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I Give The Captain More Accolades: Jeter To Play Last Game In The Bronx + Last Series In Boston

derek jeter

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead/Analyst – with assist to Jonathan Hacohen, Website Founder) 

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I understand the “Jeter Fatigue” that has gone on all year, and half of me just wishes that he never mentioned that he was done after the 2014 campaign.  I just hate giving any ammunition to the ‘hater’s’, and definitely when I have agreed it was overkill at some points.  

But then I would have missed his brilliant series at Safeco Field, that was worth the price of admission, if I hadn’t known it was his last year.

While he has struggled for some of this season, he had hits in his 1st AB, all three games of that series I attended, and reached base 9 times in 3 straight Yankee wins, giving me yet more memories for my favorite current Pinstriper.

I was there in person for that, and bought my only t-shirt of the year from a street vendor afterwards.

While everyone is not a Yankees fan. and are growing tired of the talk, this is the greatest Yankees player in my years of watching the sport. So, because I have a forum to write about him, Damnit I will!!

Sure I had grown up on Don Mattingly  (the last captain of the team prior to #2).. Heck…he is still my favorite player of ALL – Time, but Jeter came into the mix about the same time I graduated from high school.

I am sure I can say this about a lot of “Bronx Bombers’ fans my age.  I wanted to be a New York Yankee while playing organized baseball.  It was my dream.

Derek Jeter has lived the life all of us would have wanted as a Yankee Stadium ‘hero’. Read the rest of this entry

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – August 24, 2014

MexicanRestaurant

While having a delicious Mexican dinner with my family, I somehow got into a baseball discussion with my wife. They don’t happen often so I decided to turn it into an impromptu podcast.

It is a spicy Margarita and chips and salsa episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Pedro Alvarez, Joe Mauer, Mike Leake, Jeremy Guthrie, Juan Lagares, Trevor Plouffe, Ervin Santana and C.J. Wilson all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball?

When in Pasadena, have a wonderful Mexican dinner at El Cholo. Click HERE for more info.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 2, 2014

SmallTraditions.com

SmallTraditions.com

Today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast. talks about following sports and avoiding other in the digital age..

It has never been easier to tailor your sports watching experience to exactly what your tastes need. So there is no need to complain about coverage of your sport and other games over exposed!

Tim Lincecum, Seth Smith, Eduardo Nunez, Rick Porcello, Hiroki Kuroda, Cody Asche, Wade Miley and Conor Gillaspie all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball.
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Current Odds To Win The 2014 MLB World Series – Updated For Week 10 + Best Value Bets

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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In lieu of doing the Power rankings today, in which we just completed our Monthly rankings a few days ago, here are the current odds to win the World Series.

These kind of work as a defacto slotting of positions in their own right.

I had a full .500 of predicting last weeks totals in best bets.  Toronto’s big streak of 9 games were the big culprits of this affair to my demise.  They have jumped all the way to +1600, and are the top favorite out of the AL East.

If you are a New York Yankees fan or Boston Red Sox Nation subscriber, and think your squad could win the Fall Classic each, pounce on this weeks odds.  At +2000 and +2200 respectively, they are the highest they have been all year for the Eastern Seaboard clubs.

Boston has reeled of 6 wins in a row following their 10 game swan dive, and New York is only 2.5 Games Behind Toronto.

Honestly as the teams are constructed right now, I am all in favor of picking the Jays, but there is one problem.  If the ‘Pinstripers’ are in contention a month from now, Brian Cashman will be handed an influx of cash to dole out in forms of trades.

Toronto is over the payroll they want to be at for the campaign, although they might be able to add a Starter as said by the brass, “if the club is playing well.”.

Boston just inked Stephen Drew back, and they have some Benjamin Franklin’s in reserve somewhere if they want to throw some down, just not sure they will do so. Read the rest of this entry

For Those Thinking The Yankees Are So Much Older Than The Red Sox, Think Again

With spending $503 MIL on contracts this winter, however they are not as old of a club as they were last year.  That doesn't mean the problem won't come back in future years, it just means this is their best year to compete for some time.

With spending $503 MIL on contracts this winter, however they are not as old of a club as they were last year. That doesn’t mean the problem won’t come back in future years, it just means this is their best year to compete for some time.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I am not a Yankees fan, and am definitely not a Red Sox fan either, however it is funny how this rivalry has captivated most baseball followers.

After this winter signings have occurred, I finally decided to do some investigating, because of all the venom fired towards the Bronx Bombers.

Immediately after Carlos Beltran signed, you saw, ‘hey, the Yankees are signing old fogies again.’

I also watched as Boston Red Sox Nation piled on the New York franchise for this.

So after reviewing both rosters, guess what….Both teams have similarly aged players.  It is almost dead on. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Teams In The MLB From 1980 – 2013: The Biggest Question Is, Who Owns 2004 – 2013, BOS or STL?

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 - 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013.  They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade - but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch

The Boston Red Sox started out the season 21 – 8 after their 1st 29 games in 2013. They rolled it all the way to their 3rd WS Title in a decade – but are they the best team in the MLB during this stretch from 2004 – now?

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

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There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century. 

If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years. 

Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections.  I really started watching baseball in the early 1980’s. 

As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information. 

I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel. 

If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.

2013 Boston Dream Season – Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised

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Wishful Thinking Part 2: Chicago White Sox Style: They Sign Jose Abreu

"Rick Hahn made his first major move as White Sox GM yesterday when he signed 26 year old Cuban defector Jose Abreu to a 6 year $68 million contract. While most are surprised that the White Sox were able to sign Abreu, most are also happy with the signing. So fans are hoping that, along with Avisail Garcia, Abreu can be one of the Sox cornerstones for years to come.

