Rafi Hecht Accepting the Ice Water Bucket Challenge

Now challenging: David Uzan, Pinny Gildin, Alex Noudelman, Ian Korman, Jim Bensimon and Avraham McGowan. You have 24 hours to do it or donate $100 to ALS research.

ALS (Amytrophyl Lateral Sclerosis) a.k.a. Lou Gehrig‘s Disease progressively eats away at the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, rendering those nerve cells and associated muscles useless, affecting speaking, swallowing and breathing. This leads to a horrible death. We all hope that a cure will be found soon.

I purposely wore my Yankees cap and held a baseball bat to further emphasize the point.

One of my wife’s grandmothers had this disease and indeed, it’s horrible when you are essentially trapped inside your own body that doesn’t want to function. May her Neshama have an Aliya.

I just donated my $18 to the Shirat Devorah Fund, looking for a cure on ALS in the name of Devorah Schochet, a 39 year old mother of four with this condition. May she have a refuah shleimah b’karov.


Four Reasons Pat Venditte Needs to Join the New York Yankees


Pat Venditte made headlines as being the first modern-day switch pitcher in professional baseball to pitch like that regularly. Greg Harris switched hands once, but it was moreso as a stunt.

Pat Venditte needs to come up. Now. He’s currently enjoying his second stint at AAA Here are four reasons.

1. The Yankees Rotation is Understaffed


C.C. Sabathia is out for the year. Masahiro Tanaka is out for a good chunk of time. Some starters have come out from the minor leagues and performed quite well, but the bullpen is a big question mark. Pat Venditte can help neutralize the staff with pitching to batters from either side.

2. His Switch Pitching will Sell Tickets


Say what you will about not being a sideshow attraction, but the fact is that having a switch pitcher on your ballclub is something incredibly unique, which will undoubtedly sell tickets.

3. His Stats Defy His Raw Skills


Have you ever seen the movie Moneyball? The movie exposed Billy Beane’s brilliance in looking at raw stats. Pat Venditte is far from a dominating pitcher, yet has shown that he can compete on an extremely high level. Click this link to review his stats.

4. He’s Almost 30, with a Family


Even baseball players need to eat. Minor league players earn ridiculously low wages with the vague promise that everything they toil for will be made up at The Show. Give the guy his chance. He wasn’t even invited to Spring Training this past year.

I for one say that Pat Venditte needs to come up. Now. Who’s with me?


Jimmy Kimmel Mean Tweets – Dikembe Mutombo as Cookie Monster

Cookiemonster2_FBI normally don’t watch Jimmy Kimmel, and for that matter I don’t remember ever hearing Dikembe Mutombo speak. When Mr. Mutombo appeared on “Mean Tweets #2 – NBA edition” I was on the floor laughing!

Here is the clip of Mutombo:

[jwplayer mediaid=”2944″]

Also, here is the entire clip from Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube channel:

Some more Dikembe Mutombo clips


Ichiro Suzuki Won’t Get 3,000 Hits

Flickr-8763282990There. I said it: Ichiro Suzuki won’t get 3,000 MLB hits. Not at this pace anyway.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Ichiro and want him to reach that milestone. He deserves it.  However, the Yankees, traditionally chock loaded with stars, have been forced to reduce him to a role player in late innings at this time. In all fairness, they tried to put him in every game. But if you look at the stats, it’s interesting: in 20 games so far he has had a total of 39 at bats, averaging less than 2 at bats per game. In those 39 ABs he has 13 hits, translating to a .333 average. That’s very good even by Ichiro’s standards, and his on-base percentage looks like old times.

However, this also means that he won’t get the recognition he deserves, reaching the league leaders in hits and batting average like he should (too few at bats). At this pace, assuming that no outfielder gets injured to open a spot for him, he will end up at, say, 150 games, at 300 at bats, or essentially a half season worth of at bats. That leaves him up at 99-100 at bats, which will put him at 2,800 MLB hits. And, his skills won’t improve at this point of his career. He may end up at 2,700-2,800 hits, which is a shame since he’s so close, yet so far away.

I get it, though: Ichiro wants to win a World Series with a contender, hence the sacrifice in at bats and starting position. If he doesn’t, will he be second-guessing himself for wishing to be traded to the Yankees?

Aroldis Chapman Carried Off on Stretcher After Hit in Head

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was carried off on a stretcher after being struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Royals catcher Salvador Perez, creating a terrifying moment and abruptly ending Wednesday night’s game in the sixth inning.

The Reds said Chapman was taken to Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City, where tests indicated fractures above his left eye and nose. He was transferred to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he will undergo further testing. Chapman was kept overnight for observation.

