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September 2007

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September 19, 2007

What's hot? The TBS Hot Corner on MLB.com!

It was a heartbreaking day yesterday for our boys in blue and those who love them.

My first installment of HOT CORNER ON MLB.COM is up! Check it out and let me know what you think. Also, if you have any ideas for segments please share them with me. With my involvement, I want to bring you fans what you want to see.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

Click here for the Alyssa.com Message Boards >

September 13, 2007

New role: TBS Hot Corner on MLB.com

Hi, guys! I just wanted to share this exciting news with you all, and it includes a couple of pictures from my first day on the job...

For release:  September 13, 2007
TBS Scores Alyssa Milano for Online MLB Postseason Reporting Role
Actress Alyssa Milano to serve as correspondent for TBS Hot Corner on MLB.com

TBS, exclusive home of the MLB Division Series and National League Championship Series (NLCS), announced today that Alyssa Milano will serve as an online personality for the network’s new baseball broadband channel, TBS Hot Corner on MLB.com.  Milano, whose extensive acting career has included television roles on Charmed, Melrose Place and Who’s the Boss? and was recently added as a reoccurring character on My Name is Earl, will be featured regularly on the channel providing reports and special features from ballparks across the country.  A longtime LA Dodgers fan and season-ticket holder, Milano is a baseball enthusiast who currently pens the Touch ’Em All blog on MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, at http://alyssa.mlblogs.com.  The blog, which has attracted nearly 400,000 unique visitors in its first season, was cited as one of the top celebrity blogs by Entertainment Weekly.  Additionally, in 2007 she launched the clothing line Touch, specializing in women’s MLB apparel. Her latest film, Pathology, will be released by MGM in late November.

Working! "This is a dream job,” said Milano. “I am looking forward to bringing baseball fans a unique, insiders perspective on the game we love and I'm appreciative to TBS and MLB.com for this amazing opportunity.”

Beginning Sept. 17, Milano will contribute regular reports and features from MLB parks as teams battle it out for postseason contention.  From interviews with players, coaches and fans, to features on calorie counting at the park and the best in baseball attire, Milano will serve as the hands-on roving reporter giving fans the inside-the-stadium scoop from a mix of American and National League ballparks.

“Alyssa Milano has been a popular figure in the world of entertainment for a number of years and we’re excited to pair her star power with her passion for baseball to give fans an insiders look at the MLB postseason,” said Jeff Ogan, Turner Sports senior director of production.  “In her role on TBS Hot Corner she’ll take fans behind-the-scenes from the clubhouse to the concession stands, offering entertaining reports on all things baseball like only she can.”

In addition to the on-demand daily news reports and live webcasts found on TBS Hot Corner, beginning Oct. 3 the channel will also feature multiple streams of exclusive coverage from MLB match-ups carried on TBS, including a unique “Dugout Cam” that will give fans a birds-eye view inside both team dugouts during each game.  Additional on-field cameras will be announced upon the Oct. 3rd launch.  TBS Hot Corner launched exclusively on MLB.com on Sept. 10 and joins other Turner Sports new media properties, including NASCAR.com, PGATour.com, PGA.com and TNT OverTime on NBA.com.

Recognize the wording? TBS television announcers, who include baseball Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. (studio analyst) and Tony Gwynn (game analyst), two-time Emmy® award-winning host Ernie Johnson, and Chip Caray (play-by-play), will also contribute regular features to the channel. The studio show featuring Ripken and Johnson will be available on-demand on TBS Hot Corner following the live telecasts.  TBS begins coverage of the Division Series on Wed., Oct. 3.

Turner Sports, Inc., a Time Warner company, presents some of the best and most popular sporting events worldwide and is a leader in televised sports programming.  With events airing on TBS and TNT, Turner Sports’ line-up includes NASCAR and NASCAR.COM, the NBA, Major League Baseball, professional golf, PGATour.com and PGA.com.

TBS, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is television’s “very funny” network.  It serves as home to such hot contemporary comedies as Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, King of Queens, Seinfeld and Friends; original comedy series like My Boys, The Bill Engvall Show, 10 Items or Less and Frank TV (working title); first-run series like Tyler Perry’s House of Payne; specials and special events, such as Funniest Commercials of the Year and The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas; blockbuster movies; and hosted movie showcases.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a TimeWarner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and the leading provider of programming to the basic cable industry.

# # #

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

Click here for the Alyssa.com Message Boards >

September 12, 2007

Separated at birth

Tommybill_1

Happy 80th birthday on Friday to Tommy Lasorda. 50,000 of these bobbleheads on the left will be given away at Dodger Stadium that night to celebrate it. Do you see a resemblance?

Tommy and Me -- a *touch 'em all* rerun from the April 16 post.

Updated 9/14: Pictured below watching Yankees vs. Pirates in June 2005. (AP Photo)

Tommyandbill_1

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

Click here for the Alyssa.com Message Boards >

September 06, 2007

“I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS A BALLPLAYER WHO GAVE ALL HE HAD TO GIVE” – ROBERTO CLEMENTE

Clemente All of my regular blog readers know how much respect I have for Roberto Clemente. He is my favorite all-time baseball player, not only for his baseball talent but also because he understood the importance of community spirit and giving back. He was pioneering as one of the first athletes to use his name and voice to influence good in the world and create awareness through his compassion. He lost his life on a flight to Nicaragua, where he was en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims. His body was never found. His briefcase was.

Roberto Clemente died the year I was born. Except for highlight footage of him, I never got to see him play. But in my view, his values and capacity to demonstrate the importance of helping others overshadow any of his (monumental) baseball achievements. He was a complete package. Yes, a great ballplayer -- but more importantly, a great man. He set the standard for what it means to be a ballplayer off the field. His legacy lives on through every humanitarian cause our modern players adopt as their own, and through the prestigious Robert Clemente Award.

This year, MLB is giving fans the opportunity to vote for the overall Clemente Award winner. I thought it would help us in the voting process to do some research about the nominees and what they’ve done to receive their club level honors. Below, please find the club winners who make up the ballot for the overall Clemente Award and a description of the charitable achievements for which they are being recognized. This is going to be my longest post, but I hope you will please oblige me in this case because I can't think of a more important reason to show what these 30 candidates have done. I have attempted to highlight each candidate's efforts, and you can simply click the player's name to read complete detail. It is a testament to the goodwill that happens all around the game.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jamie Walker, Orioles: He is closely affiliated with the U.S. Army Emergency Relief Fund, which provides no-interest loans and grants to active duty and retired soldiers and National Guard. The U.S. Army Emergency Relief Fund also provides undergraduate-level scholarships to children of soldiers and provides assistance to spouses through assistance programs. Jamie donates $200 to the fund for every game appearance made in 2007. (And he leads American League pitchers with 72 appearances!) Additionally, he hosts wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center at Camden Yards each homestand. He provided tickets to a catered suite and hosts a meet-and-greet with the soldiers during batting practice.

Jim Thome, White Sox: The former Clemente Award winner (2002) is involved with Children’s Home + Aid of Illinois, which reaches nearly 40,000 children and families throughout Illinois each year through a wide range of services like adoption, foster care, education, counseling and child abuse prevention programs. Thome and the organization then announced the start of the “Bring Me Home” fundraising campaign on May 12. The campaign invites fans to be part of “Team Thome-Konerko” by donating to the Children’s Home + Aid cause through various sponsorship levels, including a contribution based on the number of runs Thome and Konerko score during the season. Jim and his wife Andrea generously donated $10,000 to kick-off the campaign. Thome also continues to be intimately involved with Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. He and Andrea host the annual “Joyce Thome Benefit” dinner in honor of Jim’s late mother. He also hosts an annual golf tournament in Peoria benefiting the hospital and makes regular visits to child patients. Throughout his involvement with Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, Jim and Andrea have raised more than $1 million for the hospital.

Curtis Granderson, Tigers: When the Detroit Tigers organization needs a player to speak to youngsters, meet a community group or represent the team, it calls upon Curtis. He is an excellent role model and spokesperson for the game of baseball. The Grand Kids Foundation, now in its first year, motivates children in the educational, artistic and creative aspects of their lives and helps underprivileged children and families through baseball. Granderson visits numerous schools in the Detroit area to speak about the importance of education. This season, Curtis joined in the efforts to help fundraise for the Coalition on Temporary Shelters (C.O.T.S.). C.O.T.S. exists to alleviate homelessness by providing shelter, meals and an array of services which enable people to achieve economic self-sufficiency and decent affordable housing. This season, Curtis donated tickets for two little league baseball teams so that they could watch a game during our Negro Leagues Weekend celebration here at Comerica Park.

