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?
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Wednesday May 8th, 2013
Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder): Follow @Jhacohen
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”.
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Friday, February.8, 2013
By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent) Follow @bradcuprik
On August 8 of last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were 63-47, 2.5 games back of the First-place Cincinnati Reds, securely into the second Wild-Card Spot – and had the fourth-best record in the National League. The wheels came off, the Bucs finished on a 16-36 slide, 18 games back of the Reds and with the 10th-best record in the NL. Reality could have caught up to a overperforming squad, or a youthful team took the next step in learning how to win. Either way, the Pirates enter 2013 with breaking a streak of 20 losing seasons on their minds.
General Manager Neal Huntington has been shrewd and active, signing MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen to a long-term deal in 2012 and getting other clubs to eat up significant chunks of their largest contracts when acquiring their top two starters. Starting pitching depth has been added and Huntington is even taking more high-priced risks, landing Catcher Russell Martin as a Free Agent.
Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Highlights:
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent) Follow @bradcuprik
Although the Pirates made significant strides in 2012, they still finished in fourth place in the National League Central – with a 79-83 mark – extending their professional sports record for consecutive losing seasons to 20. After being active at last season’s trading deadline, the Bucs added two key Free Agents in the offseason. One of those signings, LHP Francisco Liriano, agreed to 2 YR Deall for just under $13 Million – but broke his arm from an undisclosed injury in late December. The two sides agreed to a deal that lowers the first-season payout if Liriano misses any time due to the injury.
That has not dimmed the enthusiasm swelling around Pittsburgh and very few roster spots are up for grabs as the 2013 season nears. With the Houston Astros moving to the American League West, the division is down to five teams, but the Pirates still have numerous questions surrounding their ability to compete for a Post Season Berth.
Andrew McCutchen hitting mechanics: Mature Lyrics Content – Parental Guidance is Advised
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Saturday, January 5th, 2013
Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @ryandana1
In my previous article examining the decline of the DH position in the AL, I briefly touched on a few great DH’s. Now I will exert my focus on examining who the best DH of all time was. While the DH position may be in a decline, it has experienced good times. To be truly great at one of the hardest things to do in sports, (hit a baseball) is quite an accomplishment whether you play in the field or not. The Top 4 DH’s off all time have to be Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz. (The ordering just goes from 1st to enter the MLB to last, not who was the best. I will order them in that way later in the article.)
Harold Baines was somewhat of a pioneer of the DH position, as he was one of the early greats. His 22 Year Career started in 1980 with the Chicago White Sox, and ended for the same team in 2001, although he had stints with the Rangers, Athletics, Orioles, and Indians in between. Baines was a regular Outfielder for the White Sox until the ’86 season – where knee problems all but ended his fielding career. With Baines well-rounded, Left-hHanded stroke at the plate, he etched out a place in baseball history that will leave him remembered by many.
Frank Thomas Highlights:
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Tuesday December 18th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
If I had to describe the 2012 White Sox in one word, I would describe them as underperforming. Although they improved on their 2011 season, the White Sox still performed below expectations in the 2nd Half and it cost them a trip to the playoffs. In a division with the Detroit Tigers, who signed Prince Fielder last winter, the White Sox were not favored. They finished with an 85-77 record, which was not bad—I just expected better. After all, the Tigers ended up in the World Series.
I’ll start with Adam Dunn. Dunn had one of the worst seasons in baseball history in 2011, the year that he signed a Four Year deal worth $56 Million. He hit .159 with only 11 HRs and 42 RBI. He was poised for a great comeback in 2012. I guess you could call hitting .204 with 41 HRs and 96 RBI a comeback, but it still was not the normal Adam Dunn. The HRs and RBI were there, but the .204 average was well below what he hit in previous years. If Dunn were to have hit for a higher average, one might be able to say that the White Sox would have made the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday November 27th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):
The Padres seem poised to eventually become mild-spenders. For an organization that’s highest payroll since 2002 has been roughly $73 million (in 2008), moving up in the spending chain would certainly be good for a change. This transformation could come as soon as 2013 or maybe a few years down the road.
