Did Dennis Eckersley Coin the Term “Walk Off” the Same Year He Gave Up Kirk Gibson’s Legendary Walk-Off Home Run in the World Series?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: Dennis Eckersley coined the term “walk off” earlier in the same season that he gave up one of the most famous “walk off” home runs in baseball history.

Tonight, the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals will play Game 1 of the 2013 World Series. Twenty-five years ago, in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kirk Gibson won Game 1 of the World Series with one of the most famous “walk-off” home runs in Major League Baseball history…

kirk1016

It was October 15, 1988 (adding an extra round or two to the playoffs has pushed the World Series back a week nowadays) when Dodger Gibson (the 1988 National League MVP, who had been hobbled by leg injuries and would only be able to bat once during the entire series) hit a bottom of the ninth inning, two out, two strike, deficit-erasing (the Dodgers were down 4-3 to the Oakland Athletics) home run that won Game 1 of the World Series for the Dodgers, making it the first time that a player had won a World Series game with a home run hit while his team was trailing.

The home run is a “walk off” because the player hits it and everyone just “walks off” the field, as the game is over.

It is a great term.

And do you know who coined it?
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

October 23rd, 2013 | Posted in Baseball Urban Legends | 1 Comment

Did Monster Cable Sue the Chicago Bears Over the “Monsters of Midway”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about football and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the football urban legends featured so far.

FOOTBALL URBAN LEGEND: Monster Cable sued the Chicago Bears for their nickname “Monsters of the Midway”

Big corporations have a pretty big advantage in the world, particularly when it comes to lawsuits, so it almost feels wrong of me to sort of come to the defense of one such company over what I think are misleading statements about them, but hey, when something’s inaccurate, it’s inaccurate.

And in this case, the company that has been getting some very rough press over the last decade or so is Monster Cable, the San Francisco cable and entertainment company that has been in the news a lot over their aggressive defense of their trademark.

You see, they gained a trademark on the term “Monster” in a pretty wide area, and as such, they have protected that mark in a pretty wide area.

As you may or may not know, if you own a trademark and you do NOT protect your mark, you lose it. So if, say, your company is Eagle Appliances and you have a trademark on that name and you find out that a new company just formed calling itself Eagle Tools and Appliances, if you DON’T sue them you lose your trademark, as you’re effectively conceding that there isn’t a problem with the two companies being confused for each other (which is what trademarks are intended for – to avoid consumer confusion between companies).

Well, with a name like “Monster,” there are going to be a LOT of companies out there using that name, and Monster Cable has gone after many of them, and most of the time they win (by “win,” the other company will either change their name or agree to license the name FROM Monster Cable or do SOMEthing to differentiate themselves from Monster Cable).

In 2004, Monster Cable purchased naming rights for Candlestick Park, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, labeling it Monster Park.

Therefore, when the Boston Red Sox sought out trademarks for certain terms related to their famous fence, the Green Monster, Monster Cable took issue (since they had just gotten their own “Monster Park”).

And the Red Sox backed off.

The most recent case that made the news is when Monster Cable took issue with trademark registrations by the national chain of mini-golf courses, Monster Mini-Golf. Now, the first misconception is that they had a problem with the name Monster Mini-Golf. They did not. However, Monster Mini-Golf ALSO sought out trademarks for “Monster Entertainment” and “Monster” in terms of entertainment and recreations activities.

It is THOSE two trademarks that Monster contested, and, honestly, that sounds pretty reasonable to me if you have a Monster Park, you presumably would not want someone to be able to open up a Monster theme park.

Anyhow, along the way, a story sprung up that Monster Cable also sued the Chicago Bears for their nickname “The Monsters of Midway.” Is it true?
Read the rest of this entry »

Did a Rockies Fan Really Lose a Leg on an Escalator at Coors Field?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: A Rockies fan lost a leg in an escalator accident at Coors Field!

Unlike the so-called cyber-attack on the Rockies that we talked about earlier, a real “attack” occurred at Coors Field in July of 2003 when the escalators on Coors Field turned on its patrons!


