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Ice Bucket Challenge For ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), No, But A Donation Challenge To All Websites!

Historic Films Stock Footage Archive

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

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Lou Gehrig is still making an imprint on today’s society.  75 years after the “Ironman” made his famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium in 1939, the disease so ‘aptly’ known more as “Lou Gehrig’s disease – more so than ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

After all of the money raised in the three-quarters of a century since #4 stopped playing, there is still no cure for the disease.

ALS is a neurodegenerative ailment that is as debilitating as they come to the human body.

Before he was known for that, Henry Louis Gehrig, born June.19, 1903 was one of the best baseball players of ALL – Time.

To state how awesome he was would take forever.  But he was known best for his durability (setting the consecutive games mark for MLB’ers at 2131 games.  A mark that was stopped by ALS.

It took over 56 years for the record to be broken by Cal Ripken.

The Bronx Bombers 1st Baseman clubbed over 100+ RBI in 14 straight seasons from 1925 – 1938,  His 184 RBI in 1931 is still the ALL – Time Single year record in the American League.

Gehrig held an OPS over 1.000 for every season between 1927 – 1937

His 3 slash for his career is .340/.447/.632.  Only Babe Ruth and Ted Williams had higher marks.

Gehrig cranked out 1995 RBI in just 2164 Games Played, in what amounts to be an average season of 149 RBI.  The ‘Iron Horse’ actually topped the 150+ RBI clip 7 different times, His RBI/Game is the highest clip for a career.

There is no doubt in my mind, if he wasn’t cut short of playing, he would be the RBI king,

The man was part of 6 World Series Titles in 7 Appearances,  accounting for a 3 Slash of .361/.477/.731 – with 10 HRs and 35 RBI during his 34 lifetime games.  Incredibly in those 34 contests, Gehrig reached base 75 times.

During his illness days, baseball made a special exception to induct him directly into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1939. 

Showing that his appreciation by the MLB has only grown with time, he received the most votes for the 1999 ALL – Century Team – that listed all the best players from the 20th century.

A man who was such a legend will grow as the years continue on.  Read the rest of this entry

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Some MLB Trivia: 5 Questions + Birthdays June 21st

 

This is the biggest debate of all time, who is the best player?  Photo courtesy of www.boston.com

This is the biggest debate of all time, who is the best player? Photo courtesy of http://www.boston.com

Yesterday’s answers:

Q1.  Best Slugging PCTG ever by a rookie was Ted Williams, slugging .609 in 149 Games and 677 Plate Appearances in 1939.  Ryan Braun had just 492 AB in his 1st year despite his .634 Slugging mark in 2007, but failed to qualify by a mere 9 PA.

Q2.  Bill Bevens owns the dubious distinction of walking the most batters ever in a World Series Game with 10, against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 4 of the 1947 Fall Classic.  He threw a no – hitter until 2 outs in the 9th inning, before giving up the Game winning Double to Cookie Lavagetto.

Q3: C:  Jimmie Foxx hit 7 HRs in his last year of play during 1945, Babe Ruth only managed 6 HRs in 1935, and Mel Ott hit 0 HRs in 1947.

Q4:  C:  Chuck Dressen led the Brooklyn Dodgers to a 105 – 49 record in 1953, which is still the watermark win total for the franchise ALL – Time.

Q5:  An All Royalty Team could be led by:  Duke Snider, Earl Averill, Jeff King, Prince Fielder and Mel Queen. Read the rest of this entry

Passing The Torch From Greatest MLB Player To Player During The Years 1979 – 2013: From Brett To Cabrera

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles.  Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs – while featuring an OPS well north of 1.000. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  The 8 time ALL – Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner has improved even greater on his totals over the last decade.  Cabrera has a Career 3 Slash Line of .321/.399/.967 – with 365 HRs and 1260 RBI in just 1660 Games Played.

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

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While watching Miguel Cabrera this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. 

I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow-up articles.  I didn’t rank defense as  highly as offense when I came up with the players. 

I agonized over players like Mike SchmidtJim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration. 

In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. 

The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting (if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

Cabrera’s 3 HR Game – 2013

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 8, 2013

IMG_9154

It is the Sunday Request on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast, which I recorded while doing my laundry.

Who belongs on the Red Sox Mount Rushmore?
I have 4 faces, each representing a different aspect of Red Sox history.

To subscribe to The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast on iTunes, click HERE.

To subscribe on SoundCloud, click HERE.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 8, 2013

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 21, 2013

Boston Globe Photo/Max Becherer

Boston Globe Photo/Max Becherer


It is the SUNDAY REQUEST on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Today’s request comes from @chrisskreager

I discuss my All Star Game memories and why so few were moment that occurred during the game.

Hanley Ramirez C. J. Wilson, Alex Rios and Gio Gonzalez  all owned baseball on July 19, 2013.

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

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 21, 2013
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2 And A Hook Podcast Ep #8: Dodgers (Puig Especially), White Sox + Braves Talk With Awesome Guests!

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Thursday, June.20/2013

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 )

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & yours truly The Bench Warmers, I talked with MLB Reports Braves correspondent Bob McVinua (www.braveschoptalk.wordpress.com) about the Atlanta Braves season so far, what’s to come for them the rest of the season plus other things…

Then I talked to MLB Reports Dodgers correspondent Enrique Rivera about their phenom Yasiel Puig, if the Dodgers somehow can get back in the playoff race amongst other issues…

Also I interviewed MLB Reports White Sox correspondent Brian Madsen about the White Sox offensive struggles, is their farm system producing any future ball players & other stuff…also I do my Stats & Facts segment as usual so check out this baseball podcast that talks baseball like it outta be!!! SPREAD THE WORD!! Thank you all for your support!!!

