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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Major League Baseball Season is roughly 10% over and we are seeing some trends and patterns. The next time you wonder why games are so long in the game right now, look no further than there are about 150 hitters that are currently on pace to Strikeout 100 plus times this season.
The Cincinnati Reds won every game this past 7 days, after losing every day the week prior. This is simply why they shot up the rankings. I think the NL Central is the weakest Division this year. It was my prediction that the oldest professional baseball club would run away with this Division by at least 10 games.
Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto are on the Basepaths at all times – carrying an OBP of over .500 plus each. Votto is starting to drive the ball with authority too. Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart are driving in Runs at an incredible rate.
Look for BP Follow @DatdudeBP to be a dark horse NL MVP candidate.
Brandon Phillips Talks about Winter Workouts:
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MLB Reports: Welcome to our newest Kids writer Jason Alpert-Wisnia – for being selected to join our MLB Reports Kids Writing team. We are pleased to present the readers with a youthful look to the game of baseball. Moms and Dad’s – if you have a young kid who loves baseball and wants to write about the game, please email us at email@example.com. We will be selecting three more kid writers for our website this year.
By Jason Alpert-Wisnia (AKA “JAWS”): (MLB Reports Kids Writer – visit his website here )
The Miami Marlins are a semi-new team compared to other teams such as the Red Sox, debuting as a team in the season of 1993 as the Florida Marlins. They won two championships in that time, yet tore down the team right after.
In 2012, the team moved to Marlins Park with a boatload of new players and I say, after that, it was only a matter of the, before the team was headed for a downfall. The past was sure to repeat itself.
Florida Marlins Story on 1997 and 2003:
Monday, December.10, 2012
Stephon Johnson (Guest Baseball Writer and Mets Correspondent): Follow @stephonjohnson8
Met fans have gotten used to having their greatest players come either from other franchises or move on to other franchises. When combing through the 50-year history of the Mets, you realize that every great player this franchise has had didn’t spend their entire career in Flushing. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, David Cone, Mike Piazza, Al Leiter and Jose Reyes were all either products of other franchises or homegrown talent that was eventually let go.
Met fans can now say that they have a player who’ll more than likely remain with the franchise for his entire career. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday, December 8th, 2012
When the 2013 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot was released this past November, the heated discussion began about which controversial candidates, if any at all, would be inducted into Cooperstown (HOF). While isolated athletes have come up in previous years, this year represents a first real tension between the modern era of baseball – the “steroid era” – and traditional standards for admission into the Hall. The 537 baseball writers are, and should be, entrusted to weigh cheating and use of PEDs against the HOF’s criteria of “character,” “sportsmanship” and “upholding the integrity of the game” (the integrity standards). These writers each will struggle, however, with a preliminary question that falls outside of their expertise:under which circumstances may a HOF voter consider, at all, a candidate’s connection to cheating and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)?
For each candidate, varying levels of proof or mere suspicion relate to their use of PEDs. Mark McGwire admitted in a 2010 interview to using PEDs when he broke the Home Run record in 1998. Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for 10 games in 2005 for failing an MLB administered drug test for steroids. Other candidates faced criminal obstruction charges premised on their use of PEDs – Barry Bonds was convicted on one count of obstruction but found not guilty on several other charges, while Roger Clemens was indicted, yet acquitted of perjury. Sammy Sosa was implicated for steroid used in the Mitchell Report, which was explicitly not to be used criminally, and the New York Times also reported that Sosa was one of 104 players who failed an anonymous drug test for steroids in 2003, before MLB’s formal testing program was implemented. Voters will consider others amidst a cloud of suspicion simply because they played in this era – Mike Piazza was named in Jeff Pearlman’s book (The Rocket That Fell To The Earth-2009) because he supposedly claimed, off the record to reporters, that he used PEDs and Jeff Bagwell was close friends with admitted PED user Ken Caminiti.
