Category Archives: Interviews with MLB Stars
One-on-One Exclusive Interviews with MLB Stars, Prospects and Baseball Personalities
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Saturday May 11th, 2013
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Haley Smilow was a busy reporter last year. So much so, that we probably wont be able to keep up with her to post them in time. In her latest interview - Haley talked to Craig Breslow (of the Boston Red Sox)… She asked him about being a Yale Grad.. Also, who is the biggest prankster he has ever encountered.
Haley pulls no punches in asking the Relief Pitcher about his life in this candid interview. Amongst other topics discussed were: What Breslow does for charity work and what advice he might have for young people.
Yale Grad Craig Breslow:
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Thursday, May 9th, 2013
By Jordan Hennessey (Blue Jays Correspondent) Follow @hennej
One night with Mookie Wilson Part 2: The Interview
“Personality outweighed talent, you are most successful on the field when you have a group of men who are willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the team. He thought the 1988 team might have been better, but the 1986 team “got the most out of each other” – Mookie Wilson.
To Read About A Night with Mookie Wilson Part 1 – click here
Click past the READ THE REST OF THE ENTRY ICON TO KEEP READING + Listen to the Audio Interview:
Inside the Mind of Casey Bond: From Moneyball to Ring the Bell, Is Portraying Josh Hamilton on the Silver Screen Next for the Hollywood Star?
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Wednesday May 8th, 2013
Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder): Follow @Jhacohen
They say once you go Hollywood, you never go back. So appears to be the case with our very good friend, Casey Bond. From life as a professional baseball player to Hollywood actor, Bond has done it all and seen it all when it comes to the many worlds of baseball.
I originally interviewed Casey Bond during the release of Moneyball. Destined to become a baseball movie classic, Moneyball was nominated for an Academy Award. Also included an actor that you may have heard of, a guy by the name of Brad Pitt.
Moneyball was a tremendous opportunity for Bond, who portrayed pitcher Chad Bradford in the film. Since Moneyball, Bond has been acting on both the big and small screens, as well as producing. But given the baseball roots he comes from, Casey Bond – Baseball – and Hollywood certainly go hand-in-hand. Evidence? Bond’s latest project, the baseball film “Ring the Bell”.
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Wednesday Mar.13, 2013
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Haley Smilow was a busy reporter last year. So much so, that we couldn’t keep up with her to post them in time. In her latest interview from last Spring Training last year - Haley talked to Cody Ross (of the Boston Red Sox then)… about his favorite Ball Parks to play in, who he doesn’t like to face, what he does for pre and post game rituals and what he does on the road.
Haley pulls no punches in asking the Outfielder about his life in this candid interview. Amongst other topics discussed were: What Ross does for charity work, what his favorite animal is…. Also who is the biggest practical joker in the MLB…and much much more..
Cody Ross – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised Highlights 2012:
Monday December 3rd, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen ( Lead Baseball Columnist): Follow @jhacohen
Last February we introduced you to Cade Kreuter. As part of the interview, we learned all about the “Crocodile Hunter.” A third generation baseball prospect and a member of the Miami Hurricanes, Cade was getting ready to make his own mark on the game.
Now a member of the San Diego Padres organization, Cade has a bright road ahead. We talked about many facets of his career. From joining the Padres, to playing multiple positions, his offseason in the Dominican and much more. Being around the game his whole life, Cade knows what he needs to do to succeed. 2013 will be his first full season in professional baseball. At 21 years of age, he has his whole career ahead of him. We will be certainly be watching his progress with great anticipation!
Today on MLB reports, we bring you our interview with Padres’ prospect and 3rd generation player, Cade Kreuter:
MLBR: Congrats on joining the Padres! What was the process like joining them?
