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Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 10th, 2012

Sunday June 10th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

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

Q:  Hey there, glad to see a Torontonian loving baseball! I was born in Burlington, but grew up in Charlotte, NC… and am a lifelong Jays diehard! But hey, as a baseball guy growing up in NC… no way Durham got pro ball over Charlotte.. no chance… mayyyyyyyyyybe Raleigh (only b/c Charlotte already has 2 pro teams)… but in which case does MLB choose the lesser populated city in a State? Never. The MLB is the BIGS for a reason… and Charlotte could most certainly (fans, sponsors, funding) support a MLB team. It would be a ‘Baseball Town’…people live and breathe the sport here. I grew up playing here, it was a treat.

But here’s the catch, I just don’t know if Charlotte can support 3 major league teams… Panthers, Bobcats, and Baseball… If the Bobcats relocated… which could happen within 10 years… I could certainly see the city shift its focus to luring a pro ball team. The Knights (AAA) new stadium has pretty much gotten the city official’s approval and will be able to transform into a pro stadium if Charlotte becomes a relocation or expansion candidate.

But as a baseball fan, I would be all for the Bobcats moving and us getting MLB…. if I had to choose between NBA and MLB… pretty obvious…

But, LET’S GO JAYS!!!

Cheers,

Greg from Charlotte

JH: Hello Greg. Thank you for writing to us all the way from Charlotte! There are a couple of us here on the Reports from Toronto (present company included), but the majority of our writers are American. Hey, it is America’s favorite pastime!  But in all seriousness, you have touched upon one our most popular subjects:  MLB Expansion.  The World Baseball Classic is another one…and yes…we will cover that topic as well on this edition of the Reports.  But getting back to your comment, it was great to hear from a baseball fan directly from the area in question. Charlotte is brought up all the time in expansion talk. While it was not an area that I directly considered when I wrote my original expansion article, the area has been brought up countless times since. You bring up some very interesting points in your analysis. The local area and economy will play a HUGE part in the final decision when the next expansion locations are awarded. If indeed you are correct and it will take another sports team to relocate out of Charlotte for baseball to arrive, then I am afraid that you will be out of luck. The perception I feel will be that if Charlotte could not sustain the Bobcats, then it certainly cannot handle Major League Baseball.  40+ home games at 12-15,000 fans per game is no comparison to trying to feel 81 home games at 30,000+ fans per game. My mindset is that all existing teams need to do exceptionally well for the area to prove that it can handle a major sports team.

We can agree to disagree on this one, because of the subjective nature of what Major League Baseball will consider ultimately in expansion talks. But overall, factors will include population, health of the economy, television deal, stadium size/age/location, ownership groups etc. In other words, I am not counting out Charlotte just yet. There is still hope my friend, so keep the faith!!  And….Let’s GO TIGERS!!!!!!!

 


Q:
 With all the talk about Harper may be going to the All Star game, I have a good question this week. In the history of the All-Star Game, who is the youngest ever to be voted in as a starter?  Larry from Nevada

JH:  Larry from Nevada. Larry the Indians fan.  Larry our #1 fan. Great to hear from you as always!  You must be pumped about the upcoming All-Star game in Kansas City.  Who can blame you…..we are all pumped! A very interesting question that you propose my friend. Youngest starter ever in an All-Star Game. Without looking at the list, I would have told you that IF Bryce Harper is voted in as a starter, he would set the record. I would have bet quite a large sum of money on it. If I bet. Which I certainly don’t. But back to the issue at hand. With the All-Star game coming up on July 10th, we are approximately a month away. Bryce Harper was born October 16, 1992. Hails from Nevada…I wonder why you follow this kid. Damn, I actually have a tennis racquet and shirts that are older than this kid. So how old is he exactly? By the month, Bryce Harper at the All-Star game will be 19 years and not even 9 months old. Why is this crucial? Because Al Kaline holds the record, at 20 years and 6 months in 1955. Dwight Gooden was the youngest ever starting pitcher, at 21 years and almost 8 months in 1986. If Bryce wants to break Kaline’s record, he better get voted in this year.

Kemp, Beltran and Braun will be also rather tough to beat as far as the starting NL outfield goes. Even if Kemp is injured, I still don’t see Bryce starting ahead of some of the other established NL players. But does he deserve to go? At his current pace, you can make an argument for it. I don’t like the fact that he didn’t play in the majors last year or start the year in the bigs. I think he doesn’t have the service time to equate to an All-Star game appearance. While a full year’s worth of stats should be considered, realistically it is only the top performers to start the year that are really considered. Last year doesn’t count. So Bryce may be able to slide in, especially if it is left to the fans votes. Bryce Harper at the All-Star game would be good for baseball and I would definitely be pleased if it happens. But not as a starter this year…so Kaline’s record should be safe for another year. If you are interested in these All-Star game records, here is a great link to check out.


