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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.

Billy Hamilton is…. FAST!!!

Ok so maybe that isn’t news to any of you. Based on all of this hype and the fact that he stole over 100 bases in a Minor League season… twice. He even holds the minor league record with 155 steals in a season. He is the next Vince Coleman.

But due to his horrible, awful, incredibly dismal start to 2014, he hasn’t been able to flash that speed…
Until today.

I mean, who tags up on a fly ball just over 2B, and is safe. I think I read somewhere he ran from a dead stop at 3B to home in 3.2 seconds. If we were having a Stolen Base Derby, Billy Hamilton would be the only choice in Group A.

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Cactus League Stadiums – Goodyear Ballpark

It’s time to move West. No, not literally. The move West is for the Cactus League Stadium reviews I’ve been posting the last several days. So, without further adieu, lets move to Goodyear, Arizona.

Goodyear Ballpark – Indians and Reds

Goodyear Ballpark

    This stadium is the furthest West in the Cactus League, but remember, the beauty of Cactus League is that its not as dispersed as the Grapefruit league. So even though this stadium is West of every other one, it is still only 45 minutes from the farthest stadium to the East. This allows any fan staying anywhere in the Phoenix metro area the ability to go to any stadium and see any of the 15 teams without having to spend a full day traveling or changing hotel reservations. Trust me, this is one of the biggest perk to the Cactus League.

    Goodyear Ballpark has what could be the most potential of all the stadiums in the Arizona desert. It’s in an area that can be developed for baseball and business. It’s not hidden inside a living community. It’s fairly new (built in 2009). But all of this, leaves a lot to be desired for today. There is absolutely no place close to hang out before and after the game. No food, no restaurants, no bars, no shopping, no nothing. Only baseball stadiums and a small airport. This is a huge bummer, but the idea when it was built was to be able to build all of these things around and into the park. But 5 years later and we are left wanting the same things.

    Once you get into the stadium, things aren’t so bad. It’s a newer complex that has some great amenities. The seating is comfortable around the infield. There is only one-tier with a press-box above it. Leftfield and right-center is open for grass seating and the left field scoreboard offers a nice backrest, but get their early if you plan on using it as one because those seats go fast. The stadium is large but again in the middle of nowhere. So there is very little shade other than what the press-box provides and one shader about 3/4 of the way down the leftfield foul line.

    With the stadium being so open, you would expect great views. However, they built the stadium facing away from all the mountains. Yes, this is so the sun doesn’t effect the players, but what about the fans?! We want to be amazed by the experience, not left wondering ‘what if’. There are HUGE grass areas on the concourse on both sides of the foul poles. One even has a small ball diamond for kids to play on during the game but there is little else there, which is a big waste of space. Rightfield is consumed by the beer pavilion which looks like a lot of fun and includes all you can eat food and non-alcoholic drinks.

    Ok enough about the stadium layout, you are there to watch some baseball. The stadium, overall, isn’t a bad place to watch a game. The bullpens are built into leftfield only so you can look down into them from the grass seats. Similar to Maryvale, there are only 26 rows around the entire infield. This allows every seat to be as close to the action as possible. The foul territories are somewhat large so you aren’t as close to the action as some parks but otherwise there isn’t really a bad seat in the place.

    For a place to watch baseball, it’s pretty nice. For everything else you want with baseball, there is a lot to be desired.

The Commish Awards – Cactus League Spring Training

Do you hear that?! The slap of the ball hitting the catchers mitt. The crack of the ball coming off the bat. The sizzling of pale white skin being burned by the sun of people who haven’t seen sunlight in 4 months. Isn’t it great?! If you haven’t got the chance to experience spring baseball live, you need to put it near the top of your bucket list right now.

