Results tagged ‘ Bob Costas ’
The Lou Gehrig Award that one of his successors at first base for the Yankees, Mark Teixeira, received Thursday night at the Marriott Marquis Hotel came with a bit of a surprise. Sportscaster Bob Costas was joined during the presentation by Kim and Trason Murray, the widow and son of George Murray, an ALS sufferer who Teixeira had met in July 2009 during the Yankees’ HOPE Week.
Murray, 38, a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne who no longer had use of his arms or legs due to ALS, fulfilled his dream of going to a Yankees game with Trason and Kim. The Yankees invited the family to Yankee Stadium July 22, 2009 for batting practice and the game, and then surprised the couple on their anniversary with a suite of 30 friends and family from home as well as several players, including Teixeira and Derek Jeter. George died of the disease two weeks after the trip.
“The main reason I’m here is because of George Murray and his family,” Teixeira said at the ALS Association’s 16th annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit. “Tra and Kim, along with George, really made a big impression on me last year at the Stadium. Tra is a year older than my son. After visiting with George and realizing he was losing the battle with ALS, I went home and looked at my son, and just thought about growing up without his father, or me not being able to see my son grow up. We’re really here for George Murray and fathers everywhere, sons everywhere, and we need to find a cure for this disease.”
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which has commonly been known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease since it ended his playing career in 1939 and his life in 1941. Another Yankees Hall of Famer, pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, succumbed to the disease in 1999. ALS is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no known cure. The Gehrig Awards Dinner, which this year also honored tennis great Pam Shriver, raised $1 million toward research.
“Lou Gehrig and Catfish Hunter, those two names will live forever in the Yankees’ family,” Teixeira said. “When you become a part of that family, ALS becomes a part of you as well. For me to be here and hopefully raise a little more awareness and a few more dollars, I’m all for it. Becoming part of the Yankees’ family is understanding how important ALS research and finding a cure for ALS is.”
It didn’t receive all the attention another young pitcher’s big-league debut in the Beltway did this week, but Jake Arietta had every reason to be proud of himself Thursday night. The Orioles took a glimpse into their future by bringing up the righthander from Triple A Norfolk to make his first major-league start.
Okay, so it wasn’t Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ first pick in the 2009 first-year player draft. Arietta was the Orioles’ fifth-round choice in 2007 out of Texas Christian University. But it wasn’t the Pittsburgh Pirates the pitcher faced, either.
Arietta drew the reigning World Series champion Yankees first on his big-league dance card, and the kid did all right. It helped somewhat that Alex Rodriguez came out of the game after an inning, which made Ramiro Pena a cleanup hitter.
The Orioles gave Arietta a 2-0 lead in the first inning off a wild A.J. Burnett, who had not allowed an earned run in 16 previous innings against Baltimore. Robinson Cano got the first of four hits off Arietta, all for extra bases, with a double in the second and scored on a triple by Curtis Granderson. Arietta kept Granderson at third by getting Marcus Thames on a liner to the box.
A leadoff walk to 9-hole hitter Chad Moeller was a mistake, and Derek Jeter made the rookie pay for it with a double to tie the score. Jeter eventually scored as well to give the Yankees the lead, but Arietta held them in check after that. His final test came in the sixth when he struck out Marcus Thames with the bases loaded.
Three runs, four hits, four walks (two intentional), six strikeouts in six innings was Arietta’s final line, and after the Orioles regained the lead in the fifth he had a shot at his first big-league “W.” It wasn’t Strasburg, but it wasn’t bad. Someone go tell Bob Costas.
A little more than 40 miles south of Baltimore, a sellout crowd at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., watched the overly hyped debut of pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 amateur draft choice of 2009 who was performing before a national cable-television audience that brought the MLB Network’s Bob Costas to the beltway.
Costas may have gotten a bit carried away by reading off some of Walter Johnson’s stats from his first game. Walter Johnson? Hey, can we put this in better perspective. Let’s take the world off this kid’s shoulders, shall we? Costas said he brought up the stuff about the “Big Train” because the audience might have been looking at the next great pitcher in the history of Washington baseball.
Well, Walter Johnson was more than that. He was probably the greatest pitcher in major league history. Can we let this young person get his career started before comparing him to the likes of Walter Johnson.
Meanwhile, Camden Yards was half empty with more fans cheering the Yankees than the Orioles. Phil Hughes, a former first-round draft pick by the Yankees, joked when he walked into the clubhouse and saw only a smattering of reporters, “Is everybody covering Strasburg?”
Not everybody, it just seemed that way. Beat writers at the time were on a telephone hookup with Cito Culver, the Rochester, N.Y., shortstop whom the Yankees chose first in Monday’s draft.
The atmosphere was an indication of how much things have changed for major league baseball in this market. What is coming up is not a second guess because I wrote this at the time. MLB should not have put a second team in the Baltimore-Washington area. The Nationals are the transplanted Montreal Expos, who had bottomed out in Quebec.
The Orioles have more problems that just their D.C. neighbors, but they could have done without the competition. All you heard in MLB circles at the time was that there was no place else to go. There had to be somewhere other than a market that was already in place with a franchise that had a pretty rich history, at least pre-Peter Angelos.
So while the Nationals show off one of their hood ornaments before a full house the day after drafting another one (Bryce Harper), the Orioles try not to get blown out of their own building by the Yankees and keep pace with the 1962 Mets for futility.