The Once Great Migration

I never really realized it until recently, but have you ever noticed how as players get older and stop producing at “elite” levels, they move out West.  Whether the player gets injured or just gets old, they do, in fact move.  I’ll give you some examples of that in a bit.  All I’m saying is that the East has the better players than the west.  The AL and NL East have the best teams; the AL and NL West have the worst teams; and the AL and NL Central are somewhere in the middle.

Obviously, there are some exceptions to the rule.  The East has some pretty pathetic teams.  Most notably, the lowly New York Mets, and the ‘wrong place, wrong time’ Baltimore Orioles.  The San Francisco Giants, the reigning WS champs, and the ‘slug you to death’ Texas rangers are in the West.  Meanwhile the Central has the most diverse pool of teams.  The fact that are 11 teams, rather than ten or  nine, may lend to that fact.

The Central divisions of Major League Baseball are, like I said, the most diverse.  In the NL, there are some teams that make me scratch my head and others that make me rip out my hair.  The Cubbies, who haven’t won a World Series in OVER 100 YEARS, the Pirates, and the Astros, all make me scratch my head.  I was worried that the Astros might in fact break the Mets’ record 40-120 season.  Thank god that prestigious honor still belongs to New York.  The other half of theleague, being currently, the Brewers, Reds, and Cardinals, all knwo how to play baseball.  The AL Central is in a constant state of flux with the royals 5th, Tigers in 1st, Whitesox, Indians, and Twins somewhere in the middle.

NOW, enough with the teams, let’s get to the players.  I find it to be remarkable how older players just move out there.  Some players start in the West, get good, and move East, then move back.  It’s funny.  I’m going to try and give you a full team of examples, so here goes.  These players don’t have to still be playing, just fit my description.

Catcher:  Mike Piazza, Todd Hundley
First Base:  Jason Giambi, Mike Sweeney
Second Base:  Aaron Hill, Kelly Johnson
Third Base:  Robin Ventura, Jorge Cantu
Shortstop:  Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra
Left Field:  Manny Ramirez, Hideki Matsui
Centerfield:  Andruw Jones, Vernon Wells
Right Field:  Carlos Beltran, Reggie Jackson

Starters:  Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Scott Kazmir, David Wells
Relievers:  Francisco Rodriguez, Heath Bell  Mets Rejects both…..

Now, just before I go, I want to point out that the New York Mets recently put David Wright on waivers.  He was claimed by the Colorado Rockies.  David Wright would join the 3B list if a trade gets completed.  Being the die-hard Mets fan that I am, you might think, ‘WHY would he want David Wright to be traded?!’  I mean, the Mets trading Wright would be like the Yankees Trading Jeter, or the Giants trading Lincecum, or the Nationals trading Ryan Zimmerman!  Well, my reader friend, because if the Mets can get one of or both of the following prospects, I would do it: the Tulsa Drillers’ Drew Pomeranz and/or Alex White, also of the Drillers.  Here’s the deals I would do:

David Wright

Mets give:
David Wright           for               Drew Pomeranz and a PTBN

or

David Wright, Jefry Marte, PTBN             for                 Alex White, Tyler Matzek

The Mets need young pitchign and speed.  And I’m willing to pay David Wright for it.  If any deal goes down, though…  the Mets have sent David Wright on the “Once Great Migration.”

                               

HIS NAME IS DAN UGGLA!!!

AH!  The famous homerun call by the Marlins announcers for any time Mr. Dan Uggla hits a homerun
 
Generally, when I think of Dan Uggla, I think of a guy who will absolutely slug you to death.  A 90-30-100 guy who is going to hit around .250.  This season up to about a month ago, was not the same.  The power numbers were still there, but he was hitting about .170.  Which is below that good ol’ Mendoza Line.

However something magical is happening now.  He is on something of a tear.  He is hitting in the middle of a 32 game hitting streak.  Over this hitting streak, he is looking a lot more like the Yankee Clipper!  Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio and his 56 game hitting streak appears to be a record that will stand for the foreseeable future.  I’m not gonna say anything about Mr. Uggla, but I will say that I am enjoying seeing him in such good company.