I prefer the Cactus League. A) Because the Brewers play there. B) Because all the teams are within 30-40 minutes of each other which makes it possible to see multiple games in a day, visit a lot of different teams, and find your favorite hang out spot. And because of the second reason and after my annual trip to the Arizona Valley, I have enough intell on most of the stadiums in the Cactus League that I can offer up my favorite hang outs for enjoying baseball in the hot, scalding Cactus League sun. I’ll be posting longer and more in-depth reviews of each stadium I have visited in the Phoenix area throughout the next week, but time to hand out some of my Cactus League Stadium rankings.

So here we go, time for The Commish Awards for the Cactus League (Disclaimer: I can’t give awards out to Scottsdale or Peoria stadiums as I haven’t visited those two yet):

Award For Best Things To Do Before or After Baseball

  • Winner – Glendale 9 Drive-In:
    Who doesn’t like going to the movies?! Now what if the movies were OUTSIDE in a comfortable 60 degree starry night? My childhood included several excursions to the outdoor theater with all the siblings packed into a backed up mini-van with seats removed for sprawling sleeping bags out in the back. So why not bring back those memories and create new ones at the Glendale 9 Drive-in movie theater which seems to be a dying fad across America. It’s reasonably priced, most movies are double features, and if you scan channels long enough you can even get some bonus movies on the screens around yours.
  • Runner-Up – Hiking any one of the surrounding mountains:
    The Phoenix metro area is called ‘The Valley’ for a reason… its surrounded by mountain ranges. If you do enough research, you can find hundreds of trails in parks that are free or have a minimal vehicle fee under $10. And if you are brave enough to park a distance away from most gated trail heads, you can catch a sunset or sun rise from the top of one of the peaks. My recommendations for trails are: trail 44 at North Mountain, trail 300 at Piestewa Peak, any trail at White Tank Mountain Regional Park, and the Hidden Valley trail at South Mountain.
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Glendale Drive-In 9

Award For Largest Stadium

  • Winner – Camelback Ranch Stadium (home of the WhiteSox and Dodgers):
    This stadium feels GIA-NORMOUS. It has two-levels of seating but seems to boast a plethora of rows on the first level. The extremely large concourses and extravagant landscaping also contribute to the vastness of the stadium. If you are looking for an MLB style stadium and experience, don’t miss this stadium on the far West side of the metro area.
  • Runner-Up – Cubs Park:
    The new Cubs stadium is a large step up from their past spring training facility. The new stadium has a very deep grass-seating section and also boasts what is probably the most 2nd level seating in the Cactus League. Combine that with the Wrigleyville rooftop experience in left-field and you have a park for one of the largest baseball fan bases in the country. Now if the stadium could just help the team win in the regular season.
  • Worst – Phoenix Municipal Stadium (home of the A’s):
    The stadium in the heart of Phoenix has a lot of unique quarks about it, and one of them isn’t large number of seating options. With only a single level of seating that doesn’t even allow seats in the outfield. So if you are looking for a chance at snagging a Cespedes HR ball, better look somewhere else.
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Camelback Stadium

Award For Best Views

  • Winner – Phoenix Municipal Stadium (A’s):
    One benefit of no outfield seats is not having to stare at people. It’s a shame that the stadium chose to cover up some of the local nature with large billboards. But, the stadium still offers up an experience like no other, the experience of a diamond erected in the middle of the Rockie Mountain desert (and its actually in the middle of metro Phoenix less than 5 miles from the airport). Left field has some great rock formations, right field has a ton of trees that are part of a local park containing the zoo, and the rest of the outfield ground is layers of the great red desert dirt. It feels like the last place on earth you would be watching a game of baseball with the most elite of players.
  • Runner-Up – Diablo Stadium (home of the Angels):
    Similar to Phoenix Municipal, its the only other stadium with rock formations near the stadium. But they just aren’t as impressive and the rest of the surrounding views are just so-so. It has the same distant mountain views of most of the other Cactus League Stadiums, but what it does have over the others is a view of the Tempe city skyline in center field. The stadium also has a pretty awesome entrance that would rival any MLB stadium.
  • Worst – Goodyear Ballpark (home of the Reds and Indians):
    It was a toss up between Goodyear Ballpark and Maryvale Stadium. But because I’m a Brewers fan Goodyear could have had an amazing view of mountains on all sides of the stadium but to the East and then they chose to build it so center field faces East just killed that great opportunity. The rest of the mountain views are still there but are tough to see due to the concourse shaders and the press box suites.
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Phoenix Municipal Stadium

