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Steve Lyons (baseball)

Steve Lyons (baseball)

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Stephen John Lyons is a former Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 player and a television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 sportscaster
Sportscaster
In sports broadcasting, a commentator gives a running commentary of a game or event in real time, usually during a live broadcast. The comments are normally a voiceover, with the sounds of the action and spectators also heard in the background. In the case of television commentary, the commentator...

. He is of French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 and Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 descent, and currently resides in Hermosa Beach, California
Hermosa Beach, California
Hermosa Beach is a beachfront city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Its population was 19,506 at the 2010 census, up from 18,566 at the 2000 census....

.

He was initially an outfielder
Outfielder
Outfielder is a generic term applied to each of the people playing in the three defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder...

 and third baseman
Third baseman
A third baseman, abbreviated 3B, is the player in baseball whose responsibility is to defend the area nearest to third base — the third of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run...

, but found a niche as a utility player
Utility player
In sport, a utility player is one who can play several positions competently, a sort of jack of all trades. Sports in which the term is often used include association football , baseball, rugby, rugby league, water polo and softball....

. He played 9 seasons in the majors, from to , during which he was released a number of times. After his retirement, he became a television baseball commentator.

Early life


Lyons was born in Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle, northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to...

, and grew up in Eugene
Eugene, Oregon
Eugene is the second largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Lane County. It is located at the south end of the Willamette Valley, at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, about east of the Oregon Coast.As of the 2010 U.S...

 and Beaverton, Oregon
Beaverton, Oregon
Beaverton is a city in Washington County, Oregon, United States, seven miles west of Portland in the Tualatin River Valley.As of the 2010 census, the population is 90,267. This makes it the second-largest city in the county and Oregon's sixth-largest city...

. He graduated from Beaverton High School
Beaverton High School
Beaverton High School, is a public high school located in Beaverton, Oregon. Opened in 1902, it is the oldest high school in Beaverton.-History:...

 in 1978, and attended Oregon State
Oregon State University
Oregon State University is a coeducational, public research university located in Corvallis, Oregon, United States. The university offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees and a multitude of research opportunities. There are more than 200 academic degree programs offered through the...

 on a partial baseball
Oregon State Beavers baseball
The Oregon State Beavers baseball team represents Oregon State University in NCAA Division I college baseball. The team participates in the Pacific-10 Conference. They are currently coached by Pat Casey and assistant coaches Marty Lees, David Wong, and Pat Bailey. They play home games in Goss...

 scholarship
Scholarship
A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.-Types:...

. After his junior year, Lyons was a first round draft pick (19th overall) by the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 in .

Professional career


Lyons made his major league debut in April at age 24.

He was traded to the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

 for pitcher Tom Seaver
Tom Seaver
George Thomas "Tom" Seaver , nicknamed "Tom Terrific" and "The Franchise", is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He pitched from 1967-1986 for four different teams in his career, but is noted primarily for his time with the New York Mets...

 in June . After 5 seasons with the White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

, he returned to the Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 in . In , his playing time diminished as he shuffled from the Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are a professional baseball club based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Braves have played in Turner Field since 1997....

 to the Montreal Expos
Montreal Expos
The Montreal Expos were a Major League Baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec from 1969 through 2004, holding the first MLB franchise awarded outside the United States. After the 2004 season, MLB moved the Expos to Washington, D.C. and renamed them the Nationals.Named after the Expo 67 World's...

 and back to the Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 for a third time. In Lyons was with the Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 during spring training, and was picked up once again by the Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 in May. This was his final season as a player.

Lyons has the rare distinction of having played at all 9 positions on the field at the major league level, although in an exhibition game. However, his fielding percentage at every position at which he played more than 6 games lifetime was lower than the league average, and his range was similarly limited. After he made 25 errors in 128 games at third base in , no team ever played him more than 28 games at the position in a season.

He also appeared as a designated hitter and pinch hitter. He appeared twice as a pitcher in relief, giving up 4 hits, 4 walks, and 1 run in 3 innings (for a 3.00 ERA).

His career batting totals included a .252 batting average, 19 home runs, and 196 RBIs.

Eccentricities


Lyons' colorful personality earned him the nickname "Psycho." He was known for such eccentricities as playing tic-tac-toe
Tic-tac-toe
Tic-tac-toe, also called wick wack woe and noughts and crosses , is a pencil-and-paper game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The X player usually goes first...

 and hangman
Hangman (game)
Hangman is a paper and pencil guessing game for two or more players. One player thinks of a word and the other tries to guess it by suggesting letters.-Overview:...

 with his spikes in the infield dirt during games.