CK: Well, as you may know, I missed my entire junior season at The U this past year due to a broken left foot caused by a foul ball I hit off of it in practice the day before our season opener. I was misdiagnosed with a deep bone bruise for the first month of my injury so that was a setback right there for me. I went understandably undrafted after my junior season, after really only playing almost 1 full season out of 3 years in college. But, I felt it was still time for me to move up and play pro ball. I knew another season at The U was not what was best for me. I was contacted by the Padres and they asked me if I was interested in doing a workout and possibly signing as a free agent. I jumped at the opportunity and made the most of it. Later that week I signed and headed to Peoria, Az for the rookie ball season! Read the rest of this entry
Monday October 22nd, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: If you are familiar with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE- formerly WWF), then you will know today’s guest very well. Who are we kidding…you would have to be living under a rock not to recognize this name. A legend and celebrity throughout the entertainment world, the Iron Sheik can be best described as a Wrestling Icon. The mustache, bold head, Iranian flag and camel clutch were his trademarks. For years, this former wrestling heavyweight champion was booed by fans all over the world as one of the biggest heels in the history of his sport. Today, we pinned down one of the greatest wrestlers of all time in the interview of a lifetime.
While he may be retired from professional wrestling, the Iron Sheik today is in greater demand than ever. Sheik merchandise including t-shirts are selling like hotcakes. A feature documentary on the Sheik is set to be released soon as well. Knowing the Sheik, it will be explosive and entertainment to the max. Double thumbs up! From a villain in the golden age of wrestling, the Iron Sheik has reinvented himself into a modern-day hero. While his brash language may have insulted fans 20 years ago, today people embrace his boldness and confidence. Chances are that if the Iron Sheik met you, that he probably would not like you. And guess what…you would probably be ok with that. It’s funny how time can change our perspectives.
On social media, @the_ironsheik is one of the most popular Twitter accounts that I have ever come across. If you are not following him on Twitter, then you are truly missing out. Rarely a day goes by that the Sheik does not slam someone on Twitter, including targets like former rival Hulk Hogan and even Jose Canseco. One of the best feuds of all time has been the Twitter exchanges between the Sheik and Canseco. Neither one backs down and fans just can’t get enough. While they will likely never face-off in the squared circle, the verbal matches between the Iron Sheik and his enemies are epic battles. Check out as well much of the Iron Sheik’s postings on YouTube. We would have included a clip- but it was impossible to find one without a “f-bomb” explosion. The Sheik tells it like it is and doesn’t hold back. In our modern-day world of vanilla statements by celebrities, listening to the Sheik is refreshing. A true breath of fresh air. After all, America is supposed to be the land of free speech. And the Iron Sheik exercises that right to the max.
In today’s interview, I covered many topics with the Sheik, including his thoughts on Jose Canseco as a wrestler and Hulk Hogan as an adult film star. He definitely did not hold back in discussing these guys. To say that he dislikes both would be an understatement. He loves Iran and America. He doesn’t follow baseball, but enjoys a beer. He could kick Jose Canseco’s behind…and yours…and mine. He is an original and a pioneer in his industry. He could not walk down the street in any city in the world without being recognized. He is the Iron Sheik – and today, he is our featured interview. Hold on to your hats and get ready to enjoy the ride. It will be a bumpy one!
(Please note: This interview may not be suitable for young readers. The Iron Sheik is a colorful personality and his language may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Not that the Sheik really cares what you think or say. But don’t say that we didn’t warn you!)
*READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED*
Friday October 5th, 2012
Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present the return of Robby Rowland, Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect. Robby is back on MLB Reports with his latest MLB Blog. We have been very fortunate to have Robby appear several times on MLB reports, in interviews and MLB Blogs prepared by Robby in his own words. One of our fave alumni returns with thoughts from Robby’s World. Robby looks at his transformation as a pitcher, trade to the Pirates organization and much more. Get ready for a special treat. Robby Rowland is real, funny and informative. We know you missed him…as we all did! Get ready to fulfill your Robby Rowland fix!
Robby Rowland- Guest MLB Blogger:
For those of you who have followed my journey through these blogs, I apologize for taking so much time to write this one. I would like to say thank you to MLB reports for having me on once again. For those of you who are reading one of my blogs for the first time, I want to apologize ahead of time for the writing style. I have so much that I would like to touch upon and I may not always use the proper commas or periods that some English major would… or something like that, I’m not sure. One more thanks is to my computer class teacher, who taught me how to type without looking. I’m glad I can use this skill in my baseball career, unlike all the other subjects in school that seem useless now. I also am known to ramble on a little bit, so bear with me here. Hopefully you will enjoy reading this as much as I did when I wrote it.