Award For Most Comfortable

  • Winner – Salt River Field at Talking Stick (home of Rockies and Diamondbacks):
    This stadium is one of my favorites. Its located in Scottsdale so you know its nice. It’s just outside the Talking Stick Resort so you know its even nicer. Combine that with some of the most gentle sloping and expansive grass seats, lots of room on the large covered concourses, and plenty of patio seating. It just doesn’t get much more comfortable than this stadium.
  • Runner-Up – Surprise Stadium (home of the Royals and Rangers):
    You want large sprawling concourses?! Well, this is the stadium for you. These concourses are lined with great food and beverage tents. Grass seats are extremely comfortable with plenty of room (except for the right field Home Run deck, but it creates a nice backrest for some lucky grass seat viewers). The only drawback from this stadium is that there is very little shade cover for the box seats.
  • Worst – Phoenix Municipal Stadium (A’s Stadium):
    If you are into little league seating or are shorter than 3 feet tall, you will find Municipal Stadium extremely comfortable. If you don’t fit into those categories, then get ready for uncomfortable bleacher seats with no leg room and cozy neighbors. I will say I have had some of my best baseball conversations with strangers and have made more friends at this stadium than any. Basically because you are forced to know whose lap you are sitting on.
Talking Stick Stadium

Talking Stick Stadium

Award For Most Intimate Baseball Experience

  • Winner – Maryvale Park (home of the Brewers):
    Come on you wouldn’t think I wouldn’t toss an award to my homies?! The Brewers stadium is my favorite. Sure the view is less than desired (what a chain link and cement fence isn’t what you want). Sure the grass seats are super steep. But it has the best beer selection and even better is that the fans are almost on the field of play. The grass seats feel like they are the outfield and there is no second deck and very few rows of box seats that every seat is the best seat. This isn’t me playing favorites here, Maryvale Park is probably my favorite stadium to watch a professional baseball game because you feel like you are on the field with the team.
  • Runner-Up – Phoenix Municipal Stadium (A’s Stadium):
    Well what did you expect when I told you this stadium was cozy. Its probably more cozy than Maryvale, and less comfortable, and has no outfield seating. If Phoenix Municipal had the grass seating and had more comfortable infield seats, I would have to argue that this venue could be one of the best stadiums to watch a baseball game. But it will have to take a 2nd place finish in this category until it upgrades its comfort level.
  • Worst – Camelback Stadium (home of the Dodgers and WhiteSox):
    This stadium won the award for largest stadium and its also the nicest stadium in the Cactus league. But, it feels like a real MLB stadium. Meaning, if you aren’t paying the big bucks for the seats close to the field, you might need to bring a pair of binoculars in order to tell who’s playing shortstop.
Maryvale Stadium

