Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

My 2012 MLB Predictions

After watching several Spring Training games to try to get a feel for how teams will perform this season, I finally feel I can post my MLB predictions blog entry that I’ve had on hold for the past month. I’ve never attempted to make predictions for an entire year of Major League Baseball, but I’m going to give it a shot. I’ll probably be way off, but who knows, I might get lucky.

I’m going to start off by giving my predictions for each division, starting with the AL East:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1- New York Yankees

2- Tampa Bay Rays

3- Boston Red Sox

4- Toronto Blue Jays

5- Baltimore Orioles

Reasoning: I have the Yankees just edging out the Rays for the number one spot in the American League East. Both are going to be great teams this year but I think the Yankees have a slightly better team than the Rays. As far as the Red Sox go, I don’t see them having a repeat year from last. They’re bound to do much better this season. I don’t see them doing better than the Rays however, who are really getting their team together. I’ve got the Blue Jays finishing fourth in the AL East. While they have a decent pitching staff and power slugger Jose Bautista, as well as several young stars, I don’t think their team is quite there yet. Give them a few more years, and I think they’ll be a real threat in the division. As far as the Orioles go, I don’t see them doing any better than last year. They didn’t make any drastic changes to their team to warrant a belief that they’ll move up even one spot.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL 

1- Detroit Tigers

2- Cleveland Indians

3- Kansas City Royals

4- Minnesota Twins

5- Chicago White Sox

Reasoning: If you had asked me back when the 2011 season ended if I thought there was a team that could beat out the Detroit Tigers for the number one spot in the AL Central, my answer would’ve been yes. Now that the Tigers have Prince Fielder, and the transition for Miguel Cabrera from first to third base seems to have gone smoothly, I’d say there’s no chance of any team coming close to the Tigers. With their Ace Justin Verlander leading the way, I could easily see the Tigers winning 100 or more games this year. I have the Cleveland Indians finishing second in the division. I feel that they’re a good team, but not good enough for the number one spot. The number three spot goes to the Kansas City Royals. I feel that it’s just a matter of time before this team really starts to leave its mark. They have a great team, as well as several great prospects still in the minors. I think the Royals will be good enough for the number two spot in a couple years. I would’ve placed the Twins higher on the list had it not been for the great ammount of uncertainty. The Twins have a decent team, however their star players Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau didn’t have their best stuff last season due to injury. I’m not sure they can beat out the Royals for numbethird in the AL Central. As far as the White Sox go, they’re good engough for dead last on my list.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST 

1- Texas Rangers

2- Los Angeles Angels

3- Seattle Mariners

4- Oakland Athletics

Reasoning: It was very difficult for me to decide between the Rangers and Angels for that number one spot in the AL West. Both have great pitching staffs, as well as great players in their line ups, but in the end I felt that the Rangers and Yu Darvish would just beat out the Angels by one or two games. I have the Mariners taking that number three spot. Although the Athletics signed cuban phenom Yoenis Cespedes, as well as Manny Ramirez, I feel the Mariners are a better team when it comes down to it.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST 

1- Philadelphia Phillies

2- Atlanta Braves

3- Miami Marlins

4- Washington Nationals

5- New York Mets

Reasoning: Choosing between the Phillies and Braves for the number one spot was difficult. They both have injured players going into the season, however both have a good team even with the injuries. The only reason I picked the Phillies for first is their pitching rotation. The Braves have a good one as well, but I don’t think it’s as developed as the Phillies, who have their Ace Roy Halladay. The Marlins I have coming in third. While I feel they’ll deffinitely do better than last season–with the additions of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano–I don’t think they can compete with the Braves or Phillies in the very tough NL East division. Another team that I feel is going to do a lot better this season than last is the Washington Nationals. If Bryce Harper performs well once called up, and Stephen Strasburg can stay healthy, I think the Nationals stand a chance of beating out the Marlins for third in the division. For now, however, I’m still sticking with my prediction of fourth for the Nat’s, but give them a year or so and they’ll be a really good team. The Mets are last on my list, as I don’t feel they’ll do any better than last year, even with a healthy Johan Santana.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1- St. Louis Cardinals

