Friday, September 28, 2007

Bonds' $750,000 baseball

Imaging catching $750,000?

The baseball which broke one of the game's biggest records - the total number of home runs hit - is set to be branded with an asterisk by the guy that just bought it in an auction. (He clearly has more money than sense).
The ball was bought by fashion designer Marc Ecko for $752,467 after being caught by a New York Mets fan.

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Arizona belt the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-0

Arizona smashed the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-0.

Micah Owings and three relievers combined on an eight-hit shutout Thursday afternoon, the rookie right-hander also helped himself at the plate with four hits and three RBI.
Arizona's Scott Drew had two runs, three hits, one a solo homer in the top of the first, and three RBI.


Friday, August 31, 2007

MLB AL Playoff Race Odds

With Boston, short of a cataclysmic collapse, in the playoffs, it's time to evaluate who else will be joining them in the chase for the World Series. I might be short-changing the National League, especially considering the reigning champs are the St. Louis Cardinals, but if the American League plays the bridesmaid for a second consecutive season, I think everyone will be a bit surprised.
Seattle Mariners

What to like: The bullpen. Everyone knows about J.J. Putz's dominance, but what about the rest of the unheralded pen? George Sherrill is the best middle reliever no one has hear of, and Brandon Morrow, Sean Green, and Eric O'Flaherty have been brilliant.

What not to like: The starters. Aside from Felix Hernandez, the rest of the starting staff is iffy at best. Jeff Weaver has been better of late, but Miguel Batista, Jarrod Washburn, and Horacio Ramirez hardly strike fear into opposing lineups.

Really? Starting August 17th, the Mariners play 44 games in 45 days. And considering the enormous distance they must cover when playing any road game, it could really wear out the team. That and the brutal schedule they face over the remainder of the season.

Verdict: They still have hopes of the division, but the wildcard is much more realistic, and even that is going to be tough. 40/60 to make the playoffs.
Cleveland Indians

What to like: The pitching. C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona lead a surprisingly strong staff that has been bolstered by Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook. Their bullpen has also been rock steady. Aaron Fultz, Rafael Betancourt, and Rafael Perez have been reliable, and although he's nerve-wracking, Joe Borowski has been getting the job done as the closer.

What not to like: The schedule. Eight games in Los Angeles and Seattle, as well plenty of road games against divisional foes will make for a long September.

Really? Due to the inclement weather at the beginning of the season, the Indians lose a home game to the Mariners that they will make up in Seattle.

Verdict: The whole season might boil down to three games in September, when the Tribe host the Tigers for what will likely be the division decider. 30/70 to make the playoffs.
Detroit Tigers

What to like: The lineup. They mash, even without Gary Sheffield.

What not to like: Starting depth. They are chasing Cleveland, and every game game counts. Andrew Miller and Chad Durbin have been serviceable, but they need a healthy Kenny Rogers to solidify their staff.

Really? They have a total of six games remaining against teams still in the playoff hunt.

Verdict: Now that their bullpen is getting healthy again, and with their frontline starters (Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, and Nate Robertson), as well as their thunderous lineup, they should still possess the firepower to pull ahead of the Indians for the division. 70/30 to make the playoffs.
Los Angeles Angels

What to like: Mike Scioscia. In addition to having the most well-balanced team in the American League, the Angels are also lucky enough to have the best manager, as well. He always puts his team in the best position possible to win.

What not to like: The offense. They are one of the best at manufacturing runs, but as we've seen in some of their recent postseasons, their hitters come up a little short when the opposition can stifle their running game.

Really? Usually reliable Scot Shields has been awful in the second half of the season, causing a bit of upheaval in their bullpen.

Verdict: They are almost a lock to make the playoffs. The question in Anaheim is, can they make it to the World Series. 90/10 to make the playoffs.
New York Yankees

What to like: The talent. At some point, everyone will probably get on the same page to make another big run like they did in the middle of the season.

