Hello! I’m sorry about my lack of entries as of late. I’ve been filming a movie in Utah and have had very little time to write, other than Tweets on Twitter. It seems 140 characters are about all I’ve been able to manage lately.
Thank goodness for the MLB At Bat app for the iPhone! I’ve been working a lot of nights and weird hours, with no Internet connection in sight, and have found solace in always knowing I can see highlights.
I’m starting to get excited for All-Star Game. I’ve been asked for whom I’ve voted numerous times on Twitter, so I thought I’d share my picks with you.
National League (Yeah. Mostly Dodgers. Back off.)
I could not vote for Manny, because it is a bad message to send to our kids.
How about the Dodgers? (I’m doing a ritualistic dance now to counterbalance any jinxing that might have taken hold just by writing that question.)
P.S. Tell me who you voted for! And if you haven’t voted yet you can do so here.
Interleague baseball was first proposed in the 1930s. It took some 60 years for the first game to be played.
What took so long? The answer lies in the traditionalist heart. The first Interleague game was in 1997, and was the brainchild of the owners to boost attendance and revenue. And although it gives us fans an opportunity to see players we wouldn’t normally get to see, I’m going to go on record as saying I don’t love Interleague games.
Maybe I’m not a fan because I’m bitter that the American League dominates. Last year, the AL enjoyed a combined 149-103 edge. Boo!
Or maybe I feel it takes away from the uniqueness of the All-Star Game or, more importantly, the drama of the World Series.
Or maybe it is just a combination of all of it.
I was reading Mark Newman’s article on MLB.com today and learned that Interleague attendance just keeps growing. Mark states, “Total Interleague attendance has risen every year from 2002-08, going from 7,741,496 over 249 dates in 2002 to a little shy of one full ballpark under 9 million in 2008.”
Also in this article, Bud Selig is quoted as saying, “As long as I’m here, we will have Interleague Play. I love it.” (Hmmm. My other least favorite thing in baseball — home field advantage in the World Series based on the All-Star Game winner — was introduced by Selig, too. Hmmm. But I digress.)
Baseball attendance is down four percent this year, in my opinion, due to the economy. Baseball officials disagree, claiming that attendance is down due to the fact that the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field each have 15,000 fewer seats. Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see if the attendance for the scheduled Interleague games this season continues, on trend, to grow, or if Interleague attendance also declines.
If regular season Interleague baseball is here to stay, there is something that has been proposed numerous times before by players, sports journalists and fans that I really think would make Interleague games more interesting. Play by the visiting team’s league rules. For instance, if you are playing in a National League park against an American League team, use the designated hitter rule so that fans who don’t normally get to see the other league’s style of ball in their stadium get to see it first-hand.
Just an idea. What are your thoughts on Interleague Play?
Yesterday, May 6, 2009, I went to bed elated by the news that the Dodgers made history. Just 10 hours later, I woke up disheartened by the news that Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games due to testing positive for an MLB banned substance. I then proceeded to comfort eat. I ate two muffins with a side of frosted flakes. I now feel puffy.
ESPN is reporting that they have received information from two sources that the banned substance Manny tested positive for is human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is a fertility drug typically used by steroid users coming off the juice that aids in replenishing testosterone levels in the testicles. As we’ve all learned by now, testosterone is depleted by steroid use, and low testosterone can cause erectile dysfunction. (Insert inappropriate Mannywood joke here). But it should be noted that HCG can also be used in lieu of steroids because of its testosterone boosting effect which can boost performance. Still bad.
In his statement, Ramirez said:
“I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me, and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I’m sorry about this whole situation.”
And if it isn’t bad enough for baseball, Tom Verducci from SI.com closed his article with this staggering fact:
“Ramirez ranks 17th on the all-time home-run list with 533. Eight of those top 17 home run hitters played in what is commonly referred to as the Steroid Era. And six of those eight modern-day sluggers have been associated with performance-enhancing drugs: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Rodriguez and Ramirez. The only modern sluggers to have escaped such a connection are Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.”
Am I enraged? No. Cheating in baseball has been around for as long as the sport has been around. This latest form of cheating is a direct result of where we are socially. I’ve said it many times before but it is worth repeating here and now. We’re all looking for a quick fix to be stronger, to look younger, to perform better and to cure what ails us. Performance enhancing drugs are, unfortunately, the evolution of cheating that mirrors the evolution of the pharmaceutical society that we’ve become.
So, no, I am not enraged. I’m just sad and disappointed.
Below is an excerpt from my book Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic. This excerpt appears in the chapter entitled, “Cheating Through The Ages,” and I thought it was appropriate to post today. Please leave your comments. I always enjoy reading them.
“Okay, I’m just gonna lay this out here: Cheating in baseball has been around for a long time. Pretty much since the game began there have been stolen signs, spitballs, corked bats, greenies, and any number of other methods to get ahead. It was only after all that when the current era of swollen necks and bulging home run totals was ushered in. So much for baseball’s innocence.
