Results tagged ‘ Indians ’

Chase for the Second American League Wild Card Spot

The Athletics currently hold a rather large lead in the Wild Card standings for the American League, so if any non-division-leading teams in the AL want to make the post season, it will likely have to be through the second Wild Card.

The Yankees, Orioles, Indians, and even the Royals, are the teams that currently still stand a chance of taking over the second Wild Card spot, currently held by the Rays. While it’s admittedly not a good chance, especially for the Royals, it’s a chance, nonetheless.

But the Untitledquestion is, if any of these teams can go on a run to make the post season, which team will it be?

In my mind, the Yankees are the best team of the four currently chasing down the Rays. While they don’t have that great of a pitching staff, nor a young lineup, they have a lineup of veterans — Jeter, Soriano, Rodriguez, and others — that seem to all be getting hot at just the right time.

Though they’re currently partaking in a series against the Red Sox, which are arguably must-win games, the majority of the Yankees remaining schedule isn’t all that bad. Which is why I think that even if they miss the postseason, it won’t be by as much as people originally thought it would be at the beginning of the season.

As far as the Orioles, Indians and Royals go, they all sit just behind the Yankees, and face an uphill climb for sure. Though I’d love to see the Indians or Royals finally give their fans something to be excited about, after subpar seasons over the past several years, I don’t see it happening. The Orioles, along with the Yankees, are the only teams with a viable chance, in my opinion.

No matter the outcome for the Yankees, Orioles, Indians and Royals, who are currently trying to make a final push for the post season, it will certainly be fun to watch them all in the coming weeks. They all still technically stand a shot of making the post season, and will undoubtedly be playing their hearts out for the remainder of the year.

Only time will tell if their efforts will be all for naught.

My Baseball Game Schedule for the Rest of June

So far this season I’ve attended seven minor league baseball games–three Carolina Mudcats games, and four Durham Bulls games. In that time, I’ve been able to collect fourteen autographs, two game used bats and three game home run balls. While that’s far more than I was able to get all of last year, I’m hoping to continue adding to those totals, as I’m planning to attend as many games as possible from now until September, when the minor league baseball season ends.

The next game I’m going to is this Saturday’s Bulls game versus the Indianapolis Indians. I had originally been planning on trying to get an autograph from Pirates’ number one prospect, Gerrit Cole, at this game, but he’s set to make his major league debut later tonight, and therefore won’t be there. Thus, I’ve decided to try for autos from the Bulls players instead, that I haven’t been able to get so far this season. This includes stand outs such as Alex Colome and Jake Odorizzi, however, David Price is supposed to begin a rehab assignment with the Bulls sometime this weekend, so I’m hoping I can get him while I’m there.

If Price doesn’t happen to be at the game on Saturday, he’s nearly guaranteed to be there when I go to one of the three Bulls games against the Louisville Bats early next week. I’m going for the sole purpose of getting an autograph from Reds’ number one prospect, Billy Hamilton–I was going for Tony Cingrani as well, but he was just called back up to the Reds–but if I don’t get an autograph from David Price on Saturday, I may end up rethinking my plans. (Though that’s a hard decision to make–a guy who stole 155 bases last year, or last year’s Cy Young award winner.)

My first major league baseball game of the season, and my first since June 23, 2012, is coming on June 29th, up in Baltimore. The Orioles are set to take on the Yankees, and with it being my first time at Camden Yards, I’m really looking forward to the game, though it’s sure to be packed. I hate that Derek Jeter won’t be there, but I’m going to be trying for autos from the Yankees nonetheless, including guys like Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, with my main targets being Ichiro Suzuki and Mariano Rivera. I’m not too confident on getting Suzuki, but with it being Rivera’s last season, and his overall fan-friendly attitude, I’m hoping I get lucky and pick up a signature from ‘Mo’.

So that’s basically it for the remainder of the month. If I don’t get an autograph from David Price on Saturday or next week’s game, I may end up adding an extra Bulls game in, so I can get Price to sign. But I’m staying optimistic that I won’t have to do that.

Towards the end of July, I’m going to be attending a Mariners-Twins game up at Safeco Field, in Seattle. This game is part of a month long road trip that will have a major impact on this blog. But I’ll wait to discuss that at some point next month….

American League Predictions for 2013

Last year was the first time I ever made actual predictions as to how the MLB standings would look at the end of the regular season. To say I did poorly would be an understatement, but this is a new year, and with it comes a new shot at getting the predictions right. So I’m up for the challenge once again.

