Thursday, April 29, 2010

MLB makes changes to All-Star rosters

Major League Baseball has made changes to the rosters of both the American and National League teams for the upcoming All-Star Game, changes that will benefit both the game, and the fans.

Baseball's Summer Classic will see both league rosters raised to 34 players, including 13 pitchers on each staff, and from now on, each team will have the use of the DH, regardless where the game is played. Beginning in 1989 the A.L. has had the use of a DH when an A.L. team played host to the game every other year, but now both squads will use the extra batter regardless of the park. Fans will cast ballots for the A.L. DH, but the N.L. Manager will chose a DH for the game . The A.L. has used the DH in regular season games since 1973, and the DH has been used in the World Series since 1976.

The expansion of the rosters will allow deserving players that were not voted in by the fans to be selected to the All-Star Game. Don't forget to cast your ballots for the 81st MLB All-Star Game, which will be played on July 13th in Anaheim, California. Ballots can be found at all big league ball parks, or by voting on line at your favorite teams web site, or at www.mlb.com.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My favorite players from all 30 Big League teams

I love the game of baseball, have for well over forty years. Even though I grew up a fan of the Detroit Tigers, I followed all the big league clubs, and players. I watched every game I could on the game of the week, every All-Star Game, and every World Series. So, I thought I would make a list of my favorite players from all 30 ball clubs, even those clubs that are no longer in existence, like the Washington Senators and the St. Louis Browns, and also players from the old Negro Leagues like the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Detroit Stars.

Let's start in the American League East, then we'll work our way around the rest of the current teams, defunct teams, and the Negro Leagues.

Baltimore Orioles

The O's moved to the City of Baltimore in 1954, leaving St. Louis, where they were known as the Browns, and changed their name to the Orioles. The O's franchise actually started in 1901, as the Milwaukee Brewers, but moved to St. Louis in 1902.
The Orioles have had great teams in Baltimore since the mid 1960's, and in 1966 they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the Orioles first World Series Championship. The Orioles were also in the World Series in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979, and 1983. The Birds won in '70 and '83, the last appearance for Baltimore in the Fall Classic.

The 1970 Series was the first time I saw every game of a World Series. I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks when I was ten, and I got to watch TV every day as the Birds beat the Cincinnati Reds behind the MVP of the Series, Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson, who hit .429. But what Brooks did with his glove at third base made him a baseball superstar. Robinson made spectacular play after spectacular play from the hot corner, robbing the Big Red Machine time and time again.



Brooks Robinson is the single best third baseman I have ever seen since I began following baseball. Robinson played for the Orioles for his entire 23 year career, hitting .267, with 268 home runs, and driving in 1,357 runs while winning 16 Gold Glove Awards at the hot corner. Brooks, known as "The Human Vacuum Cleaner", set numerous fielding records in his career, including leading the American League in fielding percentage eleven times. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

To me, and many Orioles fans, Brooks Robinson is Mr. Oriole

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Suns Stanton powering his way though the Southern League

After the Florida Marlins played the Jacksonville Suns, their AA Affiliate, in a exhibition game at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville before the start of the 2010 season, Marlins manager Freddy Gonzalez told the fans that they better get to the ball park pretty quickly if they wanted to see Marlins prospect, and Suns outfielder Mike Stanton. Was Gonzalez ever right.
Stanton, who homered three times on Monday, has homered 5 times the last two games. and  leads the Southern League in home runs(9), runs batted in(20), total bases(52), and in slugging percentage(.483).

In that exhibition game on April 2nd, the Marlins all saw first hand what their former teammate could do, as Stanton hit a 2-run bomb off the Marlins number two pitcher, Rickey Nolasco, as the Suns beat Florida 4-3.

Stanton, the 6' 5", 235 lb. right fielder, is the first Suns player to hit three HR's in a game since Ryan Jones in 1999, and the first to have 7 RBI in a game since Jesse Ibara had eight in a game in 1997.

"Mr. Baseball", Bob Uecker to have surgery

Bob Uecker once said the best way to catch a knuckleball was to "...wait until it stops rolling and pick it up." Now Uecker, the 75 year old play by play voice of the Milwaukee Brewers will have to stop to take care of his health, and having surgery to repair his ailing heart.
Uecker, whom the late Johnny Carson dubbed "Mr. Baseball" for his many hilarious visits to the Tonight Show, will miss around 10-12 weeks of calling Brewers games while recovering from having his aortic valve and root replaced.

Uecker spent six years as a  big league catcher, for the Milwaukee Braves, the St.Louis Cardinals, where he won a World Series Ring as a member of the 1964 Cards, the Philadelphia Phillies, and then the Atlanta Braves, who had moved from Milwaukee in 1966. Not much of a hitter, Uecker was, however, a very good defensive catcher, finishing his career with a fielding percentage of .981.



Most baseball fans will always remember Uecker as Harry Doyle, the play by play voice of the Indians in the Major League movies, giving baseball fans lines such as "just a bit outside", and "ball four, ball eight, ball twelve...",  to remember forever.

