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Begin Launch Sequence…3…2…1…Lift Off

Be sure to take notes on the swing techniques of these big leaguers to help you prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse.

The month of May is coming to a close and the summer air is warming up. That only means one thing… time to let the baseballs fly. We have already seen that Josh Hamilton, Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, and Adam Dunn (yes, this Adam Dunn) don’t care what temperature the air is. They go big fly year round. But what about the rest of the guys who couldn’t make peace with the home run gods in April. Well, some of them are coming around:

  • Albert Pujols – Every Angels fan at once… 1… 2… 3… *Siiiiiigh*. Well that was a giant sigh of relief. Albert Pujols 2012 != Adam Dunn 2011 (your programming nerd is showing). Pujols had his longest home run drought of his career at 110 at-bats earlier this season. But since he lifted one over the left field fence on May 6th, Pujols’ swing is coming around. In fact, Pujols has the fourth most RBI’s in the majors during the month of May with 24 (second in the AL only behind Josh Hamilton). Even more impressive is that he has hit 7 of his 8 total in the past 15 days. Pujols and all of Angels nation (and Pujols’ HR Derby teams) are thankful that the month of April is behind them. The contract is still outrageous due to it’s length. But in the short term, it appears that the contract is going to work out.
  • Alfonso Soriano – The typical male attitude… you want to drive a nail in one swing, get the biggest hammer. Well, Soriano took that logic to home plate. You want to hit the ball far, bring the biggest bat. So Dave Sveum convinced Soriano’s big ego to switch to a lighter bat. And Soriano went from 0 homers in April to 7 home runs in the past 15 days (same as Pujols). It’s amazing what a smaller hammer can do. Now if that hammer was only worth $18M.
  • Giancarlo Stanton – 122MPH… The top speed of a turbo diesel Mini Cooper D and the speed of a baseball of off a Giancarlo home run. Giancarlo is a beast, a beast who was still in hibernation in April with only 1 homer. But guess who leads Group A in the Home Run Derby at the end of May with 13 dingers, Giancarlo. He also had the 3rd most RBI of the month with 30. His bat seems to be turbo charged and it only took the month of April to spool up. Now, there is only one player who can hit a ball harder than 122MPH and it’s Giancarlo himself.
  • Adam Jones – Age 27… There is an urban legend in Fantasy Baseball that the age 27 is a significant year in a player’s career. That magical age is the year that a player puts up his breakout numbers and usually can be bought at a cheap price in fantasy drafts. Well, Adam Jones is trying to make it a fact. Jones didn’t have a quiet month of April as Pujols, Soriano, and Giancarlo. But, he has caught fire recently (up until he took a pitch off his wrist). He just ended a 20 game hit streak and he leads Group D in the Home Run Derby with 16 total homers. Ten of those 16 coming in May. Enjoy the ride Fightin’ Showalter fans because it may be a bumpy re-entry back to Earth in the later months of the season.
  • Andrew McCutchen – 0 to 8 in 4,492,800 seconds… the amount of time it took McCutch to hit his 8th homer of the year. He starter with 0 in the month of April and Home Run Derby fans were a bit depressed on their Group E choice. But the Bucco’s main source of offense has turned it on in the month of May and is now on pace for 26 homers this season. A very respectable number for a Group E player.
  • Carlos Quentin – Injury Prone, synonym: Carlos Quentin. That’s what I envision the baseball thesaurus saying. Having only played over 100 games 3 times in his career, Quentin has just returned from a 50 game DL stint and has finally taken his place in the heart of the Padres batting order. And nothing says “I’m a part of the team” like going 7 for 12 with 3 homers in 3 games. Yes, Carlos is batting 0.583 with a 2.226 OPS. Those numbers won’t last, but if he is somehow still available in any of your fantasy leagues, go get heeem.
  • Dayan Viciedo – Who? Meet Carlos Quentin’s replacement on the Southside of Chicago. And the switch can’t be going much better. He had 3 homers in April but mashed 8 more in the month of May. He is currently sitting at a 0.291 total BA with 24 RBI in May. He is the hot topic in fantasy baseball and is THE most added player in ESPN fantasy baseball (however, Carlos Quentin will catch him by tomorrow). Just as awesome as his month of May stats is his nickname… Tank.

