That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: USA Baseball Back at the Olympics

Mike Scioscia former Los Angeles Angels manager will be managing the 2021 National Team and will be at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (photo from USA Baseball)

USA Baseball Back at the Olympics

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

First Olympic Baseball tournament since 2008 and the United States of America is back after classifying this weekend. Baseball is back after a rule change that allowed the host nation to propose adding additional sports for games.

In 2016 Baseball and Softball were confirmed as Olympic sports (both softball and baseball are very popular in Japan) baseball was confirmed along with karate, skateboarding, sports chiming and surfing. Baseball will not be back in the 2024 Paris Olympics but could be added (more than likely) to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

More on this at the end. US Manager Mike Scioscia’s team qualified in Florida with a 4-2 victory over Venezuela. The US joins Israel, México, South Korea and host Japan. The final (six spot) will go to the winner of a final qualifying tournament later this month.

Dominican Republic and Venezuela with be among those going for the last berth. Cuba, winner of three of the five past gold medals failed to make the Olympics this year and their national team is in disarray as some players that were scheduled to fly from Florida to Mexico to join professional teams in that country defected, including a team physiologist.

The US Olympic team features promising minor leagues, who were allowed by their MLB teams to participate as well as veteran ex-major leaguers like pitchers Edwin Jackson and David Robertson. No current players in Major League clubs are allowed to participate in the Olympics.

The US baseball team has won gold once, in 2000 and bronze twice in 1996 and 2008. The baseball competition of the Tokyo Olympics gets underway on July 27 and concludes on August 7. Manager Mike Scioscia, who won a World Series with the Los Angeles Angels over the San Francisco Giants in 2002 said about his US Olympic team, regarding all his players young and veterans on his team: “Your priority has to be contained to the process to getting to the gold,” Scioscia said. “I think that there is an opportunity for players to get back on the drawing board as far as where their careers might be, but that’s t the primary reason they’re here.”

Good luck to Mike Scioscia and the USA Olympic Baseball team, hope they bring home the gold. Note: I agree with Japan accepting Baseball as an Olympic Sport. As a matter of fact I believe Baseball should be a regular sport at every Olympic.

Think of this; Skateboarding began in the 1950’s when surfers in Southern California wanted something to do when the waves were flat. It was then called “sidewalk surfing”which is now popular in many cities. Yet, baseball a sport that has been around for over a century and it is played in the Americas, Asia, Oceania and some countries in Europe is not?

I understand the French not wanting baseball during the Paris Olympics on 2024. the French would probably have Chess as an Olympic Sport before baseball. Men’s Soccer was first introduced at the Summer Olympics in 1900 in Paris, but the French will probably never accept baseball.

One of my favorite quotes about the French: “France has neither winter nor summer nor morals—apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country.” -Mark Twain.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead Spanish play by play radio talent on the Oakland A’s radio network and on flagship station 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Olympics Cuban National Baseball Team Fails to Qualify More Defections

Cuban pitcher Lazaro Blanco joined teammate Carlos Juan Vera and team psychologist Jorge Sile Figueroa in Miami as they defected on Fri Jun 4, 2021 (photo from SwingCompleto)

Olympics: Cuban National Baseball Team Fails to Qualify: More Defections

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

For the first time since 1984 (first time since baseball became an Olympic sport) Cuba will not be sending a team to the Tokyo Olympics. The Cuban national team lost its first two games to Venezuela and then to Canada, during the pre-olympics in Florida.

The Cubans made all five Olympic baseball medal finals before baseball was removed from the Olympics after 2008. With Cuba out, the US ranked No 2 in the world behind Japan, Canada, Venezuela and one of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua or Puerto Rico will advance to the final round of the qualifier.

After their #1 player, César Prieto defected last week; two more Cuban players and one team psychologist defected. Cuban pitchers Lázaro Blanco and Carlos Juan Vera did not showed up to the airport in Miami. They were to fly to México to join baseball teams in the Mexican Professional League.

Jorge Sile Figueroa a 33-year old Cuban psychologist for the Cuban team also defected, Pitcher Lázaro Blanco said to Telemundo CH 51 in Miami “I am here because I want to play baseball and make a team in the US, it was a tough decision because I am leaving my family behind”.

