December 2011

Christmas Entry – Part Two

First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Second, today is part two of the answers to the question of what the best present you’ve ever recieved for Christmas. (CLICK HERE, if you missed Part One.) Hope you enjoy reading the below answers:

DEE GORDON

Getting to be with my family.

TYSON GILLIES

A yak back was my favorite. Haha.

LV WARE

When I was 6 or 7, spent Christmas with the entire family.

STEVE BUMBRY

A car.

JUSTIN JACKSON

Batman figurine mansion with a bat mobile.

RYAN TATUSKO

I would have to say it was my first baseball glove!

JJ HOOVER

That’s a good one but I always remember the year I got ps1 and madden 95. Was epic.

RICHARD GIANNOTTI

Laser tag.

ANDREW BAILEY

I think original nintendo in like 5th grade or something nice @ladybailey40 got me. Haha.

EDWIN JACKSON

I like them all really. It’s always the thought with me not necessarily the gift.

ZACK WHEELER

Wow that’s tough. I don’t know though. I’m just fortunate my parents were able to provide for me every year.

MYKE JONES

Probably my basketball goal when I was younger.

YONDER ALONSO

I went on a trip to my homeland Cuba. Had the chance to be with family…awesome times! Cuba=Amazing Beach!

DANNY WORTH

An awesome skim board.

MIKE NAPOLI

All my family being there all at once.

JOEL HANRAHAN

A new glove, probably.

JUSTIN DE FRETUS

Got the same thing most years. A pro preferred rawlings. It was awesome.

DAVID HERNANDEZ

Over the years I’ve gotten alot of great presents. I can’t narrow it down to one. #BLESSED

ERIC SURKAMP

Socks and Underwear.

PAUL MAHOLM

My two front teeth! Haha no, but 7 years ago my BWE married me.

BEN REVERE

I don’t know. Maybe a PS3.

CASPER WELLS

Sega Genesis.

ADAM RUSSELL

Nintendo when I was 5. I cried I was so happy.

CHRIS HATCHER

Tough one. As a kid it was Legos. I had nearly every Lego made.

HOWARD KENDRICK

My oldest son Owen was born on Christmas day. 7:20 am to be exact. Nothing gets better.

CHRIS DICKERSON

Best gift I got. took it everywhere and wreaked all havoc. #bestgiftever

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Christmas Entry – Part One

With today being Christmas Eve, I thought it’d be a good time to post a Christmas related baseball entry. I recieved the below answers last month, but wanted to wait until today (and tomorrow) to post them. Below is part one of the answers. I recieved SO many replies that I didn’t want to try and cram them all in into one entry.

I asked MLB players (and some minor leaguers) what the best present they ever recieved for Christmas was. I recieved some well thought out answers, and some, well, not so much. I hope you enjoy:

STEVE CISHEK

My two front teeth.

JEREMY GUTHRIE

A Pizzaz pizza cooker. Thing makes the perfect pizza out of frozen pizza! #BestChristmasGift

JOSH LUEKE

My two front teeth fixed. Haha.

DANIEL HUDSON

 Good question. I’ve gotten too many good ones over the years. Hard to pick a favorite! #blessed

DAVID AARDSMA

I was ten and got a surfboard! Awesome.

FRANK CATALANOTTO

Best Christmas present ever is a tough one. But I’ll go with getting Nintendo when it first came out in 1985.

THOMAS NEAL

Car. ’94 rolla 100,000 miles with house speakers in the back.

SAM LECURE

I got a stuffed animal when I was 3 that I take everywhere. That’s at the top. I went skydiving last year which was awesome. Those two jump out but I’m sure I’ve gotten some really good ones I’m not thinking of.

CHARLES BREWER

That’s a tough question. Gonna say my Titleist AP2 clubs. :)

RYAN ROBERTS

I’ve had a lot of good ones but the present I use the most is a fancy coffee maker. I drink coffee every morning.

DIRK HAYHURST

Nothing. I loved it.

BUD NORRIS

Tough one. When I turned 12 “Santa” got me a Go-Ped. Little motorized scooter.

CHRIS SWAUGER

Ultimate Warrior WWF Wrestling Buddy. Still gets bodyslammed.

JIWAN JAMES

I don’t know. I’ve always been spoiled. Too many.

MATT ANTONELLI

Probably a go kart I got back in the day.

