Blog Archives

Confessions Of A Ball Park Chaser – 2015 Edition Part 2: Why I will See 220+ MLB Games in 2015

This was taken fora news paper article.  It was in June of 2008.  I was in the best shape of my life mentally and physically..

This was taken for a news paper article. It was in June of 2008. I was in the best shape of my life mentally and physically..

We finished off earlier in the week about the chance for me to play NCAA Baseball that was foiled by knee problems and concussions.  Looking at reconstructive knee surgery in late 1994, I was seeking a second and third opinion on the matter.  If you have to read that blog to catch up it is available right here. 

On a night in Sept of that year I was in the wrong place at the wrong time helping a friend move.  I was a victim of a serious home invasion.  It was truly a life or death situation at points.  It ended with all of receiving baseball bats to the back of the head before they left.

In the minutes after it was over, I was on an adrenaline rush, so I never realized how much damage had been done with the impact.  I did go to the hospital that night, but we never wanted to divulge that much information about what happened to us.  I was given some painkillers, and I passed a quick eyeball test with the doctor in the emergency room.

I stayed up for almost 2 days straight.  Previous head injuries had told me not to sleep that much if all.  I drank alcohol and took painkillers. at will.

When I went to work 3 days later, I knew I was in trouble.  I started having vision problems and felt nauseous.  Within 3 months – I stopped working entirely and didn’t want to leave the house at all.  I never went to my knee appointments, as I had gone through similar symptoms with my brain after a concussion at 16.  Worse part of the whole ordeal, was not demanding a CT scan on the night of the incident. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Expansion, Possible Destination: Portland, Oregon

Portland:  One of the largest cities without a team, this would be a safe bet for Major League Baseball.  This city has been thrown around in almost every discussion on expansion.  This one will likely happen.  The population is over 625,000 -  but it has a couple more Million in the Metropolitan area.

Portland: One of the largest cities without a team, this would be a safe bet for Major League Baseball. This city has been thrown around in almost every discussion on expansion. This one will likely happen. The population is over 600,000 – but it has a couple more Million in the Metropolitan area.

Jordan Gluck (Baseball Operations Analyst): 

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MLB Expansion Destinations: Portland Oregon

The second city I think is a contender for MLB expansion is Portland Oregon. I think that MLB in the next 8 or so years will expand to 32 teams with one team absolutely somewhere on the west coast.

I think the west coast is a necessity due to division alignment and that the Astros who are located in the central time zone are in the American League West. Which West Coast team is the answer that we don’t know about yet.

I will Clarify that Portland WILL NOT receive the Oakland Athletics!!!!!!!!!!!

Portland due to high precipitation will require a retractable roof stadium. I would make the stadium kind of funky like the young “hip” town of Portland which is commonly referred by its natives as “Portlandia”. Read the rest of this entry

Looking Back At Some Of The Highlights From The Mariners 2013 Season

As Safeco Field closes it's roof for the season, let's take a look back at the brighter moments from the Mariners abysmal 2013 season.

In 2014, the Seattle franchise will be welcoming in a new coach – as Eric Wedge will not be returning for another year as the team’s skipper.  As Safeco Field closes it’s roof for the season, let’s take a look back at the brighter moments from the Mariners abysmal 2013 year – in which they finished 71 – 91, only good for 4th in the AL West.

Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

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The Seattle Mariners 2013 season left a lot to be desired.

The Mariners continued to lose fans as they didn’t play competitive baseball for the majority of the season. However, there were some memorable highlights and breakout performances that made the Mariners season slight more bearable.

Here’s a look back at the more enjoyable aspects of the Mariners 2013 regular season. 

SEA @ OAK: Farquhar fans Cespedes to lock down the save

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The Safeco Field Guide For Canadians (Or People Traveling From Vancouver) + Exemptions Between USA – Canadian Borders

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now.  It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great - in what has been a brutal decade.  The club sees thousands of fans yearly heading down from B.C. Canada.  If you don;t know the rules and have a game plan, it can be a grueling and costly trip.  We are here to help arm you with the best economical way how to arrive there, with savings to time and effort

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now. It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great – in what has been a brutal decade. The club sees thousands of fans yearly heading down from B.C. Canada. If you don;t know the rules and have a game plan, it can be a grueling and costly trip. We are here to help arm you with the best economical way how to arrive there, with savings to time and effort.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst and Website Owner)

Going through the border is never easy.  Doing this while also attending a MLB baseball game makes it that more challenging,

In the next two weeks, I will write a guide for travelers going from the Border to Washington State (via White Rock B.C.) – to also going to a multitude of parks from 2 different crossing (via Ontario: Sarnia or Niagara Falls).

