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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – September 4, 2013

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Who is the Hall of Famer who used steroids? And what should Arte Moreno do instead of moving the Angels?

Those topics and more, today on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Andrew McCutchen, Homer Bailey, Jon Lesterand Ben Zobristall owned baseball on September 3, 2013.

To see the up to date tally of “Who Owns Baseball?,” click HERE.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – September 4, 2013

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 27, 2013

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The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast today is all about the positives and negatives of Hall of Fame weekend.

The great connection to tradition, even with the bogus creation story, is wonderful.

It would have been nice to have a living ball player or two be inducted this year!

Adam Jones, Daniel Murphy, Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw all owned baseball on July 26, 2013.

To see the up to date tally of “Who Owns Baseball?,” click HERE
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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 27, 2013

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Roger Clemens: A Cardboard God Comes Into Focus

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Saturday, January.12, 2013

The picture stands today as the symbol of an era -- and innocence -- lost.

The Topps 1987 Card.

By Saul Wisnia,  Red Sox Correspondent (Read his blog ‘Fenway Reflections’ here):

I took the photo in Cooperstown, after driving from Boston to baseball’s Mayberry with three buddies for my first look at the game’s red-bricked shrine. When we entered the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery, just off the museum’s lobby, I instinctively knew which of the immortals I wanted to visit first. Walking through the years to the 1966 induction class, I found him on the wall right alongside Casey Stengel:

The picture stands today as the symbol of an era — and innocence — lost. In it, Roger Clemens and Ted Williams share confident, youthful smiles. Williams is, quite literally, a bronzed God, staring out at the photographer in his tanned, All-American glory. Clemens, wearing a fresh, clean Red Sox uniform, also has the look of a man who knows exactly what he wants out of life.

Williams yearned to be the world’s greatest hitter; Clemens the top pitcher. At the time of the picture, in 1988, both had reached their goal.

Ted Williams Tribute Piece from 2002:

Read the rest of this entry

Is Roger Clemens a Hall of Famer? Try the Tom Seaver Test

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Friday, December.07, 2012

Clemens in his earl Boston Red Sox Days Clemens in his early Boston Red Sox Days.

By Saul Wisnia,  Red Sox Correspondent (Read his blog ‘Fenway Reflections’ here):

Since the list of Hall of Fame nominees was announced in the last month, I’ve been pondering whether first-time candidate Roger Clemens would be earn my vote if I had one to give.

The Rocket has undeniable Cooperstown credentials, topped by a record seven Cy Young Awards, the 1986 AL MVP, and 354 victories. He struck out 4,672 batters during his long career, a total topped only by Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson, and twice had 20-K games in which he didn’t walk a single batter. That combination of power and control also helped Roger Clemens lead his league in ERA seven times.

In my memory bank of Red Sox pitchers, which dates to the mid-’70s, only Pedro Martinez resonates as more dominant over a sustained period of time. But while Pedro was a delicate thoroughbred rarely allowed to reach past the seventh inning, Clemens was a good-old-fashioned workhorse who regularly finished what he started. Read the rest of this entry

Jason Giambi: From Slugger to Managerial Candidate in Colorado

Wednesday October 17th, 2012

Codey Harrison(Lead MiLB Prospect Analyst): Jason Giambi, who was once a superstar with the Athletics and Yankees, is more recently known for his role with the Colorado Rockies as the team’s go-to pinch hitter. Giambi, currently rehabbing from offseason surgery, has been given a chance to interview for the vacant Rockies Managerial position. Most people in baseball believe Giambi doesn’t have a legitimate shot at being named the Rockies next manager, given that Giambi is still an active player and has no coaching experience. However it is worth noting that during his tenure in the Rockies organization, Giambi has helped the young Rockies hitters grow and mature on and off the field, as well as discussing strategies with former Rockies manager Jim Tracy. A mentor and leader, Giambi now has the chance to graduate to MLB manager.

The Rockies this year become known for unconventional decisions running the franchise, whether it was the failed experiment of the 4-man starting rotation, or believing in Jim Tracy for so long as they did- given that so many people in baseball thought of Tracy as arguably the worst manager in all of baseball. This is a team that is seen to be run almost completely by the front office. With so much politics and turmoil surrounding the team, it may be very difficult for the Rockies to get an experienced winning manager to take the job. Thus the team may need to look in order directions, including giving Giambi a shot at the vacant role. Read the rest of this entry

Jose Canseco: MLB Hero or Villain?

