Author Archives: Jonathan Hacohen

Inside the Mind of Casey Bond: From Moneyball to Ring the Bell, Is Portraying Josh Hamilton on the Silver Screen Next for the Hollywood Star?

Like us on Facebook here

Wednesday May 8th, 2013

Slick, big-city sports agent Rob Decker has it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stands in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? Sometimes the next big thing isn't what you expect. Starring Ryan Scharoun and Ashley Anderson McCarthy, RING THE BELL features Christian music artists Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, along with baseball legends Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk, and Ben Zobrist. This heartwarming story of redemption will entertain and inspire the whole family.

Slick, big-city sports agent Rob Decker has it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stands in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? Sometimes the next big thing isn’t what you expect.
Starring Ryan Scharoun and Ashley Anderson McCarthy, RING THE BELL features Christian music artists Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, along with baseball legends Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk, and Ben Zobrist. This heartwarming story of redemption will entertain and inspire the whole family.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

They say once you go Hollywood, you never go back. So appears to be the case with our very good friend, Casey Bond. From life as a professional baseball player to Hollywood actor, Bond has done it all and seen it all when it comes to the many worlds of baseball.

I originally interviewed Casey Bond during the release of Moneyball. Destined to become a baseball movie classic, Moneyball was nominated for an Academy Award. Also included an actor that you may have heard of, a guy by the name of Brad Pitt.

Moneyball was a tremendous opportunity for Bond, who portrayed pitcher Chad Bradford in the film. Since Moneyball, Bond has been acting on both the big and small screens, as well as producing. But given the baseball roots he comes from, Casey Bond – Baseball – and Hollywood certainly go hand-in-hand. Evidence? Bond’s latest project, the baseball film “Ring the Bell”.

Read the rest of this entry

About these ads

Nate Freiman: Beane Finds Yet Another Hidden Gem… And The A’s Next 1st Baseman

Like us on Facebook here

Friday April 5th, 2013

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Baseball is a funny game sometimes. One minute you’re crying the Chris Carter blues. Then before you  know it, Nate Freiman appears. That is how Billy Beane works my friends. Just when you think he might be slipping, he pulls a magic rabbit out of his hat (better known as the waiver wire in baseball terms). 

On February 11, 2013, I wrote an article outlining Billy Beane’s error in trading Chris Carter. While I have always endorsed the talents of Jed Lowrie, it was my opinion that giving up a future star in Chris Carter was too high of a price to pay.

The trade (which actually took place on February 4th) saw the Astros acquire yet another stud First Base prospect. I wondered out loud what the Astros would do with all their First Base talent (Brett Wallace, Jonathan Singleton, Nate Freiman and veteran Carlos Pena).

It seemed like too many bats and not enough positions in Houston, despite the newfound need for a Designated Hitter. A little over a month later, March 23rd to be exact- I had my answer. Nate Freiman was on his way to Oakland.

The star for Israel in this year’s World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament was going to get the opportunity of a lifetime.

While some felt the A’s were simply acquiring roster depth, I saw a different vision. The A’s had their replacement for Brandon Moss at First Base.

Billy Beane had an uncovered yet another gem that was going to thrive in Oakland. Remember Josh Reddick 2012? Meet Nate Freiman 2013.  

Nate Freiman Interview:

Read the rest of this entry

WBC 2013 Final Results, Recap And Review

Like us on Facebook here

Wednesday March 2oth, 2013

Congrats to the Dominican Republic: The 2013 World Baseball Classic Champions!

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

After the initial WBC in 2006, the tournament returned in 2009.  The decision was made to have the WBC played three years after the inaugural edition and then four years later from there.  

As result, after a long wait for baseball fans…the third World Baseball Classic was back for the 3rd edition in 2013.

 It was a thrilling March- with the final 2 countries facing off for global baseball supremacy:  The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.  The DR won the game 3-0 behind the MVP bat of Robinson Cano.  

Congrats to the Dominican Republic on being crowned the 2013 WBC Champions!

Read the rest of this entry

Yoenis Cespedes: While Cuba Misses Their Star in the 2013 WBC – the A’s Slugger Looks to be an A.L. MVP Candidate

Like us on Facebook here

Friday March 8th, 2013

From Cuba to A.L. MVP? Despite not being able to represent his native country in the WBC, Cespedes is a year older and wiser. The more he adjusts to North America life and baseball, opposing pitchers will shudder even more each time Cespedes comes to the plate.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

It’s pretty ironic if you ask me. The 2013 World Baseball Classic is here and Cuba is off to a huge start. I had to pick a winner and went with Cuba as my pre-tournament favorite. Considering that Japan has won both editions of the WBC, Cuba was definitely going to be in tough. To top it all off, they are starting off the first two rounds in Japan. Why is it ironic? For Cuba is missing its biggest star for the tournament. Yoenis Cespedes, the Oakland A’s star outfielder is in Arizona for Spring Training.

Far away from the bright lights of Japan, where Cuba finally beat its nemesis this week in WBC play after several failed attempts in the past. With that monkey off their back, Cuba has made the statement that they are ready to win it all. But yet without their biggest star. For when one defects from Cuba, they are forever banished from representing their country again in any baseball capacity.

I couldn’t help but think watching Cuba play in Japan this week that in fact Cespedes and the A’s opened their season last year in Japan. Cespedes actually started off his season with a bang out there and never looked back. On March 29th last year, Cespedes had a home run in the 2nd game of the A’s young season. That bomb in Japan was the start of the legend. Who knew that Cespedes would actually be in Japan a year too early? For all the success that Cuba has enjoyed thus far in the 2013 WBC, imagine if they had Cespedes anchoring that lineup?

Cuba may very still win the 2013 WBC. My money is on that happening. But if Cuba falls short yet again, the what if scenarios will endlessly get bounced around. What if the team had Aroldis Chapman? Alexei Ramirez? And most of all, Yoenis Cespedes? Until Cuba allows its defectors to come home again, the talent drain will continue to affect the country in international tournaments.

Yoenis Cespedes 2012 Highlights Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

Read the rest of this entry

Cuba Is Ready To Win The 2013 World Baseball Classic

Like us on Facebook here

Saturday February 16th, 2013

LazoClasico1.jpg

Pedro Luis Lazo. One of Cuba’s greatest pitchers of all-time. Considered also one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball not to pitch in the big leagues. A legend, he represented Cuba in the 2006 and 2009 WBC tournaments. He will be missed in this year’s edition.

By Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Going into the 3rd edition of the World Baseball Classic, the #1 question that I get asked on a daily basis is: “Which country will win it all?” A fair question, as all sports fans (not just baseball ones) love to predict champions before the first game is even played. Given that Japan has won the first two WBC titles (2006 and 2009), they have to be the favorites going into this year’s tournament. But as every new WBC edition begins, every country begins to get hungrier and hungrier. We had a qualifier tournament recently, the inaugural one for a WBC. 16 countries battled it out to win the 4 coveted spots into the tournament. Chinese Taipei, Brazil, Canada and Spain will field teams next month.