2- Milwaukee Brewers

3- Cincinnati Reds

4- Pittsburgh Pirates

5- Chicago Cubs

6- Houston Astros

Reasoning: Depending on how healthy their star players can stay throughout the season, and how well the teams as a whole perform, I could see the Cardinals, Brewers or Reds placing first in the NL Central. They all have decent pitching rotations, as well as decent lineups. Since I couldn’t pick all three to put in the top spot however, I decided to go with the Cardinals after much debate. I’m not only choosing the Cardinals because they were 2011 World Champions, but also because I feel that even with the loss of their superstar Albert Pujols, they’re a good enough team to win the division. The second place team on my list, the Brewers, took a similar hit as the Cardinals, loosing their star player Prince Fielder. Without the loss of Fielder, the Brewers would run away with the  division, but I feel it’s pretty even between the top three teams the way it stands. The Reds are a team that’s good enough for the top spot, but I have them finishing third in the NL Central just for the fact that I don’t think they’ll put everything together to finish any better; but they might just surprise me. The Pirates, who I have finishing fourth, are a team similar to the Nationals. They’re getting better everyday, and have a bunch of star prospects still in the minors, including top prospect pitcher Gerrit Cole, but it’ll be a few more years before they’re good enough for third place or higher. They’re deffinitely a team to keep a close eye on in the future though. I have the Cubs finishing next to last just ahead of the Astros. Nothing stands out to me that makes me think they have a shot at cracking the 103 year World Series drought, none the less finishing any better than fifth. The good news for the Astros is that I think they’ll be no worse than last season. The bad news is they were terrible last season. But that’s nothing new. They’re good enough for last place.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1- San Francisco Giants

2- Arizona Diamondbacks

3- Los Angeles Dodgers

4- San Diego Padres

5- Colorado Rockies

Reasoning: After winning the World Series in 2010 the Giants had a terrible season last year. They were plagued with injuries to many of their stars, including Brian Wilson and Buster Posey, and while not injured, their Ace Tim Lincecum didn’t perform all that well. I look for the Giants to really dominate this coming season. I think Lincecum will have another stellar year, and I look for Buster Posey to have a bounce back year after being injured in 2011. Combine that with Wilson coming in to close things out, and I think you’ve got a team that’s good enough for first place in the division. The Diamondbacks, who won the division last season, are sure to have another fantastic season however I don’t think they’ll be quite good enough for the top spot. Matt Kemp and the Dodgers are sure to make a push at the number two spot. Kemp–who ended one home run shy of a 40/40 last season (40 home runs, 40 stolen bases)–made the bold prediction that he’ll record a 50/50 this year. While that seems a little far fetched, I still look for Kemp to help his team win a ton of games this year, and possibly end up winning the NL MVP, which he should’ve received after his 2011 performance. The Padres are another of my teams that I feel you should keep a close eye on. They’re not quite talented enough yet to finish any better than fourth (a step up from last season) but I feel that they’re really getting their act together. They made several great trades during the offseason, and their pitching staff is going to get better in the next couple of years. The Rockies in my opinion will finish last in the division. While they’re a good team, who also made some good trades during the off season, I feel that the Padres are going to be the slightly better team this year.

That’s my predictions for how the standings will look at the end of the 2012 Regular season. You may agree with me, or you might think I’m insane for some of my picks, but that’s just how I see it ending.

Here’s a quick review of the teams I have winning their divisions:

AL East: New York Yankees

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

AL West: Texas Rangers

NL West: San Francisco Giants

Those are the teams that I have winning their divisions and moving onto the 2012 playoffs. Now moving onto my Wild Card Predictions. These are the teams I have recieving those:

AL Wild Card: Los Angeles Angels

NL Wild Card: Arizona Diamondbacks

Those are the teams I feel aren’t quite good enough to win their divisions, but will make it to the playoffs via a Wild Card slot. As you know, MLB is adding an extra Wild Card this season. So here are my picks for those:

Extra AL Wild Card Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Extra NL Wild Card Team: Atlanta Braves

If it comes out the way I predict, the Rays and Angels, and the Diamondbacks and Braves will have a one-game play off to see which will move on, and which one’s season will come to a dramatic end. It’s sure to be exciting.

