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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.


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A fresh, entertaining look at the 1991 World Series

Posted Apr 16, 2014 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 09:26 PM

What was the best World Series? That’s a subjective question. For some, it depends on the team one roots for. Phillies fans can point to their first World Series crown in 1980, and Blue Jays fans can talk about Joe Carter’s home run ending the 1993 Series. Others could argue that the 1960 World Series between the Pirates and Yankees was compelling, while fans of the 1975 postseason classic could point to the Reds-Red Sox clash as epic.

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And if you’re a Yankees fan, you have 27 different World Series titles to choose from, including the 1962 meeting with the Giants that ended with New York winning 1-0 in a dramatic Game 7. Or perhaps, the 1977 Series against the Dodgers that featured Reggie Jackson’s three homers in Game 6 that gave New York its first championship since 1962.

But were all of these really great, from start to finish? Probably not. But the 1991 World Series is an exception. Five games were decided by one run, four games were in doubt until the final pitch — and three games went into extra innings, including a taut Game 7 that was scoreless until the bottom of the 10th. And, the home team won each game.

That’s a compelling World Series. Add author Tim Wendel into the mix, and the reader is in for a treat. “Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time” (Da Capo Press; hardback; $25.99, 272 pages) is Wendel at his best — an engaging storyteller, a writer not afraid to explore different angles, and an author capable of building a dramatic finish (even though we already know what happened).

Wendel used this formula to great advantage in his 2012 work, “The Summer of ’68,” but the World Series was just a part of that narrative. “Down to the Last Pitch” focuses on all seven games between the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves — two small-market teams that enjoyed worst-to-first seasons en route to the Fall Classic.

The ’91 Series was the first Wendel covered as a journalist, writing for USA Today Baseball Weekly. In addition to the game summaries, each chapter contains a subplot: labor issues, steroids, the rise of agents like Scott Boras, a retrospective piece about Roger Maris, AIDS and the construction of Camden Yards are a few of the subjects Wendel discusses. There is also a hilarious exchange with Rickey Henderson, as Wendel tried to engage him because the Athletics’ speedster was scheduled to be on the premiere cover of Baseball Weekly. Henderson wasn’t talking to the media because of a contract dispute, but somehow Wendel convinced him that his questions had more to do with Henderson breaking Lou Brock’s all-time stolen base record than contract squabbles.

“Rickey and Lou. … Rickey would like that,” Henderson said in the third-person banter he always used.

Game 3 was a 12-inning thriller, settled when David Justice scored on Mark Lemke’s single. Game 4 pitted Atlanta’s John Smoltz against his boyhood idol, Jack Morris, and that game ended with a close play at the plate, as Lemke scored on Jerry Willard’s sacrifice fly.

Game 6, with Atlanta ahead three games to two, was decided on Kirby Puckett’s signature at-bat, a home run in the bottom of the 11th inning that forced game 7. In fact, Puckett’s gleeful, right-fist-in-the-air gesture as he rounded the bases adorns the cover.

And Game 7 was a scoreless duel for the ages between Morris and Smoltz. Long after Smoltz left the game, Morris was still toiling — and he was not going to give up the ball to Twins manager Tom Kelly.

“I’m not coming out of this game,” Morris told him. “There’s no way I am coming out of this game.”

Gene Larkin ended the scoreless game in the bottom of the 10th with a hit that bounded over the heads of Atlanta’s drawn-in outfield, and a classic World Series had ended. The scores favored the Twins, four games to three, but there really was no loser.

“Somebody had to go home a loser,” Morris said years later. “But nobody was a loser in my mind.”

Once again, Wendel sheds new light on a memorable baseball event. And as Steve Hirdt of Elias Sports Bureau noted, the 1991 World Series “in a lot of ways will always be this sweet spot in time.”
And “Down to the Last Pitch” is sweet to read.


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Plant’s Donahue signs with UF

Posted Apr 16, 2014 by Scott Purks

Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 04:10 PM

TAMPA—Plant junior swimmer Ally Donahue not only signed a national letter of intent Wednesday, but confirmed she will graduate high school early, skipping her senior year and head off to the University of Florida in the fall of 2014.