Canada and Chinese Taipei were two of the four countries that did not receive automatic entries and were required to qualify. Brazil and Spain were the newcomers that got their first taste of the WBC…and evidently loved it. So who will be it folks? Japan beat Korea in 2009 and Cuba back in 2006. Ironically, Cuba lost to Japan twice back in the 2nd round of 2009. If not for Japan, Cuba would have at least WBC title under their belts. Maybe two. So who does Cuba get in their group as part of the 1st Round of the 2013 WBC? Japan, of course. This time around, things will be different. Cuba is ready to knock the Japanese gorilla off their backs and take the 2013 World Baseball Classic.  


Read the rest of this entry

Chris Carter: The Future Star That Will Make Billy Beane Regret His Trade Mistake

Like us on Facebook here

Monday February 11th, 2013

Chris Carter had a 3 Slash Line of .239/.350/.864 in 218 AB during the 2012 season. He clubbed 16 HRs and 39 RBI. He hit 11 HRs in just 122 AB away from o.co Coliseum. At just Age 26 - and team controllable until 2019, it is weird that Billy Beane would trade away the slugging 1B/DH

Chris Carter: A career .283 hitter in the minors, with a .378 OBP and .535 SLG. The perfect combination of power and patience. He will prove to be the one that got away from Billy Beane.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Mark down the date of February 4th, 2013. The day that Billy Beane broke my heart. In preparing for my latest A’s feature, the working title of the article was “Chris Carter: The Next Great A’s Superstar”. Then fate intervened. Or rather, Beane decided to pull off one too many trades. After a successful offseason that saw the A’s GM bolster significantly bolster his playoff squad, Beane decided that one more blockbuster move was in order. Jed Lowrie was headed to Oakland, with Chris Carter (the good one), Max Stassi and Brad Peacock going over to the Astros. For the purpose of this piece, I will be focusing on the loss of Carter. Stassi is a former 4th round pick of the A’s and a young 21 Year Old catching prospect. With Derek Norris ready to grab the A’s catching job for the next decade, I can see how he was expandable. Peacock was a 41st round pick of the Nationals. A 25 Year Old arm that may develop one day, but crashed and burned last season in AAA. With the A’s pitching depth, I can see how he could be ticketed out-of-town for a change of scenery. But Chris Carter?  Really Billy??!! You worked your magic to get him in the first place from the Diamondbacks. I certainly hope that your return pans out (Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez). Right now, I simply cannot see the logic of this move.


Read the rest of this entry

Billy Beane Found His Catcher in Seattle: John Jaso is Ready to Lead the A’s Back to the Playoffs

Like us on Facebook here

Sunday January 20th, 2013

A .372 OBP in 2010. A .394 OBP last season. Can you blame Billy Beane for LOVING John Jaso?

A .372 OBP in 2010. A .394 OBP last season. Can you blame Billy Beane for LOVING John Jaso?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

My name is Jonathan Hacohen. And I am a John Jaso fan. There…I have said it. Feels very good to get it out. Ok, so I don’t own any John Jaso t-shirts or jerseys. I wouldn’t recognize him if I hit him with my car. But when #27 (formerly #28 on the Rays) comes up to bat, I know that good things will usually happen. Remember that .372 OBP in 2010? I sure do. So do many Tampa Bay Rays fans. For you see my friends, John Jaso is a special breed of baseball player. He is a catcher with patience. He won’t hit for great pop, but he finds ways to get On Base. That is a skill that served him very well back in his aforementioned first full MLB season.

From that season on, I came to expect great things from Mr. Jaso. But then 2011 hit. Or actually, he didn’t. A .224 AVG with a .298 OBP was good enough for the Rays to dump Jaso on the Mariners for Josh Lueke. Remember him? Do I really have to say more? The Rays, for all the talk of their poor offensive showing and need for major league bats, decided that John Jaso just didn’t fit into their system. So Jaso was off to Seattle and Jose Molina was brought on board. The same Jose Molina who hit .223 last season with a .286 OBP. The same Jose Molina who got paid $1.5 Million last season. John Jaso on the other hand got paid $495,200 last year. What did he do? Only hit .276 with a .394 OBP. Plus a .456 SLG for good measure. His reward? A one-way ticket to Oakland with a 30 second stopover in Washington. The man can’t win. A good or bad season, either way MLB GM haven’t shown faith in this kid so far in his career. But then, most GMs are not Billy Beane. Despite being apparently set at the position for 2013, Beane proceeded to trade for Jaso and dump George Kottaras, to catch with Derek Norris. Beane said on record that he would have kept Kottaras unless Jaso was made available. So does Billy Beane know something that Andrew Friedman, Jack Zduriencik and Mike Rizzo don’t? The answer is yes. Beane knows which players he wants and usually, he will get them at the end. Now John Jaso is set to bring flair, leadership and of course, On Base skills to Oakland. The playoff picture just got much rosier for the A’s. 


Read the rest of this entry

Bartolo Colon: Ready For One More “BIG” Season in Oakland

Like us on Facebook here

Sunday January 13th, 2013

bartolo colon

Bartolo Colon saw his 2012 season end early due to a PED suspension. He is scheduled to return in April. Does he have one more big year left in the tank?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Bartolo Colon (or Fatolo as he is known in inner-baseball circles), is set to make his major league return in April, 2013. Back in August, 2012 Colon received a 50-game suspension for the use of a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED). This suspension came a week after Melky Cabrera received his 50-game ban. With only 5 games left in his suspension, Colon will be back in early-April (health permitting). But as much as fans discuss his performance on the field, Colon’s weight always seems to be the center of attention. Generously listed at 5’11″ and 265 lbs. on the Baseball Reference site, Colon won’t be winning modelling contests anytime soon. Billy Beane said it best in Moneyball, when he made it clear to his scouts that the team wasn’t trying to sell jeans. They were trying to win ballgames. Regardless of his weight and appearance, as long as Bartolo Colon can get the job done, I say hand him the ball every 5th game. Babe Ruth wasn’t a small guy, but he sure got the job done. Colon may not have the talent possessed by Ruth, but he can still be effective on most given nights. When baseball has 1-2 pitchers falling to Tommy John surgery on a weekly basis, there is something to be said for a pitcher that can go out there and give his team a good chance of winning. That is the Bartolo Colon that the A’s are hoping for in 2013. With a $3 Million salary this year and approximately $2 Million in incentives to be earned, Colon has all the incentives in place to give the A’s the workhorse they need this upcoming season.