As I sit here, listening to a country music Pandora station, I try to think of some things that you guys would like to read about. I’ve heard some good topics via twitter and I will try my best to write about those and try to pick out topics that I can elaborate on. I will try to make this blog entry as entertaining as possible because I know how boring reading can get… if what you are reading doesn’t interest you. I had to do it ALL 4 years in high school… well, I had to read the sparknotes of whatever, which were still boring when they didn’t have anything to do with sports!
I will first talk about my transformation of becoming a “sinker ball pitcher” just over a year ago. Then I will talk about getting traded at the beginning of the season. After I have covered those 2 subjects, I will go on to write about lighter topics. Hope you enjoy and I don’t bore you! Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday September 26th, 2012
Marc Smilow (Dad): So today my 11-year-old daughter Haley comes to me and says: “dad… my assistant has an idea that we would like you to send Jonathan over at MLB Reports.” Now my first reaction is what is Haley talking about? Her assistant!? Then they proceed to show me the interview that they have been working on together. So I would like to introduce you Haley’s assistant, Ethan Smilow. Ethan is Haley’s seven year old brother and like his sister, is Yankees fan but loves the game of baseball. Haley is the MLB Junior Correspondent for MLB reports. Well now, baseball has certainly turned into a family affair in the Smilow household.
Ethan Smilow plays catcher, second base and right field for the West Little League Novas in New York City. Ethan is also the reason we started our quest for 30 stadiums. In the summer of 2010, the family was watching the Yankees vs. Royals on television and Ethan said, “I want to go to Kauffman Stadium and see the fountain one day.” I turned to my wife and said yeah right, like we were ever going to Kansas City!! One year later, we all were sitting at a game in Kauffman Stadium. Over the last two summers we have been to 16 ballparks and learned that the rules of baseball don’t change at each location. But every ballpark has its own unique style, sites, food and history. On a recebt family visit to Wrigley Field, Ethan found it interesting and unique that most of the ushers at the ballpark were the same age as his grandparents. He couldn’t imagine his grandparents working at Wrigley. So he decided to ask several of the usher some questions about Wrigley and this is what he found out: Read the rest of this entry
Kyle Wilson Interview: Haley Smilow Talks Baseball with the Laredo Pitcher and Member of Team Great Britain in the WBC Qualifiers
Tuesday September 18th, 2012
MLB reports: Great news folks, Haley is back! And of course, she has brought a friend. Our Junior MLB Correspondent is featured today with her interview of pitcher Kyle Wilson. The 29-year old Wilson is a baseball story of grinding every day and playing the game he loves. A 22nd round pick of the Dodgers in 2004, Kyle Wilson pitched 4 seasons in the Dodgers system. In 2008, he reached AA Jacksonville of the Southern League. The past few years, Kyle Wilson has played indy ball. In 2012, he spent time with both the Gary SouthShore RailCats and the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association.
Timing for Haley worked out really well (as usual), given that Kyle Wilson is currently in Germany preparing to represent Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers! With the tournament set to begin tomorrow, we get to learn about one of its representatives- up close and personal. Featured today on MLB reports, Haley Smilow speaks one-on-one with pitcher Kyle Wilson:
HALEY: I know your home games are played at U.S. Steel Yard, what are some of your other favorite ballparks?
KYLE: The best park I have played in was in Jacksonville, FL when I played for the Suns. The stadium was great and fans showed great support. The league I am currently in I would have to say that Kansas City and Winnipeg had the best facilities, fans, and accommodations. Read the rest of this entry
Friday August 10th, 2012
Lori Martini (Baseball Writer- and @LoriMartini on Twitter): Baseball is my life. Heck, if I could get paid for playing softball- I would have the greatest, happiest job in the world! I’m sure anyone who has played the game feels the same way. So many players go through the system and either get overlooked, marred by injuries or simply can’t perform up to major league standards. Aside from all of that, there are the politics and life in general that can get in the way of success.
So when we see athletes like Lance Armstrong and Mike Lowell, not only overcoming testicular cancer, but rising to the top of their respective sport, one cannot help but feel completely inspired. These guys did NOT give up and in fact, they fought harder than anyone. Given the success they have experienced, the hard work certainly paid off. Which brings me to a very special ballplayer and today’s feature subject, Tyler Austin.