What not to like: Joe Torre. His loyalty to fading stars like Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi, combined with his refusal to allow young players to emerge, have made for an interesting campaign. He was largely criticized in last year's playoffs for abandoning the team that won the Yankees the division and instead opting for a lineup that resembled the one that got the Yankees off to a slow start in 2006.

Really? Roger Clemens and Phil Hughes have struggled throughout August, and their effectiveness is something the Yankees will rely on.

Verdict: There is a lot of panic in the Bronx, but it's tough not to see the Yankees playing in October. Based on Seattle's schedule and the tight AL Central divisional race, the Yankees should be lucky enough to sneak into the wild card. 60/40 to make the playoffs.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ken Griffey Jr. hits 2500 in MLB

Ken Griffey Jr. became only the 84th player in MLB history to reach 2500 hits as he struck a first inning single against the Braves.

He was up against Atlanta’s John Smoltz with two outs in a scoreless game but Griffey got a defensive shift playing for him to pull. However, he went to the opposite field and hit a easy base shot on the ground into the left field which extended his hitting streak for four games.

Wow, nice record!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

2007 MLB Draft

Here's how this year's MLB baseball first round draft will go:

1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2. Kansas City Royals
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Baltimore Orioles
6. Washington Nationals
7. Milwaukee Brewers
8. Colorado Rockies
9. Arizona Diamondbacks
10. San Francisco Giants
11. Seattle Mariners
12. Florida Marlins
13. Cleveland Indians
14. Atlanta Braves
15. Cincinnati Reds
16. Toronto Blue Jays
17. Texas Rangers
18. St. Louis Cardinals
19. Philadelphia Phillies
20. Los Angeles Dodgers
21. Toronto Blue Jays
22. San Francisco Giants
23. San Diego Padres
24. Texas Rangers
25. Chicago White Sox
26. Oakland A's
27. Detroit Tigers
28. Minnesota Twins
29. San Francisco Giants
30. New York Yankees

for the first time, MLB has decided to televise the draft. After teams make their first selection, the draft will revert back to the traditional conference call format.

In this year’s MLB draft, there are a number of players who are threatening to hold out for a lot of money. We'll see how that goes.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Barry Bonds and the Drugs Saga

For the past year or so, everyone has been voicing their opinion on Barry Bonds and the all-time home run mark. In 1995, another one of baseball's hallowed records was within reach by a modern-day player. Cal Ripken Jr. was a season's worth of games away from passing Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played mark.

On the night of Sept. 5, 1995, Cal surpassed Gehrig and became the all-time leader in consecutive games played. It was an accomplishment that no one ever believed could be attained, especially in the wake of an era of overpriced egotistical athletes. Through it all, Ripken continued to play, setting a mark of 2,632 consecutive games played. I find this record important for two very appropriate reasons: it was a record that no one thought would be touched and because of the way baseball celebrated the moment.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Baseball news - Mets 6, Florida 3

Endy Chavez hit a key two-run single Wednesday afternoon to help the New York Mets beat Florida, 6-3.

Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Ruben Gotay all drove in a run. Starter and winner Oliver Perez had two runs and two hits, while David Wright and Shawn Green also had two hits for the Mets, who have split their last four games.

Perez (3-2) yielded three earned runs and three hits in 5 2/3 innings, with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

Billy Wagner recorded his fifth save of the season.

Miguel Cabrera hit an RBI single, and two runs scored on Wright's error in the sixth inning for the Marlins, who had only four hits and had a two-game winning streak broken.

Losing pitcher Anibal Sanchez (2-1) gave up three earned runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hall of Fame

Mark McGwire fell far short in his first try for the Hall of Fame, picked by 23.5 percent of voters while Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. easily gained baseball's highest honor.

