That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Adjusting to Hit Against the Shift

Photo credit: chicagotribune.com

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

During the last 10 years or so, the shift has taken over, which was something that was an oddity. Harry S .Truman was the President of the United States when during the summer of 1946, Cleveland Indians Manager Lou Boudreau witnessed three Ted Williams hit three home runs during the first game of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. Which was very interesting because the shift never stopped a ball that went over the fence for a home run. But Boudreau was sick and tired of Williams pulling the ball to right field, so he decided to put four infielders between first and second. During that time only one player came to the plate with that defensive alignment. Therefore, it was called the “Ted Williams shift” for many years.

The Houston Astros are one of the teams that have used the shift the most. Nothing rare to see a left-handed hitter, that could be hitting .236 to see Yuliesky Gurriel at first-base, Jose Altuve the second baseman playing between first and second in short right field, shortstop Carlos Correa playing between second and first, to the right of Altuve and their regular third-baseman Alex Bregman playing just behind second base. Right-handed hitters also hit with the shift with frequency like Atlanta’s Freddy Freeman, and that is why he is a .300 hitter.

Matt Olson is he first-baseman for the Oakland Athletics. Olson is the 6’5″ and 230 lb cleanup hitter for the A’s. He has hit 142 home runs since his debut with the team in 2016. Yet, he has bunted looking for a base hit a few times this season to the opposite side of the shift for him the left side.

“Honestly, I think it’s always in play unless it’s kind of late in the game and I’m a tying or go-ahead run, something where driving the ball would be big for us,” said Olson.

And why not? I need to mention that there are major league players than can hit to the opposite field with frequency like I have recently seen more players with power like Olson trying to get on base with the bunt. A bunt hit today is breaking news and should be reported by Wolf “Breaking News” Blitzer on CNN. The bunt is healthy when used to be an integral part of the game, whose purpose is to get on base and score. Baseball historians say that the bunt was invented by Dickey Pearce, who played seven seasons with the New York Mutuals, Brooklyn Atlantics and St. Louis Brown Stockings. The bunt was not common until the 1880’s and then it was integrated in the 20th century as part of baseball strategy.

Thousands of home runs are hit in today’s game,specially with a “new”and lighter baseball it is common to see the balls going over the fences 420,430 feet or more. It would be ironic if the bunt is making a comeback but what is not ironic but a reality, is that power hitters with very low batting averages are trying to do more than just hit home runs and that is to bunt when they have the shift right in front.

Can the bunt have a revival in 2019? Maybe not, but we are seeing it with more frequency, and I do not mind especially when and if it works. Not only a sacrifice bunt, but a bunt for a base hit against the shift. Although home runs will never be boring and most fans love it.

The bunt? Let’s face it, it is a beautiful thing. By the way, the best I ever seen here in the Bay Area when it came to the art of bunting is Dagoberto “Blanco” Campaneris, a three-time World Champion shortstop for the Athletics from 1972-74.

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez is a pioneer of Spanish broadcasting in the Bay Area and has been broadcasting in the major leagues since 1979 for radio and television. He is currently on KIQI 1010AM/990AM Oakland Athletics Spanish radio network, covering the Bay Area and Sacramento/Stockton. Amaury got his start with A’s owner Charlie O. Finley.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Baseball in Latin America Is Risky Business

Photo credit: sportingnews.com

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

In Latin America, the Dominican Republic,Puerto Rico,Cuba,Venezuela,Mexico, Colombia, and Curacao (Dutch Caribbean island) are the main producers of baseball talent in the major leagues.

Cuba was the pioneer in Latin America. From Esteban (Steve) Bellán, who in 1871 became the first Latin-born player to compete in a top professional baseball league, to Hall of Famer Tony Perez to Minnie “Mr. White Sox” Minoso, Cuban-born players have been big-league pioneers since the game’s earliest days. Cubans like Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman, Jose Iglesias and others have been keeping up with the great Cuban tradition.

