Tag Archive | "2010"

Hello Win Column! – What a Game This Is


With all the crap that we see in our day to day lives, sometimes we need to be reminded that there are genuinely good people out there.  Unfortunately this normally takes a bad event to occur (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc…).  But today we got to see something special, and nobody died or was injured in the process.  Of course, I am talking about Jim Joyce and Armando Gallaraga.

Both men acted like adults and nobody got out of control.  The situation, as bad as it was, was handled with incredible maturity.  I have gained a lot of respect for both parties involved.  I found the link below through Brent Mayne’s Blog, and it is quite the moving video.  I think Mayne said it best when he said, “This is why baseball is the greatest sport on the planet and this is why we should leave it alone.”

So watch the video below.  Shed a tear or two (I did).  Then take a moment to remember just how great this game really is.  Oh and while you’re at it, go check out Brent Mayne’s site.  I really enjoyed it.

Clip of Joyce and Gallaraga

Jim Joyce and Armando Gallaraga shake hands prior to game.

I felt this deserved to go under the headline of Hello Win Column!  After all, this is a good story in the end, and that is what I want to bring to you with this segment.

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Around the Horn


I wanted to weigh in on the happenings from yesterday. There were two significant events of the day.

First of all, let me quickly mention the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr. I know Griffey hasn’t been the same player for quite some time, but it’s still a sad day knowing one of the all-time greats of the game is retiring. I don’t think I have ever seen a player that played with such joy and emotion while at the same time being one of the best, if not the best, in the game. In my mind he is the greatest center fielder of his era, and easily the best one I ever got to see play. He is 5th on the all-time home run list, and what is unique about that is he has never been linked to steroids. A 13 time all-star, 10 time gold glove winner, and the AL MVP in 1997 (.304/56/147), Griffey will definitely be missed in the baseball world.

Perhaps overshadowing the Griffey retirement somewhat is Armando Gallaraga. Gallaraga was 1 out away from the 3rd perfect game of the year and 21st in history when umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first base. I have to say in the aftermath that I was pleasantly surprised at how well both Gallaraga and Joyce handled the situation. Joyce understood after seeing the replay that he blew the call and requested to talk to Gallaraga personally. Gallaraga himself has been quite understanding of the whole situation by not getting bent out of shape with Joyce. He said he understood that it was a difficult call and that Joyce was human. It is reassuring in a day and age when many baseball players can be demanding prima donnas to see someone with a level head in a situation as big as this one.

So will anything happen in the end? I don’t think Gallaraga will get his perfect game, but I do think baseball will look at expanding instant replay. Whether this is a good or bad thing is debatable and will be debated, but I am not sold one way or another. What do you think? Should commissioner Selig do anything about the situation? If so, what? I’d love to hear what others think.

You can also join the conversation on twitter by following me there @baseballjourney or on Face Book.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

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Halladay Throws Perfecto


It was a crazy Saturday around Major League Baseball. Three separate incidents stand out from Saturday’s games. Sadly, two of them are not something you want to see happen. Let’s start with the good first.

Roy Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in history on Saturday and the 2nd of the season. He pulled this feat off against the Florida Marlins, and strangely the last 3 perfect games thrown over the last 2 years have been against Florida teams (the previous two being the Tampa Bay Rays). This is the first time in history that 2 perfect games have been thrown in the same season, let alone the same month (Dallas Braden did it on May 9th). Throw in the Ubaldo Jimenez no-hitter and it has been quite the year for pitchers so far.

With only 20 perfect games in history you might think that it is the hardest thing to do, but you would be wrong. There are two other accomplishments that have happened even fewer times. First of all, the unassisted triple play with only 15 occurrences in history (5 of them have come in the 2000s).

But perhaps the most difficult is the natural cycle with only 14 occurrences in the history of baseball.  You might be asking yourself, is a natural cycle different than a cycle?  Yes, it is.  A natural cycle occurs when the hitter has his hits in order of single, double, triple, homerun.  Gary Mathews Jr. was the last to pull off this feat while with Texas in 2006 against the Detroit Tigers.

