Topic information during the month of January can often be quite limited. With the exception of the Hall of Fame voting this year (with a story build-up not the least bit shocking given the class membership considered this time around), January tends to be pretty quiet. Most of the major free agents are signed by this point, especially considering that Spring Training starts only weeks away.
What has happened in the past week is pretty significant in its own right. Saturday saw the passing of two baseball icons: Stan Musial and Earl Weaver. Both men are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. One made major contributions on the field playing the game at an elite level (Musial) while the other made tactical moves at the helm second to few and displayed his colorful character (Weaver). I could say so much about both men, but so much has been said about them already. Musial was one of the best hitters of all-time, a combination of power and finesse. Weaver managed the game better than many and was ahead of his time. I still remember playing the PC game featuring Weaver’s name, taking on the role of manager head-to-head with a simulated strategist of Weaver himself as the counterpart – pretty groundbreaking for 1987. Interesting in hindsight for the Tony LaRussa game series that followed as well for the role of the cerebral manager.
The biggest news of the past 24 hours locally, and really across baseball but with a big local impact, is the expected arrival of Commissioner Bud Selig in Cincinnati on Wednesday to announce a major contribution to the creation of a local Urban Youth Academy (UYA), only the seventh of its kind and first in the Midwest. Along with that announcement comes a sidenote … no, not really. The bigger piece was leaked last night that the announcement will include news of the 2015 MLB All-Star Game to be hosted in Cincinnati. Many of us with memories that span at least a few decades can remember the Queen City hasn’t hosted a Midsummer Classic since 1988, featuring then-rookie Chris Sabo (among others) played at Riverfront Stadium. This is fantastic news for an influx of people into downtown Cincinnati for a great event, even if the price tag expected for the event will keep far too many people out.
This is the longest a city has gone since opening a new ballpark to actually landing an ASG, so it feels like the news is overdue. It feels like lobbying from owner Bob Castellini certainly paid off along with the firesale of the Miami Marlins helping to negate their chances. The infrastructure around Great American Ball Park is far better now than it has been at any previous stage of proposal, making the case that much stronger.
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