Moving on to some big names on the DL, such as Alex Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez, and my guy, Stephen Strasburg!

Strasburg made his second rehab start on Friday, going 3.0 innings, striking out 5 and walking 0.  While I don’t why the Nationals organization is doing this, I’m certainly in favor of it.  I love seeing this guy Pitch.  He just had Tommy John Surgery and he comes back throwing 99 mph.  Another reason I’m so excited about his return, is that in Mr. Matt’s fantasy league, Matt Deblasio, Matt’s cousin, was about to pick him up, but he said he would do it after he went to his baseball game.  Meanwhile, in the Nation Moze, I decided to add him approximately when Matt got to the field.  He came home to look for him on the waiver wire, and POOF!  He was gone and on my DL!!

Steven Strasburg

 
 Alex Rodriguez made his first rehab start the other day.  In his first AB, he smashed a homer to left.  This is good news for the Yankees, getting back their star third baseman.  However, it’s not going to help out in the long run.  The AL East title as well as the American League Pennant is firmly in the hands of the BOSTON REDSOX!

As I sit here, watching the fine programming on MLB Network, I think about just how AWFUL the New York Mets are.  I see former Yankee REJECT, Ian Kennedy, pitching seven strong innings of 1 run baseball against them.  I can NOT stand being a Mets fan…

Mr. Met

With that I leave you fellow baseball nuts!  Remember, always believe and enjoy in the magic of “It aint over till it’s over”

And to close, Imagine a single player winning all three major awards of the 2011 season.With no SP standing out in the NL, a possible candidate for the RoY, Cy Young, and if his team wins the WS, possibly the MVP, Mr. Craig Kimbrel!!!!

Craig Kimbrel

The Famous summer of 1961

   With summer baseball right around the corner I thought it would be fitting to do a post on the famous home run race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle from 1961, After all it is the 50th anniversary!

  When ever someone thinks of the New York Yankees the 1st thing that usually pops into their head is a tradition of pride and winning. This all started back in 1923 with George Herman Ruth aka “The Babe” who had 60 Home Runs in the year 1927 with the bombers. Ruth’s record was known as the greatest record in all of sports and not one person thought that it would ever be broken.  Ruth played for over 22 years with three different ball clubs (Yankees,Red Sox, and Braves ) and hit 714 out of the park.

The Babe

Then in December of 1959, the Yankees made a big time trade with the Kansas City Athletics(Who were known as the Yankees “Major league farm team). The Yankees received 7 players in the deal including big time stars in the making: Don Larsen, Hank Bauer and of course Roger Maris.  All three were stars in the making and really shined while playing for the Bombers in the 60’s.

Maris had an amazing season in 1960, winning the American League’s Most Valuable Player award and led the league in Slugging percentage, RBI’ s and extra base hits. Second to Maris in MVP voting was another Yankee who had becoming a fan favorite entering his 10th season with the club.That player was Mickey Mantle who had a Hall of Fame career, winning 7 Championships , 20 All Star seasons and was the  most recent player to accomplish a Triple Crown season. Mantle and Maris both came into the 1961 season with high expectations from both the media and each other.
 
 Both Maris and Mantle started out the season slow  but came on by the end of April. Once this great accomplishment was thought to be in reach both the people of New York and the harsh and overly critical media began to try to make the quest for 61 Home Runs into a competitive contest between Mantle, the “True Yankee” and Maris “The Outsider”.  This constant attention and sensation with the media was not handled well by Maris who coming from North Dakota never knew this kind of media or attention for a sport existed. 46 games into the season both Maris and Mantle had 15 HR’s(1 pace off from the Babe) which again made all the critics chirp about how this record that had been untouchable for nearly 35 year would never be broken.
As the season rolled on so did the nagging injuries of the great Mickey Mantle. The Mick had been known for his injuries since 1951 and was aging a lot faster than he should have been. From his knees to his arms Mantle was practically a walking casket for 5 to 6 years of his career. At the peak of the race both players were in the mid 50’s for HR on the year when Mantle knee and hip finally gave out on him. Mantle would finish the season with a total of 54 HR and leave Maris with the quest for 61.
 