Vladimir Guerrero, Angels: The right fielder has been extremely active in the Southern California community since joining the Angels in 2004. Through his Vlad’s Pad program, Guerrero donates 127 tickets to each Angels home game which are distributed to charities in the area, with a focus on children. The Vlad’s Pad program enables more than 10,000 children to attend games at Angel Stadium each season. Guerrero also has been involved with the local charitable group “Padres Contra El Cancer” -- donating game tickets for children and families affected by cancer. For the past two seasons, he has welcomed families involved with the program to Angel Stadium by signing autographs and posing for pictures with the group prior to batting practice. Guerrero has also been very supportive of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Orange County by helping to facilitate a number of wish visits by local children. For his efforts, Vladimir was honored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation for helping to make wishes come true for terminally ill children. In 2005, as part of a league wide effort, Guerrero contributed $50,000 to the American Red Cross to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Jorge Posada, Yankees: On Jan. 21, 2000, Jorge married Laura Posada, an attorney from Puerto Rico. The couple has two children, Jorge Luis (age 7) and Paulina (age 4). Jorge Luis was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis 10 days after birth and has endured numerous surgeries to correct the condition. As a result, in the fall of 2000, the Posada family created The Jorge Posada Foundation to provide financial assistance to families with children affected by this condition and offer them emotional support through its Mentors Program. The organization partners with a number of medical centers, helping underwrite a portion of the costs of initial surgeries and encouraging further research of this medical condition, which to date has left several questions unanswered. The Foundation also strives to create awareness through events and through funding other educational outreach efforts.

Raul Ibanez, Mariners: He has always been considered one of the most consistent and professional players. Raul is widely respected as teammate in the clubhouse and for his accomplishments on the field. However, he is even more respected for his character, leadership, citizenship, and efforts to improve our communities off the field. In 2004, following three years in Kansas City, Raul returned to the Seattle Mariners for his second tour of duty and quickly jumped back in to support the community. In his first year back, Raul stepped up to chair the annual Cystic Fibrosis Mariners Care Golf Tournament. The event, which includes a golf tournament, dinner, and auction, helps the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in their on-going efforts to find a cure for CF, a fatal disease afflicting children and young adults. On June 28, 2007, Raul hosted the charity event for the fourth consecutive year and helped raise more than $185,000 for CF research. Throughout each season, Raul procures auction items and recruits fellow teammates and sponsors to participate and support the CF Foundation. Thanks to Raul’s dedication and commitment over the past four years, the golf tournament has raised over $775,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Michael Young, Rangers: He and his wife Cristina Barbosa-Young have been actively involved with Wipe Out Kids' Cancer since the 2002 season. Wipe Out Kids' Cancer is a non-profit organization whose mission is to wipe out kids' cancer through innovative research, education and treatment, while providing hope to children affected with cancer. The Foundation was founded by Cindy Brinker Simmons in memory of her mother, the late and great tennis champion Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly Brinker. For the past five seasons, Michael and Cristina have hosted the Wipe Out Kids' Ambassadors to a Texas Rangers home game, providing tickets, food, souvenirs and a private meet and greet as well pre-game field presentation. WOKC partners with the Children's Medical Center of Dallas and selects special children to represent WOKC in different fundraising events over the year and the primary purpose of the program is to allow the children a chance to just be kids and forget about their cancer treatments. Meeting Michael and Cristina as well as attending the Rangers game is one of the highlights of the year. Michael also actively participates in the Major League Players Association Buses for Baseball and Action Team Programs. It brings underprivileged youth to a Rangers game with pre-game meeting with players.

David Ortiz, Red Sox: “Big Papi” shows support for numerous charities in and around Boston as well as his native Dominican Republic. From the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston to the Hospital General de la Plaza de la Salud in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ortiz’s support of worthy organizations and individuals has no boundaries. One of the local organizations to note is Good Sports, an organization that distributes sports equipment, footwear, and apparel to community organizations offering programs to disadvantaged youth helping to lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles. David was honored with the Good Sports “Good Sport in Sports” award in May, 2007. He donated a backyard whiffle ball game (with him) as an auction experience for their annual fundraiser. In both 2006 and earlier this year, the auction experience alone raised $30,000 for Good Sports. Last September, Ortiz broke the club single-season home run record set by Jimmie Foxx in 1938. David auctioned off home run #50 and #52, and the money raised together with donations from his teammates and the Red Sox Foundation resulted in a $200,000 donation to the aforementioned hospital in Santo Domingo -- with proceeds going toward surgery, specifically heart procedures, on children. At the beginning of the 2006 season, David participated in a PSA for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America campaign, and the previous year he donated $50,000 to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

Travis Hafner, Indians: “Pronk” is involved with Cleveland Indians Charities, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, the Animal Protective League, and Beech Brook. Travis has designated Beech Brook to be the beneficiary of his nomination. The mission of Beech Brook is to advance the emotional well-being of children, youth and their families by providing effective, innovative behavioral health, permanency and educational services and by serving as a strong voice for children, youth and families. Travis and Amy have donated their time and services to Beech Brook. They are launching a program within the next few weeks in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland that will be called PRONK’S PEEPS. The program is described as an all-star school outreach initiative, as more than 550 kids in 14 schools in Cleveland will be exposed to this program. Pronk’s Peeps will be debuted prior to a game in September.Travis and Amy are involved in the “Youth of the Year” program, which recognizes three Boys & Girls Club members who display exceptional academic achievement while overcoming difficult life circumstances. These club members will receive a scholarship to off-set college or vocational school expenses.

Mike Sweeney, Royals: Though he has battled injuries much of the 2007 season, Mike’s spirit is as strong as ever. He is extremely generous in donating his time and financial resources to a number of charitable organizations in the Kansas City area and beyond. Mike and his wife, Shara, have been involved in the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program for several years, purchasing Royals tickets for RBI youth and serving as a team sponsor. He partners with the organization to serve as spokesman for the RBI program. He has appeared in public service announcements, appealed for donations and even collecting used equipment from his teammates for the program. During the past season, he also sponsored an RBI team at $2,500. In addition, Mike committed $100,000 to build the “Sweeney Family Field” as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs capital campaign in Kansas City that was dedicated in 2006. Mike is also an honorary RBI Advisory Board member. The Sweeneys established the Sweeney Family Foundation to work with youth and families to encourage others in their faith through several avenues including youth ministry, baseball camps, crisis pregnancy centers, music ministry, denominational unity and urban outreach missions. As part of their work through the Sweeney Family Foundation, Mike and Shara are deeply involved with the Rachel House pregnancy resource center. The organization provides free pregnancy tests, one-on-one, confidential counseling, access to full-term medical care and material needs assistance. Mike is also firmly committed to the Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) and serves as the chairman of the Athlete Advisory Board, which serves Catholic athletes in the practice of their faith and shares the Gospel in and through sports. The organization works with athletes at all levels of sport in an effort to promote a Catholic sports culture. Mike also serves as spokesman for the “Enjoy the Game” program, which emphasizes good sportsmanship and teamwork, and actively supports the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. He donated $125,000 to the Teammates for Kids Foundation to benefit the tsunami relief effort following the devastation to Southeast Asia in December 2004.

Torii Hunter, Twins: In the Twin Cities, Hunter names the Twins Rookie League and RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) inner city youth baseball programs as his charity of choice. He donates his time as the spokesperson for the leagues, appears in a league public service announcement, and meets with the leagues’ more than 6,000 players, teaching baseball skills at clinics and hosting players at Twins games. He also personally selects 40 Rookie League and RBI participants each month during the season to join him for Twins batting practice on the Metrodome field. Hunter speaks with youth about his experiences growing up around gangs in Little Rock, Ark., answers their questions, and encourages them to continue their participation in baseball/softball. Recently, he created the “Torii Hunter Project” in partnership with the Little League Urban Initiative -- designed to stop the disappearance of the sandlot baseball diamond from our neighborhoods and communities and to provide America's youth in inner cities and poor rural communities, regardless of race or ethnicity, with opportunities to learn this great game. The project's goals include reaching out to our youth so that they come to see baseball as an exciting sport in which everyone can participate, providing funding for proper baseball training, providing funding and availability for proper facilities, teaching the character building and teamwork aspects of baseball, and providing youth with a viable recreational alternative to other activities that so often lead to problems. Hunter established a community ticket program called “Hunter’s Homies”, providing Twins tickets to thousands of economically disadvantaged youth from Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Nick Swisher, A's: In the spring of 2007, Swisher signed on as an Ambassador to The Women’s Cancer Research Fund, an Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) non-profit initiative to help women with cancer. Nick’s beloved grandmother, Betty Lorraine Swisher, lost her battle with cancer and Nick wanted to do something to honor her and to become a positive force to help others while bringing attention to the need for more cancer research to find a cure. Nick teamed with “Pantene Beautiful Lengths” non-profit campaign to have his hair donated and made into a wig to help a woman dealing with hair loss from cancer treatments. Nick went without a haircut for over 10 months to make sure his hair would be long enough to donate to make a difference. On May 19, 2007, Nick had his father, former MLB player Steve Swisher, cut his hair in a pre-game ceremony in front of 35,000 people at the Oakland Coliseum. Nick’s actions have inspired hundreds around the country to grow and donate their hair to help others with cancer. Last month, Nick introduced his own national nonprofit foundation, “Swish’s Wishes,” to help all kids in need of vital medical and childhood care, education and recreational activities and other essential programs that will make a difference in a child’s life and help them acquire the necessary care and confidence they need to achieve a bright future. The first Nick Swisher Celebrity Bash raised more than $75,000 and benefited “Swish’s Wishes” and Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. Swisher is an active participant in Strikeouts For Troops, founded by Barry Zito, to honor and support America’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines working to keep our country safe and free.