We now have two months of baseball complete and injuries are starting to compound for some teams. Make sure to check your Home Run Derby team for injuries (or your inbox for injury reminders). Month of May winners will be announced within the week.

Get Me Out To The Baaall Game

Here’s something to read/watch to keep you sane on your nine-hour layover.

So who’s sick of the MLB blackout policy? Probably only a select group of you. Most of said group is probably located in Iowa, Western Illinois, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Arkansas. These areas have the most blacked out teams. Take Arkansas and Oklahoma, residents can’t watch games from the Cardinals, Royals, Houston, or Texas. Now if one of those teams have a local network deal, they would have the ability to watch that team. Then you have Iowa, residents here are blacked out from the Twins, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Royals, and Cardinals. What does the MLB expect… they want to force Iowans to drive 5-6 hours in any direction to watch a live baseball game? Ridiculous. At least residents can watch the Cubs in their ‘rebuilding’ years on WGN.

One plus (if it can be called that) to being stuck in an area with multiple markets, you get the opportunity to watch the marketing departments duke it out in advertising. It seems obvious that the best marketing departments are these teams in the multiple team markets. Take a look below at some of the Kings of Cork favorites from the 2012 campaign (I think the Cardinals not only won the World Series, but their Marketing Department mopped the floors with the rest of baseball’s marketing).



Those aren’t all of the 2012 MLB commercials but IMO, they are some of the best. But if you disagree, link me to some of the others (from 2012) that you believe should be on this list. We will gladly add them to the list.

Cutting A Rug At Miller Park

A quick read while you try to figure out what the best comments are from the MLB TV fantasy 411 taping during the East coast earthquake.

The Milwaukee Brewers are giving their fans something to dance about these days. As of today, they are 26 of their last 31 games and have won 20 of their last 23 home games. Miller Park is their dance floor and nobody else’s.

Just ask this Cubs fan from the August 26th Brewer game. He tried to just touch the Brew Crew’s dance floor and instead of cutting a rug, he left his rug. That’s right. He LEFT a chunk of his freshly transplanted hair plugs. This gives a whole new meaning to scalping tickets at Miller Park.

You can see from the picture below that this is no small chunk of hair. And immediately after falling head first onto the field reaching for a baseball thrown by Brewer 3rd base coach Ed Sedar, the Cubs fan headed straight to the bathroom to wash of his hair (most likely with hand sanitizer). I was fortunate enough to catch this game live on WGN and even the Cubs announcers were getting a kick out of this entire ordeal.

So this is your warning Cubs fans, Miller Park is no longer considered “The Cubs’ Second Home”. You may flood into Wisconsin and buy all our precious and beautiful lake property, but you will not roll into Miller Park and buy all our precious home game tickets anymore. If you try to steal the Brewers’ thunder, Miller Park will scalp you and show it off as a warning for the next opponent fan.

Miller Park Scalping TIckets

What’s The Logic Behind Rooting For Your Favorite Baseball Team?

Something to read while waiting for the spring to actually arrive during Spring Training.

Just a quick post about an item sent to me on what I thought was good enough to share with the rest of the team.

Click on the photo for a larger image.
Baseball Flow Chart

I take no credit for this. All of it goes to the InterpretationByDesign.com guys… and The Master Batters for emailing it to me.

Kings Of Cork Swimsuit Issue Featuring The Cubs

Hopefully something better than the Cowboys and Indians of the future.

