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May’s Must Click Links

With the weather warming up and summer in the air, The Commish’s dedicated writing time gets shorter and shorter (well, my daily sleep time is even shorter than that). And I feel like in the last few weeks there has been an abundance of articles in off-the-wall locations that I haven’t had enough time to catch them all.

So, I’ve decided to regurgitate all of them here at once. Ready for links to keep your mind off work on Friday. Then, here we go:

  • First on the list is a feel good video. I won’t even make you click a link to leave the page (unless you want to). You can watch it below:

    How cool is that?! The kids first professional baseball home run (in the minor league that is) was caught by his dad. If I’m the father, I can think of 2 options:
    1) Wrap it up and cross your kid’s name off your Christmas list early this year.
    2) Use it as blackmail for free lifetime season tickets, a house, and a Ferrari if the kid ever makes it to the Majors.
  • NY Times Upshot captures regional data from Facebook users and creates very interactive maps. Earlier this season, I stumbled upon a baseball dedicated map that actually takes fandom geography all the way down to individual zip codes. Nothing is too surprising at first glance but then you realize that there are only 26 ball teams in big bold letters at the farthest zoom. So who are the 4 missing teams… one is Toronto, so no real surprise there. But then there is no Oakland, White Sox, or Mets listed. The White Sox have the ‘largest’ areas of those 3 teams as a small pocket in south Chicago. But for as much as I love Oakland fans, this shows that they are almost non-existent. Which makes me wonder, why haven’t they moved to San Jose or somewhere else. I think I was most surprised about how large the Mariners, Rockies, and Twins kingdom spans. Granted there aren’t many teams to choose from in that area of the country. But another concerning aspect I found on this map is that every single zip code lists the top 3 teams and almost EVERY single one has the RedSox and Yankees in 2 of the top 3. Why does it seem everyone roots for the dynasties (granted the RedSox weren’t what the Yankees were in the 90’s). I mean root for the little man for once! It’s fun. The die hard fans of these fans make the games amazingly fun even though they may watch their team lose more than 50% of the time.
  • I love watching baseball. Even if it isn’t one of my teams, the game play is what I enjoy. The strategy between the two teams is like watching a dance or a suspenseful action movie. So naturally I purchase all the sports packages and one of them I need to get access to all 30 teams is MLB.tv. Nothing like being able to stream radio audio or video of every single game out of market. Or if you are like me, you enjoy your radio announcer (Uecker!!!) more than the TV announcer so you sync MLB.TV audio with your satellite video feed (ya, I’m that kind of baseball geek). But have you ever pondered about what it might do to your mobile data plan if you wanted to watch or listen to whole games. Well, I found you the link that shows you what it will cost of your precious data plan to watch a 4 hour Yankees/Red Sox game… only about 1.5 to 5.5 GB depending on download rates. For me, that’s well out of my monthly data limit and I would hate to owe ATT the calculated $4499 in monthly overage fees. Thank goodness for hacking wifi networks!
  • I’ve professed my love to a few things in my lifetime, and fantasy baseball is one of them. I live for it every season and I finally found another blog post that shares my love of fantasy baseball and hatred to football (and why baseball fans are better than football fans). On a daily basis, you can usually find me walking around, staring at my phone, trying to read the latest player news (and usually walking into poles). It’s my chance to basically be a GM without requiring to pay out millions of dollars in player salaries. And if you want to be good at fantasy baseball, it is a daily job. Lineup changes, new acquisitions, daily injuries/scratches, etc. I enjoy trying to predict players’ abilities to play baseball and predict their upcoming trends (whether they are hot or cold). Ripping off fellow baseball fanatics in trades is a favorite pastime of mine.