People in this Podcast:

Bob McVinua (MLB Reports Guest Braves Correspondent – About 9 Minutes in and a 21 Minute Segment)

Enrique Rivera (MLB Reports LA Dodgers Correspondent – 31 Minute Mark and a 15 Minute Segment) 

Brian Madsen (MLB Reports White Sox Correspondent- 53 Minutes In and a 17 Minute Segment) 

(Stats and Facts done by James at the 1 Hour and 10 Minute Mark for 20 Minutes and for the 1st 9 Minutes.)

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2 And A Hook Podcast #7: Ranking The 30 Ball Parks In The MLB + Giants And Red Sox Correspondent Interviews

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Friday, June.07/2013

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 News and Stats – 1st minute to 7 minute mark, 26 Minute Mark to 36 Minute Mark, and 1 Hour 4 Minute Mark to 1 Hour Minute 8.) 

People in this Podcast:

Jonathan Schifferle (MLB Reports Giants Correspondent – 7 Minutes in and a 18 Minute Segment)

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Boston Red Sox Correspondent – 36 Minute Mark and a 27 Minute Segment) 

Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner and Lead Baseball Analyst – 1 Hour and 10 Minutes In and a 43 Minute Segment) 

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & yours truly The Bench Warmers, I get into the Alex Rodriguez/Anthony Bosch soap opera very briefly.

I  then interviewed our (MLB Reports) Giants correspondent Jonathan Schifferle to talk about the giants team,”The Peapods” in the stands for Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence also known as “The Killer Peas”. Read the rest of this entry

Miguel Cabrera Is the Best Hitter In The Universe

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Tuesday, June.04, 2013

It is only a matter of time before we start talking about the historical significance of Miggy Cabrera.  He is on pace to crush about 50 HR and drive in over 190 RBI.  Modern day players rarely possess all 3 categories prowess in order to win a Triple Crown.  Improving on his first decade of MLB Baseball is incredible.  By the time he is done, he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer

It is only a matter of time before we start talking about the historical significance of Miggy Cabrera. He is on pace to crush about 50 HR and drive in over 190 RBI. Modern day players rarely possess all 3 categories prowess in order to win a Triple Crown. Improving on his first decade of MLB Baseball is incredible. By the time he is done, he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

By Chris Lacey (Featured Baseball Columnist)

Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera Best Hitter in the Universe

The game of baseball has had great hitters like Frank Robinson, Chuck Klein, Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Medwick, and Lou Gehrig. These players were all great hitters and they also have another thing in common, this is they are all former Triple Crown winners.

However, there is one thing that all these great players never accomplished in their career, and that was they never earned the award in consecutive seasons. The history of baseball has not had any player ever accomplish this.

Miguel Cabrera’s monster 3 Homer Game versus the Texas Rangers May.19/2013

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Triple Play Podcast #10: An Interview With MLB Reports Cards Correspondent Landen Crouch + Poor Show Of Brett Lawrie!

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Tuesday, May 28th, 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 – Landen Crouch (Cardinals Correspondent) of mlbreports.com  (

Landen Crouch of mlbreports.com is our guest on this episode as we discuss the continuous success of the cardinals. We also cover their rich history as Landen gives us his Mt Rushmore of Cards greats. Finally we bat around Brett Lawrie‘s recent run-ins and lack of maturity.

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The Red Sox Are Getting Thrown Into The Dirty Laundry Bag!

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Saturday, March.23/2013

Bobby Valentine may have been happy to start the year as skipper of the Red Sox, but the 2012 season was nothing to smile about at all.

Bobby Valentine may have been happy to start the year as skipper of the Red Sox, but the 2012 season was nothing to smile about at.

MLB Reports:  Welcome to our newest Kids writer  Jason Alpert-Wisnia – for being selected to join our MLB Reports Kids Writing team.  We are pleased to present the readers with a youthful look to the game of baseball.  Moms and Dad’s – if you have a young kid who loves baseball and wants to write about the game, please email us at mlbreports@gmail.com.  We will be selecting three more kid writers for our website this year. 

By Jason Alpert-Wisnia  (AKA “JAWS”): (MLB Reports Kids Writer – visit his website here )

The Red Sox in the 2011 season were managed by the Luckless Losing manager Bobby Valentine and made them lose with a HORRID and CRAPPY Season Record of 69-93 putting them in last (5th) place in the AL East. They, are guessed to be going on another losing streak and get 5th place in the AL East again.

Youkilis reaction to a question about Bobby Valentine – Returns to Boston:

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Mickey Mantle: “The Mick” Card

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Monday, March.18, 2013

Mickey Mantle is the ALL - Time HR leader amongst switch hitters.  He was a 3 Time AL MVP with 6 other top 5 finishes.  He won the Triple Crown in 1956 for the Yankees.  In an era that was not known for Stealing, he held himself back - or he could have been Baseballs first 40/40 Man.  Mantle slugged over 1.000 OPS in 8 years and held a Career 3 Slash line of .298/.421/.977.