Read the rest of this entry

Adam Lind: Ready For His Last Season in the Big Leagues

Like us on Facebook here

Friday January 4th, 2013

Adam Lind better hope he continue his strong second half in 2012 for the Jays, where he hit.304 with 4 HRs and 25 RBI in 161 AB after his recall from Las Vegas.  As an AL East Contender, the Jays can't afford any struggles like his 2012 first half.  It could be curtains for a Career if he is sent to the Minors

Adam Lind better hope he continue his decent second half in 2012 for the Jays, where he hit.304 with 4 HRs and 25 RBI in 161 AB after his recall from Las Vegas. As an AL East Contender, the Jays can’t afford any struggles like his 2012 first half. It could be curtains for a Career if he is sent to the Minors.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Baseball Writer and Website Founder):  

Living in Toronto, I have watched MANY Adam Lind At-Bats in my time. Watching Adam Lind recently, I start to ponder back to the days of Russ Adams and Josh Towers. Watching each of these players (hit and pitch respectively), I continually asked myself one question: how do these guys still have jobs? Perhaps the manager really likes them. Perhaps the organization sees immense potential. I am not really sure, but eventually the Adams and Towers bubbles came to burst. In 2013, I sense the same thing will happen to Adam Lind.

Read the rest of this entry

Carlos Gonzalez: Committing Superstar Fraud in Colorado

Like us on Facebook here

Sunday December 30th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen  (Baseball Writer and Website Founder):  

Today I tackle one of my favorite baseball points of discussion: Carlos Gonzalez – MLB Superstar or simply a product of Coors Field?

It absolutely amazes me how Gonzalez has seemingly fooled the majority of the baseball world. From Twitter to leading baseball magazines, the average baseball fans to leading national writers are convinced that the young man is one of the top players in the game. Whenever I hear the CarGo fan train pulling into the station, I always have one response:  check the home/road splits. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball Book Review: “Chasing a Dream” – By CJ Boerger

Saturday December 15th, 2012

“CHASING A DREAM” –  BY CJ BOERGER, 2012

 Chasing A Dream CJ Boerger

 

Jonathan Hacohen  (Baseball Writer and Website Founder): 

 The most popular question I receive at this time of year?  Typically centers around Christmas coming around the corner and the need to buy a gift. Lots of them. For the baseball fan that has everything, what is one to buy? 

I go through this list seemingly every year.  With spring training still a whole 3 months away (along with the World Baseball Classic this upcoming year), baseball fans need some sort of outlet to satisfy their baseball thirst. Baseball dvds are always a good source- as all the classic games are forever enshrined in the video archives. But after having watched ball for the spring/summer/fall, sometimes it is nice to get away from the television. That is when you curl up to a good book and enjoy a baseball read.

There is nothing finer than getting lost in someone else’s world. Reading a story about another person’s hopes, goals and dreams. Where they go and how they get there. All of us have dreams. We spend our entire lives chasing them. Some are attainable, while others elude us. But sometimes it is nice to take a break from our own pursuits and live in another pair of shoes. For 300+ pages, I got to be an outsider in the world of Charlie Becker and learn about his dream.  Read the rest of this entry

Cade Kreuter Interview: Padres Prospect Returns To The MLB Reports!

Monday December 3rd, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen ( Lead Baseball Columnist): 

Last February we introduced you to Cade Kreuter.  As part of the interview, we learned all about the “Crocodile Hunter.” A third generation baseball prospect and a member of the Miami Hurricanes, Cade was getting ready to make his own mark on the game. 

Now a member of the San Diego Padres organization, Cade has a bright road ahead. We talked about many facets of his career. From joining the Padres, to playing multiple positions, his offseason in the Dominican and much more. Being around the game his whole life, Cade knows what he needs to do to succeed. 2013 will be his first full season in professional baseball. At 21 years of age, he has his whole career ahead of him. We will be certainly be watching his progress with great anticipation!

Today on MLB reports, we bring you our interview with Padres’ prospect and 3rd generation player, Cade Kreuter: 

MLBR:  Congrats on joining the Padres!  What was the process like joining them?

CK:  Well, as you may know, I missed my entire junior season at The U this past year due to a broken left foot caused by a foul ball I hit off of it in practice the day before our season opener. I was misdiagnosed with a deep bone bruise for the first month of my injury so that was a setback right there for me. I went understandably undrafted after my junior season, after really only playing almost 1 full season out of 3 years in college. But, I felt it was still time for me to move up and play pro ball. I knew another season at The U was not what was best for me. I was contacted by the Padres and they asked me if I was interested in doing a workout and possibly signing as a free agent. I jumped at the opportunity and made the most of it. Later that week I signed and headed to Peoria, Az for the rookie ball season! Read the rest of this entry

Braves Selling Low on Hanson and Jurrjens: Moneyball Ain’t Alive in Atlanta People

Monday December 3rd, 2012


Jair_Jurrjens

Jonathan Hacohen ( Lead Baseball Columnist): 

I was thinking back this week to one of my fave articles from this past year. Being an admirer of the Oakland A’s methods of building a ball team and the “Moneyball Movement”, this past July I published a Billy Beane article - focusing on the modern Moneyball movement. Back in 2011, many critics were quick to jump on Beane and the A’s, mocking the A’s GM and the release of the movie Moneyball. Panned as a historical piece, Beane was viewed as a dinosaur. His methods outdated. The rest of the baseball world had caught on to his sly ways and overtook him. I refused to buy into it and was unwilling to write-off Beane. But nobody, not even the A’s GM himself saw was to come in 2012. We know how the season went down- the A’s slipped in as the AL West champs and make a good run in the playoffs. Nobody was laughing anymore and Beane went from hack back to genius overnight. While in my last article I focused on Beane’s construction of a young and talented lineup, most analysts view Beane’s success in terms of being able to flip pitchers at their peak. Billy Beane is a master of this art and it has led to much success in Oakland. Compare this now to Atlanta, which has essentially lost Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens for almost nothing. Not the Billy Beane way of doing business- and now the Braves will be paying the price. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Major Announcement on MLB reports and Melky Cabrera Special Feature

Saturday November 17th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen:

The World, it is changing. It’s a fact of life, it’s something we can’t avoid. Change is inevitable.

Remember when the Chicago White Sox announced a new management structure? Long time General Manager Kenny Williams was promoted to Executive Vice President, with Rick Hahn being the new GM? We are experiencing a new management similarly here at MLB reports. I have been fortunate for the past couple of years to wear many hats at MLB reports. After founding the site and being the Lead Columnist, I was also the Editor responsible for content, updating the website and social media. I have spoken with many of you on Twitter.  Yes, that was me.

So today I am thrilled to announce that MLB reports has now changed that structure. Chuck Booth, Lead Writer for MLB reports will now be taking over my role. Chuck, in addition to his weekly columns, will now be the Editor and looking after our social media.  Chuck has been very active behind the scenes on MLB reports for some time and we have decided to evolve our roles. As partners in MLB reports, I have been very fortunate to be able to work side-by-side with a great baseball mind like Chuck Booth. This man is a Guinness World Record Holder, having viewed baseball games in all 30 stadiums in only 23 days. How does he do it? The man is a baseball legend.

Going forward, when you are reading our daily tweets, that will be Chuck. When you converse with MLB reports on Twitter, that will be Chuck. The great baseball articles that come every week from MLB reports? Chuck will be the Editor and responsible for all content on MLB reports. So where does that leave me you ask? I guess you could ask Kenny Williams that same question. While Kenny had the passion to have more time for scouting, I have the same passion for writing. There is much work that goes into being an Editor and social media. While I loved those roles, I ultimately want to spend more time writing. I will also be working behind the scenes, focusing on growing the MLB reports brand. It’s change…and change is good.

