Archive | April, 2012

Yu Darvish Struggles in First Start Against Seattle

The most anticipated match up in the 2012 MLB season so far took place last night, or this morning depending on your location. Yu Darvish took the mound for the first time as a Texas Ranger and went face to face with one of, if not the most, popular Japanese player ever to hit America, Ichiro Suzuki.

Darvish didn’t look too impressive but did show signs of what might come as he gets more comfortable with the baseball here in the States. He lasted only 5.2 innings, gave up 5 runs, walked 4, and struck out 5 to pick up his first, of hopefully many, MLB win.

In the celebrated match up he didn’t fare so well. Ichiro got the better of him going 3-for-4 including a double and 2 runs scored.

Darvish looked nervous and couldn’t find the strike zone early on. He settle down after giving up 4 runs in the 1st inning to only allow 1 more run over the next 4.2 frames.

What Darvish will surely like is the offense he has behind him. The Rangers put up 11 runs, including 4 home runs on the night. Darvish will need offense like this behind him on nights. Then again everyone does. He has a learning curve to go through, so don’t expect him to be dominating every time out. He did show he has the stuff to be dominating. He just has to get comfortable and that will come with time.

I know I am excited about what is to come with Darvish, and I can’t wait to see him pitch again. Based on the schedule, it looks like Darvish will pitch against the Twins at home on Saturday afternoon. It should be a good game to watch. I know I’ll be up early Sunday to catch it here on MLB.tv (game time 2:10am KST).

If you watched the game, what did you think of Darvish?

Yu Darvish’s Record – 1-0

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Book Review: Deadball by David B. Stinson

Nostalgia is a part of baseball that stays with us as we get older. I can remember watching games as a kid at old Arlington Stadium that is now a parking lot. When I go back to Arlington and visit The Ballpark, I think back to when I was a kid watching games with my dad and brothers. But what if I could get back to Arlington Stadium just once more to sit in the bleachers like I did when I was a kid. This is the thought and feeling I got when reading David Stinson’s Deadball: A Metaphysical Baseball Novel.

In this novel, Stinson tells of a former minor leaguer, Byron “Bitty” Bennett, who’s love of the game extends past the history of his beloved Baltimore Orioles, but to the old parks that once served as the stage for some of the greatest players and teams to have ever played the game. However, his connection to the game is more than that of just a former player. It’s more spiritual than that.

Bennett does his best to study the history of the game in Baltimore, but he does more than just read. He uses his knowledge and old photos to try and visualize the places where the game he loves so much was once played. Visiting these ballparks he is introduced to and slowly incorporated into a society of believers that resembles something out of Field of Dreams.

As he ventures around to various old stadiums in Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, he slowly sees more and more of something he can’t quite explain. Slowly he sees more at each stop. He starts by having conversations with players that he thinks are either ghosts or someone playing a practical joke. He isn’t quite sure.

Slowly he sees more and more as he continues his journey. He begins to see the stadiums as they were during their hay day. But it is more than the stadium. He begins to see the ticket takers, fans, and vendors even conversing with a few over time. He struggles with what he sees and the conversations he begins to have with people. He isn’t quite sure if what he is seeing is real or just a dream.

The few people he tells of these visions don’t believe him only furthering his frustration and struggles with reality. However, Byron continues looking for answers from the present and the past.

This book did a great job weaving the present with the past. It’s entertaining, and keeps the reader guessing what will happen in the end. I was actually surprised in the end in a good way.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It has increased my interest in the parks that have long disappeared, and took me back to my childhood to the park where I grew up watching games that is long gone.  It’s a journey to the past that engages the reader opening your mind to possibilities that are often overlooked.

I would highly recommend this to anyone. Baseball fans will love the history that is incorporated into the story, but I think anyone would enjoy the book for the story of Byron and his struggles with reality. I can only hope Mr. Stinson decides to write another book.

In the Baseball Journeyman rating system, I give this book a full 5 gloves. Pick it up and I think you’ll find yourself rooting for Byron “Bitty” Bennett like I did.

