Thursday, June 30, 2011

Funny video from the Vancouver Canadians baseball team




Thanks to Jimmy Traina over at SI.com and his Hot Clicks.

Trying to sell tickets to minor league baseball is tough enough, so I'm sure in a city like Vancouver, a hockey crazed city, it's very tough.

The salute to the baseball movie "Major League" was what stood out to me, and the team's PR people are to be commended.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back on Internet Radio

Back in February I went on hiatus from hosting my Internet radio show.

My wife and I were moving, and I really wasn't feeling well enough to focus on the show.

Starting this Friday, July 1st, I'll get back into the groove of talking baseball, and sports in general, starting at 12 NOON.

If you cannot listen live you can always look to the top right side of this blog and find the Blog Talk Radio player, and listen to the previous show.

With the All-Star Game voting coming to an end, great pennant races, the Dodgers debacle, and with big league managers quitting every other week, there should be plenty to talk about.

See ya next time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Twitter Tuesday

Sorry about the lack of posts lately.

As usual, my health is mostly to blame.


When my arthritis acts up I find myself barely able to check my email and do a few things on Twitter and Facebook, but no long posts or articles.


This week I'm busy with Vacation Bible School at my church.




This years theme is NYC Big Apple Adventure.


I help out my wife with her 2nd grade boys class, and because we have a New York theme, I though we could use baseball as our theme.


Our boys class is "The Chets Mets" and I'll be writing about our experience later in the week.

As is our custom here on Tuesday, we look at baseball on Twitter.


I recently started following Pastor Paul and the guys over at the Baseball Church.


They post trivia questions about baseball, and have a lot of very cool things about baseball history at their web site, Church of Baseball.com


I received a very nice letter from Pastor Paul, and a membership card that gives me a discount for purchases on the site.


Since we last spoke I found my favorite Atlanta Braves player, Dale Murphy on Twitter, @DaleMurphy3.

I really enjoyed watching Murphy play baseball, and in my opinion, he deserves to be, and should be, in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Here's my article on Dale Murphy from September 10th of 2010.

If you want a chance at winning some free money, go to the Baseball Guys,  where you can play fantasy baseball for free and have a chance at winning $$$$$.

I love when baseball graces the covers of magazines.


Here's a look at this week's Sports Illustrated cover, courtesy of the public relations guys for the Yankees.




For you fans of the Detroit Tigers, check out the Roar of the Tigers

This is one of the more creative sites I've seen.

The thing that you'll notice from the start is the art work.


To get the vote out for Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila there are various "Vote Avila" artworks being used by Tigers players, media, the fans, all led by Tigers star pitcher Justin Verlander on his Twitter account, @JustinVerlander.

The voting for the All-Star Game ends at 11:59 ET on Thursday night.

For me, the passion over at Roar of the Tigers is another reason why baseball fans are simply the best. 


Our love of the game of baseball is what drives us to set down and write, or in the case of the Roar, to draw, about our great game, the game that surpasses all others.

Until we talk baseball again, may God Bless you.

Play Ball!





Monday, June 27, 2011

Want to win a signed Justin Verlander jersey?

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is doing everything he can to get his catcher, Alex Avila, into the All-Star game on July 12th.

Avila has been closing the gap on Yankees catcher Russell Martin, and Verlander, Tigers plaers, fans, and media, are doing what they can to vote for Avila as the American League starter at catcher.

Go to @JustinVerlander, the Tigers pitchers Twitter account, give him some ideas on how to support Avila, and he will choose a winner tomorrow(Tuesday, June 28th.)

You can go to mlb.com and vote up to 25 times per email address, or you can vote at big league ball parks until this THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH, AT 11:59 PM ET.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Mop Up

OK, it's really hot outside.


If you live here in Jacksonville you know summer had been here for 2 months, as we have been battling blistering heat and smoke from wild fires.


Tomorrow, June 21st, we will welcome the official start of summer with a 100 degree day.

Thanks to all you baseball fans who keep checking back here on my blog.

We just recently saw our 19,000th page review, and I cannot thank you fans enough.


Speaking of the heat, no pitcher in the big leagues is hotter than Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.




Verlander shut down the Colorado Rockies yesterday at Coors Field, tossing a 4 hit complete game victory, his 4th CG this season, as the Tigers beat the Rockies, 9-1.

It was the 1st complete game by an opposing teams pitcher this year at Coors Field.

Verlander's win was his 7th in a row, and during those 7 games Verlander has an ERA of 1.73.

Not so hot are the Florida Marlins, who have lost 10 games in a row, and 18 of 19.


Manager Edwin Gonzales resigned abruptly Sunday morning.


