April 2012

Bryce Harper Makes His MLB Debut

The moment that everyone has been waiting for since Bryce Harper graced the front cover of Sports Illustrated, at age 16, finally occured last night. That’s right, National’s phenom, and 1st overall pick of the 2010 draft, made his MLB debut last night in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

There were high expectations for Harper coming into this game, and to tell you the truth, I thought he did really well given the immense pressure. Anytime a young prospect makes his debut there is pressure involved, but considering the fact that Harper has been in the public eye for the past 4 years, everyone knows who he is, and thus already has their opinion of him. They either love him, or hate him. This was made evident when Harper came up to bat for the first time, in the top of the 2nd inning, to a howl of boos.

Harper failed to get a hit in his first two at bats, but finally connected with one in the top of 7th, sending a laser shot over the head of Matt Kemp, who fielded the ball well, forcing Harper to stop at second base with a double.

As far as Harper’s debut goes, it wasn’t the incredible performance that some were hoping for, but Harper did get some good at bats in, and was a major factor in the game. While he recorded what appeared to be the game winning sac fly at the time, the National’s ended up losing, as Matt Kemp hit a walk off homer in the bottom of the 10th. But that was to be expected.

Harper recorded his first hit, which also happened to be the first extra base hit of his career, as well as his first RBI. The only thing left for Harper to do is hit his first big league jack. To which I pose the following question:

Cast your vote in the poll above, and as always, leave a comment if you wish.

Q and A With Lane Adams

Lane Adams sported both a basketball and baseball uniform growing up, however his main love was basketball. He played it up through high school, and was even offered a scholarship to play at Missouri State University. While Adams loved basketball, he decided to pass on the scholarship offer, and sign with the Royals, after they drafted him out of high school. So far it would seem to have been a good decision.

Lane Adams was drafted by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2009 draft. Since the draft, Adams hasn’t played any higher than single A, but if he can start to put everything together he has the ability to move up quickly through the ranks. (Adams is currently batting .357 (22-84) with a home run, and 17 RBI’s, through 22 games played with class A Kane County.)

Lane Adams–outfielder in the Kansas City Royals organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:

1.) You played basketball up into high school, and were offered a scholarship from Missouri State University. What made you choose to play baseball with the Royals instead of going to college to play basketball?

When the Royals gave me the chance to play professional baseball I realized it was a great opportunity. Basketball was something I did year in and year out growing up, so it was definitely a tough choice for me to just give it up, but in the end I didn’t want to look back years from now and wonder what could have happened if I had given it a shot.

2.) When did you first become interested in baseball?

I didn’t really get interested in baseball untill my senior year.  I had played my whole life growing up, and the high school team I played for was very competetive, but as far as working on baseball everyday I never got into it that much until I was in high school.  I actually wanted to quit baseball my sophmore year and just concentrate on basketball but my mom said that if I quit baseball I would have to get a job, so I decided not to quit. So I have to thank her for not letting me give it up.

3.) You were drafted by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2009 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you first found out? Initial thoughts?

It was a pretty fun process. My family and I did our best to try and enjoy it. I was in Springfield taking classes and doing summer workouts for Missouri State. After I heard my name called I was exctited but that was short lived when I realized I had to make a choice between playing college basketball or starting a professional career.

4.) You’re currently playing your fourth season of professional baseball. What are your goals for this season? Anything special you’re working on to accomplish those goals?

My goals are to be more consistent. I know baseball is a game where you have your ups and downs, but trying to stay even keel is definitely something I’m trying to do. Last year I would have streaks where I would play really good and I would slow the game down. Then I had stretches where the game seemed to be going really fast and I lost confidence at the plate. Just trying to have a solid season. I Also want to make the playoffs. I haven’t been on a team thats played in the playoffs yet.

5.) When’s the first time you were asked for your autograph? Oddest thing you’ve signed?

The first time I was asked for my autograph was when I was a Sophmore in high school and some people came up to me after a playoff basketball game. I haven’t had to sign anything odd yet.

6.) Favorite food?

Grilled chicken.

7.) Favorite TV show?

Seinfeld.

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

My off days go either way. Sometimes I like to sleep in all day and not get out of bed, and sometimes I like to get up and go to the gym and get a good long workout in.

9.) What’s the most memorable moment of your baseball career thus far?

Probably hitting a triple and grandslam in the same inning earlier this year. Or in 2010 when my friend/teammate Murray Watts hit a walk off home run when we were playing in Idaho Falls.

