Rick Ankiel and a Return to the Mound?

Rick came up to the Cardinals as a 19 year old left handed pitcher. The report on Ankiel before he stepped onto the field at Busch Stadium was that he had the potential to be a great pitcher. He had a fastball that ranged from the middle to the upper nineties. His curveball was real nasty and he could make veteran hitters knees buckle!

What ended up changing his career was the post season of 2000 against the Braves and the Mets. Here he is a twenty year old rookie that lost control and couldn’t find home plate. As a baseball fan, it was really hard to watch a player self destruct.

Rick could not come back and find the success that baseball people anticipated. He was wild and could not get the ball over the plate. Ankiel went to the Cardinal Brass and said he was going to retire. The management mentioned to Rick that they would give him a shot as a position player, and Rick decided to give it a shot.

Ankiel went to the minor leagues and found out he could play the game as a position player. He was a good hitter and had a cannon for an arm from the outfield.

In 2008 Ankiel played in 120 games and managed to hit 25 home runs! He looked good as a hitter and his defense was exceptional!

The success was short term and Rick started to flounder in 2009. The pitchers had found holes in his swing. He then played for several organizations and was very solid on defense but had a lot of problems hitting. I saw Rick play against the Cardinals this year and saw his flaws. It was obvious, but that is another story. He is now unemployed and his career may be over.  http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/ankieri01.shtml

The purpose of this article is to urge Rick Ankiel to start working on a return to the mound, and prepare for next year! Rick is only 34 years old and has a bazooka for an arm. I am sure he still has his nasty curve! 

Rick, I urge you to go to the mound and give pitching another shot! Can you imagine the feeling; Rick would have if we can show him that thousands of baseball fans want to see him back on the hill and dominate hitters like we all know he can!

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

 

 

Pete Rose – Betting, Steroids and Character

Growing up in the 60s and 70s a lot of young boys and adults looked up to Pete Rose and his ability to play baseball. He not only was a very good player but he gave total effort when he was on the diamond. Pete never failed to disappoint and was always very enjoyable to watch him play the game.

Rose played mainly second base, third base, left field, and first base and he did it all with a lot of  flair and high energy. He played 24 years mainly with the Reds and the Phillies. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rosepe01.shtml

There is quite a story to tell about Pete who was born in Cincinnati on April 14, 1941. He was one of the fortunate players to be able to play major league baseball for the team he grew up supporting.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Rose

This conversation isn’t so much about baseball, because most people know the type of player that Rose was in his career. This is going to be about people and some of the bad decisions that they make in their lives. We have all made mistakes and we have to own up to them and try to correct our flaws.

I think what started baseball to crack down on any kind of gambling was the 1919 Black Sox scandal. I saw the movie Eight Men Out and need to someday read the book that the movie was derived.  Here is some good information on the Black Sox scandal of 1919.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sox_Scandal

Gambling is legal in parts of the United States and back when this was occurring, Nevada was where the action took place. It was legal for the American people or tourist to place bets on sporting events. Pete was using a bookie to place his bets that is how he got caught, with the paper trail. Here is an article that Rose admitted to only betting on his team the Reds. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2798498

 What transpired from MLB was the permanent expulsion of Rose from the game, I have always agreed with up until a couple of weeks ago. I started to weigh the different issues that have been taking place in the game, in the years since Pete has been expelled.

There was a player Steve Howe that was suspended seven times for alcohol and drug problems. Howe had so many chances to clean up that it ended up being a joke. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Howe_(baseball)

Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins got busted for possession of cocaine, hash and marijuana and only received a two week suspension. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferguson_Jenkins

Another Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda one of my favorites was busted for drugs, and was still able to enter the Hall! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Cepeda

Gaylord Perry was known for being a spitball pitcher and even admitted to loading up. Everybody knew he was doing it and it was really quite comical. He got voted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaylord_Perry

Here is some more information on the spitball, and a little history.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Spitball

There have been other MLB players that had drug and alcohol problems that were able to get second chances and more.

The latest event involves former MLB player Jack Clark and current player Albert Pujols. Jack Clark makes a statement that Pujols is a steroid abuser, and now there are all kinds of accusations and denials. I have written an article discussing this issue that needs to be read.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/08/albert-pujols-and-jack-clark-steroids-and-the-character-issue/ This article and other links get more into the steroid and character issue.

On the steroid issue any known abuser should not be able to join the Hall of Fame fraternity! The cheaters must be kept out as they have done enough damage to the game!

I have a huge problem with liars! I don’t see how some people are able to sleep at night with how they live their lives. I was always taught and believe that when you tell a lie, God will pay you back somehow. This can mean stubbing your toe or twisting your ankle.

Rose was in complete denial for about 15 years on his gambling in baseball. I don’t see how it is possible to look a person directly in the eyes and lie! The commissioner’s office knew the truth and Pete went along with the lifetime ban. This was in essence meant that he was guilty of gambling on baseball. But he would still go out into public and say he was not involved in gambling on the game.

I believe that if Pete would have admitted from the beginning that he had a gambling problem. Then had gone out and received help and then apologize to MLB and the fans, he would have been forgiven.  I think the Hall of Fame in time would have allowed a vote and Pete would have been selected.

I think with some of the examples that I have given and a lot of players receiving second and third chances in the game, it is time for Pete Rose to come back to the game he loves! Pete when he wagered on games he only bet on his own team to win. Then he proceeded to bust his rear to win the game for the Reds.