As a Canadian myself, I have pulled off these maneuvers dozens of time.  There is an art to it.

Today we are going to talk about heading down to Seattle.

Safeco Field

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The Orioles’ Best Time To Strike Is 2013 Or 2014: Especially While The Yankees Are Down!

Chris Davis was awarded a 1 YR/$3.3 MIL contract in Arbitration for 2013, but based on his possible 55+ HRs and 130+ RBI. exactly what stratosphere of money will he enter based on those totals.  The Baltimore franchise must consider 2013 - 2014 to be their best chance for a deep playoff run.  After this year, Davis will be making megabucks in 2014 and 2015 - before hitting the Free Agency Market in 2016

Chris Davis was awarded a 1 YR/$3.3 MIL contract in Arbitration for 2013, but based on his possible 55+ HRs and 130+ RBI. exactly what stratosphere of money will he enter based on those totals? The Baltimore franchise must consider 2013 – 2014 to be their best chance for a deep playoff run. After this year, Davis will be making megabucks in 2014 and 2015 – before hitting the Free Agency Market in 2016.  Hardy and Markakis are signed through the 2014 year, while other salaries only escalate – including Matt Wieters becoming eligible for Arbitration next season.  Whenever you have a team where the nucleus is all around the same age, you have team control on $$ for only a short period of time.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst and Website Owner)

Buck Showalter is no dummy.  There was a reason why he flew off the handle a few weeks ago – when he showed bitterness towards the Yankees receiving salary relief via the Alex Rodriguez suspension.

With a mind like his, he realizes the Yankees had painted themselves into a corner for a few seasons, and one of the biggest reasons why, was the albatross of a contract for #13.

The Yankees are sure to receive the ‘biggest get out of jail free card’ ever – and Buck is eyeballing the fallout. Showalter should be asking management to go for it now.

I have been talking all season (and prior to) about the O’s not having a #1 ace, and it will cost them extensively.

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A Look Back At Ken Griffey Jr.’s Time As A Mariner

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Tuesday, Aug 13th, 2013

Former Mariners great, Ken Griffey Jr. walks in from center field as he is introduced during a ceremony inducting him into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame prior to the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Safeco Field on August 10, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.

Former Mariners great, Ken Griffey Jr. walks in from center field as he is introduced during a ceremony inducting him into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame prior to the game against the Brewers at Safeco Field on August 10, 2013 in Seattle.

Sam Evans ( Baseball Writer and Marlins, Mariners Correspondent):

Ken Griffey Jr. is without a doubt the greatest player in the history of the Seattle Mariners. From his breathtaking defense in center field, to the 417 home runs he hit with the franchise,

“The Kid”  truly was a five-tool talent and one of the most electrifying players in the game. While his career might not have ended perfectly, Mariners fans will never forget what he did to help bring playoff baseball to Seattle.

In honor of Griffey being just the seventh player inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame on Saturday, here’s a look back at Griffey’s thirteen seasons in Seattle.


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Why Felix Hernandez Is So Important To Seattle

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Monday March.11,  2013

Felix Hernandez has finished in the top 4 for AL CY Young Voting - including taking home the Award in 2010.  He is 59 - 40 in the last 4 years,

Felix Hernandez has finished in the top 4 for AL CY Young Voting – including taking home the Award in 2010. He is 59 – 40 in the last 4 years,

By Jon Schifferle ( Mariners Correspondent – visit his own personal website here.)

Although many Mariners fans are already very excited about the Felix Hernandez deal (as they should be), there are a few reasons that some may not see.  There are very few true aces in the MLB right now, but the Seattle #1 pitcher is definitely one of them. This signing of the former AL Cy Young Award Winner was paramount to the teams long-term stability. 