But let’s be sure of something—the Padres have a steep hill to climb before they can compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers in terms of financial freedom. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be able to compete with the newly labeled ‘Yankees’ of the West coast, but it surely prevents them from signing talented free agents. The A’s and Orioles are a pair of most recent teams to win on a cheaper payroll, while the Rays have been the very definition of that over the past few years. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday November 11th, 2012
Sam Evans: Even though it may seem as if all of baseball is already focused on 2013, some of the major awards for the 2012 MLB Regular Season have yet to be announced. The AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards will be announced on Monday. Bryce Harper, Wade Miley and Todd Frazier are the finalists for the National League. Mike Trout, Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish are the last three in the American League. I predict that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout will be the two players rewarded for their outstanding rookie seasons by taking home the hardware. Read the rest of this entry
Monday November 5th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: The A’s now find themselves in a sticky situation with four outfielders who are all capable of being full-time starters. Oakland acquired Chris Young from the Diamondbacks on October 21st in exchange for Cliff Pennington as part of a 3-way trade with the Marlins. While it’s safe to say that Billy Beane won the trade from a talent standpoint, it did not solve any problems because the A’s already had Yoenis Céspedes, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick locked in the outfield to commence the 2013 season. Young just creates unnecessary havoc that easily could have been avoided. In Beane’s defense, who wouldn’t have traded an inconsistent shortstop for a more proven outfielder?
In 2012, Young dealt with an injured shoulder. Rarely did he play in back to back games towards the end of the year, and his numbers took a beating because of that. He triple slashed for a .231/.311/.434 line, hitting 14 home runs with an OPS of .745. Obviously 2012 wasn’t one of his memorable years, but you would have to think that his injured shoulder played a role in his depleted stats. For Young, it is just a matter of staying healthy and proving that his once wobbly shoulder caused his downfall, not a decreasing bat.
The A’s are now “stuck” with four everyday outfielders. The good news? They do not have to trade anyone in the newly formed quartet to solve this glaring problem. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday September 20th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: As the season wraps up, the divisional races become tighter. Some races are close while others are blowouts. Here are the teams that I believe will be playing in October (and their predicted final records).
AL East: New York Yankees 93-69
The Yankees are too good to not win the division. Although Mark Teixeira is injured and Mariano Rivera is not coming back for the rest of the year, the Yankees have enough pieces to make it to the ALDS without having to go through the Wild Card game. The Yankees have the pitching that the Baltimore Orioles lack in C.C. Sabathia. The powerful Yankee offense will be enough to help the team avoid the Wild Card game. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday August 23rd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Before the trading deadline, it was thought that the Oakland A’s were going to make a move. With the extra wild card in play this year, the team seemed to be a contender. Their weakest position though was at shortstop. There were a few options out there, some reasonable and some not, among those were Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew. Ramirez was very unlikely to be acquired by the A’s due to the nature of his contract, but he would’ve provided the most boost for the team. The story goes that the A’s almost had Ramirez all but acquired, with the Dodgers eating at least of his contract. But the A’s hesitated, and the Dodgers swooped in and agreed to take on all of the remaining dollars on his deal. With Ramirez ending up on the Dodgers, Stephen Drew seemed to be the most viable option left. Drew missed a large portion of the 2011 season with a broken ankle sustained on a slide into home, and made his 2012 debut around the time of the All-Star Break. In his short time with the Diamondbacks this season, Drew hit just .193 and was pretty disappointing. With the teams hierarchy going public with their displeasure, the writing was on the wall for Drew. It looked like Arizona would be able to get at least the same amount of production from a replacement, so a trade seemed imminent. For some reason the trade never got done, but the A’s kept at it.
Oakland was the perfect candidate to acquire Stephen Drew. So it was no surprise that Billy Beane finally got his man this week. Without a producing shortstop, the A’s had a very little chance at the playoffs. Sure, Drew only hit .193 this year, but he carries a career .266 average over his seven-year career. Plus he walks a ton. A stereotypical A’s hitter characteristic. In 2008, Drew hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs. If the A’s could get anything close to this production, they would be in very good shape. Drew will most likely keep hitting in the two-hole of the lineup, behind Coco Crisp. Once Drew gets settled and regains form, the A’s should get some good production from the top of their lineup, setting the table for the monster bats of Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Chris Carter. Even if Drew were to continue hitting .193, he would still be an improvement from the overall batting average of A’s shortstops at .190. As long as he can walk and hit with some power. Drew will most likely be taking time away from Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales. Given their combined numbers, that is a very good thing. The A’s also just sent the struggling Jemile Weeks down to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Drew.
