Time To Swing For The Fences – 2011 Is Underway

It’s official… the 2011 MLB regular season is 1 day away. Even though there are still spring training games today March 30, most teams should be wise enough to sit a lot of there strong talent for the last day of games (I hope they do at least for my fantasy teams’ and HR derby team’s sakes).

So what’s the deal with the opening pitches being thrown on a Thursday this season? William Browning over at Yahoo wrote a small article on what he believes the reasons for the move are. But I’m still irate since the Brewers play at 1pm CT and I’m out of vacation days. So I will be getting my opening day fix via the AT&T 3G network and not at the local Old Chicago.

MLB Opening day is (in my opinion) one of the greatest days of the year. It means that millions of baseball fans finally get to satisfy their baseball addiction that has been leaving them with life threatening withdrawals since late October (or longer for fans of sub 0.500 teams). It means that 20-percent of those millions of fans get to say their team is in first place and this is their team’s year (the other 80-percent are Yankee, Boston, and Philly fans). The best part of MLB opening day… millions of fans get to waste 6 months on a fantasy life of being a baseball GM by playing fantasy baseball AND managing a Kings of Cork Home Run Derby team.

You read that right… the 2011 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby has officially begun (feel free to review the Rules). And this year, you guys out did yourselves. We increased the number of teams by 33-percent going from 38 to 59 teams (including four of the five winners from last season including the reigning champion). Of those 59 teams, not a single one was a duplicate entry. You can check out all the rosters and standings here. As always, I also post the best possible HR derby team and the potential trade candidates at the bottom of the standings link located above (soon to be added at the beginning of the season).

As for the Home Run Derby selections… The most common player selection belongs to Group A. Obviously, Mr. Pujols was the majority’s pick with just under half (25) of the teams selecting the soon-to-be highest paid player in MLB history. Sir A-Gon of Boston (10) and Adam Dunn (8) in the HR friendly south sider park were the next most common Group A selections. Only five teams have faith in Ryan Howard having a bounce back year and returning to 2006 form.

Group B was dominated by Big Tex (Teixeira – 11) followed by Vroom Vroom Votto (11) and Mr. A-roid (8). The last picked for dodgeball in Group B was Dan Uggla (1 pick – I’m rooting for you Denver Donkeys, I almost took Uggla in the Braves uniform) and Mark Reynolds (2 – did I forget to mention that Batting Average doesn’t count in the HR derby?).

I must have put Ryan Braun in the wrong group… Group C was as close as a unanimous decision gets (for how many choices teams had in Group C) by having 19 teams taking the Brewer Hebrew Hammer. Tulo and Konerko (is he 50 yrs old yet?) both had 7 votes of confidence each. Thankfully, no one took Morales and Utley who will both start on the DL and everyone lost confidence in David Wright. We also had solo picks for Luke Scott (I believe in this guy if he plays everyday), Robinson Cano (Cano-t do it again), and Matt Kemp (picked again by our reigning runner-up, TigerBlood).

Evan Longoria won’t repeat 2010 with less than 25hr will he??? Twelve derby teams hope not. Stanton (the rookie masher) and Vernon Wells (what was LA thinking in that trade) both had six teams give them the head nod in Group D. El Caballo (Carlos Lee), about to be shipped off to the glue factory, and Granderson both got kicked to the curb like a used ____ (you can fill in the blank). Adrian Beltre was the only player in Group D who had only one team gamble on him. Sorry Corey Hart fans, but your teams will start with a man on the DL. It’s at least retroactive to March 22, so it shouldn’t be long before he’s back in the BrewCrew’s lineup.

I can’t even post the majority of the stats for Group E (write-in category). The Kraken (Jason Heyward – 8) won the popularity contest for the reject category. But I have a feeling we have a few homer picks in Group E as well since Aramis Ramirez (5), Alfonso Soriano (4), and Casey McGehee (4) were the next most common picks. We did receive 4 actual write-in players (not included on the entry form Group E suggestion list): Pedro Alvarez (I bet he hits 26HR), Edwin Encarnacion (he will hit over 30 with regular playing time), and Kali Ka’aihue (he better hit over 30 since I picked him) all were invited to join only one Derby team each. Joe Mauer received three write-in selections continuing the trend from 2010 (three teams selected him last year as well). I’m surprised more teams didn’t take a chance on the Cubs young masher, Tyler Colvin. One of our last minute entries grabbed Colvin hoping the Cubs find a place for him in the lineup (I would have taken a chance on him had he been a sure thing on their everyday roster).

As for team names, every team submitted a team name this year and they just keep getting more creative. My personal favorites are: FRANtastic Five, Behold The Power Of Cheese! (4 out of 5 players are Brewers), Lukes of Hazzard, Pick me out a winner Bobby (great movie reference), What’s 5 bucks?, Votto ticket Werth millions, Ethier said than Dunn, and your Home Run Derby team name here:* (someone listened to directions too well). Team names play no roll in the derby other than making me laugh every time I have to type them (and find photos for them).

Remember, We’ve only just begun (great Carpenters song, even better movie scene) as the 2011 MLB season kicks-off. Check back often for updates (both HR derby and baseball related) and don’t be afraid to post comments… I do encourage heckling (especially of Cardinal and Cubs fans).

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One Response
  1. Pick me out a winner, Bobby says:

    T-minus 3 hours, 32 minutes, 15 seconds until First Pitch. That was a long winter and I thought this day would never come. So, only 181 more days unitil the Commish hands me my Kings of Cork winnings…