These defections are not good for the Cuban government propaganda machine. It is palpable proof that even in Cuba a country crazy for baseball, Freedom ranks above the game.

Stay well

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Hall of Fame Heritage Museum and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Olympics in Japan Money or Health

2021 Tokyo Olympics NBC logo; The Tokyo Olympics are in jeopardy due to the spike of Coronavirus cases in Japan. The International Olympic Committee is planning to move forward with the games. (image from creative blog)

Olympics in Japan: Money or Health

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

According to the Associated Press between 50-80% of Japanese citizens do not want the Olympics to take place in Tokyo. Organizers have already announced that international fans will not be permitted. The IOC has repeatedly said that the Games will move forward safely.

Japan has extended the state of emergency in the country through mid-June in both Tokyo and Osaka. “The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee will absolutely make sure to protect the health of the athletes,” organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto told the AP. Japan’s population: 126.3 million.

Over 750,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus since pandemic began. 13,000 plus deaths reported 3% of the country has been fully vaccinated. Originally to take place in 2020 and after the Covid pandemic forced the cancellation last year; some estimates today project Japan will have spent $35 Billion dollars to host the games this year. The original budget was about $7.5 Billion.

The opening ceremony will take place on July 23. NBC is the Official Olympic Network. Japan is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez lead play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s on Spanish flagship station 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Another Cuban Baseball Player Defects – Cuban Government Furious

Cesar Prieto Cuban star of the Cuban Olympic team has defected in Florida while the team was there, Prieto is seen here while playing for the Cuban team during a training session at Estadio Latinamericano in Havana (AP News file photo)

Another Cuban Baseball Player Defects – Cuban Government Furious

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Cesar Prieto star of the Cuban Olympic team defected and here is the statement by the Cuban Federation of Sports. “His decision, which is contrary to the commitment he made with both his country and team, has generated repudiation among his colleagues and other members of the delegation, who are willing to overcome foreign interests to be faithful to our homeland and the mission with which we traveled to the tournament”.

Typical statement by a communist government and it is loaded with BS. Most of his teammates are probably very happy Prieto left the team, because he is one of the most talented players on that squad and sometime that would soon be signed by a MLB scout.

It doesn’t matter what administration (party) is in charge in Washington, D.C, because Cuba just continues to violate basic human rights and their system reeks of confiscation, envy and pure hate for those that seek a basic fundamental of all human being, Freedom.

Cesar Prieto is just 21 years of age and one of the best Cuban players at this time. He said “no más” to Cuba while his team was in Florida in the qualifying round for the Tokyo Olympics, where baseball will be back as an Olympic sport. In other words, the communist government of Cuba is upset with this desertion.

The only reason Prieto deserted is because he is looking for the Liberty and the opportunity that his country doesn’t allows him. Cuban players play for the Cuban government, which is the largest employer in the country. They made the equivalent to $60 dollars a month, and have other duties “assigned” to them, like driving the team bus, these are requirements by a country that doesn’t offer its citizens the Freedom of travel, of thought or assembly.

Most of the over 25 Cuban players today in the MLB have either defected when they leave Cuba and arrive at a free country or have the dangerous task to escape in man-made dinghy across the treacherous Florida straits. It doesn’t matter which party is in the White House. Cubans have been defecting for decades and will continue until they are free to travel.

The Coast Guard is still looking for the 10 refugees that just defected from Cuba. From the Miami Herald: ” As Cuba descends into one of the worst economic crises since the beginning of the Castro revolution, its people are escaping in greater numbers on dangerous journeys to the United States and encountering disasters on the high seas.

In the latest calamity, two Cuban migrants died and 10 others were missing after their boat capsized in the Florida Straits south of Key West this week, while the U.S. Coast Guard rescued eight survivors Thursday and continued their search mission Friday.”

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: José Canseco Showtime Car Wash in Vegas

Jose Canseco’s Showtime Car Wash outside of carwash in Las Vegas (photo from yelp.ca)

José Canseco Showtime Car Wash in Vegas

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

For a couple of years now, Mr.40-40/MVP José Canseco’s name is on his Car Wash operation in Las Vegas. José has done many things after his 17 year-career in MLB (which most of us that covered him with the A’s believe was on the way to the Hall of Fame).