Friday November 23th, 2012
Note from Alex Mednick: I am going to be putting together a small project that accumulates all the best players of all time, and puts them together on teams according to their birthplace. For example, in this first edition I will be breaking down players from the United States of America into teams from the 1) Northeast, 2) Southeast, 3) Midwest, and 4) Southwest…(sorry, there really is not enough quality coming out of the northwest to compete with these teams…maybe I will put a Northwestern United States team in a later edition with less competitive teams). Later on I will bring you teams assembled from the all-time greats out Central and South American (Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Panama Canal Zone, etc.) and the All-Caribbean Team (Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curacao, etc). Also look forward to teams from Japan, Canada and the EU. Should be fun to sort of assemble an “Olympics” of Baseball. I love watching the World Baseball Classic and seeing players fight for their nations pride…but by grouping the teams by region, it might make the teams more competitive. Of course, this is all for the sake of speculation; Babe Ruth was a great player, but I don’t think he will be taking any at-bat’s soon. (Also, please note that I do not lend consideration to relief pitchers in this analysis). Read the rest of this entry
Monday September 17th, 2012
Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent, Twitter @PatrickLanguzzi):
Mike Piazza made his last major league appearance on September 30, 2007, which means Piazza will be eligible for his first National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot this December (the required five years before a player is deemed eligible).
Nicknamed the “Pizza Man” because he always delivered, Piazza’s record is as impressive as the rumors are pervasive.
Piazza was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a favor to his father by Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. He was drafted as the 1,390th pick in the 62nd round of the 1988 Major League Baseball (MLB) Amateur Draft. He made his major league debut on September 1, 1992.
In 1993, his first full year in the majors, Piazza won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, hitting an impressive .318 with 35 home runs and 112 RBIs, as well as being selected to MLB’s All-Star game. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday June 2nd, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
JH: Before we get to your questions, we have to send a big shout out to the one and only, Johan Santana. We have enjoyed countless e-mails, tweets and comments on the Mets this year. The Mets faithful have been loud and supportive this year and represent the largest fan base we hear from every week. So this little note is for you.
The incredible Santana, in his first year back from major surgery that threatened to de-rail his career, threw a no-hitter. Not just any no-hitter. But the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. Think about that one. It will boggle your mind. The amount of quality pitchers that have pitched for the Mets over the years is astronomical. Nolan Ryan. Tom Seaver. David Cone. Dwight Gooden. Frank Viola. How is it possible that this team had never spun a no-hitter before? Fate and luck are the biggest reasons. It is not that easy to get a no-hitter. Many things have to go right for a no-no to occur. So finally, in the whole history of this franchise, the Mets have a no-hitter of their own. Plus, it came from not just any pitcher, but one of the best pitchers of our generation. Johan Santana. I can’t say enough good things about the man. He has been as solid as they come over his career. From a Twins ace for all those years, Santana came to the Mets to take them to the promised land. But critical shoulder surgery, combined with the team’s other injuries and off-field issues put a damper on the entire teams and its players. The 29-23 Mets have been amazing this year though. With only David Wright as their leading hitter, this team has been incredible. R.A. Dickey. Frank Francisco. Jon Rauch. Bobby Parnell. Daniel Murphy. The Mets just don’t give up. Now with the no-hitter in the books, this season has turned magical for the Mets and its fans. Santana was on fire tonight. Despite giving up 5 walks, he struck out 8 over a complete 9 innings. He needed 134 pitches to complete the no-no. In front of only 27,069 Mets fans, Santana pitched the game of his life on home turf. Lucas Duda with the home run and 4 RBIs. Daniel Murphy with 2 hits and 3 RBIs. The Mets won this one as a team and the city of New York gets to celebrate the reincarnation of the Miracle Mets. At least for 1/3 of a season to start. Well done Johan Santana, we’re proud of you! Read the rest of this entry
Sunday May 6, 2012
The NY Mets Tribute to the Recent Passing of MCA from The Beastie Boys
Lori Martini(Baseball Writer and @lorimartini on Twitter)- We don’t always remember exactly when certain events have happened in our lives and at what ages, but baseball and music gives us a pretty good reference and timeline as to when certain occurrences took place. It’s no wonder music plays such an integral part in baseball and throughout sports. Being a songwriter myself and having been honored that Justin Turner chose my song “Believe” as his walk-up song all last summer, I can only hope some day more players will walk up to more songs that I continue to write. I remember Derek Bell walked up to “Big Pimpin’” by Jay-Z. I can automatically tell you that the song was released in 2000 and that is when Bell played for the Mets. In fact, I’m such a huge Mets fan that I don’t even have to look at the scoreboard or the plate- I’ll instantly know which player is up to bat or who came in for a pitching change just based on their music choice.