“Rick Hahn made his first major move as White Sox GM yesterday when he signed 26 year old Cuban defector Jose Abreu to a 6 year $68 million contract. While most are surprised that the White Sox were able to sign him, most are also happy with the signing. So fans are hoping that, along with Avisail Garcia, Abreu can be one of the Sox cornerstones for years to come.  Chicago had their worst year in a long time this 2013 season, and this move is good in that it did not cost the franchise anything but money on the payroll.

By ‘White Sox Correspondent’ Brian Madsen  

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I love Paul Konerko. I love Frank Thomas. These two White Sox first basemen are whom we as fans will compare the recently signed Jose Abreu to, as we should.

Don’t compare him to Yoenis Cespedes, or Yasiel Puig, just because they are also from Cuba. He’s the direct replacement for Paul Konerko, just as the longest reigning White Sox player was the replacement for Frank Thomas.

I assumed Rick Hahn would wait until after the postseason was completed to begin the White Sox revamp going into the 2014 season.

Well, the World Series hasn’t even begun, and Hahn managed to sign the biggest free agent hitter available to a 6 year, $68 million contract. This is also the biggest contract given to an international free agent in the history of MLB.

Good start? Some say no, but many say yes. Abreu was very sought after, desired by many MLB clubs. We, as Sox fans, knew of the White Sox interest in him once it was announced that he was soon going to be made available as a free agent.

But, I don’t think many of us thought he would sign here. Boston maybe. Yankees? Rangers? All distinct possibilities. No way the White Sox get him.

Then, you started hearing rumblings that White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo, also a native of Cuba, knows Jose Abreu, and even played with him on a couple Cuban teams.

Could he be whispering in the Cuban players ear about coming to Chicago? Maybe. Was the $ the main contributing factor in Abreu signing with the White Sox? More than likely.

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MLB’s Payroll Matters Part 2: Just Because Some Low Payroll Teams Have Bucked The Trend – Doesn’t Mean It Will Continue

It seems the only to way to build a team successfully - is to be atrocious for several (talking 6 - 8 seasons), stockpile top 5 Draft Picks, and have them all become your nucleus for a matter of a few seasons. The reason is because of Team Control Salaries.  Teams like the Rays and Pirates have also held players in the Minor Leagues longer than needed - due to salary and Arbitration implications.  I can think of Desmond Jennings, Wil Myers, Chris Archer for the Rays, while Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke come to mind for the Bucs.

It seems the only to way to build a team successfully – is to be atrocious for several (talking 6 – 8 seasons like the Twins, Nationals, Pirates, Rays in recent years – and now the Astros are following suit), stockpile top 5 Draft Picks, and have them all become your nucleus for a matter of a few seasons. The reason is because of Team Controllable Salaries. Teams like the Rays and Pirates have also held players in the Minor Leagues longer than needed – due to salary and Arbitration implications. I can think of Desmond Jennings, Wil Myers, Chris Archer for the Rays, while Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke come to mind for the Bucs.  If a player is ready for action in the Majors, he should playing – end of story.

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

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Lets just take a look at the teams that have played well above their value.  The Twins are a story much like the Marlins in 1997 and 2003.

The Twins had a good team in the late 80’s, and won 2 World Series Titles in 1987 and 1991.  However the economics of the game hit them hard, and they struggled for an 8 year stretch in the AL Central.

For Part 1 of the MLB’s State Of the Union Part 1:  Click here.

Major League Contraction Talk Again?

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The Athletics Have Blasted Their Way Back To The Top Of The AL West Standings, But How Far Can They Go?

Athletics

The A’s have been hanging around the top of the AL West all season long,  and have been blasting their way back to the top. With players like Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Alberto Callaspo leading the way of late, they are poised to make a run for not only the division but maybe the American league Pennant.

By Dan Wanser (MLB Reports Writer)   

The Oakland Athletics have been considered contenders to win the American League West the entire season, but now that the season is coming to an end they are blasting their way to the top in an attempt to overtake the Texas Rangers.

With key players doing their job offensively, Pitchers doing their job well and keeping the team in games, and a pretty easy schedule going down the stretch they have all the components to make a stretch run.

Oakland’s 2012-2013 season Highlights:

 

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Should Angel Pagan Come Back In 2013?

 

Angel Pagan led the NL in Triples with 15 in 2012 amongst his 61 Extra Base Hits and 95 Runs.  This year he had scored 30 runs in 46 Games played despite a .262/.314/.688 3 Slash.

Angel Pagan led the NL in Triples with 15 in 2012 amongst his 61 Extra Base Hits and 95 Runs. This year he had scored 30 runs in 46 Games played despite a .262/.314/.688 3 Slash.  The team was 25 – 21 with him in the lineup – and now have gone 31 – 51 since.

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

With the Giants so far out of the playoff picture this year, many may ask why Angel Pagan coming back makes sense.  Why risk a guy getting reinjured?  Why not give him more rest to come back 100% next season?

While these are legitimate questions, it only makes sense that Angel Pagan returns this September to play with the Giants.  

Angel Pagan is a long term asset for the Giants.  He is just one year into his four year deal, and will be counted in the next few years to help the team compete for another World Series title.

