Like us on Facebook here
Wednesday July.03 /2013
By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): Follow @ryandana1
Our new ‘Lead Baseball Columnist’ Chris Lacey wrote about the Morneau and Willingham Trade Market yesterday here – and it had me thinking who else could be on the block – and my thoughts on those guys?
Much like the last article I wrote on the Chicago Cubs trade candidates, the Minnesota Twins will be in selling mode too as the 2013 trade deadline approaches.
With that being said, the Twins have less selling to do. Twins fans will remember they already did some of that this past offseason.
The Twins have a record of 36-44 just 7.5 Games Back of 1st place. However they are in 4th place only ahead of the Chicago White Sox, and it is my belief that is where they will end the 2013 season.
They won’t upgrade their Major League roster via trade this year, but they may add to the talent in their farm system which is growing to be pretty strong.
The Twins had the 4th ranked farm system at the start of the season according to Baseball Prospectus.
I’m not sure how much to trust the rankings because they have the Yankees ranked above the Red Sox which is laughable in my opinion, but my points stand, they are still in the rebuilding process and are doing well at it.
St. Louis, MO
I never thought anything was going to equal the previous day. We had arrived back at my brother’s house to spend a quality morning with my nieces and nephew—and Trent’s wife Kristy before returning to the road. It was a quick trip from Philadelphia to St. Louis. It was going to cost us a fortune to all take the shuttle into the Hilton at $17 each-so I got us on the next transportation shuttle bus, and then negotiated a deal with Budget to give me an extra few hours head start on the 24 hour time line airport rule—so I would not have to return after the St. Louis game to pick up the Mini-SUV, which had been the original plan.
Budget was awesome to let me have this deal early. I am a Fast Break member with them-and have/had spent a lot of money with them. We got a Mitsubishi SUV. My brothers thought it was a little small, but for a $65.00 rental that started out in St. Louis and ended up the next day in Minnesota-it was a great deal. Yes we had a five-hour drive from St. Louis to Chicago tomorrow, but we were all tough guys. I once again told them-“welcome to my world.”
That day in St. Louis was myopic. My brother Trent knew a guy at head office St. Louis, and that gentlemen made a few calls and arranged for my dad and I too receive ‘Field Passes’-and to be interviewed by Fox-Sports Midwest. I was almost in disbelief of that option, but it was now going to happen later that day. This experience was even better because none of us had been to new Busch Stadium-so all of us were there for the first time. Overall it was my 29th stadium so I only had “The Ballpark In Arlington” for stadiums left to complete my active 30. Much like Coors, Safeco and AT&T Park, the red-brick around the whole Stadium at Busch Stadium is top-notch. Read the rest of this entry
US Cellular Field
I had a tip from my brother Trent early on in the planning stages, that the United States airline companies often ‘sand-bag’ their flying times to destinations to take jet-way delays into consideration. More often than not, the airlines are able to beat the scheduled arrival time by many minutes. I actually used a tool on the internet called ‘Flight Tracker’ to watch the very flight I was on to see if this was a correct statement. I watched this exact flight land 4 weeks in a row, all approximately 15 minutes earlier then the 6:32 PM time it was supposed to arrive on that day. That day I was not as lucky. It was after all a ‘Chicago Airport.’ Still at a 6:30 PM arrival-I had about 40 minutes to first pitch. I had called in a sedan service to pick me up from ‘MIDWAY’.
True to their word, there was a young guy in his twenties waiting for me in the arrival gate and he escorted me through to the limo stand at a running pace. I saw it had started to rain and weather was something I would always keep my eye on during transportation throughout the trip. Read the rest of this entry
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on Twitter)- The Montreal Expos were a model franchise from 1979-1994. They only finished under .500 in 3 seasons out of 15 in this stretch of time. The club simply drafted better than any other Major League team. Long before the Oakland Athletics and Billy Beane came up with MoneyBall, or the Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays showed us that you can have good runs with your baseball teams on a shoe string budget, the Expos wrote the book on it. The Expos were forced to trade away their best talent when they came up for free agency or lose them outright. There was no way the team could ever re-sign the players. It wasn’t even in question. The province of Quebec said good-bye to Hall of Famers: Pedro Martinez, Vlad Guerrero, Tim Raines and Andre Dawson in the prime of their careers with nothing back in return as Free Agents.
