It’s taken four World Baseball Classics, but the US has finally won and did so in convincing fashion last night, with an 8-0 victory over runner-up from the 2013 Classic, Puerto Rico. Marcus Stroman was dominant, Ian Kinsler was clutch in starting the scoring for the US with a two-run homer, and the defense and relief pitching held up nicely!
That said, outside of my baseball friends, no one is talking about the Classic what-so-ever. Yes, the WBC is growing with over 1 million fans attending games this season (previous best was 800k in 2009), but are we really seeing favorability towards the tournament in this country? When you boil it down, it still seems like the major issue here in the US is two-fold. First, the lack of star player participation I think is the biggest issue which leads to second, overall performance. Maybe with the US winning, that changes things. The one thing I don’t want to hear from people is that the players just don’t care with it being an exhibition. Check the video out of the US not caring about winning…
The elimination game between the United States and the Dominican Republic was filled with thrilling highlights and historic moments. It ended with Team USA defeating the Dominican club by a 6-3 score in the final game of the second round of the World Baseball Classic on Saturday night at Petco Park in San Diego. With the victory Team USA advances to the Championship round for the first time since 2009. They’ll play Team Japan in the semifinals on Tuesday evening.
Team USA had to overcome an early 2-0 deficit, as the Dominican plated twice in the first frame. The Americans tied the score in the third inning thanks to a scoring grounder from Ian Kinsler, and an RBI double from Christian Yelich. The Americans took the lead in the next inning thanks to a monster two-run home run into the second deck Western Metal Supply Co from Marlin’s slugger Giancarlo Stanton. The Americans added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two-run double from Andrew McCutchen that broke open what was a one-run game.
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Sunday April 21, 2013
By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @TheKHolland13
There is no arguing that Joe Mauer is the face of the Minnesota Twins. The only other possible option would be the first basemen Justin Morneau. The only problem with him is the fact he has suffered his fair share of injuries the past few years. So really, Joe Mauer is hands down the face of the Twins organization.
Only three times in Joe Mauer’s 9 year career has he hit below .300. He hit .294 in 2005, .293 in 2007, and .287 in his injury shortened 2011 campaign. Those 3 years, 2005, 2007, and 2011 just happen to be the only years he has not appeared in the MLB All-Star Game.
The man from Minneapolis has also got a very good looking resume under his belt. This includes 4 Silver Slugger Awards, 3 Gold Glove Awards as the backstop, 5 All-Star Game appearances, and 1 AL MVP Award. Pretty impressive for a catcher who is only 30 years old.
Joe Mauer 2012 Highlights:
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Thursday February 28, 2013
By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @TheKHolland13
In the last 2 years, the Minnesota Twins have not lived up to what they did prior to 2011. Back in 2008, the Twins finished 88-74. They ended up losing a one game playoff to the Chicago White Sox – to just narrowly miss the playoffs and round out the summer at 88-75. Just one year later the Twins would again find themselves in a one game tiebreaker against the Detroit Tigers.
This time it was their turn to advance to October play – as they defeated the Tigers 6-5, to finish the regular season with a 87-76 record in 2009. Lady luck would not be on their side in the Postseason, being swept by the New York Yankees 3 games to none. In 2010, with a brand new stadium in Target Field, the Twins finished a brilliant season. They went 94-68 – to clinch their sixth playoff appearance in 10 years. The Yankees swept them again in the ALDS.
