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How All Of The Orioles Hitters Were Acquired: 2014 Roster Tree

Adam Jones was brought over in a trade with Chris Tillman, George Sherrill from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Erik Bedard in the 2007 offeseson. Jones is a 3 time Gold Glove Winner, and has 2 straight season of 30+ HRs, and might well be in the top 5 AL MVP consideration this year by the time it is all said and done. This trade started the pendulum swinging back in the other direction - after a horrible 10 year stretch for the O's. Baltimore broke a 15 year playoff drought n 2012 with a Post Season Berth.  This 4 time ALL - Star  is on pace for career highs in HRs and RBI for 2014. Jones, now 28, signed a 7 YRs/$91.7 MIL deal prior to the 2012 season, which means he is with Baltimore until the end of 2018

Adam Jones was brought over in a trade with Chris Tillman, George Sherrill from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Erik Bedard in the 2007 offeseson. Jones is a 3 time Gold Glove Winner, and has 2 straight season of 30+ HRs, and might well be in the top 5 AL MVP consideration this year by the time it is all said and done. This trade started the pendulum swinging back in the other direction – after a horrible 10 year stretch for the O’s. Baltimore broke a 15 year playoff drought n 2012 with a Post Season Berth. This 4 time ALL – Star is on pace for career highs in HRs and RBI for 2014. Jones, now 28, signed a 7 YRs/$91.7 MIL deal prior to the 2012 season, which means he is with Baltimore until the end of 2018

How All Of The Orioles Hitters Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The fortunes of the Orioles have all come based on the heels of 2 nice trades and a 3rd one also tilting the scales in their favor.

1 of the deals was the Erik Bedard for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman, the other great trade was acquiring Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji Uehara.

These deals gave the club a bonafide Starting Pitcher, a Gold Glove and 30 HRs a year hitting Adam Jones, a 50+ HR guy in 2013 with Chris Davis, and a flamethrowing arm out of the Bullpen with Hunter.

Bedard was lackluster in Seattle briefly, and Koji Uehara wasn’t good in Texas, like he was in Baltimore or now Boston.

You can also trace J.J. Hardy (yet another Gold Glover) back to the assets received from Aubrey Huff. Read the rest of this entry

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Cespedes Wins The 2014 MLB HR Derby With An Awesome Power Display: Stop Complaining About The Contest Experts!

Yoenis Cespedes became just the 2nd player to win back to back titles in the M:B HR Derby Last Night.  By winning his 2nd title, he also joins Prince Fielder and the aforementioned Griffey, as the only three guys to win multiple titles.  At just age 28, and with that swing, you have to think he has a chance to eclipse everyone and take down a few more of these HR Derby Trophy's.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I have had enough with the experts flogging on the HR Derby last night.

Yes, it took long, but not as long as last year. I believe the actual event was under 3 hours. What every one was feeling had a lot to do with the hour plus rain delay.

I loved the new format of 7 outs, and AL vs NL. If there is anything I think the MLB could do away with – is having 5 players in each league participant.

I firmly believe that Jose Bautista and Giancarlo Stanton suffered because of an inactive round caused by them both winning a bye. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2014 Home Run Derby + ALL – Time Derby Winners + Cespedes Wins 2014 Title

HR Derby 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I said yesterday that I believed Todd Frazier would be an underdog darkhorse to win the HR derby at Target Field.

Little did I know he is tied for the 8th favorite out of 10 hitters.

The ALL – Star longball competition has changed formats.  There are 3 players from the AL and NL that survive the 1st RD (7 outs each hitter).

The top players in each league (during the 1st round) win a bye into the semi-final round automatically, while the 2nd and 3rd seeds in each league square off in the 2nd round in a matchup each.

Once the winners are established in that round (7 Outs), the remaining 4 contestants will be duking it out in their respective leagues to find who owns the National League and American league big fly bragging rights.

It is all players within their own league until the final.

The winners of the AL/NL will face off for the championship.  Again, all rounds contain 7 outs.  Maybe this will ease some of the time constraints. Read the rest of this entry

What Masahiro Tanaka’s Injury Means For The Yankees In 2014 + 2015

With Masahiro Tanaka out for at least 6 weeks with a UCL tear, the Yankees are dealing with 4/5ths of their opening day rotation now on the DL - with their 5th starter (Kuroda) having struggled in the 2nd half of 2013.  The club is barely at .500, and must realize their is an opportunity to reset the 50% Luxury Tax Threshold to 0, by slashing some payroll via trades in the next 3 weeks.  The worst thing this organization could do would try to salvage this year, like they did in 2013, by adding payroll, flipping prospects, for an ill-advised playoff run that the odds are stacked up against.

