July 13, 2006 11:57 a.m.
I love baseball. Always have, always will. It's a great game with incredible depth, drama, and endless possibilities.
Covering the Major League Baseball All-Star game was a thrill and a terrific opportunity. I was able to watch most of the Home Run Derby, and stood on the field for batting practice on Monday and Tuesday.
I also interviewed some of the participants and met some legends, too — including former All-Star players and managers, who were in town for the big event.
My impression? Unfortunately, most of the guys I met were all egos and attitudes — superficially nice when necessary, but not a warm or friendly bunch. I'm guessing the high salaries, pampering, and hero worship are to blame. Of course, they're not all unpleasant and spoiled, but too many appear to have let the fame and fortune go to their heads. Why is it so hard to stay humble?
One exception was longtime St. Louis shortstop Ozzie Smith. He’s a class act — warm, sincere, and apparently unaffected by 14 All-Star appearances, a terrific Hall of Fame career, and all its benefits.
On a side note, I was given a plastic bat and ball as part of a promotion at FanFest, and thought it would be fun to bring home for a game or two with my kids. When I got to the Pittsburgh airport, I hit a snag instead. The TSA has a no-bat policy. A JetBlue pilot told me since it was plastic (and a toy) it wouldn't be a problem, but the security folks didn't see it that way. Despite appeals to a supervisor, the only way to get the bat home was to mail it to myself or check it as luggage. Since I was carrying my bags on, I decided to give it to the supervisor instead. A plastic bat? Seems silly to me...
July 11, 2006 9:32 a.m.
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game might seem an unlikely venue to learn about lung cancer, but it's a disease that strikes close to home for FOX Sports broadcaster Joe Buck, who's calling this year's summer classic.
Joe's father, legendary play-by-play man Jack Buck, died from the disease four years ago.
Lung cancer will kill 163,000 people this year, which is four times the number of people filling PNC Park for the 2006 All-Star Game. It's the number one cancer killer — with more cases than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney, and melanoma cancers combined.
Most victims die in the first six months, and only 15 percent survive five years.
Joe is hoping to raise awareness because lung cancer is vastly under-funded, largely because of the stigma attached. Most people assume every victim is a smoker and brought the disease upon themselves. Buck says some people quit and get the disease decades later, and others get it without ever smoking.
Buck is working with the Lung Cancer Alliance, and hopes you'll help.
July 9, 2006 11:39 a.m.
I've had a variety of assignments that have kept me extremely busy over the past couple of weeks.
I traveled to Maine to interview a state senator trying to gain support for a "support our troops" license plate. We also spoke to a soldier's wife while we were there, and a Vietnam veteran who thinks politics belong on bumper stickers and not on a state plate.
I spent several long days on the New Jersey budget crisis, traveling to Atlantic City when the casinos were forced to shut down.
And Friday we had a terror plot revealed, a plan by a group of wanna-be's to blow up Path trains in the tunnel between New York and New Jersey. They apparently hoped their plot would flood lower Manhattan, which doesn't appear possible, and they were stopped well before moving past the planning stages. I don't know how serious these guys were, and how many people might have actually been killed or adversely affected, but unfortunately it's safe to say there are many others like them, looking to hurt us in spectacular fashion.
Now I'm going to Pittsburgh, and I'm pretty excited about it.
Every once in a while a story comes along that's just plain fun. No lives are in danger, no pain or controversy — just a cool, interesting event with a chance to be entertained on the job.
I think the Major League Baseball All-Star game is one of those stories. I'll be in Pittsburgh Monday for the Home Run Derby and of course for Tuesday night's game, working for any of our FOX affiliates across the country that want coverage for their local news shows.
I should have some good anecdotes for the blog over the next couple days, so check back with me...And in case you're wondering, while I am fair and balanced, I'll be rooting for the American League.
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Rick, thanks for writing about lung cancer in your blog! My father had lung cancer 11 years ago and had half of one lung removed. When people found out, their first question to me was almost always, 'How long did he smoke?' My father was never a smoker. I'm happy to say he survived and is doing just fine today, but you are right that more funding and education is needed. Thanks for bringing some attention to The Lung Cancer Alliance. It's good to know Joe Buck is working with them, and not just because he's one of my favorite sportscasters.
Have a great time at the All-Star game!
Sandy (Washington, DC)
Thanks for the informative blog. In a world of bombs we sometimes forget disease.
My sister's husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in March of 2005. On Halloween, the doctors informed him that he had between 2 weeks and 2 months to live. He told the doctors that he wasn't going anywhere until the Super Bowl. He was so happy that the Super Bowl was scheduled for February instead of January because he would have more time to live. He lost his battle on Sunday, February 5th, Super Bowl Sunday. He was a good man. We miss him.
Rosemary (Plainview, Long Island)
Hi Rick — Home Run Derby, and then the All-Star game! Lucky guy. Somebody has got to do it. You're one of the best guys I know to do it. Enjoyed your news spot