Category Archives: MLB

MLB “All-Star” Game farce

We are about an hour away from the MLB All-Star and one big story surrounding this game is just how many “All-Stars” there are.

By now the list is up to 84 players. At any given point in the season there are only 750 active players. This means that this year one out of every nine player is an all-star. I understand the need for the expanded rosters and have no complaints about it. What I do find stupid is how replacements for injured or ineligible players are named. Jon Lester was named as an injury replacement just because MLB rules for the next highest vote recipient to be named as the replacement. The problem there is that Lester is on the DL and obviously not able to pitch but since he got named as a replacement he gets his all-star bonus. Ricky Romero got selected as a replacement for him but couldn’t they just have selected him the first time around? Of course not. There is way too much money involved. What an absolute joke.

Speaking of jokes, lets get to C.C Sabathia and Derek Jeter. We’ve spent the last two weeks listening to stories about Jeter being a class act and and ambassador for baseball. You guys already know where I stand on that. Derek Jeter should never have been voted into the game in the first place. His batting average was below .270 when the teams were announced yet Yankees fans had stuffed the ballots for him. Him getting named as an all-star starter was a joke. Him skipping the game is a bigger one. Jeter is skipping the all-star game because he is tired. Ok, I have no problem with him deciding against playing (since his season is hardly all-star worthy) but he should be in Phoenix as the ambassador for the game that he supposedly is. That is not happening. Jeter is staying at home and still collecting a $500,000 bonus. Disgraceful. I’ll throw Sabathia into the same boat. He was named an all-star but is not showing up but took a trip to the Bahamas instead. Yup, he will be getting any all-star bonus in his contract as well.

But Selig said today that if he was Jeter he would have done the same thing. This guy isn’t serious right? This is the commissioner of baseball? Why are we still sucking up to Derek Jeter? Instead of calling out the players   Bud Selig is actually condoning this? How does he justify this when MLB wants the All-Star to matter?

How do you resolve this? Any player named to the team and skipping the festivities has to skip the first series back from the break. Even pitchers who aren’t eligible to pitch in the game because they pitched on Sunday must still show up.

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Near disaster at the Home Run Derby

It is almost hard to believe that on the day Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone was being buried after having fallen to his death at the Ballpark in Arlington, tragedy almost struck again last night.

There was an idiot (I don’t think there is a better way to describe this fool) named Keith Carmickle who almost fell over a railing trying to get a ball at the Home Run Derby last night.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Credit to @chinny on twitter for the screen grab.

The AP photo is even better.

You can find more photos here.
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The case AGAINST Derek Jeter

Would Derek Jeter seriously get so overrated if he didn’t play in New York?

I highly doubt it. Don’t get me wrong, he has had a good career but to call him an all time great is a joke. The guy hasn’t even been the best player on his own team throughout the career. A year by year breakdown shows one maybe two years where he was the best player on his own team. I have felt for a long time that there are three primary reasons why Jeter gets so overrated. 1) New York City 2) Rich Garcia making a horrible call in RF 3) Jeremy Giambi not knowing how to slide (he should have still been called safe because the play was a tie at worse).

In casual conversation yesterday I was coming up with a list of position players in the American League alone who I would take ahead ahead of Jeter from the past 15 years. I came up with the following list that included the likes of Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. Going a bit down to the next level and guys like Jim Thome, Ivan Rodriguez, David Ortiz make real strong cases. I’m sure if I put more thought to I’d come up with a longer list. All this is even before we start to get into pitchers like Roy Halladay and Pedro Martinez. Again, this is before going into a list of guys in the National League.

Please don’t give me any b.s about “playing the game the right way”. Jeter’s not the only guy who goes into stands to make catches or back up throws from the outfield. Don’t give me the garbage about him being a loyal guy either. Just because he’s played his entire career with the Yankees doesn’t make him a loyal guy. If he had this loyalty to the Yankees and New York he wouldn’t have held them hostage for every last penny last off season after the Yankees had overpaid him the last time around. Don’t give me any crap about him being a leader or making others better. Just where has he shown any of those characteristics? The guy made A-Rod’s life miserable when he first arrived in New York. Heck, if Jeter was this big team guy wouldn’t the best shortstop on the team (A-Rod) be playing shortstop?

