One of the only baseball blogs (to my knowledge) in the blogosphere that focuses on the Montreal Expos. Okay, mostly baseball in general, however with Montreal Expos references to be found within!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NHL Winter Classic 2010 at Fenway Park

This year's Winter Classic (hockey game played outdoors) is at Fenway Park. The Boston Bruins will host the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Boston Bruins, founded in 1924, became the first American NHL team. They entered the league alongside the Montreal Maroons. The NHL having been founded November 26, 1917.

The Philadelphia Flyers were founded much later, in 1967. They were part of the six team expansion of that year that saw the number of teams grow from six (Original Six) to twelve. The Original Six era lasted from 1942.

Of the six expansion teams (California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and St. Louis Blues) only two no longer exist in their original form, California, and Minnesota. And only California no longer exist period. They moved to Cleveland for two seasons in 1976, as the Cleveland Barons, and folded in 1978 merging with Minnesota.

Boston has five Stanley Cups, the first being in 1929, and the most recent being 1972.

Philadelphia has two Stanley Cup championships under their belts, back to back in 1974, 1975.

Not quite the history of last year's game. Well, at least half of the participating teams. Then again, better than the first Winter Classic in 2008 (Pittsburgh, 1967 at Buffalo, 1970). Also, comparable to the Heritage Classic in 2003, that saw the Montreal Canadiens, founded 1909, visit the Edmonton Oilers, founded 1972.

The Boston Bruins will be sporting jerseys from the 1948-49 season (top half of picture). The only season they used the rounded B. However since those jerseys are white, and dark jerseys are the home jerseys, they will be wearing them as home jerseys, with the Boston gold colour added.

The Flyers will be sporting what appears to be 1971 to 1977 home jerseys (again top half of picture). Which works now, as white jerseys are the away jerseys.

This years advertisement for the game has nothing on last year's. Don't get me wrong, it is still good, going back to hockey's roots. And I do like the Green Monster in hockey context. However being able to use "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in a hockey commercial is priceless. And hey, it was at Wrigley Field!

Judge for yourself, this year's and last year's.





See also:

Bruins, Flyers unveil NHL Winter Classic jerseys (for much more information)

and

The Hockey Wing Has Spoken (For more pictures and notes. A few paragraphs down under "Ghosts of Christmas Present")

Thanks to The Hockey Uniform Database and Chris Creamer's Sports Logos for the images.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Flight of the Molina's

This post has been in my head for a while, so since it is the offseason, there is plenty of time for various posts.

Oldest brother Bengie was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico (July 20, 1974), while José and Yadier were both born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico (José: June 5, 1975, Yadier: July 13, 1982). Making the older two, Bengie 35, and José 34, while younger brother Yadier is 27)

I may as well just list how they got to where they are now.

Benjamin José "Bengie" Molina: Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the California Angels in 1993.

José Benjamin Molina Matta: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 14th round in 1993. 390th overall, from Ladislao Martinez High School (Vega Alta, Puerto Rico).

Yadier B. Molina: Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 4th round in 2000. 113 overall, Maestro Ladi (Vega Alta, Puerto Rico).

MLB Debuts:

Bengie: September 21, 1998
José: September 6, 1999
Yadier: June 3, 2004

Bengie worked his way up the minors from 1993 to 1998. He played Triple-A ball in 1995 only for one game and two at bats. He did not reach Triple-A again until 1998. Both were with Triple-A Vancouver. He also played Triple-A in 1999 for Edmonton.

From 1998 to 2005 he was with the Anaheim Angels/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Even if 1998 he only had two games with 1 AB.

He was Signed as a free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays in February 2006. That did not last long as in December he was signed as a free agent by the San Francisco Giants. He has been in San Francisco as the starting catcher since the 2007 season.

José, in the year of his MLB debut, 1999, had 10 games making for 19 AB for the Chicago Cubs. in those 10 AB he went 5 for 19, with one 2B, and 2 BB.

He remained with the Cubs organisation, playing for Triple-A Iowa in 2000 (76 games).
January 2001, he signed as a free agent by the Angels of Anaheim. José stayed with Anaheim/L.A from 2001 until 2007. Although in 2001 he only had 15 games making for 37 AB. During which time he hit .270. All of his time with the Angels he was pretty much the backup catcher.

July 21, 2007, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traded José Molina to the New York Yankees for Jeff Kennard. In 2008 with the Yankees he was finally the starting catcher, or at least based on games played. This year he backed up Jorge Posada, playing in 52 games, starting 42.

Yadier is the easiest of the three brothers, as he has spent his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals organisation.