Thursday June 14, 2012

John Burns (MLB reports Intern Candidate):  The “Godfather” of steroids Jose Canseco has been through the depths of baseball controversy- from the start of his baseball career to this present day. 

Canseco is one of the few MLB players that admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his career. He was definitely though not the only player in his era to use steroids. Canseco wrote a book titled: “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big”, where he “snitched” on a large number of MLB players that were juicing at the time. Some of the MLB players that Canseco stated that were steroids users in his book: Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan González, and Roger Clemens to name a few.

Jose Canseco was a fan favorite in Oakland from 1985-1992 and then had another stint with the A’s in 1997. Canseco received many awards and achieved a number of milestones during his 16 years in the MLB; First player ever to join 40-40 club, 6 time All-Star, 2 time World Series Champion, 4 time Silver Slugger Award, AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, and AL Comeback Player of the Year. Of course most of those awards are now tainted because of his use of steroids.

As crazy as this might sound I consider Jose Canseco a hero for cleaning up the game of baseball. Yes, he cheated- but he is one of the few who admitted it. In the process, he virtually cleaned up baseball by “ratting out” other MLB players. Most of the past or present MLB players highlighted by Canseco do not admit to taking steroids, even though there is sufficient evidence that many of them did. I believe Jose Canseco is great for baseball and he is the reason for baseball being clean. Or at least cleaner.

There are many people who believe that Jose Canseco is a bum who turned his back on the game of baseball. Everyone has a right to their opinion, as even Canseco himself on occasion has said that he would not have written his books had he known the long-term effects of the decision. But believe it or not, I strongly disagree with the Canseco critics. Don’t get me wrong, steroids are terrible for baseball and nobody should use them. But Jose Canseco admitted to his mistakes. Like I said earlier, many players still do not admit their errors to this day. This is one of the reasons why Jose Canseco has my respect. For not only telling the truth, but by cleaning up the sport I love.

Jose Canseco should be remembered as one of the men who helped save the game of baseball. Just imagine if Canseco didn’t sell out the players named in his literary works. You can’t tell me that guys like Mark McGwire would admit to any wrongdoing if they weren’t accused. At the end of the day, Jose Canseco should have the legacy of a great player, who made some dumb decisions. But he was man enough to admit when he was wrong and ended up fixing the game that he helped break in the first place.

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Ask the Reports: Your Baseball Questions Answered – Sunday January 22nd, 2012

Sunday January 22nd, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  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 and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

 

Q:  Pirates chances in the semi-weakened NL Central this year?  John

MLB reports:  Great question John. Many Pirates fans are very hopeful this year. But in the opening may not be as clear as some would think. Houston we have to figure is in rebuilding mode and heading to the AL West in 2013.  That leaves the Cardinals, Reds, Brewers and Cubs as the main competitors. The Cubs are going to be better, but still have ways away. New management needs time to rebuild the farm and create a lineup in the image that they foresee. That leaves the Reds, Cardinals and Brewers. Even assuming that Prince Fielder is gone and Ryan Braun is lost to suspension, the Brewers are incredibly strong. Gallardo and Greinke to head up the rotation, Axford and Rodriguez at the back of the pen. The Brewers are unlikely to make the playoffs, but will still be in the race. Same goes with the Cardinals, sans Pujols and La Russa. They still have an offense led by Holliday, Berkman and Beltran, with one of the best rotations heads in Carpenter and Wainwright. They will be finding their way this year, but the Cardinals are still the defending champs. Lastly, the Reds will be the team to beat. Latos will now be their ace and Ryan Madson the closer. In between, this team is fairly stacked and can hurt you in so many ways, led by Votto and Phillips. The best that I can see the Pirates finish is 3rd…and that is a long-shot. To me, I see 4th place as being the likely scenario with anything higher being gravy. As far as anything higher? Wait 2 years or so until their farm starts harvesting some really key prospects to the majors.