Unlike 2012, when I posted both my American League and National League predictions in the same blog entry, this year I’m doing separate posts for each league. As the title states, I’m giving my 2013 American League standings predictions today, starting with the AL East:

EAST

1. Rays

2. Yankees

3. Orioles

4. Blue Jays

5. Red Sox

With the Yankees’ season uncertain, I see this as the year the Rays need to make their move. With the lineup they have, the Rays have the ability to win their division, but it’s going to come down to if their starting pitching begins and ends with David Price, or if their potential superstar pitchers in Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson can get things going. That’s the deciding factor, for me.

Although the Yankees’ season is up in the air, I still have them finishing second in the AL East. Why? Because they’re the Yankees; a team that seems to be able to always find a way to win. But it’s going to come down to Derek Jeter, in my opinion. If he misses a large chunk of the season, at any point, it could send my predictions way off course. Right now, I’m not too worried about him missing the first few games; but that could change.

The Orioles surprised everyone last season with the way they were able to put things together, however, I still think it’ll be 2014 before they stand a good chance of winning the division. Their phenom prospects are still far from ready, with top prospect Dylan Bundy beginning the season in AA Bowie, and I just don’t see everything clicking together in their favor this season.

I’m hesitant to place the Blue Jays all the way down in fourth, with so many people seeing them finishing near the top, but it’s the way I foresee their season panning out. Even with the offseason additions of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, etc., I don’t see the Jays putting together a season much over .500. You just can’t buy chemistry, and with so many new faces, I don’t see them gelling from the start of the season.

What can I say about the Red Sox? They were once major competitors in the division, but after a couple of horrible seasons, by their standards, I don’t see this year being any better. They didn’t do much to improve their team in the offseason, and it’s going to show once the season starts up. I’m looking down the road, when their key prospects such as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts arrive, before I can see them getting things going in the right direction again.

CENTRAL

1. Tigers

2. Indians

3. White Sox

4. Royals

5. Twins

There’s truly no reason the Tigers shouldn’t run away with things in the AL Central division. With one of the best lineups in all of baseball, including sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, along with newcomer Victor Martinez, their lineup should be there. The only question mark is their pitching. Justin Verlander is going to dominate–that’s a given–but the remainder of the rotation is a bit uncertain. But all in all, I think they’ll be just fine.

Coming in second, I have the Indians, as they did a great job of signing guys in the offseason to fill key spots they were missing last year, and I feel it’s bound to pay off in the coming season. The only concern would be their starting pitching. Without a true Ace, you don’t know who to look to for to carry the team throughout the season. It’s definitely something worth watching, however, they should be able to have enough decent pitching to make things very interesting in the division.

It was really a toss up between me placing the Indians or White Sox in third place (with the other in second) but I decided to have the Sox finishing third in the division. The Sox have a future Cy Young winner, in Chris Sale, but with the remainder of the pitching, as well as the lineup, a question mark, I can’t see them winning too many games over .500 in the 2013 season. They still have too many holes to fill.

I’m still questioning the Royals’ decision to trade away their phenom prospect, Wil Myers, along with a few other prospects, to the Rays, in exchange for a couple of middle of the rotation starting pitchers, on most teams, in James Shields and Wade Davis, but it is what it is. I see the move doing more harm than good. The Royals certainly needed starting pitching, but to trade away your top prospect is a poor choice, in my opinion, which is why I have them finishing next to last in the division.

The Twins are a team that have the potential to be very good a year or two down the road, but for right now, I see them having to endure another last place season, in their division. They just don’t have enough top notch guys, both in their pitching rotation and lineup, to make any sort of a run this season, as far as I can see.

WEST

1. Angels

2. Athletics

3. Rangers

4. Mariners

5. Astros

For the Angels, the AL West division is theirs to lose. With the addition of Josh Hamilton in the offseason, along with their already potent lineup of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, there is no reason the Angels shouldn’t dominate the division. Although they lost Zack Greinke to the Dodgers, their rotation is still really good, and it should all combine to be enough to lead them to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

The Athletics were one of the big surprises of last season, but I don’t feel it was a fluke. They’ve put together a really great team out in Oakland, and with the majority of the other teams in the division (with the exception of the Angels) still trying to figure things out in the coming season, the Athletics stand a good shot of making the playoffs for the second straight year.

With the loss of Josh Hamilton during the offseason, I don’t see the Rangers doing much of anything this year. While they have a few big bats in their lineup that can change the outcome of a game with one swing, I don’t see their rotation as being strong enough to overcome the uphill climb they face. It’ll be interesting to watch unfold, but I don’t like their chances in 2013.