I went year by year from 1996 to 2010 to look at guys on the New York Yankees who outplayed Jeter in that particular year. Here is what I came up with.

Derek Jeter

1996 – O’Neil, Tino, Bernie, Pettitte, Wetteland and Rivera
1997 – O’Neil, Tino, Bernie, Pettite, Cone and Rivera
1998 – Bernie and Rivera
1999 – Rivera
2000 – See Below
2001 – Mussina, Clemens, Rivera
2002 – Giambi, Soriano, Bernie,
2003 – Rivera, Giambi, Posada, Soriano
2004 – A-Rod, Matsui, Sheffield,Rivera
2005 – A-Rod, Sheffield, Rivera
2006 – See Below
2007 – A-Rod, Posada
2008 – A-Rod, Abreu, Mussina and Rivera
2009 – Sabathia, Rivera and Teixeira
2010 – A-Rod, Teixeira, Cano, Swisher, Sabathia,

In 1997 I left David Wells off the list despite him winning 16 games because his ERA was high. Heck, Chad Curtis in 334 less ABs hit for the same average, more HRs, just 20 less RBIs and significantly higher OPS. No, I’m not saying I’d take Chad Curtis over Jeter but just put #s into perspective.

In 1998 I left off Tino off the list despite him driving in 123 runs and O’Neil despite him driving in 116. I’ll leave Cone off despite him winning 20 games. I left Wells off despite him going 18-4 with a 3.49 ERA. I left off Orlando Hernandez and his 3.13 ERA because he only started 21 games. I’m being pretty generous with 1998.

In 1999 I say he’s a push with Bernie and you could make a strong case that Jeter’s .349 with 24 HRs and 102 RBIs deserves top spot but Rivera had 45 saves with a 1.83 ERA and a WHIP of .883 I probably won’t complain if someone wants to give Jeter 1999 but Rivera was definitely better.

In 2000 yes Jeter his .339 and you could make a case for him but a case for Bernie can easily be made. He hit 30 HRs with 121 RBIs despite only playing in 141 games.

In 2001 I left Tino off the list despite him getting 34 HRs and driving in 113.

In 2002 I left Pettitte and his 3.27 ERA off because he only pitched in 22 games.

In 2003 I left off I left Mussina and his 17-8 record with a 3.40 ERA off the list.

In 2004 I left Posada off the list despite him having a significantly higher OPS and more RBIs in 200 less ABs just because he hit only .272. I also left off Orlando Hernandez who went 8-2 3.30 ERA because he only started 15 games.

In 2005 I left off Giambi and his 32 HRs because he drove in just 87 and hit for a low average. I even left off Matsui’s 116 RBIs because he “only” hit .305 and had only 23 HRs. Matsui still had a better OPS and more extra base hits. Again, I’m being fairly generous here.

In 2006 there is a strong case for Jeter again. He hit .343 and drove in 97. Arguments against Jeter? Cano hit .342 and drove in 78 despite having 140 fewer ABs. A-Rod also hit 35 HRs and drove in 121. Giambi ht 37 HRs and drove in 113. Rivera, Mussina and Wang also had great years. I’d give Jeter a push with Cano but people can make a case for A-Rod being right there too.

In 2007 you could make a case for Cano as well. I’m leaving 100+ RBIs from Matsui and Abreu off the list.

In 2008 I am leaving off a 32 HR season from Giambi.

In 2009 Jeter hit .334 and you can make a case for him but 5 other guys in the starting lineup alone matched his OPS. How can argue against Teixeira hitting 39 HRs and driving in 122? I’ll leave A-Rod off the list because he only hit .286 to go along with 30 HRs and 100 RBIs. Every other player in the starting lineup drove in more runs then Jeter despite having fewer Plate Appearances (Cano was only one with more ABs and he had just 3 more ABs). Everyone but Melky Cabrera had more HRs. Everyone but Cabrera had more extra base hits as well. How can you hit .334 in over 600 ABs and only drive in 66?

In 2010 I am leaving off Pettitte’s 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA because he only started 21 games. Heck, someone could make a case that Gardner and/or Posada (edit: also editing in Granderson here) had years that were just as good if not better.

