Archive for February 2010

Spring Training is upon us!

February 27, 2010

spALDSdlp23 You couldn’t tell up here in North Jersey but baseball’s spring training is under way down in Florida and Arizona. Baseball is America’s pastime. Kids dream of playing in the big leagues, hell I still dream of playing in the big leagues and rest assured there is and never was any chance of that happening. In the dead of winter things are cold, soaked, and dark. Nothing is very exciting it seems. There are plenty of sports to be had including this years Olympics and college basketball. Oh yeah that’s right there is that junk league called the NBA as well. However, it just never feels like Spring until the players report to their spring training homes. That’s when you know this horrible winter is about to come to and end and finally baseball is back.

This year features my New York Yankees as defending world champions. They have a lot to prove this year as well. Their two biggest stars in Derek Jeter and Mo Rivera are both going to be free agents after this season. Granted, most likely they will re-sign but for how long and how much will be determined by how they play this season.

There are also some new faces in pinstripes this years. Curtis Granderson, Javier Vasquez, Randy Winn, and Marcus Thames, and Chan Ho Park are all new to the team. The Champs will be without Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon from last years championship squad. The Yankees still have the best team on paper and it will be up to skipper Joe Girardi to bring it all together for another World Series win. No pressure for Joe though, who is also in the last year of his deal.

The rest of the league has some very interesting stories as well.

Mark McGwire, fresh off of his steroid admission (wow shocker) is the new hitting coach for a very talented Cardinals team that features a one two punch in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Can McGwire help an already talented lineup reach it’s full potential? I think he has a wealth of knowledge to share with the team. Sure, he cheated. He also has learned a ton over the years on how to hit. He helped out Holliday before he was with the Cards and it is only going to carry over for the rest of the guys this year. It’s good for baseball for McGwire to be back in the game.

There are some high profile rookie pitchers that for the first time in a long time could make an impact on their big league clubs this season. Stephen Strasburg, the first overall pick of last years draft could be ready by June of this year. That’s just sick. The kid is 19 years old and ready to pitch in the big leagues already. I can’t wait to watch him pitch.

The Cincinnati Reds acquired Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. He has never pitched in the big leagues but he was outstanding in the last baseball classic. The Reds are betting on this kids success. They signed him to a 30.25 million dollar deal.  A little crazy for a team that has a total payroll of 70 million but hey what do I know right.

Johnny Damon is the new example of what happens when a player listens to an idiot agent. He wanted to be a Yankee. The Yankees wanted him back at two years 20 million dollars. His agent Scott Boras told him he could get him a 4 year 40 million dollar deal. Of course that was a joke and he is now on the Tigers for 1 year 8 million. Pretty costly mistake if you ask me.

The last thing that interests me is how the blockbuster Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay trade is going to work out in the end. I felt right from the go that the Phillies are actually a worse team now that Lee is gone and Halladay is in. I also feel like the Seattle Mariners will win the AL West with Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins on the team now.

Only time will tell but the season is upon us and winter is almost gone! Thank god because I can’t wait to get to the ball park this year.

Nyjer Morgan gets new style

February 27, 2010

Nyjer Morgan is the Nationals young superstar CFer. acquired from the Pirates in 2009 Morgan was second in the national league in stolen bases with  42. He also was first in getting caught with 17  failed attempts.  Oh yeah he also batted .307.

Morgan missed the Final five weeks of the season on the DL after breaking his wrist sliding headfirst . Morgan admits he slides like he does partly for show. In reality most of the time its not even close he is safe by a mile.

So this season Morgan will have to find another way to get dirty as Manager Jim Riggleman is instilling a feet first policy that not only applys  to Morgan but to Nats throughout the system.

“There’s a transition there. It takes a little time, but that’s why we got to keep practicing it,” Riggleman said. “Our message to the guys — not just Nyjer, but all of them — is any of them who have always slid headfirst, we would like to get you going feetfirst.”       (quote compliments of the Associated press)

It has been shown that players that slide feet first can begin thier slide later than those who go head first. This late slide causes the baserunner to reach the bag quicker. The feet first technique is also more effective in breaking up the play, this is especially true at the plate when coming in hard is often your best move on  aclose play.

Because baseball shoes are spiked on the bottom, sliding with the spikes up increases the probability of injury to the defensive player covering the base. Knowledge of this fact can often increase the defensive player’s fear of the possible contact from an impending slide and thus increase his distraction while attempting to make a play.

On the other side of the coin often the head first slide gives much less body exposure to the defender. Advocates of the head first slide often feel that they have more control of which side of the bag we slide to. One other move associated with such a slide is the swim move when the slider lifts his arm over the tag in an effort to tag the base and avoid the tag.

The Risks of the head first slide outweigh the benefits as 90% of injuries associated with slide happen during the head first slide. Makes you wonder if more teams will take this approach.

