Adam Sandler Updates Signature Song

Can you believe it?  The first night of Chanukah is around the corner, on Sunday evening December 6, and in honor of that Adam Sandler unveiled list #4 last week during his sold-out appearance at the San Diego Civic Center.


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It is that time of the year, with Thanksgiving upon us, where we tend to stop and reflect on that which makes us most thankful.  We have a tradition in our office of sending tokens of gratitude to referral sources to our practice.  Some years, I rack my brain a bit to think of something meaningful for the Thanksgiving season.  This year was relatively easy.  As soon as I heard that one of my favorite writers was being preserved through a collection of his essays about a life well lived, I pre-ordered copies of Gratitude which I received today.




From the inside jacket liner notes: “Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.”  What better way could there be to capture the Thanksgiving spirit?

And though the Internet, we can also re-visit Sacks via

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Big Sam’s Bobblehead is Here

Big Sam Thompson was a Philadelphia Phillies legendary outfielder who I’ve blogged about before.  Sam was finally accorded his due, being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, with his primary team identified as the Philadelphia Phillies.


Ask anyone of my era who the greatest Phillies right fielder of all time was, and no doubt Johnny Callison would be placed high on the list.  I loved watching Johnny play, but his stats don’t hold a candle to what Big Sam Thompson accomplished as a right fielder for the Phils in the mid 1890s.   Consider this:  Callison’s golden year was in 1962 when he hit .300 with an .854 OPS.  Thompson’s was in 1894 when he hit over .400 with a 1.161 OPS.  That was the magical year in which all of the Phillies outfielders, Big Sam, Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, and the reserve Tuck Turner all hit over .400.

Move over Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson.  1894 was also noteworthy for the failed attempt by baseball owners to draw fans to their fallow stadia in the winter.  According to Philly Sports History, Big Sam Thompson was a crossover football/soccer player for the Philadelphia Phillies team playing football that year, but the experimental league was short-lived.  (They must have played like the Eagles played today.)  Big Sam was finally inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame this year, which seems almost anti-climactic, except there is one more oversight of Big Sam that needs to be corrected – getting a plaque for him on the Phillies Wall of Fame in Citizens Bank Park.

Don Thompson wrote about Sam for the SABR Baseball Biography Project, and created a bobblehead figurine to help honor Sam’s Hall of legacy.



I received mine in the mail today, and it is stunning!  You can obtain the bobblehead from Don Thompson for $40 plus postage, by writing to him at 8247 E. Laguna Azul Avenue, Mesa, AZ  85209.




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Against All Odds

The New York Mets organization is receptive to using the Arizona Fall League as a chance to let prospects who have struggled and are at a crossroads of sorts be given a second or even third chance at proving themselves.  This is not typical of all organizations, and last week I highlighted the case of Mickey Jannis.  A player who was in the Fall League last year and who was back again this year, and  whose last name you’ll recognize is 25 year-old L.J. Mazzilli.


I just finished reading Part 1 of a fascinating story about a 24 year-old Phillies pitching prospect, Jairo Munoz, written by Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Because he was a castoff of the Kansas City Royals’ system, and struggled in his Fall League appearances for K.C.  I’m looking forward to Sielski’s second and third part, and to Munoz succeeding well enough in Clearwater that the Phillies send him to the Arizona Fall League next year.

Part 2 is out today.

And here is Part 3.

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The Backside of Baseball

Perhaps that’s not the best title for a piece that probes a hidden side of baseball, but it’s one that I’ll take away from the struggles of many players who never reach the big leagues nor a reasonable pay day.  Side conversations at the park with one of the players’ fathers opened my eyes to how wide the pyramid of wealth is in a sport that, as Bob Nightengale reports, will generate a $10 billion revenue stream by the end of this year.


No doubt the perception of money to be made in the sport is the carrot that’s dangled in front of players is the pursuit of a big pay day.  But only 10% of minor league ballplayers will ever see a day in the  major leagues, and a significant subset of the 90% who don’t make it will work for less than minimum wage, continuing to support themselves with jobs during the off-season.  The idea of playing into one’s 20s and 30s primarily because of the love of the game (“I’d play even if they didn’t pay me”) is fast becoming a part of the past, and as revenue steams keep widening, players have become less tolerant of the lack of trickle down money.

