Tag Archive | "MLB"

I Miss Watching Baseball Regularly


I can’t remember a year where I watched less baseball than this year, and I don’t like it.

I miss being able to come home from work, relax, and catch a game on TV. Summer here in Korea is my busiest time of the year at work so I get to watch even less. When September rolls around I am needing a baseball fix and that’s when I usually get MLB.tv to catch some MLB action from back home.

It’s not a bad deal here since evening games back home come on here in the morning. I can get up at 8 or 9 am and watch a game before going to work. The only problem with that is I work late and tend to stay up late to wind down after work which makes it harder to get up in the morning. I have been watching more and more and I can tell my mood is  a little better when I get to watch baseball.

I have been busy with other endeavors as well and got sidetracked not watching very many KBO games here on weekends. I can’t remember a time when I watched so little baseball, but I plan to make up for that in September and October.

I am also looking forward to hopefully seeing a little bit of the ABL (Australian Baseball League) again this winter.

I have been wondering of late how much baseball I could watch next year if I change jobs. I wonder how many people watch 162 games a year, or get close, at least people who are not working games and just fans. I don’t know if I could do that much with my work schedule and traveling a bit, but I am going to figure out a goal to hit for next year.

I know one goal here is to write daily from now on. I miss writing about baseball, but with the small amount I have been watching it makes it harder to write.

So how much baseball do you watch in a year?

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Thoughts on September MLB Races


There are some good races heating up in the last bit of the season. While several teams have sewed up playoff spots, there are some really good races left.

Perhaps the best race is the AL West. The Rangers head into today action with only a 3.5 game lead over the LA Angels. This is going to be a great race, especially since the two teams meet to end the year with a 3 game set.

So who is going to win the West? My call is going to be the Rangers for one main reason – offense.

The Rangers may not have the 3 big horses that LA has, but they have the better offense and enough pitching to get the job done. The Rangers are getting some great seasons out of players like Michael Young, Mike Napoli, and despite what a lot of people are saying Ian Kinsler.

While the Rangers don’t have the front 3 in the rotation like the Angels do, they have a deeper starting staff and a better bullpen. This might be the difference in the race.

The only other races are for the wild cards. In the AL, Boston is battling Tampa Bay and LA for the wild card as well as the Yankees for the AL East Title.

Boston is only 3.5 games back of NY for the AL East with neither team playing well of late. If they can’t catch the Yankees, they are sitting in the wild card spot, but have two teams breathing down their necks.

Tampa Bay is only 4 games back and LA 5 games back in the wild card race. Both have picked up a lot of ground on Boston over the past 10 games.

The NL Wild Card race is heating up as well with St. Louis coming on of late trailing Atlanta by only 3.5 games. The Cardinals have picked up 4 games on the Braves in the past 10 as Atlanta has really struggled of late.

So who will come out on top?

AL East – I think NY will hold onto the top spot and win the division.

AL Wild Card – Boston will hold off Tampa Bay to get into the playoffs.

AL West – Texas

NL Wild Card – This is the hardest one to call. I am hoping the Braves can hold off the Cards, but I am a little worried about how they have played of late. However, I am going to go with the homer call and say the Braves.

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Sign Stealing – Good or Bad?


I came across an interesting article in ESPN.com the other day. Yorvit Torrealba was complaining about the New York Yankees stealing signs.

In the 5th inning, Torrealba went to the mound and said something to Andruw Jones who was apparently stealing signs and notifying the hitter of locations from second base.

Now it should be said that this was happening during a losing streak for the Rangers and in a game that they would lose 12-4. So as much as I hate to say it, I am a Ranger fan and a Yankee hater, “lighten up Francis”.

If someone is stealing your signs, you aren’t doing a good enough job of protecting them. Don’t go throw a hissy fit on the mound and get upset because you are losing. Change your signs! Do something that makes it hard for the other team. Stealing signs is a part of the game, and a part that isn’t going away.

I think Torrealba was just frustrated and needed to vent. That isn’t a problem. When you are going through a losing streak you need some way to vent. But don’t do it on the field and in a way that makes you look bad. Turn that anger into something good in order to get you out of the losing streak. Don’t give the enemy more ammo for future games.