This could have definitely proved detrimental to the franchise for ever signing a Free Agent again if they lost #34.  Having said this, if Hernandez goes down for significant portion of this contract term do to injury – it would obliterate the organization at a $25 MIL per year clip.  The future of the next decade is firmly held with the big man

Felix Hernandez Commercial:

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How to Fix the Attendance Issues At Safeco Field

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

a  a safeco field

Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

The Mariners home attendance at Safeco Field has decreased each of the last five years. In 2003, the Mariners were 93-69 and averaged over 40,000 fans per home game. Last season, Seattle finished 75-87 with an average of  roughly 21,000 per game. What can the Mariners do to bring fans back to the ballpark and revitalize baseball in Seattle?

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What MLB Park Will Be The Next To Host A WrestleMania?

Wednesday, October.31/2012

Wrestlemania 18 (At SkyDome) was Hulk Hogan vs ‘The Rock.’ Hogan was his heel face character  ‘Hollywood’ Hogan from his NWO days in the WCW for the event. The fans of Toronto gave the Hulkster several standing ovations for his entrance and as well for the Match. He was the most popular wrestler in Canada that day. While he lost to Dwayne Johnson in one of his best contests of his career, this match gave the WWE the idea to turn him Baby Face Again. The next week “Hulkamania” was reborn with Red and Yellow.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I have previously mentioned that baseball and wrestling was my entire life as a young kid in the 80’s.  To me, nothing was bigger than the World Series every fall or WrestleMania every spring.  In 1990, the city of Toronto hosted WrestleMania 6 at the (NEWEST) ballpark in the MLB,  “The SkyDome.”  Back in the day, the building was considered state of the art.  I mean they were the 1st park to carry McDonalds as a fast food joint for a concession, they had luxury suite hotel rooms (in which some people forgot to draw the curtains to in heats of passion) and everything was big league.  So when almost 68000 fans packed into SkyDome to watch the 1st ever WrestleMania in Canada (and also an MLB Park), it was an un-believeable atmosphere.

Wrestle Mania 6 The SkyDome–Photo Courtesy of WWE

Now I lived in Calgary at the time, yet I had seen my first MLB Game in 1989 at the SKYDOME.  I would have loved to have been in that audience.  I watched the events transpire from CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) in a big Restaurant in Calgary.  (Yes people, there used to be no black box that you would be able to buy ALL PPV events on.) 


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2012 Trade Deadline Update #7 7/31: League, Snider, Thames, Soto, and More

Tuesday July 31st, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Monday night and Tuesday morning turning out to be a busy one for MLB General Managers! Here are the flurry of deals before the MLB Non-Waiver Trading Deadline:

Brandon League to the Dodgers

With the Giants talking to the Mariners about League, I think the Dodgers traded for him just so the Giants wouldn’t get him. They really don’t have a reason to get him other than that. Their bullpen has been solid this year with Kenley Jansen holding it down at the back and Josh Lindblom highlighting the other relievers. League would’ve been key for the Giants. They lost Guillermo Mota at the beginning of the year for 100 games due to his second failed drug test, Sergio Romo has been a bit shaky lately, and Santiago Casilla hasn’t been the best closer. Not to mention Brian Wilson went down with an elbow injury after only a few appearances. Although League hasn’t been the best this year (0-5 with a 3.63 ERA) he will definitely help strengthen the already strong Dodger bullpen. After acquiring Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Dempster, the Dodgers are definitely ahead of the Giants in my mind. For League, the Mariners get OF Leon Landry and RHP Logan Bawcom. Landry this year in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga has hit .328 with eight homers and 51 RBI, and Bawcom has gone 3-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 27 games with Double-A Chattanooga. League was removed from the closer’s role in Seattle in favor of Tom Wilhelmsen earlier this season, so losing him won’t drastically affect the Mariners. League is apparently owed $1.85 million for the rest of this year.

Eric Thames to the Mariners

Right after trading League, the Mariners went ahead and traded Steve Delabar to the Blue Jays for outfielder Eric Thames. Thames adds some more youth to the Mariners and looks like the fourth outfielder right now. This year, in 42 games, Thames is hitting .243 with three homers and 11 RBI. The Blue Jays add to their bullpen after getting Brandon Lyon and J.A. Happ (who can either start or come out of the bullpen) from the Astros. Delabar held a 4.17 ERA in 36.2 innings for Seattle this year. Neither team seems to be going anywhere, so it looks like each is building for the future, as each player is signed through 2017.

