Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Step on, Stephon..

First things first, 'Stephon'? What's wrong with Stephen?

So the Knicks and Stephon Marbury have, finally, parted ways, and all reports indicate he will now sign with the Boston Celtics, just in time for him to be eligible for the playoff roster (yep, the Celtics will probably make the playoffs).

Worried about how Stephon might or might not fit in?



Maybe Marbury isn't the second coming of Mike Alstott, however you have to bear in mind, he was with the Knicks, and that's always going to bring a brother down, having to exist in that environment on a nightly basis.

Any which way you look at it, this is all superb news for Boston's sports writers. If Boston manages to go places in the playoffs and Marbury contributes a little, then you can look forward to gallons of articles on redemption and the like. If Boston falls apart, well, Marbury will be dragged through the Boston papers faster than Vince Wilfork after a cheeseburger on a Friday night.

Main stream media too, of course.

In light of the above news, we can now start the countdown to the inevitable Bill Simmons, 4,567 word article on the topic, with amusing asides on how silly foreigners are, how great awful US TV shows are and how it is no fun changing nappies.


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Monday, February 23, 2009

WBC: Mazz won't be watching

The Globe's Tony Massarotti has come out and embarrassed himself and indeed the Globe with this shoddy little piece in today's sports section. Instead of having anything constructive to say about the upcoming World Baseball Classic, 'Mazz' resorts to the following;
Maybe it’s American arrogance at its finest, but does anyone here really care about the World Baseball Classic? OK, it’s a cute event that helps disrupt the monotony of spring training. But is there anyone out there who believes that this country takes the event seriously?


Yes indeed Tony, it is American arrogance, at its finest as you put it. The entire baseball world outside of the United States is chomping at the bit for the WBC to start. In that very statement Mazz captures the reason the United States didn't even make the finals in the last WBC. The States, from fans to players to the organisational level, just don't care.

Players from other countries would quite literally die to play for the country of their birth. Players for the United States? 'Wait, we get paid for this, right?'. As for poor old A-Roid, he doesn't even know what team to play for!

At a time when some writers are beginning to liken MLB to WWF (with rampant and unabashed steroid usage making the game a mockery) surely baseball purists would opt to open their arms to the WBC, and the colourful teams and players and varied styles of play?

Then again, why bother, right? Just stick to what you know, I guess, is what Mazz is implying in his sad, depressing and inane little side-note.

Anyway, I can confirm that the rest of the World is dying for the WBC to start, can't wait, and will continue to enjoy it even when the States gets knocked out in the preliminary rounds.


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The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number four; Gordon Ireland's 2002 Triple Crown season

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's funkiest, oldest, sexiest, hottest, craziest, fun-lovingest and most successful baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.


Cutting straight to the chase, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number four.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number four; Gordon Ireland's 2002 Triple Crown season

One of those 'moments' that lasted a whole season long. In 2002, Gordon Ireland simply owned Irish league pitching. Check out these slow pitch softball like statistics, that the big man put together in '02.

______________AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB HBP SO SB CS BA SLG OBP
Gordon Ireland - .43 24 23 26 3 2 2 11 3 5 12 1 .535 .837 .649

Some of the highlights of this amazing line, that may never be repeated in the Irish league. First off, Gordy took the 'Triple Crown', leading the league in batting average, RBIs and home runs, and yet still did not win the MVP. Back to that later. His batting average of .535, over the course of the entire season, probably will never be matched (not with that many at bats anyway). His 26 RBIs drove the Hurricanes offensively, and Gordy even managed to chip in 12 stolen bases, only being caught once. Gordy himself would admit he isn't the fastest kid on the block, so the 12 stolen bases are a testament to his understanding of in game situations.

Gordy pictured at Fenway park with the Irish national baseball team in 2001

Gordy had one of the greatest seasons in baseball Ireland history and sadly was not rewarded with the League MVP. That season, the awards were voted for by two people only. Quite literally two people sat down and wrote out the awards, as they saw them. The two people were from the same team, and a player on that team took the League MVP trophy, even though that persons statistics paled in comparison to Gordy's terrific season.

