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Hall of Fame Worthy?

Posted on July 30th, 2010 by TheSportsVirus

Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey are the newest members of the Hall of Fame, with Jon Miller winning the Ford C. Frick Award and Bill Madden the Taylor Spink Award. The Sports Virus, Joe Castellano and the Doctor, Michael Duca discuss what criteria you should use when doing your own Hall of Fame voting.

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ALSO AVAILABLE ON ITUNES: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/thesportsvirus/id382724152

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Congrats Jon Miller! Who Is The Next Deserving HOF Announcer?

Posted on July 24th, 2010 by TheSportsVirus

When it comes to baseball play-by-play, Jon Miller is a 5-tool announcer.

He has that amazing voice, he knows how to build drama, he has a great personality with a perpetual sense of humor, he paints the overall picture perfectly while describing the action on the field and he is well prepared. He makes you want to listen even if it’s a blowout, the true test for a baseball broadcaster. Congratulations Jon Miller on being the 2010 Ford Frick Award winner. Well deserved.

I’ve lived in San Francisco the last eight years and been spoiled by getting to listen to Jon almost every day in the summer on the radio doing the Giants broadcasts. And, of course his ESPN work is terrific as well. It was a real treat interviewing him just after he got the Call from The Hall. I’ll never forget the first time I met Jon on the field at AT&T Park. He saw my XM microphone flag and knew my name since he listened to my talk show from time to time on his drive home. I was flattered.

My two favorite calls by Miller:
-His description of former Giant Ruben Rivera’s horrible baserunning, which he called the worst in the history of the game.
-The game-winning hit by Kenny Lofton in the bottom of the 9th of game 5 of the 2002 NLCS as the Giants beat the Cardinals to reach the World Series for the first time since 1989. I loved the way he pronounced the Cardinals dead! Spontaneous and original.

Now the question is, who is the next deserving Hall of Fame announcer? I’m thinking of the current broadcasters and there are several that come to mind. Gary Cohen (Mets), Pat Hughes (Cubs) and John Rooney (Cardinals) are at the top of my list. They have everything you look for in a great baseball announcer. Cohen is one of the smartest people I’ve ever been around. Hughes makes me laugh every time I listen to him and Ron Santo. Rooney has a great presence. I enjoy their passion, they are never boring and their credibility never wavers. When it’s time to criticize players on the team they cover they are not afraid. Nor do they shy away from raising their level of enthusiasm for an outstanding play by the opposing team. I hope to see them as Ford Frick winners in the near future.

Listen to Podcast with Jon Miller

ALSO AVAILABLE ON ITUNES: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/thesportsvirus/id382724152

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Memo to Favre…Just Retire Already

Posted on July 20th, 2010 by Joe Castellano

I know I’m not the only one who is tired of constantly hearing about Brett Favre and his “decision.” I guess this is the summer of decisions. After we all got sick and tired of hearing about LeBron James and where he was going, now we wait with great anticipation (not!) to find out if Favre will keep his talents in the state of 10,000 Lakes. Is it all contingent on the health of his ankle? Because if that’s the case he should retire before the first day of training camp if he isn’t 100%. Hasn’t he accomplished enough? That was a good story to see him take the Vikings to the NFC Championship last year. But, if you aren’t healthy to start out this season, it will only get worse Brett. It’s time to hang ‘em up while you can still literally walk away from the game. Stop holding the Vikings, the NFL and its fans hostage. And please don’t have an ESPN special to announce your decision. One show like that was one too many.