I had originally planned on predicting all the way down to the World Series, but to be honest, there’s too much that can, and will, happen to have any success in doing that. I mean, when the Cardinals were 10 games back of the Braves for the Wild Card last year, who would’ve predicted that they’d go onto win the World Series? I will say this: I like the Tigers and Rangers chances.

So there you go. Those are my predictions for the division winners as well as the Wild Card, and extra Wild Card recipients. Only time will tell if they play out as I foresee.

Bryce Harper Ready For Big Leagues?

Ever since Bryce Harper appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009, he’s been all people could talk about. From the good, of being the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, to the bad, of blowing a kiss to the opposing pitcher, Bryce Harper has been in the news for quite a while now.

When it comes down to it, love him or hate him, the kid is good; extremely good in fact. But I’m guessing you already knew that, and I don’t want to waste my time, and yours, by writing about the same information that’s been circulated over and over again by the media. So instead of rattling off a bunch of stats, and including a bunch of quotes from Harper himself, I’m just going to write about what’s on my mind, giving you my own opinion of baseball’s ‘The Chosen One’.

If you follow me on twitter then you know I’m not the biggest Harper fan in the world. But not liking Harper has NO influence whatsoever on my opinion of whether or not I feel he’s ready for the majors. Even if I was the biggest Harper fan in the world, and had a tatoo of his face on my arm, my opinion that he’s not quite ready for MLB would be the same. My problem with bringing Harper up for Opening Day is that I feel that the Nationals are rushing him. Harper says he’s ready, but I mean come on; that doesn’t tell you anything. If I was in Harper’s position I’d tell everyone I was ready too. Just to let you know, when I say “ready” I’m not just talking about whether or not his skills are good enough, I’m talking about whether he’s mature enough. After all, he’s just 19 years old, and has only played in 109 professional games, between A and AA ball. If it was up to me I’d start Harper out in AAA and then possibly call him up in June or so depending on how he was doing. No need to rush the guy. Let him get in some more at bats, and mature a little more, before bringing him up to hopefully dominate in the NL East.

According to reports, the fate of Harper rests on how he performs in Spring Training. Apparently if he does well he’ll more than likely be on the Opening Day roster for the Nationals. Obviously having Harper AND Strasburg on your roster is sure to attract attention, which in turn will increase attendance levels. But if the Nat’s are just bringing Harper up to draw more attention to the team I think they’re making a mistake. Harper seems to have this ‘I can’t fail’ mentality, when in fact he’s human, and thus can, and will, fail at some point down the road.

Harper said in an interview with Harold Reynolds that he doesn’t want to get the call up and get sent back down to AAA a month later, and then repeat the process a few more times before becoming a permanent fixture in the nation’s capital. Harper says he wants to get to the majors and stay there, with his ultimate goal being to win the NL Rookie of the Year award. In my opinion he stands a much better chance of doing that if he’s called up a few months down the road. Patience is a virtue.

Making Up for My Lack of Entries

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a non Q and A blog entry. (16 days to be exact.) Although there’s been some big news lately, I’ve been slacking when it comes to writing about it. So I apologize for that. I’m going to use this entry to talk about the major news stories that have taken place since the last time I blogged on January 10th. I figured it’d be easier to do that than to do several different blog entries.

YU DARVISH SIGNS WITH RANGERS

After paying 51.7 million (the most for any pitcher in MLB history) for the rights to talk to Yu Darvish, the Rangers were able to lock him up with a 6-year, 60 million dollar deal. That’s good news for the Rangers, if Darvish pans out. However, there’s been more than one instance in the past of a pitcher that has been dominant in Japan, only to come over the the United States and fail, at the Major League Level. The latest example of this being Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Boston Red Sox (who didn’t even submit a bid for Darvish) paid 51.1 million to talk to Matsuzaka, and ended up getting him to agree to a 6-year, 52 million dollar deal. Although Daisuke had success in his first and second seasons with the Red Sox, injuries since then have caused him to become a non-factor, as he only pitched 6 games this season, with a 5.30 ERA. Not exactly stellar stuff. But if Darvish does turn out to be the same caliber pitcher he was in Japan, he could very well be the extra link needed to finally get the Rangers that World Series title that they’ve been so close to getting the past two seasons.