Thankfully that can't really happen anymore, as now the vote for league awards goes to the Captains of each team, meaning a more balanced conclusion is reached, rather than two guys voting for people on their team to scoop everything. Of course, we no longer keep statistics in Irish league baseball, however that's a story for another day.

Thankfully we did keep stats back in 2002, and because of this Gordy's sensational season will never be forgotten.



The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history

4. Gordon Ireland's 2002 Triple Crown season
5. 'I ja-kneew dey were going to do dat!'
6. TK gets strangled
7. Vegas Valkys goes yard - Croydon 2005
8. Andy Martin's sensational, silver slugger 2004 season
9. The legend of Spencer Grace
10. Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane


Baseball Ireland links

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

'Sugar' trailer

Now this looks like a really refreshing baseball movie, judging by the trailer anyway.



''Sugar follows the story of Miguel Santos, a.k.a. Sugar, a Dominican pitcher from San Pedro De Macorís, struggling to make it to the big leagues and pull himself and his family out of poverty. Playing professionally at a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, Miguel finally gets his break at age 19 when he advances to the United States minor league system; but when his play on the mound falters, he begins to question the single-mindedness of his lifes ambition.''


Sign me up. Looks fantastic. If it is 50% as good as the trailer makes it out to be it looks a winner.


Friday, February 20, 2009

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number five: 'I ja-kneew dey were going to do dat!'

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's oldest, sexiest, hottest, craziest, fun-lovingest and most successful baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.


Cutting straight to the chase, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number five.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number five: 'I ja-kneew dey were going to do dat!'

We started the story of 'Greatest moment number six' with this very same line ; ''We, in Ireland, have a competitive little league.'' Same holds true as an entry point for number five.

The Twins/Giants/Indios BBC - the team of many names

2007 was a particularly competitive season, with every single club in the A division battling for a playoff spot. On one summer Saturday the Hurricanes were involved in a feisty affair against the Giants, who are now the BBC Indios, a team made up largely of Cuban players.

During the game young Chrissy Foy, the Hurricanes center fielder, noticed that one of the Giants players was stealing signs from second base. This means he was seeing what sign the catcher, TK, was putting down for the pitcher (who may or may not have been this author) and then relaying the same sign to the batter.

Cheating, basically.

Never one to shy away from controversy, Chris roared in from the outfield ‘They are stealing the signs, they are stealing the signs!’, in the same manner as people in 1770’s New England roared ‘the British are coming, the British are coming!’. The Hurricanes pitcher stepped back off the mound, as Chris actually stopped the game to walk in mumbling ‘They are stealing the signs, stealing the signs!’ to anyone who would listen. TK, Chris and the pitcher concerned converged on the mound for a quick conference.

To this day no one knows what was said in the huddle, although some say Chris was heard to be continuously mumbling ‘They are stealing the signs, stealing them!’

The umpire on the day, the greatest umpire Irish league baseball ever had the chance to host, Mr. Jimmy Regan, sauntered to the mound and broke the conference up, urging everyone back to their positions. Seven minutes later, when Chris has retaken his place in center field, the game continued under a strange feeling of semi-calm. Everyone knew it was coming though, the moment the Cuban player who had been stealing the signs had to come to the plate to bat. Sure enough, drama ensued.

The player moved into the batters box and immediately started arguing back and forth with the Hurricanes catcher TK who may or may not have said ‘We are going to hit you’ (meaning hit with a pitch). TK may or may not have done this right in front of the umpire and the entire Giants bench. No one knows for sure, well apart from the players, the umpire, the eight spectators and the two dogs at the park.

Normally at this stage you would write ‘the batter dug in’ however in this case the batter kind of tiptoed in, with his heels well outside the batters box. The Hurricanes pitcher went into the wind up, and as he reached the top of same, the batter suddenly moon-walked backwards four or five steps, leaving the batters box faster than Quagmire escapes a one night stand.

This action did not save him from the incoming pitch, and he took a fastball square smack in the backside.