  • Everyone remembers the movie ‘BASEketBall‘, right? Of course you do (heck, a few of us have even played a few baseketball games ourselves). One of the core values of the game of Baseketball was that players weren’t allowed to be traded. Therefore, every team was quote, Homegrown. So what if the MLB had similar values where players couldn’t be traded, only acquired through drafts. Well, this blogger did a phenomenal job recreating every MLB Homegrown team for active players back in 2013. Some of these lineups are AMAZING (and others are just horrendous). Could you imagine a Marlins team with Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, and Matt Dominguez with Stanton and Willingham in the OF. Not to mention Beckett, Jose Fernandez, and Josh Johnson as the top 3 starters. Or how about the Rangers with Encarnacion, Kinsler, Ott, Profar, and Teixeira in the IF with Chris Davis in the OF. But probably the best team… the Mariners. Fister, King Felix, Iwakuma, Morrow, and Tillman as starting pitchers is ridiculous. But even more ridiculous is their offense (specifically the OF) of Suzuki, Shin-Soo Choo, Ibanez, and Adam Jones. Oh, how about David Ortiz at DH. And then basically the current Mariner IF (Miller, Frankling, Seagar, and Ackley) with the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera. That’s crazy good and doesn’t even include A-Roid. Go check out your homegrown team (Brewer fans should avoid reading the SP rotation though).
  • Technology is crazy these days. You can basically stalk whoever you want (thanks Facebook). You can look up what relative of yours was overthrown by their minions and forced to give back their land in France (thanks Ancestory.com). You can now get instant offers, player walk-up music, and concession menus thanks to MLB.com’s At the Ballpark app. What’s even better is some parks offer free seat upgrades on this app. Hello first row!
  • Apps are cool and all, but what about new data and video systems. Well, Miller Park was 1 of 3 teams that got a new data system installed this offseason to track even more statistical data online and display wicked awesome graphics. You want to know what Carlos Gomez’s top speed was while robbing Votto of a home run? You want to know how far he ran to get there? You want to know how quick his reaction time was before taking his first step? You want to know his acceleration? Done! I really hope this data is used for good and not evil. The good would use it for evaluating players performance and giving the players performance reviews in order to earn their raises like everyone else. The evil would use it to calculate how fast boyfriends jump out of the way of a foul ball instead of protecting their girlfriends.
  • Speaking of at the ball park, do you hate the fact that beers cost $500 there? Me too. But being the total cheap ass that I am, I can now plan what stadiums I need to visit to get the bang of hot dogs and beer for my buck. See, money.CNN released an interactive catalog of every team‘s home stadium and what $20 will buy you in hot dogs and beers (it even includes different beer sizes). Where am I going next? Either Arizona or Cincinnati, where you can buy 5 hot dogs and 3 fourteen oz beers for $20… want more beer, go to Arizona which has the cheapest oz of beer per dollar rate in the MLB.
  • Last on the must click link of May is to the Intentional Walk Rage Scale (IWRS) scoreboard. What is the IWRS you ask? Well, does it piss you off when your team issues a free pass to first base? Yes?! I know it does to me. There is no one that good in baseball that the odds of them getting a base hit is higher than them making an out (batting averages over 0.500 don’t exist). Well, an NBC sports analyst came up with a way to rate how bad an Intentional Walk is and how upset it should make you. It’s too complex for me to explain (so go read it at the link above) but let’s just say that when your manager walks a guy on purpose in the second inning with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd in a one run game, then you should be FURIOUS!

