Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bryce Harper is the 2015 National League MVP

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player.

Harper, just 23 years old, who just finished his 4th year in the big leagues, was the unanimous choice as the MVP, receiving all 30 first place votes by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

I've been a fan of Harper since his rookie year in 2012, and I wrote about Bryce in this blog post a few years ago.

Whenever I open a pack of baseball cards and see a Bryce Harper card, I consider the pack to be a winner, no matter the other cards.

Congratulations to my favorite Washington Nationals player, National League MVP Bryce Harper!

Play Ball! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

This Week's Sports Illustrated cover... World Series Champion Kansas City Royals

Sunday the Kansas City Royals won their second World Series Championship, the teams first title in 30 years.

The fine folks over at Sports Illustrated have chosen the champion Royals to grace their cover this week.

Congratulations to all the front office staff, the players, coaches, and fans on their winning the ultimate prize, baseball's World Series Championship.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy Baseball Birthday... Gateway Arch

Today we celebrate the 50th  Happy Baseball Birthday! of the St. Louis Arch.

The Arch, "The Gateway to the West," was completed 50 years ago today, October 28, 1965.

As baseball fans watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball games on TV, the famous Arch has always been a part of the games televised from Busch Stadium.

The Arch has watched over 9 Cardinals World Series appearances, including Championships in 1967, 1982, 2006, and 2011.

The City of St. Louis was once the western most outpost for big league baseball, with the National League Cardinals and from 1902 through 1953, the A. L. St. Louis Browns. 

The Browns, sharing old Sportsman's Park with the Cardinals, won  their only American League Pennant in 1944, only to lose the World Series to the Cardinals.

We salute the St. Louis Arch, and wish them a very Happy Baseball Birthday! 

Play Ball!  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This Week's Sports Illustrated cover... The World Series

Tonight the World Series begins in Kansas City, as the hometown Royals take on the New York Mets in Game 1 of the Fall Classic. 

This week baseball takes center stage with two regional covers.

The defending American League Champion Royals have Lorenzo Cain on the cover.

"Yes We Cain," by Senior SI writer Tom Verducci.

The National League Champion Mets are represented on their regional cover by NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy. 

"The Amazin' MURPH," by SI writer Ben Reiter.

I love the fact that SI is featuring baseball on its regional covers  as the World Series starts.

The playoffs, er, postseason,  has produced terrific baseball games, starting with the Wild Card victories by the Cubs and Astros.

My pick for the final best of 7 games of the World Series is the Mets in 5...yes, mostly a pick for former Detroit Tigers Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes.

Enjoy the World Series baseball matter who you root, have a great time... PLAY BALL!

New Southern League Logo

On Monday the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs revealed a brand new logo for the ten member league.

The new logo is the first change in 21 years for the league, and I have to say, it's one of the best baseball logo's I've ever seen.

The league, established in 1885, also created a brand new secondary logo, for use on things like stationary.

Since 1994 the Southern League had been using this logo.

You can see how the "S L" is slightly different, but the letters are arranged the same in the new logo.

Here's the official statement on the redesign of the logo.

The new logo was created by graphic designer Todd Radom in collaboration with the Southern League, it's teams, and Minor League Baseball. 

Todd Radom Twitter page... 

The ten member Southern League clubs are...

I've lived in Jacksonville, Florida for 35 years, and have been a Jacksonville Suns fan since day one.

The Suns have been members of the Southern League since the early 1960s, and have won six league championships, in 1996, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2014.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

National League Wild Card Game...Cubs at Pirates

It's day two of the big league playoffs, National League Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh between the Chicago Cubs and the Pirates.

Yesterday I picked the Astros to win, although my 7-3 score wasn't even close to the final score of 3-0 in favor of Houston.

In the case of the Cubs, I've been a long time observer of the Cubbies since growing up in the Kalamazoo/Portage area of Southwest Michigan in the 1960s.

My favorite shortstop was Don Kessinger of the Cubs, and I can here Jack Brickhouse "Hey Hey!" as Ernie Banks 500th home run cleared the famous Ivy covered left field wall at Wrigley Field.

That Cubs '70s infield of Ron Santo, Kessinger, Glen Beckert, and Jim Hickman was as good as any infield in the National League.

As for the Pirates, the 1971 World Series was as great an individual performance as you'll ever see,  by a great ballplayer named Roberto Clemente.

I was rooting for the American League Baltimore Orioles in the Series, but fell in love with the man wearing #21 on his Pirates uniform, wheeling around and firing a laser beam from right field to 3rd Base on the fly to throw out an unsuspecting Orioles base runner.

In 1979, in a Birds-Buccos rematch, I once again rooted for Baltimore, but was mesmerized by Willie "Pops" Stargell , the heir to the Clemente legend in Pittsburgh.

Not a lot has gone right for either team in my lifetime.

Playoff misery for the Cubs in 1984, 1989, and the unforgettable meltdown against the Marlins in 2003.

The Pirates lost N.L. Championship Series against the Reds in 1990, and to the Braves in 1991 and 1992, and have lost the Wild Card Game each of the last 2 years.

Who to pick?

Clemente and Stargell's Pirates, now led by another young outfielder in MVP Andrew McCutchen and hard throwing pitcher Gerrit Cole... or Mr. Cubs kids,  led by first year manager Joe Maddon's group of rookie superstars Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, and Cy YoungAward front runner Jake Arrieta...?

Everyone seems to be picking the Pirates, even though Arrieta has been unhittable for months...the team over the best pitcher theory.

Give me the young Cubs, 6-1.

