Anne Delaney

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Delaney: Where is Hank Aaron?

About 2 p.m. Saturday, a crowd was gathered between an outside door to offices at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and a Ford SUV with Hall of Fame license plates idling at the curb.

Visiting Hall of Famers to the Cooperstown museum attract fans and there was a good size group waiting for Hank Aaron. Aaron was in town Saturday for the opening of a permanent exhibit in his honor, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream.

The inconspicous door did open and a tall, white man with redish hair and dark glasses emerged instead of Aaron. There were groans in the crowd and they went back to their wait.

Delaney: Records tainted, hard to say for Aaron

Hank Aaron, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Saturday for the opening of an exhibit honoring him, was not definitive about whether the career home run record is tainted because of rumors of steroid use plaguing the game.

"It's hard to say records are tainted," said Aaron, sitting in front of the uniform he wore on the April day in 1974 when he broke Babe Ruth's career home run record. "Baseball has done a great job cleaning up this mess."

Without offering specifics, Aaron said MLB commissioner Bud Selig has done a lot to hold players accountable.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Delaney: Not so fast Oneida

Beth Kann struck out Whitesboro's Jenelle Mazurowski in the top of the 6th inning Friday in a Tri Valley League softball game. Several Oneida players including Kann started to run off of the field as if the inning was over. An Oneida fan yelled it was only the second out and the players went back to their positions. Kann then got Whitesboro's Jaymie Rosati on a first-pitch ground out to end the inning.

Oneida, 4-1 and ranked 12th in the state in Class A, won the Tri Valley League game 3-0.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Delaney: MLB Network in the early innings

I had a chance to watch the MLB Network the last couple of days. The new network debuted Jan. 1 in approximately 50 million homes. One of those homes belongs to my parents in Central Pennsylvania. They are lucky enough to have the NFL Network, ESPNEWS and the MLB Network on their basic cable package.
I enjoyed what I saw of the MLB Network. I watched MLB Tonight, which seems to be the flagship program. One of the analysts was Harold Reynolds, formerly of ESPN who knows his stuff. The other analyst on the Wednesday night show was former Phillies reliever Mitch Williams, who earned the nickname 'Wild Thing' during his days with the team and best known for giving up a World Series clinching home run to Joe Carter in 1993. Williams was also good, self deprecating about his 11-year Major League career but not to the point where it got in the way of what he was saying.
There were a couple problems with the show. For one, neither Reynolds nor Williams looked into the camera and toward the television audience they were addressing. Maybe they're not supposed to, I don't know, but I found it odd. Problem No. 2 was the network didn't font the names of Reynolds or Williams or studio host Matt Vasgersian. I recognized Reynolds and Williams so that wasn't problem for me. I didn't know Vasgersian and on another night there was an analyst who looked like Billy Ripken but I wasn't sure. I did an Internet search and it was Ripken. Dan Plesac, another analyst and a former player known to baseball fans, also was not fonted.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Delaney: Yankees off to disappointing start

Imagine the child's glee. Living in New York, little Johnny or Susie grew up a Yankees' fan, influenced by the admiration of mom or dad, a grandparent or the neighborhood kid down the street. And sure enough, someone scores Yankees tickets for the new stadium during spring break. The child can't wait. The only downside is the tickets are for a Saturday game at the end of the break.
I don't know how many kids these days get psyched at the anticipation of going to a Major League Baseball game. Probably not enough. But Johnny or Susie or any other young baseball fan who waited all week to go to the new Yankee Stadium were disappointed.
The Cleveland Indians scored 14 runs in the second inning, and defeated the Yankees 22-4. Cleveland scored 22 runs on 23 hits and three Indians pitchers held the Yankee hitters to seven hits. Yankees starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang gave up eight runs on eight hits and left after 1 1/3 innings with a 34.50 earned run average.
Yes, it's only April and it's one game for the Yankees, league favorite to play deep into the postseaon after spending a gazillion dollars in the offseason. The Yanks, 6-6 after Saturday, lost to Cleveland 10-2 Thursday on Opening Day at the Stadium. So far, no one's getting their money's worth from this team.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Delaney: Nice night at Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs is open. It's spring.

The sun was shining Friday, it was pretty breezy but it wasn't snowing. A track official estimated 3,000 people came to the track's opening night. It's the first of 90 dates for 2009, the track's 56th year. Vernon Downs opened in May 1953 and there's been harness racing every year except 2005 when financial troubles kept the track closed.

From the people I met, there was a mixed bag of visitors. A woman from Jamesville was visiting with her children and her sister. A couple from the Syracuse-area came down for the racing and were going to stay the night in the adjacent hotel. There were two men in the upper grandstand, Vernon Downs lifers, who know horse racing.

"We sort of know what we're doing," said Marc Woodroe, of Liverpool, a self-described sophisticated bettor. "I come for something to do."

The crowd? Bigger than what I anticipated. The parking lot was nearly full when I drove in and one longtime fan felt the same way.

"It's a lot larger than normal," said Jim Corbin of Liverpool. "It's a lot more crowded than the past years."