There was a stunned moment of silence before the inevitable eruption, the batter took one step back, and then suddenly started marching out towards the mound, waving the baseball bat shouting;

‘’I ja-knew dey were goin to do dat, I ja-knew it!’’


The umpire, Jimmy Regan, was caught unaware, almost stuck in a stunned state of zombification, amazed at what was going on. As the bat waving Cuban player approached the mound, Chris Foy ran interference, getting to him before the batter could get to the pitcher. No one will ever know what he planned to do with that bat. Every single player converged in or around the pitchers mound, as people shoved and shouted.

The umpire had, at this stage, awoken from the initial shock, and took control, ordering both teams to cease and desist. Slowly order was restored. The umpire decided to take no further action, instead warning both benches that no further shenanigans occurred. His calm nature actually diffused the tension, and the rest of the game went by smoothly.

Still, pretty mental moment, a guy swinging a bat, screaming, charging the mound. Irish baseball at its finest!


The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history

5. 'I ja-kneew dey were going to do dat!'
6. TK gets strangled
7. Vegas Valkys goes yard - Croydon 2005
8. Andy Martin's sensational, silver slugger 2004 season
9. The legend of Spencer Grace
10. Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane


Baseball Ireland links

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number six: TK gets strangled

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's oldest, craziest, fun-lovingest and most successful baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.


Cutting straight to the chase, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number six.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number six: TK Gets strangled

We, in Ireland, have a competitive little league. The Hurricanes, Panthers (now extinct) and Spartans have battled with the other Irish club teams year in year out for the coveted Irish league championship, and often the battles turn pretty fiery.


TK losing a ball in the stands for the Irish National team

Even the traditional opening season mini blitz tournaments get a little heated on occasion. Take 2003 for example. A seemingly innocuous game between the Hurricanes and the Blacksox ended up providing the sixth greatest moment in Dublin Hurricanes history. Who knew! The game was umpired by a member of the rival Spartans, and let’s just say even before the first pitch things got a little ‘out of hand’.

TK, sole Hurricanes captain at the time (he now shares the role with Steve Divito) was the lead off batter for the ‘Canes. As people milled around preparing for the game, TK went to get a bat. This was the first time the teams and equipment had been out since the European Championships the previous summer and some of the bats got mixed up with bats from other teams. The Spartans, resting between games in the blitz tournament, had accidentally taken a Hurricanes bat and left it with their bats, helmets and other equipment.

As TK sauntered back to his teams side of the diamond, orange bat in hand, the Spartans umpire confronted him, and asked where he was going with a ‘Spartans’ bat. Tk corrected him, saying it was in actual fact a Hurricanes bat. Voices were raised, assorted Blacksox, Spartans and Hurricanes players watched as the umpire lost his temper. In an attempt to calm him down, TK put his hand on his shoulder and tried to say ‘Hey man, it’s really ok.’

Before he had finished forming the word ‘Ok’ the umpire had grabbed TK by the throat and pressed him back against the backstop, as players from all teams rushed to separate the two former Irish National team-mates. An Izzy Alcantara situation, only with the Umpire being the offending individual. As is often the way in Irish baseball, once the umpire had been stopped from actually killing TK, the game went ahead and nothing more was said.

In fact, to this day, no one has said sorry to TK, and at no time was action taken against the Umpire in question.

Irish baseball, ladies and gentlemen! Where you can choke at the plate and get choked by the blue


The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history

6. TK gets strangled
7. Vegas Valkys goes yard - Croydon 2005
8. Andy Martin's sensational, silver slugger 2004 season
9. The legend of Spencer Grace
10. Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane


Baseball Ireland links

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number seven: Vegas Valkys goes yard - Croydon 2005

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's oldest, fun-lovingest and most successfull baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.


Cutting straight to the chase, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number seven.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; Vegas Valkys goes yard - Croydon 2005

The seventh best moment in Hurricanes history occurred in London, baby. The Hurricanes travelled to the Croydon Pirates invitational tournament in the summer of 2005. On a quiet Sunday morning against a team from France, Eric 'Vegas' Valkys made history by becoming the oldest Hurricane ever to go yard, at the sprightly age of 38.