Mickey Mantle is the ALL – Time HR leader amongst switch hitters. He was a 3 Time AL MVP with 6 other top 5 finishes. He won the Triple Crown in 1956 for the Yankees. In an era that was not known for Stealing, he held himself back – or he could have been Baseballs first 40/40 Man. Mantle slugged over 1.000 OPS in 8 years and held a Career 3 Slash line of .298/.421/.977.  Mantle won 7 World Series and appeared in a total of 12 Fall Classics – hitting 18 HRs (a record that stood for 3 decades by a Post Season Career and still is a WS Record.)  Mantle made just over $1 MIL in earnings for his 18 years.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 5

Mickey Mantle

Just as Joe DiMaggio was winding down his career in 1951, a nineteen-year-old wunderkind burst upon the MLB scene.  His name was Mickey Mantle, he hailed from Commerce, Oklahoma, and he was the walking, talking personification of the All-American boy.  The Mick was boyishly handsome, strong, sleek, and fast as the wind. 

And he could hit Home Runs further than anyone in the game.  When he won the Triple Crown in 1956 he captured the hearts and souls of an entire generation of youngsters who would go on to be known as the Baby Boomers.  But just like Roy Hobbs, The Natural, in Bernard Malamud’s 1952 story, his personality flaws along with injuries, would keep Mantle from realizing his full potential.

The Yankees seemed to be blessed with sterling talent that showed up at just the right time.  As Babe Ruth’s career with the Bronx Bombers wound down, Lou Gehrig was there to carry the team forward.  When Gehrig’s career came to an abrupt and tragic end, Joe DiMaggio was just establishing himself as the preeminent Center Fielder of his day. 

Mickey Mantle’s 500th HR(3rd one in) is amongst these 7 Mantle videos :

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Honus Wagner: The Most Expensive Card Ever

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Saturday, March.09, 2013

Honus Wagner was an 8 time Batting Average Champion - who was a Doubles  (643, 9th ALL - Time) and Triples (252, 3rd ALL-Time) Machine.  He also Stole 723 Bases (10th ALL - Time)..  He is ranked as the #4 Hitter in the history of baseball by baseballreference.com (Ruth, Mays and Williams Top 3)

Honus Wagner was an 8 time Batting Average Champion – who was a Doubles (643, 9th ALL – Time) and Triples (252, 3rd ALL-Time) Machine. He Stole 723 Bases (10th ALL – Time).. He is ranked as the #4 Hitter in the history of baseball by baseballreference.com (Ruth, Mays and Williams Top 3).

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball MemorabiliaEnthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 4

Honus Wagner

Flipping Over Cards – The T206 Wagner The Most Expensive Card of All

As a kid I wasn’t much of a ballplayer, but when it came to collecting baseball cards I was an All-Star.  As a matter of fact, over half a century later, I still collect them.  Of course, the hobby has changed a bit over the years.

For a five-year period, from 1954-58, baseball cards were the most important thing in my life.  As winter turned to spring training, I, along with most of my friends, would bug our parents to take us to the candy store, to see if the Topps cards for the upcoming season had arrived.  Each year, those first cards, sealed in that season’s unique wax pack wrapper, were objects of unbearable anticipation.   

I would arrange my new stack of cards in numerical order, tossing the duplicates into a separate pile.  A few minutes admiring the pictures of the players, a rubber band wound tightly around them to secure my precious items, and off I went to catch up with my friends to compare, trade from my pile of duplicates, and flip. We’d attach triplicates to the spokes of our bicycle wheels so that they sounded like full-throated motorcycles as we sped down the street.  As the baseball season progressed, our piles got large enough that we employed shoe boxes to store our cache.

Wagner T206 Card mystery video

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia And The Great Bambino

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Sunday, February.17,  2013

The baseball memorabilia industry may be slowing down from recent generations of over production - but that does not mean that the hobby is dying.  There are Millions of valuable collectibles out there.

The baseball memorabilia industry may be slowing down from recent generations of over production – but that does not mean that the hobby is dying. There are Millions of valuable collectibles out there like this painting of Ted Williams and The Babe.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 1

Collecting baseball cards is a uniquely American hobby.  As a kid growing up in the 1950’s I had shoeboxes full of them.  All of my friends did, too.  We had so many cards that, when we got older and our interests shifted to teenage pursuits, our moms decided to clean house. Literally.  Out went the cards which they considered to be nothing more than junk.  Today, we wax nostalgic over those cardboard canvasses of our heroes that we treated so casually.  That’s also why, in good condition, they are worth small fortunes.

I renewed my interest in card collecting a few years ago when I decided to build a collection of the elites of the game – the ballplayers who are members of three very exclusive clubs: 300 Wins, 3,000 Hits, and 500 Home Runs.  It’s an exclusive membership that includes players from before the turn of the twentieth century (Kid Nichols and Pud Galvin are tied for #7 with 361 wins) through players who are active today (Derek Jeter is currently #11 on the ALL-Time Hit list with 3,304.  He is only 11 hits behind Eddie Collins (10th) and 15 behind Paul Molitor (9th):

  • 300 Wins – 24 players
  • 3,000 Hits – 28 players
  • 500 Home Runs – 25 players

Each week, I’ll feature a baseball card of one of these all-time greats.  Along the way, we’ll talk about other aspects of America’s Hobby, why it continues to grow in popularity, and answer any questions you may have.