He has done reality television shows, wrestled strange things on the boxing ring and other “out of the ordinary” stuff, too many to mention, including a couple of books about Steroids. But now he can be seen at the Showtime Car Wash in Las Vegas on Tropicana Avenue.

A place where you can have your car hand washed, or detailed and even get an autograph from the slugger and half part of the Bash Brothers during the A’s most recent glory years. Canseco is not there all the time, but at specific days of the week.

Canseco was signing autographs at a hotel in Las Vegas, last time I visited. Some are the regular baseball memorabilia shows that travel around the country as well as Las Vegas which is one of the big entertainment centers of the world, home to the Oakland Raiders and could be the future home of the Oakland Athletics. If the A’s relocate to Vegas, Canseco can always say, “I was here first”.

Hoping for a healthy Memorial Day weekend.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the radio play by play talent on Spanish flagship station for the Oakland A’s 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Shooting kills one just blocks away from A’s new ballpark site; Will Curry and Green seek the highest bidder to sign with? plus more

Authorities work the area near Oakland Police Headquarters precinct in downtown Oakland and Oakland Chinatown just blocks from Jack London Square the site of the Oakland A’s proposed new ballpark after a shooting killing one male. 20 spent bullet casings were found at 8th in Broadway on Mon May 24, 2021. (still photo from NBC Bay Area)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 Fans, media, workers, front office staff and players could be concerned regarding the future of moving to downtown Oakland as downtown and Chinatown have seen it’s share of violence just blocks from Howard Terminal where the Oakland A’s hope to build their new ball park. A male was shot over 20 times just a block from Oakland Police headquarters in downtown and no suspects have been arrested or found in the Monday killing.

#2 The Golden State Warriors next move now that their regular season is over is to try and sign both Stephen Curry and Draymond Green during this off season. Amaury do you find it a no brainer for both Green and Curry to sign on with the Warriors or will they wait it out and see who the highest bidder is in the NBA.

#3 Amaury, talk about the hit by injury that A’s Mark Canha sustained getting hit in the elbow which caused swelling on Saturday. Canha made a quick recovery on Monday night with two hit and scoring a run, walked twice with an RBI.

#4 Former St Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa faced his old team at Guarantee Rate Field in Chicago. LaRussa recently had been questioned about some of the remarks he made regarding the Sox Yermin Mercedes when he hit a 3-0 pitch for a home run against a position player, LaRussa in another game on May 5th used Liam Hendricks to pinch run at second base during the 10th inning on a double switch during the post game press conference LaRussa said he didn’t know he could have used Jose Abreau as a pinch runner. LaRussa has being under a lot of criticism this month but the White Sox still maintain first place in the AL Central.

#5 Japanese polls show that 60-80% of the public do not want the Summer Olympics to open for at least two months during a pandemic. International Olympics Committee vice president John Coates told a reporter “absolutely yes” that the Olympics will open July 23rd and will “safe and secure.”

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s Spanish radio network and on flagship station 1010 KIQI LaGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: A Revolution in Baseball–  -Beam Me Up Scotty- 

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws against the Miami Marlins on Tue May 11, 2021, Bumgarner was effected the new rules and no credited with a no hitter after throwing one for seven innings and had to throw for nine innings for an official no hitter (AP News photo)

A Revolution in Baseball–  -Beam Me Up Scotty- 

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

Six no-hitters in less than two months into the season!! One by Madison Bumgarner in seven innings, but that doesn’t count according to the new rules. Baseball is on a pace for more strikeouts than ever before in history, and a category-5 hurricane of home runs to go along.

Hitting .300 has become a novelty; various experiments in minor leagues are currently taking place. One going-on is moving the pitching mound one foot further from the plate to 61′ 6″. Doubleheaders of seven inning games, a “free” runner at second-base when you go into extra innings, the clock is taking over, baseball wants a faster pace (so they say) and not necessarily shorter games. Everyplace you look, you can see this is not the baseball of your father or grandfather.

For decades, the US government ignored reports of UFO’s, which the Pentagon refers now as unidentified aerial phenomena, are real. Maybe aliens have something to do with all this crazy stuff going in the game of baseball today. Technology collecting and analyzing massive amounts of baseball data. “Beam me up, Scotty”.

