Author: steent2014

CHC Astronomers Sponsor Astronomy Night during Science Week

It was Einstein who said, “I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn.” In this spirit, the Franklin Institute will once again sponsor its annual nine-day, city-wide Philadelphia Science Festival from April 24 to May 2.

The festival is meant to inspire a love for scientific exploration and learning in young people by offering hands-on activities and educational experiences such as lectures, debates, special exhibitions and a variety of other informal science education experiences for Philadelphians of all ages. A children’s carnival will feature kitchen science, robot build day and Science on Tap Quizzo.love science

Once again, Chestnut Hill College will join leading organizations such as Comcast, GE Water and Processing Technologies, NBC 10 and PECO, and other institutions of higher education to provide hands-on science events. In coordination with the Chestnut Hill Business Association, the College will help local students take a look at the night sky, up close.

On April 24, the College’s Science Department, with coordinator Al Lamperti, Ph.D., a former adjunct professor, will sponsor an Astronomy Night for children and adults, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Jenks Academy for the Arts and Sciences, located at 8301 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.

“We hold this event to engage and excite Philadelphians in the wonders of science and inspire them to interact with science, engineering and technology events and activities on a regular basis,” Lamperti says.

Three CHC astronomers—Elliot Tammaro, assistant professor of physics, and Len Jensen and Mike Atwell, adjunct professors—will join Lamperti. The professors will bring the necessary equipment, such as telescopes and binoculars, so that individuals can gaze at the night sky.

“For me, having telescopes out for this event is just one of many such events the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers do for outreach,” Lamperti says. “Having people of any age look at the moon or a planet through an eyepiece for the very first time and listen to them and watch their facial expressions makes us do it more.”PSFAstronomyNight

Martha Sharkey, executive director at the Chestnut Hill Business Association, says, “The Chestnut Hill business district is thrilled to partner with Chestnut Hill College and the John Story Jenks Academy for the Arts and Sciences for Astronomy Night.”

The community of Chestnut Hill has always been a part of the festival through various science cafes and events, Sharkey explains.  “We have been increasing our participation over the past two years to include both Astronomy Night and Discovery Day.”

Discovery Day will be held on Saturday, April 25, at Jenks. “Attendees will participate in hands-on science as they learn about the chemistry behind bread baking and how paint gets its color,” Sharkey says. “They will also find out where groceries come from and what teeth are made of, participate in an awesome exercise session that will work your muscles and your brain and take a moment to enjoy sun gazing through a special telescope.”

phillyIn addition, J.S. Jenks will host a Funfest on site, including bounce houses, games, face painting and science activities, with proceeds benefitting the school.

The Astronomy Night rain date is scheduled for May 1.

For more information about Astronomy Night, contact Sister Kathy Duffy at DuffyK@chc.edu. For more information about the Philadelphia Science Festival visit http://www.philasciencefestival.org/partners. For more information about the Chestnut Hill Business Association visit www.chestnuthillpa.com.

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2015 Chestnut Hill College Softball Season Preview

Through a new coaching staff, a new culture, and a new attitude, the Chestnut Hill College softball team has been reborn.

Let’s take an in depth look at the new and improved Chestnut Hill College softball team.

Four new coaches have arrived on campus this year to take over the softball program. It started with the head coach. Former head coach John Kelly is out and first year head coach Mike Gospodarek is in. Along with Gospodarek, the CHC softball program also welcomes assistant coach Marisa, assistant coach Janese, and assistant coach Christine. All four coaches do not have a ton of experience, but are determined to make their mark on the conference.

“As a team, we believe that our new coaching staff will not only provide an increased knowledge of the game of softball, but also they have provided a new culture for our overall program,” said junior first baseman Allison Williams (Warrenton, VA).softball2

One advantage going into the season that the softball program will lean on is that they are a very experienced group of women. With only four players who have never gotten a taste of a college softball game before, the new coaching staff will rely heavily upon their returning players.