The Great Bambino Highlights and pictures:

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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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Pedro Martinez Rejoins The Red Sox Organization: Meets Up With Francona At Boston Book Signing

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Sunday, January.27, 2013

Tito autographs a book for his former ace

Tito autographs a copy of  Red Sox Rule:  Terry Francona and Boston’s Rise to Dominance – for his former ace pitcher.

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

What a roller-coaster week for Red Sox fans — enough to make you reach for the Rolaids. First came the early excerpts from former manager Terry Francona‘s book, revealing that during the 2010 offseason, Sox ownership took the advice of a media consultant to boost its sagging TV ratings by loading the team with “sexy” stars like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. For those who looked forward to hearing Francona’s memories of the 2004 and 2007 World Series runs, this mudslinging was just another reminder of how dreadful life has been on Yawkey Way the last 15 months.

Then there were the reports that contract negotiations with free agent first baseman Mike Napoli had finally been settled — and that the early rumors of his injuries were even worse than expected. Napoli was found to have a more serious hip problem than originally thought, a development that whittled down Boston’s original three-year, $39 Million offer to one year at $5 Million – plus a ballbag full of incentives.

Terry Francona Interviews on Jan.22/2013:

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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:

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Projected Boston Red Sox Lineup For 2013: State Of The Union Part 1 – The Hitters

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Sunday, January.06, 2013

Will Victorino help point the way out of the cellar?

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

It has become trendy in recent weeks for experts to declare the Red Sox not only big players during the recent flurry of off-season transactions, but also big winners.

This may be wishful thinking, however, since it’s hard to imagine another season as dreadful as the 69-93 last-place debacle of 2012. It’s true Boston picked up strong character guys in Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, along with a few streaky power-hitter types in Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli. But the revamped Boston lineup still has plenty of uncertainties with spring training a little over a month away.

Let’s take a look around the diamond as things currently stand (projected starters in bold):

At First Base – the newcomer Napoli, who can also catch, will likely get the nod provided Boston and his agent come to terms over his contract. Health may be an issue; while Napoli hit HRs last year and 30 in 2011, he’s played more than 114 games just once in seven MLB seasons (140 in 2010). Current backup Mauro Gomez was the International League MVP at Pawtucket last summer, but in 102 at-bats with Boston posted only 2 HRs. Mark Hamilton has shown bursts of power in the minors but has hit .197 in two call-ups with St. Louis.

Mike Napoli Highlights from 2012:

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Who Have Been The Toughest Former Red Sox To See In A Yankees Uniform?

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Saturday, December.15/2012

a  bos 1a

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

Pending a failed physical or other unforeseen mishap, Kevin Youkilis will be manning third base and wearing pinstripes when the Red Sox open the 2013 season at Yankee Stadium on April 1. Amazingly, it won’t be until July 19 that the teams will square off in Boston, giving Fenway Park fans their first chance to see their former favorite son in a New York uniform.

Red Sox Nation had an opportunity to adjust to life with Youk in the visitor’s dugout when the White Sox visited Fenway shortly after his trade to Chicago last summer, but this is a much different situation. Boston fans may develop a kinder, gentler hatred for the Yankees since 2004, but there is something about seeing a former Red Sox in enemy colors that still tugs at the heartstrings.

Here’s a look back at some of the biggest Boston heroes to wind up in the Bronx — and how they fared on their Fenway returns. Read the rest of this entry

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

Enough With The Early Round Champagne Celebrations MLB!

Saturday, October.13/2012

This celebration of the Tigers was the final straw to me writing this article. The Tigers should count their lucky stars they won a weak division and that they drew the Athletics in the ALDS. Since when did these excessive celebrations for early round wins of the playoffs begin?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

am 36 years old.  In no way would I consider myself 100% a traditionalist when it comes to Major League Baseball.  I like the 2 Wild Card Slots, I like the Designated Hitter, as for Interleague play, I wish they had more of it so I could see every team waddle through Seattle every so often.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with some ‘old school’ philosophies and certain underwritten rules about the game.   One thing that has really set me off in watching the end of the season and the playoffs is the excessive Champagne Celebrations of the clubs once they win any series or clinch any playoff spot?  I mean come on fellas, you are celebrating like you have won everything in the game and we are not even into the League Championships Series.

I am out of line in thinking that this isn’t a new trend?  I don’t remember this many corks being popped off in previous years.  I have no problem with a team celebrating divisional and the World Series crowns with a party.  This has been a time-long tradition in the Major Leagues back to the start of the games existence.   Where I first starting seeing this epidemic fly was when the Braves clinched a playoff spot and then went hog-wild in their dressing room after the game.  I was surprised at their actions but almost dismissed it.  I understood that after last years collapse, plus the added pressure of trying to make the playoffs for Chipper’s last chance, that maybe they were just blowing off some steam.  If I were a player, I would be happy to be in the playoffs, however If I made it in via Wild Card, I would not carry on with an alcohol bender! I would be made I still lost the division. Read the rest of this entry

Miguel Cabrera: Baseball Royalty is Ready to Take the AL Triple Crown and a Spot in Cooperstown

Tuesday September 25, 2012

Alex Mednick:  1967 was the year that boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing world championship because he refused to join the U.S. Army.  There were 475,000 US Troops in Vietnam.  The Beatles had just come out with Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Woodstock music festival was still 2 years away.  Never had a man stepped foot on the moon, a gallon of gas cost $0.33 and Federal Minimum Wage was $1.40 per hour.  It was also the last time that any professional ballplayer was awarded the triple crown: Carl Yastrzemski.