10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids that are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?

Keep playing. Don’t let anybody tell you you “can’t”. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Play with innocence. The same innocence you had when you were 10 years old playing the game for fun. Lastly, have fun and enjoy the game and don’t take it too seriously. It’s a game, so treat it like one.

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Big thanks to Lane Adams for taking the time to answer some of my questions.

You can follow him on twitter: @LAdamsKC

Rangers Fan “Steals” Baseball From Little Kid

I’m sure by now you’ve seen the video and read numerous blogs discussing the incident that took place during last night’s Rangers game. If by some chance you haven’t, CLICK HERE to watch the video.

After watching the video several times my first thought was: “What’s the big deal?” The ball was tossed in the general direction of the kid, but there’s no way to know for sure as to whether or not he was the intended target. The ball was lobbed into the air, and thus was fair game.

The guy who ended up with the ball is getting tons of critisism because he didn’t give the ball to the kid. That doesn’t make sense to me. The guy did nothing wrong. He didn’t knock the kid down. He didn’t snatch it out of his hand/glove. Heck, he didn’t even reach in the kids direction. He picked the ball up off of the ground after it deflected off the hands of the 10 other guys in front of him who went for the ball. Why aren’t we upset at those guys too?

I truly don’t understand what makes kids so special that people seem to believe that if a ball lands within 100 feet of one, and an adult gets it, that they should immediately hand it to them. For a lot of people (adults included) they’ve never even come close to catching a ball. You know they have to be extremely excited when their moment of glory finally comes, and they get a ball. Why should they be required to hand over their souvenir?

Remember last season when the kid reached in front of the younger kid and snatched the baseball, only to return it back to the smaller kid moments later? Well, he was rewarded with tons of stuff. I guarantee you that the adult that came up with the ball last night would’ve recieved zip if he had of done the same. Why is that? What makes kids so much better than fully grown men? It baffles me.

I’ve never been lucky enough to get a baseball at a game. I’m sure I could easily get one if I tried hard enough, but for now I’m content with just sitting there observing. However, if that day in which I finally get a baseball comes in June, in Cincinnati, or 15 years down the road, I’m not going to hand the ball over to a kid; unless it’s my own. I don’t see why I should.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to sound like a kid hater. I’m not by any means. (I have 4 cousins between the ages of 6 and 12, and I love them to death.) I’m simply saying that there is something wrong if you’re expected to hand over a baseball, or face being booed by thousands of people. It’s just a baseball.

I’ll admit, I’ve witnessed (in person) people tackle little kids for baseballs and keep them for themselves, but that guy last night did absolutely NOTHING wrong. Had he of tackled the kid, or snatched the ball from him I’d be bashing him like everyone else. But from my point of view, he was just doing what any person would do. He was just a fan, fulfilling the dream of any baseball fan: Catching a ball at a Major League Baseball game.

UPDATE

I’m aware of the more recent incident in Miami, and I still stand with my original thoughts on the matter. While it looked like the grown man took the ball from the girl, it actually appears to me that the ball would’ve been caught by the boy WITH THE GLOVE anyway. Whatever the case, for all we know, it might be the first ball that guy has EVER gotten. He shouldn’t be critisized just because of his age and size.

Please leave a comment with your opinion of the whole situation. Whichever side you’re on, I want to see what you (the reader) has to say.

Ivan Rodriguez Officially Announces His Retirement

After 2,427 games behind the plate (the most in MLB history) Ivan Rodriguez has officially decided to give up baseball, for good. It was announced last week that Rodriguez had made the decision, after being unsuccessful in finding a team in the off season, but it wasn’t until earlier today that it was made official through a news conference. The conference was held at Rangers ballpark, home of the Texas Rangers, where Rodriguez spent the first 12 seasons of his career.

Today’s news conference was broadcasted live on MLB Network, and lasted roughly ten minutes. Rodriguez spent that time thanking the organizations that he spent his career with–the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, Nationals and most emphatically, the Texas Rangers; who gave him his start–as well as the fans.

It appeared to me that Rodriguez was truly speaking from the heart, meaning everything he said, none more than: “Today is a very hard day for me.” The emotion on his face told that.

Ivan Rodriguez made his Major League debut on June 20, 1991 after signing with the Rangers in 1988.  He would go on to record 74 hits that season alone–good enough to place him fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.

