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What MLB Park Will Be The Next To Host A WrestleMania?

Wednesday, October.31/2012

Wrestlemania 18 (At SkyDome) was Hulk Hogan vs ‘The Rock.’ Hogan was his heel face character  ‘Hollywood’ Hogan from his NWO days in the WCW for the event. The fans of Toronto gave the Hulkster several standing ovations for his entrance and as well for the Match. He was the most popular wrestler in Canada that day. While he lost to Dwayne Johnson in one of his best contests of his career, this match gave the WWE the idea to turn him Baby Face Again. The next week “Hulkamania” was reborn with Red and Yellow.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I have previously mentioned that baseball and wrestling was my entire life as a young kid in the 80’s.  To me, nothing was bigger than the World Series every fall or WrestleMania every spring.  In 1990, the city of Toronto hosted WrestleMania 6 at the (NEWEST) ballpark in the MLB,  “The SkyDome.”  Back in the day, the building was considered state of the art.  I mean they were the 1st park to carry McDonalds as a fast food joint for a concession, they had luxury suite hotel rooms (in which some people forgot to draw the curtains to in heats of passion) and everything was big league.  So when almost 68000 fans packed into SkyDome to watch the 1st ever WrestleMania in Canada (and also an MLB Park), it was an un-believeable atmosphere.

Wrestle Mania 6 The SkyDome–Photo Courtesy of WWE

Now I lived in Calgary at the time, yet I had seen my first MLB Game in 1989 at the SKYDOME.  I would have loved to have been in that audience.  I watched the events transpire from CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) in a big Restaurant in Calgary.  (Yes people, there used to be no black box that you would be able to buy ALL PPV events on.) 

HOGAN VS THE ROCK FULL MATCH FROM WRESTLEMANIA 18

Read the rest of this entry

The Iron Sheik: WWE Legend Speaks with MLB reports in the Interview of a Lifetime

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*

Cincinnati’s Favorite Son (Pete Rose) Still Awaits Baseball Re-Instatement And A Spot In Cooperstown

Thursday, October.18/2012

Always driven by the “Almighty Dollar” Pete Rose has appeared in several WWE Pay-Per-Views and was paid to be unceremoniously dumped on his keester like this picture dictates. He was always feuding with the wrestler ‘Kane.” Rose usually showed up at the events as the San Diego Chicken first.  This time he sent someone else as the Chicken and tried to sneak attack ‘The Big Red Machine ” with a baseball bat only to be caught.  I guess Kane wasn’t a fan of the 70’s “Big Red Machine Player.”

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I started watching baseball when I was really young.  Back in the day in the early 1980’s, one of my favorite players was Pete Rose.  I mean who couldn’t admire the ALL-Time Hit Kings all out effort in running the bases?  As a young baseball player myself, I emulated Rose by sprinting to first base when I drew a walk.  I always love why he said he did this: “There is no point in not hustling down to first because that just makes you that much closer to second.”  He was monikered with “Charlie Hustle” for his tenacity towards the game.  Who could ever forget how he wiped out Ray Fosse in the 1970 ALL-Star Game?  Pete Rose was ‘old school’ as they come.  He is the ALL-Time leader in Games Played (3562) At Bats (14059), Plate Appearances (15890) and of course his 4256 hits still sits 1st on the Career list.  The man also had 10-200 hit seasons (Tied for 1st ALL-Time with Ichiro Suzuki) and has won 3 batting titles.  He was on 3 World Series Championship teams including being the key transaction in putting over the 1980 Phillies to their first franchise World Series Title ever.  Rose had a .303  Career Avg while hitting .300 in 17 different seasons and making 17 different ALL-Star Teams.  He was the Rookie of the Year for the Reds in 1963 and was the NL MVP in 1973, when he hit .338 and collected 230 hits.  Rose also holds a 426-388 Career Record as a Manager with the Reds.

I wish every MLB Player would adopt Pete Rose’s intensity for the game of baseball. I am happy to see Mike Trout and Bryce Harper hustle their muscles off like Pete Rose did. Maybe others will follow.