Travis Snider to the Pirates

Snider went to the Pirates for reliever Brad Lincoln right before Eric Thames was traded. The Blue Jays seem to be bolstering their bullpen by getting rid of young outfielders. Snider started the season in Toronto last year before being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, and stayed there until recently being called back. The Blue Jays must have finally given up on him after he hit .225 last year and .235 this year in nine games. Snider will join the mix of Andrew McCutchen, Alex Presley, and Starling Marte in the outfield for Pittsburgh. The Blue Jays get reliever Brad Lincoln in return, who has gone 4-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 59.1 innings this year. He’s only 27 so he should be with Toronto for a while.

Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to the Braves

After losing out on Ryan Dempster, the Braves went out and got Paul Maholm, who has been doing well for the Cubs going 7-4 with a 3.74 ERA. The Braves also received Reed Johnson. Johnson has hit .307 for the Cubs this year and will join Jason Heyward, Michael Bourn, and Martin Prado in the outfield. He should serve as a fourth outfielder and possibly come in late in games as a pinch hitter. The Cubs will get Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman. Vizcaino went 1-1 with a 4.17 ERA with the Braves last year. Chapman, this year for Triple-A Gwinett, has gone 3-6 with a 3.52 ERA in 53.2 innings.

Geovany Soto to the Rangers

Soto will go to the Rangers after they designated catcher Yorvit Torrealba for assignment. Soto will primarily catch while Mike Napoli will see some time at first base. Soto struggled this year for the Cubs, hitting just .195 with six homers and 14 RBI. He makes $4.3 millon this year. Hopefully for the Rangers, Soto will put up better numbers than Torrealba, who hit .236 with three homers and 12 RBI. The Cubs will obtain pitcher Jacob Brigham, who went 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in124 innings for Double-A Frisco. Soto just wasn’t cutting it for the Cubs; maybe he’ll have a fresh start with the Rangers.

***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, Baseball Writer & Facebook Administrator.  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 Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***


Please e-mail us at: 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.

Is Zack Greinke Worth $100 Million?

Friday April 27, 2012

Ryan Ritchey: The question for all the teams in the major leagues is if Zack Greinke is worth the $100 million that he is going to want…and likely get. With Greinke being a free agent at the end of the season, does he want to stay with the Brewers or does he want to test free agency. At the age of 28, he could get the big 7 -year deal he is seeking. But it won’t be worth 100 million. He could end up getting around $80 million with a great season in 2012. With a 16 win season last year and off to a pretty quick start this season, he is showing the league what he’s got. With Fielder leaving though, I don’t see him staying with the Brewers after this season.

The big question about Greinke is whether he can stay healthy. Last season was his best season in terms of wins, but he didn’t get to the 200 inning mark that every pitching coach wants his pitchers at. If he wants to be the ace that every team is going to want him to be, he is going to need to be a 200 inning guy. I can see Greinke being the guy that throws those 200 innings year after year but the only way this happens is if he can stay consistent and get batters out. Read the rest of this entry

Chuck Booth’s 30 MLB Park Quest: (Games 16-21)

The Streak stands at 23 MLB Parks in 18 calendar days!!

Chuck Booth:  I am the World Record Holder for-Fastest to see all 30 MLB parks in 24 days (2009)!

In 2012, I am going for 30 MLB Parks in 23 days from: April 6th to 28th.

Follow me-@chuckbooth3024 on twitter

Follow my streak all the through to the bitter end.  Schedule is this link: or at my official website for all updates!

Tuesday April.24/2012

Ken Lee, Chuck Booth and Doug Miller all at Safeco Field for the game #18 in 14 days on April.19/2012. (They would later be featured on TV several times above the King’s Court Seats. ) Chuck also had a special welcome wave from the TV Jumbo Tron and was given a free gift bag from the Seattle front office.