Trainers from both clubs immediately rushed to aid Chapman, who was laying face down on the mound while the Surprise Stadium crowd fell completely silent. Chapman’s father, in the stands, rushed onto the field. Players from both teams took a knee near the mound and around the field. Chapman was immobilized and placed on a stretcher and carried off by a medical cart while being respectfully applauded by the fans.

Price said he could see blood coming from above Chapman’s eye.

Why is it that Joe DiMaggio did not get into the HOF in his first year of eligibility?


Good question, but you’re thinking of it in modern terms. In our era, baseball players retire and they are basically only competing against other guys from their own era. In the early 50s, there were still all-time greats in the backlog, but the voting procedure essentially the same as now – a player had to appear on 75% of the ballots to make the hall. There were so many great players eligible that it was almost impossible to get in.

In 1950, the Hall inducted nobody, even though the ballot included a few guys you may have heard of:

 1950 Ballot





Mel Ott



Bill Terry



Jimmie Foxx



Paul Waner



Al Simmons



Harry Heilmann



Dizzy Dean



Bill Dickey




( 75% required for induction.)


There were many more greats below them, so many of ’em that none could get the required 75%. Double X retired in 1945 and didn’t make it until 1951, his sixth year on the ballot! Hornsby got in in his fifth year on the ballot. Even Lefty Grove, who has a very strong case as the best pitcher of all time, missed his first two times! Ed Delahanty, probably the greatest player of all time before Cobb/Wagner/Lajoie came along, never got in at all. He was on the ballot for six unsuccessful years, came close but no cigar, and was finally admitted through the back door by a special Old-Timer’s Committee. You probably remember that a couple of fairly good guys named Cy Young and Nap Lajoie got in on their second try.

You may be wondering how 1951 could have been Jimmy Foxx’s sixth year on the ballot when he had retired after the 1945 season. Actually, Foxx had received ballots as far back as 1936, nine years before he retired! That’s because there was no five-year waiting period until 1954. Most people don’t realize that the waiting period has evolved over time. In the first Hall of Fame vote in 1936, there was no waiting period at all. Babe Ruth, who had retired just the year before, was elected, and active players such as Lou Gehrig and Foxx got many votes. Voters were discouraged from voting for active players after the 1936 election, but the practice was not actually forbidden by the rules, so a small trickle of votes continued to come in for players who were still in uniform. In fact, DiMaggio himself was the last active player to get a vote, having received one in 1945. There was no official waiting rule at all until 1946, when a “one year after retirement” rule was adopted. That stayed in place for only eight years until the modern “five year rule” was adopted in 1954.  DiMaggio originally became eligible during that brief period when eligibility was determined by the one-year rule, and since he had retired after the 1951 season, he was therefore not on the 1952 ballot.

DiMaggio was first added to the ballot in 1953, when he got shellacked by a roster of backlogged all-time greats

 1953 Ballot





Dizzy Dean



Al Simmons



Bill Terry



Bill Dickey



Rabbit Maranville



Dazzy Vance



Ted Lyons



Joe DiMaggio





In 1954, he had passed Vance and Lyons (and rightfully so!), but still had to wait for three more beloved old-timers

 1954 Ballot





Rabbit Maranville



Bill Dickey



Bill Terry



Joe DiMaggio



Ted Lyons



Dazzy Vance



Gabby Hartnett



Hank Greenberg



Joe Cronin




That raised him to the top of the non-inductees, which meant he was a lock in 1955, since there were no significant new additions to the ballot.

1955 Ballot





Joe DiMaggio



Ted Lyons



Dazzy Vance



Gabby Hartnett



Hank Greenberg



Joe Cronin






There was no disrespect for DiMaggio. Quite to the contrary, there was a special “DiMaggio rule” provision passed just so DiMaggio would get in early. In 1954, the rules committee passed the modern “five year rule” – therefore making DiMaggio technically ineligible in 1955 since he had played in 1951. However, since he had already been on the 1953 and 1954 ballots, and was obviously a lock for election in 1955, they specifically excluded him from the new rule!! In essence, the 1954 rule said “everyone has to wait five years except the great DiMag!” Technically this rule also applied to any others who had been on previous ballots, but let’s not kid ourselves. DiMaggio was the only man genuinely affected, and the rule was passed just for him. No other players who retired in the 50s were even close to consideration. In fact, The Clipper is the only guy in the Hall of Fame who played in the 1950s and was elected in the 50s. He remained the sole 50s man for seven more ballots, until Feller and Jackie Robinson made it together in 1962. Teddy Ballgame made it in 1966, Musial and Campy not until 1969. As of 1970, those were the only six players in the HOF who had played in the 50s, and DiMaggio had beaten the others by a mile.