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Is Masahiro Tanaka The Next Young International Superstar Pitcher?

Mashahiro Tanaka was 24 - 0, with a 1.27 ERA in with his team in the NPBL last year.  He has followed countrymen Yu Darvish, Hiroki Kuroda and of course the 1st man from Japan, Hideo Nomo as superstars to take their talents to North America.

Mashahiro Tanaka was 24 – 0, with a 1.27 ERA in with his team in the NPBL last year. He has followed countrymen Yu Darvish, Hiroki Kuroda and of course the 1st man from Japan, Hideo Nomo as superstars to take their talents to North America.  Tanaka has pitched with the whole world watching him, as part of the 2013 WBC team for Japan.  He will be counted on at the top of the New York Yankees rotation for years to come.  Fans in New York can only pray this guy is much more like the guys aforementioned in this caption – rather than former Yankees Starting Pitcher Kei Igawa, who never panned out in his time with New York.

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

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Today we are talking about young International Phenom pitchers.  I picked 5 former and current pitchers that hailed from other places other than the USA to concentrate the story on. 

I came up with Fernando Valenzuela from Mexico, Hideo Nomo and Yu Darvish from Japan, Eric Gagne from Canada and Juan Marichal from the Dominican Republic. 

The 5 baseball players all flashed onto the scene as young pitchers, 3 of them dominating their peers from the get go. 

Eric Gagne, the 5th member of this study, only started to dominate when the Los Angeles Dodgers sent him to the bullpen.  

Speaking of the Los Angeles Dodgers, three of these five pitchers were both with the club when they started out.  It is a credit to their scouting staff. 

There is a reason why no other team has turned out more ‘Rookie of the Year’ players in the last 30 years than the Dodgers.

Hideo Nomo’s No – Hitter Game

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An Interview with ‘Rogers Center Expert’ and “MLB reports Founder” Jonathan Hacohen

Monday April 16th, 2012

Follow Chuck Booth’s streak all the through to the bitter end.  Schedule is this link:

http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/ or at his official website for all updates!

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and- @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- For once the shoe is on the other foot.  I asked the MLB Reports Founder and ‘Lead Columnist’ Jonathan Hacohen if I could interview him 5 months after he interviewed me.  Jonathan and I came into talking by both talking to the  MLB FanCave guys at the same time on twitter last June.  Jonathan was really interested in My baseball book “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames” and I sent him a copy of it if he agreed to do a review.  Jonathan finished the book and gave one of the most incredible reviews for my book that I have ever seen for any baseball book anywhere.  Somewhere I had given up all of my creative writing energy in the process while writing this said book.  Jonathan followed up with an interview later.  During the World Series, he offered up a chance to do a guest article since I knew a lot about the ballparks in Texas and St. Louis.  Now I am sure it was all part of his master plan: the one guest article turned into a once a week article, before I even realized it myself, I was writing 2 articles a week and craving more!  I messaged Jonathan about a potential run at the record to see all 30 MLB Parks before anyone on this planet.  The reason is the man loves baseball.  He was just as fired up as I was!  From there we have worked together as a team to provide a different kind of article series that has ever been seen by a baseball writer and website.  I am happy to finally meet Jonathan today live in person for the Jays game during this record chase.  Before we write about that, I had a chance to talk the man about baseball life, the MLB Reports and the Rogers Center.  Here is what we discussed… Read the rest of this entry

MLB Ball Park Staff Can Make a World of Difference

Monday March 19, 2012

‘Douglas Chuck Booth’ (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- In 2007, MLB Opening Week experienced massive snowstorms along the Eastern Seaboard.  Several teams had to cancel games and reschedule them for later in the year.  I happened to have a bought a car near London, Ontario that I was driving all the way across America to return to Vancouver B.C Canada that week.  As I was visiting baseball parks, they were being snowed out.  I tried for the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati only for it to have been snowed out.  I extended my trip by a day to make up the game in Cincy.  I watched the game in a snow storm.  I then went to Cleveland to try my luck at Progressive Field.  By the time I made it to the park, it was under a foot of snow.  I had been hoping to see a doubleheader with the Seattle Mariners being the away team.  Not the case, at least I parked at the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame and had something to do in Cleveland instead of watching baseball. Read the rest of this entry

