Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Interview with Andrew Mele, Author of The Boys of Brooklyn 8/31/13

Hey baseball fans!

I recently had the honor of interviewing Andrew Mele, the author of the book, The Boys of Brooklyn. The book is about how baseball was very important to Brooklynites back in the days of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider. It explains how a lot of baseball players from Brooklyn played in a park called the Parade Grounds, a park that hosted many baseball games for kids of all ages. Anyway, it was a great book and a really fun, interesting read. If you would like to see the interview on my YouTube channel, just click here. And I hope you check out the book too.

Thanks for watching the interview. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, August 30, 2013

ML"what would"B: What if the Red Sox Lost the 2004 ALCS? 8/30/13

Hey baseball fans!

I just put up another ML"what would"B post on More Than a Fan. In every ML"what would"B alternative history post, I discuss what would have happened if a famous event in baseball history had gone differently than it did in reality. For my latest post, I wrote what would have happened if the Red Sox had not reversed the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. If you want to know the answer, just click here.

Hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

An Interview with MLB Commissioner Selig 8/22/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today I have a very special interview for you. One of my biggest ones yet. It's with a very famous baseball figure and someone who I am very honored to have interviewed via email. He used to be the owner of the Brewers, but he is currently the Commissioner of Major League Baseball: Allan H. "Bud" Selig! But before I get to the interview, let me tell you a little bit about him.

Bud Selig was born on July 30, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He is the ninth Commissioner of Major League Baseball, having served since 1992 as the acting Commissioner, and as the official Commissioner since 1998. Before that time, he owned the Milwaukee Brewers, buying the Seattle Pilots from bankruptcy, moving them to Milwaukee from Seattle in 1970, and then renaming them the Brewers. Eventually, Selig's family sold the team to Mark Attanasio in 2004. There is  even a statue of Mr. Selig outside of Miller Park, home of the Brewers, currently. During his time as Commissioner, whether official or not, Selig guided baseball through the 1994 baseball strike, the creation of the wild card for the playoffs, and the creation of inter-league play. He was one of the few people to help in the organization of the first World Baseball Classic in 2006. Jerome Holtzman, MLB's official historian from 1999 until his death in 2008, believed Selig to be the best commissioner in baseball history. Well, that's all the basics about Selig. Now let's get to the interview.

Matt: You've been involved with MLB for many years as an owner and as the Commissioner. What are the top three baseball events that you witnessed live? What three events in baseball history would you have liked to have witnessed?
Commissioner Selig: Events that I've witnessed live: In 1982, the Brewers winning the American League Pennant in a thrilling game against the Angels in Game Five of that series. Cal Ripken's record-breaking game on September 6, 1995 in Baltimore was really historic and very unique. Henry Aaron hitting a home run in September of 1957 to win the National League Pennant for the Milwaukee Braves. I was just a young man at that time and it made an enormous impression on me. Events that I would have like to have witnessed live: Bobby Thomson's dramatic home run - the Shot Heard Around the World, Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956 and Henry Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's record in 1974. I saw it on television but, unfortunately, as close as Henry and I are, I missed that historic baseball event in person.

Matt: Since your tenure as Commissioner is going to end soon, what do you plan on doing with all of your free time?
Commissioner Selig: I do not know about having free time but I do intend to teach at Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and also Arizona State University. I do also intend to write a book and all of this will keep me very busy and I am looking forward to it.

Matt: Do you ever get together with the commissioners of the NBA, NFL and NHL? If so, what do you talk about, and do you ever give each other suggestions?
Commissioner Selig: The commissioners of the various professional sports do get together. I would say to you that we enjoy each other's company and I have a most enjoyable relationship with all of them. We really do not make suggestions to each other as each league has a unique set of issues to deal with.

Matt: Excluding people living today, if you could pick anyone in all of world history to be the next MLB Commissioner, who would it be and why?
Commissioner Selig: We will eventually select my successor but I really would not like to get into this directly because the proper individuals will select the next Commissioner of Baseball in due time.

Matt: I started my blog about baseball history because I was finding that most of my friends knew very little about it and weren't really interested in it. Do you have any suggestions on how to increase baseball history interest in kids today?
Commissioner Selig: Baseball history is unique and extraordinarily special and I agree that the kids of today should have an interest in it because it is the greatest teacher about our game and life in general. I would encourage them to watch many of the great historical baseball movies and read some of the enormous amount of books on the topic of baseball that are just fascinating.

Matt: When you owned the Brewers, if you could have added any one hitter and one pitcher from MLB history onto your team, who would it have been?
Commissioner Selig: If I could have added one hitter when I owned the Brewers it would have been the great Ted Williams who I consider to be the greatest hitter in baseball history and the pitcher I would have added would have been Sandy Koufax who for seven or eight years just dominated the game of baseball from the mound.

