Why I Love MLB.tv

As you might expect, I love watching baseball. I grew up watching the Atlanta Braves on TBS most nights during the summer. When I got older I moved to the Dallas area and started watching the Texas Rangers about as often. However, when I moved to South Korea there wasn’t anyway to keep up with the nightly games on local TV.

I could watch the KBO (Korean professional baseball), but I work nights and miss most of the games except on weekends. Luckily for me there is MLB.tv.

I don’t know what I would do without it. My first 2 years here I tried to do without it which was just plain stupid looking back. I would catch the occasional game online. But I mostly watched highlights and just the postseason. Occasionally I would buy a month of MLB.tv and watch games. This year I decided to go with the whole year package.

And I couldn’t be happier. I work afternoons and nights here which makes it perfect for watching games back home. A 7pm game on the east coast comes on here at 8am. So my day consists of getting up in the morning, making breakfast, and turning on baseball. It’s great.

Right now it is 11am locally and I am watching the Rangers/Yankees game as Yu Darvish is pitching a shutout in the 7th inning. Here in a few minutes I’ll turn on the Braves game and watch it until I have to go to work at 1:30. It’s a great life.

Not only can I watch any game I want any day of the week, but I can choose the home or away broadcast. Normally I would watch the broadcast of my favorite team, the Braves or Rangers. But today I am watching the Braves and the Dodgers and its a cardinal sin of baseball not to listen to Vin Scully.

If you travel or live overseas, you have to make it a priority to check out MLB.tv. It is the greatest thing for me living in Korea since here there are no blackouts.

Now back to the games.

Posted in MLB0 Comments

Ivan Rodriguez Retires a Ranger

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was honored today before the start of the Texas Rangers game with the New York Yankees as he announced his retirement from baseball, and this baseball fan couldn’t be happier.

Pudge will go down as one of the all-time Rangers greats, and easily the greatest catcher of our era. He played 21 seasons breaking into the major leagues at the age of 19. He was a 14-time All-Star and a 13-time Gold Glove winner, including 10 in a row.

He set the standard for catchers defensively during his time. Over the course of his career he had a caught stealing percentage of 46%. That is 15% higher than the league average over the same time period. He led the league 9 times and had 7 seasons where his percentage was over 50%, including 1 season at 60%. He was simply the best defensive catcher I’ve ever seen.

During the 90’s fans go so much pleasure out of seeing him throw a runner out or even better pick a runner off first base. His throws were not only hard but very precise which was what made him so good.

Don’t let his defense fool you though. Most catchers who are great defensively aren’t as good offensively. This wasn’t the case for Pudge. When he first came up to the Majors he was strictly a defensive call up. However, that soon changed as he continued to better himself at the dish culminating in his 1999 MVP season.

In his MVP season, Rodriguez hit .332, 35 home runs, 113 RBI, slugged .558, stole 25 bases, won a gold glove, a silver slugger, and was an all-star. It was quite the year for Pudge. And he would have had a better year in 2000, but he was sidelined late in the year with a broken hand.

In his career he hit 311 home runs, drove in 1332 runs, hit .296, and had an OPS of .798. Not bad for a defensive catcher.

He’ll always have a place in the hearts of Rangers fans. He was a huge part of the Rangers 3 AL West Titles in the 1990s, and he is a sure fire Hall of Famer.

Thanks for the memories Pudge. You will be missed.

Posted in MLB0 Comments

I Plan to Watch 100+ Baseball Games this Year

One of my goals this year is to watch more baseball. I got away from watching last year and only saw a handful of games, and to tell you the truth I missed it.

I have it made here in Korea where I can watch games in the morning before going to work. A typical Braves game comes on at 8am here and a Rangers game usually 9am. This is perfect timing since I don’t go to work until 1:30. The problem for me has always been simply getting up in the morning since I used to stay up very late, think 3am or later.

