Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day! from the Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox want you to be their Happy Valentines! in 2016.






I came across these Valentine's wishes to the clubs fans on the ChiSox Twitter page, @WhiteSox







I'm no fan of the South Siders, but it's a pretty clever promotion by the team, who, after their play the past few years, could really use some L-O-V-E.






White Sox fans can also win prizes by using the hashtag #SoxLove in contestson Twitter as well.



As for me, well, I've been with the love of my life for 49 years... Go Tigers!



PLAY BALL! 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Abraham Lincoln

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday! of our 16th President,  Abraham Lincoln, born 107 years ago today, February 12, 1809, in Kentucky.




Lincoln has always been my favorite President, and, in my opinion, also our country's greatest President.



Lincoln was also a baseball... base ball...fan, and played the game as a young man in Springfield, Illinois.




Lincoln, upon hearing of his forthcoming Republican Nomination for President in 1860, supposedly was quoted as saying...



"I am glad to hear of their coming, but they will have to wait a few minutes until I get my turn at bat."




Happy Baseball Birthday! Mr. President...PLAY BALL! 

My email inbox: I won a lawsuit against MLB.tv

Last year around opening day I went into my Comcast account and ordered MLB Extra Innings for the 2015 big league season.




I had ordered both the MLB Extra Innings and MLB.tv in the past, depending on weather or not I had cable TV at the time.






I had never, until last year, ever had a problem with the MLB Extra Innings package. 



The thing that attracted me to the MLB Extra Innings package was that, according to the selling points, MLB.tv on my tabket and phone was going to be FREE of charge for ordering MLB Extra Innings...SOLD! 




I order the baseball package in order to watch my Detroit Tigers play baseball....and, I also like watching a Wednesday afternoon game between the Dodgers and Phillies, or a late night West Coast game between the Giants and Cardinals.



I have also gone the route of just paying $2.99 per month and getting all the big league games on local radio calls...listening to almost all Tigers games broadcast by Dan Dickerson and Jim Price. 


I've also listened to the great Vin Scully...what a joy it is! 



OK, so, the first part of 2015 went just well, then, sometime in May, I tried to access MLB.tv on my tablet....it didn't work....for the rest of the big league baseball season.





I also had Comcast on the phone multiple times in the second half of the year because my MLB Extra Innings package wouldn't work.





Finally someone at MLB.tv told me...months after the trouble started, that my provider, Comcast, wouldn't honor my FREE MLB.tv subscription, even though I was paying for the MLB Extra Innings...which came with the FREE MLB.tv.





So, it was quite a surprise when I opened my email tonight to find out that I'll be, along with all baseball fans, receiving my 2016 MLB Extra Innings package at a discount of 12.5%...pretty cool.



MLB.tv subscription rates at are $109.99, $20.00 off the usual price of $129.99


There will alao be options so that if you just want games involving your favorite baseball team, you can get that for $89.99.




The guys over at SB★Nation have it all figured out, and is a great read for fans.





Apparently MLB had quite a few baseball fans unhappy during the 2015 season with all the things that I had complained about, plus, Im sure, many, many other issues.




I love baseball, and I will watch as many games on television that I can every season.




It has been very troublesome over the years with poor quality on both big league services...both on my computer or tablet,  and on my TV.



Big league baseball takes in hundreds of millions of dollars, and you'd think that in the year of 2016 that the people running things on the big league level could figure out how to get their product to consumers willing to pay to watch baseball.





Al you have to know about the problems with baseball and its fans, is to create a Twitter account, or a Facebook page...then follow baseball fans, and read the results.





I hope this class action suit has gotten MLB's attention, and that all baseball fans will be able to watch their favorite big league ball club...weather it's a Cubs fan in Idaho, a Red Sox fan in New Mexico, or a Tigers fan watching his team from his home in Northeast Florida.





Thanks to all those who took the time to fight for the rights of all baseball fans...to receive exactly what we paid for...to watch tge greatest game ever invented.



PLAY BALL!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Boyd Bartley

For today's Happy Baseball Birthday!  I have chosen former big leaguer Boyd Bartley.



Boyd Owen Bartley  was born on February 11, 1920, in Chicago Illinois, attended Hyde Park High School, and went on to play college baseball at the University of Illinois.