Only 2 full days left until we crown a winner in May of the 2014 Home Run Derby… Big Stinky is trying to run away with it late thanks to Nelson Cruz.
Stay Tuned.

Off-Season Outlook

Well, it’s finally November. And there is no baseball to watch… wait, what is this?! The Arizona Fall League is being televised with expanded replay on the MLB network. Baseball isn’t dead yet.

This also means that I may have baseball thoughts and comments that require me sharing with the entire world (because I know all of you care what I have to say). And I’m going to start with teams and players to pay attention to this off-season.

  • First, go over to MLB Trade Rumors and sign up for your favorite team’s message alerts. You can get tweets, text messages, rss feeds, apps, what ever you want. I use the text messaging service through twitter and it’s awesome. Every time some one breathes the name ‘Brewers’ in a player acquisition rumor, I know within 1 minute. Here’s a link on how to use the site to its max. And while you are on the MLB Trade Rumor site, make sure you sign up for the yearly free agent prediction contest. You only have to try and predict where the top 50 free agents go this off-season… super easy.
  • Now, where to start concentrating your off-season energy. I would recommend monitoring the actions of the St. Louis Cardinals. One thing everyone saw in 2013 was the depth of their pitching. Lance Lynn, Wacha, Shelby Miller, Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, and Joe Kelly are just the common names at the moment. They have a ton of options in pitching and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them shipped out for a SS or an outfielder. Kozma isn’t bad but he’s not great. And I don’t see them keeping Beltran roaming the OF. Craig needs to shift to RF. Matt Adams needs to play 1B. I see the Cardinals as one of the few teams with a lot of big trade chips already at the professional level caliber required to play today.
  • The next team I am going to be watching is the LA Dodgers. Why? Because they have the money. The Yankees are no longer the big spenders of the MLB. The Dodgers ownership are the ones emptying their pockets (banks will give loans to anyone these days). They have already signed a Cuban sensation at 2B this off-season, so they won’t be in on the Cano dealings. But their OF is very crowded and I see them adding some big names to their starting rotation (not that their rotation isn’t already filled with big names). One being the sensation from Japan, Masahiro Tanaka, who just pitched a regular season record at 24-0 and pitched a complete game at 160 pitches in the playoffs.
  • There are some big name free agents but there really is only 1 real big name that I think is going anywhere new… and his name isn’t Cano or Granderson. Where will Jacoby Ellsbury end up?! One idea is a team I already mentioned, the Cardinals. Sure, they already have Jon Jay, but it’s Jon Jay. I already talked about how the Cardinals have plenty of prospects but this is a guy they can sign without having to give any of them up. They can then save those trade chips for a SS. The other team that that I would guess could own Ellsbury in 2014 is the Seattle Mariners. I hope the Mariners land him because I would love to see the Mariners return to stardom and the playoffs and they have the pitching staff in place but need a spark on offense.
  • Another name I’m excited to watch is David Price. I know, I know, he isn’t a free agent, but he’s about to make a lot of money and TB doesn’t pay anybody because they are so good with the talent they find for cheap. Where will Price go? Definitely to the West Coast. More specifically, Los Angeles. I will put the Dodgers at the front but the Angels should be in the discussion on Price as well. I just think the Dodgers have the money and the prospects available. Could you imagine a Kershaw, Greinke, Price, Ryu, and Tanaka rotation? You may get to see it in reality in 2014.
  • Lastly, as much as I’m sick of it, the A-rod vs MLB case. Yes, I’m sick of this whole thing but this is actually getting entertaining. I mean, this hearing is turning into a good ol’ fashioned mud-slinging political he-said-she-said debate. Check out this link to the New York Times story that summarizes what’s happening in the case when it’s on hold until November 11th. This whole thing is currently a bash session with key terms of ‘MLB’, ‘A-Rod’, ‘leaks’, ‘spying’, and ‘Bosch’. I just can’t wait for the rulings because it’s going to destroy the loser. Whether its A-rod or the MLB organization, this is like watching a train wreck because we just can’t turn away.

Mariners Request Two DH Spots

Instead of surfing the world wide web for hilarious cat videos (that one is almost as funny as this one), you should be researching crazy baseball statistics.

Such as, comparing the combined batting average of all the Mariner shortstops versus the combined batting average of all the National League pitchers. Sure the NL has pitchers that are true gamers, like Samardzija/Gallardo/Gio/Kershaw/Stults/Miley/Hudson who all have home runs in 2013. Or how about Leake/Hudson/Teheron/Zito/Stults/Ryu/Bailey who are all batting over 0.250. But the fact is that pitchers are still batting a combined 0.124.

That’s not very good… but it is better than the Mariners’ shortstops who are batting 0.121. That is miserable. Brendan Ryan and Robert Andino just can’t get the bat on the ball. Andino has played 10 games at SS and has recorded 3 total hits for a 0.086 batting average. Brendan Ryan is helping the duo by batting 0.133 in 31 games. At least Ryan can say he is out hitting NL pitchers.

So there are two options for the Mariners and only two options:

  1. Request the use of two DH spots and sign Barry Bonds.
  2. Allow their pitchers to hit and use their DH for the SS bat.

If they decide to go with option 2, maybe they can sign Bigfoot to their starting rotation. Reports are he was last seen at Safeco Field and I bet he can hit the ball a ton.

3 down, 159 To Go… What You May Have Missed

I know what you are thinking… ‘It’s only 4 days in to the season. What could I have possibly missed?’

Well, here’s a quick run down:

  1. Everyone in Oakland is doing ‘The Bernie‘ these days.

  2. The Astro’s pounded the Rangers on Opening Day to get a win. They only need 62 more to beat the line.
  3. The Astro’s looked like the projected Astro’s two nights later when Yu Darvish was 1 out away from a perfect game (it seems too early for no-hitters too). He needs to work on blocking the 5-hole.
  4. Marmol looks like typical Marmol… Strike Out, Hit Batsman, RBI Single, Walk, Pulled from game. And Axford looks like 2012 Axford, not 2011 Ax-man… 6 Hits, 4 Runs, 3 HR, 1 Blown Save, in 1.2 Innings.
  5. AJ Burnett got pranked on April Fools