I’ve changed this year though. I am up earlier to watch games and blog (you can read my Braves only blog at Braves Baseball World), and it has been a lot of fun.

My goal is to watch 100+ games this year. That includes all the game I hope to go to live as well as just a lot of games on TV. I’ll miss most of the games in August when we work in the mornings, but until then and after I plan on watching a lot of baseball.

Plus I have plans to hit up every ballpark again in Korea. This time I’ll be bringing my video camera. I hope to see some of the minor league games here too. They call it the Future League or Second Division. Not to mention some games my friends play in in an adult league, and hopefully some college and high school games.

I’ve watched every Braves game so far this year, as well as Yu Darvish’s first start. I plan to watch a lot of him as well. He’s the most exciting thing to come through Arlington in a long time. I’ll watch more Braves games than anything, but when the Rangers and Angels play, I’ll be watching. That match up is getting heated and I can’t wait for them to square off.

It’s just going to be a huge year for me and baseball. I plan to write a lot, film a lot, and take a ton of pictures. I fell happiest when I am working on anything baseball related. I’ve even tossed around the idea of writing a book, but I haven’t put my finger on the right topic just yet.

So I am about 5 games into my goal of 100. It’s gonna be a fun ride.

I wonder what the record for most games watched in a season is, at least as far as live games goes. I saw the other day where someone set a record by seeing all 30 MLB stadiums in something like 20 days. That’s impressive. I wonder just how many MLB and MiLB games one could take in in a season. That could be a fun challenge.

What do you think?

Posted in MLB, KBO, Travel0 Comments

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

Posted in MLB0 Comments

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.

Posted in MLB0 Comments

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.

Posted in MLB2 Comments

Why Do You Like Baseball?

Not long ago someone asked me why I liked baseball. This person is not a fan. In fact, they are not even from a country that plays baseball so they don’t fully understand the game.

All I could come up with on short notice was “everything”.

I really do love everything about this game – the sounds, the smells, the feeling of a cool breeze on a hot summer’s night – the list goes on and on.

Besides the smell of hot dogs and fresh cut grass, there is so much to love about the game.

Some people say it’s too slow and it takes forever to finish. But I say to them that baseball is a talking sport. The periods between plays gives you time to talk about the game – to talk about what has happened, what might happen, what has happened in past games in similar situations, and so much more. In my opinion, you can’t have enough baseball and being at the park for “free” baseball (extra innings) is one of life’s little pleasures.

I love the game within the game. This is one thing that I have always loved and one reason I think that I have always wanted to be a coach. The chess match that managers play with match ups is exciting. I even love watching the fielders move between batters to see how they play one hitter to pull and the next straight up or as a slap hitter. Even the slightest movement of the middle infielders to get into position for a double play are things that I love watching for.

Then you add in the ballet at the bases with runners and balls arriving at the same time. Some of the greatest enjoyment of a game is before the game watching the middle infielders practice turning two during BP. Watching their footwork around the bag is amazing and they do it with such ease. Having tried to do the same thing they are doing only helps me appreciate it just a little bit more knowing how difficult it is.

It has been said many times that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a round ball square with a round bat. When they do it and you hear the crack of a bat, it’s a great moment. Now add in that that ball is coming at you at speeds upwards of 100mph with movement and the feat of hitting a ball becomes even more impressive.

I love the non-verbal interactions that are going on at all times. It’s not just between catcher and pitcher or hitter and third base coach but its all over the field. Infielders are communicating with each other. Coaches are communicating with fielders and other coaches. It’s a whirlwind of signs going on at all times.

I think I could go on and on about the different things that I love about the game. Come to think of it, I can’t think of anything I don’t like about the game.

No matter who you root for, they don’t let you down. As Jimmy Fallon said in Fever Pitch:

They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you. ”

It doesn’t matter if it’s the Red Sox, Cubs, or Rangers. No matter who your team is, they are always there.