Rose was also last Player/Manager in the Major Leagues, when he played and called the shots with the Cincinnati Reds in 1986.  All of these incredible achievements should have placed him in Cooperstown by the early 90’s, however he was just as competitive in something else that would later be revealed.  On Aug.24/1989, Pete Rose was issued a lifetime ban from the MLB for betting on the game of baseball.  It shocked the world and was the biggest scandal in the National Pastime since the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.  Pete fought for his innocence with as much reckless abandonment as he displayed with his famous head first slides. Read the rest of this entry

The Grandy Man Interview: Curtis Granderson Talks Pizza, Wrestling and Choosing Your Friends

Friday December 9, 2011

Playing in his second season with the New York Yankees, Curtis Granderson had one of the best seasons of his career, which entered him into MLB records books.  This season, Granderson was voted to the American League All Star game as starting center fielder.  The left-handed hitter has home run power, a great glove, speed, along with athleticism on the field.   His efforts off the field are as remarkable as his play on field.  Curtis represented MLB at the White House in their anti-obesity effort and created the Grand Kids Foundation, focused on improving the educational experience for youth nationwide.  Ten-year-old Haley had a chance to sit down with Curtis Granderson before a game in July, and talk baseball, but discovered the Yankees center fielder is an avid WWE fan along with being a published author and all- around nice guy.

Haley:  In August my family is following the Yankees to US Cellular Field, Kauffman Stadium, Target Field and Camden Yards with stops at Miller Park, Wrigley and Busch Stadium.  Do you have a favorite ballpark and why? Is there a ballpark where you feel you always play well other than Yankee Stadium?

Granderson:  I like the Anaheim Angles Stadium because it has good weather to play in and the playing surface is well taken care of, making it a nice place to play ball.  I also enjoy the Rally Monkey because he is fun to watch but as a player it means that the Angels are doing well.  Other stadiums that I like to play in are Mariners Safeco Field and of course at home in Chicago at US Cellular Field and Wrigley.

Haley:  Since I am going to be in Chicago, who has the best Pizza in Chicago?  Who in New York? Do you like Deep Dish or Thin Crust Pizza?

Granderson:  My favorite Pizzerias in Chicago are Lou Malnali’s, Giordanos and Gino’s and in New York Artichoke Basille’s.  Sometimes I like Dominos thin crust pizza, because I like my crust crunchy.  If I am really hungry, I will order deep dish.

Haley:  Coney Island Hot Dogs or Nathan’s Hot Dogs?

Granderson:  Since I played in Detroit, I would have to say Coney Island Hot Dogs.

Haley:  What is your favorite meal?

Granderson:  I really love Thanksgiving dinner because you get to eat a little bit of everything and you can go back over and over for more helpings.

Haley:  My little brother is a fan of WWE, I heard you are as well. Who are some of you favorite wrestlers of today?

Granderson:  Of course I like CM Punk because he is a great wrestler and from Chicago.  Jon Cena is another favorite.   I also like the Divas because they work hard and are as good as the guys.

Haley:  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Granderson:  I have an older half-sister, Monica.

Haley:  In your book All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It, you share the lessons that you learned growing up. What is one lesson you would tell the Baseball Youth readers if they haven’t read the book?

Granderson:  The selection of friends, good and bad, positive or negative and the people you surround yourself with, will shape your whole life.

Haley:  I also know you are an ambassador for MLB and have traveled to England, Italy, South Africa, China, and New Zealand. Is there any place you would really like to go and represent MLB?

Granderson:  I have never been to South America so that would be amazing.  I would also like to go to Japan and Australia, those would be on my top-3 list.

Haley:  Why did you choose the #28 in Detroit and #14 in New York?

Granderson:  I was given the #28 in college, which was great because the numbers 2 and 8 are my favorite numbers, so it was both of them together.  When I became a Yankee, Joe Girardi was #28 so I chose #14 because that was my number from high school.

Haley:  I get to go to a lot of Yankees games and have noticed that you have two rituals can you to explain them?

Haley:  1)  When you step up to the plate you tap it with the bat from left to right then the top. Why?

Granderson:  No particular reason. I guess it is just a habit.

Haley:  2)  When you are leading off from first and the pitcher makes a move you always walk around first base same way every time. Why?

Granderson:  Because I don’t want to get picked off or called out.