My friend Roberto González Echevarría is a Cuban-born critic of Latin American literature and culture. He is the Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literature at Yale University. Back in 1998, I introduced him to Giants manager  Dusty Baker. In his book, The Pride of Havana, he depicted the career of Cuban-born pitcher Adolfo “Dolf” Luque, whom in 1923 with the Cincinnati Reds had a record of 27-8 with 1.93 ERA, pitched in 41 games, started 37 games and completed 28 games with a total of 322 innings pitched. He was a Cuban pioneer of fair skin, so he was able to pitch in the majors in the 1920’s. The Castro brothers have ruled communist Cuba during 12 different US Presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Donald Trump, and the politics of all these leaders didn’t matter, the Cuban government has never opened to free Democratic elections and still consider the US as an enemy. However, they welcome American tourism because they need the money. When Fidel Castro died (he earlier said he wanted a socialist society where all Cubans were the same) died with about $1 billion dollars in the bank, according to Forbes.

Today, Dominican Republic and Venezuela have the majority of players in the major leagues among all Latin American countries. Most of these countries are not rich countries and some are in dire economic situations. Cuba has been a communist dictatorship since 1960. Many players had to escape in home-made rafts (balsas) across the treacherous Florida straights to make it to freedom in the US. Some defected while playing tournaments outside the island. Yasiel Puig, among others, had to entangle with human traffickers to complete his journey, while the Yankees’ Kendrys Morales tried eight times to escape and succeeded in his ninth attempt. All baseball in Cuba is centralized and ran by the Cuban government, like everything else in that country. There are no diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba.

Venezuela, the land of the great Hall of Famer shortstop Luis Aparicio and many others like Miguel Cabrera, is going through an ugly part in their history. According to the United Nations, and reported by AP and Reuters, three million Venezuelans have fled economic and political crisis in their homeland since 2015. In that country, proven oil reserves are recognized as the largest in the world. Since the Hugo Chavez regime and now Nicolas Maduro, that country has collapsed with the highest inflation in the word. It is incredible that in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, people line in the streets searching for food from garbage cans and stand in line to get a bucket of clean drinking water. That is the legacy for Venezuela since they were tutored by Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro. Most Venezuelan players, who usually went back to their homeland to play winter ball, have now left to live in the United States.

Mexico might have the most stable baseball leagues today in Latin America. It is another country full of riches, but mismanaged by governments for many decades. Mexico’s Vinicio “Vinny” Castilla, Fernando Valenzuela and many others in the past. Currently, Dodgers’ Julio Urias and A’s Joakim Soria and Marco Estrada, just to mention a few.

Puerto Rico was hurt by Hurricane Maria, but prior to that, they were in bankruptcy due to poor political leadership. It has been a US territory since 1898 and a “Estado Libre Asociado” (Free Associated State) commonwealth since 1952, but they can’t decide if they want to be a US state or remain as they are due to profound ideological divisions. They have three different political parties with different ideas. Puerto Rico has been a mess way before Hurricane Maria devastated most of that island. Baseball was also hurt by Hurricane Maria. For many years, they didn’t send much talent to the major leagues, but in the last few years, some star players like Astros’ Carlos Correa, Indians’ Francisco Lindor and others have been enjoying great success. The one and only Roberto Clemente along with Orlando Cepeda were both born in Puerto Rico and made it to Cooperstown.

Still, with all those bad governments, Latin American baseball talent will keep growing in the major leagues, just like the population of the US, which is approximately 50-plus million Hispanics.

Adios, amigos!

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Giants Stuck With Heavy Contracts of Under-Producing Players

Photo credit: @NBCSAuthentic

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

The Opening Day Payroll of this 2019 MLB season for the San Francisco Giants was $138,030,231. The estimated CBT payroll is different at $155,030,231. CBT is commonly known as the Luxury Tax. The threshold for 2019 is $206 million. The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and New York Yankees are over that figure.