In 2001 he played 44 games for 158 AB. His BA was .259. This was with the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League. They play Rookie League ball. From 2002 to 2004 he spent each season moving up the ladder, 2002 with A Peoria, 2003 with Double-A Tennessee, and 2004 with Memphis. 2004 also saw his MLB debut as noted above. In 2004 he played 37 games with Memphis, and 51 with the Cardinals, starting 39.

MLB.com currently shows Bengie listed at 5'11", 225 lbs. José at 6'2" 235. And Yadier at 5'11" 230. All three bat and throw right.

Bengie and José are currently free agents. Yadier will be starting year three of a four year deal which is set to end after the 2011 season.

Some stats:

Bengie: 1244 G, .276 BA, 32 CS%, 74 PB, .059 PB%

José: 554 G, .235 BA, 40 CS%, 32 PB, .057 PB%

Yadier: 669, .269 BA, 46 CS%, 35 PB, .052 PB%

Bengie has two Gold Gloves, back to back in 2002 and 2003. As does Yadier however in 2008 and this year, 2009.

I think that about summarises everything well. The reason I thought of this post was so I would not confuse them. Moreso with Bengie and José. I have also learned Yadier has the potential to be an elite catcher, as he is probably already on the way. Bengie is a quality starter, and José is a quality backup catcher.

Random stat, Bengie is the only one of the three who had not played another defensive position besides catcher (he has been DH several times). José has 13 games at 1B, starting one, and one game at 3B. Yadier has 14 games at 1B, starting one as well. José has only been the DH 6 times, while Yadier has only once been the DH.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free Agent Frenzy/Hot Stove Report

Quite a number of interesting free agents this off season. At least in my opinion.

From the unfortunate World Series champions, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are free agents. Apparently only one witll stay. From what I understand Johnny Damon had a good year with the Yankees. I have liked him since the 2004 Red Sox, I also like Johnny as I base my batting stance somewhat off his! So I would not mind seeing him as a Blue Jay (note: I no longer root for the Red Sox, I was happy to see them beat the Yankees, etc, but now I root against the like the Yankees). Not sure how likely that would be though. They did sign Millar, however he is quite a different player.

I just found out Vladimir Guerrero is a free agent. If the Jays are to compete, again, I would not mind seing him a Jay, however again, I don't think it is too likely.

Jason Bay is a free agent, and he would be a nice fit in Toronto, being Canadian, not to mention leaving the Red Sox as well.

Speaking of Toronto, it should prove interesting to see the direction they go in. Rod Barajas is a type B free agent, and Michael Barrett has already been released as a minor league free agent. Seems like a good chance that Barajas may return.

The Jays claimed 2B Jarrett Hoffpauir off waivers, so I don't type A free agent think Marco Scutaro will return.

In the NL, some interesting free agents include Matt Holliday, Pedro Martinez, former Blue Jays Carlos Delgado and Orlando Hudson, and Rick Ankiel.

Not quite Hot Stove worthy, but looks like Roy Halladay will be on the move, surprise surprise, looks like it could be to the Yankees or Red Sox. I am leaning toward the Yankees, as then he would be reunited with Burnett again. I'm sure that will not help his fan club, at least those not too fond of the Yankees, as the case would have been for Johnny Damon.

Speaking of Hot Stove, looks like the term is actually "Hot Stove League", and it did indeed come from a stove that is hot from the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Since baseball is played during warm months, seems people gathered around a hot stove to discuss baseball.

Full Hot Stove Report at mlb.com
2009 Free Agent Tracker

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Michael Barrett on "The Expos: Five years later" panel

When I heard former Expo and current minor league free agent was going to be in town, I knew I had to be there.

He was in town for the Concordia University Sports Journalism Workshop. This year's theme was Montreal: Major League City?

I was planning on checking out all the events, but only ended up staying for the panel Michael Barrett was involved in, titled "The Expos: Five Years Later." The panel also included Dave Van Horne (voice of the Expos from 1969-2001 and the Florida Marlins 2002-present), Elliot Price (Team 990, Montreal sports radio station), and Serge Touchette (RueFrontenac.com and journalist).

I learned numerous things I did not know previously, as I really only became a fan late in their run.

The slow demise started well before the 1994 strike, although that surely was a huge factor.

Charles Bronfman put the Expos up for sale at the start of spring training in 1990. That sale could have surely gone much better.

Tim Raines was traded at the end of the 1990 season.

Of course after the strike, the firesale ocurred sending Larry Walker, John Wetteland, Ken Hill, and Marquis Grissom packing.