  6. Michael Morse took his beast mode to the West Coast from the East Coast… 3 Homers in 9 At-Bats.
  7. Speaking of Home Runs, the Rockies won’t need pitching if they keep hitting like this… 41 Hits, 19 Runs, 8 HR, in 3 Games.
  8. When did pitchers learn to hit? Kershaw throws a complete game shutout with a solo home run. And Gio Gonzalez hit a solo home run in a 3-0 win on Wednesday.
  9. Red Sox’s front office fear losing their sellout record and persuade fans to come to the stadium by offering free food and half price beer (still $5, but cheaper than most stadiums)
  10. On Day Three (Tuesday), every home team lost.
  11. MLB may have to invoke the slow pitch Softball rule of not having to run the bases for home runs just because Pablo Sandoval may not be able to physically make it around the bases many more times.
  12. Take a tip from this guy on what not to do when taking your girlfriend or wife to a baseball game.
  13. Four walk-offs on Day 4… Votto, Escobar, and Joyce.
  14. Front Row Amy Andy made his first appearance in the Brewers stands on Tuesday.
  15. Gio Gonzalez claims to have done the unthinkable with his hand in public.
  16. Raymond, the Rays mascot, got caught on hidden camera admitting to murder.
  17. And Finally, Manny Ramirez hit his first Home Run in Taiwan.

That should get you caught up through the first four days.

No News, Old News, And New News

Wow… A MONTH! A month without any news from the greatest commissioner.

I know you were worried based on all the concerned emails, comments, and tweets I received. No need to fret. Yours truly is A-OK. But now that football is returning and having already completed 2 fantasy drafts with 2 to go (yep, sold my soul to the football devil), I have reunited with my one-true-love… Baseball (after my wife of course).

I didn’t ever turn my shoulder on baseball these year. I only gave the cold shoulder to blogging about it. So let’s recap what has been on my mind and not shared with you, the Sultans of Swat. The Free Swinger Groupies. The Juggernaut Jury. The Royal Family of Cork. The Blog’s Fans.

Here comes a long winded rant:

    Umps are profiling all TB pitchers (AP)

