New Stadium Operations Practices Take Effect for 2015

Baseball SecurityAs previously announced, Major League Baseball’s Stadium Operations Practices for the 2015 regular season require each Club to develop and implement mandatory metal detection screening of all fans prior to entry to each Major League ballpark. Many Major League Clubs already began such a program throughout the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The screening program will be in effect at 29 ballparks on Opening Day and full fan screening will be phased in over the course of the first month of the 2015 season. The Commissioner’s Office has postponed the commencement of the program at Wrigley Field in light of the extensive renovations that are underway.

This procedure, which resulted from a recent study of best security practices and MLB’s continuing work with the Department of Homeland Security to elevate and standardize initiatives across the game, will be in addition to bag checks that have been uniform throughout MLB. Fan screening may be conducted by means of hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers. Fans should monitor announcements from Clubs regarding their individual programs and the details of the anticipated practices in each market.

John McHale, Jr., MLB’s Executive Vice President, Administration, said: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our fans. In the last several seasons, our experiences in many markets and at our jewel events have indicated that fans have a high level of understanding of these efforts. We believe this step will pose minimal inconvenience and ultimately will serve the best interests of fans.”

City of Scottsdale & Scottsdale CVB Named Presenting Sponsors For ‘Baseball City’ 2015

Baseball-City-LogoThe Legacy Agency has announced that Baseball City – the largest and only interactive Spring Training event in the country- will have The City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau as official presenting sponsors for the second annual event, which will be held in Scottsdale on March 7 and 8.

Over 20,000 fans are expected to join in on the free event, which will have a host of interactive programs, clinics, brand activation platforms and appearances by current and former MLB players as part of the two day celebration that will kick off Cactus League play. The inaugural event was held in Phoenix in 2014.

“Our vision with Baseball City was to give those fans even more added value to their spring training  experience; to allow  people young and old a little more engagement when they are not watching games,” said Mike Principe, CEO of The Legacy Agency. “Bringing the event now to Scottsdale, within minutes of several of the facilities, will enhance the overall baseball experience beyond the traditional game day. We will have something for everyone, and believe that this will quickly become a ‘must attend’ for everyone making the trek to Arizona both this spring and for years to come.”

In addition to the presenting sponsor, the Legacy Agency has added Baseball America as the event’s anchor sponsor and Univision as the events Media Partner. Brands that have come on board for the event include:  Steiner Sports, LIDS, KIND Snacks, Schutt Sports, Uber, Saguaro Scottsdale Hotel, Ferguson Jenkins Foundation, Scottsdale Food Truck Caravan, Rock N Roll High School, YELP, the Arizona Baseball Network and Triple Crown Sports.

Kids of all ages will also have the ability to take part in a special Arizona SciTech Baseball Festival, which brings unique partnerships with ASU, UA and Midwestern Scientists to engage the public in hands on opportunities with the science behind sport, while the The Arizona Spring Training Experience and Cactus League Hall of Fame tells the story of the players, the teams, and the communities that have made Arizona the home for spring training baseball for seventy years.

The lineup of participants in the event are expected to include: Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Orlando Cepeda, 2014 AL All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley (Cleveland Indians), Chicago White Sox star Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giants catcher Andrew Susac, the Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill, Oakland Athletics All Star pitcher Scott Kazmir and outfielder Billy Butler, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta, and Chicago Cubs outfielder Arismendy Alcántara among many others.

Cyclones Announce 2015 Staff

Brooklyn_CyclonesThe coaching staff for the 2015 Brooklyn Cyclones has been announced and will feature a crew that is very familiar with MCU Park. Tom Gamboa, who guided the team to a 42-34 mark last season, will return as Cyclones manager and will be joined by pitching coach Tom Signore, hitting coach Yunir Garcia, athletic trainer Kiyoshi Tada and strength coach Joe Lego. Yunir Garcia is the only coach that was not a part of the staff during the 2014 season, but the 32-year-old is very familiar with the Cyclones having played parts of two seasons with the team during his eight-year minor league career.

“The 2015 season will be a very special one for our franchise,” said Cyclones Vice President Steve Cohen. “We will be celebrating our 15th season as a franchise and will be welcoming the 4,000,000th fan through the gates of MCU Park. But we are also hopeful that, under the guidance of this very experienced staff, we will return to the playoffs and contend for a New York-Penn League Championship.”