With Masahiro Tanaka out for at least 6 weeks with a UCL tear, the Yankees are dealing with 4/5ths of their opening day rotation now on the DL – and their 5th starter (Kuroda) having struggled in the 2nd half of 2013. The club is barely at .500, and must realize there is an opportunity to reset the 50% Luxury Tax Threshold to 0, by slashing some payroll via trades in the next 3 weeks. The worst thing this organization could do would try to salvage this year, like they did in 2013, by adding payroll, flipping prospects, for an ill-advised playoff run that the odds are stacked up against.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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I have talked at length about the Yankees precarious position of defining whether or not they are contenders or not, and whether they should seek selling off some assets, to fall below the $189 MIL Luxury Tax Threshold – or if the franchise should run at a postseason berth in Derek Jeter‘s last season.

Seeing that Masahiro Tanaka will be out for at least 6 weeks with a partially torn UCL on his pitching arm, and possibly be out with Tommy John Surgery afterwards, this season outlook is becoming bleak.

Even with the Japanese superstar throwing at a premium level, the club would have a longshot chance to make the playoffs – and do some damage. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 11 MLB 2014

battle of the bay

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Well, another few weeks have gone by, and there has been some separation from all the Divisions and the 2nd place squads, except for the NL East dogfight right now between the Nats and Braves.

9 teams are within the top 2 Wild Card Slots in the AL, with the Angels and Mariners holding onto the 1st and 2nd spots respectively.

Preseason NL favorites Los Angeles joins the reigning NL champs ‘The Cards’ at 0.5 Games behind the playoff bar – constituting either Atlanta or Washington (presently in a dead heat) – and the upstart Marlins. 

The Reds, Rockies and Pirates are within striking distance as well, but look for the Dodgers and Cardinals to take off from here, leaving the current Division leaders and those 2 as the 5 playoff teams.

Arizona and Houston have at least jumped into the conversation with recent good stretches of play, after brutal starts.

*** Denotes Division Leaders

Records are before play Monday June 9, 2014

RK Team  Current Rec  Last Wk Rnk  ()  -  Last 13 Days Rec

***1. SF 42 – 21: (1) 9 – 3:  Must be an even year in the teens of this century.  The offense has a different hero everyday.

Playing .667 ball this late into the year bodes well.  9.5 Games ahead of next club in your Division also will land you as slot #1.

***2. OAK 39 – 24: (2) 8 – 4: Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson both towers of strength and Sean Doolittle is the best Closer no one has heard about 40+SO/1 BB rate is sick.

Billy Beane continues to find gems like Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez – and Kyle Blanks has fitted in well.

The team could still trade for a 2B that can hit, or bring up Billy Burns, flip Jed Lowrie over to 2B.

Read the rest of this entry

Baltimore Orioles Early Season Grades

Baltimore Orioles

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports Writer)  

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As the first full month of the season reaches its final week, the Orioles need to get away from the .500 baseball they have been playing in order to make a push towards the 2014 postseason. 

Of course, the season is still very young, as there are about 140 games left to play.

The O’s got an early taste of the competitive AL East Division, as six of their first seven series were against division rivals, including two series verse the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. 

As we are about 1/8th through the season, I decided to grade the Orioles up to this point of the season, looking for ways for them to improve. Read the rest of this entry

New York Mets State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

The Mets are destined of another catastrophic year in Flushing Meadows.  The only saving grace may lie with the young players starting to flourish in 2014, and the 10 Year Stalwart David Wright.  A bad Bullpen. shaky rotation dependent on health, and a Strikeout laden club, with HR power, but low OBP fuels a fan to think 'what the hell is the ownership doing?

The Mets are destined for another catastrophic year in Flushing Meadows. The only saving grace may lie with the young players starting to flourish in 2014, and the 10 Year Stalwart David Wright continue to stake his claim as an ALL – Time Met. A bad Bullpen. shaky rotation dependent on health, and a Strikeout laden club, with HR power, but low OBP -  fuels a fan to think ‘what the hell is the ownership doing?  As tough a situation as it has been for the teams brass, Sandy Alderson and Moneyball’s Paul DePodesta’ have actually done spade work in rebuilding the Minor League System and big club with prospects.  I am afraid 2014 will be another dull year at Citi Field.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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To fully describe the current state of the ‘Big Apple’ franchise we must go back to Sept of 2013.

New Team icon, and filthy dominant Right Handed Pitcher, Matt Harvey was looking to put up an awesome end to his 2013 campaign, and give the Mets fans full fledged hope for the following season.

Harvey underwent Tommy John Surgery just a few months later, which has both curbed expectations, but also excitement at the same time for the upcoming year.

Sandy Alderson pursued Curtis Granderson and landed him on a 4 YRs/$60 MIL deal, and also signed SP Bartolo Colon to a 2 YR Deal worth $20 MIL.

In a smaller move, he also inked Chris Young to a deal for one year. Read the rest of this entry

Orioles Finally Make A Free Agent Splash To Salvage Winter

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports O’s Writer)  

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Orioles Sign Ubaldo Jimenez 

The Orioles could not catch a break this off-season, as they lost out on free agents that they coveted as well as missing out on closer Grant Balfour , after he failed the team’s physical.

Bronson Arroyo balked at even going for a physical seeing what happened to the Aussie – opting to sign with the D-Backs even though the money was similar, rather than have his worth devalued by flunking the doctor’s visit from the O’s.