Maryvale Stadium

Award For Best Surrounding Area

  • Winner – Scottsdale Stadium (home of the Giants):
    I’ve never been to the physical stadium but I have been to its surrounding area in Scottsdale. Old Town Scottsdale is a quaint little outdoor shopping area about 5-8 blocks west of the stadium. There’s lots of small unique local shops, including one of the best ice cream places. In the same area there is a small park that houses the historical and contemporary art museums of Scottsdale. And if you are up for a 3 block walk to the North is another shopping area called the 5th Avenue Shops. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants around that typically cater to the Giant fans. This entire area has a unique small old town feel and its a great area to enjoy the weather outside before or after a game.
  • Runner-Up – Cubs Park:
    Being the newest stadium, the Cubs were smart to move the stadium to the local shopping plaza in Mesa. It feels like you are going to buy a new car when you are headed to the Cubs park thanks to all the dealers and big box stores. But it offers up a lot to do near the stadium. Bass Pro Shops is just down the street. Toby Keith’s bar is right next to that. There are plenty of other restaurants and bars plus all the mecca big box stores you would need to people watch prior to laughing at Cub fans.
  • Worst – Maryvale Park (home of the Brewers):
    Maryvale is not a pretty area and the park seems to have been built in the local subdivision. Walmart and Walgreens are nearby, but if you want anything else, have fun driving. I will reveal one of my favorite establishments in the nearby strip mall… the Purple Turtle. I know it sounds like a Male Exotic Club. That’s what we thought at first too based on no windows on the building. But its actually a pool hall that also is an OTB site for horse racing. They do cater to Brewer fans in spring training so it doesn’t feel too creepy in the bar at 11 am.
Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale

The Commish’s Overall Rankings For Cactus League Stadiums

  1. Maryvale Stadium – Intimate + Cheap + Best Beer Selection + Sausages + Sausage Races + Roll Out The Barrel = Awesome.
  2. Camelback Stadium – A Spring Training Facility That Rivals MLB Stadiums. Landscaping Is Amazing.
  3. Talking Stick Stadium – Close To Second. Just Missing The Extra ‘WOW’ Factor.
  4. Surprise Stadium – Needs More Shade, But Concourse And Grass Seats Are Near The Best.
  5. Cubs Park – Well Shaded, Large, And New, But Lacking Uniqueness And Located In A Shopping Center.
  6. Diablo Stadium – Lacks Room In OF, Nothing To Do Nearby, Lots Of Bleacher Seating.
  7. Phoenix Municipal – Cheap And Intimate, But Old, No OF Seats, Tight Seating, Hope You Like Bleachers.
  8. Goodyear Ballpark – Located In Middle Of Nowhere, Lacks Uniqueness.
  • N/A – Scottsdale and Peoria Stadiums are unranked due to lack of visiting.

No News, Old News, And New News

Wow… A MONTH! A month without any news from the greatest commissioner.

I know you were worried based on all the concerned emails, comments, and tweets I received. No need to fret. Yours truly is A-OK. But now that football is returning and having already completed 2 fantasy drafts with 2 to go (yep, sold my soul to the football devil), I have reunited with my one-true-love… Baseball (after my wife of course).

I didn’t ever turn my shoulder on baseball these year. I only gave the cold shoulder to blogging about it. So let’s recap what has been on my mind and not shared with you, the Sultans of Swat. The Free Swinger Groupies. The Juggernaut Jury. The Royal Family of Cork. The Blog’s Fans.

Here comes a long winded rant:

    Umps are profiling all TB pitchers (AP)

