July 21, 2019

Clap of Thunder Frightens MLB Players

In this video you will see an act of nature that literally scares players for the Rangers and Twins silly.  Pay special attention to Twins baserunner Josh Willingham at first and watch how quickly he hits the deck.

Texas Rangers Thunder Video

MLB Predictions Middle of August Update

Overall this MLB season has been pretty much what we expected entering the final 45 days of the year. There were a couple of pre-All Star Game surprises like the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cleveland Indians, but overall things have been pretty cut and dry.

Heading into the last few weeks of the year there are still 4 of 6 Divisions with winners still in doubt.  Philly with the best record in MLB is 7 games ahead of Atlanta who is 6 games ahead of 2010 World Series Champs San Fran in the Wild Card race. Today the Arizona Diamondbacks have a 69-53 record and have won their last 7 including beating Roy Halladay in the 9th.  

Back in March my playoffs predictions included Oakland and Colorado which are both done, but the others are still solid contenders. My MVP’s are alive as both Ryan Braun and Robinson Cano are tearing it up.  As we gear up for football don’t forget the chase for the ultimate prize in October.

2011 Pre-Season Predictions

NL East: Atlanta

NL Central: Milwaukee

NL West: Colorado

NL Wild Card: Philadelphia

NL Pennant Winner: Colorado

NL MVP – Ryan Braun, NL Cy Young – Roy Halladay

AL East: Boston

AL Central: Detroit

AL West: LA Angels

AL Wild Card: Oakland

AL Pennant Winner: Boston

AL MVP – Robinson Cano, AL Cy Young – Jon Lester

World Series Winner: Boston

Cooperstown Adds Two More Players

Today we celebrate two more inductees into the MLB Hall of Fame. We welcome to the exclusive club the fifth all-time strike-out leader Bert Blyleven and the third all-time in games played at 2B Roberto Alomar.

Rik Aalbert Blyleven was born in the Netherlands raised in California. Blyleven was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft out of high school by the Minnesota Twins. He was called up in 1970 to the bigs and by 1973 he led the AL with 9 of his career 60 complete games.  Bert was known for his curve ball which even Brooks Robinson said “made your knees buckle.” Blyleven played for several teams like upstart Texas in ’76, Pittsburgh where he won a World Series in ’79, Cleveland in ’85 where he passed the 3000 K mark and finally the Angels.

Roberto Alomar is the son of Sandy Alomar who I watched growing up as an Angel fan. It was almost a given this kid would be a great player especially when San Diego signed him at 17-years old and led the California League with a .346 batting average. In the majors in 1988 and immediately had the respect of not only his hitting but the defensive range he had. Alomar is a twelve-time Gold Glove winner, four-time Silver Slugger winner and ended his seventeen-year career with .300 batting average with over 2700 hits.

Well deserved are these selections.

MLB Predictions Update

We are now officially two months into the 2011 MLB Season and I wanted to provide an update on my preseason predictions.

Here were my predictions:

NL East: Atlanta

NL Central: Milwaukee

NL West: Colorado

NL Wild Card: Philadelphia

NL Pennant Winner: Colorado

NL MVP – Ryan Braun, NL Cy Young – Roy Halladay

AL East: Boston

AL Central: Detroit

AL West: LA Angels

AL Wild Card: Oakland

Al Pennant Winner: Boston

AL MVP – Robinson Cano, AL Cy Young – Jon Lester

World Series Winner: Boston

So far not too shabby. My NL selections are looking pretty good and have the potential to be spot on. Atlanta is 5 games above .500 and in 3rd place just 4 games behind the Phillies. Colorado mired in a bit of a slump are 2 games under .500 at home and overall, but just 3 games out of first behind of all teams Arizona.  The Phillies are good and they just got Utley back from the DL.  

