Tag Archive | "New York Yankees"

Hello Win Column – Texas Rangers Style


I have never been more excited to be a Texas Rangers fan. Then again there has never been a better time to be one.

I remember the days of old — lots of offense and no pitching. Those were some fun times spent at the Ballpark watching what amounted to home run derby. But what the Rangers have been able to put together this year is something magical. I have so many great memories of not only the Ballpark in Arlington, but old Arlington Stadium as well.  All of my childhood memories of going to baseball games are from the old stadium to see the likes of Buddy Bell, Tobby Harrah, Gary Ward, Pete O’Brien, and the great Nolan Ryan.

There may be better times ahead with more memorable moments, but for now and the foreseeable future, Eric Nadel’s call of the final out will be etched into my memory.  The call come courtesy of Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report and Mike Disen of KRLD Radio.

Rangers/Rays Game 5- Final Out

I really only get goose bumps when I hear one other call from baseball — the 1992 NLCS Game 7 call from Skip Carey.

I was happy for a lot of people after the win.  Josh Hamilton who has fought back after derailing his career with drugs and alcohol.  Manager Ron Washington who earlier this year was put on the hot seat after the report came out that he tested positive for drugs.  Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg who took over control of the team from former owner and perhaps the most hated man in Dallas, Tom Hicks. But there is no doubt that I am happiest for Michael Young.  He is the quintessential professional, and through his career in Arlington he has been through a lot.  He moved to SS when they traded Aroid.  He moved to 3B when the team felt Elvis Andrus could help the team, and through it all he has not only been a professional but one of the best hitters in the game.

I don’t really even know what to say.  I really wish I was still in Dallas so I could go to the airport to greet the team when they come home.  It’s just not the same watching the games here early in the mornings by myself.  I do at least have Twitter (@baseballjourney), and I am able to text some friends from home during the game.  But I would love to be in Dallas soaking up the atmosphere.

Now the Rangers must take on the hated Yankees, and I think this series will be a wild one.  I have to say I have never been more confident of our ability to win a series, and that all comes from the pitching staff.

Game 1 starts Friday.  Get your antlers, claws, and boomsticks ready!

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Hello Win Column – Texas Wins 2nd Postseason Game Ever


Texas Rangers 5, Tampa Bay Rays 1

Cliff Lee is ridiculous.  What else can you say?  Today he goes 8 innings allowing 5 hits and only 1 run while striking out 10.  He was simply amazing on the mound in Game 1 of the ALDS leading Texas to its 2nd postseason win ever.

Texas was able to jump on Tampa Bay ace David Price early.  The late season pickups of Jeff Francoeur started the scoring off with a RBI double in the second.  He was then promptly driven in by the other late season pickup Benji Molina.  The Rangers continued to pour on the runs with a single run in each the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to extend their lead to 5-0 where it would stay until the 7th.  Tampa Bay would get their lone run on a Ben Zobrist solo home run.

It was a shaky start for Lee as he loaded the bases in the top of the first with only 1 out.  But Cliff Lee was Cliff Lee the rest of the inning striking out Carlos Pena and Rocco Baldelli to end the inning.  There was a controversial call in the at bat with Carlos Pena.  With the count 2-1, Cliff Lee ran the ball inside on Pena’s hands.  Pena checked his swing but the umpire said he tipped the ball for strike 2.  Watching the replay it did not look like it hit anything, but you could definitely hear it hit something.  That made the count 2-2 instead of 3-1, which was a huge advantage for Lee.

On the offensive side of things, Nelson Cruz and Benji Molina used their “Boomstick” for solo home runs and Vlad Guerrero hit a 2-run double driving in Josh Hamilton who had gotten on base and stolen 2nd.

Over all it was a great game for Texas and just what they needed going into Game 2.  They will throw CJ Wilson against Tampa’s James Shields.

In other Postseason action:

Philadelphia 4, Cincinnati 0

Philly defeated Cincinnati 4-0 in Game 1 of the NLDS.  Roy Halladay outdid even Cliff Lee throwing his 2nd no-hitter of the year.  He pitched a complete game no-hit shutout of the Reds striking out 8 and walking only 1.  He is simply the best pitcher on the planet right now.  Along with Oswalt and Hammels, the Phillies pitching looks stout going into the postseason.  They are the team to beat in the NL.

New York Yankees 6, Minnesota Twins 4

The Yanks take Game 1 of their series with Minnesota as they come back late to beat the Twins on a 2-run home run by Mark Teixiera.