From the column of don’t celebrate too early, Kendry Morales hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning against Seattle on Saturday, but wasn’t able to walk off the field.  As Morales approached home plate surrounded by his teammates, he leaped into the air and landed awkwardly on home plate.  He twisted his angle and went down hard breaking his leg.  It was a freak accident but it will surely change the way the Angels celebrate throughout the rest of the season.

Perhaps the most gruesome site of the day came in New York when David Huff was hit by an Alex Rodriguez line drive.  The ball glanced off the side of his head and went all the way into right field.  It’s never a fun sight to see and even Arod was shaken up after the play.  Hopefully David Huff will make a full recovery with no damage done.  That is the most important thing at the moment.  If he is able to pitch again one day will just be icing on the cake.  Above is a video of the line drive.  Watch at your own free will, but know it’s a pretty shocking video.

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Hello Win Column!


I have been looking into adding some regular posts and figured I would start with a segment I will call, Hello Win Column!  This will be a periodical look at the standings, power rankings, and other things such as great wins.

This week I thought I would take a look at the standings for the first 36 games (22.2% of the season).  So let’s go through division by division and see where the surprises and disappointments are.

AL East

I think here we have one of the biggest surprises so far.  The Tampa Bay Rays are not only in first place, but have the best record in baseball.  Now don’t get me wrong, in no way is them having a good record surprising.  I think everyone felt this team would contend, but I don’t think they thought this team would play this good so far.  The Yankees are right behind the Rays which is not surprising, but the order of the next two teams is.  Toronto, with hot hitting Vernon Wells, is in 3rd while Boston is struggling around .500 in 4th.  The Red Sox are scoring runs, but giving up more.  And with little fanfare the Orioles are in the basement of the East with the worst record in baseball.

AL Central

Before the season I felt this division was wide open.  So far it is a two team race that could come down to the wire.  Right now the Twins lead Detroit by 1.5 games.  This could stay like this for most of the year, but don’t count out Chicago getting back in the race later on in the season.  I wouldn’t put must stock into K.C. or Cleveland as they will vie for the cellar here.

AL West

Another wide open race to begin the year, it is shaping up to be a three team race.  It could be wide open come summer with all four teams looking to take the division, but I don’t see Seattle getting back in it.  Right now the Rangers lead the West by 2 over Oakland.  I look for the Rangers to win this division, but it should be a good race all year long.

NL East

Philly is the class of the division here.  I am not sure what is more surprising, Atlanta in last place or Washington in 2nd.  I don’t think the Braves will end up in the cellar, at least not with the Mets in the division.  Philly is clearly the head of the class here and should have no real issues winning the East.

NL Central

One of the bigger surprises in the NL is Cincinnati.  They trail the Cardinals by only .5 game.  In the long run I think the Cards will take the Central, but it will be a fun summer if the Reds can make it a race in the end.  They are young and exciting to watch.  Mike Leach is on his way to a great season.  I would say ROY if Jason Heyward wasn’t in the race as well.  No big surprise that the Astros, Cubs, Pirates, and Brewers aren’t in the race for now.  Unless there are some changes I don’t see any of them contending.

NL West

The biggest surprise in the NL to me is the Padres leading the West.  I think everyone thought that the Dodgers and Giants would compete for the division here. The Dodgers are on a winning streak, but have lost one of their better players to a broken finger in Andre Ethier.  In the end this division will be wide open.  Look for the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres, and Giants to all contend.  In the end I like the pitching of the Giants, but don’t count anyone out.

I look forward to the next month and a half to see where we are come All-Star break.  I do think we will see some changes in the division leaders by then.  It is shaping up to be a great summer of baseball.

For those of you who didn’t grow up listening to Ranger games, the title of this may not have much meaning.  Mark Holtz was the radio play-by-play announcer from 1982 to 1994, then he moved into the television booth until 1997.  After every Ranger win, Holtz would display his signature phrase, “Hello Win Column!”

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Journey to Seoul


This last weekend I made the train ride up to Seoul to check out some of the baseball action up north.  There are 3 stadiums in the Seoul area, 2 in Seoul and 1 in Incheon.  The plan was to head up Friday and come back late Sunday night while taking in 1 new stadium a night.  My first stop was Mokdong Baseball Stadium in western Seoul.