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A Preview Of The 2014 San Francisco Giants Starting Pitching Staff

 

Matt Cain is struggling this season to say the least. He has games where he can be most dominant pitcher in baseball, then other games where he struggles to make it through five innings. He has a 4.79 ERA in 124 innings pitched while giving up 16 HRs.

Matt Cain is struggling this season to say the least. He has games where he can be most dominant pitcher in baseball, then other games where he struggles to make it through five innings. He has a 4.35 ERA in 153 innings pitched while giving up 19 HRs.  This mediocre season is cause for concern, since he now makes at least $20 MIL per year from 2013 – 2017, with a $7.5 Buyout in 2018, or one more year at $21 MIL.  Perhaps winning 2 of the last 3 World Series, and logging over 600 + IP combined in that time frame is beginning to take its toll.  I would bet on Cain to have a big bounce back campaign in 2014.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

At this point in the season, it is pretty safe to say that the San Francisco Giants will not be playing beyond September.

This year has been a big disappointment for the defending World Champs, collapsing big time before the All Star Break.

Coming into 2013, the Giants had basically the same team that won the 2012 World Series. The performance though, compared to 2012, was night and day.

The biggest difference in the team’s performance from 2012 is undoubtedly the pitching.

Matt Cain was the undisputed ace of the staff in 2012, throwing a perfect game and posting a 2.79 ERA.

Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner both had a 3.37 ERA. Even Barry Zito had a tolerable season, going 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA – including a huge unbeaten streak – that carried through the 2013 Post Season..

This year, a 4.15 ERA would be acceptable for any pitcher in the rotation not named Bumgarner. Madison Bumgarner has been the one bright spot for the staff this year, carrying a 2.73 ERA.

Cain has a 4.35, Zito a 5.34, Vogelsong a 6.75 (he spent some time on the DL with a finger injury), and Lincecum a 4.38.

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Should The Pirates Make A Deal? Huntington Should At Least Pick Up A Reliever!

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Wednesday, July.24/2013

The trading deadline has been an exciting time of year for Pittsburgh Pirates fans the past two seasons and this year looks to be bordering on an extravaganza for the city, as the Bucs will be hosting the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals for a five-game series as the deadline approaches and passes. Although GM Neal Huntington will likely be active, the sound advice might be to hold onto prospects, do not mortgage the future and go with what got you a couple games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central and for the best record in all of MLB.

The trading deadline has been an exciting time of year for Pittsburgh Pirates fans the past two seasons and this year looks to be bordering on an extravaganza for the city, as the Bucs will be hosting the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals for a five-game series as the deadline approaches and passes. Although GM Neal Huntington will likely be active, the sound advice might be to hold onto prospects, do not mortgage the future and go with what got you a couple games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central and for the best record in all of MLB.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

If you read the newspapers in Pittsburgh or listen to talk show radio, the expectation is that Huntington is going to make a significant deal to upgrade the Pirates’ hitting, outfield, bullpen, and even starting pitching.

Realizing that baseball in October is a lot different than baseball in May, June and July, if the Bucs needed upgrades in all those areas, how are they winning about 60 percent of their games so far?

The Pirates have posted one of the best records in baseball so far in 2013.

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Buster Posey Can’t Do It Alone

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 Wednesday, July.24/2013

Between his incredible performance in 2010 that led the Giants to the World Series title, and led him to the 2010 Rookie of the Year award, and his MVP-worthy performance in 2012 that gave the Giants their 2nd championship in 3 years, it seems that whenever the Giants have Posey on the field, they have a fighting chance.  The only time before this season the team struggled was in 2011- after Posey was smashed in a home plate collision.  But he needs helps this campaign.

Between his incredible performance in 2010 that led the Giants to the World Series title, and led him to the 2010 Rookie of the Year award, and his MVP-worthy performance in 2012 that gave the Giants their 2nd championship in 3 years, it seems that whenever the Giants have Posey on the field, they have a fighting chance. The only time before this season the team struggled was in 2011- after Posey was smashed in a home plate collision. But he need helps this campaign.

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

It would not take someone very long to find a time that Buster Posey has made a tremendous contribution to the San Francisco Giants.  It seems that ever since his callup in 2010, Posey has been able to provide exactly what the Giants have needed.  

His entrance into the MLB has coincided with 2 World Series in the 2 full seasons he has played, however this year is not looking as promising.  The pitching has been suspect – and the offense has been anemic and hurt.

The team enters play today 6 Games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, while the lead is in single digits, they must start the charge now, considering Los Angeles has won 22 of their last 27 games. 

The Giants conclude a series at home versus the Reds tonight, before the Cubs come to town.  After that, the Defending Champions hit Philadelphia and Tampa on the road in a 6 game span. 

They still have 6 games versus Arizona, and 7 versus the LA Dodgers the rest of the year, it is imperative this club wins the majority of these head to head matchups.

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Toronto Blue Jays: All Offense?

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Tuesday May 28th, 2013

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic. In their first year as teammates on the Blue Jays, and one of their first spring training practices, have already become a close trio. Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of this dazzling 1-4 combination.  The Jays’ offense has been a completely different story. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the two leading hitters on the team, have 11 and 13 HRs, respectively. Bautista is hitting .291 and Encarnacion is hitting .247, which is not the best, but his power makes up for it. Encarnacion has also driven in 38 runs while Bautista has driven in 27. Melky Cabrera has not been the same person as he was last year with the Giants, but he is still hitting .287.