Not to worry, you will still be able to find me and converse baseball anytime. I am blowing the dust off my twitter handle @jhacohen – be sure to follow me, say hello and most importantly, let me know that I sent ya!

Now for the next announcement. You didn’t think that was it, did you? I certainly hope that you enjoy this edition of Ask the Reports, as it will be the last one that I will be producing. With hot stove season in full force, Chuck and I have decided to put ATR on hiatus for the offseason to concentrate on other baseball areas. The WBC qualifiers are currently going on, with the tournament itself starting in March. Free agency season has begun (which will the topic of today’s ATR). So please continue to send in your questions, we love to hear from you! While we will continue to write back on our site in the comments section, on our Facebook wall and Twitter, we will say goodbye to ATR for the winter months. This has been a weekly feature that was a baby for me. I loved conversing with each of you and featuring your questions. Thank you for taking the time each of you to sending in your questions, we really appreciate it. We look forward to continuing to talk baseball with all of you 24/7  through social media and our site. Send in those questions people, keep sending them in!

In today’s edition of ATR, I focus on the signing that shook the baseball world. Fresh off their major trade with the Marlins, the Blue Jays announced that they signed free agent outfielder, Melky Cabrera. We all know the story- All-Star Game MVP, batting leader with the San Francisco Giants. Gets busted for PEDs, tries to cover up with a fake website, requests to be removed from the batting leaderboard in the NL, does not play in the 2012 playoffs and wins a World Series ring. The sordid tale of Melky Cabrera. Now for a fresh start, Melky is banished to Canada. Ok, I kid. Heck, Chuck and I are both from Canada! But with less pressure than say New York or Boston, Melky gets a fresh start in 2013. My e-mail box has exploded with your Melky Cabrera questions over the last 24 hours. As a result, I have devoted this week’s ATR to your most popular Melky Cabrera questions. This is our Melky Cabrera Special Feature, ATR edition.

So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

Now let’s get to your top Melky Cabrera questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Realignment, Ross to the Red Sox, Izturis to the Jays, Breaking Up the Rays and Remembering Matt Garza

Monday November 12th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: I will admit that this is a great time of year. I love speculating on free agency signing and the trades that are coming up. But I am getting to the point that there are three words that I no longer feel like speaking: Hamilton, Greinke and Upton. You know exactly who I am talking about. The most popular catches on the market: free agents Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke and B.J. Upton (with his brother Justin Upton apparently available on the trade market). My flavor is lesser lights, like Mike Napoli, Joakim Soria, Hiroki Kuroda, Ryan Madson and so forth. I really think that someone will get a steal in Mike Napoli. I also think that someone will be very frustrated with Edwin Jackson. And if a team gives Anibal Sanchez anything close to the reported $90+ million that he is seeking- get ready for a Vernon Wells contract disaster to appear. 

With all the talk of free agency and hot stove, remember that the WBC qualifiers are still being played. Groups 3 and 4 are set to do battle, starting in 4 short days. Panama and Taiwan are the lucky venues that will be hosting these upcoming classic games. My picks to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic? Panama in Group 3 and Thailand in Group 4. A very balanced group of countries that will be competing and in a short series, anything can happen. I like the addition of Johnny Damon to the Thailand squad, I really think that he will be a difference maker. Those are my two cents at least.

So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

Baseball Book Review: “The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” – By Robert W. Cohen

Sunday November 11th, 2012

“THE 50 GREATEST PLAYERS IN NEW YORK YANKEES HISTORY” –  BY ROBERT W. COHEN

The Scarecrow Press, Inc.:  2012

 

Jonathan Hacohen:  I’m going to start off this review with a little disclaimer. Despite the similarities of our last names, there is no relation between myself and author Robert W. Cohen. He is a Cohen, I am Ha-Cohen. Fortunately, our surnames is not the only thing that links myself to Robert. After reading his prized book “The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” (or as I shall call the “50 Greatest Yankees” for the rest of this review), we have a common admiration for the team in pinstripes. Truth be known, for a person loves baseball- they can’t help but respect and follow the Yankees. The history, traditions and of course, the superstars that have played in the Bronx over the years. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t stop talking about the Yankees when a baseball history conversation is in play. 

With the final pitch of the 2012 World Series having recently been thrown (and watched for a called third strike to end the game…and season), I found myself with the opportunity to complete the 50 Greatest Yankees. We were fortunate to have Robert W. Cohen appear on MLB reports back in July with a Guest MLB Blog to discuss the book. Now it was time for me to complete the book and discuss it with you, the readers. The timing couldn’t be better, considering that the Christmas holiday shopping season is around the corner. If you want to really impress the baseball fan in your life with a great gift, the 50 Greatest Yankees will certainly be a home run for you. A detailed history of the 50 greatest players to ever put on a Yankees uniform? This is a subject that every baseball fan will want to cover in great detail. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: MLB Free Agency Season Is Upon Us!

Sunday November 4th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Here we go again. We spend the whole offseason waiting and hoping for the MLB season to start. We speculate where free agents will sign, which teams will pull off trades and which teams have reason for optimism once the season. We dissect every move and weigh the dollars/years on each contract. Welcome to hot stove baby! But then the season comes and goes in a flash- then we end up right back to the offseason again. Right back to free agency talk again.

This week we have a nice mix of topics. From covering free agents, to trades, division realignment- our readers really went through the whole spectrum of baseball topics. We couldn’t possibly jump into ATR during free agency season without hearing the names Hamilton, Greinke or Upton? Of course not! So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

Matt Williams: The Next Great MLB Manager

Sunday October 28th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen: This past spring, I had the chance to converse on the telephone with one of the greatest players of my generation. Middle-of-the-order power bat, combined with gold glove defense. Matt Williams is everything a manager could want in a baseball player. He showed up every day and played the game hard. Ran out every ground ball. Dove for every ball at third base. Consistently got his jersey dirty. Never complained to the media or spoke poorly about management or a teammate. Matt Williams was the ultimate professional, on and off the field. And now here he was, on the other end of the line conversing with me. It will be a baseball talk that I will never forget. Matt Williams has that strong of a presence. 