Well, that's the interview. A big thank you to Commissioner Selig for answering all of my questions. And a shout out to Robert Manfred for helping me arrange this interview. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Interview with Hal Steinbrenner 8/20/13

Hey baseball fans!

As many of you know, I am a die-hard Yankees fan, which would explain why I am so honored to have interviewed the man you are about to read about in the following paragraph. He has also been a lifelong Yankees fan, probably because of what his father did for a living. He currently co-owns the Yankees with the rest of his family: Mr. Hal Steinbrenner!

Hal was born on December 3, 1969 to George and Elizabeth Steinbrenner. In case you didn't know, George was the owner and the "Boss" of the New York Yankees from 1973 until his passing in 2010. Anyway, Hal graduated from Williams College in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and he received a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida in 1994. Starting in 2007, George gradually gave more and more control of the Yankees to Hal and his brother, Hank, because of George's health. On July 13, 2010, the Boss passed away, and Hal eventually took over as principal owner, Managing General Partner and co-Chariman of the Yankees.  Well, that's all there is to know about Hal. Now let's get to the interview.

Matt: If you could've ever added a non-Yankees pitcher or non-Yankees hitter from all of baseball history onto the Yanks, who would it be and why?
Hal: It would be a tossup between Nolan Ryan and Mike Schmidt. I had a tremendous amount of respect for both players growing up. Both were talented and tough.

Matt: Can you please tell us one thing about your dad, George Steinbrenner, that few people know?
Hal: He loved music. At Culver Military Academy, he was in the band and Glee club. He loved to play the organ. [Note from Matt: check out the cool picture I found of George at Culver]

Matt: What is the favorite memento that you own from the old Yankee Stadium?
Hal: The large glove chair that was in my dad's office.

Matt: Of all the Yankees' World Series championships in the pre-Steinbrenner era, if you could've been witness to any, which one would you have liked to have seen?
Hal: The 1927 World Series to see Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig together in action.

Matt: What's your fondest clubhouse memory as a kid when your dad ran the Yankees?
Hal: The 1977 World Series after we won game 6, which was the first World Series win owning the team.

Well, that's the interview. Special thanks to Hal Steinbrenner for answering all of my questions. And a shout out to Jenette Sibayan for helping me arrange the interview. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading it and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."  I have another very big interview up next !!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Top Five Hall of Fame Hitters without a Ring 8/19/13

Hey baseball fans!

It's always a player's dream to win a World Series. However, a lot of ballplayers never get a ring. Even some Hall of Famers have never won a World Series. With that, I give you my top five Hall of Fame hitters who never won a World Series ring and deserved one.

Number Five: Carlton Fisk
Why? Besides being my favorite catcher of all time and appearing on a lot of lists on Baseball with Matt, Fisk was a great player. It's just too bad how he played in the middle of the Curse of the Bambino in Boston and the 87-year title drought in Chicago. I mean, if you hit a game-winning homer to send a Fall Classic to Game Seven, which he did (a twelfth inning homer in Game Six of '75 against Cinci), you deserve a ring!

Number Four: Robin Yount
Why? Yount played on the Brew Crew for his entire career, and they weren't very good. The 3,000 hit club member did make it to the '82 Series with Milwaukee against St. Louis, but the Cards won in seven games.

Number Three: Tony Gwynn
Why? Another member of the 3,000 hits club, Mr. Padre played on (as you could have guessed) the Pads for his entire career. San Diego made it to the 1984 and 1998 Fall Classics, but was smothered by the Tigers and Yankees, respectively. Because of his greatness, Gwynn deserved a ring.

Number Two: Ernie Banks
Why? To put it simply, he played on the Cubs. They haven't won a World Series since 1908 and haven't been to one since 1945. So why did I not include other Cubs Hall of Famers on this list? I think that the 500 homer run club member is the most deserving of having a ring out of anyone to have played in the Cubs' organization and if I included other Cubs Hall of Famers, this list would be more than five players.

Number One: Harmon Killebrew
Why? Killebrew, playing on the Twins during his entire career and only making the 1965 World Series, a loss to the Dodgers, hit more homers than any other home run hitter on this list. Also, he is definitely one of the greats in baseball and definitely should have gotten a ring when he played with Rod Carew,  Tony Oliva, and the rest of those great Twins teams.

So, as you can see, even some of the greatest Hall of Famers have never gotten a World Series ring. Hall of Famers shouldn't be measured by how many rings they have. They should be measured by how well they did on the diamond. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. If you have a list of your own, send me a comment. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, August 17, 2013

NJBM Kids' Hot Korner: Ryne Sandberg 8/17/13

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 Ryne Sandberg, the Cubs Hall of Famer. If you want to read more about Ryne, just click here.