Tyler Colvin also fell victim to Baltimore’s stringent doctors, while Grady Sizemore didn’t have a chance to pass a physical with the club either despite Orioles interest.

Orioles fans all over wondered what the team’s intentions were, as many felt the team could be a serious contender with the core they have in place, but some moves needed to be made to bolster the roster.

On Monday night, the Orioles finally made a big splash in free agency that everyone anxiously awaited. The team announced they agreed to a four-year, $48 MM deal with pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

This is a huge move for the Orioles as an organization, as it now shows their fan base that they are willing to spend big money on key free agents.

The O’s have been linked to many of the big name free agents throughout the offseason, only to come up short when it came to signing them.

Read the rest of this entry

Confessions Of A BallPark Chaser: 2014 + The Real Price To See All 30 MLB Parks In A Month

The MLB Reports is going to step up our coverage of talking about the ballparks.  We are part of the biggest fraternity of balllpark experts, all lending creative information to help out others.  Stay tuned for future posts.  But all you really have to do is to see all of our links of interest on the left hand side of our home page, to click on all of these aforementioned sites.

The MLB Reports is going to step up our coverage of talking about the ballparks. We are part of the biggest fraternity of balllpark experts, all lending creative information to help out others. Stay tuned for future posts. But all you really have to do is to see all of our links of interest on the left hand side of our home page, to click on all of these aforementioned sites.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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There is nothing that revs my adrenaline more than knowing I am going to chase a ballpark this year.

In 2013, between running this website, and juggling my work, I only went to 2 games in MLB Parks.

Nicely I made the opener at Dodger Stadium, and then captured a late season game in Safeco.

After breaking my own World Record for witnessing 30 MLB Games (All Parks in 23 days – every pitch) in 2012, I was left with my worst total in a decade last year.

I wanted to change that in 2014.  Unfortunately I wont be chasing any records this upcoming year, but I will potentially be going on a historic run in 2015.

I will get to that in a minute.  This year I do plan on seeing 20 games at Safeco Field.  It is important for me to see games live in person, so I forked out $750 yesterday to do just that.

I bought a 17 game flex plan for the Mariners, and it involves an array of games from April to September.

While it will trounce my records ever for a ballpark in one year, there are no plans for attending a game in any other ballpark on the road this season.

Now that we have talked about, let’s chat about my plans for 2015.

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Baltimore Orioles State Of The Union Part 2: Ways to Address the Starting Pitching Weakness

In order to have a chance to win the very competitive AL East, pitching is crucial. For the Orioles, there are a few ways they can attack this offseason in hopes to find some quality pitchers to strengthen their staff.  2014 may represent their best chance to go far in the playoffs considering the struggles over the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays and the Rays will likely see a decline when they trade ace David Price.

In order to have a chance to win the very competitive AL East, pitching is crucial. For the Orioles, there are a few ways they can attack this offseason in hopes to find some quality pitchers to strengthen their staff. 2014 may represent their best chance to go far in the playoffs considering the struggles of the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays and the Rays will likely see a decline when they trade ace David Price in 2014.

By Nicholas Delahanty (Guest MLB Reports Writer)   

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After a season in which they won 85 games and finished tied for 3rd place in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles need to bolster their starting rotation in order to make a push towards the top of the division in 2014.

The numbers don’t lie, as the Orioles starting rotation ranked in the bottom part of the league in most categories, including ERA and innings pitched.

As of right now, the Orioles have four guys penciled in to their rotation next season (Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Bud Norris), so they need to try to bring in one or two arms to compete for rotation spots.

Chris Tillman Highlights of A Shutout

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MLB Reports’ Junior Reporter Haley Smilow Interviews The Mets 2B Justin Turner

Justin Turner is a Utility Infielder for the Mets, that put up his best numbers in the Majors for his Career in 2013.  He 3 Slashed .280/.319/.704 for the campaign in his 200 AB,  The Man played 5. different positions throughout the seasons, with just failing to Catch, Pitch or play CF or RF.  Turner even had better numbers when he started a game: .291/.331/.737,

Justin Turner is a Utility Infielder for the Mets, that put up his best numbers in the Majors for his Career in 2013. He 3 Slashed .280/.319/.704 for the campaign in his 200 AB, The Man played 5. different positions throughout the seasons, with just failing to Catch, Pitch or play CF or RF. Turner even had better numbers when he started a game: .291/.331/.737,

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

Haley Smilow is a lucky baseball fan/writer/reporter.  Recently this summer, she was able to interview Justin Turner of the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York City.

Of course, Justin Turner also has been featured in other blog posts – because our Guest Baseball Writer and Reporter “Lori Martini”, was fortunate enough to also meet the Mets Second Baseman on the field in Flushing Meadows – when she had her song “Believe” featured as a pregame song one day,.

Turner would later adopt the tune as his ‘walkup song’ for the rest of the 2011 season.

So it doesn’t surprise me that he would be so accommodating with his time with Haley.

Like always, Haley asked Turner several questions that he was not accustomed to fielding from other reporters.  I am sure that is why he was so enthusiastic about the conversation.