He was Known As “The Kid”: A Tribute to the Life and Career of Gary Carter

Monday, February 27, 2012

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)- I was born in 1976.  I have two older brothers that were born in 1975 and 1974.  Another brother was born in 1978.  My dad had all of us at the baseball park to watch his men’s league windmill team play baseball for every weekend of the summer.  By the time I was 4, I also tagged along to my brother’s T-Ball baseball practices.  My dad would let me play with the older kids because he knew I loved the game enough to become good at it.  While my other brothers liked baseball, I loved it.  So as they played cars and watched cartoons, I was happy to be watching baseball with my dad on our old 12’ black and white television screen that you had to pound on with a clenched fist once a day in order for it to focus right.  My dad and I would watch the Montreal Expos on the French Channel in Canada.  We always muted the sound, opting for a Bob Seger Record instead, but we would watch the game with laser focus.  My dad had been a huge Thurman Munson and Yankees fan, so when Munson died in a plane crash, it hurt him a great deal .  My dad’s love waned from the Yankees for a bit after.  He started to like baseball on TV when I began asking to watch it.  He and I sat on the couch and watched Gary Carter play.  The Expos were an exciting team at the turn of the 80’s decade with the likes of Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines.  I can remember seeing how involved Carter was in orchestrating the leadership of his team.  Read the rest of this entry

Is Yu Darvish the Next Young International Baseball Superstar?


Monday, February 13th, 2012

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)- One of the first names I forgot in my blog about ‘young phenom pitchers’ taking the league, plus a city by storm was Fernando Valenzuela.  I immediately thought of another blog right after.  That is young International Phenom pitchers.  I picked 4 pitchers that hail from other places other than the USA to concentrate the story on.  I came up with Valenzuela from Mexico, Hideo Nomo from Japan, Eric Gagne from Canada and Juan Marichal from the Dominican Republic.  The 4 baseball players all flashed onto the scene as young pitchers, 3 of them dominating their peers from the get go.  Eric Gagne, the 4th member of this study, only started to dominate when the Los Angeles Dodgers sent him to the bullpen.   Speaking of the Los Angeles Dodgers, three of these four pitchers were both with the club when they started out.  It is a credit to their scouting staff.  There is a reason why no other team has turned out more ‘Rookie of the Year’ players in the last 30 years than the Dodgers. (more…)

Sample of what my Friday Travel Blog will Cover

Friday, February 03, 2012 

Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)- Since writing about traveling to ballparks  is what I know most about, I thought I would take the next 9 weeks (before the season starts) writing articles that extensively go through every part of my expertise.  Over the course of the last five years I have done countless hours of research on this subject matter, so I am going to share my information with you in hopes you may save some time or money this 2012 MLB season.  I am sharing my knowledge of: baseball tickets, maps, frequent flier miles/reward points, car rentals vs. driving your own car, hotels, airports and finally time management & budgeting.  Here is a sneak preview of what I will be posting.

Car Rentals

  The best way to ensure that you have money available on your credit card, (keeping in mind that most rental places take a $200 minimum deposit), is to bid on your car through www.priceline .com. There is a feature where you can bid on your car rental for specific airport locations called ‘BID NOW.’  You can offer a price that you have to pay immediately, but in most cases you will find a serious discount. I have often bid 40% of the average car rental per airport price and had the offer go through.  Anyways, 80% of the time your winning bid will come back to rent from Alamo/National Car Rental.

