BOB:  Pirates and PEDs

The genius of a minor league baseball team

This past Sunday, I did something for the first time: I watched what goes on in a ballpark through the eyes of a five year old. I’ve taken my five-year-old son to two previous baseball games by myself and neither was very successful. Last year we went to Comerica Park to see a Detroit Tigers game and it was hot so he lasted just five innings. Earlier this year we saw one of the first games at Huntington Park, the new home of the Columbus Clippers, and while we made it through seven innings, I probably got to see only a few innings of the game. At this point, I had pretty much consigned myself to the fact that if it were just the two of us, then it would be more of a family thing and I couldn’t expect to watch much of the game. That was until our third time out this Sunday when we went to Oldsmobile Park, the home of the Lansing Lugnuts.

As far as family-friendly environments go, the Lugnuts’ staff hit a home run. I had gone to two previous games there but didn’t notice some of the subtleties that go on to keep the kids interested. They have a nice play area out in left field that kept my son occupied through the pre-game; if he’d had the choice, we would have sat on the grass the entire game. Fortunately we got to move behind home plate where we really got to see some action. When each of the players was introduced, they’d play a super hero theme song and then when they showed the player on the scoreboard, they’d show him dressed up in that hero’s costume. There were a lot of things that would make a traditionalist groan but were a bit hit with the kids.

While it helped that the weather was nice, I got to enjoy watching most of the game (and it was a decent game that saw Lugnuts starter Joel Carreno take a no-hitter into the eighth inning) and we capped off the day with my son running the bases. I want to check out some other ballparks this summer, but after this, I can see us returning to Lansing for some more games just because my son had such a great time.

PED’s just can’t stay out of the news

First we had the Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz 2003 testing leak, and now it’s come to light that two Red Sox staffers were fired last year when it was found that they were using steroids. While there was no evidence that the staffers were selling the drugs, the timing of the story makes it interesting news. One of the staffers was Jared Remy, who’s the son of Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy. Neither of the staffers said he knew of any players who used performance-enhancing drugs.

Pirates save big bucks with trade deadline deals

The Pittsburgh Pirates were definitely sellers as they’re on their way to their 17th consecutive losing season. This is a deep slide for a team that was fairly dominating in the 1970s (the team won six of 10 division titles and two World Series) and won three straight division titles in the early 1990s. Fans have to be frustrated, but the team did manage to save $7.3 million this year by making the deals. Pirates president Frank Coonelly said the final payroll will end up just short of $48 million compared to an opening day payroll of $55 million. The calculation is a little more complex than you’d think, so be sure to check out the article to get the full feel of baseball accounting.

In more Pirates news, the team must know that selling the farm won’t sit well with fans, so they’re giving a little back. This week, the Pirates will pick up the ticket service fees on all ticket orders made this week. Fans can buy tickets for any game during this period as long as they do it before this weekend.

Brian McNamee fights back

Brian McNamee has brought the fight back to Roger Clemens and he filed a defamation lawsuit late last week. This is months after most of a defamation lawsuit by Clemens against McNamee was dismissed. In the suit, McNamee claims that his career as a trainer is over after Clemens’ statements the past year and a half. McNamee is looking for $75,000 and lawyer fees as a part of his suit.

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