June 14, 2011

Jacoby Ellsbury Named American League Player of the Week

Filed under: Navajo,News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , — ICTMN Staff @ 6:00 pm

At the beginning of this season, the Boston Red Sox were a miserable 2-10, and many in Red Sox nation were already contemplating writing off the entire season (despite having 150 more games to go).  A few short months later, the Sox are atop the American League Eastern Division, their pitching has course corrected after a bumpy start, and their bats are hot.

Last week, no bat on the team was hotter then Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo, their speedy center fielder. Ellsbury became the team’s third player in as many weeks to win the American League Player of the Week after a scorching seven-day period where he went 14-for-30 at the plate (a .467 average), hitting three doubles, a home run, with four RBI and ten runs scored.

Ellsbury has been a constant on a team that has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs already, starting 62 of the team’s 65 games thus far, this after playing only 18 games last year after being bitten by the injury bug.

The Sox have won nine straight, due in no small part to Ellsbury‘s red-hot bat.

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June 24, 2011

Red Sox Month at Foxwods Resort Casino

Filed under: News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , , — ICTMN Staff @ 3:50 pm

July is Red Sox month at Foxwoods Resort Casino.  The fun starts this Friday, June 24, when Red Sox Director of Grounds David Mellor will show his skills and mow the iconic hanging Red Sox logo on the grassy knoll outside the Grand Pequot Tower. The massive lawn art will measure 100 feet by 60 feet. Mellor has plied his trade on some hallowed greenery, including the fields of the California Angels, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers.  He has been the Director of Grounds at Fenway Park since 2001.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and will run through 2 p.m. (weather permitting). Guests are invited to view the mowing from the Bingo Hall patio.

For more information, visit the Foxwoods Resort Casino website, or call 1-800 FOXWOODS.

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August 14, 2011

Jacoby Ellsbury a Candidate for AL MVP Award

Filed under: Navajo,News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , — ICTMN Staff @ 5:30 pm

There is only six weeks left in the Major League Baseball season, and if the Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo and member of the Colorado River Indian Tribe, keeps playing the way he has all season he’s a serious contender for the American League most valuable player award.

This remarkable season for Ellsbury has seen him hit for a .315 average and swat 20 homeruns, with 31 stolen bases and 74 RBIs.  He’s on pace for a 25-30 homerun/40 stolen base season, astounding numbers for any professional ball player, especially one coming off an injury-riddled 2010 season which saw him miss most of the season.  If he doesn’t lock down the MVP trophy (two players that pose the stiffest competition are on his own team — Adrian Gonzalez, who’s batting .350, and Dustin Pedroia), he’s got a good shot at winning the comeback player of the year award.

As of today, Ellsbury is ranked in the top ten in the American league in a slew of categories, including average, runs (85, second in the AL), hits (153, tied for third), doubles (31, tied for seventh), stolen bases (31, tied for fourth), multi-hit games (44, fourth) and average with runners in scoring position (.344, third).  Ellsbury is also top ten in multi-hit games, three-plus hit games, and total bases.  These are monstrous numbers for any player in any position, but what makes them even more remarkable is Ellsbury is a leadoff hitter, coming to the plate with empty bases much of the time, and he plays one of the most demanding positions in the sport, center field.

As impressive as the numbers are, teammates and fans are most blown away Ellsbury’s ability to come up big when it matters most.  In an incredible week in early August, Ellsbury had not one but two game winning hits in a row against the Cleveland Indians.  The first was a ninth-inning single against the Cleveland Indians that drove in the winning run. The very next night, Ellsbury was up with two outs in the ninth against Indians reliver Joe Smith, and he was having a miserable game, zero hits in four at bats. Down in the count 0-1, Ellsbury launched a ball 415 feet over the center field wall.

Regardless of what hardware he ends up with, Ellsbury is a major factor in the Red Sox World Series hopes, and one of the best players in the game right now, period.  An MVP or comeback player of the year award would be nice, but not nearly as sweet as a World Series ring.

If the Sox make it that far, it’ll be thanks in part to Ellsbury’s incredible season.  If they win, it won’t be surprising if Ellbsury is in contention for the World Series MVP award.  He’ll likely be battling against those two pesky teammates of his, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia.

