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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – October 28, 2014

 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Tonight is Game 6 of the World Series.

Those words can bring up so many different memories. Who will be the Reggie Jackson, Carlton Fisk, Don Denkinger, Bill Buckner, Kirby Puckett, Joe Carter, Tom Glavine, Josh Beckett, David Freese or Nelson Cruz of the night?

Meanwhile I all but beg Joe Maddon to take over the Dodgers.

It could be a memorable night that is previewed on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

 

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Even With The Awesome Farewell To Jeter, There Are Others Who Are Hanging Up The Cleats This Year

Paul Konerko announced that the 2014 season will be his last. Konerko has 439 career HR, 1412 RBI, and 6 All Star appearances in his 18 year career. What will most likely not be a HOF career, will certainly go down as one of the best in White Sox history. Konerko was the direct replacement for Frank Thomas.  Konerko is only 16 HRs behind Thomas for the White Sox franchise record.  While he will not reach that mark, his role may increase now with some DH AB.  Konerko, now 38, was a 1998 trade acquisition - with OF Mike Cameron going back the other way.  while Cameron was a nice Major Leaguer in his time.  Konerko should have his number retired by the club, and is the current active leader for HRs hit for just one team.

Paul Konerko announced that the 2014 season will be his last. Konerko has 439 career HR, 1412 RBI, and 6 All Star appearances in his 18 year career. What will most likely not be a HOF career, will certainly go down as one of the best in White Sox history. Konerko was the direct replacement for Frank Thomas.He is only 16 HRs behind Thomas for the White Sox franchise record. Konerko, now 38, was a 1998 trade acquisition – with OF Mike Cameron going back the other way. while Cameron was a nice Major Leaguer in his time. Konerko should have his number retired by the club, and is the 2nd active leader for HRs hit for just one team.(432 HRs) to Albert Pujols (having hit 445 HRs with STL).  His 3 Slash Line for his career is .279/.354/.487 – and he has collected 2340 hits.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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1st off, mad respect to Derek Jeter, for giving everyone a last night to remember on Thursday.  He embodied what a class act superstar should be his whole career.

The MLB world is fully justified to praise him as much as they want. So the ‘hater’s’ will just have to suffer.

I am happy to see a lot of our brethren of website writers all chime in some of the other guys hanging them up too.

Paul Konerko is about us unheralded as their is for a near Hall of Famer these. days.  He is second actively when it comes to HRs for a select team, with his total of 432 bombs for the White Sox.  Only Albert Pujols‘s 445 HRs for the Cards is more.

Only David Ortiz has hit over 400 HRs for one active team besides Pujols and Konerko..

It is only too bad, that the big 2005 World Champion, saw a lot of his power evaporate before he passed Frank Thomas‘s career mark of 448 big fly’s for the franchise.

Still, #14 will be missed, and I definitely will be watching on my computer, with it being “Paul Konerko Day” today (Saturday Sept.27th) at Us Cellular Field. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – June 11, 2014

DanEpsteinPhoto

Dan Epstein, the author of the book Stars and Strikes, returns as a guest for today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Today we talked about Reggie Jackson and his favorite baseball movie, The Bad News Bears.

Buy a copy of his book on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Anthony Rizzo, Collin CowgillA. J. Burnett ,Brandon Workman, Andrew McCutchen, Robinson CanoJake Odorizzi and Drew Pomeranz all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball

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Red Sox Great Dwight Evans Falls Short Of 2013 Expansion Era Ballot For Hall Of Fame

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By Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent)

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On November 4th the National Baseball Hall of Fame released the names of 12 candidates selected to the Expansion Era ballot of the Veterans Committee. 

The Expansion Era is composed of players, executives and managers who made their greatest career contributions between 1973 – present.

Of the 12 selected, any candidate receiving 12 of 16 votes, (seventy-five percent) will gain election into The National Baseball Hall of Fame with a ceremonial induction scheduled for July of 2014.

Dwight Evans Cannon For An Arm

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Triple Play Podcast Ep # 13 – Around The Horn w/OAK/KC/COL/TOR + Bean Wars + The Genius Beane

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Monday, June.17, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast – Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner and Lead Analyst) 

On this week’s show Chuck Booth joins us to break down all the biggest stories in MLB. We also go Around the Horn with Chuck to discuss the A’s, Rockies and Royals current situations and declare the worthy few that belong on their respective Mt Rushmore’s. Bethubb.com best bets end the show as always. Happy Father’s Day!!!!!!!

Intro – 10 Minutes, Toronto Blue Jays talk from 10 Minute to the 18 Minute Mark.  OAK chat – 18 minute – 33 Minute Mark, COL Talk 33 Minutes – 44 Minute Mark.  Kansas City Royals Chart 44 Minutes Mark – 59 Minute Mark.  Late Jays Talk Bethubb Best Bets 1 hour 1 MIN mark to 1 hour 9 Minute Mark.