Read the rest of this entry »

Were the Rockies Really Victims of a Hacker During The Sale of World Series Tickets Back in 2007?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: The Rockies were the victims of a “Denial of Service” computer hacker attack when they put their World Series tickets up for sale online.

The 2007 World Series was a historic one.

For the first time ever, the 16-year-old Colorado Rockies franchise was playing in the World Series! They were faced off against the 2004 World Champions, the Boston Red Sox…

To best put this achievement into perspective, the Rockies had reached the playoffs in 1995, their third season in the Majors, and then did not reach the playoffs again until 2007! In fact, before 2007, their last WINNING SEASON was in 2000, where they were 82-80!

So I don’t think you can properly gauge just how much excitement that there was over the Rockies making it to the World Series.

On October 22, 2007, the Rockies began selling tickets to Games 3 and 4 (and a possible Game 5) of the World Series, which would be played in Colorado. In a slightly controversial move, the Rockies made the tickets available “first come, first serve” over the internet to whoever wanted to purchase them, whether you were a Colorado resident or, say, Ticketmaster.

The sale ended after 90 minutes, with the site being shut down and only 500 tickets sold.

The day of the event, Paciolan, the company that powered the website used to purchase tickets, claimed that they were the victims of a “DoS” attack.

A “DoS” attack stands for “Denial-of-Service” attack, where a hacker decides to shut down the service of a website through various means, including consuming mass amounts of the bandwidth of the website. This results in the site slowing to a crawl and often just shutting down altogether.

A famous example of this would be when a group of students at a university in Ireland shut down the website for Ireland’s Department of Finance using a “DoS” attack.

However, was this instance REALLY a “DoS” attack?
Read the rest of this entry »

Did a Rockies Coach Once Retire From Baseball in the Middle of a Game?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: A Rockies coach quit the team (and retired from baseball) in the middle of a game!

Like few other people in the world of baseball, it can definitely be said that Don Zimmer’s whole life pretty much revolved around the game of baseball (not counting his family, of course).

After making the big leagues as a player in 1954, Zimmer pretty much has been working in baseball ever since!

After his days as a player, he worked as a coach and as a manager for a number of teams, including the San Diego Padres, the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox.

In 1993, he was part of the very first coaching staff of the expansion baseball team, the Colorado Rockies.

He served as the bench coach for Manager Don Baylor (bench coaches serve as advisers to the manager and are also sort of insurance for the manager if the manager gets ejected or has to miss time for whatever reason. In addition, when a manager is fired, quite often the bench coach will become the interim manager).

A few things changed going into the 1995 season, however.
Read the rest of this entry »

Did Pamela Anderson Get Her Big Break From Being Caught on Camera in the Crowd at a Football Game?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about football and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the football urban legends featured so far.

FOOTBALL URBAN LEGEND: Pamela Anderson got her big break when caught by a TV camera at a Canadian Football game.

A number of professional football players made it big in the United States of America after first proving themselves in the Canadian Football League. The most famous example of a player not being drafted or not making a National Football League team before becoming a star in the CFL is clearly Warren Moon, the legendary quarterback who is the only man to be enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But Moon is far from the only player to do so – some others include Pro Bowl Quarterback Jeff Garcia (undrafted by the NFL), defensive end Harald Hasselbach (the last player to win a CFL championship and an NFL championship) and wide receiver Mervyn Fernandez. This is not even counting those players who had a choice between the two leagues and went with the CFL before later coming to the States (guys like Rocket Ismail and Joe Theismann).

However, the CFL did not only give the United States football players. It also was (in a roundabout way) responsible for giving the USA Pamela Anderson!


Read the rest of this entry »

Was The Opening of the Second Half of Super Bowl I Replayed Because NBC Missed It?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about football and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the football urban legends featured so far.

FOOTBALL URBAN LEGEND: The beginning of the second half of Super Bowl I was re-played because NBC missed it.

The very first Super Bowl between the AFL and the NFL was such a unique event at the time that no one was exactly prepared on how to handle the event.

One area that was very much unsettled was who would AIR the game! NBC had an exclusive contract with the AFL while CBS had an exclusive contract with the NFL.

So the two networks came to an agreement that would not be seen again until over forty years later (at the end of the 2007 season) – the networks would SIMULCAST the game!