BARRY ENRIGHT

Spending time with family. Oh and “Penny” Hardaway Shoes back in the day! #Boom

GARRETT RICHARDS

I got an old school big foot that I drove into the ground! Blue with a foot print gas peddle. So sick. #monstertruckswag But probably my favorite thing around the house during Christmas time would have to be my Purple Ninja Turtle stocking. Only stocking I can remember having. #oldschool

FRANK THOMAS

My first bike. A 10 speed!

WILL MIDDLEBROOKS

Field goal post my dad made out of pvc pipe. Not full size. Probably 10 ft wide. I was 8.

RYAN VERDUGO

A red Ryder bb gun, and no I didn’t shoot my eye out.  #achristmasstory

VINNIE PESTANO

Pobably my first PS2. Very hard to come by that year and my parents played it down very well.

BRENT LILLIBRIDGE

An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

JEMILE WEEKS

Last year having the suite at the magic game vs. boston celtics and my whole fam being there compliments of my bro and myself.

SHAWN KELLEY

I was 8 and got a 30 .06.

ANTHONY BASS

The best christmas present was one I never received. I asked for 10 years in a row for a 1995 A-Rod Starting Lineup. #stillwaiting

CODY DECKER

No question:

Part two will be posted tomorrow. (Sometime.)

Q and A With Josh Spence

Josh Spence made his Major League debut on June 24th of this year against the Atlanta Braves. Although the 23 year-old lefty from Australia is new to baseball on the Major League level, he’s already seemed to develop confidence on the mound. As former Padres pitcher Heath Bell put it: “He’s calm and cool like an iceberg.” Spence–LHP for the San Diego Padres–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:

1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball?

I first became interested in baseball at the age of 8. I started playing T-ball and it then progressed into baseball. No one in my family played baseball before me. I actually tried alot of other sports before baseball but once I picked up the bat and ball I never looked back.

2.) Did you always want to be a pitcher?

I didn’t always want to be a pitcher. I really enjoyed playing outfield in the leagues back in Australia, but naturally pitching took over. Now I just get my work in during batting practice, so hopefully one day I can sneak back out there. Haha.

3.) Describe your MLB debut. What was going through your head on that day?

My MLB debut is something I’ll never forget! Just running out from the pen, feeling the atmosphere of the crowd on a beautiful San Diego night was amazing. It was firework night and when the final out was recorded off it went. It was a “fairy tale” ending to my debut. It’s a strange feeling accomplishing something you’ve been working your whole life for firstly and secondly, doing it quicker than expected. Me I just need to work hard and keep my spot!

4.) This was your first season of MLB. What did you take out of it? What went well? And what do you feel you need to improve on in 2012?

It was a monster learning curve. If I told you what I learnt and what I need to work on I’d have to kill you ;). I will say this and is no secret: I need to cut my walks down. There were too many base on balls on my behalf and if I want to be successful in the future I need to do a better job to control that aspect of the game.

5.) Are there any pranksters on the Padres? If so, have you ever been pranked? Or do you do the pranking?

Obviously Heath Bell was the biggest prankster on the team, and yes I got pranked hard, but if you had of told me I’d be sharing a locker room with these superstars and that they’d treat me as one of their own, I would have told you you’re dreaming. Haha. It was an honor, in a nutshell, to be pranked.

6.) Favorite TV show?

I’m a sucker for Family Guy and Workaholics. But I don’t mind watching Pawn Stars and Storage Wars either.

7.) Favorite food?

Avocado!!!! If it’s got avocado in it I’ll eat it!

8.) Favorite thing to do on an off day during the season?

Play my Xbox. I love just relaxing on the couch and getting some gaming in.

9.) Favorite moment of baseball career thus far?

Getting called up and the whole excitement is undoubtedly the favorite moment of my baseball career thus far.

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Big thanks to Josh Spence for answering my questions. You can follow him on twitter: @joshspence

2011 GIBBY Awards

The 2011 GIBBY Awards were awarded last night on MLB Network. The GIBBY Awards–or Greatness In BaseBall Yearly–are awarded for 19 different categories including Rookie of the Year, Play of the Year, etc. These awards are given to the winners based on votes by you the fans at MLB.com, media, front-office personnel and MLB alumni. I’ve included my prediction as well as the winner followed by my thoughts:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Matt Kemp.

