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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.

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#LUUUUUUUUUC

While you and your band mates take a break from arguing who missed their strum, another great Sunday of baseball needs some summarizing (the past few weeks have been busy as summer plans have kicked in at full strength).

  • Brewer Mash-up: The injury plagued Milwaukee Brewers have been beatable at home in 2012 (10-11), which is something they weren’t in 2011 (57-24). Losing Alex Gonzalez and Mat Gamel for the entire season and Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez are slumping, the Brewers offense has been anything but exciting to watch. Until they unleashed their pent up offense on the Twins today. With 16 runs on 17 hits, they didn’t even need Greinke on the mound (who has never earned a loss when he starts at Miller Park… never). What makes the 16 runs amazing is that the Brewers’ skipper put his hot hitting catcher in the cleanup spot behind Braun today. And Lucroy kept his bat’s fire going by hitting in 7RBI with 2 homers (1 a grand-slam). I’m hoping the twitter trend picks up after today. Make sure you have 9-U’s in your tweets… #LUUUUUUUUUC!
  • One Man Arm-y: It’s been awhile since we have discussed Strasburg, so let’s jump right in to today’s game. Strasburg is on track to be an elite pitcher. He’s already showed us that. Currently, he is sitting at a 2.25ERA/1.02WHIP with 64K’s in 53IP, no one can really touch him. What made today’s performance even more memorable for Stras was that he took a hanging curve yard. Yes, Strasburg doesn’t give up homeruns but he will hit them. This wasn’t a Yovani Gallardo performance but still impressive. Stras did leave this game with arm tightness so it will be interesting to see what the Nats do when he reaches his 160IP cap in 2012. If the Nats are in the playoff chase, there is no way you bench a pitcher of this caliber. Time will only tell.
  • Fish vs Fish: South Park taught us to never go Bass to Trout. What happens when Bass pitches to Trout, well Mike Trout took an Anthony Bass’ pitch and deposited it into the left field bleachers (Not to be outdone by a fellow fish name, Mike Carp went yard as well today). Mike Trout is quietly putting up a strong RoY campaign. And by quiet, we mean he isn’t drawing the publicity that Harper is taking on. Trout is a better player at this point and I stick to my earlier posts. You want Trout on your team over Harper right now.
  • The next “K Kid”: This week we said goodbye to “The K Kid” but almost got to knight a new one. Kerry Wood announced his retirement on Friday and came into the game to strike out the only batter he faced with 3 pitchers, which is a very fitting way for him to leave the game. For those who don’t remember, Kerry Wood became 1 of 5… FIVE… pitchers to ever record more than 20 strikeouts in a single game. The list includes Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson (extra innings), and Tom Cheney (21 in extra innings). Kerry Wood did it in 1998 against the Astros and gave up only 1 hit. Even more impressive, he did it when he was only 20-years old. He is only the 2nd pitcher to every record as many strikeouts in a game as his age (Bob Feller is the only other pitcher who got 17k’s at the age of 17 in 1936). Well we bid Kerry Wood a fond farewell, Max Scherzer gave Sunday hit best Kerry Wood impersonation only 2 days after Verlander came 2-outs shy of his 3-rd career no-hitter. Scherzer is either lights out or serving up gopher balls in his outings. There is almost no middle ground. Well, Sunday was a lights out performance. He threw 7-innings and struckout 15 Pirates. Its too bad he used 115 pitches to get through his 7-innings. He had a legitimate shot at being #6 on an amazing list that’s more elite than the “Perfect Game”.
  • Giants’ Studs shouldn’t cover home: We all remember what happened last season to a Giants’ star athlete that tried to block the plate as an opponent charged home. Fool Posey once, shame on you. Fool Posey twice, shame on him. Well, Posey learned his lesson but now Lincecum has received the wrong end of an opponent bulldozing home. On a wild pitch in the 4th inning, Lincecum did his duty to cover home. He covered home by basically sitting on it, which earned Lincecum an early exit. There is no word on the extent of the collision, but it didn’t look good. The only thing Giants’ fans and fantasy owners can hope is that Lincecum has his usual 5 days off to recover. Stay tuned for more news.
  • Searching for the Savoy Special: Josh Hamilton hit 9-homers in one week earlier in the month of May, which included a 4-home run night on May 8th (only the 16th player to complete this feat). What many may not know is that these home runs were all with the same bat… his “Wonderboy” you could say. Well on Mother’s Day, Hamilton switched to a pink bat for Breast Care Awareness. The pink bat didn’t have the force and Hamilton went back to his beloved Louisville Slugger. However, the bat didn’t make it through the game and fractured. It received a proper burial and is now enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame. But now Hamilton is homerless in his last 8 games over the past week. Hamilton needs to find his “Savoy Special”, and soon.