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Hello Win Column: Rangers with Walk Off Wins


As the rangers has hit a tailspin in September and looked to blow their 9.5 game lead in the AL West, the Evil Empire came into town.  Things were not looking good for Texas since they are only 1-4 against the Yankees heading into the weekend series in Arlington. There has been talk, even in Dallas, about the possibility of Oakland coming back to win the division as the Rangers fail miserably down the stretch.

Players are hurt, the pitching is struggling, and the hitters can’t seem to get timely hitting which has led to a meager 4-6 record in their previous 10 games.  Even with winning 2 straight against the Blue Jays prior to the dreaded Yanks heading to town, the Rangers were in coast mode, which is not good.

Then something happened that many, including me didn’t expect.  The Rangers win 2 in a row on walk-offs versus the Yankees.  Not only did they win both in walk-off fashion, but Mariano Rivera blew one of the games.

On Friday night, the Rangers went down early as the Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  This was not looking good for the Rangers as CJ Wilson go the hook early after only 3 innings.  The Rangers would battle back and tie the game in the 8th inning at 4-4 with a Nelson Cruz home run off of Jaba Chamberlain, and Cruz wasn’t done.  The game continued into the night, until Nelson Cruz came up again in the 13th to face Chad Gaudin.  Cruz only needed one pitch to send the fans home happy into the night as he hit the first pitch of the 13th inning over the right center field fence for a walk-off home run.

Nelson Cruz Walk Off Homerun in 13th

Now with 3 wins in a row, the Rangers came back Saturday night to face off with the hated Yankees again.  This time the Rangers sent out Tommy Hunter in search of his 13th win.  Hunter would last 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hits but would not factor into the decision.  The Rangers would wind up throwing 7 pitchers into the game on Saturday night, as they took a 5-3 lead into the 8th inning.

Standing in their way of a 4th straight victory was former Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez.  With the bases loaded facing Matt Harrison, Arod doubled down the left field line clearing the bases and putting the Yanks up 6-5.

The Rangers would come roaring back in the 9th once again.  With Mariano Rivera on the hill, the Rangers fought back.  Vladimir Guerrero led off the inning with a walk, and was quickly replaced with a pinch runner as he was the tying run.  Nelson Cruz again came through with a single to right putting runners at the corner for Ian Kinsler.  Kinsler came through with a huge double over the 3rd base bag to tie the game and giving Rivera his 3rd blown save of the year.

Next up was Chris Davis who was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the double play.  With Blanco pinch-hitting for Treanor and the bases loaded, Rivera coaxes Blanco to pop up for the first out.  Next up was recently acquired Jeff Francoeur.  Mariano Rivera did the rest of the work for the Rangers as he hit Francoeur with a pitch to bring in the winning run extending the Rangers win streak to 4 games.

Now this does not automatically send the Rangers into the playoffs, but it does 2 things that are huge for Rangers and their fans.  First of all, it helps stop all the talk of a Rangers complete collapse in September.  Sure there are still a few weeks of baseball left, and it is still possible for a total collapse, but winning games like this gives the Rangers so much confidence heading into the rest of September.  The second thing that it does is give the Rangers confidence if and when the Rangers face the Yankees in the playoffs.  This might be the most important factor.

No matter what happens Sunday night versus the Yankees, the Rangers have a new found confidence heading into perhaps the most critical part of the season as they prepare for a possible run at the World Series.

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Playoff Predictions


With a month left in the season, it is nice to still see there are some races left for division titles. In 4 of the 6 divisions, the lead is 3.5 games or less. With so much baseball to be played a lot could happen. I am going to attempt now to predict what will happen by the end of the season as I take a look at each division.

AL East
The lead for the Yankees is at 1.5 games over Tampa Bay. This has been a close race all year, and I don’t see that changing the last month of the season. Regardless of who wins the division, the other will win the wildcard unless one or both have a complete nosedive the last month of the season. Of course, that can happen (See 2007 Mets), but I don’t see it happening this year. What I do see happening is the Yankees holding onto a narrow victory for the division title, and Tampa Bay winning the Wild Card.

New York wins AL East
Tampa Bay wins Wild Card

AL Central
Minnesota has a 3.5 game lead over Chicago. Can Manny help reignite the White Sox to overtake the Twins? I don’t think so. I really don’t see Manny providing much down the stretch. He seems to be a pale image of his old self, which after what he did to the Red Sox, I am happy to see. Anyone who acts like he does I really don’t want to see succeed. I have the Twins winning in the Central by 3 games or so.

Minnesota wins AL Central

AL West
This division is about wrapped up. Texas leads Oakland by 10 games and even if Cliff Lee has to miss some time, the Rangers have too much for the West. The only question that remains in the West is how will the Rangers prepare themselves for the playoffs. Yes I know they could still collapse in the heat of Texas, but I see this happening about as much as I see the Red Sox overtaking Tampa Bay for the Wild Card. Its just not going to happen.

