as people like Chapman and other players realize that Jackie is as good, if not better at baseball than them. In the movie and in real life, Jackie marries his college sweetheart, Rachel, the Dodgers win the National League pennant, and Robinson wins the first ever Rookie of the Year Award.

The movie provided some amazing special effects, as ballparks such as the Polo Grounds (Giants) Ebbets Field (Dodgers) and Forbes Field (Pirates) all looked so realistic. Also, every time a ball came out of the pitcher's hand, the camera view was as if the audience was the catcher, so I was bracing myself from getting hit with the ball. The movie wasn't even in 3D and I was scared out of my pants from getting beaned!

All in all, it was a great movie and if you haven't seen it, you really should. Well, I hope you enjoyed this movie review. Thanks for reading it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Inventor of the Moonshot 5/2/13

Hey baseball fans!

Matt Nadel here of Baseball with Matt with some more on the history of America’s Pastime. Now I know that at least some of you have heard of the great quarterback in the NFL, Warren Moon. However, have you ever heard of Wally Moon (no relation)? At first, I had never heard of the guy, but I looked up his stats and although he had a short career, he was a heck of a hitter.

Wallace Wade Moon played from 1954-1965 with the Cardinals and Dodgers. In his twelve-year career, he hit 142 homers, drove in 661 runs, and batted .289 lifetime. The Rookie of the Year winner in 1954 also went to three All Star Games and considering that the NL outfield for the All Star Games of that time were dominated by Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto ClementeWillie McCovey, and Frank Robinson, I’d say that three All Star Game appearances is very good for Moon. Anyway, the teams he played for won two World Series, the Dodgers in 1959 and 1965 (the Dodgers also won in 1963, but Wally wasn't in the lineup for that Fall Classic). In those series, Wally went 6-27 with a homer and two RBI. Fun fact about Moon: he invented the term “moonshot”, when his titanic homers were called that by announcers and newspapers.

Well, even though he didn’t have that long of a career and doesn’t look to be going into the Hall any time soon, Wally was a great ballplayer at a time of great NL outfielders. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. (Note that I originally posted this for Big Leagues Magazine, a really great online magazine that I write for. Hope you check it out.) I want to give a special shout-out to my dad's friend, Howard Altman, a very famous accountant, for telling me all about Wally. I hope you enjoyed it and check back next time for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

P.S. - In case you missed it, I appeared last night at 8:30PM on SportsRantz Radio on the show Hump Day with That Sports Chick. I was on for about a half hour and the hosts Robyn Vandenberg and Tom Murphy were really nice. If you want to hear it, just click here (I come on at about 31:25 into it).