Tarnished by accusations of steroid use, McGwire appeared on 128 of a record 545 ballots in voting released Tuesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Ripken was picked by 537 voters and appeared on 98.53 percent of ballots to finish with the third-highest percentage behind Tom Seaver (98.84) and Nolan Ryan (98.79).

The former Baltimore Orioles shortstop said he was both relieved and euphoric. If he had been picked by two of the eight voters who didn't select him, he would have set the percentage record -- but he didn't mind.

"All I wanted to hear was, `You're in,"' Ripken said during a conference call. "I really didn't get caught up with wanting to be unanimous or wanting to be the most."

Gwynn received 532 votes for 97.61 percent, the seventh-highest ever, also trailing Ty Cobb, George Brett and Hank Aaron.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to know that people think that what you did was worthy," Gwynn said. "For me, it's kind of validation. The type of player that I was doesn't get a whole lot of credit in today's game."

Goose Gossage finished third with 388 votes, falling 21 shy of the necessary 409. His percentage increased from 64.6 to 71.2, putting him in good position to reach the necessary 75 percent next year. The highest percentage for a player who wasn't elected in a later year was 63.4 by Gil Hodges in 1983, his final time on the ballot.

Jim Rice was fourth with 346, his percentage dropping to 63.5 from 64.8 last year. He was followed by Andre Dawson (309), Bert Blyleven (260), Lee Smith (217) and Jack Morris (202). McGwire was ninth, followed by Tommy John (125) and Steve Garvey (115), who was in his final year of eligibility.

McGwire's dismal showing raises doubts about whether he will ever get elected -- players can appear on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years -- and whether the shadow of steroids will cost Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro places in Cooperstown.

McGwire finished with 583 home runs, seventh on the career list, and hit 70 homers in 1998 to set the season record, a mark Bonds broke three years later. Gwynn was surprised McGwire received such a low percentage.

"I hope that as time goes on, that number will increase," Gwynn said. "I hope that one day he will get into the Hall of Fame, because I really believe he deserves it."

While Ripken said Gossage and Rice belong in the Hall, he wouldn't give his opinion on McGwire.

"I don't think it's my place to actually cast judgment," he said.

Jose Canseco, on the ballot for the first time, received six votes, well below the 5 percent threshold needed to stay on future ballots. In his book two years ago, Canseco accused McGwire and others of using steroids. The book's publication was quickly followed by a congressional hearing on steroids during which McGwire evaded questions, saying: "I'm not here to talk about the past."

Gwynn, who compiled 3,141 hits and a .338 batting average during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres, said he was fidgety and nervous before he received the call from Jack O'Connell, the BBWAA secretary-treasurer.

"I broke down right away," he said. "My wife came over and put an arm around me."

Ripken played in a major league-record 2,632 consecutive games to break Lou Gehrig's ironman mark of 2,130, and set a new standard for shortstops with 431 home runs and 3,184 hits.

"I'm very proud of what the streak represents. Not that you were able to play in all those games, but that you showed up to play every single day," Ripken said last week.

Harold Baines, who received 29 votes, reached the 5 percent threshold. Bret Saberhagen got seven votes in his first appearance on the ballot and Ken Caminiti, who admitted using steroids during his career and died in 2004, received two.

Gwynn and Ripken raised to 43 the total of players elected in their first year of eligibility. That doesn't include Lou Gehrig (1939) and Roberto Clemente (1973), who were chosen in special elections.

Gwynn and Ripken each spent their entire major league career with one team, a rarity these days. They will be inducted during ceremonies held July 29 at the Hall in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with anyone elected from the Veterans Committee vote, which will be announced Feb. 27.

Ripken spent 21 seasons with Baltimore, hitting .276. A 19-time All-Star, he won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1982, the AL MVP award in 1983 and 1991 and was a two-time Gold Glove shortstop.

Gwynn broke into the majors in 1982 and won eight batting titles to tie Honus Wagner's NL record. He made 15 All-Star teams and won five Gold Gloves as an outfielder.