His most remembered incident occurred at Tiger Stadium in Detroit
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

 on a Monday night in . In a televised game played on July 16, he created a stir that was replayed countless times. After sliding headfirst into first base to beat out a bunt hit, Lyons pulled down his pants to empty the dirt out and brush off his shirttail. After a few seconds (and a reaction from the crowd of over 14,000), he realized what he had just done and quickly pulled them up, humorously embarrassed. Although wearing sliding shorts under his White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

 uniform, this incident earned him another nickname, "Moon Man" Lyons. At the end of the inning, women in the stands waved dollar bills at him as he came to the dugout.

And the jokes began. wrote one columnist. Within 24 hours of the "exposure," he received more exposure than he'd gotten his entire career: seven live television and approximately 20 radio interviews.

Lyons himself once stated:

Broadcasting career


After his retirement from the playing field, Lyons became a color commentator
Color commentator
A color commentator is a sports commentator who assists the play-by-play announcer, often by filling in any time when play is not in progress. The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the play-by-play announcer is not describing the...

 for Fox Sports
Fox Sports (USA)
Fox Sports is a division of the Fox Broadcasting Company . It was formed in 1994 with Fox's acquisition of broadcast rights to National Football League games...

' MLB coverage in , working first in a studio pregame show (with Chip Caray and Keith Olbermann
Keith Olbermann
Keith Theodore Olbermann is an American political commentator and writer. He has been the chief news officer of the Current TV network and the host of Current TV's weeknight political commentary program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, since June 20, 2011...

) and later on game coverage (usually with Thom Brennaman
Thom Brennaman
Thomas Wade "Thom" Brennaman is an American sportscaster, and the son of current Cincinnati Reds radio sportscaster Marty Brennaman.-Broadcasting career:...

). He called several Division Series
Division Series
In baseball, the Division Series is the official name for the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs. Currently, a total of four series are played in this opening round, two each for both the American League and the National League.-1981 season:...

 and League Championship Series
League Championship Series
The League Championship Series is the official name for a round of postseason play in Major League Baseball which has been conducted since 1969...

 telecasts for the network.

Lyons was fired by Fox Sports on October 14, 2006 for making ethnically insensitive comments during his broadcast of a 2006 postseason game.

He has been the color commentator for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers are members of Major League Baseball's National League West Division. Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of nicknames before becoming...

 on Prime Ticket and KCAL
KCAL-TV
KCAL-TV, channel 9, is an independent television station in Los Angeles, California, USA, owned by the CBS Corporation. KCAL-TV shares its studio facilities with KCBS-TV inside CBS Studio Center in the Studio City section of Los Angeles, and its transmitter is located atop Mount Wilson.-Digital...

 on television broadcasts outside the NL West since 2005, broadcasting first alongside Charley Steiner
Charley Steiner
Charles Harris "Charley" Steiner is an American sportscaster and broadcast journalist. He is currently the main play-by-play voice for the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network, paired with Rick Monday.-Early career:...

 and, since 2009, Eric Collins
Eric Collins (sportscaster)
Eric Collins is a play-by-play sports announcer, working primarily in baseball and softball.Currently, Collins serves as the part-time television voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking over the duties of current Dodger radio voice Charley Steiner, who was the team's play-by-play announcer on...

. He also co-hosts the Dodgers pre-game and post-game shows for Prime Ticket.

Controversial remarks while broadcasting


Lyons has been known to make ethnically insensitive comments on multiple occasions; for example, implying that it was okay if a Japanese journalist's camera was smashed by Hideki Irabu
Hideki Irabu
was a professional baseball player of Okinawan and American mixed ancestry. He played professionally in both Japan and the United States.-Early life:...

, because as an Asian journalist must have half a dozen spares.

Lyons maligned outfielder Shawn Green
Shawn Green
Shawn David Green is a former Major League Baseball player.Green was a 1st round draft pick and a two-time major league All-Star...

, who is Jewish, for sitting out a game on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

 in , saying: Lyons was suspended briefly without pay after his remarks, and the network apologized for Lyons' comments, though Lyons never made an on-air apology.

In August , while working an Angels
2006 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim season
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2006 season started with the team trying to win their 3rd consecutive AL West title. However, they came short, finishing in second place with a record of 89-73. But the biggest story of the year was longtime Angels mainstay Tim Salmon playing his final season...