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of what was supposed to be a dazzling 1-4 combination this year. But Jose Reyes was hurt and the Jays’ offense has been a completely different story. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the two leading hitters on the team, have 11 and 13 HRs, respectively. Bautista is hitting .291 and Encarnacion is hitting .247, which is not the best, but his power makes up for it. EE has also driven in 38 runs while Bautista has driven in 27. Melky Cabrera has not been the same person as he was last year with the Giants, but he is still hitting a respectbale .287.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

When Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays set out last winter to improve the team, no one could have predicted what is happening currently.

Anthopoulos brought in R.A. Dickey, the reigning NL Cy Young, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle. Ricky Romero struggled in 2012, so he started the season in the minors, and Brandon Morrow remained in the rotation.

The Jays also had a tremendous hitting lineup to build on with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Brett Lawrie.

Jose Reyes arrived as part of the Marlins trade and Melky Cabrera was signed through free agency. Although the Blue Jays are saddled with being in one of the strongest divisions in baseball, they were the favorite on paper.

Over the course of a few games, all this was thrown out the window. Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes got injured, Melky Cabrera got off to a slow start, R.A. Dickey was not in his Cy Young form, and the team was not playing the way everyone had expected. Now, some could say, the Blue Jays are all offense.

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Nate Freiman: Beane Finds Yet Another Hidden Gem… And The A’s Next 1st Baseman

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Friday April 5th, 2013

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Baseball is a funny game sometimes. One minute you’re crying the Chris Carter blues. Then before you  know it, Nate Freiman appears. That is how Billy Beane works my friends. Just when you think he might be slipping, he pulls a magic rabbit out of his hat (better known as the waiver wire in baseball terms). 

On February 11, 2013, I wrote an article outlining Billy Beane’s error in trading Chris Carter. While I have always endorsed the talents of Jed Lowrie, it was my opinion that giving up a future star in Chris Carter was too high of a price to pay.

The trade (which actually took place on February 4th) saw the Astros acquire yet another stud First Base prospect. I wondered out loud what the Astros would do with all their First Base talent (Brett Wallace, Jonathan Singleton, Nate Freiman and veteran Carlos Pena).

It seemed like too many bats and not enough positions in Houston, despite the newfound need for a Designated Hitter. A little over a month later, March 23rd to be exact- I had my answer. Nate Freiman was on his way to Oakland.

The star for Israel in this year’s World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament was going to get the opportunity of a lifetime.

While some felt the A’s were simply acquiring roster depth, I saw a different vision. The A’s had their replacement for Brandon Moss at First Base.

Billy Beane had an uncovered yet another gem that was going to thrive in Oakland. Remember Josh Reddick 2012? Meet Nate Freiman 2013.  

Nate Freiman Interview:

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San Francisco Giants Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Going Forward (Updated Mar.8)

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Friday March 8, 2013

Angel Pagan led the NL in Triples with 15 in 2012 amongst his 61 Extra Base Hits and 95 Runs

Angel Pagan (31) led the NL in Triples with 15 in 2012 amongst his 61 Extra Base Hits and 95 Runs.  Pagan parlayed his great campaign into a 4 Year/$45 MIL Contract.

By Kyle Holland (Giants Correspondent):

Coming off of the 2012 World Series victory, the Giants haven’t really done much this offseason. Either way every team in the league is going to be trying to take them down. When you’re the Champion of all of baseball, what team wouldn’t be gunning for you? Their biggest contest is going to be their rivals in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team has made more moves since August than you can count. The Giants realize what a great team they have and how little moves they made have shown they are confident in what they can do in 2013.

The possibly most important move they have made is resigning the Second-Half-hero Marco Scutaro. His 3 yr./$20,000,000 deal is a great deal for San Francisco. After what he did the Giants probably would have considered paying more for Scutaro. You just can’t match .500 AVG in the NLCS. This man was the definition of clutch for the club. Other very important deals include Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, and Jeremy Affeldt. Pence, who was acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Phillies, was a huge reason the Giants even made it past the NLDS. His inspirational speeches got the entire squad ready before every game. Him resigning for a 1 YR./$13,800,000 deal was huge for him and the Giants. The team gets to utilize his skills for another year – while he gets to prove he’s worth more come next winter.

San Francisco Giants: 2012 World Series Highlights. Mature lyrics- parental guidance is advised:

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Yoenis Cespedes: While Cuba Misses Their Star in the 2013 WBC – the A’s Slugger Looks to be an A.L. MVP Candidate

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Friday March 8th, 2013

From Cuba to A.L. MVP? Despite not being able to represent his native country in the WBC, Cespedes is a year older and wiser. The more he adjusts to North America life and baseball, opposing pitchers will shudder even more each time Cespedes comes to the plate.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

It’s pretty ironic if you ask me. The 2013 World Baseball Classic is here and Cuba is off to a huge start. I had to pick a winner and went with Cuba as my pre-tournament favorite. Considering that Japan has won both editions of the WBC, Cuba was definitely going to be in tough. To top it all off, they are starting off the first two rounds in Japan. Why is it ironic? For Cuba is missing its biggest star for the tournament. Yoenis Cespedes, the Oakland A’s star outfielder is in Arizona for Spring Training.

Far away from the bright lights of Japan, where Cuba finally beat its nemesis this week in WBC play after several failed attempts in the past. With that monkey off their back, Cuba has made the statement that they are ready to win it all. But yet without their biggest star. For when one defects from Cuba, they are forever banished from representing their country again in any baseball capacity.