The Mariners are one of the most interesting teams to keep track of. While I don’t see them having all that impressive of an upcoming season, with all of the talent they have knocking on the door of the big leagues, I feel they’ll be major contenders as early as next season. They don’t have all of the necessary pieces, just yet, to put together a playoff run, but starting in 2014, keep a lookout for the Mariners to do big things in the AL West division.

Last season was flat out ugly for the Astros, as they finished in dead last, with a league leading 107 losses. Being that they’re making the transition from the National League to the American League this year, I don’t see things being any better for them; but when you lose over 100 games in a season, it can’t really get all that much worse.

Leave a comment below with whether or not you agree with my predictions.

Click HERE to be taken to my National League predictions for 2013.

MLB Players Alternate Jobs

Before I get started with what will be my final Q and A post until after the playoffs have concluded, let me first start out by saying that yesterday’s AL and NL Wild Card games went completely opposite from what I had expected.

With the Braves having won the past 23 times Kris Medlen started the game on the mound, I though it was a sure bet that the Braves would get the win. But as you know, that’s not what happened. The Braves ended up falling to the Cardinals (6-3), thus making it their final game of 2012; and Chipper Jones’ last game of his career.

Furthermore, I fully expected the Rangers to beat the Orioles, and just like the Braves-Cards game, I was completely stunned by the end result. The Orioles pulled out the win, beating the Rangers 5-1, ending the Ranger’s chances of a third straight World Series appearance. Incredible; but that’s baseball for ya. Just because you’re the better team on paper, doesn’t mean you’ll always come out on top.

Now that I’ve given you my two cents on yesterday’s Wild Card games, I’ll now get on with the regularly scheduled blog post:

Have you ever wondered what MLB players would be doing had things not of worked out for them to play baseball? Well I did, which I why I spent last week on twitter asking players just that: “If you weren’t playing baseball what would you be doing?”

Of those who replied, some actually put some thought into it while others replied with a somewhat humorous answer. I’ll let you distinguish between the two:

Chris Gimenez–Tampa Bay Rays

Def a coach. Think it would be fun.

David Huff–Cleveland Indians

Probably either playing golf on the tour or teaching high school history.

David Aardsma–New York Yankees

Prob a model.

Denard Span–Minnesota Twins

I’d be doing something associated with sports.

Daniel McCutchen–Pittsburgh Pirates

Prob be a movie star or maye a rapper. Then again, I could always give politics a shot.

David Hernandez–Arizona Diamondbacks

I’d probably be in my 8th year of college trying to figure out what I wanna do.

Luis Exposito–Baltimore Orioles

I would find an occupation where I can help less fortunate kids and help make the world a better place!

Steve Cishek–Miami Marlins

P.E. teacher and coach.

Ricky Nolasco–Miami Marlins

Police Officer for sure.

Brandon Snyder–Texas Rangers

I always say military but who knows. My wife would say I would be a trainer or something.

Josh Lueke–Tampa Bay Rays

Professional outdoorsman like my buddy @IHuntStrong [and] @BackwoodsLife #outdoors4life

Brian Dozier–Minnesota Twins

Lead guitarist for a rock band.

Paul Maholm–Atlanta Braves

Something in golf.

Daniel Hudson–Arizona Diamondbacks

No idea. Probably coaching somewhere.

Thomas Neal–Cleveland Indians

Coaching somewhere.

Mike Olt–Texas Rangers

I would be a lion.

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My next blog post will come tomorrow evening, and will detail my blogging plans for the next few weeks. So check back for that…

Q and A With Jeremie Tice

Jeremie Tice signed with the Cleveland Indians after they drafted him in the 6th round of the 2008 draft. Since the initial draft Tice hasn’t been able to make it out of A ball, though I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before he’s going to finally move up another level–one of the major goals for Tice this year.

Tice is currently the DH for the Carolina Mudcats. He’s played in 32 games so far this season, and has put up some pretty good numbers: 9 home runs and 36 RBI’s, off of 33 hits. That all coming in 111 at bats, which converts into a .297 batting average, as well as a .388 on base percentage. Not bad at all.

Jeremie Tice–designated hitter in the Cleveland 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 have played baseball since I was three years old. I always loved it more than other sports. Biggest influence growing up was Brian Jordan. I was a big braves fan and I loved how he played the game. Great athlete.