MLB Park # 16 Day # 12

CHC 2 @ MIA 3


New Marlins Ball Park

‘Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twiter)- It was a great day for a new baseball park.  During this trip, anytime that I have had a single game only for a day, I have felt a little bit more relaxed while watching the action.  I flew into FLL (Fort Lauderdale Airport) really early and caught up on some writing.  I was fully rewarded with my National Car Rental to the tune of a Chrysler 200 that was black in color.  I made my way to my Best Western Hotel near the airport.  Check in time was not till 3 PM, but I was able to coerce the staff to let me take a room early.  I really appreciate the professional way the Best Western staff always helps me in the travels. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview With Safeco Field Expert Doug Miller

Thursday April 19, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024)- Doug Miller is another Pacific West guy that exemplifies what it is like to be a ball park chaser.  Living on the this side of the mountains forces you to exercise every single one of your travel tricks to make it to all of the MLB Parks you can.  Doug has made it to the majority of the current parks.  He is knowledgeable, a class act and it is a shame that the baseball world does not hire this man and use some of his skills.  Today Doug is our Safeco Field Expert and the subject of our featured article.

CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Doug. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as Mariners ticket fan?”

DM:You bet, thanks for having me!  It’s funny, but I wasn’t a baseball fan when I was a kid.  I played some Little League for a while, but was awful at it.  Right Field all the way.  Ha-ha.  I had some friends that were on the baseball team in high school and I really started getting into the game in a different way.  This was back in 1988-1992 –- I didn’t know this interview was going to make me feel old!  I knew a few guys from school that got drafted, so I paid more attention because I thought I could be watching these guys in the Kingdome someday, whether with the Mariners or the couple of other teams they got drafted by.  My enthusiasm was ramping up, I’m in college and watching games at WSU, I’m hitting a handful of games in Seattle during break and then BOOM, the strike.  I was happy when it started back up, and by the time I got out of WSU, baseball was just a way of life for me.  Since then I’ve hit close to 50 ballparks, but Safeco Field is my home away from home.”

CB: “You have been to nearly all the baseball park. Besides Safeco Field, what has been your favorite other ballpark so far?”

DM; “Definitely Fenway, with Wrigley as a close second.  One of the things about the game that I really love is the history.  It’s hard to argue with the history of the franchises and these parks.  I had my first games at Petco last year and was really surprised at how much I liked it.  I thought it was going to feel kind of forced, you know, with the whole retro vibe so many parks have gone for, but I really liked it.  There are a ton of parks I like for different reasons, like Citizens Bank in Philly.  Without a doubt the best smelling park in baseball!  I could talk ballparks all day long, I know you’re the same way!” Read the rest of this entry

Ichiro Suzuki: What Happened in 2011 to the Mariners Superstar and Looking to 2013

Friday September 16, 2011



Sam Evans (Intern – MLB reports):  When Ichiro Suzuki came into the league in 2001, people did not know what to expect from him.  He exceeded any and all expectations, becoming the second MLB player all-time to win rookie of the year and MVP in the same season.  The next eight years seemed easy for Ichiro; the highlight moment coming when he set the all-time hits record in a single season record in 2004 with 262.  Not to mention, he became the first player in MLB history to have 200 hits in ten straight years.

Going into 2011, few analysts considered Ichiro’s production tailing off drastically.  Sure, he was 37 years old, but he might be in better shape than any other player in the majors.  In April of this year, Ichiro batted .328 and stole ten bases.  However, in May and June he batted .210 and .282 respectively.  This season has turned out to be Ichiro’s worst year in the majors by a large margin.  From 2001 to 2010, he never hit below .303.  In 2011, he’s hitting .272 with 5 HR and 72 RBI.

Ichiro’s production relies on his ability to get on base and create havoc on the base paths.  Last year Ichiro had 53 infield hits, while this year he only has 32. Even though Ichiro’s 32 infield hits currently leads the majors, it is still the lowest total Ichiro has ever had in his career.  It is not like these are cheap hits either, as former Detroit Third Basemen Brandon Inge commented to the New York Times on August 22,2009, “I wish you could put a camera at third base to see how he hits the ball and see the way it deceives you. You can call some guys’ infield hits cheap, but not his.  He has an amazing technique.”

One of the arguments that has been set out in attempting to explain Ichiro’s decline this year has been that he is getting slower and slower.  I disagree with this statement.  He is on pace to steal 43 bases, which is right around his career average.  In the field, Ichiro may have gotten a tad slower, but I think that is due to his taking bad angles to the ball, rather than a decline in his abilities.  However, while not attempting to insult Ichiro as a player, it is apparent though that his intensity is a definitely a lot lower this year.  This leads to the following conclusion in my opinion; Ichiro Suzuki is a human being.  He is playing for a Mariners team that has not reached the playoffs since 2001.  He has consistently been playing about 150 games a year, not including spring training.  It seems like no matter how good of a season Ichiro has, the players and team around him are disappointing.  After all, we are talking about the Mariners.  A player can only take so much losing at a certain point, even the great Ichiro.