Carl Crawford, Devil Rays: Growing up in Houston, Carl still remembers the mind-set of a young man who idolized athletes. With that in mind, he is ever aware of the impact he can have on kids, personally and professionally, and is happy to share his baseball expertise whenever possible. That has prompted Carl’s involvement with in the Rays Youth Field Renovation Program, lending financial support in addition to sharing his baseball skills through clinics with disadvantaged youth. Carl is heavily involved with the current Rays renovation program at West Tampa Little League. Rich in tradition in the greater Tampa Bay area, products of this league include Gary Sheffield and former Major League players Fred McGriff, Tino Martinez, Lou Piniella and Luis Gonzales. At the completion of the renovation in September, Carl will host a youth clinic at the field, trying to promote the ever-decreasing number of young African-Americans playing baseball. Carl has also participated in Community Relations activities with the Rays involving visiting children’s hospitals, and local Boys and Girls Clubs recognitions.

Vernon Wells, Blue Jays: Over the course of his nine-year career in Toronto, Vernon has become a mainstay as the Blue Jays' center fielder and as a member of the Toronto community. He has made two All-Star Game appearances and won three Gold Glove Awards, but his greatest career accomplishments have been made off the field. After agreeing to a seven-year contract extension to stay with the Toronto Blue Jays this past off-season, Vernon donated $1,000,000 to the Jays Care Foundation. The Jays Care Foundation was established in 1992 and supports programs, groups and activities that enhance the quality of life for children and youth across the Greater Toronto Area. This donation further entrenched him as a community ambassador for the Blue Jays and a leader for youth baseball participants. Rookie League, a partnership between the Jays Care Foundation and Toronto Community Housing, is a program near and dear to Vernon’s heart. He was delighted to recently accept the role of Honorary Commissioner of Rookie League which is an eight week day camp program for kids who live in Toronto Community Housing. Through Vernon’s hard work and dedication the Rookie League program has expanded to over 20 teams with over 500 children participating. Each summer these children learn about healthy lifestyles, drug awareness, and baseball! As Honorary Commissioner, Vernon has made a number of visits to league games and also hosted an end-of-season All Star game and party on field at Rogers Centre for all Rookie League participants. Vernon has proven he is committed to providing children with an experience they will never forget and solidifying himself as a quality person off the field. In addition, throughout the season Vernon has stepped up to the plate countless times, helping out local non-profit agencies, schools and youth groups by making big fans dreams' come true with personal visits. He has also helped support many of these worthy causes with personal contributions.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks: Before ever playing a game in a D-backs uniform, Orlando Hudson made it know that he wanted to start a program that would connect baseball with local children affected by autism, a lifelong developmental disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to communicate and form social relationships. His compassion for kids with autism began during his own childhood. With two cousins diagnosed with the disorder, love, support and respect for individuals with autism came naturally to him at a young age. Hudson immediately connected with the Phoenix-based Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), which is dedicated to research, education and resources for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Hudson demonstrates his passion for children affected by autism through a hands-on and action oriented approach; not simply through financial support. He works with SARRC to provide children with autism an opportunity to attend monthly “game nights,” where Hudson provides the families with a private luxury suite and hosts a meet-and-greet session with the children before each game. In November of 2006, he served as Honorary Chair of the inaugural Walk Now Arizona fundraiser benefiting SARRC and Cure Autism Now. As Honorary Chair, he reached out to sports radio stations, community partners and fellow teammates to rally support for the event. The additional awareness and media attention that his involvement generated resulted in the most successful inaugural Walk Now of 2007 in the United States. Fundraising totals climbed to more than $370,000 and his studio and phone interviews made a significant impact on walker turnout. Hudson pulled together the largest single walk team, “O-Dog’s Web Gems,” comprising more than 120 members.

Derrek Lee, Cubs: Derrek’s most remarkable display of character occurred only one year ago. Coming off a tremendous 2005 campaign where he hit 46 home runs, Derrek suffered a setback when he broke his wrist during a baserunning collision the following season. Off the field, Derrek had to confront even more personal issues, when his 3-year-old daughter Jada was diagnosed with Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a degenerative disease that results in loss of vision. In 2006, Derrek Lee founded the Project 3000 effort to fight LCA. In conjunction with Derrek’s 1st Touch Foundation, Project 3000 aims to eradicate LCA -- a disease which affects an estimated 3,000 people in the United States, most of which are simply unaware of the disease. In addition, Lee has sponsored Chicago-area RBI baseball teams throughout his stay with the Cubs. He has also hosted and helped fulfill the wishes of numerous children through wish-granting agencies such as Make-A-Wish. Although he stands tall at a towering 6-foot-5, Derrek’s down-to-earth demeanor and his kind personality put special guests at ease the moment they meet him.

Matt Holliday, Rockies: As an advocate for youth baseball programs, Matt assisted in a baseball clinic sponsored by Fox Sports Net and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Colorado. Here he spent the day teaching disadvantaged youth the necessary skills to play baseball while having fun. In addition, Matt is involved in the Rockies School Program, a pep rally for children in elementary school where he sends kids a message of the importance of staying in school, refusing drugs, getting involved and respect. Last holiday season, Matt put smiles on the faces of hundreds of children when he visited The Children’s Hospital’s/Make a Wish Holiday Wish Store, an event of the Make-A-Wish Foundation that provides gifts to terminally ill children to give them a day away from thinking of their illness. Matt visited with the children, signed autographed pictures and passed out gifts. On off days, Matt has spent many days visiting sick children and individuals at the local Children’s Hospital, Craig Hospital, a hospital for individuals with brain and spine injuries and the National Jewish Hospital’s Kunsburg School, a school for children who suffer from lung and allergy problems.

Craig Biggio, Astros: In the early 1990s, Craig became the national spokesperson for the Sunshine Kids Foundation. The Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer. Established in 1982, the foundation is committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients. The Sunshine Kids provide a variety of programs and events, free of charge, for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across North America. These activities are to allow the kids to once again do what kids are supposed to do, have fun and celebrate life. Craig has raised nearly $2.5 million for the Sunshine Kids during his career. The foundation has many programs, including national and regional events, that are provided free of charge to the children’s families, hospitals, and other organizations by personal contributions, corporations and foundations. Craig has gone to great lengths to raise awareness of the Sunshine Kids, as his annual headshot seen everywhere from the media guide to national TV broadcasts features a Sunshine Kids pin attached to his cap. Almost every day during batting practice, Craig takes the opportunity to visit and welcome members of many groups including but not limited to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, hospital and cancer patients, current and former military service personnel, and the Houston Astros Hometown Heroes, a program that honors outstanding community service and overall good deeds in the Houston community.

Jeff Suppan, Brewers: Jeff has committed to contribute $100,000 each year to Brewers Charities, Inc., whose mission is to support activities and programs targeted at youth recreation, scholarship and education throughout Wisconsin. He has earmarked a portion of that contribution for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an organization that helps children and families of U.S. soldiers killed in the line of duty. Suppan is also financially supporting two area baseball programs: the Felix Mantilla Little League and the Beckum-Stapleton Little League, two venerable little league organizations within the Latin community and the African-American communities. Over 700 children and families are served by the two programs. Jeff was the lead player this year for the Brewers S.C.O.R.E. youth education day. S.C.O.R.E. stands for School, Community, Opportunities, Role models and Excellence. He spoke to kids about the importance of school and community; taking advantage of good opportunities; seeking positive role models and striving for excellence in all areas of their lives.

Jamie Moyer, Phillies: The Moyer Foundation was started by this former Clemente AWard winner and his wife in 2000 to improve the quality of life for children in Seattle. In 2007, those efforts now include helping children in the Philadelphia area as well. Jamie created Camp Erin, a bereavement camp for children ages 6-17 that have lost a loved one (parent or sibling). At the start of the 2007 season, there were Camp Erin locations in eight cities. In August of this year, the Moyer’s opened a Camp Erin in Philadelphia and have long-term plans to have one in every Major League city. On Aug. 6, Jamie hosted a Celebrity Waiters charity event at Citizens Bank Park. With the help of 14 of his teammates, who served as waiters at the event, Jamie raised $248,000 for the Camp Erin program in Philadelphia. On several occasions in 2007, Jamie has met with children who have lost a loved on the field prior to Phillies games both at home and on the road. Jamie also served as a Spokesman for the “Carve Out Hunger” Food Drive held at Citizens Bank Park.Since 2000, the Moyer Foundation has raised more than $13 million.

Albert Pujols, Cardinals: Albert’s main charitable mission is served through the Pujols Family Foundation. Albert and his wife Deidre have a daughter with Down Syndrome. Since this is a subject so close to their hearts, the focus of the Foundation is geared toward the love, care and development of people with Down Syndrome and their families. The Foundation also has a global vision, reaching out to impoverished families and children in his native Dominican Republic. Albert has a strong dedication to the Foundation, now two years old, as is demonstrated by his willingness to spend hundreds of hours in personal service, signing tens of thousands of dollars in memorabilia items for the Foundation’s online store, giving 100 percent of each sale directly to benefit the Foundation. Perhaps the greatest demonstration of Albert’s personal service to the cause is his trip, along with Diedre, to the Dominican to personally see through the mission of Operation Smile, a trip which resulted in dental care valued at over $130,000 provided to children in need of such care. The Pujols Family Foundation has raised more than $1 million to benefit the children of St. Louis and the Dominican.