I actually grew up a Giants fan, with the highlight of my baseball life being the 1989 Giants playoff run. But once Matt Williams and Will Clark left the Bay area, I was so devastated that I decided to never forgive the Giants. But I continued to follow the players that I idolized, through the rest of their playing days and into the next phases of their respective careers. Once Comerica Park opened, I grew to adopt the Tigers as my main team. The proximity to Detroit  from my hometown made the Tigers a natural fit for me. But I was always a baseball fan first and foremost. If I respected a player, I followed them regardless of the team(s) they played for. Studying the history of the Tigers, I started to think about some of their former players. Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell came to mind. Both were hard-nosed players who went on to manage in the big leagues. Gibson was a coach under Trammell in Detroit. Now Trammell is the bench coach in Arizona under Kirk Gibson. The team enjoyed an incredible run in 2011 and are still seen as a team on the rise. Ironically enough, Gibson’s third base coach? Matt Williams, of course. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Special World Series Edition

Saturday October 27th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: In a few short hours, Game 3 of the World Series will be played from one of my fave parks in baseball, Comerica Park in Detroit. It has been a very interesting season and playoffs for me. While I readily admit that I bleed blue and orange, I did not pick the Tigers to make the playoffs this year. That fact usually stuns other Tiger fans. “How can you support the team and not pick them to win the World Series”…that is a question that I am often asked. The answer is simple: while I enjoy Comerica and have a soft spot for the Tigers, I am first and foremost a baseball writer. Baseball fandom is not something that one can turn on and off like a light switch. But if one is going to do their job properly, they need to stay fair and impartial. So while my heart wanted the Tigers to win the AL Central, my brain said that the White Sox were this year’s team of destiny. Goes to show that you never know what will happen in baseball. 

As the Tigers kept winning, I kept doubting them further. So just to prove a point, Detroit swept the Yankees in the ALCS and made it to the World Series as the favorites. At that point, I saw the Tigers beating the Giants, likely in 5 games to win the World Series. But then a couple of pitchers named Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito came along. They proved that the Giants had a ton of fight in them, They also proved that I had no business trying my hand at any predictions during the 2012 playoffs. The Giants are up 2-0 in the series, with Ryan Vogelsong taking the mound against Anibal Sanchez. My heart and brain are saying that the Giants will win big tonight and jump out to a 3-0 lead. Does that mean that the Tigers will win one and get back into this series?  We will find out very shortly.

A great pitching matchup tonight, with Ryan Vogelsong and Anibal Sanchez as the probable starters. Sanchez has enjoyed a great run as of late for the Tigers, while Vogelsong has been solid for the most part. I am seeing here a big win for Vogelsong. He is a great success story for the Giants, their version of R.A. Dickey. Having watched Sanchez implode on too many occasions, I have a hard time trusting him. Although he is batting for the almighty free agency contract, so perhaps he has a quality start in him. If the Tigers don’t pull it off, they have the near impossible task of facing Matt Cain on Sunday down 3-0. Max Scherzer will take the mound tomorrow night for the Tigers. He could be helping the Tigers even the series 2-2, or watch the Giants sweep their way to another World Series championship. In a short series, anything can happen.

Given the amount of World Series questions that we have received this week, I decided to feature the most popular questions surrounding the Tigers and Giants. If these guys can make it to the finals, the least we can do is discuss/analyze them.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

There Will Never Be Another 300 Game Winner

Saturday October 27th, 2012

Luke Whitecotton (Guest Writer):  

Let me thrown four names out there: Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine. What do these guys have in common? Two are Hall of Famers and two more are on their way. All were big game money pitchers. And most importantly, they are all 300 game winners.

Will we ever see another 300 game winner in baseball? Quite frankly, I don’t think we will.

Now don’t get me wrong, as a fan I would love to see it happen again in my lifetime. It would bring me almost as much pure joy as watching Greg Maddux pitch in his prime. As part of my analysis, I looked squarely at the odds and stats to determine the difficulty level of reaching that plateau in this day and age in baseball. Jamie Moyer, who will turn 50 in November, has 269 wins. Roy Halladay, who is 35 years old, has 199 wins. Andy Pettitte, who is 40 years old, has 245 wins in his career. You can see where I am going with this, as for some of these guys to keep pitching at the required level to reach the golden 300 mark is just too big of an obstacle to overcome. Just a little note by the way, Nolan Ryan was 43 years old and was considered one of the most durable pitchers ever. When you consider what Ryan had to do to win 300, you really start to feel the force that these star pitchers are up against. Read the rest of this entry

The Iron Sheik: WWE Legend Speaks with MLB reports in the Interview of a Lifetime

Monday October 22nd, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  If you are familiar with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE- formerly WWF), then you will know today’s guest very well. Who are we kidding…you would have to be living under a rock not to recognize this name. A legend and celebrity throughout the entertainment world, the Iron Sheik can be best described as a Wrestling Icon. The mustache, bold head, Iranian flag and camel clutch were his trademarks. For years, this former wrestling heavyweight champion was booed by fans all over the world as one of the biggest heels in the history of his sport. Today, we pinned down one of the greatest wrestlers of all time in the interview of a lifetime.

While he may be retired from professional wrestling, the Iron Sheik today is in greater demand than ever. Sheik merchandise including t-shirts are selling like hotcakes. A feature documentary on the Sheik is set to be released soon as well. Knowing the Sheik, it will be explosive and entertainment to the max. Double thumbs up! From a villain in the golden age of wrestling, the Iron Sheik has reinvented himself into a modern-day hero. While his brash language may have insulted fans 20 years ago, today people embrace his boldness and confidence. Chances are that if the Iron Sheik met you, that he probably would not like you. And guess what…you would probably be ok with that. It’s funny how time can change our perspectives.

On social media, @the_ironsheik is one of the most popular Twitter accounts that I have ever come across. If you are not following him on Twitter, then you are truly missing out. Rarely a day goes by that the Sheik does not slam someone on Twitter, including targets like former rival Hulk Hogan and even Jose Canseco. One of the best feuds of all time has been the Twitter exchanges between the Sheik and Canseco. Neither one backs down and fans just can’t get enough. While they will likely never face-off in the squared circle, the verbal matches between the Iron Sheik and his enemies are epic battles. Check out as well much of the Iron Sheik’s postings on YouTube. We would have included a clip- but it was impossible to find one without a “f-bomb” explosion. The Sheik tells it like it is and doesn’t hold back. In our modern-day world of vanilla statements by celebrities, listening to the Sheik is refreshing. A true breath of fresh air. After all, America is supposed to be the land of free speech. And the Iron Sheik exercises that right to the max.

In today’s interview, I covered many topics with the Sheik, including his thoughts on Jose Canseco as a wrestler  and Hulk Hogan as an adult film star. He definitely did not hold back in discussing these guys. To say that he dislikes both would be an understatement. He loves Iran and America. He doesn’t follow baseball, but enjoys a beer. He could kick Jose Canseco’s behind…and yours…and mine. He is an original and a pioneer in his industry. He could not walk down the street in any city in the world without being recognized. He is the Iron Sheik – and today, he is our featured interview. Hold on to your hats and get ready to enjoy the ride. It will be a bumpy one!

(Please note: This interview may not be suitable for young readers. The Iron Sheik is a colorful personality and his language may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Not that the Sheik really cares what you think or say. But don’t say that we didn’t warn you!)

*READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED*

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: The Yoenis Cespedes Showcase Video, Evolution of the Yankees, Swisher to Boston and More!

Saturday October 20th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Baseball, much like life, is always full of change. Just think of all the changes that Major League Baseball has undergone during the past few years. Expansion. Realignment. Wild Card. Second Wild Card. Luxury Tax. Home field advantage in the World Series from the All-Star game. And to think, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Astros are moving next year to the AL West. Daily interleague play. The Athletics may move to San Jose. There is no doubt that the baseball we knew once upon a time is gone and buried. We are in a new golden era of baseball, one that promises to continue to evolve and thrive. Much like the sport it covers, MLB reports is on the same fast track. 