More baseball news and stories coming soon…

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Harper – Making Other Ball Players Look Bad Since 2012

I’ve seen enough… There have been a lot of haters since Harper started wearing his war paint in college games. But after watching this kid play for a week, he’s got my vote and he should have yours as the one of the rising stars of baseball.

And if you have a little leaguer at home, sit him down in front of some of these Bryce Harper clips. Harper has been showcasing the passion and the skills that makes him a perfect role model for all young athletes.

Here are the top 5 reasons Harper has already won the hearts of Washington and players:

  • The Basics – In tee-ball, everyone was taught the basics. Keep your eye on the ball when hitting and use two hands when catching the ball on defense. We all know that Harper can hit (although he’s still looking for his first major league home run). He’s proved that since he became big news a few years ago. But here’s a professional (albeit 8 games) showing kids to always use two hands…

    Yep, he caught that fly ball with his bare hand.
  • Speed – This kid runs everything out. Every time his bat touches the ball, he is already sprinting to first and rounding for second. He has unbelievable speed for an ex-catcher. He’s proving that if you just run everything out, your opponents take notice and they begin to rush plays. Take this error from a grounder to the pitcher. He rushes knowing Harper is sprinting out of the box and he throws the ball right past the first-baseman. Or how he’s already at second base on a routine fly ball to the shortstop. Or making a pitcher look ridiculous on a flip to first on a grounder to 1B:

    Summary: Run Everything Out
  • Long Toss – Make Accurate Hard Throws. Harper is an ex-catcher which gives him a cannon for an arm and he isn’t afraid to show it off. He knows when to hit his cut-off men and went to gunsling it to the base. Wherever the throw is headed, it is always on a straight line. You will almost never see him lob it in to second base or the shortstop. He throws it hard 100% of the time. And when he does unleash the gunpowder, he does this (McDonald was out):
    .
  • Game Knowledge – He’s already drawing walks and averages seeing 4 pitches per AB which is crazy. He’s already getting shifted on at the plate. He’s already getting beaned like he’s a veteran slugger. But he has that sixth sense of knowing what is always happening around him.

    He legitimately stole home. He knew if he broke at first move to firstbase, he could catch the Phillies sleeping. The firstbasemen being a lefty would have a difficult throw to home across his body. And this was all after being hit by Hamels (and was the only run given up by Hamels)
  • Passion – All of the above combined into a single player is amazing. I’m not sure there has been a player like Harper since ‘The Kid’, Griffey Jr. And look at how his career ended… a superstar. Harper takes baseball so seriously that on his off-days you may just find yourself playing a softball game with him in the park. His passion is making a lot of major leaguers look bad (maybe that’s why he’s getting intentionally hit). Not many players hustle to first anymore on the routine infield flies, yet Harper is at second before the ball is caught. He even turns short bloopers into doubles:

Harper is just fun to watch. It gives any baseball fan goosebumps to watch him play. It makes you wonder “Why isn’t hustling to first?” These guys get to play a kids game for a living, and Harper plays it right. He plays it like a little leaguer. He’s out their playing ball with the fundamentals and having fun. He’s only 19, so how long will the passion and energy last for Harper. I don’t know but I hope the Nationals get more nationally televised games so everyone gets to enjoy the spark that he has brought to Washington while it lasts.

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Time to Go “Big Fly” Fishing

Quick, go buy a fishing license with a Trout stamp… it’s time to go fishing!

Everyone in your fantasy league is probably caught up with running out and getting Bryce Harper who the Nationals just called up to replace Ryan Zimmerman who is DL bound. But while they are busy grabbing a kid who won’t spend the rest of the season in the Bigs (let’s get serious people, it’s temporary in Washington until Morse and Zimmerman are back), you can go out and grab the #1 ProspectMike Trout.