I couldn’t help but think watching Cuba play in Japan this week that in fact Cespedes and the A’s opened their season last year in Japan. Cespedes actually started off his season with a bang out there and never looked back. On March 29th last year, Cespedes had a home run in the 2nd game of the A’s young season. That bomb in Japan was the start of the legend. Who knew that Cespedes would actually be in Japan a year too early? For all the success that Cuba has enjoyed thus far in the 2013 WBC, imagine if they had Cespedes anchoring that lineup?

Cuba may very still win the 2013 WBC. My money is on that happening. But if Cuba falls short yet again, the what if scenarios will endlessly get bounced around. What if the team had Aroldis Chapman? Alexei Ramirez? And most of all, Yoenis Cespedes? Until Cuba allows its defectors to come home again, the talent drain will continue to affect the country in international tournaments.

Yoenis Cespedes 2012 Highlights Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Affleckersley … or why the careers of Dennis Eckersley and Ben Affleck have mirrored each other

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Friday Feb.22/2013

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 5.33.08 PM

By Paul Francis Sullivan (Lead Baseball Writer):

One was a starting pitcher who became a Hall of Fame reliever. The other is a one time pretty boy actor who has transformed into an acclaimed movie director.

Besides the Red Sox connection, what do Dennis Eckersley and Ben Affleck have in common? If you take a closer look, their careers are quite similar.

Slide1

Both were born in the East Bay but wound up living in Massachusetts

Yup, Mr. Boston, Ben Affleck, was born in Berkeley California in 1972. He moved to New England when he was a kid and obviously became a big Red Sox fan. He and Jennifer Garner still have a home in Massachusetts.

One of the Red Sox of Affleck’s youth was Dennis Eckersley, who was born in Oakland (and would obviously return to the East Bay for his greatest seasons.) He lived in Wayland, Massachusetts during his playing days and now lives in Ipswich. Read the rest of this entry

Detroit Tigers Roster in 2013: State Of The Union

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Thursday, February. 21/2013

The Trio of Verlander, Fielder, and Cabrera represented Detroit at the All-Star game in 2012 as well as on the MVP ballot with Cabrera winning, Verlander coming in 8th, and Fielder coming in 9th. They also combined for an 18.8 WAR in 2012

The Trio of Verlander, Fielder, and Cabrera represented Detroit at the All-Star game in 2012 as well as on the MVP ballot with Cabrera winning, Verlander coming in 8th, and Fielder coming in 9th. They also combined for an 18.8 WAR in 2012

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): 

I would never say that a team is a lock to win their division, but I will say that the Detroit Tigers shouldn’t make any vacation plans for October of 2013. They’ve won the AL Central Division for the past 2 years, and added an AL Pennant in 2012. The Detroit Tigers franchise is one rich in history winning 4 World Series titles and having legends such as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, and Charlie Gehringer passing through the “D” just to name a few.

This proud franchise did suffer a lull in success somewhat recently as they had a losing record every season from 1994-2005. This included a dismal 43-119 record in ’03. The Tigers came back from the abyss and turned their team back into a winning ball club since 2006. This was Jim Leyland’s 1st season managing the Tigers, and all he did was lead the team to 95 wins (a 24 win increase from the prior season) and a World Series appearance.

In 2011, the Tigers lost in the ALCS, and in 2012 they lost in the World Series, so could they improve upon the previous seasons ending once again and win the 2013 World Series? Well, their roster is certainly improved from last year, but it’s all about keeping up with the “Jones” in the MLB nowadays. Every team with money is trying to make a serious World Series run this year. While the Tigers are in the weakest division in the AL, if and when they reach the playoffs, it will be a gruesome battle to endure.

The Tigers have all the makings of a World Series contender. They have Superstars in their lineup like Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. They have a true Ace leading their deep, seemingly all in and around their prime, starting rotation in Justin Verlander. They also have good depth on their 25 man roster, and even more in their Minor League system. I’ll start with their rotation. Here’s what it will most likely look like…

2013 Detroit Tigers Starting Rotation: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello

Detroit Tigers 2012 ALCS Highlights:

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Toronto Blue Jays: Clubhouse Cohesion, New Faces, And The World Baseball Classic

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Monday, February 18th, 2013

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic. In their first year as teammates on the Blue Jays, and one of their first spring training practices, have already become a close trio. Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of this dazzling 1-4 combination.

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic. In their first year as teammates on the Blue Jays, and one of their first spring training practices, have already become a close trio. Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of this dazzling 1-4 combination.

By Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Toronto Blue Jays Correspondent)

The Toronto Blue Jays had a very well publicized off-season.  Many moves were made, including two blockbuster trades, the signing of one of baseball’s best and most controversial contact hitters, and a new (old) manager.  A core of the former Blue Jays remained intact, but between the big moves made by GM Alex Anthopoulos this off-season, along with the smaller additions, the Blue Jays have 12 new players on their 25 man roster.  These 25 players are expected by many, to hit the gates running, and to at the very least, earn Toronto a spot in the playoffs come October 2013.

Clearly, team chemistry plays are huge part of winning championships.  We have seen numerous teams boasting extremely talented rosters have merely moderate success, and we have seen teams loaded with professional journeymen have historic success.  Michael Jordan is noted for making the comment, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”.

The 2013 Blue Jays are very unique in that while half of their team is in fact new to Toronto, many of these players have played together and have cultural bonds. The blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins brought a total of 6 players to Toronto, all of whom, were quite obviously teammates in South Florida.  5 of these players are expected to immediately be impact players in the clubhouse. Another big trade with the Mets brought over three players who will likely contribute to the team to varying degrees, and have already formed close ties amongst each other due to the relationship that exists between a knuckleball pitcher and his battery mate.  Right off the bat, we can account for 8 of the 12 new players on the roster who at the very least, already are familiar with each other and are not entering a new city completely unfamiliar with their teammates. The following players might all make their way to the ALL-Star Game at Citi Field this year:  R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion .

2013 Preview of the Toronto Blue Jays:

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San Francisco Giants Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Going Forward

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Friday February 8, 2013

Without Marco Scutaro during the second half of the 2012 season who knows if the Giants would've gone nearly as far as they did. He hit a very impressive .362 since joining the Giants in July. He hit a new NLCS record .500 during the 2012 NLCS. Resigning him was definitely a priority for the Giants so signing him through 2015 on a 3 yr./$20,000,000 was huge for both sides of the deal.

Without Marco Scutaro during the second half of the 2012 season – who knows if the Giants would’ve gone nearly as far as they did. He hit a very impressive .362 after joining the Giants in July. He hit a new NLCS record .500 versus the Cards last year. Resigning him was definitely a priority for the Giants so signing him through 2015 on a 3 YR/$20,000,000 was huge for both sides of the deal.

By Kyle Holland (Giants Correspondent):

Coming off of the 2012 World Series victory, the Giants haven’t really done much this offseason. Either way every team in the league is going to be trying to take them down. When you’re the Champion of all of baseball, what team wouldn’t be gunning for you? Their biggest contest is going to be their rivals in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team has made more moves since August than you can count. The Giants realize what a great team they have and how little moves they made have shown they are confident in what they can do in 2013.

The possibly most important move they have made is resigning the Second-Half-hero Marco Scutaro. His 3 yr./$20,000,000 deal is a great deal for San Francisco. After what he did the Giants probably would have considered paying more for Scutaro. You just can’t match .500 AVG in the NLCS. This man was the definition of clutch for the club. Other very important deals include Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, and Jeremy Affeldt. Pence, who was acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Phillies, was a huge reason the Giants even made it past the NLDS. His inspirational speeches got the entire squad ready before every game. Him resigning for a 1 YR./$13,800,000 deal was huge for him and the Giants. The team gets to utilize his skills for another year – while he gets to prove he’s worth more come next winter.

San Francisco Giants: 2012 World Series Highlights. Mature lyrics- parental guidance is advised:

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Ichiro Suzuki: Returning Yankee Is On His Way To 4000 Pro Hits And Maybe Rose’s 4256 Mark

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Monday, January.07/2013

Ichiro Suzuki is tied with Pete Rose for most 200-Hit Seasons a MLB Career with 10.  Suzuki accomplished the feat in consecutive years from 2001-2010.

Ichiro Suzuki is tied with Pete Rose for most 200-Hit Seasons a MLB Career with 10. Suzuki accomplished the feat in consecutive years from 2001-2010.  Ichiro holds the Single Season Record for hits in one year – when he smacked 262 base  knocks during the 2004 Season.  He Broke George Sisler’s previous mark of 257 – set in 1920.

By Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner):

3884 hits into his professional career, Suzuki starts his 13th Career in the Major Leagues and his 22nd season overall in 2013, only 116 hits shy of 4000.  He is 308 short of passing Ty Cobb (4191) and 372 hits behind Pete Rose (4256) for the ALL-Time Professional Baseball Hits Lead.  Suzuki just re-inked a 2 YR/13 Million Dollar Contract with the Bronx Bombers.  He has a serious chance to chase down these legendary players in this time frame.  The spry Right-Fielder has 2606 hits on this side of the water – including 10 straight 200+ hit seasons to start his career between 2001-2010.  The last 2 campaigns have seen him regress to only 184 and 178 hits respectively.  These are still decent hit totals, however not really Ichiro-like.  His 3 months in New York has given fans optimism that he can still be a very productive top of the lineup hitter.

Suzuki had a 3 Slash-Line of .320/.340/.794 in New York with 73 hits in 67 games.  The veteran even had 14 SB.  Playing in the Bronx will keep him motivated to play to his fullest potential, as he has never been to a World Series in 12 years.  The Yankees were swept by the Detroit Tigers in last years ALCS, although Suzuki went 6-17 (.353) in the series.  Amongst those hits, was a 4-6 effort in Game #1.  The man just knows how to hit.   He has averaged 221 base knocks a year since coming over from Japan.  He has a .322 Batting Average for his Career and has nailed down 2 Batting Titles, while he has led the American League in hits on 7 different occasions.

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MLB Player Profile: The Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano

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Sunday, January.06, 2013

Alfonso Soriano has hit 434 Career HRs in 14 Years and has clubbed 164 of them with Chicago over the last 6 years.  He is on the 7th Year of an 8 YR/136 Million Dollar Contract.  He has made 2 ALL-Star Appearances with the Cubs.

Alfonso Soriano has hit 373 Career HRs in 14 Years and has clubbed 164 of them with Chicago over the last 6 years. He is on the 7th Year of an 8 YR/136 Million Dollar Contract. He has made 2 ALL-Star Appearances with the Cubs.  The Man also has 270 SB and 836 Extra Base Hits.  He should end his Career with over 1000 XBH, which would place him in the top 40 of ALL-Time for that Category.