  • Did a pitcher really get thrown out for too much pine tar? I can’t remember the last time pine tar was even relevant since the great pine tar incident of 1983 (That event was very interesting, I highly recommend all baseball fans read how it ends). What is funny with Peralta is that he got called out, was found guilty, booted from the game, and then Joe Maddon was allowed to investigate one opposing team’s pitcher. The National’s pitcher was clean and then Fernando Rodney came in to save the game for TB but made sure to walk to the mound with his hands up and glove between his legs… hilarious.
  • I’ve started my application process to trademark “This is a Clown Competition, Bro.” If Bryce wasn’t already in line to make millions, he will now be taking his smart ass mouth all the way to the bank. Really? A 19-year old phenom who hasn’t figured out how to keep his swagger alive since the All-Star break is going to trademark a phrase he gave to a Canadian reporter. I’ll keep you all posted on when the “This is a Clown Competition, Bro” shirts will hit the KoC merchandise store.
  • As if Jim Thome hasn’t made enough cash in his career, he got a $5K bonus check from teammate Papelbon for getting Papelbon off the hook for a blown save. I’m still waiting for my $5K check from my co-workers for getting them out of a tight deadline. You still think athletes aren’t overpaid?
  • Mike Trout deserves to win Rookie of the Year and MVP at the age of 21. He is a stud… enough said.
  • Umps do not have the easiest jobs in the world. On any close play, he upsets hundreds of people (players, coaches, fans) regardless of which way the call goes. But it seems umps are missing the easy calls this season. Really, Really, Really easy calls. First, the Helton play where Helton missed first base by more than 3 feet. Then, Carlos Santana (the catcher, not the singer) gets called safe when he was obviously walking into second base. But then came the worst when Dewayne Wise came from the stands with NO BALL IN HIS GLOVE. But some how he still got the catch, and more importantly, the third out. These all bring to mind the popular Little League chant “I’m Blind, I’m Deaf, I want to be a Ref”.
  • Seattle’s Safeco field is a great place to watch a baseball game. The stadium is new. The fans and people of Seattle are friendly. The garlic fries are AMAZING. I had the opportunity to enjoy this great stadium and great city this season (and almost had a chance for Big Papi’s 400th career HR which fell just short of my front row seats in RF). I highly, highly recommend a trip to the city of Seattle and if you happen to be in town while the Mariners, Seahawks, or Sounds are playing, I recommend catching a game in the city’s great sports complex. I had only two disappointments in Seattle: there fan support for the Mariners is lacking (especially on a night I saw King Felix pitch). And the stadium could have been built with an amazing view (the architects must have had a hangover when they put the walls up to hide the mountains).
  • Whatever happened to good cartoons? No wonder why most of our kids are brain washed. They don’t get to enjoy great cartoons like Tiny Toons, Garfield and Friends, Scooby Doo, Anamaniacs, Sonic, Transformers, Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, Felix the Cat, Inspector Gadget, and the list goes on. Are there even cartoons on after school or on Sunday morning anymore? Instead kids are stuck watching crap like Judge Judy, Rachel Ray, Jerry Springer, or Maury.
  • Did Atlanta really sign Ben Sheets the man with the glass arm? Sheets has only pitched over 160 innings in a single season 4 times in his 10 year career (being a Brewer fan, that seems like a lot) and is trying to come back from his second tommy john in 4 years. His last comeback failed in Oakland but Sheets looked amazing in his first 5 starts for Atlanta (giving up only 5 earned runs). Then, someone threw a rock at his glass arm and we now see the Sheets we all know… the one sitting on the DL.
  • I’m in the middle of a major home renovation project and I’m still looking for my retirement fund in the walls. Seriously, where do these people keep finding this hidden gems. $3 Million in pristine baseball cards… ok, they may have exaggerated a bit in the first story.
  • Do you know how bad ass Brian Wilson is? He is dating a Sasquatch.
  • Baseball is known as the child’s game that adults get paid to play. Well, some of the players are still kids at heart and that makes them some of the most loved in baseball. Adam LaRoche (star of Outdoor Channel’s Buck Commander) is one of those players and his Ozzie Guillen/Bryce Harper combo prank was priceless this season. Nothing like making an unsuspecting Rookie look like he’s rubbing a seasoned manager’s face in Pine Tar.
  • What’s with teams giving the worst birthday gift to their players? “Can I see you in my office? Ya, we decided to go a different route. You are going to be cut. Oh, Happy Birthday.” This not only happened to the ex-pitcher, now power hitting OF, Rick Ankiel but also to Brewers’ flame-throwing Randy Wolf (flame-thrower might be a bit of a stretch… Wolf threw a curve ball 49 MPH).
  • Let’s talk about some rare home run feats because this is a home run blog after all. How often does a pitcher hit a home run? Maybe 10 a year. Maybe. How often do starting pitchers hit homers in the same game? Once every 10 years. How often do opposing starting pitchers hit homers in the same inning? Once every 20 years. That’s just what happened when Hamels and Cain both connected on pitches in the same inning. Kind of cool to help yourself out in the game. Not so cool when you give it right back to what is suppose to be the easiest out in the NL lineup. Even more rare… how bout brothers hitting not just their 99th but also their 100th career home runs on the same night. SAME NIGHT! That’s just what the Upton brothers did. But at least they hit home runs, unlike Carlos Gomez who trotted all the way around the bases only to find out he hit a long foul ball. Then, proceeded to strike out.