Wednesday August 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: When the A’s acquired Josh Reddick from Boston this offseason, he appeared to be in place simply to just eat some at-bats for a rebuilding ballclub. However, in 2012, Reddick has finally tapped into some of his raw power, and as a result, he’s on pace to have a 5+ WAR season. Josh Reddick is one of the main reasons Oakland is contending this year, and Red Sox fans have to wonder if their team correctly evaluated Reddick’s talent. If Reddick can prove that his first 105 games haven’t been a fluke, he has a chance to win the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year award, and earn himself a long-term contract.
Sunday August 5th, 2012
Codey Harrison: In an effort to bring you the excitement of the minor leagues’ best players and how well they are performing on the field, we are introducing a monthly minor league players of the month feature. From the very well-known prospects, to the not so well-known: if they are raking at the plate, or dominating on the mound for an entire month, they have a chance of winning our monthly honor. Now it’s time to find out who we feel dominated the MiLB in the month of July:
MiLB PITCHER OF THE MONTH: JULY 2012 Read the rest of this entry
ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Urkel in Baseball, Batting Stance Guy, Beane, Future of Dempster, Hamilton’s Speed, Gathright Released and Rating Prospects
Monday July 16th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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: Ok, I am going to admit it. I am 110% wiped from last night’s sleepover. The Toronto Blue Jays, like many MLB squads hold yearly sleepovers on the field. The Jays had theirs last night. Second year in a row for me and I will admit, after playing catch on the field till 1:30a.m., I am still not recovered. Call it getting old, but sometime the body just doesn’t bounce back like we want it to. That being said, the show must go on. So with apologies I am a little late this week on ATR, but better late than never!
Before I jump into your weekly baseball questions, here are some of my random baseball thoughts:
I was watching Ben Francisco of the Toronto Blue Jays last night as he was signing autographs for the fans. I wasn’t sure 100% who he was right away. But damn, he looked familiar. I looked and I looked. Then I realized what Chuck Booth (one of our Lead Writers here on MLB reports) had told me earlier in the year. Jaleel White. Steve Urkel. Man Chuck, you were bang on. Take a look at the comparisons:
THEN JALEEL WHITE:
Ben Francisco is not the Steve Urkel type nerd. Rather, he looks like the cool and sauve Stefan. Yes, I did enjoy TGIF’s Family Matters back in the day. Whatever became of Jaleel White? Is he Ben Francisco? Or is this just a baseball urban legend? And whatever became of Laura Winslow? If you locate either one, please let Ben know. Until then, I am fairly certain Jaleel White is playing ball in Toronto. Call him Stefan…see what he says!
If you are not howling with laughter at this point, I want to introduce you to a good friend of MLB reports. If you love baseball, you have seen his work on YouTube and throughout the internet. He is a published author and all-around good guy. To his friends he is Gar Ryness. To the rest of the baseball world, he is the one and only “Batting Stance Guy”. Here is a little clip from some of BSG’s most recent work:
How are you feeling now? I know…your ribs hurt, tears are streaming down your eyes. Yes, that is the magic of Gar. The man has the ability to duplicate any batting stance going. Watching his impressions is a baseball theatrical treat. The fact that he is hilarious is an added bonus. Over the coming weeks, I will bring you more magic Batting Stance Guy clips. If you want to learn more about him in the interim, check out his site: battingstanceguy.com.