For now we are going to file this under interesting ideas. Lets take a look at it later in the year and see if its working out for them. I know ill be eatching to see if they really stick to this new  Philosophy or if its just a wild eyed nationals fantasy.

espn blogger has lost his cotten pickin mind

February 25, 2010

Ok I have made it well known that I feel that the writers over on ESPN are horrible. Now I’m not saying I’m better (but I’m not a professional writer) As far as professional writers go I wonder If guys like Rob Neyer even watch baseball. My grandmother had some good advise when she was alive it was ” Its better to remain quiet and be thought an Idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt” Now I realize that she didn’t coin this phrase but its one that if Mr Neyer knew he might not have me blowing up his spot this very minute. The piece in question is titled “Mark Teixeira is whats right (and wrong) with the Yankees. He trys to make the point that your best player should be younger and a middle infielder not a first baseman. Lets start by saying why? Why does your best player need to be younger than 29? and why in the middle infield? I think as a 29 year old first baseman Mark should be able to play at a high level for at least ten more years. I love Mark Tiexeria and he had a great season last year but Im not sure if he is the best player on the Yankees. He certainly had the best season in 2009 no argument there. But I do contend that Alex Rodriguez is the best player on the team. Last year he only played 120 games and still hit 286 with 30 HR and 100 RBI. His 13 year average is 162 games hitting 44 HR and 128 RBI’s . Alex may one day pass Barry Bonds on the all time home run list and If 100% this season will open more than just a few eyes and is my pre-season pick for AL MVP. Now don’t get me wrong its very close as to who is the best but in my opinion A-Rod is one the best in the game and one day all time. Now the really funny part is this quote: Is there anyone now on the Yankees’ roster with a decent shot at being the best player in the American League in 2011? One of the five best players in the league? I don’t think so. Normally I refrain from profanity but are you fucking kidding me. This guy can’t really be this big of an idiot can he? Let me see who had a “decent shot” at being the best player in the AL in 2011? How about; 1. Alex Rodriguez 2.Mark Teixera 3. CC Sabathia 4. Derek Jeter 5. Mariano Rivera Hell even Robinson Cano has a decent chance at being the best in the al in 2011. Now Im not saying they are going to be but I wouldn’t bet money against any of them. I would bet money that more than one of them will be in the top five players in the American League if not all of baseball. I almost think that Neyer writes this BS just to create controversy and he couldn’t possibly believe what he is writing. But then I remember how much ESPN sucks and then I think maybe ESPN writes this crap to give me more evidence proving that I’m not just whistling Dixie over here. Maybe I should write a piece called the worst of ESPN. Maybe there is to much material and I wouldn’t know where to start.

Josh Hamilton should play in a bubble

February 24, 2010

josh running the basesJosh  Hamilton needs to be the boy in a bubble. Every time I turn around it seems the guy is getting hurt. Luckily this time its nothing serious as he left spring training drills today with a shoulder contusion. Apparently the injury happened while running down a fly ball.

“I just fell and landed on my shoulder and bruised my shoulder,” Hamilton said. “We’ll give it 12 to 24 hours and see how it goes.”

Josh had various injury’s in 2009 that limited him to just 89 games. The Rangers are hoping that a healthy Hamilton will produce results similar to his 2008 campaign when he batted .304 with 32 Homers and 130 RBI’s.  Hamilton is listed as day to day.

The Red Sox did it wrong

February 23, 2010

The way the Red Sox have handled the Mike Lowell situation is a disgrace. Granted it was not expected that the trade with the Rangers was going to fall apart but the Red Sox have basically made it known that he is out and are not giving him any chance to make or stay with the club in any capacity. The Red Sox have stated that if he preforms well this spring than he will get traded faster.

If I was Lowell I would find some way to stick it to them. Mike’s replacement Adrian Beltre may be younger and a better defender but if Lowell is healthy the Sox will sorely miss his offensive production. I hope that Mikey lands with a team and hits a grand slam off Beckett and spits on Beltre’s shoes as he rounds third. He doesn’t deserve the way the Red Sox have treated him. Of course he is not the first to get run out of town by the Chowder heads , See :Nomar Garciapara and Manny Ramirez

Jake Peavy shows he is a team player

February 23, 2010

When Ozzie Guillen asked Jake Peavy to be the opening day starter he said no. Why you ask, Because he stated that ” This is Marks team, he should be the guy” referring to White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle who will be going for the franchise record eighth consecutive opening day appearances.

Ozzies thought was to get Buehrle a few extra days and that Jake was the best guy to throw out there.  Jake is a team player and it seems that he will be a great clubhouse presence. Lets hope that he can pitch  great as well. I personally believe that the Sox made a great move getting Peavy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being one of the top five pitchers in the American Leauge.

knowing when to say when

February 21, 2010

After 17 years in the MLB should Carlos Delgado say when? His agent announced this week that Delgado has had his second hip surgery in less than a year. The prognosis ,acoording to his agent ,is that in four months he will be the Delgado of old and not an old Delgado.

For Gods sake Carlos you are 37 years old how  much more do you have to prove? Delgado has nothing to prove to me, he is a lifetime .280 hitter who is a two time All Star and is closing in on 500 HR for his career. Is he a hall of famer? I think so, can he play at the same level he did in 2008 when he hit 38 HR and 115 RBI’s?, maybe he can, but how about he retires now before he is tagged as one of those players  who just didn’t know when to say when.