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Passing Zone Ahead: Major Milestones

There is a saying that goes something like “Rules are meant to be broken”… er, that’s not the quote I wanted to apply to A-rod…

“Records are made to be broken”. There that’s the quote I was looking for. And breaking records Arod is trying to do prior to his unbelievable contract expiring in New York.

ARod passed Willie Mays for 4th all-time on the career HR list with his homer on May 7th (He has 3 since then for a total of 664, or 98 behind Bonds). And then 20 days later (May 37), ARod passes Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig for 3rd all-time on the career RBI list at 1995 RBI (only 302 more to go to break Hank Arron’s all-time record).

Steroid asterisk aside, its always incredible and jaw dropping to see records be broken or nearly broken. To be a sports fan witnessing history just makes for great story telling. I can remember the McGwire/Sosa home run chase and watching the game live when McGwire send a line drive out of the park to break the record (against Sosa and the Cubs no less). Then a few days later, Ripken ended his Ironman streak at 2632 games played. A few years later, I watched Bonds break the McGwire mark with 71 homers in a season followed by breaking the Hank Arron 756 home run mark.

When the Brewers were bad (similar to this season), I can remember even cheering on Jose Hernandez to break the single season strikeout record as a hitter (which Mark Reynolds has destroyed since then). He promptly benched himself 1 shy of the record for like 4 out of the last 5 games so that he wouldn’t be cheered for when striking out.

Good times down memory lane. But let’s look ahead to the future. What players should you be paying attention to this season as they near significant MLB milestones.

  • Alex Rodriguez:
    • 3000 hits – Projected June 20th. Currently at 2982 hits.
    • 8th All-time Runs Leader – Projected June 1. Currently at 1947 runs. 3 away from overtaking Stan Musial.
  • Albert Pujols:
    • 17th All-time Home Run Leader – Projected June 27th. Currently at 529. 6 away from overtaking Jamie Foxx.
    • 20th All-time Doubles Leader – Projected July 3rd. Currently at 568 doubles. 7 away from overtaking 20th place.
    • 16th All-time Home Run Leader – Projected July 9th. Currently at 529. 8 away from overtaking Mickey Mantle.
    • 19th All-time Doubles Leader – Projected July 30th. Currently at 568 doubles. 11 away from overtaking Wade Boggs.
    • 18th All-time Doubles Leader – Projected August 27th. Currently at 568 doubles. 16 away from overtaking Robin Yount.
    • 17th All-time Doubles Leader – Projected September 8th. Currently at 568 doubles. 18 away from overtaking Rafael Palmeiro.
    • 15th All-time Home Run Leader – Projected September 20th. Currently at 529. 20 away from overtaking Mike Schmidt.
  • David Ortiz:
    • 20th All-time Doubles Leader – Projected October 2nd. Currently at 555 doubles. 20 away from overtaking 20th place.
  • Ichiro Suzuki:
    • 38th All-time Steals Leader – Projected July 28th. Currently at 490 SB. 6 away from overtaking Willie Keeler.
    • 3000 Hits – Projected early 2016 season. Currently at 2876 hits.

News Flash: Joc Pederson Got A Hit That Didn’t Go Over The Fence

(Gus Ruelas / AP)

Well some people may consider Joc Pederson’s 0.264 batting average (9-for-34) with 16K’s over the past 10 days a failure.

Joc Pederson says the heck with them because 7 of those 9 hits were home runs. In fact, he had 7 hits in a row that were all home runs. He ruined that streak today by going 1-for-4 with a single against the Brewers.

Thanks to that streak of home runs, the rookie is on pace for 52 home runs this season, which would barely beat the record for a rookie which was 49 homers by Mark McGwire (was he on roids that early???). I love early season projections because only Hanley Ramirez, Mark Teixeira (both at 58), and Nelson Cruz (81) are projected to hit more and would be an awesome home run chase reminiscent of the 1998 chase.

Pirates Poker: Back-to-Back 3 of a Kind

So are you sick of instant replay yet? I’m not… Ya, I miss the animated arguments between the umpires and managers. But overall, they have been fast and making the game’s outcome more accurate of the level of play. Plus, check out their setup in New York. Could you imagine this in your FanCave with every camera angle in every park?!