Winner- Matt Kemp.

This was a fairly easy category to predict. Matt Kemp had the best season by far of any other player in MLB. He ended the season one home run shy of a 40/40. (40 home runs and 40 steals.) Although he didn’t reach that incredible mark, he did achieve a 30/30, as well as come through in some big spots for the Dodgers.

STARTING PITCHER OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Justin Verlander.

Winner- Justin Verlander.

Another easily predicted category. Just Verlander had the best season of his career. He recorded 250 strike-outs and a 2.40 ERA–good enough to net him 24 Wins for the season. He also pitched a no-hitter and won the Cy Young and MVP awards for the AL this season. The award couldn’t of gone to a more deserving pitcher.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Craig Kimbrel.

Winner- Craig Kimbrel.

Craig Kimbrel completely dominated the ninth inning this season for the Atlanta Braves. He recorded 127 strike-outs off of 77 innings pitched. He also set the rookie record for saves, with 46. Although there were several other deserving candidates in this category, I feel that the rightful winner won.

CLOSER OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Craig Kimbrel.

Winner- Jose Valverde.

Of the nominees, it came down to Craig Kimbrel and Jose Valverde when it came to making my prediction. I couldn’t decide which one to choose. I ended up picking Kimbrel after several minutes of mental debate. That was the wrong one however, as Valverde was awarded the GIBBY for Closer of the Year. Well deserved, too. Valverde, who went perfect, going 49 for 49 in save opportunities, was fantastic this year. No complaints from me.

SETUP MAN OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Johnny Venters.

Winner- David Robertson.

Again another hard one to predict. I went with my gut of Johnny Venters, considering the fact that he and Kimbrel were incredible this season. Venters would dominate the eighth, with Kimbrel dominating the ninth. But David Robertson was the setup man for Mariano Rivera, so I guess I can’t argue with his winning of the GIBBY.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Brandon Phillips.

Winner- Asdrubal Cabrera.

Extremely difficult isn’t a good enough statement when it comes to describing my attempt to predict the winner of this category. There were several deserving nominees. I predicted that Brandon Phillips would win given the fact that he basically had an incredible play every night, including the through the legs flip to first back in May. But it seemed as if Asdrubal Cabrera’s motto was “anything you can do I can do better”, as his incredible plays beat out Phillips for the GIBBY.

BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Ian Kennedy.

Winner- Ian Kennedy. 

Fairly easy to predict was this category. Ian Kennedy truly had a breakout year for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kennedy recorded 21 wins including a complete-game shutout. But when you think about it, the entire D-backs team had a breakout season. They went from finishing last in the 2010 season to coming in first this season. But the award isn’t for a team. It’s for a single player, thus Ian Kennedy was awarded the GIBBY.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Lance Berkman.

Winner-Lance Berkman.

It came down to Jacoby Ellsbury and Lance Berman for me, but I ended up going with Berkman for my prediction. I’m glad I chose Berkman over Ellsbury, as he was awarded the GIBBY for Comeback Player of the Year. Berkman had an incredible season when compared to last year. Check out the stats for Berkman below:

2010- 100 hits, 167 total bases, 14 home runs, 58 RBI’s, and a .248 average.

2011- 147 hits, 267 total base, 31 home runs, 94 RBI’s, and a .301 average.

Totals- +47 hits, +100 total bases, +17 home runs, +36 RBI’s, and + .053 average.

I believe the stats speak for themselves.

WOW FACTOR OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Robinson Cano.

Winner- Robinson Cano.

Wow is pretty much the first word that comes to mind when you think of the season Robinson Cano had. He recorded 3 grand-slams off of 28 total home runs. If he came to the plate, and the bases were full of Yankees, you had to figure he’d come up big, as he did several times throughout this season. He truly exhibited the wow factor.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Kirk Gibson.

Winner- Kirk Gibson.

I didn’t have to think twice about my prediction. The moment I saw his name on the Manager of the Year nominee list, I wrote his name down. Although managers like Joe Maddon might be more entertaining, no other manager, including Maddon, helped his team succeed like Gibson did. Gibson helped to turn the team around, as they went from losing 97 games in 2010 to winning 94 this year. Truly remarkable. Remarkable enough to earn ‘Gibby’ a GIBBY.

EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Ruben Amaro Jr.

Winner- John Mozeliak.