The measurements are perfect. How they came up with 90 feet was a stroke of genius. No matter where you go the game is the same, yet different. Each field has its own unique character unlike many other sports where the fields are always the exact same size. The uniqueness of places like Fenway Park or Wrigley leads to added greatness.

Then there are the rivalries, the tradition, the drama, the legends, the stories, the comparisons of old and new players, and so much more.

So tell me, what do you like baseball?

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Posted in MLB3 Comments

Didn’t Tony LaRussa Retire?

Tony LaRussa led the St. Louis Cardinals to the 2011 World Series Championship. Then he retired after the season. There is no taking away the end of season and post season run that he led the Cardinals on as they overcame a lot to win their 11th title. But why is he coming back to coach one more game?

Bud Selig announced that LaRussa will be back to coach the NL All-Stars in Kansas City this season. This will be the 3rd time he will lead the NL team (2005, 2007), and his 6th time overall.

It is not the first time a retired manager has come back to manage the Midsummer Classic, but it is the first time since 1972 when Danny Murtaugh managed the NL after leading the Pirates to the World Series in 1971. John McGraw was the only other inactive manager to lead a team in the All-Star game. He did it in the first All-Star game in 1933 after retiring after the 1932 season.

I know this isn’t setting any precident, and I understand that Tony LaRussa has done a lot for baseball but I am not a fan of the idea. Perhaps if the game was being played in the old manager’s stadium then it would be one thing, but it isn’t. After all doesn’t this game mean something now?

Either make the game what it is and should be, an exhibition or have everyone take it serious if you want to continue to make it mean something. To me this is just confusing the issue. It’s really frustrating to see how they have continued to screw with the All-Star game and make it a joke.

The All-Star game is an exhibition. Don’t have home field advantage to the winning team unless you want to change things. The players don’t seem to take it seriously and you have players from the Pirates and Royals determining the fate of the World Series. So here is how I would change the game if you want it to determine which league has the home field in the World Series.

1. Make the game mandatory unless players are hurt.

2. Have the best players play more – managers are too worried about having the lone Pirates player get in the game and so forth. If you let the best play longer then you won’t have to worry about running out of players.

3. Don’t let inactive managers manage – the result doesn’t effect them in the end so why are they there

However, the easiest way to fix everything is to eliminate the home field advantage from the All-Star Game. Let that go to the team with the best record from the regular season. Then we can stop giving these mixed feelings about what the Midsummer Classic really is.

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Posted in MLB2 Comments

Texas Rangers – Prince Fielder or Josh Hamilton?

Prince Fielder or Josh Hamilton? That’s a question a lot of Rangers fans have been asking of late. I’d like to weigh in with my thoughts on the issue.

Josh Hamilton has been a great Texas Ranger so far. What he has done while in Arlington can not be over shadowed one bit. However, as big a fan of Hamilton that I am if I had to choose I’d take Fielder. And here is why – 89, 133, 121.

Josh Hamilton is an injury risk as he had proven over the past 3 seasons. When healthy he is one of the best in the game, but he doesn’t do anyone any good on the disabled list. He’s a free swinger that doesn’t walk much. He hasn’t been a huge presence in the post-season for the most part, but the threat is always there.

Hamilton wants to play center field which just isn’t a good idea considering how fragile he can be and reckless going after balls. He’s a great outfielder with great speed and a great arm, but he belongs on the corner just to keep him healthy.

Many people might point to his past with drugs and throw that out as another reason to lean toward Fielder. It’s not an issue for me, and it does not garner any weight in my decision.

Prince Fielder is just the better long term bet for the Rangers regardless of how great Hamilton is in the community or clubhouse. He is 3 years younger, less of an injury risk, and has put up incredible numbers over his career. He is a huge power threat that would feast hitting in Arlington. He walks a lot more than Hamilton and thus has a bit higher on base percentage whereas the slugging is about the same.

You still get the powerful left-handed bat in the lineup that you have with Josh, but you also open up some opportunities. Mitch Moreland might not command much on the open market, but he might give you something in return. Or he could add depth to your corner outfield.