There was a bit of contrevesory with this record. When Ruth hit 60 back in 1927 the MLB season only had 154 games on the schedule. In 1961 the MLB and league commissioner, Ford Frick expanded the schedule to 162 games and added 2 expansion teams to the AL (Angels and Twins). Because of this a question began to arise… Would it still be a valid record if it is broken after 154 games ? To answer this question Commissioner Frick decided to put an * next to Maris’ 61 HR if he were to break the record.  With this added pressure the 154th game of the Yankees season was in a series in the hometown of the Babe, Baltimore,MD against the Orioles. Maris hit 1 HR in the series giving him 59 with 8 games remaining on the schedule. Maris then struggled getting only 1 HR in his final 7 games going into the season finale against the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium. On October 1st 1961 Maris stepped up to the plate in the 4th inning of the game to face 24-year-old Tracy Stallard and the rest they say is history!  
 
 
Maris had done it ! He had single handedly passed the Babe and became the record holder. And to make things even better the Yanks would go on to win the 1st of 2 back to back chamionships with Maris leading the way. Maris would go on to play another 5 seasons in the Bronx.
Till this day a true baseball fan will say that Maris still has the record even though some JUICERS may have passed him he will always live on in history as the man who passed the Babe !
 

Hokies recap and a look into the Yankees offseason

Longtime no see. I greatly apologize for not posting anything in a while. A lot has happened since my last post.  RB’s Ryan Williams and Darren Evans have left the Hokies for the NFL  and the Yankees are starting to get their roster set for the 2011 campaign which looks to be even more competitive than last seasons. We’ll start with the Hokies …

To think Virginia Tech started out the season 0-2 with a close loss to Boise and a massacre loss to James Madison in Blacksburg. Tech went on to win their next 11 games in brilliant fashion under the leadership of senior’s Tyrod Taylor and Andre Smith who made the Hokies a dual threat of passing and running the ball. Another key part to the year was the inexperience on the defensive side of the ball. Over the course of the season Tech had 3 sophomore linebackers playing in almost every game this season. Even though it sounds like a major problem young talent like MLB Bruce Taylor ,  Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and even Redshirt freshman Jack Tyler who showed everything that it takes to be a playmaker in Bud Foster’s defense .

        (#58, JACK TYLER)

             The Hokies ended their season with a beating from the Stanford Cardinal and finished the season with a record of (11-3). This loss disappointed all of Hokie Nation and was very tough because it was the final game for QB Tyrod Taylor and RB’s Darren Evans and Ryan Williams.  Looking on the bright side of things the Hokies have a lot of young talent at almost every position including returning junior RB David Wilson who got very little playing time with Williams and Evans in front of him but he did take full advantage of his opportunities. Another key to Tech’s success in 2011 will be the QB position and who will be taking the snaps. The favorite right now for the role is Logan Thomas, who was originally a TE that offensive coordinator Brian Steinspring turned into a QB. Thomas stands at a towering 6’6 and can move with tremendous speed and elusiveness.  The recruiting class that is incoming for the Hokies includes talent on the defensive side of the ball mainly at on the D-line and secondary. The leader of the class right now is DT Kris Harley out of Indiana. Harley isn’t the biggest D-lineman (6’2,265 lbs) but he is very powerful and looks to be good down the road.  Now on to the Yankees….

        The New York Yankees have been relatively quiet this offseason with only two major signings (Catcher, Russell Martin and RP Rafeal Soriano).  What the bombers will have to depend on this season is young , home-grown talent for their outfield and pitching rotation. I do like this strategy but it is going to take time and I don’t see success this year with the team that they have especially in the rotation. One decision that I love is the decision to keep top prospect and future star Jesus Montero who I think will be worked and utilized in many key situations as the season rolls on.  One decision I hate is the signing of mediocre talent like Pedro Felicano and Andruw Jones. I feel like the Yanks could have and really should have taken advantage of all the premier options out there. Guys like Jayson Werth,Carl Crawford , and Cliff Lee could all be wearing the pinstripes if the Yanks stepped up and got the job done. Now as a result the Red Sox are fully loaded and look to be the heavy favorites for the title this year. Overall I give the Yanks a B+  grade for this offseason .