In 2011, the Twins fans and management expected big things for the team, especially out of First Basemen Justin Morneau and the MLB 11: The Show cover boy, Joe Mauer. All was not well in The Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Twins would not live up to expectations. The squad would wind up going from first-to-worst – finishing in last place in the AL Central, with a 63-99 record. So there was no way they would throw out back to back horrid seasons right? Wrong.. The Twins only improved on their record by 3 games. Now what exactly started this stroke of bad luck? That’s right, injuries to their two All-Stars. Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau Tribute:
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Monday February 18th, 2013
By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent): Follow @brianm731
What does someone do when they tear a muscle away from the bone? You immediately walk off the field and head to the locker room. That’s what Jake Peavy did in 2010 when he was pitching against the Angels at US Cellular Field. This was a first in MLB, a detached latissimus dorsi muscle. A little more than a week later, Peavy had surgery to re-attach the muscle, ending his 2010 season. Unfortunately, injuries have been a common theme for Peavy since he was traded to Chicago in 2009. He was still suffering from a strained tendon in his ankle when the Sox acquired him, and injury that allowed only him 3 starts with his new team. But, those 3 starts turned into 3 wins, and a sparkling 1.35 ERA.
This was supposed to be sign of things to come for Peavy in a White Sox uniform. But in 2010, he suffered the devastating muscle injury, and didn’t seem to be completely recovered until the 2012 season. In 2011, Peavy had probably the worst season of his career. He appeared in only 19 games, including one relief appearance, and had to be shut down before the season even ended. He battled through several different ailments, but always had a “never pull me out of the game” attitude, thus earning the nickname Bulldog from Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson. Peavy entered 2012 knowing that it could be his last season with the Sox.
Jake Peavy highlights in 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised
ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Yadier for NL MVP, Wild Card Rosters, USA in WBC 2013, Triple Crown for Miggy and Scioscia to Boston?
Sunday September 30th, 2012
Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to email@example.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! We love to hear from you- so keep the questions coming every week!
Jonathan Hacohen: I am going to channel some Jose Canseco right now. No- I don’t think that I can travel to the future. Or that everyone is out to get me. But I want to send a message to the “haters”. You know who you are. The so-called baseball traditionalists that cry every time our great sport makes any kind of adjustment. Every time there is realignment, relocation, expanded rosters, playoffs…the haters scream to the heavens. They say: leave the game alone! While I love the game the way it is, without a doubt, I still feel the need for improvements. But I take them on case by case basis. The designated hitter? I say abolish the whole thing and go back to pitchers hitting in both leagues. I love the NL style of play, with real in-game decisions and strategies. But maybe that’s just me. While I may want to go back in time when it comes to the DH, I definitely look to the future on many subjects. For interleague play (assuming DH stays), I would play NL rules in AL parks and vice versa. Let’s mix it up! I say let’s increase rosters- up to 28-30 players per team. Poor attendance teams? Relocate. Expand by 2 teams to bring an even 16/16 split between leagues. From there, completely realign into 4 divisions of 4 teams each. And so the possibility of changes in baseball is endless.
Keeping that in mind, I come to a very hotly contested topic in baseball circles these days: the Wild Card. Originally set up as one Wild Card team per league, this year we have expanded to two Wild Card spots per league. Coming up on October 5th, we will see the first ever sudden death one game Wild Card playoffs. Haters simply despise these upcoming games. Is it too much change? Is it unfair to the integrity of the game and the playoffs? We could debate that one for weeks…nay… months…nay… years. But I will tell you this. If you take a look at the MLB standings as they are today, let’s reason the value of the Wild Card spots. In the NL for the last two weeks or so (more), it was a foregone conclusion that the Reds, Giants and Nats were taking the division crowns. Where would that have left the Braves? Cardinals? Dodgers? Brewers? Heck…even the Phillies and Pirates. Having the Wild Cards in place allowed fans for all those cities to remain interested and excited about baseball for weeks while their teams competing for Wild Card positions. No Wild Cards would equal many teams that would have been out of it long ago. Is that good for the game? To have fans in so many cities turned off from the game in August when they know the playoffs aren’t an option? I’m not so sure about that.