If you follow MLB reports daily (which you DEFINITELY should), you have noticed the changes that we have enjoyed over the past few months. New writers, pages, website format- if there is one thing that we don’t do here, is sit on our hands. We recently had Kyle Holland come on board as our Baseball Intern and Alex Mednick as a Baseball Writer and Analyst. Haley Smilow is on board as our MLB Junior Correspondent. We have a diverse stable of writers, all with different experiences and styles. That raises the bar on the content that we bring you each and every day on MLB reports. We love our team, which continues to grow all the time. We have a devoted Cooperstown page, featuring our Cooperstown Correspondent, Patrick Languzzi. Love Fantasy Baseball?  Peter Stein has you covered every week highlighting his fantasy baseball notes and advice. Our Fantasy Baseball page features Peter’s work. Lead Writer Chuck Booth, a Guinness World Record holder in baseball travel brings you exciting and informative articles every Wednesday and Friday night. The list literally goes on and on. If it involves baseball, MLB reports has you covered. 

We feature at least two articles per day, posted at the start of each day around 9:00am ET and in the evening at 8:00pm ET. Life gets busy- we know that. We strive at MLB reports to always have an article ready on your computer to go along with your morning coffee at work, and a feature in the evening while you unwind. Plus you never know when surprise bonus features will hit our site next. When we say MLB 4 Life, we meet it! Make sure to follow @mlbreports on Twitter and to subscribe to our website- http://www.mlbreports.com. The link is at the top of the site. It’s free. And it’s an excellent investment in your baseball knowledge!

With all the exciting changes at MLB reports, the truth is… that there is even more to come. We always are on the lookout for bright new talent. New concepts. New topics. Just like MLB, we always want to improve and evolve. But it’s a gradual process. Starting Monday though, you will see that we will be adding a new something to MLB reports. I can’t tell you what…I’m very sorry. But you will find out very soon. My advice? Bookmark mlbreports.com and/or make it your homepage. Get into work on Monday October 22nd. Grab a cup of coffee and turn on your computer. When your boss thinks you are working, you will be preparing for our feature of the day. At 9:00am ET, you will find a new addition to MLB reports. It is both different and exciting. The feature is called “The Interview of a Lifetime” and one that you certainly cannot miss. Get ready to be shocked, entertained and informed. The best part? This is only the beginning. I feel like the Riddler…and have already said too much….

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Hamilton Leaving Texas, Valentine’s Future, Crawford’s Return and More!

Saturday October 13th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Today is one of those days where I am going to mix things up slightly. Go in a different direction- use a new style. Heck, it is playoff time! I got thinking last weekend after talking to one of our favorite readers. Lonnie Collins love Cincinnati. He eats, breathes and sleeps the Reds. But despite the love of his team, he is an overall baseball fan. Players of old and new- any team- anytime, Lonnie is up for baseball talk. When we were chatting on twitter the other day (Lonnie’s handle is @aplayatobenamed), he sent me a rapid fire list of questions. Bang bang bang…one after the other. He covered off such an interesting and diverse list of topics, that he got me thinking. Gosh, this man loves baseball!

So in honor of the great baseball fan Lonnie Collins, this week’s edition of ATR is devoted exclusively to his questions. 

Lonnie, thank you for your readership and support. The whole MLB reports team appreciates it! 

Now let’s get to Lonnie’s top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Sunday October 7th

Sunday October 7th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: The regular season is done. Toast. That’s it. We even finished the one game sudden death Wild Card playoffs. We are now officially in full swing, MLB playoff mode.

It is a bittersweet feeling. I love the playoffs. But it is hard to go without having 12-15 MLB games going every day.  And then I shudder to think what life is like when the playoffs are finished. We are less than 3 weeks away from the World Series.  Can you believe it? This was an incredible season, with many highs and lows.  From all those no-hitters to the countless players undergoing Tommy John surgery. The surprising A’s and Orioles. The disappointing Angels and Phillies. We had quite the year. Valentine Gate. Melky’s suspension. Miggy’s triple crown. Trout’s dominance. Dickey’s greatness. 2012 will go down as one of my favorite baseball seasons of all time.

Before we turn over to your questions, let’s address those Wild Card games. For all the talk of Atlanta’s great season, they are done. One game and over. The St. Louis Cardinals, the defending World Series champs squeaked into the playoffs…and are now heading to the NLDS for a date with the Nationals. Over in the American League, the powerhouse Rangers are done. For a team that led the AL in wins for most of the year and held the AL West crown for almost the entire season, their late season collapse ended in disaster. With a two game lead going into the final season, the A’s sweep in Oakland of the Rangers meant a date at home for Texas with Baltimore. This shows the importance of a division title vs. a wild card spot. While the A’s face the Tigers in a 5-game series, the Rangers had only one chance and blew it. Given the fact that they had enjoyed back-to-back World Series appearances the last two seasons, 2012 will go down as a black mark in Rangers history. It goes to show you: a team can have all the hitting on the planet, but to win- they need pitching. Sure the Rangers hitting cooled off in the 2nd half, but they also did not have enough reliable pitchers to be ready for the playoffs. Now imagine the Rays had a better offense. That’s the type of team that was built to compete in the playoffs. Great, young and healthy pitching is usually the secret to success in today’s game. But without enough hitting, the road was too hard for the Rays. 

As a result, teams like the Orioles and the A’s are in, while the Rays and Rangers are out. The teams may not have the best pitching or hitting- but with a steady amount of both, playoff dreams became a reality. What the A’s and Orioles both enjoy is lights-out bullpens. So called experts may call bullpens/relievers/closers as overrated. Looking at the Orioles success in 1-run games and the A’s in extra innings, I would have to disagree. If a team can lock down a game from the 6th inning an on with a lead consistency, that is what we call a dangerous team. I have no idea if the A’s and O’s face-off in the ALCS. If they do, that should be one explosive series. My crystal ball sees the winner of the A’s/Tigers going to the World Series. In the NL, I see it as the Reds all the way. They are just too stacked and consistent. Anything can happen in a short series, but those are my picks for baseball’s biggest showdown of the season. Stay tuned!

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

Robby Rowland MLB Blog: Pirates Prospect Discuss His Transformation, Trade and Much More

Friday October 5th, 2012

Featured today on MLB reports, we are proud to present the return of Robby Rowland, Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect. Robby is back on MLB Reports with his latest MLB Blog. We have been very fortunate to have Robby appear several times on MLB reports, in interviews and MLB Blogs prepared by Robby in his own words. One of our fave alumni returns with thoughts from Robby’s World. Robby looks at his transformation as a pitcher, trade to the Pirates organization and much more. Get ready for a special treat. Robby Rowland is real, funny and informative. We know you missed him…as we all did! Get ready to fulfill your Robby Rowland fix!