Biggest reason I couldn’t care less about Jeter is because how ridiculously over the top Yankees fan get with him. Jeter was almost never the best player on the team. He spent few years being at best the 3rd or even 4th best SS in the American League alone (no matter how much Yankees fans want to claim that he was better then Nomar those years). Yesterday Yankees beat writers were posting quotes placing Jeter in the top tier of Yankees historically. Have these people heard of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle? At best he is on the 3rd tier of Yankees.

Being a good player is not a knock on a guy. Yesterday YES Network guys were already taking about him getting to 4,000. Can we settle down please?

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Fan dies at Rangers game

By now you’ve probably heard about the Texas Rangers fan who dies last night at the Ballpark in Arlington. I won’t embed the video here because not everyone wants to see it but it is available here.

Shannon Stone was reaching out to catch a ball tossed his way by Josh Hamilton when he reached out just a bit too far and fell about 20 feet onto concrete. He died on the way to the hospital according to reports. He was alive and aware on the ground asking the paramedics to check on his six year old son (there is a video of the fall in this link) who had come to the game with him.

It is a really unfortunate incident but what can really be done to avoid it? People do go crazy reaching for foul balls pushing everyone and everything in sight but this was just a freak accident.

There is a transcript available of what Josh Hamilton had to say about the incident.

Shannon Stone was a firefighter in Brownwood, Texas. There has been a fund established for the family by the city of Brownwood. You can find more information here. The Texas Rangers have also created a fund. There is more information available on their website.

Kudos to MLB and ESPN for respecting the wishes of the family in not airing footage of the fall.

Major League Baseball released this statement last night.

“All of us at Major League Baseball are shocked and saddened over the tragic death of Mr. Stone last evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with his son and his entire family. Major League Baseball has the utmost sensitivity to the safety of all the fans that come to our ballparks. Our players are encouraged to be fan-friendly and we will carefully review this incident with our clubs to continue to ensure a safe environment for our fans.”

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Jim Riggleman resigns as Nationals manager

Like everyone else I am pretty surprised to hear that Jim Riggleman has resigned as manager of the Washington Nationals despite the team having a 38-37 record.

The Nationals are above .500 this late in a season for the first time since 2005. Riggleman will end up getting a bad rap here for quitting on the team but the Nationals are pretty stupid for not having picked up the option already. What is the point of having a lame duck manager? Its not like he was asking for a 3 year extension today. He’s been talking to the team for an extension for a while. I was just listening to him on Mike Francesa’s show and he said all he asked for was a conversation about an extension this weekend when they got to Chicago. He was told the team didn’t want to have a conversation. Yes, Riggleman’s overall record as a manager isn’t very good but again I can’t blame here. No coach or manager should go into a year as a lame duck.

Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post had the best statement I’ve read so far about the resignation.

In the spirit of Marlins bringing back Jack McKeon, Nats should bring back Frank Robinson — NL east old-school!

Who do the Nationals get? Surely it is an appealing job for some big name candidates. Does Bobby Valentine make the jump from the booth?

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Boston’s domination of the sports landscape

Congratulations to the Boston Bruins on ending their three decade long drought for the Stanley Cup. Remarkably the teams representing the Boston area have won championships in each of the four major sports in the last 7 years. Is there another city that has done so in such a short time frame?  I can’t think of one.  Remarkably the Patriots now have the longest championship drought in the Boston market. On twitter we came up with a few who had 3 in short period of time.

Jets, Mets and Knicks won in 69-70.
Oakland had Warriors, Raiders,A’s 74-77.
Mets, Islanders, Giants did it 83-86.
Yanks, Giants and Rangers from 91-96.

Any others?

Darren Rovell of CNBC points out that up until 1993 the longest drought Canada had was five years but now they haven’t won one since 1993.

Darren Pang of Versus had to get creative on the post game show to get a microphone up to Zdeno Chara who is 6’9″. Yes, that is a hockey stick attached to the microphone.

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WSJ: How to Visit 30 Ballparks in 35 Days This Summer

Starting on June 6th are you up for a 18,000 mile road trip over the next 35 days?

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a story about a man who built a program to map out the ideal way to watch baseball games in all 30 MLB stadiums this year. The program built by Ben Blatt of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective takes into account an eight hour rest period after roughly twelve hours of driving.

What is the ideal road trip schedule this year?

