Archive for the baseball Category

The Baseball Hall Of Fame

Posted in baseball, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2014 by hendu

I wanted to write about this yesterday but I just ran out of time, so instead I’ll give you my insight on the voting, the process and how absolutely ridiculous it has become.

Yesterday was one of those days that help me get through the cold, long winter.  Between Hall Of Fame election day, Truck Day(Feb. 8th), pitchers and catchers(Feb. 15) and spring training games these are my little glimmers of light and hope.  Yesterday, the voters almost got it all right.  In fact, theycamethisclose to nailing it.  At least it’s good to know that Craig Biggio will get in next year more than likely, but to come up two votes short has got to be a killer.  Hey, on the plus side Armando Benitiez and Jacque Jones and Kenny Rogers each got one vote.

There is no argument that Maddux, Glavine and Thomas are all more than deserving of these HOF nominations.  Maddux was the best pitcher of his generation, Glavine the 2nd best lefty and Thomas the best right-handed hitter.  I think all baseball fans know what these three have done so there is no need to rehash their credentials.

This year the voters missed on Biggio.  He’s a HOF player and if you look at his numbers he was a model of consistency.  Some of the players he is most similar too are Robin Yount, Jeter, joe Morgan, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar; all HOF’ers.  He played his entire career for one organization and played 5 positions(C, 2B and all 3 OF positions) at a high, all-star caliber level.

I think what irritates me the most about the results and the process is the lack of respect for the new numbers in the game.  We all get that if you win 300 games or have 3,000 hits you are getting in to the hall.  What drives me nuts is those players who don’t have those #’s and may never see their name enshrined.  Players like Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, Jack Morris, Jeff Kent and Edgar Martinez.  Jack Morris may never get in now that his 15 yrs of eligibility is up.  The man was one of the best pitchers of the 80’s.  He was an old school kind of hurler who had 175 complete games in 18 yrs.  1,000 more punchouts then walks.  Over 3800 innings pitched and one of the best big game pitchers of any generation.  I get it that he had a higher ERA and only had a .577 win percentage but my eye test always told me something different.  It just always felt like I was watching a HOF pitcher.

I feel that Curt Schilling will not get the love that he fully deserves.  If you compare Glavine’s numbers to Schilling’s stats the raw numbers don’t necessarily compare.  Glavine was more wins, more innings pitched anda better win percentage.  Lets not forget that Schilling pitched on some awful Philly teams in the late 90’s that really hurt his cause.  Schilling has more complete games, he gave up less than a hit per inning, he had 2300 more k’s then walks.  2300!!!  That’s unheard of.  The man walked only 711 hitters in 3260 innings.  He had a 4:1 k to bb ratio.  Lets also not forget what he did to the Yankees in 2001 for Arizona and in 2004 for the Red Sox.  The man was a winner, a gamer and maybe the best control outside Greg Maddux.  He had a better WAR and a much better post season record.  In fact, Schilling can stake a claim to having some of the best post season stats ever.  What I’m saying is, if Glavine received 90% of the vote his 1st year eligible, then Schilling is just as worthy a candidate and the voters need to get him in next year.

Jeff Kent and Edgar Martinez I’m worried are going to get lost in the steroid era.  Both players have .290+ BA, 300+ HR’s.  Kent had 1500 RBI’s and an OPS of .855.  Martinez had more walks then K’s and an OPS of .933 (which is just crazy).  In an age when getting on base was higly regarded, Edgar was the poster child.  Kent may go down as the most undervalued player of his era nd he just happens to be one of the best 2nd basemen ever.  I hope that the addition of Thomas who spent a good chunk of his time as a DH can clear the path for Edgar who has a DH almost his entire career.

Finally, Tim Raines.  The poor man’s Rickey Henderson.  All the numbers, none of the flash. A great OPS, good average, more BB’s then K’s.  800+ stolen bases.  Triple digits in 2B’s, 3B’s and HR’s and if he stayed a full time player, probably would have gotten to 3000 hits.  Raines is a long shot but I think a worthy HOF candidate.  You want guys that are anti-steroid, Raines, Biggio, Schilling  are your guys.

Next year could be a very interesting vote.  Pedro, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz are all eligible for votes.  All three are worthy and all three represent the cream of the crop of steroid era pitchers.  Those three and plus the five I mentioned along with a players like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza who seem to be moving closer to the Hall and could make this vote these next few years very interesting.