Q:  In a 5×5 12 team mixed keeper league. Presently using 4 outfielders – Baustista, B.J. Upton, Melky Cabrera and Carlos Beltran. Have Allen Craig on bench but would like to insert him in lineup. Who would you suggest I bench for him or would you leave it as is?  Herman

JH: Fantasy baseball. Even though I no longer play it, I LOVE talking about it. An interesting situation that you have. I will take the easy part and narrow it down firstly. Jose Bautista and Carlos Beltran are starting no matter what. Those are your stars. Your big boppers. They are going in, period. Now we are left with 3 more guys for 2 spots. 1 spot is going to Melky Cabrera. The Giants best hitter this year has a .364 AVG, 44 runs scored, .531 SLG. He definitely plays. So then we are down to our final spot. And one of the most frustrating players to ever grace fantasy baseball circles, B.J. “the fantasy team destroyer” Upton. Looking at his numbers this year, I would be hitting my head against a wall if he was in my starting lineup. .278 average and 21 runs scored. .326 OBP. .426 SLG. No thank you. Then we have Allen Craig. Perhaps I have been sleeping under a rock (Toronto) for too long, but man…he is having a dynamic season. He has only played 20 games so far, but he is absolutely pulverizing the ball. .380 average? Are you kidding me????? 7 home runs already. 26 RBIs. Looking at today’s game, Craig batted cleanup. Went 0-4, but cleanup is a good sign. And that was in a 2-0 win for the Cards, where the whole team got 7 hits on the afternoon. Bossman Jr. you ask? His team won 13-4 in Miami. He also batted in cleanup. On a day when his team scored 13 hits and pounded out 14 hits, what did he manage to do? A single and a run scored. That’s it. Get Craig in your lineup and Upton to the bench. Final answer.


Q:  Great to see Brazil get in on the WBC. Baseball there is less popular than is soccer in the USA, so maybe some success will help the sport infiltrate deeper into South American than just Colombia and Venezuela.  Schillzonsontista2001

JH:  Less popular than soccer is in the USA??????  Wow, baseball is in real trouble in Brazil! All kidding aside, thank you for your message. I agree that baseball needs to be expanded around the globe. A big push and step in that direction is the World Baseball Classic. Great Britain. Germany. Israel. The list goes on and on. Areas that one would not think of as typical baseball hotbeds, but will be exposed to baseball like never before. I think that the WBC will do great things for the sport of baseball, but it will take time. Rome was not built in a day and a WBC winner in Brazil will not happen in one tournament likely. Brazil will simply be lucky to make it out of the qualifiers at this point. As more countries are included in the WBC, the sport will grow at an even greater pace. Which means that existing countries in the WBC will have the benefit of being in the tournament multiple times, which will be build awareness and the fan base.  It make take 2 tournaments. 4. Maybe 10 for some countries to come around. That could mean 40+ years until some of these countries really get the “baseball thing” going and loving the game at a high level. How do we expedite the process? There is no magical solution unfortunately. Get some really good players on your team, win some games and get your fans excited and jumping. How will that happen? Mainly from getting the youth of Brazil to play baseball at the grassroots level and to become future major league superstars. How do we get the youth to play baseball? Win some games at the WBC. It is a chicken and egg argument- you need both, just need to figure out which comes first. Just being included in the WBC is a step in the right direction for Brazilian baseball. Anything that comes from it is a bonus. Baby steps. It will come. It just may not be on our schedule unfortunately. To keep an eye on everything WBC, go to our dedicated page and keep it bookmarked:  wbcreports.com

 


Q:  Karim Garcia:  We, Lotte Giants fans, miss you Di amor…Garcia…   Yoon

JH: For our last comment of the day, we send out the love for Karim Garcia. For those of us that witnessed Karim play in the Major Leagues, we may not understand how popular this man is worldwide. Korea, Japan and Mexico have all witnessed Karim play live over the years. The Lotte Giants based in South Korea still hold Karim Garcia dear to their hearts. We recently interviewed Karim on the Reports and received a confirmation that he is looking to head back to the major leagues. Currently playing in Mexico, we all wish Karim the best on his baseball journey. He still feels and plays like he is in his 20’s and can definitely still contribute at any baseball level. Once he decides to hang up his spikes, we will see Karim Garcia one day in a dugout as a manager. Watching how he led Mexico in the WBC, it was clear to me that Karim is a born leader. Thank you for your message Yoon. There is a lot of love in baseball for Karim Garcia. For a man who has devoted his life to the game (came up with the Dodgers at the tender age of 19), he still has a lot of baseball still in him. I will be happy to pass along the message to Karim as he will surely appreciate your support. 


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

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on June 9, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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