Gary Carter was the 1st great player to be traded by the club after the 1984 season. Other great players like Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Moises Alou and John Wetteland were jettisoned out the door as part of a 1995 Firesale after the strike/lockout because the team could not pay them after a massive loss in revenue at the end of the 1994 season. With the clock ticking on the Expos brass (financially as soon as the lockout was lifted) the ownership could not pay the bills! It is a sad commentary on this franchise that the two big work stoppages in 1981 and 1994 stifled this franchise-perhaps the most out of any team in the MLB. It all ended up costing the Expos the team and/or a chance to build a brand new ballpark in the downtown core to ever revitalize the interest of the avid baseball enthusiasts in Montreal. This fan base had suffered enough and they made the baseball club pay for it at the turnstiles. They had suffered 7 losing seasons at Jarry Park, a 2 billion dollar scam gone wrong in what was Olympic Stadium, a park that was supposed to be a modern-aged retractable roof that never materialized at all and Quebec was left with the bill. I don’t blame the fans for walking away from the game after the 1994 strike. They had supported the team through many of trials an tribulations-only to be disappointed time and time again by the economics of baseball.
There is a lot more of this article past the video clip, just click on: READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY
For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos Hitters: click here
For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here
For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here
For Part 5 of the Article Series, The Nats Best 25 Man Roster 2005-2012 click here
A nice tribute video to the club!
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- At first look you might not think that Vancouver could support a Major League Baseball franchise, but there are a few things to consider. With a surrounding area population of 2.5 Million, it is one of the biggest cities in the USA or Canada not to have a team. Of course when you are looking at the viability of a franchise submission/or relocation, you must look at the facility that the baseball would be played in. With newly renovated B.C Place Stadium-(see http://www.bcplacestadium.com/,) and its $600 Million Dollar Renovations, it is one of the most impressive structures in North America now.
The building itself is estimated to be worth over a billion dollars. It’s clear, retractable roof, with an incredible look to detail inside the building with 22 inch stadium style seating has all of the modern amenities that a new age fan would want. The facility features several new Skyboxes for corporate suites, and brand new concession stands that would be an extremely good revenue generator. The stadium’s surface is made up of Field Turf, and could be converted to meet baseball specifications. This stadium is a turn-key situation unlike any other in North America when it comes to a baseball ready facility.
Major League Baseball has gained in popularity over the last 20 years in the Lower Mainland with turning out MLB’ers like Larry Walker, Jeff Francis , Ryan Dempster and Brett Lawrie all coming from this area. Also in Canada, you have 3 TV networks that have an all-sports format in www.thescore.ca, www.tsn.ca and www.sportsnet.ca that would gladly love to fill content on their networks by bidding for television rights on a new baseball team in Canada. There are enough talented sports personalities to fill in solid coverage. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday May 23rd, 2012
Sam Evans: There is a reason Delmon Young was selected with the first pick in the 2003 Amateur draft. Young has always had the potential to be a perennial All-Star, but he has never been able to sustain success over the course of a couple of major league seasons. Now, at twenty-six years old, Delmon Young is barely hanging on to a starting major league job. What’s in store for this former top five prospect in all of baseball? Keep reading to find out.
When Delmon Young was drafted out of high school back in 2003, the Rays made a smart choice taking him #1 overall. Even though things didn’t go as planned, the Tampa Bay organization drafted the most talented player available. Young possessed a rare combination of all five tools. The younger brother of MLB slugger Dmitri Young, Delmon could hit for power and had a strong arm, which projected well for a future corner outfield position. After a couple of impressive seasons in the minors, one of which he was suspended fifty games for hitting an umpire with his bat, Young finally reached the majors with the Rays organization in 2006. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024) -After logging 65,000 miles from planes, trains, subways, Buses and other methods of transportation in one month, I am left with some thoughts about certain companies. I don’t believe in trashing a company based on one incident or a rogue employee, so I will leave the negativity for a future travel book. I will say that my four favorite travel companies helped me tremendously. I am not just saying this because they helped me out on my trip, I wrote about the same four companies in my book ‘The Fastest 30 Ballgames.’ I am also happy to say that these companies had no blame for the half of dozen mishaps that caused me cancellations or delays during the streak. The mishaps were a poorly executed plane de-boarding at IAH airport that cost a doubleheader attempt in Texas. The second plane issue was some sort of mechanical failure that the airline gave up after 30 minutes of trying only in San Diego. The worst blunder was having the seat belt of the first officer not close properly cause an hour delay. Other mishaps were a failure to understand car rental procedures right in Cleveland costing me an hour delay. But that wasn’t as egregious as a hotel chain overcharging me three separate time for a hotel booking even though I cancelled way in advance. All of these are about the average for the amount of traveling . The four companies that stood above the rest are: Southwest Airlines, Air Tran Airways, Best Western Hotel Chain and National Car Rental. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday May 1st, 2012
Sam Evans: The Twins have made it obvious they have no plans of contending this year. Their whole infield is pretty depressing and the pitching staff has looked awful. Minnesota doesn’t have an amazing farm system, but they do have some pitchers that probably will be in the majors in the coming years. Here is a review of a couple of the top Twins pitching prospects.