We are very proud of Haley at this site – for also recently being featured in a NY Times article, that showcased her as bright young star.  You can check out that article here.

So without further adieu, sit back, grab a favorite drink, and enjoy the dialogue between Justin Turner of the Mets and Haley. Read the rest of this entry

Its Gut Check Time For The Rangers: Indians + Rays In The AL Wild Card Driver Seats

Baltimore entered last Friday night just 1 game behind the playoff bar.  They were swept in a 4 game series down in Tampa Bay, in a wraparound series, that included a devastating 18 inning loss among the tough defeats.  The club also lost Manny Machado to injury.  The magic number to eliminate the club is just 3.

Baltimore entered last Friday night just 1 game behind the playoff bar. They were swept in a 4 game series down in Tampa Bay, in a wraparound series, that included a devastating 18 inning loss among the tough defeats. The club also lost Manny Machado to injury yesterday. The magic number to eliminate the team is just 3.  The guys end the regular season with 6 straight at Camden Yards.  The only real meaningful resolutions will be if Chris Davis can crack 4 Home Runs, to tie Ken Griffey Jr. (56 HRs) for the most HRs by a LHB in the AL for the last 52 years?

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

2013 WILDCARD Race Breakdown in AL

Team                         W –  L   GBL Games Left Upcoming in Sequence

Tampa Bay Rays       87 – 69     -   ( 3 @ NYY, 3 @ TOR)

Cleveland Indians     86 – 70     –   ( 2 vs CWS, 4 @ MIN)

Texas Rangers           85 – 71    1   (2 vs HOU, 4 vs LAA)

Kansas City Royals  83 -  73   3.0  (2 @ SEA, 4 @ CWS)

New York Yankees   82 – 74   4.0   (3 vs TB, 3 @ HOU)

Baltimore Orioles     81 – 75   5.0  ( 3 vs TOR, 3 vs BOS)

We have had some clarification occur over the last week in the AL Wild Card Race as the Rays and Indians have both won 4 straight in their goal to make the playoffs.

The Yankees went 3 – 3 for the week, including a heart – wrenching loss to the Giants late on Sunday,  It must have pained them even more to see the Rays come back in the late innings versus the Orioles.

Had Baltimore won that game, the Yankees would start the series in New York versus the Rays tonight with a chance to cut their deficit to them by 3 games via a sweep.

The Bronx Bombers then waltz into Houston, where they might win their last 3 games.  However, with Tampa’s come from behind win yesterday, it makes their Magic number versus the Yanks to 3. 

Manny Machado’s Gruesome Injury – Sept.23/2013

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The Traveling Salesman Problem: 30 MLB Stadiums In Record Time

The MLB Road Trip has been mastered by about 25 people that have accomplished the feat in under a month.  We are going to keep giving the extreme ballpark chasers some more food for thought here

The 30 MLB Park Road Trip has been mastered by about 25 people who have accomplished the feat in under a month. We are going to keep giving the extreme ballpark chasers some more food for thought here.

By Josh Robbins (Special Guest Writer And Co – Creator for The Factor12 Rating Pitching Metric.)

The Factor 12 (F12) is an analytic measurement utilizing league average performance to compare the value of all MLB pitchers on 60ft6in.com.

My grandfather was a traveling salesman for most of his working life.  Frequently, he recalls stories about selling his wares in exotic places such as Keokuk, Iowa, Hannibal, Missouri, and Cairo, Illinois.

However, the real Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) asks this question: “Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly once and returns to the origin city?”

Applying this computation to all 30 MLB stadiums is more complex given the nature of the regular season schedule.  A handful of metropolitan cities host two clubs enabling for travel to occur in the same city more than once.

Without using a complex algorithm or formula based system, google maps will be utilized to determine the shortest distances between each city/stadium to determine the most logical route.  

Extreme ballpark chasers are often left to the mercy of the schedule eliminating a perfect directional path.

After optimizing the mileage breakdown between stadiums, this is the shortest possible DRIVING route discovered:

30 Ballparks in 30 Days Documentary

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The Orioles’ Best Time To Strike Is 2013 Or 2014: Especially While The Yankees Are Down!

Chris Davis was awarded a 1 YR/$3.3 MIL contract in Arbitration for 2013, but based on his possible 55+ HRs and 130+ RBI. exactly what stratosphere of money will he enter based on those totals.  The Baltimore franchise must consider 2013 - 2014 to be their best chance for a deep playoff run.  After this year, Davis will be making megabucks in 2014 and 2015 - before hitting the Free Agency Market in 2016

Chris Davis was awarded a 1 YR/$3.3 MIL contract in Arbitration for 2013, but based on his possible 55+ HRs and 130+ RBI. exactly what stratosphere of money will he enter based on those totals? The Baltimore franchise must consider 2013 – 2014 to be their best chance for a deep playoff run. After this year, Davis will be making megabucks in 2014 and 2015 – before hitting the Free Agency Market in 2016.  Hardy and Markakis are signed through the 2014 year, while other salaries only escalate – including Matt Wieters becoming eligible for Arbitration next season.  Whenever you have a team where the nucleus is all around the same age, you have team control on $$ for only a short period of time.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst and Website Owner)

Buck Showalter is no dummy.  There was a reason why he flew off the handle a few weeks ago – when he showed bitterness towards the Yankees receiving salary relief via the Alex Rodriguez suspension.