One factor explaining Ichiro’s off-year is bad luck.  This is his first year with a BABIP under .300 (Ichiro’s career average is .352), and according to Baseball Info Solutions, he has lost more hits than any other big leaguer on “good fielding plays.”  No matter how you read the stats, the bottom line is that Ichiro has had a pretty bad year by his standards.   He has played below-average defense, and at times looked lazy in the field.  His On-Base-Percentage is at a career low .312, and he would  need an incredible 30 hits in his last 13 games to reach 200 again.  To make everything worse, Ichiro turns 38 in October.

Next year, will be interesting one for Ichiro Suzuki.  It is his contract year and the Mariners are starting to acquire some legitimate pieces around him.  A playoff year is probably out of the question, but a .500 year is very possible.  Personally, I think he will bounce back and hit over .300 with another 200 hit season.  With a better surrounding cast, I see glimpses of the old Ichiro returning.  I don’t think he’ll ever return to the level he was on in 2004, but as long as he stays interested in the game, I think he will be an above-average right fielder for the next five years.

Without a doubt, Ichiro is a first ballot Hall-of-famer.  He is the only player to have ten straight seasons of 200 or more hits.  He also holds the all time record for hits in a single season with 262.  Ichiro’s contract runs out at the end of 2012.  The main question I believe is whether he will want to keep playing in North America.  His friends and family are back in Japan, where he is a fashion icon.  If Ichiro does continue to play baseball, I would be shocked if it were for a team outside of Seattle.  When his career is finally over, most people will remember Ichiro for helping break the barrier between professional baseball in Japan and MLB.  Overall, I expect most will remember Ichiro as being the greatest Japanese baseball player of all time.



***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, 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: 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.

The Man Behind the #10 Jersey – Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles

MLB reports:  It is not every day that I have the opportunity to correspond with a Gold Glove winning major league all-star, but over the last couple of weeks I got to do just that with Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles.  Getting to know Adam and hearing his thoughts on the game, his career, and team was fascinating to say the least.  The story begins as follows.

Adam, one of the most fan friendly MLB stars on twitter, started to converse with me on my usual favorite topic, baseball.  I was instantly drawn to his easy going personality and zest for life and the game.  After some messages back and forth, I brought up my blog and the interview articles I prepare on MLB reports. Being the cool cat that he is, Adam suggested he would love to help out a young writer and agreed to be interviewed for this profile piece.  After some research, back and forth emails, and analysis, here we are today.

We covered a range of topics on the career of #10, which I am about to jump into further.  Discussing topics ranging from the baseball influences on his career, his greatest accomplishments, goals, and areas of improvement, Adam did not hold back in his answers.  Considering Adam was both an All-Star and Gold Glove recipient in 2009, it was astounding to find that he did not have an ounce of attitude in his answers.  This is a player that is still humble at the age of 25 and works towards improving every facet of his game.  The combination of baseball skills, work ethic and positive outlook, I believe will translate into a limitless future for one of baseball’s young bright stars.

One of the first questions that I asked Adam was to name the baseball player he most idolized growing up and patterned his game after.  Born and raised in San Diego, California, to no surprise Adam named Tony Gwynn.  However, the reasons behind his response did perk my curiosity.  Baseball was not a sport that Adam “followed too strongly until approximately the age of 12” and only then, Gwynn was more a player that Jones had heard of than followed.  When asked to expand, Adam explained that “I’ve hit with TG [Gwynn] for a few off-seasons now since I’ve been drafted.  We have a tight group that hits together at San Diego State University.”  As far as the influence Gwynn had on his game, Adam indicated that “what I’ve learned is myself.  I’m not the hitter that he [Gwynn] was and that’s not my mentality.  We’ve just had discussions of thought processes and having the ability to take a step back and let the ball come to you.”  When breaking down the comparisons between Jones and Gwynn as players, his response becomes even clearer.