-Yankees
2006 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees 2006 season was the Yankees 104th season in New York, and their 106th overall going back to their origins in Baltimore. The season finished with the Yankees winning the AL East Division...

 game, Lyons discussed Italian American
Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

 Yankees' catcher Sal Fasano
Sal Fasano
Salvatore Frank Fasano is a former Major League Baseball catcher who is currently the manager of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Double A Eastern League, a Minor League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system. He is known to many for his famous Horseshoe moustache.Jeff Pearlman...

, and the fact that he had to shave his moustache to accommodate owner George Steinbrenner
George Steinbrenner
George Michael Steinbrenner III was an American businessman who was the principal owner and managing partner of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees. During Steinbrenner's 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death in July 2010, the longest in club history, the Yankees earned seven World Series...

's grooming code. Responding to a comment by his fellow Fox sportscaster about how one doesn't want to cross Fasano, Lyons replied:

Lyons and fellow sportscaster Thom Brennaman
Thom Brennaman
Thomas Wade "Thom" Brennaman is an American sportscaster, and the son of current Cincinnati Reds radio sportscaster Marty Brennaman.-Broadcasting career:...

 made fun of a 64-year-old New York Mets
New York Mets
The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League...

 fan wearing an unusual device over his eyes at a game during Game 2 of the 2006 National League Division Series
2006 National League Division Series
-San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals:-New York vs. Los Angeles:The series seemed over for the Mets before it even started, first by losing ace Pedro Martínez for the postseason and then losing probable Game 1 starter Orlando Hernández. Despite having a potent offense, many people didn't seem...

 between the Mets
2006 New York Mets season
The New York Mets' 2006 season was the 45th regular season for the Mets. They went 97-65 and won the NL East. They were managed by Willie Randolph. They played home games at Shea Stadium. They used the marketing slogan of "The Team. The Time...

 and Dodgers
2006 Los Angeles Dodgers season
In 2006, the Los Angeles Dodgers looked to improve their record from 2005. The team switched General Managers from Paul DePodesta to Ned Colletti, and hired Grady Little as the new manager. The Dodgers were able to win 88 games...

, with Lyons saying: The man turned out to be nearly blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

, except for limited peripheral vision in one eye, and this headgear were special glasses (a "JORDY
JORDY
JORDY or Joint Optical Reflective Display is an optical viewing device developed based on NASA technology. It is used to help the visually impaired see and read.It is commonly believed the name is inspired by the Star Trek character, Geordi La Forge....

," a magnifying device) that allowed him limited vision with which to see the game. Brennaman later apologized to the man and his family on-air during Game 3 of the series.http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2006-10-14-fox-lyons_x.htm?POE=SPOISVA

During their broadcast of Game 3 of the 2006 American League Championship Series
2006 American League Championship Series
-Game 1:Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, CaliforniaOakland was 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, while Detroit turned four double plays...

, broadcast colleague Lou Piniella
Lou Piniella
Louis Victor Piniella is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He has been nicknamed "Sweet Lou," both for his swing as a major league hitter and, facetiously, to describe his demeanor as a player and manager...

, who is of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 descent, made an analogy involving the luck of finding a wallet, and then briefly used a couple of Spanish phrases. Lyons responded by saying that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" – Spanglish
Spanglish
.Spanglish refers to the blend of Spanish and English, in the speech of people who speak parts of two languages, or whose normal language is different from that of the country where they live. The Hispanic population of the United States and the British population in Argentina use varieties of...

 for "speaking Spanish" – and added,

Fox firing


On October 13, 2006, Fox fired Lyons for making the above remarks, which FOX determined to be ethnically insensitive, during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series
2006 American League Championship Series
-Game 1:Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, CaliforniaOakland was 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, while Detroit turned four double plays...

.

Lyons was replaced for the last game of the series in Detroit by Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a professional baseball team based in Anaheim, California, United States. The Angels are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The "Angels" name originates from the city in which the team started, Los Angeles...

 announcer José Mota. Piniella later stated that he thought that Lyons was just "kidding" and that Lyons was, per Piniella's experience, not bigoted.

On October 16, 2006, the Dodgers announced that they would keep Lyons as a commentator for their road games. The team said that they gave Lyons probationary guidelines and that he would undergo diversity training
Diversity training
Diversity training is training for the purpose of increasing participants' cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills, which is based on the assumption that the training will benefit an organization by protecting against civil rights violations, increasing the inclusion of different identity groups,...

. Lyons continues to host the Dodgers' post-game show Dodgers Live.

Autobiography


Lyons wrote an autobiography
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

 titled Steve Lyons: PSYCHOanalysis that was published in 2001
2001 in literature
The year 2001 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:* The film version of J. R. R. Tolkien's classic book, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, is released to movie theaters...

. (ISBN 1-58261-360-5).

External links