Robby Rowland-  Guest MLB Blogger:

For those of you who have followed my journey through these blogs, I apologize for taking so much time to write this one. I would like to say thank you to MLB reports for having me on once again. For those of you who are reading one of my blogs for the first time, I want to apologize ahead of time for the writing style. I have so much that I would like to touch upon and I may not always use the proper commas or periods that some English major would… or something like that, I’m not sure. One more thanks is to my computer class teacher, who taught me how to type without looking. I’m glad I can use this skill in my baseball career, unlike all the other subjects in school that seem useless now. I also am known to ramble on a little bit, so bear with me here. Hopefully you will enjoy reading this as much as I did when I wrote it.

As I sit here, listening to a country music Pandora station, I try to think of some things that you guys would like to read about. I’ve heard some good topics via twitter and I will try my best to write about those and try to pick out topics that I can elaborate on. I will try to make this blog entry as entertaining as possible because I know how boring reading can get… if what you are reading doesn’t interest you. I had to do it ALL 4 years in high school… well, I had to read the sparknotes of whatever, which were still boring when they didn’t have anything to do with sports!

I will first talk about my transformation of becoming a “sinker ball pitcher” just over a year ago. Then I will talk about getting traded at the beginning of the season. After I have covered those 2 subjects, I will go on to write about lighter topics. Hope you enjoy and I don’t bore you! Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Yadier for NL MVP, Wild Card Rosters, USA in WBC 2013, Triple Crown for Miggy and Scioscia to Boston?

Sunday September 30th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!

Jonathan Hacohen: I am going to channel some Jose Canseco right now. No- I don’t think that I can travel to the future. Or that everyone is out to get me. But I want to send a message to the “haters”. You know who you are. The so-called baseball traditionalists that cry every time our great sport makes any kind of adjustment. Every time there is realignment, relocation, expanded rosters, playoffs…the haters scream to the heavens. They say: leave the game alone! While I love the game the way it is, without a doubt, I still feel the need for improvements. But I take them on case by case basis.  The designated hitter? I say abolish the whole thing and go back to pitchers hitting in both leagues. I love the NL style of play, with real in-game decisions and strategies. But maybe that’s just me. While I may want to go back in time when it comes to the DH, I definitely look to the future on many subjects. For interleague play (assuming DH stays), I would play NL rules in AL parks and vice versa. Let’s mix it up! I say let’s increase rosters- up to 28-30 players per team. Poor attendance teams? Relocate. Expand by 2 teams to bring an even 16/16 split between leagues. From there, completely realign into 4 divisions of 4 teams each. And so the possibility of changes in baseball is endless.

Keeping that in mind, I come to a very hotly contested topic in baseball circles these days:  the Wild Card. Originally set up as one Wild Card team per league, this year we have expanded to two Wild Card spots per league. Coming up on October 5th, we will see the first ever sudden death one game Wild Card playoffs. Haters simply despise these upcoming games. Is it too much change? Is it unfair to the integrity of the game and the playoffs? We could debate that one for weeks…nay… months…nay… years.  But I will tell you this. If you take a look at the MLB standings as they are today, let’s reason the value of the Wild Card spots. In the NL for the last two weeks or so (more), it was a foregone conclusion that the Reds, Giants and Nats were taking the division crowns. Where would that have left the Braves? Cardinals? Dodgers? Brewers? Heck…even the Phillies and Pirates. Having the Wild Cards in place allowed fans for all those cities to remain interested and excited about baseball for weeks while their teams competing for Wild Card positions. No Wild Cards would equal many teams that would have been out of it long ago. Is that good for the game? To have fans in so many cities turned off from the game in August when they know the playoffs aren’t an option? I’m not so sure about that.

In the AL, the Orioles and A’s all still have a chance at division leads. The Angels and Rays still are very much in the playoff hunt. But no Wild Cards….would mean so many of those teams would not have had much of a shot. Unless we see total collapses, most are expecting the A’s and Orioles to face off in the Wild Card game. Considering how both have played, would you want to miss that one? Can you imagine if October came and the Braves, A’s and Orioles were not competing for a playoff position? Me neither. When I think about what we would lose by having so many of these teams going home if the Wild Card spots didn’t exist I shudder. I am not saying we should blow up the game. But before criticizing change just because its different, think about the pros and cons of the move. In this case, I say thumbs up to the extra Wild Card games. If you don’t believe me, check out the games on October 5th. They will be some of the best baseball that you will ever watch. That I guarantee.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: September 23rd, 2012

Sunday September 23rd, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!

Jonathan Hacohen: I am in a GREAT mood this weekend! Can you blame me? The MLB season is nearing the playoffs and the WBC qualifiers are well under way! While I love watching MLB action, my heart still favors the World Baseball Classic. If you have ever watched a game involving a team…say like Cuba, Venezuela or the Dominican Republic, you would understand why. In my book, nothing beats international baseball action. The passion of the fans and players simply cannot be beat. To have ones country advance in the tournament is one of the highest levels of joy that a baseball fan can experience.

Going into this week, I was keeping a special eye on Israel and Canada. As I am Jewish (check the last name), I will always root for anything and everything involving Israel. I almost fell out of my seat with excitement when I first heard that Israel was invited to the WBC qualifiers. Now watching this team in action, they certainly have a great chance to qualify for March. I have enjoyed speaking with Cody Decker, Padres prospect and a member of Team Israel over the past few days. To say that Cody is excited to be playing for Israel is an understatement. He spoke very highly of the atmosphere, the level of talent on the team and the feeling of playing with “Israel” across his chest. As Israel plays Spain today for the right to advance to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, I wish my fellow countrymen the best of luck. Behind ya 110%!

Canada has also advanced to the finals of its group, awaiting the winner of the Germany and Great Britain today. Canada will meet the winner on Monday afternoon. Due to its poor play in the 2009 edition of the WBC, Canada was forced to qualify for the upcoming tournament. After 2 strong games on its resume, Canada looks good to advance (will likely play Germany in the finals). As my family and I live in Canada, we have the bias of wanting to see a good showing from the northern squad. Hopefully my wish comes true, and both Canada and Israel end up qualifying. The fact of the matter is that the countries are in different positions. This is Israel’s first try at WBC action, and the team came in with little pressure and everything to gain. Israel will be thrilled to qualify, while Canada must qualify. Canada is known internationally as a strong baseball market and anything less than a victory on Monday for it would be a huge disappointment. To qualify, both Israel and Canada will need defeat strong opponents. Hopefully it will all work out at the end.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Chapman, Hamilton, WBC, Billy Corgan and Neiko Johnson

Sunday September 16th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!

Jonathan Hacohen: I hate being sick. In writing terms, I have been placed on the 5-10 day DL with a chest infection. It actually feels worse than it sounds. I have the cough of George Burns and probably his energy level as well. But the show must go on! ATR appears every weekend and dammit, I’m not letting a little thing like illness get in my way. Write through pain, that’s my philosophy. 