“I’ve certainly never seen it before, where a student skips their entire senior year to go train at a major swimming school like Florida,” Plant coach Gil Gonzalez said. “But if anybody can do it, it’s Ally. I believe she has what it takes.”

Part of the goal is to increase the training for a shot at making the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil.

At the Class 4A state high school meet in the fall, Donahue won the 50 free in 23.60 and blistered the field in the 100 breaststroke, taking the final in 1:02.50. Donahue also helped her teammates to a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:47.34).

In the prelims at the state meet, Donahue just missed setting a state record in the 100 breast by .24 seconds with a time of 1:01.97.


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Florida High School Softball State Poll

Posted Apr 16, 2014 by Nick Williams

Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 02:01 PM

CLASS 8A

1. Orange City University 20-2

2. Jupiter 21-3

3. Valrico Bloomingdale 21-2

4. Oviedo Hagerty 21-4

5. Wellington 20-4

6. Cooper City 18-5

7. Tampa Alonso 19-4

8. Jacksonville Mandarin 20-5

9. Palm Beach Gardens 18-6

10. Weston Cypress Bay 16-6

Honorable mention: Apopka 18-4; Lake Worth Park Vista 17-8; Coral Reef 17-8; West Orange 17-5; Timber Creek 16-5; Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast 14-5; West Broward 14-6; Boca Raton Spanish River 13-5; Miramar 17-4

CLASS 7A

1. Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas 23-2

2. Harmony 22-2

3. Clermont East Ridge 19-3

4. Cantonment Tate 19-4

5. Bartow 20-5

6. Melbourne 21-3

7. Sarasota 17-4

8. West Boca Raton 17-4

9. Niceville 20-5

10. Tallahassee Chiles 18-5

Honorable mention: Dover Strawberry Crest 20-5; Clearwater Countryside 19-6; Deltona 16-3; Coconut Creek Monarch 17-3; Tampa Gaither 14-5; Tallahassee Lincoln 17-7; Bradenton Lakewood Ranch 18-7; Dwyer 17-8

 

CLASS 6A

1. Columbia 23-1

2. Tampa Chamberlain 19-2

3. Lake Wales 20-4

4. Ocala Forest 20-2

5. Orlando East River 18-3-1

6. Lake Region 19-6

7. Naples Barron Collier 18-6

8. Naples 18-5

9. Auburndale 18-6

10. Jacksonville Creekside 16-5

Honorable mention: St. Johns Bartram Trail 20-5; North Fort Myers 18-3; Venice 19-6; Doral Academy 16-6; North Port Richey Mitchell 22-3

 

CLASS 5A

1. Ponte Vedra 22-0

2. Glen St. Mary Baker County 20-3

3. New Port Richey River Ridge 22-3

4. Plantation American Heritage 18-6

5. Brooksville Hernando 23-2

6. Belleview 21-4

7. Panama City Arnold 17-5

8. Brooksville Nature Coast 20-3

9. Bradenton Bayshore 18-4

10. New Port Richey Gulf 17-4

Honorable mention: Green Cove Springs Clay 18-6; Citrus 19-6; Pompano Beach 15-5

 

CLASS 4A

1. Gainesville P.K. Yonge 19-2

2. Pensacola West Florida 21-1

3. Miami Gulliver Prep 19-6

4. Titusville Astronaut 23-2

5. Fort Pierce Lincoln Park 16-2

6. Montverde Academy 17-4

7. Coral Springs Charter 17-4

8. West Nassau 20-5

9. Alachua Santa Fe 19-6

10. Cocoa Beach 20-5

Honorable mention: Winter Park Trinity Prep 16-6; Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 19-5; Tampa Academy of the Holy Names 13-5; Bradford 16-7

 

CLASS 3A

1. Miami Westminster Christian 21-3

2. Lake Worth Trinity Christian 16-2

3. Niceville Rocky Bayou Christian 13-2

4. St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut 14-2

5. Tallahassee North Florida Christian 14-3

6. Seffner Christian 15-3

7. Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy 15-3

8. Sarasota Christian 12-2

9. Moore Haven 13-4-1

10. St. Petersburg Catholic 10-5

Honorable mention: Melbourne Central Catholic 10-5; Tampa Carrollwood Day 11-6; Lakeland Christian 14-6; Windermere Prep 11-6