 

Q:  Question on ’13 HoF vote. Do most of the voters believe Barry Bonds was a HoF’er before using (clear/cream) possible PEDs?  Old Man Mack

MLB reports:  There is no doubt in most “experts” minds that Barry Bonds was going to Cooperstown before the whole performance enhancing drugs issue arose.  Before bulking up in San Francisco and reinventing himself as the home run champion, Barry Bonds was one of the best players in the game. He could do it all and was one of the best 5-tool players the game ever saw. But the reality is that most voters will not look or think in that manner. All they will remember is Balco and the question marks that surround Bonds. Looking at the McGwire and Juan Gonzalez vote totals, I am seeing writers that are not prepared to vote in certified or even heavily suspected PED users. The vote on Bonds, like Roger Clemens, will be very interesting. Without clear criteria and guidelines, voters won’t know which way to go. Some will vote Bonds in, by consideration that he was a worthy candidate even before the Balco mess. Others will consider that he did use PEDs and as a result, should not go to Cooperstown. If Bonds gets 50% of the vote based on what I’m hearing, I will consider that a high total. The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot will be one of the most difficult ones in history. We all look forward to seeing what will transpire.

 

Q:  Are the Red Sox in a rebuilding year or waiting on a certain sign from the Baseball Gods to replenish the rotation and the B-pen?  Nick

MLB reports: LOL.  The Red Sox are never rebuilding. They may have a new manager and GM, but they are still the Red Sox. Adrian Gonzalez. Jacoby Ellsbury. Dustin Pedroia. Josh Beckett. Kevin Youkilis. This team still has the horses to make a run for a playoff berth. Yes, they just traded away Marco Scutaro, in a rumored attempt to make a run at Roy Oswalt. So no, the Red Sox are not waiting for any signs. They are just staying in a budget and putting the best team that they can put together within their means. Their bullpen is still loaded to the max. Andrew Bailey, Mark Melancon and Daniel Bard (if he doesn’t win a rotation spot). These Red Sox are maybe one starting pitcher away. Some tweaking may still be ahead…but rebuilding, no no no. Far from it.

 

Q:  Do you think Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander Deserved to win the AL MVP Award last Season? Pitchers don’t win MVP Awards often!  Marty

MLB reports: Another great question Marty. You always ask the right questions! Let’s take it another way: if I had a vote, would I have given Justin Verlander the MVP award. Absolutely- yes. I have heard all the arguments why pitchers should not win the MVP award. They have their own award- it’s called the CY Young award. They don’t play everyday and thus are not as valuable as top hitters. It goes on and on. I get it. In 2011, the fact remains that Verlander was the most valuable player on his team. Look at the stats- they are mind boggling. 24 wins in 34 starts. 2.40 ERA. 251 innings pitched. 250 strikeouts and only 57 walks allowed. A 0.920 WHIP. The man won the pitching triple crown and dominated hitters consistently all year long. If you take Verlander off the team, they do not make the playoffs. There were many great players in the American League last year. Jose Bautista. Adrian Gonzalez. Jacoby Ellsbury. Curtis Granderson. But until they make a hitters-only award, the Most Valuable Player award means any player. That player was Justin Verlander in 2011 and yes, he definitely deserved his award.

 

Final Question:  I hope the A’s make Playoffs this year! That would be Something special!  Eric

MLB reports: Eric. Eric. Eric. I love your passion and commitment to your team. But I am sorry to be the one to tell you this- ain’t happening. The A’s are in yet another rebuilding mode. The team was destined for 3rd or 4th place before trading Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey. Not to mention the losses of Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui. The return of Coco Crisp just won’t cut it. While the Mariners should be an improved squad, the A’s have a ton of young talent that will come together in 3-4 years. I’m sure all A’s fans would love a pennant. For now, they will need to settle for last place and a chance at a high draft pick. Until the stadium issue is resolved and the team can figure out a permanent and financially viable stadium option, winning Oakland baseball will continue to be a rarity for the foreseeable future. 

 

ARCHIVE:  Click here for Past Issues of Ask the Reports

 

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.

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

The Next MLB Commissioner: Who Will be Bud Selig’s Successor?

Wednesday November 2, 2011

Rob Bland (Baseball Writer – MLB reports): Allan H. Selig, or Bud, as he is known around baseball, will go down in history as the commissioner of baseball during one of its darkest times. Bud took over as acting commissioner for Fay Vincent in September 1992, and was almost immediately embroiled in controversy. With the collective bargaining agreement due to expire after the 1993 season, Selig knew that an agreement between the MLBPA and MLB owners was vital. The owners voted to implement a salary cap, eliminate salary arbitration and free agency would begin after four years instead of six. The MLBPA said that while this would solve parity problems in baseball, it would not benefit the players whatsoever. August 12, 1994 was set as a strike date by the players’ association if an agreement was not reached on the new CBA. When that day came, the players walked off the job. By September 14th, when no agreement was reached, the World Series was cancelled by Selig.