Gamboa, 67, enters his second season with the Mets organization and his 42nd year in pro baseball. The Rancho Mirage, CA native was at the helm of the Cyclones last season and fell just short of a Wild Card berth, losing a tie-breaker to the Connecticut Tigers following the last game of the season. Gamboa has served on the Major League coaching staffs of the Chicago Cubs (1998-99), and Kansas City Royals (2001-03). The father of five has also had a successful managerial career in the minor leagues, including division titles most recently in Arkansas (AA) in 2005, and Albuquerque (AAA) in 2000.

Signore, 53, returns for his second year as the pitching coach after guiding the Cyclones to a league-leading 2.74 team ERA during the 2014 season. The Connecticut native filled in as the pitching coach for the Las Vegas 51s (AAA), where he worked with the eventual National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, to start last year. Prior to joining the Mets, he was a part of the Blue Jays organization from 2005-2013. Signora graduated from Quinnipiac College in 1985, and was a teammate of Mets Special Assistant to the General Manager, J.P. Ricciardi, during his lone season as a professional pitcher with Helena (R) in 1985.

Garcia, 32, begins his eighth season as a coach in the Mets organization and his first as the hitting coach with the Cyclones. The San Pablo, Venezuela native served in the same role with the Kingsport Mets of the rookie-level Appalachian League for the last three seasons after beginning his coaching career with the Dominican Summer League Mets (2010) and Venezuelan Summer League Mets (2008-2009). The former catcher also spent eight seasons as a player in the Mets organization, making it as high as AAA in 2006. Garcia appeared in 37 games with the Cyclones in 2003 and 10 games in 2004.

Kiyoshi Tada will return for his second consecutive season, and third season overall, as the athletic trainer for the club. The Aichi, Japan native has been with the Mets organization since 2011. Rounding out the staff is strength coach, Joe Lego, who served in the same role in 2014, his first as a member of the Mets organization.

Opening Day for the 2015 season is Friday, June 19th at Staten Island, with the Home Opener scheduled for the following day. Full season, partial season and group plans for the 2015 season are on sale now by calling 718-37-BKLYN

Topps Officially Launches Baseball Season With Ambitious Series 1 MLB Set

15TBB1_1142_FRJust before pitchers and catchers report for spring training, the TOPPS Company revealed their 2015 Series 1 Set of Baseball Cards. The set includes the last card for Yankees legend Derek Jeter, as well as a series of “First Pitch” cards captured during the 2014 season, including rapper Macklemore throwing with the Seattle Mariners, actor Jeff Bridges with the Los Angeles Dodgers, rocker Eddie Vedder with the Chicago Cubs, Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi with the Boston Red Sox, and several other surprises. Digital and hard copies are available for media by request.

“This year’s Series 1 set, coming out just ahead of when pitchers and catchers report, will have something for everyone, from the casual fan to the passionate collector with many surprises as well,” said Topps vice president of product development Clay Luraschi.  “It is a reflection of what we have seen in recent years, fans wanting a good mix of the present and the past with a little pop culture sprinkled in.”

“Baseball History” cards in the set bring the past alive with iconic moments combined with special baseball feats such as Sandra Day O’Connor being sworn in as the first female Supreme Court Justice on the same day that Steve Carlton broke the NL strikeout record (Sept. 21, 1981). “Highlight of the Year” autograph and relic subset includes cards of Ernie Banks, who passed away recently and with the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series, many members of the team were featured in an autograph or a relic card highlighting their win including Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner and Joe Panik.

The Series 1 base set consists of 350 cards. The base set will feature Veterans, Rookies, Future Stars, League Leaders and highlights from the 2014 season and World Series. Along with Series 2 (which comes out in June), there will be 700 base cards, which is the largest base card set for Topps in a decade.

Topps To Offer Tribute Sets For Legendary Card Designer Sy Berger

SyBerger-CollectionThe Topps Company, Inc.  today announced that they will honor the late Sy Berger, one of the fathers of the modern day baseball card, with two special sets, available as the Hot Stove season fully kicks in this coming week.

Topps is now offering two post card size sets of Red and Blue back cards, each set numbered to 99 that will mimic the 1951 design that was the first baseball card that he designed for Topps. It will feature a combination of retired and current players along with a card of Sy in each release, along with 10×14 posters for each player in the set. The orders can be placed on Topps.com starting today and can be viewed here.