Mokdong Stadium is home to the NEXEN Heroes.  The Heroes have a strong tradition in the KBO winning the championship 4 times (2nd only to Kia’s 10 titles).  However, this year NEXEN is mired at the bottom of the standings.  On Friday night, NEXEN happened to be playing the Kia Tigers, who again are near the top of the standings.

The game was a very good one.  Both starters had strong performances but came away with no decisions.  The game was tied after 9, and I thought I might see my first ever tie baseball game.  The rules here are a little different than back home.  If the game is tied after 12 innings, the game ends in a tie.  I understand why they have the rule, but I am not a big fan of it.  However, I am one of the fans who not only roots for free baseball (what I call extra innings), but I am one that wants to be at the park to witness the 18 or 20 inning game.

I would not see my first tie game, but I would see another first.  In the top of the 10th Kia would score to go ahead, but NEXEN would not quit.  They tied the game in the bottom half of the inning.  So onto the 11th we would go.  With a quiet half of the inning from Kia, NEXEN came to bat with a chance to win it, and this is where it got interesting.

With 2 outs in the inning and runners on first and second, reliever Lee Dong-hyeon would unleash a wild pitch to put runners at 2nd and 3rd.  But he wasn’t finished.  After walking the batter to load the bases, Lee Dong-hyeon then unleashed a 2nd wild pitch allowing the runner from 3rd to score the winning run.  This was my first walk-off wild pitch at a professional game.  After seeing the replays on TV a few nights later, the catcher didn’t do him any favors.  He simply tried to backhand both pitches, and they both got by him.  Anyway the damage was done and NEXEN walked away with the win.

A few notes about the game and the stadium:

  • The Kia Tigers fans traveled well.  There were a lot of them, they actually outnumbered the Heroes fans, and they were very loud.  Any hit or out was cheered in unison which was very impressive.
  • I arrived early to see batting practice, and as I stood down the left field line I almost got hit by a ball.  It was drizzling so I had my umbrella out when one of the Tigers players hits a screaming line drive home run down the line right at me.  My first instinct was to try and catch it.  Then I realized I was holding my umbrella so I thought of trying to catch it with the umbrella.  I quickly realized this was not a smart thing to do so at the last second I simply moved out of the way.  The ball landed behind me where I picked it up and gave it to one of the two young boys who came running up after it.
  • In the top of the 5th with the score tied 1-1, Kia attempted to run the squeeze play with runners at 1st and 3rd.  They just happened to run it horribly.    A new left handed pitcher had just been brought in, and the first thing he does is throw over to 1st base two straight times.  Both times the Tigers gave away they were running the squeeze.  So what does NEXEN do, pitch out and catch the squeeze play still on.  I thought it was painfully obvious what they wanted to do, and apparently so did the NEXEN manager.

All in all it was a fun night.  The crowd was into the game, and there was enough action to keep it interesting.  I can’t wait to get back and see another game there.

Next time I’ll be talking about my trip to Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, home of the LG Twins and Doosan Bears (yes they share the stadium).  ‘Till then, here are a few pictures from Mokdong Stadium.

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Baseball Salaries vs Values


I was recently sent a story from Forbes about the value of MLB teams, and I started to wonder how that list corresponded to the salary list.  So let’s take a look at the top 10 most valuable MLB franchises according to Forbes.

Top 10 MLB Team Values

Home Plate at the Ballpark in Arlington

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. New York Mets
  4. Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Chicago Cubs
  6. Philadelphia Phillies
  7. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  8. St. Louis Cardinals
  9. San Fransisco Giants
  10. Chicago White Sox

The top 5 on the list out distance the rest of the clubs by a long shot.  The Yankees weight in at $1.6 billion with the Red Sox in 2nd at $870 million.  A big drop off is seen after #5.  The Cubs come in at $726 million, but there is nearly a 200 million drop off to #6 in Philadelphia. So how does this translate to salary levels?  Below is the top 10 MLB salaries according to cbssports.com.