  • Did a pitcher really get thrown out for too much pine tar? I can’t remember the last time pine tar was even relevant since the great pine tar incident of 1983 (That event was very interesting, I highly recommend all baseball fans read how it ends). What is funny with Peralta is that he got called out, was found guilty, booted from the game, and then Joe Maddon was allowed to investigate one opposing team’s pitcher. The National’s pitcher was clean and then Fernando Rodney came in to save the game for TB but made sure to walk to the mound with his hands up and glove between his legs… hilarious.
  • I’ve started my application process to trademark “This is a Clown Competition, Bro.” If Bryce wasn’t already in line to make millions, he will now be taking his smart ass mouth all the way to the bank. Really? A 19-year old phenom who hasn’t figured out how to keep his swagger alive since the All-Star break is going to trademark a phrase he gave to a Canadian reporter. I’ll keep you all posted on when the “This is a Clown Competition, Bro” shirts will hit the KoC merchandise store.
  • As if Jim Thome hasn’t made enough cash in his career, he got a $5K bonus check from teammate Papelbon for getting Papelbon off the hook for a blown save. I’m still waiting for my $5K check from my co-workers for getting them out of a tight deadline. You still think athletes aren’t overpaid?
  • Mike Trout deserves to win Rookie of the Year and MVP at the age of 21. He is a stud… enough said.
  • Umps do not have the easiest jobs in the world. On any close play, he upsets hundreds of people (players, coaches, fans) regardless of which way the call goes. But it seems umps are missing the easy calls this season. Really, Really, Really easy calls. First, the Helton play where Helton missed first base by more than 3 feet. Then, Carlos Santana (the catcher, not the singer) gets called safe when he was obviously walking into second base. But then came the worst when Dewayne Wise came from the stands with NO BALL IN HIS GLOVE. But some how he still got the catch, and more importantly, the third out. These all bring to mind the popular Little League chant “I’m Blind, I’m Deaf, I want to be a Ref”.
  • Seattle’s Safeco field is a great place to watch a baseball game. The stadium is new. The fans and people of Seattle are friendly. The garlic fries are AMAZING. I had the opportunity to enjoy this great stadium and great city this season (and almost had a chance for Big Papi’s 400th career HR which fell just short of my front row seats in RF). I highly, highly recommend a trip to the city of Seattle and if you happen to be in town while the Mariners, Seahawks, or Sounds are playing, I recommend catching a game in the city’s great sports complex. I had only two disappointments in Seattle: there fan support for the Mariners is lacking (especially on a night I saw King Felix pitch). And the stadium could have been built with an amazing view (the architects must have had a hangover when they put the walls up to hide the mountains).
  • Whatever happened to good cartoons? No wonder why most of our kids are brain washed. They don’t get to enjoy great cartoons like Tiny Toons, Garfield and Friends, Scooby Doo, Anamaniacs, Sonic, Transformers, Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, Felix the Cat, Inspector Gadget, and the list goes on. Are there even cartoons on after school or on Sunday morning anymore? Instead kids are stuck watching crap like Judge Judy, Rachel Ray, Jerry Springer, or Maury.
  • Did Atlanta really sign Ben Sheets the man with the glass arm? Sheets has only pitched over 160 innings in a single season 4 times in his 10 year career (being a Brewer fan, that seems like a lot) and is trying to come back from his second tommy john in 4 years. His last comeback failed in Oakland but Sheets looked amazing in his first 5 starts for Atlanta (giving up only 5 earned runs). Then, someone threw a rock at his glass arm and we now see the Sheets we all know… the one sitting on the DL.
  • I’m in the middle of a major home renovation project and I’m still looking for my retirement fund in the walls. Seriously, where do these people keep finding this hidden gems. $3 Million in pristine baseball cards… ok, they may have exaggerated a bit in the first story.
  • Do you know how bad ass Brian Wilson is? He is dating a Sasquatch.
  • Baseball is known as the child’s game that adults get paid to play. Well, some of the players are still kids at heart and that makes them some of the most loved in baseball. Adam LaRoche (star of Outdoor Channel’s Buck Commander) is one of those players and his Ozzie Guillen/Bryce Harper combo prank was priceless this season. Nothing like making an unsuspecting Rookie look like he’s rubbing a seasoned manager’s face in Pine Tar.
  • What’s with teams giving the worst birthday gift to their players? “Can I see you in my office? Ya, we decided to go a different route. You are going to be cut. Oh, Happy Birthday.” This not only happened to the ex-pitcher, now power hitting OF, Rick Ankiel but also to Brewers’ flame-throwing Randy Wolf (flame-thrower might be a bit of a stretch… Wolf threw a curve ball 49 MPH).
  • Let’s talk about some rare home run feats because this is a home run blog after all. How often does a pitcher hit a home run? Maybe 10 a year. Maybe. How often do starting pitchers hit homers in the same game? Once every 10 years. How often do opposing starting pitchers hit homers in the same inning? Once every 20 years. That’s just what happened when Hamels and Cain both connected on pitches in the same inning. Kind of cool to help yourself out in the game. Not so cool when you give it right back to what is suppose to be the easiest out in the NL lineup. Even more rare… how bout brothers hitting not just their 99th but also their 100th career home runs on the same night. SAME NIGHT! That’s just what the Upton brothers did. But at least they hit home runs, unlike Carlos Gomez who trotted all the way around the bases only to find out he hit a long foul ball. Then, proceeded to strike out.
