Adapting With Alex Garrett

Adapt With Alex!

Tag: Baseball

The NLDS Check-Swing Heard ‘Round The World

I write this with one major plea. Please do not make check swings reviewable!

If you had tuned in Thursday night to the Los Angeles Dodgers- San Francisco Giants NLDS Game 5, you got the classic you hoped for !

Baseball fans were in elation that this legendary series dating back to the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants was alive and well in 2021 on the West Coast! Interestingly enough, the ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ that propelled the NY Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers was 70 years ago this month!

That is why I say the check-swing that ended the 107-win SG Giants season is the check-swing heard around the world! It had that magnitude as Wilmer Flores CLEARLY held up yet first base umpire Gabe Morales called him out . Morales later explained , “Check swings are one of the hardest calls we have. I don’t have the benefit of multiple camera angles when I’m watching it live. When it happened live, I thought he went, so that’s why I called it a swing.”

As bad as the call was to end the NLDS classic, the call was what we have fell in love with in baseball, the pure human nature of the game. Of the call of the umpire, and the nature of the game. That’s why to call for check swings to become reviewable will continue to shred the purity and the human error this game was built on! For goodness sake, E is for ‘error’ on the scoreboard! Why can’t umpire calls be left sacred? Why must this game become more robotic via video review? It will become too robotic for the average fan and the purist!

As this league looks to make the game faster, a reminder there is no clock and all the reviews in the world simply add two minutes to an already 3-plus hour game! It would be insanity to add check swing to the growing list of video reviews !

Alex Garrett Podcasting For 8/14/21

On the Sportshour side of Alex Garrett Podcasting, Alex tackles whether records in sports are truly meant to be broken.

Met legend Tom Seaver’s 10 straight strikeout record established in April 1970 against the Padres has only been TIED in 2021 by the Phillies’ Aaron Nola and the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes . Is Seaver’s record meant to be broken?

Alex shares his thoughts about whether or not the Seaver record is unbreakable like the Joe DiMaggio 56 game hit streak or Cy Young’s 511 wins is unbreakable !

Listen to the podcast here! https://www.spreaker.com/episode/46099625

What Is Bob Brenly Du-Ing

This question has been rattling my mind since the former manager of the Diamondbacks made a remark about Marcus Stroman wearing his du-rag on the mound.

For the exact quote, Brenly said , “I’m sure that’s the same du-rag Tom Seaver used to wear”. Talk about something out of left field ! What puzzles me about this controversy is Brenly himself had to defend Byung-Hyun Kim from cultural judgements in NYC! Kim had given up three straight games in NYC as the Diamondbacks closer in the 2001 World Series. From what I remember Kim was joked on on SNL. While the D-Backs won that World Series, Kim discussed the legacy of his career years later . (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.si.com/.amp/mlb/2019/07/03/byung-hyun-kim-diamondbacks-yankees-world-series?fbclid=IwAR3ZAnVs3bOq9Szo_aPNFwDcIZXOYiNsZ7WIEj5Rilxrr8uL_W3N4pqsskE)

For Brenly, I’d ask him what did he learn in that experience 20 years ago? It feels like he didn’t learn anything after hearing Tuesday’s comment!

Right now, Brenly has stepped away from the Diamondbacks broadcast booth after the backlash he received. He even released a statement that acknowledges he needs to undergo sensitivity training. How does a man who is a veteran of the game and of broadcasting in his 60s need to undergo sensitivity training? Does a hot mic really mean an open mic for some of these people?

The circumstance of that comment also surfaced because the benches DID clear after Stroman and the D-Backs own Josh Rojas were jawing at each other . Keep in mind the Diamondbacks have been frustrated going 5-26 in May! Was that a reason why a grown man like Bob Brenly would make that comment about Stroman? Is he frustrated in the broadcast booth too??

Bob Brenly said he was trying to be funny. I hate the cancel culture as much as anyone, but the comment made about Stroman’s headwear was crossing the line. My suggestion is that Stro wear one over his Met hat now just to prove the point that is his preference and he won’t let anyone deter him from wearing a du-rag on the mound. It’s very much his comfort zone to excel for the Mets, you can just see it.

Oh and Stroman just needs to keep doing his thing for the Mets, after all this team is in first place! Enjoy the basement , Bob Brenly !

Life of a Batboy

On a recent podcast, I had the pleasure of welcoming Luigi ‘Squeegee’ Castillo. Luigi is a New York Yankees batboy alum and he takes us behind the scenes of that 90s clubhouse at a time when all the Yankees did was win World Series after World Series! He wrote about his experiences in ‘Clubhouse Confidential, A Yankee Batboy Insider’s Tale.

Take a listen to his story and how, with love and support from ‘The Boss’ George Steinbrenner, Ray Negron and David Cone, he adapted to become a beloved member of that Yankees clubhouse !

Alex Welcomes Yankees Batboy Alum Luigi Squeegee

Tom’s Terrific-ness Spanned Many Childhoods

As I heard reaction last night to the passing of Tom Seaver from veteran Met announcers Howie Rose and Gary Cohen , I realized that Mr. Seaver , 75, supplied memories for many childhoods on and off the field!