It wasn’t until most of Spring Training in 1995 was completed (with replacement players) that Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an injunction against the owners. On April 2nd, the strike was over, which had lasted 232 days. This caused the 1995 season to be 144 games, as opposed to the regular 162 games. Baseball attendance declined by 20% in 1995, and it took a long time for fans to recover. Fans never recovered in Montreal, where their payroll had to be slashed due to losses and eventually the MLB took ownership of the team. The team was eventually moved to Washington for the 2005 season.

In 1998, baseball fans flocked to the baseball stadiums to watch a race of historic proportions. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were blasting balls into the stratosphere at alarming rates, and Roger Maris’ single season record of 61 home runs was being challenged. McGwire ended up with 70 and Sosa hit 66 as America and the rest of the world watched in awe as these two larger than life men hit prodigious home runs. Two expansion teams, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks proceeded to join the MLB.

Home runs over the next few years continued to climb, as in 2001, when Barry Bonds then broke McGwire’s record with 73 home runs of his own. Steroids were allegedly running rampant in the MLB and there was no legitimate testing protocol. In 2005, Selig met with US Congress on the issue. Amphetamines were also on the table to be banned. By March 2006, Selig appointed Senator George Mitchell to investigate the usage of performance-enhancing drugs in the MLB. The Mitchell Report, a 409 page document, was released in December 2007 after a 21 month investigation. It released names of many high-profile baseball players who used PEDs.

Because of this report, stricter policing and testing of PEDs has been put in place, as well as very strict penalties if players are caught. Selig has taken flak over the years for not being more proactive in the matter, however, early in the “Steroid Era”, it would have been almost impossible to know how widespread steroid use was.

Selig brought in two expansion teams, brought the MLB out of a dark time after the strike, has improved MLB’s PED testing and punishment policies.  Most importantly, there has been labor peace for 17 years.

Bud Selig never wanted to be the full-time commissioner, but he had been voted unanimously in 1998 when the acting commissioner title was changed to commissioner. In January of 2008, Selig wanted to retire, but after the owners begged him to stay, he signed a 3-year extension. His current contract is set to expire after the 2012 season, about a year from now. He has been adamant that this will be the end of his tenure as Commissioner of Major League Baseball. He will be 78 years old. Since there has not been a search party constructed to find his successor, it can only be assumed that a short list has already been created, or the owners plan to attempt Bud to stay. Many have been on record of saying that they wish he would stay as commissioner for life.

Major League Baseball must at least entertain the notion that Selig will not be returning as commissioner, and thus, must include these people on their list of candidates:

Andy MacPhail
He has the lineage to succeed in this role. His father Lee was the GM and president of the Baltimore Orioles from 1958-1966. He then became president of the American League and is enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Andy’s grandfather, Larry, was a chief executive with the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees. It has been said he was one of the main driving forces of televising baseball games regularly as well as playing night games. Andy has 2 World Series rings as a GM with the Minnesota Twins, and was the president and CEO of the Chicago Cubs from 1994 to 2006, when he took a job as the President of Baseball Operations with the Baltimore Orioles. He recently stepped down from this role, and has been suggested as a man who could succeed as the commissioner. MacPhail understands the history of the MLB and the commissioner’s role, and has been involved in baseball in many different facets.

Tim Brosnan
Brosnan is currently serving as the Executive Vice President, Business of the MLB. He has been in this role since February of 2000. Tim’s roles with the MLB include licensing, broadcasting both domestically and internationally, and special events. Since the MLB is making every effort to grow globally, it should be noted that Brosnan began working in the Commissioner’s Office in 1991 as Vice President of International Business Affairs. His work internationally would include the many trips to Asia for teams, as well as directly working with the World Baseball Classic.

Derrick Hall

Derrick joined the Diamondbacks in May 2005 after working in the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers for many years.  In September 2006, Derrick was named President of the Diamondbacks and later added the title of  Chief Executive Officer in January 2009.