Quick Facts:  Catsfish Hunter was 7 – 2 in the Post Season for the 1972, 1973 and 1974 World Series Winning A’s – and only 2 -4 with the 3 Post Seasons with the Yankees.  Still 5 World Series Winners was great.  Chuck also meant Ewing Kauffman (Chuck thought his nickname was Charlie in the podcast – maybe because his name his Charlie) when talking about the Royals MT. Rushmore for the franchise.

Yogi Berra did indeed play in 14 World Series and won 10 of them in his Yankees days.

To Keep Reading and Listen to this Podcast click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY or scroll past the Triple Play Logo.

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2 And A Hook Podcast Episode #6: Fantasy, Phillies And Rangers Expert Interviews + Notes

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Friday, May.31/2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

‘2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran) 

People in this Podcast:

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & The Bench Warmers Show (thebenchwarmers.podomatic.com), I started by paying respects to a follower of mine on twitter (the great late Kiley)   who passed away last week…not only she was a great Yankee fan who loved Derek Jeter – but also was the most sweetest giving person ever, R.I.P….

I start to talk about the Subway Series then I interviewed my first guest Derek Jackson (10 Minute Mark  – 20 Minute Segment.   who is a fantasy expert for MLB Reports! We talked about which callups to watch midway through the season,a look at the rookie crop of players & second year players…check out his latest fantasy article here Read the rest of this entry

Adam Dunn: The New Dave Kingman?

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Wednesday, February.06/2013

Adam Dunn has hit 40+ HRs 6 times in his career and 38+ HRs in 8 of the last 9 years. He is the Classic '3TO' AKA 3 True Outs: HR/BB or SO. At The MLB Reports, we call it a 'Dunn Trick' when he does all 3 in a game.

Adam Dunn has hit 40+ HRs 6 times in his career and 38+ HRs in 8 of the last 9 years. He is the Classic ‘3TO’  Guy. AKA 3 True Outs Guy: HR/BB or SO.  At The MLB Reports, we call it a ‘Dunn Trick’ when he does all 3 in a game.

By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent): 

.159 Batting Average, 11 HRs, 42 RBI, 177 SO, $12 Million. Those are the #’s posted by Adam Dunn in 2011 during his first season with the Chicago White Sox in just 415 AB or two-thirds of a season. Quite possibly one of the worst statistical seasons in MLB history. Far from Dunn’s previous season averages leading up to that point in his career:  .248 Batting Average – with 33 HRs and 82 RBI. These were not the #’s the White Sox thought they were getting when they signed Dunn to a 4 YR/$56 Million Contract prior to the 2011 season. Dunn never was a high average kind of guy,  has always struck out a lot (as a lot of power hitters do), but also walks a lot. Much to Dunn’s credit, he turned everything around in 2012 hitting (only) .204, but with 41 HRs and 96 RBI. His turnaround season was a big reason for  Chicago’s success in 2012.

Dunn has been one of the game’s premiere power hitters since 2004. Yet, to this date, has never been on a playoff team. He and the Sox came close in 2012, but fell short behind the Tigers. Dunn surpassed 400 HRss last year for the Sox, ( the same year that his teammate Paul Konerko  hit his 400th. Konerko actually hit his 300th HR in the same game, back-to-back with, then teammate, Jermaine Dye) and has a great chance to surpass 500 HR’s. While Dunn will probably fall short of 500 HRs in his next 2 seasons with the Sox, you have to figure he’ll catch on with a team in 2015 and get there. A common complaint about Dunn is, and has been, his average. Last year Dunn hit a “robust” .204, yet still managed to have an OBP of .333. Not quite as good as his career OBP of .370, but not awful either. For a guy that strikes out as much as he does, Dunn sure walks a lot. Though Dunn walked 105 times last year, his K’s more than doubled that amount with 222.

Adam Dunn  Highlights:  Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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The Most Underrated Statistic: Extra Base Hits (XBH)

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Saturday, February.02/2013

Alex  Rodriguez is the Active Leader for XBH with 1190, however who knows when he will have a chance to resume his career again and is still owed 114 Million Dollars over the next 5 years

Alex Rodriguez is the Active Leader for XBH with 1190, however who knows when he will have a chance to resume his career again with injuries + allegations of PED use perhaps sparking an investigation/suspension for the MLB and is still owed 114 Million Dollars over the next 5 years.

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

I have nothing against sabermetrics in baseball.  Yes I know they are not going away and I will probably learn them one day as someone who can comprehend Math pretty good.  However, I understand the frustration of the casual fan who will not set a foot near them – although they know what Home Runs and Runs Batted In are.  I have thrown the topic out for discussion on Twitter – and am extremely curious to see what percentage of fans actually follow the new numbers formats.  This site totally allows our writers to convey any form of statistical analysis they want.  The only thing that I request, is that if  they use sabermetrics, to also add some regular stats with them.

