Archive for » June, 2010 «

Adam Dunn Leaves Damsel In Distress, Strasburg Loses

Strasburg’s hero… his Superman… his Spiderman… his BATman… missed the bat signal on Wednesday night. Adam Dunn goes 2 for 4 but fails to drive in a Strasburg saving RBI.

OK, I’ll be honest. I haven’t seen every Strasburg pitch, but I’ve made sure I’ve seen at least 1 Strasburg pitch in his first 4 games. I have, however, made sure to watch, gamecast (Thank You Al Gore for the internet), or receive texts (4-INFO is the greatest free mobile alert system available) of every Strasburg inning. If you still don’t think he is the second coming of “The Ryan Express“, you need to double check his remarkable stats. This is the guy who had 14K and 0BB AND 0 fly ball outs in his MLB debut. This is the guy who had 32K in his first 3 major league starts (new MLB record). This is the guy who has only allowed 5BB through 4 games (all in one game). One can argue his opponents have been a bit week (Pit, Clev, Chi Sox, and KC), but to have the command to only walk 5 is remarkable.

However, Strasburg (before tonight’s game) was 2-0 in 3 starts; and most would like to credit his amazing 100mph fastball. Some would like to credit his un-hittable change-up. What I would like to credit it to is his modern day superhero… Adam Dunn.

Let’s do a quick offensive synopsis of Strasburg’s first 4 major league games:

Game 1: Let’s Be Friends
Strasburg was all the hype the past 2 months of the MLB season and he sold out the Washington ballpark quicker than any other name has before. He was lights out with 14K’s (striking out 8 of the last 9 batters faced), 0 walks, and 0 flyball outs (the most remarkable, I believe). But he still would have gotten the loss if it weren’t for his damsel in distress call to Adam Dunn in the bottom of the 6th. With no one out, one guy on, and trailing by 1 run, Adam Dunn came to the plate. He took his typical mighty cut and connected. Crack! Hello 2-run home run (which I still believe was partially scripted) and the lead for “The S.S Burger”, the National’s Battleship (he has no nickname yet, so I will try to coin mine… it’s either that or the “Ice-Berg”, sinking Titanic teams since 2010). Eventually, the Nationals offense picked up and built a cushion for the rookie phenom. Strasburg would eventually take the win in his Major League Debut with a final score of 5-2.

Game 2: I Need More Help
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Hey Son, Keep Your Eye On The Ball

“Here it comes buddy”Swing and a Miss
-Swing and a miss-
“Son, just keep your eye on the ball.”
-Swing and a miss-
“Sh$#, here’s the ball just watch it, swing the bat, and make contact”
-Swing and a miss-
“Well there goes my easy retirement. Honey, our kid can’t hit the broad side of a barn with that thing. Go invest his tee ball fees on lottery tickets.”

We have all had this moment in our father/son (or father/daughter) relationship if your father was a baseball fan. Well maybe not exactly like this, but we have all heard “Keep your eye on the ball”.

Well ESPN teamed with the Sport Science guys and tested if you can truly keep your eye on the ball when you swing at a typical major league fastball (not a Strasburg 100mph fastball).

You can watch the entire clip below by following the “Rest of the story” link.

What blew my mind was how quick a batter has to react to the pitch (0.44 Seconds); and that by the time the batter has even picked up the ball, he only has 0.34 seconds to react and the ball has already moved 12 feet or 20% of the total distance.

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Whiskey Prescribed To Tulo

That’s right Derby fans, the great Troy Tulowitzki is headed to the DL, a crushing blow to not only the Rockies but Fantasy Teams (mine included) and Derby Teams as well.

What happened, you ask… he took an AJ Burnett pitch to the wrist on June 17 which shattered it. This will put him out well past the All-Star break at a projected time line of 4-6 weeks. But I have bad news for all of Tulo’s fans. Remember when he was on the DL in 2008??? He had a torn thigh tendon and only 14 games after that sidelined him 46 games, Tulo was frustrated at his latest plate appearance and slammed his maple bat to the ground. Well the maple bat shattered and sliced his palm open requiring 16 stitches.