The difference between the past and the present is that today’s cheating is happening off the field. It’s happening in locker rooms and bathroom stalls instead of on the basepaths and the pitcher’s mound. Personally, I can’t figure out how anyone can say that one form of cheating is “better” than another. Can’t we just say that they’re all bad rather than trying to find ways to show that the past was full of decency and the present is full of deception?
I’m a big believer in individual responsibility. Baseball cheaters should be punished. Punished, yes, but not destroyed. It was true when Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the Black Sox disappointed a nation, and it’s true now, for the guys looking for an edge by using the needle. The real problem with steroids is that the baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, and the Major League Baseball Players Association didn’t nip it in the bud (no pun intended) early on. For years both sides opposed testing with little sense of the toll that this position would take on the game. Their negligence turned a problem into an epidemic, leaving an entire era of stats in question. Home runs, hits, and attendance were up, and that meant more money for teams and the league, which meant more money for players, which meant more money for the union. Take all those financial incentives together, and suddenly no one is in a hurry to regulate anything.
Yet even though there are a lot of people responsible for the steroid era there are very few who’ve actually stepped up and admitted their part in it. And that’s what I have a problem with. Barry Bonds is undoubtedly one of the greatest players ever. You know what? I didn’t have as much of a problem with the idea of him cheating as I did with the possibility that he lied about it.
In contrast, there are guys like Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte, who simply came clean (inasmuch as Giambi could without violating the terms of his contract). And I totally respect their honesty. Yes, Giambi may have made some bad choices throughout his career, but I must admit, as a purist fan of baseball, I had a newfound respect for the man after he told the truth. I have compassion for anyone trying to do the right thing, anyone who may have had a slip of judgment and then recognized his or her mistakes.
Maybe my biggest frustration with this issue is that Major League Baseball and the players union have yet to own up to their role in all this. A grand jury, a congressional committee, a tell-all book, and they have yet to apologize for their complacency. Before MLB can solve this issue it needs to recognize the problem and apologize for it. If any employee of any major entertainment corporation were to act inappropriately and offend or alienate his or her audience, the CEO would apologize on behalf of the company. Why is it so hard for Bud Selig to say, “I apologize for the steroid era. We made a mistake with our complacency, and we are taking the appropriate measures to make sure the future game of baseball is played with dignity and integrity.”
The fans, the players, the coaches — everyone needs to close the book on this latest chapter, in the game’s cheating history. As the latest in a long history of cheating episodes, it’s our obligation to give it the attention it deserves and then move on. We owe it to ourselves and… we owe it to the game.”
P.S. Here’s a link to an entry I wrote about steroids and botox.
I went to a wonderful event today for “Kids In Sports”. The goal of this great organization is to create community led after school sports programs for children and youth in underserved areas of Los Angeles County. In 1996, KIS initiated the Girls In Recreation, Leadership and Sports (GIRLS) Program to recruit and attract young girls to the sports clubs.
At the luncheon, Kim Ng was honored for her excellence in raising awareness for women in sports. For those of my blog readers that may not be Dodgers fans and don’t know, Kim Ng was the youngest person to present a salary arbitration case in the major leagues at age 26. She has three World Series rings from when she was the Yankees assistant GM. She is the first woman to interview for a general manager’s position in Major League Baseball history. Recently, she was picked as one of the most influential people in the game by Baseball America. AND Kim Ng is the Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I have always been an admirer of Ms. Ng. I would imagine that she doesn’t want to be known as a trailblazer. Like any woman who has achieved absolute greatness, she wants to be recognized for her brain and talent, not her gender. But, my God, what an amazing role model she is for women everywhere.
When she accepted the award, she spoke of growing up and what sports meant to her and her sisters (she is the oldest of 5). With humility, she told the crowd how sports gave her self-esteem during those pivotal years of teen development, and taught her of teamwork and commitment. Playing sports as a young girl, gave her the foundation to grow into the smart, successful, business, woman she is today.
The words Kim shared are actually statistically proven. Girls who play sports have higher levels of self-esteem. They have a more positive body image. They have the experience of success, learn of the hard work to achieve goals and how to deal with failure.
Kim Ng is a great spokesperson for the game of baseball and inspired me today.
After Kim accepted her award, she graciously took a picture with me. In that fleeting moment, I thought about asking her what the Dodgers were going to do with the bullpen or if she had any plans to get another set up guy or a starter (that could maybe go more than four innings, maybe? Please?). But somehow, in that moment, baseball didn’t seem relevant. I wasn’t there as a fan of the Dodgers. I was there as a fan of Kim Ng.
I am particularly excited about this appearance/signing. Why am I excited about this one in particular, you ask? My favorite Dodger blogger Jon Weisman will be the one asking the questions! He writes Dodger Thoughts.
And if you are a Dodgers fan, you must also check out his incredibly informative, passionately written book entitled, 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.
I’m reading the book now. It is an eloquent look at the Dodgers and a must read for anyone who is a fan of the team.