21 years later, the question that people are asking is whether or not Ivan Rodriguez is worthy of a first ballot hall of fame induction. He certainly has the career statistics to make a strong case:

  • 2,844 Hits
  • 572 Doubles
  • 311 Home Runs
  • 1,332 RBI’s

One aspect of Ivan Rodriguez’s career that doesn’t stand out in the stats is his deffense. Rodriguez had a stellar career behind the plate, throwing out 46 percent of all base runners who attempted to steal second base. An incredible thing to do, considering the skill needed to make a perfect throw.

A few other things to note from the career of Ivan Rodriguez include the World Series Championship he won with the Marlins in 2003, his participation in 14 All Star games, his winning of 13 Gold Gloves and 7 silver sluggers, as well as being the MVP of the 1999 season.

All things combined, Rodriguez is Hall of fame worthy, in my opinion, but maybe not good enough for a first ballot. (Especially with the steroid allegations, which I’m sure you are all aware of. Thus I won’t get into the whole situation.)

Rodriguez will be eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. If inducted, he’ll become the second player inducted to go into Cooperstown as a Ranger. Nolan Ryan, of course, being the other. Anytime a player is associated with a Nolan Ryan caliber player, you can be assured they had an amazing career.

Q and A With Dwight Childs

Dwight Childs was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 18th round of the 2009 draft. Since the initial draft in 2009, Dwight has played for teams as high as Triple-A, and as low as Single-A. It’s been a roller coaster ride of sorts for him thus far, but I have a feeling that he’s going to slowly start working his way back up through the ranks, and this time it’ll be to stay.

Dwight Childs is currently playing for the Carolina Mudcats (A+) in the Carolina league. He’s batting a mere .091 (1-11) so far this season, but there’s still a lot of time left for him to prove himself. He has the ability to be really good. It’s just a matter of getting out there and performing well.

Dwight Childs–catcher in the Indians organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:

1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence?

I first became knowledgably interested in baseball when I was four years old. My father always wanted me to be a baseball player, so he got me a bat and ball as soon as I could walk.  My biggest baseball influence besides my father was a guy named Ted Hererra. He was my travel ball coach from age 11-16.  He took the time to teach us the game fundamentals as well as developing the mental aptitude needed to play this game.  He ran our team like a big league squad, and treated us like men, and told us nothing would ever be given to us in this game, and that we’d always have to earn “it”.  He truly made the difference in my baseball career, and the best thing he ever told us was: “When you stop learning in this game, your career will be over. Keep your mind and your eyes open because the game will, and is, always trying to teach you something.”

2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?

I was a big “Pudge” Rodriguez fan! I always wanted to throw, block and have the career he has had. I like his intensity in the game as well. Pete Rose is one of my all time favorites because he played every out and every pitch as hard as he could everyday.

3.) You were drafted by the Indians in the 18th round of the 2009 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you found out? Initial thoughts?

The draft was very stressful for me after the first day. Like every player, I thought I was going to get drafted higher than I did. At an older age now, and with a more mature outlook on the business of baseball, I realize that the draft only plays a small part in what’s going to happen in your career. I can only thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to play this game professionally.  When I found out, I was at my house in Arizona, where I had lived after college.  I was with my Dad, Aunt, Uncle, cousin and grandmother! It truly was a special day!  My initial thought when selected by the Cleveland Indians was: “This is sweet. I get to play for my favorite childhood team!”

4.) This is your 4th season of professional baseball. What are your goals for this season? Anything specific that you’re currently working on to enable you to accomplish those goals?

My goal this year is to develop into a baseball player that this organization wants in the big leagues. Same as it is every year. I want to win wherever I am. I want to hit well, and be the best teammate I can be.  I want my pitchers to perform well, and want them to want to throw to me everyday. I want to build a trust and relationship with them, to help us all get to the next step in our careers. I do all this with a work ethic and determination.

5.) When’s the first time someone asked for your autograph? Oddest thing you’ve ever signed?

I was 14 the first time someone asked my autograph. I was at the Olympic trials in Phoenix, and I’ll never forget it. Hank Conger, Brett Anderson and a few other guys and I were leaving the field after a workout and people wanted us to sign their Team USA shirts, and other apparel they had. I’ve never had anyone ask me to sign anything to odd. My favorite though, is the random joe shmoe who wants you to sign a 3×5 card. Team USA lectured us on not signing these because they can forge your signature on checks, memorabilia, etc., and the people get SO mad when I won’t sign them. It’s like: “Bro, you’re 35 and want me to sign a 3×5 card? Spend the $1.35 to get one of my cards, and I’ll sign that!” It’s always a pet peeve when people want you to sign something and don’t know your name. Unless its a young kid of course. I’ll always sign for the kids!

