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Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Rockies Still In It

Posted by Adam Graham on August 22, 2007

While, I’m obsessing over minor league baseball, it should be noted that my Major League Team is still “in the Hunt” at this point, sitting 2 1/2 games behind the Phillies and Padres for the wild card. There are several teams closer, it should be noted. The Braves are 1 game back, and the Cubs and Brewers (tied for 1st in the NL Central) are two games back. The Rockies do have a chance to make up some ground in the next week as they face the Pirates, Nationals, and Giants, some of the weakest teams in the league. It’s going to be tough for the Rockies to do it. Still, it’s good for them actually have a pulse this late in August. I can’t remember the last time they’ve been this close this late.

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Opportunity Lost

Posted by Adam Graham on August 22, 2007

The Spokane Indians lost 2-1 in Everett last night, but the Boise Hawks missed an opportunity to advance with a 4-3 loss to the Canadians. I listened to the excruciating 9th Inning on the radio. Audy Santana fell behind 3-0 on the first batter and then came back to strike him out, then got ahead of the second batter and ended up walking him. He then issued another walk and hit the batter after that, to load the bases after that, then a ball was hit to thirdbaseman Jovan Rosa that should have been a doubleplay ball, but instead, he bobbled it, allowing the winning run to score. When the Hawks play by play man read the inning line: 1 Run, 0 hits, 1 error, it was annoying. Losing a game because of a 9th inning longball is one thing. Giving the game away is something entirely.

I noted that the Hawks actually have lost a couple key players for the stretch. On August 16th, both Ty Wright and Marquez Smith were sent off to Peoria. One of the great frustrations of being a fan of a minor league team is that your roster is subject to so much fluxuation. Hopefully, the Cubs front office can wait a little while before moving key players such as Josh Donaldson to the next level. Still, hats off to Wright and Smith, they earned their promotions.

Tri City won a 9-8 decision over the Emeralds, while the Yakima Bears beat the Salem-Kaiser Volcanoes 10-4 (yes, Salem is made up of human beings after all.) That leaves the Western Division race very tight with the Hawks 1 1/2 games back of Spokane, the Dust Devils 2 1/2 back, and the Bears 3 1/2 games behind them. We have 15 games left, so it’s still anyone’s division.

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Hawks Win!

Posted by Adam Graham on July 4, 2007

The other reason I didn’t get much done post-wise yesterday is that I took my wife down to the Boise Hawks Game with the Everett AquaSox. We got a couple nice seats behind Home Plate. My wife has never been a huge baseball fan, but she hasn’t hated it either, and she wanted to see fireworks. So, this would be perfect for both of us.

I helped educate her on baseball. During the first inning when the players were taking their warm ups, Andrea asked, “How are they doing?” I said, “Honey, they’re just warming up.” She said, “Yeah, but how are they doing?” I explained that warm ups didn’t tell us much about how players were going to perform. :)

I got to spend some time explaining all these baseball things, which made me feel like an expert. Of course, I felt tempted to do what men do when they don’t know about something–make up some random guess. When Andrea asked why there were bleachers instead of seats along the First Base Line at Memorial Stadium (while seats were along the third base line), my mind began to concoct a convoluted reason, and then I realized what I was doing and was man enough to say, “I don’t know.”

Anytime a foul ball was hit out of the stadium, we turned and watched to see if it would hit a car. Andrea had advised me to park far away, so we wouldn’t suffer the fate of another fan who had their windshield broken by a foul the last time we went to the ballgame. Thankfully, all windshields survived, though I suppose some cars might have ended up with scratches.

The game itself had some pretty exciting moments. The triple to lead off the game by Roberto Mena was an awesome display of speed. Andrew Rundle tied it with a Homer, as the Hawks went on to score 11 unanswered runs.

Dustin Sasser was absolutely awesome for the Hawks. After the initial triple, he went on to retire 18 of the 21 batters he faced. A bunt single in the fourth, an error in the 5th, and a single in the sixth gave the Aqua Sox their only runners. His line: 6 IP, 3 H, 5 K, 0 BB. Good job.