It’s official… Baseball Season has begun. Pitchers reported to camp today and someone has to catch their feeble fastballs, so catchers reported as well. But the countdown to pitchers reporting to camp is not the biggest countdown in the baseball world. Nope, the most important countdown ends on Wednesday. No we aren’t already at December 21, 2012. But the (baseball) world may end this off-season when the biggest offensive name in recent history becomes a free agent. And Wednesday is the last day Mr. Albert Pujols will talk contract negotiations with the Cardinals. It already sounds as if they won’t reach an agreement, so let’s start talking “Where will Pujols land?”

The benefactor to the Cardinals’ problem obviously has to have money. And lot’s of it. So you can throw out the two biggest names right away… Yankees and Red Sox. But both already have top tier first-baseman, so who’s going to DH? Teixeira or Agon?

However, there is one other team that I believe has a decent shot at landing Pujols… the Cardinals Archnemesis, the Chicago Cubs. They will be able to wash their hands of the Fukudome contract, as well as Silva, Garza, and Pena deals (they may opt to keep Garza). And let’s face it, the Cubs are known for giving out ridiculous money (see Alfonso Soriano). I honestly believe this is why Pena is only a 1 year deal, the Cubs are going to try and steal an NL Central 1B. Whether its Pujols or Fielder, I think one of them dons the enemy colors in 2012.

Kings of Cork tried its best body painting impersonation from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
So, who looks worse in the Cubs logo (personally, I hate both)?

Brewers 2009 Roster Signs Million Dollar Minor League Deal

Something to read before watching the Green And Yellow blow out the Black And Yellow in Superbowl XLV.

With MLB baseball less than 2 months away, every team is still acquireing players as stop gaps for all their injury prone batters and glass arm pitchers… aka Rickie Weeks. And it looks like teams are turning to the entire 2009 Brewers roster for this help. Or so it feels like.

Just reported today via MLBTradeRumors, three of the Brewers 2009 starting rotaion was picked up for $1 million dollar minor league deals along with the Brewers 2009 utility infielder. The three starters managed to combine for a 5.53 ERA in 2009, so they probably don’t deserve much more than these deals (if any deal at all).

Reports:

Jeff Suppan – If you are an avid reader of KingsofCork posts, you know my dislike towards this man. I might as well be called “The Soup Nazi“… and was happy to chear “No Soup For You” when the Brewers finally released him. So I am more than happy to announce that there may be more Jeff Suppan Hate Posts here on Kings Of Cork for the 2011 MLB season. Reports say Suppan signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants for $1 Million this season. If Suppan ever gets called up, it most likely means that the Giants will not be repeating as National Champions. I do hope Soup gets called up for a game against the Brewers just so the team can get a little payback for the money they lost investing into him.

Dave Bush – “Fear the Beer with the Beard”. Dave Bush had one mean beard when he was on the mound but that was the only thing mean with this pitcher. No mean fastball, no mean changeup, no mean curve, he was just hittable and hoped his defense was strong enough behind him to stop the bleeding. However, this is a pitcher who recieved 8 Rookie Of The Year votes in 2004 with Toronto. He just never lived up to that hype again. Instead, Bush is now going to be pitching for the minor league Ranger affiliates for $1 million. The Rangers do have the Brewers ex-pitching coach, Mike Maddux, so he knows what he’s getting into.

Braden Looper – Another ex-cardinal that is almost over-the-hill that the Brewers overpaid for. He has been out of work for over a year, but that didn’t stop the Cubs from giving him a $1 million contract. Anything to make the Cubs worse, I’m ok with. Although, it’s a bit safer than the Oakland A’s Ben Sheets contract last season.

Felipe Lopez – An everyday utility man who can play 8 positions… he only hasn’t played catcher. Also a member of the 2009 Brewers that didn’t pan out, the Rays have taken some of there off-season savings and spent a million on a minor league deal for Lopez. Out of the four, this is the one player I would want.

Hey, if teams are just giving away a million dollars these days, I will gladly accept a deal to catch and throw a ball around for a minor league team. Because let’s face it, none of these guys will or should be in the bigs this season.