The AL is out of control.  My selection to win it all started 0-6 and on April 29 the Red Sox were in last place in the AL East with an 11-14 record. They have since gone 19-8 and are 2 games up on the Yanks and Rays. They are hitting and pitching like I thought they would. After the obvious, we have the AL West where I chose the Angels and A’s as playoff teams.  The ‘Punch and Judy’ Angels are 2nd in AL behind Boston in hits, but 11th in RBI while the A’s are offensively pathetic hovering around in 12th place out of 14 AL teams in most offensive categories. The up side is LAA is only 1 Game out and Oakland is 1.5 games out. Then there is the wacky AL Central. Through May 15 the Cleveland Indians had the best record in baseball and Detroit had just won 7 straight. Now after going 3-8 since they are 6.5 games behind the Indians and other than Verlander have some major pitching woes.

Biggest Disappointments thus far:

Cincinnati Reds – Pitching is killing them, but only 4.5 games out.

Minnesota Twins – Mauer been on DL since first week of April and worst record in MLB.

NY Mets – Aside from Jose Reyes who they will trade soon, Bay, Beltran and Wright cant produce up to their salaries.

There it is as of Memorial Day Sunday so enjoy the weekend and we will check back at the All Star game.

Just a Bit Outside

The Cleveland Indians have the best record in baseball with their 13th straight home win after the first month of the 2011 MLB season. Bob Uecker and the gang would be very proud! No Manny, CC or even a Jobu, but the team which lost 93 games in 2010 looks like they could be for real. Timely hitting and exceptional pitching have catapulted the Tribe into the most dangerous team in all of baseball entering the month of May. What has changed? The AL Central is the worst division in baseball right now and their closest pursuer and only other team over .500 is Kansas City so that pretty much says it all.

Cleveland starts May with a west coast swing against the Angels and A’s and then come home to face the red hot Tampa Rays so it will be interesting to see if the Indians can keep up their fast start.

Play Ball!!

First off I would like to congratulate the founder of this site Stonecoldjz on the birth of his first child.

The Opening Day of MLB is here. Here are my projections for the Playoffs and the World Series.

NL East: Atlanta

NL Central: Milwaukee

NL West: Colorado

NL Wild Card: Philadelphia

NL Pennant Winner: Colorado – NL MVP Ryan Braun – CY Roy Halladay

AL East: Boston

Al Central: Detroit

Al West: LA Angels

Wild Card: Oakland

Al Pennant Winner: Boston

World Series Winner: Boston – AL MVP Robinson Cano,  CY Jon Lester

Boston has spent their money wisely and have both the pitching and the hitting to again win the whole banana. Colorado learned that losing their last 8 games in 2010 to get knocked out of the Playoffs hurt like hell and have loaded up with pitching to compliment their awesome hitting.

Oh my “I cant believe their still in the hunt” teams are Baltimore from the AL and the NY Mets from the NL.

It is spring and that means baseball is here so enjoy the season.

The NFL is King

So far this year the NFL has had some excellent Monday Night games on TV, but this past Monday was a real stinker. Tennessee and Jacksonville isn’t very appealing to a national audience and quite frankly the Jaguars have a hard time getting people in northern Florida to care about them. Considering the game was a 30-3 blowout one might think the MLB playoff game between the nationally loved Yankees and the Texas Rangers would win in the TV ratings, right? WRONG! The abysmal MNF matchup was watched by 7.2% of US households and the Yankees/Rangers were only watched by 6.5% of homes. Imagine how bad the NFL would have crushed baseball if the Giants/Cowboys, Jets/Patriots or Packers/Vikings would have been pitted against each other. America’s pastime continues to lose their audience while the NFL gains popularity at a rapid pace. If the NFL is smart, and I believe them to be, they will figure out the looming collective bargaining agreement and insure there is no stoppage in play. The NFL is the cream of the crop when it comes to professional sports at this time and a lockout is something they must avoid at all cost.