A sloppy 4-run 6th sealed the Aqua Sox’s fate.  Catcher Josh Dunbar had a passed ball, relief pitcher Phillip Roy had 2 Wild Pitches, and the Hawks went up 8-1, thus clinching that we, the fans, would get free Frostys at Wendy’s.

The win was only the Hawks’ third of the season and their first at home, and it was great to see it.

Then after the game ended, we were treated to an awesome fireworks show, some of which I’ve captured below (had to do some editing as I had several seconds of black screen.) Happy Independence Day.

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Can’t Buy Me Class

Posted by Adam Graham on July 2, 2007

Cynthia Rogriguez, the wife of $252 million man Alex Rodriguez showed up at Yankee Stadium wearing a t-shirt that had the “F-word” on the back. By the way, the couple’s two year old daughter was sitting next to her. This comes after A-Rod was seen at a Toronto hotel and entering a strip club with another woman.

 It’s quite sad actually. A-Rod went to a Christian High School in Miami and was at one point listed and one of the few born again players in Major League Baseball. I remember when he was in Seattle, my aunt bragged about what a good person he was. Sadly, much of that has gone down the drain. He’s still one heck of a ballplayer,  but beyond that he’s definitely changed-and for the worse.

Other reactions:

  • The Bleacher Creature (a Yankee blog)(corrected per comments) calls Cynthia on the carpet:

I think that the joke/statement Cynthia made was entirely inappropriate and uncalled for. And to top it all off, she wasn’t alone in the stands, she was accompanied by her 2 year old daughter. I mean honestly, is this the kind of example we’re setting for our youth nowadays. There is in fact an apparel conduct rule at the Stadium as Mike pointed out to me this morning. But obviously, the wife of the best thing we have going for us right now is not getting thrown out of the park. Whether this was a shot at the media or her husband, it really doesn’t matter. It was uncalled for and disrespectful to the fans around her.

Agreed.

AEM at Sports for Sports Fan thirds the general opinion and suggests the Yankees need to take action:

And frankly, this is wrong. The security at Yankees Stadium should have stopped her from coming in with that type of shirt, or, if they missed it when she came in, they should have done something when people left and/or complained. I doubt that a normal fan would have gotten away with what Mrs. Rodriguez did, and whether they had or not, it was wrong what she did, plain and simple.

This needs to be addressed by the Yankees, to both parties. If it was just her tantrum, she best let those stay outside of the gates at the Bronx Park, if it is their little tug of war, they need to let it go, at least until ARod opts out and goes elsewhere, then they can do what they want. If this is their way to tell people to mind their business, they can do it in other ways I think. Whichever it was the whole thing was (I am repeating myself) classless

Reaction is pretty much the same across the blogosphere. This was bad conduct, that’s sadly classlesss.

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Partying Like Its 1919

Posted by Adam Graham on July 1, 2007

Scott Boras wants to go back to the past where we had a best-of-nine World Series:

Scott Boras loves the World Series so much, he wants to make it best-of-nine — and open with two games at a neutral site.

The last best-of-9 World Series was in 1921. We tried for three seasons after the initial series was 9 games, Of course, Boras wants to add a few modern innovations:

Boras, the high-profile agent with high-profile clients who earn high-octane paychecks, said in an interview Thursday that he will meet with the commissioner after the All-Star break to discuss his proposal. He would open the weekend on a Friday night with a televised gala announcing the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards, and have the five top candidates for each in attendance.

Hall of Fame voting would be announced Saturday, with the opener that night and Game 2 on Sunday night. After that, the Series would pick up the 2-3-2 format that’s been used since 1925 (except for 1943 and 1945, when there were wartime travel restrictions). If the scheduled host club for the opener won the pennant, the Series could become a 3-4-2.

Now, the idea is to create as much buzz around this series as the Super Bowl. I appreciate the intention but let’s be clear, there are quite a few drawbacks.

1) The Ruining of the offseason: So we name all the award winners (except for Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves), that’s one sure way to make *baseball all about the free agent market. In addition, we’ll manage to diminish the recognition earned by those who win the big awards. They at least have one day near the top of the sports news, now they’ll get as much coverage as the Home Run derby.