Kings of Cork 2011 Home Run Derby Groups Set

‘Tis the season for bearded men in red suits, making resolutions that last 10 days if you’re lucky, and pitchers with social anxiety disorder not being able to work out a trade for Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings???

Even with football in full swing, baseball can still land some big news to rival Favre’s 59th football career coming to an end. Greinke to the Brewers has this guy completely pumped and ever so tempted to purchase season tickets even though I live 250 miles away from Miller Park.

Greinke isn’t the only big news lately. Jenks to the Boston Red Sox put the Bo-Sox in the lead for the highest MLB team salary… yes, higher than the Yankees. Brandon Webb went to the Rangers to fill in for Cliff Lee. I doubt Webb will walk only 18 batters. Chien-Ming Wang and Rick Ankiel go to the Nationals. Ankiel to return to pitching. Wang to return to the DL after injuring his foot jogging to first on sacrifice bunt. Kerry Wood to return to the Cubs… seriously, the Cubs have 0 good news this off season.

AND, most importantly, the 2011 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby player group assignments have been declared. That’s right, it is time to start thinking about your 2011 Home Run Derby team. This season you will be allowed to pick 5 MLB players. One from each group with group E player either coming from group E or being a write-in player not included in any other group. Another rule change will be that one trade will be permitted for each team throughout the entire 2011 season for any player that is inactive from an MLB sanctioned game for 20 or more consecutive days. This includes inactivity due to the DL, injuries not warranting a DL stint, demotion to the minors, or being benched for just plain sucking.

The entry fee may be put at a higher stake of $10 (I’m still waiting to see if the cost of living increases enough to warrant a change from $5) and the entry form will be an electronic based form right here on this site which will be posted in the upcoming month. So review the rules and the players’ names, do some research, make a team, simulate via MLB 2K10, do whatever you need to do to try and dethrone last season’s victor and become the next King of Cork.

Please feel free to invite more friends. As long as I get the cash in my hand, the more players I welcome to the Home Run Derby challenge.

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Rookies Say “Go Big or Go Home”

In the past week, MLB rooks have taken a stand against the simple stats and are rewriting the record books. In fact, three of them are starting a new trend for Generation Y and have made the official move to making your first MLB home run not a solo shot but a grand slam. That’s right, three have hit grand slams this week as their first MLB homers. Two did it in their first game. One did it on the first pitch they saw.

So who are these mystery three. Let’s start with the most recent.

  • Mike StantonIf you haven’t heard of this top prospect yet, he is the next coming of Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn. A very powerful, even more free swinging batter with little concern of setting the single season strike out record. He is one of the Marlins top prospects who got his Major League call-up on June 8. He hasn’t wow’ed anyone by any means yet… that was until tonight. On his 32nd MLB at-bat, he had the bases loaded against the Rays Matt Garza. He battled his way to a 3-2 count when he lifted a high fast ball to left field. The crowd reacted similar to Jason Heyward’s first home run. But Stanton’s was a grand slam. He helped knock Garza out of the game after 1 1/3 innings and 71 pitches. Now that he’s broken the ice, you should expect many more long balls from him in years to come.
  • Aaron Cunningham – I don’t know a lot about this guy, but I do know he made his first home run even more impressive than Stanton’s. In his first Major League game on Tuesday June 15 on his 3rd ever Major League at-bat, Cunningham came up with the bases loaded against Brett Cecil (who has been white hot this season for the Blue Jays). He knew what he had to do for Generation Y… and he did. His first MLB home run was also a grand slam.
  • Daniel Nava – Of course, the Boston Red Sox player has to show everyone up. Nava came to the plate for his very first at bat on Saturday June 12 with the pond full. On the very first pitch Nava saw, he took it yard. That’s right, after one pitch, Nava was 1-1 with 4 rbi’s and an OPS of 5.00. I hate to say it, but there’s no where to go now but down, Nava.

Is it just me or is 2010 the year of the rookie because these three aren’t the only rookies making a splash this year. Here’s a list of players making major contributions in their first year:

For the Rest of the Story: Follow the Jump…