Russ Ortiz, Giants: He established the Ortiz Family Foundation in the fall of 2005 and it has assisted with The Arc of San Francisco, Volunteers of America Bay Area, and Gilead House. The Arc of San Francisco serves, supports and advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities. They provide a variety of services to over 400 people daily. Volunteers of America Bay Area is an organization founded on spiritual values with programs that assist, treat, and empower people to transform the quality of their lives and expand their opportunities. The goal of Gilead House is to provide a supervised, structured program environment for homeless families during a transitional period of up to 12 months. Russ hosts the aforementioned organizations at Giants games throughout the season. He provides 48 tickets and gift cards for food, autographed Ortiz Family Foundation shirts, and baseball cards for each person. When the groups come out to a Giants game, Russ meets and talks with them after batting practice and takes a group photo with them.

Tim Hudson, Braves: Since joining the Braves prior to the 2005 season, Tim has worked tirelessly to support Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. During spring training in February 2007, Tim hosted the “Tim Hudson Birdies & Baseball Celebrity Amateur” golf tournament that raised $88,000. On Aug. 13, Tim joined forces with his Braves teammates to host the John Smoltz/Tim Hudson/Jeff Francoeur Atlanta Braves Celebrity Am Golf Tournament that benefited Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. During his tenure with the Oakland Athletics from 1999-2004, Tim and his wife Kim developed a strong relationship with the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. When Tim joined the Braves, the Hudsons continued that partnership. In November 2006, Tim and Kim served as honorary co-chairs for the annual Celebration of Wishes black-tie gala. They were actively involved in every phase of planning for the event and helped make it a success as nearly $300,000 was raised. Tim participates in Braves community programs and fundraisers such as the Braves Power Lunch Series, Jerseys Off Our Backs fundraiser and Christmas In July hospital visits to youth.

Aaron Harang, Reds: Aaron volunteers his time for the Reds Community Fund, the official nonprofit 501 c 3 arm of the Reds. RCF is dedicated to improving the lives of youths by leveraging the tradition of the Cincinnati Reds and the game of baseball. The Reds Community Fund hosts unique baseball-themed fundraising events to facilitate three specific outreach programs: the Reds Rookie Success League, Knothole/youth baseball funding, and field renovations. Aaron and his wife Jen have participated in RCF fundraisers such as Baseball 101 Luncheon for Ladies. Additionally, Aaron donates his time at many of the Reds Community Fund fundraising events. Debuting this year was 'Aaron's Aces', a ticket program designed to provide a fun day at the ballpark for families who currently have a parent serving in the War on Terrorism. Aaron is an active participant in the club's Make-A-Wish program (each Friday home game) which provides opportunities for children to meet their favorite Reds player during batting practice. He also volunteered to be the first Captain of 'Reds Heads', the official kids club of the Reds.

Miguel Cabrera, Marlins: The fastest right-handed hitter to reach 500 RBIs in Major League history is heavily involved with the Florida Marlins Community Foundation (FMCF). It is a not-for-profit charitable organization that focuses on promoting educational, athletic, health, social and community service programs with a particular focus on South Florida’s youth. Revenue for the FMCF comes from four sources: player contributions, corporate sponsorships, grants, and events. The money raised is used to support "Cornerstones for Kids" -- building a brighter future through education, the arts and baseball. Since its inception, the FMCF has given back over $4 million dollars to the community! Miguel has been associated with the FMCF since his call-up in June 2003. He also donates his time to raise funds through personal appearances and attends fundraising events. A portion of Miguel’s donation goes toward the funding of the Miguel Cabrera Coach Pitch League. The League ensures that kids who begin playing in the Dontrelle Willis T-Ball League are able to make the natural progression to Coach Pitch. Miguel also works closely with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, spending time with Make-A-Wish kids at the ballpark. He is incredibly attentive to Make-A-Wish kids and makes them feel like they are the most important thing in the world for that moment in time.

Derek Lowe, Dodgers: The Dodgers' starting pitcher has been a strong force on the mound as well as in the greater Los Angeles community, with a particular emphasis on Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. Last season, Derek and his girlfriend Carolyn Hughes visited the hospital and met a number of children. One teenage girl named Courtney truly made a major impact on both of their lives. Courtney had beaten cancer but the disease resurfaced. She was getting ready to be discharged when Derek and Carolyn both met her. Just 10 days after their meeting, Courtney passed away. Inspired by Courtney, Derek became more involved with the hospital and its mission. Derek’s signature program is D-Lowe’s Heroes. Once a month, 3-4 kids battling cancer (who are being treated at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA) and their families come to Dodger Stadium to watch the Dodgers play but most importantly get to come down on the field and spend time with Derek. The kids get a special T-shirt, a signed ball and the opportunity to play catch with Derek. Once Derek heads back to the clubhouse to prepare for the game, the kids and their families are treated, courtesy of Derek, to a meal in the exclusive Dugout Club and get to enjoy the game from field level seats. In addition to bringing these youngsters out to Dodger Stadium, the D-Lowe’s Heroes program includes visits to the hospital by Lowe during the season. Derek hosted the third annual Dodgers Dream Foundation Bowling Extravaganza at Lucky Strike Hollywood on July 30. The event included many Dodger players, including Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez, James Loney and celebrity guests such as James Denton and David Arquette. Dodger fans had the opportunity to purchase spots at the event and bowl with their favorite Dodger players. Proceeds benefited the Dodgers Dream Foundation and Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. One bowling lane was dedicated to the hospital so other youngsters battling cancer could spend a night bowling with Derek and his teammates. Along with Derek’s great work with Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, Derek, who battled skin cancer earlier in his career, has also devoted much of his time educating the public about the risks of the disease and the importance of sun safety.

Paul Lo Duca, Mets: The catcher's skills on the field are well-documented. His commitment to community service equals if not surpasses his performance behind the plate. Lo Duca, who was born in Brooklyn, NY, has a special interest in literacy and has supported the Summer Reading Clubs of New York City’s public libraries since he joined the Mets. In 2007, he took a leading role by serving as spokesperson for program. Paul appeared at the kick-off press event at the Bronx Library Center and was featured in a public service announcement. Paul joined seven other players for the first annual Teammates in the Community event for the Mets Foundation, an evening cocktail party/auction held at Richards in Greenwich, Conn., after a Mets afternoon game at Shea. Paul served as auctioneer alongside NY Daily News columnist Mike Lupica for the live auction, which raised half of the $500,000 in total proceeds for the evening. The Mets host a Relay for Life fundraising event at Shea for the American Cancer Society. Paul, who lost his mother to cancer, served as spokesperson for the event and taped a public service announcement.

Jack Wilson, Pirates: Jack’s main charity of choice is the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia. This past May, Jack hosted his third annual ‘Bowling with the Bucs’ tournament to raise money for Make-A-Wish. He and his wife Julie donate their personal time to help plan the event, spend their own money to ensure the auction has a wide selection of items including memorabilia from other Pirates players and players across MLB, recruit Jack’s teammates to participate in the event and make a personal monetary contribution. In 2007, this event netted more than $20,000 for Make-A-Wish. Over the three years Jack has hosted this event, Make-A-Wish has received more than $57,000 and almost 20 wishes were fulfilled! Jack contributes to the community in many other ways. He participates in a variety of Pirates community initiatives including the bi-annual “Gloves for Kids” event and Kids Autograph Days at PNC Park. He is very supportive of the charitable activities of the Pirates Wives Organization and continues to be a role-model for children in the Pittsburgh region.

Jake Peavy, Padres: Jake is extremely active in the community but his preferred charity is Team Focus. He is involved with Team Focus during the season while in San Diego but also during the offseason while in Alabama. Peavy hosted and mentored 30 boys at complimentary five-day leadership camp at San Diego State University. The goal of the camp is to provide guidance in the lives of the young fatherless men, ages 10 to 17, with leadership skills, guidance, Godly values, academic assistance and a continual relationship with a mentor. Jake then hosted the boys to a game at PETCO Park at the conclusion of their camp. He has been involved with Team Focus since 2004. In 2006 & 2007, Jake has donated more than $20,000 to the Padres Scholars program which was matched by ownership to funds more than eight scholarships. Jake has participated in San Diego Children’s Hospital’s “Celebration of Champions” event, which benefits their pediatric cancer care unit, since 2003, regularly visits with Make-A-Wish children and other special guests who get the opportunity to visit the ballpark and come early to meet with players. In addition, Peavy has also appeared at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s “65 Roses Sports Club” events at the ballpark to help raise funds for research. Since 2003, Jake has been an active participant at military events in the San Diego community. Since 2006, Jake also donated $10,000 annually to Barry Zito’s Strikeout for Troops Foundation in support of injured service men and women.

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: Ryan launched the ziMS Foundation in 2006 to raise awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis, a disease which has touched Ryan personally since his mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed in 1995. He has worked with both the Virginia Beach chapters and Greater Washington, D.C., chapters of the MS Society. In addition, Ryan is actively involved in Washington Nationals community outreach initiatives such as the 2007 Winter Caravan, visits to Walter Reed Medical Center and Children’s National Medical Center, park clean-ups, Library readings to promote literacy, PBATS clinic, children’s baseball clinics, in-park meet and greets, as well as assisting with the promotion of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. Ryan’s ziMS Foundation has partnered with Papa John’s Pizza to raise funds. Local Papa John’s restaurants will donate $1.11 from each Ryan Zimmerman Special large pizza redemption to the ziMS Foundation dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of MS. In addition, he supports Nationals initiatives. Ryan is involved with the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and has actively participated in the 2005 Diamond Gala and 2007 Dream Gala.