“With the majority of us entering our third year in the program, we are looking forward to a fresh new start,” said Megan Kehr (Exton, PA). “We believe that we have a great core group here with the combination of our returning players as well as an outstanding group, a very talented group, of new comers.”

With an unfortunate injury to junior second baseman Julie Heaton (Berlin, NJ) who led the team in batting average (.333), at bats (102), hits (34) and RBI (19) last season, the team will look to the leadership of the remaining returning players and the new talent brought on by the underclassmen until the Calvary is once again at full strength.

For the second time in the program’s history, the women will be traveling down to Florida over spring break to soak up some warm weather, and more importantly, step on a field for the first time as a united group to test where they stand.

“I feel the trip will help bring together our new program and outlook,” said Gospodarek. “All of their hard work through the fall and winter workouts will be able to be put to the test on the dirt.”

ch softball“The only thing on our minds during winter workouts is getting out and finally being able to step back out onto a field with the sun beating down upon us,” said Carney.

When the women get back from Florida, Philadelphia University will be coming to campus on March 7 to compete in a CACC doubleheader beginning at 1P.M.

“We are determined to show how hard we have worked this off-season,” said Kehr. “We are a group of talented athletes who love to play softball and who are determined to win.”

I think it is safe to say that as a college community, we can expect great things from this year’s softball team.

The Boys of Summer are back

It’s that time of year again; when baseball fans emerge from hibernation and prepare to root for their beloved ball club in hopes of winning a World Series. Pitchers and catchers, for teams all around the league, arrived in their perspective towns from Feb. 12-23 depending on the team. .They were followed by their fellow teammates who were anxious to begin spring training on Feb. 18-28, again depending on the team, when full team workouts began.mlb teams

In Major League Baseball, spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives existing team players practice time prior to competitive play. Spring training has always been popular with the fans, drawing crowds who travel to the warmer climates to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite teams play. Spring training also ranges in a time period where many colleges are on spring break.

There are many hot stories all around the league when it comes to spring training because fans are interested in what off season acquisitions were made, such as trades, free agency moves, contract extensions, injuries, and even retirements. Some of the biggest headlines featured players such as Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Clayton Kershaw, and Alex Rodriguez.

Robinson Cano, formerly the second baseman of the New York Yankees, signed with the Seattle Mariners for 10 years and $240 million. Clayton Kershaw, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, signed a contract extension worth $215 million over seven years. Alex Rodriguez finally accepted his one year suspension from Major League Baseball causing him to sit out the entire 2014 season. Derek Jeter, the face of the MLB and the captain of the New York Yankees, has decided that he will retire after the 2014 season.

The point is, teams look different in terms of players than they did last year. This is the most exciting part of Spring Training because fans are anxious to see how their team will fair in the upcoming season.

However, the biggest story out of Spring Training came from Tampa, FL when the iconic Derek Jeter announced we would be retiring after the 2014 season. There was no reasoning behind his announcement other than he felt it was the right time.

prowlerIn a recent USA Today interview, Derek Jeter stated, “The ankle feels strong. The legs are good. The body feels young. This has nothing to do with the way I feel, I feel great.” What is the real reason for retirement then? Only Jeter knows the answer to that question.

When asked in the same USA Today interview, what do you most want to be remembered as, Jeter said, “You want to be remembered as someone who played hard. The thing that means most to be is that I’ll always be remembered as a Yankee.” “That’s what I always wanted, to be a Yankee.” “The Steinbrenner family gave me the opportunity live my dream.” “Once you’re a Yankee, you’re always a Yankee.” “So being a Yankee is good enough for me.”

As far as local big league clubs, the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, and New York Yankees all play in the grapefruit league. There are two leagues where the teams are split evenly. They are: the grapefruit league, located in Florida, and the Cactus league, located in Arizona. The Orioles play in Sarasota, FL, the Phillies play in Clearwater, FL, the Pirates play in Bradenton, FL, the Mets play in Port St. Lucie, FL, and the Yankees play in Tampa, FL. Each team will roughly play about a 30 game schedule during their time at Spring Training.