Vladimir Guerrero came in in 1996, and was the regular RF starting in 1996. That essentially could have saved the franchise if he had been marketed as LeBron James was. Michael Barrett noted that about how he should have been like LeBron was. Or Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin for that matter (I added them). Michael also stated how the strike was hard to predict. Before that, they should have locked up players to long term deals, similar to Matt Ryan (of the Atlanta Falcons), and built the team around the future star player. Instead Youppi was marketed. Michael told a story about how he almost killed Youppi, pitching a ball right into the throat of the person inside Youppi! He stated he has it on tape and should put it on youtube, would be nice, but we'll have to see!

For a while, the team was marketed all over Canada, and throughout the Northeast US. Media coverage slowly fizzled away, ending with no tv deals, only radio, and advertisers staying away.

Jeffrey Loria and David Samson did not help matters. Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard rejected public funding for a new downtown ballpark. Regardless, Loria and Samson were businessmen, as such, they probably did not exhaust all options in order to get the ballpark deal done. Loria being an art dealer firstly.

I was just watching Top Gear (series 13 episode 7), and they were talking about the cars bad drivers drove. They concluded bad drivers do not care about driving and should have their licences removed. For example, you would not want to eat food cooked by someone who does not care about food. Why should an art dealer be dealing with baseball? Of course, many people like baseball, but that does not make them qualified to own or run a team.

Another issue relating to the ballpark was how Olympic Stadium was indoors. People didn't want to spend the summer days inside! I believe they referred to the fact that if Montreal had a 30 000 seat downtown outside ballpark, the team would be thriving. No doubt! Michael Barrett referred to the rebuilding of the Cleveland Indians with the additions of Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez and the opening of Progressive Field, aka Jacobs Field in 1994.

Michael Barrett also brought up revenue sharing, referring to the Pittsburgh Steelers before and after revenue sharing.

With revenue sharing, and a salary cap, the Expos could probably still be around (I added the salary cap). Of course, also with the new downtown ballpark that would have been steps away from where the Montreal Canadiens play. Now condos, or some sort of living space is there.

Bottom line, Montreal can support a team if done correctly. Once Selig is out, no doubt there would be a possibility. Especially if we could have a ballpark on the water, a la San Francisco.

Check out a couple videos taken by yours truly below. Click on them to get to the Youtube page for further information.



Saturday, November 07, 2009

Met Michael Barrett/on Twitter now.

So I met Michael Barrett, very briefly, after the discussion panel titled "The Expos: Five years later" at the Concordia Sports Journalism Workshop. He seems like quite a nice down to earth guy. I'll post some pictures of the event, and video (before my battery died!) later.

I'll also in the coming days write something up about it, although I cannot call myself a journalist, nor do I try, but in blog form anyway.

I just stayed for the Expos panel, which was quite good. There was quite a lot going on. And still is if you happen to be in Montreal, more specifically the Concordia Loyola Campus. Here is the website for it, including schedule: Concordia University Sports Journalism Workshop.

Also, I thought now is as good a time as any to do a Twitter dealy for this blog. Follow me at twitter.com/baseball363.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Postseason 2009 Highlights

With baseball over for another year, Major League Baseball anyway, might as well post a few postseason highlights.

First one that comes to my mind is a play Willy Aybar made against the Yankees, on a high chopper, making the out bare handed to first base, a great play. I could not find the video highlight.

Tonight, Pedro made a very nice play on what I believe was a check swing ground ball down to third. Charging, Pedro Feliz barehanded got the out at first.

All right, so that is it, at least off the top of my head. A couple highlights anyway.

The Arizona Fall League (2009 schedule in pdf) continues. The Arizona Fall League top prospects face off in their 'all-star Game' Saturday at 6:15 MST. It can be seen on MLB Network, which streams for free on mlb.com.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Greatest Catch in World Series History

Bottom six, one out, Johnny Damon at the plate, Cliff Lee on the mound. Johnny Damon pops out softly to pitcher Cliff Lee. The greatest catch in World Series History!

Seriously though, it was pretty funny how Cliff Lee caught it, very nonchalantly as one Tim McCarver put it. I wonder how the international feed described it. He made it look unbelievably easy, and that was a soft pop just barely to the left of the mound, as viewed from behind home.

Other tidbits: Second left handed player to hit two home runs in a World Series game, Chase Utley, first was someone by the name of Babe Ruth, October 11, 1923.

11 of last 12 World Series have been won by the team that won game one. Currently the streak is six consecutive.

Josh Beckett was the last pitcher to pitch a complete game shutout in the World Series (October 25, 2003 at old Yankee Stadium). Cliff Lee almost became the newest. Still, CG 6H 1R 0ER isn't bad!