So . . . I hope this helps you in the voting process or at the very least gives you a better understanding of our heroes and the causes that are close to their hearts. It may even inspire you to donate your time to make a difference. We all have it innately within us to want to reach out to those who need us.

As the late Audrey Hepburn once said: “Remember, if you need a helping hand, it is at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand. The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

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August 31, 2007

MY APOLOGIES. TOUCH 2008 SNEAK PEEK. AND OF COURSE, THE DODGERS.

Click for TOUCH 2008 Sneak Peek First, let me apologize for not posting for a while. I have been in Vegas for the past week for Magic showing TOUCH to buyers. Magic is the biggest apparel show of the year. I can’t begin to tell you what an amazing feeling it is to see everyone’s reaction to the line and how it’s grown. I can’t wait for you to see the jewelry and headwear collection as well as the styles for Spring 2008 apparel. You can click the image to the right and take a sneak peek for yourself.

When I first came up with the idea for TOUCH, it was considered risky and somewhat pioneering. Needless to say, to see it be accepted and embraced by the team buyers, as well as retail buyers, is incredibly rewarding. This venture has turned into my proudest professional accomplishment to date. When I thank you for your continued support, please know it comes from the heart. I am well aware that if the consumers (you) didn’t respond to the product, there would be no growth and expansion. From the bottom of my being, I thank you all.

Having said all that, on to why we’re really here. It seems like our boys in blue are fighting the good fight. Matt Kemp seems to have found a home in the 3 spot. James Loney has turned in some ribbies. The Dodgers have won 9 of their last 13 games. We had our first sweep in seven weeks and we’ve come from behind in a few games. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can ride the wave and continue to close the gap in the standings. The worst is behind us, blue bleeders. ONWARD!

Ned Colletti has made some moves since my last actual baseball entry. Here’s my take on what he’s done:

  • Esteban Loaiza: When you consider that most of the great pitchers who would have been free agents next year signed extensions with their teams -- and who knows what’s going to happen with Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt? -- the Loaiza signing makes sense to me. My only concern is, why would Oakland give up a pitcher for nothing unless there was something up with his health? Let’s just hope it’s a Billy Beane "Moneyball" decision and that Loaiza isn’t hurt.
  • Boomer David Wells: He is a veteran and a warrior. Making up for what he may not be able to contribute on the mound, you can’t argue the fact that he has heart and wants to win. He’s got a lot to prove and that aspect alone may mean numerous quality starts.
  • Scott Proctor: After the three scoreless extra innings on Wednesday, Proctor has proven his worth.
  • Shea Hillenbrand: It’s great to see him stepping up to the plate and doing what needs to be done in the clutch.

At first glance, Colletti’s moves may have seemed iffy, but desperate times called for desperate measures and he did the best he could considering the market and what was available. Most importantly, I think he made the team better without giving up any of our youth.

On Saturday, the rosters expand to 40 players. Let’s hope Nomar is activated. Andy LaRoche and Tony Abreu are sure to be called up to reinforce the infield, while D.J. Houlton and Eric Hull are the pitchers most likely to be called up.

Wow. I love baseball. It’s a reason to get up in the morning.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

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August 20, 2007

The Gift of Baseball

During this time of the season, every game matters and I eat a lot. We gradually accept the team we have and become more realistic about our postseason probabilities. There are no more blockbuster moves to make our teams better. We just have to sit back, surrender, hold on and enjoy the race to the finish.

It is a roller coaster ride. During this 2007 baseball season, we have all been on the roller coaster, just as we have in years past, and will in the years to come. Our moods and views shift day-to-day depending on the last game. Our reactions to the games are specific to who we are and what we’ve overcome or feel at that very moment in time. Baseball is our constant. It’s our oasis. It’s the tie that binds us here on this blog.

There is so much going on right now in the world. The mining accident in Utah. The earthquake in Peru. These devastations should be a reminder of what’s important in life. It’s so easy to forget that every day is a gift. Every single day -- pain and bliss and the spectrum in between -- is a gift.

Baseball is a gift. Every single game -- wins and losses and the spectrum in between -- is a gift.

Never lose hope. Have faith. Find compassion. And know we are all in this together.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

P.S. If you would like more information on how you can help the earthquake victims of Peru, please visit: www.unicefusa.org.

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August 08, 2007

“I’M HOPING SOMEDAY THAT SOME KID, BLACK OR WHITE, WILL HIT MORE HOME RUNS THAN MYSELF. WHOEVER IT IS, I’D BE PULLING FOR HIM” – HANK AARON

Let us not forget those who came before Barry Bonds, swinging their way into the books with grace. Let this time in baseball be a reminder of what this sport truly is and what I hope it will return to in years to come. Is he a cheater? Time will tell when his body weakens. He is innocent until proven guilty. Let’s not judge what we don’t know or may never know. But . . . we can judge what we do know. We know that this is a man who stays seated during his team’s celebrations. He just lounges, gnawing his seeds, while everyone else offers a hive-five, butt pat or knucks. Not Barry. He just sits there. This is a man who hasn’t sued anyone for the published accusations made against him. This is a man who appears so ungrateful for his successes. This is a man who fuels the fire with his inability to be gracious in the media (albeit circus). This is a man who has chosen isolationism over camaraderie. If he is a good person and we have it all wrong, then he is the best actor I have ever seen.

It was odd to me that his teammates didn’t seem elated when he crossed the plate. Maybe this is because he never seemed thrilled for them no matter what the feat. It seemed odd to me that he pointed to the sky longer than he embraced his son who was once again there to great him upon his return -- a gesture that, when he tied the record at Petco (away from the doting Giants fans and boo’s sprinkled on top), actually tugged at my heartstrings. For a brief moment, when he carried his son in that embrace in San Diego, I thought: Perhaps we do have Barry all wrong.

Just as we love our heroes, we also love a good villain. A villain and a hero are two sides of the same coin. They are, in fact, inseparable. A villain doesn’t care what he has to do to achieve a goal. The villain cheats because he feels rules just get in the way and he works alone for what he believes to be “good”. A villain uses intimidation. A villain defies the laws of nature. A villain is only driven by ego. A villain is a character whose actions are important to the entire plot of the story. Barry Bonds is important to the big picture of baseball. He is a great media-made villain to the great socially made hero: Hank Aaron.

Right or wrong, it’s over. We are left with judgment relative to our own rights and our own wrongs. Hero or villain, Barry Bonds is our home run king and one of the greatest hitters baseball has ever known.

What are we left with? Nothing really. We are left with nothing and upon further reflection, that’s what makes me a bit melancholy. I sat with my dad and watched a game that I could care less about, while a man I have no compassion for, broke a record in the sport I love and I truly felt nothing. No tears of joy. No goose bumps. Not even anger.

Nothing.

At least it’s over.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

P.S. Don’t even get me started about the Dodgers. My father is contemplating changing his dog Dodger’s name to Cubbie. ’Nuff said.

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July 22, 2007

Living In The Moment

I wrote this article for the All-Star Game Program and wanted to share it with you...

Baseball and I had our first date in the mid 1980s. I was a gawky pre-teen (or "tween" as we now call them) with big hair. I wore jeans, a jersey that hung to my knees and a wide-eyed expression. Clutching my dad’s hand, I felt my chest tighten with the anticipation of the first pitch. I don’t think I blinked –- or exhaled -- during that first inning.

WoofThere was an instant connection; it was love at first sight. The smell of the stadium -– hot dogs, cotton candy and fresh cut grass -- was intoxicating (and to this day is something I would dab behind my ears if someone would bottle it). The sounds -– the crack of the bat, the umpire’s calls and the fans screaming at the top of their lungs -– were equally exhilarating. Sharing it all with 40,000 exuberant devotees brought together in support of their hometown boys was absolutely delicious. I loved the camaraderie. I loved the sportsmanship. I loved Baseball.

As I grew up, our love affair continued. Like any good relationship, Baseball taught me about myself and the world at large. As a teenager, I’d go to games whenever my scheduled allowed. If I couldn’t physically be there, I listened on the radio. Vin Scully’s voice is as soothing to me as my own father’s. Baseball had nothing to do with my day job (a fact that I loved) and it kept me from pursuing some of the other, less wholesome, interests of some of my peers. I learned about competition, fair play, the disappointment of loss and the exaltation of victory sitting in the stands of Dodger Stadium. I learned that practice makes perfect, except when it doesn’t -- that sometimes, no matter how much you’ve studied, prepared or anticipated, there will come a day when you just su*k and there’s nothing you can do about it. Except of course, realize that tomorrow is another day. I learned that great achievements don’t come easily. Not without hard work, sweat and sacrifice. I learned to live in the moment. I learned to never leave early because you never know what will happen. And I learned that if the impossible does happen, if the worst-case scenario presents itself, or worse, if a championship game is lost, one can go on.

Arf As a grown woman, I’ve learned to love the game even more. I can fully appreciate its nuances, the strategy behind it, the games within the game, and the other, deeper issues that surround the psychology of winning. And the lessons continue: If you love something, stick with it, for it will almost certainly bring you joy one day. The Dodgers broke my heart last season, but I was back in the stands this year, ready to watch the season unfold.