The Diamondbacks are very fortunate to have one of the most progressive and dynamic baseball leaders at their helm.  Derrick developed the “Circle of Success” mission statement, the foundation for the management of the Diamondbacks.  A true ambassador to the game, Derrick Hall is a tireless worker in promoting and developing baseball in Arizona.  Derrick is often mentioned by many baseball commentators as a candidate to succeed Bud Selig as Commissioner. 

Rob Manfred
Selig’s right hand man’s role is Executive Vice President, Labor Relations & Human Resources. His main roles are to keep the peace between MLB and MLBPA, as well as HR work with the Commissioner’s Office. 17 years of labor peace as a direct participant in two rounds of collective bargaining with the MLBPA make him a great candidate for the commissioner’s position. He has also represented teams in salary arbitration and has provided advice to teams on salary negotiations with players.

Sandy Alderson
The New York Mets GM could potentially leave his current post to fulfill this role next offseason. Alderson has a career path unlike any of the other men on this list due to the fact that he has worked not only as a general manager, but has spent significant time working with the commissioner. Billy Beane’s mentor first began working for the Oakland A’s in 1981, and was the GM from 1983 until 1997. He then worked in the Commissioner’s Office as the Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations for 7 years. Most recently, after being the CEO of the San Diego Padres from 2005 to 2009, he was a liaison for the commissioner to address the issues of corruption in baseball in the Dominican Republic. Alderson is also a chairman of MLB’s Playing Rules Committee.

While Selig has been most adamant that he will be retiring at the end of the 2012 season, I believe that, once again, he will be convinced to stay on as commissioner. It would be in the best interest of baseball if he were to stay on, with a protégé being in place to learn the ropes from him. With Selig at the helm, the MLB owners have been happy, the players’ union has been happy, and the best product is displayed on the field. Baseball has been more exciting than ever, and I think we all owe a big thanks to Mr. Selig for being a big part of that.

 

A big congratulation goes out to Tony La Russa. On October 31, 2011, he announced his retirement just days after managing the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title. La Russa will surely be a Hall of Famer after his 33 year managing career that saw him compile 2,728 wins with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals. His teams reached the playoffs 14 times, and he won 3 AL pennants with the A’s, winning one World Series title. He also won 3 NL pennants with the Cards, winning two more World Series. Tony won 3 Manager of the Year Awards in the American League, as well as one in the National League. La Russa will go down as one of the greatest managers in the history of the MLB, and he went out on top. Congratulations, Tony, for a great career.

***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 Rob on Twitter.***

 

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Mike Jacobs: Rockies Slugger Receives 50 Game HGH Suspension

Friday August 19, 2011

 

 

MLB reports:  Major League Baseball commenced human growth hormone (“HGH”) testing in the minor leagues in the summer of 2010.  It was only a matter of time before players began to get caught under the new system.  Blood testing for HGH in the minors was the first step in bringing similar tests to the major leagues one day.  With HGH testing now in place as part of the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, MLB cannot be far behind.  With baseball’s agreement with the union set to expire in December of this year, expect HGH testing to be a big topic on the bargaining table.  The first player to be caught in the minors using HGH and receiving a 50 game suspension is Colorado Rockies slugger, Mike Jacobs.  With the first HGH culprit found, pressure will be intense on baseball to bring similar testing all the way to the major leagues.

Mike Jacobs will forever be known as the first North American athlete to test positive for HGH.  Although HGH suspensions have occurred internationally, Jacobs is the first athlete in a professional North American athlete to be tested and fail a HGH test.  Things should have gone differently for Jacobs in his career.  Originally a 38th round pick for the Mets in the 1999 draft, Jacobs rose from baseball obscurity to star with the Marlins from 2006-2008.  Here is a look at Jacobs’ major league stats: 

Year 5 Tm R HR RBI SO BA OBP SLG
2005 NYM 19 11 23 22 .310 .375 .710
2006 FLA 54 20 77 105 .262 .325 .473
2007 FLA 57 17 54 101 .265 .317 .458
2008 FLA 67 32 93 119 .247 .299 .514
2009 KCR 46 19 61 132 .228 .297 .401
2010 NYM 1 1 2 7 .208 .296 .375
6 Seasons 244 100 310 486 .253 .313 .475
162 Game Avg. 71 29 90 142 .253 .313 .475
               