Texas wins AL West

NL West
San Diego leads San Francisco by 3 games. This one is a tough one to call since nobody thought the Padres would be in first, let alone so much of the season. I am actually going to say San Francisco comes back to take the division late in the season by a game or two. I think Lincecum and Cain will lead the Giants back to the playoffs. This will lead the Padres to battle it out for the wildcard.

San Francisco wins NL West

NL Central
This is another surprising division with the Reds up on the Cardinals by 8 games. I don’t see Cincinnati faltering down the stretch. The division might get a little closer, but I see the Reds winning by 4 or 5 games.

Cincinnati wins AL Central

NL East
This one is a tough one to call, especially since I am such a huge Braves fan. Call me a homer if you want but I am calling for the Braves to take the division in Bobby Cox’s last season. It will go down to the wire, but I like the Braves chances with their pitching staff. That is why I am calling for them to win the division and the Phillies to take the Wild Card. I just think Hudson, Hanson, and the staff will take them to the playoffs.

Atlanta wins NL East
Philadelphia wins Wild Card

NL Division Series
Atlanta vs San Francisco – Atlanta wins in 4
Philadelphia vs Cincinnati – Cincinnati wins in 4

AL Division Series
Texas vs Tampa Bay – Texas in 5
New York vs Minnesota – New York in 4

AL Championship Series
With Texas finally winning a playoff series, they must go to Yankee Stadium to face the evil empire. I think they match up fairly well but I am not sure they can get by the Yankees, so as much as I hate to I am picking the Yankees to win.

Yankees win in 6 games.

NL Championship Series
A series pitting upstart Cincinnati against Atlanta I think would be a good one. I really like the Braves pitching, but I think Cincinnati has the offense and enough pitching to take the series. I am going with the Reds in 7 games.

Cincinnati wins in 7 games.

World Series
I think this could be a good one, and while I am not calling for a repeat of 1990 when the Reds swept through the mighty A’s, I see the Reds finishing the miracle season atop the world. Reds in 6 games.

I am going out on a limb. How far out is a question of your loyalties in baseball I guess. I am saying the Reds win the World Series. Of course, I would love to see the Braves and Rangers in the series, but I am not sure that will happen.

World Series Champs – Cincinnati Reds

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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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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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Opening Day Disappointment


When I first got to South Korea I was very excited to find out that a 7 pm MLB game back home would be a late morning start here.  I thought this was great.  I don’t go to work till 2pm, so that would mean I could catch a game before work.  After doing a little digging, it turns out that South Korea is one of 3 countries where live games on mlb.tv are blacked out until 90 minutes after the game ends.  Okay so that means I just have to stay off the baseball sites during work and watch a game after work.  I am usually up until 3 or 4am anyway.

Well this all started well last night.  After work on Monday, I picked up some dinner and came home to catch the Red Sox/Yankees game.  It was nice to see the opening game and even nicer to see the Yankees lose.  It’s always a good day when the Yankees are in last place, even if it is after only 1 game.  It was a good game too.  The Yankees start of strong but the Red Sox come back late to take game 1.

With many of the games played on Monday during the day, it meant I could catch a game before work on Tuesday since they would finish in time for me to watch the archived game.  I was excited this morning when my alarm went off.  I knew I would soon be watching the Braves game, but that was not to be.  Opening day is a big deal to me.  I am like a kid at Christmas.  I used to take the day off every year so I could either go to the Rangers game, or watch as much as I could on TV.  They should not only get rid of the DH, but they should also make Opening Day a national holiday.

So, I get up this morning ready to watch the Braves start the season off.  This is the best I have felt about the team in years.  I really think they can compete for a playoff spot, and they have the chance to do some damage once they get there.  My excitement was quickly foiled.  MLB.tv is down this morning.  Nobody is able to watch live or archived games.  Meaning thousands of fans overseas and at home cannot watch games like they planned.  Of all the days not to have the site working, Opening Day has to be the worst.

I am still holding off to watch the Braves game till after work tonight.  I broke down and saw the Ranger highlights and that looked like a great game.  The Rangers were no-hit for 6 1/3 innings and then pulled off a 9th inning comeback to win the game with a bases loaded walk off single from Salty.  That’s a great way to start the year off.  I hope they continue winning and make their way into the playoffs for the first time since in over a decade.

Get your act together MLB.tv.  I am really going to be hot if I get home from work in 9+ hours and still can’t watch the Braves game.  The hardest part will be going the 9+ hours without seeing the score.

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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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