Of note, not the World Series, but the White Sox had a great pitching ALCS against the Angels in 2005, winning four consecutive after losing the first, all with complete game pitching performances. They all gave up earned runs, the least belonging to Mark Buehrle in game two. Game three, Jon Garland, 2ER, game four, Freddy Garcia, 2ER, game five, Jose Contreras, 3ER.

Despite the Yankees being in the WS, I think this should be a good entertaining series. Of course I am rooting for Matt Stairs and the Phillies. Former Expo Pedro Martinez starts tomorrow against A.J. Burnett. That should be a hum dinger of a matchup! Moreso because of Pedro 'who's your daddy' Martinez!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Montreal Expos exposition

Another better late than never post.

So as the post states, if you are living in Montreal, you should head over to Sub-V (5666 Sherbrooke W.), as Denis Raby, Expo fan way longer than me, yet about the same age, created some interesting "wood burnings of 17 Expos stars". They are surprisingly well done, it was not apparent from a print image.

I was there for the vernissage when it opened, and met Denis, along with a fellow Montreal blogger, who has his blog Truth of a Liar, over at, you guessed it truthofaliar.com. He was snapping pictures, and although I took some, I am wagering his probably turned out better. Check out his blog post about the event: Expo Des EXPOS. Also read a brief article from the October 1st edition of the Montreal Mirror here, just scroll down to the second article.

The exhibit will be there until Hallowe'en.

Former Expos in the 2009 Postseason

A little late, but better late than never.

Staring with the Angels who won in walk off fashion thanks to Jeff Mathis' double. Now the Angels are only down 2-1, whereas the Dodgers are down 3-1 with Jimmy Rollins' double.

Of course Vladimir Guerrero is there, he hit a two run homer in the bottom of the sixth. Juan Rivera and Maicer Izturis are still there too.

For the Phillies, Pedro Martinez is there, as is Matt Stairs, who had a pinch hit BB, which ended up as the winning run in the form of pinch runner Eric Bruntlett.

On the Dodgers end, Guillermo Mota.

For the teams already eliminated, The Twins had Orlando Cabrera, and Carl Pavano.

The Rockies had Matt Herges and Jim Tracy. Although Tracy only served as a bench coach under Felipe Alou. He also managed some Montreal farm clubs, Harrisburg, and Ottawa in 1993, 1994 respectively.

In Boston, although Jason Bay never played for the big club, he was drafted by the Expos in 2000. He went in the 22nd round, 645th overall. He played with Montreal affiliates from 2000 to 2001. Including the Vermont Expos (Single A short season).

I believe that is about it. I may have missed someone, possibly a coach that may have been with Montreal at some point.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Twins win!

Well, that was some kinda ballgame. It felt like a game 7 of the World Series practically!

I watched from the third inning on. I essentially turned on just before Detroit got on the board. The TBS announcers said how it is important to get a shut down inning after having scored runs. Well, that almost happened, if not for the Rick Porcello throwing error.

An inning after Jason Kubel homered to cut the Detroit lead to 1, one of the TBS announcers said how Orlando Cabrera (former Expo of course) tends to get the big hits that matter. Lo and behold, two run go ahead home run! Which possibly could have been caught by Ryan Raburn had he had his glove in the right spot. Soon after in the next half inning, the other Cabrera, Miguel, tied it up. That sent it to extras.

In the bottom of the ninth, Minnesota were 180 feet away from the win, but it did not work out. Top 10, the Tigers go ahead by one run on a Brandon Inge double.

The Togers may very well have won the game had Ryan Raburn not over committed, and let the fly ball drop in front of him, allowing Michael Cuddyer only to single. instead he eventually scored on what was a triple. Raburn made up for his mistake by throwing out what would have been the winning run for the Twins. Alexi Casilla did not tag very well, as he had to hustle back to third to tag, and then go. He was out by what looked like no more than a half foot, maybe even less.

After a quiet 11th, the Twins got into trouble in the 12th. Miguel Cabrera walked. He then made it to third, and Don Kelly to second as Delmon Young tried throwing to third, allowing Kelly to make it to second. A poor decision, but an easy mistake to make in the heat of the moment (I think that is the wording I am looking for). Ryan Raburn was intentionally walked to load the bases, obviously, as first was open, to have the double play in order.

Nick Punto made a nice play on a throw hom to get the force out for out number two on a Brandon Inge semi chopper.

Speaking of good plays, the Twins managed to get out of a jam in the top of the ninth when Magglio Ordonez lined into a DP. Orlando Cabrera threw to first to double up Curtis Granderson.