FLA (3 yrs) 178 69 224 325 .258 .314 .483
NYM (2 yrs) 20 12 25 29 .290 .360 .645
KCR (1 yr) 46 19 61 132 .228 .297 .401
               
NL (5 yrs) 198 81 249 354 .261 .317 .496
AL (1 yr) 46 19 61 132 .228 .297 .401

 

2008 represented the best season of Jacobs’ career.  He hit 32 home runs, to go along with 93 RBIs for the Marlins.  But despite the strong power numbers, critics pointed to his .247 AVG and weak .299 OBP that year and labelled him a one-dimensional player.  The Marlins agreed and traded Jacobs in October 2008 for current closer Leo Nunez.  Jacobs originally joined the Marlins in November 2005 as a package of players for superstar Carlos Delgaldo.  Big expectations were placed on Jacobs to replace Delgaldo ever since he joined the Marlins.  While Jacobs had the strong power numbers in 2008, the team ultimately was not convinced that he would ever fulfill his potential.  While Nunez went on to star in the Marlins bullpen, Jacobs lasted only one season in Kansas City, his last full season in the big leagues.

In 2010, Jacobs spent parts of the year playing in the Mets and Blue Jays farm systems.  He hit 21 home runs and drove in 93 in 120 games combined in AAA, with a .335 OBP and .482 SLG.  This season, Jacobs played exclusively in Colorado Springs and put up inflated numbers in the hitting friendly Pacific Coast League.  With 23 home runs in 117 games, 97 RBIs, .376 OBP and .534 SLG, there looked to be a chance for Jacobs to restart his major league career.  At 30-years of age, Jacobs was looking to have a year-end cup of coffee with the Rockies and leave a strong enough impression to perhaps have a chance in spring training 2012.  Reports had a call up imminent for Jacobs when news of the HGH positive test leaked out.  The Rockies immediately released the slugger, who is now on the MLB sidelines. 

Following the Marlins acquisition of Jacobs in 2005, I expected his career to develop differently.  It was clear the power was going to be there.   It was the rest of his hitting development that I expect to follow.  To stay in the big leagues, Jacobs was going to need to learn patience and to hit lefties.  Following his 2008 campaign, I still hoped in the back of my mind that those qualities would eventually come out.  But they never in fact did.  Looking back at his magical 2008 campaign, there were red flags that Jacobs had major shortcomings as a hitter.  25 of his home runs came against right-handed pitchers.  Against lefties, Jacobs hit .218 with a .248 OBP and .429 SLG.  At best, without improvement, Jacobs was likely destined to be a platoon player for the rest of his career.  Now today, Jacobs stands as the new poster child for HGH cheating.  A scarlet letter that will be difficult, if not impossible to remove.

With Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro gone from the game and the “steroid era” at an apparent end, the focus is now on HGH.  Apparently very wide-spread in the game, baseball officials are said to be taking a hard stance to remove HGH use from the game.  In suspending Jacobs, commissioner Selig indicated that baseball is on top of testing and is not hiding from the process.  I expect HGH testing to be a part of the major leagues as early as 2012.  Despite the tests and the threat of strict penalties, as Mike Jacobs has shown, athletes will continue to try to get ahead despite the risks involved.  Jacobs came clean following his positive test, admitting usage to overcome injuries and regretting his decision to use HGH.  The decision to use HGH will cost Jacobs more than 50 games.  It resulted in his dismissal from the Rockies and likely removal from major league baseball all together.  For a fringe player that was already hanging by a thread, having the HGH suspension on his resume will scare off many, if not most major league teams.

Mike Jacobs had his chances in baseball.  While many sluggers before him are lucky to get one shot at the big leagues, Jacobs had several chances.  Despite playing for three teams over six major league seasons, Mike Jacobs was never able to fulfill his vast potential.  Like many left-handed home run hitters, Jacobs could never hit well against lefties and get on base at a high enough level to compliment his power bat.  Now at 30-years of age, the legacy of Mike Jacobs will be as using HGH and failing the first North American test.  While I expected Jacobs to be fighting for home run crowns at this point in his career, he now sits outside of baseball.  A lesson to be learned for future sluggers.  It is better to play clean and keep your reputation than cheat and get caught.  Once the first failed test hits, any accomplishments in the past and future will always be tarnished.  As Palmeiro, Bonds, Sosa and McGwire can attest, poor public perceptions never seem to go away.  They just continue to linger, seemingly until the end of time.   