Baseball fans, are you ready for the 2014 Major League baseball season?mlb

Who’s in? New College Football Playoff System

After years of fans, players, coaches, and administrators calling for a playoff system in division one college football, they will finally get what they have asked for. Starting in 2014, FBS college football will enter a new four team playoff era. Many have called for this format for years now, and it was finally put into effect.cfbplay

The format is simple; the best four teams each year will get a chance to square off in two  semi-final games and the winner of those two games face off in a Monday night National Championship Game.

The new post season bowl structure creates an exciting opportunity for fans, players, and coaches, all while still making every regular season game incredibly important ensuring that college football remains the most exciting sport of them all.

There will be two semi-final games and four other premier bowl games held on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Every year the Semi-final games will rotate among those six bowls to help expand the experience to more fans. This year, both semi-final games are held on New Year’s Day.

They will be the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California as well as the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana and finally the National Championship Game held on Monday, Jan. 12 in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Every FBS team will have a fair shot at the title at the beginning of each season. The plan is easier said than done: Win and you’re in.

In years past, when the BCS decided who would play in the National Title game, there were often disputes about if a team was worthy or why a team was left out. The BCS was run by a computer system, and the computer would determine who the best two teams in college football were.

cfbteamsThis would often leave a team who was not in the “Power-5” conferences left out. The Power-5 includes the Pac-12, Big-12, Big Ten, SEC, and ACC conferences.

Boise State was often the victim of these computer rankings because they are in the Mountain West conference, a conference that is notably weaker than any of the Power-5 teams. A one loss, and sometimes two loss, power conference team would be ranked ahead of them no matter how well they actually played.

This year, a 12 member selection committee will determine the playoff teams. The committee is filled with current Athletic Directors, former NCAA chairmen, Hall of Fame players, journalists, and even a former Secretary of State.

The selection committee will rank the teams based off of strength of schedule, win-loss record, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, and championships won among many other factors.

After they decide who their top four teams are, they will assign them to semi-final sites, and then select the next group of teams to play in other New Year’s Day games. Their goal is to create competitive matchups, avoid any regular season matches, and also consider the geography of the teams to ensure they are as neutral as possible.

Although the jury is still out on how well this new system will work, there is certainly an improvement.cfbtrohpy

This helps those teams who usually wouldn’t get the opportunity to pass the eye test to the committee and possibly realize their dreams at competing for a National Title. The first ever playoff rankings were released Oct. 28, 2014 and consisted of, at the time, undefeated Mississippi State, Florida State, as well as Auburn and Ole Miss who have one loss.

Behind them are 13 other one loss teams that await their chance to prove they belong in the playoff discussion by winning games and hoping those in front of them lose just one more game.

It’s a long way to go until the final rankings are released on Dec. 7, and as any fan of college football knows, just about anything could happen.

Juvenile Law Center Director Gives Lecture

 

I wrote this article for "The Griffin," which is the Chestnut Hill College student run, free newspaper. To the side, is the article large enough to read

I wrote this article for “The Griffin,” which is Chestnut Hill College’s student-run newspaper. Text is to the right.

Chestnut Hill College hosted a juvenile law lecture headed by a renowned expert and advocate for children’s and women’s rights open to all students, staff, faculty, and the public on Nov. 3 in order to spread awareness about juvenile injustices.

The lecture, which was planned by Sara Kitchen, J.D., a professor in the criminal justice department, had a great turnout and left individuals informed about and maybe even determined to join the fight against juvenile injustice.

The speaker is also deputy director and chief counsel of Philadelphia’s nonprofit Juvenile Law Center and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Marsha Levick informed her audience, mostly criminal justice majors, minors, human services students, and criminal justice staff, about her work in the Luzerne County, Pa. Kids for Cash kickback scandal involving two elected judges who essentially jailed kids for cash, a case which CHC students in the juvenile justice course are dissecting in depth.