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

Favorite players were Mark McGwire and Brian Jordan. They were both beasts in the batters box and that’s what I wanted to be.

3.) You signed with the Indians after they drafted you in the 6th round of the 2008 draft. What was that process like? Where were you when you found out? Initial thoughts?

The draft process in ’08 wasn’t that bad cause I had already gone through the draft process with the Marlins, but it was still a little nerve racking, but very exciting. A lot of talking to teams on the phone and just praying I went to a good team. When I found out I was at my apartment, in Charleston SC with my dad, and I was very releaved. Crazy day. Will never forget it.

4.) This is your 5th season of professional baseball. What are your goals for this year? Anything that you’re currently working on to enable you to reach those goals?

Biggest goal for this season is to get out of A ball, but there are only certain things I can control. I’m just trying to play the game the right way and get better than I was the day before. The rest will take care of itself.

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

First autograph was in college, at the College Of Charleston. Craziest thing I have signed was definitely a cell phone.

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

Off days I like to fish if I can, or just take it easy. Most of our off days are filled with a lot of work, so anything relaxing is good.

7.) Favorite TV show?

Favorite TV show is ‘Gold Rush Alaska’. If that’s not on anything on the Discovery Channel. Definitely my favorite channel to watch.

8.) Favorite food?

Favorite food is a tough one because food is a big passion of mine, but I have to choose probably a fat steak with potatoes.

9.) Most memorable moment of your baseball career thus far?

Most memorable moment so far I would have to say was getting drafted by the Indians; knowing that I was going to sign with them. A major goal met. That was a great feeling. Knowing all the work I put in just to be in that position. Next goal is to get to the big leagues.

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

I would say don’t take the game too seriously. This is a game of failure and you will fail a lot. Always work hard, and always play the game the right way. If you do that there is no telling what you can do. Sky is the limit.

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Big thanks to Jeremie Tice for taking the time to answer my questions.

You can follow him on twitter: @BigOleChunkyBoy

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.

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.

April 3rd Indians vs. Mudcats Game

Yesterday’s game between the Cleveland Indians and the Carolina Mudcats was by no means one for the ages but it was however an exciting day for people like myself from the area that don’t get to see Major League teams that often. Living in the middle of nowhere, in terms of MLB, I have two choices: Drive 250 miles to see the Nationals, or drive 300 miles to see the Braves. Neither is a trip I can take too often, so this was a must attend game.

I arrived at the ballpark at 11:00. The gates weren’t due to open until 11:30 for the 2:00 game but as stated in my last blog entry I wanted to arrive early to give myself a good chance of getting autographs from Major League players. (Even with it being the Indians, and not a team like the Yankees.)

After getting my ticket scanned at 11:30 on the dot, I made my way towards the Cleveland Indians field house. You can’t get all the way to it due to a fence, but since the players have to walk RIGHT past you to get to the field, it’s fairly easy to get autos. As a matter of fact, it was easier than I thought it would be.

Autograph one of the day came from Travis Hafner:

While he signed for nearly everyone, he didn’t seem to be in the best of moods.

My next three autographs came within a five minute span, coming from Vinnie Pestano, Josh Tomlin and Sandy Alomar Jr. Sandy Alomar was the exact oposite of Hafner, as instead of acting like signing autographs was a pain, he spent the time cracking jokes, as he signed for everyone:

The next auto came from Indians manager Manny Acta, who was also fairly friendly, and signed for everyone:

Then things slowed down, in terms of players willing to sign autographs. Plenty of players continued to come by, but they didn’t stop to sign for the fans. It was during this time slot that the coolest thing of the day happened. I was standing against the fence watching for players to come by when I heard a guy behind me say “excuse me”. I was fully expecting to find a random person behind me when I turned around but to my surprise I found myself staring at a well dressed guy, with long brown hair. If you follow baseball at all, then you probably already know who it was. Yes, it was Indians closer Chris Perez. Awesome!

Perez had a line of players following behind him, including Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson and a few other players that I didn’t recognize. To be THAT close to MLB players was extremely cool.

As Jimenez walked by a fan asked if he’d sign autographs, to which he replied “I don’t feel like it, man”. I found myself thinking that was the end of that. I hadn’t expected Jimenez to sign, so his response was no shock to me.