Madison Boer, RHP, A-Ball: Madison Boer is a twenty-two year old right-handed throwing starting pitcher. He was drafted in the 2011 2nd round out of the University of Oregon but he was born in Minnesota. His fastball sits in the low-90′s and he also has a slider and a splitter. Last year, in fifteen games pitching in relief in Rookie ball, Boer struck out thirty-one of the sixty-seven batters he faced.
In 2012, Boer has gotten off to another hot start. Facing A-Ball hitters, Boer has posted a 3.31 FIP. Unfortunately, his strikeout rates have not been close to where they were in 2011. This year, Boer has faced one hundred and sixteen batters, and only struck out twenty. He’s only had five starts, but his strikeout rates will definitely be something to watch this year. Overall, Boer could turn into a solid #3 starter for the Twins. I’m sure the Twins would be thrilled if they could get that kind of value from a second round pick. Read the rest of this entry
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-I had a lot of fun prospecting for the best interview experts amongst the friends network that I have in at http://www.ballparkchasers.com. I must say that I knew that Stephanie was a big fan of the Twins, I just didn’t know how far back her fandom went with the club. I was asking questions about the team since the Metrodome days us until now. Stephanie has been a fan since the team moved there from Washington. It was then I knew that having Stephanie as an expert for the Twins was the right decision!
CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Target Field Expert Interview Stephanie. Please tell us about yourself and then give us some information on your life as a Twins fan?”
SC: “I’ve been a Twins fan since I attended my very first Bat Day at Metropolitan Stadium in 1971. (With thousands of bats pounding against the old metal decks, I remember it being extremely loud!) As a kid, I would listen to the Twins game on my transistor radio after I went to bed; now, as a middle-aged woman, I keep track of the Twins via radio, TV and/or Internet.” Read the rest of this entry
If you build
They will come!!
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)- If you are a baseball fan, chances are you have seen one of the best baseball movies all time in “Field Of Dreams”. From sitting on the same benches of Kevin Costner, to viewing the Field that happens to have been built after plowing down a corn field, this place is a perfect day trip for the avid baseball fan! One story I heard was so good I am passing it on to you.
A group of baseball players that played ‘extras in the field’ during the filming of the movie continued to play a regular Sunday night game after the picture went to Hollywood. Tourists liked this idea so much that they asked the Land Owners if they could have the players play every year.
The following year, and unbeknownst to a 300 passenger bus of Japanese Tourists (in the middle of the night mind you), the group of ball players walked through the cornfields and reached the grass in the outfield as the tourists gasped with nervous energy. The tour guide never told this group that these players were to arrive. The Japanese tourists cheered feverishly as the players took the field and played.
The Japanese tourists were so impressed with the caliber of play (and for what these ball players had done for them), that they hired these two teams to travel all throughout the Japan year-round and play exhibition style games. All of the extras (who all had played semi-pro in some fashion) had a great career now. Even to this day, there is a new generation of men playing with the old style “Sox” jerseys.
Fly into Milwaukee via Air Tran on any flight you can find from the best Airline in America. Try to tie it in with the Chicago teams, Milwaukee, St. Louis or Minnesota on a baseball vacation. Luckily for you, Milwaukee is one of the cheaper cities to rent a car, and/or pay for lodging. Use Priceline (www.priceline.com) to bid on your hotel rooms-and you will be amazed at what price you will only have to pay.
To drive to the Field of Dreams Movie Site will take you about 4 hours from the Milwaukee International Airport. The park is still as beautiful as it was when the movie was a hit nearly a quarter-century ago. This amazing landmark must be on a baseball fan’s bucket list. Not only is it a fantastic attraction- but there is no cover charge to see the Field!
Those who visit are welcome to bring bats, balls and gloves to break out in a pick-up game. Visitors from all over will just come and do the same. Be sure to buy something from the gift shop on your way out as that is how the kind landowners are able to keep up the maintenance of this truly amazing ballpark in Iowa.
*******There is a Best Western in Dodgeville, which is a 90 minute drive North East from this movie site-where you can stay for under $100 a night. Dodgeville does have a Walmart and is one of the nicest heritage towns in America.
So be like James Earl Jones & Kevin Costner and GO THE DISTANCE!!!!
*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “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 click here for Chuck’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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.