Category Archives: Sports

All sports news in North Central PA

Crosscutters Remember Phils Broadcaster Kalas



Williamsport – Long-time Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas died at 1:20 p.m. ET Monday, shortly after collapsing in the team’s broadcast booth before the scheduled series opener against the Nationals.”We lost Harry. I’ve been 39 years with the Phillies and 39 years with Harry and, as I said in this clubhouse, we lost our voice today,” said team president and CEO David Montgomery at about 1:50 p.m. outside the team’s clubhouse. “He has loved our game and made just a tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our organization.”

The 73-year old Kalas was found in the team’s broadcast booth around 12:30 p.m. and was taken to George Washington University Medical Center. Team officials quickly cleared the locker room and talked with the Phillies.

Montgomery said he didn’t know the exact cause of death yet. “I know that when they took him away that they were very concerned,” he said.

Kalas appeared at the Williamsport Crosscutters Hot Stove Banquet the past three years entertaining fans with stories and signing autographs. “This is a tremendous loss to the Phillies family. Harry was a true broadcasting legend”, said Cutters Vice-President of Marketing Gabe Sinicropi.

“We felt so privileged to have him at every one of our Hot Stove events. No matter who else the Phillies brought to the dinner, Harry was the guy people were most excited to see. His presence was a large part of those dinners selling out every year.”

“Something I’ll never forget is how much he enjoyed talking to fans whether it was fans listening to him on radio and TV, a filled banquet hall, or even just one on one. He was never in a rush to leave our events. Phillies staff always had to usher him away from talking to fans and signing autographs to get him back on the bus to Philly. The Cutters send our most sincere condolences to his family and everyone affected in the Phillies family.”

Kalas had been the team’s broadcaster for the past 38 years. Prior to that, he was a member of the Houston Astros’ broadcast team from 1965-70. He was inducted into the broadcaster’s wing of the Hall of Fame in 2002 and received the 2002 Ford C. Frick Award.

Montgomery said Monday’s game would be played, but that the Phillies were going to reach out to the White House and pass up Tuesday’s scheduled trip there.


Kalas remembered for courtesy, modesty, shocked members of the Crosscutters staff

WILLIAMSPORT — The sudden death of legendary Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas on Monday afternoon in Washington, D.C., shocked members of the Williamsport Crosscutters staff.Kalas was an honored guest at the team’s annual Hot Stove banquet for the past three years.

The Crosscutters are the Phillies’ Williamsport-based short-season Class A minor league team in the New York-Penn League.

“I think he was the most popular guest at the dinner, where fans get to meet some of the Phillies,” said Gabe Sinicropi Jr., the Crosscutter’s vice president of marketing. “This year, Kalas brought the World Series trophy with him, but he was still the big draw. He was the one people wanted to see and meet. I believe Harry was the reason the banquet sold out all three years he was there.”

Sinicropi said he’d never met anyone so famous and yet so humble.

“Harry always had a smile on his face. He loved to talk to people,” Sinicropi said. “We’d have to usher him away from the fans after the dinner. Buses were waiting to take him home to Philadelphia, but he wouldn’t stop giving autographs. He never gave the fans the bum’s rush. He would talk to you like there was no one else in line.”

The last time Sinicropi saw Kalas was this year in Florida.

“Everybody knew he had health problems of some kind,” Sinicropi said. “But I saw him at spring training, heard him calling games. And he sounded like the same old Harry. Always professional. He never missed a beat when a game was in progress.”

Sinicropi said that when the staff heard about Kalas, they were overwhelmed with grief.

“His death came as a shock to all of us here who knew him. It’s a great loss to the Phillies family,” he said.

Source: The Daily Item

La. bat makers join for low-vibration aluminum bat

When inventor Joel Albin of Livingston launched a line of aluminum bats, he quickly stumbled over a seeming paradox: other bat makers wanted to buy his company, Albin Athletics, but retail chains didn’t know about the firm or want its bats.

The owners of Marucci Bat Co. in Baton Rouge, known nationally for its wood bats, were also fielding offers for their company. Eventually, Jack Marucci, Kurt Ainsworth and Joe Lawrence, the owners of Marucci Bat, and Albin formed a joint venture, Marucci/Albin, to make aluminum bats under the Marucci label.

Albin said he’s not sure who approached whom.

“They started saying this would be a good deal, and I started saying this would be a good deal. Some way or another it just came together,” Albin said.

Jean McGuire, a professor in LSU’s Rucks Department of Management, said the two companies obviously hope there will be synergies between Marucci’s brand name and marketing skills and Albin Athletics’ metal bat-making know-how.

Albin Athletics gets access to brand recognition, marketing, a sales force and perhaps more money for research, McGuire said.