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

I’m the odd ball who doesn’t like days off. They are so long and boring. If my fiancé is in town we’ll go see a movie and grab breakfast and dinner somewhere. But if it’s me and the boys we’ll usually play PS3 for a bit until we get bored.

7.) Favorite TV show?

I like all the shows on MLB Network, but my fiancé and I watch ‘Friends’ a lot in the offseason. ‘Parenthood’ is a good one too.

8.) Favorite food?

My favorite food used to be Macaroni and Cheese. Now I think it’s my Fiancé’s Taco Bar.

9.) What’s the most memorable moment of your baseball career thus far?

Obviously playing with Team USA was very memorable. Playing Miami (at Miami) in the 2008 Super Regional was another one. But I’ll never forget taking Preston Guilmet 8.2 innings with a no hitter, and going 3 for 4 at the plate, in my first ever collegiate game. (I called that whole game [behind the plate].) Preston and I still talk about it to this day because we had the last hitter down to his last strike to get the no-no and he shook me off and gave up a jam job hit. Haha.

10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?

I would tell them that it’s not even close to what they think it is like. They need to work on mental toughness, develop a good work ethic and always play with something to prove. Professional baseball is cutthroat and it’s an everyday grind. I will forever thank Andy Lopez (my manager at U of A) for making me mentally tough.  There’s no free passes in this game. Your talent will only take you so far, but if you’re mentally tough and smart, you’ll get a shot at the big leagues. I’d also tell them to enjoy everyday they get to wear a jersey and play in between those chalked lines, because you never know when your last pitch, play or inning will be. Play every day like it’s your last, and find the childhood love for the game.

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Big thanks to Dwight Childs for agreeing to answer some questions for my blog.

You can follow him on twitter: @DCLaserShow4

Most Recent MLB Related Things On My Mind

For once I’m not using an entry to get caught up on the things that I’ve failed to blog about. There really hasn’t been much for me to write about since the last time I blogged. The three things that I’m going to discuss in this entry are things that have happened very recently in baseball, and I just want to get my personal opinion out there.

Please leave a comment if you have anything further you’d like to say about the topics being discussed.

ALBERT PUJOLS’ HOME RUN DROUGHT

Albert Pujols homered 37 times in 579 at bats last season. That’s once every 15.6 at bats, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll round it up to 16. So far this year Pujols has had 45 at bats, and has hit a grand total of zero home runs. If you go by last year’s trend of 1 homer per 16 at bats, he should have 2-3 home runs already. So what’s going on?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Albert physically, nor do I feel it’s the mental emotion of being with a new team. In my personal opinion, I just think it’s a streak of bad luck. Every player goes through a rough patch from time to time. It’s just that Pujols has had so few in his career that when a long streak of bad luck like this hits him, it’s big news.

Now I’m not saying that Pujols will get his first home run this week or even this month, but I am saying that he won’t end the season still stuck at zero home runs. For a guy like him, once he gets that first one past him, the pressure will be gone, and he’ll become the old Pujols that the Angels were looking for when they shelled out big money for him.

One thing’s for sure. If Albert Pujols wants to keep of his steak of at least 30 home runs in every season of his career, he needs to figure things out, and start getting hot.

JAMIE MOYER WINS AT AGE 49

Jamie Moyer made his start last night against the Padres with the hopes of becoming the oldest pitcher in MLB history to win a regular season game. He would achieve his goal, as although he never even reached 80 miles per hour on the gun, he was still able to have a successful outing and record the win at age 49 and 150 days.

To record a win in a MLB game at age 49 is truly incredible. To give you an idea of how long Moyer has been playing, the starting pitcher for the Padres, Anthony Bass, was born a year after Moyer’s debut. Pretty insane if you think about it.

The oldest pitcher to ever play in a MLB game was Satchel Paige at age 59, though he didn’t record the win.

JOHNNY DAMON MAKES IT OFFICIAL

I talked about the Damon deal a little while ago, but now that he’s officially an Indian I thought I’d bring it up again.

