Tag Archive | "American League"

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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The Designated Hitter – Past its Prime?

April 6, 1973, Ron Blomberg stepped up to the plate to face Luis Tiant.  It was opening day and with the bases loaded, Blomberg walked driving in the first run of the game.  This run would mean little in the bigger scheme of things as the Red Sox won 15-5 that day in Boston.  However, the significance of this one at bat was the new position that Blomberg played that day, the designated hitter. 

The designated hitter (DH) has been a source of controversy ever since.  The American League adopted the new rule of a hitter batting for the pitcher in 1973 to help boast attendance.  The idea had been tossed around before (including by Connie Mack in 1906) but was not voted in until 1973.  The DH did exactly what it was planned to do.  It helped boost attendance by providing more offense than that of the National League.  The NL never adopted the rule and has continued to have the pitchers hit.  But should the AL do away with the rule?  Or should the NL adopt it?

Everyone had different opinions on the DH.  Many people like the added offense it provides, but is something lost with its addition?  I feel like a lot is lost.  I prefer the NL style of play where more of the roster is used on a day to day basis including pinch-hitting and double switches.  Something is lost when the manager does not have to plan out all the lineup changes for the night based on when pitchers will hit.  There is a game within the game that is lost, and I feel it is a huge loss.  I also don’t like how AL pitchers can hit a batter without any fear of  retaliation since they don’t have to face the opposing pitcher.

I am also not a fan of many of the players who hang on for years after their prime purely as a hitter in the AL.  I feel that if you can’t field, you shouldn’t hit.  There are two parts to baseball, offense and defense, and I think everyone should have to do both.  This also lead us into the mixed up world of salary levels.  I am all for a salary cap and floor, and who is it that is typically a DH?  It is an older player who demands more money.  This just adds another high priced player to the rosters forcing salary levels up.  The richer teams of course can add the best of the best, while the smaller market teams opt to have a younger player, who is typically cheaper, hit as DH. 

Of course, you have to take my opinions with a grain of salt.  I am a baseball purist who was against inter-league play and Milwaukee switching leagues.  I like things to stay the same.  I do see how inter-league play has helped, but I think the DH is past its prime and should be laid to rest.  Even with this feeling, I am fully aware of the difficulty this would cause throughout all of baseball.  Some pitchers get to the majors and haven’t hit since high school.  Colleges and minor league teams use the DH and unless they were a standout at the plate as well in college, the odds are they haven’t hit much by the time they get to the majors.  Would I like to see the DH disappear?  Yes.  Do I think it is going to happen?  No.  It will at least give us something to argue over each winter.

What do you think should happen?  Do you like the DH, or would you rather see the pitcher hit in both leagues?


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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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