 

 

 

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Manny Ramirez: The End of a Nightmare

MLB reports:  As a fan, analyst and writer of baseball, I rarely take pleasure in the misery of others.  Some of my readers would point to Vernon Wells and my “Vernon Watch” in what I commonly refer to as a showcase of blundery.  But Vernon is the exception to the rule.  For the most part, players are athletes that train hard, play with heart and hustle and give it their all on the playing field.  With the career of Manny Ramirez unceremoniously coming to a halt yesterday, there is an overwhelming sense of relief and enjoyment around baseball circles today.  For a man who could hit baseballs like flew other, one of the greatest hitters in MLB history will go down in the baseball archives as a laughingstock and side-show act.  A shame when one looks at the statistics and career of Manny Ramirez.  But for a man who got one too many chances, the punishment fits the crime.  Today we say goodbye to a distraction and one less black eye for the glorious game of baseball.

 

The first questions most MLB fans asked me yesterday was whether Manny deserves to go into the hall of fame?  My answer is simple.  In my opinion, if I had a vote, a definite yes.  Regardless of what Manny took or didn’t take, his statistics speak for themselves.  There have been many drug cheats and cheaters of all kind in baseball over the years.  The bottom line is that not many match to Manny’s outstanding numbers.  But alas I do not have a vote to-date and from what the baseball writers have shown in recent voting history with McGwire and Palmeiro, Ramirez won’t so much as get as much a sniff of the hall.  I can see the arguments for keeping Ramirez out of the hall.  Based on his second failed drug test and choice to retire and run over facing the music cements a legacy of being a quitter and a coward.  Manny gave up on the Red Sox and the Dodgers and got run out-of-town in each instance.  A first failed drug test blamed on some sort of hormone substances.  With a second failed test, Manny decided to take his glove and go home, rather than face the music.  I cannot see fans, let alone baseball writers forgiving him for this decision.  But again fitting for a man who has made a career of bad decisions and turning his back on the game one too many times.

 

Where does the future now lie for Manny Ramirez?  Many ex-players have the option of going into scouting, managing, broadcasting, writing….the field is wide open.  Mark McGwire, got a job as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, but as part of the requirement McGwire had to go on national television and give his apology.  Sort of.  But McGwire always had the eye of the public for his strong image and was somewhat cut some slack by the public.  Manny, with his quirky and aloof personality has a better chance of becoming President of the United States than a baseball coach, manager or broadcaster.  Seen as a liability, Manny is now headed into a self-imposed baseball exile, joining the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds as the baseball steroids/ped’s outcasts.  I could envision a day where Manny will write a tell-all book, explaining his side of “the story” while outing ex-friends and teammates in the process.  Manny just seems to be one of those guys, concerned more about himself and the almighty dollar than anything else.

 

When we all think to Manny Ramirez in ten years time, we will think of an idiot.  That will be the image in our minds.  Not the young rookie sensation on the Indians, World Series champ for the Red Sox, dreadlocks #99 igniter on the Dodgers or a two-bit player on the White Sox and Rays.  The man who chose to instantly retire rather than face his due punishment.  When faced with his first suspension last year, Manny did not speak to the media the entire balance of the season.  He is that kind of guy.  I did not imagine for the life of me in the offseason that any team would take a chance on him.  In my estimation, Manny was best served going away gracefully at the end of 2010 rather than being one last thorn in the side of an undeserving team.  When the Rays signed Manny, I said publicly that this could only end bad and that he would not last the season.  Rather than being dumped in August, Manny barely survived a week into 2011.  A 1-17 start at the plate will be the final blemish on an otherwise exceptional statistical career.  But as hall of fame voters are now showing, votes go beyond the numbers.  Manny Ramirez in the twilight of his career has been essentially a nightmare for all those involved with him.  Staring today, the nightmare is over.  Baseball does not need or want the Manny Ramirez’s of this world and my hope is that after this latest horror show, baseball will not see another Manny for a long time.  Baseball is built on hustle, teamwork, determination and heart.  Four words that were not in Manny’s vocabulary and for that transgression, we finally say goodbye to Manny for the last time. 

 

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