Top 10 MLB Team Salaries*

*bold teams on both lists
  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Chicago Cubs
  4. Philadelphia Phillies
  5. New York Mets
  6. Detroit Tigers
  7. Chicago White Sox
  8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  9. Seattle Mariners
  10. San Francisco Giants

Only 2 teams valued in the top 10 by Forbes are not on the list of the top 10 salaries for 2010 (Los Angeles Dodgers & St. Louis Cardinals).  The Dodgers come in at #12 on the salary list, while the Cardinals come in at #13.   The Seattle Mariners (#14 on the Forbes list) and the Detroit Tigers (#22 on the Forbes list) are the only teams not in the top 10 of value that are in the top 10 in salary.

So we can see that the majority of the highest valued teams also have the highest payrolls, but it is the same with the lower valued teams?

Bottom 10 MLB Teams in Value according to Forbes

  1. Baltimore Orioles
  2. Detroit Tigers
  3. Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Cincinnati Reds
  6. Toronto Blue Jays
  7. Florida Marlins
  8. Tampa Bay Rays
  9. Oakland Athletics
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates

This really isn’t too surprising a list.  Most of these teams have not won for many years.  Despite a few having new stadiums, more are playing in older parks built at least 15 years ago.  But how does it translate to salaries.

Bottom 10 MLB Teams in Salary*

*bold teams on both lists
  1. Tampa Bay Rays
  2. Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Washington Nationals
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks
  6. Florida Marlins
  7. Texas Rangers
  8. Oakland Atletics
  9. San Diego Padres
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates

Most of the teams down at the bottom of Forbes list in terms of value are on the list of the lowest payrolls.  I find it interesting to see how the two list compare with one another.  For the most part a team with low value has low payroll and vice-versa.  There are however exceptions to the rule.  Detroit is a lower valued team but is spending.  The Texas Rangers are a higher valued team (#12) but are not spending much on payroll.  Of course, they are going through an ownership change that can’t come quick enough.  There will always be exceptions, but as a general rule it looks as though the higher the value team, the more spent on payroll.

Perhaps the most telling sign is the difference between the Yankees at #1 and the Pirates at #30.  The Yankees payroll comes in at just over $206 million, while the Pirates top out at just under $35 million.  When you break it down per player that is $8.2 million to $1.2 million.  There are all sorts of stats that simply blow you away like how the top 4 individual player salaries are all Yankees.  Their salary added up for this year is more than 21 teams.  I really can’t think of how that is good for baseball.

So, does this money spent translate into wins?

The biggest favorites for a World Series title this year come from the teams that are on the list of the higher payrolls.  Looking at possible playoff teams from the lower third of the payroll, you can still find one or two possible playoff teams, but none that you would expect to contend for a World Series title.   This has got me thinking about what teams have won in the playoffs being in the bottom third of league salary levels.  I am going to do some research and get back to you on that.

What are your thoughts on these lists?  I have some more thoughts on salaries, but I will save that for later.

The two lists that I used.

The Forbes.com List of Baseball Team Values

CBSsports.com MLB Salaries List

20. Kansas City Royals $72,267,710 $2,491,990
21. Tampa Bay Rays $71,923,471 $2,663,832
22. Toronto Blue Jays $62,689,357 $2,089,645
23. Washington Nationals $61,425,000 $2,047,500
24. Cleveland Indians $61,203,967 $2,110,482
25. Arizona Diamondbacks $60,718,167 $2,335,314
26. Florida Marlins $55,641,500 $2,060,796
27. Texas Rangers $55,250,545 $1,905,191
28. Oakland Athletics $51,654,900 $1,666,287
29. San Diego Padres $37,799,300 $1,453,819
30. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Korean Baseball Organization is Going Green in 2010


The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is going green this year.  In an effort to cut down on the electricity used during games, the KBO is installing new rules for the 2010 season.  Pitchers will now have 12 seconds to make the next pitch.  The first infraction will be a warning with the insuing infractions ruled as a ball to the batter.  I guess this effectively eliminates any possibility that Vincente Padilla would ever play in Korea.

Other steps are being installed to cut down on the length of games.  Batters will be encouraged to go to the plate quickly, and all bullpen cars will be electric.  Some stadiums will also use solar power in parts of the park and some will switch to more energy efficient LED lights.

Korea is not the first to implement such rules.  Japan took similar steps in its professional baseball league in 2008 to shorten games.

I am looking forward to March 27th and opening day here in Daegu, South Korea.

Citizens Stadium - Daegu, South Korea

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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

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