Carl Yastrzemski was the last major league baseball player to ever win the triple crown, 45 years ago in 1967.

Here we are, in present day 2012, and 29-year-old phenom Miguel Cabrera is vying to be the first man to hit for the triple crown since 1967…after almost a half century.  Back in 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire reignited national interest in our pastime, they were pursuing Roger Maris’ single season record for most home runs.  Without deducting any valor from the record which I believe still belongs to Mr. Maris, the triple crown does not only take home run power into consideration; rather the triple crown validates a hitter based upon the three most important (Sabremetrician’s may disagree) measures of a hitters overall productivity. Read the rest of this entry

The Aftermath Of The Stephen Strasburg(less) Nationals sweep in the NLDS Oct 2012

Thursday, September.06/2012

Stephen Strasburg is eligible for Arbitration after the 2013 season. He originally signed a 4 Year/14 Million Dollar Entry Level Deal after he was drafted in 2009. The salary hit for the Nats in 2013 places him tied for 3rd on the team with Mike Morse.  He will be Unrestricted Free Agent in 2017, will he remain a National?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

The Nationals are my favorite National League team.  It is my firm belief that you are allowed 1 team in each League to cheer for.  The Yankees are my team in the American League.  The love for the Nationals goes back to when they were the Montreal Expos.  It was a lean time for a lot of us fans until the last few years have given us hope.  So before I go on about the contracts and payroll for 2013 tomorrow, I officially am going on record in saying that shutting Strasburg down is completely wrong.  I don’t care about ramifications of the pitcher throwing his arm out.  You never know when injuries are going to occur.  The Babying method never worked for Strasburg the first time, or for Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes for that matter.  This all stems back to the over using of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior by Dusty Baker in the 2003 year.  Innings limits were soon introduced in every franchise to protect the players and managers from going after a championship and maybe shortening their career.  It also has a lot to do with teams not being able to insure players any more. 

Insurance companies (like Lloyd’s of London) realize that they will pay out teams at a less than profitable rate for Major League Baseball players based on how much these guys make now, so they will not cover any baseball player anymore.  So Washington is freely shutting him down because they think it is the best thing to do for the player and the club.  They think  by preserving him from any injury at all, that this will prolong his shelf life and thus make the baseball team more profitable in the long run.  This is a major role of the dice and could end up setting the fan base back with a sour taste in their mouth for generations.  If Washington wins the World Series, this would be the only scenario where the question would not be brought up again.  Anything short of this and it is going to start an epic debate. Read the rest of this entry

The Philadelphia Phillies Franchise Part 2 of 4: The Hitters

Friday August.24/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers.  4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles here.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): -The Phillies have had an incredible run in the last decade of baseball.  Most of that time has been spent at Citizens Bank Ball Park which is a very hitter-friendly park.  The management was smart enough to draft a whole bunch of offensive talent like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins and even J.D Drew(who never signed in 1997 with the Phillies and went back into the 1998 draft.)  They also traded Scott Rolen for Placido Polanco.  These guys have all taken advantage of the new baseball cathedral.  Ryan Howard leads all active players in HRs per AB in the Major Leagues with hitting a HR per just a little over 13 AB.  There is still a long way to go to chase down Michael Jack Schmidt.  His 548 Career HRs and 1595 RBI  lead the ALL-Time totals on the Phillies by quite a big margin.

Criteria for being put on this list was quite simple.  You had to be a player of significance on the Franchise.   Great watermarks are: 1000 hits, 100 HRs, 1000 games, if you led the league in any category for a few seasons or batted .285 or higher for the duration of your time.  This is what I was looking for to include the players on the list.  It has taken me a lengthy period of time to siphon through 130 years of baseball to bring you this list.  From Ed Delahanty and Billy Hamilton, to Richie Ashburn and Dick Allen, to Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinki, to Von Hayes, to John Kruk and Lenny Dykstra, to Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen-to finally get us to the gentlemen aforementioned in the first paragraph.  I want this study to be as interactive as I can with the readers.  If you feel that there is someone worthy of being included in the list for hitters, please feel free to comment or send me an email to booth7629@gmail.com.  I would be glad to edit this post and add to it.  After all, if you are reading this, chances are you are a Phillies fan, I am just a baseball historian.

For Part 1 of The 4 Part Phillies Article Series:  The Franchise- click here

For Part 3 of  The 4 Part Phillies Article Series:  The Pitchers- click here

For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series:  Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here

Ryan Howard Highlight reel

Read the rest of this entry

The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: (Part 4 of The Expos/Nats Series)

Friday, July.20/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Stephen Strasburg is the new face of the Washington Nationals. Will Bryce Harper and he be able to bring a World Series to Washington?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- At the beginning of 2005, MLB returned to Washington for the first time since 1971.  So how was this time going to be any different from the first two times in DC?  The Minnesota Twins first moved from the old Washington in 1961 and the Texas Rangers moved in 1971 from Washington a decade later.  The Washington Nationals (or Senators in the early 20’s where the won a World Series in 1924.  The first and only WS the city of Washington has seen) had hall of fame players such as: Goose Goslin, Sam Rice and Joe Cronin to accompany the great Walter Johnston.  By the time the team moved to Minnesota before the start of the 1961 season, the club had young phenoms Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison seen as their nucleus of a young Washington team before moving.

