Category Archives: Baseball

5 Sports Movie Scenes That Turn Grown Men Into Sobbing Messes

field-of-dreams-father-scene

I’m old now. That’s good and bad. The bad thing is I’m going to die sooner. The good thing is that I understand real accomplishment, disappointment, living up to expectations, trying to earn the respect of your peers, and the importance of family.

The older I get, the more I appreciate great sports movie moments that capture real emotion that everyone can understand, whether they’re a sports fan or not. To follow are five bonafide sports movie moments that make me sob like a little boy. These clips on their own may not tell the whole story, but in the context of watching the entire movie, they earn their power.

#5  Rocky Balboa goes all 15 rounds against Apollo Creed

If you asked most people who have seen Rocky (1976) what it’s about (and most of them probably haven’t seen it recently), they will probably tell you it’s a classic underdog story where a nobody comes to prove himself and wins the championship. But Balboa actually doesn’t win the fight in the first movie in the franchise, he loses a split decision to Creed. But winning that fight isn’t what he wanted to prove. He just wanted to prove he could stand up there with Creed; to go 15 rounds against the champ. So while Creed celebrates in his corner because he gets to keep his belt, Rocky, blinded by swelling in his eyes and attempting to swat away reporters who wouldn’t give him the time of day 15 rounds ago, desperately tries to find his newfound love, the painfully shy Adrian, to hold her and profess his love to her. Rocky isn’t a champion. But he’s not a palooka. He’s not a tomato. He’s not “a leg breaker for some cheap second-rate loan shark” anymore. He can stand up as a man. He did what he set out to do.

Let’s just pretend the sequels didn’t happen so we can fully appreciate this exhausted exchange between the competitors once the final bell sounds:

Apollo: “Ain’t gonna be no rematch.”

Rocky: “Don’t want one.”

I guess we can also overlook the fact that any one of these punches would lay out either of these guys. But hey, it’s a movie.

Read More →

Dodgers prospect Zach Lee talks about his struggles in Albuquerque

mlb-los-angeles-dodgers-photo-dayPitching prospect Zach Lee has been making quick work of the Dodgers’ farm system, advancing basically a level a year since debuting with the Great Lakes Loons in 2011. But in his fourth season in the minors, Lee is not adjusting as quickly as he would like to his role with the triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, and some have started calling young phenom Julio Urias the team’s top pitching prospect instead of Lee. After going 10-10 with a 3.22 ERA in double-A Chattanooga last season, Lee is 6-8 with a 4.93 ERA in 19 games in Albuquerque. He talked to us in front of a giant Homer Simpson painting in the depths of Isotopes Park earlier this month.

Albuquerque Isotopes: More than Just an Elaborate Simpsons Joke

Isotopes-Park

In case there was any question, it’s official now: I am a minor league baseball junkie. I’ve been finding increasingly flimsy excuses to get to new stadiums this season, and going farther out of my way to do so. So it was on the Fourth of July that I woke my family up at 6:30 a.m. and crammed them in the family truckster (humming “Holiday Road” the entire way) to drive seven hours from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a baseball game family road trip.

Isotopes-Bart-Lisa

800px-Isotopes_Park_FrontThe Isotopes, triple-A affiliate of the Dodgers, are best known for being named after a 2001 episode of The Simpsons in which Homer thwarts plans by the Duff Beer company, owner of the Springfield Isotopes, to move the team to Albuquerque. (Bartender Moe was unhappy that Duff Beer owned the Springfield Isotopes in the first place: “They bought ‘em a year ago from the Mafia. It was the last of the family-owned teams.”)

Read More →

In His 12th Year in the Minors, Jamie Romak Breaks Through

Jamie Romak made his professional baseball debut in 2003 with the Gulf Coast Braves of the rookie level Gulf Coast League. Since then, he has played for 13 minor league baseball teams with five different Major League parent clubs—making more than 4,300 minor league plate appearances. On May 28 of this year, after more than a decade of paying his dues, Romak got the call to the Majors for the first time. Playing for the triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, he was called up to the Los Angeles Dodgers to replace an injured Carl Crawford.

Romak-First-HitHe collected his first—and so far only—Major League hit in a rain-shortened, 6-1 Dodgers win over the Colorado Rockies on June 8. It just so happens that I was in Coors Field that day with my kids, but at the time, I had no idea that I was witnessing the culmination of such a great story.

Romak was designated for assignment and returned to the Albuquerque Isotopes on June 25, where he spoke with me about his stint in the Majors.

Minor Leaguer Kyle Parker: Life on the cusp of the Majors

592621Kyle Parker was drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLB draft and has risen steadily through the Colorado Rockies system. He has played nearly all of this season at triple-A Colorado Springs, where he’s batting .302 with 9 home runs in 78 games. He made his Major League debut at Dodger Stadium on June 16, and has played in a handful of game in the Big Leagues this season.  We caught up with him after he went 2-for-4 in a 6-0 Sky Sox win over the Iowa Cubs on June 28.