Sports Outside the Beltway

Oakland A Dallas Braden throws a perfect game

It was the 19th in MLB history. From AP-

Dallas Braden definitely owns the mound now.APTOPIX Rays Athletics Baseball

Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in major league history on Sunday, shutting down the majors’ hottest team and leading the Oakland Athletics to a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Braden threw his arms in the air after Gabe Kapler grounded out to shortstop for the final out, his simmering feud with Yankees star Alex Rodriguez merely a footnote to the first perfect game for Oakland in 42 years.

The closest the Rays got to a hit was Jason Bartlett’s liner to third leading off the game. Evan Longoria tried to bunt leading off the fifth, drawing boos from the small crowd.

Oakland has always been a pitcher’s park. Catfish Hunter pitched a perfect game there in 1968 and an A’s pitcher named Mike Warren threw a no-hitter there too in 1983. The A’s have also been on the wrong end of no-hitters by several pitchers, the recently deceased Jim Bibby threw one of those gems.

On the other hand, Tampa has been the wrong end of the last two perfect games. Mark Buehrle, of the White Sox, did it last July. I’ve never been in attendance at one of these games, unless you count a 3-inning little league game where my team went 9 up, 9 down and lost something like 20-0. I did watch Ken Forsch no-hit the Atlanta Braves in April 1979. The Braves games were televised on WTBS and that was about the only way I could watch baseball then


Hall of Famer Pitcher Robin Roberts dead at 83

He won 286 games pitching for the Phillies when the franchise was mediocre or worse most of the time. Roberts gave up more homeruns than any pitcher in baseball history. Basically he challenged hitters to hit him but Roberts was one of those pitchers(Catfish Hunter, Tom Seaver, Jack Morris) who could do it and win even if some of them were home run prone. Roberts served in the Air Force and attended Michigan State before his pro baseball days. After he was through playing, Roberts was head baseball coach at the University of South Florida. RIP.

Philadelphia Phillie trivia- Who is the only Phillie pitcher since 1930 to win the National League MVP award? It is not Roberts. The answer will be at the bottom of this post.Robin Roberts

Long before pitch counts, setup men and closers, Robin Roberts usually finished what he started.

Roberts, the tireless Hall of Fame pitcher who led the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1950 National League pennant as part of the famed “Whiz Kids,” died Thursday at his Temple Terrace, Fla., home of natural causes, the Phillies said, citing son Jim. He was 83.

“He was a boyhood hero of mine,” team president David Montgomery said. “Then I had a chance to meet him personally. I remember pinching myself knowing I was talking to Robin Roberts. His career and stats speak for themselves. But first and foremost he was a friend and we’ll miss him badly.”

The right-hander was the most productive pitcher in the National League in the first half of the 1950s, topping the league in wins from 1952 to 1955, innings pitched from ’51 to ’55 and complete games from ’52 to ’56.

He won 286 games and put together six consecutive 20-win seasons. Roberts had 45 career shutouts, 2,357 strikeouts and a lifetime ERA of 3.41. He pitched 305 complete games, but also gave up more home runs than any other major league pitcher. Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer is on the verge of breaking that mark. The 47-year-old Moyer has given up 498 homers, seven fewer than Roberts.

Roberts played in an era when pitchers expected to go the distance. Put it this way: In the past 25 years, Phillies pitchers threw a total of 300 complete games — five fewer than Roberts all by himself. Roberts made 609 career starts, finishing more than half.

“Robin was one of the most consistent, competitive and durable pitchers of his generation and a symbol of the Whiz Kids,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “Robin truly loved baseball and always had its best interests at heart.”

Long after his career ended, Roberts followed the Phillies closely and was still popular in Philadelphia, drawing boisterous applause from fans each time he came back.


Oakland Raiders cut QB JaMarcus Russell

The #1 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft is moving on. From ESPN-

The Oakland Raiders released former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell on Thursday, ending a three-year tenure marked by his high salary and unproductive play on the field.

Senior executive John Herrera told The Associated Press about the move and said that “we wish him well.”

The decision came less than two weeks after Oakland acquired Jason Campbell from Washington to take over at quarterback and signifies that owner Al Davis finally lost patience with the immensely talented but unproductive player he drafted first overall in 2007 against the wishes of former coach Lane Kiffin.

Russell will now likely be considered one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, joining Ryan Leaf, Ki-Jana Carter, Akili Smith and others on that list. He will have been paid more than $39 million by the Raiders, while producing only seven wins as a starter.

Russell wasn’t very good but the Raiders have been hopeless since their loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII. For this reason, I think another NFL team will take a chance on him. Will Russell find success somewhere else in the NFL? I wouldn’t bet on it.


