A Not-So-Quick QuickTake

    This just in. Following his team making negative history by becoming the first team in MLB history to lose a post-season series after being up three games to none, George Steinbrenner will demand that Bud Selig permit the Yankees to do the following in 2005:

Carry 50 players on their active roster.

Have the right of last refusal on any and all free agent signings.

Carry an annual payroll of $500 million without the imposed luxury tax.

Have all debatable umpiring calls go in their favor.

Play their entire 162-game regular season schedule at Yankee Stadium.

And, of course, play all playoff games at Yankee Stadium as well.

And if they ever make it to the World Series again, all games in the Bronx.

    I agree with George on all counts. Theyíre the Yankees, man. Theyíre supposed to win every year. The fact that they donít is living proof that the rules are obviously stacked against them. The Yankees are being treated unfairly. Bud Selig has to do something to help make the Yankees more competitive.

    Now for professional journalism. Give credit to the Red Sox for winning the ALCS. The media is calling the Yankees a group of chokers. But the Red Sox refused to give up after being down 3-0. They overcame unprecedented odds, and much credit for that has to go to Manager Terry Francona for, I would assume, not letting his team toss in the mental towel. One closing suggestion to the Red Sox, however, is that they cover base-running in spring training next year.

    Iím writing this article on the eve of game seven of the Cards vs the Astros tomorrow night for the NLCS title. Iím running the risk of being another Chicago Tribune that printed the story that "Dewey Defeats Truman" before the 1948 presidential election results were in. Truman won! I have to post this article to my website before tomorrow nightís NLCS game seven. So what the hell!

    Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for beating the Houston Astros tomorrow night and going to the World Series.

    This is the longest Quick Take in Quick Take history, but itís my website, and to quote B. B. King, "Iím Paying The Cost To Be The Boss."

Story of the Week (Finally)

CLASSIC UMPIRE STORIES

    The subject of this article truly requires a book to do it justice, a very long book. I will share with you a few of my favorites here. As you read the following, imagine yourselves at the scene and up close and personal to observe and listen to it all.

    Leo Durocher, then manager of the N.Y. Giants, determined that it was time to light a fire under his lethargic team during a particular game that saw his Giants getting clobbered by the Cardinals. So at the right time and in an apparent but contrived rage, Leo stormed out of his dugout and right up to plate umpire Al Barlick. When Leo reached Barlick, the ump stopped Durocher and told him, "Leo, I know why youíre here. In the past in these situations, youíve said all kinds of bad things to me so Iíd toss you. No matter what you say today, Iím not throwing you out of this game." "Just one more time, as a favor to me. I wonít do it again," responded Durocher. Barlick cooperated and threw Leo out. Leo lied; he did it again.

    Billy Martin, then manager of the Yankees, disputed a call by umpire Ron Luciano. Martin was furious. He kicked dirt all over Lucianoís shoes. The umpire looked down at his dirty shoes, stopped Martin in his tracks, and showed Billy that he missed a spot on his left shoe. Martin looked down, saw the shoe, and immediately kicked more dirt on it. Both men were laughing. It was only at that point that Luciano told Billy, "The job is complete. Now I can toss you." He did!

    As a catcher, Yogi Berra was famous, or infamous, for talking to opposing players when they stepped into the batterís box. Berra did it to distract the opposition. When Al Rosen, the Jewish third baseman of the Cleveland Indians, stepped up to hit one day, Berra started telling Rosen Jewish jokes. Rosen made no attempt to assume the hitterís stance; he just stood there, listened and broke up. So did plate umpire Charlie Berry. Yankee pitcher, Whitey Ford, observed all this and walked to the plate. When he got there, he told Yogi, "Shut up so I can pitch this game." Rosen then told Ford, "Whitey. Just a couple more. My family will love these!" Ford then asked Berry to shut Berra up and get the game going. Responded the ump, "Whitey, Alís right. Iíve got some Jewish friends who will love these, too." With that, Ford went back to the mound, and loosened up his arm with shortstop Phil Rizzuto until Yogi was finished doing squat-down comedy.

    Eddie Gaedel was the midget who owner Bill Veeck employed on his St. Louis Browns team in 1951. The Browns were the laughing stock of baseball, in more ways than one. (In addition to Gaedel, Max Patkin, the "Clown Prince of Baseball," sported the number "?" on his uniform.) Diminutive Gaedel, all of 3í-7" and 65 lbs., walked up to the plate as a pinch-hitter one day, sporting the number "Ĺ" on his uniform. He drew a walk, and not intentionally. After the inning, plate umpire Art Passarella walked over to Veeckís box seat and told him, "Bill. Gaedel should not be permitted to appear in a game again. You canít make a farce of major league baseball." Responded Veeck, "Yes I can. Just look at the rest of my team." (That was Gaedelís one and only major league appearance.)

    St. Louis Cards catcher, Joe Garagiola, challenged a call by umpire Augie Donatelli. The two men got into a heated exchange, and Joe crossed the line, but with a rather humerous choice of words. "Augie, I seriously question the legitimacy of your birth," stated Joe. "Are you calling me what I think youíre calling me?" asked Donatelli. "You bet I am!" answered Joe. "But Iím not saying anything bad about your mother." Donatelli stood there laughing, as did Garagiola, but Joe got the proverbial boot anyway.

    There will be more classic umpire stories in a future Sports Junkie.

Last Weekís Trivia

    Jim Barr of the San Francisco Giants owns the record for consecutive outs recorded by a pitcher. The record 41 was accomplished in 1972 over two games. Little attention has ever been given to this amazing feat. It is a MLB record that should stand forever.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Who is the only player in Super Bowl history to have started on both offense and defense? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.