Another week of baseball means another week of news across the small markets of the league. This week, I thought I would do something different and skip the lengthy introduction paragraph full of filler and skip right to the tidbits.
Sounds like a plan, right?
- The Baltimore Orioles continue to defy the odds and are leading the tough American League East division with a 13-8 record. So how do a middle-of-the-pack hitting squad and middle-of-the-pack starter’s ERA pace a power division like the AL East? Simple; the bullpen is 5-2 with a sparkling 1.94 ERA. They are paced by the trio of Luis Ayala, Jim Johnson, and Matt Lindstrom who have yet to surrender a single run as a group. Buck Showalter’s group will need to get some more offensive out of JJ Hardy, Nick Markakis, and Mark Reynolds (27 K’s in 57 AB’s!) if they want to stay in the playoff hunt for the season, but it looks like Baltimore is serious about taking advantage of the extra wild-card spot in 2012.
- The high-spending, and under-performing Angels released 38-year-old Bobby Abreu this week in order to make room for Mike Trout. So where does Abreu land? This blogger thinks he would be an excellent fit with the hitting challenged Pittsburgh Pirates. Jose Tabata is showing no signs of learning how to hit major league pitching, so bringing in the professional Abreu would serve wonders in the development of Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, and Alex Presley.
- Quick, without looking, can you name the major league ERA leader? The honor belongs to soft-tossing Joe Saunders of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The very same Saunders that sat on the free agency pile all winter only to go back to the team that non-tendered him in the first place. He is pacing MLB with a 0.90 ERA and has a solid .186 batting average against. Sometimes cast-aways bite the hook again and turn into a big fish.
- Looking down the top 10 in the batting average category is almost a who’s who of Major League Baseball. You have perennial MVP candidates in Matt Kemp, David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton, Derek Jeter, David Wright, Paul Konerko, Jose Altuve, Buster Posey, and hot-hand David Freese. Wait, did I say Jose Altuve? Yep, the Houston second baseman is 8th in the league in average at .359 and is sporting a solid.958 OPS to start the season. With his combination of speed and bat control, he has been a solid fantasy baseball sleeper for teams that took the chance on him.
Thanks for reading this week and keep enjoying the baseball!
It’s the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. Honestly, I think the place should have been demolished a few years ago. The Kingdome had a shorter life span and you could see 100% of the field from a 100% of the seats. I will admit that the new ownership has done a great job of making the old ball yard a much better experience then in the days were the ushers were surely at best. It’s far more fan friendly and at least you have the feeling the appreciate your business.
The overall park improvements have created a nicer looking park and some better sight lines for viewing the game. I’m not fond of this ownership group but they took the old ballyard did some impressive stuff to it. They put a lot of effort and time into planning and developing it. It’s far better than it was.
I thought I would share some of my favorite Fenway memories as I look forward to seeing the celebration today. There is no doubt in my mind that the PR conscious Red Sox will do a great job with this celebration they always do.
My first trip to Fenway was in 1968 it was a neighbor had an extra ticket and the Sox played the Oakland Athletics. The newly moved Athletics I even remember the score it was 4-3, I don’t remember much about the game other than 7 people went in a Volkswagon Beattle try that today.
The first game my dad ever took me to was I sold 100 candy bars for Little league so we got Sox tickets for selling that many . The Sox played the Washington Senators and I was amazed on how big Frank Howard was and Ted Williams was the Senators Manager. All favorites were in that game Mike Andrews and Rico Petrocelli, Yaz, and Reggie Smith, Dad and I left early we told one of the coaches who failed to tell the league president . They had a search party looking for us. Finally the guy remembered to tell them.
