Results tagged ‘ Bernie Williams ’

Three-Year Anniversary of ‘The Unbiased MLB Fan’

Today marks the three-year anniversary of the day I sat down to begin ‘The Unbiased MLB Fan’. Starting this blog was more of a spur of the moment thing than it was me looking to begin a long term blog. At the time, I never could’ve imagined that I would keep at it long enough to be typing up a three-year anniversary post; to his day, I’m still surprised that I kept with it. But I’ve come to love blogging, and interacting with fellow baseball fans; and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

To commemorate the occasion, I’ve decided to take a look back at the past three years, as I did last year on the two-year anniversary, using a timeline, of sorts, to tell the basic story of how my blog came to be where it is now. The first twelve recaps are the exact same ones I covered last year, in case you missed them, with the rest being since last year (click the headers to be taken to each post):

‘Explanation of Me’ – My first blog post

As the header would suggest, this was the first blog entry I ever published. It covered who I am and the fact that I have no favorite team that I root for more than another team. While it does a decent job at getting the general point across, looking back, I’m fairly appalled at how horribly written it is. The post doesn’t flow, the grammar is terrible, and my punctuation is sub par. Given, I’m by no means a professional writer now (I’m sure there are tons of issues with this post) compared to my writing style now, it’s almost as if it was a completely different person who wrote that first post. I suppose, in a way, it was.

‘MLB Logo and Its Designer’ – My first interview post

I didn’t start out with interview intentions. I merely emailed Jerry Dior (the designer of the MLB logo) to ask him questions I had about the design process and the story behind the logo. It wasn’t until a month later that I had the idea of putting the questions into an interview format for a post on my newly established blog. In the days after posting it, I noticed that people seemed to have a good reaction to the interview, so it was at that point that I decided to begin interviewing ballplayers. The interviews took off from there. I’ve now conducted over thirty interviews, and plan on continuing to do them in the future, as long as the players continue to be willing.

July 23, 2011 – Signed Up for Twitter

This has nothing to do with my blog, but it has everything to do with its success. Signing up for Twitter not only allowed for a way for me to get in contact with ballplayers for interviews, but it also served (and still serves) as a way of spreading the link to each new post around to baseball fans everywhere. If it wasn’t for Twitter it’s very possible that I would’ve discontinued my blog, as my reader base wouldn’t have been as fast to grow.

How Bernie Williams Became My Favorite Player Ever

This is more of a personal entry than it is an informative one. In this blog post, I detailed exactly how Bernie Williams came to be my favorite player to ever play the game of baseball. There’s a great story behind it, but I really don’t want to say much more than that. If you’re truly interested, feel free to click the header to be taken to the post I did on the subject.

Bernie Williams’ Reflects On 9/11/01 – Ten-Year Anniversary

Yet another Bernie Williams post, but this one is more somber than the first. With the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 approaching, I decided to contact Bernie Williams on Twitter to ask if he’d be willing to share his own personal experience and memories from that horrid day. He agreed to it, and after a bit of back and forth conversation, of me detailing exactly what I wanted him to talk about, I received an email from Williams, containing a fairly long response. If you don’t read another blog entry from this anniversary post, I suggest you read this one.

The Blog Post That Put My Blog On The Map

Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins played a large part in making my blog as successful as it is today. The article I wrote on the “new look Marlins” caused my blog to absolutely explode in terms of views. In the months following when I first posted the entry, I received day after day of several hundred view days. In all, that one post racked me up over 11,000 views, all by itself. While things have backed off slightly since then, I still have a fairly large reader base, and it can all be traced back to that one post.

Ranking After the 2011 Year of Blogging

After a year’s worth of blogging, I was fairly anxious to see how I would stack up against all of the great blogs around the MLBlogs community. I was fairly stunned when the results came out, stating that my blog was the 35th most viewed blog of 2011. That alone gave me a reason to continue blogging.

The Blog Post That Got Me the Most Views For A Single Day

While my post on the Marlins netted me the most views for a single blog post, the entry I posted on the Cleveland Indians-Carolina Mudcats exhibition game, for some reason, led to the most views in the history of my blog on a single day. I’m still not all that sure as to why, but people came flocking to my blog on that particular day, netting me a total of 892 views. I haven’t had a day since that’s received more than 615 views.