The following excerpt from a report on the Hurricanes participation at Croydon in 2005 describes Eric's home run in detail;

''Cometh the hour cometh the man. Late in the game with one out and the bases empty up stepped Eric 'Vegas' Valkys, our 140lb second baseman. I gave Eric the bunt sign, the French third baseman way back at third. He fouled it off. Eric worked the count full before launching a 3-2 fastball to right field. It kept going, all the way back and finally just over the temporary fence in left field and just over the clumsy leap of the French left fielder.

Home run.

The French argued briefly, and the three umpires got together. I ambled over to listen in. Pretty simple conversation;
'Home run?'
Umpire two: 'Yes'
Umpire three 'Yes'

Vegas was already in our dugout when the home plate umpire signalled 'home run' again to confirm.

We clung to the 4-2 lead and scraped out a vital win. The sun was beating down at this stage, so we all piled back into the vans headed back to the hotel to kill time out of the sun while waiting for game two. Everyone except Chris, who seemed determined to die from exposure over the weekend.''


The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history

7. Vegas Valkys goes yard - Croydon 2005
8. Andy Martin's sensational, silver slugger 2004 season
9. The legend of Spencer Grace
10. Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane


Baseball Ireland links

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; number eight: Andy Martin's sensational, silver slugger 2004 season

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's oldest, sexiest and most successfull baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.

Cutting straight to the chase, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number eight.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; Andy Martin's sensational, silver slugger 2004 season

The eighth best moment in Hurricanes history comprises an entire season. The 2004 season to be exact, for that was the year that the Hurricanes Andy Martin did this to Irish league pitching;

Name Team PA AB R H RBI 1B 2B 3B HR BB HBP SO SB CS BA SLG OBP
Martin, Andy Hur 64 50 36 26 19 17 8 1 0 12 -2 - 2 17 0 .520 .720 .625

In 64 plate appearances he struck out twice, whilst batting an unbelievable .520 with 36 runs scored and 19 RBIs. Simply sensational.

Naturally, as a Yankee fan, Martin knew only too well to expect questions about steroids in respect to his ridiculous numbers. In response he had this to say;
''I wasn't knowingly taking anything, but I don't know what's in the Ballybrack water. Pregame snack was always 2 Nutri-grain bars (1 apple bar, 1 strawberry bar). Always Volvic mineral water to hydrate during games. Also, I wore my lucky fraternity t-shirt as an undershirt that year.''


When pressed about his sexy statistics, Martin ventured that his superb year was merely an extension of the Hurricane trend that your first season after getting married was always a good one, noting that Steve Divito had enjoyed a tremendous year in his first year of wedded bliss, and noting also the amazing Eric ‘Vegas’ Valkys ‘comeback’ year in 2008.

Martin remembers the 2004 season fondly;

‘’The ball did actually seem very big and I always seemed to be very confident that year for some reason when I went to the plate. There was a lot of encouragement from the team. I remember Carlos in my ear a lot that season about it. GP always gets me fired up with different Yankee/Red Sox references and if memory serves I believe that was the first season of "The Steve & Andy Show" as you liked to call it. What was it, like the two old men on the Muppets?’’




Martin came to the Hurricanes as a free agent pickup, he was a diamond stand out at Amesbury High School and his smooth skills translated well to the Irish game straight off the bat. He has continuously delivered big hits and clutch defensive plays and has been an integral part of the Hurricanes Championship seasons.

2004 was the one of the few years Baseball Ireland ran a successful fantasy league, and to win that season you had to have Martin in your squad. His amazing statistics from 2004 may in time go down as the single greatest season long batting display in Baseball Ireland history.

Well, particularly since the league doesn't bother keeping stats any more.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history

8. Andy Martin's sensational, silver slugger 2004 season
9. The legend of Spencer Grace
10. Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

Baseball Ireland links

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; Number nine: The legend of Spencer Grace

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's oldest and most successfull baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.