Uecker has been the radio voice of the Milwaukee Brewers since 1971, and received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Giants deal Halladay first loss of season, Jimenez looks to continue streak

As the old saying goes, all good things must end, and so it was on Monday night for the Phillies Roy Halladay, as the San Francisco Giants dealt the right hander his first National League loss in a 5-1 victory at AT & T Park.
Halladay had entered the night 4-0 for the Phillies, but three Giants players had two hits apiece, including a 2-run HR from catcher Eli Whiteside, and Jonathan Sanchez raised his record to 2-1, allowing just one run over 5 innings of work.
The Giants are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and are tied with the San Diego Padres for first place in the National League West, and 1 1/2 games ahead of third place Colorado. The Rockies will send Ubaldo Jimenez and his 16 1/3 scoreless innings to the mound tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Jimenez is the first player in 17 years to follow up a Big League no-hitter with a scoreless outing the next time out. Following his masterpiece at Atlanta on April 17th, Jimenez went 7 1/3 scoreless innings at Washington on April 22nd.

As for no-hitters, look for possible fireworks tonight. There have been six no-hitters thrown in MLB History on April 27th, the last being thrown by then Phillies RH Kevin Millwood, against the Giants.
Jimenez, Millwood, the Braves Derek Lowe, the Tigers Justin Verlander, the ChiSox Mark Buehrle, twice, the Red Sox Clay Bucholz, and the Marlins Anibal Sanchez are all previous pitchers who have thrown no-no's, who will start for their respective clubs tonight.

Tonight at Comerica Park in Detroit, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers will play for the first time since the Twins 12 inning, 6-5 victory over the Tigers in Game #165 last October, giving Minnesota the A.L. Central Division Championship. The Twins will send left hander Fransisco Lirinao to the hill tonight against Detroit's Justin Verlander. The Twins lead the Tigers by 2.5 games as the two teams get set for a three game series tonight, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Today in Big League history...on April 27th, 1983, the Astros Nolan Ryan became the All-Time leader in strikeouts when he fanned the Expos Brad Mills for his 3,509th career K, passing Washington Senators Hall of Famer Walter Johnson.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Michigan to Retire ex-Wolverine All-American Barry Larkin's Number this Weekend.

Two time All-American SS Barry Larkin will have his number 16 jersey retired this weekend before their game with Ohio State.
Larkin was a All-American SS in 1984 and 1985, and helped guide the Wolverines to the College World Seriesin 1984 and 1985. Larkin is still in the top 10 in five categories in the Michigan Baseball single season record book, including triples, home runs, total bases, runs scored, and runs batted in.

In 1985, Larkin was drafted in the first round, fourth overall, by his hometown Cincinnati Reds, where Larkin played for all of his 19 big league years. For the complete article, go to the following link...


http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/032910aaa.html

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Former Cy Young Winner Gagne Retires, Walk of HR lifts Padres

Tuesday Twirls...

Eric Gagne, the most feared closer in baseball during the early 2000's retired today, after a 10 year career, at age 34.
Gagne, who had not pitched in the bigs since 2008, dominated National League hitters for five years, beginning with the 2000 season, and continuing through 2004, saving 152 games, including 84 consecutive saves, and posting a ERA OF 1.52. Gagne was the 2003 N.L. Cy Young Award Winner, posting a 1.20 ERA, and saving 55 games.
Gagne suffered elbow injuries, and after having surgery on his elbow in 2005, and then back surgery in 2006, Gagne was never the same, pitching with the Rangers, Red Sox, and Brewers, then going to the Independent Cam-Am League in 2009. A comeback with the Dodgers ended in Spring Training, being released by Los Angeles on March 22.

Gagne will always be remembered as one of the most feared closers in baseball history, even if his career was brief. Those trademark goggles, that menacing glare from the mound, we will miss Eric Gagne, even if the big league sluggers won't.

Monday nigh had a light schedule, but there was plenty of exciting baseball...

In San Diego, the Padres got a walk off HR from David Eckstein, and the Padres beat the Diamondbacks, 3-2. It was only the diminutive Eckstein's 35th career HR, in 4,600+ at bats in his nine-plus seasons in the bigs...The Mets beat the Cubs, 6-1, getting a 2 hit, 1 RBI performance from rookie First Baseman Ike Davis, whom the Mets had just called up from AAA Buffalo Monday afternoon...With a 5-2 win over the Rockies, the National are 7-6, the latest the club has been over the .500 mark since 2005. The Nats were never over .500 in the 2006, 2007, or 2009 seasons...only 11.623 fans were in attendance to see the Nats win...Washington is 7-0 when their starters go at least 5 innings, and 0-6 when they don't...the Nationals Livan Hernandez, has a ERA of 0.00, and has given up just 9 hits in 16 innings, and posting a 2-0 record, and a WHIP of 0.88...that's Cy Yong stuff from the former World Series MVP...the Nats fans need to come out and watch Hernandez pitch.