 

2010 a year in sports to remember

The Year of The Underdog

How will you remember 2010??? Will you think of the Tiger Woods situation , The world cup perhaps or maybe even Brett Favre and the end of his long and historic career. For me the way I’ll always remember 2010 is by the underdogs. We had 2 major sleepers win the 2 biggest titles in American Sports. Back in February the New Orleans Saints who had endured 42 losing seasons in franchise history took on the almighty Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts . The Saints pulled off the unthinkable upset and won the super bowl with maybe the gutsiest call in any super bowl… The inside kick to start the 3rd Quarter of play. The other major upset in sports this season was in the MLB. Even before the season began people started picking teams to win the fall classic. I was one how picked the Yankees. But I knew no on who was taking a team from the National league Western division , especially the San Fransisco Giants. But like the Saints the Giants found their way threw tight games and incredible pitching performances by young stars like Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. 

Some other top moments of 2010 were the USA’s run in the world cup, The UCONN women’s basketball team winning 90 Straight games passing legendary UCLA and Jimmie Johnson winning his 5th straight Sprint Cup in NASCAR. This year was also a big year of deaths to famous people who impacted sports in major ways. Heres a list of some of the great people the world of sports lost in 2010:

  1. Bob Feller  (MLB)
  2. Bob Fenimore (NFL)
  3. Jim Hunter (NASCAR)
  4. Carl Braun (NBA)
  5. Manute Bol (NBA)
  6. Dorothy Kamenshek (Baseball)
  7. Lew Carpenter (NFL)
  8. Gil McDougald (MLB) 
  9. Franklin Mieuli (NBA)
  10. Dave Niehaus (MLB)
  11. Bob Probert (NHL)
  12. Don Merideth (NFL)
  13. Bob Sheppard (MLB)
  14. Rob Santo (MLB)
  15. Fred Schaus (NBA)
  16. Freddy Sez (Baseball)
  17. Chester Simmons (TV)
  18. Jack Tatum (NFL)
  19. Ralph Houk (MLB)
  20. George Blanda (NFL)
  21. Sparky Anderson (MLB)
  22. Bobby Thompson (MLB)
  23. George Steinnbrenner (MLB)
  24. John Wooden (Basketball)

(All of these individuals contributed so much to their respected sports and will be missed by everyone who follows the games that they have impacted so very much.)

Another big part of 2010 was controversy. With scandals like Reggie Bush at USC and the recruitment of Auburn QB Cam Newton many writers had a field day writing and saying things about these amazing athletes but at the same time mysterious people. Another big topic of 2010 was the Concussion Discussion in the NFL. With new rules put in place against big hits many people are questioning the toughness of the NFL but there are some who say that this needed (Those people don’t even watch football). My view on the topic is that you just shut up and play football. Think of back in the day when players had a little or sometimes no facemask. They were still knocking each other out and no we have tons of protection but we have become babies and want to take away the best part of football… CONTACT !! Overall I enjoyed the 2010 sprts season. Even though neither one of my 2 favorite teams (Yankees and Va Tech) had a chance to compete for a championship they still both had good season and the Hokies can still add to their glorious streak of 11 win in a row with a win against Stanford on Monday 1/3/11 on ESPN.

Heres a look back into all the championship winners in the world of sports for the year 2010:

MLB: San Fransisco Giants over Texas Rangers

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks over Philadelphia Flyers

NFL: New Orleans Saints over Indianapolis Colts

Hope you all enjoyed your 2010 and I wish all of you a happy,healthy and successful 2011 !!

Maybin a Good Move

The Florida Marlins and San Diego Padres have worked out a deal involving Cameron Maybin, Ryan Webb, and Edward Mujica.  This trade send over Maybin, who is in my opinion, a fourth outfielder anywhere he goes, IF THAT.  and two relievers that the Marlins think will help him in 2011.