I hope you enjoy that article and thanks for reading it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Trip to the Bay 8/16/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have something a bit different for you today, my first ever video-blog or "vlog!"  For about the last week, I was in San Francisco, California on vacation with my family. I had a lot of fun, especially when I went to AT&T Park last Sunday to see the Giants host the Orioles. If you want, you can even see my trip to AT&T Park by clicking here. It's pretty interesting. I hope you enjoy the video and check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."  Since it's my first vlog, I would greatly appreciate any comments you may have.

Friday, August 9, 2013

An Interview with Billy Crystal 8/9/13

Hey baseball fans!

I have a really cool interview for you today. This is my first ever actor interview, and it's someone that I am very honored to have interviewed, Billy Crystal! Before I get to the interview, let me tell you a little bit about this great actor.

William Edward "Billy" Crystal was born on March 14, 1948 in Manhattan, NY. He is an actor, writer, producer, comedian, director, and a really huge baseball fan. He started his career appearing in comedy clubs and eventually got onto the television comedy called Soap. During the 1980s and 1990s, he became very popular in movies, appearing in movies such as "When Harry Met Sally" and "City Slickers". He has hosted the Academy Awards nine times, most recently at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012. Billy is probably most famous to children for being the voice of Mike Wazowski in the movies Monsters Inc. and Monsters University, both really fun animated films. The last movie he was in (besides MU) was a movie called Parental Guidance, where he is an inexperienced grandpa who has been dreaming of being an announcer for the Giants. Like I said before, Crystal is a huge baseball fan. He even directed the movie 61* about Roger Maris!! He grew up in a time when NYC had three teams, but he was a Yankee fan. More specifically, Billy loved Mickey Mantle and became good friends with the slugger until his death in 1995. Billy actually used to co-own the Diamondbacks when they beat his lovable Yankees in the 2001 World Series. But he made amends, because he acted as a DH for the Yanks in a spring training game in 2008 in honor of his 60th birthday (and struck out). Holy cow Scooter!! Well, that sums up Billy Crystal, so let's get to the interview.

Matt: What sports did you play/watch as a kid?
Billy: When I was growing up I watched baseball, the Yankees of course were my favorites, though I also watched the New York Giants with Willie Mays and the Brooklyn Dodgers with Jackie Robinson. Can you imagine three teams in one city? I also loved to watch the Knicks, and the New York Football Giants who played their games in Yankee Stadium.

Matt: If you could have been part of one World Series winning team as a player, which team would you choose?
Billy: I would say the 1961 Yankees, because that would make me a teammate of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra.

Matt: If you owned the Yankees right now, which non-Yankee pitcher and non-Yankee hitter from baseball history would you add to the roster?
Billy: Hmmm, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays.

Matt: What position do you think Mike Wazowski would excel at on the diamond and why?
Billy: Mike wouldn’t play, but he’d be a great manager, because he is a motivator and what umpire would want to argue with him? Plus you know he’d always have his eye on the game.

Matt: What position do you think Barker, your grandson in your movie, Parental Guidance, would excel at on the diamond and why?
Billy: Barker, my grandson from the movie Parental Guidance, would make a great pinch runner, because if you remember I could never catch him.

[Note from Matt: Billy is so into baseball, that he even has his own bobblehead doll!! How cool is that!]

Matt: What are your top five favorite baseball movies, not counting the ones you were in?
Billy: The Natural, Field of Dreams, Pride of the Yankees, Bull Durham and sorry but I have to include 61* which I directed.

Matt: If you played for the Yankees, what would your nickname be?
Billy: I would be known as "The Brute."

Matt: Since you've always wanted to be a baseball player, do you think there are any baseball players who would be good actors?
Billy: There are a lot of ballplayers who would be good actors, just watch them when they try to show an umpire they were hit by a pitch when they weren’t.

Well, that's the interview. A huge thank you to Billy Crystal for answering all of my questions. And a shout-out to Kia Hellman for helping to arrange it. 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."

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Baseball Interview with President George W. Bush 8/5/13

Hey baseball fans!

Today I have a very special interview for you.  Probably my biggest one yet. It's with a very famous political figure in American history and someone who I am very honored to have interviewed via email. He used to be the President of the United States, and actually co-owned the Texas Rangers for some time. Before I get to the interview, I will do a short bio on the former President.