I think that the voting is as antiquated as the members of the BBWA are.  Open the whole thing up.  Let voters vote for whoever.  Don’t limit the number of votes to just ten.  If a writer thinks 15 should get votes, let them vote that way.  It’s also sad that some voters have written less about baseball in the past years then I have.  They simply renew their membership just to keep the vote.  A lot of these voters skew the direction of the vote.  Many are anti-steroid era guys.  With guys like these voting, players like Clemens and Bonds may never get in, and frankly they should.  MLB has done a great job cleaning up the game, now its time for the Hall to clean up it’s process.

Advertisements

A Sad Revelation

Posted in baseball with tags , , on May 11, 2012 by hendu

We’ve all had those moments in our life when we realize things are just different then they used to be.  Yesterday may have been one of those days.  Here’s the timeline.

2:30- headed up to the field for practice.  I probably should have stopped there.

2:45-decided to run bases in a drill we call “situations.”  I was the only runner.  I’m 35 and not in shape.  Why do I do this too myself?

3:00-Team was split up into two teams, one with six and one with five.  OK, fine I’ll make the teams even, hell, I haven’t played baseball in a while.   I can keep pace with 17-year-olds who have been doing it non stop for almost two months.  At least that’s what I told myself.

3:01- 1st kid takes his cuts.  OK I know I can do just as good as that.

3:05- My first swing: pop-up.  Ok maybe not

3:06-line drive to left field.  Yeah baby!!!

3:10-damn, another pop-out.

3:11- Woo Hoo!  Line drive right field.  We were giving points for these swings.  I’ll take my five and be happy.  Hell, only our starting catcher got higher than me.

3:13-Ooops, misjudged that pop-up.  Oh well, it’s my 1st time reading one in a while.

3:14-Ha, got that one.

3:17-booted that groundball.  Crap, that was ugly.

3:20-Time to hit again.  Feeling good.

3:22- Not feeling so good anymore.  Weak groundball to short on the drop drill.  (coach stands in the opposite batters box and drops a ball into strike zone.  A hitter then must hit it.  Ideally)  Still a better showing then some other kids.  Still feel OK.

3:25- Crazy swing and miss.  Confidence waning.

3:26 through 3:30- Setting up for next drill.  A solid four minutes of nothing bad.  This won’t last.

3:40- My turn for cuts.

3:41-Damn, missed a bunt.  That’s bad.

3:42- Got a hit-n-run down, except it was to third base.  Still effective but not perfect.  Pissed at my self.

3:42- Swing n miss.  Shit, shoulda been more selective.

3:43- Need to drive a guy in from third with less than two outs, hit a weak flyball to center.  Fail!

3:44- Line drive up the middle.  Not great but a base hit.

3:45-Pop-up to 2nd.  This is getting ugly.

3:46-Solid line drive to left.  Hit it off the handle, still made good contact.  Wish I pured that one.  Suddenly realizing I am 35.

3:50- Catch a pop-up.  Knowing that these were always my weakness, I feel pretty good.  Then I remember this is a routine play.  Yeah me, making the average feeling exceptional.

3:52- Then it hits me, figuratively.  I completely mis-read a line drive hit to me in center.  It glances off my glove and hits the inside of my thigh.  Barely missing the, um, equipment.  Kinda pissed.  Kids thought it was funny.  It kinda was in a sad way.  Not showing my anger and frustration.  Playing it off, thankful it wasn’t two inches higher.

3:55-Shocking miss another groundball.  To my credit, it was hard hit, I was moving to my right and I did have to backhand it.  Then again, I never got my glove down.  F-me.

3:57- dive for a groundball and miss it.  A few years back, I probably make that play because I would have read it off the bat better.  Then again I am 35.  Really starting to hate this.

4:00-Mercifully it’s over.  What started out with so much promise ended with a cold slap of reality. When did the game pass me by?

4:01- I really like golf a lot more now.

 

2012 Baseball Opening Day

Posted in baseball, BASEBALL PLAYOFFS with tags , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by hendu

 

 

 

Lets not kid ourselves here, today is the actual Opening Day of the baseball season.  I don’t care what happened in Japan last week and last nights game was just a way for ESPN to show a meaningful baseball game.  As long as we can all agree on this point, I’ll move on.

 

This day helps makes out what may be my favorite week of the year.  We get the NCAA championship, opening day in the bigs, opening day for high school baseball as well as Masters weekend.  You can’t get much better than that.