One of the stats that can gauge any era since the beginning of baseball is Extra Base Hits.  Before the fences were brought in (or even put up), Doubles and Triples could be hit at any time.  Singles are great in the game too.  There have been several great baseball players that are singles hitters, that also compiled a bunch of Doubles and Triples.  That is why this statistic is fairest to all of the hitters in the history of the game and the most comparable.  Like the old saying, (hit’em where they ain’t), players that can hit the baseball into the open areas of the outfield are special.  Babe Ruth re-coined the phrase later when he said “Well they ain’t over the fence, so that’s where I hit them!”  The Bambino was right.  In the course of this article, we will list the top active list for this category – and some underrated hitters that may stack up nicely against historical hitters.

(Pete Rose Highlights):

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The Patrick Languzzi Interview: The Man Behind The Petition About The Dwight Evans For The ‘BBHOF’ Candicacy Campaign

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Sunday, January.13/2013

Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Jim Rice and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their piers and BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) but are trounced on by the ballooned 'Steroid era" numbers.Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Jim Rice and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their piers, (offensively and defensively) plus BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) - but are trounced on by the ballooned 'Steroid era" numbers.

Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Will Clark and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their peers, (offensively and defensively) plus BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) – but are trounced on by the ballooned ‘Steroid era” numbers.

By John Tuberty – Special Guest Writer and Cooperstown Correspondent (Owner of The Wesbite Tubbs Baseball Blog, please view here . )

Under current Hall of Fame voting rules, the Expansion Era Committee meets once every three years to vote on retired players who are no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA, have been retired 21 or more seasons, and made their biggest contributions to the sport after 1972.  In addition to the retired players, the Expansion Era ballot also includes retired managers, umpires, and executives from the post-1972 era.  One player who is eligible to be included on December’s Expansion Era ballot is former Red Sox Right Fielder, Dwight Evans.

Despite owning impressive career totals such as 385 Home Runs, 2,446 Hits, and 8 Gold Glove Awards, Evans struggled to draw support in BBWAA Hall of Fame voting and fell off the ballot after failing to draw the necessary five percent needed to stay on the ballot on a very crowded 1999 election.  However in recent years, Evans has become a popular Hall of Fame debate in the sabermetric community and several articles have been written in support of his overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy.  One particular writer, Patrick Languzzi is spearheading a campaign to put Dwight Evans on December’s Expansion Era ballot.  Languzzi, who writes for MLB Reports as the Hall of Fame Correspondent, created his own website, Call to the Hall, which is devoted to bringing awareness to Dwight Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy.  Languzzi even started a petition which calls for Evans to be selected as one of the twelve finalists on December’s Expansion Era ballot.  Languzzi was nice enough to take the time for me to interview him about his Call to the Hall website and petition.

JT: Patrick, you, along with Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe were recently interviewed by Tom Caron on the New England Sports Network (NESN) to discuss Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy (see link below).  What was that experience like?

http://nesn.com/2012/12/dwight-evans-hall-of-fame-candidacy-languishes-with-veterans-committee-video/

PL: The experience was validating for me, meaning, when I started this project, I never imagined it would have gone as far as it has, and gotten the attention it’s drawn.  It’s great to see that I’m not the only one that feels that Evans’ case deserves to be revisited.

JT: You mention in the NESN clip that you got a chance to meet Dwight, what can you tell us about meeting him?

PL: Through all of my research, I’ve gotten to know Evans, and what I’ve found is that he is extremely humble and unwilling to discuss himself as a possible Hall of Fame candidate.  He was humble as a player too.  A good example of this is the clip from the 1987 All-Star game (see link to clip below) when Dwight fields a fly ball and fires a strike to home plate, Tim Raines the player at third holds from tagging up.

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Part 1 of a Series: All-Time All-Star Teams By Regionality

 

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

Baseball Book Review: “The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” – By Robert W. Cohen

Sunday November 11th, 2012

“THE 50 GREATEST PLAYERS IN NEW YORK YANKEES HISTORY” –  BY ROBERT W. COHEN

The Scarecrow Press, Inc.:  2012

 

Jonathan Hacohen:  I’m going to start off this review with a little disclaimer. Despite the similarities of our last names, there is no relation between myself and author Robert W. Cohen. He is a Cohen, I am Ha-Cohen. Fortunately, our surnames is not the only thing that links myself to Robert. After reading his prized book “The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” (or as I shall call the “50 Greatest Yankees” for the rest of this review), we have a common admiration for the team in pinstripes. Truth be known, for a person loves baseball- they can’t help but respect and follow the Yankees. The history, traditions and of course, the superstars that have played in the Bronx over the years. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t stop talking about the Yankees when a baseball history conversation is in play. 