With a mind like his, he realizes the Yankees had painted themselves into a corner for a few seasons, and one of the biggest reasons why, was the albatross of a contract for #13.

The Yankees are sure to receive the ‘biggest get out of jail free card’ ever – and Buck is eyeballing the fallout. Showalter should be asking management to go for it now.

I have been talking all season (and prior to) about the O’s not having a #1 ace, and it will cost them extensively.

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Breaking Down A Potential Suitor For My World Record Of 30 MLB Parks in 23 Days with a 30 – 21 bid

30 in 21 chance by Jake Beham

The schedule of Jake Beham, who is trying to chase down my World Record of Seeing all 30 MLB Parks (every pitch) in 23 calendar days or less.

The schedule of Jake Beham, who is trying to chase down my World Record of Seeing all 30 MLB Parks (every pitch) in 23 calendar days or less.  This schedule must have been done without knowing you have to witness all plays of the game to qualify.  Jake is going to have a tough time dodging a miss on day 2 – where he will try to beat Labor Day Monday traffic from after the game – in order to make 1st pitch at CBP.  He will never make it by car.  The Yankees always play games that are 3 Hours or longer as well.  Even Amtrak train is a longshot.  I give him a 10% chance to make it on his 1st Doubleheader attempt.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

2 days later he flies to Chase Field – and has scheduled a Doubleheader with Angel Stadium For DH #2.  I am assuming he is planning on taking a Southwest Airlines flight that arrives at John Wayne Arpt.  The flight leaves Phoenix at 455 PM.

That is 4 hours and 15 minutes after 1st pitch.  The flight that arrives in SNA at 605.   If he makes the flight, he could make this.  However it is about a 67% chance.  Most NL games last about 2 hours and 35 minutes.

The airport is close enough to the park in PHX – as is SNA airport.  Any extra innings though, and it is over.

On FRI, Sept.6th, he has scheduled a Wrigley Field and Kauffman Stadium doubleheader for DH #3.  This one is impossible.  The game starts at 120 PM local Chicago Time.

The closest flight I saw that leaves ORD or MDW in time for Kansas City, leaves at 441 PM.  That is 3 hours and 21 minutes from 1st pitch at Wrigley Field.

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The History Of Extreme Ballpark Chasing (1993 – 2013)

The days of not being able to visit all MLB parks in consecutive days ended in 1993, when the Rockies were introduced, and enhanced even more with the Arizona Diamondbacks entering the league in 1998.  In the last 15 years, several people have tried to see all 30 MLB parks in under a month.  Some successful, some broke some rules, and one guy even bought this website 6 months after he set the World Record for visiting all 30 MLB Parks in just 23 Calendar Days - completing 7 Doubleheaders.

The days of not being able to visit all MLB parks in consecutive days ended in 1993, when the Rockies were introduced, and enhanced even more with the Arizona Diamondbacks entering the league in 1998. In the last 15 years, several people have tried to see all 30 MLB parks in under a month. Some successful, some broke some rules, and one guy even bought this website 6 months after he set the World Record for visiting all 30 MLB Parks in just 23 Calendar Days – completing 7 Doubleheaders.

Ballpark Chaser definition:  Someone who is actively pursuing quests to view Baseball Parks.

Guys talked about in this Article:  Completely Insane!

By Josh Robbins (Special Guest Writer And Co – Creator for The Factor12 Rating Pitching Metric.)  Factor 12 (F12) is an analytic measurement utilizing league average performance to compare the value of all MLB pitchers on 60ft6in.com.

MLB Expansion Makes Ballpark Chasing Possible

Twenty years ago, the course of history changed for ballpark chasing.  In 1993, the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins debuted in the National League, increasing the total number of MLB teams to twenty-eight. 

The two new franchises created positions for fifty players and expanded the pursuits for ballpark chasers.

In prior years, the nearest connection between a west coast team and the mid-west was Anaheim Stadium to Royals Stadium, a 23-hour drive covering 1,619 miles. 

As a result, it was impossible for fans to attend games in consecutive days at every MLB stadium during one concurrent driving trip.  Consequently, the only method to complete the entire circuit was to combine land and air travel.

The new league structure dramatically altered the traveling landscape by adding Mile High Stadium in Denver, a 14-hour, 1,011-mile drive from Anaheim Stadium. 