Washington’s second go around (in the American League this time) lasted from 1961-1971.  The Washington fans were granted an AL Expansion team by MLB-to hold ontotheir anti-trust exemption status.  The Los Angeles Angels were their expansion cousins.  These AL Washington teams were awful and only were saved by Frank Howard and his 6 foot 7 frame smashing home runs for the years of 1965-1971 as their first baseman/outfielder.  The team only managed one winning season in a decade and that was under the managerial guide of Ted Williams.  Bob Short had acquired the team with 9.4 Million Dollars that was all borrowed after the previous owner had died in 1967.  Short promptly named himself the General Manager.  Finances caught up to him and he eventually traded away some of the best talent before selling the club to the city of Arlington after the 1971 season.  Washington would be without baseball for 33 years until the Expos moved back into RFK Stadium and changed their name to the Nationals in 2005.

For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos  Hitters: click here

For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here

For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise of the Montreal Expos: click here

For Part 5 of the Article Series, 2005-2012 Nats Best 25 Man Roster click here

Read the rest of this entry

Top 10 Stat of the Week ( Career HRs With One Team )

Sunday June.24/2012

‘Hammering’ Hank passed the legendary Babe Ruth as the ALL-Time HR leader in 1974. Some still feel that he is the ALL-Time HR leader with the admitted steroid use from Leader Barry Bonds. –Photo courtesy of goldenagebaseballcards

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  Seemingly gone are the days where most of the MLB players stick with one team for their whole careers.  As of right now there are not too many superstars that have spent their entire careers with one organization.  Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are 1st ballot Hall of Famers.  Chipper Jones should make the BBHOF.  Todd Helton is close to retiring but I am not sure the voters will see him worthy.  There are some promising chances that Ryan Braun and David Wright might play their entire careers with their current clubs, however with Braun’s PED fiasco last year I just don’t see him entering Cooperstown.  Wright must re-sign with the ownership hemorrhaging, this will prove hard for the Wilpons funds thanks to Bernie Madoff.  When it comes to starting pitching, the list is shrunken that much further.  Justin Verlander is the active win leader with a player only having played for one team.  He has 114 wins with the Tigers, anybody above him on the active ALL-Time Wins list has pitched for multiple teams already.  The next active leader for one team pitched for is Ervin Santana with 91 wins for the Angels franchise.  Felix Hernandez has 90 wins for the Mariners.  Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain have played their entire careers for the same team so far and have CY Young titles amongst them, but have a long way to go in establishing Hall of Fame Careers.

That brings me to my next stat.  There are 9 players in history who have hit 500 HRs or more for one team.  All of them are in the Hall of Fame except for Barry Bonds (who becomes eligible next year.) I am not sure the writers will cast a vote for him because of his steroid use.  When I got the idea for this article, it came to be because I was amazed that Paul Konerko has hit over 400 HRs with the Chicago White Sox.  Again at age 36, Konerko has a look at 500 HRs with the Chicago team.  Right now he can end the season with about 410-420 HRs.  Provided he can play 3-4 years more and have productive seasons, he may reach the milestone.  Chipper Jones is the only other active MLB Player to have 400 HRs with one team.  Larry is slowing down though and will most likely retire after this year.  Read the rest of this entry

Passing of the Torch as The Greatest Player in The MLB: From Pujols to Hamilton

Wednesday June.6, 2012

Josh Hamilton is on pace for 64 HRs and 177 RBI in 2012 with a .345 AVG. He has taken over as the best player in MLB from Albert Pujols -Photo Courtesy of http://www.real-fans.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time.  I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow up articles.  I did rank defense highly when I came up with the players.  I did agonize over Mike Schmidt,  Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration.  In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion.  The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting(if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

George Brett won batting titles in 3 different decades and flirted with .400 in 1980 while hitting .390 for the year. -Photo courtesy of lanius.wordpress.com

George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983.  He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders.  He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979.  In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league.  In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again.  Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979.  In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series.  He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average.  This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983.  Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose  George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry

Century Old Fenway Park is Fine the Way it is

Monday May 14, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): Fenway Park is baseball. The stadium itself represents the long history of Major League Baseball, spanning a century in age. Its iconic look, as well as the legends that have called it home, make the park one of the most valuable relics of all time. The impression of roughly 8,000 Red Sox games has given Fenway a rich past, with such legends as Babe Ruth and Ted Williams once calling the park home. Six World Series Championships have been brought back to the city by the Red Sox in triumph, Fenway surviving to see every one of them. Some of its features, such as The Big Green Monster and The Lone Red Seat, have legends as large as the crowd (over 130 million), that have passed through the gates in a one hundred year old history.

Fenway has also been home to the biggest rivalry in perhaps the entire history of sports. The Red Sox have been in a never-ending battle with their A.L. East neighbor, the New York Yankees, for over 100 years. Their rich history once found common ground on the diamonds they played in, as Yankee Stadium stood for 85 years from 1923 to 2008. Now, with the recent Centennial Celebration in Boston and New Yankee Stadium serving as a modern homage to the past, there is some question of when, or if, the Red Sox will follow suit and create a new shrine. Read the rest of this entry

“Extra Innings” – By Bruce E. Spitzer: Baseball Book Review

Friday May 11th, 2012

“EXTRA INNINGS” –  BY BRUCE E. SPITZER

(Bear Hill Media:  2012)

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  We are full swing into the baseball book season. Stopping by my local bookstore (yes…they still have those as e-books have not yet completely taken over), I went straight to the baseball book section. I was amazed at how many new titles were out. With so much to choose from, picking a new title to read can be overwhelming. Let’s face it- we all have busy lives. There is a strong time commitment required to complete any book from beginning to end. If taken too long to read, the stories and messages can often be lost. Thus the special story that you choose must be worthy of your time. To pick the book, read it from beginning to end and walk away having gained wisdom and enjoyment from it. That is why we encourage reading books here on MLB reports and work to find you the latest and greatest titles. Today’s book is revolutionary in the world of baseball and one that completely blew me away.  Extra Innings, a novel by first time author Bruce Spitzer. Imagine science was able to bring Ted Williams back to life in the year 2092. Do I have your attention? I knew I would.

