Going into Sunday’s Spring Training game against the Phillies, the number one thing on the minds of the Yankees–owners, players, and fans alike–was whether or not their highest paid player and power slugger, Alex Rodriguez, was going to perform well. After having a less than satisfactory end to the 2011 season, A-rod had to do something to get the fans back on their feet again. They needed a reason to cheer, and aiming to please, Rodriguez delivered.
The first pitch to Rodriguez–a fastball from Phillies Ace, Roy Halladay–was drilled the opposite way for a home run. Given the wind was whipping in that general direction, which no doubt helped carry the ball further than it would have traveled on a less blustery day, it was impressive none the less; and he wasn’t done yet.
Rodriguez reached base safely in each of his next two plate appearances. Recording a single and an RBI double, before being plucked from the game. Just a short glimpse at the old, injury free, Rodriguez, was a sight for sore eyes.
The problem with Rodriguez is that he can’t seem to stay healthy for very long, and using last year as an example, takes a while after recovering from an injury to get back into the groove of things. Taking all of this into consideration, many people foresee A-rod having a season similar to 2011, but I for one don’t see that taking place.
First of all, Rodriguez is too good of a player to not put up impressive stats, while healthy. He obviously wasn’t his normal self last season, due to injuries. However, if his first game of the year is any indication, Rodriguez seems to be fully healthy, and ready to go for 2012. Subsequently, that should equal a season with similar stats to years past. Yes, Rodriguez is older than he was back in the day, but he’s still not THAT old. At age 36, Rodriguez more than likely still has two or three more good seasons left in him; if he can stay injury free.
If in fact Rodriguez can avoid the injury bug for the full duration of the season, he should be able to reach several milestones. Currently one home run shy of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth on the all time home run list, A-rod should be able to check that off his list of things to do before he retires within the first week of the season. The next stop would be Willie Mays, who is currently fourth on the list with 660 career home runs. While I feel Rodriguez will come close, I don’t think he’ll quite reach it this year.I could however see Rodriguez tying (or passing?) Lou Gehrig for first on the all time grand slams list, with 23. (Rodriguez currently has 22 for his career.)
Moving onto a few other milestones that I could see A-rod achieving this season. Needing to drive in 107 base runners I could easily see Rodriguez reaching the 2,000 RBI mark. However, just like with passing Willie Mays in all time home runs, he might have to wait until 2013 to do so. 500 doubles is pretty much a guarantee, however, as he needs a mere 5 to reach the milestone.
I’m not trying to be unrealistic. Rodriguez isn’t going to come out and hit 40 home runs, and drive in 130 runs, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility for him to have a 30 home run, 100 RBI year. He still has the determination, and most importantly the talent, that he’s had in years past.
I look for Alex Rodriguez to surprise a lot of people this year. He’s no longer 20, and thus is never going to play at the same level he was playing at in the prime of his career, but even a healthy 36-year old Rodriguez is enough to put fear into any opposing pitcher’s eyes. Or at least it should be.
As I sat on my couch last night, watching MLB Network, a very valid questions was posed by the network analysts of whether or not Derek Jeter has a shot of getting to 4,000 hits, or better yet, the even bigger milestone of passing the all-time hit leader, Pete Rose. Rose, who had a total of 4,256 hits in his career, is currently over 1,000 hits ahead of Jeter, who has 3,088 hits to show for his 17-year career. No chance of him getting over 1,000 hits before he retires, right? Well, although it’s an uphill climb for Jeter, the idea of Jeter getting at least to 4,000 hits isn’t out of the question. When you compare Jeter to Rose, in terms of hits through 2,426 games, Jeter is 22 hits ahead of Rose. A pace I feel he can keep up.
Jeter recorded 162 hits this past season alone, and if he can keep up an average of at least 150 hits a season, he could get to 4,000 hits in 6-years time. That’d put him at 4,000 career hits by his 24th season; or age 43. Though Jeter is already considered old (by baseball standards) Rose didn’t retire until age 45. Add two extra seasons onto Jeter’s career and you end up with roughly 20 hits more than Rose had in his career. I’m not saying that it’s extremely likely that Jeter will pass Rose, I’m just saying that it’s more likely than people are giving Jeter credit for. Jeter does an incredible job in his at-bats of fouling off tough pitches for one he can loop over an infielders head for a base hit. It’s this skill that I feel will lead him to a 4,000 (or more) hit career.