 

*In full disclosure, I was given this book by the author to read, but all my opinions about the book are mine and mine alone. Any items given to me for review purposes are always fully disclosed, but in no way does that mean a positive review will be given. As well, my reviews contain affiliate links. If you click and then purchase an item I will receive a small commission. Thanks for your understanding.

 

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This is a Great Time of Year – Baseball is Back

The baseball season is upon us, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was needing this distraction.

I’m really looking forward to the Braves and Rangers seasons. I’ll be blogging about the Braves, my all-time favorite team, at a new site, Braves Baseball World (I’m just getting it up and going – should be finished soon).

I’m looking forward to watching a lot of Rangers as well, but not because I think they will win the World Series. But mainly because of the intense rivalry with the hated Angels this year.  It hasn’t been this exciting since Vincente Padilla pitched for the Rangers and loved starting bench clearing brawls by throwing at hitters.

C.J. Wilson is now an Angel, and has already started heating things up by Tweeting Mike Napoli’s phone number. Sure he may have played it off as a joke or accident, but nobody really thinks so. He can be a douche that way. I look forward to the games when he pitches. Not that it will be easy. He is a solid pitcher.

Then add in that the Angels signed Albert Pujols, and you have the makings of a really good pennant race. And let’s be honest, there is nothing better in baseball than a good pennant race. This one could go down to the final day of the season. We’ll just have to wait and see how things go.

I’m am really anxious to see Yu Darvish pitch as well. I watched him a bit during the spring games, but nothing is like regular season competition. I’ll be tuned in with millions of others in Asia watching his first game against Ichiro and the Mariners on Monday night.

There are a lot of other interesting teams this year too. Washington could do some damage in the NL and Toronto could make it a four team race in the NL East.

I love this time of year.

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2012 MLB Predictions

The 2012 MLB season starts in less than 24 hours for most teams. With the rosters set, I’d thought I’d take a stab at who will win what this year. I probably won’t get close, but it’s always fun to predict and see how far off you came.

NL East – You can see a more detailed explanation here.
1.Philadelphia Phillies 96-66
2.Atlanta Braves 90-72
3. Washington Nationals 87-75
4. Miami Marlins 72-90
5. New York Mets 68-94

NL West
1. Arizona Diamondbacks 91-71
2. Los Angeles Dodgers 85-77
3. San Francisco Giants 80-82
4. Colorado Rockies 80-82
5. San Diego Padres 65-97

NL Central
1. Cincinnati Reds 90-72
2. St. Louis Cardinals 87-75
3. Milwaukee Brewers 84-78
4. Pittsburgh Pirates 76-86
5. Chicago Cubs 75-87
6. Houston Astros 61-101

AL East
1. New York Yankees 97-65
2. Tampa Bay Rays 91-71
3. Boston Red Sox 85-79
4. Toronto Blue Jays 82-82
5. Baltimore Orioles 70-92

AL West
1. Texas Rangers 95-67
2. Anaheim Angels 90-72
3. Seattle Mariners 84-78
4. Oakland A’s 70-92

AL Central
1. Detroit Tigers 98-64
2. Cleveland Indians 85-77
3. Kansas City Royals 84-78
4. Chicago WhiteSox 68-94
5. Minnesota Twins 65-97

Playoffs

NL WC Playoff Atlanta def St. Louis

NLDS Philadelphia def Atlanta 3-1

NLDS Arizona def Cincinnati 3-1

NLCS Arizona def Philadelphia 4-2

AL WC Tampa Bay def Anaheim

ALDS Tampa Bay def Detroit 3-2

ALDS Texas def New York 3-1

ALCS Texas def Tampa Bay 4-2

2012 World Series Texas Rangers def Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0

I just have the feeling the Rangers will be back with a vengeance this year and will accomplish what they have never done before. Who knows what will happen, but I know it will be fun watching it all unfold.

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There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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