The Marlins are reportedly making gestures toward 80 year old Jack McKeon, the former Marlins skipper who guided the team to the 2003 World Series Title after replacing Jeff Torborg in in early May that year.


As soon as I heard about this possibility, that McKeon would come back and coach at age 80, I though, who does this guy think he is, Connie Mack?


Mack was the legendary manager of the old Philadelphia A's who coached the team until he was 87, more than 50 years.

Oh yeah, Mack was also the A's owner.


The Marlins have had some injuries, most notably to started Josh Johnson, one of baseball's best pitchers, who's on the disabled list.

But the team has also struggled with their hitting.

Eduardo Perez, a former big leaguer, was hired away from  ESPN's Baseball Tonight to be the team's hitting coach earlier this month.


The Marlins are hitting just .244 as a club, ranking them 22nd out of the 30 big league clubs.


The St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols is arguably the best player in baseball.


Today the Cardinals are figuring out how they're going to win without their superstar, now out for at least a month, after injuring his left forearm while trying to make a play at 1st base yesterday.


The Milwaukee Brewers(40-33), Cincinnati Reds(38-35), and the Pittsburgh Pirates are all battling the Cards for first place in the National League Central, and had better make the most of this opportunity while Pujols is on the DL.

Only four games separates the 4th place Pirates and the first place Cards(40-33) and Brewers.

Yes, baseball fans, the Pirates are still in the race, despite a team batting average of just .238.

Only the Nationals, .236, the Padres, .232, and the Mariners, .229, are worse.
  
Remember "Moneyball," 

The best selling book by Michael Lewis in 2003, about Oakland A's GM Billy Beane and his remarkable job running the A's on a very tight small market budget is now a movie, starring Brad Pitt as Beane.





 For more info on the movie, here's the Official Web Site.


The A's developed a lot of good players by out working teams, finding guys like Eric Chavez, and the "Big Three" pitching staff of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito, who were the cornerstone of the A's four straight playoff appearances in the early 2000's.


As is the case with big league clubs who have small payrolls, the club couldn't afford to keep the three pitchers, and now only Tim Hudson, now with the Atlanta Braves, is till pitching in the big leagues.


I love baseball movies, and will look forward to it's release on September 23rd.

The Red Sox host the light hitting Padres tonight at Fenway Park.

The BoSox make a huge splash when they traded for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzales, and starting tonight Gonzales will be facing his old team as inter-league baseball continues.

Gonzales is easily the leading candidate for the American League MVP, leading all of big league baseball with a .348 batting average, and 64 RBI.


Gonzales is also first in doubles, with 24, total bases, with 176,  second in hits, with 101, 4th in runs scored, with 52.


Looks like Boston fans will be enjoying the play of Gonzo for many summers to come.


Tomorrow I'll be back with Twitter Tuesday.

After missing last week I'll be back writing about baseball fans and sites that I follow on my Twitter page, @freehan11, 

Is your on Twitter, give me a shout out, or just leave a comment below.

See ya next time.

















Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Just a quick shout out today to all you great fathers out there on your special day.

My father passed away in 1991, but I think about him every day.

He wasn't much of a baseball fan, although he used to tell me stories about when he did play a pick up game here and there he would play catcher, because he could throw the ball right to the bag at second base.

My Dad's favorite sport was basketball, his fave team was the Celtics, and he loved Bill Russell.

My baseball heritage comes from my Uncle Bob, who would always come to play ball with me and my brothers every summer.

I hope you and your Dad are having a great day today.

Always remember to tell your Dad you love him, because one day you'll look up, and he won't be there to play catch with, to play pepper with, to hit ground balls to you, or, and most important, just to sit and talk to you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My 2011 BBA All Star Ballot

It's baseball All-Star Game time again, and for the second consecutive year it's my proud pleasure to vote for the game as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

This years contest will be played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I saw my first All-Star game on TV in 1970, the year the Reds Pete Rose ran over Ray Fosse of the Indians to win the game for the National League.

The next year the American League  broke a long drought of losing All-Star games, beating the Senior Circuit at Detroit's Tiger Stadium.

The thing I remember most about the '71 game was the monster HR the A's Reggie Jackson hit off the light tower that sat atop the right center field roof.

The All-Star game is always a must see for me, and as always, I will root for the A.L. to win the game.

I've always cheered for the A.L., after all, that's were the Detroit Tigers play, and the Tigers are my favorite team.

I'll also watch to see if any of the Tigers player get into the game.

Back in 1970 there were always Tigers players in the game.

Bill Freehan started every game as the A.L. catcher from 1966-72, and Al Kaline, the Hall of Fame right fielder, was always in the game.

OK< enough of my remembarances, here's who I think should be in this years big game.

American League

Catcher...Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers
OK, so I'm a homer right from the start.
Avila is, however, the right choice here.

In 57 games Avila leads all A.L. catchers in RBI, with 38, in total bases, with 105, in slugging percentage, .505,  and in doubles, with 14.

Avila is also  second in batting average, .304, is 4th in HR's with 9.

First Base...Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

 Hey, it's another Tigers player, yes, but Cabrera is hitting .315, with 13 HR's, and 46 RBI.

The votes are going to go for the Red Sox Adrian Gonzales and the Yankees Mark Teixeira, so my 25 votes to Cabrera won't matter.

As long as he produces the way he does, he's going to be my vote every year.

Second Base...Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

Cano is the easy pick here.

Cano leads all A.L. second sackers in hits, 73, at bats, 255(tied), HR's, 14, RBI with 45, total bases, 132, and in slugging percentage, .518.

Third Base...Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers

As with Cano at 2nd base, the stats back up my pick of Beltre.
Beltre leads all third baseman in RBI with 49, at bats, 263, and in hits, with 69.

Shortstop...Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians

Talk about dominating a position.
Cabrera is #1 in everything, at bats, average, slugging percentage, home runs, RBI, total bases, hits, and runs scored.

Now that's a big league All-Star.

Outfield...Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees

                  Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
                   Brennan Boesch, Detroit Tigers(Write in)

Granderson is tied for the HR lead with 21 dingers, he leads all OF with 52 RBI, runs scored, 58, and 155 total bases.

Bautista is arguably the best power hitting outfielder in baseball, with a league leading 21 home runs(w/ Granderson), he leads all A.L. OF in batting, .333, in slugging percentage, .686, in on base %, .489, and in walks, with 62, an astounding 20 more than the next outfielder, the Yankees Nick Swisher.

Brennan Boesch is my favorite player in baseball, and he plays for my favorite team, the Detroit Tigers.

I wrote Boesch's name as a write in candidate all 25 times on the MLB.com ballot, and I don't care who complains.

The All-Star game is for us fans, and I know Boesch will never come close to starting, or even making, the team this year.

Boesch is a tremendous young player who has established himself in the 3rd spot in the Tigers lineup, just ahead of Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

As long as he plays big league baseball, and produces the way he has, he will get every vote from me.

In 234 at bats in 63 games Boesch is 4th among all outfielders in both doubles, 16, and runs scored, with 45.

Boesch is 8th among all OF in RBI, with 36, and is 10th in total bases, with 109.

Designated Hitter...Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers

Yes, another Tigers player, so sue me.

Martinez has been everything the Tigers wanted in a #5 hitter behind Cabrera.

Big Papi, David Ortiz is having an awesome year, and Red Sox Nation should be proud, but for what Martinez has done for the 1st place Tigers, my vote goes to V-Mart.

Martinez is second among all DH in batting, hitting .322, is 3rd in slugging , .508, 6th in on base %, and Martinez has 36 doubles, 101 total bases, and his 64 hits rank him 7th.

National League

First Base...Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Votto, the reigning N.L. MVP, is my choice among a bunch of great first baseman in the N. L.

Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, and Todd Helton all receive some of my 25 votes, it was that tough for me.

Votto leads all N.L. 1st sackers in batting average, .331, hits, 83, walks, with 56, and he's even stolen 6 bases, #1 among all N.L. first baseman.

Second Base...Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers

This is one of those players who always seems to be in his teams nightly hilights.

Weeks leads all N.L. 2nd baseman with 278 at bats, runs scored, 49, hits, 80, doubles, 18, HR's, 13, and in total bases, 141.

Third Base...Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies

In voting for Polanco, the numbers are all there, a .304 batting average, 102 total bases, 80 hits, 10 doubles,38 RBI, and 30 runs scored.

Shortstop...Jose Reyes, New York Mets

The National League leader in batting average, .345, Reyes also leads all second baseman in at bats, 284, runs scored, 50, hits, 98(N.L. leader), 20 doubles, 11 triples(N.L. leader), and in total bases, 149.

Outfielders...Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

                        Hunter Pence, Houston Astros

                        Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins

I love this set of outfielders, all whom are having terrific years.

Matt Kemp is my #1 N.L. outfielder, with 85 hits, 20 home runs, 56 RBI, and a .335 batting average, and 162 total bases.

The Houston Astros are having a miserable season, but it's not because of the play of Hunter Pence.

Pence has a .321 batting average, a .500 slugging percentage, has driven in 50 runs, and a N.L. leading 90 hits.

I'm a Mike Stanton fan.
I first saw this young player while he was here in Jacksonville, playing for the AA Suns, the Marlins affiliate.

On opening Day in 2010 he crushed 2 long home runs, and he was on his way to the big leagues.

Stanton has hit 16 HR's, has 41 RBI, 15 doubles, has scored 37 runs, has a .544 slugging percentage, and 124 total bases in 228 at bats.
When the Marlins are on my TV, and Stanton is hitting, I never change the channel.

So there you have it baseball fans, my selections for baseball's All-Star Game next month.

I know not every pick is the right player, but they are the players that I think deserve recognition for their play this season.

If you noticed my statistical numbers didn't contain one of the newer stats, WAR, or BABIP, etc.

Those stats are meaningless to me, an old school guy who believes in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.
Stats alone don't always tell the whole story anyway, they can't show hustle, or heart, or how a player plays the game.

You young guys can have all the SABR numbers you want, you can create any new stat that fits your idea of what baseball is.

Baseball is a game of pitching, hitting, running, and throwing.

Watch the games, read the game stories, look at the box scores.

The game of baseball has done just fine for over a century with it's simple rules and stats.

I love the great game of baseball, and look forward to the upcoming All-Star Game.

I hope all you baseball fans will continue to show your passion, and love of baseball, regardless weather your an old school guy like me, or a young guy just learning about the greatest game ever invented.

Play Ball!






Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Detroit Tigers Scorecard post today

As you probably know, I'm a contributing writer for the Detroit Tigers Scorecard Blog.

I try to write about baseball every day for this blog first, and then I try to write something for the DTS Blog every week.

Sometimes my health doesn't let me, or I just plain lose myself in other things.

If you're a Detroit Tigers fan, please check out the DTS Blog.

This is a blog maintained by an amazing 18 year old kid, Austin Drake.

He is a ball of energy, a young man going to college, doing play by play for Michigan High School athletics, and trying to write about the team he loves, the Detroit Tigers.

Today I wrote about Tigers starter, and staff pitching ACE, Justin Verlander, and his elite status in Tigers history.

Even if your not a Tigers fan, go to the post link below and check it out, I'd really appreciate it.


As usual, until next time, enjoy the baseball.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Roger Bresnahan

Today's belated birthday wishes are to Hall of Fame catcher Roger Bresnahan, born today, June 11th, in 1879, in Toledo, Ohio.

Bresnahan made his big league debut as a pitcher, but he's most remembered for being the inventor of early shin guards for catchers.

Bresnahan was one of manager John McGraw's favorite player with the old New York Giants of the early 1900's,  playing 17 big league seasons.





What's your favorite All-Star Game memory?

The very first big league baseball All-Star Game was played at Chicago's Comiskey Park in 1933.

The American League won the game, and the crowd  got to see the Yankees Babe Ruth hit the very first All-Star Game home run.

What's the one memory that you have from baseball's mid summer game?

For me, it's the 1971 game played at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

The game was won by the American League, 6-4, but the story were the home runs, well, one HR in particular, that made the headlines that night.

As an 11 year old I watched as one future Hall of Fame player after another came to the plate, sending balls over the fences.

Johnny Bench, Roberto Clemente, and Hank Aaron all hit home runs for the National League, and Frank Robinson, Harm on Killebrew, and Reggie Jackson, homered for the American League.

Jackson's mammoth blast off the right field light tower at Tiger Stadium is still the most awesome HR I've ever seen hit.

Baseball memories are special, and you can vote for the best All-Star Game memories at MLB.com/moments.


To see the Reggie Jackson HR, go here...http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=15759689&topic_id=20156278&tcid=copy_15759689

Saturday Sliders

Hey everyone!

Yesterday was a busy day for me and my wife as we attended the Wolfson High School graduation of one of our dear friends oldest child.

Congrats once again to Miss Christina Hope Weber, on her graduation and for being a terrific young lady.

The arena that held the graduation hosts both the ABA basketball Jacksonville Giants, and the Arena League Football Jacksonville Sharks.

It's a beautiful arena that sits across from The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, home of the two time defending Southern League baseball Jacksonville Suns.

Any way, it was a very busy day, so the weekly Friday Fastball post is a day late, and so Saturday Sliders is born.

Saturday is one of my favorite days.

I come to my local Chick Fil-A  restaurant, have lunch, listen to sports talk radio, and scour the web for baseball stuff, and watch some one o'clock big league games on the computer.


I don't follow College Baseball closely, but I do know enough to have a conversation, mostly with my two uncle's, who love college baseball.