  • Still think Bonds didn’t have some help with steroids? Of course not. But do you want more proof that he should have an asterix next to those 762 home runs? I give you “The Clear” evidence to the right…
  • Social Media is getting a little too creepy. No one wants to know what your doctor said about your endoscopy. No one wants to know about your bowels. Social media was only created for stalkers (don’t deny it, we all are guilty of the stalking). This couple took social media creepy and odd to a whole new level. Kind of cool to see strangers come together for the love of a team. But a little creepy that it was documented on social media. I can’t decide which adjective should be used to describe the outing. What’s your thoughts?
  • Speaking of social media, what the heck is Shell thinking by letting the public make advertising for the company. Some of those are funny but just plain wrong (like, “Birds are like sponges… for oil”). Another random thought about social media, why does everyone want to hack into celebrities’ accounts and posting crap. At least this hacker had something funny to say (odds are he wasn’t a Yankees fan).
  • This season it seems something has crawled up every umpires’ you-know-what hole. Every little thing seems to trigger their ejection finger these days. But this umpire must have had something wedged up there extra far. Who ejects the sound guy? The home team should have been given an extra run for the sound guy’s creativity, but instead they lost their PA. Again, the saying goes “I’m BLIND, I’m deaf, I wanna be a ref”.
  • The sound guys haven’t been the only ones getting creative. There have been a few fans that have taken creativity to a whole new level. Take this fan for example who rode into McCovey Cove to catch a few Giant home run swings. A Delorean is cool enough, but a Delorean Hovercraft is insanely awesome. Who knew it only took a flux capacitor to get on television these days. Or how about the Lucha Libre at the Orioles game. The fact that he was made even creepier by making it on TV over Getz left shoulder is awesome. And if you are one of those fans who wants to propose at a baseball game just make sure your bride to be isn’t away getting you a beer. There will be plenty of time for that after she says ‘yes’.
  • Hail to the King! King Felix pitched the 3rd perfect game of 2012 and the 23rd in MLB history and the 1st for the Mariners organization. What’s even more impressive is that that 1-0 win was King Felix’s 3rd 1-0 win in the month of August… three! It’s going to be hard to not vote for him as the Cy Young this season (unless Verlander continues to lead the Tigers to a pennant). But what’s even more impressive than Hernandez’s perfect game is that a 9-month-old boy has now witnessed TWO perfect games in his life. Most fans just hope to watch one on TV from first pitch to last let alone hoping to see one live. And it’s not like this kids parents have taken him to every Mariner game this season, he’s only been to TWO games ever. Yep, two games, both perfect. Better wrap that kid up and ship him of to Boston. The Red Sox are going to need all of this kid’s luck and more if they want to see a post-season in 2012.
  • Someone finally caught the ‘Milk Man’ cheating with their loved one… baseball. Melky Cabrera admitted to a positive Performance Enhancing Drug test which will result in him sitting out the final 50-regular season games for the Giants (guess that’s better than testing positive for Meth which doesn’t enhance your game like these 3 Rays minor leaguers). But he will get to play again in October (assuming the Giants can hang on to a playoff spot). What’s even more ridiculous than allowing Melky to help his team in the postseason? He can win the batting title WITHOUT having to bat in another regular season game. You thought Jose Reyes benching himself in the final game was a cheap way to win a title, how about admitting to cheating, serving a suspension, and still winning it. Let’s hope Andrew McCutchen can dethrone the Milk Man before October rolls around.
  • Speed Round: Literally, Speed. Billy Hamilton is a name you need to get to know. He has a legitimate shot at breaking Ricky Henderson’s MLB record of 130 in a season, if Hamilton ever reaches the big leagues. What has he already accomplished? He broke the minor league record of 145 set by Vince Coleman in 1983. He currently sits at 155 SB in 192 attempts… 192 attempts!!! Even more impressive is that he needed 3 to break the record and he stole 3 bases in the first 3 innings. This kid is quick. Hopefully his day comes in the majors because I can’t wait to see a 100 SB season.
  • What is Roger Clemens trying to prove? Either that or it’s a gimmick for the Sugar Land Skeeter’s to make some last minute bucks on the soon to be ending 2012 minor league season. He should probably stick to his over-50 softball league.
  • After getting sold, the LA Dodgers are All-In for the 2012 season. They were the most active team during the trade deadline. Picking up Victorino, Beckett, A-Gon, Punto, Carl Crawford and most of the remaining money on their contracts (great news for the Red Sox who may now be looking at a HUGE off-season acquisition). The Dodgers aren’t even leading the NL Worst West or own either of the NL Wild Cards. But with these acquisitions, the Dodgers should own the NL West title by October (I mean it’s inevitable when A-Gon homers in his first at-bat as a Dodger). The Dodgers will also own a for-sale sign in 2014 when all of these outrageous contracts start hitting their back end loading.
  • Don’t you wish that all of your employers and competitors honored you with gifts when you retired? That’s exactly what Chipper Jones is seeing as he makes his baseball farewell tour this season I would have to say that Yahoo’s #2 ranked gift is the coolest. You all know I’m not a Cubs fan, but anything that’s associated to Wrigley Field is an amazing peace of history and baseball memorabilia.