Cutting straight to the chase, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number nine.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; The legend of Spencer Grace

The ninth greatest moment in Hurricanes history centers around a chance meeting, a fleeting moment, and yet still describes beautifully the incredibly colourful, varied and vibrant nature of baseball in Ireland, in particular the variety of nations that make up the club sides in the Irish league.

Prior to the 2000 Irish league season Hurricanes captain Tom Kelley was in the student travel office in Trinity College, Dublin. Tommy was changing a flight. As he tells it now, he was also in ‘recruitment mode’, looking for potential new players for the ‘Canes. He struck up a conversation with a big American kid in the queue ahead of him. Sure enough, the kid played baseball. TK asked what position he played, and the kid, Spencer Grace, replied ‘I hit home runs.’

A legend was born.

Spencer went on to play part of two seasons with the Hurricanes, while also traveling with them for the 2003 European Club Championships held in Antwerp, Belgium. That was the first European Club tournament that any Irish team took part in. Spencer quite literally tore the tournament up, bashing five home runs in five games. For his first home run, Spencer squared the pitch up, swung hard and drove the ball towards the left field fence. The moment the ball left his batch he roared ‘Fly b****, fly!’ and the ball did exactly what it was told, clearing the fence with plenty to spare. This pretty much woke everyone up.

Spencer’s most dramatic home run of the tournament came against a powerful English club side, the Windsor Bears.

The Bears were one of the top teams in the UK. They would eventually contest the final against the hometown Eagles. Full of English and also Australian players, some ex internationals, they had a big and talented squad, and were looking to crush us into the ground early on. This became a pretty heated affair, with the British team showboating their way to yet another early lead. At one stage they led us 15-0 and it was rather painful to watch, not only for us on the field, but also for the locals, rooting for the under dog Irish Club.

Darran O’Connor came in between innings and told a couple of us that the English shortstop, in particular, was talking a lot of trash. He had told Darran that ‘Paddies can’t play baseball’, and to ‘go back to the Emerald Isle’. Pretty pathetic. That riled most of us up, particularly Spencer. Late in the game, with the English trying to shut us out, a pitch hit Darran. He limped down to first and up came Spencer. On the first pitch he saw he smashed his fourth home run of the tournament, a huge moon shot blast deep to centre field, clearing the tall outfield fence by a few feet.

The local crowd erupted, Spencer flipped his bat and trotted slowly around the bases, rubbing the British teams face in its own arrogance. The ten runs the ‘Canes scored from Spencer’s bomb on were the second most scored against the runner up Bears in that tournament. Spencer drove in five.

This isn’t just the story of how Spencer became a Hurricane. It is the story of how every varied, colourful, interesting individual who ended up in Irish baseball managed to find the game here on the Emerald Isle.

Lets all look at some pretty flags, each of which attached to a current or former Dublin Hurricane, you have to say, it is pretty impressive the number and variety of nations that have represented the ‘Canes down the years!
  • 13 Flag of Ireland Chris Foy
  • 20 Flag of the United States Steve Divito
  • 02 Flag of the United States Andy Martin
  • 00 Flag of the United States Eric 'Vegas' Valkys
  • 00 Flag of Japan Kazuma Ogata
  • 25 Flag of Venezuela Carlos Melesecca
  • 00 Flag of Japan Shota Yoshida
  • 00 Flag of Venezuela Rafael Diaz
  • 00 Flag of Cuba Tommy Hernandez
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Woody Woodburne
  • 00 Flag of the United States Jim Purcell
  • 00 Flag of the United States Emmett O'Shaughnessy
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Mick Manning
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Jim Kilbride
  • 00 Flag of the United States Dave Delucia
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Ken Murphy
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Ciaran Cupples
  • 00 Flag of the United States Jon Gast
  • 00 Flag of the United States Abby Thakore
  • 00 Flag of the United States Keith Masterson
  • 00 Flag of the United States Joe Micklich
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Mike Kindle
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Alan Lenehan
  • 00 Flag of Ireland Paul McGrath
  • 00 Flag of the Czech Republic Radek Prochazka
  • 00 Flag of the United States Eamon Slattery
  • 00 Flag of the United States Spencer Grace
  • 00 Flag of the United States Joe Hiltner
  • 00 Flag of the United States Olaf Sederstrom
  • 00 Flag of the Dominican Republic Nelson Brito
  • 00 Flag of the United States David McDermott
  • 00 Flag of the United States Lorcan Sherlock
  • 38 Flag of Ireland Tom Kelley
  • 00 Flag of Venezuela Alex Bettancourt
  • 00 Flag of Australia Luke Barkmeyer
  • 22 Flag of Ireland Cormac Eklof
  • 07 Flag of Ireland Garrett Pearse
  • 00 Flag of Japan Daisuke Inoue
  • 27 Flag of Ireland Gordon Ireland