While Howie and Gary got to watch their idol will the Mets to World Series in 1969 at a young age , children of the 80s and 90s heard Tom’s winning mentality through his analysis on broadcasts with the Yankees and then the Mets.

The first thing I did after learning of his passing was pull up audio of his voice . Let me tell you, hearing the HOF’er’s voice sent me back to being 8 years old listening to him call a Mets game with Gary Thorne!

Personally, Tom Seaver influenced my life! In the broadcast booth, Gary Thorne invited my dad and I into the broadcast booth. In the top of the 9th of a random Met game at Shea, I sat next to Hall of Famer Tom Seaver while Gary Thorne held me on his lap.

There was another connection I had realized last year at the ‘69 Mets celebration. Throwing out the first pitch at Shea in 2006 was a thrill! It took me until 2019 to realize the magnitude of that Shea Stadium mound, as that’s the same mound Tom Seaver pitched the Mets into a World Series Championship and rocked New York City!

Off the field and outside the broadcast booth, Tom Seaver also made time to be with community. For multiple years, he attended the Celebrity Sports Night Gala at my alma Mater, the Henry Viscardi School. HVS is a place where kids with physical disabilities can get a great education from Pre-K-12 and adults with disabilities could be given the tools to work! Not only did I get to meet Mr. Seaver , I donned his #41 at about 12 yrs old in a sketch with Seaver’s teammates Buddy Harrelson and Ed Charles! We all had fun playing the role of Vikings , I guess making us the Vikings of Queens!

So yes, Tom Seaver did SPAN 60s childhoods, 70s, 80s and 90s childhoods and it was special to see up close and on the TV!

For Tom Seaver, a man that won 311 games, a man that was bigger than life for New York City , to give back to that very community proved he in his heart and spirit was the hometown boy from Fresno!

Tom Seaver 1969; Me throwing out 1st pitch August 2006
Buddy Harrelson, Ed Charles , Tom Seaver featured on the Viscardi Sports Night Video

In An Olympics-Less Year, Athletes Can Still Get The Gold

For the first time ever, the decision as most know by now was made to postpone the Summer Olympics in Tokyo until 2021.

As historic as that is dating back to Grecian times, there is still gold to be won by athletes during this trying time. If not for a physical gold medal this year, the gold of staying safe is up for grabs.

The four major leagues can enforce all they want, but it truly is up to the athlete to stay in bubble mode, or to not violate baseball policies of not going into public spaces. I got inspired to talk about this after reports surfaced the Miami Marlins are under investigation whether or not even just a couple of the team ended up out of the bubble-but-not-really-bubble each franchise are supposedly in. It is frustrating to read that players making money, financially obligated in and of itself to stay safe and those around them safe, could really decide to not stay safe amidst a pandemic.

Staying on team premises during competition is nothing new to me. Firstly, as an athlete from age 5–21, running around the Mitchel Field on one leg, I wanted to make sure I got the SLEEP and ENERGY to win! More importantly, athletes competing in the formerly-known, “Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged” (now called Nassau County Victory Challenge), staying in a bubble for kids with disabilities is paramount. This bubble is the dormitories of Hofstra University. Every first weekend of June, the campus graciously allows athletes and volunteers to stay right near Mitchel Field for easy commute! Furthermore, NICE buses on Long Island would transport us all to either Mitchel Field or Nassau Community College, the site of competition which includes wheelchair basketball!

Kids from across New York City, Long Island and yes even from out of state, compete for gold whether it be via wheelchair racing, wheelchair basketball , or running with a walker or crutches! They not only compete, the kids that compete take measures (helped by amazing parenting) to be safe and have fun while competing! These kids have nothing to gain monetarily but through the excitement of participating in a team sport and enjoying the able-bodied kids that cheer on our athletes year in and year out!

Which begs the question, can athletes that feel they can do whatever they want learn from even just one of our athletes that have competed for the love of competition and yes, in fact, won gold? I hope so!

I would love to see the collective athlete one by one say ‘I will stay safe for my team, my family and I’. For our disabled community, staying inside to rest up and to be safe pre-competition inside a must. That is how so many kids can win gold, staying inside MEANT BEING ON TRACK TO WIN GOLD.

That would be the ultimate gold for the leagues if their players only followed the love of the game and their health in 2020.

A Thank You and Congratulations to Mike Piazza

Dear Mike,

Today, you go into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum  in Cooperstown. Congratulations! I just want you to know that you helped inspire my love for baseball and stoked my fire to be a catcher at the age of 8 with heroics and a sweet swing at the plate which led you to become the catcher with the most home runs ever. While everyone will recall your most memorable moment after 9/11, I want to say how awesome it was to have your 301st home run ball bounce right at my foot while I played catch in the picnic area, as the home run had cleared the bleachers and bounced off just one table before reaching me.

The most interesting part of it all is how on August 9th, 2006 in your return as a Padre I happened to throw out the first pitch before you took the stage and smashed two home runs at Shea. Chris Cotter, then with SNY asked me what it was like seeing you come back and hit the home runs and I simply said “bittersweet”…it was intense because that put the Pods up for a bit in the game and sweet in the sense that you New Yorkers were able to see that power on display once again just a year after breaking the MLB catchers’ record for home runs as a Met against the Giants.

Congratulations Mike and thanks for all you brought to this city and to this kid from Manhattan!

160724-000130