Tag Archive | "New York Yankees"

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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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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Movie Review – Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey


Bill Lee may be known as the Spaceman, but you could very easily call him Mr. Baseball. Lee has a passion for the game that really comes out in the film Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey. Bill Lee joins a team from San Diego on a trip to Cuba for a little barnstorming trip.

It’s an interesting ride in that you not only get to see a different side of Bill Lee from what you might see on TV in interviews, but you get to see a small insight on baseball in Cuba.

Nobody on the trip to Cuba from the US was ever paid to play baseball with the exception of Bill Lee. This is a group of adults who love the game. Traveling to a game on a bus and getting off together as a team is their major leagues. To do that in another country  has to be an absolute thrill. Throw in that you are doing it on an island that is baseball crazy and it has to be a trip of a lifetime.

All of the Cuban players are older adults who have played their entire lives, and it shows. They play good baseball and put the American team to the test in each game. Not only do the players show a love of the game, but you see people showing up to games as fans to watch that love it. Some show up to practice their English, some show up to see the former major leaguer play, and others simply want to watch baseball.

Everywhere the players go they are greeted by friendly people and most are fans of the game. It’s an amazing insight, albeit small, into a culture that has almost been closed off completely to Americans. The opposing teams and people on the streets are interested in talking about the old guys who played with Lee, and they know them. They remember Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant, Fisk, and others.  It’s amazing how much the casual fan knows there.

Another aspect of the movie that is interesting is seeing the fields they play at. Of course, they are all older but the field itself always looks like its in pretty good shape. You see some nice fields with makeshift fences at times or old concrete stands that were erected in the 50’s or earlier.

A lot of the movie is about Bill Lee and his history which is pretty interesting. I enjoyed it especially since I only know Lee from what I have read because he was out of baseball before I can remember watching. He had a lot of interesting things to say and was quite a character. I can easily see how he got the nickname Spaceman, but don’t get fooled into thinking he isn’t an intelligent man. He reminds me of a baseball version of Dennis Miller. He uses a lot of references that most people won’t understand which to me makes him even more interesting. In the day of internet and Google, you can actually search some of the references with the click of a mouse.

He’s also part Satchel Paige in that he is still playing into his 60’s (I believe he was 58 at the time of the film). He talks about Paige in the film as well saying he is his idol for having played so long at such a high level. The both have some interesting quotes as well.

You get some insight on Bill from some of his contemporaries and others that he was around in the game of baseball. Fred Lynn, Dick Williams, Luis Tiant, and others are interviewed about Bill Lee. They all have something interesting to say and when you combine that with some old interview footage it makes for an interesting look at the man himself.

This film has made me more of a fan of Bill Lee and has made me want to read some of the books he wrote. You can also catch Bill on another trip to Cuba in the Film Gift of the Game

I highly recommend watching this film. It’s only just over an hour long so its not a huge time commitment, but it’s extremely interesting. Take an inside look at baseball in Cuba, if only for a minute. And get a look at Bill Lee and you can’t help but love his love of the game whether you are a Red Sox fan or Yankees fan or anyone in between. I give it a rating of 4 gloves.

 

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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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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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Thoughts on Cliff Lee


I, like many Rangers fans, were quietly hoping for Cliff Lee to be the opening day starter for the Rangers come next season. But in the end, I am glad he isn’t.  Why would I not one of the best pitchers in baseball not on the team? Let me tell you.

The Rangers typically have to overpay for pitching to get the high quality arms to come pitch in what is simply a hitter’s paradise. As the temperature heats up in Arlington, baseball start to fly out of the park.  And it gets hot in Arlington. Having to overpay for the #1 free agent pitcher on the market just doesn’t make sense in the long run.

I would have loved to see the Rangers sign Lee for 5 years, but Lee said it would take a 7 year deal from the Rangers to get it done. Thanks, but no thanks. For a pitcher his age, its just not worth the long term, and very expensive, investment. Especially since there are other options out there. Zach Greinke anyone?

The Rangers have been building their team on young talent with a mix of older veterans. Just the way you should build a team. Overpaying for 1 player that could haunt you after a few years as he weights down your team with a hefty salary and not much production is not good for business. Not to say that Lee would be unproductive in the last years of the contract, but odds are he wouldn’t be the ace he is now.

So what should the Rangers do now? Go after Zach Greinke and/or Matt Garza. The Rangers have a solid foundation for a rotation and with the addition of another solid arm or two, they would once again be on the right track for another playoff run.

Another option I have heard tossed around is to sign a closer and move Neftali Feliz back to a starter. I am not sure what the Rangers actually think of this, but in the long run I think this is the plan. But how do you mess with a young kid who was just dominate as your closer? I hope to see him anchoring the bullpen again next season.

All in all, I am glad Cliff Lee is not a Yankee even though he is not a Ranger. Add on top of that that the Angels did not get Carl Crawford and the Rangers have had a good off-season already. If they can land Greinke or Garza through a trade, it will be a really good off-season.

Now what to do at DH?

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Movie Review: Nine Innings from Ground Zero: The 2001 World Series


This was easily the most emotional documentary on baseball I have ever seen. Everyone remembers exactly where they were on that fateful day in September of 2001.  This movie (from HBO) did a great job of telling the story of NYC, and America, after 9/11 and how many people took refuge in the game of baseball at least for a brief moment.

This was a touching movie. I am a Yankee hater.  I hate the evil empire with every fiber of my being, but this documentary put them in a light where they could at least be tolerated for a short time.  And I think that is how all Yankee haters felt in 2001.  They were a symbol for the mighty city that had taken a blow, but would not quit.

The interviews in the documentary were very moving. That time is very emotional for all Americans, but as someone who only saw it from the outside looking in, it is much more emotional when I hear someone who lost family members talk about it. There were some sad stories, but they were stories of heroes. Heroes that must never be forgotten.

I would strongly recommend this to any baseball fan. It chronicles the immediate aftermath of resuming play in MLB, and the 2001 World Series which was one of the greatest ever.

Seeing this reminds me of just how much I love this game. How it can be many things to many people, but in the end it is the same to everyone, a great escape from the harshness of everyday life. You could see and hear about people who lost themselves in a game, even if for only a few hours, to help themselves deal with the enormity of the situation. To see them so caught up in the game that has brought happiness to so many during such a difficult time was great to see.

I thought the story tellers did a fine job of combining not only what the fans were going through, but what the players were going through as well as people like the mayor and his staff.

And perhaps best of all, you got to see how everyone pulled together. Seeing the heroes on the field become the awestruck was a good side to see. It reminds us how precious life is, and how baseball, while not being a healer necessarily, can help ease the pain of the time.

I got my copy from Netflix.  So go out today and pick up your copy.  It’s well worth it if you haven’t seen it yet.

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Hello Win Column & Hello World Series


I am speechless right now.  I did not see the game because I was visiting the DMZ.  I will be watching it tonight and will share my thoughts on it later this weekend when I can put into words what this means.

Bring on San Fran/Philly – Cliff Lee is waiting!

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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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