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Kings of Cork 2011 All-Stars

Something to entertain you while you allegedly choke down 69 hot dogs on the Nation’s Birthday.

It’s the 2nd week of July which can only mean one thing… there’s no football, there’s no basketball, there’s no hockey, and there’s no more tennis. The last sport standing is baseball. The bad news.. the season is half over and coming soon to a city near you is a fantasy football agreement.

But, in a few days, you will be able to admire the 2011 season MLB greats. Voted on by us fans, we get to watch the league’s best duke it out for Bud Selig’s Love home field advantage in the World Series. Seriously, what ever happened to letting games end in a tie. As kids we are taught to have good sportsmanship, but all Bud taught me was that every game has to mean something ever since “the incident” from the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee.

With the All-Star game fast approaching, we also get to admire this season’s big boppers with a mild twist from season’s past. This year for the Home Run Derby, the MLB selected team captains to pick 3 other players each to compete in the competition (mainly because the league couldn’t convince any player to participate).

I’ll cover the Home Run Derby topic later this weekend, what this article is about is this season’s Home Run Derby All-Stars. If you only wanted to select the top hitters in the league, what would the lineup look like of the ultimate slugfest team. Forget defense, forget pitching, this is strictly about hitting the ball as far as you can every time you grab a hold of the bat.

Before I announce this season’s All-Star All-Power team, I have a little pop quiz for you. Below is a photograph of 10 positions (the batter counts as the DH). Each position has a player in the 120+ baseball history that has hit more single season home runs than any other player at that position (Centerfield had a tie but it was broke by the player who had fewer plate appearances in the season that they hit the record). To be eligible for the position, the player had to play at least 50% of his career games at that position. How many can you name? You can find the answers by simply clicking on each player’s position from the classic NES RBI Baseball game screenshot. Edit: Removed jpeg due to issues.

Back to this season. Below is your starting lineup for the MLB team that has the most power in 2011 (as of July 8th):

  • Zach Duke – Pitcher – The former Duke of Second Place!!! Pittsburgh, now of Arizona, can hardly brag. He has limited power but as a pitcher he does have this season’s current home run lead with 2. Yep, that’s correct, the league leader in home runs for a pitcher is two. What do you expect, he’s paid to pitch, not to hit. His home run total for his 6 year MLB career… also, two.
  • Brian McCann – Catcher – The backstop for the Duke is the Braves’ starting All-Star catcher. He has hit 14 homers so far which is tops for the catcher’s spot. He’s hit 8 of those round trippers in June so he may just be starting to heat up.
  • Mark Teixeira – 1B – Big Tex isn’t even going to play on July 12th. His name was left of the All-star team but his 25 home runs so far this season leads the power heavy position at firstbase. It’s no surprise that the Yankee’s have at least one name on this list, but it’s definitely not the only one.
  • Danny Espinosa – 2B – Also snubbed a spot on July 12th’s lineup, Espinosa has hit 16 dingers so far this season. Odds are if you own him in any fantasy leagues, you did not have this guy on your team after the draft. He is tied with the starter for the National League (Rickie Weeks) but Espinosa has a significantly lower amount of plate appearances this season.
  • Mark Reynolds – 3B – No surprise here. Mark Reynolds is a beast of a player and he’s paid per home run, not per strikeout (he holds the single season record of most strikeouts in a season). He also didn’t find a spot on the All-star roster but his 0.230 batting average may have something to do with it. Still, he has hit 20 home runs this season which is the most at the hot corner.
  • Troy Tulowitzki – SS – At least Tulo is a reserve this year. He’s also about to get rolling since he seems to be a second half performer. Who can forget last season’s ridiculous 15 home runs in September. He currently has 17 home runs this season and hasn’t hit more than 4 in a month besides April. It’s only a matter of time before the ball starts finding the bleachers for Tulo.
  • Jose Bautista – OF – Where did this guy come from? He hit a league leading 54 home runs last season and is currently leading the league again with 29 long balls. Fans are taking notice of this guy since he just received a record 7.4 million votes for the most votes all-time by a player. He previously had 59 career home runs and in his past two seasons he has eclipsed that mark. And has only failed to lead the league in home runs for 48 days of the past 230 regular season days (dating back to May 23, 2010).
  • Curtis Granderson – OF – I told you there would be another Yankee. Granderson is on pace to destroy his career best home runs in a single season (which is 30 in his last season as a Tiger). He currently has 25 home runs and recently has been a popular replacement for Justin Morneau in the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby. He also found a roster spot on the 2011 All-Star game (no surprise either as the Yankees win most popularity contests).
  • Lance Berkman – OF – Welcome back to relevance Big Puma. You may have been snubbed by the Yankees, but you have been reborn in the arches of St Louis. He will get to strut his stuff in the All-Star game on Tuesday and rightfully should. He has 23 home runs so far this season after posting only 14 last year. He’s threatening his career record of 45 which he hit in 2006. As long as it isn’t against the BrewCrew, I’m rooting for Fat Elvis.
  • David Ortiz – DH – The captain of the 2011 AL Home Run Derby team seems to have picked a brilliant team. All four of his team members hit home runs on July 7th, including him. He now leads the DH roll with 18 moonshots. Big Pappi is the man and I’m glad to see him swinging the big stick again after almost being left to die with 1 home run in April and May of 2009. I hope he hits well enough on Monday for a chance to win back to back Home Run Derby Championships.