 

CLASS 2A

1. St. Petersburg Canterbury 15-6

2. Monticello Aucilla Christian 14-3

3. Tampa Cambridge Christian 15-4

4. Land O’Lakes Academy at the Lakes 13-3

5. Ocoee Central Florida Christian 14-4

6. Boca Raton Christian 15-4

7. Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian 14-4

8. Boca Raton Grandview Prep 7-5

9. Pine Castle Christian 12-12

10. Lakeland Victory Christian 12-7

 

CLASS 1A

1. Dixie County 19-0

2. Jay 19-3

3. Sneads 22-3

4. Graceville Poplar Springs 22-2

5. Mayo Lafayette 16-9

6. Franklin County 16-6

7. Chiefland 13-4

8. Wewahitchka 16-6

9. Live Oak Melody Christian 14-5

10. Vernon 11-4

Honorable mention: Port St. Joe 15-7; Chipley 15-7; South Walton 12-9; Trenton 15-8

ALL CLASSIFICATIONS

1. Columbia (6A) 23-1

2. Ponte Vedra (5A) 22-0

3. St. Thomas Aquinas (7A) 23-2

4. Harmony (7A) 22-2

5. P.K. Yonge (4A) 19-2

6. Westminster Christian (3A) 21-3

7. West Florida (4A) 21-1

8. Orange City University (8A) 20-2

9. Jupiter (8A) 21-3

10. Lake Worth Trinity Christian (3A) 20-2


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Rays @ O’s: Brrrrrrrrrr

Posted Apr 16, 2014 by Roger Mooney

Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM

ROGER MOONEY
BALTIMORE – The Rays and Orioles conclude this rain-shorten series this afternoon on a chilly day in the Inner Harbor. More football weather than baseball weather.

In fact, the Orioles grounds crew had to chip ice off the tarp before uncovering the field this morning.

The high today is supposed to be 51, but the wind chill will make it feel much colder. Forget it if your seat is in the shade.

The teams might be playing a doubleheader today if O’s manager Buck Showalter had his way. Before Tuesday’s game was rained out, Showalter told the O’s writers, “I think our guys are mature enough to understand there’s a price to pay for doubleheaders, especially when they are put off until August.”

When told of Buck’s thoughts, Rays manager Joe Maddon said, “We’d be much more mature if we had a day off.”

The Orioles are off Thursday.

Maddon also said it rained so much Tuesday even the mailman would have taken off.

Before today’s game Showalter admitted a doubleheader today would not have been a good idea since a number of is players are fighting the flu.

No word yet on when the rainout will be rescheduled.

Looking ahead, Maddon announced the rotation for the four-game series with the Yankees that begins Thursday: David Price, Erik Bedard, Chris Archer, Cesar Ramos.

Here are the lineups:

RAYS
Zobrist 2B
Myers RF
Joyce DH
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Jennings CF
DeJesus LF
Escobar SS
Molina C

Odorizzi P

O’s
Markasis RF
Cruz DH
Davis 1B
Jones CF
Wieters C
Hardy SS
Lough LF
Lombardozzi 2B
Flaherty 2B
Flaherty 3B

Gonzalez P


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Five Berkekey Prep student-athletes to be recognized at signing ceremony Wednesday

Posted Apr 15, 2014 by Nick Williams

Updated Apr 15, 2014 at 05:06 PM

Four student-athletes from Berkeley Preparatory School will sign National Letters of Intent while another will be recognized as a preferred walk on in a joint ceremony on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the school’s Lykes Center for the Arts on Berkeley’s campus.

Warren Backman (Soccer) Emerson College
Marshall Holmes (Basketball) University of Central Florida (preferred walk on)
Paola Maymi (Track and Field) Bowdoin College
Nikki Potts (Diving) University of Florida
Maddie Raquet (Volleyball) Troy University


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