Why do I bring this up??? Well, statistically, every time Tulo has come of his first DL stint of the season, he has done something stupid which cost him another DL trip. So Tulo fans or Tulo investors, get ready for a minimum of 6-8 week DL stint out of the next 8-10 weeks.

All you Derby fans invested in Tulo. The count down has started for the trade deadline in the derby. You will be able to choose a new player from Group C effective on July 8.

*EDIT* Just watched Justin Upton take a fastball to the elbow. Possibly (probably) another big name to add to the DL list.

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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:

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Check It Out!!! – Standings Update Automatically

You read that correctly. The standings page now automatically updates. Now there is no need for you to have to wait for me to manually post the updated standings.

Every time you visit the standings page, the standings should be up to date… well almost. The data refreshes every 5 minutes on the server, but you still need to refresh the page manually to see the changes.

This should keep the Home Run Derby more entertaining and more addicting.

If for some reason the standings don’t look right, drop me an email via the contact page so I can update the website asap. So you guys don’t become an angry mob and chase me with torches and pitchforks.

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Step Right Up, Buy Your Tickets To See The Pitching Machine

Have you watched the Nationals new machine pitch in its last two starts? If you haven’t seen either or even highlights, then you aren’t worthy to be reading this post. If you have only seen his second but not the first, you missed out on the best show. If you saw the first, you probably have to sleep with the lights on from the nightmares in the night.

During Stephen Strasburg’s second performance, he wasn’t awful by any means. But he didn’t have the 14 K’s and 0 BB like he had the first time. In fact, he had 5 BB but that wasn’t his fault. That fault lies on the Cleveland Indians grounds crew (he’s already demanding respect like a hall of famer… the ego is already larger than the 7000 sq. ft Yankee Stadium’s Hard Rock Cafe). In all seriousness, this kid looks good. When his command is perfect, he is un-hittable. When it’s slightly off, he still looks well above average. His 100 mph fastball compliments his 93 mph hard breaking changeup so well that it makes batters lock-up (Suppan’s fastball barely touches 93 at top speed and everyone can hit that).

I would like to invite everyone to start planning their summers around Strasburg’s starts. In fact, Obama should just go ahead and make every Strasburg start date a new national holiday (the kind of holiday where no one works but still receives pay). I’ve projected out Strasburg’s projected starts for the rest of the season. These dates assume that there will be no rain outs, no rotation changes, and the Nationals won’t mix the rotation up at the 4 day break for the All-star game.

I circled the game I will be attending, so if anyone wants to join me, hit me up.

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AA: MLB Turns Back The Clock, Bring Out Your Dimes

Welcome to an early addition of Audience Augmenters. We are going to rewind the clock this week; because after doing a little research, I found out why the Majors can’t get away with the cheap gimmicks like Minor League ball can. I promise, after this week, we will return to our regularly scheduled program of showing the funny, strange, and/or just plain outrageous attendance promotions currently being offered in baseball.

So why has major league baseball tamed down their promotional nights. I believe it is due to these three/four promotional nights of the 70’s (oh how I wish I could have partaken in the 70’s fun).

#1 – 10 Cent Beer Night – Cleveland Indians (It even has its own ballad)

Dime Time Beer!!! Sign me and my 40 other buddies up for this game. Not only are you spending less than a night at the bar, but you also get to watch baseball as well (including a woman who decided to flash the crowd from the on-deck circle). I really wish I could have been part of the Cleveland Indians marketing department meeting when this promotion was brought up. Who in their right mind thought this would end well? Even if the June 4, 1974 game versus the Rangers didn’t end with a 25,000 person brawl, where players and coaches were wielding bats for self defense, those 25,000 definitely didn’t walk to the game. Although that era was a different time than it is now, where the local cops would give you a slap on the wrist for driving while intoxicated and not bringing them a spare beer.

The night started with the woman flashing, it turned into a naked guy sliding into second base after the second HR by the Rangers. After that it turned into a streaking chaos, guys on the field mooning the Ranger outfielders (I’m pretty sure one of these guys was my father). By the 9th inning when Cleveland tied it at 5, there was just a pile of clothes in left field. When one fan flipped the bill of the Ranger outfielder and he fell face first, the Rangers manager turned to his bench and cried “Our Freedome!!!”… Then they all came out of the dugout swinging Louisville sluggers, but they were met by many more drunk and clothed fans with chains and knives.