“As we continue to find ways to be more engaged with consumers in the digital space, it is great to honor Sy’s legacy with a set that connects our glorious past to our really promising future as a continued partner with MLB,” said Topps Jeff Heckman. “We think this is both a nice tribute and a great way to kick off the coming 2015 season for fans and collectors of all ages.”

Berger, known as the father of the modern-day baseball trading card, died in December at age 91. In the 1950s, he introduced Topps cards and a year later, he conceived the prototype for the modern baseball card, supplanting the unimaginative, smallish and often black-and-white offerings of the existing card companies. As vice president for sports and licensing at the Topps Chewing Gum Company, he also worked with thousands of players to sign contracts allowing Topps to use their images. He then added color, statistics and copies of stars’ signatures.

Baseball Fans Of All Types Celebrate SABR Day

20150120 2015 SABR Day map sliderToday is SABR Day, a chance to celebrate the beginning of a new baseball season. While the thermometer may not agree, baseball season is just a few weeks away, and baseball fans of all types are ready for SABR’s array of baseball events around the globe.

And while the analytics connotation of the term “Sabermetrics” has in some ways come to define the organization, President Vince Gennaro wants fans to know that SABR is as diverse as baseball fandom itself.

“I don’t know that there is a consensus with SABR members about, for example, Hall of Fame voting or which players are most valuable,” he told Gotham Baseball recently. “People think about the quantitative guys, the ‘Sabermetric’ guys, but I’d say that 60% or more of our members have little affinity for the analytical side of the game. Many are historians, and you can’t divorce the history from statistics.”

At the same time, Gennaro sees how the increase of data has been utilized by teams, a major point in the upcoming SABR Analytics Conference, March 12-14 in Phoenix.

“When making 100 million dollar investment decisions, or in the Marlins’ case, 300 million dollar decisions, you can’t deprive yourself of any information. The stakes are so high, and the proliferation of data is so great, even from what existed five years ago.”

As for the Analytics conference, Gennaro notes a few highlights.

“I’m looking forward to a very interesting General Managers panel, Larry Baer as one of the keynote speakers, 25 or more team sending analytics personnel, and our student program in which 20 schools are sending four to six students, with 10-15 executives judging. The students get a tremendous experience and the teams get a talent pool for future hires.”

Bernie Williams, Dellin Betances, Mookie Wilson, Steve Weatherford, Meryl Davis & Charlie White To Receive 35th Annual Thurman Munson Awards On February 3

Dellin Betances, by Keith Allison

Dellin Betances, by Keith Allison

The 35th Annual Thurman Munson Awards, which remember the late, great Yankees captain, will be presented at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Tuesday night, February 3, and the honorees announced are as follows:

-New York Yankees four-time World Champion centerfielder Bernie Williams
-Yankees All-Star Rookie relief pitcher Dellin Betances
-New York Mets 1986 World Champion centerfielder Mookie Wilson
-Olympic Gold Medal-winning ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White
-Giants Super Bowl champion punter Steve Weatherford

The AHRC New York City Foundation, which assists children and adults with disabilities, benefits from the gala.

Joel S. Isaacson, Founder and CEO of Joel Isaacson & Co., will receive the “Business & Philanthropic Leadership Award.”

Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, will attend her 35th consecutive benefit, having been involved since its inception. The Thurman Munson Awards Dinner has raised more than $13 million for programs that serve New York City children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For tickets and information on the Munson Awards Dinner call 212-249-6188 or email jennifer@emgbenefits.com. Tickets may be purchased on line here.

The Thurman Munson Awards are presented for success on the field of play and philanthropic works off the field.

Williams, patrolling centerfield,  was an integral member of the Yankees World Series Championship teams in 1996, ’98, ’99 and 2000, and a five-time  All-Star during his 16 year career in pinstripes. Betances became a rookie All-Star last season, confounding hitters with his prolific fastball. Wilson, a member of the Mets Hall of Famer, was a key player on the Mets 1986 World Series championship team; Davis and White, America’s darlings, captured Olympic gold with a dazzling ice-dancing performance for the ages at the 2014 games in Sochi; Weatherford was a member of the Giants Super Bowl championship team in 2012, and also made a post season appearance with the Jets.

The AHRC New York City Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports programs enabling children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City. AHRC New York City is one of the largest organizations of its kind, serving 15,000 children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.

A Real Fan Fest: The Queens Baseball Convention 2015

What started out as a rebuke has blossomed into a genuine Fan Fest for Mets fans.