But what you won’t need Instant Replay to see is the craziness that occurred in the (suspended due to rain) Reds/Pirates game on April 14th. During the game, the Pirates became only the 3rd team in MLB history to hit three sets of back-to-back home runs as a team in a single game. And there are still 3-innings left in the game.

It’s the first time the feat has been completed since 1977 and the combo of Walker/Sanchez accounted for 2 of the 3 back-to-back round trippers. To add to the home run derby in Cincinnati, the Reds have four homers of there own. So there are currently a total of 10 home runs between both teams which is almost double the amount of home runs my team has in the home run derby. Maybe I should trade out my guys for the middle of the Pirates lineup. It definitely can’t hurt my team.

Second Base Wins Lawsuit vs Jean Segura

We the Jury find the defendant, Jean Segura, guilty of stealing 2B in the 8th inning of a 5-4 win versus the Cubs on April 19, 2013. He will be sentenced to 6-years in Hell Milwaukee manning the SS position.

What happened to deserve such a cruel sentencing?

In the 8th inning of a 1-run game, Jean Segura hit an infield single. He later successfully stole second base, which lead to a Ryan Braun walk. During the next at-bat, Segura attempted to steal third base but left too early and was clearly picked off at third. So he returned to second base only to find Braun standing on the base. Both were tagged and both initially called out.

As Segura returned to the dugout, he was informed that he was not out and only Braun was. So he promptly stepped on the closes base… first base. So after being halfway to third, Segura found himself standing back on first to only attempt to steal second base again. This time however, he was thrown out by Castillo.

As far as I could determine, he could be the only player whom has achieved this feat(?) in his career. Edit: As one of our commenters pointed out below, he is 1 of 7 since 1951, but still possibly the only one to first successfully steal the base then get thrown out stealing it again in the same plate appearance. If he would have successfully stolen second base twice in the same inning, he could not say the same. Back in 1908, Germany Schaefer successfully stole second base twice in the same inning. And he actually stole first base that inning as well. The baseball rule used to be that you could steal a base in reverse if you so desired. So during a game on September 4th, 1908, Schaefer stole second base to draw a throw which would allow his teammate on third base to steal home. However, this did not work according to plan as he drew no throw. So, he stole first base on the next pitch to be able to attempt his plan a second time. On the next pitch, he again attempted to steal second base… But again, he drew no throw and thus successfully re-stole second base.

So Schaefer should be greatful that Segura was caught stealing otherwise Schaefer’s legacy would have ended in 2013.

Wait, who’s Germany Schaefer again?

Three Starts to the Win-d

While you are looking for your missing $200 Million, baseball picks back up where it left off after a 4 day hiatus. And if you are looking for a game to watch Friday, tune into the Brewer game to witness history.

You don’t need to watch the entire game. In fact, if the Brewers continue to play like they have recently, I wouldn’t stay tuned in past the 3rd.

But what happens Friday at 7pm CT will be the first in 95 years. No it’s not the Pirates starting in 1st place after the All-Star break (that’s only been 15 years). For the first time in 95 years, a pitcher will start 3 consecutive games in the same season. The last player to achieve the feat… Red Faber on Sept 4, 1917.

Red started both games of a double header on September 3rd for the White Sox and then started again on the 4th. This was back in the period where pitchers threw nearly 400 innings in a single season. Babe Ruth pitched 326 innings that 1917 season.

This Friday, Greinke takes the mound for the 3rd straight game for the Brewers. But he may have a two small asterisks next to him in the record book. The first one is for the fact that his 3 consecutive games happened across the All-Star break. Thus, his 3 games spanned across 7 days. The second asterisk comes from the number of pitches Greinke threw in his first game. He threw… four.

Last Saturday, Greinke was ejected from his start after only 4 pitches for getting frustrated on a close call at first base. So he took the mound Sunday where the home plate umpire was the same ump to eject him from Saturday’s game at first base. The ump may have been trying to prove a point as Greinke labored through 3 innings and 66 pitches.