Tyler was born in Macon, GA to Kim and Chris Austin and has two younger brothers, Dylan and Kyle who also play ball. At age 17, Tyler was diagnosed with testicular cancer during the MLB Draft. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday July 10th, 2012
Annie Berryhill (MLB Guest Blogger): With so many professional athletes becoming reality TV stars these days, it’s no wonder the general public has a warped view of marriage. Especially pro sports marriages!
I have been married to the same man for 25 years. Yes it’s true! Together, we have lived through an entire Professional Sports career: minors, majors, injury, rehab, recovery, 15 min of fame, retirement and reinvention. I can tell you for a fact that most sports marriages aren’t even close to what you see on TV. Real life is a whole different ballgame.
While the current divorce rate is approximately 50%, marriages in this arena do face some even tougher odds for success than most unions. It has been reported that a whopping 80% of sports marriages fail. For those keeping score, that is barely at the mendoza line of a .200 average. For every 10 sports marriages, only 2 are likely to make it. What are the contributing factors? The main ones are travel, job insecurity, injuries, infidelity, ego, loneliness, and fame. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The truth is that all of these challenges (with the exception of fame), often are the undoing of regular marriages not involving professional athletes. Thus the majority of the reasons behind successful sports marriages can easily be applied to most marriages. Sports marriages, like all marriages, require work to be successful. A great deal of practice time off the field is needed to build a winning sports union.
Here are my 5 keys (for Pro athletes) that I believe will go a long way to helping solidify all marriages: Read the rest of this entry
Sunday July 1st, 2012
Robert Whitmer (Baseball Writer):
There are many firsts that you have in your life. Your first date, your first kiss, your first…. Yeah. This was my first live interview. I had the honor of interviewing the former MLB all-star Dmitri “Da Meat Hook” Young. It was challenging, but yet when it was over, I had an accomplished feeling and a greater appreciation for the man who is Dmitri Young.
This is a man who needs no introduction in baseball circles. If you know and love baseball, then you know “Da Meat Hook”. A 1st round pick of the Cardinals (4th overall) in 1991, Dmitri made his MLB debut in 1996. He played 13 seasons for 4 different clubs (St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit and Washington). Dmitri had many outstanding seasons, with his finest coming in Detroit as part of the 2003 season. Dmitri finished that year with a career high 29 home runs, to go along with 85 RBIs, 78 runs, .297 AVG and .909 OPS. He was named an All-Star that season, as well as his 2nd last year (2007- Nationals). In 2007, Dmitri was also named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. He was versatile, playing mainly first and the outfield, with a little bit of third base as well. His calling card was his bat and ability to get base hits. A career .292 hitter, Dmitri has 1389 career hits. A legend and baseball warrior, Dmitri was a player that any team would have loved to have on their side when a game was on the line.
Now in his post-MLB career, I got to spend some time talking baseball recently with Da Meat Hook. About his start in the game, from the draft day experience, his first MLB at-bat, and all the way to his current baseball projects. You know that smiling face you saw in the ballpark and on tv? That’s the same Dmitri Young I spoke to. Down to earth and loving life, Dmitri is a man who takes nothing for granted and has a love affair with the game of baseball to this day. If only we had more Dmitri Youngs in today’s game. So without further ado, here is the transcript from the interview: (you can listen to the audio version by clicking on the Dmitri Young Interview) Read the rest of this entry
Thursday June 7th, 2012
Barry Enright was drafted out of Pepperdine University by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second round for the 2007 amateur draft.
The right-handed pitcher made his major league debut on June 30, 2010. He pitched five innings and earned the win that day against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Enright, 26, is in his second season with the Reno Aces, the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. Enright was 9-5 with the Aces last season, and is 4-3 with 4.82 ERA (as of June 5) this year.
Haley: First, congratulations on your engagement. Have you set a date yet? And if it is not a surprise where are you going on your honeymoon?
Barry: Thank you. We set a date for January 19 2013 in Santa Barbara. We haven’t decided on our honeymoon yet, but our qualification is clear blue warm ocean water.
Haley: Can you share with us your first memory as a professional?
