Headline Sports with Tony Renteria: Bickerstaff take over coaching reigns in Cleveland; NFL to add more playoff teams; plus more

cavsnation.com photo: New Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff will take over the coaching duties after former head coach John Beilein resigned

On Headline Sports with Tony R:

#1 The Cleveland Cavaliers John Beilein resigned as head coach and replaced him with JB Bickerstaff who is the son of former NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff who coached around the league for many years.

#2 The NFL are adding more playoff teams will this be a matter of making the post season more competitive or is the NFL just milking that much more

#3 The Kings have won four of their last seven games and host the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night at Golden One Center their coming off two tough loses to Milwaukee and Dallas

#4 The players in baseball are ready to riot as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is under pressure by the players to take the World Series Trophy back from Houston and officially cross the Astros off as the 2017 World Champions

#5 The sign stealing scandal has dominated baseball so much its all anyone talks about will fights with the Astros turn the average fan off and they’ll go somewhere else?

Tony Renteria talks Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Bang the drum slowly; Terrible 2020 for Puerto Rico; Alex Cora is Out as Red Sox Manager

abchouston13.com file photo: Former Boston Red Sox manager Joey Corey was fired on Tuesday by the Boston Red Sox after it was disclosed that he over saw the technology of sign stealing via TV monitors and plastic cans as drums when as bench coach of the Houston Astros and manager of the Red Sox

Terrible 2020 for Puerto Rico: Alex Cora is Out as Red Sox Manager

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

Days after Puerto Rico was shaken by powerful earthquakes, another thing has shaken the island. A day after the Houston Astros fired their Manager and General Manager, the Boston Red Sox part ways with their manager Alex Cora. This decision directly related to the investigation of the Astros sign-stealing allegations in the 2017 season. Cora was the bench coach for the Astros in 2017 and was found to have been involved in the operations from the replay room to transmit the signs in game situations.

Commissioner Rob Manfred statement on Alex Cora: “Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs,” Manfred wrote in his findings. “Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct. I will withhold determining the appropriate level of discipline for Cora until after the [Department of Investigations] completes its investigation of the allegations that the Red Sox engaged in impermissible electronic sign stealing in 2018 while Cora was the manager.”

Alex Cora won the World Series as manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2018, becoming the first manager born in Puerto Rico to do so. Carlos Beltrán named new manager for the New York Mets last year, after season’s end, is also under investigation as he also was part of decision making for the the Houston team.

This has been a terrible beginning of this 2020 year for the island of Puerto Rico. The recent earthquakes that continue to devastate the island and now what just happened with Cora and also potentially Carlos Beltrán also born in Puerto Rico. The difference is that Beltrán has not managed his first game yet this upcoming season.

We probably have not heard the last on the sign-stealing scandal. And there should be more to come.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez has been covering the MLB sign stealing scandal and is the Oakland A’s radio Spanish play by play announcer on KIQI 1010 and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

MLB The Show 2019 World Series podcast with Daniel Dullum: Astros stay alive, even series 2-2; plus more

photo from the Washington Post: Yordan Alvarez put the Astros on the board first with a two-run home run in the second inning. (Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post)

On the MLB The Show 2019 World Series podcast with Daniel:

1 World Series tied at 2-2 after Astros take Game 4; home team yet to win

2 Nationals fans boo Astros’ Roberto Osuna in wake of controversy

3 Commissioner Rob Manfred said President Trump opted out of World Series’ first pitch to improve fan experience

4 Red Sox hire Tampa Bay Rays’ Chaim Bloom as Head of Baseball Operations

5 Longtime MLB umpire Chuck Meriweather dies at 63, second umpire to die this month after Eric Cooper

Daniel did MLB commentary throughout the 2019 season and will return next Sunday doing NHL podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Maple bats: Do they cause more harm than good?

In this June 4, 2013 photo, the wood of choice for the Uppercut Bat is a high grade piece of Maple that can be custom ordered and designed with a variety of stains and paints, at the Uppercut Bat Company in Tupelo, Miss. Ever since the game of baseball was invented, players have needed two essential pieces of equipment: a ball and a bat. The Uppercut Bat Co. is less than two years old, but it has drawn a legion of fans and customers who have taken to the company’s wood bats. (AP Photo/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Thomas Wells)

By: Ana Kieu

Maple bats became popular after the MLB introduced the first sanctioned model in 1997.

Former outfielder and first baseman Joe Carter was the first baseball player to use a maple bat. Carter played for the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants. In his professional career, he hit 396 home runs and drove in 1,445 runs. He was also named to five All-Star teams.