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
The Future of the Oakland A’s: The Mustache Gang Meets the Bash Brothers – Revealing Billy Beane’s Master Plan
Saturday July 7th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Baseball is a funny sport for many reasons. One particular reason is opinions. One minute a person can be a hero, the next a goat. A genius can turn into an idiot, seemingly overnight. In the world of Major League Baseball, we love building up our heroes. The next minute, we are cutting them down to the knees. An example of this the swing in popular opinion comes from out west. Famed baseball General Manager, the one and only Billy Beane. I have been thinking about Billy for some time. Ever since Moneyball the movie was due to be released, I couldn’t help but notice the reports that were coming out on the A’s GM. The man once hailed as a baseball genius, was now being mocked in many circles. Here he was, being immortalized on the silver screen by none other than Brad Pitt. Yet in real life, the 2011 MLB season was about to end and Beane’s team was near the bottom of its division, finishing a whopping 22 games out of first place. Had Billy Beane lost touch with the modern game? Did other teams catch up finally to his systems and tricks? Could a competitive team be impossible in the modern game on a shoestring budget? When Billy Beane should have been recognized in one of his finest professional moments, more questions than answers circled around. But in typical Billy Beane fashion, the A’s GM kept a low profile and stuck to his guns. He had a plan. This man always has a plan. He just wasn’t ready to share it yet with the baseball world.
If you read and/or watched Moneyball and followed recent Oakland A’s teams, you might think that you have the Billy Beane equation down. Great pitching and patching together a lineup/offense. But as the salaries climbed with the big pitchers, turnover and replenishing of the farm system became the norm. In recent years though, all those supposed great pitchers did not always pan out. Combine that with a line of prospects that were not panning out, and Oakland A’s fans started to cry out for relief. Attendance at the Coliseum has reached embarrassing levels in recent years. The stadium is considered aged and obsolete. The A’s have been trying to move to San Jose and without a new stadium, declared that they could no longer keep a viable team running past their designated salary structure. So seemingly until the new stadium would get approved, the star players would get moved out quicker and the A’s would become a glorified farm system for the rest of baseball. Remember the Montreal Expos? Good…so does Billy Beane.
The Expos in their competitive days, the peak coming in 1994, had a strong and balanced lineup and pitching staff. All of its young players came up at once and developed together into a dynamic superstar team. Moises Alou. Larry Walker. Ken Hill. Wil Cordero. Pedro Martinez. The team was stacked to say the least. If not for the cancellation of the playoffs that year, some people believe that Major League Baseball would still be in Montreal. Yes, that Expos team had a great pitching staff. But it also had an unbelievable young and powerful lineup. Somewhere in his mind, Billy Beane has kept a memory alive of that Montreal Expos team and the system that developed its players. Billy knows it because he is re-creating it right now in Oakland. Right under our noses and many of us are not even feeling it. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- As the world of Twitter and Facebook has invaded the internet these days, I am brainstorming about all sorts of stats I have had in my head for years. This stat came to my head because of Gary Sheffield. A few years back, I watched a game on my birthday at Safeco Field. It was the New York Yankees and Sheffield visiting. There are players that you are sure to watch live in person. Gary Sheffield was one of these hitters. Not only is he one of 25 player in history to hit 500 HRs, but he had one of the fiercest swings ever. The man would wiggle that bat back and forth like a toothpick before striding and swinging with daunting ferocity. It was an unorthodox style that must have made Little League coaches cringe, yet it was effective. Sheffield was a bit of a hot head though, this may have led to him being traded or not re-signed by several teams. Hitting 40 HRs for 6 different teams is definitely impressive and may never be duplicated. I knew he had played on several teams already so the seed of today’s article was planted back in 2005.
Fred McGriff was the exact opposite of Gary Sheffield when it came to temperament. This man was traded several times in his career because he could flat-out hit. Jose Canseco is the only other player besides McGriff and Sheffield to hit 40 HRs with 5 different teams. The reason many older players are not on this list is because free agency never arrived in the MLB until the early 70′s when Curt Flood challenged a trade and the Players Union saw it through. Now player movement has enabled more players switching teams each season than ever before. Rusty Staub was the 1st to make this list and Alfonso Soriano is the last player to make this list and the only current player left. I have a feeling we will see more players arrive on this list in the next 25 years.
Wednesday June.6, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years. I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. I tracked back to 1979 for this article. I may expand further back in follow up articles. I did rank defense highly when I came up with the players. I did agonize over Mike Schmidt, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames. These gentlemen were given every consideration. In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting(if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.