Damon joins the Indians just 277 hits shy of 3,000 for his career. If he hopes to reach the milestone he’ll have to play at least one more season longer that his 1-year 1.25 million dollar contract from the Indians. It’s unclear as to whether or not he plans to do that, as he has to make it through this season first.

The plan for Damon is for him to continue working out at the Indians’ spring training facility in Arizona. He’s then expected to join the Triple-A affiliate of the Indians (the Columbous Clippers) for a short while, before joining the Indians up in Ohio in early May.

It should be interesting to see if Damon still has the ability to help his team win. According to Damon, that’s his main goal for the year, as he made the following statement after signing:

My track record shows that I play hard and I play to win. That’s why I’ve helped teams win championships, and I’ve helped some teams that aren’t so good be better…I play for the organization, not for myself.

I hope things work out between Johnny Damon and the Cleveland Indians. Damon can be a really exciting player to watch when he’s performing well.

Fastest and Slowest Starts to the 2012 MLB Season

I realize that we’re JUST over a week into the 2012 MLB season, but I just thought I’d post an entry with the teams and players that are off to the best and worst starts in all of baseball. Some of the names on the lists are no surpise, however there a few that really stand out to me. I never expected the year to begin the way it has for certain players, and certain teams.

FASTEST STARTS

Teams:

1) Dodgers: 7-1

2) Nationals: 6-2

3) Rangers: 6-2

4) Diamondbacks: 5-2

5) Mets: 5-2

6) Tigers: 5-2

The Dodgers are a team that is better than advertised. They have a great lineup, including guys like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and speedy Dee Gordon, as well as an underated starting rotation. While it’s well known that Clayton Kershaw is the Dodger’s Ace, other guys are beginning to step it up, none more than Aaron Harang, who struck out 9 in a row (a new Dodgers record) in last night’s game against the Padres.

The only other teams on the list that are a surprise to me are the Nationals and the Mets. While the National’s are a team that I feel is going to be extremely good in a couple of years, I never saw them having this kind of start to the season. As far as the Mets go, they continue to amaze me.

Individual players:

1) Paul Konerko: .435 average

2) Ryan Sweeney: .429 average

3) Matt Kemp: .419 average

4) Josh Willingham: .417 average

5) Miguel Cabrera: .414 average

Paul Konerko is off to an unbelievable start. He’s really swinging the bat well, and while it’s still early, I think he can keep it up. Now I’m not saying he’s going to end the year with a batting average exceeding .400, but I am saying that I think he’ll continue to rack up hits. Ryan Sweeney is another guy who’s really impressed me so far this season. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it up, or if it’s a little bit of early luck. Matt Kemp, Josh Willingham and Miguel Cabrera are all guys that I fully expected to do well this season. So there’s no real shock for the number 3 through 5 guys on the list.

SLOWEST STARTS

Teams:

1) Padres: 2-6

2) Red Sox: 2-5

3) Twins: 2-5

4) Angels: 2-5

5) Pirates: 2-5

The San Diego Padres are a team that I was hoping/thinking would have a decent season this year, but so far, they’re proving to be the same team from last year. The thing that gets me with the Padres is that they have a fantastic starting lineup, including guys like Cameron Maybin, Orlando Hudson and newcomer Yonder Alonso, as well as a decent pitching rotation, but it seems like they can only get one or the other to perform well on any given night. If they can figure out a way to have both their pitching and hitting come through at the same time they can be a really good team.

The Red Sox are another team that I thought would have a better year than they’re having. After starting out 0-6 last year, I thought they’d have a bounce back year, but their current record of 2-5 isn’t living up to expectations, and I don’t see things getting any better for them. Jacoby Ellsbury was injured in yesterday’s game while sliding into second base. He is expected to miss a minimum of 6 weeks. Not good news for Red Sox fans.

Of the remaining teams on the list, the Angels are the only team that surprises me. With the addition of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the Angels were predicted by many to dominate their division. So far the only dominant aspect of their games has been the other team. I look for things to turn around for them, however, once King Albert starts getting hot.

Individual players:

1) Ike Davis: .043

2) Neil Walker: .048

3) Marlon Byrd: .083

4) J.P. Arencibia: .083

5) Ryan Raburn: .091

*Minimum of 20 at bats.

There’s really no one on this list that stands out in my mind. All of them are players that perform differently from year to year. While I don’t see them getting hot and working their average up to the .300 mark any time soon, I also don’t see their streak of bad luck continuing. They’ll all bounce back.

