Frank Catalanotto: Baseball and Vascular Birthmarks

Baseball and vascular birthmarks don’t sound like two things that go together, but in 1999, both would collide in Frank Catalanotto’s world. In 1999, Frank was in the third year of his 14-year major league career and welcomed daughter Morgan into his world. Things should have been great, but Morgan had a spot on her nose that would later be diagnosed as a vascular birthmark called a hemangioma.

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I had a wonderful opportunity to interview Frank, who started the 2000 season with the Texas Rangers after being part of the trade that sent Juan Gonzalez to the Detroit Tigers, and talk about baseball and what he is doing to put an end to vascular birthmarks. I asked him what some of his fondest memories were with the Rangers.

 I loved coming to the Ballpark in Arlington (now called Globe Life Park) to play baseball. It has always been my favorite ballpark to play in because not only does it have so much character but the fans were always so passionate about the game and in my mind some of the best fans in baseball. I’ll never forget the batting title race in 2001 and also setting the Rangers record for consecutive hits (10) and consecutive times on base (13).

Frank tied for fifth in the American League in hitting in 2001, with a .330 AVG. He spent three seasons with the Rangers before heading to the Toronto Blue Jays, but he would find his way back to the Rangers for two more seasons, 2007 and 2008. He would finish his career with a year with the Milwaukee Brewers and his final year with the New York Mets.

And what happened with his daughter Morgan? In Frank’s words:

 In 1999, my oldest daughter Morgan was born with a vascular birthmark on her nose called a hemangioma. After much research and a few laser surgeries for Morgan, my wife and I started the Frank Catalanotto Foundation. We have since raised funds for surgeries and have promoted awareness about these vascular birthmarks which if left untreated can spread rapidly. Each year, we host a golf tournament on Long Island which helps raise money for the cause.  
It bears repeating: He and his wife have done research and started a foundation that helps pay for surgeries. Each year, the Frank Catalanotto Foundation picks a lucky family and pays for the entire surgery. This can-do attitude was also important in his baseball career and a cornerstone of his book, “Heart and Hustle,” and I asked him what his motivation was to write it.
 I wrote the book because I felt like I had a lot experiences that I could share that would help out some young baseball players. Being a student of the game, I wrote down everything I learned throughout my minor league and major league career. I realized that had I known more about the game at a young age, I would have been much better off.
I had to ask Frank if he would ever come back to baseball and what role he would like.
 At some point I may want to get back into the game. Possibly as a hitting coach. Currently I am enjoying spending time with my four girls and watching them grow up. Once they are older, I may look into coaching.
Frank now swings a golf club instead of a baseball bat, to help raise money for the Frank Catalanotto Foundation. This year’s outing will be Monday, Aug. 1, at Old Westbury Country Club on Long Island, New York. Visit fcatalanotto.org for more information and to donate to the Frank Catalanotto Foundation.

Its only a game, then why do I hurt?

The Texas Rangers were so close, and yet so far. It has been a while since I have written, I now fully understand why sports writers learn to be objective, it hurts too much to be a fan. Yes, I want to be positive but its hurts when your team doesn’t go all the way. The post season is a magnification of what is wrong with the team. We were asking a great deal from all of our players. Many of them very much injured or coming back from injury. Yes, you might think its time to point fingers but the reality is, you don’t know how someone is going to perform until they get out there. Still, for me there was this hope and love that I thought they would make it all the way and when Game 5  hit I was convinced that was the end all be all, we were going to win.  Oh that’s the problem when you give your heart away it get broken sometimes.

I saw a tweet from a former MLB player.  He talked about how the “bat flip”.  That the Rangers fans need not to be angry at the bat flip that if Beltre had done it we would have applauded it.  As a Ranger fan I was not offended by the bat flip, I was more offended by showing up my pitcher. Ranger fans are angry because we were so close and didn’t make it. This was supposed to be our year. We came back from last place, this was not how the story was supposed to go. The bat flip was the last straw.

It just goes to show how much fans love the game. We see the players love on the field. Who didn’t get a little misty when Beltre came out and started to cry. As fans we take possession of the team, they are not the Rangers they are our team. While we didn’t play in the field we did cheer for you, buy the tickets, buy the merchandise, support your charities. We made an emotional investment in you.  In the end after the tough loss of the series and going home, it hurts and no matter how much of a positive spin you put on it. It hurts.