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August 17, 2011

Jacoby Ellsbury Blasts Another Home Run

Filed under: Navajo Nation,News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , — ICTMN Staff @ 5:30 pm

Apparently 27-year old Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo, didn’t get the memo that leadoff hitters are supposed to get on base so the big guys can hit the home runs and rack up the RBIs.

As the Boston Herald reports, Ellsbury continued his magical, monstrous season on Tuesday night 3-1 win against division rivals Tamp Bay, Ellsbury launched a 1-1 changeup over the visitor’s bullpen in the third inning, his 21st home run of the season.   It was a three-run shot that gave the Rox more then enough to notch the win.

Ellsbury’s season is already historic—he has more home runs then any player in Red Sox history with 30 or more steals.  If Ellsbury keeps up this pace, he could have one of the most remarkable seasons for a leadoff hitter in Major League Baseball history.  If he keeps up his current pace, he’s looking at finishing the season with a .313 batting average, 28 home runs, 104 RBI, 208 hits and 42 stolen bases.

We’ll keep tabs on Ellsbury’s incredible progress as the season winds down.

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August 29, 2011

Kyle Lohse Wins 100th Game as Major League Pitcher

Filed under: News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , — ICTMN Staff @ 5:30 pm

32-year old Kyle Lohse, Nomlaki Wintun, reached a very impressive milestone on August 28 when he won his 100th game as a pitcher.  His St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-4.  Lohse, who is 12-8 this season, gave up only two earned runs in the victory, allowing six hits while striking out four and walking two.

He is only the 36th active pitcher to reach the 100-win mark.

Lohse also added an infield single in fourth, and scored a run on Allen Craig’s sacrifice fly to give the Cardinals the lead.

One of only a handful of active American Indians in the big leagues, Lohse leads his ball club in wins this season.  ”I’ve been around for a while and it’s nice to get a nice round number like that,” Lohse said to the Associated Press. “To share it with my teammates is pretty cool.”

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September 22, 2011

Breaking Down Jacoby Ellsbury’s Chances in the American League MVP Race

Filed under: News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , , — ICTMN Staff @ 5:30 pm

This year’s American League MVP race might be one for the ages.  Whereas last year’s winner, the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, was the clear favorite, garnering 22 out of 26 first place votes, this year’s MVP trophy could really go to any number of players who’ve had incredible seasons.

The gang over at BleacherReport.com have put together this nifty slideshow, going over this year’s contenders.  One person not mentioned in their slideshow, however, is Jacoby Ellsbury.

While the likes of Curtis Granderson, Jose Bautista, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Ellsbury’s teammate Adrian Gonzalez are all worthy, it seems a little odd to not include Ellsbury in the list considering his gaudy numbers (.319 average, 28 homeruns, 98 RBIs, 200 hits and 37 stolen bases) and the fact that he is, if not the best, then one of the best in the bunch (Granderson is no slouch in center field himself).

Ellsbury may reach the rare air of a 30 home run/30 stolen base season. Regardless of the MVP trophy, he’s having a career defining year.  What may be hurting him, aside from the insanely talented pool of MVP candidates this year, is the same thing hurting Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox are swooning right now (then again, not all the MVP candidates play for good teams).

The Red Sox need to win a bunch of games to finish out this season, and Ellsbury needs to continue his torrid September, to give him a real shot.

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September 26, 2011

Jacoby Ellsbury Is The Definition of Most Valuable Player

Filed under: Navajo,News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , , — ICTMN Staff @ 3:49 pm

As the debate rages for who is the most valuable player in the American League, Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo, reminded Boston Red Sox fans who is the most valuable player on their team.  As the Red Sox have fallen deeper into a nightmarish September that has seen them lose 18 games, with the possibility of missing the playoffs becoming all too real, Ellsbury may have just singlehandedly saved their season.

The Red Sox center fielder launched a three-run home run in the top of the 14th inning last night against the New York Yankees, leading the Sox to a 7-4 vicotry (it was his third homer of the day, he had two in the day game of the double header, the only two runs Boston scored.)  The blast also kept the Red Sox one game ahead of the Tamp Bay Rays in the American League wild-card race, which is coming right down to the wire.