Levick, who co-founded the Juvenile Law Center in 1975, and in 2009, was presented with the Citizen of the Year award from the Philadelphia Inquirer, began her talk by detailing her work with the specific case. Her work with this case began when a concerned mother called her at her center in request to look into her daughter’s case in defending her against Judge Ciavarella. The mother’s daughter was wrongly placed in a juvenile detention center for creating a parody site of her vice principal.untitled1

As Levick studied this case, she later found that Judge Ciavarella wrongly placed 2,500 juveniles in a detention center by depriving them of their right to counsel and having a bias in their convictions due to the money he was receiving from the detention center owner. He violated the judicial duty to be unbiased and follow the law with an impartial intent.

“It was an entire community that allowed this atrocity to occur,” Levick said.

This has become such a huge scandal because of the corruption throughout Luzerne County. It stemmed from this one particular judge, but it worked its way down through the individuals who practiced law in the courtrooms and stopped with the teachers who paid off school board administrators in order to receive jobs.

“Other people saw the injustice and stood by and did not say anything about the violation of their children,” Levick said. “The culture of intimidation and conspiracy in Luzerne County had to be questioned and it finally was.”172726H1

As a result of the corrupt judge, 2,500 juveniles’ convictions were reversed and some of the original convictions could possibly have been because of serious crimes. This may have caused some dangerous offenders to be placed back into the community. However, the decision was made.

“As the iconic saying goes, it is better to let 100 guilty people free than to convict one innocent person,” Levick said.

The motivation behind planning this event came last spring when Kitchen attended a lecture sponsored by Eastern State Penitentiary in which the author of Kids for Cash, William Ecanberger, spoke as well as Marsha Levick, who is featured in the book and the documentary, she was so touched that she set out to invite Levick to lecture the students here, as well as assign the book, Kids for Cash, to her juvenile justice classes.

“I have been a children’s rights advocate my entire professional career and was very grateful that Marsha Levick took time from her national travel and speaking engagements to share her advocacy work with students at Chestnut Hill College,” Kitchen said.

kids-for-cash_smMegan Kehr, a junior and criminal justice major, appreciated the way that Marsha Levick presented her informative speech. “I thought she did an excellent job at explaining the scandal in its entirety and illustrating how far down the corruption spread,” Kehr said. “It was very inspiring and I think she did a fine job at demonstrating some of the issues that lead to juvenile injustices.”

Chestnut Hill College’s mission is to impart ‘a sense of … social justice in all.’

“The lecture by Marsha Levick was inspiring as well as a reminder that as educated citizens we all have a responsibility to question injustices that we encounter in our professional lives,” Kitchen said.

Twitter Analysis of Chris Mortensen

5Twitter has evolved into an important tool for news journalists to get their stories out to the public through social media. No other social media site comes close to Twitter in terms of the effectiveness for journalists. Yes, Instagram is effective, but Instagram is limited to just pictures and videos, whereas Twitter can involve pictures, retweeted videos, and web links.

The Twitter journalist that I chose to follow and dissect was Chris Mortensen from ESPN. I have always been interested in being a sports journalist, so who better to analyze than a sports journalist who specializes in an in-season (current fall season) professional sport?instaIcon

Mortensen Bio

Chris “Mort” Mortensen mainly works with the National Football League (NFL), but at times, he does escape his comfort zone and cover other sports as well. He is an American journalist, born on November 7, 1951. He, mainly, works with ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Sports Center, ESPN Radio, and ESPN.com. He made his first appearance on ESPN in 1991. Currently he works closely with Adam Schefter, who is another sports journalist working for ESPN who covers the NFL.

Twitter Handle

His official Twitter handle is @mortreport. He tweets very often, as it helps him do his job. He tweets numerous times a day, mostly about upcoming football games, injury reports, suspensions, awards, and other journalist’s discussions.

However, he is not a very consistent user. There is no pattern in his Twitter use. There are some days that he tweets more than others. Sports are its own news universe because, like everyday news, sometimes there are days where there are more things going on than other days. For example, for a Twitter analyst like Mortensen who covers the National Football League, Sundays will be more of his prevalent tweeting days because every Sunday ranging from Sept. to Dec. the NFL will play their regular season games.

espn_facebookNow, here is a recap of the good, the bad, and the ugly of Chris Mortensen’s Twitter usage.