The Giants’ larger salaries per year are those of Buster Posey ($22 million) plus Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Melancon, Evan Longoria, and Madison Bumgarner. Some of the most recent Giants like Cueto and Longoria have multi-year deals for more than $100 million. Samardzija signed for $90 million and Melancon signed for $62 million. Cueto and Melancon have been hurt and Longoria, who was a franchise player for the Tampa Bay Rays, is not the same player after 10 years of great production. Longoria seems to be done.

In 2018, in his first season for the Giants, Longoria hit .244 with 16 home runs and 54 runs batted in. This season, Longoria has hit for a .220 average with six home runs and 19 runs batted in. Others like Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are not starving, but are big disappointments. For example, Belt currently sports a .230 average with eight home runs and 20 runs batted in. Since he began his career with San Francisco in 2011, Belt has never hit more than 18 home runs and 82 runs batted in during a season at first base, which is supposed to be a power position. Crawford is currently hitting .209 with three home runs and 13 batted in.

I hear people talking about bringing the fences in at Oracle Park because the Giants do not hit well there, but everybody else that comes to play the Giants hit plenty of home runs. It is not the park for the Giants’ lack of hitting, it is the players. They won three World Series at the same park, which has been SBC, Pac Bell and AT&T. It’s now Oracle. Since the inauguration of this beautiful park, the dimensions have been the same, so instead of focusing on the fences, the Giants should focus on the team.

The Giants simply got old, and they are playing not the same type of baseball that everybody else is playing today — home runs, home runs, and more home runs. Since MLB got a new ball this year, which is much lighter (a good friend of mine in this business told me, “Amaury, the ball is on Steroids.” Yes, and everybody is hitting home runs, except for the Giants.

You do not need Statcast or any other of the new and fancy baseball analytics to tell you that the Giants have spent more that most teams in baseball and got little in return for their money. On July 31, we will likely see this team trade Madison Bumgarner and perhaps reliever Will Smith. Only God knows who else, but they need more than a tune-up, they need a new engine.

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez is the Spanish voice of the Oakland Athletics. He was born in Cuba and has lived in the Bay Area since 1969. He has broadcasted for the A’s, Giants, Mariners, and Angels — a veteran of radio and television. He has been inducted to BARHOF (Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame) in 2010, Cuban Sports Hall of Fame (Miami), and The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame (San Francisco), and nominated multiple times for the MLB Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Bill Buckner Played 22 Years, but Remembered for One Miscue

Photo credit: @BostonGlobe

Bill Buckner was a very good baseball player. Born in Vallejo, California on December 14, 1949. He died after a battle with dementia on May 27,2019 in Boise, Idaho. Buckner played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, California Angels (now Los Angeles Angels) and Kansas City Royals.

After 22 years in the Major Leagues, the first baseman ended with a solid .289 batting average. Buckner played in 2,517 games and collected 2,715 hits. Buckner also won the 1980 batting title in the National League with the Chicago Cubs batting .324.

Unfortunately, Buckner was always remembered for the costly error during the 1986 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets. I happened to be broadcasting for the old CBS Hispanic Radio Network over 200 Spanish format stations in the US and Latin America alongside veterans Juan Vene and Billy Berroa and international producer Armando Talavera. It was Game 6 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York at the bottom of the 10th inning when the Mets’ Mookie Wilson hit a grounder that went through Bill Buckner’s legs, allowing Ray Knight scoring from second with the winning run for a Mets’ 6-5 win. The next day, in Game 7 game, the Mets beat the Red Sox 8-5 to win the series. The key play was the one that turned around the series — Buckner’s error.

Baseball is a wonderful game. However, moments, good or bad, will be remembered for many years. After that error, Buckner was not welcome in Boston, home of one of the most passionate fanbases in baseball. There were death threats, and he was persona non grata for many years in that great city.

Although I vividly remember that moment of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Red Sox fans that were at Shea Stadium crying, while Mets fans could not be any more pleased, I personally remember Buckner as a very good dependable professional MLB player for over two decades.