2) The lengthening of the schedule: We’ll be getting into November with some World Series. Do tired need an additional game plus on their backs.

3) Boras is missing the point. Baseball doesn’t have problems because the series does’t have enough gusto. It’s simply because we have low attention span fans in America. The reason a Super Bowl or an NCAA championship game is far more exciting is that we get much more immediate gratification. Baseball is a game that requires patience. You sit and you watch 7 (or 9 3 hour games) waiting for excitement. You’ll usually get some, but unlike in the NCCA tournament, every game is not a must win elemination game. A baseball World Series is something different. It’s a chess game, it’s art, it’s poetry, it’s history in the making. It’s designed for people to sit back and enjoy it. Are ADD generation isn’t going to stand (or sit) for a 9 game World Series, I guarantee it.

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Biggio and the Big Hurt

Posted by Adam Graham on June 30, 2007

Thursday, Craig Biggio and Frank Thomas stepped into history, Biggio got his 3000th hit and Thomas slammed his 500th Homer.

 First, on Biggio, let’s be clear, it couldn’t have happened to a better player.  In a baseball world where players switch teams frequently, Biggio stuck with Houston the whole way. He and fellow Houston superstar Jeff Bagwell took less money some years in order for the team to bring better talent in to Houston. He was a rarity and deserves plaudits, not only for his loyalty to Houston, but for his huge, monster career. It’s been something to watch over the years.

Then, there’s the big Hurt who hit 500. Thomas is not the type of team player that Craig Biggio is, but he’s hall worthy, most definitely. Now some folks question whether 500 is  a good standard given the Home Run inflation of the 1990s. I still think it, but that’s pretty well irrelevant with the Big Hurt.

Frank Thomas has 2 MVP’s, 4 Silver Sluggers, 5 All-Star Appearance, the 11th best On-Base/Slugging percentage of all time. In addition, Thomas has 1,617 RBIs and only one player had that many RBIs in his career without going to the Hall of Fame, Harold Baines (with 1628) but within three or four weeks, Thomas will be past Baines and then we can say that no one has that many RBIs without being a Hall of Famer.

In addition, there’s another angle to the story, Thomas is untainted by steroids:

Sure, Thomas is as big as a house, but he always has been, since his days playing tight end for Auburn. Now 39, he points to his career consistency as proof each of his 500 home runs is legit.

“Numbers don’t lie,” he said. “You can look at (me) from Day One in this league, all the way to now. What my years are, what my good years are, and the numbers are almost the exact same. That should tell everyone. There’s no fluctuation in anything in my career.”

Thomas has hit 35 or more home runs eight times, but never more than 43 — the third-lowest career high among the 21 players in the 500 club.

Now, if you really think steroids impact power numbers or baseball player performance in general (no one has given me proof on that) and Thomas didn’t take them, then you have to give him more credit because pitchers were taking steroids, just like hitters and to get to 500 fair and square, now that’s one great achievement.

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Amnesty Yes!

Posted by Adam Graham on June 10, 2007

No, not for illegal immigration, but for Baseball, Mark Kriegel writes:

The time has come for Commissioner Bud Selig to grant amnesty to the ballplayers who used performance enhancing drugs prior to the establishment of the Major League testing policy.

It’s the best, and perhaps at this point, only way for baseball to deal credibly with its long-running steroid scandal…

The home run records are tainted. They will remain tainted, asterisk or not, as there is no mathematical formula to factor out the influence of deca durabolin, stanozolol, or any of the BALCO balms. The crime has been committed. And it wasn’t just the players who got away with it, but the industry itself. There’s plenty of blame to be shared among the players, the owners, the media, the union and, of course, the commissioner who didn’t want to know anything until it was too late.

But Selig, unlike any other party in this scenario, is sworn to uphold the best interests of the game. He needs to get to the truth — or some reasonable approximation of the truth — and he needs a resolution.

Really, now, how much longer can this go on?…

There was no Major League Baseball rule against this (thus the difference with illegal immigration by the way) but there was a federal law against, and the statute of limitations has run out on most of it. What’s past has got to be buried and the idea that we’re going to punish players for something everybody knew was going on at the time time is absurd.