And unlike Red Faber who won all three of his games in 1917, Greinke is trying to win his first game out of his 3 starts.

Get ready Kings of Cork fans for an exciting second half. If your team is within 15 homers, your team has a very legitimate shot at winning the entire season. Those further than 15 back aren’t out, your team just needs to get some hott bats over the next 2.5 months.

Congrats to our first half leader, Grand Salami’s, who had a big run to overtake our previous leader before the All-star break. More importantly, congrats to our month of June winner, Bang Biscuit. His team mashed 35 homers in June (tying the Grand Salami’s) and had the fewest At-Bats required to reach that number.

Now we can all focus on July and get ready for the exciting trade deadline that is closing in fast.

No Homers, No Problem

On a night that the Brewers got burnt on Hot Soup

Albert Pujols not hitting a home run was not the biggest news in an Angels score recap.

In fact, almost no offense would have been required from the Angels thanks to their Ace on the mound… Jered Weaver, who threw a no hitter vs the Minnesota Twinkees Twins. Weaver’s no-hitter is the second of the 2012 season only behind Humber’s perfect game. Had Weaver not walked a man in the eight, the only other blemish on his scorecard was a dropped third strike that Parmelee safely reached first base on.

Weaver becomes the 10th Angel pitcher to throw a no-hitter. Nolan Ryan owns 4 and Ervin Santana owns one from July 27, 2011. It was a little redemption for the White Sox too who got no-hit by the Twins’ Liriano 365 days prior to Weaver’s.

Weaver has been one of the most consistent pitchers since 2010. He has sported almost a 1.00 WHIP the past two seasons and currently sits at a microscopic 0.78 WHIP for 2012. His ERA in 2010 was 3.01 and 2.41 in 2011. Now it sits at 1.61 in 2012 so he seems to be following the right trend. I do believe this could be his season to take home the prestigious Cy-Young award. He may have to pry it from Verlander’s hands but I think he could be the best player to do it.

Harper Gets “Flash” of Luck Under Full Moon

Oh My Gosh, Oh My Gosh… Like No Way… Did You See What He Did… Totally Gross!

It’s too bad teenage girls don’t have the same sense of humor as teenage/middle-age/elder or any guy for that matter. Because thanks to these Dodger fans, Bryce Harper’s first major league hit will be played out forever with a full moon in the background.

Now that’s funny right there, I don’t care who ya are. I hope Harper gets that shot framed and displays it proudly next to the bat and ball on his mantle.

Hopefully there’s a full moon tonight in the Angels stadium. Mike Trout is still looking for his first major league hit of 2012 and could use a little ‘flash’ of luck.

Update: Trout ropes a double down the line in his 2nd AB in tonight’s game… only to get doubled off on a line drive.

Come Meet The 2011 King of Cork – What’s 5 Bucks!!

First off, I hope everyone enjoyed the most amazing night of baseball in a long time. In case you missed it on Wednesday August 28, home field advantage for 4 different teams was within 1 game. The Brewers clinched home field advantage with a win (after the Dbacks had a ridiculous walk off grand slam on Tuesday night to keep the deficit to 1 game). The Tigers also clinched home field advantage with a victory themselves on Wednesday. Even more intense was the fact that both wildcard races were tied and came down to the results of 4 different games. Three of which went into extra innings and all three of those had blown saves. And the last hit of the regular season determined who we would be watching in the playoffs. The Red Sox and Braves collapses became complete. And the Rays erased a 7-0 deficit to the devil Yankees in the 8th to win on a walk-off home run.

BUT… if you thought that those games were the only drama on Wednesday night, you may have forgotten how close our Home Run Derby contest was. Geez has been a staple at the top of the leader board since about June and he took home the title for the First Half with Prince Fielder trying to carry both his team and the Brewers to destiny. But along came the Rays What’s 5 bucks? who also packed the power of Fielder but had Braun, Reynolds, and Longoria to help share Fielder’s load. What’s 5 bucks? hit 82 home runs in the second half of the season (good enough for the second half title by 6 long balls). His team hit 32 homers in the last month (which was 5 more than anybody else and over 10 more than the league average in September) which helped him overcome a 10 home run deficit between him and first place.