Reggie Deal’s- 30 Day. 30 Park Compilation (A Blind Fan Who visited all 30 MLB Parks in 30 Days last year)

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MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 7

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Monday May.20/2013

The Padres have played great baseball since they plugged Chase Headley back in the lineup.  Players like Yonder Alonso, Will Venable, Everth Cabrera and even Kyle Blanks have bashed the ball around.  Since a lot of the NL West clubs have not run away with the Division, the San Diego club has entered the picture for the Division Race

The Padres have played great baseball since they plugged Chase Headley back in the lineup. Players like Yonder Alonso, Will Venable, Everth Cabrera and even Kyle Blanks have bashed the ball around. Since a lot of the NL West clubs have not run away with the Division, the San Diego club has entered the picture for the Division Race.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

The Rangers are #1 again based on the Division lead they currently possess, plus the fact they play all of these teams a total of 76 Games this year.

The Braves (rose their division lead to 2.5 Games with a 4 – 2 week), and Padres (18 – 13 in their last 31 Games and have been clubbing the ball lateley) were the biggest movers up for the week standings by climbing 6 spots apiece. 

The biggest drops were the San Francisco Giants (hate their Starting Pitching right now – except for Madison Bumgarner) and the Baltimore Orioles (late inning magic might be dying – and still need a DH + a Veteran Starter or 2).

The Los Angeles teams keep losing ball games – and the Blue Jays lost 2 straight versus the Yankees just when they looked to be on track.

Cleveland is still ranked outside the top ten because I don’t have faith in their strength of schedule in the next month starting May 21st:  2 vs DET, 4 @BOS, 2 vs CIN, 2 @CIN, 2 vs TB, 3 @NYY, 3 @DET, 3 @TEX, 3 vs WSH and finally 3 vs KC.  If they are above .500 after this stretch, I will be impressed.

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Sabathia Looks For More AL Supremacy + Eventual Election Into The BBHOF!

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Tuesday, January.15/2013

Sabathia is 85-31 (.762) since a 2008 mid season trade from the Indians to the Brewers.  The Yankees current ace has won 74 games in his 1st 4 years with the Bronx Bombers

Sabathia is 85-31 (.762) since a 2008 mid-season trade from the Indians to the Brewers. The Yankees current ace has won 74 games in his 1st 4 years with the Bronx Bombers.  He has made the playoffs in the last 6 years with CLE/MIL and NYY – with 4 ALCS trips and a World Series win in 2009.  He is 7-3 with a 3.50 ERA in the Post Season for the Yankees.

By Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner):

CC Sabathia is a BEAST.  You just have to look at the 6 FT 7 – 300 LBS+ man to see that.  If it is possible by playing in New York City – and under the brightest lights, that this man is underrated, despite being a Bronx Bomber.  Heading into 2013, ‘Carsten Charles’ (not Captain Crunch as some opposing fans have called him for his love of the Cereal) is 191-102 in his astute Pitching Career, with an ERA of 3.50.  What is more impressive than this are his numbers as a member of the New York Yankees – and playing in both Yankee Stadium and the vaunted AL East and amongst many of the top offensive clubs in the Major Leagues.  #52 is 74-29 (.718) for the Yankees with a 3.22 ERA.  He has made 3 ALL-Star Appearances and has had 3 top 4 AL CY Young Award finishes in the last 4 campaigns.  The verdict: the man has been truly dominant in Pinstripes!

In the 1st year of his big contract in 2009, Sabathia led the AL in wins with 19 – en route to a World Series Championship effort.  Sabathia had a brilliant Post Season, going 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 36.1 IP.  The big man also Struckout 32 Batters and only yielded 9 Walks.  His only loss came in Game #1 of the World Series, when Chase Utley had a career game.  Sabathia bounced back in Game #4 of the Fall Classic (with a QS – ND) and the Yankees ended up winning the contest to take a commanding 3 games to 1 ead, instead of having the Phillies tie the Series at 2 should he of had a bad start.

Sabathia is a winner and maybe the last guy to win 300 Games in the Majors.  At Age 32, the guy has a contract to pitch for the Yankees until 2018.  In his first 4 seasons he has averaged 18.5 Wins per year.  Even if the man only averages 15 wins a year for that time frame, he would be at around 265 wins at Age 37.  He could possibly end his career with New York – who would bet against him pitching until he is 40 to chalk up another 35 wins between 38 and that age?

CC Sabathia 2011 Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised.

Read the rest of this entry

The Legacy of Chris Carpenter: Savior in St. Louis

Thursday October 18th, 2012

Chris Carpenter started his career in Toronto after being the 15th overall selection in the 1994 draft. After the 2001 season, the Toronto Blue Jays made a calculated decision not to offer Carpenter a major league contract. He elected for free agency, rather than pitching in the minors for Toronto, and his legacy in St. Louis began when the Cardinals picked him up.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The legend of Chris Carpenter started as a 19-year-old pitching for the Medicine Hat Blue Jays in 1994.  He was the 15th overall pick by the World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 draft.  He was a physical specimen built to stand atop a 9.5” hill and stare down at hitters as they stared back at his 6 foot, 6 inch frame.  Drafted out of Manchester, New Hampshire, the 19-year-old already had a plus fastball and a nice curveball.  By 1997, at the age of 22, Chris Carpenter had broken into the Toronto Blue Jays rotation and was pitching against the best hitters in the world.