Remember, football is beginning but that doesn’t mean baseball is over. There is still a solid month of regular season ball left (and Home Run Derby) and an entire month of playoffs (that my BrewCrew is trying to make a push for by going 11-3 over their past 14 games).

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.

Inside The Acquisitions’ Stadiums: Pineda/Montero

Sure, Target may be able to predict when you have a bun in the oven but can they predict the next hosts of the MLB Fan Cave. Probably not, but you could…

The MLB Fan Cave could be a baseball fan’s perfect dream. The opportunity to sit down and watch all 2430 games. And not only watch, but comment on each of the games. You get one roommate to share the entire experience with but the opportunity to share the experience with as many ball players who stop by (Axford, Nyjer, Big Pappi, etc…). And the lucky two roommates are simply baseball fans. MLB doesn’t choose them though, the fans do. So head on over to the MLB Fan Cave and fote for your favorite entries (don’t miss the guy who has tattoos of all 30 MLB Mascots).

Target may not be able to predict the MLB Fan Cave hosts. But if their software developers had software to emulate Jack Zduriencik’s brain, they could create an algorithm to predict the trade that occurred between the Yankees and Mariners. Did anyone see this coming? Maybe my subconscious did seeing as I dropped Pineda in a keeper league to stream pitchers in the playoffs. I forgot about the keeper option and instead of Pineda costing me a 16th rd pick (he’s currently sitting at an ADP of 89, or the equivalent of a 7th to 8th round pick), he will be on a different fantasy team this year.

So let’s go into the Acquisitions’ Stadiums on the most interesting trade of the 2012 offseason: Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero.

  • Have the Yankees won?

This may be the first acquisition that I actually like for the Yanks in years. Instead of going out and buying everyone’s middle age stars that are past their prime, they went out and got a young stud that should be a staple in their rotation for years to come. It seems the Yankee front office has finally figured out that you can’t win a championship by overpaying a bunch of middle age men. For how pathetic their pitching rotation has been in the previous years, Pineda is a step in the right direction. Pineda is a freakishly tall left hander. At 6foot7 plus 10.5 inches, he towers on the mound. His 95-mph fastball looks more like 110 coming in at a starting height of 8feet. Not to mention he has a wicked slider. But, that’s really all his repertoire has. He has a change-up but it isn’t anything special and he hardly throws it. Still, he managed to strike out 173 batters while only walking 55 in 171 innings. Before his collapse after June, his ERA was a minute 2.75 and a WHIP of 1.05. The first half of the 2011 season, this kid (he’s 23) was Strasburg but without the hype. But will he return to his first half stardom or continue his 5.00+ ERA flop from the second half? The Yankees are hoping they didn’t end up with another AJ Burnett. If they did, at least this one is cheaper.

  • Will Pineda prevail in pinstripes?

As mentioned before, Michael Pineda was unbelievable through mid-June. If the season would have ended June 20th, Pineda would have been the AL MVP instead of finishing 5th in voting last season. And now he’s moving from the pitcher friendly confines of Safeco field to the homer happy Yankee stadium. From his stats last season, you would think that Pineda must have tired and started giving up more gofer balls beginning in July. But nothing is further from the truth. In June, his GroundBall% was an awful 26.5%. Over the rest of the season, it began to climb until his GB% topped out at a whopping 46.8%. This was partially due to him beginning to rely less on his high fastball (53% to 47%) and more on his nasty slider (31% to 35%). However, not only is he changing stadiums, but his opponents in his new division are a tad bit better than the AL Worst West. The Blue Jays and Red Sox were in the top 6 in Runs scored in 2011. And all 4 of the Yankees division opponents were in the top 10 in home runs (3 of the 4 are in the top 5). Even though Pineda was a rookie last season, he did get some experience pitching against the AL East. Boston and Toronto banged him around for 18 runs in 23 innings last season. And Camden Yards also yielded 3 runs in 6 innings. His problems don’t end there. Pineda’s home vs road splits are not very favorable. Safeco, being a pitcher friendly park, was Pineda’s safe haven by yielding a 2.92 overall season ERA. While the road was unkind with a 4.40 ERA. Now apply the home run factor to Yankee stadium and this trade could be a disaster for the Yankees. In my opinion, I believe Pineda has the stuff to be a great pitcher in the big leagues. But I don’t think he will be as good as he could have been if he stayed on the West coast. I will not be drafting Pineda in any fantasy league this season unless his draft position drops considerably. I would project Pineda’s ERA to be above a 4.00 and he will only get double digit wins this season thanks to having one of the best offenses behind him. That just isn’t worth a 7th rd pick.

  • Have the Mariners sold the farm?