Going into this epic Wednesday night (everyone over uses the term ‘epic’ these days, but seriously, that’s how great Wednesday night’s baseball was) , What’s 5 bucks? was 1 home run back from Geez but was also losing in the tie-breaker. With the Yankees up 7-0 in the 8th over the Rays, no one could have predicted what would happen next. The Rays managed to score 6 runs where 3 came off of a Longoria home run (+1 for What’s 5 bucks? equals a tie for first but losing the tie-breaker). Dan Johnson then hit a pinch hit home run with 2 outs in the 9th to send the game into extras. Remaining scoreless until the bottom of the 12th inning when Longoria got to bat again. He roped a line drive down the left field line and cleared the half-wall (seriously, the wall is only half the height of the rest of the wall for only the first 5-6 feet in left field) for a walk off home run clinching the Rays playoff spot and the Home Run Derby Title for What’s 5 bucks?. Meanwhile just 3 minutes prior to this home run, the Red Sox blew a save and watched the Oriole’s walk off with their post season dreams. I’m sure Geez was the only one of us who could sympathize with how the Boston players felt that night.

If that isn’t an exciting night of baseball, then you need to check your pulse. So there you have it… What’s 5 bucks? wins the 2011 Home Run Derby Title with 165 home runs. The ‘rumor’ is that last season’s Derby winner ($5 Donation) had to persuade What’s 5 bucks? to even play this year (hence, the team name). But this is all hear-say to The Commish. Not to be ashamed of his team, Geez put on a great performance all year but fell 1 out short on Wednesday night… twice. He will take home the First Half title, and the 2011 Derby’s first loser award. My team of Cream City’s Murderers’ Row just couldn’t put a last minute charge together but managed to hang onto third. Fourth place in the derby goes to Big Poppe’s Pill-Poppers. And fifth place in the 2011 Derby goes to ADRIAN GOES LONGoria (who also got into the Derby Hall of Fame on the last home run by Longoria to topple last year’s major collapse team of The Inglourious Batters).

So that’s the Derby season. Everyone can now check out the standings and see where their picks went wrong and how had they gone with their gut and chose Pujols over Dunn, they would be reaping the rewards at this point. Instead, now we all get to enjoy some great playoff baseball (I’ve already got my Brewer tickets because who knows when they will ever be back). Thanks to all the new comers this season. Thanks to all of the returning teams for keeping the Derby alive. As long as all of you stay interested, there will be a 2012 Home Run Derby. Hopefully with more teams, better blogging (I slacked on that this season, I apologize), and more site extras (I’m still working on a mobile site and a Droid App).

Please check back often as I do still post stories in the playoffs and in the off-season (usually at a slower rate, but probably at the same rate as the regular season this year). And GO BREW CREW!!!

You’ve Been Drafted: Uncle Bud Wants You

Something to cover your boredom now that the NBA Finals and the NHL Stanley Cup are finally over.

Most baseball fans know where babies the next generation of ball players come from. The first year player draft. But how many know when the draft is and who was taken in the 1,000th round any round by their favorite team. I would guess less than 2 percent.

Good news though, The Commish here at Kings of Cork will fill you in on what you missed two weeks ago. Yes, that’s the answer to one of the sarcastic comments above. The MLB draft took place last week. The first round was on June 6th; the 2nd-30th rounds were on the 7th; and the 31st-50th rounds were on the 8th… No need to refresh your browser, you read that correctly. Round 50 was on June 8th. Why 50 rounds in the MLB draft? Each MLB team has 4 minor league affiliate teams that they need to fill rosters for. Not to mention that most top prospects just flame out so why not increase your odds of finding the next Jose Bautista by signing more than 50 guys a year.