Car Rentals

 Alamo/National is the best car rental company by far in the United States. Not only do they have exceptional customer service—–they also do not charge your credit card for any $ amount more than the price of your rental. Do yourself a favor and also sign up for ‘The Emerald Club Rewards Program’ from National. They have airport bypass the counter options that enable you to USE self-serving kiosks that do not require you to stand in line at the car centers-rather pick your class of car and proceed to the exit. Other car rental companies have deposit charges that are held against your credit card.  If you are going on a 4 city trip, you can easily have up to $800-1000 dollars locked up in these deposits, this can be harmful in you enjoying your trip. Not all of us have the affordability to have so much money unavailable. An average of 5-8 days is what it will take for the deposited dollars to be restored when your car rental is completed.  National is the only car rental company in which you can redeem a free earned day car rental for a one-way drop off without paying an excessive fee if you have earned a free rental reward day.  I will give you an example.  This means you can rent a car in Los Angeles and drop it off it Albuquerque, New Mexico within the 24 hours for no money extra.  Also with this incredible deal, is that you pay just pennies in taxes for your accrued free rental days, where other car rental places can charge up to $20-30 just in taxes alone despite offering you the free day for a rental reward.  Perfect for that baseball traveler that wants to head in one direction!

Priceline

Priceline is great for bidding on car rentals, but is also fantastic for hotel rentals where you can use the same option to bid for your price of hotels. Honestly, when we are all in the middle of a big baseball road trip, the last thing we want is to spend excessive amounts of money on a hotel we are not going to use other than a quick sleep and shower.   Wouldn’t you rather spend a lot more time at the ball yard?  Again by bidding on the hotel, and paying for it right away you can ensure on a more of a budget/cost certainty. Even if the front desks take a small deposit at time of check in—these transactions are quickly released when you check out. The best to bid  is too low-ball your first few offers, then gradually increase your bidding. Now Priceline does make you alter your bid for every declined request you submit, so the key is to not act aggressive in frustration when you don’t win the bid.  The key here is to be patient.  After 24 hours, you can re-open up all columns to bid again with an increased offer from your first one. Just chart your offers to slightly increase your amount until you have success. I would not suggest you use Priceline for airline flights because the winning bid will usually feature layovers, or more importantly, the times of the flights on won bids may not be conducive to arriving in time for a baseball game in your destination city.

HOTELS

For those economy travelers such as myself, I implore you to use Motel 6 and/or Super 8 as hotel chains to stay throughout the USA. They are decent hotels for the $value you pay. The best feature about these hotels is the ability to check in by 11am-12pm. Most 3-5 star hotels have check in times that start and 3 or 4pm. Again if you are flying or driving in from some other place do you really want to drive around for 3-4 hours sight-seeing because you are simply waiting for a check in time?  Most baseball parks open their gates by 5PM for night games.  Plus with these places cash is preferred, so they do not require a deposit on your credit card. If you are staying in the same city or have sufficient time to stay in one hotel, I would recommend you use Priceline to bid on your hotels. You can save up to 50% off with winning bids on 2-5 star hotels. Keep in mind that most of those hotels can save you money vs the budget hotels, with their free breakfasts.

Travel Note:Traveling to other cities with luggage is hard to finagle sometimes. When arriving in a new city, there may be time constraints or monetary issues that make you think about your luggage. Before you make any purchases for your trip, you must be cognizant of where your luggage will be at all times throughout the travel. You will not be allowed to bring your suitcase through security at the ball parks. Most cities will not even allow you to bring a briefcase into the games. So therein is a dilemma. If you are able to make it to your hotel before the game then your luggage will be okay.  The same can be said if you have rented a car. The toughest games for luggage management are day games when arriving from other cities. For the Eastern Seaboard there is an ally you can use—and it is called ‘Amtrak.’

Amtrak Trains/Greyhound Buses

Both of these methods of transportation are  a great way to see a bunch of baseball games fast while missing a lot of cluttered highway traffic, particularly in: New York-Baltimore-Washington-Philadelphia-Chicago-Milwaukee. Not only will you save gas/traffic scenarios-but Amtrak has a baggage check option at most stations for $3-4 dollars an item per day. All you have to do is have an itinerary, (coming or going) and you can check your luggage items. You will have to monitor the hours of operation for these places-however this option is exceptional when attending matinée games in any of these cities. New York’s Amtrak Station-(New York Penn Station), is a life saver when you can drop off your luggage and avoid renting a car. ‘Greyhound Bus Lines’ is also a good alternative for this in the cities of : Tampa Bay-Miami-Los Angeles-San Diego-Minnesota-Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Kayak.com