As you may know, I have a special thing for people named Boyd, my middle name, and it's an honor to share the month of February with Boyd.



The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Boyd early in 1943, and  he made his big league debut on May 30, at the age of 23.



Boyd played with the Dodgers through June 7, when he was sent to Montreal.




While in Montreal Boyd was drafted into the Army, serving in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.




While he was on duty one night his jeep crashed while he was avoiding a Japanese patrol, and his injuries sustained in the crash would keep Boyd from returning to the big leagues.



His one, and only hit, an RBI single, came in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals...he would finish his big league career 1-21, .048 batting average,  and 1 RBI.



After returning from World War II Boyd would work as a long time minor league manager and scout for the Dodgers, in both Brooklyn and in Los Angeles.



His baseball career was halted for a couple of years during the Korean War.




His most memorable scouting victory was signing a young man who would become a legendary Dodgers hurler, a Bulldog  named Orel Hershiser.



Boyd Bartley passed away at the age of 92 on December 21, 2012, in Richland Hills, Texas.



Today we celebrate the life of a man who served his country in two wars, and played, managed, and scouted the great game of baseball for 6 decades.



Happy Baseball Birthday! Boyd Bartley....PLAY BALL! 






Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Bill Veeck

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday! of former big league owner and Hall of Famer, the legandary Bill Veeck. 








I first heard about Bill Veeck watching White Sox games on cable TV in the 1970s, when my Tigers would play the ChiSox and Tigers announcer George Kell would talk about Veeck and how much he had done for baseball.




William Louis Veeck, Jr.  was born on February 9, 1914, in Chicago, Illinois.



Bill worked for his Father, who was the President of the  Chicago Cubs in the 1930s, became the Cubs treasurer after the death of Bill, Sr, and in 1937, Veeck stamped his name in Cubs lore by painting the outfield wall and planting the now famous Ivy in Wrigley Field.




What I remember most about Bill Veeck...


...those unusal but fantastic uniforms the 1976 White Sox wore, including softball shorts...









....the ridiculous Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in 1979...







...and watching Bill Veeck sitting in the outfield bleachers at baseball games...shirtless, drinking a beer wigh fans , and putting his wooden leg up on a seat, or the outfield wall...Veeck had lost his leg serving in World War II.






Bill Veeck passedaway on February 2, 1986, just a week away from his 72nd Birthday.



Bill Veeck certainly made baseball fun for the fans of the teams he ran, from the American Association Milwaukee Brewers, to the 1948 World Series Champion Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Browns, the 1959 American League Champion Chicago White Sox, and then with the ChiSox one last time in the 70s.


In 1991 Bill Veeck was posthumosly inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.



Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to the one and only Bill Veeck. 



PLAY BALL!

Happy Baseball Birthday...Dal Shulman

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to one of my favorite baseball announcers, Dan Shulman of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.





Dan is a terrific baseball announcer, and gives ESPN another solid anchor to their Sunday Night crew, which now includes former big leaguer Aaron Boone, and USA Olympic Gold Medal Winner Jessica Mendoza.




I wasn't happy originally when ESPN didn't bring back Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller, the current voice of the San Francisco Giants, and lead Sunday Night play by play voice for decades, but Shulman is such a good baseball announcer, he knows baseball, and is always prepared.



Dan has also broadcast Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN before becoming the lead play by play on Sunday Night Baseball.




Dan Shulman is graduate of the University of Western Ontario, and started his career broadcasting in Canada before joining ESPN.



Happy Baseball Birthday! Dan Shulman...PLAY BALL! 




Monday, February 8, 2016

Tigers sign J.D. Martinez to 2 year extention

Monday the Detroit Tigers agreed to a 2 year, $18.5 million dollar contract extension with All-Star right fielder J.D. Martinez. 









Martinez has become one of the Tigers most productive players since he signed a free agent contract prior to the 2014 baseball season after being released by the Houston Astros.




In his two years in the Motor City Martinez has batted .296, hit 61 home runs, and has 178 RBIs.




Last year Martinez made his first ever All-Star team, and played right field like the second coming of Al Kaline, with 15 outfield assists and a .993 fielding percentage.




The signing of Martinez will solidify a great off season for the Tigers, who have added free agents Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton, along with trading for players like Cameron Maybin, Mike Pelfrey, and Francisco Rodriguez.