Like I said several times, I realize that it’s still VERY early in the season. Over 150 games still remain, and things will no doubt look a lot different for both the teams and players on the above lists. Teams and players that are off to fast starts now could hit a wall and end up having a terrible year, and just the opposite for those off to a slow start. That’s why they play 162 games.

My Thoughts On the Latest MLB News

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile then you know I sometimes like to take little breaks from blogging. I tell myself I’m going to post an entry every few days, but even when something interesting happens I fail to blog about it. Not every time, but at least once a month I can’t seem to motivate myself to post a new entry.

What I’ll usually do (as I’m doing now) is post an entry after the several day break to recap the things that have happened since the last time I blogged. I’m not going to go over everything that’s happened. I’m just going to talk a little bit about the main things on my mind.

Chipper Jones Returns To the Braves’ Lineup

Chipper Jones made his 2012 regular season debut on Tuesday against the Houston Astros. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as he had just gotten over surgery from an injury he sustained during spring training. I was hoping he’d get at least one hit (which he did) but I never expected him to perform as well as he did. Jones went 2-4 in the game, with one of his hits being a home run. (Number 455 of his career.)

I thought Chipper looked great deffensively as well. During Tuesday’s game Jones made a fantastic bare handed play to throw out the batter at first. He moved fairly swiftly, and didn’t appear as if he was feeling any pain. A great sign for Braves and Chipper fans alike. It didn’t appear to be luck either, as Jones went 2-5 in the very next game. It should be interesting to see how he does in today’s home opener against the Brewers.

Tim Lincecum’s Rough Start To 2012

After a less than stellar 2011, I was fully expecting Tim Lincecum to have a bounce back year, domintating the way he did in past years, but so far that’s not the case. If anything, Lincecum’s going down hill. Now I’m not saying he can’t, and won’t, turn things around. All I’m saying is that he really needs to hurry up and figure it out. (As a fan of Lincecum, I’m hoping he does.)

Tim Lincecum has made a total of two starts so far this season, and looked overmatched in both. In his latest start on Wednesday, Lincecum lasted only 2.1 innings (the shortest outing of his career) giving up 6 runs off of 8 hits, while striking out three.

Lincecum’s next start is scheduled for Monday against the Phillies. Let’s hope he can finally show us at least a glimpse of the old Tim Lincecum.

Johnny Damon Signs With Cleveland Indians

When I first heard that the Cleveland Indians were looking to sign Johnny Damon I didn’t know what to think of it. To tell you the truth, I had lost all track of Damon once the 2012 season got underway. I recalled that Damon hadn’t found a team during the offseason, but once spring training ended I thought nothing more of it.

I for one think it’s an interesting move by the Indians. Damon can be a great player (future hall of famer?) but he’s a guy you need to keep a very close eye on. He could go either way.

Johnny Damon agreed to a 1-year, 1.25 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Indians. This makes the seventh team of Damon’s career, and the fourth different team for him in the past four years. I truly hope Damon performs well this season. I look forward to seeing him play again.

MLB Beat the Streak 2012

This is my second year playing Beat the Streak and quite frankly I’m not very good at it. I didn’t get started last season until sometime around July, so I figured starting out from day one of the 2012 season would give me a better chance of getting to that magic number of 57 needed to win the grand prize of 5.6 million dollars. Well, I was wrong. If anything I’m having worse luck than last year. But it’s still early, and I’m hoping things will begin to turn around for me in the coming days/weeks.

The fantasy baseball game Beat the Streak has been around for the past several seasons, and the rules are fairly simple: Pick a player everyday that you think has the best chance of getting at least one hit. (Can be the same player or a different one. It’s up to you.) As long as that player gets a hit your streak continues–whether they go 4-4, or a mere 1-4 in that particular game.

A slight twist has been added this year to make it more exciting. In years past you would pick your one player and that was it. This season you have the option to double down and pick two players that you think will get a hit. If they do, your streak increases by two instead of the conventional one. Like most things in life however, there is a catch. If either of your two picks fail to get a hit your streak goes back down to zero. So it’s high risk, but can also be high reward if you’re lucky enough to have both players record a hit.

So far this season I’ve failed to increase my streak to more than two. Each day of the season thus far I’ve chosen to take “advantage” of the double down feature, but haven’t had much luck. I might just end up doing one pick at a time if this continues to be a problem for me.