Dad remembered I complained about not seeing well in the Grandstand Seats. He got Tickets through work the next time against my favorite out of market team the Detriot Tigers, These were second row seats at the Red Sox on deck circle. I got to see a few of my favorite Tigers Al Kaline, Bill Freehan, and Norm Cash. Dad took the kid across the street Joe he was about 3 years older his dad passed in an industrial accident. He took us out to breakfast, showed us a bunch of stuff in Boston, took as onto a construction site that he was running except the Security Guard didn’t know he was the boss and kicked us out. Some how I think Dad took care of that on Monday. He even took us out to dinner to the North End afterwards I remember getting Ravoli and thinking the sauce wasn’t as good as mom’s. This was my first real memories of the Park the seats were gray not red and the grass was the greenest I ever saw. We got there early for BP and I was amused at the guy on the ladder pick up balls on top of the wall. I have seen Joe in many years after graduated from M.I.T and went to the University of Illnois for his Masters and PHD. He settled in Southern California and has done well from himself is the last I heard.
I remember the night Dad got Tickets to see the Sox play the Orioles and we were to meet him in town after work. My mom who always dressed well had brand new sweater that she purchased that day at the old Jordan Marsh department store. She was holding and it slipped between the train and the platform she was made. I remembered that Ray Culp pitched that night and the guy behind us would yell Come on Culpie, I remember Boog Powell being on deck outside the circle and on the grass and some guy yelling come on Powell move around your killing the grass.
I remember being 14 and myself and a bunch friends sat next to the KC Royals wives and we just gave them a bunch crap the whole game. Of course we were 14 and amazed at hot they were as well. That game the Royals took 8-2 lead and the Sox came back and won 11-8. That same year we scored some seats behind the visitor Dugout and they played a scheduled doubled header against the Texas Rangers . Mike Hardgroove talked to us the entire game. In the second game he promised a ball the Sox were getting slaughter in the 3rd inning. We said hey were leaving he rolled a few balls over the dugout.
I was there when Bird stole the ball the Sox game ended and we sat around a guy with a radio and listened with the ushers and security guys to the end of the Celtics game,
I remebr my wife getting Tickets to the 1999 All Star Game front row Bleacher seats. She was pregnant with our Twins we had a blast that night seeing all the old timers and Ted Williams in his Golf cart. Looking at all my heroes growing up it was great.
I remember my wife got fathers day tickets when my son Michael was three. They played the Astros and the game went 14 innings little Mikey didn’t want to leave until we played catch on the field afterwards. We did and still have the little soft ball they gave us. Mikey is 12 now. I remember taking my Daughter Amanda to a Florida Marlins game fo her first time at Fenway and here dripping Ice Cream all over her pink Sun dress. It was ruined but she looked cute. I remember a marlins Coach seeing her with a marlins hat. She liked the Fish and the teal colored uni’s and giving her a thumbs up.
I remember a few years ago taking Mikey and his Twin brother Danny to there first Red Sox Yankee game there were a bunch of rain delays , They ran out of food I left with the two eight year olds at 11:30 the game finished at 2am.
Last Year I took my little guy Matt and Mikey to a Blue Jays game thinking I had great seats I sat behind a pole. Two nights later I took Danny (The kid is obessed with the Orioles) we sat in the State Street Paviilion seats it was awesome.
These are some of my favorite memories of Fenway and there were many others and there will be many more. Happy Birthday old girl you survived and will survive another 100 because that’s ho long it will take the City of Boston to approve it and find space.
Enough already about this throw Rick Ankiel made...The whole fucking world is going crazy because a guy, well know for having a great throwing arm, threw a bullet from center field, right to the catcher at home plate...
Yeah, it was a nice fucking throw...But relax...It had no impact on the impact on the game...He didn't throw anyone out...And don't tell me how the throw kept the runner from trying to go home...If the runner and third base coach have any clue at all, they know, not to run on Rick Ankiel...Dude has been throwing guys out for awhile now...
Okay, ESPN douchebags...Let's not act like this is something new...Let's not make more out of it, then it is...Calm the fuck down...And for those who never heard of Rick Ankiel, now you know not to run on him, because this is all he does...I remember when he threw 97 mph fastballs as a pitcher...But sadly, then he couldn't hit the catcher...
This post is in no way intended to disrespect Jackie Robinson...Seeing what Jackie Robinson went through, without a doubt helped give Bill Veeck the confidence to do what he knew was the smart/right thing to do...So Veeck brought Larry Doby to Cleveland, and Doby became the American League's first black player...