George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983. He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders. He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979. In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league. In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again. Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979. In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series. He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average. This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983. Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday May 27th, 2012
Sam Evans: Oakland Athletics prospect Michael Choice was drafted by the A’s 10th overall in the 2010 MLB Amateur draft. Looking back at the pick, most of the players drafted before Choice have risen quicker through their respective systems, but Choice still looks like a nice selection by Billy Beane and his scouting department. Michael Choice has 70 grade power, so even though his tools are raw, it’s hard not to like a future All-Star.
Michael Choice was born in 1989 in Forth Worth, Texas. Being a young Texan outfielder with power projection, it must be pretty difficult to go unnoticed out high school. Nonetheless, Choice was under the radar coming out of high school and he eventually ended up at the University of Texas-Arlington. At Texas-Arlington, Choice began to turn some heads. In three college seasons, or 175 games, Choice hit thirty-four homers and had a batting average over .375 in all three years. His junior year at Texas-Arlington, in 2010, Choice drew seventy-six walks and he only struck out fifty-four times.
Coming into the draft, Choice was considered by most as a top fifteen prospect, so the A’s selecting him at #10 didn’t surprise many. The player that went before Choice, Karsten Whitson did not sign. The player that went after Choice, Deck McGuire, is a little overrated in my opinion, but he has reached Double-A already in the Toronto organization. Read the rest of this entry
Monday April.23, 2012
CB: “Welcome to MLB Reports Experts Interview Ken. Please tell us about yourself and then give a bit of background information on your life as a baseball fan?“
KL: “My name is Ken Lee, I am a General Manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and I live in Marysville, WA with my wife Yvonne and our 2 pup pups, Boomer & Tilly. I am a co-writer of the book titled “The Fastest 30 Ballgames – A Ballpark Chasers World Record Story” that came out last year. I grew up playing baseball and loving every aspect of the game. I attended my first MLB game in April of 1977 @ the Kingdome in Seattle (Yankees vs Mariners). Since then I have attended about 1,000 games or so. I have seen games at 29 outta 30 current ballparks (the lone exception being the new Marlins Park – which I will pick up on May 14th & 15th) and I have seen 42 different MLB ballparks overall.”
CB: “As one of the ballpark experts who take it to the extreme, how do you rank O.co Coliseum versus the rest of the ballparks?”
KL: “Overall, I would rank it #30 outta 30. In general, as a ballpark, it’s terrible. It’s too cavernous and way too much exposed concrete to be a ‘real’ ballpark. Mt. Davis is an eye sore and try to watch a game from all the way out there, you will feel like you are in San Francisco! O.co is the only ballpark I have been to where I didn’t enjoy a game from the ‘cheap seats’.”
CB: “Despite the A’s being featured in the movie ‘Moneyball’ as one of the best franchises during the early 2000’s, the team did not draw well. Why do you think that is Ken?”
KL: “I think there are several factors personally. Be it that the ballpark by itself is not a real drawing point, the prices are generally high for what you get (especially for parking) or the lack of big name talent on the field. As illustrated in the movie, they were poached of Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen and Johnny Damon just as they were really starting to become big names. When you don’t have big names that draw attention, the only other thing you can can do to get butts in the seats is to find a way to win and that’s what they did in 2002 rolling off 20 straight. Since 2002 their W’s have dropped off, they only won 74 games last year and if you aren’t winning, you cant fill the house especially if you don’t have anyone on the team that people really want to come see.”
CB: “The A’s seem to have a lot of promotional days in the summer, over the last couple years have you been in attendance for any of these? Please explain your latest experiences?”
KL: “I have been to a few the last couple years, be that “Free Hot Dog Day”, $2.00 outfield seats sponsored by the BART or even a night where you can park at the ballpark for *FREE* (a $17 value!). I can’t say that I have scheduled any of my trips around any of these, but it sure is nice to be able to go to 3 games, get free hot dogs at one, park for free another and have all 3 of your tickets cost you a total of $20!”
CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from O.co Coliseum?”
KL: “Anytime I have been to games in Oakland it has been as part of a bigger trip, so I have always driven in. Besides paying an outrageous fortune at the ballpark for parking ($17 in 2011), there are plenty of free parking spaces within a very short walk of O.co. The BART system is another great way to get to games as well from all over the Bay Area. It drops you off within a short walk over a sky bridge to the ballpark.”