I would follow closer if Michigan were playing, but the Wolverines weren't very good this year, and so I follow just enough to know what's going on...well, some times.

Vanderbilt University is a very good baseball school, and the Commodores are in the Super Regional, one step from the College World Series.

In yesterday's 11-1 win over Oregon State, Vandy got a big day from Mike Yastrzemski, a 2-4 day, with a home run, and 4 RBI.

Yes, that Vandy Yaz is a legacy Yaz, the grandson of Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame left fielder Carl Yastrzemski.

I'm not a Vandy fan, but I hope they make the CWS, then I'll have a player to root for.

Roy Halladay of the Phillies became the first big league pitcher to win 9 games in 2011, with a 7 inning, 6 hit, 9 K, zero runs allowed, performance over the Cubs last night.

The Cubs are miserable, and starter Carlos Zambrano was terrible, allowing 7 runs.
There's still time to vote in our poll on weather or not the Cubs should get rid of the volatile Zambrano, who's mouth continues to get him in trouble as he calls out teammates about poor play.

I have always liked Roy Halladay, going back to his days with the Blue Jays.

The only time I wasn't a fan of "Doc" is when he almost no-hit the Detroit Tigers in 1998, in just his 2nd ever career start.

Bobby Higginson, the Tigers center fielder, and one of my All-Time favorite Tigers, broke up Halladay's no hitter with 2 outs in the 9th inning.

Remember Whiffle Ball?

I used to play Whiffle Ball when I was a kid, and it was always fun to try and hit that darn ball with the holes in it.

I found this on the web, a whiffle ball game in the Kalamazoo Whiffle Ball League,  that had a possible game winning HR call made by a big league umpire who was 2,000 miles away.

The player in left made a great catch, falling over the fence, but still holding possession of the ball, therefore, an out.
 
I couldn't get the video to load on this post, so you'll find it on a separate post I made today.

The big league umpire that made the call was Tim Welke, who lives in nearby Portage, Michigan, my hometown.

Big League baseball attendance is doing pretty well, considering the country's economy.

Last night was a great night across baseball, with stadiums at 72% capacity, according to The Biz of Baseball.

The winner was the City of Philadelphia, where fans sold out Citizens Bank Park.

My FOX  Sports Baseball Hot Streak is now at 5, thanks to the Astros Hunter Pence, who singled last night.

UPDATE....as I'm typing this post, my pick for today, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, has hit a HR against the Indians, so, Hey! Hey! my streak is now 6.


My picks for the streak contest can be found here.


Last night Tony LaRussa managed his 5,000th game for the St. Louis Cardinals.


Through last night's 3-2 win over the Reds, 18 of the San Francisco Giants 29 home games have been decided by on run or less.


The Mets have had a tough time on and off the field this year, but there is always a bright spot in  baseball, and with the Mets it's rookie pitcher Dillon Gee.


Gee won again last night, making his record 7-0 this year.


The Mets have won all nine of Gee's starts this year, and the rookie is the first Mets rookie to start 7-0.

 The Yankees Derek Jeter needs just 9 hits to become the only player to collect 3,000 hits as a member of the Bronx Bombers.


Jeter, and I have no idea why, has many detractors who believe he is over rated.


To those people I say simply this, Derek Jeter is going to have 3,000 hits.


3,000 hits.


To all those fans who don't like the Yankee captain, remember to stay away from your TV and the Internet five years after Jeter retires.


I'm sure you won't like it when he becomes a first ballot member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Have a great weekend everyone, Play Ball!







"The Play"

Watch this great catch in the Kalamazoo Whiffle Ball League.

This video is the one that I mentioned in today's Saturday Sliders article.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Good Afternoon baseball fans, time for some thoughts on the great game of our youth, the game of baseball.


Thanks to the Blue Jays Jose Bautista for getting 2 hits for me last night in my FOX Sports Baseball Hot Streak, which now stands at 3 in a row.


Bautista, the big league HR leader, singled twice last night at Kansas City, and hasn't gone deep since May 28th against the White Sox.


Tonight I'm all about the Tigers Justin Verlander, and 5+ strikeouts vs, the Mariners,


Here's my history of selections.

It was very sad to hear of the passing yesterday of former Detroit Tigers outfielder Jim Northrup.


Jim was a member of the 1968 World Series Championship Tigers, and his  2 run triple in the 7th inning of Game 7 was the series winner.


The Gray Fox was a terrific player for the Tigers, and I've written before about his home run into the depths of the right field bleacher one night in 1972.


The ball landed about 10 rows, or so, in front of me, and is as close as I've ever had a HR ball come near me.