Texas Rangers in October its easy to forget April

While the Rangers maybe over for the season they are far from over as an organization. Jeff Banister talks about how the playoffs were not a reflection of the whole season.

The Rangers were plagued with injuries but the Rangers kept coming back and won a very hard division of the American League West. The beginning of the year they had a winning percentage of .334. They then pushed back and became contenders. An remarkable feat, once you consider who they lost Darvish,and Holland. Darvish will be back next year, and Holland will have a fresh start and be able to get his rhythm down. During the year, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre have been playing injured. Now they will have a chance to heal. Sure there were mistakes but mistakes that can be corrected and we have a great manager to guide the Rangers. I am sad that they didn’t make it but there is an excitement for me, the best is yet to come. Its time to put your doubt away for the Texas Rangers are stepping up to become a force. This is only the beginning…

Who would be on your Field of Dreams?

Author Note: I can’t watch the Rangers game, so I am reposing this. I wrote it and thought it was fun. No one read it.  The playoffs make you think of the past so for fun of all the past Rangers who would be my dream team. These are who I chose.  Who would you choose?

 

I am on Twitter, and one of my favorite all-time ballplayers, Frank Catalanotto, retweets from a Blue Jays fan.

“Can we re-sign and to a single day contract and have them throw/see a single pitch so that they get a ring soon too?”

I saw that, and my brown eyes turned green and my Ranger fandom cried out, oh no, sorry Jays fan, if Frank is going to get a ring, it’s going to be a Ranger ring. He was a Ranger for a long time, and he came back to the Rangers after he left the Blue Jays.

Doesn’t he looks good in a Rangers uniform?

Another of my favorite baseball player and my twitter peep

Another of my favorite baseball players and my Twitter peep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I thought, who would be in my Field of Dreams? I am standing in Iowa in a cut- down cornfield. Who would be my Ranger Dream Team? To play in a World Series game, to get a Ranger ring?

 

 

My lineup as they come out of the corn rows:

Frank Catalanotto, RF

Will Clark, 1st

Mark McLemore, 2nd

Michael Young, SS

Dean Palmer, 3rd

Rusty Greer, LF

Pudge Rodriguez, C

Gabe Kapler, CF

Mickey Tettleton, DH

If I am having a Field of Dreams World Series Ranger Edition, there is only one pitcher:

Nolan Ryan

Oh, my bench is impressive, too. Full of happy memories.

Steve Buechele

Pete Incaviglia

Ruben Sierra

My bullpen:

Charlie Hough

Kenny Rogers

Kevin Brown

Rick Helling

Aaron Sele

Darren Oliver

John Wetteland

Tell me, who would be in your Field of Dreams?

TBT:Field of Dreams World Series Ranger Edition

I am on Twitter, and one of my favorite all-time ballplayers, Frank Catalanotto, retweets from a Blue Jays fan.

“Can we re-sign and to a single day contract and have them throw/see a single pitch so that they get a ring soon too?”

I saw that, and my brown eyes turned green and my Ranger fandom cried out, oh no, sorry Jays fan, if Frank is going to get a ring, it’s going to be a Ranger ring. He was a Ranger for a long time, and he came back to the Rangers after he left the Blue Jays.

Doesn’t he looks good in a Rangers uniform?

Another of my favorite baseball player and my twitter peep

Another of my favorite baseball players and my Twitter peep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I thought, who would be in my Field of Dreams? I am standing in Iowa in a cut- down cornfield. Who would be my Ranger Dream Team? To play in a World Series game, to get a Ranger ring?

 

 

My lineup as they come out of the corn rows:

Frank Catalanotto, RF

Will Clark, 1st

Mark McLemore, 2nd

Michael Young, SS

Dean Palmer, 3rd

Rusty Greer, LF

Pudge Rodriguez, C

Gabe Kapler, CF

Mickey Tettleton, DH

If I am having a Field of Dreams World Series Ranger Edition, there is only one pitcher:

Nolan Ryan

Oh, my bench is impressive, too. Full of memories of my childhood, so thick. … Forgive me a moment while I wipe away the tears

Steve Buechele

Pete Incaviglia

Ruben Sierra

My bullpen:

Charlie Hough

Kenny Rogers

Kevin Brown

Rick Helling

Aaron Sele

Darren Oliver

John Wetteland

Tell me, who would be in your Field of Dreams?

