Tag Archive | "Major League Baseball"

Run For The Rawlings

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Run For The Rawlings

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

This weekend marks the annual Run for the Roses. The 139th running of the Kentucky Derby is this weekend with the quest for the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 still out there. Major League Baseball currently has a Triple Crown winner of its own in the Tigers Miguel Cabrera. With the season now a month complete how are the ponies lining up at the one month pole?

Miguel Cabrera

The Atlanta Braves and Justin Upton got out to a fast start. Upton was named National League Player of the Month and appears to be enjoying the new scenery. He hit double digit home runs in the month, but the one negative was not very many guys were on base for the long balls. If his brother and Jason Heyward can start to get on base in front of him, look out National League. At one point the Braves were 13-0 when scoring a run and 0-3 when not. To this day, no team has ever won a ball game without scoring a run.

A surprise start came out of the Boston Gate. After the down year of 2012, Boston raced out to a fast start and the best record in the American League. They are healthier and currently Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are a combined 10-0.

It was a good month for pitchers named Matt as Matt Harvey and Matt Moore raced out to several wins. They are a combined 9-0 with an ERA under 2.

Also strong early runs have to go to the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. One horse that has been doing it for years Mariano Rivera had 11 saves along with Jason Grilli of the Buccos.

Currently stuck in the middle of the pack is World Series favorites the Washington Nationals, and CY Young aces Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw. The two work horses are a combined 6-4 which is not quite elite numbers.

Could the Los Angeles Angels start to become the San Diego Chargers of baseball? The Chargers for the last few years on paper are always a team that is built up as a contender and every year they fall from grace and are home for the post season. The Angels with all of that offensive talent are under .500 and off to another slow start. Could a second straight year with an unimpressive April keep them out of the post season?

What could be viewed as an under the radar team in the middle of the pack is the Kansas City Royals. You will not find any Royal stats at the top of the lists, but collectively they currently are division leaders in the Central.

Still stuck in the gates for the 2013 race are a few surprises. The revamped team in Toronto has not quite showed up for their post position. Interestingly, two teams have team batting averages under .200 in the seventh inning on: the Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.

Los Angeles stars Josh Hamilton and Matt Kemp currently have 3 home runs combined and the batting averages are missing as well.

As the season turns into a new month, May will likely bring more moving and positioning for the summer run. And on the track for the run for the roses, have a little Goldencents. Enjoy the Mint Juleps and oversized floppy hats.

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B Strong

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B Strong

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

In the last week it was a proud time to be a baseball fan. There was no milestones reached, no must see plays, or terrific stat lines to wow over but there was something deeper that happened. The events that happened last week in the city of Boston were tragic. In the matter of minutes a tradition in the streets of Bean Town became a nightmare. The silver lining however, is that the great game of baseball and a great city became one and showed true beauty during a difficult time with honor and class.

BostonStrong

Growing up, my dad traveled a lot to Boston for work and I always associated that with the baseball team there. Not knowing any better, throughout the years I became a fan of the Red Sox. I have had the privilege to walk the streets of Boston where the marathon is held and watching the events last Monday hit home in a way. In addition, having a cousin currently preparing to run the Chicago Marathon made it strike another cord as well.

Last Monday was to be a special day in the city of Boston. It was Patriots Day in the city. The day is a holiday where fans take in a day game at Fenway and also celebrate Marathon Monday with the running of the Boston Marathon. In Major League Baseball as well April 15th was the annual celebration of Jackie Robinson Day across the league. Celebrating those two historical events, who would dream up anything but a festive day? But then a mere forty five minutes after the Red Sox won a ball game in walk off fashion, the earth shook with a moment in time that will now be linked to Patriots Day history forever.

If there is one city and one franchise that could rally around a tragedy like this it would be Boston and the Red Sox. That type of mentality is in their core as Bostonians. They are a tough, hard nose city. The Red Sox themselves have guys that are true leaders and role models that would not tarnish this tragedy. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Dempster, and David Ortiz are community guys that will help shoulder the pain of a city and lead a city as one. They will bear that cross and honor the city through the healing process.

The following day, it was fitting the Red Sox played a game in Cleveland where in the opposite dugout was former manager Terry Francona and a few former teammates. It was as if the game of baseball created a chance for brethrens to come together in a time of grievance. Also during their short time in Cleveland, Jon Lester made a start on the same mound where in 2007 he made his comeback from beating cancer. On the field it was a three game sweep in the win column for the Red Sox, but much deeper it was a group of guys forced into leading an example for a city and rallying together to overcome pain.