Somebody with the love of the game like Rose would bring a lot to the table. If baseball would announce that they will allow Pete back into the game, he should take the microphone and apologize to the baseball world and say that he will make amends! He should agree to a two year probationary period to prove that he is worthy of being back in the game. He will need to donate time to youth baseball and give free appearances. After this has all been completed and Pete is in good standing, I would hope that the Baseball Hall of Fame would be open to Mr. Charlie Hustle!

Bob Brown

 

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

Albert Pujols and Jack Clark, steroids and the character issue

I am exhausted and simply sick of all the lying, corruption, excuses, and poor character that has seeped into our society.  I would really like to see more people take a stand and say we have had enough of the prisoners running the prison!

This discussion is going to center on the character issues of athletes and the people they associate with in their field. I often think to myself how some of these athletes can go out in public and not to feel shame. In the business world or in sports if I did something so stupid, as to steal or cheat, I would be over taken by guilt. I see so little remorse in our society and this worries me as we go on as a country.

During the steroid years I think it was common knowledge among the players that there was a steroid problem in the game. One player remarked about how a wiry second baseman came to spring training and was built like a weight lifter. This player proceeded to hit home runs at a much higher rate than in the past. I can give you many more examples, but my point is some of the players and coaches had to know what was going on in the game.

The players that I feel sorry for are the guys that were clean and gave a full effort going against the cheaters. How about the AAA or the AAAA players that could have had a MLB career or a more successful career. If I was a player at this time, I would have raised all kinds of heck!

How about the fans of the muscle bound cartoon characters and their reaction after it was found they cheated? It seems to me the average Joe fan felt it was ok for my guy to cheat and put up big numbers but for the opposing player it is not acceptable.

How about the steroid hearing in 2005 and all the denials of the players and one player pointing his finger and sternly denying the accusation. He was found guilty of steroids at a later date. Here is a good article on the hearing-http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/03/17/steroids.baseball/

Now we get to Albert Pujols and former Cardinal Jack Clark. Here are some other articles that explains the situation. – http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/jack-clark-fired-los-angeles-angels-albert-pujols-ped-steroids-tigers-justin-verlander-080913

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/pujols-says-he-ll-sue-clark-slaten-dumped-by-station/article_f5220a8b-891d-599a-a265-45b449399a90.html

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-bytes-albert-pujols-fights-back/article_dc83a1ae-8a96-5ca4-8a65-cd651ce497e5.html

My concern is there are three people that are directly involved in this situation. You have Albert Pujols, Jack Clark and the former personal trainer of Pujols a Mr. Chris Mihlfeld.  Somebody is lying, and it could be one of the guys or it could possibly be two of them. The combatants are claiming they are telling the truth. This is another example of somebody with poor character getting out of line! Then you throw in Kevin Slaten a St. Louis sports talk radio shock jock that has had numerous issues over the years.

Clark and Slaten have been terminated from the radio station. This in itself could get very nasty, and then you throw in the potential lawsuit coming from Albert Pujols. I personally don’t think Pujols will sue because the radio station fired Clark. If he happens to go ahead with the law suit there will be a can of worms opened and it will not be good for all involved.

Why would Jack Clark say what he said on the air and not have solid proof? Some people will say it was for publicity for a new sports radio station. This wouldn’t be smart to attempt to gain publicity through a lie. Jack has always been very up front on the issue of PED’s in baseball.  There are people ripping Jack without knowing the truth.

Albert Pujols is reacting in a stern way in order to protect his reputation and to tell the world he is clean. This is how a person of strong character would act if they were accused of an act they did not commit.

The same can be said of Chris Mihlfeld in his statement to the public that what Clark said was false.  

Everybody  needs to remember when Jose Canseco came forth with his book “ Juiced” he got very little support from the sport writers and the general public. I was one of the people fooled and didn’t think baseball players would mess with steroids. I was wrong as there was a good percent of them on the juice! This really bothers me to think of all the players cheating and messing up the game and the records. The records are tarnished because of these jerks!

I remember when the issue came up of Mark McGwire using steroids when he was with the Athletics and the Cardinals. Tony LaRussa was vehemently in the corner of Big Mac and talked about how hard his work outs were and that he got all his power from hard work. There were a lot of people fooled and a lot more knew there was a problem with steroids.

The current players all seem to be on board with getting the cheaters out of the game! I applaud them for this and we need more to step up against the frauds in the game!

We need to compare the MLB players to the NFL and the NBA players in their conduct and character. There is no comparison between the three with all the felons and criminals in their sport, it is difficult to watch and root for bad people to succeed! Here are some figures on the NFL players- http://blog.seatcrunch.com/crime-in-the-nfl/

Here is a book from several years ago about the problems in the NBA. The author claims that 40% of the NBA players at this time had been charged with serious crimes.  http://www.curledup.com/outofbou.htm

As a baseball fan we have our problems with steroids but I do believe the players are willing to police themselves. Baseball needs to come down hard on these losers and give a one year suspension on the first violation and then on the second you are gone for good! This would put a stop to all the fraud in the game.

I have always believed that each generation was supposed to be better than the previous and learn from mistakes and triumphs. We as a society are going downhill because we are allowing the cheaters, liars, and corrupt to make excuses and then go on with their lives with no repercussion.

It is going to be interesting to see where this steroid issue goes and what comes out from under the rock. I am not taking a side on this issue because I don’t know who is telling the truth. I think it is important for the game to get to the bottom of this and get the cheaters out of the game!

Bob Brown

 

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.