I support the stealing of signs. If you are able to decipher the opposing teams signs, then by all means use it to your advantage. Any time a team is lax enough to give away information, use it. Make them change the way they go about their business or let them face the consequences.

What are your thoughts on stealing signs?

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MLB to Expand Playoffs with Second Wild Card Team


So last week Uncle Bud announced that baseball will be adding another wild card to the playoffs after the new collective bargaining agreement is in place next season.

Some people are advocating the wild card versus wild card round should be a one-game play-in to the Division Series. There are concerns that an additional 3 game series will push the season later into November which means bad weather.

Bad weather isn’t really a valid argument though. They already play deep into October, so what’s the difference with playing in early November?

The excitement of the additional series should be good for the game. Additional TV revenue will be had, but perhaps the greatest benefit will be more teams will be in contention later in the season.

Right now, the Wild Card keeps several teams in contention late in the season. With the added round, the number of teams fighting for a playoff spot will increase greatly. This means more fans, better TV, and hopefully increased revenues for them to fight over at some future time.

I am really going to be open minded on this. I am what you might call a “traditionalist”. I understand the impact of this and the positives just like I did when they expanded the first time. Perhaps I am just a bit too nostalgic when it comes to baseball in that I like how things don’t change all that often. In the long run I know it is good for the game, and what is good for the game is the right thing to do.

What do you think about it all?

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How much of a lesh should mouthy fans of teams like KC be given if any?


Does not winning for a decade or two allow a team’s fans to have an outburst against another team’s fan with no recourse?

I got a sarcastic and ill meaning tweet from a Royals fan last week after I posted jokingly that all the Rangers needed for a slumpbuster was to see some KC pitching.

Now I have nothing against the Royals. I would love to see them competative again since it has been a long time. I am even a fan of many of their players, but after I got a “Welcome to 12 wins” tweet I responded.

After the Rangers swept the Royals, I tweeted back, “Welcome to the sweep – How are those 12 wins STILL working for you?” Sure maybe a little harsh but I certainly didn’t need some KC fan telling me off when I meant no harm. I would have said the same thing with any team since the Rangers had put up 11 runs after a hard series loss against LA.

His reply – The 26 year playoff drought rule clearly states “All boastful outbursts by Royals fan must not be met with malice or spite”

Now neither of us meant harm, and I am certainly not upset, but I wonder how much losing relieves a fan of being the target after a boastful outburst?

To me, if you can dish it out you need to be able to handle the backlash. So how much of a lesh should mouthy fans of teams like KC be given if any?

Thoughts?

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Minor League Games vs MLB Games


I love baseball. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I grew up cheering for Dale Murphy and the Atlanta Braves courtesy of TBS, and was hurt the day he was traded to Philly for Jeff Parrett. I celebrated in 1991 when we downed Pitt in the NLCS to make it to the World Series. It was the first time I had ever been able to cheer for “my” team in October, and I still hold a grudge against Lonnie Smith. Yes I know this year will be 20 years and its not good to hold grudges, but come on he should have scored on that double by Pendleton.

Anyway, I am going to get way too far off track if I continue down that road. My point is I love baseball and I love MLB. But there is something I would rather attend if given the chance and that is minor league baseball.

I will watch ANY baseball on TV which might make me a little strange to some. I can remember watching the Silver Bullets play on TV (yep that girls team). I watch Korean baseball all the time with no sound. I hate to miss the Little League World Series and I will watch any and all baseball I find on television. But going to a game, I think I have come to like minor league baseball the best.

The stadiums in MLB are the best in the world, but it has gotten so expensive that it is becoming unafordable for most families. If you are able to score tickets at a good price, it will be in the upper deck where you feel a mile away from the game. However, for the price of that upper deck ticket, and in many cases less, you can attend a minor league game and be close to the action.

Sure you give up watching the best players in the world, but the only difference in the players in the minors from the majors is consistancy. There are some really talented young players in the minors, and talented or not they are busting their hump because they know if they don’t tomorrow they won’t have a job. They are hungry to get to the next level. They hustle. When was the last time you saw a star in the majors hustle when he didn’t have to?