First MLB Game Recap Entry

Living in North Carolina, I don’t get the chance to attend an MLB game all that often. As a matter of fact, this particular post recapped the first MLB game I attended since starting this blog. Therefore, it was the first MLB recap I’d ever done. I’ve since done numerous MiLB recaps, and will undoubtedly be doing several more this season.

Trip To the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby

The all expense paid trip I received to the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby, courtesy of State Farm, is by far the best thing to ever come out of this blog. While I’ve been fortunate enough to experience several blogging related benefits since then – which range from getting free stuff, to meeting ballplayers in person that I’ve interviewed – I feel confident in saying that nothing will ever top this.

Triple-A National Championship Game

As the MiLB equivalent of a World Series game 7, the 2012 Triple-A National Championship game is the most significant minor league baseball game I’ve ever attended, thus it’s the most significant MiLB blog posts I’ve done. Getting to see the Reno Aces win the National Championship, along with meeting 2011 American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery, made this great game even better. (I plan on attending the 2014 Triple-A All-Star game in July, so that will probably top this.)

Ranking After the 2012 Year of Blogging

After coming in 35th at the end of the 2011 blogging year, I had no idea what to expect going into the 2012 results. While I received over five times the number of views this past year as I did in 2011, I was still eager to see where I would rank. When the rankings were posted, I was ecstatic to find my blog at the number 17 spot. I truly appreciate all of those who read my blog.

2013 Durham Bulls Fan Fest

I was really excited to attend this, as I had never been ON a professional baseball field. It was really cool to make my way, with my dad, out onto the field for a bit of catch. I didn’t take batting practice, though I could’ve, but if the Bulls have Fan Fest again anytime soon, I’ll be sure to take my shot at BP.

My Favorite Interview — Q and A With Negro Leagues’ President Bob Kendrick

Though not a baseball player, this was my favorite interview I’ve every conducted to this point in the history of my blog. Bob Kendrick is extremely knowledgeable of the history of the Negro Leagues, and he was very courteous throughout the process. I learned a lot about the Negro Leagues that I had no idea about. Take a look at it. You’ll probably learn something too.

Seeing Mariano Rivera for the Last Time

It wasn’t planned this way, but with Mariano Rivera announcing his retirement after the 2013 season, it happened to be that my dad and I were going to Baltimore for a game against the Yankees, and therefore he would be there. I was hoping to get an autograph, but even though that didn’t happen, seeing Rivera for probably the last time ever was memorable.

My Trip to Safeco Field In Seattle

Having only been west of the Mississippi River once (on my trip to the 2012 Home Run Derby), I was thrilled to visit this ballpark on my 24 day trip around the country. It is one of the best ballparks I’ve ever been to, located in one of the best cities I’ve ever been to. The Mariners lost, but all around it was a great time.

Chipper Jones’ Bulls Number Retirement Ceremony

As with Mariano Rivera, this was likely the last time I’ll ever see Chipper Jones, as he retired after the 2012 season. Coming back to Durham for the first time in twenty years, Jones had his number ten retired by the Bulls and gave a brief speech thanking the fans for everything. It was an incredible night out at the ballpark, and I doubt any night out at a minor league game will ever top this.

Recapping the 2013 Season Out At the Ballpark

This past season was the first full year that I have been into tracking the top major league baseball prospects and heading out to the ballpark to get an autograph from them. I plan on doing more of the same in 2014, and with the Triple-A All-Star game taking place in July, in addition to all of the top ranked talent that’s supposed to come, it’s sure to be an amazing year. (I’ll recap it all again after the season is over, as I did this past year.)

Ranking After the 2013 Year of Blogging

After my first year of blogging, I finished 35th on the top 100 list, in terms of views; after 2012, I finished 17th; and after this past year, I finished 8th. That’s truly amazing, in my mind, that I was able to do so, amassing over 75,000 views in 2013. I really had a fantastic time blogging in 2013, and with all of the great things that I foresee taking place in 2014, I think this is going to be the best blogging year yet.