Early morning flights are usually the cheapest airfares. I always use www.kayak.com when booking flights into baseball cities.  If you are flying to cities like Cincinnati-Milwaukee-Detroit-Houston-Atlanta-or Dallas you may be shocked at how much they charge for flights. There is a way to get back at those airlines. I have done the following several times. Since these are hubs for other cities from big airlines,  I would check flights from your starting departure and use your intended city of these listed above as a stop-over and then you can walk off the plane during the stop-over if it is cheaper—-and providing you are traveling without checked baggage—example.  Three years ago I had to fly from Pittsburgh to Detroit during a double-header attempt for the first day of my World Record Chase. I needed a Pittsburgh Northwest Airlines flight that left at 5:15 PM  directly to Detroit that arrived at 6:28 PM—it was the only non-stop flight that I could get that would give me a chance to make the Detroit game on time. There was a problem when the price came back was $500  for what was less than a 500 mile flight!  I went to work with my strategy.  I came up with a flight from Pittsburgh to Chicago-with the 1st leg of the trip being my flight that arrived in Detroit at 6:28 as the layover.  The price for this flight was $130. There are many instances of this. I will explain more in the book how I used this scenario for a flexible schedule in case of make-up games.

Air Lines Best To Fly With:

Southwest Airlines-‘I wanna get away’ feature at http://www.southwest.com is a good price point for all of this airline’s domestic flights.  Southwest might be marginally higher in price than some other airlines, however they do not charge for the 1st 2 checked bags as you may have seen from their steady TV Ad Campaign.  They also do not charge transfer flight fees.  This airline is setting the pace for customer price gouging acknowledgement.

Air Tran Airways-Quite frankly, they are the best airline in the USA for MLB fans.  They are cheap, have newer airplanes with the most leg space for a coach ticket. They also offer more one-way non-stop tickets in the morning.  Oh yeah…They are the official airline of XM Sirius Radio.  You can listen to MLB games live in flight, or during off hours you can catch up on all of your favorite shows on XM Home Plate.  Air Tran only charges $75 in case you have to change your flight at anytime plus the difference in flight.  This price is half of most of the legacy airlines.  Should you miss your Air Tran flight they also let you fly stand-by for the rest of the day on any remaining flights to your city of destination.

This is just the start as I will provide a game plan for all of  the 30 MLB cities.  I will take a look at all facets/methods of travel-that will include money and time-saving tips.   After all, don’t we all want to see as many baseball games as we can without being hit in the pocket-book?

*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com*** 

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Sunday MLB Insider Report: Our Views on the Latest Baseball News

 

Sunday September 4, 2011

 

 

MLB reports:  Here is our weekly look at Major League Baseball and the latest news, together with analysis and of course, our opinions:

 

I am about to finish the latest baseball book that I am reading and will be posting a review this week.  “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames”, by Ballpark Chaser extraordinaire, Doug Booth.  I don’t want to give away much of my report, that will be saved for the review.  Needless to say, the book has inspired me to fulfil my goal of seeing all thirty MLB ballparks.  While it takes me ordinarily a couple of days to a week to complete a baseball book, this particular book has taken me much longer.  I have read and re-read this book over and over, going back to read favorite sections.  For any baseball fan who loves baseball road trips or is thinking of taking one, this book is the perfect travel companion.

One of the biggest topics on the lips of Yankees fans is the contract status of C.C. Sabathia.  After Ivan Nova, the Yankees have several question marks as to their rotation going into the playoffs.  Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett are all in the mix.  But if Sabathia were to hypothetically opt out of his deal and test free agency, the Yankees pitching staff could collapse like a house of cards.  It appears that Sabathia has enjoyed his time thus far in New York and plans to continue pitching as a Yankee.  Although Sabathia will likely opt out, both player and team will do everything possible to keep the big guy in pinstripes.  Sabathia will become even richer on a new deal, as Alex Rodriguez was on his decision to opt out and sign a new Yankees deal.  For the team with the highest payroll in baseball, to contend it will re-sign its ace in the offseason.