As a mid-season call up in 1997, Carpenter struggled in Toronto, hosting an ERA above 5.00 and a record of 3-7 over 13 games.  His role in Toronto was mostly to eat innings, and he was there to gain experience and hopefully blossom into what the Blue Jays brass new head could be.  He was in a rotation that consisted of the 1996 AL Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen, as well as the 1997 AL Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, so he had some serious  mentors to help guide him on breaking into the big leagues.  Despite his amazing talent, Carpenter struggled for most of his first season in Toronto and was eventually moved into the bullpen.  In 1998 however, he emerged and gave everyone at least a glimpse  of what would eventually come of Chris Carpenter, while proving himself to already be a competent starter capable of winning games.  He led the Toronto Blue Jays (tied with Pat Hentgen) with 12 wins in 1998, and continued to pitch well into 1999…at least until he became cursed by a spell of injuries. Read the rest of this entry

Orioles vs. Yankees: Curse of Maier May Be Over

Wednesday October 10th, 2012

The last time the Yankees and Orioles met in Postseason play was in 1996. The Orioles lost that series, and a lot of fingers were pointed at the controversial home run caught young fan, Jeffrey Maier. The Orioles postseason fate may be different this time around against the Bronx Bombers.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):

The last time the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees met in the playoffs was in 1996 in the ALCS.  Like in 2012, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter were on the Yankees roster.  The Orioles boasted a lineup that consisted of Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken Jr., B.J Surhoff, and Brady Anderson—who was having a career year.  That lineup, along with a rotation consisting of Mike Mussina and Scott Erickson and Jimmy Key, gave Baltimore an imposing roster that the Camden Faithful could expect to make a playoff run.

15 years later we see a tale that is much more of a David and Goliath story. The Orioles have not been in the playoff’s since 1997 and have finished 5th place in the AL East for the last 4 consecutive seasons.  The Yankees, conversely, have made the postseason 17 out of the last 18 seasons.  After getting off to a hot start, the Orioles made a trade for future Hall of Famer, Jim Thome, to help add some pop and veteran leadership to their lineup.  Even later in the season, when the team still found themselves in serious contention for October baseball, they called up 20-year-old phenom Manny Machado, who wasn’t even alive when Jim Thome took his first swing in the Major League.  Now, Manny Machado finds himself playing on the same field as his childhood hero, Alex Rodriguez. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

Tuesday April 24, 2012

Chuck Booth- (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Today’s expert is Kurt Smith.  Kurt will be the interview subject of the following parks: Citizens Bank Ball Park, Turner Field and today’s featured expert Article of Tropicana Field  Kurt is highly respected in the ball park chaser community for his BallparkEGuides.  After you are done reading this article  I implore you trust in Kurt to deliver up tips and suggestive idea’s on how to make your stadium visits affordable and pleasurable.  I had a chance to ask some questions of the man recently.

CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Kurt.  Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as a Rays Fan?”

KS: “Well I’m not a Rays fan per se, but wouldn’t they be a fun team to root for? They consistently come out on top or near the top in a division that includes behemoth spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox; and last year’s finale was one of the most exciting regular season games in history.  It’s too bad this team has so much trouble getting people to come out and see them, because they really are an exciting team to watch. And I love the cowbells. It’s great to hear the ringing in a dome when an opposing batter has two strikes on him.”

CB: “As one of the ballpark experts who takes it to the extreme, how do you rank Tropicana Field versus the rest of the Ballparks?”

KS: “Tropicana Field isn’t a great venue; of all the ballparks I’ve visited I’d put it at or near the bottom. I don’t like indoor baseball, and I really dislike artificial turf, probably like most fans. The Trop is the only non-retractable dome left in baseball now that the Metrodome is gone, so you’re inside regardless. It may be okay to have the air conditioning and protection from thunderstorms in July or August, but who wants to go indoors to see baseball on a beautiful April Florida day? The timing of Tropicana Field’s construction couldn’t have been worse. A dome seemed like a great idea at the time, but just a couple of years after it opened Camden Yards debuted and completely turned ballpark construction upside down. Suddenly indoor baseball on artificial turf couldn’t be less cool.

If the Tampa Bay area’s government had listened when baseball told them not to build a stadium, they would probably have a retractable dome today.But the Rays signed a lease, so for the moment they’re stuck with it. And it’s not all bad. The humidity of Florida summers is nothing to sneeze at, so the air conditioning can be pretty nice. And at least you know you’re going to see a game whatever Mother Nature says, which is of great benefit to a road tripper.”

CB: “Despite the Rays being one of the best franchises over the last 5 years, the team still does not draw well. Why do you think that is Kurt?”

KS : “Here are the reasons that I’ve heard, all of which I think have some merit:

1 – Location. The ballpark is in St. Petersburg, and it’s not all that close or easily accessible from Tampa, where much of the fan base is or should be. It’s also in Florida, where there are a lot of New York transplants, so Yankees games draw well but the team has had a hard time establishing its own fan base.