So, do you agree, or disagree with me? Do you think Jeter is on track to a 4,000 hit career? Maybe even more? Let me know:
In my last blog entry I made the prediction that Bernie Williams, Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez would recieve enough votes (75% worth) to make the Hall of Fame this year–given Bernie Williams was a long shot being a newcomer. Yesterday, at 3 0′ clock Eastern, the announcement was made that Barry Larkin–long time Cincinnati Red’s short stop–was the only player from the 2012 ballot to exceed the 75 percent of the votes needed to make the Hall. (Larkin recieved 495 votes, or 86.4%.)
Before I get into my thoughts on Barry Larkin being the only player elected this year, I want to take a second to say that I’m shocked at the voting results for the newcomers to the ballot. Of the 13 newcomers, Bernie Williams is the ONLY one of them that recieved enough votes to return to the ballot again in 2013. (6 of the 13 newcomers didn’t recieve a single vote whatsoever.) Although I didn’t see any of the other newcomers (besides Williams) getting into the Hall of Fame this year, I didn’t think that they’d all be completely blanked in the votes category. To me it’s unreal.
Getting back to the only newcomer to recieve more than 5 percent of the vote, Bernie Williams (who recieved 9.6%), I think he will eventually get into the Hall of Fame. Maybe not next year, due to the many great names that are due to make the 2013 ballot. Maybe not in this decade. But my gut tells me that Williams will get into the Hall before his 15 years of eligibility are up. He had average career stats for a center fielder, but when you look at his post season stats, they’re off the charts. Combine those post season stats with four Gold Gloves and four World Series rings, and you get what I feel is a Hall of Fame worthy player.
Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, I’ll get back to Barry Larkin. Larkin made the largest percentage jump to gain election since Herb Pennock, back in 1948–jumping from 62.1% last year, to his 86.4% this year. Larkin’s election makes him the 297th member of the baseball Hall of Fame. He also becomes the 24th short stop and 48th player to play with the same team his entire career, to be elected. Truly remarkable.
Barry Larkin had this to say about his feelings on being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame:
…an unbelievable experience….almost an out of body experience….I’ve got young kids out there doing their thing, but 20, 30, 40, 100 years from now when they’re old–and gone–and their grandkids, or their kids, are there doing whatever, they’re always going to be able to say “that guy right there”, my grandfather, great grandfather, great great grandfather, whatever it is, he was one of the best in the game. I am so phenomenally proud to be a new member of the Hall of Fame.
Barry Larkin will be officially inducted into the Hall, on July 22nd, in Cooperstown, NY.
The Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York, first opened its doors back on June 12, 1939. The first five players to be inducted being: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson–who were named in 1936. Since then 296 individuals have been viewed as Hall of Fame worthy. (206 former Major Leaguers, 35 Negro Leaguers, 19 managers, 9 umpires, and 27 pioneers, executives, and organizers.)
With the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees to be announced on Monday, I wanted to give my predictions and opinions as to which players will make the cut, and which won’t. There are a total of 27 players on this years HOF Ballot. Of those 27, 13 are first timers–including standouts, Bernie Williams and Bill Mueller. To be inducted into the Hall, a player must recieve a minimum of 75 percent of the votes. The number of inductees varies from one year to the next.
Although there are 27 players eligible for induction this year, I’m not going to take time to talk about them all. I’m just going to make cases for the ones which I feel will be selected for the Hall–starting with the newcomers.
FIRST TIME ON HALL OF FAME BALLOT
BERNIE WILLIAMS- I know this is going out on a limb, but I honestly think Bernie Williams is the only newcomer that has a shot at getting into the Hall of Fame the first go around. (Given it is a slight chance.) I know everyone is saying that he was fun to watch play, but isn’t worthy of the Hall, but I have to disagree. Looking at his career stats of 2,336 hits, 1,257 RBI’s, and a .297 batting average, I think he’s worthy of the Hall eventually–if not a first year induction. But that’s just my opinion.