  • Still think Bonds didn’t have some help with steroids? Of course not. But do you want more proof that he should have an asterix next to those 762 home runs? I give you “The Clear” evidence to the right…
  • Social Media is getting a little too creepy. No one wants to know what your doctor said about your endoscopy. No one wants to know about your bowels. Social media was only created for stalkers (don’t deny it, we all are guilty of the stalking). This couple took social media creepy and odd to a whole new level. Kind of cool to see strangers come together for the love of a team. But a little creepy that it was documented on social media. I can’t decide which adjective should be used to describe the outing. What’s your thoughts?
  • Speaking of social media, what the heck is Shell thinking by letting the public make advertising for the company. Some of those are funny but just plain wrong (like, “Birds are like sponges… for oil”). Another random thought about social media, why does everyone want to hack into celebrities’ accounts and posting crap. At least this hacker had something funny to say (odds are he wasn’t a Yankees fan).
  • This season it seems something has crawled up every umpires’ you-know-what hole. Every little thing seems to trigger their ejection finger these days. But this umpire must have had something wedged up there extra far. Who ejects the sound guy? The home team should have been given an extra run for the sound guy’s creativity, but instead they lost their PA. Again, the saying goes “I’m BLIND, I’m deaf, I wanna be a ref”.
  • The sound guys haven’t been the only ones getting creative. There have been a few fans that have taken creativity to a whole new level. Take this fan for example who rode into McCovey Cove to catch a few Giant home run swings. A Delorean is cool enough, but a Delorean Hovercraft is insanely awesome. Who knew it only took a flux capacitor to get on television these days. Or how about the Lucha Libre at the Orioles game. The fact that he was made even creepier by making it on TV over Getz left shoulder is awesome. And if you are one of those fans who wants to propose at a baseball game just make sure your bride to be isn’t away getting you a beer. There will be plenty of time for that after she says ‘yes’.
  • Hail to the King! King Felix pitched the 3rd perfect game of 2012 and the 23rd in MLB history and the 1st for the Mariners organization. What’s even more impressive is that that 1-0 win was King Felix’s 3rd 1-0 win in the month of August… three! It’s going to be hard to not vote for him as the Cy Young this season (unless Verlander continues to lead the Tigers to a pennant). But what’s even more impressive than Hernandez’s perfect game is that a 9-month-old boy has now witnessed TWO perfect games in his life. Most fans just hope to watch one on TV from first pitch to last let alone hoping to see one live. And it’s not like this kids parents have taken him to every Mariner game this season, he’s only been to TWO games ever. Yep, two games, both perfect. Better wrap that kid up and ship him of to Boston. The Red Sox are going to need all of this kid’s luck and more if they want to see a post-season in 2012.
  • Someone finally caught the ‘Milk Man’ cheating with their loved one… baseball. Melky Cabrera admitted to a positive Performance Enhancing Drug test which will result in him sitting out the final 50-regular season games for the Giants (guess that’s better than testing positive for Meth which doesn’t enhance your game like these 3 Rays minor leaguers). But he will get to play again in October (assuming the Giants can hang on to a playoff spot). What’s even more ridiculous than allowing Melky to help his team in the postseason? He can win the batting title WITHOUT having to bat in another regular season game. You thought Jose Reyes benching himself in the final game was a cheap way to win a title, how about admitting to cheating, serving a suspension, and still winning it. Let’s hope Andrew McCutchen can dethrone the Milk Man before October rolls around.
  • Speed Round: Literally, Speed. Billy Hamilton is a name you need to get to know. He has a legitimate shot at breaking Ricky Henderson’s MLB record of 130 in a season, if Hamilton ever reaches the big leagues. What has he already accomplished? He broke the minor league record of 145 set by Vince Coleman in 1983. He currently sits at 155 SB in 192 attempts… 192 attempts!!! Even more impressive is that he needed 3 to break the record and he stole 3 bases in the first 3 innings. This kid is quick. Hopefully his day comes in the majors because I can’t wait to see a 100 SB season.
  • What is Roger Clemens trying to prove? Either that or it’s a gimmick for the Sugar Land Skeeter’s to make some last minute bucks on the soon to be ending 2012 minor league season. He should probably stick to his over-50 softball league.
  • After getting sold, the LA Dodgers are All-In for the 2012 season. They were the most active team during the trade deadline. Picking up Victorino, Beckett, A-Gon, Punto, Carl Crawford and most of the remaining money on their contracts (great news for the Red Sox who may now be looking at a HUGE off-season acquisition). The Dodgers aren’t even leading the NL Worst West or own either of the NL Wild Cards. But with these acquisitions, the Dodgers should own the NL West title by October (I mean it’s inevitable when A-Gon homers in his first at-bat as a Dodger). The Dodgers will also own a for-sale sign in 2014 when all of these outrageous contracts start hitting their back end loading.
  • Don’t you wish that all of your employers and competitors honored you with gifts when you retired? That’s exactly what Chipper Jones is seeing as he makes his baseball farewell tour this season I would have to say that Yahoo’s #2 ranked gift is the coolest. You all know I’m not a Cubs fan, but anything that’s associated to Wrigley Field is an amazing peace of history and baseball memorabilia.