Marucci Bat Co. gains access to a new product line and new technologies without the expense of having to develop that expertise on its own. For example, Albin Athletics has patented a device that eliminates much of the bat’s vibration.


SPORTS DIGEST with Bill Byham

Bill Byham, Sports announcer, writer and famous for "That's 30"

Bill Byham, Sports announcer, writer and famous for “That’s 30”

BETWEEN HERE AND THERE: BIG HEADS CAN GET DEFLATED – We are attending a college baseball game. Hillsborough Junior College is hosting Tampa University JV’s. The UT head coach has sent several of his varsity players “down” to get them some extra innings.Some of those sent down were pitchers from the highly rated UT program which, to me, meant they should be able to compete with the JUCO batters.

Not so in this outing. By the time we found a bleacher seat Hillsborough was up by six runs as every batter in the line up had produced base hits resulting in runs. Before the carnage ended the scoreboard read 17-5 by mid game.

The UT JV coach, probably taking control of the issue, benched all of the varsity players and put his own kids on the field. The final score closed out 17-14 with UT threatening in the ninth with two on when the third out came.

For some unexplainable reason my old mind jumped
into a day just like that when I was a ton younger and cockier than I should have been.

I was just home from my first year of pitching professional ball. I had not set the world on fire out in Springfield, Ohio but the people in Kane/ Ludlow, Pa. did not know that so when Jiggs called to have me come down to Ludlow Park to pitch I was on my way in a hurry.

The word went out that Buck was coming to pitch! A real pro pitcher! Wow!

Ludlow is just a few people bigger than a blink of an eye community but it had this great park. It was where all of the churches in McKean County held their summer picnics. It had a pool, swings, sliding boards and a lot of picnic tables. In the middle of the park was their baseball field. An all dirt infield and a rather large covered grandstand. The people up there loved their small town baseball so they came to games played by the hometown Ludlow Wildcats.

I had played for the Wildcats. They were a good ball team as teams go. We all wanted to play there because they paid pitchers a buck an inning and hitters could take home five bucks a homer and three for a 3-hit day.

When you play professional baseball there are those people who are being paid to teach you a pitching art. Keep the ball low, work the corners, never throw an 0-2 pitch in the strike zone, if the hitter stands away from the plate pitch him away, if he crowds the plate pitch him in on his hands, make the curve to go through the strike zone and a lot more.

So I go down to the park with all of this professional stuff in my head. When I had pitched there before I was just a hard thrower. Beat the bat with a fast ball and a home made curve. But now I am a pro, so these

these small towners were going down! I got clobbered! Big time! Here I was, working with all of those professional tricks of the trade. It seemed that those old country boys didn’t care about my pro finesse. They just brought their bats to the plate, picked a pitch and drove it some place. They were scoring runs in bunches.

This game I was watching just last week told the same story. Those varsity pitchers who were assigned to the JV team seemed to be pitching with the attitude “I am varsity at a four year D-2 nationally ranked baseball program so lets get this over with.”

Turned out the other way. Hillsborough hit everything pitched their way. Big heads can get deflated.

PAT DANEKER – Had my Florida chat with Pat Daneker the day of the Hillsborough JC game. Turned out to be his first day off since he arrived at the Yankee spring training complex in early February so he was headed to a movie to get away from baseball for a day.

Pat is in his second year of being the pitching coach for the Staten Island Yankees and this coming season he will come to historic Bowman Field for an August 3-game series with the Crosscutters. When he does get here he will be able to recite some good and bad moments about Bowman since he had played in there as a high school player for Loyalsock Twp.

About his 2009 Yankees he said, ” I have some of the guys here now that could become part of our club. The bulk of our team will come from players out of the baseball draft and college.”

Staten Island won their division of the NYPEN League last year. They advanced to the final league championship round before bowing out.

GOTTA GET HOME – There are a lot of spring sport events I look forward to seeing when we get back in the Valley but there are two specials in my book.

I told you a couple of years back about my deep feelings for the late Dr. Joe Calder. Since his death, I have been able to meet and enjoy the rest of the Calder family.

This week daughter Beth has the Regis University women’s lacrosse team at home for an Eastern trip. Regis is in Denver, Colorado where Beth is working on becoming a licensed physical therapist.

She is the assistant coach but one of the persons responsible for adding women’s lacrosse to the Regis athletic program.

They are to play the Bloomsburg University team at 2 P.M. Saturday afternoon.

On the weekend of April 25-26 the Penn College Archery team, a nationally ranked program of many years, will host the Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Championships on the PCT campus.

The Wildcats are coming off a super winter ending season in which they had individual and team firsts at the Adam Wheatcroft Memorial in Virginia. Coach Chad Karsteller , a PCT 3 time All American, will field seven All Americans for the Easterns.