JEFF BAGWELL- When you look at Jeff Bagwell’s career stats of 449 home runs, off of 2,314 hits, and 1,529 RBI’s you begin to wonder why Bagwell wasn’t a first year Hall of Famer. His stats are certainly good enough to warrant it, however the speculation that he did steroids is what is holding him back from already having a plaque in the Hall. I do however see the possibilty that the voters look beyond that this year, given his impressive stats. Not a very great chance, but a chance none the less. (Juan Gonzalez, Mark McGwire, and Rafael Palmeiro all fall into this category with Bagwell of great stats, but steroid usage.)
BARRY LARKIN- This is a sure bet for me. Barry Larkin is the best player–in terms of stats without steroid usage–on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, and a .295 batting average in his 19 season career. (While 198 home runs might seem low for a Hall of Fame worthy player, short stops aren’t generally known for their power hitting.)
EDGAR MARTINEZ- While I feel that Barry Larkin is the best player on the Hall of Fame ballot, Martinez isn’t far behind. Having a career batting average of .312, with 2,247 hits, and 309 home runs is good enough to earn him an induction to the Hall. While he wasn’t the best player on the Mariners back in the early 1990’s, he still found a way to stand out amongst teamates Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, by coming up big in big spots.
RECAP OF MY 2012 HALL OF FAME PREDICTIONS
To recap everything that I said above, I feel that Bernie Williams is the best overall player of all the newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot. Of the players that have been on the ballot at least once before, I feel that Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez are the ones that stand the best chance of making the cut. (Jeff Bagwell and Mark McGwire, only if the voters put the steroid issues aside. Which I don’t think they will.) Be sure to watch MLB Network at 2 o’ clock, Eastern, on Monday, to see the live Hall of Fame election.
So that’s my view on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. What’s yours?
I want to take the time to thank all of the people who read my blog regularly or that have just checked it out once or twice. Without the viewers, I would have no reason to blog. So thank you. I’m bringing this up due to the blog that was posted recently on MLB.com Blogs Central. The blog has a list of the top 100 Fan blogs for the year of 2011, by views. Want to see where I ranked? Go check it out: CLICK HERE.
Thanks again for reading.
There have been hundreds of great baseball movies over the years. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to list them all, so I’m not going to try. Below there is a list of 10 of my favorite baseball movies that I’ve ever seen. Please vote for which of them is your favorite baseball movie:
If you voted other, please leave a comment below with which one is your favorite.
Happy New Year everybody! We can now officially say that MLB starts THIS year! Below is a picture to recap the major trades and signings that have occured so far this off season:
In case you’re like me, and can’t wait for baseball to start, CLICK HERE.
Hopefully this’ll help you keep track with how much longer you have to wait for regular season baseball.
Danny Worth has only been in the Majors for two seasons, but has shown a lot of promise. He’s a player to watch in the years to come. Worth–current third baseman for the Detroit Tigers–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball?
I started playing at the age of 5. I became interested in becoming pro when I was 12. Baseball was always my first love growing up.
2.) Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played all major sports growing up until I was 14. Played baseball year round from the age of 9-on.
3.) Describe what your Major League debut was like.
My ML debut was everything I expected it to be and more. It was an unreal feeling when my major goal in life was accomplished. I loved it.
4.) What pitch do you find hardest to hit?
The pitch I find hardest to hit would be a couple: backdoor curve from LHP, and a backdoor sinker from a RHP.
5.) How different were the play offs from regular season ball?
The playoff atmosphere was a lot of fun to be apart of. The players keep it the same more or less, but the fans bring a lot more intensity.
6.) Favorite food?
A nice filet mignon, medium rare.
7.) Favorite sport besides baseball?
8.) Favorite T.V. show?
All time- Seinfeld. Right now- Survivor.
9.) Favorite shoe brand?
It’s official. According to the Yankees’ Jorge Posada, he will NOT be returning to the Yankees for the 2012 season. But after the Yankees made it clear towards the end of the 2011 season that his services were no longer needed, you pretty much figured this was coming.