With the final pitch of the 2012 World Series having recently been thrown (and watched for a called third strike to end the game…and season), I found myself with the opportunity to complete the 50 Greatest Yankees. We were fortunate to have Robert W. Cohen appear on MLB reports back in July with a Guest MLB Blog to discuss the book. Now it was time for me to complete the book and discuss it with you, the readers. The timing couldn’t be better, considering that the Christmas holiday shopping season is around the corner. If you want to really impress the baseball fan in your life with a great gift, the 50 Greatest Yankees will certainly be a home run for you. A detailed history of the 50 greatest players to ever put on a Yankees uniform? This is a subject that every baseball fan will want to cover in great detail. Read the rest of this entry

Pablo Sandoval: A Tribute to Panda’s Historic World Series Night

Wednesday October 31st, 2012

Luke Whitecotton:  When I mention Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols, what words come to mind to describe these guys? Probably legends, greatness, clutch hitters, and champions. Now what if  I asked the same question about Pablo Sandoval or better known as “Kung Fu Panda”? You can say champion. But legend,clutch hitter and greatness might not be anywhere near your radar. What if I  told you he had one of those magical October nights? One that people in and out of baseball will talk about for years to come, and something those other greats did not do. Would you say that I was crazy, or maybe a little out of my mind? Well, maybe- but Pablo Sandoval was a legend, great, and a clutch hitter on a special October night in San Francisco. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Special World Series Edition

Saturday October 27th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, 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!

Jonathan Hacohen: In a few short hours, Game 3 of the World Series will be played from one of my fave parks in baseball, Comerica Park in Detroit. It has been a very interesting season and playoffs for me. While I readily admit that I bleed blue and orange, I did not pick the Tigers to make the playoffs this year. That fact usually stuns other Tiger fans. “How can you support the team and not pick them to win the World Series”…that is a question that I am often asked. The answer is simple: while I enjoy Comerica and have a soft spot for the Tigers, I am first and foremost a baseball writer. Baseball fandom is not something that one can turn on and off like a light switch. But if one is going to do their job properly, they need to stay fair and impartial. So while my heart wanted the Tigers to win the AL Central, my brain said that the White Sox were this year’s team of destiny. Goes to show that you never know what will happen in baseball. 

As the Tigers kept winning, I kept doubting them further. So just to prove a point, Detroit swept the Yankees in the ALCS and made it to the World Series as the favorites. At that point, I saw the Tigers beating the Giants, likely in 5 games to win the World Series. But then a couple of pitchers named Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito came along. They proved that the Giants had a ton of fight in them, They also proved that I had no business trying my hand at any predictions during the 2012 playoffs. The Giants are up 2-0 in the series, with Ryan Vogelsong taking the mound against Anibal Sanchez. My heart and brain are saying that the Giants will win big tonight and jump out to a 3-0 lead. Does that mean that the Tigers will win one and get back into this series?  We will find out very shortly.

A great pitching matchup tonight, with Ryan Vogelsong and Anibal Sanchez as the probable starters. Sanchez has enjoyed a great run as of late for the Tigers, while Vogelsong has been solid for the most part. I am seeing here a big win for Vogelsong. He is a great success story for the Giants, their version of R.A. Dickey. Having watched Sanchez implode on too many occasions, I have a hard time trusting him. Although he is batting for the almighty free agency contract, so perhaps he has a quality start in him. If the Tigers don’t pull it off, they have the near impossible task of facing Matt Cain on Sunday down 3-0. Max Scherzer will take the mound tomorrow night for the Tigers. He could be helping the Tigers even the series 2-2, or watch the Giants sweep their way to another World Series championship. In a short series, anything can happen.

Given the amount of World Series questions that we have received this week, I decided to feature the most popular questions surrounding the Tigers and Giants. If these guys can make it to the finals, the least we can do is discuss/analyze them.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

“The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History” – By Robert W. Cohen: Guest MLB Blog

Thursday July 12th, 2012

“THE 50 GREATEST PLAYERS IN NEW YORK YANKEES HISTORY” –  BY ROBERT W. COHEN

A sneak peek, courtesy of Amazon.com:

The New York Yankees are Major League Baseball’s most renowned and successful franchise. Baseball greats such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter have all worn the famous navy blue and white pinstripes. The Yankees have won 27 World Series championships, and 29 players who spent at least a year with the team have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. With so many Hall of Famers to choose from, selecting the best players in the history of the franchise might seem impossible; yet that is exactly what Robert W. Cohen has done in The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History.

This book carefully examines the careers of the players who made the greatest impact on the most successful franchise in the history of professional sports. The ranking was determined based on such factors as the extent to which each player added to the Yankees legacy, the degree to which he impacted the fortunes of his team, and the level of dominance he attained while wearing the Yankee uniform. Features of The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History include

  • Each player’s notable achievements
  • Recaps of the player’s most memorable performances
  • Summaries of each player’s best season
  • Quotes from opposing players and former teammates

Yankees fans and baseball fans in general will find The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History a fascinating collection of bios, stats, recaps, quotes, and more. And with such iconic figures as Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Alex Rodriguez, and Andy Pettitte, this book is sure to inspire debate and controversy among true Yankees fans.

Robert Cohen:  Although I have been interviewed on numerous occasions to discuss my previously published works, I have never before been presented with an opportunity to speak directly to baseball fans – a group with which I closely identify. Therefore, I would first like to thank MLB Reports for giving me this chance to address those fans of the game that frequent their website.

Considering the fact that I first began writing professionally some 10 years ago, it probably came as a surprise to those people who know me best that it took me this long to write my latest book, The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History. A huge fan of the Yankees since my childhood days, my earliest memories of the sport center around the team’s fall from grace during the mid-1960s. While I have vague memories of watching the 1964 World Series on my family’s old black and white television, I recall far more vividly the dark period that followed, when the Yankees typically finished in the American League’s second division with a roster littered with mediocre players.