Haley:  Do you have any other rituals or superstitions?

Granderson:  I only chew sugar-free bubble gum. (Curtis asked Haley: “Do you like gum?” Make sure you take a hand full when you leave the dugout.)

Haley:  What is it like in the Dugout before and after a game?

Granderson:  It is a fun place filled with energy and lots of handshakes. We are always meeting people before games.  After the game it depends if we won or lost.  If we win everyone is happy and celebrating and if we lost we need to move on to the next game.

Haley:  When you are on the road do you share rooms with your teammates?

Granderson:  In the majors we get our own rooms.  In the minors we share rooms. I used to share with Ryan Raburn, Joel Zumaya and David Espinosa.

Haley:  A.J. Burnett has created a celebration for a walk off win, a pie in the face.  Have you ever gotten pied?

Granderson:  No, I have not been pied.  If I get pied it means we won but I am afraid it will burn.  (The pies are Shaving Cream)

Haley:  Who is the biggest practical joker you have ever been on a team with? Have you ever been the victim of a practical joke?

Granderson:  Brandon Inge on the Tigers will do funny pranks, silly ones and even some gross ones.  We had a little battle going when I played for Detroit.  Once I opened his car and filled it with paper and construction tape, making it a big mess inside the car and out.  Jorge Posada is a real joker as well.

Haley:  In 2007 you became just one of four players in MLB history to record 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs & 20 stolen bases in a single season. What are some of your other accomplishments you are proud of?

Granderson:  Graduating from University of Illinois-Chicago and that I am 1 of only 37 players with college degrees.  Making it to the 2006 World Series.

Haley:  Do you have any other favorite sports besides baseball?

Granderson:  I like basketball, especially college ball. I also like hockey, football and bowling and I used to run cross-country.

Haley:  What’s your favorite team?

Granderson:  The Kansas City Jay Hawks.

Haley:  Who would you consider your closest friends on the Yankees?

Granderson:  Of course I have special bond with my fellow outfielders Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.  But I also like to hang out with C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Russell Martin we go out to dinner and movies together.

***Reproduced with permission from Baseball Youth Magazine.  This interview originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2011 edition of Baseball Youth Magazine***

https://www.facebook.com/baseballyouthmagazine
http://www.baseballyouth.com/

Curtis Granderson Social Networking links:

http://grandkidsfoundation.org/

http://www.facebook.com/cgrand14

http://twitter.com/cgrand14

Haley Smilow Social Networking Links:

http://www.wix.com/smilow/home-field-advantage

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Home-Field-Advantage/108037172615547

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Autopsy Results are in for Randy Poffo (Macho Man Savage), Former Baseball Player and WWE Wrestler

 

Saturday July 2, 2011

MLB reports:  Last month we profiled former WWE superstar Randy Macho Man Savage, who passed away May 20, 2011.  At the time of the article, the cause of his death was unknown.  We took the time in the interim to look at the man behind the “Macho Madness”, a wrestling champion and icon in the industry.  A little known fact was that Randy Savage, born Randy Poffo, actually came up originally as a baseball player.  To learn more about Randy Poffo the baseball player, click here to view our past feature.   Today we learn about the cause of death behind the passing of Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

What we knew until recently was that Randy Savage crashed his Jeep Wrangler into a tree near Tampa, Florida.  Unfortunately, the first reaction for many was to suspect drugs and/or alcohol as the cause for the accident.  A natural reaction, given that our society today that tends to be very jaded and suspect the worst of many of its heroes.  While reports indicate that Randy Savage had prescription medications in his system, it does not appear that they were the cause for his accident.  Both him and his wife were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash and Randy’s wife  Barbara Lynn only suffered minor injuries.  The autopsy has revealed that Randy Savage suffered from an enlarged heart and artery blockage, which likely caused him to crash the vehicle.  The medical condition likely caused Macho Man to lose consciousness right before the accident and drive the vehicle into a tree.  That was the indication previously in a statement at the time of the incident from brother Lanny Poffo, also a former wrestler.  The family did not necessarily know about his condition but suspected that Macho Man had a heart attack right before the accident.  In this case, the family’s instincts were correct.