In the AL, the Orioles and A’s all still have a chance at division leads. The Angels and Rays still are very much in the playoff hunt. But no Wild Cards….would mean so many of those teams would not have had much of a shot. Unless we see total collapses, most are expecting the A’s and Orioles to face off in the Wild Card game. Considering how both have played, would you want to miss that one? Can you imagine if October came and the Braves, A’s and Orioles were not competing for a playoff position? Me neither. When I think about what we would lose by having so many of these teams going home if the Wild Card spots didn’t exist I shudder. I am not saying we should blow up the game. But before criticizing change just because its different, think about the pros and cons of the move. In this case, I say thumbs up to the extra Wild Card games. If you don’t believe me, check out the games on October 5th. They will be some of the best baseball that you will ever watch. That I guarantee.
Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry
Saturday June 23rd, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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:
JH: Before we get to your questions, a quick thought for this weekend. There are many reports flying fast and furious that a Kevin Youkilis trade is likely to go down very soon. The 33-year old Youkilis has sat out 5 of the Red Sox last 9 games (counting today), and the last 3 games in a row. He had 4 hits and 2 walks in his last 3 games played, not shabby numbers at all. If the Greek God of Walk’s time has come to an end in Beantown, he is going out in a sad way. After his team experienced one of the worst (if not THE worst) September collapses in MLB history last year, the Red Sox are currently tied with the Blue Jays for last place in the AL East (only 5.5 games back). It would have been nice for Youk to leave as a hero, rather than as a goat. Too many critics have pointed to his declining numbers as a primary reason behind the Red Sox recent failures. Yes, Kevin Youkilis is not in his prime and is entering a declining stage of his career. But if he is guilty of one thing, it is an association with a ballclub that is somewhat in disarray and definitely in transition. New manager, new GM, a cast of players on the disabled list- the Red Sox are barely the club that they were at this time last year. Sure, Kevin Youkilis needs to get healthy and re-establish himself. But this is a man who still had a .975 OPS as recently as 2010. Kevin Youkilis is far from done as a MLB player. But his time in Boston appears to be over.
So where is Youk heading? At the time being, the names most being thrown out are the White Sox, Pirates, Braves and Dodgers. If I’m the Red Sox, I move him to the National League and preferably the West Coast. I want to see Youk as little as possible and have the media cover him as little as possible. Hiding him in the NL West, where he has to play most of his night games late- would be a bonus for the Red Sox. If I had to present the teams most in need of Youk and with the best bargaining chips, I would present to you the Rays and Blue Jays. They have the pitching prospects and lineup spots that crave a bat like Youk’s. But would the Red Sox trade in their division? Not on your life. There is no way that the Red Sox brass needs a rejuvenated Youk coming into Fenway in September and working towards eliminating his former team from the playoffs. So if I’m a betting man, I would say the Dodgers and maybe the Giants are most sniffing around Kevin Youkilis.
The Red Sox I will go on record as saying are making a big mistake. They are selling low on one of the game’s best and most consistent players. A grinder. A warrior. He can play gold glove D at two positions (first and third). He can hit for average and power. And of course, he walks. He walks a ton in fact. One of their best assets and the Red Sox are selling him at his lowest. I have been arguing for days that the Red Sox are not this dumb. They can’t be. Youk is not going anywhere. He is the heart and soul of the team. But then Youk sits. And he sits and sits. The team actually came out and said that Middlebrooks would play while he is hot and that Youk “would be sitting for a while”. Everything to me smells like a trade is brewing. At this point, it better be. YoukGate is going to become too much of a distraction for the team to bear. Already, whispers are starting that Big Papi is not happy and had enough of the circus. With how many stories are flying around this team, the Red Sox have only themselves to blame for this Youkilis situation. If Kevin Youkilis is traded, the Red Sox lose a leader and a star player with likely not enough value coming back. If Youkilis stays, the distractions continue. The Red Sox owe Kevin Youkilis to do the right thing. Firmly play him or trade him. But don’t complain when you don’t like the results. That is my two cents on YoukGate.
Now that we have that behind us, on to your questions! Read the rest of this entry