The best thing, besides the typical low cost, is being close to the players. I have been to a few games where I was able to talk to players. One game we talked to the left fielder. In between innings we would ask him where he was from, how he liked the small town he played for, and so on. It was great. He was happy to talk to us, and he promised us a ball if he ever ended the inning with a fly ball. Later in the game when we left to get something to eat while he was at bat, he hit a home run right where we should have been standing and after we returned he wanted to know why we were gone for his big moment. It was great to get down to a personal level with a ballplayer. Just a side note, that player has since made it to the majors.

You will never be able to experience something like that at a MLB game. Sitting so close to the field that the players can hear you when you cheer is great. Getting excited and cheering when someone makes a great play only to have them look your way in acknowledgment that they heard you is an awesome thing. Plus its easy to cheer for someone who is not make a lot of money to play a kids game. They play hard, get paid little, and really do appreciate when you cheer for them. Do you think Aroid really cares if you cheer for him when he makes a play at third base. No, he is only concerned about his paycheck coming tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong. I love MLB games. It is the highest level of the game anywhere in the world. But when push comes to shove, minor league games give you so much more bang for your buck that they are not to be overlooked. After all imagine how many people will have memories of seeing players like Pujols, Jeter, or Chipper Jones when they were young and in the minors. The player that took the time to talk to us that night in left field might not be a superstar in the majors, but he’ll be a superstar to me for the time we shared and his kindness.

So what do you think, minors or majors?

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Albert Pujols – Best Player Right Now?


Albert Pujols is an amazing hitter. At only 31 years-old, Pujols has already reached elite status with some astounding stats. When you look at his worst year in the big leagues, it looks like the stat line of someone’s career year. In 2007, he only hit .327 (in 1 full seasons he only hit lower twice), 32 homeruns  (his lowest total ever), 103 RBI (again his lowest total), and only 99 runs (the only time he was below 100). That stat line is better than most players can dream of in the big leagues and this was probably his worst season in the bigs. Simply put he is a crazy good hitter.

If you add that to some of the other stats he has put up, he is a sure fire first ballot hall of famer. Six times he has hit 40 homeruns, hit 50 doubles twice, the 2003 NL batting champ, two time gold glove winner, a 30 game hitting streak, a nine time all-star, three time NL MVP, 2001 NL Rookie of the Year, six time silver slugger winner, and apart of the 2006 World Series champions.

But one of the more amazing things with Pujols, is how everyone says how great a guy he is. Do you hear that about some of the other big stars? No! I have NEVER heard anyone say that about Alex Rodriguez who might be the best comparable star. And recently 60 Minutes did a gret job showing what a great guy Pujols is. The only hope for this baseball fan, and I am not a Cardinals fan, is that Pujols is never linked to PEDs (steroids). I don’t think it will happen, but in today’s day and age you never really know.

Pujols is not only putting up amazing numbers, but he is doing it in a time where fans are skeptical and they need a star who they know is clean. I think Pujols is that player. Of course, I don’t know 100% that he never took them, but I am confident he never has. That means the game of baseball has a star, and perhaps the best of the biggest, that is clean AND a good guy. In today’s day and age that is something that is hard to find.

If you missed it, check out the interview with Pujols and see just why everyone says he is a great guy. I’d love to hear your thoughts after you have seen it.

Albert Pujols on 60 Minutes – Click Here to watch it on YouTube

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Goodbye Manny!


This past week Manny Ramirez retired from baseball. He did so not because he felt he could no longer help his team, but because he tested positive yet again for steroids or PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). He would have been the first player to test positive twice for PEDs, although Neifi Perez did test positive twice for amphetamines.

Manny Ramirez was one of the greatest hitters to come a long in a long time. But how much of his greatness is due to his steroid use? How long did he get away with it before he was caught? Those questions will probably never be answered because Manny, being Manny, took the coward way out of this by retiring. Manny won’t take his punishment (100 game suspension) and face the cameras. Instead he will run and hide and count all the money he got by defrauding the baseball world.

I for one am tired of Manny’s act. The circus he brought to the game is a tired act.  I gave up on Manny when he gave up on his teammates. There isn’t a bigger foul that a player can commit than quitting on your own team. I won’t miss him. I was a little saddened when Tampa Bay signed him. I like the Rays and they always seem to be fighting an uphill battle in the AL East. With a guy like Manny on their team, it was only 1 more battle to overcome.