I personally have never seen an archery competition but have scheduled my calendar to see this one. I have no information at this time as to costs involved in gaining admission but will have that in this space next week.


Little League Baseball: MVP Resistance Bands for Baseball

Little League Baseball

Little League Baseball

Little League International is proud to announce a multi-year license agreement with the MVP Band – a resistance training device that strengthens a players arm. The unique neoprene wristband of the MVP Band sets it apart from all other resistance bands. The design forces the user to focus on building the muscles that comprise the rotator cuff while at the same time reinforcing proper arm angles and mechanics. Rotator cuff injuries are widespread among both youth and adult baseball/softball players, and studies attribute the cause to both overuse and improper throwing mechanics. Surprisingly, the rotator cuff muscles are the most prone to injury yet very little time and emphasis is focused on this area.In 2008, Little League Baseball incorporated the program within its summer baseball camps in Williamsport, Pa., and gained praise from both camp officials and Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “By aligning ourselves with the MVP Band we continue to take a leadership position in youth sports safety and injury prevention,” Mr. Keener said. “MVP Band is a scientifically proven product with the backing of clinical testing. As a result of this agreement, we are proud to offer the benefits of the MVP band to our 7,500 baseball and softball programs across the country.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Little League Baseball, the world’s largest organized youth sports program”, states Dave Miramontes, Founder and CEO of the MVP Band & Program. “We see the MVP Band as another way to help LLB reduce the risk of future arm related injuries, while at the same time helping to improve a player’s confidence and ability.” As a current Little League Coach, former Division I and Minor League baseball player, Mr. Miramontes had great success as a pitcher, but spent most of his youth career with a sore arm and in the training room during his collegiate tenure. “It seems that both parents and players have accepted the notion that sore arms and baseball are synonymous,”

Mr. Miramontes said. “In creating the MVP Band & Program, I now have opportunity eliminate this stigma by providing an easy-to-use and portable device to improve one’s arm, while providing a program that can be used throughout one’s entire career.” Mr. Miramontes will work closely with Nick Caringi, Little League International Senior Director of Operations and Education. They have been working together for more than a year to create a universal, yet simplistic program that will be available to all Little League players and the thousands of volunteer coaches. “I am confident that this will be a long and rewarding relationship for Little League” said Mr. Caringi.

Under the guidance of Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D., the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) and California State University recently conducted a scientific study of the MVP Band & Program. Dr. Fleisig is best known for his pitching research. Many Major League Baseball organizations have turned to Dr. Fleisig and ASMI for biomechanical evaluations to reduce pitching injuries and improve performance. Dr. Fleisig is also a consultant with Little League Baseball and Softball, and a member of the USA Baseball Safety Committee. In the ASMI study, thirty-two youth baseball players were divided into two groups for a four-week period. One group was trained with the MVP Band & Program, while the other was not.

The study showed that the trained group increased their thrown ball velocity significantly more than the control group did. Furthermore, most of the players in the training group believed that the program improved their shoulder flexibility, shoulder strength, and ball speed. “The study demonstrated the MVP Band arm conditioning program to be beneficial, particularly in increasing ball velocity,” Dr. Fleisig said, “because youth are often involved in multiple sports and activities and often have a shorter attention span than older athletes, a short-term baseball conditioning program may be attractive. Participation in the program for longer than four weeks may lead to more benefits; however this was beyond the scope of the current study.”

Little League Baseball and Softball continues to take the lead in injury prevention through education and the implementation of rules designed to prevent injury. The MVP Band Program provides the perfect complement to the recent pitch count rule that limits the number of pitches a player can throw per game. With consistent use of the MVP Band & Program, players have reported improvement in their performance, and more importantly, have reduced arm soreness/tenderness during their entire season of play.

About the MVP Band

The MVP Band is unlike your typical exercise tube. The unique neoprene wrist cuffs enable your hands to remain free of the device, therefore enabling the user to isolate the stretch more directly to the rotator cuff muscles. In addition to pre-game warm-ups, players will also find benefit from using the MVP Band in-between innings by simulating a throwing motion right inside the dugout. With more than 21 exercises and six warm up stretches, the MVP Band Program is thorough.

For Little League Baseball, the MVP Band Program has implemented three pre-game stretches & seven band exercises that every player should perform before they begin practices and/or games. The MVP Band is available in both a Junior and Pro Series. The MVP Band is a customized product made for Baseball, Softball, Tennis, and other sports using an overhand throwing motion. For more information about the MVP Band & Program, visit

Little League International

P.O. Box 3485 539

US Route 15 Hwy

Williamsport, PA 17701-0485

Phone: 570-326-1921 Fax: 570-326-1074