An evening at a harness racing track isn't my scene, but there are a lot of people who are willing to give it a try.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Delaney: BU win greater loss for Miami

The Boston University men's ice hockey team defeated Miami (Ohio) University, 4-3 in overtime to win the NCAA Division I title. What a game. The Terriers, ranked No. 1 in the country for most of the season, scored twice in the final minute of the third period to force OT.

The result is a tougher loss for Miami than a terrific win for BU. The RedHawks led 3-1 with under seven minutes to play and lost in OT. Jaw-dropping disappointment. At one point, Miami was 0-for-7 on the power play. Maybe that's the difference?

In a post-game interview, longtime BU coach Jack Parker said his team was excited during intermission before OT and he had to remind them to settle down, they hadn't won anything yet. Parker's statement reminded me of Hamilton Central soccer coach Brian Latella last fall.

Latella's Emerald Knights scored three goals in the final 17 minutes of their Class D state final in November to defeat defending champion Chazy. Latella yelled to his guys to calm down, stay in the game after Matthew Broedel's second goal tied the game with 2:45 left.

5 is good for BU and UNC
BU's NCAA hockey title was the program's fifth. The UNC men's basketball team won the Tarheels fifth title last week. North Carolina's 89-72 victory over Michigan State made Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Bobby Frasor the school's all-time winningest four-year class with 124 wins. BU's six-member senior class won its 99th game against Miami, the most since the class of 1999 (98). The BU class of 1996 is the school's winningest with........124.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Delaney: RFA wins on Fayetteville-Manlius errors

The Rome Free Academy varsity softball team nearly blew it. The young Black Knights had a 2-0 lead after the fifth inning against Fayetteville-Manlius Thursday, and pitcher Amelia Casalenuovo was in control despite a cold. The senior lefty had a perfect game and a no-hitter before finishing with a one-hitter.

RFA pulled out a 4-2 victory but the sunny day at Kost Field nearly turned very, very gloomy for the Black Knights.

Fayetteville-Manlius tied the game in the sixth on three RFA errors. After a direct and loud between inning pep talk from RFA coach Jerry Tabolt, the Black Knights took advantage of two Hornets errors in the bottom of the sixth inning.

"It's a sign of character right there," Tabolt said. "We put the errors behind us, we needed to get a run and put the ball in play."

Home plate umpire Joe Zogby warned a handful of players on both teams Thursday for stepping out of the batter's box during a plate appearance. Enforcing a state rule, Zogby reminded the players to keep one foot in the box and one foot out between pitches. Zogby said players can step out with both feet on a dead ball situation, such as foul but otherwise hitters can't stray from the box.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Delaney: Final Four times two

Why aren't the NCAA men's and women's basketball Final Four in the same location?

The crowds would be out of sight and it would bring attention to the women's game. Four games on Saturday (say, 3, 5 7 and 9 p.m.), and then two games on Monday (7 and 9 p.m.).

Such a schedule would help the women quite a bit, I think. Now that the men's Michigan State-North Carolina game is over, I wonder how many college basketball fans will tune into the women's championship Tuesday?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Delaney: Whitesboro, New Hartford play for cure

Whitesboro and New Hartford are typical, high school rival communities - as has been documented many times in the Observer-Dispatch and most recently by my colleague Marques Phillips.

The schools' girls lacrosse teams will come together May 1 for breast cancer awareness in 'Shoot For the Cure' games at Whitesboro's Chiz Frye Field. The JV teams play at 5 p.m., varsity at 7.

The New Hartford-Whitesboro game joins a growing list of area sports teams/organizations to take on fundraising for cancer. The Waterville boys and girls basketball teams hosted 'Coaches vs. Cancer' games in January, and the Utica boys and girls basketball boards of officials each held 'Officials vs. Cancer' weeks in January and February.

"It's some that can affect, male, female, mother or daughter, it has an affect on a lot of people," Whitesboro coach Ben Schoen said.

Schoen will have more information for us soon on donations and what organization will benefit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Delaney: Baseball with a California roll

Do you remember the commercial with the lyrics.....baseball, hot dog, apple pie and Chevrolet?

Chevrolet is not on smooth highways these days, and baseball's image has certainly taken a hit in the last 12-18 months. I'm not sure of the status of hot dogs and apple pie, but leave it to the American pastime, a product of good, old-fashioned American ingenuity, to abandon its past in favor of new baseball food.

The new food on the baseball scene, at least in New York, is sushi. Debuting at the New York Mets' new stadium this season will be various forms of the Japanese delicacy, often scorned by many Americans I know. They shouldn't turn up their noses. It's wonderful. Sushi is packed with protein, there are many appetizing and satisfying forms and it's not slimy or gross. Sushi is very filling, a necessary quality in food while pigging-out at a baseball game.

From what I've heard, sushi is available at PETCO Park in San Diego, Safeco Field in Seattle and probably in L.A. too. In New York, though, the sight of sushi and baseball is an interesting combination. Picture this: a couple of folks at a game on a nice spring or summer day. They have good seats, a beer or soda, and are ready to bite into.....a rice-wrapped CAlifornia roll packed with avacado.

We're talking baseball. Sashimi and seaweed.