Barry: My first memory as a professional was in Yakima Washington. I gave up an 0-2 double off the wall to start off the inning but proceeded to strike out the side after that. I was a reliever my first half season to keep my innings down, it was a lot of fun. Read the rest of this entry
Monday May 21st, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Today we are in for a treat folks. One of my all-time baseball faves is our feature on the Reports. The man needs no introduction in baseball circles. He can flat-out play the game. Karim Garcia. The man has played ball in New York. Los Angeles. Cleveland. Arizona. Korea. Japan. Mexico. World Baseball Classic. The man has done it all…and seen it all. After making his major league debut with the Dodgers as a raw 19-year old, Karim went on to play for 7 MLB teams over 10 seasons. His best statistical season came in 2002, as Karim belted 16 home runs playing mostly for the Indians, with a .297 AVG and .574 SLG. The fact that he was able to produce those numbers in only 53 games played shows his strong hitting potential. Watching him play, it was always obvious that Karim Garcia could hit. He just needed the opportunity to play.
Therein lies the unfairness of baseball. It can be a cruel and unforgiving sport. Karim played 113 games with the Diamondbacks in 1998 and 96 games with the Tigers the following season. Despite his hitting abilities, Major League Baseball never game him the opportunity to play a full season. To show what he can do with a full year’s worth of at-bats. Few can understand how difficult it can be to play sparingly off the bench unless you have done it. Karim Garcia has done it. He did it for a decade in the show. Despite knowing he could star and not receiving that chance- he persevered. Karim Garcia came back to the big leagues, with different teams year after year, to prove himself. To play the game he loves and to play the only way he knows how. Hard. When the opportunities in North America did not present themselves, Karim Garcia did not give up. Far from it. Over the last 8 years, Karim Garcia has been travelling the globe to play baseball. Korea. Japan. His native Mexico. Wherever he can find a high level of competition and the opportunity to play ball, Karim has taken it. He doesn’t play for the money. He doesn’t play for the glory. Karim Garcia is playing ball for the simple love of the sport.
Karim’s glory moments came as part of the recent 2009 World Baseball Classic. The man was playing in the tournament like his hair was on fire. The intensity. The passion. Every big game. Every big at-bat. If it involved team Mexico, you knew that Karim Garcia was involved. The undisputed leader for his country, Karim showed at the plate and the field that the magic burned strongly within him. Yet despite a strong WBC showing, the majors did not come calling. With the 2012 season upon us, I see many MLB teams missing the intangibles. The veteran presence. The key bat off the bench. Those types of players are the difference between a contender and a champion. What does the modern game need you ask? More players like Karim Garcia.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Karim, as he currently plays in the Mexican league. Karim is playing baseball for one reason, and one reason only. To return to the show. To return to where he started…and where he belongs. It is impossible to turn back the hands of time and unfortunately Karim will never get back the chance to play full-time in his 20′s in the majors. But Karim is not looking to change the past. He has no regrets. The Karim I spoke to is only looking to the future. Before his playing career is done and he looks towards his next mission of managing, he wants to make it back to North America. Back to playing Major League Baseball. Karim is ready to help a team to a championship. With all of years and experiences in the game, that chance should be there. It needs to be there. Karim intends to make it happen.
As part of our conversation, Karim and I discussed all aspects of his career. From making his MLB debut, to the trades, baseball travels, WBC and his future. Just like his play on the field, Karim was straight in the interview. Not holding back. Giving it all. Giving the straight goods. The Karim Garcia I spoke to was just like the one I watch on the baseball field. Passionate. Determined. Intense. Now ready to return to North America, I am proud to present my interview with Karim Garcia. Get ready to see the sides of Karim Garcia that you may have never seen. Might have never known. You know the name and the player. Now get ready to meet the man. The man who loves the game of baseball with every ounce of his being. Karim Garcia is today’s featured interview on MLB reports:
A.J. Pierzynski Interview: White Sox Catcher Discusses His Love for Wrestling and Hatred For Cold Weather
Saturday May 5th, 2012
Playing in his 14th season in the major leagues the White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is the guy other teams love to hate for his particular brand of competition, but they obviously like having him around on the South Side. He is a 2x American League All-Star that played a vital role in the 2005 World Series Championship.
Despite his reputation of being Public Enemy No. 1, Pierzynski is only hungry to win. This reputation only applies to his on field play but off the field A.J. is “not what people think.”
Ten-year-old Haley Smilow had a chance to sit down with A.J. before a game and talk baseball, but discovered the White Sox catcher is one of the most genuine, honest and appreciative guys playing baseball today. He is just a regular guy who likes to have fun and doesn’t like the cold weather.