The firing of manager Bob Geren today by the Oakland A's is one of those firing's that always makes me wonder why.


The A's have been depleted by injuries, including four starting pitchers who are currently on the DL, and closer Andrew Bailey, who was hurt for two months.


The A's have a bad offense, yes, but the last time I looked the manager doesn't draft the players.


Geren will be replaced by Bob Melvin, who has experience as the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.


I see where the Yankees didn't like it when the Red Sox David Ortiz flipped his bat after hitting a home run on Tuesday night in Boston's win over New York.


Really?


In a rivalry like the Yankees-Red Sox, showing emotion after hitting a big HR is part of the game.


If the Yankees don't like it, maybe they should try getting Big Papi and the other BoSox players out.


Boston is 9-1 this year against the Bronx Bombers.


The Pittsburgh Pirates are 30-30 on the year after winning last night over the Diamondbacks.


It's the first time since 2005 that the Bucs have been at the .500 mark this late in the baseball season.


One of my favorite players to watch is the Pirates young center fielder, Andrew McCutchen, who's walk off HR in the 12th inning of last night's game gave the Pirates a 3-2 win.


The Rockies Tod Helton doubled twice last night, his 541st double of his big league career, tying him with Bobby Abreu of the Angels, and Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby for 27th All-Time in the big leagues.


Boston's knuckleballer Tim Wakefield won his 182nd game with the BoSox, and is now within 10 games of joining the legendary Cy Young and Roger Clemens with the most All-Time wins as a Red Sox pitcher.


Until next time, batter up!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Twitter Tuesday

Thanks to Ryan Braun of the Brewers for collecting a pair of hits, and now I have a streak of 1 on my quest for greatness on the FOX Sports Baseball Hot Streak contest.

Tonight I'm all in for King Felix, the Mariners Felix Hernandez, who needs to srtike out 5 batters against the ChiSox.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a very proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, a baseball site that brings fans from all corners of the baseball universe,

Every big league club is represented, and there are blogs for everyone.
Coming up next week I will be voting in the BBA Annual All-Star voting, letting everyone know my selections in the mid summer classic.

Today is our weekly Twitter Tuesday, sharing baseball fans and sites I follow over at my Twitter page.

First up today are the great baseball fans over at Through The Fence Baseball, at @TTFBaseball

Through The Fence Baseball, is simply a terrific place for baseball fans to find articles on anything from the Dodgers ownership problems, to the top 5 baseball movies that DO NOT feature Kevin Costner.

If you want to laugh, head over to @PhilCokesBrain, and believe me, you will not be disappointed.

One of the great things about Twitter is the many baseball players who are on Twitter.

A couple of weeks ago I found out that my favorite pitcher, the Tigers Justin Verlander, is now tweeting, at @JustinVerlander.

Some other players that I follow are, former Atlanta Braves 2 time MVP Dale Murphy, @DaleMurphy3, the Pirates Paul Maholm, @Maholm28, and the Yankees Curtis Granderson, @cgrand14

Granderson  is very active on Twitter, knows his baseball history, and will often get his followers involved in his charity work.

If you love baseball, and are on Twitter, feel free to follow me, @freehan11 and we will talk baseball.

Also, if you'd like, post in the comment section and let me know where you are on Twitter, and the players, teams, sites, that you follow.

Congratulations to the Giants Tim Lincecum, who became the 8th pitcher to record 1,000 K's in his first five years.

Brennan Boesch of the Detroit Tigers became the first Tiger player to collect 5 hits in a game since center fielder Austin Jackson in April of 2010.

After 12 big league seasons with the Houston Astros, Lance Berkman, who will be getting my vote for the All-Star Game, will return to Houston with the St. Louis Cardinals starting tonight.
Once part of Houston's "Killer B's,", with Craig Biggio, and Jeff Bagwell,   I'm certain the Astros fans will give Lance a nice welcome home.

Have you ever been to Cooperstown, New York, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
Would you like to?

Over at MLB.com there's a contest that will give you a chance, courtesy of Phillips Norelco.

Boston Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon has been suspended for 3 games after his incident this past Saturday with umpire Tony Randazzo.

Papelbon is appealing, of course, and will still be available to the BoSox as they travel to the Bronx tonight for the start of a 3 game series against the Yankees.

Please make sure to vote in our polls while visiting the site. 
My current poll is on the Cubs Carlos Zambrano, who's, once again, shooting his mouth off about everything wrong with his teammates in Chicago.

Until next time, enjoy the baseball.





Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Mop Up

Today is June 6th, the 67th anniversary of D-Day, and the Normandy invasion of France by the Allied Forces in 1944, during WW II.