Nevertheless, even those Yankee teams featured a few standout performers, with players such as Mel Stottlemyre, Bobby Murcer, Roy White, and Thurman Munson helping to keep them respectable. And some of the great players from New York’s glory years still remained on the team at the beginning of that period, including Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and Elston Howard. Read the rest of this entry

The Future of the Oakland A’s: The Mustache Gang Meets the Bash Brothers – Revealing Billy Beane’s Master Plan

Saturday July 7th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Baseball is a funny sport for many reasons. One particular reason is opinions. One minute a person can be a hero, the next a goat. A genius can turn into an idiot, seemingly overnight. In the world of Major League Baseball, we love building up our heroes. The next minute, we are cutting them down to the knees. An example of this the swing in popular opinion comes from out west. Famed baseball General Manager, the one and only Billy Beane. I have been thinking about Billy for some time. Ever since Moneyball the movie was due to be released, I couldn’t help but notice the reports that were coming out on the A’s GM. The man once hailed as a baseball genius, was now being mocked in many circles. Here he was, being immortalized on the silver screen by none other than Brad Pitt. Yet in real life, the 2011 MLB season was about to end and Beane’s team was near the bottom of its division, finishing a whopping 22 games out of first place. Had Billy Beane lost touch with the modern game? Did other teams catch up finally to his systems and tricks? Could a competitive team be impossible in the modern game on a shoestring budget? When Billy Beane should have been recognized in one of his finest professional moments, more questions than answers circled around. But in typical Billy Beane fashion, the A’s GM kept a low profile and stuck to his guns. He had a plan. This man always has a plan. He just wasn’t ready to share it yet with the baseball world. 

If you read and/or watched Moneyball and followed recent Oakland A’s teams, you might think that you have the Billy Beane equation down. Great pitching and patching together a lineup/offense. But as the salaries climbed with the big pitchers, turnover and replenishing of the farm system became the norm. In recent years though, all those supposed great pitchers did not always pan out. Combine that with a line of prospects that were not panning out, and Oakland A’s fans started to cry out for relief. Attendance at the Coliseum has reached embarrassing levels in recent years. The stadium is considered aged and obsolete. The A’s have been trying to move to San Jose and without a new stadium, declared that they could no longer keep a viable team running past their designated salary structure. So seemingly until the new stadium would get approved, the star players would get moved out quicker and the A’s would become a glorified farm system for the rest of baseball. Remember the Montreal Expos? Good…so does Billy Beane.

The Expos in their competitive days, the peak coming in 1994, had a strong and balanced lineup and pitching staff. All of its young players came up at once and developed together into a dynamic superstar team. Moises Alou. Larry Walker. Ken Hill. Wil Cordero. Pedro Martinez. The team was stacked to say the least. If not for the cancellation of the playoffs that year, some people believe that Major League Baseball would still be in Montreal. Yes, that Expos team had a great pitching staff. But it also had an unbelievable young and powerful lineup. Somewhere in his mind, Billy Beane has kept a memory alive of that Montreal Expos team and the system that developed its players. Billy knows it because he is re-creating it right now in Oakland. Right under our noses and many of us are not even feeling it. Read the rest of this entry

Mike O’Hara Interview: Memories of the MLB Fan Cave Experience

Sunday March 4th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Ah to live the American Dream. Imagine the feeling of being able to sit in a room, filled with televisions. All of them are playing baseball. Not only that, but real life baseball players come to your pad to visit you and hang out. Welcome to the world of Mike O’Hara. Overnight, Mike went from Yankees fan to living in the MLB Fan Cave in New York. Along with his wingman Ryan Wagner (an Orioles fan), Mike was the inaugural winner of the MLB Fan Cave contest. Despite thousand of applicants, Mike was the lucky one to have his submission chosen. From Irish Punk Rocker to MLB employee. The job? Watch baseball. Tweet baseball. Blog baseball. Interview celebrities. Mike got to do it all. Truly an experience of a lifetime. Something that all baseball fans dream of…but few will ever experience.

With the 2012 MLB Fan Cave winners about to be selected, we took some time to speak to Mike today on his MLB Fan Cave memories. From getting the call to join the Cave, hanging out with Ryan, his favorite celebrities and future plans. We got to cover the whole gauntlet of experiences in this one. The feeling is a bittersweet one, at least from a fan’s perspective. While we are looking forward to all the changes to the Cave and the new hosts, we will have a void left now that Mike O’Hara has departed. He was with us throughout the 2011 season. A baseball fixture and icon. Now the characters in the Cave are changing, but the baseball love for Mike O’Hara remains as strong as ever. Mike was a great choice for the Cave. Well done MLB! He brought energy and life to the Cave. We have to remember, Mike and Ryan were working in the dark so to speak. They had to learn on the fly, as the whole MLB Fan Cave experience was new and developed around them. Mike helped blaze the trail for all future Cavemen and Cavewomen. The MLB Fan Cave is here to stay. But when we look back to remember its roots, the story will always begin with the name Mike O’Hara.