I won’t bore you with the top high school prospects that went in the top-50 players or many of the names you have never heard of and most likely will never hear of from the 1,530 players drafted. Instead, I will fill you in on the more interesting draft picks on names you might be familiar with because of their lineage. So let’s start chopping away at the baseball family tree:

  • Dante Bichette Jr. – It isn’t difficult to figure out this players lineage. Bichette Jr was drafted in the first round by the devil New York Yankees and has already committed to the team (he previously was committed to play college ball for Georgia). In his final season as a senior in high school in Maitland Florida, he hit an amazing 0.640 with 10 homers in 30 games. His playing style is very similar to his father’s, Dante Bichette Sr. Senior was known most for playing with the Colorado Rockies after being traded from the Brewers due to the Rockies being a new expansion team. He also played with the Angles and Boston. If Bichette Jr is anything like his old man, he could be the next triple crown winner (Bichette Sr narrowly missed that feat in 1995).
  • Dereck Rodriguez – No, A-Rod does not have a long lost son or brother… This is the offspring of the infamous ‘Pudge’. Ivan Rodriguez, aka Pudge, was the first MLB catcher to amass a 100R/30HR/100RBI line in a single season and was also named the AL MVP in 1999. Dereck (his first name is actually Ivan) is not a catcher but instead plays center field for a high school in Miami and was selected in the 6th round by the Minnesota Twins. Hopefully, he isn’t the next Carlos Gomez.
  • Trevor Gretzky – Yes, that Gretzky. Trevor is “The Great One’s” 3rd child and was selected by the Cubs in the 7th round. Trevor plays 3rd base and might be Aramis’s replacement in the coming years. That is if Trevor decides to stick with Baseball. He is also a star football player whose teammates include Will Smith’s kid and Joe Montana’s kid.
  • Shawon Dunston Jr. – Another name that is recognizable by the Jr after the last name. Senior was the great shortstop for the Cubs and was on the opposite side of the bag for one of the greatest double play duo’s in the game (Dunston and Sandberg). And once again, the Cubs drafted a Shawn Dunston. This time the Cubs only had to pay an 11th round pick (instead of the 1st round pick spent on his father). Don’t worry Starlin Castro fans, Junior is not a shortstop. He’s currently an outfielder for his California High School.
  • Cameron Seitzer – This name is on this list simply for the Brewer fans. Yep, Cameron is Kevin Seitzer’s boy. Kevin endured two stints with the Brewers as their everyday third baseman and was named an All-star twice in his career. His son, however, plays first base and was selected by the Rays. Hopefully Cameron pans out because the Rays could really use a first baseman right now.
  • David Lucroy, Nick Avila – These names have to sound familiar to the NL/AL Central fans around here. David Lucroy is the younger brother of Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers and Nick Avila is the younger brother of Alex Avila for the Tigers. Who cares, right? Well, the interesting piece of information about these two is that the older brothers are catchers and the younger brothers are pitchers… AND both the Brewers and the Tigers drafted the younger brother of their starting catchers respectively. Yep, there is a possibility that 2 teams in the Majors will have a pitcher/catcher brother combo. This hasn’t been done since the 1962 season where Norm Sherry caught for his brother Larry Sherry for the LA Dodgers. And the brother pitcher/catcher battery has only been completed 10 times since 1877 in MLB history. Lucroy was taken in the 29th round by the Brewers while Avila was taken in the 37th round by the Tigers. It will be interesting if both teams accomplish this feat in the same season.
  • Bryan Harper – This is the same Harper as last year’s number one overall pick, Bryce Harper. The difference is that Bryan is the older brother and he went 29 rounds later than his brother did by being drafted in the 30th round. But, like Lucroy and Avila, the Nationals drafted Bryan Harper as well. Too bad Bryce is being moved from catcher to outfield by the Nationals organization, otherwise the Harpers would be listed with Lucroy and Avila above since Bryan is a south-paw pitcher. Cub fans can be offended since they drafted Bryan in round 29 in 2010 but couldn’t convince him to sign.
  • Trent Boras – If this name doesn’t sound familiar, please refer to this link. Yes, this is the offspring of Scott Boras. The guy known and dreaded by every Major League team. If an organization is looking to sign a contract and that player is a client of Scott Boras, they better have their loan agency or loan sharks on call because Boras will take any team to the cleaners (see Barry Zito’s contract with the Giants, any of A-Rod’s contracts, or Dice-K’s contract). So what sorry team drafted Boras’ kid… the Milwaukee Brewers drafted him in round 30 as a high school third baseman. The last thing the Brewers need is another Boras’ client (I suppose someone has to replace Prince. Hopefully, Trent doesn’t suck as much as Carlos Gomez).
  • Casey Rasmus – For the Red Bird fans, Casey is Colby Rasmus’ younger brother. Yet another team drafting a current player’s brother. The Cardinals took Casey in the 36th round as a potential replacement to Yadier Molina once his knees give out behind the plate.
  • Brett Geren, Matthew Scioscia, Shane Farrell – These names may be a bit more obscure unless you have been brushing up on your baseball managers list lately. Brett Geren was drafted in the 42nd round and is the son of the recently fired Oakland manager Bob Geren. Matthew Scioscia and Shane Farrell were both drafted in round 46th. Scioscia is the son of current Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Farrell is the son of current Blue Jays manager John Farrell. These picks seem like management bribery to ensure their sons have jobs after high school.
  • Photo by Associated Press