Haley: My family went to several games at Kauffman Stadium, Target Field and Camden Yards along with stops at Miller Park, Wrigley and Busch Stadium last summer, do you have a favorite ballpark and why?
AJ: Seattle Mariners Safeco Field would have to be one of my favorites, it is a good field to play ball on and the retractable roof makes it possible to play ball in any weather conditions.
Haley: Is there a ballpark where you feel you always play well other than US Cellular Field?
AJ: I don’t know, I think I play well at Wrigley and at Safeco and not so well at Fenway for some reason. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday April 24, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Today is a big day in the world of baseball, as we are proud to announce the release of the Paul Dickson Biography, “Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick.” Probably the most important person to influence the game of baseball as we know it today, Bill Veeck was a baseball pioneer. From night games, interleague play, racial integration and so much more, Bill Veeck is responsible for many of the key changes to the game that we take for granted. I was very excited to hear that Paul Dickson had written this book, as all baseball fans that truly love the game must get to know Bill Veeck. With so much information to cover on such an important baseball figure- Paul Dickson was certainly up for the role as biographer.
As the book is launched today in stores, I had a chance to catch up with the author and cover many topics. From the life and times of Bill Veeck, to the process in creating the book and the road ahead for Paul Dickson. You are in for a treat today folks, as you will get to know about the book directly from the author himself. In talking to Paul, I was blown away by the dedication and commitment he showed in putting together The Greatest Maverick. From the number of people he interviewed and the amount of research he undertook, Paul went to great lengths in putting together the book. Now as Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick hits the bookshelves, you will find out why the book will be an important addition to your baseball library.
Featured on MLB reports, I proudly present my interview with baseball author, Paul Dickson and his newest baseball book – Bill Veeck – Baseball’s Greatest Maverick:
JH: Thank you for joining us today on MLB reports Paul. Your new book “Bill Veeck- Baseball’s Greatest Maverick” is about to be launched. You must be very excited!
PD: Very excited, Indeed. The book releases on Tuesday April 24, 2012. My publisher is Walker & Co. The year is important because it is the 50th anniversary of Veeck’s own biography Veeck: As In Wreck, a groundbreaking book which still commands an immense readership. But that book was Bill’s own story—a true autobiography—mine a true biography.
For example, Veeck’s book has a paragraph on his experiences in a war zone in the South Pacific during World War II. It is a full chapter in my book. This is the situation where Veeck was wounded and this is where he became part of a cohort of men who saw combat and came to baseball. Few know that Yogi Berra was in the second day of the D-Day invasion or that Monte Irvin went in on the 6th day. I interviewed a lot of war vets for the book including Irvin but also the late Bob Feller, Ralph Kiner, Jerry Coleman, and Lou Brissie who lost part of his leg in combat but came back to pitch for Connie Mack. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday April 14, 2012
MLB reports – Johnny Anderson (Guest MLB Blogger): “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capacity to build the world’s first bionic man.”
The doctors call it “UCLR” – ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction. The Baseball community call it Tommy John Surgery. I call it the resurrection of my career. Dr. Frank Jobe introduced the world to his experimental procedure in 1974 on the one and only Tommy John. The UCL is the ligament that creates the stability which allows the high-stress action of throwing a baseball. Through repetitive use and a heavy workload, the UCL will indefinitely succumb to failure. The ligament will begin to fray and eventually tear, leaving pitchers in agony on the mound (see Joel Zumaya, Chris Carpenter, etc.) During the surgery, a new tendon, coming either from the wrist or hamstring is implanted and woven in a figure-eight pattern through holes drilled in the humerus and ulna bones. Sounds gnarly, I know first hand. After surgery, the player will be in a brace with limited mobility. Over time, the brace can be adjusted to certain degrees to promote extension with the elbow until the player has full flexion. Through rigorous rehabilitation and a 6-month throwing program, it’s not uncommon for pitchers to throw harder than they did before the injury. The chances of a complete recovery after the surgery are estimated at 85 to 90 percent. Rehabilitation takes around 12 to 15 months for pitchers and about 6 months for position players.