 

Now, on to the important stuff.  It is time for my annual baseball prognostications.  Some years I’m good, others I’m way off but no matter what I still have fun doing it.  Here are previous years picks: 2011 2010 and 2009 .  Like I said some good and OK, mostly bad.  Still though, I push on.  Here are my fearless picks for the 2012 season:

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE: 

 

East Champ: NY Yankees; Central Champ: Detroit Tigers; West Champ: Texas Rangers; Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.  I think the Rays can be either really good or incredibly disappointing while the Red Sox will “surprise” a lot of folks.  I don’t trust the Angels as much as others do.

 

MVP: Jose Bautista; Cy Young: Jon Lester; Rookie of the Year: Yu Darvish (Rangers RHP); Manager of the Year: Ned Yost of the KC Royals(btw my sleeper 88-90 win team)

 

Winner: Detroit Tigers over Tampa Bay Rays.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

 

East: Philadelphia Phillies; Central: St. Louis Cardinals; West: Arizona Diamondbacks; Wild Cards: San Fran Giants and Washington Nationals(hell, why not?!?!)

 

MVP: Justin Upton; Cy Young: Matt Cain; Rookie of the Year: Drew Pomeranz (Rockies LHP); Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny of the Cards.

 

Champion: DiamondBacks over the Giants

 

WORLD SERIES CHAMP: Detroit Tigers

 

There you go.  I feel pretty confident about these.  Come back in October to see how I did.  Until then, enjoy the greatest game in the world.

 

Boston Red Sox Cap Logo

Boston Red Sox Cap Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GO SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLAY BALL!!!!

 

 

The V Show

Posted in baseball, Red Sox with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by hendu

Today, the Boston Red Sox FINALLY name their next manager.  All of you have heard by now that Bobby Valentine will be the next manager on Yawkey Way. 

To be honest, I’m still don’t know how I feel about this.  I don’t get the “warm-fuzzies” like I did with Francona.  For some reason, Tito made sense to me.  Just something about him clicked with me.  I really can’t tell you what it was but I just knew it was the right move.

This time around, I just don’t know.  Yeah, he’s been succesful at all his stops, but at what costs?  He wore out his welcome relatively quickly in Texas and New York.  Then he went to Japan and to his credit, completely dominated Japanese baseball.  In a way, he Americanized it a bit and in the process, Japan players infiltrated MLB more and more. 

Bobby V just has a way about him.  Some people love it, others hate it.  Me, I’ve always been rubbed the wrong way with him.  Never really liked the way he worked on TV.  He seemed to always come across as a know-it-all.  I guess he just never had the way to pass along great info without coming across as a douche. 

There is no doubt he knows the game.  I’m just not sure if he’ll fit in Boston.  Normally I would trust the Sox brass that they’ve made the right call, but these guys have done nothing yet to win me over.  I trusted Theo and Co. in 2003.  He proved that he had an eye for talent.  Ben Cherington has done nothing yet.  He won’t last long as GM if his first major hire blew up in his face.

I hope beyond hope that it all works out.  I want Bobby Valentine to succeed in Beantown.  The franchise is desperate for a new start and a new direction.  The players are ready for a new voice and leader.  I’m just still not sure he is it.

If you need me, I’ll be on the fence for a while.

My Two Cents: the 2011 Boston #Redsox

Posted in baseball, Red Sox with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2011 by hendu

I think like every other Red Sox fan that read the Boston Globe article earlier this week, many emotions bubbled to the surface.  I was angry, upset, disappointed and cheated. 

I thought this team was the perfect combination of power, pitching, speed and timely hitting.  I had no idea that fried chicken, video games and beer would play such a huge part in one of the greatest downfalls in MLB history.  They went from being top-line pitchers to three guys in the basement of their mom’s house in a matter of weeks.

The other “issues” that the article mentioned I thought were pointless and classless.  I have all the respect in the world for Francona.  He was the perfect manager at the perfect time but over the years he lost the clubhouse.  Bringing up the fact that he lived in a hotel and had pain medication had no affect on the September swoon.  No one brought this up during May-August when they were the best team in baseball.  No, what killed this team in the long run was complacency and lack of conditioning.

I think it’s a good move to bring in a new manager.  A new voice and a new perspective can bring a breath of fresh air into the team.  With that being said, it makes sense for Theo to leave now.  He can go to the Cubbies and become a cult hero in two baseball towns.  He can’t hire the new manager and then risk in a year being fired and the new GM come in and hire another manager. No, the best way is a complete overhaul.  Let the new GM hire his coach and start from there.  It’s not like this team doesn’t have the talent.  Even after their awful month, they were still a strike from being in the playoffs.