This led the Indians manager to turn to his bench who grabbed bats and made a Blackhawk down rescue mission for the Ranger players (some where knocked out with chairs while others were beating the crap out of kids). I mean this brawl made the Ron Artest brawl look like a grade school fight. I highly recommend reading this article at least to the point where they have the actual game time comments from the commentators. My favorite part is after the game ended in a forfeit by the Indians, the Indians owner announced they would be limiting the next event from 6 to only 4 cups per person (they had 3 more of these nights planned since it did over double the attendance to the game).

#2 – Disco Demolition Night – Chicago White Sox

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Another King Of Cork: Pete Rose

I’m not going to even type a long post about this topic. You can find a great article on it here at Deadspin.
I also think this story has influenced the owner of Rose’s bat used for the historic hits record to be put up for auction. Dude is going to make a fortune on it now.

I don’t want to spoil anyone’s boy hood dreams or heroes based on Pete Rose (I hope he did that himself after being caught gambling).

So to see the spoiler, click the jump below.

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AA: Wisconsin Baseball Fans LOVE Cheap Gimmicks

Wrestling mascots, tennis balls littering the mound next to a 5 gallon pail, robotic t-shirt guns, under age college students rolling kegs around the bases, and of course “the beer batter” whom gives the fans $1 beers if he strikes out. These are only some of the differences between the professional level and any amateur level of baseball. Without these gimmicks, how else would amateur baseball get fans to enjoy themselves at the ballpark. Well, those items and the chance to witness the rising of the next Bob Gibson.

Professional clubs try to simulate this atmosphere, but at a much more tame level. The Brewers have the Sausage Race, Pittsburgh has the Pierogi Race, Washington has the Presidents Race (which is funny because Teddy Roosevelt isn’t ever allowed to win), teams give out items to the first X number of fans (ranging anywhere from an umbrella, to a bobble head, to the sweetest t-shirt of all time). But none of these gimmicks are as great as what the amateur organizations will try in order to persuade their fan base to contribute to the team’s revenue.

Thus, I am going to try to start a new weekly (semi-weekly) column where I share one or multiple organizations’ greatest 2010 promotions. If you stumble upon any or know of any, feel free to send me a link. You can get a hold of me via the contact page.

So let’s begin this year long journey I am dubbing “Attendance Augmenters” or AA for short.

This week I will be hi-lighting the Madison Mallards 2010 promotions. One, because they bring back fond memories of my great alum days; and two, because they always have great promotions ( see the Gary Coleman stunt RIP Gary).

The Madison Mallards are part of the 16 team Northwoods League. This league is formed by some of the top collegiate players around the country and allows them to play competitive summer ball. The Northwoods League is also known for playing more games and drawing the most fans (partially due to these gimmicks) than almost all the other collegiate summer leagues. The league has produced some of the top names in baseball today, including Ian Kinsler (ex-Mallard), Andre Ethier, Juan Pierre, Max Scherzer, Ryan Spilbroghs (ex-Mallard), Josh Willingham, and Ben Zobrist just to name a few.

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Soup’s On… Again

The soup is hot. Come get it well it’s hot. Suppan was only out of a job for 5 days before someone picked him up (which means I get to make more Suppan posts).

And guess where he is staying… the NL Central. That’s right Brewer, Cubs, Astros, Reds, and Pirate fans; great news for you guys and bad news for the Cardinal fans. The Cardinals are close to sealing the deal and they would only owe Suppan a prorated portion of the MLB league minimum, while the Brewers still have to cough out the remaining portion of his $42 million. Is it just me or is getting fired in the MLB like getting suspended from school (stay home from school, sounds great!!)? You get to sign for a contender and get paid two salaries instead of one.

I’m starting to wonder if Suppan was just working for the Cardinals as an inside man. Blow every fifth game for the Brewers, unless you are playing the team in front off or directly behind the Cardinals in the standings. Maybe Braden Looper was working on the inside as well…

What does everyone think? Agree with the move or not? Remember the Cardinals do have 3 rookies currently in their rotation.

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