Around the league as well, support was displayed for Boston. Ballparks and cities united and rivalries were put to the side. To name a few, in New York and Chicago they played Neil Diamonds’ Sweet Caroline which is a Fenway Park mantra. Ben Revere of the Phillies showed remembrance on his glove. For a few moments in time, Red Sox Nation was supported across the whole nation. It was later discovered as well that in the marathon was the brother of former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein who was unharmed. The Red Sox are a group that has a knack of sticking with you. It goes to show that while you may be able to take them out of Boston, the ties to Boston will always remain.

Over the weekend, the Red Sox returned home to Boston. They came home to cheers of unity and a nation banding together. Fittingly, it also marked the return and season debut of fan favorite David Ortiz. Big Papi wasted little time collecting a few hits, but also providing a touching pre game speech as well for the crowd. There are no stats to prove it, but that Saturday afternoon ballgame in April could be one of the biggest moments in Fenway Park lore.

In the city limits, Patriots Day will no longer be just for remembering the battles of Lexington and Concord, but also for the tragic events of 2013. Sox Nation will do their part in honoring the fallen. They will help ease the pain, but they will also never forget. As always, Sox Nation will B Strong.

 

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Josh Hamilton – Keeper or Bust?

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Josh Hamilton – Keeper or Bust?

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Is Josh Hamilton a keeper? He is a bust? Or is it too late to proclaim? If you have been following my fantasy baseball woes, I traded Ryan Braun for Steven Strasburg and Josh Hamilton before the season started. Sure, Braun was named the 2011 National League Most Valuable player. Strasburg was named the Opening Day starter and Josh Hamilton can hit homeruns in his sleep. Strasburg may (or may not) have a pitch count. Hamilton might be a sensitive soul but Braun? Braun was connected to the Biogenesis scandal! Was I wrong to not hedge my bets?

JoshHamiltonAngels

You are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year. In fantasy baseball, I’m frankly the Democratic Party.

And not in the good sweeping victory of the 2008 Presidential election way…

Did I make the right move? Is Hamilton’s prospective 30 to 40 home runs worth just as much as Braun’s prospective 30 to 40 home runs (minus the Major League Baseball investigation)? Hamilton debuted for his new team, the Los Angeles Angels, on Monday against one of his old ones, the Cincinnati Reds. He started in right field and hit fourth.

Hamilton was unable to score any hits against Johnny Cueto. He went 0 for 4 with a run scored and two walks with a strikeout in his performance. In fact, Hamilton went 0 for 9 before his first hit on Thursday. In the top of the third inning, Hamilton singled with Erick Aybar and Albert Pujols on base. Both runners scored, giving Hamilton his first two RBI this year.

We all recognize that Hamilton has been one of the game’s best hitters over the past five seasons. Nonetheless, he isn’t known to have the best plate discipline. Chris Cwik of CBSsports.com reports that Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t want Hamilton to alter his approach regardless of Hamilton’s slow start. He said, “You wouldn’t ask a guy like Vlad Guerrero to try to draw more walks.” Scioscia points out that Hamilton’s aggressive mentality at the plate has worked for him in the past. He feels at this point there’s no reason to starting tinkering with Hamilton’s approach.

On Friday, the team hoped Hamilton would turn his fortunes around against another former team of his, the Texas Rangers. However, he wasn’t that lucky. Hamilton went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in the game. He failed to work the count and was very aggressive at the plate. In his first game back, Rangers’ fans booed him loudly

As of 10 pm today on CBSsports.com, Hamilton has earned me 3 measly fantasy points. Braun has earned his lucky managers 16 fantasy points. Thankfully, Strasburg bailed me out a bit with 29 points. Nonetheless, I’m in trouble.

Listen, who says that Braun is not innocent? Can you name another person who was able to dispute his testosterone test and win an appeal of his 50 game suspension? I will not cast any dispersion on his name. Nonetheless, if I kept Braun, I guarantee that he would have been tossed from the game indefinitely.

I am the black widow of fantasy baseball. So to those of you who have Braun on your team, you are welcome. For those of you who wanted Hamilton, you are also welcome. At the rate he’s going, he should be batting my weight shortly. As long as he is on my team, he won’t be wreaking havoc on yours.

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Where To Start

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Where To Start

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

One of the landmark days on the sporting calendar is Opening Day in Baseball. This past week officially kicked off the 2013 season with the first full week of games that count. Opening Day is a great time because all 30 teams start 0-0. Every ballclub breaks camp on the highest of highs that this could be the year. The outlooks and optimism is brighter then the shinning sun. The trouble though is the unpredictable element of weather come Opening Day and just how many ballparks will actually see the sun come first pitch.

openingday2012

With the new divisional structure of all six divisions having an equal five teams each, is it now time to look into how teams begin the year geographically? These teams spend around two months in the sunshine climates of Florida and Arizona, then travel to destinations that could have temperatures well below a Tim Wakefield knuckleball registering on a radar gun. Being from the Midwest, Opening Day could be 60 and sunny or 20 and snowing. A few years ago, the Cleveland Indians had an entire home stand snowed out. With the new realignment, should Major League Baseball look into realigning the first week of the season?