The experience I’ve had with my pal TJ has been quite the travel. I suffered a blow-out of my UCL in the first game of Spring Training in 2010 with the Blue Jays. Two pitches into the first inning I felt and heard a loud pop. I felt a burning sensation throughout my forearm and tricep. I saw my career flash before my eyes. I trotted over to the dugout and held my head in my hands. A week later I awoke to being drugged up on painkillers and a brace on my arm. Months had passed and I was advancing into my throwing program and eventually started to throw to hitters. I went from a soft-tossing lefty, to a power pitcher. My velocity had peaked at 96 mph, and I was overpowering hitters with ease.
Fifteen months after the first surgery, I felt that same pop. No rhyme or reason. Heeeere we go again. I saw renowned Tommy John specialist Dr. James Andrews the next day. In his own words, Dr. Andrews said, “I haven’t seen anything like this in 20 years.” Well that was refreshing. July 12th 2011. I found myself sitting in a hospital bed next to Terrell Owens, Matt Stafford and Joba Chamberlain. Nine months later, and here I am. Feeling as strong as ever, and close to facing hitters for the first time since July.
While the Tommy John procedure hasn’t created teams of Frankenstein-like monster men, it’s the saving grace of many pitchers across the game. Close to 100 of the 800 or so pitchers in the league have undergone the procedure and have seen miraculous comebacks. But to all the pitchers out there, note that there are always ways to help prevent the UCL from “blowing up.” Through strengthening the Rotator Cuff and shoulder, pressure will be relieved from the elbow. Consistent long toss and post-throw therapy seem to do the trick.
I would like to thank mlbreports.com giving me the opportunity to share my story and the Blue Jays for sticking with me, even after everything I’ve gone through. I love all of my fans (the few I have) and interacting with them. I’ve become quite the Twitteraholic as of late and I can be followed at @j0hnny_A. I enjoy interacting with everyone, so give me a follow! Until next time…. Johnny
***Thank you to Johnny Anderson for preparing this great feature on Tommy John Surgery for MLB reports (and the pictures/video used in todays’ feature)! Johnny LOVES Twitter- so follow him ASAP!!! 2012 is a big year for Johnny as he continues on his road to recovery. Best of luck Johnny: we’re proud of ya!***
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Friday April 13th, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Get ready to be entertained today folks! With us today on MLB reports, we have the one and only, Dallas Latos. You may know Dallas from her famous Twitter account known as @DallasLatos and her Baseball Blog: So I Married a Baseball Player. Dallas is funny, sassy and no-nonsense. She tells it like it is and speaks from the heart. She is the better half of Mat Latos, formerly the ace pitcher of the San Diego Padres and now a member of the Cincinnati Reds. The trade went down in December of last year and will down as one of the biggest swaps in MLB history. We caught up recently with Mrs. Dallas Latos to talk life, baseball and everything in-between. To her time in San Diego to preparing for Cincinnati- Dallas gave us the straight goods on Latos Life! Get to know Dallas Latos- as our proud feature interviewee today on MLB reports:
Hello Dallas. Welcome to MLB reports. Thank you for joining us today. First question to start off: What’s it like to be a “baseball wife”?
Since I don’t know what it’s like to be any other kind of wife, it’s been a challenge. There are a lot of factors that make it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship but like in any other marriage, you work on it every day. Every baseball marriage is different so I don’t want to speak on behalf of anyone but myself but I make it a priority to make sure that Mat is stress free from anything that doesn’t pertain to the game during season. It sometimes feels like I sacrifice a lot for his dreams, but I know that he will do the same for mine when the time is right. Read the rest of this entry
Friday April 6th, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: As a big fan of baseball cards growing up (weren’t we all), one of my favorite memories was opening up my first pack of 1989 Donruss. For those of you that never saw that particular baseball card set, it is longer considered one of the ugliest cards of all time. The choice of colors was interesting to say the least. But for those that grew up with it, the cards were beautiful to us and we loved it! In that first pack of cards, I got a Gregg Olson “rated rookie”. The set featured many great rookie cards, including Griffey, Sheffield and Tom Gordon. But the Olson was my fave. The close-up on his wind-up. The intense competitor’s face. That card was forever burned in my mind. I became a huge Gregg Olson fan and watched his career from his MLB debut in 1988 and ROY season to follow in 1989. It all started though from that first pack of baseball cards. Thank you Donruss…wherever you are…
Being based in Toronto, I had the pleasure of watching Gregg Olson pitch on many occasions as a member of those Baltimore Orioles squads. From 1989-1993, Gregg rang up 160 saves in one of the dominant runs I had ever seen from a MLB closer. The most saves at the time for a closer under 27-years of age. In 1989, Gregg won the AL Rookie of the Year award and finished 6th in CY Young voting. He was named an AL All-Star in 1990 (the only All-Star game nod in his career). Elbow issues unfortunately set back his career and Gregg did not get the chance to jump back into the closer’s role in 1998, while a member of the Diamondbacks. After 14 years in the big leagues and 217 career saves, Gregg Olson had a career that most players could only dream of. Had things played out differently health-wise, we would have seen him in Cooperstown one day, along with the other top closers of the modern-day, including Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera.