Ai Miyazato wins the Tres Marias Championship

She has won three of the five LPGA tournaments played in 2010. From AP-

Ai Miyazato of Japan won her third tournament of the LPGA season, shooting a 6-under 67 on Sunday to win the Tres Marias Championship.Ai Miyazato2

The Japanese totaled 19-under 273 to finish a shot ahead of Stacy Lewis (66) of United States and two in front of Michelle Wie (68).

Miyazato shared the spotlight with No. 1-ranked Lorena Ochoa, who played the final round of her career before stepping into retirement to raise a family and focus on her charity foundation. Ochoa shot 71 to finish on 280. She has won this event three of the past four years.

Ochoa has held the No. 1 ranking since April 2007 but she will lose it when the rankings come out Monday, with Jiyai Shin of Taiwan taking over. Shin won a tour event in Japan on Sunday.

Check out The Constructivist’s post on Shin’s victory.

The tournament belonged to the Japanese from Okinawa, who won earlier this season in Thailand and Singapore.

Miyazato deserved to win but I wouldn’t say the tournament belonged to her. She had to beat back serious challenges from Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis on Sunday.

Note- Miyazato has four LPGA wins but has yet to win in the United States. Her one win prior to this year was in France.

In accepting the winning trophy on the 18th green, Miyazato broke down crying as she thanked Ochoa. Ochoa, a few feet away, also rubbed tears from her eyes in bright sunlight on the mountainside course. Ochoa choose Miyazato as her playing partner for the first two rounds.

“I want to say thanks to Lorena,” Miyazato said. “I really appreciate what she did for the LPGA and what she did for her country here in Mexico.”

“She is one of my best friends,” Miyazato said, beginning to cry. “I’m going to miss her.”

As she spoke, thousands surrounding the green—standing high a hillside— broke into applause.

Michelle Ellis, president of the LPGA players association, stood in a long line of players who saluted Ochoa on the 18th green.

“She is going to be dearly missed by the players and all member of the LPGA family,” Ellis said, with Mexican mariachis playing as Ochoa left the green.

“I think her heart and her spirit out does her golf game by 1,000 yards.”

Ochoa won 27 tournaments—including two majors, has held the No. 1 ranking for three years and won the Player of the Year title four straight years.

Ochoa did not play the ten years required for automatic qualifying for the Hall of Fame. She will be voted in, and I’m betting it will take place the first year she is eligible.

Much has been written about the LPGA losing its star(Ochoa) but right now the tour has a tug of war for #1 in the world. Shin will be ranked 1st by Rolex tomorrow but Miyazato will be close behind her and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and Taiwan’s Yani Tseng a close 3rd and 4th*. If Miyazato wins the Salonpas Cup, the first JLPGA major of 2010, she will take #1 from Shin. Four or more players battling for the top spot in women[s professional golf. Why do golf writers insist on saying the LPGA is hurt by its lack of a dominant player when so many are contending for #1?

Maybe they hate not being able to articles and columns that take adulation to extremes fear change and the unknown. I think Brent Kelley gets it right.

So we say goodbye to Lorena Ochoa today, we wish her well, we thank her for great golf, her humanity, her humility.

And we say hello to the future of golf.

I think there is plenty of excitement ahead for Women’s professional golf.

Also blogging on Miyazato’s win- Hound Dog, Sal Johnson, Stephanie Wei, and The Constructivist.

*- That is if Ochoa is taken down since she is retired. She may linger in the top 5 for a while otherwise.


Former Pittsburgh Pirate IF Pete Castiglione dead at 89

He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals and served in the United States Navy during World War II. RIP.

Peter P. Castiglione was born on February 13, 1921 in Greenwich, Connecticut. A high school baseball star he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization in 1940 and played for the Carthage Pirates of the Class D Arkansas-Missouri League. Castiglione


Castiglione returned to home in January 1946 and played for the Selma Cloverleafs of the Class B Southeastern League that year. Following a strong season in which he batted .342 with 81 RBIs, he moved up to the Indianapolis Indians of the Class AAA American Association for 1947, and was called up by the Pirates in September.

Castiglione made his major league debut on September 10, 1947. He appeared in 13 games and hit .250. He was back with Indianapolis for 1948, but after another strong year in which he batted .308 with 88 RBIs, he secured his place with the Pirates.

Castiglione spent the next four-and-a-half years in Pittsburgh as a utility infielder. His best season was 1951, when he played 132 games and batted .261 with 42 RBIs.

At 32, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in June 1953, where he ended his major league career the following year. Castiglione continued to play in the minors until 1958 with Toronto, Buffalo, Binghamton and Little Rock.

Pete Castiglione moved to Pompano Beach, Florida, where he became a letter carrier for the Postal Service. He always kept active in the sports community, refereeing and umpiring. He also acted as a scout for the Pirates, and wrote a column for the Pompano Town News. In 1967 he coached the Cardinal Gibbons High School baseball team to a fifth place finish in the state. He also coached the American Legion team.

Pete Castiglione passed away in Pompano Beach on April 22, 2010. He was 89.


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