Ellsbury’s numbers this year are mind blowing.  He’s become only the seventh player in major league history to hit at least 30 home runs, steal 30 bases, have 100 RBIs, 100 runs and 200 hits in one season.  Atop of these gaudy numbers, Ellsbury has made plays when it’s counted, hitting walk off home runs, game winning hits, and keeping his team in games they would have lost terribly were it not for his consistently outstanding play all season.  He has done all this while playing stellar in his center field position.

The Red Sox are not out of the woods yet.  They head to Baltimore to play the Orioles while the Tampa Bay Rays come to New York.  In last place in the American League East, the Orioles have nothing to lose in their effort to play spoilers against the Sox.  The Sox will need to keep winning and hope for their hated New York rivals to beat up on the Rays as well.  The one thing Boston can count on, however,  is their most valuable player, Jacoby Ellsbury.  If the Red Sox make the playoffs, it won’t matter if Ellsbury doesn’t win the AL MVP award, he’ll have done something much more important — kept his team alive for the post season as they go for the only hardware that matters, a World Series ring.

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September 30, 2011

Illinois High School Says Goodbye to Final Remnant of Native Mascot

Filed under: News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , , , , — ICTMN Staff @ 5:30 pm

Better late then never.  According to Pantagraph.com, Illinois’ Bloomington High School Purple Raiders have put the last artifact from the school’s nearly 30-year use of an American Indian as their mascot up for sale.  A nearly life-sized statue of an American Indian that was a gift from the class of 1989 (each year, the senior class donates a gift to the school) and has stood in a glass cabinet in the school’s library will be auctioned off at the annual BHS Boosters steak fry tomorrow, reported Pantagraph.com. Apparently the school district looked into options for finding the statue a new home, which included the McLean County Museum of History, but ended up deciding to donate the statue to the booster club, which will share the proceeds from the auction with this year’s senior class.

The team will keep the name Purple Raiders, but they will have no visual connection to American Indians.  The school board voted in 2001 to retire the American Indian image from all aspects of the school, including a medallion that had an American Indian face in profile hung on the exterior wall. The medallion was also donated to the boosters in 2002 and sold at auction.

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly, who was the school’s principal in the summer of 2001, said that the school board decided to discontinue the use of the American Indian image because of the increasing mood in Indian Country and the nation at large that the use of such mascots is racially and culturally insensitive.

“We weren’t pioneers,” Reilly told Pantagraph.com, “but [we] did it early on.”

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October 8, 2011

Why Jacoby Ellsbury Should be the American League MVP

Filed under: Navajo,News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , , — Ralph Richardson @ 5:30 pm

Jacoby MaCabe Ellsbury, the first Native American of Navajo descent to reach the Major Leagues and member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, is one of those rare athletes who are good at every sport they play.  Born to Jim and Margie Ellsbury, Jacoby was a great basketball, football, and baseball player in high school. In his senior year, Jacoby hit .681 and had 82 stolen bases.

Ellsbury’s rareness reached new heights this season, as he joined only six other players in major league baseball history and the first ever for the Boston Red Sox to have 30 or more home runs, 30 or more steals, 200 or more hits and 100 or more RBIs in a single season.  He joins the likes of Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez and Valdimir Guerrero.

The question for Red Sox fans, second after “how in the world did they collapse and not make the playoffs?” is whether their one shining light will win the American League’s Most Valuable Player award, which would make him the first American Indian to earn the distinction.

Before we take a longer look at Ellsbury’s mind-blowing 2011 season, let’s take a look back on the road Ellsbury took in becoming the best player on a very talented, if under achieving, team.

Jacoby was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 1st round (23rd overall) in 2005, and was called up to the majors on June 30, 2007.  By the end of the 2007 season he was named MLB’s American League rookie of the month for September 2007.

In 2008 Ellsbury displayed the all around talent that the Boston Red Sox saw when they drafted him in the first round. He finished the season with 50 steals to lead the American League. He has also established his prowess in center field, playing 178 straight games, or 1,430 innings, without committing an error.  Ellsbury finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, behind Evan Longoria of the Tamp Bay Rays and Alexi Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox.

In 2009, Ellsbury followed up his great rookie season with another exciting year.  He led the American League in stolen bases for the second consecutive year, improving on his previous season’s output by adding 20 stolen bases, to finish with 70.  He also led the AL in triples, with 10, and won Defensive Player of the Year in MLB.com’s annual This Year in Baseball Awards 2009.