PRINCE FIELDER SIGNS WITH TIGERS

Since the Brewers where beaten out of the playoffs by the St. Louis Cardinals, all eyes have been on Fielder, with the main question being where he’d end up for the 2012 season. Well, no one knew for a long time. It was reported a few weeks ago that the the Rangers and Nationals were the teams that were pursuing Fielder the hardest. But after the Rangers spent a big chunk of change to sign Darvish, you had to figure that Fielder was going to be sporting a Nationals jersey in the upcoming season. But know one really knew for sure where he’d go. That’s why, although I was surprised, it wasn’t a huge shock when it was reported that Fielder had signed with the Detroit Tigers. Fielder’s 9-year, 214 million dollar deal makes him the highest annually paid member of the team. But I think this is going to work out well for the Tigers. Although they had to shell out over 200 million to get Fielder to sign, he has shown in the past that he can be a major factor, and I think the addition of Fielder gives the Tigers a great shot at winning 100 or more games this year.

TIM LINCECUM’S ‘FREAK’ISH DEAL

Tim Lincecum is nicknamed the “Freak”, and now I see why. He can get major ammounts of money paid for him, as he was given a 2-year, 40.5 million dollar deal from the Giants, in which he signed. I can’t deny the fact that Lincecum is good–extremely good–but I’m not sure he’s 20.25 million dollars a year good. When calculated out, Lincecum’s pricey deal comes out to roughly 94,500 dollars an inning–if he has the EXACT same stats of 33 games started, and 217 innings pitched, as he did last year. (This is highly unlikely, but I’m just using it to show how much Lincecum is going to earn the next two seasons.) But the 30,000 dollars per out is well worth it I suppose, if Lincecum can pitch the way he did the years in which he won the Cy Young award. As a matter of fact, Lincecum will earn a bonus if he wins the Cy Young, or any other award. Those bonuses include: CY YOUNG- 500,000 dollars for winning his third one, 250,000 for coming in second, 100,000 for third, 75,000 for fourth, and 50,000 for fifth. NL MVP- 250,000 dollars for winning, 150,000 for second place, 100,000 for third, 75,000 for fourth, and 50,000 for fifth. ALL-STAR GAME- 100,000 dollars if picked to pitch in the game. GOLD GLOVE- 50,000 dollars for winning the award. But all that is pocket change really, compared to what he’ll earn during the regular season.

JORGE POSADA RETIRES FROM MLB

It was first reported back in November that long time Yankee catcher Jorge Posada was considering retirement. That report was confirmed on Tuesday, as Jorge Posada held a press conference to officially announce his retirement from the game of baseball. Posada was part of that core-four of Rivera, Jeter, Pettitte, and himself, back in the 1990’s. Posada’s retirement makes Jeter and Rivera the last two members of the original four. I admire Posada for his acknowledgement that it was time for him to quit. He went out on top, after 17 great seasons with the Yankees–which is the best thing anyone who retires from any professional sport can do. Better to retire on top, than to extend your career a season or two more and retire after having a season batting average of .151. Now comes the debate of whether or not Posada is a Hall of Fame caliber player. In my opinion he is. Posada had an amazing career that included 1,664 hits, 275 home runs, 1,065 RBI’s, and a batting average of .273. Not to mention his FIVE World Series rings. Not bad for a catcher. I don’t see Posada getting into the Hall of Fame his first year, but I feel that he’ll get in his second or third year on the ballot. He was that good of a player.

TOP 100 PROSPECT LIST

The Top 100 Prospect’s List was released yesterday. While I’m not going to take the time to talk about ALL 100 players on the list, I am going to give my thought’s on the top 3. The top three prospects on the list included Matt Moore, Bryce Harper, and Mike Trout. I’m shocked that Harper wasn’t number one. Not because I think he is better than Moore, but because everyone else that follows baseball seems to think he is the best prospect to come along in years. I mean, there’s no doubt that Harper is an incredible player, with undeniable power, but when it comes down to it, I think Moore is deserving of that number one spot he recieved. I have a good feeling that all three of the top 3 prospects will have a major impact at the Major League level this year. Which one will have the biggest impact is hard to say.