Simply, in my best guess, the Pirates are under tremendous pressure not to lose their 2nd straight WC game, and the players from Chicago are in a no lose situation...who thought these kids would be here?

Just like the Astros last night at Yankee Stadium, I see the Cubs under little, or no, pressure to win.

So... "... Go Cubs Go, Go Cubs Go, what do you say Chicago, the Cubs are gonna WIN today..."

Play Ball! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Baseball playoffs...American League Wild Card Game

The New York Yankees host the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card Game tonight at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Im not particularly good at picking games, but here goes...

I hate the Yankees... Steroid abuser Alex Rodriguez plays for the Yankees...

How can any non-Yankees fans root for the guys in Pinstripes?

I'll root for the Astros, with a young, exciting group of players like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Dallas Kuechel.

It's terrific baseball when the Yankees lose in New York.

Houston 7 Yankees 3.


This Week's Sports Illustrated Cover...The Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have slugged their way onto this week's cover of Sport's Illustrated.

The Blue Jays won their first American League Eastern Division championship since their World Series title in 1993, led by a powerful lineup of home run bashers in Josh Donaldson (my A.L. MVP), Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion.

In addition to the offensive barrage, the Blue Jays made the trade with the Detroit Tigers for LHP David Price, who, in my opinion, should win the American League Cy Young Award this year.

Price was 18-5 this year, with a A. L. leading 2.45 ERA...the ace of both staffs in Detroit and Toronto.

The Blue Jays will host the A.L. West Champion Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series later this week.

Another baseball season has come down to October playoffs... where have the last 6 months gone?

Good Luck to your teams in this years playoffs.... PLAY BALL!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As the baseball season heads into it's final days, we are reminded that the month of October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Make sure to take the time out of your busy life to get yourself checked, hug a Breast Cancer Survivor, and remember all those who lost their battle to this horrible disease.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kershaw and Grienke should be Co- N.L. Cy Young Award Winners

Tuesday night in San Francisco, the best pitcher in baseball the past three years, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, shut out the defending World Series Champion Giants, and the Dodgers won their third straight National League West Division Title.

The Dodgers 8-0 win eliminated the defending champions, and they will now face the New York Mets in the N.L. playoffs.

The past few weeks there has been a lot of talk about the annual Cy Young Award voting amongst the radio, television, and Internet media members, as they discuss who should be this years winner between Kershaw, his teammate Zack Greinke, and Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs.

All three pitchers have the credentials to win, starting with Kershaw, the reigning N.L. Cy Young and Most Valuable Player.

For me, all 700+ plus members of the BBWAA  need to get together and make sure the Cy Young is awarded to both Kershaw and Grienke. 

Yes, you read that right... Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke need to be co-Cy Young winners...with all due respect to Jake Arrieta.

Kershaw got off to a slow start in 2015, and Greinke was there to mow down hitters while the Dodgers struggled to score runs and Kershaw figured out his delivery.

Kershaw got it together, and as of tonight is 16-7, with a 2.16 era after his 13 strikeout shutout over the rival Giants on Tuesday.

Kershaw leads baseball with 294 strikeouts.

Grienke leads the league in ERA at 1.68, and Arrieta leads in wins, with 21.

Senior Circuit batters hit just .188 vs Grienke this year, .187 against Arrieta, and .201 against Kershaw.

Arrieta also no-hit the Dodgers this year.

You could go on and on with the stats of all three pitchers, and you can make a case for all three of those marvelous pitchers.

2015 N.L.pitching stats/

For me, the Dodgers duo of Kershaw and Grienke are the best 1-2 pitching combo in baseball, a duo who took their sluggish teams offense and shaky bullpen on their broad shoulders and led them to the team's 3rd consecutive division championship.

Seriously, this needs to happen...something that has happened in baseball before...splitting a Cy Young Award between two pitchers.

In 1969 the Detroit Tigers Denny McLain won his 2nd consecutive Cy Young Award, sharing the honor with Mike Cuellar of the Baltimore Orioles.

Also, in 1979,  the National League MVP Award was shared, by Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals.

I get it if you think I'm totally nuts, but hey, that's just fine, that's why baseball is so great, the passion of the game, the way we see our great game.

Cubs fans are obviously going to be horrendously upset, and if I were a fan of the Cubbies, heck, I'd be mad as well.

Understand, this isn't in any way a negative vote against Jake Arrieta, what he's done this year for the Cubs has been sensational for a young ballclub that's made a remarkable run to the playoffs.

To me, Kershaw and Grienke have been there in tandem nearly all year, together on back to back nights, the the two of them, leading the Dodgers to the National League West Division...and that division title has to trump, in my opinion, the Cubs winning the second Wild Card spot.

If somehow the Cubs, under new manager Joe Maddon, had managed to catch the Pirates and Cardinals to win the N.L. Central, with Arrieta on the mound for the clinching win, well, then that would be a clincher for the Cubbies right hander.

So, call me silly, tell me I'm crazy to think that will happen, but its something I think...I believe...should happen.

Well, yeah, hey, maybe this old school baseball fan is crazy, maybe all those new fangled stats guys will tell me it's vlear cut for Arrieta...or the numbers are in favor of just Grienke...or just Kershaw..

I say OK, if those guys are your choices over a Kershaw /Grienke winners ballot, I respect your opinion.

For me, I saw all I needed to see tonight from Kershaw, and from another stellar start Monday Night by Grienke ... my vote...when I cast my annual Baseball Bloggers Alliance ballot of the group vote will be a Double Dodger Dog of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Play Ball!