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history

9. The legend of Spencer Grace
10.
Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

Baseball Ireland links

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history: Number 10 - Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

The Dublin Hurricanes are one of Ireland's oldest, most charming and most successfull baseball clubs. They have won every award going in Irish baseball, they are the only Irish club side to have traveled several times to European Club competitions and their players have scooped many of the individual awards available to players in the Irish baseball league. In short, it has been a good twelve year run. The team’s core has largely remained the same, which makes the accomplishments and memories all the sweeter to those involved.

Cutting straight to the core, over the next few days we will be revealing the Top Ten Dublin Hurricanes Baseball Club moments of all time (all time being 1997 – 2008). Hopefully you will join us for the ride, and while we look back at the memories, you the reader will get a good sense of what it means to play baseball for an Irish baseball club.

Straight to the list. Number ten.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history; Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

The tenth best moment in Hurricanes history actually takes the form of a single game, a game packed with memories, none bigger than the final at bat of Hurricanes legend Gordon Ireland. The game in question was the 2004 Irish league encounter between the Hurricanes and the Blacksox. In terms of a competitive affair, it wasn’t much, with the ‘Canes dismantling the Sox 15-0. The score was actually 12-0 after 4 innings and the ‘Canes also managed to no-hit the Sox.

Most memorable was Gordon Ireland’s final at bat on the day, and in Irish baseball. Gordy was a legendary Hurricane and Irish National team player also. He played both first and third and hit the ball harder than most in Irish baseball history. The Hurricanes scooped Gordy up in the 1998 Irish League restructuring draft. Captain Tom Kelley had two picks consecutively early on. Other Captains assumed he wouldn’t pick two catchers at once; however TK knew that Gordy, one of the two in question, could also play other positions, and wanted his bat in the lineup anyway, and grabbed him while he could. If there is ever a list of greatest Irish baseball draft moments that will be right up there.

Gordon Ireland (left) under the Green Monster; 2001 Irish team tour of New England

As well as being a crucial member of the late nineties/early 2000’s Hurricanes sides, Gordy was an integral part of all the early Irish National Baseball teams. On top of being a big slugger, he was also a real black hole of a first baseman; the ball went in and never, ever came back out. You could say Gordy was born to play first base.

Gordy’s finest league season was undoubtedly 2002, and a case could be made that his statistics were the finest in Irish baseball history that balmy summer. His finest swing of the bat, and the number ten greatest moment in Hurricanes history, came in that 2004 league game against the Blacksox. This was Gordy’s last game for the Hurricanes as he was to retire that 2004 season.

The O’Malley field at Corcaigh Park is most definitely a pitcher’s park. The extreme dimensions, the weather and the slight uphill slant all add up to very, very few home runs being hit at the home of Irish league baseball. The center field ‘wall’ is over 400 feet back! Even the left and right field corners are a good poke.

For his final at bat as a Hurricane, Gordy slammed the ball to deep left field, mimicking Ted Williams who hit a home run in his final at bat for the Red Sox. It is no exaggeration that the two deeds are similar when placed in the context of the two leagues. Except of course, Gordy’s home run ball probably went a little further.

The Greatest Moment in Dublin Hurricanes history
10.
Gordon Ireland's final at bat as a Hurricane

Baseball Ireland links


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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