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Video: Stan Musial's ranking among hitting greats on the 'Bucky & Sully Show'

Watch all the segments of this week's show here.

Video: Anthony Gose interview

Outfielder in the Toronto Blue Jays organization talks about upcoming season.

Video: Gose ready to start in Buffalo

by Amy Moritz

Infront of a Buffalo Bisons logo backdrop, Anthony Gose was at the center of a scrum of reporters from Buffalo and Toronto just 77 days away from Opening Day at Coca-Cola Field. The outfielder was taken a bit back by the setting.

"I feel like I just signed a big contract or something. Or like I'm Alex," Gose joked, referring to Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "Do I get to play GM now?"

"Well, if you played GM, you wouldn't be in Buffalo in April," one of the reporters said.

Gose laughed. "Oh. Good point."

Gose will likely be starting for the Bisons on April 4 as the 22-year-old outfielder looks to improve his offense to work his way into a permament position with the Blue Jays.

Imgres-1Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 and came to the Toronto organization in a trade in 2010. In a full season at Double-A New Hampshire in 2011, he hit .253 with 70 stolen bases. Last year he played with Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .286. He had two stints with the Blue Jays, going up in July and then again in September. In 56 games with the big club he batted .223, numbers which put him back in Triple A, this time in Buffalo, to start the new season.

"My time will come. Hopefully sooner than later," Gose said. "The front office and Alex and the staff feel I needed more time and I didn’t exactly light up the world in the big leagues last year. Here’s a chance for me to go back down to Triple A and get better and hopefully put up some pretty good numbers and prove my way back to the big leagues."

So what does he need to do to make the jump from Triple A to MLB stick?

"Hit the ball. Simple as that," Gose said. "If I hit the ball I can play in the big leagues with anybody. I can always get better on defense. I can always get better on the bases and things like that, but when it all comes down to it, people make a spot for you when you hit the ball. If I hit the ball, I’ll get a spot."

"The last part of his game that needs to develop is really the bat," Anthopoulos said. "But he continues to get better. That’s an area he’s going to continue to work on [in Buffalo]. ... He plays with a great confidence but you see how down to earth he is. He wins community awards all through the minor leagues. He’s going to be a fan favoarte no doubt about it."

(Photo from globeandmail.com)

Video: Bisons unveil new uniforms

So long Mets blue and orange color scheme. Hello a return to the red, white and blue.

The Buffalo Bisons unveiled their new uniforms today at their annual Hot Stove luncheon. The home and road uniforms paid attention to popular jerseys from the team's past including using scarlet red lettering and blue numbers, reminiscent of the jerseys worm by the team in the early years of Coca-Cola Field.

The alternate third jersey pays tribute to the new affiliation between the Buffalo Bisons and the Toronto Blue Jays, using the Bisons colors but incorporating the lettering and number style of the Blue Jays. The alternate jersey also features a bi-national patch on the sleeve with the American and Canadian flags.

Official pictures from the team are below.

--- Amy Moritz
www.twitter.com/amymoritz 

 

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Photos from www.twitter.com/BuffaloBisons

NY Times draws blanks with wild HOF presentation on sports cover

NYTSportsBy Mike Harrington

The New York Times was the talk of the Internet Thursday with its bizarre but spectacularly conceived cover that was something out of Seinfield.

As in, it was about nothing.

Look at it here. Never seen this before in my life. Quite an idea. I once met the sports editor, Joe Sexton, because he's a close friend of our own Jerry Sullivan. Very impressive guy and Sully has talked about him for years.

(Sully weighed in on the Hall and PEDs in his column for Friday's editions)

Sexton got a lot of play over this one, including these comments in the Public Editor's Journal at the Times -- written by former Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan (h/t to the ex-boss!). The Sherman Report, which studies sports media, also weighed in here.

I've made my views on the entire Hall situation clear on this blog earlier in the week. Several of you on Twitter inquired on my feelings about the Times cover. Here goes: 

It's deep thinking. It's obviously eye-catching. It's downright historical; no one will forget it for years. But what does it mean? Is the Times protesting that no one got in the Hall? Or are the folks on 8th Avenue in Manhattan saying the shutout was a good thing? Leaves you to decide.

Or does it? 

It was just a day before the election when Tyler Kepner, the national baseball writer with The Times, wrote this column about the problems he sees in the voting process for the Hall (in a separate piece, Kepner correctly predicted the shutout of inductees).

Kepner is a former Yankees beat writer who took over the national slot when Jack Curry went to the YES Network a couple of years ago. I think he's one of the best in the business, regularly coming up with all kinds of story angles no one thinks about (which is why, after all, he works for the Times). 

But I say large sections of his column are brutally flawed. Yes, there are voters who should no longer have a ballot because they've long since stopped covering baseball. And maybe one or two broadcasters per team plus legends like Bob Costas and Vin Scully should have a vote.