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500! Man

Posted by Adam Graham on June 7, 2007

Trevor Hoffman is the first ever pitcher to rack up 500 saves. That kind of accomplishment should clinch the Hall of Fame, but lots of writers are resistant to letting closers in. However, if you can’t see Mariano Rivera and Hoffman as Hall of Famer, you don’t belong as a baseball writer.

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Baseball Notes

Posted by Adam Graham on May 31, 2007

Good to see old time Rockie Walt Weiss will be representating the club at the Draft this year. I like Weiss as a person. It’ll be interesting to see how he does. He had a couple great managers (Lou Pinella in Oakland and Bobby Cox in Atlanta) and came up in an A’s Organization that brought up some fine talent. How will that translate on draft day? We’ll see. Though, it’ll probably be a decade before we know how good or poorly Weiss did.

Rarely is Barry Bonds accused of having much class, but his response to media attempts to bait him into controversies with his brother and Hank Aaron showed a degree of class:

Bonds’ youngest brother, Bobby Jr., recently made it known he’s upset that neither Selig nor Aaron plan to be present.

Asked yesterday about his brother’s comments, Barry Bonds said, “I love my brother.”

Then he added: “Bud is his own man – just as I’m my own man.”

And what about Aaron?

“I’ve never spoken personally to Hank Aaron, I’ve only heard from the media, so I really can’t answer that question at all,” Bonds said. “Hank Aaron has been in the game a long time, he’s well-respected by all of us, we all love him and admire him and I’ll leave it at that.”

Very good. Meanwhile Keith Olbermann stated on the Dan Patrick show that if Bonds/McGwire/Palmerio don’t get in, there’ll be one steroids user in: Pud Galvin, who used monkey testosterone.

Sorry to scandalize those who thought there was no “monkey business” going on in baseball prior to the 1990s, but each era had some time of cheating or unfair advantage on players of other eras. (hat tip: Baseball Crank.) The idea that after the fact we’re going to say that a player should be punished for “cheating” by doing something that wasn’t against baseball rules at the time is patently absurd.

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Two Stories that Make No Sense Together

Posted by Adam Graham on May 24, 2007

So how do these two Baseball stories make sense, both from Ben Mailler.

Story #1

Multiple scouts said Wednesday the Yankees are interested in Rockies first baseman Todd Helton and closer Brian Fuentes, though nothing is brewing. If the Rockies don’t rebound, many teams will be calling to see if they want to unload salaries. Helton has rebounded nicely this season. He ranks second in the big leagues in on-base percentage and first with 21 multihit games. Fuentes has already established a club record with eight saves this month.

And then headline from Story #2:Rockies president still supports Hurdle, O’Dowd.

Oh, it’s about the Rockies, that makes more sense than.

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I Don’t Think This Was Ernie Banks Meant…

Posted by Adam Graham on May 17, 2007

When he said, “Let’s play two.” According to Ben Mailer:

Manager Ozzie Guillen provided an amusing solution to bringing New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez to the White Sox. “A-Rod is going to play for the city of Chicago,” Guillen deadpanned. “He’s going to talk to Mayor [Richard] Daley. When we’re in town, he’s going to play for the Sox. When we leave town, he’ll play for the Cubs. When we play against each other, and we’re home, he’ll play for us; when we play at Wrigley, he’ll represent the Cubs. “Say it’s so. Mr. Daley will pay the Cubs, just to make everybody happy in Chicago. Now he’s a savior for both teams.”

You have to love Ozzie Guillen and let’s be honest, it’s not all that bad of an idea given that it would violate nearly every rule of the game regarding teams and players. Half of Alex Rodriguez will hit about 20-30 Homers a year, and drive in 70-80 Runs, thus at $12.5 million, he’d be slightly overpaid.

The only way Ozzie’s proposal could be better is if he played Shortstop with the Cubs, Thirdbase with the White Sox. Of course, on days when the Cubbies and White Sox played on the same day with the Cubs playing a day game and the White Sox playing under the night sky, it would really have to be, “Let’s play two.”