Posada was part of the ‘core four’ in the late 1990’s. A group of four Yankees that consisted of Posada, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera. The four came up through the minors together and continued their togetherness stretch on up into the 2000’s. They won four World Series titles in a five year span–earning the name ‘core four’. Three of the ‘core four’ members (Jeter, Posada, and Rivera) played together for 17 consecutive years (1994-2011.) Andy Pettitte’s retirement earlier this year (Febuary 4th) caused the ‘core four’ to become the ‘key three’. Which now–with Posada’s career as a Yankee over–makes Jeter and Rivera the last remaining members of the 1990’s Yankees.
You know Posada wishes that his time with the Yankees could continue for at least another season. A wish made apparent by the following statement that he made yesterday:
I will always be a Yankee. The New York Yankees, for me, is my second family. It’d be tough to put on another uniform for real and learn a new set of rules. But it’s one of those things where I have to see if I wanna keep playing. At the end of the day, it’s a business. You look back and you wish there were some things that could’ve gone differently, but they didn’t. Everything happened for a reason. I’m not bitter at the Yankees. I’m not bitter at Joe Girardi. I’m not bitter at Brian Cashman. It just happens.
It may “just happen”, but I hate to see him go. I’ve been a fan of Posada for as long as I can remember. I feel that he’s a great guy–on and off the field–and is one of the most unappreciated players in all of MLB. (At least as far as last season goes.)
In honor of Posada’s fantastic career as a Yankee, I decided to talk about some of the highlights from his career:
Jorge Posada’s Major League Debut–September 4, 1995
Posada’s first game of his career in 1995 was also his only game of the year. He didn’t play another game in a Yankee uniform until 1996 when he played in eight games. He didn’t make the post season roster that season, however.
Jorge Posada’s First World Series Ring–October 21, 1998
The 1998 World Series saw the New York Yankees taking on the San Diego Padres. The Padre’s were no match for the Yankees, as they were swept in four games. Posada had one home run in the entire series, but with the help of his teamates, was able to win his first World Series title, and ring. Posada, and the Yankees, would go on to win three more World Series titles. (1999, 2000, and 2009.)
Jorge Posada’s First All-Star Game–July 11, 2000
Posada was lucky enough to be on a winning team for the first All-Star game of his career. The year 2000 saw the American League winning 6-3. Posada has been in four All-Star games since, (2001, 2002, 2003, and 2007), with the American League team coming out on top every single time. (Unless you consider the 2002 All-Star game as a no-win for both teams. That years game ended in a 7-7 tie, after both teams ran out of players.)
Jorge won the first of his five career Silver Slugger Awards in 2000. That season he hit 28 home runs and collected 86 RBI’s off of 145 hits. Posada has won four Silver Slugger Awards since 2000. (2001, 2001, 2003, and 2007.)
Jorge Posada’s 1,000th Career RBI–July 23, 2010
Most of the fans in the stands for this game were there to witness Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run of his career. They didn’t get to see that, however they did get to see something just as awesome. For it was in this game that Posada collected his 1,000th RBI of his career off of a double to center field.
As you can see, Jorge Posada has had an amazing career with the New York Yankees. Whether he’ll come back to play for another team for the 2012 season is still yet to be seen. Posada did however make the following statement regarding his thoughts on next season:
I started working out again on Nov. 1 like I always do, but I have no idea what’s gonna happen. A lot of teams called after the season was over. I’m undecided. I don’t know if I wanna play or stay home. I’m having fun with the kids and my family, but I don’t know what I wanna do. I don’t wanna make the mistake of telling you that I’m not gonna play or telling you that I am gonna play when I don’t know what I wanna do.
No matter what happens, Posada will always hold a spot in Yankee history as one of the “good guys.” He was a great player on the field, and an even better person off of it. When a Major League ballplayer is as grounded as Posada is, it’s hard to not respect him. As they say, “respect is earned, not given.” I can tell you this: Jorge Rafael Posada has earned my respect.
Should Posada give up baseball altogether? Or should he come back and play with another team for the 2012 season? Let me know what you think:
I’m going on vacation tomorrow, and although I’ll have Internet access I don’t plan on blogging again until I get home. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely shutting out baseball from my weekend. As a matter of fact, I don’t plan on missing a single pitch from any of tomorrow and Saturday’s games. Just no blogging about it.