Wilson Ramos Kidnapped

Wilson Ramos–catcher for the Washington Nationals–was kidnapped from his home in Venezuela earlier today. Kidnappings are not all that uncommon in Venezuela. The main targets being the wealthy. Considering the fact that Ramos earned the league minimum of 414,000 dollars this season, he fits the kidnapping category perfectley. (At least in Venezuelan standards.)

Incidents like this have happened a lot over the past decade. Most were kidnappings that resulted in the return of the hostage unhurt without any ransom money collected. Some incidents, however, didn’t turn out as good. Relatives of Melvin Mora and Omar Infante were murdered back in the early 2000’s.

But hopefully, Wilson Ramos’s story will have a happy ending.

UPDATE

Wilson Ramos was rescued yesterday by Venezuelan police. Here he is being reunited with his mom:

Truly an amazing moment.

Q and A With Bryan Harper

Before you get too excited, check the title again. Notice that this Q and A is on BRYAN Harper, and not his brother, Bryce. (Just wanted to get that cleared up, and out of the way.)

Bryan Harper, who was part of the National College Championship baseball team last season, recently signed with the Nationals. He is now on his way to the pro’s just like his brother, Bryce.

Below’s Q and A is meant to help you learn more about Bryan Harper’s interests:

1.) Favorite type of music.

“Anything and everything.”

2.) Favorite song.

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn. (By Beastie Boys.)”

3.) Favorite food.

“Anything my mom cooks.”

4.) Favorite T.V. show.

“Suits.”

5.) Favorite movie.

“Star Wars. I’m a nerd at heart!”

6.) Favorite book.

“No books, but magazine, in Men’s Health.”

7.) Favorite thing to do in free time.

“Play XBOX.”

8.) Favorite time of year.

“Baseball season.”

9.) Favorite sport, besides baseball.

“College football. GO COCKS!!”

10.) Favorite player growing up.

“C.C. Sabathia.”

11.) Favorite shoe brand.

“Nike.”

12.) Favorite car.

“Audi R8.”

13.) Favorite subject, when in school.

“Anything that kept me interested.”

14.) Favorite quote.

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

15.) Favorite moment of baseball career thus far.

“Winning the College World Series.”

I hope this helped you to learn more about Bryan Harper of the National’s Organization.

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Big thanks to Bryan Harper for answering my questions.

You can follow Bryan Harper on twitter: @BHarp45

The next Q and A entry will be posted Saturday, August 27, on Casper Wells, of the Seattle Mariners.

PAST Q AND A ENTRIES: Brent Lillibridge, Daniel Hudson, Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner, and Jeremy Guthrie.

Q and A With Jeremy Guthrie

Today’s Q and A entry is on Jeremy Guthrie. Starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.

Since recording his first complete game back in August of 2008, Jeremy Guthrie has pitched his way to success with the Orioles. Earning a name for himself as one of the O’s best pitchers.

Below’s Q and A is meant to inform you of what Jeremy Guthrie likes:

1.) Favorite type of music.

“Top 40.”

2.) Favorite song.

“Too many.”

3.) Favorite food.

“Pizza.”

4.) Favorite T.V. show.

“Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”

5.) Favorite movie.

“Serendipity.”

6.) Favorite book.

“Scriptures.”

7.) Favorite thing to do in free time.

“Sports. Or ride bike.”

8.) Favorite time of year.

“Fall.”

9.) Favorite sport, besides baseball.

“Football.”

10.) Favorite player growing up.

“Michael Jordan.”

11.) Favorite shoe brand.

“Nike/Jordan.”

12.) Favorite car.

“Audi R-8.”

13.) Favorite subject, when in school.

“Math.”

14.) Favorite quote.

Left unanswered.

15.) Favorite moment of baseball career thus far.

“Walk off win in World Baseball Classic.”

I hope this helped you to learn more about Jeremy Guthrie of the Baltimore Orioles.

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Big thanks to Jeremy Guthrie for answering my questions.

You can follow Jeremy Guthrie on twitter: @JGuthrie46

The next Q and A entry will be posted Wednesday, August 24, on Bryan Harper, of the Nationals organization.

PAST Q AND A ENTRIES: Brent Lillibridge, Daniel Hudson and Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner.

Alex Meyer-From Dream To Team

“I was interested in baseball for as long as I can remember,” replies Alex Meyer, in response to when he first developed an interest in baseball. “I remember my mom signing me up for instructional league, when I was 5 years old, for the Greensburg Youth Baseball League. I was fortunate enough to play with all of my friends growing up.”