Today on MLB reports, we proudly present our good friend and newly anointed MLB Fan Cave Alumnus, Season One winner- Mike O’Hara:

How did you find out that you were first selected for the MLB Fan Cave? First reaction?

I was on tour, the band was playing Chicago…I got the call on St. Patrick’s Day morning. I was really excited to have booked the job, a bit confused as to what I would be doing exactly…but happy as heck to be working for Major League Baseball and moving back to New York City.


Did you know when you first came on board that you would have a sidekick?  Did you have any input in Ryan’s selection?

I didn’t know I’d have a partner in the Cave…again, I wasn’t sure what the Cave was going to be. They kept saying it will be whatever you want to make it. When I got the call saying I was the “Caveman” they asked what I thought of Ryan becoming my “Wingman”. I had only met Wagner a few days before, he seemed like a good guy so I was all for it…heck, he spent that whole day auditioning right along with me, so I was glad I’d have someone to take the ride with. Ryan is a great guy and I’m glad to have worked with him.


Initial impression of Ryan Wagner?  Friends throughout the process and did you live and work together?

I thought he was a good dude. He knew his sports and liked good music. I was curious as hell to hear about his days on tour with The Wizard of Oz…It seemed like a strangest trip anyone could take and he has a truck load of funny stories…including how they make the Witch melt…That one I can’t share with you. Apparently if you spill the beans flying monkeys show up at your door and throw you a beating “Goodfellas Style”.

Working together was pretty easy. We lived in the same building and were sharing an experience that nobody had ever gone through before. The great thing about working with another performer is that you know how to find your space and get a moment to yourself. Wags and I shot pool, played Bag O and even some late night wiffle ball…which we probably shouldn’t have…I blame Jon Rauch…long story. Bottom line is Ryan is a guy I will always know. We had a great time and became friends.


Ryan becoming the new PA for the Orioles…pretty exciting stuff eh?

I was so excited to hear that news. He loves the Orioles the way I love my Yankees, but Ryan also has a deep love for his hometown and bleeds B’more. I think it is a case of good things happening for good people. And I wish him a Bob Shepard-esq career as the voice of Camden Yards. He’ll do great.


Favorite part of the cave when you were there?

I’d have to say working with our writers and producers. It was a really creative space. On top of watching baseball, which was awesome, I was constantly writing and collaborating with two unbelievable friends and writers, Gideon “G Money” Evans and Dave “The Coach” Benson. From our EP Bobby “Brooklyn” Maurer, Endemol Producers, Editors and all the great PA’s and interns we had at Fan Cave I’ve made friends for life.  And on top of that we had the wonderful folks at MLB. Jacqueline Parkes and her amazing team (Ann, DK, Felicia, Stephanie, Dana, Jason, Lance, Matt, Lauren, Jeff, Kim, Colin…) keep us feeling at home throughout the season. It was truly a family in many ways. Can’t beat that!


Favorite celebs that you met as part of the cave- baseball and non-baseball

Meeting Goose Gossage and Reggie Jackson was something I’ll never forget. Growing up a die-hard Yankee fan they were mythic heroes to me…Goose even named my dog Thurman. It was surreal. But whether it was sitting with DMC, cracking wise with Judah Frielander and Jim Breuer, or having Less Than Jake as our musical guest there were too many unbelievable guest and moments to mention. And the friendships I made with the players, Joba Chamberlain, Jeremy Guthrie, Jon Rauch, Jose Bautista…yeah, it was an amazing day every time I went to work.


Anything you would have differently looking back at the experience?

I am pretty focused and driven…I say if I could do anything over again, I would have tried to relax a bit more…I just wanted it to be such a hit that I would get tunnel vision and forget to stop and enjoy it all.


What was the feeling like leaving the cave? Anxiety or relief? Do you miss it?

I felt like it was time to go…turn over the keys to the next Caveman or woman and move on to whatever comes next. I miss it there, but more because I don’t get to see those great people everyday. A wise man said, “You never want to stay at the party too long.” I loved every minute of Fan Cave Season 1 and will never forget it.


What have you up been up to since MLB Fan Cave season one completed?

I have been auditioning for shows and touring a bit with The Mighty Regis. I hope that some of the stuff I did at Fan Cave will help open some doors, but either way I’ll keep looking for my pitch and swing away…sorry for the baseball metaphor…I watch a lot of baseball.


What is the future of Mike O’Hara?

I hope for some great things…I’d love to have a show that brings the worlds of Sports, Pop culture and Music together…that’s my goal. I guess we’ll see.


How are active are you in season 2- do you have input in selections at any stage?

I am a spectator. I’ll watch and cheer them on. I have no say in who, what or why, but I wish them all the best and to have as much fun as Wags and I did.


How many of the candidates have you met?  Who are your faves?