A few years ago, Shannon Shark and his pals started the MetsPolice.com website, billing it a “Mets Fan advocacy blog”, and spending a goodly amount of time chiding ownership and management for some of the bad decisions they were making , including ticket prices, team promotions and the lack of a FanFest.

As for the lack of an offseason gathering or event, MP was speaking for a lot of folks who enjoyed the old “Mets Caravan” and other fan friendly promotions, as well as for folks like myself who felt the same way.

QBC15Well, Shannon, Keith Blacknick, Dan Twohig, and Darren Meehan from The7Line.com decided to stop waiting around, and actually put on the first Queens Baseball Convention last season. It was a great success, and I was proud to participate, and had a blast, moderating the “Meet the New Media” panel.

It is a great time, you get to meet other Mets fans, talk Mets baseball, and meet and greet Mets legends of the past.

This year, the QBC is back, and here’s all the info

WHAT IS THE QUEENS BASEBALL CONVENTION? A mid-winter gathering of fans of baseball, held in Queens. Our design is a combination of “Fan Fest” meets “Comic Con.” The spirit of the day is for the fans to get together, celebrate baseball in Queens, and to bring the kiddies and bring the wife. Events will range from appearances by Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman, Ed Charles, Josh Lewin, panels, trivia, appearances by Mr. Met, Sandy the Seagull and Pee-Wee…and a whole lot more.

WHAT WAS 2014 LIKE? Attendees included Ron Darling, Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky and Mr. Met. You can see a recap of QBC14 here.

WHAT WILL BE AT QBC15? Here is the updated programming schedule, including the announcements of Mookie Wilson and Wally Backman.

WHEN AND WHERE IS IT? January 10, 2015 at McFadden’s Citi Field.

HOW MUCH TO GET IN? $35

ARE AUTOGRAPHS INCLUDED? Yes, your admission includes an autograph by both Mookie and Wally who will sign anything within reason (so leave your kangaroo home and bring a baseball.)

COOL. I’M EXCITED. HOW DO I BUY TICKETS? Right here!

This year I have been asked to moderate a special panel, entitled “The State of the Mets” and will be joined by by Jared Diamond (Wall Street Journal), Pete McCarthy (The WOR Sports Zone). Brian Wright (TheSportsDaily.net), Jerry Beach (DefiantlyDutch.Blogspot.com) and Taryn Cooper (host of the Mets Lounge on NDB Media and from GalForAllSeasons.com). Hope to see you there. Maybe you’ll get to meet the Terry Collins doppelganger, otherwise known as my dad, who fooled more than a few people at last year’s event.

If you see me, stop by and say hello!

 

 

Steiner Sports To Launch ‘In Their Own Words’ Hand-Written Collection

MARIANO_IN_MY_OWN_WORDSSteiner Sports Founder Brandon Steiner, who has been the innovator of a myriad of memorabilia projects including the original Yankee Stadium collection, team partnerships, game-used collectibles and the sale of stadium dirt, will announce yet another “game-changer,” according to the memorabilia industry leader. On Tuesday, December 9, at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C.  in Grand Central Terminal from 10:00 AM to 12 NOON, the “In Their Own Words” Collection will be unveiled, featuring personally, hand-written inscriptions of the most memorable moments in sports history as described by the athletes who made them famous.

Prominent athletes, whose special moments are indelibly etched in the minds’ eye of all sports fans, who will attend the product-launch press conference include:  Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman, Dereck Whittenburg, Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner, David Tyree, Mike Eruzione, Doug Williams, Brian Leetch, Larry Johnson, C.C. Sabathia, Joe Klecko, and Marty Lyons, with many more to be added.

“Collecting is all about having a piece to recall your fondest memories,” says Steiner. “’In Their Own Words ‘will change the business. It used to be about the moment, now it’s about the entire story. The players will describe in their own words how they felt at that magical moment.”

“In Their Own Words” collectibles will go on sale immediately following the press conference at 12:00 noon on December 9, in time for the holiday shopping season. Amazon.com and Steinersports.com will be the main distributors, visit Amazon.com/fanshop and SteinerSports.com.  ‎