When the world is not OK (and that seems to be more often than not, lately), I take comfort in Baseball. The history and spirit of the sport remind me that life is complicated and so are our heroes. But that through a good, fair game, we can match wits and skill, and most importantly, put aside differences and play on an even field. Each opening anthem is a fresh beginning. Anything can happen and the possibilities are endless. Your past doesn’t haunt you. Your future is not yet determined. It is bliss.

Ask Alyssa!

I thought it might be fun to open up your comments to specific questions this entry. I will pick my favorite questions and answer them to the best of my ability in the next entry. How does that sound?

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

P.S. I have an appearance for TOUCH at Shea Stadium on Saturday, July 28. I will be at the Shea Stadium Team Store signing autographs from 11:30-12:30 p.m. ET and then again from 6-7 p.m. (doubleheader that day). Ten percent of all TOUCH sales at the store will go to the New York Mets Foundation. Come by and visit!

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July 12, 2007

My All-Star Game Experience

National League All-Stars

I have literally started this entry four different times, only to read back what I wrote and then delete with the fury of a woman possessed. I am delirious from exhaustion. I am giddy. I am me. A girl from Brooklyn who is living a life so beyond my expectations that even I can’t help but marvel at how truly blessed I am to be given the opportunities bestowed upon me. I am speaking of my whole life of course, but I will focus this entry on the game I love and my ability to share it with my family and friends.

My mother, father, brother, his girlfriend (Rachael), my best friend, Alaa, my friends Kelly and Jamie and I (yes, that’s eight of us) made All-Star memories in San Francisco -- memories that won’t soon be forgotten. I know I don’t have to tell you how magical baseball is, nor do I have to break down exactly what it feels like to see the greatest athletes in the sport today sharing the same field. Goosebumps. Butterflies in my tummy. I had all of it.

Sunday, I did the jumbotron commentary for the Taco Bell Celebrity & Legends Softball Game. (I was on the 15-day DL with plantar fasciitis so back off).

National League Lineup:

1. Ozzie Smith
2. Rob Schneider
3. Gary Carter
4. Dave Winfield
5. Leeann Tweeden
6. Kevin Mitchell
7. Matt Williams
8. Jimmy Kimmel
9. Robby Thompson
10. Robb Nen
11. Gavin Newsome
12. J.T. Snow
13. Jeff Garlin

American League Lineup:

1. Rickey Henderson
2. Rachel Smith
3. Jerry Rice
4. Andre Dawson
5. Fred Lynn
6. Dane Cook
7. Wade Boggs
8. Kenny Mayne
9. Bobby Flay
10. James Denton
11. Goose Gossage
12. David Bryson
13. Rollie Fingers
14. Marcus Giamatti
15. Jon Kelley
16. Sal Iacono

It was so enjoyable. No one took themselves too seriously and everyone had a great time. The quote of the day came from Jeff Garlin, who not only asked in the players meeting if we could implement a “no running rule” but also asked if there would be chocolate in the dugout. My exchange with him went like this:

Jeff:
I just figured out who you remind me of, Alyssa.
Alyssa:
Really Jeff? Who do I remind you of?
Jeff:
A young Jonathan Broxton.

Jeff Garlin and Me

I got to take a picture with Ernie Banks and Ozzie Smith and had them both sign a ball for my memorabilia collection.

With Hall of Fame shortstops Ernie Banks and Ozzie Smith

Right after the game I hurried back to the hotel to get ready for the MLB.com party, which I hosted with Jose Reyes. The party was huge. I had no idea so many people would show up. The dancers and waitresses all wore items from TOUCH. I was very proud. At about midnight the players started to show up. Johan Santana (who is dreamy), Roy Oswalt (who needs to be a Dodger and I told him so), Carlos Beltran, Justin Morneau and… and…(drum roll please)…Russell Martin all made an appearance.

Okay, yeah, so I finally met Russell Martin. No big deal. And yeah, I was cool. Yup. And I didn’t have sweaty palms. Nope. I didn’t get star struck. Nope. I wasn’t even weak in the knees. Nope. My upper lip did NOT start sweating nor did I get blotchy and break out in hives. Phew. Thank God not one of those embarrassing things happened. I was cool as a cucumber. No big deal. Cory was cool too. The Milano siblings were calm and collected. See how cool we both were when meeting our favorite All-Star?

Rachael, Cory, Me and Russell

Russell was gracious and kind (just like I knew he would be) and told me he reads my blog -- a terrifying thought that I am choosing to repress for all the obvious reasons.

DmitriOn Monday, I made an appearance at the DHL All-Star FanFest where I signed autographs for the fans. After the appearance it was time to go to AT&T Park for batting practice. I was able to bring my father onto the field for BP. How blessed am I? In between doing interviews, I stood next to my daddy right behind the cage. He was in awe. I was in awe watching him in awe. He didn’t move. His eyes were glued to the action. I looked around and had a reflective moment and got a little teary-eyed with the crack of the bat as my soundtrack. I got to meet Dmitri Young. He isn’t built for power. He isn’t built for speed. He is built for comfort and has the loveliest way about him. You can tell he has overcome a lot and was truly ecstatic to be there.

Monday night I went to the Playboy party where I sat huddled in the corner with Rachael, Cory, Alaa, Jeff Garlin and Kenny Mayne (who should act). Jeff, a huge Cubs fan, introduced me to David Wright (who is quite the presence I must say). After watching a playmate dance her way to numerous nipple slips, it was time to go home and get some much-needed sleep.

Tuesday, I had another appearance at FanFest and then once again it was time to do interviews on the field during BP. I brought my brother on the field this time. I must have done 30 interviews in two hours. I stood next to my brother for a bit and got a little salute from Derek Jeter and then it was time to go to our seats for the game festivities.

My seats were right behind the National League dugout. The tribute to Willie Mays was really cool. My mother was crying. I almost caught one of the balls he threw out to the crowd from his pink Cadillac.

Say Hey

Alaa and His Bunny Pillow Alaa (right) was sitting in another section. He wore his Dodgers cap. After the game, he said he felt like he was sitting in the Gaza Strip (he is Palestinian). The Giants fans were relentless with him. I ask you, how can you give this harmless guy a hard time?

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but...shouldn’t this be the one game of the year we can all get along? The Giants fans booed Penny, Saito and Martin. It was at that moment, I decided the Giants should get Rickey Henderson to round up their team. Hell, they may as well go after Julio Franco, too, and bulk up their fiber choices on their pre-game menu. Can’t we just all get along? It’s amazing to me that sporting events are the only social gatherings where it’s politically correct to be vocal about hating someone because of color (uni color, of course). The All-Star Game was the only time I have ever cheered for Barry Bonds. I couldn’t boo him. For that night, he was on my team and I was okay with that.

• What was up with A-Rod’s white sneakers and matching wristbands? Every time A-Rod was at bat, my brother would start chanting, “white (clap, clap) sneakers (clap, clap, clap).”

Why can’t the National League beat the American League? The last time the National League won the All-Star Game, Bill Clinton was our President.

• Why didn’t Tony La Russa put in Albert Pujols to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth? What, did he hit the showers already?

Although Ichiro’s inside-the-park home run was beautiful to watch, for me the highlight of the whole game was Dmitri Young’s five-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the ninth. It’s these fleeting moments that make me a baseball fanatic. (“Fan” just doesn’t suffice. I prefer the whole word.) With two outs and a long journey to redefine his career, he singled, paving the way for Alfonso Soriano’s two-run homer. When Dmitri got back to the dugout, he looked up in the stands, we made eye contact and he pumped both fists in the air. He then started dancing to the music.

And I danced, too.

Thank you, MLB Properties (Steve, Howard and Greg). Thank you, MLB.com (Noah, Melissa and Mark). Thank you, Bobby Evans. Thank you, Russ Stanley. Thank you, for making a little girl from Brooklyn, along with her family and friends...very happy.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

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June 18, 2007

“GOOD IS NOT GOOD WHEN BETTER IS EXPECTED” – Vin Scully

Floodgates Okay. Alrighty then. Here we go. Are you ready? Trust me, okay, I so don’t want to be one of those bloggers that never has anything good to say and critically complains about the blatantly obvious. BUT I HAVE TO VENT. So consider this a warning! If you don’t want to hear me complain, now is your chance to stop reading. I’m serious. Venting is about to begin. Click elsewhere because here comes the complaining.

Before I start this diatribe, let me preface it by saying, I cheer for the Dodgers no matter what and I am not losing hope. I know every single team goes through a time during the season when things don’t go its way. Breathe, Mets fans. Breathe, Orioles fans. Breathe, Mariners fans. Breathe, Dodgers fans. Breathe, Cubs fans. Breathe, Giants fans (I’m talking to you, Jamie Williams).

Last chance to click away before the floodgates open.

  • We should not have let Clark go.
  • Double switch??? There is no reason to play James Loney in right field, out of position, when we were losing by a ton in the eighth. It’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • Wall It should be mandatory in all MLB parks that the entire outfield wall be padded. Just ask Matt Kemp. Outfield walls should NOT be made of Plexiglas. What is this, hockey? And a Plexiglas wall with a cement base? Huh? Protect our players for the love of God!!! A nice goose down would be great. Thanks.
  • We need more FIRE. Where’s the passion?
  • Billy Mueller has his work cut out for him with Wilson Betemit. Nine pitches. Three K’s. As my bro would say, “Make me a believer, Wilson.”
  • Randy Wolf hasn’t lasted seven innings in a while.
  • 1-5 record against The The Angels Angels Of Anaheim. (Literal translation).
  • This loss put us in third place.
  • Jason Schmidt’s status is “on hold” and according to the Dodgers.com wrapup article on yesterday’s game, he did not pack his equipment bag for the team’s trip to Toronto.

