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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday April 5th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nate Freiman Interview:

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WBC 2013 Final Results, Recap And Review

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Wednesday March 2oth, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday March 8th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cuba Is Ready To Win The 2013 World Baseball Classic

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Saturday February 16th, 2013

LazoClasico1.jpg

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

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

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

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


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

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Monday February 11th, 2013

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

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

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

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


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MLB Reports State Of The Union Part 2: Going Forward

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Friday, Feb.8/2013

MLB reports

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

So I left off the other day talking about some sweeping changes at the site.  What I want to talk about next – is what to expect.  Our website is revving up to start the baseball year.  We plan on posting 3-5 times a day.  We will range from about 9 AM EST all the way through to 9 PM EST.  Most MLB teams will have about 3-4 articles a month.  Once per month May-October, we will also have our Monthly Power Rankings like we had last year.  Our Lead Writer Sully will be posting a 20 minute daily PODCAST on the site. 

In addition to this, MLB Reports presents the ‘Triple Play Podcast” – will be going ahead with Patrick and Chris with the Big Ticket Show, for about 5 PODCASTS a month during the regular season and about 1-2 per month in the winter months.  These PODCASTS will feature yours truly 2-3 times a month as a guest.  We will also have Saul Wisnia (Red Sox Correspondent), Jonathan Hacohen (MLB Reports Founder) and other personalities as part of the show.

We plan on interacting with the readers by way of Facebook and Twitter, when we start-up in March.  So we will let you know.  We have about 7 different general writers and reporters, 5 special analysts and 24 Team Correspondents so far.  The  goal is to find the 6 new Correspondents from the teams we have left (PHI, ATL, SEA, SD, KC and COL  We continue to search for awesome independent writers, that can cover these teams with the same kind of passion our other Correspondents have displayed.

We still plan on having a weekly Fantasy Baseball article, a once a month Cooperstown article and a once a month – live interview from our ‘Junior Reporter’ Haley Smilow.  We are also open to many suggestions by our readers, if they have  great article ideas.

I am trying to write my historical series on all 30 teams, but am still trying to make it to the regular season first.  I have written entire series already for the Nationals, Phillies, Expos, Blue Jays and Rays already here.  The plan is to write 1-2 series a month for the teams not done yet.  By the  end of 2014, we will have a full chronicled series for each team.  This will be our legacy.  We strive on our mission to include all 30 MLB Fan bases.  All of our dedicated Correspondents exhibit the kind of passion for baseball that I am truly proud of.  You can see all of their biographies here.

Our general writers and Reporters can be found here.

News:

One of our writers, Thomas Roberts (Dodgers Correspondent), is a top 52 finalist for the MLB Fancave.  We hope that he can make it to New York.  Please check out the interview (and vote for him on the links provided there) I did with him here

We are going to have 5-6 dedicated pages from our General Writers.  I will run a page called “The  Baseball Booth”.  This is the same as a page listed below here that is for MLB Player Awareness Weeks.  In a sub-page to that are my best baseball road-trips advice links here.

Jonathan Hacohen will have his own page called the J-HAY Page. 

Saul Wisnia is accomplished writer.  He has authored 10 sports books and is one of the best Red Sox authors of late.  His page is called the Words Of Wisnia.  He will run additional Red Sox articles, and he will have many other fun things to browse in his subpages.  You can find all of his archives for his own website here.

Paul Francis Sullivan (Sully) will have his own dedicated page called ‘Sully Baseball’.  It is up to Sully to post anything and everything on his own page.  I only know whatever he does around baseball is entertaining and worth the time.  On the main page, Sully will post his daily Podcast.  Subscribe to his daily podcast here.

We may have another website that we will have on board with us to cover a team thoroughly through a dedicated page.  We are not finalized yet, so I will announce this on Twitter and Facebook.

We have a few writers from the strosbros.mlblogs.com with us covering the Astros.  Lee White and Richard Perez will be keeping it real.

We have Tigers Correspondent  Matthew Lafave of the examiner.com – to keep us up to date with what is going on in Detroit.

By the time the regular season rolls on, we will have all 30 MLB Teams Payroll and State Of The Unions done.  We are close to finishing the State Of The Unions already.  You can view these here.

Here are some really important pages at the Reports.  It also says what they are about.

http://mlbreports.com/paystat/

We are going to end every baseball year with a ‘STATE OF THE UNION’ Address for each team and also look forward to the next year’s Payroll for all 30 MLB Teams.  This is in addition to all of the other information we will put out in our normal articles.  More than ever, team’s salary and current 25 or 40 Man Rosters, are becoming more important to the fanbases.  We will take a detailed look at both of these for you and provide some analysis.  It will keep us busy and definitely on top of our game.  We will be doing these in stages and not all at once, so please check back often for more updates.

http://mlbreports.com/mlbhistory/

This page has links to the entire 30 MLB Teams listed (for a minimum 5 Part Series on each club).  These Franchise Series are signature website articles that take 3-4 times the normal amount of regular pieces to write.  Do yourself a favor and follow along with us as we take the next 2 years to complete this mission.  It is a great way to learn about your Franchises history, including the players, pitchers, management, mascots and the parks they have played in.

http://mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker/

This full-page lists all of the Games I went to in establishing the new “Guinness Book Of World Record” for “Fastest To See A Full Home Game In All 30 MLB Parks from April.6-April.28/2012.  The write-ups include many pictures and stories of how I arrived at all 30 MLB Parks and what the travel entailed.  I promoted the trip by using Facebook and Twitter and met several top MLB Park Chaser Experts along the way.  For someone who may have a similar goal, I think you will find this page quite entertaining.

http://mlbreports.com/awareness/

This was a Twitter concept first driven to a webpage by promoting unheralded players not receiving their due credit.  Each week, the MLB Reports will select an active MLB Player and a retired MLB Player to focus their attention on.  We will write tweets about the players and showcase them on this page.  It is our hope that we can receive some feedback with out twitter followers and website readers.  Suggestions may always be presented to us for future nominations.

http://mlbreports.com/wbc-2013/

You have asked for it readers and now it is here!  An entire page devoted to the upcoming 2013 edition of the World Baseball Classic! After the initial WBC in 2006, the tournament returned in 2009.  The decision was made to have the WBC played three years after the inaugural edition and then four years later from there.  As result, after a long wait for baseball fans…the third World Baseball Classic will be back in the year 2013!

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The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here.  I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB.  You can reach me on Twitter here

a      new mlb reports chuck

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

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Sunday January 20th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Sunday January 13th, 2013

bartolo colon

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

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

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


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

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Friday January 4th, 2013

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

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

Jonathan Hacohen  (Baseball Writer and Website Founder):  

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

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