Remember to tune into the slug fest this Monday, July 11th. I like all the contestants this year but I will secretly be rooting for the BrewCrew members.

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.

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.

Kings Of Cork Swimsuit Issue Featuring The Cubs

Hopefully something better than the Cowboys and Indians of the future.

It’s official… Baseball Season has begun. Pitchers reported to camp today and someone has to catch their feeble fastballs, so catchers reported as well. But the countdown to pitchers reporting to camp is not the biggest countdown in the baseball world. Nope, the most important countdown ends on Wednesday. No we aren’t already at December 21, 2012. But the (baseball) world may end this off-season when the biggest offensive name in recent history becomes a free agent. And Wednesday is the last day Mr. Albert Pujols will talk contract negotiations with the Cardinals. It already sounds as if they won’t reach an agreement, so let’s start talking “Where will Pujols land?”

The benefactor to the Cardinals’ problem obviously has to have money. And lot’s of it. So you can throw out the two biggest names right away… Yankees and Red Sox. But both already have top tier first-baseman, so who’s going to DH? Teixeira or Agon?

However, there is one other team that I believe has a decent shot at landing Pujols… the Cardinals Archnemesis, the Chicago Cubs. They will be able to wash their hands of the Fukudome contract, as well as Silva, Garza, and Pena deals (they may opt to keep Garza). And let’s face it, the Cubs are known for giving out ridiculous money (see Alfonso Soriano). I honestly believe this is why Pena is only a 1 year deal, the Cubs are going to try and steal an NL Central 1B. Whether its Pujols or Fielder, I think one of them dons the enemy colors in 2012.

Kings of Cork tried its best body painting impersonation from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
So, who looks worse in the Cubs logo (personally, I hate both)?

2011 HomeRun Derby Deadline Set

It’s getting to be that time of year again… baseball season.

Yes it just ended a little more than a month ago, but the offseason is where all the exciting transactions take place. Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford to the Red Sox, Mark Reynolds to the Orioles, Lance Berkman to the Cardinals, and that’s just the beginning of the offseason dealings (Cliff Lee still needs to land somewhere).

The offseason isn’t only for the managers of MLB teams to do their scouting and homework, its time for the Home Run Derby managers to research and draft their new teams for the 2011 season. Don’t worry, the registration deadline isn’t tomorrow (unless you are reading this on March 20th, 2011). If you noticed, there is a countdown clock on the far right side of the page which allows you to track the remaining time you have left to choose between Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard. The deadline for the 2011 season is at 12 am on March 21st.

Start researching and prospecting. The 2011 player categories will be posted prior to January 1st and this year the rules will be modified slightly. They haven’t been finalized but you will get to choose at minimum 5 players and will get the opportunity to trade one injured or benched player that has been inactive for 20 or more consecutive games (they don’t need to be on the DL).

Start buying those magazines or insider subscriptions and get ready for another exciting season of Home Run Derby.

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…

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.

St Louis Cardinals Finally Sign Player to Protect Pujols

The Cards finally went out and made the greatest signing in MLB history. They have the best player currently playing the game in Pujols, but with no protection behind him in the clean-up spot, Pujols most of the time gets pitched around and walks to first. They tried Holliday, Molina, Ankiel, Ludwick, but none of the Cardinals 4-hole batters could scare opposing pitchers enough to pitch to Pujols… Until now.

Introducing the newest St Louis Cardinal… Ghostrunner. GhostRunner That’s right, Pujols can now get the protection he needs in the line-up because batting behind him… is Pujols. Since Pujols is on-base 90 percent of the time, Ghostrunner gets to take his spot on the base paths while Pujols gets to swing the bat again. Ghostrunner is also a menace on the base pathes. He only advances when forced and the majority of the umpires can never get a good angle on the play to call Ghostrunner out.

This is a monumental move and will allow the Cards to dominate the majors until Ghostrunner’s younger brother, PitchersHand, signs as a starting pitcher. Current frontrunner’s in the PitchersHand signing are the Brewers and Cubs.