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Around the game: Riviera, Dodgers, Clemens

Posted Saturday, May 5, 2012, at 10:00 PM

It's that time of the week again. This week as we catch the hot headlines around the game, they're a bit different than usual. If you ever find a story you think should be included, feel free to send it to me!

Mariano Rivera injury ends season, possibly career - I'm not a Yankees fan and I have never claimed to be. But as a baseball fan, I do greatly appreciate the contributions many Yankees have made to the game over the last century. Mariano Rivera is one of those guys. Watching him be carted off of the field Thursday evening after writhing in pain on the warning track was just sad. You hate to see a season, or even worse, a career, end that way. His press conference was even worse as he broke down in front of reporters. If ever there was a guy who could pull back from a surgery like this, it's him. Aside from holding the all-time saves record, Rivera has been one of the most consistent closers in the history of the game playing for 18 years when many closers struggle to reach eight or 10.

Magic Johnson a good fit for Dodgers - Frank McCourtfinally out of the Dodgers front office is possibly the best thing to happen to a franchise in recent history. Former Lakers great and Los Angeles hero, Magic Johnson, one of the owners in the group that purchased the team, was visibly excited about the move in the press conference announcing the official deal on Wednesday morning.

The deal couldn't have come at a better time for the much storied franchise. Just as the Angels were poised to take the reins as Los Angeles' favorite team for the first time ever, their team fell flat and the Dodgers started 2012 strong. A face like Magic Johnson's will only help even more the attraction fans will have to fill Dodger Stadium. While Albert Pujols will attract some to the stadium in Anaheim, Johnson is an absolute hero to the area, and Albert is still the "new guy." Johnson won't contribute on the field, obviously, but he is a smart businessman who understands the concept of marketing a professional sports team. He should be just fine as he takes his seat in McCourt's office and gets down to business.

Roger Clemens perjury trial-- The black eye of baseball continues to make the news. The steroid era just can't seem to go away. Of course, pitching great Roger Clemens isn't on trial for using PEDs; he is on trial for perjury. The whole trial, however, centers around PEDs. Andy Pettitte's testimony brought probably the most interesting news from the trial to date. Pettitte arrived on Tuesday and testified for the prosecution that Clemens told him in 1999 he had used HGH. Sounds like important testimony, right? Well, not exactly.

Wednesday he was cross-examined by Clemens' attorneys and said there was a "50/50 chance" that he could have misheard what Clemens said. For the prosecution, that is terrible news because, according to reports, he was their key witness. Ouch.

Frankly, I'll be glad when it is over. I hate seeing baseball get such bad publicity. I know this is carry-over from years ago, but it's time to bury the past and move on.

Another case for instant replay-- The Wednesday afternoon game in Colorado between the Rockies and the Dodgers made yet another case for the need to expand the use of the instant replay in baseball. It seems that in 2012, we have seen more bad calls than in recent years, and the fans have started to speak up. I have really mixed emotions about the subject. A part of me hates the idea of bringing more videos and computers into the game. With that being said, the most important thing in calling any play is getting it right. If the umpire is right, replay should vindicate them. If they're wrong, it would call them on it. I listened to a very interesting interview with former MLB umpire Jim McKean the other day who gave a great explanation for the umpire's view on the subject. I'm making some calls and hoping to have a story on it in the near future.


A special congratulations to this week's contest winner, Wes Sutton. He won a copy of the A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack "BASEBALL'S GREATEST GAMES: 2011 WORLD SERIES GAME 6".

He correctly answered the question: In what year was the World Series last played in one stadium and who were the teams involved? The answer is 1944 and it was between the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns at Sportsmans Park.

The question for next week is: Who was the first Cardinal to hit 50 homeruns in a season?

One randomly selected winner of all correct entries will receive a copy of the A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions "2011 World Series Highlights" DVD. The video features tons of great footage from the entire World Series and also has a bonus disc that includes Game 5 of the NLDS between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay. A must watch for any true fan.


To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com , call (573)624-4545 or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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