Blogging Goals for 2014

This post wasn’t published all that long ago, but I wanted to include it nonetheless. Basically, this post covers my goals for the 2014 blogging year. I won’t waste time going over what each of my five goals are, for those of you who remember. (For those of you who’ve forgotten, and are curious, you can always click the header.) I plan on keeping to all of my blogging resolutions, which is better than I can say for my New Year’s Resolutions.

‘The Unbiased MLB Fan’ Fast Facts

  • Total number of words written to this point: 193,824
  • Total number of posts: 332
  • Average number of words per post: 584
  • Number of different country views: 124

As stated in previous posts, I hope to make 2014 the best blogging year yet; and that means posting content that you, the reader, enjoy reading about. So, if you have anything you’d like to see me do, or stop doing, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

No Players Elected To the Baseball Hall of Fame

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon that, for the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) failed to elect a single player, from the 2013 ballot, into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This causing a vast amount of controversy among the baseball world, as everyone seems to have a different opinion in regards to the voting results.

There are those who are glad that no players got in, there are those who are upset that no players got in, and then there are guys like me, who fall somewhere in between. I’m not all that upset that not a single player received the required 75% of the vote needed to get into the Hall of Fame, but, at the same time, I would’ve liked to have seen at least a couple of guys make it into the HOF, from the 2013 ballot.

But it is what it is; there’s always next year.

Bonds-Rocket-hofWhat it comes down to for me is the fact that this didn’t have to happen. Had the ‘Steroid Era’ never of occurred, the likes of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds would’ve been first ballot Hall of Famers, no question about it. Instead, they might not ever get in, as they only received 37.6% and 36.2% of the vote, respectively, this time around. For them to eventually get a plaque in the Hall of Fame, they will have to amass double the number of votes they did in this year’s vote, and I just don’t see that happening.

While they each have an additional 14 years of eligibility, I feel the voters have already made up their minds, for the most part. While a few members of the BBWAA might’ve merely held off in voting for Bonds and Clemens, in this their first year, just to prove a point, and might end up voting for them eventually, either you think Bonds and Clemens should get into the Hall of Fame or you think they shouldn’t. End of story.

But where does that leave the rest of the players from that era? Guys like Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling, who were never proven to have taken anything, but fall under the cloud of suspicion due to the era in which they played. Well, I see it like this:

They pretty much fall into the same category as those connected to PED use. Either the voters are going to vote for them, or they aren’t. There’s not much grey area here, as far as I can see, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the voters aren’t going on suspicion alone and just decided not to vote in Biggio, Piazza and Schilling this time around for one reason or another. For the sake of the Hall of Fame, I surely hope so. Leaving out Biggio, Piazza and Schilling would be a real shame.

The other main player I’d like to talk about, that many people feel should be a HOF’er, but didn’t make the cut yet again this year, is Jack Morris. Morris was a great player, but, in my mind, he’s not Hall of Fame worthy.

jack_morris-thumb-250x375-4861The thing that gets me the most when people try to make a case for Morris, is their tendency to use the intimidation factor as the reason they feel he deserves to get in; that you didn’t want to face Morris in any given situation. But it’s not the Hall of Intimidation, it’s the Hall of Fame. The place where the games’ all-time greats get enshrined to forever be seen by generations of baseball fans to come. To me, a career 3.90 ERA just doesn’t cut it. Thus, I agree with Morris not getting in–this being his 14th time on the ballot.

While the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot saw no players receiving the necessary number of votes needed to get elected, there are multiple players set to be added to the ballot in 2014 who are shoo-ins to get in on the first go around.

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas are three of the favorites to do just that, with some making the same case for guys like Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent. We’ll just have to wait to see, but no matter what happens, there are sure to be at least a few players who get into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

In addition to the near certainty that several players will be voted in in 2014, next year’s vote should tell the tale once and for all of whether or not Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens stand even a slight chance of ever getting into the Hall of Fame.

If their percentages jump a large amount–due to BBWAA members voting for them that didn’t in 2013–they might have a shot of getting in, several years down the road. If they fail to receive greater than a few more percentage points, however, I’d say it’s a lost cause for two of the best players to every play the game of Major League Baseball.