This is the backdrop to a lawsuit filed on behalf of 32 former minor leaguers by a minor league pitcher turned attorney, as reported by Mother Jones in the summer of 2014.  And in a landmark ruling last month, the U.S. District Court in San Fran ruled that the lawsuit can be certified as Class Action.  Baseball America reports this means that roughly 10,000 current and former minor leaguers can join the class action suit dating back to 2011.  Frankly I can see both sides of the argument.

This is another interesting facet of the game in which labor law tries to match what has progressed much beyond a game, to a fundamental business practice.  Although MLB and MiLB has argued that players in the minors are no different than individuals volunteering to do a low or no paid internship in certain business sectors, the fact is these athletes spend considerably more  years working for the clubs than interns do in business.



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The Last Lumber

Decided to stick with the closer venue today, the last day of the Fall League regular season, and head over to Talking Stick figuring we might see our new-found knuckleballer Mickey Jannis get into a game.




Mickey was gracious with the handful of fans seeking autographs, but was not going to pitch today.  No matter, it was a beautiful afternoon to watch a game at our favorite field, and take in the last round of fandom until next fall, together with the famous platinum silver SuperFan Susan.


When we hit Clearwater Beach in March, a player I expect to see a bit more of in neighboring Dunedin is Rowdy Tellez.  Rowdy plays 1B in the Blue Jays organization, and is a big prospect in more ways than one.  Although he is only 20 years old he is listed at 6’4” and 245.  I’ve been very impressed with him the few times I’ve seen him play, and was surprised to see that he was only a round 30 draft pick by the Jays two years ago.  He put up a .293/.839 line for the Rafters, which should be good enough to get him an invitation to camp.  Seeing a talented 1B wearing #44 takes me back to Willie McCovey.







The Fall League is essential for teams to see get a closer look at promising prospoects who have struggled in advancing from A to AA.  This is paramount for players acquired as prospects in deals with other teams.  This was the case for the D-Backs, for whom the beautiful Salt River Fields is home in March, as they kept close watch on Gabriel Guerrero – a key component of their deal in trading Mark Trumbo to the Seattle Mariners.  Gabby struggled at AA, but did very nicely for the Rafters – and by the way, is a dead ringer for his uncle Vladimir, who some of you may recall fashioned a nice career for himself in the majors.


Here’s another familiar baseball family name:DSC_0490

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Home Stretch

A beautiful day in Salt River Fields @Talking Stick, with an official attendance 376, to see our Glendale Desert Dogs take on the Surprise Saguaros with one game left to the regular season tomorrow.


Drew Stankiewicz was announced as the starting shortstop, listed in the program as leading off, with his usual uniform #61.


But this fellow Prada, wearing #16, came on the field to warm up – and he was a dead ringer for the Spunky Stankiewicz.


Word is, the Dogs have a new locker room attendant who has some visual issues.  That was an omen that this afternoon would not be an easy one.


I was looking forward to seeing Yacksel Rios start a ballgame, as he strode in from the pen with Phillies battery mate Andrew Knapp under the watchful eye of Chicago White Sox pitching coach Juan Bautista.



I still like Yacksel’s potential, but he had his roughest outing of the Fall today, getting smacked around for 7 earned runs in two innings.





… and I still like the scintillating Stankiewicz who went 2-4 today to push his average to .483.  He should have enough ABs to lead the league, but someone is asleep at the wheel.  Stankie’s problem today was in the field, as he botched two grounders with two outs that could have saved Rios alot of aggravation, not to mention runs.



Jesen Therrien, a relief pitcher and teammate of Rios in the bullpen, was busy  limbering another Phils’ prospect – right fielder Aaron Brown – between innings.



But with Rios being roughed up by the Yankees stud catching prospect Gary Sanchez and his Saguaros buddies, the bullpen had to get busy.



With the Dogs down 8-0 after five innings, the prospect of winning the Wednesday bobblehead giveaway just wasn’t enough reason to stay, and we decided to head back and salvage some of the beautiful afternoon.  The Dogs did manage to score a run in the 6th and 5 in the 8th to make the 8-6 loss respectable, no doubt cheered on by their #1 fan.


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