Before I get to your questions, I just want to take a quick look at the MLB standings as of this morning:

  • The Yankees are hanging onto the AL East by the skin of their teeth, with a 1 game lead over the Orioles. But for all the talk of those two teams, don’t forget about the Rays. They are only 4 GB. The Rays have pulled it off before and if I am placing my wager, I give it to Tampa Bay. Just too much pitching in my estimation.
  • As we continue to scan through the standings, I notice that the AL races are far more interesting than the NL ones. I’m not sure if that says much, but perhaps the AL teams will continue to battle each other to a pulp, and become easy pickings for the NL (who enjoys home field advantage in the World Series).  Just a thought.
  • The White Sox hold a 1 game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central. Yes, I bleed Tigers Blue and Orange. But I will admit that my crystal ball sees this season as the year of the White Sox. Sorry Tigers supporters, its nothing personal. Just business. Adam Dunn is back and as long as Chicago can continue their season long magic for a couple of more weeks, they will be playoff-bound.
  • The most interesting division has become the AL West. The Rangers, the 2-time AL champions now hold a slim 2 game lead over the Athletics (after losing to the Mariners and the A’s beating up on the O’s in a key weekend matchup). Chuck Booth and I have called what the A’s are doing as “Moneyball 2″. Let’s consider that when Moneyball the Movie came out last fall, critics were quick to mock Billy Beane and the A’s as being outdated and the movie being a historical piece, with no relevance to the current team. Guess who’s having the last laugh people? That’s right. Billy Beane. The A’s might actually have the guts to pull this thing off and take the division. It would be an incredible shot in the arm for Oakland and a tragedy in Texas. Keep an eye on this race people: if we have learned nothing else this season, the A’s are not going away.
  • The AL Wild Card spots are currently held down by the A’s and Orioles, with the Angels (2.5 gb), Rays (3 GB) and Tigers (3.5 GB) all in shooting distance. If we assume that the Rays, White Sox and Rangers end up taking their respective divisions, we are left with the A’s, Yankees, Orioles, Tigers and Angels as the contenders for the Wild Card spots. I see from there the Yankees and A’s taking the wild cards, with Oakland advancing to the ALDS. It is not an exact science, but playoff predictions are sure fun to create.
  • In the NL, we start with the Nationals, who enjoy a 6.5 game lead on the Braves. Not out of reach, but the Nats are still likely to take the AL East. They have been one of the best stories in baseball this year. Let’s see how far they go sans their ace.
  • In the Central, the Reds have a stranglehold on their division, with a 11.5 game lead over the Cardinals. Dusty Baker and company have a magic number of 6. ‘Nuff said.
  • Over in the NL West, the Giants are pulling away with a 7.5 game lead over the Dodgers. Now Clayton Kershaw may need surgery and be out for the season. It looks like the Dodgers’ big ticket items will not pay off until 2013 at the earliest.
  • The NL wild card race is messier than an algebra exam. The Braves hold a fairly good lead on the 1st spot, almost assuring Chipper Jones of at least one game of playoff action in his final season. The final spot is held in a tie, between the Cardinals and Dodgers. While there are several teams still in contention for that final spot (Pirates 2 GB, Brewers 2.5 GB, Phillies 3 GB, Diamondbacks 4.5 GB and even the Padres 6 GB). Predicting this spot is like taking a shot in the dark. Many are going with the Phillies, given their strong pitching staff (the three aces). I am not counting out any teams at this point, but I will say keep an eye on the Dbacks. It would not surprise me if they somehow face the Braves in the one-game sudden-death playoff series.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

Time For the Nationals to Shut Down Jordan Zimmermann: Why Stop at Strasburg?

Friday September 14th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Before fans of the Nationals start to write any angry comments in respect of this article, please do me one favor.  Stop. Read the article in its entirety and then pass judgement. That’s the least I can ask from each of you.

Now that being said, I have a bone to pick with the Nationals. While I love the game with a passion, I also need to separate the fan in me from the writer. When it comes to the topic of Stephen Strasburg, I honestly have a hard time doing that. Shutting down Stephen Strasburg to me is like ripping up the winning lottery ticket. You just don’t do it. Too many stars have aligned this season for the Nationals, to have the season put into possible jeopardy due to a decision that could have been avoided. Putting it bluntly- Stephen Strasburg should be pitching right now. To the end of the season. And throughout the playoffs. You just don’t take out your ace when you don’t need to.

I have talked with colleagues, players, fans…everyone and anyone who has an opinion on the subject. Believe me, there are many of them. If I had to take an informal poll of say 200 people with knowledge on the game, about 195 are against the move. Plain and simple. In my eyes, it seems that everyone sees the logic to keep him pitching (including Strasburg himself), except GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson. Even Johnson I am not that sure about. How often do you criticize your boss? Exactly. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Strasburg, Valentine, Rolen to Cooperstown, Josh Hamilton to the Red Sox and More

Sunday September 9th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: Many great questions this week people, as always. With the playoffs and WBC qualifiers around the corner, people are baseball crazy! Every week it is getting harder and harder to select the questions for ATR. People are feeling baseball fever and I see it in every corner. From the comments on our site, your e-mails, tweets and posts on Facebook, we hear from each of you in so many ways. Ah….gotta love the age of social media! Make sure to keep the questions and comments coming every week. You never know when your baseball insight will appear on MLB reports!

Before I get into this week’s questions, a quick comment. Saturday become lockdown day for Stephen Strasburg. From the second I jumped into my car yesterday and turned on MLB Network Radio, all I heard was Davey Johnson shutting down Stras for the year. I like Davey, but I have to say that blaming the media pressure is weak. In case you weren’t aware, Strasburg was supposed to have one more start next week before officially being shutdown for the season. Now, he is done for the year.  Just like that.

People ask me all the time if I think the Nationals are doing the right thing. My response is a clear: NO! I cannot ascertain for the life of me what the Nats are thinking. They are committing the equivalent of baseball suicide in my book. When you have the chance to go far in the playoffs, you go for it. Period. There is no medical evidence of any clear cutoff point for Strasburg’s season. The reality is that any innings limit is a guess by the team. There is no true merit for shutting him down. Even Dr. Lewis Yocum has indicated that there is no clear sign of whether Strasburg should not pitch further. But let’s say we are even going to say that 160 innings was Strasburg’s limit. The Nationals knew this for some time and could have arranged their rotation to fit the limit. Skipping starts earlier in the season and limiting innings per start would have allow Strasburg to pitch further into the year, including the postseason. What was the use of having him pitch into games when the Nats had a commanding lead in the NL East? 

The Nats have a 5.5 game lead as of today. If the lead gets cut any further, wouldn’t it have been nice to have your team pitching for you at the end of the year? What about a Wild Card one-game sudden death playoff? NLDS? NLCS? World Series? The bottom line is this: if the Nationals do not win the world series, Johnson and GM Mike Rizzo will have Strasburg-Gate hanging over them for the rest of their lives. Never mind the fact that the kid is upset and may never forgive the team for not letting him compete. There is a roster full of guys busting their behinds for a championship. Removing one of their top weapons for the playoffs hurts team morale, confidence and the ability to compete. We never know what next year or future years will bring. 2012 is a special year for Washington. You always go for it when you can.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,311 other followers

%d bloggers like this: