Blog Archives

Cespedes Wins The 2014 MLB HR Derby With An Awesome Power Display: Stop Complaining About The Contest Experts!

Yoenis Cespedes became just the 2nd player to win back to back titles in the M:B HR Derby Last Night.  By winning his 2nd title, he also joins Prince Fielder and the aforementioned Griffey, as the only three guys to win multiple titles.  At just age 28, and with that swing, you have to think he has a chance to eclipse everyone and take down a few more of these HR Derby Trophy's.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I have had enough with the experts flogging on the HR Derby last night.

Yes, it took long, but not as long as last year. I believe the actual event was under 3 hours. What every one was feeling had a lot to do with the hour plus rain delay.

I loved the new format of 7 outs, and AL vs NL. If there is anything I think the MLB could do away with – is having 5 players in each league participant.

I firmly believe that Jose Bautista and Giancarlo Stanton suffered because of an inactive round caused by them both winning a bye. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2014 Home Run Derby + ALL – Time Derby Winners + Cespedes Wins 2014 Title

HR Derby 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I said yesterday that I believed Todd Frazier would be an underdog darkhorse to win the HR derby at Target Field.

Little did I know he is tied for the 8th favorite out of 10 hitters.

The ALL – Star longball competition has changed formats.  There are 3 players from the AL and NL that survive the 1st RD (7 outs each hitter).

The top players in each league (during the 1st round) win a bye into the semi-final round automatically, while the 2nd and 3rd seeds in each league square off in the 2nd round in a matchup each.

Once the winners are established in that round (7 Outs), the remaining 4 contestants will be duking it out in their respective leagues to find who owns the National League and American league big fly bragging rights.

It is all players within their own league until the final.

The winners of the AL/NL will face off for the championship.  Again, all rounds contain 7 outs.  Maybe this will ease some of the time constraints. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 7, 2014

(LM Otero/AP)

(LM Otero/AP)

On today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast., former Texas Rangers outfielder Kevin Mench talks to me about all sorts of things, including the fact that we both miss the much maligned but oddly wonderful Veterans Stadium,

Jeff Locke, Corey Kluber, Paul Goldschmidt, Desmond Jennings, Jesse Hahn, Matt Adams and Trevor Plouffe all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball.

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The Philadelphia Phillies Franchise Part 3 of 4: The Pitchers

Saturday September.01/2012

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):   This team has played for almost 130 years.  As such, they have a great deal of history, so there are going to be several more hitters than pitchers as is the case with most Franchises.  For the first seasons as the Quakers, they had some decent pitchers.  It wasn’t until Pete Grover Alexander joined the club, that Philadelphia Phillies fams got to see a Hall of Fame pitcher before their very eyes.  From Alexander, to Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons, to Jim Bunning, Rick Wise and Chris Short, to Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw and Jim Lonborg, to Curt Schilling and Mitch Williams, to Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, the Phillies Pitchers have been improving in each generation.

Last year when the club won a record 102 games for the Franchise, they had the best 4 starters they had ever assembled in Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Roy Oswalt to take the mound.  Having Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton as your 5th starter is an option most teams would love to have.  The Phillies have been one of the best teams in the National League since 1975.  They have appeared in 9 NLCS’s and 5 World Series while winning 2 of them.  That is an impressive 36 year run.  Going forward, the clubs pitchers still look solid.  Cole Hamels just signed a 6 year extension, Cliff Lee is around for 3 more years and Roy Halladay still has 2 more years left after this.  The club also signed Jonathan Papelbon up until the end of the 2015 season before 2012 began.  Papelbon may have a chance to make this list when someone else chronicles the best pitchers in Phillies history one day 25 years from now.

If you ask me to have a Mount Rushmore of Pitchers it would be: Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Grover Alexander and probably Cole Hamels because of his instrumental pitching since the 2007 season. 

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

For Part 2 of the Phillies Article Series: The Hitters click here:

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

For the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals Franchise 5 Part Series click here

Steve Carlton Highlight Reel:

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Baseball’s Greatest One Hit Wonders Part 2: The Pitchers

Wedesday August 22, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer) Pitching is the most unnatural motion I can think of.  The human arm is not meant to throw 90-100 MPH repeatedly over and over.  It is for this reason why I am never surprised when Pitchers go out for any injury.  When I was 15, I was the catcher for former Major League Pitcher Chris Reitsma on our ALL-Star Team.  I witnessed this kid throwing 90 MPH as a teenager.  Honestly, no one could hit the guy.  As a catcher for 10 years and having a a decent baseball IQ, I was mad that the coach never let me call his pitches for him.  Why he would even throw sliders, curves and breaking balls is beyond me and it cost us some games versus some California and Arizona teams.   There was no denying that he was a mega talented pitcher.  He did go onto a decent MLB career, even appeared in 84 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2004.  Yet he finished pitching by the age of 29 because he threw junk.  Now I will move on here, I am just pointing out that kids should not be throwing  junk until they are finished high school.  There will be time in future articles to talk about pitching discipline and attitude. 

Just like the hitters that I featured last week, the pitchers I am featuring here took the MLB by storm for a while.  The fan bases were certain that these players would have great careers, only to see them fade quickly.  If you ask me which position is tougher to stay up on top of, I would definitely say pitching!  Remember that if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you are still labeled a great hitter.  Pitchers have to have a success rate of 75% to be elite.  Plus when they are out there, it is a continual one after another moment, whereas a hitter has a chance to regroup after an AT BAT.

This set of 5 pitchers (Mark Fidrych, Mark Prior, Jeff Zimmerman, Tommy Greene and Derrick Turnbow) in this list are all pretty much of recent vintage.  I saw 4 of them play as I only started watching baseball in 1980 and Mark Fidrych was already done by that time.  This doesn’t mean that I have not seen countless highlights from the man in the last 30 years.  Here are a couple for your enjoyment before we start.

To see the article about Baseball’s Greatest One Hit Wonders Part 1: The Batters click here Read the rest of this entry

The Philadelphia Phillies Part 1 of 4: ‘The Franchise’

Friday August.17/2012

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.

It took the Phillies 77 years to win their first World Series in 1980, however since that time, they have been to 4 more World Series:  In 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009, while taking home the Trophy in 2008.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):  The Phillies started as a franchise in 1883 in the city of Philadelphia-and have the longest continued stretch as their original name.  It has been a club that suffered tremendous droughts for the player and fans alike.  Only in recent vintage (since 1975) has this team come into permanent prominence, with the now Hall of Fame Mike Schmidt entering  the league and turning the fortunes of the city.  From signing Pete Rose to put them over the top for their 1st World Series Trophy, to just re-signing Cole Hamels to a 144 Million Dollar Contract, the team has been adamantly aggressive in keeping its name amongst the elite in baseballs annals. 

One could even argue that the Phillies had been the best team in baseball from 2008 up until the start of this season.  I recently named this club the best team from the years 1980-1983 and then again for the years of 2008-2009.  But before the likes of: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, or Curt Schilling, Lenny Dykstra and Darren Daulton, or Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Pete Rose, they were plenty of other men who left a mark on this historic NL Franchise.  We will look at all of the significant players that ever played for the club as a pitcher or hitter.  The pitchers and hitters will be focused on solely in the next 2 weeks.  Let us look and how the team has fared in its history.

Here are the final pitches of the 2008 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays. Property of Major League Baseball & Fox.

For Part 2 of The 4 Part Philles Article Series: The Hitters, 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

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An Interview with Citizens Bank Ball Park Expert Kurt Smith

Monday Apr.09/2012

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: Tropicana Field, Turner Field and today’s featured expert Article of Citizens Bank Ball Park.  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.

DB: “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 Phillies Fan?”

KS: “For most of my life I have lived in South Jersey, which is unquestionably Philly sports country, and currently I live about a 20-minute drive from Citizens Bank Park. I grew up an Orioles fan, though, and while going to games at Veterans Stadium was fun, as a kid I absolutely lived for the two or three trips the family made to Memorial Stadium every year to see our Birds. It was much more fun being an O’s fan back then and Memorial was a great ballpark. I still miss it. But in recent years it’s been great to see the Phillies rack up division titles and a World Series championship, especially in a city that hadn’t seen a championship in 26 years. Citizens Bank Park is such a great improvement over the Vet and the Phillies and their tremendous pitching staff have become a great team to watch. I wouldn’t say I’m a Phillies fan yet, but when my daughter is old enough to go to games there she may change my mind!”

DB: “Describe the whole idea behind your website

KS: “Many baseball fans, myself included, go to ballgames and maybe don’t get a good seat, or pay too much for tickets and parking, or they aren’t aware of some of the great food items at the ballpark. The Ballpark E-Guides website gives a few pointers on seating, getting there and food, and tells you which games on the team’s schedule are likely to be low demand. And if people like what they read, I’ve thoroughly researched 14 major league ballparks to create the actual E-Guides. For $5 you can download a PDF-format illustrated guide to any of 14 major league ballparks, and I like to think you’ll easily get much more than your money’s worth with the information contained in them, from getting tickets, to seating, to getting there and all of the food items. I couldn’t believe how much I was missing out on doing the research for them!”

DB: “Citizens Bank Park has been over 102% for the last several years, tell people what they should expect about buying tickets in Philadelphia?”

KS: “Philadelphia is a city that is so weary of the Eagles underachieving in grand fashion every year that they will embrace a winning team religiously, and so every Phillies game sells out. The Phillies don’t offer a lot in the way of deals or discounts…most northeastern teams don’t, for some reason…so going through StubHub or another third-party works probably just as well. Whatever tricks you have will be helpful…probably the easiest games to get a deal on would be games against West Coast opponents, and if you go on StubHub on a really hot, muggy day you could possibly land a pretty good deal. There aren’t many bad seats at the Bank, but certain ones do have advantages; for example, seats down the third base line are closer to McFadden’s which is better for adults looking for a post-game hangout, and seats down the first base line are closer to all of the kid-friendly areas. The upper level seats can be way up there, so if you have a vertigo problem you may want to avoid them. But the view of everything from up there is tops.”