Don’t Blame the Umpire

As we watched the replay of the potential final out of Andres Galarraga’s possible perfect game with our jaws on the ground let’s take notice that although Jim Joyce did make the wrong call we have to ask another question. Why did Miguel Cabrera go into the hole for the grounder when it was clearly the second basemen’s play to make?

The very poor umpire call should never have been an issue and this game would have given MLB it’s first ever 3 perfect game season and it’s only June. The real surprise is this kid Galarraga took it like a man and never once mentioned the call or Joyce as the culprit. Maybe he was lucky to even get that far because there was a play earlier in the 9th inning where Mark Grudzielanek hit the first pitch of the inning to deep left center and Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson made an unbelievable catch over his head to preserve the perfecto.

The call was horrendous and the perfect game along with the no-no went completely down the drain, but right when we are about to forget Roy Halladay’s perfect game (20th in MLB history) we can always talk about the one that got away.

Baseball is Freezing Over

I firmly believe that the end of the world is here. There have been numerous prognostications and it has now finally happened.

I can understand the Tampa Bay Rays in first place because they have been a solid team for 3 years and only 2 years ago they had a World Series attempt. But, perennial doormats like the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds are in first place as of May 18th and the Washington Nationals are actually above .500 with a 20-19 record.

It’s really not hard to figure out why these teams are doing well though if you look at the numbers. All three have winning records within their division and are winning on the road. If you can break even on the road and win 60% of your games at home then you are generally pretty close to a playoff spot.

Cincinnati finally doesn’t have the Griffey albatross around their neck and their farm system has been producing some solid major league talent. I haven’t seen Dusty Baker chomp this many toothpicks since he took out a then un-hittable Russ Ortiz in the 7th inning of Game 6 in the 2002 World Series up 4 runs only to lose that game and Game 7 to the Angels. I am by no means saying the Reds have talent like they did in the days of Rose, Perez, Morgan, Bench, but things are looking up. Young talents like Votto, Bruce, Phillips and Cueto surrounded by a healthy veteran laden left side of the infield including Scott Rolen and Orlando Cabrera makes them a threat.  Look out also for Mike Leake 4-0 who is a rookie and last year was playing for Arizona St. I picked them to win the NL Central before the year and although they started slow they have gone 14-6 since April 25th. Oh, they also still have a 100 MPH thrower hanging around in AAA that is only 20 years old.

San Diego and Washington on the other hand will not be there in the end. San Diego can’t hit and although Bud Black is using the Mike Scioscia method of playing baseball he will need a few more hitters to keep up their hot start.  Washington is a nice story, but they will be done by July at the latest.

MLB’s Unwritten Rules

Oakland A’s pitcher Dallas Braden continues to talk about A-Rod running over the mound during a game he was pitching back on April 22nd. Braden is so pissed about the incident that he made a reference to the likelihood of a fight with A-Rod during their next series July 5th-7th. Most people in society don’t see A-Rod’s actions as an issue at all, but Braden feels it directly broke one of the unwritten rules of baseball thus the reason for his deep rooted anger.

From time to time you hear a reference to the unwritten rules of baseball, but do you have any clue what they are all about it? Well, here are 10 of baseball’s more obscure unwritten rules for your reading pleasure:

1. Don’t swing at the first pitch after back-to-back home runs
This is a matter of courtesy, respect for a pitcher who is clearly struggling, offering just a sliver of daylight with which to regain his senses. When Yankees rookie Chase Wright gave up back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers against Boston in 2007, the guys who hit numbers three and four — Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek — each watched a pitch before taking a cut.

“Let him know, okay, I’m not swinging,” said Hal McRae. “I know you’re out there trying to do a job, and I have to do a job — but you’ve just given up back-to-back home runs. So I take the first pitch.”

2. Don’t work the count when your team is up or down by a lot
This is true for both pitchers and hitters. Nobody wants to see the fifth guy on a bullpen’s depth chart nibbling on the corners in the late innings of a blowout. Similarly, hitters are expected to swing at anything close. It’s an effort to quickly and efficiently end a lopsided contest.