Now, I was going to write about all the changes I thought the Sox should do this offseason but Gordon Edes kinda beat me to the punch.  First thing first, fix Carl Crawford.  Let him bad 2nd.  He never should have left that spot.  Francona handled that situation poorly.  A lineup with the  top three hitters of Ells, Crawford and Petey is pretty dangerous.  He has to be good and the Red Sox have to get him to that level.

Making a decision on Youk/Ortiz will be key.  Both are older players.  Youk was injured a good portion of the year and Ortiz is just a DH.  One of the two have to go.  Youk may have more trade value at this point.  He is younger, can play 1st base and has a great contract.  If the Sox trade him for a younger 3rd baseman or an older guy who can DH, do it. 

This team needs to get younger.  I would love to see a guy like Will Middlebrooks get a shot at 3rd base.  Lavarnaway and Salty have to be the catchers next year.  As much as I love Tek, he’s done.  Cut ties now and let him go.  BTW, he can take Wakefield with him.  This team was the oldest in baseball and that showed in September. 

Get the pitchers in shape.  Lester and Beckett got soft, literally, as the season progressed.  The new S+C coach has got to be a prick about in season conditioning work.  In fact, this has to be a point for the whole team.  I know the season is a grind but with younger players, they can do more strength work to keep strong for the marathon.  Older players are more likely to break down with too much use, again another factor in September.

Getting back to the finger-pointing article from the Globe.  I was embarrassed for all parties involved; from upper management all the way down to the players.  I feel there was no need to air all that dirty laundry after the fact.  If the Sox got in and then were swept ou of the first round, would that article still be published?  The fans know what happened, the team flat-out sucked.  We didn’t need anymore explanation we just want to see better results next year.  It’s like sausage making: we don’t care how it’s made, just that it tastes good.  No one cared about all that shit in August when Boston was up 2 on the Yanks and 9 on the Rays.

I’ve never heard of the reporter before and I read the globe online a lot for their Sox coverage.  Whoever was his source should be found and fired.  It goes against everything that teams try to hold onto.  Keeping things in-house.   

I’m pissed off at the guilty parties but it won’t change how I feel about the team nd the organization.  I always have and always will love this team.  I still think they have the best talent in the game from top to bottom but somethings just a bit off.  I have full faith that the new leadership will get this thing right again. 

Of course, that’s all we have as fans is hope and optimism.  Lets hope that the players are just as pissed off and rededicate themselves to being World Champs once again.

One final thing, make Pedroia the captain.  No one better exemplifies what it means to be a red Sox and a major league baseball player more than Petey.  DO that and I think everything else can fall into line quite nicely.

You Lay in the Bed You Make

Posted in baseball, BASEBALL PLAYOFFS, Red Sox, redsox vs. yankees with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by hendu

It’s the morning after the end of the 2011 Boston Red Sox season. A season that was both magical and mysterious.  A team that was great from May to August but had bookend historically awful months.  Am I upset this morning?  Hardly.  I cashed this season in a few weeks ago.  Yeah, of course I wanted the team to make the playoffs, but not the September team.  Not the team that was beset by injuries and lackadaisical play.  I wanted to watch the team that was proving all the haters wrong after the rough start, not the team that ended up proving all the haters right. 

This team thought that the playoffs was their right, the Rays knew the playoffs had to be earned and they played like it.  Do I blame the Yanks for how they played, nope.  Not going there.  The regulars got a 7 run lead.  They should hold that lead.  DO you  know when the last time the Yanks blew a 7 run lead after the 7th inning?  1953!!!  My only issue was the fact that they didn’t bring in Mo for the save but in the end it hurt them more because Texas now has the home-field advantage. 

My only problem this morning is with the Olde Towne team.  Do I blame Tito, nope.  What more was he to do.  He put the players out there and they are the ones that fucked it all up.  I put blame on Theo for not building a balanced team and for having a weak bullpen.  If he’s even here next year, that’s gotta be his focus.  Power arms out of the pen and developing a good balance of young/old and righty/lefty players.  I loved the way the Sox played during the summer but there was always something there that didn’t draw me in.  Maybe it was the lack of personality or the lack of intensity.  To me they seem to corporate.  Hell, the Yankees looked like they had much more fun as a team.  The two have flip-flopped.  The Sox need guys like Swisher, Burnett and Granderson.  Guys that play the game just for the love of the game.  Clubhouse cut-ups that also show it on the field.  Guys who really appreciate where they are and how they got there, not a bunch of entitled players who somewhere along the lines forgot that baseball is a game for boys. 