Welcome MLB Playoff Fans

Welcome MLB playoff fans! Come on in and sit yourself down. Someone get them a beer and a dog.

For you Dodger fans, we have the classic Dodger Dogs.

For those enjoying the Cubs, we have the best version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Here is a quick bio of Harry Caray. Do not go to WRIGLEY FIELD and not know Harry Caray.

Baseball playoff season is upon us. In the NL, the Cardinals are already in. The Dodgers are in, thanks to Clayton Kershaw. The Mets are coming in from the East.  A battle for the wild card is going on between the Cubs and the Pirates. Will this finally be the Cubs’ year? In the AL, the Blue Jays are in, as are the Royals, who have been dominant this year. There is a battle in the West for who will go on to win the division, who will play the Yankees in a one-game winner-take-all and who will just go home.

Now here come the FANS. You know the fair-weather fans, the ones who about the end of August realize that people are playing baseball. They flip on the channel and suddenly become fans, watching the teams get better and better.

The fair-weather fan comes into our house. For the die-hard fans, it feels like an invasion of privacy, and honestly, there’s a little bit of jealously. We suddenly become bitter girlfriends.

“Oh no, you cannot come in here. This is my team. You just need to step off. I have been cheering for them all season. You think you can just come in here and think you are as good of a fan as me!”

I have always been a die-hard Rangers fan. But last year, with the Rangers nowhere near the playoffs, I turned my attention to my favorite player Jayson Nix. He was picked up by the Royals, and so I picked up my fandom and became a Royals fan. For the first time, I was a fair-weather fan. Social media and fandom can be a wonderful combination. I was embraced by the Royals fans online, forgiving me for being a Nix fan once they found out I met him and that’s why I cheered for him.

The Royals went on an impressive streak, and the fair-weather and die-hard fans were sent into a frenzy. And I was so excited I even bought a shirt and had it customized for Nix. I like being unique. I wore my shirt proudly and was again embraced by the real Royals fans. High-fives and”love your shirt.” They made me a real fan, while the Rangers still have my heart. The Royals brought me back to baseball.

Baseball can be an elitist sport sometimes. We have our own jargon and rules and no real reason of why we do things. Our job as the die-hards is to show the fair-weather fans what they have been missing, encourage and teach them all about what makes the team great. Let’s embrace the fair-weather fans, and maybe they will become real fans.

 

Is this the year of the No Hitter?

Well, congrats to Jake  Arrieta for the no-hitter and for being the NL Player of the Week. That makes six no-hitters this season.

It makes me curious about how many no-hitters there have been in a single season. We go to baseball-reference.com and find that there have been 12 by the old rules. But by the modern rules of a no-hitter, (which is simple: no hits, but walks, hit batters and errors still will qualify a pitcher for a no-hitter), the record is eight. There were seven in the years 1990, 1991 and 2012. The E4 that happened during yesterday’s no-hitter still counts. The Cubs have a unique distinction this year of being on both ends of no-hitters.

This year, we have had six pitchers throw no-hitters this year:

Could there be another one? While there is only a month left in the regular season, there is plenty of time, and there are some pitchers who have been injured who could make a comeback. I am going to share my predictions:

Speaking of injured players, Derek Holland of the Texas Rangers made his case to management that he was ready, and boy howdy, was he right. He is looking  amazing, and in his last outing, on Sunday, he  struck out 11 in a nine-inning shutout. A no-hitter, that would be a great  comeback story.

The Royals have a great pitching staff, and they could very easily do this. I couldn’t even choose who would do it. If I had to choose, it would be Cueto, but I think anyone of the Royals starters could pull it off.

The Mets have an easy schedule the rest of the season, and there could really be a great no-hitter opportunity.