I have gone back and forth on Twitter with a few of them and they all seem like fun-loving, qualified folks. To pick a favorite would be poor form…but it seems that the ladies brought their “A game”. So I would bet there is a solid female force in Fan Cave 2012.


What improvements would you/ did you suggest for the MLB Fan Cave?

I really didn’t offer any…that’s not my call and the MLB people have a clear vision of what the Cave will be year to year. I would only say…maybe put in a batting cage…it would cut down on late night wiffleball games…again Rauch did it.


When the MLB Fan Cave was first conceived, it appeared to be a dream come true for the hardcore baseball fans. Did the dream become a reality?

That’s a great question…I’m still chasing my dream but Fan Cave 2011 was as close to catching it as I’ve been. It’s like winning a World Series Championship I guess…once you get that feeling you want it every year. I can’t thank MLB enough for the opportunity to have been the Season 1 host.


How is your life different now, having been part of the MLB Fan Cave?

It’s great to say I worked for MLB….not too many people can say that. As of now only one other, Wags, can say they were the first to work at The Cave.


Final question:  Final tips for all future MLB Fan Cave Dwellers?

Be who you are and make the Cave yours…the season is long, 2430 games…and the next thing you know…it’s over. Enjoy the ride!


***Thank you to Mike O’Hara for taking the time today to speak with us on MLB reports.  You can follow Mike on Twitter (@mikeyoh21). On behalf of MLB fans everywhere, congrats on the stellar job you did as the first ever host of the MLB Fan Cave. We look forward to catching your next projects and will miss you greatly on the Cave. Best of luck Mikey Oh!***

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Founder & Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.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.

My 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: Blandy’s Picks

Friday December 23rd, 2011

Rob Bland:  According to Baseball-Reference, there are 27 former Major League players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  13 of these players are new on the ballot.  Every year only one or two players are inducted, but this year, there should most definitely be more, although it is doubtful that the BBWAA actually induct more than two.  In order to be elected, a player must receive 75% of the total votes.  If a player receives less than 5% of the vote, or if he has gone 15 years without receiving the 75%, he is then taken off the list.

Of the newcomers, there is one player who deserves any attention; however I do not believe that he should ever be elected to the Hall.  After all, the Baseball Hall of Fame is supposed to be the best of the very best.  Career .297/.381/.477 hitter with 4 Gold Glove Awards in a premium position?  Seems like an almost lock to make it.  However, Bernie Williams and his World Series rings was not GREAT.  He was merely very good, on some great teams.  


Of the returnees, only two players received 50% of the votes, where 75% is necessary to be enshrined.

My list of players I would vote for, as well as near-misses are as follows:

Barry Larkin received 62.1% of the votes last year, and will likely be in by 2013.  Larkin played a premium position (shortstop), a 12-time All-Star, 9-time Silver Slugger, 1995 National League MVP, all while playing parts of 19 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.  Seems pretty obvious to me.  YES.

Jack Morris is on the ballot for his 13th time, and I am really not sure how he was able to get 53.5% of the vote in 2011.  Sure, there is something to say about a durable innings-eater with 254 career wins, but upon closer look at his stats, he does not deserve to be in the Hall.  With an ERA+ of 105, a 1.296 WHIP, K/9 under 6, and K/BB of 1.78, he doesn’t scream “elite”, but good pitcher who came up huge in clutch situations.  NO.

Jeff Bagwell is still shrouded in controversy as many members of the media continue to believe he took steroids.  I am a guy who doesn’t believe in the asterisks or the stripping of records for those who did such things.  With a career .948 OPS and 149 OPS+, to go along with 449 home runs in 15 seasons, NL Rookie of the Year in 1991, NL MVP in 1994, there is no way he should be kept out of the Hall.  YES.

Edgar Martinez is a tough case because of the fact that he was predominantly a designated hitter in his career.  Therefore, he added basically zero defensive value over the course of his 18 year career.  However, upon looking at his stats, he more than makes up for it in offensive production.  With a career slash line of .312/.418/.515/.933 and OPS+ of 147, he was one of the best pure hitters of his generation.  He may not have been the most prolific home run hitter, but he mashed doubles in Seattle throughout his career at a very high rate.  YES.

Tim Raines was a great lead-off hitter.  Over 23 seasons, he reached base at a .385 clip, and stole 808 bases.  Between 1981 and 1987, it is hard to imagine a better hitter atop the line-up.  In those 7 seasons, he stole 504 bases, averaging 72 per season, including 90 in 1983.  However, his production (while still good), fell off dramatically at this point of his career.  Because of this, it is tough to vote him in.  NO, although very close.

Larry Walker is one of the all-time greatest Canadian players, and I feel as though this could be extremely biased.  Regardless of the fact that he played in Coors Field in the mid to late 90’s where balls soared out of the stadium at an alarming pace, Walker put up some incredible numbers.  Walker’s OPS+ of 140 with a slash line of .313/.400/.565/.965 is pretty ridiculous.  (OPS+ is adjusted to the hitter’s ballpark, so it shows just how ridiculous he actually was).  The 1997 NL MVP should be the second Canadian in the Hall after Fergie Jenkins.  YES.