Griffey Power Hasn't Been Seen Since 1999 In SeattleThe Yankees have proved that a prolific offense will win you games but it won’t win you a World Series. So what were the Mariners thinking… King Felix and Pineda were one of the best young 1-2 punches in all MLB starting rotations. They would have been equivalent to the hype the 2011 Phillies rotation was suppose to deliver. However, Seattle hasn’t had a true power hitter since the Griffey, Edgar Martinez, and Arod days of ’99. The Mariners get one of the Yankees top prospects in catcher Jesus Montero. The addition of Jesus Montero brings a young bat back into town. He has limited big league at-bats, but in just 61 of them he still swatted 0.325 with 4 long balls. To put that into perspective, extrapolate that out to about 600 at-bats and he would have a line close to 40 homers and 120 rbi. He’s obviously something if the Mariners are willing to trade a pitcher finishing 5th in Rookie of the Year voting. But where will Montero get his playing time?

  • Will Montero recharge the power in the Mariners offense?

Montero WILL hit over 0.300 and WILL hit 20 home runs. Montero is that good of a young hitter. The only obstacle he has to overcome is the fact that Chone Figgens and Ichiro couldn’t get on base in 2011. The good news is that Ichiro will not be as bad as he was last season. I mean it’s Ichiro. Last season was the first year he did have 200+ hits are hit above 0.300. Montero has consistently hit around 18HR, 78RBI, and 0.290 in his last 3 seasons in the minors. And that’s only in about 120 games per year. Team him up in a younger lineup with Dustin Ackley (really, really like this kid) and Justin Smoak (finally out of Texas and getting a chance), Montero will be the powerhouse and RBI producer in the middle of Seattle’s lineup for years to come. There is only one problem in 2012. He most likely won’t qualify anywhere other than DH. Miguel Olivo only missed 32 games last season. Those 32 games could belong to Montero in 2012, but when will he get them to qualify him at catcher. As a DH only player, Montero has little value in fantasy leagues. Sure he will hit 0.300 with 20 home runs and 70+ RBI, but he’s eating up a valuable utility spot on fantasy rosters. Now if he gets catcher eligibility, he would be a top-10 catcher as a rookie. So keep an eye on Seattle’s spring training lineup. If Montero is getting more opportunities behind the plate than at DH, he may just be worth more than a 16th round pick.

– Pineda is being over valued. He’s a great young pitcher but the switch to the hitter heavy AL East and smaller ballparks are going to inflate his ERA and Whip. He isn’t worth a 7th-8th round draft pick. Still a good addition to a Yankee team who has been overspending in past years.
– The Mariners are finally dedicated to putting an offense back onto the field in 2012 and Montero will be the next great Seattle hitter. He needs to gain position eligibility to have more fantasy value in fantasy leagues. Unless your league has a DH position or multiple utility spots, hes not more than a late round flier (currently an ADP of 169). Wait for him next year if he goes before round 18. Unless he gets catcher eligibility, then he is going to be a top-10 catcher in 2012. Monitor his status in spring training.

Stay tuned for the next guest of Inside the Acquisition’s Stadiums: Yu Darvish.

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.

Griffey Jr Decides To Join The Permanent DL

Ken Griffey Jr one of the greatest baseball players of the past two decades (if not the era) has decided to pull the chord on his MLB career. Many of you may not care, but I can remember playing Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball for Sega (not saturn) as the Seattle Mariners. I mean their lineup was stacked: Griffey Jr, Tino and Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, and A-rod. Griffey always came through in the clutch for me.

Anyways, Griffey has announced his retirement at the young age of 40. He was having a horrific season; batting 0.184 with 7RBI and 0HR in 98AB. And being convicted of sleeping while on the job. But let’s take a look at what he has accomplished:

  • 10 Gold Gloves: Only one other 500+HR player has more and that’s Willie Mays
  • 1997 AL MVP
  • 13 All-Star Games: Winning 3 HR Derbys and the 1992 All-star MVP
  • 7 Silver Slugger Awards
  • 630 career HR

Let’s talk about that last stat. That makes Griffey 5th all-time (only behind Bonds, Hank, Babe, and Mays). BUT Griffey has been plagued by numerous injury bugs.

Let’s play a bit of a hypothetical game:

  • If Griffey had as many AB as Hank Aaron (Griffey had 2500 less), Griffey would have hit about 795 HR, more than Bonds’ record
  • If Griffey had as many AB as Barry Bonds and Griffey’s HR pace this year kept up, Griffey would have hit about 630 HR. Griffey only had 46 less AB than Bonds. But he also has not been convicted with the asterisk

Let’s face it, Griffey Jr was great… but if he had been healthy, he would have been the greatest. So let’s say “So Long” to the greatest HR stroke. Now we have to watch Kevin Youkilis’ beautiful swing.