2014 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby Open For Business

You may have noticed that there haven’t been a lot of updates on the surface, but underneath the site has been going through some updates and prototype changes. I’m hoping to roll out some big updates by the beginning of the season. I’ll let my test group decide if the prototypes are worthy of publishing, but for the rest of you, you will just have to wait and see.

But now for the best news this off-season for non-Yankee and non-Mariner fans, the 2014 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby is open for entry submissions. This is the quinquennial anniversary (5th year) of the website and our HR derby contest. And most of the original 38 participants are still involved. So if you are familiar with the contest, simply go to the Entry Form link above and submit your team of 5 (there were no rule changes from the 2013 rules). If you aren’t familiar with the competition, please head over to the Rules page to better understand the contest and then head back to the Entry Form and submit your official team.

Remember, this friendly competition is open to anyone who can find the entry form. I don’t advertise the competition to many people (because most of my resources are already involved in the competition), so it’s up to you to spread the word to anyone interested in making the baseball season a little more interesting and personal. So go out and invite your friends, families, and enemies and let’s try to top 100 contestants this season.

Now that the business end of this post is complete. Let’s talk about some of the more interesting off-season baseball related items.

I’m sure you have heard of this Tanaka guy. No, not Taka Tanaka from Major League II. Although I hope their personalities are the same because the Yankees could use some individualism. Masahiro Tanaka is just the latest piece of the “evil empire’s” over-spending to buy a non-championship team. It will be interesting to see how his talents from Japan translate over to the launching pad in NY. Over the last 3 seasons in Japan, he pitched 600 innings, recorded just under 600 k’s, had an ERA of 1.44, and a record of 53-9 (including a 24-0 record last season). There is no doubt he is talented but competing against the hard hitting AL East will be quite different than the Matt Murtons of Japan.

And really, the Yankees need to send a thank you card to A-Rod for saving them millions of dollars to be able to afford Tanaka’s first season salary. I’m sure everyone is sick of the A-Rod Circus but the good news is that this week he finally dropped his lawsuit against the MLB and Players Association. So it seems like the circus has left town for the time being, but it still doesn’t eliminate his reputation and past comments. My favorite being when A-Rod said, “I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout.” You know, because we all get a year off from time-to-time in our working careers to spend our millions of dollars. I’m really hoping that A-Rod agrees to one of the independent league offers because he would at least help build a baseball fan base in towns nowhere near an MLB franchise. He owes at least that to the sport that made him rich and famous.

Enough Yankee talk, how about some more exciting and inspiring short baseball documentaries. I stumbled across these on the ESPN site a few months ago and have been storing them away for miserable weather. Well now that the Midwest is about to see frigid temperatures near -20 this week, it seems like the perfect time to unleash them.

  1. The first short 30-for-30 film I found interesting is titled ‘The Schedule Makers’. This 12-minute short covers the lives of a husband and wife duo who managed the MLB schedule for 25 years by fighting off technology and larger corporations. This just blows my mind that a couple living outside of the busy city life would just sit down and develop the complicated MLB schedule for more than 26 teams that each needed to play 162 games in about 180 days. Talk about an expert level Sudoku puzzle.
  2. Second on my list of short videos is titled ‘Tommy and Frank’. What’s great about this video is the history behind the doctor, Frank Jobe, who invented the Tommy John procedure in 1974 saving Tommy John’s MLB career. Why it got named Tommy John versus the Frank Jobe procedure is still unknown but the story behind the two men’s friendship is incredible.
  3. Lastly is the short video about the Holy Grail of baseball cards, the T206 Honus Wagner. This card sold to Wayne Gretzky at auction for over $451,000 after all the final fees. This is the rarest card in the history of card collecting and this particular card was in mint condition. But what makes the story interesting is the controversy of how the card may have became mint. Were the edges cut? Was the card artificially re-colored? How could a card produced in 1909 be so perfect?

Another interesting piece of baseball news this off-season is my opportunity to participate in the MLB Hall of Fame voting. Yes, this responsibility is typically delegated to a select few that were involved with the game whether it was managing, playing, or reporting. But this season, Deadspin attempted to purchase a ballot to allow the public to fill out and submit. When all their attempts fell through, there was still a single man that agreed to give his ballot to Deadspin’s readers. And I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the ballot and cast my opinion. The readers of Deadspin chose to vote for the maximum allowed which were Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Glavine, Maddux, Martinez, Piazza, Schilling, and Frank Thomas. Once word got out to the BBWAA, some (maybe most) of the organization was appalled that a voter would give away his ballot (Lebetard did not sell it in the end to Deadspin). But they wonder why. The Hall of Fame voting is such a joke that no name ever mentioned in the same breath as Steroids will ever be voted in with this generation of voters. Heck, these voters can’t even unanimously decide that Greg Maddux isn’t a Hall of Famer… that right there is a joke and should be the slap to the face the BBWAA needs to change their voting policy. Not Deadspin acquiring a vote for the public.

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