But you cut the pool of votes down to fewer than 40 and you'll have the same insular, backroom shenanigans that turn the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame into a farce. You want players, managers and executives to vote? Some of them do such a good job with the Gold Gloves, I can't wait to hear the outrage if they're involved in the Hall.

And you're OK with segments keeping their votes secret? See football and hockey. Doesn't work. The BBWAA is pushing transparency. Its own web site has compiled more than 100 ballots to date and many more have been revealed on publications' web sites. (Disclosure: I am a BBWAA member but do not get a Hall ballot until 2016).

Then there's this: The Times doesn't let its people vote for any awards anyway! That's a self-righteous stance if there ever was one. We don't want to make the news etc-etc-etc. Give me a break. You should WANT your people to be considered personalities. You should WANT them to be considered foremost experts in their field. Stealing from the old line from "All the President's Men": Who gave the New York Times a monopoly on wisdom? 

The voting process is flawed only in limited ways. Pare out the people no longer covering baseball and that would make a huge difference. So The Times doesn't vote, its national baseball writer goes on and on about how the process is flawed and the next day -- the next day! -- its sports section comes out with this from-out-of-left-field page pushing the main theme of that column while simultaneously trying to report the news. 

But the Times doesn't want its people making the news. Huh. What did Elaine once sort of say to Jerry?

I ain't buyin' it. They shouldn't be sellin' it.

(Times cover from Poynter.org)

It's a Hall of Fame shutout as Biggio tops vote but no one gets to go to Cooperstown

By Mike Harrington

Just as many web sites speculated, and just like we told you here this morning, no one got elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today.

So for the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers' Association of America pitched a shutout as no one got 75 percent of the vote. And for the first time since 1960, no living person will be elected to the Hall this summer.

You can see the complete rundown of the balloting at this link.  Craig Biggio led the way with 68.2 percent of the vote followed by Jack Morris at 67.7 and Jeff Bagwell at 59.6. Morris has just one more chance (you're removed from the ballot after 15 years).

For the record, Roger Clemens finished eighth at 37.6 and Barry Bonds ninth at 36.2. Interesting numbers for guys who would have been shoo-in guys on the first ballot were it not for PED issues.

Here's MLB.com's official story on the election, or lack thereof.

Biggio got 388 votes, 39 shy of election. Pretty wild to think a 3,000-hit guy didn't get in on the first try. Especially one with no PED suspicion. There were five blank ballots, which didn't cost anyone this year. Still, I think those are absurd. Vote or don't vote. Don't influence the results.

From the BBWAA Web site, Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said, “The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936. We realize the challenges voters are faced with in this era. The Hall of Fame has always entrusted the exclusive voting privilege to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. We remain pleased with their role in evaluating candidates based on the criteria we provide.”

Writers have the option of providing their ballot to the BBWAA for public consumption and you can go to this link to see dozens of them.

It's HOF Day: Is a shutout coming?

HOF.jpg
Among those waiting for the Hall of Fame call today that might not come: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa (AP illustration)

By Mike Harrington

Bonds? Clemens? Piazza? Sosa?

Bagwell or Biggio?

What about Morris or Raines?

The results of the most muddled and controversial Hall of Fame ballot ever come out today. MLB Network will run a three-hour show from noon-3 p.m. with the balloting announced at 2. You'll be able to check full ballots and totals on BBWAA.com, the official site of the Baseball Writers Association of America (disclosure: I am a member but my Hall voting privileges do not begin until 2016).

You have to get 75 percent of the vote to get in and by many accounts, no one will. The BBWAA could be pitching its first shutout since 1996 and there might be no live inductee for the first time since 1960 (the three choices of the Pre-Integration Era Committe are all deceased).

The Baseball Think Factory has been collecting ballots on what it calls its Hall of Fame Gizmo, a post that proved virtually foolproof last year when Barry Larkin was the only player elected.

(Ignore the date being listed on the post as Dec. 27. That's the first day it went up but the numbers are being updated regularly.)

The news from the gizmo is not good for anyone on the ballot. As of 7:30 this morning, with 173 ballots tallied, only Biggio (71.1 percent) has even hit 70. Bonds was at 44.5 and Clemens at 43.4. And having more than 30 percent of the vote to make conclusions on is far more than what television networks use for presidential elections. 

In a column Sunday, New York Times writer Tyler Kepner came up with the same conclusion. When we did a straw vote here last month? Same conclusion. No one got 75 percent.

There's going to be plenty of railing about the process in the Steroid Era, especially if a shutout is pitched today. In my column last month, I listed some of my thoughts. You can vote for up to 10 players but maybe that limit should go to 15. The ballot is only going to get more crowded in the next 3-5 years.