Known for his fastball and devastating curveball nicknamed “Uncle Charlie”, Gregg Olson was as good as they get in his prime. It was very difficult in my mind to see him outside of a Baltimore Orioles jersey, but so goes the business of baseball. Gregg ended up playing for 9 major league teams, with a playoff appearance with the aforementioned Diamondbacks coming in 1999. Today on MLB reports, we had a chance to catch up with the Baltimore Orioles Hall-of-Fame pitcher and talk some great baseball. Gregg was at home watching the Masters, but was kind enough to take some time for us. Following his retirement, Gregg Olson has been one busy cat. A Scout for the San Diego Padres. Published Author of the baseball book “We Got to Play Baseball”. Part Owner and President of “Toolshed Sports“- a leading manufacturer of high performance undergear. Gregg has his hands in many facets of the game of baseball! He spoke to us about all parts of his career, from getting drafted and playing with the Orioles to his current ventures and roles (and everything in-between). Gregg is a great personality to speak with. He is funny, sarcastic and extremely knowledgeable. He tells it like it us and doesn’t hold back. Much like the dominant closer in the 9th inning that went straight after top hitters in tight ballgames- Gregg Olson approaches life with the same vigour and intensity. One of my personal favorite baseball players of all-time, baseball fans are in for a treat as I spoke exclusively one-on-one with one of the greatest closers in MLB history. Today on MLB reports, I am proud to feature my conversation with the one and only, Gregg Olson:
Welcome to MLB reports Gregg. First question: A 1st round pick (4th overall) in 1988. Did you expect to go that high in the draft? Did you always know you would be heading to Baltimore?
I actually did. I was told that it was down to Andy Benes and myself for the 1st pick, so it was going to be 1-5. Baltimore wanted me- so it was either going to be San Diego or Baltimore.
It didn’t take you many games- only a handful until reaching the majors in 1988. How did you get the call? Tell us about that experience.
I really don’t remember how I was told. I had it in my contract that I would be there by September 1st. So it wasn’t a surprise. I do remember flying from Charlotte to Seattle with Curt Schilling (my roomie) for our first trip as big leaguers. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday April 5th, 2012
Haley Smilow (Guest Writer): You might say Eric Young Jr. has baseball in his blood. Growing up he became acquainted with the game early by watching his father, Eric Young Sr., play for the Dodgers, Rockies, Blue Jays, and Cubs, among other teams. Eric Young Jr. (or EY2., as he is known) was a multi-sport athlete in high school, but ultimately decided to pursue baseball. He played one year of college ball at Chandler Gilbert Community College before following in his father’s footsteps and being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 30th round of the 2003 draft. EY2 steadily worked his way through the minor leagues, posting solid batting averages at every level and catching the eyes of the Rockies’ front office, which resulted in his major league debut in 2009. In 158 career major league games EY2 has posted a line of .246/.324/.295 and spent time playing second base and patrolling the outfield. This year the 26-year old will again look to provide the Rockies with production off the bench.
Reporter Haley Smilow recently had a chance to chat with Eric Young Jr., and discovered his favorite foods, his go-to songs on his iPod, and what it means to him to share so many baseball memories with his father.
At what age did you start playing baseball? And did you eventually end up playing in a travel league?
I started playing at age 7. I played travel league (summer) from ages 9-12.
Who was your favorite team growing up? And other than your father, who were some of the players that you looked up to as a kid?
Favorite team growing up was whichever team my dad was on. I was a big Ken Griffey Jr fan growing up. Read the rest of this entry