Good Twitter Practices

First, the positives. There are four specific guidelines for Twitter users that Chris Mortensen follows very well.

They are:

  1. Posts pictures
  2. Shares other journalist’s information (retweet)
  3. Stays objective
  4. Tweets are clear rather than clever

Posting Picturesespn-radio

Posting pictures along with the text is something that is very simple to do, but not every Twitter users takes advantage of. The use of Twitter in this way is very similar to writing on the Web. The more pictures, the better the presentation will look in the end. A specific example on “Mort” adding some graphics with his tweets is as followed:

Chris Mortensen retweeted

SEC Network @SECNetwork  ·  Oct 29

BREAKING: NCAA rules @FootballUGA‘s Todd Gurley will be eligible to play Nov. 15 vs. Auburn: http://on.ncaa.com/1p0Vl0K  pic.twitter.com/x5m0HSqUUM

Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley

However, he is very inconsistent with adding his pictures. Some weeks he will do an outstanding job of this, but other weeks he lacks it indefinitely.

Shares other Journalist’s information

Retweeting is one of the most useful tools for a Twitter user. What better way to spread awareness about a topic that you are covering or have interest in then to retweet?

What is a retweet? Well, for all of you non-Twitter users out there, retweeting is, simply, the action of taking another individual, group, or organization’s tweet and posting it to your Twitter account.

Well, isn’t that plagiarism? Valid question, but in the social media world it is not because at the top of a retweet, it will say who you retweeted it from, so it is not a secretive matter.

This is something that “Mort” excels at doing. He is a very active retweeter, if you will. In fact, in his last 10 Tweets, four of the 10 were retweets. An example of a retweet of Chris Mortensen is as followed:

Chris Mortensen retweeted

Kirk Herbstreit @KirkHerbstreit  ·  Nov 14

Absolute honor and privilege to have @MarcusLuttrell on @CollegeGameDay tomorrow as our celebrity picker! #LoneSurvivor #TrueHero

Stay Objective

Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen

The third aspect of Twitter that “Mort” handles very well is the fact that a journalist must stay objective while tweeting. Staying objective means that the journalist’s opinion may not appear in the Tweet at all; it must only be the facts of the news. Staying objective sounds awfully easy, but when you’re so passionate about a subject, especially in sports, it gets rather difficult to not slip one’s point of view in there.

Why is staying objective so essential for a journalist? The answer to this question is credibility. Once a journalist becomes subjective, he or she loses all credibility because, let’s face it, one cannot please everybody. There will always be some who agree with something and others who disagree with the same information, statement, or opinion.

An example of my journalist staying objective comes in the form of this Tweet: “Rex Ryan fined $100,000 for his post-game profanity vs Steelers. 3 time offender, per sources.”

He could have changed this Tweet in a million different ways, but he chose to Tweet this information this way because it was objective and he understands that his followers only really care about the news, and not his opinion.

Tweets are clear rather than clever

To build off of the last guideline that “Mort” follows, he does a good job at keeping his Tweets clear. As stated before, he Tweets the facts and solely the facts. He does not put any cute spin on his information because he understands that his followers don’t want to read that.

He understands that his followers would rather read something like, “Lamar Miller is active for the Dolphins,” rather than something like, “The struggling Dolphins active Lamar Miller in hopes that he will help turn this offense around.”

On Twitter, it is important to be clear, concise, and to the point.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

Bad Twitter Practices

Chris Mortensen’s use of Twitter is not all good.

There are three things that, through my analysis, I have found that “Mort” could really improve upon.

They are:

  1. The use of hashtags
  2. Cite his sources
  3. Make his tweets a conversation

The use of hashtags

A hashtag is that rather annoying symbol that looks like this: #. What purpose does it serve? It is a very useful tool for organization. It gives context for what the author of the Tweet is talking about.