Voting starts today for the 81st MLB All-Star Game, July 13th, in Anaheim, Home of the Angels...fans can visit www.mlb.com to vote for their favorite/deserving All-Stars up to 25 times per email address. Fans can also go to their favorite teams web site, or, they can fill out ballots at MLB games starting with the Tigers-Angeles game tonight.
Speaking of the Tigers, the boys from the Motor City have only scored 12 runs in their last five games, including being shutout on Monday, 2-0, by the Angels.

National League Leaders...
Hitting Leaders...
Batting Average...Ivan "Pudge" Rodriquez(WAS)... .450, Martin Prado(ATL)... .426, Casey McGehee(MIL)... .400.
Home Runs...Chase Utley(PHI)...6, Albert Pujols(STL)...5, Matt Kemp(LAD)...5.
RBI's...Jorge Cantu(FLA)...16, Chris Young(ARI)...15, Jason Heyward(ATL)...15.

Pitching Leaders...
Wins...Derek Lowe(ATL)...3, Adam Wainwright(STL)...3, Ubaldo Jimenez(COL)...3.
ERA...Livan Hernandez... 0.00...Tim Lincecum(SFG)... 0.90, Roy Hallady(PHI)... 1.13.
K's...Tim Lincecum(SFG)...24, Ryan Dempster(CHC)...22, Adam Wainwright(STL)...22.

Tuesday's best matchup...the Rays take their seven game road winning streak into Chicago to face the White Sox. RHP David Price, 2-0, 2.45 ERA, will face LHP John Danks, 1-0, 1.38 ERA, from US Cellular Field on the South Side of the Windy City.

Enjoy the games, and until tomorrow, God Bless.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Talkin' Baseball...

Welcome to my new blog, let's talk some baseball...

Well, it's been two weeks since the 2010 baseball season has started, how's your team doing.?
My team, the Detroit Tigers, started out 6-2, then proceeded to go 1-3, and now set at 7-5, still good enough for second in the American League's Central Division, 1 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins, who continue to play good ball, even without their great closer, Joe Nathan, who will miss the entire 2010 season with an elbow injury.
Did you happen to catch the marathon 20 inning game on Saturday between the Mets and Cardinals.?
The FOX Saturday Game of the Week came on the air at 4 PM Eastern time, and seven hours later, pre-empting local programming, and two hours of Cops and America's Most Wanted, the Mets had a 2-1 victory. The game was scoreless until the top of the18th, when the Mets took the lead, only to have the Redbirds counter with a run of their own in the bottom of the 18th.
Eleven games started at 3 PM, or later, and finished, before the Mets Francisco Rodriquez closed out St. Louis. One of those games saw the season's first no-hitter, as the Colorado Rockies Ubaldo Jimenez's blanked the Atlanta Braves 4-0 at Turner Field in Atlanta. Jimenez is 3-0 so far this season, with a 1.29 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.19. The Rockies are 6-6, 1 1/2 games behind the National League West leading San Francisco Giants. With Ubaldo's no-no, there are now only three teams that have never had a no-hitter by one of their pitchers, the Tampa Bay Rays, the San Diego Padres, and the New York Mets....The last no-hitter in the big leagues was tossed by the ChiSox Mark Buehrle last July 23rd, 5-0 over the Rays.

How about the Tampa Bay Rays. The 2008 A.L. Champs have started the season strong, and after today's Patriot's Day bashing of the Boston Red Sox, the Rays are 10-3, and in first place in the A.L. East. The Rays swept the four game series with Boston, have won seven straight games, all on the road, tying the longest road streak in team history.
The other surprise in the A.L. are the Oakland A's. The West Division leading Athletics are 9-5, and have a 2.5 game lead. The A's have been lead by their pitching staff, who lead the A.L. with a 2.90 ERA, and are 2nd in WHIP, at 1.23 through Sunday.

A.L. Individual Leaders...through Sunday, April 18th...
Batting...
Batting Average... Scott Posednik(KC).. .457, Franklin Gutierrez(SEA).. .404, Derek Jeter(NYY).. .380.
Home Runs...Nelson Cruz(TEX)...7, Vernon Wells(TOR)...6, Dustin Pedroia(BOS)...5.
Runs Batted In...Nelson Cruz(TEX)...15, Miguel Cabrera(DET)...14, Dustin Pedroia(BOS)...13.

Pitching...
ERA...Matt Garza(TB)... 0.75, Dana Eveland(TOR)... 1.35, Andy Pettite(NYY)... 1.35.
Wins...Matt Garza(TB)...3, Colby Lewis(TEX)...2, Dallas Braden(OAK)...2.
K's...Brian Matusz(BAL)...23, Ricky Romero(TOR)...22, Jered Weaver(LAA)...21.

A.L. Notes...The Tigers Miguel Cabrera celebrated his 27th Birthday yesterday in Seattle with a 3-run HR, the 212th round tripper of his 7+ year career...The Orioles defeated the A's on Sunday, 8-3. The win raised the Birds record to a MLB worst 2-11...The Indians Shin Soo-Choo is hitting a brisk .350 for the Tribe...2009 A.L. Cy Young Winner Zack Grienke is off to a slow start, 0-2, with a 3.57 era in his first 3 starts.
 On Tuesday, a look at the National League.