You cannot judge a career for one play, however, it unfortunately happens. Remember when Jose Canseco played right field for the Texas Rangers on May 26, 1993 and let a ball hit him in the head and rebounded over the fence for a home run? Yes, that happened, but people should also remember in 1988, Canseco was with the Oakland Athletics and was the first ever 40-40 man when he hit 42 home runs and stole 40 bases en route to the American League MVP. Canseco had a 17-year career with 462 home runs.

However, the Canseco play was during a regular season, Buckner’s play was during a World Series. Though I remember the infamous play, I moreso remember Buckner as a very productive MLB player.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: ESPN President says political commentary killed the network

Photo credit: @CornellNews

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

James Pitaro, new President of ESPN, said: “My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them.”

Pitaro admitted political commentary killed the network and vowed for change.

Pitaro added: “Our fans do not want politics mixed with sports.”

Alexandra J. Robert, a law professor specializing in trademark law, entertainment law and pop culture recently wrote in The Boston Globe how one business in particular feels. In this case, Dunkin Donuts said: “We are not Starbucks, we aren’t political, we aren’t gonna put stuff on our cups to start conversations. we don’t want to engage you in political conversation, we want to get you in and out of our store in seconds. It’s donuts and ice cream– just be happy.”

The majority of businesses have one agenda — to make money. I do not know of anybody that goes into business to lose money. Having said that we live in a free capitalistic free enterprise society, and people (even businesses) are allowed to promote certain causes. There is nothing wrong with that.

When it comes to sports, Pitaro has seen what has happened to his network and he is trying to change that. ESPN has always been a sports network. They do not tell you how to cook an omelet or how to elect somebody to Congress, while those watching the Food Channel could care less (well, at least when they are watching their favorite show) what was the score of the game. To each their own. I am old enough to remember when we had ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and vice versa way before cable. Now, we have 200-plus channels to chose from.

For years, I have maintained that sports is one of the biggest escapes to the boring everyday life. Let’s face it, most people’s lives consist of going to work in the morning and coming home in the afternoon. The overwhelming majority see sports that should always be neutral, something to enjoy, escape and relax from a hard day of work.

Pitaro gets it. He knew he has been hired to heal a network that during the past few years have been going downhill, not only from the competition, but also because some who get paid to cover sports dived into politics.

Pitaro knows very well he has not been hired to save the world, but to save a sports network.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Ted Williams & Hispanic heritage

Photo credit: @MH_Investment

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Ted Williams, also known as Teddy Ballgame, is the last man to hit .400 over a full season. In 1941, Williams, as a member of the Boston Red Sox, played 143 games (the season was a total of 154 games) with an average .406, drove-in 120 runs, received 147 bases on balls and struck out just 27 times. By any measure, that was one of the greatest seasons for anybody in the history of the game. The Hall of Famer played his entire 19-year career with Boston. Many agree he was the best pure hitter ever.

Williams was born in San Diego, California. His mother was Maria Hernandez-Benzor, born in Ciudad Juarez — near El Paso,Texas. The El PasoJuárez region is the largest bilingual, bi-national work force in the Western Hemisphere.

The Hispanic Baseball Museum is the only museum of its kind in the country. It was established in San Francisco, California in June 1999, as a nonprofit institution 501(c)(3). This Museum is dedicated to recognizing the contributions made to baseball by its Hispanic players. Ted Williams is in The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame — not only because he was a great player, but also because his mother was born in Mexico. When the museum first reported this, many ignored this fact, but when Williams played, this country was not really looking at people’s heritage. Williams was a very private man who dedicated himself to the game with a stellar career. In the 1940’s, US demographics were not what they are today — the amount of Hispanic-American players was just a handful unlike today’s 35%.

Some players still do not want to admit their heritage. For example, Reggie Jackson, whose full name is Reginaldo Martinez Jackson. He of Puerto Rican descent. He is also in Cooperstown and speaks a little Spanish. I have spoken to him on many occasions, like, say, when he played and after he retired. Some people do not feel comfortable admitting their heritage, but in today’s world, things have changed, and if you asked them directly, most players will not hesitate to tell you about how proud they feel of their lineage.