I had NO idea who to pick for this category. I closed my eyes, pointed my finger and went with Ruben Amaro Jr. (That’s the name my finger landed on.) But my finger was wrong, as it was John Mozeliak winning the GIBBY. I guess that makes sense. His team, the St. Louis Cardinals, won the World Series this year. But I really could care less about this category, so lets move onto Postseason MVP.

POSTSEASON MVP

My original prediction- David Freese.

Winner- David Freese.

While you had players like Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz, and Albert Pujols coming through in big spots, NO ONE came through like David Freese did. He’s the reason the Cardinals forced a game seven and subsequently won the World Series. Had Freese not of come through with the game-tying triple, and then the game-winning home run, there would’ve been no game seven, and thus the Rangers would’ve won the World Series. No player was more valuable than Freese.

PLAY OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Lillibridge’s game-saving catches.

Winner- Ben Revere’s catch at the wall.

Ben Revere’s catch at the wall WAS incredible, however I made the prediction that I did due to the fact that Lillibridge made TWO game-saving catches in a row. But I’m not upset. I’m glad that Revere won. The catch was outstanding, and I’ll admit that I watched it about 20 times in a row when I was voting for this category.

MOMENT OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Jeter goes deep for his 3,000th hit.

Winner- Dan Johnson’s game-tying home run.

I was surprised that Dan Johnson’s game-tying home run was the winner of this award. For me the most incredible moment of the year was DJ3K. I mean to reach a milestone of 3,000 hits in which NO other Yankees in their long history has accomplished, and to do it on a home run?! That to me should’ve won. This was the only category that I can’t be happy with who won. Sorry, that’s just the way I feel.

PREFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Jeter goes 5-5 and gets 3,000th hit.

Winner- Jeter goes 5-5 and gets 3,000th hit.

Although I think it should’ve won moment of the year as well, I’m glad that DJ3K won for this category. Jeter went 5-5 in the game in which he recorded his 3,000th hit on a home run. Two of his hits in the game were doubles, with the other two being singles, and of course the home run. This was by far the performance of the year.

ODDITY OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Mantis visits dugout.

Winner- Braun’s stumble around third.

I truly thought that Logan Morrison’s experience with the Mantis would’ve won for Oddity of the Year. It was hilarious what went down when the Mantis jumped onto Morrison’s shoulder, but I admit that I laughed for several minutes the first time I saw Braun’s stumble around third. So I’m glad that if Morrison’s Mantis incident didn’t win, that Braun’s stumbling did.

WALK-OFF OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Evan Longoria’s playoff clinching home run.

Winner- Evan Longoria’s playoff clinching home run.

The night in which Evan Longoria his the game-winning and play-off clinching home run was one of the best nights of baseball I’ve ever experienced. Although I wasn’t at the game physically, I felt it was just as incredible to be watching it all go down on TV. That night in baseball will stay in my mind for a long time to come.

FAN MOMENT OF THE YEAR

My original prediction- Fielder’s choice.

Winner- Fan shows maturity.

I thought it was awesome when Prince Fielder borrowed a fan’s pair of sunglasses. I mean, how often does that happen? But then again, how often does a kid show enough maturity to give up a baseball to the younger kid who he caught it in front of? It doesn’t happen everyday. When it originally happened I heard that he had been told by an usher to give the ball to the kid, but last night during the GIBBY cremony Mitch Williams stated that no one told him to. Either way, it was a nice gesture by the kid.

POSTSEASON MOMENT

My original prediction- Pujols joins Babe and Reggie.

Winner- David Freese’s game-tying triple.

I chose Pujols’ joining of Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson in World Series history by hitting three home runs in a single game as my prediction, but it didn’t win,nor did it even come in second. The winner of the GIBBY for this category was the game-tying triple by David Freese. It was incredible. Had Freese of struck-out, the Rangers wouldn’ve won the World Series, and game seven never would’ve taken place.

I hope you enjoyed this blog entry. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment below.

Ryan Braun Tests Positive for PED’s

Well I didn’t see this coming. After having the best season of his career (we now know why) Ryan Braun has reportedly tested positive for Performance-enhancing Drugs; or PED’s. Braun’s 2011 season consisted of him recording 33 home runs, off of 187 hits–good enough to earn him the title of MVP in the National League, as well as lead “his” Brewers to their first division title in three decades. This comes as a shock, not only to me, but to baseball fans everywhere, as well as the players, and staff, of Major League Baseball. Acording to reports, Braun was notified of the test results a month before he was named NL MVP, but when asked his thoughts on the subject, he replied: ” It’s B.S.” Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. But I’ll tell you one thing. If it is indeed true–that Braun knew of his testing positive for PED’s–then the awarding of MVP to Braun is “B.S.” How do you knowingly award such an important award to a guy who didn’t achieve his stats legally? In short, he cheated. Braun cheated. He’s no better than A-rod, McGwire, or anyone else who has used steroids in the history of Major League Baseball.

Braun is appealing the steroids charge, however if it the initial finding is upheld, Braun will be required to serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2012 season. This would mean the first game Braun would be eligible to play in wouldn’t be until June 5th, at home against the Chicago Cubs. A major blow to the Brewers, especially if Prince Fielder signs somewhere other than Milwaukee during the offseason.

Back in 2009, when Alex Rodriguez was accused to have used steroids, Braun made the following statement in response to whether he’d ever been tempted to use PED’s :

It’s never something that I sought. I would never do it because if I took steroids, I would hit 60 or 70 home runs.

“60 or 70 home runs” Braun? Really? According to the statistics, you only hit 33 this season. What gives? Perhaps a better way to sum up how shocking this news is, here’s a 2009 statement from Bud Selig, after Mark McGwire’s coming clean:

The use of steroids and amphetamines amongst today’s players has greatly subsided and is virtually nonexistent, as our testing results have shown. The so-called steroid era — a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances — is clearly a thing of the past, and Mark’s admission today is another step in the right direction.

I would have to agree. The used of steroids has diminished throughout the past decade. (Or at least as far as we know.) However I’d have to agree with Bob Costas who, as usual, made an extremely accurate statement in response to Bud Selig, saying, “…there will always be rogue chemists that want to help players cheat.” I suppose Ryan Braun knows one of those “chemists.”

Q and A With Kurt Suzuki

Kurt Suzuki is the current catcher for the Oakland Athletic’s. In his five seasons with the Athletics Kurt Suzuki has recorded 56 home runs and over 500 hits. Suzuki took the time recently to answer some questions for my blog:

1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball?

I’ve always loved baseball, but it wasn’t until I was in middle school that I really wanted to play as long as I could.

2.) Did you always want to be a catcher?

I actually wanted to be a shortstop early. When I got to high school I focused on being a catcher full time.

3.) Where were you, and how did you find out, that you’d been drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 2004 draft? Initial thoughts?

We had an off day before the super regionals in college so I was at our coaches office at the field watching it on the computer. I was really excited to be drafted by Oakland. It was a west coast team with lots of tradition and I heard about their love of bringing up young players.

4.) How do you prepare yourself (and your knees) for the many innings behind the plate?

I work on staying flexible and athletic. I try to rely on quickness then being really big. All my workouts are explosive, quick twitch muscles related.

5.) Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I have a pre game routine I do every game to get myself loose and warm. If I do it I also feel prepared and confident going into the game.

6.) Do you find it a better feeling to throw out a baserunner or to hit a home run?

Hard question. They’re both quite awesome. You get a good rush running the bases on a homer, but you also feel pretty cool nailing a runner at second or third. Helps the pitcher out and that’s huge for a catcher.

7.) What advice would you give to young catchers when it comes to throwing out base stealers and blocking the plate?

For throwing the best advice I got is not to rush. Give yourself a chance and be accurate. If you’re too quick and throw it into center it does no good. Put yourself in a good position when blocking the plate ready to absorb the hit. Make sure you have the ball too. No need to get run over when you don’t have the ball anyway.

8.) Favorite TV show?

Favorite tv show is parenthood.

9.) Favorite food?

Food: lau lau, lomi salmon, kalua pig and rice.

10.) Favorite moment of baseball career thus far?

Best moment has to be just being able to play the game of baseball and being able to take care of your family. It’s a great feeling and I always feel blessed to be able to do this!!!!
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Big thanks to Kurt Suzuki for taking the time to anser my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @kurtsuzuki

Pujols and Wilson To the Angels

The Winter Meetings, in Dallas, Texas, are now over, but man were they exciting. And although the Angels and Marlins were the only two teams that didn’t seem to be exploring the hotel the entire week, there were still some big name players that found new homes.