3. When hit by a pitch, don’t rub the mark.
This one is all about intimidation or lack thereof. It’s a hitter’s way of telling the pitcher that his best shot — intentional or otherwise —didn’t hurt. Pete Rose made a point of sprinting to first base after being hit, to ensure that he stripped all satisfaction from the pitcher.

“It’s a macho thing, like a fighter who gets clocked in the mouth and shakes his head like it didn’t hurt him,” said Rich Donnelly. “But believe me, it hurts.”

Lou Brock was the only hitter Sandy Koufax ever threw at intentionally, and despite the fact that his shoulder was fractured by the pitch, forcing him from the game, never once did he rub the spot. The Washington Post once reported that Don Baylor “was hit by 267 pitches yet never rubbed, even once. Of course, several of the balls had to be hospitalized.”

4. Don’t stand on the dirt cutout at home plate while a pitcher is warming up
Just as Braden dismissed A-Rod’s attempt to enter his sacred space, the area around the plate is meant only for the hitter, and then only when it’s time for him to hit. Should a pitcher be getting loose before an at-bat, it’s strictly off-limits. “I stay as far away from the cutout as I can when the pitcher is warming up,” said Ken Griffey “If they could, they should put the on-deck circle in left field to make me happy. I don’t want anything to do with messing with the pitcher when he’s getting ready.”

5. Don’t walk in front of a catcher or umpire when getting into batter’s box
This is respect, pure and simple. If the line from your dugout to the batter’s box takes you between the pitcher and the catcher, walk around. Like the A-Rod incident, you’ll likely never hear about this one until a player is called out for brazenly violating it.

6. Don’t help the opposition make a play (bracing them from falling into the dugout, etc.)
In 1998, Dodgers left fielder Matt Luke braced Arizona’s Andy Fox as the third baseman staggered into the Los Angeles dugout while chasing a pop fly. He knew the Code, but he had also been Fox’s roommate in multiple levels of the Yankees’ minor-league system, and was so tight with him that Fox had served as an usher in his wedding. Even then, he had his limits. “I waited until he made the play,” said Luke in the Riverside Press Enterprise. “I wanted to prevent an injury. We’re competing out there, and not for one second do I want to help the opposition.”

7. Relievers take it easy when facing other relievers
The caveat to this piece of the Code is that for the most part, relievers don’t step to the plate in close games, which gives their counterparts on the opposing team some leeway in their approach. “You’d probably give them all fastballs,” said Dave LaRoche. “It was just a professional courtesy type of thing. Here it is — I’ll give you a chance to hit it if you can.”

8. Follow the umpire’s Code when addressing them on the field.
This is a book in itself. How one talks to umpires goes a long way toward getting favorable calls, or at least not getting thrown out of a game. (“That call was horse—-” is generally acceptable; “You’re horse—-” is never acceptable.) Some savvy teams go so far as to post headshots and bios in the clubhouse for the umps working that day’s game, so that players can butter them up a bit.

Still, there are ways to express anger without getting tossed. After umpire Shag Crawford called Dick Groat out on a play at second base, Groat told him, “You’re still the second best umpire in the league.” Then he added that the other 19 umpires were tied for first.

9. Pitchers stay in the dugout at least until the end of the inning in which they get pulled
This is purely about respect for one’s teammates. “I know you’re having a tough day, but give your teammates the respect to stay out here until the end of the inning,” said Sean Casey. “You don’t want to show that you think the game’s already lost.”

10. Pitchers never show up their fielders
This doesn’t happen frequently, but when it does, players notice. One pitcher who made a habit of excessive body language on the mound was Gaylord Perry, who would put his hands on his hips and stare down fielders who made errors behind him.

Rules provided by an article from Jason Turbow Yahoo Sports – The ‘Code’