Your fishing license will be much cheaper than the Angels’ organization’s. They ate Bobby Abreu’s $9 Million contract which basically means that the Angels will pay any team to sign the 16-year veteran. If only the Brewers had a DH spot…

Rumors are that now that Trout is in the Show, he WILL play EVERY DAY. That rumor comes from a statement given by Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, so it has some legitimacy behind it.

Trout has been tearing up the Triple-A league this season. He’s batting 0.403 with 13 RBI and 6 SB in 20 games. And now he gets to be leading off and batting in a lineup that includes Pujols, Morales, Hunter, and Trumbo. This kid is legit.

If he is still available in your fantasy baseball league (only owned in 5% of ESPN leagues at the time of this post), go get him… NOW!!!

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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.
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Generation HR – Year of the Pitcher is Over


(If you haven’t seen the awful original version of this song, follow the link to Rebecca Black’s Official video)

Generation Z may come after Generation Y, but in baseball, last season was Generation P and this year it seems we may have transitioned into the start of Generation HR.

Twelve teams played on Thursday and the rest of them kicked off there season on Friday, part II of the 2011 MLB Opening Day(s). After only seeing two days of baseball, the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby may be entertaining overload this year as the Majors are on pace to launch 5860 total home runs (only 4612 were hit last season) during the regular season (already 17 home runs in 41 games). I’m a bit late in posting an Opening Day recap but its a celebration weekend (birthday) and we spent a few hours out last night laughing hysterically to a hilarious Josh Blue.

In part I of the 2011 MLB opener, there were SIX games played and there were SIXTEEN long balls. Six of them alone were in the Brewer/Reds season opener which included a Reds 3-run walk-off home run by Ramon Hernandez (#@&^$%!!) and the Brewers led off the day with Back-to-Back dingers by Weeks and Gomez. This was the first time teammates led off a season with Back-to-Backs in 42 years. Other notable home runs on Thursday belonged to Matt Holliday, who hit a solo home run in the 8th to put the Red Birds ahead (only to have Franklin blow the save) then found out he had to have an appendectomy which will sideline him indefinitely, and Jason Heyward, who is now two-for-two on hitting a home run in his first bat of the season and also jacked the first homer of 2011 (which all voters were incorrect on).

It’s Friday, Friday, Gotta get down on Friday. Everybody lookin’ forward to the Weekend…
Part II of Opening Day started with Doc Halladay leaving the game without the lead (only giving up one run), but Philly rallied in the Bottom of the 9th to a Rookie’s walk-off single. Then came the White Sox game. The ChiSox came out doing what they do best… swinging the bat. They opened a 14-0 lead on the Indians only to squandering it and pulling off a 15-10 victory, but not before Adam Dunn became the first player in Group A to hit a home run in 2011. Texas also did what they did best (hitting home runs) and upset Boston’s first game of what is supposed to be ‘The Season’ after their big acquisitions in the off-season. Another power team, the Blue Jays, took to the air with Jose Bautista picking up where he left off. Maybe those 54 homers last year wasn’t a fluke. However, Jose Bats was outdone by one of his own, Rookie JP Arencibia. He jacked 2 long ones to take the official HR lead for 2011 and is on pace for 322 more (no one took him in the HR Derby unfortunately). Two other rookies made a grand entrance on Friday (although for both it was their second game of the year). Brandon Belt of the Giants hit a 3-run home run in their 4-3 loss to the Dodgers and Kila Ka’aihue (phonetically “KEY-lah Kuh-eye-HOO-ah”) added a walk-off solo home run to his short resume. It also gave me excitement that I may have finally picked the right player for the write-in group (but probably not).

After the two-part opening day was finished, the team atop the Home Run Derby standings was the Kettle Poppers who reaped the rewards of Adam Dunn’s only home run in Group A. Don’t fret my home run friends, there are plenty of days left in this marathon (unless you own Holliday, Hart or Sizemore, all of whom are currently on the DL or in the ER.)

Time to go enjoy the Brewers first win of the year with a nice PBR.

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…