Alfonso Soriano: Misunderstood, Good, But Never A Fit    

Alex Kantecki (Guest Baseball Writer and Cubs Correspondent):

It’s no secret Alfonso Soriano isn’t the most liked player among Cubs fans. Following the 2006 season when then general manager Jim Hendry signed the Outfielder to the largest contract in team history ($136 Million over eight years), fans dreaming of a World Series title pinned their hopes on the unconventional Leadoff hitter that hit 46 HR and stole 41 bases with the Washington Nationals the year before. Soriano did his part and helped lead the Cubs to two straight National League Central titles in 2007 and 2008, but the Cubs were swept away in the Division Series both years. Like his teammates, Soriano struggled to do much of anything in the postseason, collecting three hits in 29 Plate Appearances and failing to score or drive in a single run in six games.

Alfonso Soriano 2012 Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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The Blue Jays New Reality: Building Towers on Shaky Ground

Saturday, November 23rd, 2012

The Blue Jays have made a lot of moves in a short period of time and added a jolt to a fan base which had become numb of 19 years of not competing. People are saying they will win, including Las Vegas odds makers. They certainly look way better on paper than they did two weeks ago and people have a reason to be excited with the direction the franchise is going. They have taken 2 quick steps forward, but what happens when Murphy’s Law strikes and they take 1, or 2 steps back? How good are they then?

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst):

There has been a lot of talk thus far about how the Blue Jays are slotted to be ultra-competitive.  And I don’t want to be a “negative-Nancy”, because this hype comes with good reason.  I, as a Blue Jays fan, am beyond thrilled with the organization allowing Alex Anthopoulos to pull the trigger and make this kind of off-season happen…there is no doubt that this is what Blue Jays fans have been waiting for over the last 18 years.  The Rogers family has shown that they aren’t simply using the Rogers Centre as the world’s largest billboard.  They demonstrated that they are committed to take the financial risks necessary to make this team competitive.  They said they would spend big $$$ when the “time came”, and they kept their word.  The time has definitely come when you have two guys hitting 40 home runs a season in the middle of your lineup.  I applaud the Rogers’ and the front office for saying something and sticking to it.

That being said, when I hear things like “we’re not done yet”, and, “the Blue Jays would like to add another front-line starter”, it soothes me and calms my nerves.  The truth is, and I don’t want to seem greedy, but I am not content with where the team is now.  If the past three seasons have shown us anything it is that over the course of 162-game season, injuries happen.  Bottom-line: the roster you start with on opening day, will not be your roster throughout the season.  Nobody has a rubber arm and muscles made of Teflon.  Murphy’s law is constantly looming over any clubhouse and just waiting to strike.  Look at 2012, we lost our 2, 3, and 4 slotted pitchers in 3 consecutive days! Read the rest of this entry

Contact Hitters and Pitching Are Keys to Winning In the MLB Playoffs: Bravo Giants! Attn: Yankees!

Saturday, Nov.10/2012

 

The Giants GM Brian Sabean saw that his offense had significant holes from previous years and before 2012, dealt for Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan. Both are decent contact hitters, with decent power and speed. It also took for the emergence of Marco Scutaro and the renaissance play from Pablo Sandoval to show that teams that can make regular contact (and are armed with great pitching,) ultimately win in the playoffs.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I can’t believe I am going to utter these next few words, “I am starting to shift on the idea of eliminating the DH in the AL and also I am beginning to find the National League Brand of Baseball a lot better these days.”  I am not just saying this because the National League has registered 5 World Series Wins out of the last seven years (STL x 2, SF x 2 and PHI vs BOS AND NYY since 2006.)  I just find that the American League Baseball is becoming boring.  If you have read my articles in the past, I hate teams that strikeout non-stop and when you put two of these teams together for a Series like the AL routinely does, the games are filled with heavy pitch counts, four-hour games and not much contact.  This years ALCS represented an all-time low for fan excitement.  Put aside that I am a Yankees fan for a minute, it was absolutely brutal baseball.  In fact, last years ALCS was no picnic either.  If the games continue on like this, they might as well scrap the DH, start having the umpires call more strikes on the hitters and have all AL Teams convert to a National League style of game.

The National League has seen the Cardinals give us thrilling moments and comebacks to epic proportions over the last 2 years. I honestly think that Mark McGwire is not receiving enough credit for molding that team into a bunch of contact hitters.  You watch the 2013 offense of the LA Dodgers, they will all have a different approach.  We will save the DH debate for another day,  but lets just say that 2012 was the worst year for DH’s in some time if not ever.  There are only about 3-4 decent DH’s left in the game and if David Ortiz is not in the lineup for the Red Sox, there are no more marquee guys that just hit and not field!  The National League Teams plan on more contact for runs created out of necessity and it is always reflective  by the competitive games we see them play in the playoffs.

In 2012, the Giants made 4 key acquisitions before and during the season to change their offensive demeanor.  If you ask me flat-out as a  baseball observer, there is no way the Giants win the World Series without Marco Scutaro or Angel Pagan at the top of the lineup.  I also am conceding credit to Melky Cabrera’s hitting contributions as a contact hitter before being busted.  Before Melky Cabrera was shown the door for PED’s, he was the same hitter as Scutaro in the 2nd half and postseason, in just hitting every single pitch that was thrown at him.  To be honest here,  Angel Pagan does strike out a fair bit as a lead off hitter, however he also has speed that makes him dangerous whenever the ball is contacted.  It is all about a mixture of power, speed and contact hitters.  To illustrate this fact, Hunter Pence (also picked up near the Trade Deadline) did not hit well in the regular season or playoffs for average, yet he was able to drive in a pile of runs because guys ahead of him were always on base.  All he needed to do was to make contact for his RBI. Read the rest of this entry

The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise 1977-1993 Part 1 Of A 7 Part Series

Friday, Nov.09/2012

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 section here.