So the only silver lining in all of this is Tampa Bay will be able to move on without further distractions from the Manny circus which you know was going to come sooner or later.

I don’t think he really even cared about it, but Manny will be yet another player with amazing stats that will never get into the Hall of Fame. And in this writer’s humble opinion, he doesn’t belong there.

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Way Back Wednesday – Who would You Invite to Dinner?


Just prior to flying back to South Korea I watched a couple documentaries that included Bill “Spaceman” Lee going to Cuba on baseball trips in Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey and Gift of the Game. Bill Lee is quite a character, and I thought it would be interesting to sit down to dinner with him one night and talk baseball, politics, or whatever comes to mind for him.

In turn, this got me thinking even more about whom from the world of baseball would I like to sit down to dinner with. We have all heard the question about who you would ask to dinner if you could ask 3 people from any time, but what about baseball?

However, it’s really hard to narrow it down to 3. Can you imagine talking to Shoeless Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner, or Mickey Mantle?

So here is my attempt, and reasoning behind my decisions, to narrow my list to 3 people from the world of baseball.

1. Ty Cobb – Considered one of the greatest, the greatest by some, ballplayers of all-time, Cobb is a personality that really intrigues me. During his playing days he didn’t have a lot of friends. I just wonder what it would be like to break down the barriers that he seemed to have and get to know the real Ty Cobb. I’d love to get his take on the steroid era, and get his perspective on how players from his day got an edge. Plus I think he would have some amazing stories of fights and other times he was in a ruckus.

2. Babe Ruth – The Babe always seemed to be the cockiest, yet not arrogant like say a Bonds, player from the past. So many times people ask if he would be able to play in today’s game since it has changed so much, and I would love to hear his answer. I think he would have some amazing HSO’s (Hot Sports Opinions) on Barry Bonds, the steroid era, and how the game has change for better or worse.

3. Bill “Spaceman” Lee – His personality is second to none. With him at the table I don’t think I would even have to say a word. He would get the conversation going in every direction but it would never be dull.

So what would be your list? Who would you want to sit down to dinner with if you could?

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Hello Win Column – The Texas Louisville Slugger Massacre


Opening weekend in Arlington, Tx was great if you are a Rangers fan and not so great if you are a Red Sox fan. The Rangers simply beat the Red Sox like a drum. The got good pitching performances from Matt Harrison, CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis. Throw in some good performances at the back of the bullpen and the Rangers had a great series, but that is not where all the highlights came from. Those came from the other side of the ball.

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz, do I need to say more. Both set records that I never would have thought about.

Ian Kinsler hit leadoff homeruns in the first 2 games of the season – record.

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz both hit homeruns in the first 3 games – record.

They both had great series and Cruz even continued his homerun hitting in game 4. But it didn’t end with these two. David Murphy had a big series. Elvis Andrus, Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre and other had some big hits. It seemed like everyone on the team was hitting homeruns, and the Rangers beat up on some of the better pitchers in the American League in Lester, Lackey, and Buchholtz.

Does this mean the Red Sox are done for the year, no. They are nowhere near being out of the race, and Red Sox Nation I have one thing to say to you – Lighten up Francis! I have seen too many blogs throwing a fit like a 5 year old who didn’t get his way. I hate to break it to you but Red Sox Nation is not the only group that watches ESPN. So you had a bad series, everyone does. There are so many ups and downs during a full season that everyone is going to be swept from time to time. It’s better to have it now than the last 3 games of the season. I actually like the Red Sox despite being a huge Rangers fan (basically a convert from being a Yankee hater for years). I root for them in the AL except when they play Texas, but I have to say a few Red Sox bloggers have made Red Sox Nation look like a bunch of whining 5 year-olds. You don’t see Pirates fans getting upset when someone on ESPN says they play horrible. So why are you?

I was glad to see the Rangers come out and play well to start the season. They have kept it going in the 2nd series and I know it is early but I hope there is more of this to come. I still think they make the playoffs, but can they get past a team like the Red Sox in the playoffs? They sure made a statement that will be remembered come September, but its early and there is a lot still to be seen, but I like what I am seeing.

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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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