What is a pitcher to do after a no-hitter? He does what we all do after a long, hard day: Get into pajamas and relax. Except Arrieta got his whole team to join in, and at Dodger Stadium and on the plane ride home, the Cubs had a pj party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop thinking and just play

Confession time: I am an overthinker. When a problem comes up, I like to work out three solutions and think of worse-case scenarios. I have been like this my whole life, and it messes up my life. The same can be true for a baseball player — a slump at the plate, unable to find the strike zone, the ball just can’t find your glove. Some would say a solution is more practice, but sometimes a different solution may be in order: Just stop thinking and just play.

Today, I read a wonderful article about how Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo’s wife helped him to stop overthinking. Shin-Soo Choo is very special to me. I watched him for a season as a San Antonio Mission.  Before the All-Star break this year, Choo was not having a good season. He was even taken out of the line up. And then after the All-Star break, his numbers are a .333 batting average, .441 OBP, .607 slugging percentage and a 1.048 OPS.

Choo’s wife used a building metaphor to describe his game. Buildings with a solid foundation can take whatever is shaking them. More importantly is the outcome of this advice. He stopped thinking and started playing and having fun.

“It really helped clear my mind,” Choo said. “I’m not thinking about one game or one week. I’m just seeing what is right in front of me and doing what I do. I’m not thinking about a big picture.”

Baseball is a kid’s game. It should be fun. Sometimes, we need to not see what is going to happen next. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.   Best thing you can do for your game: Stop thinking and just play.

Q and A with Miss Baseball.

Right now I am glad I write and don’t do a video log. I normally have a high Minnie Mouse voice and now I sound like a old lady that smoked for 20 yrs. As I am too tired and sick to give you all a real post I thought I would answer questions that people at random ask me.

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Q: I thought you were a Royals fan; Why do you have a Ranger wreath on  your door?

I was a Royals fan because my favorite player last year played for them. If it came down in the playoff between the Royals and the Rangers I would hope the Rangers would beat down the Royals.

Q: You don’t have cable how can you watch all the baseball games?

The MLB app is wonderful, I buy for spring training and I can watch every game during the season other than the Rangers and Astros live.  I have to wait 90 mins after a game as ended to watch them because I am in their blackout zone.

Q: You post a bunch of stuff about the Dodgers, what’s up with that?

Thanks to being a part of the Kaplifestyle family, I started watching the Dodgers because of that. Now I watch the Dodgers because I am a fan.

Q: You write a blog about baseball! Why?

Why? Why not, I hope to be a place where women, chicks,
, whatever we call ourselves to talk about the game. There is so much sports news geared towards men, but women like baseball too. In my experience, I know more women who know more about the game than most men.  the exception to the rule is unless you played at a professional level.

Q: Do you talk to baseball players? I couldn’t do that I would be too scared.

Sure! on Twitter mostly. They are not scary, they are people. Some are really nice, some are jerks. Treat them like a person and they will treat you like one too.

 

Adrian Beltre gets his 3rd cycle and becomes a standout in history.

History was made last night. Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers hit his third cycle. Only John Reilly, Bob Meusel and Babe Herman have done it. The last time it was done was Sept. 30, 1933. The even greater feat was that Globe Life Park, or as I like to call it, The Ballpark in Arlington, was home to all THREE of Beltre’s cycles.

John Reilly had all of his as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. He had two in one week at Bank Street grounds in 1883. The next year, the Reds had a new home, League Park I, and Reilly hit his third cycle there in 1890.

Bob Meusel of the New York Yankees ( the Texas Rangers fan in me wants to boo) never had any of his at the famed Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium, which would have been the site in his 1928 cycle (see below). Instead, he had his May 7, 1921, at Griffith Stadium (Washington Senators); July 3, 1922, at Shibe Park (Philadelphia A’s); and July 26, 1928, at Navin Field (Detroit Tigers)

Babe Herman of the Brooklyn Robins had his first two cycles May 18, 1931, and July 24, 1931, at Ebbets Field. In 1933, was traded to Chicago and became a Cub, and on Sept. 30, of that year, he had his third cycle, in Sportsman Park III (St. Louis Cardinals)

Adrian Beltre not only made history but now has become a legend, having done something NO ONE has ever done: hit three cycles in the same ballpark. On Sept. 1, 2008, he hit his first, as a member of the Seattle Mariners. On Aug. 24, 2012, he hit his second, this time as a Ranger, and on Aug. 3, 2015, he reached the cycle in five innings. Is a fourth cycle possible?