On-Deck Bean Ball Haunts Victim 10 Years Later

There have been been nasty, ugly beanball incidents over the years in baseball, but perhaps nothing was as shocking or deplorable as what happened 10 years ago this month, when Wichita State ace and MLB prospect Ben Christensen - thinking that Evansville lead-off hitter was Anthony Molina was “timing” his warm-up pitches from the on-deck circle, drilled an unaware Moilina with a 92 mph fastball, almost killing him.

Anthony Molina

In one instant Molina - a scrappy player with possible pro prospects of his own - saw his baseball career end as the left side of his face was essentially caved in. The BLOOMNGTON PANTAGRAPH caught up with Molina recently, and learned that while he’s tried to move on, he’s still dealing with wounds from that dreadful moment - both physical and emotional.

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New Book: “People Thought Larry Bird Was Black”

CBS college basketball analyst Seth Davis has a new book out about the 1979 NCAA basketball title game between Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans and Larry Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores called “When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball.” I noticed one detail in a story on it in the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL that had me scratching my head. In the book, Davis claims that before Indiana State’s nationally televised home finale against Wichita State, “many people thought Bird was black.”

Larry Bird t-shirt

(I’m pretty sure he’s white.)

You can imagine that I was pretty skeptical of Davis’ claim. Then I read a quote:

“All the next week I got lots of calls from my friends back in Denver who saw the game,” said Bob Heaton, Bird’s roommate and teammate. “They couldn’t believe Larry Bird was a white guy.”

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Bartman’s Ghost Momentarily Haunts Florida State

For those living outside of Blowtown The Windy City, you may remember Steve Bartman as “that guy who caught that ball in that Cubs game and they went on to lose the playoffs or something.” While history almost repeated itself at Wrigley last month, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported a much closer life-imitates-Cubs-baseball moment in Sunday’s NCAA baseball super regional between Florida State and Wichita State.

Florida State-Wichita State in a near-Steve Bartman moment

Down 6-0 to the FSU Seminoles, Wichita State batter Andy Dirks hit a foul ball near the left field stands. The fielder raced for the pop fly, but a Seminoles fan reached out and made an impressive catch, sealing the pitch’s fate as a foul ball. The next pitch? You guessed it — a 2-run home run to start a rally. Read more…