2 – Entertainment Competition. Tampa Bay is not far from beaches or from Orlando, so there isn’t much elbow room for promotional people to convince residents to come to a ballgame rather than go to Universal Studios. The venue doesn’t help; on a beautiful day most people might rather go to a theme park in Orlando or a beach than go indoors for a game.

3 – Venue. I don’t know if I necessarily buy this one; a good team usually draws no matter where they play. But the Trop isn’t on the bucket list of most ballpark trippers, so that doesn’t help matters any. People get enthused about a game at Wrigley Field or Camden Yards, they don’t get enthused about a game at Tropicana Field.

4 – Weather. The indoor venue notwithstanding, perhaps people just don’t want to go somewhere and be outside for at least a short time in a climate where they may be dealing with hurricane-level thunderstorms or oppressive heat.”

CB: “The Rays seem to have a lot of gimmicks to promote a family atmosphere what have you seen Tropicana Field do in order to boost attendance?”

KS: “It is to the Rays’ great credit that they’ve made the Trop more entertaining for families and adults. The Rays tank is an especially popular attraction. You can reach into this tank in right center field and pet the slimy rays that are swimming around in it—all while watching the game go on. The concourse areas of Tropicana Field are like nothing you’ve seen in baseball—comic book style murals of baseball history, picnic areas and tons of interactive games for kids. On my last trip there, the Jumbotron showed a hilarious video of a cat “mixing” on a turntable.There’s also several party areas, like the Everglades BBQ in the batter’s eye in center field, the Center Field Street Brewhouse (with drink specials before games!), and several lounge areas where people can enjoy a “Blue Storm” drink. Baseball buffs should get a kick out of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, too. Unfortunately the Rays can’t do fireworks, but they do get some big name acts to play after games.

CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Tropicana Field?”

KS: “Well if I lived close enough, I’d ride a bicycle, because there’s a lot of nice bicycle paths in the area and a place to lock up your cycle at the ballpark. But as it is, the only way most people get to Tropicana Field is by car, and it’s right off the interstate and easy to find. So I’ll just add that I’d find some people to carpool with, because the Rays offer free parking to the first 100 cars with four or more people in them. Free parking is always a great deal.

There is a new service for Tampa area fans called the “No Excuses Tour”. It takes riders to the game from a couple of local taverns, and I think the price is very reasonable. I believe they serve beer on the bus but the bus doesn’t have a bathroom, so there’s some kinks to be worked out there, but it’s a great idea.”

CB: “Tell me something about the surrounding area of the Ballpark?”

KS: “Well, I haven’t heard any horror stories, but some people say it’s not a great neighborhood. You’re not far from the downtown pier and its attractions, so that’s a possible post-game hangout area. I would say that you’re better off staying east of the ballpark towards the pier, and perhaps it’s not so nice west and south of the ballpark.

The popular pre-and post-game venue is Ferg’s, an indoor-outdoor tavern that is converted from a warehouse. They have game day specials on beer, and I haven’t tried the wings but I’m told they’re very good. If you’re the type that likes a drink or a snack before or after the game, Ferg’s is as good as anything here. They are walking distance from the ballpark and have cheaper parking, too.”

CB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Tropicana Field for the very first time?”

KS: “Don’t pay more than you have to for a seat. If you can live with anything in the upper level you can get tickets there dirt cheap directly from the Rays, and it’s usually not a problem to improve your lie during the game. Wander around and see all of the party areas and make sure you check out that big ballplayer sticking out of the wall. Get yourself a cowbell so you can distract the opposing hitters when they get two strikes on them. If you’re a history buff you’ll want to see the Ted Williams Museum.

And don’t complain about seeing baseball indoors, because it’s a mighty good thing during July and August in St. Petersburg.”

CB: “How is the food at Tropicana Field?  What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

KS: “Tropicana Field has everything from soup to nuts in the food department, like most ballparks these days. The nice thing is that there’s a lot of brand names, for better or worse, at least with Papa John’s, Outback Steakhouse and Checkers you know what you’re getting. They have a deli with great Boar’s Head sandwiches, and they even have a gluten-free stand, great for celiacs like my wife. The hot dogs are from Kayem, the same purveyor of the Fenway Frank in Boston, although the dogs here are different.

When I’m in the Trop I go for a Cuban sandwich at the East-West Delicatessen near the main entrance; the Cuban is not something you find at a lot of ballparks. It’s a hot pressed sandwich of ham, pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard. I don’t know that it’s the go-to item at the Trop, but it would be my first choice. Gooey cheese is always a winner.”

CB:  “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Tropicana Field?”

KS: “Well unfortunately I wasn’t there for September 28, 2011, when the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Yankees in 12 innings and take the wild card spot right out from under the Red Sox.

So I’ll just go with my first game there in 2002…the then-Devil Rays pulled off a 5-4 victory over the Orioles, and I was with a group of friends sitting down the right field line making jokes about seeing the relief pitchers from behind.

Despite being indoors on a gorgeous April day, a good time was had by all.”

CB: “Thank you very much Kurt.”

***Thank you to our Tropicana Field Expert- Kurt Smith for participating in today’s article.  to learn more about Kurt Smith and his website 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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