And Doby was no bum...He started out slow, but he got it together...Doby was a key member of two of Baseball's great teams...The 1948 Indians, (last World Series Championship) and the 1954 Indians (so close)...He ended his career having played 1533 games...With 1515 hits...243 doubles...52 triples...253 Home Runs...970 RBI...47 Stolen bases...And a .283 batting average...
Now the Indians retired Doby's number 14...As well they should have...I don't want to see everyone wearing number 14 on a day to honor Doby...I don't like it on Jackie Robinson Day, that all of baseball wears 42...A number is retired because the player it represents is so highly regarded, that no one else is worthy of that number...So I had no problem with 42 being retired throughout Major League Baseball...But no one should ever wear it again...
What I would like to see, is the Cleveland Indians doing the right thing, once again...I mean this is the organization that not only brought Doby in, but also made Frank Robinson the first black manager in Baseball...SO what should they do?
Well, last year, the city of Cleveland and the Indians were all in love once again, with Jim Thome, after bringing him in late in the season...Some how people forgot how he said he wasn't going to leave, and then took boat loads of cash and ran off to Philly...At the end of the year, they had Jim Thome Day, and said they were commissioning a statue of Jim Thome in their center field park area...
There should be a Larry Doby statue long before they ever put up one for a guy who said he 'wasn't going to leave the Indians, and wanted to be an Indian for his whole career.' I guess Thome meant after he got done with the Phillies, White Sox, Twins, and Phillies again...
While I'd like to see all of Major League Baseball give Doby the love he deserves, I'd be happy if the Indians at least stepped up, and honored a true Cleveland Baseball hero with more then his number on the wall...For what Larry Doby went through, he deserves if far more then any other past Indians...
First Fisher Cats game of the year with excellent seats.
Saturday marked the first time my family and I made the trek from Vermont to Manchester to see the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays, Double-A) play. Despite being a Red Sox fan, the Fisher Cats are a guilty pleasure of ours. The ballpark is beautiful, the atmosphere is fantastic, and for $48.00, a family of four was able to sit five rows behind first base. Throw in the All-You-Can Eat burgers, dogs, and nachos they were doing for the day and the fantastic weather, and the experience was excellent.
I wish I could say that the Fisher Cats had fared as well against the New Britain Rock Cats (Minnesota Twins, Double-A).
At first glance, the Fisher Cats should have had the obvious advantage, as they were starting Brett Cecil, a lefty that is one season removed from a 15-7 record with the Blue Jays in 2010. However, things unraveled quickly for Cecil, as he struggled with his control and the team made 5 errors and committed a passed ball behind him. Cecil would last 5 innings, but surrendered 6 runs (5 earned) while walking 3 and striking out 4.
The Rock Cats countered with 5 very efficient, if not spectacular, innings from Logan Darnell. Darnell surrendered just 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out a single batter.
The afternoon was a struggle for the Fisher Cats, as New Britain jumped out to a 7-0 lead. However, New Hampshire rallied late, plating their first run in the 7th, and then 5 more in the bottom of the ninth before falling short in the end. A 3-run home run by Kevin Howard (3 for 3, 3 RBI) helped get the Fisher Cats back into the game, and a RBI ground-out by John Tolisano and a sacrifice fly by Ryan Goins brought NH within a run before Koby Clemens struck out.
And no, Koby's dad, Roger Clemens, was nowhere to be seen in the park.
Of the Jays top prospects, only number 9 prospect A.J. Jimenez appeared in the game. Jimenez, a talented defensive catcher, went 0 for 3 on the afternoon. He is coming off a season where he hit .303 with 52 RBI at high-A Dunedin in 2011, but is off to a miserable.214 start through just 7 games. That said, Jimenez is blocked on the overall depth chart by current Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia and overall top prospect Travis D’Arnaud, so he’ll have plenty of time to work on his hitting.
One player I was impressed with that does not appear on any of the top prospects list is center fielder Justin Jackson. He went just 1 for 4 on the day, but everything he hit was solid and his make-up at the plate was excellent. He won’t hit for much power, but he may turn out to be a solid utility outfielder down the road.
So aside from the outcome, the experience was great, as it is every time we go to a minor-league game. Maybe next time, the Fisher Cats will win one for us.