Tony Gwynn, a 2007 Hall of Fame inductee, played in 15 All-Star games, was the recipient of 5 Gold Gloves and 7 Silver Slugger Awards.  Gwynn also ended his career with a .338 lifetime average.  Jones, at the age of 25, brings a different game to the table.  Gwynn is a difficult, if not impossible, player to emulate and Jones is realistic in this regard.  The Gold Glove and All-Star appearance are already there with the promise of more to come.  Adam’s batting average has slowly risen every year of his career to a high of .284 in 2010.  With the right approach and discipline, .300 + is well within his reach.  Like Gwynn, Jones does a bit of everything, including hitting for power and stealing the occasional base.  Similar to Gwynn, Jones’ on-base percentage is dependent more on base hits than walks.    The more I compare the players, the standard that Gwynn set for his career is one that I feel that Adam can strive towards.  The bottom line on Gwynn is that the man could just plain hit.  Jones, working his way up the major league ladder, could follow in the Gwynn’s footsteps, even if Adam does not implicitly try to do so.

My follow-up question asked Adam to name the current MLB star that he most admired.  Based on Adam’s statistics and game style, I would have bet the answer was going to be Torii Hunter.  Guess what?  I was right.  But again, the reasons behind his answer threw me.  According to Adam, “there aren’t enough good things to say about him [Hunter].  But my favorite attribute about him has nothing to do with baseball.  That what he does for a living.  It’s his character.  He [Hunter] is a true leader on and off the field and is highly respected.”  My correlation between Adam and Hunter centered on their similar statistics and abilities on the field, in contrast to Adams’ vision of Hunter as a person and leader.  Hunter, a 4-time All-Star, 9-time Gold Glove winner and a Silver Slugger recipient, as a youngster in many ways mirrored the player that we see in Jones today.  In his breakout year in 2001, Hunter had a batting line of 27 home runs, .261 average, 82 runs, 92 rbis, .306 obp and .479 slg.  Jones, in his 2009 campaign had a line of 19 home runs, .277 average, 83 runs, 70 rbis, .335 obp and .442 slg.  Although not entirely the same, as hitters Jones and Hunter showcased several similarities in those respective years.  The following is Hunter’s average season in the major leagues: .275 batting average, 25 home runs, 89 runs, 95 rbis and 17 stolen bases.  Considering what Adam has accomplished to-date, these numbers are surely attainable and possible for him to exceed.

 Adam indicated that he knew Torii very well and some of his favorite characteristics of Hunter was that “he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played”, “not a guy that makes any excuses.” Adam mentioned Hunters’ upbeat attitude, and that his’ “favorite thing is that he smiles all the time.  He shows he is happy doing what he loves to do.”  Hunter’s personality has definitely rubbed off on Adam in a positive manner and reflects in his attitude and demeanor on and off the field.  If I had to include a caveat, however, it is the holes that Hunter has in his game that Adam would be well served to avoid in his own play.  Although Hunter is a strong home run hitter and has the ability to score and drive in runs, he has traditionally not hit for a high average or been able to get on-base at a consistent clip.  By working with Tony Gwynn, Jones should focus on raising his own level of base hits and batting average to compensate for a lack of walks.  At this stage of his career, it will be interesting to see if Adam becomes a high average and/or home run hitter as he progresses.

With the above comparisons in mind, I asked Adam what he considered to be his greatest baseball skill(s) and aspects of his game he most wished to improve.  Rather than name a specific on-field capacity, Adam named his “lack of fear” as his greatest trait.  Adam believes that, “others should be a better evaluator of my skills.  I just play.”  This answer fit well within his stated areas of improvement, whereby Adam indicates, “I really want to improve on everything.  I need to steal more bases or be more aggressive.  I need to play better defense.  To get better judgment at the plate.  The best part about baseball is that there is always something to improve on.”  A star player that believes he can improve in every area of the game.  How refreshing.  When I pinpointed particular areas in his game, Adam responds by mentioning that he’s, “never been a high home run guy or walks or stolen bases.  I’ve always played my game and that’s got me to where I’m at now.  Adjustments are needed to be made in order to stay at this level so I am constantly trying to improve on something.”  Whereas Gwynn, known as “Mr. Padre” and “Captain Video” for dedicating enormous amounts of time  to studying video and his approach at the plate, Adam indicates the danger in thinking too much. While he does video, it can often lead into over-thinking and therefore Adam tries to avoid “thinking about hitting when in the batter’s box.” Let the instincts take over. An interesting and old-school mentality as a player, rather than trying to work on specific components, Adam works hard at improving all aspects of his game.