Former left fielder Barry Bonds used maple bats over the course of his career. Bonds broke the MLB’s single-season home run record in 2001. He also broke a career home run record in 2007. He finished the season with 28 home runs, 66 RBIs, 340 at-bats and a .276 batting average. He led both the American League and National League with 132 walks. He became a free agent on October 29, 2007. He served as a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins in 2016.

The validity of maple bats decreased in 2010. The MLB inspected them after they began to shatter at a faster rate. The doubtfulness surrounding maple bats revived after Chicago Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin was struck in the chest by a piece of a broken bat. As a result, Colvin was hospitalized in stable condition and sidelined for the rest of the season.

Despite the incident involving Colvin, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that eliminating maple bats was impossible due to a shortage of high-quality ash. However, Scott Drake, vice president of communications for TECO, said that Louisville Sluggers could produce some bats made completely of ash. Although there’s a shortage of ash, the overall supply hasn’t been hollow just yet.

The close call for Colvin should’ve been enough for the MLB to take steps towards action. The league shouldn’t have to wait until a player dies on the baseball field before the necessary changes are made in bats. In 2010, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the same thing and put an emphasis on how the league would wait too long for an in-game death.

Colvin’s injury came two years after the MLB started looking into the issue of shattered maple bats. 2,232 bats broke in the final three months of the 2008 season. 756 of those bats separated into multiple pieces. It’s obvious the problem came from the increased use of bats made from maple, but all we can do is educate ourselves about the dangers and risks until the league wakes up to smell the coffee.

Maple bats can cause more harm than good.

Baseball and Softball return to 2020 Olympics in Tokyo


Olympics Day 12 - Baseballby Charlie O. Mallonee

The International Olympic Committee announced yesterday in Rio de Janeiro that five sports would be added to the 2020 games in Tokyo including baseball and softball. Both sports made their exit from Olympic competition following the Beijing games in 2008.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realise their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games – the world’s greatest sporting stage – and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life.”

Softball teams will have 15 player rosters while baseball teams will allowed to carry 24 players.The plan is to use existing and temporary venues for the competitions.

“We are excited about the IOC’s announcement restoring baseball and softball to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a news release. “Baseball and Softball are global sports that belong in the Olympics. We are grateful to the IOC executive board, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation for their collective efforts, which will allow fans throughout the world to again enjoy Baseball and Softball on the Olympic stage.”

The planned dates for the 2020 games are July 24 to August 9 which put them in the heart of baseball’s regular season. Unlike hockey which has shutdown its schedule to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, baseball has sent its top minor league players to represent the country in the games. Major League Baseball is very resistant to change and not very creative when it comes to finding solutions to problems.

MLB has been exploring a shortened season. The 2020 season would be the ideal time to cut back to 154 or 144 games and then take a two-week break to allow “big leaguers” to play in the Olympics. Teams could bring in their farm teams to play in the big stadiums, let fans attend for free and make money on parking and concessions.

The major league clubs could rotate players in and out of Tokyo. Send a player in for a one to two games and then bring then bring them home allowing another MLB player to take their place.

If the owners just cannot get on board with allowing their players to be gone that long, then they could take a five-day break and play the 2020 All-Star Game in Tokyo as part of Games.The Home Run Derby and the game would be a true international event. How about a MLB versus the World All-Star Game? The possibilities are limitless. Baseball just needs to quit thinking like its 1929 and jump into the 21st century.

OLYMPICS: Softball-USA vs Japan

The return of softball to the Olympics will have a very positive effective on women’s softball in the USA. There is a considerable following for softball at the college level but there is a tremendous drop off of interest and coverage of the sport at the professional level. The National Pro Fastpitch League has six teams located in South, Midwest and Eastern states and does not receive much attention from the mass media.

The reestablishment of an Olympic program should generate renewed interest in the sport beyond the college level and give players the opportunities to grow their sport before a larger audience. The Olympic involvement should also bring more sponsorships and money to the sport which will be good for the coaches and players.

“Today’s decision is an important milestone in the sport’s history and a momentous day for baseball/softball’s estimated 65 million athletes in over 140 countries, as well as millions more fans around the world,” said WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari. “On behalf of the WBSC and all the athletes, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Tokyo 2020 leadership for putting their faith in our sport to begin with; to IOC president Thomas Bach, whose Olympic Agenda 2020 vision has made this opportunity a reality; and to all IOC members for recognizing the valuable contribution the sport can make to the Olympic Movement.A key part of baseball/softball’s popularity is the universality of the sport. It offers an accessible route for young people all over the world to play and stay in sport.”

In 2020, we know it will be the “women’s softball dream team” playing for Team USA in Tokyo. Will it be the “men’s baseball dream team” or the “who is that team” for Team USA baseball? Only time and money will tell.