Here is a brief introduction to Extra Innings, courtesy of extrainningsthenovel.com:

   In the year 2092, Ted Williams, the greatest baseball hitter of all time, is brought back to life through the science of cryonics.

Once again playing for the Red Sox, Williams finds himself trapped in a world he hardly recognizes: the corruption of the game he loves with über-juiced batters and robot pitchers; difficult love affairs clashing with his old desires; and a military conflict of the future in which he must harness the fighter pilot skills he used in his first life.

Dr. Elizabeth Miles is the cryonicist who brings him back to life, initiating a dramatic sequence of medical achievements. She and her young son Johnnie are a constant reminder of what Williams lacked in his first trip around the bases, never devoting much time to love and family. But old habits die hard.

With enemies and allies both on the field and off, Williams must make sense of it all and play on against a machine that he detests, pressure to take the “giddyup” he abhors, unrelenting media mania, and a dystopian world he can’t ignore.

The narrative resonates with the consequences of the major issues we face in our world today—the steroids debate in sports, global warming, corporate greed, technology run rampant, and the moral ambiguity of war.

Extra Innings is alternately poignant and humorous, heartbreaking and joyous. Thought-provoking throughout, it’s a rollicking ride that looks at second chances and redemption, the ability to triumph over adversity, and the search for meaning in this life and the next.

Flawed in his first life, Williams must decide in the second what’s more important, the chance to win his first World Series, or the chance to be a better man?

I enjoyed Extra Innings on many levels. It is a book that made me think, feel and learn all at the same time. Too many of today’s baseball fans grew up having never watched Ted Williams play. Sure, they heard some stories and remember some of the tributes to the baseball great later in life. But not many fans I meet have actually watched Ted Williams play. This is where Extra Innings shines. To be able to imagine a future world where Ted Williams returns, we have to remember and think about Ted Williams in his previous life. The life that many of us missed. Spitzer likely picked Williams for several reasons. Living and growing in Boston, he would have an automatic passion for the Red Sox and Williams. A logical choice. But Williams presents an interesting contrast from days gone by to what the future would be like. Williams was a “man’s-man”.  A throwback. Playing the game hard. Giving it all on the baseball field. Serving in the army. They don’t build many like Williams anymore. From a baseball standpoint, Extra Innings gives the requisite baseball education and information that I always crave in a baseball book. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

Tuesday April 24, 2012

Chuck Booth- (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Today’s expert is Kurt Smith.  Kurt will be the interview subject of the following parks: Citizens Bank Ball Park, Turner Field and today’s featured expert Article of Tropicana Field  Kurt is highly respected in the ball park chaser community for his BallparkEGuides.  After you are done reading this article  I implore you trust in Kurt to deliver up tips and suggestive idea’s on how to make your stadium visits affordable and pleasurable.  I had a chance to ask some questions of the man recently.

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

KS: “Well I’m not a Rays fan per se, but wouldn’t they be a fun team to root for? They consistently come out on top or near the top in a division that includes behemoth spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox; and last year’s finale was one of the most exciting regular season games in history.  It’s too bad this team has so much trouble getting people to come out and see them, because they really are an exciting team to watch. And I love the cowbells. It’s great to hear the ringing in a dome when an opposing batter has two strikes on him.”

CB: “As one of the ballpark experts who takes it to the extreme, how do you rank Tropicana Field versus the rest of the Ballparks?”

KS: “Tropicana Field isn’t a great venue; of all the ballparks I’ve visited I’d put it at or near the bottom. I don’t like indoor baseball, and I really dislike artificial turf, probably like most fans. The Trop is the only non-retractable dome left in baseball now that the Metrodome is gone, so you’re inside regardless. It may be okay to have the air conditioning and protection from thunderstorms in July or August, but who wants to go indoors to see baseball on a beautiful April Florida day? The timing of Tropicana Field’s construction couldn’t have been worse. A dome seemed like a great idea at the time, but just a couple of years after it opened Camden Yards debuted and completely turned ballpark construction upside down. Suddenly indoor baseball on artificial turf couldn’t be less cool.

If the Tampa Bay area’s government had listened when baseball told them not to build a stadium, they would probably have a retractable dome today.But the Rays signed a lease, so for the moment they’re stuck with it. And it’s not all bad. The humidity of Florida summers is nothing to sneeze at, so the air conditioning can be pretty nice. And at least you know you’re going to see a game whatever Mother Nature says, which is of great benefit to a road tripper.”

CB: “Despite the Rays being one of the best franchises over the last 5 years, the team still does not draw well. Why do you think that is Kurt?”