The Rangers don’t have a lot of depth in the minors at outfield, but if they do decide to go with Fielder they have some chips to move that could bring outfield help. With Fielder at first for the next 5 or 6 years and Beltre signed through 2015, that could free up Mike Olt as a trade piece. Olt is a highly thought of third base prospect who could be moved to first.

Plus with the addition of Yu Darvish to the rotation, there might be a chance to move one of your starters for prospects.

Either way the Rangers will have a star. And looking back just 3 short years you never would have thought the Rangers would be in this position. It’s an exciting time to be  a Texas Rangers fan.

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A Look at the World Series in the Year of the Dragon

It’s a quite day here in South Korea. It’s Lunar New Year so almost everything is closed and the streets are quieter than most days. It’s cold outside and I have been huddled inside my apartment passing the time by blogging, reading, and watching some TV. I threw on Moneyball because I didn’t have much else to watch when I got a thought. This year is the Year of the Dragon, but who has fared the best during the “Dragon” years?

Let’s take a look.

1904 Wood Dragon
No World Series was played. The Boston Americans won the American League pennant again with the New York Giants winning the NL Pennant. The Giants refused to play the champions of the “junior” circuit. The previous season the Americans had defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in a series set up by the two teams, not by the leagues.

1916 Fire Dragon
Boston Red Sox 4, Brooklyn Robins 1
The Red Sox won their 4th title and 2nd in a row defeating the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) in 5 games. The Red Sox were led by a young 23 game winning pitcher who led the league in ERA at 1.75 that goes by the name of Babe Ruth.

1928 Earth Dragon
New York Yankees 4, St. Louis Cardinals 0
For the first time a team swept the opposition in two straight series as the Yankees led by slugger Babe Ruth defeated the Cardinals for its 3rd title. The Yankees dominated the series outscoring St. Louis 27 to 10.

1940 Metal Dragon
Cincinnati Reds 4, Detroit Tigers 3
The Reds would capture their 2nd title and first since the infamous 1919 Series. Reds’ manager Bill McKechnie became the first manager to win a title with 2 different teams (he won in 1925 with Pittsburgh).

1952 Water Dragon
New York Yankees 4, Brooklyn Dodgers 3
The Yankees won their 4th title in a row (they would win a 5th in a row the next year). It was the Yankees 15th title. Mickey Mantle would hit his first World Series home run in Game 6.

1964 Wood Dragon
St. Louis Cardinals 4, New York Yankees 3
The Cardinals won their 7th World Series title defeating the Yankees. The Yankees would not be seen again in the World Series until 1976.

1976 Fire Dragon
Cincinnati Reds 4, New York Yankees 3
The Big Red Machine won its second title in a row cruising by the Yankees for its 4th title overall. This was the first World Series to use the DH. The Reds dominated outscoring the Yankees 22-8 in the 4 games.

1988 Earth Dragon
Los Angeles Dodgers 4, Oakland Athletics 1
This one will be remembered for the heroics of Kirk Gibson in Game 1. The Dodgers were led by Cy Young winner Orel Hershiser (23-8) who would also win the series MVP award. The Dodgers outscored the heavily favored A’s 21-11.

2000 Metal Dragon
New York Yankees 4, New York Mets 1
The Yankees would win their 3rd straight championship and 26th overall. Derek Jeter won the MVP in what was dubbed the “subway series”. This was the last time we have seen a repeat winner.

2012 Water Dragon ????
So who will come out on top in this year of the dragon?

In the previous 8 World Series played during years of the dragon, both leagues have 4 wins. Of those 4 wins for the AL, 3 of them are from the New York Yankees. For the NL, the Reds have the most wins with 2. Does this mean we could have a Yankees/Reds World Series this year? I guess anything is possible.

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New Era (eFashion Solutions)

Quote of the Month

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

Polls

Who Will Win the 2014 World Series?

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