Giants coach Tim Flannery: the Dodgers “failed in the humanity department”

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On Tuesday the Dodgers had ten year-old Casey Johnstone throw out the first pitch of the Dodgers-Giants game. Johnstone is notable for a viral YouTube video in which he told his fifth grade graduating class about how he’s a Dodgers fan even though the rest of them were Giants fans.  OK so far.

The not OK part, according to Giants coach Tim Flannery, is that the Dodgers did not mention the fact, when they introduced him, that Johnstone donated all of the money he got from the video to the Bryan Stow family to help pay for his recovery. Flannery’s comments from his Facebook page:

Tonight the Dodgers did something that really pissed me off…yeah they beat us, they are better this time around, but this is about other stuff..they honored Casey Johnstone the kid who made a video and gave his $200 bucks to Bryan Stow…but the Dodgers never ever mentioned What the kid did with his money, or Bryan’s name. I once had a Dodger broadcaster tell me ” we wish he would just go away”…..ok…more shows for Bryan…another way to shine the light, and to the Dodgers how you handled this pregame first pitch tonight….you just got me started all over again……we won’t go away, till you do what is right here..had your chance tonight……failed in the humanity department….

Flannery has been out front in raising money for Stow, playing charity gigs with his band and stuff.

I agree that the Dodgers could have mentioned this, but I also understand how lawyers and corporate thinkers work: the Stow family has a pending lawsuit against the Dodgers for Stow’s injuries. Someone, somewhere probably made the calculation that the Dodgers can’t be seen at all talking about Stow lest it somehow be used by the plaintiffs. And in my experience, no matter how innocuous a comment is, an able lawyer can twist things to make it sound sinister and work against the defendant.

Not saying that the Dodgers did the right thing here. Not saying that the Stows’ lawyers would act underhanded or anything. Just saying that lawsuits suck and make people behave in ways that are somewhat less than naturally human. Which is to say that the hate should be directed at the game more than the players in this case.

Bob Costas wins the Ford C. Frick Award

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Bob Costas has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Costas will be recognized during the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 28, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend. He’s the 42nd winner of the Frick Award.

Costas — who, by way of obvious disclosure, has worked for NBC for the past 37 years — began broadcasting baseball in 1982, when he was paired first with Sal Bando and then with Tony Kubek for NBC’s Game of the Week telecasts. He soon established himself as the top national broadcaster in the game throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. He worked play-by-play for NBC through 1993 and continued in that role for The Baseball Network, which was a short-lived joint venture between NBC and ABC for national broadcasting rights. During this time he was the pregame and postgame host for the All-Star Games and the World Series, with Vin Scully typically doing lead play-by-play.

Costas would move into doing play-by-play for these jewel events in the 1990s first for The Baseball Network and then, when The Baseball Network dissolved, for NBC, which had re-acquired baseball rights on its own. Costas called the World Series for NBC in 1997 and 1999, the 1998 and 2000 ALCS, the 1999 NLCS and the 2000 All-Star Game. After that Fox took over national broadcast rights which it still retains. Costas continues to appear on MLB Network, where he hosts a regular interview show titled MLB Network Studio 42 with Bob Costas and hosts other special programming. He likewise continues to work the booth for several games a year alongside color man Jim Katt, most recently in the 2017 postseason.

Those are the details, all of which are more than sufficient for a Frick Award winner’s resume. Costas, however, is far more deeply associated with baseball than the bare facts of his broadcasting assignments would suggest.

In many ways, Costas has served as baseball’s unofficial voice and conscience over the years. A lot of people write baseball books, but Costas’ 2000 book — Fair Ball: A Fan’s Case for Baseball — was a must-read given Costas’ stature and respect among the game’s most important figures, and it continues to be cited whenever people talk about potential changes to the game. Indeed, Costas himself was even suggested by some as a potential Commissioner of Baseball candidate around the time of its publication, based largely on its ideas.

In 1995 Costas delivered the eulogy at Mickey Mantle’s funeral. His words — especially the line describing Mantle as “a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic” — became instant history. He’d later be called on to deliver the eulogy at Stan Musial’s funeral as well. Given that Costas is a historian and fan of the game just as much as he is a broadcaster of it, he will no doubt continue to be called upon as an authority about the game and its place in 20th and 21st century society.

In more recent years Costas’ highest profile assignments have been hosting NBC’s Sunday Night Football coverage and anchoring its Olympic coverage. Given that neither NBC nor MLB Network have featured the League Championship Series or the World Series over the past decade and a half or so, it’s easy to forget — and understandable for younger people to not know — that Costas was, unquestionably, the national broadcast voice of Major League Baseball for two decades. For fans of a certain age — including this author’s age — Costas’ voice is synonymous with Major League Baseball.

The Frick Award is often awarded posthumously or after the broadcaster in question retires. It likewise often goes to people whose accomplishments are limited to their words in the broadcast booth. Costas, however, shows no signs of stopping and will likely continue to broadcast baseball games for several years. However long he continues to go, his impact and legacy in baseball is undeniable. He is, without question, a worthy recipient of the Frick Award.