What next for the Sox?  Drew is gone.  Pap may be gone.  Ellsbury will need to be re-signed.  Can Youk stay healthy?  Which Crawford will show up in 2012?  Is Gonzo’s shoulder going to be a lasting issue?  What about Clay’s back?  Can Lackey pitch in Boston?  Are Salty and Lavarnaway the answers behind the plate?  These are a ton of questions for a team that barely missed the playoffs but hasn’t been there in two years. The Rays are going nowhere and the Yanks, well they are still the Yanks.

These are just the problems on the outside.  How does this collapse effect this team next September.  That’s all they will hear about next year.  Are they mentally tough enough to overcome.  The Mets have folded as an organization after their epic collapse.  What will this team do?  I guess none of these can be answered till next year. 

Is this the start of a new curse like I’ve heard all day today.  First off, I never believed in the 1st curse so my answer is no.  I do find the timing of the collapse really poor considering that both SI and ESPN the Magazine had cover stores on the Red Sox and the Red Sox way.  Uhhhhhh, maybe they should have held off on those.  Oh well.  Cest la Vie.

One last point, at least this gives me more time to focus on the 4-0 Wolverines and the surprisingly 2-1 Giants.  Don’t forget about hockey either.  With the NBA all having their heads up their asses, the boys on ice have a chance to have a real impact this winter. 

 

 

September Suckitude

Posted in baseball, BASEBALL PLAYOFFS, Red Sox, Redsox, redsox vs. yankees, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2011 by hendu

When was the last time you can recall a title contender playing this bad down the home stretch?  The Red Sox are in the midst of one of baseball’s biggest September implosions and while I only speak for myself, it is very embarrassing to be a Red Sox fan today.

Don’t go taking that sentence out of context.  I still hope that they hold one and lock up the wild card spot.  Once you are in it’s a clean slate and I still will match the talent on Boston against any of the other three AL teams.  Getting there just seems to be the issue. 

One Sept. 1st, exactly three weeks ago, the Sox were a 1/2 game up on the Yanks, 9 up on the Rays and 9 1/2 up on the Angels.  They go .500 for the month and they are already in.  Since that point they have won FIVE games and the AL East is gone while the Rays and Angels sit just 2 1/2 out.  What the hell happened???

Well, for one thing, injuries caught up to us.  Youk is down.  Lackey seems to have his head lodged up his ass, Buchholz is still hurtin’ and god damn how much you miss Dice-K?  Second, the Sox are to inconsistent in scoring runs.  Take a look at their September scores.  In four out of the five wins, they have scored 12 or more runs.  In their losses they have scored an average of 3.5 runs a game.  So in five wins they have scored 62 runs and just 56 in their 16 losses.  That run differential is way to large.  Funny, it’s something I wrote about just last year.

Yes, they have the best offense in the league but it is way to inconsistent.  Know, there are a lot of reasons for this, #1 and #1a or the lack of JD Drew and Carl Crawford.  Laugh if you must about JD, but the guy got on base and scored runs from the bottom of the lineup and Carl has not had a Carl type year.  Those are two huge cogs that have not produced at an all-star level.  This puts much more pressure on Reddick, Salty and Scutaro who are frankly role players thrust into bigger roles that they can’t fill.

These offensive problems, along with bad starts and an even worse bullpen have made this a September to forget in the Back Bay.  Bard has been brutal, Albers is awful, Pabelbon: paltry at best.  The only legitimate pen guy is Aceves who may be on the verge of burning out.  Bard has four losses this month himself.  Not a great stat for your setup guy. 

With all that being said, the team is still in the driver’s seat.  They have 3 games against the Yanks and three against the o’s.  If they go 2-4 in these six games, both LA and Tampa have to go 5-2 to get a three-way tie.  The Rays have four games against the Yanks and three against the Blue Jays, not an easy task.  The Angels have 1 against the Blue Jays and three a piece against the A’s and Rangers.  A much easier road than the Rays but those three against the Rangers could be a tough go. 

If you were to tell me that the Sox would be 5-16 during the last month and still be 2 1/2 up for a play-off spot I’d call you crazy.  Considering all that has gone wrong we still have hope.  It’s nice to see the players feeling the heat a bit.  Makes you think they care a bit.  I know Fenway is nervous.  I was there Saturday and you could feel the uneasiness in the crowd.  I still like the odds and am scared as to what could happen if the Sox blow this (Theo to the Cubs??). 

If they do hold on into October history os on their side.  In 2000, the Yanks lost 15 of 18 to close the season and still went on to beat the Mets in the World Series.

So here’s to holding out hope!