Decades ago, some players were shy, like the first Puerto Rican Ruben Gomez to pitch in a World Series. Gomez was with the New York Giants, who won Game 3 against the Cleveland Indians. Considering that, Jackie Robinson was the first to break the color barrier in 1947. Many Latin players, even those who are fair-skinned, were conscious that there was so much discrimination perpetuated on them. The media even made fun of how they spoke English. It was a tough environment for many of them. The great Roberto Clemente was often misquoted and he did not like it.  Orestes “Minnie” Minoso, who was born in Cuba and dark-skinned, told me that he never complained, but lived and played during those very difficult times. Also, Orlando Cepeda told me it was very difficult and said: “During those days,the white player was #1, the black player was #2 and the Latino player was #3 in baseball.”

But those years are now in the past. It is a part of history, and even though some people do not want to talk about it, it happened and no country can erase its history. For Ted Williams, it was a totally different situation. Although he was of Hispanic heritage, he was also white, and one of the best players of his generation — a mega star. As a matter of fact, many who played with or against Williams during those years did not know about his heritage. They would have been very surprised if they learned Ted Williams’ mother was Mexican.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Liam Hendriks for “openers”

Photo credit: athleticsnation.com

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

On Saturday, the Oakland Athletics against the visiting Cleveland Indians, started a game with Liam Hendriks, as an “opener” for the first time since October 3, 2018 at Yankee Stadium for the one-game Wild Card elimination game, which the Yankees won 7-2. After Hendriks was slated to open the game and pitch only the first inning, he allowed no runs, walked one and struck out one. A’s manager Bob Melvin followed with a parade of pitchers: Aaron Brooks, Yusmeiro Petit, Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen, who was accredited with the A’s 3-2 win over the Indians.

Thirty years ago, there were 622 complete games in MLB. Last season, just a total of 42 and just 13 pitchers threw for 200-plus innings. That was the way pitching has gone, and with just about every team hitting lots of home runs so far this season, with the exceptions of the Marlins and Giants, pitching is so deluded now, that I would not be surprised “openers” are here to stay.

I know it is the wrong sport, but the great Al Davis used to say “just win baby” and the same thing applies in baseball. Use whatever formula works. Soon the National League will adopt the DH rule. It is inevitable, you know it and everybody knows it. So there are some general changes and regulations that MLB will establish, but there are others that just happen and the “opener” is one of those.

Pitching is becoming a commodity as hard to find as diamonds, the hardest mineral to find on earth. Not many years ago, pitching coaches will tell their starters on the rotation “give me six good innings”.  Today, that is for the “opener” give me one good inning — three outs in the first inning and your are out of the game.

I am not the one who likes to predict the future, but I predict one record that will never be broken is that of Cy Young, who pitched 7,356 innings in 22 seasons. Of course, different eras. Back then, the only count was that of the attendance, but no count of pitches thrown. But that was then and it’s something that we will never see again.

Bob Melvin is one of the best managers in the game. In a perfect world, he would have had at least a semi-set rotation and would have never used the “opener”, but it is not easy to win a game in the majors.

After he retired and did TV commentary, I once asked my all-time favorite manager Sparky Anderson: “In your opinion how many games does a manager win during a season using pure strategy?” He told me: “Maybe 10 to 15 games.” Sparky and many others never had to manage “openers” because a pitcher that begins a game, if not abused in the first inning, is expected to go a long way.

The defensive shift, is slowly changing as hitters are adjusting. but you better get used to the “opener”, and if it becomes a common thing, there will also be a stats for openers and their success. Why not? Baseball is filled with changes. Remember there was no RBI recorded until 1920.

So, the tale of the story, you better get use to “openers”, because they could be as valuable as closers.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason: Decision at Kentucky Derby impacts the event; Warriors-Rockets could be evenly matched teams; plus more

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On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason:

#1 How much of an impact was the decision of the officials at the Kentucky Derby to eliminate and disqualify Maximum Security and allow Country House the winner? The first time a winning horse has ever been disqualified in 145 years.