Let me start off talking a little bit about Albert Pujols. He was the main story throughout the week. Reports had the Cubs, Cardinals, Angels, and Marlins all presenting offers to Pujols, but when it came down to it, the Cubs couldn’t compete in the money game. The Cardinals offered Pujols a reported 220 Million over 10 years. Not bad, but if Albert Pujols was going to “go where the money was” they would have to raise their offer by a substantial amount; which didn’t happen. The Angles and Marlins really fought it out for Pujols. The Marlins offered Pujols a reported 275 Million over 10 years, while the Angels offered a 254 Million dollar 10-year deal. If it was about the money–which according to Pujols, it wasn’t–then it should’ve been an easy decision. No team offered anywhere near what the Marlins offered, so that’s where he’ll go right? Nope. Pujols took the 10-year 254 Million dollar offer from the Angels. (The second highest contract in MLB history.) So it wasn’t about the money, it was about the no-trade clause. The Angels offered him one, while the Marlins refused to. So in the end, Pujols took 21 Million less to secure a no-trade clause. But here’s my question. If the top offer from the Cardinals was 220 Million over 10 years, why not just stay in St. Louis? He’s a legend there, as it’s the only team he’s ever known. They love him there. It just doesn’t make sense. He’s only going to make just over 2 million more a year out in Anaheim. Is 22 million a year not enough to stay in a city that praises you? I don’t know. If it was me, I wouldn’t have made the decision he did. But whatever. My last name isn’t Pujols.

So now if you’re the Angels you’re thinking: “Okay. We’ve got one of the best hitters (if not the best) in all of Major League Baseball. Now we need an Ace pitcher to go along with him.” Thus you sign the best pitcher on the free-agent market, CJ Wilson. Wilson–who signed a 5-year contract worth 75 Millon–will join Weaver and Santana in the Angels killer pitching rotation. With the addition of Pujols and Wilson, the Angels will be difficult to beat in 2012. Whether they’ll make the playoffs and sweep every team that gets in their way to win the World Series like everyone is foreseeing is yet to be seen. I for one, don’t think they will. It’s kind of like the LeBron “decision” last year. Everyone thought the Heat would be unbeatable with James, Wade, and Bosh, but unless it’s invisible, I don’t see a Championship ring on the finger of LeBron. Just saying.

Where Will Pujols Go?

There’s been talk for awhile that Albert Pujols will pull a LeBron, and “take his talents to South Beach.” Well, I honestly don’t think so. I feel that he will stay with the St. Louis Cardinals, just for the fact that the Marlins aren’t offering that much more, and the Cards are the only team Pujols has ever known. However, if the Marlins offer a MAJOR ammount of money to Pujols, and the Cardinals don’t offer anywhere near it, then Pujols would be stupid not to take it.

This is all just my opinion. What do you think?

If you voted for other, please leave a comment below with which team you think he’ll end up with.

UPDATE

Pujols has signed with the Angels.

Miami Marlins New Look

The Marlins’ new look began to take shape back on September 28, when the signing of Ozzie Guillen, as their new manager, was made official with a press conference. Things took off from there. Next came changing the team name from Florida Marlins, to Miami Marlins, which subsequently lead to a new logo, as well as new uniforms. But the biggest news thus far isn’t the new uniforms or manager, but the newest members of the Miami Marlins, Heath Bell and Jose Reyes. Reyes–who signed a six-year, 106 Million dollar contract–is sure to help the Marlins out tremendoulsy, with his great speed and hitting ability, while Bell–who signed a three-year 27 Million dollar contract–is sure to close out plenty of games. Both of these signings were great ones for the Miami Marlins, but all this money spent so far brings up a major question: Will the signing of Bell and Reyes increase attendance for the 2012 season?

So, will the addition of Heath Bell and Jose Reyes to the Marlins spark baseball fans’ interests enough to get them to buy tickets and take a trip to the ballpark? The Marlins better hope so. I need not remind you of the scene that took place at a Marlins-Reds game in August of this past season. A mere 347 “fans” attended that game:

The Marlins needed to find a way to boost attendance levels, and I think they found it. With the additon of Guillen, Bell and Reyes–with talk of Pujols recieving a ten-year offer exceeding 200 Million dollars– combined with the new ballpark and uniforms, I think the 2012 attendance levels will be up, and stay up as long as the Marlins begin, and continue, to win. If not, I can very easily see the Marlins’ attendance going back to their well-known levels.