Among sports greatest players and coaches who will share their moments “In Their Own Words” will include: Mariano Rivera, Victor Cruz, Frank Robinson, Jim Craig, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Dennis Rodman, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Marty Lyons, Jim Boeheim, Bob Knight, Adam Graves, Mike Richter, David Cone, Bernie Williams, Nancy Lieberman, Ron Swoboda, Doc Gooden, Mookie Wilson, Mike Bossy, Rudy Rueitteger, Lou Holtz, Stéphane Matteau, “Goose” Gossage, Don Larsen, Eddie Giacomin, Cecil Fielder, Jim Leyritz, Brandi Chastain, Bill Parcells, Lou Piniella, John Wetteland, Mike Torrez, Steve Garvey, Joe Pepitone, Lenny Dykstra, Paul Pierce, Glen Anderson, Dale Murphy, Jesse Orosco, Larry Johnson, David Cone, Andy Pettitte, John Starks,  Joe Montana, Chris Chambliss, Harry Carson, Brian Leetch, Jonny Gomes, Rickey Henderson, Mark Bavaro, Paul O’Neill, C.C. Sabathia, Mel Stottlemyre, Mark Teixeira, Bobby Nystrom, Bucky Dent, Bobby Cox, Nolan Ryan, Dereck Whittenburg, Billie Jean King, Ricky Williams, Tommy Lasorda, Elvin Hayes, Ron Guidry, Doug Flutie, Ozzie Smith, Mike Tyson, Aaron Boone, Mark Messier, Roy Jones Jr., Patrick Ewing, Joe Torre, David Wells, Johnny Damon, Doug Williams, Sparky Lyle, Franco Harris, Ron Turcotte, Joe Morgan, Matt Snell, Martin Brodeur, Dwight Clark, Mia Hamm, Mike Eruzione, Joe Pisarcik, Bernard King, Mickey Ward, Spud Webb, Robert Horry, Eli Manning, and Magic Johnson.

 

Topps Updates Yanks, Mets Sets, Adds Teams to Archives Collection Series 2

Topps-YankeesThe Topps Company, Inc. today unveiled a new series of limited edition apparel, hats and wall art to their Topps Archives Collection, which was launched last spring. The new Series 2 launch adds in the legendary MLB teams from the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins, as well as updating the original seven championship clubs that were put forward earlier this year. Topps mined its archives to create all new collectible products that are inspired by the greatest teams and most memorable moments from America’s national pastime earlier this year, and the response has given rise to this latest limited edition release.

The 1977 Yankees and 1986 Mets are part of the Series 2 updates; both were featured in Series 1.

In addition, Topps will be offering online one of a kind wall art every day during the postseason with the “MLB Playoff Player of the Day,” as selected by Topps and Bloomberg Sports, the world’s leaders in sports analytic technology and the newest member of the STATS global network.

Following the completion of every day of the postseason, fans can go to Topps.com to see who has been selected both by a combination of popularity as well as statistical analysis and download that player’s custom wall art to be shipped to them the next day. The player and wall art will also be featured every day on Bsports’ “Stats Insights,” show on Fantasy Sports Network. Hosted by Shannon Somerville, “Stats Insights” is BSports nightly look at all things in sports analytics at 6:30 pm EDT.

“We see big growth in the collectable area for us as a brand, and are proud to be able to bring this new series to fans as the MLB postseason gets going,” said Jeff Heckman, Manager of Marketing, Topps Digital.  “The access to such iconic images and items gives us a unique position in the marketplace, and the response from fans of a certain age wanting to both re-live and share their memories of their favorite teams with a new generation has been very encouraging. Between the collector’s series and the wall art of the day, fans can have the best of past and present right at their fingertips.”

The Topps Archives Collection, Series 2 honors the following Major League Baseball teams:

  • 1975 Boston Red Sox: “Stay Fair”
  • 1980 Philadelphia Phillies “Back On Top”
  • 1982 St. Louis Cardinals “We’re Red Hot”
  • 1987 Minnesota Twins   “No Place like Dome”

The Topps Archives Collection, Series 2 will be sold in box sets containing the following items:  1 Wax Pack Poster Set (5 posters),  6 Team Patches, 6 Team Buttons, 1 Team Pennant,1 Team T-shirt, 1 Team Hat. It will be boxed and limited to only 99 kits, with the series never to be sold again.

The Topps Archives Collection, Series 2 pays tribute to superstars and unsung heroes alike, capturing players in their heyday, just as fans remember them. The individual collections feature players as well known and diverse as Carlton Fisk, Ozzie Smith, Mike Schmidt, Bert Blyleven and many others.

The Topps Archives Collection, Series 2 is available now on Topps.com.  Fans can collect them all individually or buy each team’s complete box set, just like baseball cards.

To see The Topps Archive Collection video, visit: https://vimeo.com/91329596