When I started my ballpark chasing in 2000, I followed the Mets to most of the stadiums. I would meet new friends on the road including one of my best friends, Gabriel Lee who not only shares the same birthday (month/day AND year), but he also has a passion for music and manages a band called Ceasefire in LA. I met Gabriel through Rachel (Roa) Apodaca who inadvertently met my friend Indira who I’ve know from Midwood High School and is a fellow lunatic Mets fan like myself in a baseball chat room. I’d go to games with friends and start singing the Mets walk-up songs when they were on the road. I had Rachel and her sister Kristen involved in the whole ordeal when my team was playing against theirs! Gabriel also had a friend, Ted who joined us at Mets vs. Dodger games in LA. Being that I was older I quickly noticed that Ted liked Rachel and I told her that. She didn’t believe me at first, but shortly after they started dating and now they’re married and have a daughter Brianna who is now as big a fan as us (and has a HUGE crush on Matt Kemp….ssshhh). Brianna met him so often that he knows who she is. She even plays softball and wants to be a catcher like Mike Piazza.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer)Follow @chuckbooth3024- Last year when I applied for the MLB FanCave, I did so with mixed emotions. While the job looked like an awesome experience, it also would never be as exciting as going to the baseball games live. Due to my waiting around for MLB’s decision on the chosen winners, I failed to plan for any extensive road trips last year. I am not disappointed that I didn’t win. Mike O’ Hara and Ryan Wagner did a fantastic job and were completely qualified. What the verdict left me was a desire to prove a point that I have been trying to establish for the last 4 years. MLB’s 30 Baseball Parks provide the best marketing tool that this entity may ever want. It is my ultimate goal to show that people would rather go to the games live. Chasing down the Guinness Book of World Record for visiting all parks in the least amount of days has a plethora of emotions that run through ones body. It is both an adrenaline rush and a hyper vigilant anxiety clashing for every day I am on the road.
In my 2 minute video that I sent for the FanCave, I told them that “you either hire me or I am going to end up doing this on my own anyway!” So I intend to go on a 30 MLB Park journey every year from now until MLB decides to pay me a salary. To give our readers the kind of insight and information that make these ballparks the best fan experiences in Major League Sports, I have sought out some of the greatest experts in the field of ballpark chasing. Every park will have a Park Preview, an Expert Interview and a Post Game/Streak Synopsis. Our first expert interview is Lori Martini.
Saturday February 4, 2012
Rob Bland: When Barry Larkin was elected into the Hall of Fame, it was obvious going in that he would likely be included. As it turned out, he was the only player voted in by the BBWAA in 2012. Larkin received 86.4% of the vote, a jump from 62.1% the year before, when he had the highest vote total of those who did not receive the requisite 75%.
The 2013 class boasts 13 players who received less than 75% but more than 5% of the vote to remain on the ballot. There are also 32 new players on the list. Players must have played in at least 10 MLB seasons, and have been retired for 5 full seasons to be eligible for the ballot. Of returning players, the most notable are Jack Morris (66.7%), Jeff Bagwell (56%), Lee Smith (50.6%), Tim Raines (48.7%), Mark McGwire (19.5%) and Rafael Palmeiro (12.6%). It’s hard to imagine that two of the best home run hitters of all time (McGwire and Palmeiro) could garner less than a quarter of the vote, in McGwire’s 7th year on the ballot and Palmeiro’s 3rd respectively. However, due to steroid usage and their laughable performances in a congressional hearing, this is the case.
2013’s ballot gets a whole lot crazier when you add baseball’s all-time home run leader, and possibly best player in history, one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers of all time, the best slugging catcher of all time, and a guy who hit over 60 HR THREE times, and totalling 609 blasts.
Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Mike Piazza. Sammy Sosa. All four of these players have in some way or another been connected with steroids, whether it is pure speculation, or blatant proof. Knowing what we know about McGwire and Palmeiro’s statuses in the Hall of Fame voting, 2013 could prove to be the most heavily debated election year ever. Many believe that players who used steroids should never be elected in the Hall, and all records should have asterisks beside them. Many others believe they should let them in, and that because steroids and PED usage was so rampant in the “Steroid Era” that it doesn’t affect the way they vote.
Jack Morris’s case for the Hall has been so widely discussed that it bears not repeating. He was a good pitcher on some very good teams that scored a lot of runs. Bagwell put up tremendous numbers and has never been proven to be linked to PEDs but is kept out of the Hall because some suspect him of it. Raines is inching closer to being elected, and Lee Smith is nearing the end of his run on the ballot. Since I have already given my vote for 2012, and my opinion has not changed on any of those players, I won’t go into too much detail, other than the fact that I believe Morris will be elected in his 14th year.
