Tag Archive | "American League"

Tampa Rays Unveil New “Throwback” Jersey


When I first saw the new Tampa Rays “throwback” jersey, I was speechless. All I could think was Joe Madden is a good sport.

I love throwback jerseys. A lot of them remind me of when I was a kid and good or bad, that’s always a good thing in my mind. Maybe my favorite baseball jersey of all time is the 80s Astros ‘rainbow’ jerseys. I love a lot of the old Whitesox, Padres, Pirates, and Expos jerseys. Anything in the old powder blue like many teams have worn over the years (KC, St. Louis, Atlanta, Toronto, and Montreal) I always thought was great.

However, I am not sold on these new ones for Tampa. I love the powder blue and the dark blue mix, but I think it could have been done better. The font of the Rays across the front and the huge yellow numbers on the front just don’t seem to mix.

They did a good job creating something that is very 1970s, but maybe they took it a little too far.

I just can’t seem to wrap my head around these in a positive note. I do however love the hats.

What do you think of these new ‘old’ uniforms? What is your favorite all-time jersey?

 

 

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Who Would Have Thought…..


Who would have thought…..

There are several of these this season so far. I think the biggest one is who would have thought the Baltimore Orioles would be this good?

Heading into tonight’s play, the Orioles are atop the AL East with a 27-15 record which is the best in the American League. Not only are they in first but the whole division seems to be turned upside down with the Yankees and Red Sox in 4th and 5th place.

There seems to be a surprise in just about every division.

AL Central

Who would have thought the Detroit Tigers would be under .500 and trailing not only the Cleveland Indians but the Chicago White Sox?

AL West

I think everyone though the Rangers would be at the top of the division, but who would have though the Angels would be bringing up the rear? They are 8 games out of first and 6 games under .500 already this season. Albert Pujols just hasn’t hit yet but they could easily turn it around. Maybe.

NL East

I think we thought the Washington Nationals would be good, but this good? They are trailing the Braves by a half game and have played really well this season. Perhaps the bigger surprise is the fall of the Phillies. So far they are in last place 5 games out and a game under  .500 but they have had a lot of big injuries.

NL Central

Not any huge surprises here. Cincinnati and St. Louis are tied for first, but Pittsburgh and Houston are next in the standings which might be the biggest surprise.

NL West

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in baseball. Not sure anyone saw that coming with all the off the field issues they have had. They are hot of late (8-2 in last 10) and are almost unbeatable at home going 19-4.

I think the Orioles are the biggest surprise so far. I hope they can keep it up. It’s nice to see teams that haven’t won in a few years return to the top of the league. It’s time for some new blood in the playoffs.

What do you think is the biggest surprise so far?

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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.

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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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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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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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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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2011 ALDS – Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays Recap


This was hands down one of the most exciting series played in recent memory. Whether you are a Rays fan (they do exist right?) or Rangers fan, you were given a lot of intense postseason baseball.

We saw the coming out party of the best young pitching prospect in the game in Matt Moore. Moore dominated the Rangers in Game 1 going 7 innings allowing only 2 hits while striking out 6. He was simply dominate. He even came back in Game 4 on 3 days rest to pitch 3 innings and only made one mistake that Adrian Beltre hit out in left, but this kid is for real.

I like the Rays, underdogs are always fun, but I don’t root for them against the Rangers. Regardless of Rays fan or not, you have to be excited about what Moore will do in the future. While I hope it doesn’t come true, I did find it funny seeing all the comments in the Twitterverse about how Moore will be the best Yankee soon. Sure he will have his ups and downs, but the AL East is going to be competitive when you put Moore alongside Price and the rest of that young Rays staff. Look for more of the same from them in the future making the playoffs.

Game 2 sung a different tune with the Rangers holding on to win 8-6. The Dutch Oven, Derek Holland, pitched well but not great throwing a lot of pitches in 5 innings. However, the Ranger’s bats showed up this time and pounded Rays starter James Shields for 7 runs. Perhaps the most surprising thing was they did it without the long ball. They scored 8 runs, but only 1 came on a long ball while Tampa continued to hit the long ball with 2 more.

Ogando showed how valuable he is coming in and shutting down the Rays in the 6th overpowering them. Koji Uehara had a rough outing allowing a 3-run bomb to Longoria in the 7th that cut the lead to only 1.

But like all year the Rangers responded. Darren Oliver came in to quiet the Rays hitters setting it up for Adams and Feliz in the 8th and 9th. And Mitch Moreland came up with a huge home run to give the Rangers a little cushion.

Game 3 was more of the same with the Rangers holding on late to win. Desmond Jennings put the Rays on top in the 4th with a solo home run which also turned out to be the only hit Colby Lewis would allow. Texas responded in the 7th with a great at bat and a huge home run by Mike Napoli to put the Rangers up 2-1 over David Price. Still in the 7th Roy Hobbs himself Josh Hamilton came up with a huge hit to extend the lead to 4-1.

From there it was a matter of holding off the Rays rallies. They got a run back in the 7th off of Oliver who couldn’t find his way, but was bailed out by Ogando once again. Mike Adams struggled in the 8th with perhaps his worst outing of his career which all started with Desmond Jennings 2nd home run of the game.

It took a 4 out save from Feliz to close the door and give Texas the 2-1 lead in the series. But what shouldn’t be overlooked is how good Lewis was from the get go. Colby once again had a great outing in the postseason. This time he went 6 innings allowing only 1 hit and striking out 6 along the way. He has really stepped up huge in playoff games the past 2 years.

Game 4 was the Adrian Beltre show. Heading into the game Beltre didn’t have an extra base hit in the playoffs. After the game he not only had 3 extra-base hits but 3 home runs. Beltre hit 3 solo shots to power the Rangers past the Rays and into the ALCS. Two of the home runs came off of Rays starter Hellickson who hadn’t given up 3 home runs in a game ever, until tonight. Ian Kinsler also got to him leading off the game with a solo shot. But even after Hellickson left and phenom Matt Moore entered, Beltre wasn’t done. He touched up Moore for a solo shot as well in the 7th which proved to be the difference in the end.

Matt Harrison had a good outing going 5 innings and striking out a season high 9. Derek Holland came in to through an inning and a third out of the pen, and after pitching in the 6th and 7th innings in the previous 2 games Ogando threw a perfect 8th inning setting it up for Feliz to close it out in the 9th.

With the win the Rangers will face the winner of the Detroit/New York series which goes to a game 5 on Thursday night. I don’t think the Rangers care who they play since they seem to just go about their own business and get to work. Regardless of who it is, it should make for some great baseball.

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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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Who Will Win the 2014 World Series?

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