If you’re not already playing, I suggest you start. CLICK HERE to be taken to the main page. If you have an account already, just log in. If not, don’t worry, it’s really easy, and most importantly, free. Even if you’re like me and have terrible luck, it’s still fun to play. And who knows? You might just get lucky and win the 5 million bucks. (In which case you have to give me half.)

GOOD LUCK!!!

MLB Opening Day 2012

Yesterday was Opening Day for Major League Baseball. Sure, the Mariners and Athletics played a couple of regular season games in Japan during the Opening Series, but yesterday was considered by many to be the start of the 2012 season.

Of the seven games played, every inning of every single game was exciting. None more than the Blue Jays and Indians game, which lasted longer that any game ever has in Opening Day history–going 16 innings. Breaking the old record of 15.

Being such a big day, I thought I’d go through each game and give a SHORT recap, followed by my impressions of the game.

RED SOX-TIGERS

Recap: This game started out a real pitchers dual, as it took all the way to the bottom of the seventh before a run was put on the board by either team. It was the Tigers scoring first, and going into the top of the ninth they were up 2-0. The Red Sox rallied back however, as they scored two runs off Jose Valverde to tie it up. This was the first blown save for Valverde since 2010. Valverde ended up getting the win as the Tigers won 3-2, with Austin Jackson being the hero with a walk-off single.

Impressions: Starting pitcher Justin Verlander looked good as usual, pitching 8 scoreless innings, giving up a mere two hits and striking out 7. This was the regular season debut of Prince Fielder in a Tigers uniform. Fielder went 1-3, with an RBI in this game, but I thought he looked really comfortable with his new team. Give him a game or two more, and I think he’ll really start putting up big numbers.

I thought the Red Sox looked a little off. The team as a whole didn’t do all that well in their first game of the season, as only four of their players recorded hits. Although starting pitcher Jon Lester gave up 6 hits, which subsequently ended with a run scoring, I thought he looked rather decent on the mound. He walked three, and only struck out four through 7 innings pitched, but I thought his command was there, at least more than it was last season. I look for a good year out of him.

BRAVES-METS

Recap: Just as the Tigers-Red Sox game had been, this game also started out with both starting pitchers doing well. It took until the bottom of the sixth inning for either team to score. It had the Mets scoring a run, off an RBI single by David Wright. The one run proved to be enough in this game, as the final score was 1-0, Mets.

Impressions: Obviously the big story of the game was Mets’ starting pitcher Johan Santana. This was his first start since 2010, as surgery in 2011 caused him to miss the entire season. Santana looked really good out of the gate, as he gave up only two hits through 5 innings pitched, while striking out five and giving up no runs. Although his fastball might of lost a mile per hour or two, it’s still affective. I think Santana is due to have an extremely good year.

David Wright is the guy that I’m going to keep a close eye on for the 2012 season. He has the ability to be a real star, but hasn’t put up star numbers in recent years. Batting right-handed, the shortened distance to the outfield wall is sure to give him another homer or two for the season. Wright went 2-3 with an RBI in yesterday’s game. I look for him to keep putting up those kind of numbers through out the remainder of the season.

I thought the Braves looked sloppy in this game, both offensively and defensively. Their pitching wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good enough to get the job done. Only four Braves recorded hits in the game, as the Mets pitching proved too much.

PHILLIES-PIRATES

Recap: Both starting pitchers started out well in this game. I expected Roy Halladay to dominate like he always does, but I never thought Erik Bedard would keep the tough Phillies lineup scoreless through six. I was really impressed with Bedard. He did end up surrendering what would turn out to be the game winning run in the seventh however, as the Pirates failed to bat anyone home, making the final score 1-0, Phillies.

Impressions: I didn’t watch much of this game, but the few innings that I did I was really impressed. It was no surprise that Roy Halladay had the game that he did, I mean, he’s Roy Halladay, but I was really surprised at the great game that Erik Bedard had. It was truly remarkable.

What it came down to in this game was offense. Only two Pirates recorded a hit, versus the Phillies eight hits. Although Bedard had a great game, his teammates couldn’t help him out with any runs. Subsequently the game had Phillies newcomer, Jonathan Papelbon coming in to record his first save of the season.