DB: “Citizens Bank Park has some of the better access entry points for the elderly and handicapped in the Majors.  So how is it their park staff did not rank high? How do you rank their staff?”

KS: “Well I haven’t seen the ranking that you mentioned and the basis for it, so I can’t really speak to that. As far as accessibility in ballparks, so many of the newer ones have really gone the extra mile with it…Comerica Park in Detroit is a good example…so my guess is that if Citizens Bank Park doesn’t rank high in that area, it may just be because the competition is actually pretty strong. I can’t think of any accessibility problems, even the Phillies Hall of Fame has a ramp to access it. As far as the staff, I think they’re great, I’ve never had a problem with any of the ushers…and I can tell you that I couldn’t say that about when the team played at Veterans Stadium. Teams everywhere have really improved their customer service, and the Phillies are a great example. They’ve been very good about everything in my experience.”

DB: “I did a survey about 3 years ago when Citizens Bank Park had the best voted singular food item with a Cheesesteak at Tony Luke’s, what are your thoughts on this?”

KS: “Well the Tony Luke’s cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz is pretty good, especially considering that local items in a ballpark don’t often live up to the original location. It’s great for people who are only going to a ballgame in Philly and want to see what this cheesesteak business is all about.  But as far as the best food item in any ballpark, I wouldn’t rank it that high. I don’t even consider it the best food item at Citizens Bank Park…Chickie’s and Pete’s fries, the Campo’s Heater sandwich, the Schmitter and Bull’s BBQ Bulldog are all better in my opinion. But that’s just my opinion.”

DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Citizens Bank Park?”

KS: “It depends on whether I’m going by myself or with a group of people. There’s really only two common ways to get there—you can drive your car and park or take the SEPTA Broad Street Line subway to the AT&T Sports Complex Station. From nearby PA suburbs you can use SEPTA’s Regional Rail to the subway. Both methods are fine and work equally well, but coming from South Jersey by myself I would rather pay about $8 round trip to take the PATCO high-speed line and then the Broad Street Line than pay $15 for the parking and $5 to cross the bridge, not to mention the gas and traffic getting out afterwards. If you’re going with three or four people though, driving and parking is fine. There’s plenty of parking in the complex and you can persuade everyone to chip in. You can save $5 on parking if you’re willing to walk a bit.”

DB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Citizens Bank Park for the very first time?”

KS: “Get there as early as possible, for a couple of reasons. First, traffic is much easier to deal with if you’re driving, and second, you’ll want to check out Ashburn Alley before the park starts to fill up, because it gets very congested and stays crowded throughout the game. The Ashburn Alley gates open an hour before the rest of the ballpark does, and you’re definitely going to want to check out everything there. The Philadelphia baseball timeline is great, and the Phillies Hall brings back great memories for fans. Lots of interactive games for kids too. There’s a lot going on at the ballpark and a lot of things to see, but honestly, you can focus on the Phillie Phanatic all night and never stop being entertained. There is no mascot in sports so willing to cross the line of acceptable mascot behavior.  And don’t worry about Philly fans. They’re not as bad as everyone says. There are some jerks but most of them are perfectly nice people.”

DB: “Other than cheesesteaks at Tony Luke’s, how is the food at CBP? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”

KS: “The food as Citizens Bank Park is all great; I’ve never gone wrong with anything I’ve tried. Bull’s BBQ may make the best turkey sandwich I’ve had at a ballgame, and I don’t require much persuasion to share a bucket of Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about the chili at Harry The K’s as well. I could go on all day. My favorite food item is the underrated Schmitter, which was actually not named after Mike Schmidt. The Schmitter is a sandwich from a local tavern called McNally’s. It’s sort of a cousin to the cheesesteak, with meat, cheese, salami, tomatoes and secret sauce on a Kaiser roll. It’s a little hard to find the Schmitter stand…it’s tucked underneath the stands near the Left Field Gate. Well worth the search though. There’s just something about tomatoes and thousand island style sauce on a steak sandwich.”

DB: “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Citizens Bank Park?”

KS: “Wow…I have to think about that one. You know, I’m going to go out on a limb here and actually pick a hockey game, the minor league game between the Adirondack Phantoms and the Hershey Bears, which took place after the recent Winter Classic. My sister and I lucked into tickets and braved the cold for the game; and it was really cool seeing the ballpark set up for ice hockey. The Phantoms tied the score with just 20 seconds left in the game, and then won it in overtime. One of the most exciting hockey games I’ve ever seen. The crowd just went ballistic, and it was great to hear 45,000 Philly throats going nuts. So okay, not a baseball game, but I have to say that was the best time I’ve had there.”

DB: “Thank you very much Kurt.”

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

 ***Thank you to our 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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