Fred McGriff is in his 3rd year of eligibility, only received 17.9% of votes last year.  The Crime Dog was never flashy, but he was a consistent performer year in and year out for his 19 seasons.  Between 1988 and 1994, he never hit under 31 home runs (including 34 HR in 113 games in the strike-shortened 1994 season).  He was consistently a very good player, but unfortunately for him, he was never considered to be an elite first baseman, which is what the Hall of Fame stands for.  NO, but very close.

Mark McGwire.  The most controversial choice on the ballot, is my last selection.  Although he has admitted that he has taken steroids, and has been the hitting coach of 2011 World Series Champs St. Louis Cardinals, many believe he should not be in the Hall.  However, a career .982 OPS and 162 OPS+is enough for me.  The 11-time All-Star hit 583 home runs, and his career 162-game average was 50 home runs.  There is no way I would keep him out of the Hall, but there are many others who will do everything to keep him out.  YES.

The 2012 Hall of Fame class will be more stripped down than my version, with the potential of zero players getting in. Barry Larkin may have a better chance in 2012, due to the fact that he will not be overshadowed by Roberto Alomar, who received the third-most votes of all time to be enshrined in the Hall, with 523.  Stay tuned for the results when they are released.

***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***

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  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.

My 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

Sunday December 18th, 2011

Sam Evans:  2012 brings several new candidates to the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.  One thing that really annoys me about the current voting process is that it can take up to fifteen years for a player to be elected. So instead of saying that a player should/could be elected in the future, I’d rather they be elected right away.

For any Hall of Famer, I think they need to have at least ten seasons where they were one of the best players at their respective position. Also, if there is indisputable evidence of them using steroids, then I won’t vote for them.Without futher ado, let’s get to the players:

Mark McGwire: My vote is a no. Given his steroid use, I can’t bring myself to support one of the most dominant hitters of the 1990’s.

Barry Larkin: Larkin is a yes for me. From 1988 to 2000, he was the best shortstop in all of baseball. Yes, even better than Cal Ripken Jr. Larkin was a twelve time All-Star and he won the 1995 NL MVP award. In 2011, he received 62.1% of the BBWAA votes. He only needs about 13% more of the votes to make it this year, and it would be pretty surprising if he didn’t get in this time.

Jack Morris: Jack Morris is not a Hall of Famer. Jack Morris did show America that a starting pitcher can win clutch games for his team all by himself. In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series against the Braves, Morris threw a ten inning shutout. This probably was the greatest World Series performance of all-time. However, when you look at his overall numbers, they’re just not that impressive. A career ERA of 3.90 and only 39.3 career WAR are just not enough for the Hall of Fame. Morris will always be remembered for his great clutch performances, but he doesn’t deserve to be a Hall of Famer. 2012 will be his twelfth year of eligibility, and he actually has a decent chance to make it. In 2010, he received his highest percentage of votes to-date, with 53.5%.

Edgar Martinez: My vote is a yes. Without Edgar, who knows if we’d still have the DH? You can read more about Edgar and the Hall of Fame in my previous article here.

Jeff Bagwell: This is a very easy yes for me. Bagwell collected an 83.9 WAR in his career. That is more than Derek Jeter and Reggie Jackson. Bagwell was an extremely consistent player, who won a ROY and MVP award. As of right now, Jeff Bagwell is the best player who played his whole career in the state of Texas. In his first year of eligibility, “Bagpipes” received 41.7% of the voters votes. He will definitely make it in the next couple of years.

Bernie Williams: Bernie Williams is a hesitant yes for me.  I have only liked two Yankees players in my history of fandom. Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams. Williams played the game every day like there was nowhere in the world he would rather be. Williams played about league-average defense, yet won four Gold Gloves due to his stature as a Yankee. Williams won four World Series and is now a superstar Jazz musician. However, the athleticism of Williams never translated into him being a great center fielder. Williams was solid at what ground he did cover, but he never really covered as much space as a center fielder should. Williams had a disappointing -109 TZ (total zone; a stat used to find how much ground a player covers) over the course of his career. However, Williams should be a Hall of Famer because of his loyalty to his team and helping break the Puerto Rican-American barriers. Williams was never the best player at his position, let alone his team, but he was a shining star in an era in which we needed one. This will be Williams’ first year of eligibility.

Bill Mueller: No chance I would vote for Mueller. Bill Mueller only played eleven seasons and he never even made an All-Star team. Every Hall of Famer should have at least fifteen years to their resume. Mueller was a decent player and he helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, but he was not a Hall of Fame type player.

Larry Walker and Fred McGriff: Walker is a yes for me, and McGriff is a no. You can read more about these players in my previous article here.

2012 should be an interesting year for Cooperstown. There are probably three players that could be elected this year and they all deserve it. Lost in all of the comparisons of players from different era’s, we often forget how good all of these players were. Instead of criticizing people’s opinions on who deserves a vote, we should just appreciate all of the players’ individual greatness for what they are.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  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 Sam on Twitter***

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan onFacebook .  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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