Please take a moment to vote in the polls below.

1) On a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being AWESOME) how would you rank the Miami Marlin’s new uniforms?

2) On a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being AWESOME) how would you rank the Miami Marlin’s new logo?

3) Lastly, do you think the Miami Marlin’s attendance levels will increase for the 2012 season?

 If you have any further comments, please feel free to leave one below.

Blogging Plans for the Rest of 2011

Sorry I haven’t posted a blog entry in awhile. I decided to take a short blogging break after Thanksgiving, but I’m back now. This blog entry’s main purpose is for you to be quickly caught up with my opinions of the latest news in MLB–including the hiring of Bobby Valentine as the Red Sox’ Manager–as well as get a general idea as to my blogging plans for the rest of the year. So let me get started:

TRADES AND SIGNINGS

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this. There have been several trades and signings that have taken place since I blogged last, but I’m just going to focus on the main two that stand out in my mind: Jonathan Broxton and Jose Molina. (Sorry if that’s not the ones you wanted to hear about.) First of all, let me point out the obvious. Broxton didn’t have the best year this past season. Sure he was injured, but before that he put up some terrible stats. I’m talking about a 5.68 ERA and 15 hits off of 12.2 innings pitched. That’s a bad ERA for a starting pitcher, but as a closer, that’s awful. He recently signed with the Kansas City Royals, and considering the fact that he recently underwent surgery, that could be a big sign for the Royals. Up until this season, Broxton hasn’t been half bad. So you gotta figure that the Royals are thinking the same, that he’ll come in pitching better than ever. Now turning my attention to Jose Molina. I think it was a fantastic decision by the Rays to sign him. Although he’s never played in more than 100 games in a single season since the begginning of his career in 1999, I still think he will contribute a lot to the team. He’s no power hitter, having hit just 6 home runs this past season, but he can come through when you need him to, so I think it’s a good fit. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Tampa Bay Rays get back to the play offs again in 2012. Not only that, I predict they’ll make it further than they did this past season. World Series perhaps? Who knows. I just think that with Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields as their Aces, and Evan Longoria and BJ Upton as their big bats, this team will go far.

BOBBY VALENTINE TO MANAGE RED SOX

After what seems like forever, the Red Sox have finally made the announcement that Bobby Valentine will become the new manager of the Red Sox. A great choice, however I’m not so sure it’s the right one. Valentine–who’s been known to not hold back when it comes to letting his opinions be known–is the kind of person that I don’t think many people will quickly come to like. I’m not saying it will never happen, but it will take some time. After Terry Francona came in to help the Sox win their first World Series title in 86 years, I’d say those are some big shoes to fill. Maybe too big?

2012 HOF BALLOT

Of the 16 candidates on the 2012 Hall Of Fame ballot, only two of them are first timers. The two are Bernie Williams and Bill Mueller. Every other name has been on their at least once before. In my opinion, Bernie Williams is a true Hall Of Famer, but then again, he is my favorite player of all time, so I might not be in the position to make a fair choice. Some of the non first year names that stand out most include Barry Larkin, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, etc. But then again, they all stand out. That’s why they’re on the ballot. Should be interesting to see who gets in, and who’s left hoping for next time.

Staying on the topic of the HOF ballot, but shifting gears a bit, I want to take a second to talk about the fact that Mark McGwire is on the ballot. The guy was an incredible player–583 career home runs, with 70 coming in the 1998 season alone–but his steroid use is something that I think should keep him out. It’s not right. Somewhere, a guy with the last name of Rose, is shaking his head.

DECEMBER BLOGGING PLANS

Now that I’ve gotten my opinions out about the latest things baseball, let me take a minute to discuss my blogging plans for the remainder of 2011. I’m still planning on posting a Q and A entry once a week. (Something I plan on doing up until the start of the 2012 regular season.) Coming up sometime this week, is Kurt Suzuki, of the Oakland Athletics. As far as other blog entries go, I’m just going to blog as the MLB news happens. The only blog entry that I’m sure of, is one that’s coming up around Christmas. (Yes, it’s Christmas related. Imagine that.) Part one will come on Christmas Eve, and part two on Christmas day.

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