According to blog.twitter.com, “Journalists and news publishers use hashtags to organize conversations, gather feedback, and to identify and engage with Twitter users discussing a particular topic.”

When Tweeting and using a hashtag, that particular Tweet is then grouped together with all of the other Tweets in the world that share the same hashtag. For example, if I used #NFL, then that Tweet would be grouped together with every other Tweet in the world from every Twitter user that used the #NFL.

“Mort” does not use hashtags very often, but he does, very rarely I might add, Tweet using hashtags. For example, Nov. 7 was his last Tweet in which a hashtag was involved. He tweeted: “So much for keeping low-profile, @AdamSchefter… the love is mutual but you know I am good for something… #payback.”

Hashtag_TextHe does not do a good job at taking advantage of this painfully easy organizational tool, and that is something that he needs to start doing more of.

Cite your sources

Much like academic writing, citing your sources is important with Twitter. Even though it is not mandatory by any means, followers like to see where information that they are taking in is coming from.

According to blog.twitter.com, “Brands that tweet 20% fewer URLs and 100% more @mentions grow followers 17% more than average.”

“Mort” does not do a very good job at citing his sources. However, he is considered, in the sports world, to be a source. He communicates directly with the sport teams that he is supplying his information about.

However, with that being said, in an age where everything needs to be cited, people like to see where information is coming from. Personally, even with the background information I already possess, I would like to know that I can trust the information that is being fed to me.

To use an example from his Twitter page, I would have liked to have known where the following Tweet got its origin from: Mosley and NFLPA have filed grievance against Lions’ 2-week suspension because a marijuana violation falls under substance abuse policy.

This is great information and useful knowledge, but how does one know whether or not they can trust this information?

Make Tweets a conversation

Maybe a better way at saying this is to Tweet about things that are interesting and will spark conversation between followers. This is a great way to make a connection with one’s followers as well. Followers can leave feedback on any Tweet and the more they do that, the greater the chance is that a conversation, or discussion will start.

Chris Mortensen when he first broke into the league

Chris Mortensen when he first broke into the league

“Mort” is not specifically good at this because, as stated before, he is known for just breaking news and giving cold hard facts. In this way, he is being over objective, if you will. What do I mean? With his attempt to stay objective, he loses the little bit of creativity that journalists have on Twitter to begin with.

As someone who is a sports journalist and prides himself on getting his followers the latest news, in all actuality, he is stuck in a lose-lose situation. He can over compensate for his objectivity and be criticized for being too boring, or he can attempt to add a little creativity and be criticized for not staying objective.

Twitter, a double-edged sword?

With any job there are dos and dont’s that one must follow; that is just a part of the professional workplace, but when a journalist is relied heavily upon in the media as much as Chris Mortensen is, it is very easy for people to find what he is doing wrong.

In all actuality, “Mort” is a 63-year-old man who did not grow up during the technology era. When considering this fact, he deserves a lot of credit for the adjustments he has made over the course of his career and learning how to use technology and all that it has to offer is a great accomplishment in itself.

He has a great reputation for supplying his followers with information about the NFL and will continuethumb.nfl.shield.150x150 to do so until he feels as if he does not want to, or cannot continue doing his job. All in all, with the research that I have accumulated and based upon the analysis in which I have studied “Mort,” it is safe to say that he is an average Twitter user; he is not the greatest and he is not the worst in the world.

The bottom line is that “Mort” gets the job done and people are willing to follow him on Twitter (1.61 million to be exact).

Movie Review

61*

Cast & CrewMV5BMTM2NDcxMjE4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzAwNTYxMQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_

Director: Billy Crystal

Producer: Robert F. Colesberry

Screenwriter: Hank Steinberg

Starring: Barry Pepper, and Thomas Jane

Running Time: 129 minutes (2hrs. 9 mins.)

 

Everyone loves a true American hero. Famous athletes get a lot of attention in movies, books, and the media in today’s day and age. In fact, sports movies are atop the list of movies watched. Billy Crystal’s 61* explains why baseball is more than a sport, it’s a legacy.