Another thing Meyer enjoyed growing up, was watching his favorite player, Ken Griffey Jr, play baseball, saying, “He was the most exciting player to watch, and everytime I had the opportunity to watch him play, I did.” Now that Jr. has retired, Meyer states that Josh Beckett is his new favorite player. “I really like the way he pitches,” replies Meyer, “and the way he composes himself on the mound.”

Like Beckett, Meyer relies heavily on his fastball. “I love throwing the fastball. It’s my favorite pitch because I feel like you can spot up the most with that pitch.”

He must know what he’s talking about. In his most recent season for the University of Kentucky, Meyer recorded 110 strikeouts, and 2 complete game shutouts. (Both of which he led the team in.)

Before he recieved his College baseball success, Meyer attempted a few other sports. He gave football a shot, but after just one year decided that it really wasn’t the sport for him. Basketball and baseball was where his real interest lied. (Playing both in all four years of high school.)

“Basketball was something that I really enjoyed doing throughout the winter, and I felt like I had some success in it……”, says Meyer. “…….but I always figured baseball was where my future was.”

When it comes to basketball, there’s no question as to why he had success with it. In Meyer’s own words, “I’m 6’9”, and can do some crazy dunks.” (Enough said.)

Coming out of high school, Meyer was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 20th round. However, he decided to attend college, saying, “I was set on going to school because at the time, it was the most important thing for me. I love baseball and if things were going to work out, I needed to get stronger and mentally mature and if that were to happen, it would benefit me more, I felt, than signing at that point in time.”

After making the decision to attend college, another decision was left to be made. Which college to choose? In the end, Meyer chose the University of Kentucky. “I knew that I wanted to play in the SEC because I felt that it was the best conference in the country and would get you ready for pro ball more than any other conference could. Kentucky was close to home (Greensburg, IN) and I wanted to make sure my family could come to my games. This made the decision easy for me.”

Getting back to the mention of family by Meyer, it is a very big part of his life. “I like to call my family before I get to the field and talk to all of them before I go into the locker room. I always make sure that I talk to my mom last because she always gives me words of encouragement that no one else does. She keeps me humble and grounded and I feel like [she] does a great job getting me ready for the game.”

Family was also a part of Meyer’s life on draft night. (June 9th, 2011.) As he sat there, patiently awaiting his name to be called, his family was there with him. When his name was finally called, as the 23rd pick in the first round by the Nationals, Meyer experienced a great deal of emotion. His initial thoughts being, “I was extremely excited to know that a team thought that highly of me. It was a great feeling for me to experience.”

Following the National’s selection, former baseball player Harold Reynolds stated, in reaction to the pick of Meyer, “He’s (Alex Meyer) the greatest pitcher to ever come out of the University of Kentucky.” When asked about his reaction to that statement by Reynold’s, Meyer replied, “That is a bold statement. I am very humbled to hear people say that, but, at the same time, I know I still have a lot of work to do. There have been some good pitchers [to] come out of the university…….to be put in a category with that group of people is pretty special.”

Meyer’s career in Professional baseball is just beginning. But, to the kids who’s baseball careers are just beginning, Meyer gives the following advice: “……make sure to work hard every single day, but the most important thing in baseball is to stay positive. The game has so much failure and it can be hard to bounce back at times, but if you stay positive, it can be extremely rewarding.”

Considering the fact that Alex Meyer went from an Instructional League in Greensburg, IN, to being drafted in the first round by the National’s, I’d say his advice is fairly accurate.

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Big thanks to Alex Meyer for answering my questions.

You can follow Alex on twitter @AlexMeyer17

UPDATE

Got this from Alex in the mail:

AWESOME!!

Thanks Alex.

Greensboro Grasshoppers Vs. Hagerstown Suns

My dad, grandpa, and I left for Greensboro, NC at 1:00pm. It’s an hour and a half drive to Greensboro from where I live, and we wanted to be there near the time the gates opened. They were set to open at 3:00 and we wanted to be one of the first inside to see the main attraction. AKA, Bryce Harper.