NATIONALS-CUBS

Recap: Run one of the game came in the fourth inning, as the Cubs struck first. It appeared at first that one run would be enough for the Cubs, as the Nationals went the first seven innings without a run scored. They finally scored in both the eighth and ninth innings. The Cubs couldn’t rally back however, as the National’s recorded the victory, 2-1.

Impressions: Nationals’ starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg looked decent, but nothing he did really stood out to me. He pitched seven innings of one-run ball, but in that time gave up five hits, while striking out five. Like I said, not bad, but nothing that makes me say WOW.

I thought Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster looked fantastic. He pitched 7.2 innings before being pulled, and in that time only allowed one run on two hits, while striking out ten. While Dempster was the more dominant of the two starting pitchers, the National’s had the better offensive lineup, as a late rally was enough for a one-run win.

MARLINS-REDS

Recap: Unlike the first few games of the day, this one didn’t take long before it’s first run was scored. A sacrifice fly by Jay Bruce, was enough to give the Reds a one run lead in the early going. The next run of the game came off an RBI double by Ryan Ludwick, that gave the Reds a 2-0 lead. The Reds would score two more times in the bottom of the eighth–a home run by Jay Bruce, and an RBI double by Chris Heisey. The Reds beat the Marlins, 4-0.

Impressions: So far things aren’t looking much better than last season for the Marlins. They’re now 0-2, and only recorded three hits in their game against the Reds. While I’ve seen a lot of people saying that the Marlins are on track for another terrible season, I feel it’s MUCH too early to judge the team. Sure, their starting pitching has failed to dominate thus far, but it’s just two games into the season. They still have 160 left to go, and I guarantee they won’t go 0-162.

As far as the Reds go, I thought they looked really good. Their highest paid player Joey Votto went just 1-3, but he looked really good at first base, digging many balls out of the dirt. Another player that I was impressed by is Jay Bruce. I thought he showed well plate discipline, as well as good power.

The Reds are going to be an exciting team to watch this season. While I’m still sticking with my prediction that the Cardinals will win the division, the Reds are sure to make things interesting, especially towards the end of the year. They could really end up doing some big things.

INDIANS-BLUE JAYS

Recap: The Indians went into the ninth inning with a three run lead, but their closer Chris Perez blew the save by giving up three runs. Going into the tenth tied 4-4, both the Blue Jays and Indians pitchers looked really good. After the game hit the 15th inning you had to wonder if this game would ever end. It did, as in the top of the 16th inning J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer to left field, giving the Blue Jays a 7-4 lead, which would turn out to be the final, as the Indians failed to score in the bottom half.

Impressions: Justin Masterson looked incredible in yesterday’s game. He struck out the side to start out the game, and ended up allowing a run on only two hits while striking out ten, in eight innings pitched. I thought the Indians team as a whole, regardless of the loss, was really good last night. They looked really dialed in at the plate, as they combined for a 4-run inning in the bottom of the second.

The Blue Jays starting pitcher, Ricky Romero, didn’t have his best stuff last night. Only lasting 5 innings before being pulled from the game, he allowed 4 runs while only striking out four batters. The rest of the team looked good, however. Especially Jose Bautista, who went 3-4 with a home run.

Just like the Cincinnati Reds, this team is going to be interesting to watch to see how they do this season. They’re part of the very tough AL East, but if they can get things going they can be real contenders in my opinion.

DODGERS-PADRES 

Recap: The Dodgers were the first team to score in the game, as two batters were forced home due to walks in a bases loaded situation. The Dodgers would score again in the next inning giving them a 3-0 lead. The Padres finally cracked the run column in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Jesus Guzman. The Dodgers and Padres both scored two runs in the eighth, off a two-run homer by Matt Kemp, and a two-run homer by Cameron Maybin. The final score of the game had the Dodgers recording a 5-3 win.

Impressions: Although he had to leave to game after just three innings pitched due to a stomach flu, Clayton Kershaw looked really good, as usual. On the other hand, Padres starting pitcher Edinson Volquez didn’t look nearly as good. Lasting five innings, Volquez gave up three runs on three hits, while striking out seven. To me, Volquez is the key for the Padres. He needs to perform well in order for the Padres to succeed.

Matt Kemp and Cameron Maybin were the two stand out players of the game. Kemp picked up where he left off in 2011, going 2-5 with a home run. Maybin–who is really going to have a good year, in my opinion–went 2-4, with an absolute bomb.

If we learned anything from yesterday, it’s that it’s sure to be another exciting season of Major League Baseball.

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