CBS had their announcers: Ray Scott, Jack Whitaker and Frank Gifford and NBC had theirs: Curt Gowdy and Paul Christman.

However, while each network had their own announcing team, they both shared CBS’ feed. Since the game was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, CBS had priority. So during the game, NBC’s announcers and crew had to go by whatever the CBS sports director decided to show – as you might imagine, it was not a smooth experience (although we really don’t know for SURE what it sounded like, as “tragically,” there are no full recordings left of the first Super Bowl – the network tapes were “wiped”).

Nothing was odder, though, than what happened when the third quarter began – an event happened that really showed you how awkward the whole affair was. Read the rest of this entry »

Was a Baseball Player Once Drafted With the Number One Overall Pick…TWICE?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: Danny Goodwin was drafted with the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft…TWICE!!

The Major League Amateur Draft is one of the biggest rolls of the dice when it comes to actually finding great talent.

Unlike the other major American sports, #1 draft picks do not nearly have the same rate of success in baseball, partially because players are rarely drafted “good to go” – you’re mostly drafting on POTENTIAL. And obviously, that potential is often never realized.

The Amateur Draft was instituted in 1965. Not until 1987, over TWENTY YEARS into the draft, was a future Hall of Famer drafted #1 overall (Ken Griffey, Jr.). Now, the results have improved a bit since then, with one other future Hall of Famer drafted #1 since Griffey (Chipper Jones) and a few other players who at least look like they have a chance (Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer, plus who knows with David Price or Stephen Strasburg).

A problem with the draft is that if you choose to go for a high school player, the player has a great deal of leverage with the team. He can simply say he will go to college (where he undoubtedly has a scholarship waiting for him) and the team will lose his rights. So this has lead to situations where teams with not a lot of money will actually shy away from drafting top-rated high school prospects, figuring that they will cost too much to sign, choosing to go for college graduates, who have a lot less leeway (as few college graduates will take the chance to take a year off from professional baseball, although there have been some notable exceptions).

Never has this been more evident than with the case of Danny Goodwin.
Read the rest of this entry »

Did Michael Jordan Really Buy a Fancy Bus for His Minor League Team?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about basketball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the basketball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL/BASKETBALL URBAN LEGEND: Michael Jordan bought a fancy team bus for his minor league baseball team to ride around in.

The sports world was shaked to its very foundation when Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in the NBA, retired in 1993 to pursue a career a professional baseball player.

He signed with the Chicago White Sox and was assigned to their minor league affiliate, the Birmingham Barons.

While with the Barons, the Barons received a brand new, top of the line team bus, dubbed the Jordan Cruiser.

As the story was reported pretty much everywhere, Jordan purchased the bus (which ran about $300,000) so that he and his teammates could travel in style and comfort.
Read the rest of this entry »

Did Ed Olczyk Feed a Kentucky Derby-Winning Horse Oats Out of the Stanley Cup?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about hockey and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the hockey urban legends featured so far.

HOCKEY URBAN LEGEND: Ed Olczyk took his time with the Stanley Cup in 1994 to let the winning horse of the 1994 Kentucky Derby use the Cup as a feedbag.

Ed Olczyk had a long career in the National Hockey League, both as a player and as a head coach.

Today he is one of the top TV Hockey analysts.

He was inducted into the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Back in 1994, Olczyk was a member of the New York Rangers. He was injured for most of the year and did not get to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, which was won by the Rangers. Although the rule usually is that you have to have played 40 games OR played in the Finals to get your name on the Cup, Olcyzk’s Ranger teammates insisted he get his name on the Cup (it would be the only Cup victory of Olczyk’s long career).

Well, Olczyk was (and is) a big fan of horse racing.

So when it was his turn to have the Cup, he decided to have a photo opportunity – the Stanley Cup with the winner of the 1994 Kentucky Derby, Go for Gin!

So the photo has Go for Gin with his head in the Cup.

The photo was very popular, and it soon began a legend that Olczyk had filled the Cup with feed and had let the horse eat of the Cup.

Of all the weird things people have done with the Cup over the years, that really isn’t even all THAT weird, but is it true?
Read the rest of this entry »