2010 was a glitch in the system for the fast rising Ellbsury, as he was plagued by injuries all season, sustaining hairline fractures to four of his ribs after a collision with teammate Adrian Beltre.  Despite repeated attempts to come back, his ribs were slow to recover, and he re-aggrivated the injury in an August game against the Texas Rangers.  In total, Ellsbury played in only 18 games.

In December of 2010, the Red Sox sent a major shockwave through the league when they signed All-Star left fielder Carl Crawford to a gigantic $142 million contract.  Ellsbury’s status as the star outfielder for the team was diminished due to his brutal 2010 season.  Many in Boston wondered if Ellsbury would remain on the team much longer, or find himself traded.

Now, the question is what will Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein give to Ellsbury to keep him in Boston after his monster season.  Crawford, meanwhile, a stand-up guy who placed the blame for his terrible season on his own shoulders alone, hit a measly .255 with 11 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Ellsbury’s season, however, was one for the history books.  As the Sox leadoff hitter, he contributed an incredible average with a ton of power to have one of the greatest single seasons for a leadoff man in the sport’s history.  He hit .321 with 32 homeruns, 105 RBIs, scored 119 runs, had a .376 on base percentage and stole 38 stolen bases. His on-base and slugging percentage was a jaw dropping .931. While his team went into a historic, crushing swoon in the month of September, blowing their playoff chances with a 7-20 record, Ellsbury alone almost carried them into the playoffs.  He hit .358 with 8 home runs, 21 RBIs and 11 doubles in September.

There are several American League MVP candidates that Ellsbury will be competing with, and despite the fact that MVP voters aren’t supposed to take in a team’s playoff status, surely it goes into the thought process. These players include the Yankees’ center fielder, Curtis Granderson, and the Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander, both helped along by being the best players on their respective playoff teams.  The Blue Jay’s Jose Bautista, who had a monster year, is in a similar boat to Ellsbury, he had an incredible performance for an under-performing team that missed the playoffs.

The BBWAA (Baseball writers of Association of America) members assigned to the National League and American League Most Valuable Player committee are told, “There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.”

The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931: (1) actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense; (2) number of games played; (3) general character, disposition, loyalty and effort; (4) former winners are eligible; and (5) members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.”

Using these guidelines, lets critique Granderson, Bautista, and Verlander against Ellsbury.

Justin Verlander 270x207 Why Jacoby Ellsbury Should be the American League MVP

Justin Verlander

Verlander, the right handed ace for the Tigers, had a dream season.  He compiled a 24-5 record, with a 2.40 ERA, 250 strikeouts, four complete games and two shutouts.  Detroit has won the last 12 Verlander starts.  He’s a shoe-in for the American League Cy Young award, but an MVP pitcher?  Verlander’s own manager, Jim Leyland, doesn’t seem to think pitchers should be in the MVP running.  “I don’t think a pitcher should be the most valuable player. I just think when a guy goes out there 158 times or 155 times and has a big year, I don’t think the guy that goes out there 35 times should be named over that guy.” Ellsbury played in a staggering 158 games this season.

Curtis Granderson  270x201 Why Jacoby Ellsbury Should be the American League MVP

New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson follows through on a grand slam

The Yankees Granderson smashed 41 home runs, had 119 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.  He is tied for the major league lead in RBIs, is two off the major league lead in home runs, and is just the second player ever, next to Hall of Famer Willie Mays, to have 40 homers, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored, 20 steals, and 10 triples in the same season (Mays did it in 1955). Granderson’s just the third Yankee centerfielder ever to hit 40 home runs, keeping company with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. Granderson’s case isn’t hurt by putting up these numbers on the best team in the American League, but with a .262 average and 169 strikeouts, his numbers aren’t as well rounded as Ellsbury’s.

Jose Bautista1 270x187 Why Jacoby Ellsbury Should be the American League MVP

Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista hits a single off Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Jose Arredondo.

Then there’s the Blue Jays Jose Bautista?  He hit .302 with a whopping 43 home runs and 103 RBIs. Bautista led the majors in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and has played a solid third base when the Blue Jays needed him to do so. He is also a very good defensive right fielder with a great glove and powerful arm. If everything was even, Bautista would have a much greater chance of winning the MVP, but since the Blue Jays had a mediocre season, this will penalize him as much as the Red Sox swoon will Ellsbury.  Bautista also doesn’t have Ellsbury’s speed on the base paths, had less RBIs, and half as many doubles as Ellsbury compiled.