GAME/DATE/MILES TRAVELED GAME/DATE/MILES TRAVELED GAME/DATE/MILES TRAVELED
TOR@KC, 6/6, 7pm (0) DET@COL, 6/19, 1pm (6,620) NYM@DET, 6/30, 1pm (12,248)
DET@TEX, 6/7, 7pm (563) TB@MIL, 6/20, 7pm (7,667) NYY@NYM, 7/1, 7pm (12,863)
S TL@ HOU, 6/8, 7pm (821) BAL@PIT, 6/21, 7pm (8,219) CLE@CIN, 7/2, 7pm (13,502)
KC@LAA, 6/10, 7pm (2,351) SD@BOS, 6/22, 1:30pm (8,808) CWS@CHC, 7/3, 1:20pm (13,798)
WSH@SD, 6/11, 5:30pm (2,448) SEA@WSH, 6/23, 1pm (9,257) TB@MIN, 7/4, 1pm (14,206)
CIN@SF, 6/12, 5pm (2,950) COL@NYY, 6/24, 7pm (9,483) PHI@FLA, 7/6, 7pm (15,981)
SF@ARI, 6/14, 6:40pm (3,705) OAK@PHI, 6/25, 7pm (9,580) COL@ATL, 7/7, 1pm (16,642)
CIN@LAD, 6/15, Noon (4,078) CIN@BAL, 6/26, 1:30pm (9,678) MIN@CWS, 7/8, 7pm (17,360)
KC@OAK, 6/16, 12:35pm (4,448) CIN@TB, 6/27, 7pm (10,647) TOR@CLE, 7/9, 7pm (17,705)
PHI@SEA, 6/17, 7pm (5,250) PIT@TOR, 6/29, 7pm (12,004) ARI@STL, 7/10, 1pm (18,267)

I would love to have the opportunity to do this one of these years as it is definitely one of the major items on my bucket list. As it stands right now I have watched baseball in at the Skydome in Toronto (now known as Rogers Center), Citi Field (home of the Mets in Queens), Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia as well as both old and new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. I also visited Wrigley Field in Chicago once but the Cubs were off that day but I still have a Mark Prior t-shirt from that trip.

How many stadiums have you been to? Would you ever want to take a road trip like this?

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Jorge Posada is a joke

Jorge Posada is an idiot.

There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. When you are making $13.1 million to play baseball and you ask out of the lineup because you got demoted in the lineup you need to get in touch with reality in a hurry. Reports out of New York are saying that an hour before the start of the game Jorge Posada asked out of the lineup for tonights game against nemesis Boston Red Sox because he got dropped down to 9th in the batting order. Just what was going through his head? In 109 at bats this season Posada is hitting only .165 (he is 0-24 against left handed pitching) and being in the last year of his contract likely would not play next year. According to Buster Olney of ESPN the Yankees are keeping all options open and that includes a possible suspension. Jack Curry of the YES Network quoted Posada’s father saying that Posada should have played today.

Posada’s 2011 stats

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP SH SF
2011 32 125 109 12 18 2 0 6 15 15 30 .165 .272 .349 .621 70 38 4 0 0

Late in tonights game word came out that he asked out of “back stiffness” but several baseball reporters are quoting sources who are denying that. The Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman himself went on the record earlier tonight and said that it was not an injury issue.

“There is no injury, obviously I’ve talked to Jorgie. I’m not going to comment on my conversations with Jorgie on it. That’s the only thing I’ve got to tell you.”

Posada’s wife got into the mix too commenting on the story via twitter.

Jorge loves being a Yankee > anything. He’s trying his best to help his team win. Today, due to back stiffness he wasn’t able to do that.

Yes, the Yankees are being hypocritical in demoting him when guys like Jeter and Teixiera are also struggling but being a major star does earn you that pass. Everyone has heard stories about him and Joe Girardi not getting along but again that doesn’t excuse this at all. It is only fitting that this game was against the Red Sox and Jason Varitek was on the other side. There is a veteran catcher who has handled things the right way the past few years. Keith Olbermann posted a picture from the press box showing Posada’s name penciled into the lineup in the lineup card that reporters got in the press box at 6:30 PM.

I am not discounting the great charitable work he has done on behalf of the “Jorge Posada Foundation” but him asking out of the lineup tonight is inexcusable.

Edit: Just watched the post game stuff. Posada is looking worse by the minute. His story is all over the place. He says his back was stiff but he didn’t mention it to Girardi. Um…why? Seems like revisionist history to me.
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