I was curious as to what Jones considers his greatest accomplishment to-date in baseball and what goals he had for the 2011 season.  His 2009 Gold Glove ranks as the top accomplishment, because as Adam says, “it was decided by my peers.”  For the upcoming season, Adam is focusing on, “playing harder than I have.  For me in sports, I feel that if I play every day, the numbers take care of themselves.”  I didn’t get the sense that Adam is the type that checks the box score every day to break down and categorize his own statistics.  This is a player that is driven to play as hard as he can every day and simply focuses on helping his team win.  Plain and simple.

Playing under Buck Showalter should only serve to further Adam’s approach to the game and lead to big things for him and the Orioles as the year approaches.  Showalter, a 2-time MLB Manager of the Year, has a career 916-856 record in 12 seasons.  Dissecting the numbers even further, in his 2nd year as a manager at each of his three stops, Showalter attained 88 wins with the Yankees, 100 wins with the Diamondbacks and 89 wins with the Rangers.  Going into year two with the Orioles, Showalter will work to bring the same strong attitude and success to Baltimore as he has achieved in each of his previous stops.

As far as what Showalter brings as a manager, Adam indicated that, “accountability was number one.  We held ourselves responsible for how we played.  I believe what he (Showalter) wants is for you to give your best effort and play the game.”  By having a similar mentality with his manager, I envision Jones growing into a leader on this young Orioles team.  In his humble response, Adam considers that, “when it comes to the young guys, I’m still a young guy myself.  But I always try and associate myself with my teammates in the clubhouse or the field.  I want them to know that I got their backs.”  That being said, Adam throws in a caution. “I want to be a leader, of course.  But I’m not going to force the issue with that.  You never want to cross the veterans on the teams and I try and show it (my leadership) with my play.  This season we have added veterans that have won and been leaders of their respective squads.  I think we have the possibility to have multiple leaders.”  A very healthy attitude for a budding superstar growing as both a player and leader on his team.  The Orioles bolstered their lineup for the 2011 season with the additions of Vlad Guerrero, Derrek Lee, J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds, in addition to Justin Duchscherer and Kevin Gregg joining the pitching staff.  A veteran team almost overnight, Jones will have many experienced players to learn from in Baltimore as he continues his rise to the top of the MLB ladder.

Reflecting on the 2010 season, Jones felt that the Orioles as a team, “all tried to do everything possible and we couldn’t do it.  We have to play as a team and have the faith in the guy behind you to get the job done.”  With all the additions to the team and a new season ahead, Jones states, “I want to play baseball with them all.  I am excited to get in the locker room and see my (new) team.”  Considering the Orioles teams of the past that Jones has played for, it has been quite the journey for the 37th overall pick in the 2003 draft.  Originally drafted as a shortstop by the Seattle Mariners, Adam was traded on February 8, 2008 to Baltimore as part of a package for then top of the rotation starting pitcher Erik Bedard.  “My first reaction when I found out I was traded to Baltimore was ‘dang,’ I’m going east.”  But then I thought to myself that I was going to have the opportunity to go and show that I can play this game at a high level.”  For a team and player on the rise, the marriage between the Baltimore Orioles and Adam Jones couldn’t be a better fit.

With many bright years ahead of him, Adam took the time to reflect on what he would most want to be remembered for when it was time to hang up his spikes.  “When its over and done, I want people to know that I played my behind off and loved the game that has treated myself and so many people well.”  When you think of Adam Jones, do not look for the next “Tony Gwynn” or “Torii Hunter”.  Consider Adam Jones as himself, the player that he his and the player that he is striving to become.  Adam works hard and has a strong understanding of his strengths and areas he needs to improve.  Behind the #10 jersey there is no hype, attitude or ego – just the baseball player we will always know as “Adam Jones”.

 ***A special thank you to Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles for his time and effort as part of being interviewed for this article.  A thank you as well to Peter Stein, my editor in helping to prepare this piece.***


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