While it is very sad that Randy (Savage) Poffo was taken from this earth much to early, it is somewhat of a relief to at least learn the cause behind his unfortunate passing.  With rumors always circulating in this age of the internet, the Poffo family can be relieved that Randy’s good name can be left intact.  It is likely that Randy did not even know about his medical condition, as the prescription pills he was taking were apparently unrelated to the heart condition.  Had he been diagnosed early, perhaps this misfortune could have been averted.  In the meantime, I will continue to remember both Randy “Macho Man” Savage, the wrestler, as well as Randy Poffo, the baseball player.  As discussed in his earlier feature, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Poffo had stayed with baseball instead of wrestling.  Even had he not injured his shoulder, Poffo statistically likely would not have remained in the sport.  His bat did not seem to be there and while there was always the chance he could have come around, Randy Poffo, the MLB player, was likely never going to materialize.  Yet I will always think of what could have been if the Macho Man had never come to be, if baseball had worked out for him.  But given the impact that Randy had on the wrestling industry and society as a whole by adopting the “Macho Man” persona, he definitely made the right choice.  Rest in peace Randy Poffo Savage.  You will be missed and remembered as a two-sport athlete/entertainer.  Thank you for all the good times and MACHOOOOO MADNESS! 

 

 

 

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R.I.P. Macho Man Randy Savage: Death of a Wrestler and Baseball Player

Friday May 20, 2011

MLB reports:  Here on the reports we try to keep you, the baseball fan, up to date on all the latest news, reports and analysis from around the baseball universe.  Usually on Fridays you will find our weekly Friday Faceoff segment, where two players go head to head in a statistical matchup to determine the weekly victor.  This week’s segment has taken a back to seat to the news today that former WWE wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage has passed at the age of 58.  We will go into the story as available to us from TMZ on Randy’s passing for the update.  You will also learn the reason behind this segment, as besides being a world champion wrestler, Randy Savage aka Randy Poffo, was a baseball player in his day.    You will not often find a wrestling article on the MLB reports, but baseball and wrestling is not a combination that is found every day.

A car accident claimed the life of Randy Savage today in Tampa, Florida.  Driving in his 2009 Jeep Wrangler, Savage apparently lost control of the jeep and struck a tree in a single-car accident.  According to Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo, the Macho Man had a heart attack while behind the wheel of his vehicle.  A second generation wrestler, with famed wrestler Angelo Poffo as his father, Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo was a wrestler as well under the stage names “Leaping Lanny Poffo” and “The Genius”.

A little known fact about the now deceased Randy Savage was that prior to becoming a wrestler, he actually was a baseball player!  A switch-hitter, Savage was born Randy Poffo before changing his name as part of his wrestling persona.  Randy Poffo was drafted and came up with the Cardinals organization in 1971 after playing college ball with Southern Illinois University.  Poffo played as well in the Reds and White Sox organizations prior to retiring from baseball in 1974.  An outfielder, an injured right shoulder and a weak offensive bat was the end of Poffo’s baseball career.  A career .232 hitter in parts of four minor league seasons, Poffo also had 16 career home runs. Imagine if Poffo the baseball player had stayed healthy and gone on to the major leagues. The Macho Man might have never come to be.   But baseball did not prove to be in the cards and Poffo ended up discovering that in life, as one door closes, another one opens.  Poffo/Savage started wrestling in 1973 during the baseball offseason and upon retirement, went on to become a wrestler full time-until retiring from the ring in 2005.

Randy Savage/Poffo is survived by his wife Lynn, whom he married just over a year ago on May 10, 2010.  The Macho Man will forever be remembered for his wrestling exploits and “heel” image as a championship caliber wrestler.  But before he was dropping elbows from the top rope and selling slim jims, let’s remember today as well Randy Poffo: the baseball player.  Very few athletes are known to have made the transition from the diamond to the squared circle and Randy Poffo/Savage was one of them.  You can find Randy Poffo’s lifetime baseball statistics courtesy of baseball reference by clicking here.  As an 80’s and 90’s wrestling legend, Randy Savage was taken from this world much too soon.  It was a pleasure watching him grapple as a youngster and for those who admired and worshipped the Macho Man, always remember that your hero got his sports entertainment start  playing America’s favorite pastime and the greatest sport in the world:  baseball.

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