Launch Angle, nothing but a vertical angle on a swing that leaves the bat with one and only one purpose, to hit the ball over the fence. Round-trippers getting…boring? Today’s batting averages are 25 points under all-time averages in the history of the game.

The shift is old already. I have seen how many players starting to adjust (a favorite coach word) to the shift, the defense realignment that moves as many players to one side/or the other of the infield. Slowly but surely some hitters are beginning to find how to hit and beat the shift hitting to the weakest part of the infield. That is good news; it makes it more interesting and less robotic. At least that has a human factor, players can still think for themselves and that is good news.

During the first two months of this 2021 season we have already seen enough, to easily predict this year would be the most revolutionary year in the history of baseball, with records that will make your eyeballs pop out the sockets out of your head. Enough to make Abner Doubleday come out of his grave to die again instantly of a massive heart attack.

Disclaimer: I am not against change, when it makes sense and when you try to keep the game as much possible the way it was intended, but too much “tweaking” destroys the integrity of the game. Baseball is a great game, to me there is no other game like it on earth, it makes you think, there is (or used to be) a lot of strategy, one of the most difficult things was for a player to hit a home-run, a strike-out was something that a player would hate, most pitchers wanted to go all the way and not throw the towel when they reach 100 thrown pitches, the bunt was a way to manufacture a run which in many cases is enough for the win, since this is not fútbol/soccer, there are no tied games.

The clock was the only thing you did not have to look at a baseball game, just like in the gambling floors in Las Vegas casino’s there is no clock so you just gamble away, in baseball you enjoy a day at the park with family and friends and time becomes irrelevant.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play lead announcer on flagship station 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Miami Marlins Celebrate Cuban Sugar Kings with Uniforms

The Miami Marlins will be debuting their new uniforms celebrating the legacy of the Cuban Sugar Kings. The Marlins will wear the uniforms beginning this Saturday at Loan Depot Park in Miami (Photo from Periodico Cubano)

Miami Marlins Celebrate Cuban Sugar Kings with Uniforms

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Let’s Celebrate!!!! The Miami Marlins are celebrating the Cuban Sugar Kings legacy and the influence of Cuba and baseball in Latin America as they will wear uniforms this coming weekend against the New York Mets at Loan Depot Park their home adjacent to Miami’s “Little Havana”.

The club announced they will also be celebrating Cuba’s Independence from Spain, which took place on May 20, 1902. El 20 de Mayo falls on a Thursday which the Marlins will celebrate this Saturday. About the uniforms, which are a collaboration with Nike and MLB, as Juan Martínez, Director of Events and Promotions from the Miami Marlins told me; “we are all very proud of taking the field with them this weekend and beyond for years to come”.

The Marlins will also wear the uniform at least once per month for the remainder of the 2021 season. The Cuban Sugar Kings were the first and only Major League Baseball franchise outside the United States; they played from 1954 to 1960 in Havana on the old Triple A International League, until 1960 when the communist government of Cuba eradicated all professional sports, including baseball.

Their motto was “un paso más y llegamos” trans- “one more step and we arrive”. Future stars as Octavio (Cookie) Rojas, Leonardo (Leo) Cárdenas and Tony González played for the Sugar Kings, which were also managed by Cuban-born and later the first manager of the San Diego Padres, Cuban-born Preston Gómez.

After being thrown out of Cuba by the government, the franchise moved to New Jersey in 1962 and Jacksonville, which today is the Marlins Triple A affiliate. The Marlins are the first team to celebrate the Cuban Sugar Kings and their heritage.

With some 25 Cuban players in the Major Leagues today, the largest island in the Caribbean was the pioneer as far as baseball talent is concerned coming to the United States. Esteban Bellán, born in La Habana, Cuba is recognized as the first Latin American player to appear at the big league level in 1871 with the Troy Haymakers of the old National Association, before it became the National League in 1876. Today, 150 years after Bellán played in the US, close to 30 percent of all major league baseball players are of Hispanic Heritage.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame Museum and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: A’s and Astros series could a memorable one; LeBron says Curry should be league MVP

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker and the Astros are trailing the Oakland A’s by a half game as the Astros and A’s open a three game series at the Oakland Coliseum Tue May 18, 2021 (File photo from Forbes)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 The Oakland A’s (25-17) and Houston Astros (24-17) meet again at the Coliseum tonight to open a three game series the Astros are just behind the A’s by a half game this series will take the feel of a rivalry.