I am unable to see any value in Maybin.  The only good he did for any club was when the tigers sent him away in the Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis deal.  Although Willis probably would have been better served staying in the National League, the tigers got the right end of the stick there. 

As for Webb and Mujica,  I see where the Padres are coming from here.  They don’t lose the last three innings of the game for them and they get a “centerfielder.”  The Padres’ pitching coach said of Webb that he could become a future closer….That’s great.  With Heath Bell to look up to in San Diego and now Leo Nunez to look up to in Florida, I must say I don’t think that will become a reality anytime soon.

Spekaing of Heath Bell, the ex-Met turned good.  (GOOD GOD! ISN’T THAT THE CASE ALWAYS)  That back end of the Padres ‘pen is the best in baseball.  Individually, Bell, Adams, and Gergerson are not the best 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guys.  But when you put them together, they sure make one helluva wall to climb for teams looking up at the Friars late in ballgames.

If some of you peope are wondering why I say that is because that I think that the best 7th inning guy(he can be 8th inning too) in baseball is Pedro Fleiciano.  I think the best closer is Billy Wagner.  Hmmmmm EX-MET TURNED GOOD!  Are we seeing a trend here?  I sure do think so. 

Then there are cases of the Mets giving up talent, then getting it back when the talent isn’t gonna be hitting in Shea Stadium anymore.  Those walls are far out of the reach of Jason Bay’s bat.  He homered in 4 games last season.  that was IT!  Two games with two homers and two games with a bomb a pop.  WE HAD HIM!!!!!  traded him and then he went on to a career worth a big contract in Fenway Park with his buddy the Green Monster.

I understand that Jason Bay did have a season shortened by concussions, but let me tell you that when I drafted him in the 7th round of my fantasy draft and THAT was the season he gave me, I nearly threw my computer in the trash.  However, I do hope to see Bay make a name for his 120-something million dollar contract in 2011.

“From Worst to 1st” : The Cliff Lee Saga

At 12:30 today I was very excited…. For what you ask? Well of course I am talking about the possibility of the New York Yankees trading key catching prospect Jesus Montero and others for 2008 CY Young award winner Cliff Lee. Lee who had an amazing season last year with the Philadelphia Phillies is repeating his summer success with the Seattle Mariners and will now be saying hello to George W. Bush and the 1st place Texas Rangers. The Rangers who have been built into a slugging powerhouse by Texan Nolan Ryan have made moves like bringing All-Star catcher Bengie Molina to the Big Red State from San Fran and have young aces like C.J Wilson and Colby Lewis who both have ERA’s in 3.30 range and winning records both are also age 30 or below. But the big story about this is that the once terrible Rangers have moved from contenders to serious contenders who can challenge the powerhouses from the East for the American League Pennant. The Rangers also posses hitters swinging big sticks like once number 1 overall pick Josh Hamilton and veterans like Bengie Molina behind the plate and Vlad “The Bad” Guerrero at the DH spot. To tell you the truth as a member of Yankees Universe I fear the Rangers because they have all the assets of a killer team. Good Starters, Powerful and disciplined hitters and finally a young fiery bullpen anchored by Nafteli Feliz who currently has 23 saves under his belt. And now you add Cliff Lee to the mixture that’s like adding gasoline to a bon-fire literally this team will burn out any team in its path.

Cliff Lee

Another point that I would like to make is that this is not the 1st time that Cliff Lee has traveled from a worst to 1st place team. Back at the deadline last season Cliff Lee was dealt from the Cleveland Indians to the Phillies who then shipped the All-Star to the rainy Seattle tundra and became a part of the worst place team and is now in maybe the best situation for him. I do predict that Lee will go the Free Agent route and as I said in a comment that I left on Andy’s most recent post. Lee will be a part of a free agent class that will include Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth who I suspect will all join the universe and put on the pinstripes and win a title with the greatest team in all of sports. Anyway that’s all I’ve got for you guys tonight. For those of you that read us off of Facebook I thank you all and for all you regulars keep on coming !!