George Walker Bush was born on July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut as the oldest child to former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. He graduated from Yale University in 1968, served in the Texas Air National Guard until 1974 and then graduated from Harvard Business School in 1975. He worked in the oil business for a while and, in April 1989, he bought a share of the Texas Rangers, where he acted as the managing general partner for five years. In 1994, while his brother Jeb was running for Governor of Florida, Mr. Bush ran for Governor of Texas. Mr. Bush won the election, and was the 46th Governor of Texas from January 1995 until December 2000, when something a little more important happened. To sum up this important occasion, Mr. Bush, a member of the Republican Party, was elected the 43rd President of the United States of America in 2000. President Bush was the second President to have been the son of a former President. The first Presidential son was John Quincy Adams, the sixth President. President Bush was President from 2001 to 2009, and is often remembered for helping the country after the 9/11 attacks. Today, President Bush resides mainly in Texas with his wife, Laura. He does a lot of charitable work, including with his dad and former President Bill Clinton. In short, besides being a really big baseball fan (which is obviously very important to me), President Bush has done an awful lot to help this country throughout his life.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, here is an exclusive interview about baseball with President George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States of America:

Matt: When you owned the Texas Rangers, if you could’ve added any non-Rangers pitcher and hitter from all of baseball history onto the team, who would it have been and why?
President Bush: For my pitcher, I would have added Sandy Koufax because of his tenacity, power and intelligence. For my hitter, I would have added Willie Mays for his speed, powerful arm and charisma.

Matt: If you could’ve attended any baseball game in history, which one would it have been?
President Bush: Don Larsen's perfect game for the Yankees in Game Five of the 1956 World Series.

Matt: With all your experience as President and as owner of the Rangers, when MLB Commissioner Bud Selig retires, would you be interested in that job?
President Bush: No, I would not be interested in the Commissioner’s job.

Matt: Do you have any suggestions on how to increase baseball history awareness among the younger generation of baseball fans?
President Bush: To increase awareness of baseball history starts with encouraging young folks to play the game in youth leagues and by encouraging young bloggers like you.

Well, that's the interview with the one and only President George W. Bush. I would really like to thank him so much for answering my questions. And a big shout-out to the President's brother, Marvin, for helping out with the interview. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this very special interview and thanks for reading it. Check back in a couple of days for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

By the way, if you happen to know of any other Presidents of the United States (or any leaders of other countries) who might want to be interviewed by me, please let me know.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Trip to the Newark Bears 8/3/13

Hey baseball fans!

A couple of days ago, I was invited to go to Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium to see a Newark Bears game (in Newark, NJ) and to meet some of the players and coaches. It was a very fun experience and I got to meet some great people. Let me tell you what happened in chronological order.

My dad and I got to the stadium at about 5:30 for the 7pm game with the Newark Bears hosting the Wichita Wingnuts. We were greeted by a man named Andrew Tint who was very nice. Andrew walked us down to the manager's office where we met J. J. Sherill, a coach who has played baseball, including in the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, for 15 years, and Bears manager Garry Templeton, the former MLB All Star!

In case you don't know, Garry has been playing baseball since he was a young kid growing up in Texas. He eventually moved to California and, as he told me, became the first freshman to play high school varsity baseball in Orange County, California. He informed me that he was drafted by the Cardinals in 1974, was brought up to the bigs in 1976, had the most hits in baseball in 1979 with 211, and played for St. Louis until 1981. In 1982 and for the next nine years, Templeton played for the San Diego Padres. In 1984, the Padres went to the World Series, but lost to the Tigers. Garry said that the team had a great mix of veterans and new players which helped them win as a team. They had older players like Graig Nettles and Steve Garvey and new players like Tony Gwynn. Overall, when Garry retired in 1991 with the New York Mets, he was a three time All Star, two time Silver Slugger, and had 2,096 hits.

After I met Templeton, I went into the clubhouse and met the CAAPB's batting average leader, Bridger Hunt, who was a very nice guy. Bridger said the two tips he had gotten that helped him with his hitting were (1) to use his top hand and catch the ball up front and (2) to hit with his head over his back knee.  I guess the tips worked because, before the game, he was batting a Ted Williams-like .401! After that, Andrew took me and my dad up to the press box, where we were invited to stay during the game! Of course I said yes. The game started and my dad and I were hanging out in the press box. It was the most fun I've had at a baseball stadium in a long time. All the guys in the press box were very nice and knew a ton about baseball. The PA guy even advertised me over the loud speaker! Anyway, in the middle of the fourth inning, I was invited to play "The Price Is Right". I had to stand on the top of the home team dugout and guess if a Newark Bears lunchbox cost more or less than $12. I guessed lower and was right! I won two free Bears tickets to prove it! Overall, we had a really great time and I would highly recommend going to see a Newark Bears game, if you're in the area.

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."