    Kyle Gaedele – This name requires an eraser to find the baseball lineage. Take the last ‘e’ off the name and you have the great-nephew to the Saint Louis Browns’ greatest gimmick in history. Eddie Gaedel popped out of a papier-meche cake in between games of a double header and stood a mere 3-feet 7-inches. He then proceeded to pinch hit and recorded a walk on four straight balls before being removed for a pinch runner. His jersey is still on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame bearing the number ‘1/8’. Don’t worry Padre fans, the team’s 6th round pick, Kyle, is almost 3-feet taller than his great uncle and hit 17 homers for Valparaiso. However, it would be entertaining for Kyle to jump out of a cake for his Major League debut.

A Cure For Hart Burn

Before you criticize me of my failure, enjoy some rain delay entertainment.

Now for Bud Selig’s The Commish’s failure, the failure to keep you entertained (unlike these guys) for almost the entire month of May. Up to this point of the season, I’m a bigger disappointment than the Minnesota Twins. In my defense, I at least revamped the looks of the standings and added a little “(+X)” next to the players in the standings who hit home runs that day. No more needing to manually go check who hit homers each day.

But to try and revive some of the Kings of Cork fans, I’m going to try and earn a Save by running through what has happened in the month of May by pointing you to some of my favorite articles (that way I don’t have to rewrite them). Here they are starting with my most favorite:

  • Bernie Brewer Heist (May 24) – The Brewers’ marketing department is
    ON FIRE this season. First they had the season tickets promotion, now they finished a scavenger hunt with the “Where’s Bernie Brewer?” promotion. Except everyone did what any recent college graduate could see coming. Stakeouts and robberies to hoard as many gnomes as possible. Last laugh is on the hoarders, you can still purchase a gnome for $50 at the Brewers Clubhouse. No money to be made on a flooded market.
  • DL Charging Station (May 23) – On the same night, multiple power hitters were activated from the DL, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and Jim Thome. And ALL of them went deep at least once. Thome went big fly twice. Almost everyone in the Derby gave up on Hamilton, the previous leader (Geez) and Swing and a Mrs gave up on Thome out of 3 teams, and no one got a chance to trade Cruz (on the DL 1 day shy of the trade deadline).
  • A Typical Day Off of Work (May 17) – Brian McCann was giving the night off on the 17th but was called in to pinch hit with his team down by 1. With one swing, McCann went yard and forced some free baseball. His next at-bat in extra innings… a walk-off trot around the bases. McCann’s day off was 2-2 with 2HR and carrying his team to victory. McCann probably won’t ever get a day off again.
  • Passing of a Legend (May 17)Harmon Killebrew gave a courageous at-bat against cancer but decided to throw in the towel this month. More than a Twins legend, Killebrew was a hero to all. He will be missed but his legend lives on through the MLB logo. Our tribute to the legend: some old school home run derby of Harmon Killebrew vs Mickey Mantle.