The Blue Jays have not qualified for the Playoffs since they won Back to Back World Series in 1992 and 1993. Only Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Toronto have not made a playoffs appearance since the 1994 strike. At the time they were around the top of the MLB Payroll for all teams.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

In sifting through 35 years of history with the Toronto Blue Jays as a franchise, it is sad that since 1994, only Pittsburgh, Toronto and Kansas City have not made a playoff appearance in the Major Leagues.  They have been battling the Red Sox and Yankees powerhouse clubs since the 1994 player strike/1995 Lock-out.  This baseball interruption of play was also a  deciding factor on the Montreal Expos losing their franchise, however one could say that this has had a profound effect on the other only team North of The Border.  The Jays were a model franchise all the way through the 80’s.  From 1983-1993, the team carried out 11 straight winning seasons, 5 Pennants and back to back World Series Wins in 1992 and 1993.

Pat Gillick had been with the baseball club from the get go, and after finishing in dead-last for the first 5 years of existence, the Jays rode the backs of several budding stars that were drafted by the man.  From the early pitching stars of Jim Clancy and Dave Stieb, to the young outfield that flourished as a core for years in: Lloyd Moseby, George Bell and Jesse Barfield, the team showed that drafting and trading for young players was the way to build an organization.  It took until 1985 for the teams first Pennant, barely edging the Yankees by 2 games for the AL East.  Playoff disappointment followed from 1985-1991.  The team soon would find the promised land as the top team in 1992 and 1993.

Franchise History Part 2 1994-2012: http://mlbreports.com/2012/11/28/jay/

The Hitters:  The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Hitters: Part 3 Of A 7 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Pitchers Part 4 Of A 7 Part Series

Skydome:  An Interview with ‘Rogers Centre Expert’ and “MLB reports Founder” Jonathan Hacohen

For Part 6 of the 7 Part Series:  Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll Click here

For Part 7 of the 7 Part Series:  Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll:  A Readers Thoughts, Click Here: 

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Analyzing the Oakland A’s Outfield Conundrum

Monday November 5th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: The A’s now find themselves in a sticky situation with four outfielders who are all capable of being full-time starters. Oakland acquired Chris Young from the Diamondbacks on October 21st in exchange for Cliff Pennington as part of a 3-way trade with the Marlins. While it’s safe to say that Billy Beane won the trade from a talent standpoint, it did not solve any problems because the A’s already had Yoenis Céspedes, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick locked in the outfield to commence the 2013 season. Young just creates unnecessary havoc that easily could have been avoided. In Beane’s defense, who wouldn’t have traded an inconsistent shortstop for a more proven outfielder?

In 2012, Young dealt with an injured shoulder. Rarely did he play in back to back games towards the end of the year, and his numbers took a beating because of that. He triple slashed for a .231/.311/.434 line, hitting 14 home runs with an OPS of .745. Obviously 2012 wasn’t one of his memorable years, but you would have to think that his injured shoulder played a role in his depleted stats. For Young, it is just a matter of staying healthy and proving that his once wobbly shoulder caused his downfall, not a decreasing bat.

The A’s are now “stuck” with four everyday outfielders. The good news? They do not have to trade anyone in the newly formed quartet to solve this glaring problem. Read the rest of this entry

What 2012 Really Meant to the St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday November 1st, 2012

2012 was a season that ended with disappointment which ultimately distracted us from recognizing what a successful year it really was. 2012 highlighted a lot of the greatness that is to come for this great franchise.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer)

The St. Louis Cardinals came into 2012 as the defending World Series Champions.  In 2011 they just eked their way into the post season on the final day of the regular season when they defeated the Houston Astros and the Braves, who were tied for the wild card spot with St. Louis, ended up losing to the Phillies in extra innings.  Coming into the 2011 postseason, the Cardinals were huge underdogs.  That didn’t stop them from going for what they wanted: to win it all.

While most analysts amongst the sport would not have guessed St. Louis would even make it to the World Series, yet alone win it, the Red Birds emerged to show their true colors.  The current team that the city of St. Louis has assembled and gets to watch for 81 games a year is, undoubtedly, a team that plays on all cylinders and the highest octane fuel.  They play with the intensity of a little league team that wants nothing more than the coach to bring them out for ice cream when they win. Watching the Cardinals brand of baseball is to watch baseball again as a game, and not just as a competition played by millionaire athletes with tremendous talent.

Watching the scrappiness of St. Louis native David Freese in the 2011 playoffs is the perfect example.  His David Eckstein-like approach to the game reminds us all of one of our teammates back in middle school.  The one at the sandlot that always slid hard, tried to steal home, and complained when the rest of us wanted to go home because “it was getting dark”.  In 2011, David Freese and his 39 teammates played baseball together as a true team and sent Tony LaRussa home with a World Series title in his final year managing.  Read the rest of this entry

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

Wednesday October 31st, 2012

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

Josh Hamilton: Three Reasons To Believe That He Could Sign With The Brewers

Tuesday October 30th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: This year’s free agent market may be slim on depth, but it does not lack a main attraction with Josh Hamilton set to hit the open market. Hamilton hit a career-high 43 home runs this past season, but a slew of late season miscues have affected his marking price.

While he isn’t the safest of offseason additions, teams will still look to acquire the powerful lefty because of his middle of the order presence which very few others can match.

With the Yankees and Red Sox likely out of the running for the slugger, the Brewers suddenly have a decent chance of bringing in Hamilton.

Here are three reasons why: Read the rest of this entry

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