Sing it with me! Everybody! (In the melody of John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”) “All we are saying . . . is give Bills a chance.”

The good news?

That’s about it for the good news.

If there’s anything I missed, please don’t let me off the hook (I know you won’t). And if you’d like to vent about your own team, go for it! Feel free. Misery loves company. Let’s consider this post a communal tirade for frustrated fans of baseball everywhere.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

P.S. I want to acknowledge the Angels fans for being so classy when Loney finally did get up after crashing into the wall (did I mention that wall is cement and Plexiglas? Did I mention that same cement and Plexiglas wall took out Kemp in the beginning of the season?). I was embarrassed to hear some of the Dodgers fans cheer when Angels great Casey Kotchman was hit in the head on Saturday by a pickoff throw from Russell Martin at second. The fans that cheer when an opposing player is injured do not represent the majority of Dodgers fans. Regardless, I apologize for them because . . . well . . . I feel I should.

P.P.S. My family and I are leaving on an eight-day vacation starting today. Please keep me updated on all things baseball (but especially Dodger baseball) while I am away.

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May 22, 2007

The Steroid and Botox Era

Updated at 1:28 pm PT Tuesday with Sweepstakes info below

With a dark cloud of controversy hovering over baseball, Jason Giambi was recently brave enough to say “I was wrong for doing that stuff” and for a brief moment the sun came out.

He went on to say:

“What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -– players, ownerships, everybody -– and said: ‘We made a mistake’”.

And then, with the news that the commissioner’s office would be investigating Giambi’s statements, the wind blew the dark cloud back to its resting place. With his honesty, Giambi has opened himself up to being suspended (if they can prove when he took the steroids) and the Yankees could void his contract. So . . . essentially he could be penalized for being truthful and making his voice heard in a time when everyone else has chosen to plead the Fifth.

We’re a pharmaceutical nation. In between acts of our favorite shows, every other commercial is selling a drug trying to ease what ails us. Allergies. Restless Leg Syndrome (I’m sorry, what?). Cholesterol. Impotence. Pop a pill and we will feel better.

We are youth obsessed. Creams to make you look younger. Plastic surgery. Botox. In my industry, it’s hard to find a woman over 50 that hasn’t had some procedure to try and recapture the physical appearance of her prime. In my opinion, it’s an epidemic. So . . . why wouldn’t athletes look to try and regain the physical ability of their prime? It is a sign of the times. We’re in an era when it’s easier to look for the quick fix. We’re in an era when we’re all looking to slow down the hands of time. We are in an era when natural ability just isn’t good enough.

Also, the ambition and responsibility to excel day in and out for these players is overwhelming. Should it be a surprise that they would look for something to speed healing time, prolong their careers, and make them stronger?

A grand jury, a congressional committee, a tell all book and still . . . this topic is being white washed by the league and the players union. Perhaps, this is a direct reflection of the trickle down effect of our government’s capacity to cover up and deflect the major issues that face us politically. Perhaps, it’s true what my brother says: “Baseball is a mirror to our country.”

Before MLB can solve this issue they need to recognize the problem and apologize for it. If any employee of any major entertainment corporation were to act inappropriately and offend or alienate their 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.”

Yes, Giambi may have made some bad choices throughout his career but I must admit, as a purist fan of baseball, I have a newfound respect for the man.

Giambi has shown dignity with his honesty.

Giambi has shown integrity with his candor.

His statements shouldn’t be investigated . . . they should be applauded.

Peace,

Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

PS, thanks to everyone who just tuned in for my appearance today on the MLB.com "Bottom Line" show! We talked at length about my brand-new touch by Alyssa Milano Ultimate Fan Sweepstakes, which you'll see around MLB.com over the next month. Win a big Dodger package and meet at the ballpark with yours truly, or $150 worth of touch merchandise, or maybe a sign baseball. Enter now!

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May 07, 2007

Zen and the Art of Baseball

Zen

This is when we rally together. I had written a draft of this entry where I criticized everything from Pierre still batting second (move Martin to that slot IMO), to Kent looking like he has a piano strapped to his back when he runs.

But I’m not going to go there.

It’s easy for even the most optimistic to get negative after watching yesterday’s game, to see the specific flaws instead of the whole picture (kind of like when you look in the mirror and only see the zit on your chin even though it takes up a miniscule part of your whole freaking face). But I am going to make a conscious decision to stay positive, at least for the time being and with this entry.

Love it or hate it, this is our team. Our outfield, our manager, our LOB #’s, our lack of power. It’s all ours. And whether you’re Yankees fans, Cubs fans or Dodgers fans, we have all shared this feeling. We are all the same.

Our respective rosters are made up of men. Just men. And yes, they have bad days.

The outfielder misses the catch and can’t find his comfort zone.

The ump misses the call at second.

The batter misses the squeeze play.

The reliever blows the game.

The batter strikes out looking for the third out with the bases loaded.

The GM overestimates.

The manager puts in the PH three batters too late or leaves his pitcher in too long.

Every fan of baseball has felt exactly what we, as Dodgers fans, are feeling right now. And I don’t know about you, but I find solace in that.

“Whenever I see an erring man, I say to myself I have also erred . . .”
– Gandhi

“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
– Yogi Berra

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
ALYSSA

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April 23, 2007

Baseball Fantasy

 

Without jinxing us, I just want to say, 13-6. ’Nuff said.

Many of your comments have asked my feelings on Fantasy Baseball. I have thought about giving it a try for some time but have been hesitant. My hesitation comes from a fear that if I draft my own team, my purist love for the game and my team will take on different motivation.

I’m not particularly concerned with baseball’s game of numbers. I only check the box score if I couldn’t watch the game (which means rarely). In my experience, the dance of baseball is much more compelling. So to begin a fantasy baseball obsession (let’s face it, I’m a passionate girl and would most likely become obsessed) and care more about a player’s individual numbers than a night at the yard or watching a game merely for the love of the game is something that scares me a little bit.

Russell_martin_walkoffThat’s not to say I haven’t imagined my dream team in my head. I’m only saying that I’m not so interested in altering my perspective of the game’s simple beauty. Baseball is enough for me. I guess I am a traditionalist.

There was an interesting lawsuit about a year ago between a small St. Louis company that operates fantasy sports leagues and MLB. MLB made the case that this company should not be permitted to use a player's name, likeness and stats for their own profit without a license. The St. Louis company countered with the notion that players are public figures, and therefore their stats are public domain.

Even though the court ruled in favor of the fantasy league company, I find this to be an interesting debate. On the one hand, an athlete is indeed a public figure, a celebrity; hence their stats can be used for anything right? After all, are these fantasy sports companies doing anything different than what the tabloids do with celebrities in their magazines? The tabloids sell to advertisers and consumers by using photos and running stories without consent, and make millions of dollars a year off celebrities' public images. The celebrities are not compensated for this. It just comes with the territory and we accept it as a part of show business. Isn’t it virtually the same concept? On the other hand, athletes are paid for use of their likeness and name for commercial endorsements. If these fantasy sports companies are making millions (needless to say, it’s a billion-dollar industry) off of athletes' names and stats, shouldn’t they have to monetarily compensate the athletes and be forced to get the license MLB is seeking?

I don’t have the answer. I think we are in an interesting time due to the modern world and the Internet.

I also think there may be a bigger social issue at hand with fantasy sports that may reflect the current trend in a consumer demand for bigger, better and interactive.

Baseball, to me, is about family. Baseball, to me, is about the community. It’s an escape. It’s about a hot summer day and an afternoon game. It’s about listening to the pregame report because you can’t wait for the game to begin. It’s about listening to the postgame report because you don’t want the game to be over. It’s about knowing how your home field grass is cut. It’s about Valdez stealing home to tie up the game in the bottom of the ninth. It’s about feeling like you're part of the celebration after Russell Martin’s walk-off grand slam. Baseball is already a flight of the imagination. To me, the baseball experience couldn’t be bigger or better and Saturday’s win proved that. It’s perfect . . . just the way it is.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

P.S. Maybe Tracy should have positioned Bay in the bullpen Saturday instead of stacking the infield.

P.P.S. Here is the link to listen to my April 23 appearance on the MLB.com studio show "Bottom Line"!

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April 20, 2007

The Female Fan and the Business of Baseball

Andre_ethier_and_friends

Me_as_a_teenage_fan_1 Every game I attend, I see these two teenage girls wearing Ethier jerseys. They stand at the foot of the dugout before the first pitch religiously. When Ethier comes to the field, he is always so gracious with them. He chats with them and they swoon. (Update: Thanks to Jon SooHoo of the Dodgers for finding them all this weekend to take the photo above!) It’s a really sweet moment that I look forward to seeing every game upon my arrival.

The other night while I was there watching Ethier make these girls' day, it got me thinking –- has free agency affected the female baseball fan? What happens to these girls when it’s Ethier’s time to sign his big contract, Boras is his agent (god forbid) and he goes to another team (god forbid)?

Go with me on this.