Unfortunately, as the media has informed that A-rod’s a spoiled superstar, I bet he’s still spoiled to go along with this great plan. Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men..

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The Worthiness of Bonds

Posted by Adam Graham on May 13, 2007

Tara Rowe doesn’t get people cheering for Bonds:

I read today in The Birmingham News that older fans of the game tend to defend Aaron, while younger fans are in favor of Bonds passing up the record (an inevitable milestone). I don’t necessarily agree. I, at the rightful age of twenty-two, am quite alarmed by the pouring out of support for Bonds. I suppose the argument can still be made that there is no hard proof that Bonds actually used steroids, but come on, have you looked at the man? I have a rookie card of Bonds who was much smaller then, though muscular and fit. Looking at him now, be in not for his one-of-a-kind smile, you wouldn’t know he was the same guy. His broad shoulders appear inches wider than they ever did when he was a rookie and the man is simply huge. Did he use steroids? I’d bet my life savings on it.

Usually doesn’t mean much to a college student, but I can understand her feelings. Bonds probably did use steroids and hasn’t been the greatest player in the game. Most young fans see the opportunity to witness history. Is this wrong?

I think the Bonds matter comes down to one thing. Did Barry cheat? Under the definition, we’re really looking at to cheat at Baseball, Barr would have to violate a “rule” or “regulation.” As Baseball didn’t ban steroids until at least the 2004 Season, how can we state he cheated. It might unsportmanslike but so was Ty Cobb sharpening his cleats.

Homw many Homers can you attribute to Steroids? Hitting a Home Run isn’t like weight lifting, some simpele physical task, but rather a complex one involving a variety of factors such as bat speed and where you hit the ball. Can steroids make you hit moe Home Runs or is psychological edge?

Since Bonds did not violate the rules of Baseball, I don’t see how he can at all be held accountable under Baseball rules and earn censure, particularly since the owners and writers in the 1990s knew baseball had a steroids problem.

I would never in a million years put Barry Bonds in a category with the all-time best. Never would he appear among the giants–Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, et al.

I would. The numbers are amazing 500 homers/500 Stolen Bases (no one other than him has even done 400/400) He was a great fielder and probably one of the players teams try to pitch around most. Steroids or no, Barry is a Hall of Famer.

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6 Innings Of Shutout Ball from a Hokie

Posted by Adam Graham on April 21, 2007

From ESPN:

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Joe Saunders wore his old college cap, wrote “VT” on his cleats and scribbled “Virginia Tech” in the dirt on the mound.

Then the only Hokies’ alumnus currently in the majors finished up his tribute by pitching six scoreless innings Friday night in the Los Angeles Angels’ 8-4 victory over Seattle on Friday night.

“I was really nervous coming in — just the sheer fact of knowing what the game meant to me, to all the Hokie Nation out there in Virginia, to my family, and to this team because we needed to win.

“There was a lot riding on it.”

Most of all, there was his honoring the memory of the 32 victims shot to death on the Virginia Tech campus last Monday.

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Bonds Lets The Press Have It

Posted by Adam Graham on April 17, 2007

And they deserve it:

“I have the utmost respect for Hank Aaron,” Bonds said. “Hank Aaron was a great ballplayer. He’s the home run king. To me, it’s just a tragedy the way the press is doing it. It’s sad. I have nothing but love for Hank Aaron, period. He’s one of my mentors, as well as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and all the other black athletes before my time, and he always will be regardless of what you guys write in the paper.

“Hank is one of the forefronts of history, just like Babe Ruth is one of the forefronts of history, and we respect that, and we all admire them and we all loved them for what they accomplished and (for) giving us a shot and goals to shoot after. We respect them all, and I’m not going to allow the press or anybody to say anything different out of my mouth.”

While Barry has his flaws, the one the media hates is that he doesn’t play their game. Good for Barry.

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Proof

Posted by Adam Graham on March 11, 2007

You don’t need great talent to be caught in Steroids: former Rockies closer Darren Holmes implicated in steroids use.

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