2012 Hall of Fame Ballot – My Predictions

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

  • Jeromy Burnitz
  • Vinny Castilla
  • Brian Jordan
  • Javy Lopez
  • Bill Mueller
  • Terry Mulholland
  • Phil Nevin
  • Brad Radke
  • Tim Salmon
  • Ruben Sierra
  • Bernie Williams
  • Tony Womack
  • Eric Young

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.

TWO OR MORE YEARS ON HALL OF FAME BALLOT
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Juan Gonzalez
  • Barry Larkin
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Don Mattingly
  • Fred McGriff
  • Mark McGwire
  • Jack Morris
  • Dale Murphy
  • Rafael Palmeiro
  • Tim Raines
  • Lee Smith
  • Alan Trammell
  • Larry Walker

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?

The Day I Became A Bernie Williams Fan (For Life)

When Bernie Williams made his Major League debut, I wasn’t even born. By the time he hit his 100th home run, I was only two. When he stepped into the batters box, for his 4,500th at bat, I was just starting Kindergarten. So how could it be possible that Bernie Williams is my favorite player of all time? The answer lies on a warm July afternoon in Motown, at Comerica Park in Detroit:

It was to be the last event of my family’s two week long trip together. The Yankees were in town to take on the Tigers, and the crowd, as to be expected with a Yankee game, was a sellout. The forecast was sunny. It was a perfect day for a ballgame.

This was the third Major League ballgame that I’d ever attended. (My first Yankees game.) Although it was sure to be an exciting match up, between two great teams, I wasn’t really that excited.

I didn’t really know the names of any of the players on either team. (Not even the stars like Jeter, A-rod, and Ordonez.) I felt out of place. Like I was the only person, out of the 41,000 fans in attendance, that wasn’t enjoying themselves. Baseball is supposed to be enjoyable—America’s Pastime. But I wasn’t enjoying myself at all.

When the first pitch was thrown, to start the 7:05 game, the sun was the only thing on my mind. As a matter of fact, it was the only thing I could see from my section 142 seat. It was nearly unbearable, as I had no sunglasses, and had to squint just to make out tiny shadows, that moved around like I imagined baseball players would. But I really couldn’t tell one team from another. 

I wasn’t having a good time before, and I certainly wasn’t having fun now.  I found myself thinking, “Is this baseball? Is this the game they call America’s Pastime?” I was confused.

It was the third inning when I finally had the wool, or in this case the sun, pulled from my eyes. I could finally see, both physically and metaphorically. I began to understand why the game of baseball is so great.

Although the third inning brought about my new view towards baseball, it wasn’t until the ninth inning that I became sick with the illness that is baseball fever. An illness that has spread about the nation for the past century, like a pandemic. Though this pandemic doesn’t bring death, but life, in the form of joy. Joy for the game of Baseball.

But what was the cause of this joy? What led me to become a baseball fan for life? The answer: Bernie Williams. Not just the player, but the ambassador. The ambassador who through one swing of the bat, became my favorite player—for life.

A home run to right field by Bernie. That’s the one event that sticks out in my mind from that game.

Even when Mariano Rivera came in for the save, in the bottom of the ninth, my mind was on Bernie’s home run. I couldn’t describe it then, and I still can’t describe it now. But something inside of me clicked on. My baseball switch, I suppose. It was amazing.

I felt like a new person. And in a sense, I was. I was no longer just a kid at a baseball game. I was an actual fan. A fan just like the other 41,ooo in attendance. It was great.

I had no camera, to capture the moment, but it didn’t matter. I can still see the ball flying over the wall, to this day. Everytime I close my eyes, I see it. Like a million dollar painting, stored in my head. Forever.

So there you have it. Bernie Williams is my favorite player of all time, because of that one home run. Although he hit 287 home runs in his career, it took just that one to make me a fan. (Like I said, I can’t explain it.)

So, thank you, Bernie. For not only making me a fan of your’s, but a fan of the game, that I now can’t get enough of. In a weird, distorted, unexplainable, sort of way, you changed my life—for the better.

Thank you.

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