In my business, and especially the T.V. side of my business, networks specifically do their best to target the most loyal demographic with their programming. What is the most loyal demographic? The 18-34 year old woman is notably the most loyal fan. Not only are women the most loyal fans, but also they are statistically proven to be the largest consumers. The networks love this because it means they get more money fGrowing_up_with_dodger_blue_2or their airtime. Advertisers paying for the airtime love this because it means the shows that cater to this demographic (Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, etc.), have a loyal following that will absorb what they are selling and be loyal consumers to their product.

The way the baseball business is run nowadays, with players coming and going, I wonder how this affects the female baseball fan -- the teenager who is a fan because of the player she worships. Or the teenager who grows up watching Lo Duca in blue for six years. How does the way baseball business is run affect the loyal female fan or the potential female fan? And do you think baseball would have more female fans if there were more franchise players signed to longer contracts?

It’s just a theory . . . what do you think?

I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.

Be sure to watch the Bottom Line live studio show on MLB.com at 3:25 p.m. ET on Monday, because I will be talking more baseball then!

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

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April 19, 2007

Double Standard

While most of your comments have been so supportive of me (thank you for embracing me), I would be remiss if I didn't say the negative comments have stood out (kind of like a Giants fan at a Dodger game). In particular, I am referring to the comments about my love life (you know who you are).

This will be the first and only time I am going to address this subject so let's get it out of the way.

First of all, if I were actually attached to every pitcher the press has attached me to, I would be in a hospital or mental ward somewhere -- in a straightjacket (that I would of course desperately try to make stylish).

Secondly, even if all the rumors about my MLB love life were true (which they're not) –- we should really examine the double standard that is in full effect here. I know for a fact, that there are many MLB players (plural) or athletes in general for that matter who have dated many Screen Actors Guild members. I won't name names (cough Derek Jeter cough). And yet, these guys are considered cool and we give them props for getting their high profile starlets. On the other hand, women who have dated more than one guy in any profession are easy targets for ridicule. I am speaking personally of course, but I am sure any woman that reads this entry can relate to this double standard and how it may pertain to their lives relative to their own experience.

And I ask you this -– what girl in her right mind wouldn't want to date a ball player (especially a girl who loves baseball)? They are heroes in the utmost iconic sense. Our heroes. Big, strong men that can save the day; that are sometimes the underdogs we cheer on and have faith in no matter what. We believe in their ability to make our dreams come true on the field. Why wouldn't I believe that the same might be true off the field?

My social life doesn't consist of going to clubs like some of my peers. You won't find me at Hyde or whatever club some of my contemporaries find fashionable at the moment for their social butterfly lifestyles. My social life consists of going to games and through that, I have met a few really great men.

We are all looking for our “Happily Ever After.” I am still looking for mine. Along my journey, I have been blessed to cross paths with some of my heroes. These experiences have taught me many things not only about the game I love, but also about the game of love.

I have no regrets.

So to all you lazy bloggers and sports journalists who chose to look for the easy target -– I am here for you. Just trying to find my way with a 0-2 count. And even though I know it’s coming, and it’s nowhere near the zone, I will probably swing at that low and away third pitch. But at least I went down swinging.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

P.S. Juan Pierre’s bat finally woke up in Arizona!
P.P.S. When will Betemit’s bat wake up?
P.P.P.S. I thought Derek Lowe’s comment about power pitchers doing better at Coors Field was interesting.
P.P.P.P.S. I love that Brady Clark can come off the bench and hit like he’s been playing every day. But . . . why was Lieberthal batting cleanup? Is that some Moneyball thing?

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April 16, 2007

My baseball and me

Idontcareifinevergetback

Jeeze. Tough crowd. Yes, I really write this blog. Yes, I am a huge baseball fan. Yes, I’ve read all of your comments that you’ve left for me (ouch). No, this isn’t for publicity. And no, my entries won’t come and go like the other high profile blogs you are referring to (of which I am not aware but shame on them).

I have no way of proving any of this to you except to keep going. You’ll just have to take my word for it. I will hopefully convert the doubters. It will be my mission.

I will now do my best to address some of your comments directly:

  • Keith, although Zito and I are still great friends, since I am a Dodger fan, there is no possible way I can help you with this request.
  • Christine, all styles (there are many more and the MLB.com Shop will expand) are available for every team but unfortunately, I have no control over what the teams stock to sell in the stadium shops or what MLB.com chooses to sell. My suggestion would be to write MLB.com and express to them that you are disappointed in the selection available for your teams.
  • G, I happen to love geeks and I think pocket protectors are hot.
  • Bilbo4771, I do think McGwire deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame. And when Bonds hits #754 you absolutely pitch to him.

Anyone that reads this should know the following information about my baseball and me:

  • I never leave a game early.
  • I love nachos with just cheese and guacamole even though it makes my ankles swell (but I will occasionally partake in a Dodger tofu dog, which if chased by a diet soda gives me the burps for days).
  • I cried the first time I saw a fan wearing TOUCH in the stands that wasn’t my mother.
  • I grew up watching baseball on my dad’s lap. This is him:

Dad

  • I participate in the wave whenever possible.
  • I am often the one that starts the chant that eventually makes it to your section.
  • I have a recurring dream that I am a pitcher but have the yips.
  • My favorite present day Dodger is Russell Martin -- with Nomar in close second despite his obsessive compulsive batter box habits that make me anxious. Here's a picture I took of Nomar last year at the All-Star Game:

Nomaratasg

  • My favorite all time player is Roberto Clemente (because of his righteous humanitarian work).
  • I hate when the count is 0-2 and the pitcher throws that ball low and away (the batter knows just as well as we do that it’s coming so why not throw it in the zone for the love of God).
  • The last time I got star struck was when I saw Ned Colletti at my annual Christmas party for the Mattel Center at UCLA Children’s Hospital. Tommy Lasorda was Santa:

Tommyandme

  • The Angels billboards all over Los Angeles -- and particularly the one of Bartolo Colon on Olympic Blvd (which is on the way to Dodger Stadium I might add) -- freaking drive me crazy (am I alone on this?)!!! They should put that billboard on the 15-day DL.
  • I am concerned about our outfield defensively and think Gonzo throws like a girl.
  • I love baseball because it’s something we all share.

We may disagree. You may think the Cardinals won The World Series while I think the Tigers lost The World Series. You may not like Bonds for cheating while I dislike Bonds for lying about cheating. But baseball is ours and no matter what our differences are, where we come from, what we do for a living, what ethnicity or religion we are, we share a bond. It’s a bond that is cemented by a red-laced ball and the comfort of hearing it land in a glove. All you need is gLove. And for those nine innings, all our differences are irrelevant. In a time when we are so politically divided and as you have confirmed in your comments, tend to disagree, we unite -- and all we see is blue.

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

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April 13, 2007

Baseball: Twist, turns and a new touch

Snowball THERE’S NO SNOW IN BASEBALL!!! Cleveland’s home opener was called due to snow and then even worse, the Indians/Angels series was moved to Milwaukee. The Cleveland Indians Of Milwaukee??? Blasphemy, I tell you. Twins were in Chicago, and the game was postponed because of the cold. The Blue Jays and the Tigers had to postpone because of the wind. The Cubs and Astros were snowed out at Wrigley. Attendance is down. Home runs are down. Hits are down. Will it ever end? So now I am proposing a new rule: Cold-weather cities just shouldn’t host baseball games in April.

That’s it, end of problem. You’re exempt if you play in a dome or have a retractable roof. And do not even think about shortening the season. Schedule cold-weather teams on the road until the weather warms up.

La_french_terry I mean, where is Global Warming when you need it? Can we now admit that the weather is shifting at a dramatic pace? I am fine with most of the other repercussions but when this dramatic shift starts to affect my baseball -- it’s time to buy a hybrid.

I am particularly concerned because I didn’t design ski masks for TOUCH, our new MLB women's apparel line that has just launched at the MLB.com Shop. Next year, I will revisit this as well as maybe designing a compact, girly snow shovel.

Okay. I feel better now.

Honestly, this is what I love about baseball. It’s just like life. The ride. The journey. Every year when the season starts, I think I have a pretty good idea of how the season is going to go. Oh, I think I’m such an expert -- I read every magazine, I read MLB.com everyday (OK, maybe four or five times a day), I watch the Spring Training games. And yet despite all the preparation, I realize I simply have no idea what twists or turns the season will take. As much as I try to peer into the future, the future is unpredictable. A ball bounces under a player’s legs, and the Red Sox lose their lead and the World Series. A fan interferes with a ball, and the Cubs lose their lead, and the playoff series. A-Rod finally silences the boo’s and steps up to the plate. That’s baseball. In life, we have our own rhythms, our own ups and downs, our own teammates, and all we can do is hold on and prepare for the challenges along the journey.

Jackie_1 I would like to close my first MLB.com blog entry, by paying tribute to the late, great Jackie Robinson. He was clearly a man with amazing ability, but more importantly, a man with remarkable courage. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. I don’t think there is a man who exemplified this sentiment more than Jackie Robinson. And think about this – the color barrier in baseball was broken only 60 years ago. Look how far we’ve come. Never forget. Never forget.

I would also like to take this opportunity to bring your attention to the great work Jackie’s son, David Robinson is doing to spur social change in Tanzania, continuing his father’s legacy in the noblest of ways. Please take a moment to visit this link.

Until next time . . .

Peace,
Love,
AND BASEBALL,
Alyssa

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