If I had a ballot, who would I be voting for? Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza, Schilling, Morris, Bagwell,  Raines, Trammell.

I still think most of them will get their day. But it likely won't be today.

 

Ex-Red Sox hurler Stanley named Bisons pitching coach

Former Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson made a couple trips to Buffalo in recent years as a minor-league instructor. While Wilson is joined at the hip with former Boston first baseman Bill Buckner, the third player in the wild finish to Game Six of the 1986 World Series will be an everyday occupant of the Buffalo dugout in 2013 as the Bisons' pitching coach.

Stanley LVThe Toronto Blue Jays have just confirmed the rest of manager Marty Brown's staff for the upcoming season by naming longtime former Boston Red Sox reliever Bob Stanley (left) as Buffalo's pitching coach.

Stanley, 58, worked with Brown last year in Las Vegas and the 51s had a 4.59 ERA for the season, the sixth-best in the 16-team, hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

This will be Stanley's 14th season as a minor-league pitching coach, and his second in Triple-A. He had previous stints in the Mets and Giants organizations, mostly in the Double-A Eastern League.

Stanley pitched all 13 years of his career in Boston and was the franchise save leader with 132 until Jonathan Papelbon passed him in 2009. But he's best known, of course, for one that got away in Game Six at Shea Stadium.

In relief of Calvin Schiraldi, it was Stanley who threw the wild pitch past Rich Gedman with Wilson at the plate that allowed Kevin Mitchell to score the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning.

StanleyWilson, of course, then pulled the roller to first through the legs of Bill Buckner which Stanley (46) watched helplessly as the balled rolled into right field (right). It allowed Ray Knight to score the winning run in a 6-5 Mets victory.

The Bisons' hitting coach will be former big-league outfielder Jon Nunnally, who was the hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians in 2010-11 and worked with Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Torey Lovullo at Columbus in 2009.

The Blue Jays have also announced Voon Chong will be the Bisons' trainer, his 12th year in the Toronto chain and fourth in Triple-A. Armando Gutierrez will be strength and conditioning coach.

---Mike Harrington
@BNHarrington 

On the calendar: Astros' AL inaugural will open MLB season

The NHL still can't figure out its deal but here's better news: The countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting is under 45 days and MLB spent Thursday afternoon even announcing television details of season openers that are now less than three months away.

StrosWhat's now become a traditional Sunday night opener on ESPN will take on a new look this season as instead of a traditional big-market game, the network will show the Houston Astros' first contest as an American League club when they host the Texas Rangers on March 31 at 8 p.m.

The Astros' move to the AL West this year marks the first league change since Milwaukee went to the National League in 1998 and thus necessitates interleague play on every day of the schedule. The team has already unveiled new uniforms and a new logo (above).

ESPN/ESPN2 will show four games on Monday, April 1 featuring the last seven World Series champions. The schedule features Boston at the New York Yankees (1 p.m.), San Francisco at Los Angeles (4 p.m.), Philadelphia at Atlanta (7 p.m.) and St. Louis at Arizona (10 p.m.).

The Toronto Blue Jays' eagerly anticipated opener is Tuesday, April 2 at 7:05 in Rogers Center against the new-look Cleveland Indians, who will be led by Terry Francona and officially announced the signing of free agent Nick Swisher on Thursday.

---Mike Harrington
@BNHarrington 

Bisons to unveil uniforms at luncheon Jan. 18; Jays' CEO, GM and OF prospect Gose to attend

Gose AP
Anthony Gose spent time in Toronto last year and is likely to open 2013 as the Bisons' center fielder (AP photo).

The Bisons have scheduled their annual Winter Hot Stove Luncheon for Friday, Jan. 18 at the Adam's Mark and it will be a newsy affair as the team will unveil its new home, road and alternate jerseys for its inaugural season as a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate.

Joining Bisons vice president/general manager Mike Buczkowski at the head table will be Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston, senior vice President of baseball operations and general manager Alex Anthopoulos and top outfield prospect Anthony Gose.

Tickets are on sale for $25 individually or $200 for a table of eight. They can be purchased at Bisons.com or by calling 716-846-2011.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and a buffet lunch will be served at noon. An autograph session with Gose will be held after the main program at approximately 1 p.m.

Gose, 22, split 2012 with Triple-A Las Vegas and Toronto and is likely to be the Bisons' starter in center field in 2013.. He batted .286 with five homers, 43 RBIs and 34 stolen bases at Las Vegas and hit .223 in 56 games with the Blue Jays. Gose was an Eastern League All-Star in 2011 at Double-A New Hampshire in 2011, and his 70 stolen bases were the second-most in the entire minor leagues.

The Bisons open the season April 4 against Rochester in Coca-Cola Field. 

---Mike Harrington
@BNHarrington 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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