Roger Maris after hitting his 61st homerun of the 1961 season

Roger Maris after hitting his 61st homerun of the 1961 season

61* is based on a true story of the homerun race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris during the 1961 Major League Baseball season. Mantle and Maris are superstars, who play for the New York Yankees, who go head to head to see who can hit more homeruns to eventually surpass the great Babe Ruth’s single-season record of 60 homeruns.

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth

Maris is a professional who takes his job seriously, and is willing to do whatever is necessary for his team to win. He never set out to break records; he just wants to be the best baseball player he can be, at bat and out in the field. Mantle, a “true Yankee,” a natural born baseball player, realizes baseball is just a game and wants to live his life to the fullest, given that Hodgkin’s disease runs in his family.

Though good friends and roommates, the two athletes couldn’t be more opposite in the eyes of the media. The media throughout the movie make it a point to emphasize the homerun race, but Mantle (Thomas Jane-Deep Blue Sea, 1999) and Maris (Barry Pepper-Green Mile,1999 & Saving Private Ryan,1998) attempt to keep the focus on the New York Yankee team.

Throughout the film, the media is consistently negative towards Maris while the fans and Yankee organization are rooting for Mantle to ultimately prevail. These two Yankees, for one season, proved to be “bigger than the game.”

Though the battle for the home run record might have made a tense situation in the clubhouse, the two Yankees remained good friends, perhaps better than they normally would have been had they not needed each other to talk to when the press hounded them at every turn. Mantle needed Maris’ influence to stay out of trouble, and Maris needed Mantle to keep the media’s eyes occasionally diverted away from him. The pressure was beginning to make him crack, and he needed someone to shield the extreme scrutiny he was under; the limelight he spent most of his life attempting to avoid.

mickey-mantle1Adding to the negativity already in the mix, baseball commissioner Ford Frick (Donald MoffatThe Thing, 1982) stated that whoever broke the record had a distinct advantage, as the American League of 1961 had 162 games while there were only 154 in Ruth’s playing seasons. He ruled that there should be separate records should someone break it in over 154 games. In fact, an asterisk would have been placed on the final total to denote the unfair advantage the player had by playing an extra eight games.

Crystal ends his film with scenes of Mark McGwire’s ultimate shattering of the home run record in 1998, when he hit 70 homeruns. Though not integral to the 1961 record chase, by the time the more recent events are spotlighted, it carries such an emotional impact that it’s impossible to not be moved to tears by the sight of McGwire embracing the Maris family and the respect he pays to Roger, by touching his bat after the game, for what he must have endured during the greatest year of his career.

Mark Mcgwire

Mark Mcgwire

In 1991, six years after Maris died of lymphatic cancer, Major League Baseball would officially remove the asterisk off of Maris’ record. He died never knowing that he would officially be recognized as the sole single season record holder for homeruns between the years 1961 to 1998.

As a current college baseball player, I would say that this is a must see for every sports fan. Whether you enjoy baseball or not, know about the homerun chase or not, or if you are just a fan of friendship, this is the movie for you. It was almost sad to see it end. Billy Crystal, a longtime Yankee fan, poured his heart into this movie and it could have not come out any better.

I was glued to the television from the start. I will even go as far to suggest that this is one of the strongest sports films ever made. Yankee haters may not be into this film as much as Yankee lovers, but in any event it brilliantly captures the Yankee mystique and dominance in this particular season and in the early 60s.

The tie-in with the present day, present day meaning 1998, shattering of Maris’ record by Mark McGwire is effective and gives a more heartwarming feel to the film. For that, I feel as though Crystal won his audience over. The strength, however, really rests in the performance of Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane who portray the friendship, rivalry, and respect between two great players.

The Mick and Roger Maris

The Mick and Roger Maris

However, because this movie is unrated, I caution you that this is not a family movie. There is enough profanity and crude sexual humor to get it at least an easy PG-13 rating.