#2 Besides Oakland fans jeering at Astros manager Dusty Baker and the Astros with the teams being so close in the standings. For the season the A’s and Astros have met seven times and the Astros have won the five and the A’s two.

#3 Sean Manaea (3-2 ERA 4.40) had a rough start against the Boston Red Sox in his last outing he pitched two plus innings giving seven earned runs and ten hits and is looking for a better performance tonight. The Astros will start Cristian Javier (3-1 ERA 3.08) in Javier’s last three outings he’s given up 11 earned runs and is looking for a better outing as well.

#4 Turning to NBA basketball the Golden State Warriors are in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers for the Play In Playoffs Wednesday night at Staples Center. During Monday’s workouts the Lakers LeBron James said that Warrior guard Stephen Curry should be voted NBA MVP for the kind of season he’s had and scoring 30 or more points over the last month.

#5 LeBron also said that Curry will be a tough task to defend in this play in as LeBron is coming off a high ankle sprain injury and Curry has been hot scoring 46 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night in the Warriors last game of the season.

#6 Lastly the Oakland City Council will vote Tue Jul 20th whether to go forward and approve the construction of the Howard Terminal/Jack London Square downtown ballpark for the Oakland A’s. Amongst the discussions, environmental impact issues, how the park will work with port shipping and employees, is the ground toxic or not at the ball park site, parking and traffic, and public transportation into the port on game days.

Join Amaury for News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com and listen for all the play by play of Oakland A’s baseball with Amaury and Manolo Hernandez Douen on the A’s Spanish flagship station 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco

That’s Amaury News and Commentary:Albert Pujols a Dodger Not a Vanity signing

Albert Puljos on Thu Apr 22, 2021 swinging against the Houston Astros is now a Los Angeles Dodger after signing on Sat May 15, 2021. Keeping the future Hall of Famer in the Southland for the rest of this season. (AP News photo)

Albert Pujols a Dodger Not a Vanity signing

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Why the Los Angeles Dodgers did signed Albert Pujols? They had room for him. As simple as that. Plus they can use him, this was not a “vanity signing” because he is a Hall of Famer in waiting and the currently active player with the most home runs.

The Dodgers were hit by the injury bug; most recently they lost their great shortstop Corey Seager who fractured his right hand on a hit-by-pitch this Saturday by Marlins pitcher Ross Detwiler. That was a big blow to the reigning World Champs who are also without the services of starting pitcher Dustin May, out the remainder of the season with Tommy John surgery, pitcher David Price is expected to return this week, also out is young Edwin Ríos who can play first and third base among a bevy of other injuries to their players, including their star center fielder Cody Bellinger.

Yet, the Dodgers could still be the team to beat in that Western Division of the National League. Even without the services of Dustin May the Dodgers have a formidable pitching rotation with; Trevor Bauer, Walter Buheler, Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw The fortunes in baseball can shift very quickly.

The season began with a healthy Los Angeles Dodgers team, who right-of-the-gate, won 13 of their first 16 games and like in one of Sinatra’s many great songs, “That’s Life” says on its lyrics, “riding high in April, shutdown in May”. The Albert Pujols signing was a great deal for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Angels are on the hook for Albert Pujols $30 million this season while the Dodgers will only pay Pujols a prorated league minimum. Pujols stays in Southern California where he still has his permanent residence and gets a chance to go to a World Series again since his days with the Cardinals and something he couldn’t do in his tenure with the Angels.

His ex-team, the Angels, are now in the cellar and although a very good offensive team, they still lack the pitching to contend with the Astros and the Athletics. At the end, it could be a blessing for Albert Pujols that the Angels let him go. He said he still can play, he will get the chance with the Dodgers.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for all the play by play of Oakland A’s baseball on the A’s Spanish flagship station 1010 KIQI LaGrande San Francisco and News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com