It was a pretty good weekend to be a Detroit Tigers fan, as the boys from the Motor City went into the Windy City and took 2 of 3 from the White Sox.

The team was lead by good starting pitching from Justin Verlander(6-3) and Brad Penny, and the long ball, home runs from Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera on Saturday, and then Cabrera(again) and a grand slam from Ryan Rayburn on Sunday.

Today's Happy, Happy Birthday's include Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey(1907), the Orioles Merv Rettenmund(1943), the Mets Bud Harrelson(1944), Dave Bergman of the 1984 Wold Champion Detroit Tigers(1953), and Tony Graffanino of the Braves(1972).

Today is the anniversary of the first time a sitting U.S. President ever attended a big league baseball game.

In 1892 President Benjamin Harrison was in attendance as the Cincinnati Reds beat the hometown Washington Senators, 6-5, in 11 innings.


Dose anyone still NOT believe that the Cardinals Albert Pujols is the best hitter in baseball?

The St.Louis slugger hammered Cubs pitching over the weekend, including consecutive game winning walk off home runs as the Cards swept the Cubs, who have lost 6 straight games.

The bats of Pujols and the Cards travel to Houston, to play the Astros, who are 23-37, 12.5 games behind St. Louis in the N.L. Central.

After a good start to the weekend with my pick of the Dodgers Matt Kemp, who collected 2 hits on Friday night, my FOX Sports Baseball Hot Streak has now gone into a 2 game slide, as Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays failed to get a hit on Saturday, and Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson gave up 5 runs on 7 hits in just 4 innings.

I hope to start a new winning streak with my pick of the Brewers Ryan Braun to collect at least 1 base hit tonight against the Marlins.

Today is the start of the Major League Baseball Draft.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the 1st pick in the draft, and some believe the Pirates will select UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole #1 overall.

I have to admit, the baseball draft has never interested me that much.

I follow the Detroit Tigers, who don't have a selection in the draft until pick #76, because of their free agent signing of Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit.

You can follow the big league draft starting at live tonight at 7PM at MLB.com or on The MLB Network.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum is 5 strike outs from 1,000 in his career.

The baseball schedule gives us the Yankees and Red Sox starting tomorrow.

The Yankees, 7-3 in their last 10 games, are 1 game ahead of the BoSox(6-4) in the American League East.

The St. Louis Cardinals start the week with the most wins in the big leagues, with 36.

The Houston Astros have lost 3 in a row, and now have the most losses in the big leagues, with 37, tied with the Minnesota Twins, who have won 4 in a row.


The KC Royals have only won 6 of their 25 games on the road.

The Giants and the Cardinals have both won a big league best 18 games on the road.

Tomorrow is Twitter Tuesday here on the blog.
I will be featuring some of the fans and players I follow on my Twitter page.

I would love to talk baseball with anyone on Twitter, just send me a tweet.

Until next time, enjoy the baseball.






Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Fastballs

Here's a few random thoughts and things as we head into the first weekend of June baseball.

First, today's trivia...


Who leads the big leagues in total bases this year?


Casper Wells of the Detroit Tigers hit a 3-run HR off the ChiSox Mark Buehrle tonight, continuing the team's streak of at least one extra base hit in every game for the Tigers, the only team in the big leagues to have done that this season.

Here's today's Happy, Happy Birthdays...

The Orioles Jim Gentile, in 1934, the ChiSox Steve Lyons,and the Mets Barry Lyons, not related,  in 1960...a very good year.


Carl Everett of the Red Sox was born in 1971, as was the Devil Rays Aaron Ledesma, and current Blue Jays catcher Jose Molina of the famed Molina brothers was born on this June day in 1975.


My struggles with picking correctly continues on my daily baseball picks on the FOX Sports Baseball Hot Streak.


Tonight I need at least one hit from the Dodgers Matt Kemp to end a personal 2 pick losing streak.


The past two pick failures were the Brewers Jonathan Lucroy, and Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians, who both failed to get at least one hit for me.


The loss of Buster Posey, the talented Rookie of the Year catcher for the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants is a bad break, indeed.

The saddest part of the injury, however, is the response to the play at the plate that injured the Giants star catcher by their General Manager, Brian  Sabean.

 Sabean went on local radio, a full eight days after the injury, and blasted the Florida Marlins Scott Cousins, the player who crashed into Posey, saying,

“If I never hear from Cousins again and he never plays another game in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy,”

For a big league GM to say that about a player is way out of line, and he should personally apologize to Cousins, the Marlins, and baseball as a whole.