CB: :What advice would you give someone experiencing O.co Coliseum for the very first time?”
KL: “Don’t be expecting much because if you are, you will be very disappointed. However, with that said, go in with an open mind and experience everything there. On my trips down I have got to know an usher that hooks me up with great seats every night (no matter if I bought a $2 ticket or not) and the people there, in general, are really cool. I would warn you that seat poaching is discouraged and most sections, if not all, have posted ushers that do check tickets. If you are going to try to poach a better seat, walk right by them like you own the place!”
CB: “How is the food at O.co Coliseum? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”
KL: “The food at O.co is O.K. at best. Nothing edible really stands out to me, but I do have to say that for free hot dogs on “Free Hot Dog Day”, they were actually not that bad. Then again, it would have to be a pretty bad hot dog to not have enjoyed it because when you are ballpark chasing, a free meal is always appreciated. The thing that stands out in my mind when walking around O.co is the stands dedicated to specific breweries, like New Belgium and Widmer Brothers. At these stands they feature the beers of these breweries only. I have never seen another ballpark that does that and I thought it was pretty cool.”
CB: “What is your favorite all time game you have been in attendance for at O.co Coliseum?”
KL: “I would have to say it would be my first game there, May 13, 2000. A’s vs Mariners. I was with a couple of friends of mine who took me to the game. Was my first time ever seeing the Mariner’s play away from Seattle. They won 6-4 that afternoon, Tomko got the W, Mesa the S and A-Rod had a 2 runner he hit off A’s starter Kevin Appier.”
*** A big thank you goes out to our Petco Park Expert Ken Lee for participating in the expert article Series. Follow Ken Lee on twitter- (@seeall30) and to read more about Ken’s baseball journey click here ***
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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Sunday February 19th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week (TONS to answer… better jump in): Read the rest of this entry
Sunday January 8th, 2012
Sam Evans: It’s no fun to be a fan of a losing team. Every game seems longer and it hurts to look around and see fans of the other teams loving every moment. There’s always supposed to be next year, but that kind of talk just hurts the players and coaches as much as it does the fans. Let’s look at my bottom five teams in 2012: based on the major league roster and talent in the system that could make an impact in the upcoming season.
25. Seattle Mariners: As a Mariners fan, this one hurts. It’s been eleven years since the Mariners made the playoffs. A city blessed with a beautiful new ballpark, Seattle hasn’t had much of chance to cheer on many winners in recent times.
Since he was hired in 2008, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has transformed the Mariners farm system into one of the best in the game. The problem is that the major league club is still struggling, and fans are losing interest. The Mariners are like New Year’s resolutions. They’re so promising at first, but after two weeks, most people just give up.
So far this offseason, the Mariners have been rumored to be actively pursuing Prince Fielder. The argument for Prince Fielder is that his contract would be worth the risk for the team given all of the fans he would draw… not to mention, the M’s need for a middle of the order slugger. However, other fans feel that Fielder is overpriced and point to the fact that if the Mariners signed Prince, they would be only the fourth team with two players making over $20M in 2012.
The Mariners do have some young promising players. Justin Smoak, a former top 10 BA prospect, will finally be healthy heading into the new year. Also, the M’s have a trio of young pitchers in the minors that are all top 100 prospects. James Paxton and Danny Hultzen could possibly see time in the rotation this year. Furthermore, last time I checked Felix Hernandez was still a Mariner, and he’s signed through 2014.
26. New York Mets: The Mets have always been second to the Yankees in New York in terms of popularity, but there’s never been this much of a difference. The Mets have been silent this offseason, except for a swap of outfielders with the Giants, and bringing in some bullpen help. The Mets do have Zack Wheeler (acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade) and Matt Harvey (2010 1st rounder) on the way, but neither will make a huge impact in ’12.
Jason Bay has struggled ever since receiving his enormous contract two years ago. In 2009, Bay hit 36 homers for the Red Sox. In 2010 and 2011, Bay had only eighteen homers. Part of the decline in numbers is the park factor that Citi Field has on hitters (which is due to change with the new park dimensions in 2012). It should be noted though that Bay hasn’t hit a home run to right field since June 28, 2010.