So… needless to say, I’m excited that I get to talk baseball tomorrow with Jon. I may even turn the interview around on him! You’ve been warned, Jon.
UCLA CAMPUS – Los Angeles Times Stage
1 p.m.: Interview Session with Jon Weisman
1:30 p.m.: Audience Q & A
1:50 p.m.: Book Signing for one hour
In regards to tickets, the book session is at an outdoor stage so there no tickets are necessary. You can just show up to the UCLA campus and walk over to the Los Angeles Times Stage! There are 400 seats available but plenty of standing room; they have had up to 1,000 people at that stage before with no problem.
I hope to see you there!
Dave Hollander interviewed Chris Young. The headline of the interview is: “Padres All-Star: Clean Players vs. Dirty Players Class Action Suit, Why Not?” Intrigued? The interview is quite compelling. It is refreshing to hear from one of the guys that didn’t get caught up in steroids. He is honest and frank about the topic. The article can be found here. If you have a moment, give it a read.
Also, if you are in New York, please come visit me at Citi Field on Saturday, where I will be celebrating the TOUCH flagship store ribbon cutting! I will be at the store from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. signing autographs and taking pictures. I’m very proud of the store and appreciative for this opportunity given to me by the Mets so… come join me! I’ll be the girl with misty eyes. (I get a little emotional when it comes to this stuff.)
Eric, who has been a loyal follower to my blog and who is my favorite Angels fan, left a comment in my last entry that touched me.
Baseball aside, the very human lesson is that we cherish every day as if it were our last. No one is immune to this reality so . . . live well, passionately, with kindness and appreciation. In my subconscious I know this to be true. We ALL know this to be true. It’s just sometimes I need a reminder how fleeting life really is. This tragic news today was that reminder for me, and hopefully many others.
No matter what our teams are, no matter if you watch the game from inside the dugout, press box, on the couch or in the stands, when baseball loses someone, we all mourn together as a community. It’s a community I am proud to be a part of in moments like these.
RIP Nick Adenhart and thank you for the reminder.
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Happy Opening Day. Here is our 25-man roster:
- Infielders – Casey Blake, Blake DeWitt, Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson, James Loney, Mark Loretta
- Outfielders – Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre, Manny Ramirez, Delwyn Young
- Catchers – Brad Ausmus, Russell Martin
- Pitchers – Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda (OPENING DAY STARTER), Hong-Chih Kuo, James McDonald, Guillermo Mota, Ramon Troncoso, Claudio Vargas, Cory Wade, Randy Wolf
Well . . . if the starting rotation stays healthy, we should be okay. If (God forbid) Billingsley or Kuroda spend anytime on the DL, we may be screwed. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with another starter before the trade deadline.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (I actually live on a ranch), I returned home today from NY. I’m exhausted but had a productive time on the book tour. More than 60 interviews in four days! I was so sick of hearing my own voice by the end of it. I would like to thank HarperCollins again for giving me the opportunity to write my love letter to baseball.
I find it quite humorous that the media has tagged my book as a “tell-all”. I guess it would be the logical sensational angle, but just to clear some things up that have been inaccurately reported:
- WHAT WAS REPORTED – The book is a tell-all where I go in depth about the baseball players who I’ve dated.
- FACT – Ummmm. Not even close. It is a retrospective look back on how baseball has been a constant in my life and what the sport has meant to me though the years and how it brought my father and me closer. Considering that there are only four pages out of 253 that focus on my exes, if you are considering buying the book to read me kiss and tell, you will be disappointed.
- WHAT WAS REPORTED – I write that Brad Penny made me wear his jersey to bed.
- FACT – I wrote about wearing BP’s jersey in the batting cage at Dodger Stadium. I never wrote, nor would I ever write, anything about what I sleep in.
- WHAT WAS REPORTED – I “URGED that troubled starlets should give sports a try.”
- FACT – I would never be so bold. I do speak of how sporting events gave me a healthy escape and how baseball found me when I needed it most. I never wrote anything about troubled starlets “giving sports a try.”
Having said all that, I am amazed that journalists don’t have to read the books they write about and that their editors don’t actually fact-check.
If you have read the book, please leave an honest comment or review here on this blog entry so people can base their potential purchase on truthful and accurate information.
Most importantly: Thank you to all who came out to my book signings last week. My only wish is that I had more time to spend with each of you. I appreciate the support and hope no one left disappointed.
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Opening Day is almost a week away, and you already know I am following the Dodgers. But do you know who else I am following this season? People on Twitter. See my tweets at
or simply follow @Alyssa_Milano if you already are on Twitter. (Which you probably are.)
Due to the pilot schedule, my book tour dates have changed. If you are in the New York area, come by!
- Borders Wall Street, New York, N.Y. — 12 p.m. ET on March 30
- The BookMark Shoppe, Brooklyn, N.Y. — 7 p.m. on March 30
- Bookends, Ridgewood, N.J. — 8 p.m. on March 31
- Book Revue, Huntington, N.Y. — 8 p.m. on April 1
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