Rumors are circulating that many MLB General Managers will be wooed to change teams in 2012.  Brian Cashman of the Yankees, Andrew Friedman of the Rays and Theo Epstein of the Red Sox are all apparently in demand, as is Billy Beane in Oakland and Mike Rizzo in Washington.  From all the best GMs that will be considered for the Cubs position, the only one I could see is Cashman.  With his contract up in New York and the Steinbrenner regime exercising control in decision-making (see the Rafael Soriano deal), Cashman may have had enough and makes the move to the Windy City.  All of the other GMs are in great positions, with little or no incentive to make the leap.  Some have called for the Astros to make a strong play for Friedman, but I see him staying put in a great situation with a strong talent base.  Friedman will see his team through to an eventual World Championship.

I had several conversations with baseball people about the World Baseball Classic, with the third edition coming up rapidly in 2013.  As discussed in a previous article, there are some changes to the WBC that have been instituted, including a qualifying tournament in the fall of 2012.  New countries in the mix include Great Britain, France, Israel and Brazil.  In all there will be 12 new countries, together with 4 holdover countries vying for 4 open spots into the tournament.  From the 16 existing WBC countries, 12 were granted automatic berths into the tournament.  The challenge facing MLB and WBC officials is to have eligible players play for their respective countries.  One particular country I discussed was Israel.  Imagine a team lead by Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis.  Quite the powerhouse offense.  To have this tournament ultimately succeed, star players that are eligible for new and less known baseball countries need to play for these countries and increase the exposure of the sport in those regions.  That is really what the WBC is all about.

For fans in Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, please be patient.  Your teams will be better.  It might be hard to believe and some of you must be sick of hearing it, but your teams have great young talent and each will be a contender one day.  The only variable against you is time.

With their victory over the Giants last night, the Diamondbacks now hold a six game lead in the NL West.  How Kevin Towers remained on the market so long before being hired in Arizona is beyond me.  Derrick Hall and company have put together a nice young team, with strong management on the field and in the front office.  Towers has put together the team and manager Kirk Gibson has molded them into a contender.  It goes to show that a bleak situation can be transformed almost overnight, if you have the right people in place.  Baseball, as much as any other sport, starts with the people in charge.  A solid management foundation flows through the whole organization and can make or break a major league team.  Arizona is the team of destiny in the NL West in my mind and while they will have a very difficult time passing the Phillies if they make the playoffs, just playing in October this year will be considered a huge victory for the team.

Outside of New York and Boston, many baseball fans are apparently sick of talking about the Red Sox and Yankees.  For as much as fans may despise the teams, as baseball fans they should still respect them.  Baseball, without the history and tradition of the Red Sox and Yankees, would have a large void.  During my recent trip to Cooperstown (with a full report on my experiences coming soon), I was fascinated by the Babe Ruth exhibit and all the features on the two powerhouse squads.   There are no guarantees that either the Red Sox or Yankees will be in the World Series this year.  But having the teams in baseball is a good thing.  Attendance figures on the road when either team in town shows the demand.  You may hate the Red Sox and Yankees.  But you love to hate them.  For those of you that are either Red Sox or Yankees fans (can’t be both), you are some of the most passionate and knowledgable fans in baseball and I salute you.

I have been speculating since spring training that Jonathan Papelbon will leave Boston and join the Phillies this offseason.  I read some speculation this week that the Yankees may look to add him as the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera.  I could only imagine the feeling in Fenway the first time Papelbon would step foot on the mound in Pinstripes.  Unlikely to happen in my opinion, but speculating can be fun sometimes.  Until I hear otherwise, I am predicting Papelbon to the  Phillies.

With the playoff races in baseball almost completed, it is time to turn our attention to October and thinking about the teams that will play in the World Series.  My picks at this point are the Rangers and Phillies.  Call it a hunch.  Call me crazy.  I am seeing a Texas Philadelphia matchup and one of the best fall classics in recent history.

Finally, I made a point on Twitter yesterday that the regular season is almost done.  If you have not made it a live game yet this year or even if you have gone to twenty or more games, try to attend as many September games as you can.  When November hits, the winter can be quite a sad time for baseball fans.  Unless you can make it out to Arizona or Mexico, chances are that you will not be able to watch winter ball.  With the internet, those games can be found to be viewed on your computer.  But as fans can attest, nothing beats a live ball game.  Enjoy as many of those games as you can now. 

 

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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