We can debate for hours about that play, and weather Cousins went out of his way to hit Posey, heck, some of Posey's Giants team thought the play was legal.

Cousins has even apologized for the play, something he did not need to do.

I think a fine is in order for GM Sabean, and I hope Commissioner Bud Selig sees it that way to.

What's going on with the 3 HR games in big league baseball?

Yesterday's 3 HR barrage from the Giants Aubrey Huff against the St. Louis Cardinals make him the 6th player in 22 days to go yard three times in a single game.

On May 21st we found out that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter was diagnosed with four small malignant tumors on his brain.

As expected, there has been an out pouring of sentiment toward Carter, and several baseball fans have asked that the Mets honor Carter with a retirement of the #8 he wore for the team.

Over on Yahoo Sports, Big League Stew talks about the need for the Mets to honor Carter now, and I couldn't agree more.

I was very surprised that Carter's #8 wasn't already retired, after all, he was the glue that formed that 1986 Mets World Series Championship, and, oh, yeah, he's a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans, don't forget to go to MLB.com and vote for this year's All-Star Game.

Voting runs through June 30th, and you may vote up to 25 times.

My annual post of my All-Star Game picks will come in a week, or two, but I've already voted a few times.

Matt Kemp, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, and Asdrubal Cabrera are some of my choices so far.

I always vote a few times over the course of a month and a half, making sure to give credit to deserving players over that time span.

Being baseball fans, there is always a moment during the season when we look at the stats of players, and wonder what's going on as that player struggles at the plate, in the field, and on the mound.

Over at S.I.com Joe Sheehan looks at the under performing players so far in the 2011 baseball year.

Note...aforementioned Aubry Huff of the Giants must have read this article before hitting his three dingers yesterday.

Today's Trivia Answer...Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays has133 total bases as of June 3rd.

Have a great weekend, and, as always, enjoy the ball games.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Today in Baseball, June 2nd

Today is June 2nd, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Uncle Paul, who turns 69 today, and to my late father, Tommie Sharp, who would have been 74 today.

Here are some of today's Happy Happy Baseball Birthdays...Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Red Legs, Horace Clarke of the New YorkYankees, Detroit Tigers infielder Darnell Coles, California Angels pitcher Bryan Harvey, Mike Stanton of the Atlanta Braves, and current Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez.

One year ago, on June 2nd, 2010, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers threw a perfect game against the Cleveland Indians, only to see first base umpire Jim Joyce blow the final out call...One year later it's still a game of perfection.
 

June 2nd is a day of remembrance in baseball history.

It was on this day in 1941 that Lou Gehrig passed away from the disease ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, now known to all of us as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Only 37, Gehrig had played in a then record 2,130 consecutive baseball games, when he took himself out of a game in Detroit after playing the first 8 games that year.

Gehrig would never play another game in the big leagues.


To learn more about Gehrig, and ALS, visit The Official Lou Gehrig Web Site

Also on June 2nd, in 1935, another legendary Yankee, Babe Ruth, announced his retirement, taking a then record 714 home runs with him.

And on June 2nd, 1990, in Seattle, Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson no-hit the Detroit Tigers, and the Mariners won, 2-0.



One year later, it's still a game of perfection

My, oh my, how fast a single year goes by.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the "28 up, 28 down" Perfect Game tossed by then Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga at Comerica Park in Detroit.





The only problem, of course, was that 1st base umpire Jim Joyce, regarded as one of the best by a vote of big league players, blew the final out when he called Cleveland Indians 2nd baseman Jason Donald safe at 1st base, when in fact, he was the 27th and final out in a brilliant game of perfection by Galarraga..

What happened after the game, and the next day, have become a lesson in something that is dying a slow death in baseball, and in sports...sportsmanship.

Galarraga never complained, not after he saw Joyce call Donald safe when he knew he had clutched the ball in his glove for the final out, or after the game when he told the media, "no one's perfect."

In the umpire's room after the game Joyce, who was berated by the Tigers and manager Jim Leyland on the field after the game, looked at the replay of out #27, and realized immediately that he had made a colossal mistake.

Joyce was so upset that he had blown the call of perfection that he went over to the Tigers locker room and personally apologized to Galarraga for ruining his perfection.

Joyce and Galarraga would meet again the very next day in Comerica Park, as Joyce, the home plate umpire for the afternoon game, shook hands with Galarraga as the tall Venezuelan handed Joyce the Tigers team line up card.

There is a brand new book out, co-authored by Joyce and Galarraga, that takes a look at that magic night in Detroit, from both perspectives of what would have been the first ever perfect game pitched by a member of the Detroit Tigers.

"Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History"