Here’s a picture of the players shortly after they had walked by:

They entered and exited the field house within five minutes, coming out in their uni’s:

None of them signed as they walked by. They were “in a hurry”, as they put it. But I suppose they did have somewhere to go. Although none of them were going to play today, they warmed up anyhow:

I don’t know if you noticed him in the above photo, but Ubaldo Jimenez was one of the players who was warming up:

After about 10 minutes of throwing, stretching and running, the players left the field. To my surprise, three guys stopped to sign autographs. The first being Chris Perez:

Followed by Ubaldo Jimenez, who drew a large crowd:

With the third player to stop and sign being Asdrubal Cabrera:

Shortly before I left for my seat, Carlos Santana stopped to sign, but only for around three people. As did Shin Soo-Choo. After they quit signing, I made my way to my seat. Here was the view of the Indians team just before gametime:

I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about the game itself. (If you can call it a game.) The Indians, as expected, dominated the Single-A Mudcats, with the final score being 13-0. Here are just a few of the pictures I took during the game itself:

Travis Hafner.

Carlos Santana.

Jason Kipnis.

Half of the starters were removed from the game in the third inning with the second half coming out in the fourth. Lou Marson replaced Santana, after he was removed in the fourth:

As I stated, the game wasn’t THAT exciting. I left my seat and headed back over to try for more autgraphs after the game. What I saw made me laugh out loud. I’ll show the picture first, and then I’ll explain, in case you can’t tell what it is:

It’s kind of hard to see, but the Indians players that had left the game early were sitting at picnic tables chowing down on food served on paper plates. Don’t ask me why I find that funny. I just do.

Anyway, I was only able to get one more autograph after the game. It came from Chad Huffman, who gave also away his hat and batting gloves to a couple of little kids.

Here’s a recap of the 14 autographs that I got at the game:

1. Bruce Fields

2. Chris Perez

3. Jeanmar Gomez

4. Chad Huffman

1. Vinnie Pestano

2. Sandy Alomar Jr.

3. Aaron Cunningham

1. Travis Hafner

2. Ubaldo Jimenez

3. Asdrubal Cabrera1. Dan Wheeler

2. Josh Tomlin

3. Jack Hannahan Manny Acta signed the sweet spot.

All in all I had a great time at the game. As I said earlier, this isn’t the type of game that happens often. I’m planning on attending another Mudcat’s game on Friday. It’s the first real game of the season for them. I’m also going to a Durham Bulls game on Saturday. I’m not planning on blogging about either of those games however. The next game I blog about will more than likely be the June 23rd game in Cincinnati between the Reds and the Twins.

My Upcoming Week of Baseball

It’s officially that time of year again. The calendar reads April 1st which means the MLB regular season is just days away, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve got a busy week of baseball games coming up, so I thought I’d type up a brief overview of my schedule for the coming week.

Five County Stadium. Home of the Carolina Mudcats.

My first game of the year is Tuesday, April 3rd. It’s an exhibition game between the Cleveland Indians and my local minor league team, the Carolina Mudcats. Game time is set for 2 o’clock, but with gates set to open at 11:30, I’m planning on arriving at 11:15. While it might seem crazy to some of you that I’m showing up nearly 3 hours early, I feel that showing up early is half the fun. If you ask me, being one of the first through the gates is the only way to go. I’ll never understand the people that show up in the third inning and leave in the seventh. Why even come at all?!

Part of the reason I’m showing up as early as I am is to go for autographs. I’m not a big autograph collector, but I don’t plan on passing up the opportunity to get autos from some of today’s up and coming stars like Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, etc. Living nearly 300 miles from the nearest MLB stadium, this is a MUST attend game for me. It’s not that often that a Major League team “comes to me”.

Game two of the week comes three days later, on Friday April 6th. It’s another Mudcat’s game. (Opening night to be specific.) I wouldn’t be attending this game under normal circumstances, but when I bought my ticket the the Cleveland Indians exhibition game I received a FREE ticket to Opening Night. So I mean, why not? It’s a baseball game after all! Even if it is against a team in the White Sox organization, baseball is baseball. (There is a chance of rain that day however, so hopefully they’ll be able to get it in.)

The game I’m probably looking forward to the most is game three of the week. That game sees the Durham Bulls taking on the visiting Gwinnett Braves. There are tons of future Atlanta Braves stars on the team including newly acquired Joey Terdoslavich, who made the jump from Class A advanced ball to Triple A. Terdoslavich is more than likely going to take over for Chipper Jones at third base once Jones retires, so it’s pretty neat to get to see him play.

That’s pretty much it. Three games, five teams, and two stadiums, all within a five day span. Pretty exciting stuff, in my opinion. I’m pumped!!

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