#2 With the Golden State Warriors, you never know what team is going to show up, They handled the Houston Rockets in first two games with a four-point win in Game 1 and a six-point win in Game 2, but it was Game 3 where they lost to the Rockets by five and lost another one in game 4 on Wednesday night as the series is tied 2-2.

#3 After having two comeback victories against the Cincinnati Reds during their four-game series, the San Francisco Giants split with the Reds, losing Monday. Giants starter Drew Pomeranz got lit up in 1.2 innings, nine hits and seven runs. While striking out two batters, Pomeranz continues to labor in the 12-4 loss.

#4 The LPGA Mediheal Championship was held at Lake Merced in Daly City from April 29th through May 5th. The leaderboard showed Sei Young Kim taking the $270,000 winnings finishing on top with a par 281 on Sunday.

#5 The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche battled in Game 6. The Avs came away with a 4-3 win to tie the series in overtime 3-3, to force a Game 7, bringing the game back to San Jose.

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury Pi-Gonzalez for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast at www,sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Spanish Broadcasts in the MLB

Photo credit: wordpress.com

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Demographics show that there are 52 million people of Hispanic/Latino descent in the United States of America. This is 16.7% of the population and the largest minority. The next Census will be in 2020. There are a lot of opinions and controversy regarding those Hispanic/Latinos who did not report in the past Census because they may be undocumented. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and since then, it has been taken every 10 years.

Since 2000, legal immigrants as a whole to the US number approximately 1,000,000 per year. The US leads the world in this category. Recent US government statistics project that at the conclusion of this year, the US might have another million that came in as undocumented, most of whom would be Hispanic/Latinos.

Here are the MLB who schedule Spanish broadcasts: Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers.

Some teams employ their Spanish broadcasters, while others are employed by radio stations. With these stats, the Hispanic/Latino audiences are increasing, especially now that the MLB has become more international, playing regular season games in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Depending on the size of the Hispanic/Latino market, the local teams should not ignore this potential source of revenue. This segment of the population is very passionate and loyal following their respective teams. Also, sponsors should not be ignored. Regardless of legal status, we all work, pay taxes, buy soda pop, hot dogs, beer and nachos.

I have witnessed this growth of the Hispanic market during the last 40 years.

Hasta la vista amigos!

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A’s, Giants on the road for Cinco de Mayo weekend

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By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, and it is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, Mexico in 1862, which marks a Mexican military victory over the French forces of Napoleon. It is NOT Mexican Independence Day, that is on September 16. But Cinco de Mayo is a popular day that ironically is celebrated much more in the US than in Mexico.

What? How can that be.The San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Bay Area is one of the most wealthiest areas of the country. The South Bay and Silicon Valley is leading the way when it comes to the world’s technology. Today, the nine-county Bay Area has a population of over seven million people and we are denied to have one our teams at home? For the record, it also happens in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, three metropolitan areas with two major league teams who play less than 50 miles apart.

The MLB’s 30 team schedule is truly a crazy one, with interleague games since 1997, beginning with the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants in Arlington, Texas. That day, Texas and three other games on the West Coast, teams from the National League, played teams from the American League during the regular season for the first time. In the end, they played a total of 214 games spread over three periods, the last ending on September 3.

I was working that first ever interleague game, broadcasting for the Giants when they played the Rangers in Arlington. On June 12 ,1997, a historical first interleague game where the Giants beat the Rangers 4-3. Mark Gardner (7-2) got the victory for the Giants, while Darren Oliver (3-8) was charged with the loss for the Rangers, and Rod Beck saved his 20th game for the Giants. I remember it well and I still have a souvenir they passed in the press box for that historical day.

It is a shame with the great weather we are enjoying in the Bay Area, baseball fans will not be able to attend a game this Cinco de Mayo. However, on Monday, September 16, the A’s will be at home hosting the Kansas City Royals, so you can celebrate Mexican Independence at the Coliseum that day. Also, on September 16, the Giants have an off-day in Boston and will begin a three-game set against the Red Sox the next day. Oh, yes…interleague play!

Anyways, Feliz Cinco de Mayo amigos!