With incredible numbers a given for MVP candidates, one often has to look into more esoteric statistics to put some separation between the players.

Fangraphs, a highly touted website focusing on baseball statistics, rates Ellsbury as having prevented 16 more runs defensively than the average centerfielder, which blows away Granderson.  In fact, Ellsbury’s defensive numbers are best among centerfielders in the major leagues. All of Ellsbury’s positive contributions give him a total WAR (wins above replacement) of 9.7, meaning that the Red Sox won about 10 more games than they would have been expected to with a replacement-level centerfielder playing everyday. No one else in baseball has a higher WAR than 8.4, and only seven other American Leaguers have a WAR of at least seven.

That’s why Jacoby Ellsbury should be your American League MVP.

LO RES Jacoby Ellsbury AP110925071463 270x368 Why Jacoby Ellsbury Should be the American League MVP

Boston Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury reacts as he rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the 14th inning of the second game of a baseball double-header against the New York Yankees, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York.

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October 24, 2011

Native Youth Campaign to Launch for American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

Filed under: Education,Sports,Video — Tags: , , , — ICTMN Staff @ 4:18 pm

Every November marks the celebration of American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, a time to “celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories, and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people,” as a new website states.  What began as American Indian Week by an act of Congress in 1986 has blossomed into National American Indian Heritage Month by 1990. In October of 2010, President Obama declared National Native American Heritage Day at the end of November as well.

This year’s theme, which was recently announced by a group of leading national American Indian and Alaska Native organizations in collaboration with several tribal and federal offices is focused on Native youth. The group also announced the launch of website designed to serve as a resource for youth, the general public, and organizers of the Heritage month events: AIANHeritageMonth.org.

“November is an important time for everyone to celebrate and reflect on the contributions of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.  The next generation of tribal leaders and citizens have held and will always hold a revered place in Native culture and society,” said Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians, one of the organizations leading Heritage Month efforts in a press release. Keel is the Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, as well as serving on the board of advisors at the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, which is an organizing partner with Heritage Month.

The most recent 2010 census report shows that Native youth are a growing population in Indian Country, representing 31.6 percent of the 5.2 million American Indian and Alaska Natives.  There are currently 1.7 million Native youth in the country under the age of 18.  These numbers show that the Native youth population will soon become active in society, including participating in the work force, voting in elections, and seeking higher education.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The above video, That’s My People, was created by Native Youth at the National Intertribal Youth Summit.  It is featured on the newly launched Heritage Month site. That’s My People is a public service announcement that represents “many voices and vocalizes issues that tribal youth across all regions identified as important to address in their communities,” as the synopsis explains. It was filmed on site during the NIYS at the Santa Fe Indian School.

In November, the Center for Native American Youth and the National Association of Broadcasters will release a public service announcement featuring Red Sox’s star Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo, former Senator Byron Dorgan, and NCAI President Keel to raise awareness about issues facing Native youth.

“Native youth are our most sacred resource and a focus on youth must start in our homes. The home is the center of our family and it’s where teaching begins,” said National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) Chairwoman Cheryl A. Causley, Bay Mills Tribes of Chippewa. “As Native nations we must share with the world our reverence for Native youth, and continue to educate our youth about our cultures and traditions, and the importance of community involvement.”

Heritage Month will focus on Native youth living in urban and rural areas.“The National Council of Urban Indian Health believes that it is important for our Native youth to celebrate and share their culture wherever they may be living, furthering their education, or working. We are looking forward to collaborating with our fellow national organizations and agencies during Native American Heritage Month to celebrate Native youth and wellness,” said D’Shane Barnett, Mandan/Arikara, Executive Director of the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH).

The groups of Native organizations that are involved with Heritage month include the Center for American Youth at the Aspen Institute, National American Indian Housing Council, National Congress of American Indians, National Council of Urban Indian Health, and the Washington Internships for Native Students.

For a list of events being held in the month of November in the Washington, DC region and for a national calendar of events, visit the website: www.AIANHeritageMonth.org

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