KS : “Here are the reasons that I’ve heard, all of which I think have some merit:

1 – Location. The ballpark is in St. Petersburg, and it’s not all that close or easily accessible from Tampa, where much of the fan base is or should be. It’s also in Florida, where there are a lot of New York transplants, so Yankees games draw well but the team has had a hard time establishing its own fan base.

2 – Entertainment Competition. Tampa Bay is not far from beaches or from Orlando, so there isn’t much elbow room for promotional people to convince residents to come to a ballgame rather than go to Universal Studios. The venue doesn’t help; on a beautiful day most people might rather go to a theme park in Orlando or a beach than go indoors for a game.

3 – Venue. I don’t know if I necessarily buy this one; a good team usually draws no matter where they play. But the Trop isn’t on the bucket list of most ballpark trippers, so that doesn’t help matters any. People get enthused about a game at Wrigley Field or Camden Yards, they don’t get enthused about a game at Tropicana Field.

4 – Weather. The indoor venue notwithstanding, perhaps people just don’t want to go somewhere and be outside for at least a short time in a climate where they may be dealing with hurricane-level thunderstorms or oppressive heat.”

CB: “The Rays seem to have a lot of gimmicks to promote a family atmosphere what have you seen Tropicana Field do in order to boost attendance?”

KS: “It is to the Rays’ great credit that they’ve made the Trop more entertaining for families and adults. The Rays tank is an especially popular attraction. You can reach into this tank in right center field and pet the slimy rays that are swimming around in it—all while watching the game go on. The concourse areas of Tropicana Field are like nothing you’ve seen in baseball—comic book style murals of baseball history, picnic areas and tons of interactive games for kids. On my last trip there, the Jumbotron showed a hilarious video of a cat “mixing” on a turntable.There’s also several party areas, like the Everglades BBQ in the batter’s eye in center field, the Center Field Street Brewhouse (with drink specials before games!), and several lounge areas where people can enjoy a “Blue Storm” drink. Baseball buffs should get a kick out of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, too. Unfortunately the Rays can’t do fireworks, but they do get some big name acts to play after games.

CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Tropicana Field?”

KS: “Well if I lived close enough, I’d ride a bicycle, because there’s a lot of nice bicycle paths in the area and a place to lock up your cycle at the ballpark. But as it is, the only way most people get to Tropicana Field is by car, and it’s right off the interstate and easy to find. So I’ll just add that I’d find some people to carpool with, because the Rays offer free parking to the first 100 cars with four or more people in them. Free parking is always a great deal.

There is a new service for Tampa area fans called the “No Excuses Tour”. It takes riders to the game from a couple of local taverns, and I think the price is very reasonable. I believe they serve beer on the bus but the bus doesn’t have a bathroom, so there’s some kinks to be worked out there, but it’s a great idea.”

CB: “Tell me something about the surrounding area of the Ballpark?”

KS: “Well, I haven’t heard any horror stories, but some people say it’s not a great neighborhood. You’re not far from the downtown pier and its attractions, so that’s a possible post-game hangout area. I would say that you’re better off staying east of the ballpark towards the pier, and perhaps it’s not so nice west and south of the ballpark.

The popular pre-and post-game venue is Ferg’s, an indoor-outdoor tavern that is converted from a warehouse. They have game day specials on beer, and I haven’t tried the wings but I’m told they’re very good. If you’re the type that likes a drink or a snack before or after the game, Ferg’s is as good as anything here. They are walking distance from the ballpark and have cheaper parking, too.”

CB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Tropicana Field for the very first time?”

KS: “Don’t pay more than you have to for a seat. If you can live with anything in the upper level you can get tickets there dirt cheap directly from the Rays, and it’s usually not a problem to improve your lie during the game. Wander around and see all of the party areas and make sure you check out that big ballplayer sticking out of the wall. Get yourself a cowbell so you can distract the opposing hitters when they get two strikes on them. If you’re a history buff you’ll want to see the Ted Williams Museum.

And don’t complain about seeing baseball indoors, because it’s a mighty good thing during July and August in St. Petersburg.”

CB: “How is the food at Tropicana Field?  What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

KS: “Tropicana Field has everything from soup to nuts in the food department, like most ballparks these days. The nice thing is that there’s a lot of brand names, for better or worse, at least with Papa John’s, Outback Steakhouse and Checkers you know what you’re getting. They have a deli with great Boar’s Head sandwiches, and they even have a gluten-free stand, great for celiacs like my wife. The hot dogs are from Kayem, the same purveyor of the Fenway Frank in Boston, although the dogs here are different.

When I’m in the Trop I go for a Cuban sandwich at the East-West Delicatessen near the main entrance; the Cuban is not something you find at a lot of ballparks. It’s a hot pressed sandwich of ham, pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard. I don’t know that it’s the go-to item at the Trop, but it would be my first choice. Gooey cheese is always a winner.”

CB:  “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Tropicana Field?”

KS: “Well unfortunately I wasn’t there for September 28, 2011, when the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Yankees in 12 innings and take the wild card spot right out from under the Red Sox.

So I’ll just go with my first game there in 2002…the then-Devil Rays pulled off a 5-4 victory over the Orioles, and I was with a group of friends sitting down the right field line making jokes about seeing the relief pitchers from behind.

Despite being indoors on a gorgeous April day, a good time was had by all.”

CB: “Thank you very much Kurt.”

***Thank you to our Tropicana Field Expert- Kurt Smith for participating in today’s article.  to learn more about Kurt Smith and his website click here***

 ***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here  or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***

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