The Mets future will be based on how they spend their money and how they control their prospects. If the Mets hadn’t pushed Jenrry Mejia, chances are he wouldn’t have gotten injured. If the Mets hadn’t signed the Jason Bay and Johan Santana contracts, then they would have had the money to go after Prince Fielder this offseason (in theory). New York has a long ways to go to compete with the other N.L. East teams, and they’re going to need to make smart long-term decisions to get there.
27. San Diego Padres: The Padres acquired Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso this offseason in an attempt to boost their offense. They ended up trading away Mat Latos and Anthony Rizzo, and losing Heath Bell and Aaron Harang to free agency.
Carlos Quentin is really going to struggle in Petco Park, and Alonso is going to have his share of issues developing into a power hitter with his new team. The fact is that the Padres will never have a terrible pitching staff due to the spacious Petco Park effect. But their rotation is actually as bad as it has been in some years. I also am a supporter of Will Venable, and I think the Padres would be making a mistake if they traded him.
San Diego plays in a division where it’s not impossible that they could make a nice run and make the playoffs. But I would be surprised.
28. Oakland Athletics: Led by GM Billy Beane, the Athletics have been extremely active this offseason. They’ve shipped away their best pitchers and let their best hitter leave in free agency. The A’s have had a good offseason, thanks to all the new talent that they’ve imported into their farm system.
2012 is not going to be the year of resurgence for the A’s. 2013, maybe, but right now the Angels and Rangers are just too good. The A’s strength is probably their middle infield which will feature Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington. If Chris Carter can show some power in the majors, then he will do just fine at DH.
With acquisitions such as Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Cole, Billy Beane has shown he’s not afraid to trade his best major league players in order to obtain talent that won’t be ready for a year or two.
29. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles were a promising team heading into 2011. The “Fighting Showalter’s” had a late run in 2010, and Buck Showalter seemed to be really getting through to the players. Unfortunately, 2011 didn’t go as expected for the Orioles. They finished 69-93 and solidified their reputation as the worst baseball team in the A.L East, if not the whole American League.
The 2011 Orioles will forever go down in baseball history not for their season, but for their last game against the Red Sox on September 28, 2011. The Orioles were down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth on the last day of the season. Going into the game, the Red Sox were 77-0 on the season when leading after the eighth inning. The Orioles came back to win, and they will forever be remembered for their contributions to one of the best days in baseball history.
2012 can be a successful year for the Orioles if they discover an ace… and if Adam Jones improves his game to the next level. It’s not going to be easy, but if everything falls into place, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette could lead the Orioles out of the A.L. East basement in the next coming years.
30. Houston Astros: Moving into the 2011 season, the Astros were projected by pretty much everyone in baseball to be the worst team in baseball. Well, at least they didn’t let anyone down. The Astros finished 56-106, which was the worst record in all of baseball.
I traveled to Houston this summer and I expected to find an uninterested Astros fanbase. I was surprised to see countless devoted fans who truly cared about their team. Astros fans are out there and they will start coming back to Minute Maid Park when the team starts winning.
Sorry Houston fans, but 2012 isn’t going to be much fun for you. Chances are that you will return to the basement of the N.L. Central and lose over one hundred games. Nevertheless, there is hope. Jose Altuve is turning into a nice young second basemen who can hit for average . Jordan Lyles can be a #3 starter, and Jarred Cosart could finally reach the bigs in 2012.
Another piece of the silver lining is Houston’s new General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who is involved in sabermetrics and helped build the Cardinals who won the 2011 World Series. Luhnow was in the Cardinals scouting department since 2003 and helped produce major league talent from the draft. He also has been a General Manager for Petstore.com, and has an M.B.A from Northwestern. His first move was trading for Jed Lowrie. On the surface this seems like a solid deal, whereby he attained a young talented infielder for his new organization. In my opinion, this is going to look like an amazing hire in four years time.
So even if 2012 is rough, Astros fans can start looking towards the future. It might take a couple of seasons, but it won’t be long before the Astros are packing Minute Maid Park everyday. Ironically, the road to the respectability for the worst team in the majors won’t happen until they move to the A.L. West. With the Rangers and Angels waiting in their new division, the journey towards success for the Astros will get that much tougher in 2013.
**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
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