Bonds and Clemens would have been first ballot Hall of Famers, no doubt about it. But because of this cloud of PED usage hanging over their heads, it could be a while, if at all.
Bonds’ CAREER OPS 1.051 is higher than every player in the MLB not named Jose Bautista in 2011 alone. His peak season in OPS+ was 268 in 2002. 268! Career OBP of .444. 514 stolen bases. He holds the record for most career home runs with 762. Bonds was a 7-time National League MVP, 14-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glover, and 12-time Silver Slugger. Simply put, steroids or not, Bonds was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and should be treated as such. He should be in the Hall, but may not be elected for many years due to his links to PEDs, his perjury charges, and his overall sour disposition when it came to dealing with the scrutiny of the media.
Clemens was one of the top 3 pitchers in a generation dominated by hitting, along with Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson. He has the highest fWAR of any pitcher (by a landslide) with 145.5 Wins Above Replacement. His 8.56 K/9 ranks in the top 10 all time for starters with over 250 GS. At age 42, (albeit possibly aided by PED) he went 13-8, 1.87 ERA, 185K/62BB, and ERA+ of 226. Clemens won 7 Cy Young Awards while attending 11 All-Star Games and even winning the AL MVP Award in 1986. Clemens was always known for his military-style workouts and his bulldog mentality, but as with Bonds, his links to PEDs will taint his legacy.
Mike Piazza is another case where others have implicated him, and there has been no proof of his taking any PED. Highest career slugging of any catcher in history; .545. #1 in ISO; .237. 7th in fWAR; 66.7. 1st in HR; 427. If these stats don’t make Piazza look like the best offensive catcher in history, I don’t know what else to say. Maybe his .308 AVG and 140 wRC+, 9th and 1st all time for catchers, respectively, will convince you. A 12-time All-Star, Piazza also won the 1993 NL MVP award with the LA Dodgers. He also won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and was voted in the top 10 for the MVP 7 times. Piazza should be voted in the first ballot as well, but, like Bagwell, will likely wait many years even though there has not been a shred of credible evidence that he took a PED.
Between 1998 and 2001, Sammy Sosa hit 243 home runs. 60.75 home runs per year. In the history of the MLB, there have been eight seasons where a player has hit 60 HR. Sosa owns three of them. With 609 career home runs and an OPS of .878, it is no wonder Sosa was regarded as one of the best power hitters of his generation. Sosa played in 7 All-Star Games, won the NL MVP in 1998, and was voted in the top 10 six other times. He also won 6 Silver Slugger Awards. Sosa tested positive for PED use in a 2003 supposedly anonymous survey. Also, not helping his reputation as a cheater is that he was caught using a corked bat on June 3, 2003.
Curt Schilling needs to get a long hard look as well. He was able to amass only 216 wins, but his career 1.13 WHIP and 128 ERA+ are very good. Schilling also compiled over 3100 strikeouts while walking only 711 in 3261 innings. If Jack Morris gets into the Hall of Fame with much lesser career numbers, but gets in on the merits of his Game 7 victory in the 1991 World Series, Schilling should be elected in his first 3 years of eligibility. Before Game 6 of the ALCS in 2004, in which the Red Sox were down 3-2 to the Yankees, Schilling tore a tendon sheath in his ankle. Doctors built a wall of stitches in his ankle to hold the tendon in place so that he could still pitch in the game. Schilling went 7 innings, all the while blood oozed out of the wound through his sock. He gave up 4 hits, no walks, and struck out 4 batters, and gave up 1 run. The Red Sox won the game, and won the series the next night. The game will forever be known as the Bloody Sock Game. Schilling’s performance on one leg was one of the gutsiest events I have ever witnessed in this game.
There are so many other notable names of good to great baseball players, but none should have a real chance of being elected into the Hall of Fame this year…with most likely never getting in. These players include Craig Biggio, Jose Mesa, Roberto Hernandez, Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Shawn Green, Julio Franco, Sandy Alomar, and of course, Jaret Wright. Remember that guy?
2013’s ballot is littered with guys who SHOULD be in, but won’t be elected. Not now, and maybe not ever. Personally, I vote Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa and Schilling. Due to their PED connections, the first four won’t get in, and Schilling may take a few years to pay his dues through the process.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Blandy on Twitter***
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