New Tigers General Manager Al Avila has made is imprint on the team in just a few montgs on the job, and the extension of Martinez is a welcome sight for all fans.



J.D. Martinez baseball reference page.



Pitchers and catchers report to Tigers Spring Training in Lakeland, Florida a week from Friday, on February 19th.




PLAY BALL!


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday... Babe Ruth

715 Home Runs... Happy Baseball Birthday! to The Sultan of Swat, the one and only, George Herman "Babe" Ruth.


The Babe was born in Baltimore, Maryland on February 6, 1895.


Baltimore is also the home of the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.



In case you're not sure who Babe Ruth is, or why his birthday is a big deal to baseball fans, here's the Babe's baseball reference page.







Happy Baseball Birthday! Babe! 



PLAY BALL!

First Topps Baseball Cards of 2016

Yesterday I puchased my first two packs of Series 1 Topps 



2015 National League MVP Bryce Harper is the Topps cover boy this year.




The pack is also stamped with the Topps 65th Anniversary logo.







I went to the closest Walmart on Friday, and even though Topps just released Series 1 on Wednesday, all that was left to buy were packs with 36 cards per pack...hangers packs I think they're called.



Walmart sells what are called "retail" packs of baseball cards, packs that have all the base cards for players and some inserts.



Too make sure the Hobby stores are able to survive and sell packs and boxes of cards as well, Topps sends the stores "Hobby Boxes" that are sold onky in the card stores.


Those packs include special inserts, autographed cards, and memorabilia cards that you cannot get in the retail packs at Walmart,  Target, etc.



In the first pack I opened, 3rd card from the top of the pack, was this card...and my day was made.






Miggy in the very first pack of new baseball cards...yeah baby!



Also in the first pack with Miguel Cabrera was 2014 American League MVP Mike Trout and 2014 A.L. Rookie of the Year Jose Abreau.







Topps has brought back its popular First Pitch inserts, and I was fortunate to get a Jordan Speith card.








Maybe the coolest insert of the two packs was a shinny, colorful refractor looking card of Indians catcher Yan Gomes.









Pretty neat...you can see the difference in the regular issue card and the parallel insert card.



This year marks another year of me collecting baseball cards.... Topps Baseball Cards... I'm closing in on 50 years of collecting cards.


I once proudly owned complete sets of every Topps set of baseball cards from 1968 to 1980, before selling them off because I needed the money.


I'm always excited when I see the new designs for the upcoming baseball card season, and in a couple of weeks I hope to purchase some Hobby Packs at a local card store.



If you're a collector, let me hear ftom you in the comments section below,  or on Twitter... @freehan11 ...I'd love talking baseball and baseball cards with you.


Have a great year collecting....and... PLAY BALL!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Alice Cooper

Today we say Happy Baseball Birthday! to legendary rocker and lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, Alice Cooper. 











Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier in Detroit, Michigan on February 4, 1948.





If you're someone who loves music then you know all about Detroit and it's famous musicians, and Alice Cooper is right up there with the best of Motown.






Cooper, Kid Rock, Eminem, and the late Glenn Frey of The Eagles were all born in Detroit, and they're also passionate fans of the Tigers.



Cooper attended public school in the Motor City before suffering health problems that forced the family to move to Phoenix, Arizona where Cooper finished up high school.


Cooper has had a very successful career in rock since forming the band in the late 1960s.


Later in life Cooper embraced his love of baseball and rock music by opening up his restaurant Coopers'Town in Phoenix.







I love that Coopers'Town logo!



Just to be fair, although I've long know about Alice Cooper, his Detroit roots, love of baseball, the Tigers, and his adoptive Arizona Diamondbacks, I cannot tell you one song that Alice Cooper had recorded...that music wasn't my thing...but I respect him and his band for all their success.



Alice Cooper also celebrates a Birthday with former Tigers Germany Schafer,  Joe Sparma, and Rusty Kuntz.


Schafer played on the Tigers 1907-08 American League Championship teamd, Sparma won the World Series with the 1968 Tigers, and Kuntz was on the 1984 World Series Champion Tigers.


That's some pretty good company... a big Happy Baseball Birthday! to them all!



PLAY BALL!