Bryce Harper is only 18 years old, and was the first round pick by the Nationals. There is a SLIGHT chance that he might be called up to the majors towards the end of the season. But it’s more likely that he’ll have to wait until next season.

I sort of felt bad for the other teamates of Bryce. He was the only person on the Suns that people cared about. Everyone had their cameras packed away until Bryce moved into the on deck circle. They would then whip them out until the end of his at bat. But hey, when you have a person as good at baseball as Bryce is, he’s bound to be the highlight of the game.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First thing after entering the gates we did a little exploring of the ballpark. (Something we always do at a park we’ve never been to before.) It was quite interesting. There was a baseball bat that was about 15 feet tall. An old cannon. And a six dollar hot dog. Oh wait. The expensive hotdogs are at every ballpark. (I didn’t take any pictures of that stuff, so you have to take my word for it.)

We moved down into our seats–Section 110-Row B-Seats 7,8,9–just before the starting lineups were announced. It was actually pretty cool what they did as each player of the Grasshoppers was announced. There was a line of kids in Marlins uniforms (the Grasshoppers are the Marlins Class A affiliate) on the third base side:

When each player was announced, they grabbed a kid (not literally) and took them out with them to wherever their position was. The kids then recieved an autograph from that player. I’ve seen this done before in the Major League, but it’s still cool to see.

As interesting as the pre-game was, the crowd had some interesting sites as well. There was a girl with green hair. And a few people wearing Yankees gear. What? I saw some other people wearing Marlin and Nationals gear, but that made sense, considering the Grasshoppers and Suns are those teams affiliates. But Yankees gear? I don’t get it.

Just before game time, the man of the hour appeared from within the dugout:

And all you could hear around me was the clicking of cameras. (Mine included.)

Bryce Harper didn’t have a lot of luck in the game, going 0-4 before all was said and done. But the worst thing that happened to him all day was when he fouled a ball off of his knee and fell to the ground in pain:

But he walked it off, and was able to step back into  the batters box and finish his at bat:

But as I said earlier, he went 0-4, so nothing happened except an out.

But this wan’t ENTIRELY a Bryce Harper show. There was still a baseball game going on. So let’s get to the game.

First of all, there were two free giveaways that would happen if certain things took place during the game. The first thing seemed nearly impossible. If any player from either team hit a home run that hit the Wrangler sign in center field, everyone in attendance got a FREE pair of Jeans:

Needless to say I’m not the proud owner of a new pair of jeans. Oh, and did you notice the temperature below the Wrangler sign? 86 degrees. I think the hottest it got was 90. And when you add a TON of humidity, and the sun beating DIRECTLY down onto you….yeah. It was almost unbearable. (It was so hot that I thought the Rapture had happened and I was one of the unlucky ones left here to suffer.)

The second chance at winning something free seemed more likely. All that had to happen was that #19, I don’t know his name, on the Suns needed to strike out just once, and every one would win a free Biscuitville biscuit. Here he is in one of his at bats:

All we needed was ONE  little strikeout, but although he didn’t get a single hit in the game he always managed to make contact for the groundout. Ughh.

There was only one home run in the game, and it came from the bat of a Suns player. (The only person who’s name I knew throughout the entire game was Bryce Harper. I was clueless to the others.) And that home run barely cleared the left field wall.

There was always something going on whenever there was a break in the action. One such case is of a bat “dog”, that would bring the umpire baseballs……

…….and would retrieve the ocassional bat every now and then.

The game was fun to watch for everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean it. Even the team mascot, Guilford the Grasshopper, enjoyed the action:

When all was said and done, the Grasshoppers won 5-2. I still had a great time even though the team I was cheering for lost.

Here are three final pictures that I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate into this entry, but I wanted to show anyway:

Here’s some random pitcher (I said I didn’t know the names) for the Grasshoppers:

It wasn’t a milestone pitch or anything like that. I just thought it looked cool.

And here are two last pictures I took of Bryce Harper. The first picture is just before his last at bat of the game:

And here he is jogging in from center field for the last time during the game:

I tried for Bryce Harper’s autograph after the game at the tunnel where the players exit, but he just walked past without even looking up. I guess I’ll have to buy an autographed rookie of his off of ebay for $700.00 if I want to get it. (Yeah right.)

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