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My Brush with THE Boss

Posted on July 14th, 2010 by Joe Castellano

We’ll never see another owner like George Steinbrenner. He turned around a floundering Yankees franchise in the early 70′s. His legacy will be one of winning championships, big spending and big headlines. Derek Jeter called him “larger than life,” and my one encounter with The Boss certainly gave me that impression. It was 2006 at Legends Field in Tampa. I was there to cover spring training for XM Satellite Radio. I had done some great interviews that day with Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina and I even had a short conversation with Jeter. I was heading out of the clubhouse, when I bumped into Mr. Steinbrenner. Just me and him in a corridor between the clubhouse and the field. I quickly turned on my recorder and asked if he could talk for a few minutes. He said, “sure,” although he appeared to be in a rush. All of a sudden reporters surrounded us, so I knew I wouldn’t have much time one-on-one. Right off the bat I said, “Mr. Steinbrenner it’s been a few years since….” And he looked me in the eyes and interrupted me right there. “Yeah, it’s been a few years, but we’re going to win the World Series this year.” I got a few other questions in about how tough the Red Sox were and the acquisition of Johnny Damon. But, it was all a blur after that first answer. I remember Ken Davidoff, a respected reporter for New York Newsday telling me that I made an impact that day by cornering The Boss. For that fleeting moment, I got a small taste of what it was like to be around the Yankees and their controversial owner. I almost felt like I was working for HIM. I got outta there before I could get fired!

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All Star Game Still Special and Doesn’t Have to Count

Posted on July 14th, 2010 by Joe Castellano

In anticipation of watching the 2010 Major League Baseball All Star Game, I thought about why I always get excited to watch this game. And it still has nothing to do with the fact that it COUNTS for home field advantage for the World Series. Honestly, I just don’t care who wins. This is about being entertained. This is about watching the best players in the game. And it’s about all of the teams being represented. It’s such an honor for these players to be elected or selected and they will always compete to win the game. No, it will never be like 30 or 40 years ago. I don’t think we’ll see another Pete Rose/Ray Fosse home plate collision. But it’s still special. The problem baseball has with the current format is that it doesn’t know what it wants for its identity. Is it an exhibition for fans of every team to enjoy and that’s why we must have at least one player from all 30 teams? Or is it a game the managers have to win at all costs? If the latter is the case, then why don’t the managers just pick the team that they feel gives them the best chance to win? Maybe there’s nobody from the Royals or the Pirates on the team in that case. The bottom line is that home field advantage for the World Series should be awarded to the team with the best record in the regular season. End of story. Then, we can feel comfortable about all of the teams being represented and just sit back and enjoy the game. Expanded rosters are fine since we don’t want any more ties. Without the World Series home field dynamic will the ratings slip? I doubt it.

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Strasburg Not An All Star….yet

Posted on July 10th, 2010 by Joe Castellano

Stephen Strasburg has a world of potential of course. And with the way he’s been pitching so far in the major leagues, there’s no doubt that he would help the National League All Star team. But, I just don’t think he deserves to be an All Star quite yet. So, I agree with Charlie Manuel’s decision to leave him off the NL roster. You have to earn all star status. And, that’s not to say that a rookie can’t be an all star. See Jason Heyward (although he didn’t deserve to be voted in as a starter over Corey Hart or Matt Holliday). Being an All Star is mostly about having a great first half. And Strasburg hasn’t made enough starts to be considered. Plus, which starting pitcher are you going to take off the roster? Carpenter? no. Gallardo? no. Halladay, who threw a perfect game? no. Hudson? no. Jimenez, Johnson, Lincecum, Wainwright? These are all pitchers who have been mostly dominant this season. So, there is no room for Strasburg for 2010. He’ll have plenty of other opportunities.

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The Perfect Game

Posted on July 2nd, 2010 by Joe Castellano

On May 9, 2010 Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s tossed a perfect game. The Sports Virus Joe Castellano and The Doctor Michael Duca take an in-depth look at perfect games in the major leagues. They put the microscope on team accomplishment, examine the broadcaster’s viewpoint and explore the official scorer’s responsibility not only for perfect games but also for no-hitters.

After this conversation, you’ll never look at a perfect game through a single lens again.

After this podcast was recorded Roy Halladay of the Phillies threw a perfect game and Armando Galarraga of the Tigers lost a perfect game with two outs in the 9th inning following a controversial infield hit made possible by a bad call from umpire Jim Joyce.

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ALSO AVAILABLE ON ITUNES: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/thesportsvirus/id382724152

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