Remember, football is beginning but that doesn’t mean baseball is over. There is still a solid month of regular season ball left (and Home Run Derby) and an entire month of playoffs (that my BrewCrew is trying to make a push for by going 11-3 over their past 14 games).

Bruce Almighty

(Photo via redlegnation.com)

Jay Bruce is doing something right to appease the baseball gods. Maybe he is giving them monthly sacrifices of young All-Star caliber players. Posey was the month of May’s sacrifice and it looks like Heyward could be the special for June.

The mighty Bruce is on a tear and campaigning early for the NL MVP. As of May 30, he’s currently leading two of the three triple crown batting categories. He leads the NL in home runs with 16 dingers. He is second in the entire MLB in Runs Batted In with 43. His batting average of 0.294 isn’t nearly what it’s trending towards (he hit 0.330 in the month of May). And he currently has 8 HR in his last 12 games (one off the Brewers tonight). He’s currently one of the hottest players in the League and, as of today, 2 Derby teams have taken notice (trading Vernon Wells for Bruce Almighty).

If Jay Bruce happens to keep up his MVP performance, it would be the 20th time in history (since the MVP was awarded in the modern era back in 1931) that an organization has repeated having the League’s MVP but having a different player win it the following year. It has been done 9 times in the American League. Mostly by the Yankees in the American League with four (the BrewCrew did have one tandem Rollie Fingers/Robin Yount in 1981-82). And it has been done 10 times in the National League. But the National League has been dominated by… surprise, surprise, the Cincinnati Reds whom have had 3 repeats (Joe Morgan/George Foster in 1976-77, Johnny Bench/Pete Rose in 1972-73, and a three-peat by Ernie Lombardi/Bucky Walters/Frank McCormick in 1938-40). So Joey Votto and Jay Bruce could make it four for the Reds organization which would tie them with the Yankees for the most repeat MVP’s by the same team but with different players winning the award.

Even if Jay Bruce doesn’t win the award, enjoy the rest of the show this season and be certain to keep an eye on Bruce as he matures over the next few seasons (he’s only 24).

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.

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…

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.

For the Rest of the Story: Follow the Jump…