In a proposed schedule change there would however be two exceptions to the schedule. The first being the defending champions opening up with a home game to celebrate their championship. The NFL has made this a tradition for nearly the last decade and it has been received quite well. It has become a spectacle. The champion should play host to a new season and be recognized for their accomplishment. To be able to raise a banner in front of a home crowd and have a national audience viewing.

There is precedence for this as MLB has tried to put the champion on that opening night telecast. I remember a cold night back in 2006 when the White Sox played host to a cold, rainy banner celebration after winning the 2005 World Series Championship. Major League Baseball needs to go back to this type of commitment and turn opening night into a day full of festivities.

The second exception would be opening day in Cincinnati. For decades, the first pitch of every major league season officially took place in Cincinnati. The Reds remain the only team to always open the season with a home game and that should not be broken.

Aside from those two cities, the opening week should begin out west, down south, and in domes. This type of scheduling will give cold weather cities an extra week to shovel snow and will the cold weather away. It will ideally limit any snow outs in Cleveland and 12 degree wind chills in Chicago and New York. The ball clubs should break camps in the desert and sunshine state and not need long johns and parkas for Opening Day outside in Minnesota.

In addition, a change like this could be welcomed by all hitters. It is not the best feeling to foul a ball off your body or take a hit by pitch when the weather is 30 degrees outside. Those types of bruises tend to leave marks that will last a few extra days. The upgraded temperatures could help those early season batting averages not look like single digit wind chills in Philadelphia. Fantasy Managers will also welcome that too!

Here is how Opening Day could look under realignment:

On opening night, St. Louis would be at San Francisco as the reigning champions. Also, games would feature Pittsburgh at Cincinnati for the traditional Opening Day festivities and Minnesota at the LA Dodgers as the first interleague match-up.

The rest include: Philadelphia at Atlanta, Cubs at Milwaukee, Colorado at San Diego, Mets at Miami, Washington at Arizona, Kansas City at Seattle, Cleveland at Oakland, White Sox at Texas, Detroit at the Angels, Baltimore at Houston, Yankees at Tampa Bay, and Boston at Toronto.

Come each Opening Day hope springs eternal, and maybe springs a little extra warmth.

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Ryan Braun – Is he a keeper?

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Ryan Braun – Is he a keeper?

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Well, I guess that’s too late to figure out now. I traded him for Steven Strasburg. Sure, Braun was named the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player. However,Strasburg was named the Nationals’ Opening Day starter. Sure, he may (or may not) have a pitch count but Ryan Braun was … connected to the Biogenesis scandal. I did not want to hedge my bets.

RyanBraun2

You are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year.

The same Joey Votto who missed like a third of the season due to injury.

In fantasy baseball, I’m kind of the kiss of death.

However, did I make the right move? Is 190 innings worth losing a prospective 30 to 40 home runs? The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder collected his first RBI of 2013 season on opening day and added to that total Tuesday night against the Rockies. He went 1 for 4 with a home run in the 8-4 loss. The 29-year-old launched a two-run shot off starter Jorge De La Rosa in the third inning. Braun has gone 2 for 8 with three RBIs through two games.

As of 7 pm today on CBSsports.com, Braun has earned his lucky managers 9 fantasy points. Strasburg has earned me 29. Nonetheless, the week is far from over.

Regarding anything that would keep Braun preoccupied…like I don’t know, the Biogenesis scandal, Major League Baseball claims that Braun is not at the center of the investigation. Michael Hurcomb of CBSsports.com reported on March 20th that Major League Baseball Vice President Rob Manfred denied allegations the league was targeting the Brewers outfielder in its investigation of the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. Biogenesis, for those of you who don’t know, was an anti-aging clinic located near the University of Miami. It is alleged that the clinic sold performance-enhancing drugs to what is growing to be a laundry list of baseball players, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.

These newer reports contradicted an earlier USA Today report which suggested that Braun was “MLB’s Public Enemy No. 1″ in its investigation of Biogenesis. “Everyone whose name has surfaced surrounding the Miami New Times story and Biogenesis is being investigated with equal vigor,” Manfred said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel.

Listen, who says that Braun is not innocent? Can you name another person who was able to dispute his testosterone test and win an appeal of his 50 game suspension? I will not cast any dispersion on his name. Nonetheless, if I kept Braun, I guarantee that he would have been tossed from the game indefinitely.

I am the black widow of fantasy baseball.

So to those of you who have Braun on your team, you are welcome. Braun is projected for 38 home runs, 109 RBIs and a .312 batting average. Steven Strasburg? I hear he’s projected to buy a new insurance policy now that he knows I kept him.

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