A little before the Twins got out of the 12th inning bases loaded with only one out jam, the announcers said if the Twins got out of this... the other completed, it would be destiny for them to win. So the wording is not exact, but you get the idea.

It was a non play at home when Alexi Casilla singled to bring in Carlos Gomez to win the game. He made up for his tagging mistake, if you can even call it that.

All in all, quite a game. I think we'll have to wait for a little later on for a game that exciting in the postseason, but you never know!

Kudos to Fernando Rodney for going 3IP. Maybe he should have been replaced after 2IP. He was initially blowing the fastballs in the high 90's, then he slowed to more changeups after 2IP. With all the pitching changes Ron Gardenhire made, perhaps Jim Leyland could have matched him. Especially since Minnesota starter Scott Baker went 6IP, and Rick Porcello went 5.2. Anyway, the Twins play the Yankees later today.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

AL Central, Detroit or Minnesota?

I have been closely watching the AL Central race, as I predicted Minnesota would make it into the postseason.

They went 2-2 in a crucial four game series in Detroit from September 29 to October 1. It would have been September 28 to October 1, but the first game was postponed due to rain, and made up as a double header the next day.

I said crucial, as going into that series they were 2 GB. Had they lost 3, and won only won, they would have been 4 games back going into their final series hosting the Royals. A three game series, therefore impossible to gain 3 games, as the Tigers also had a final three game set. Therefore they had to win at least two. Winning only two meant leaving the series as they went in, 2 GB. If they won 3 out of four, they would have been tied for the division lead, or swept, they would have been 2 games ahead of the Tigers.

As I said, they indeed went 2-2, winning the final game of the series, a must win, 8-3.

So obviously, they had to win at least two of their final series, while Detroit would have to lose at least two. So far that is exactly what has happened, and they are now tied atop the AL Central with a game each to play. It is pretty much part one of a playoff, if one wins, and the other loses, said winner goes to the postseason to play the Yankees. Both win, or both lose, a one game tie breaker between them.

Pitching matchups are as follows:

John Danks, LHP (13-10, 3.69) @ Justin Verlander, RHP (18-9, 3.45).

And

Luke Hochevar, RHP (7-12, 6.24) @ Carl Pavano (former Montreal Expo of course, starting his MLB playing career with the Expos.), RHP (13-12, 5.07).

I was rooting for the Twins, as they are generally a good team with not a huge payroll. Also they were almost contracted along with the Expos. I still generally am, however Detroit and Detroit residents have been, and are going through hard times. The cover article in Sports Illustrated describes it well. I also have some family history in Detroit. So whoever wins, wins. And hopefully they'll beat the Yankees, as the same goes for the Angels beating the Red Sox, therefore setting up a Twins/Tigers @ L.A. ALCS.

@MLB.com:

Exciting finish on tap for regular season

Twins close dome with must-win game

The rest of the postseason matchups: Boston at Los Angeles. St. Louis at Los Angeles, and Colorado at Philadelphia.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Postseason Predictions 2009

Not sure exactly how often, perhaps a couple times, I gave some postseason predictions on here. Not sure if I ever did a full post dedicated to it, close to one if not, anyway, here it is for 2009!

I would have started with the NL East, but since Montreal does not have a team, I'll go AL East.

Well obviously New York will be facing Boston in the ALCS, Yankees with the home field advantage. Prediction, Yankees in four.

The Angels will host the start of the other ALCS, however it will be against either Detroit or Minnesota (3GB). Both with 10 games to play. I predict Minnesota will make it, only to lose to the Angels in five.

Now the National League.

Looks like the three current division leaders will be in, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. Atlanta and Florida will require a miracle to make it in, as they are 7 and 7.5 GB respectively. In the NL West, Colorado has a fighting chance only 6GB with 9 games to play. That is of course for the division.

The NL wildcard will be most likely Colorado, however Atlanta and Florida are not far behind, 3.5 and 4 GB respectively.

Standings:

Philadelphia 89 - 63 .586
St. Louis 89 - 64 .582
Los Angeles 92 - 61 .601

With the above in mind home field advantages need sorting out in the coming days. I have not been following baseball much since the All Star Break, but I'll guess Los Angeles and Philadelphia for home field advantage. So I'll guess Colorado at Los Angeles, and St. Louis at Philadelphia for the NLDS. No point in guessing the outcomes, as I am less familiar with the NL thanks to the over coverage of the AL East around here.

Schedules as of this moment can be found here. Also, posted below, mostly for my own easy reference, and since they are inevitably going to change somewhat, I like to compare said changes.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kansas at Cleveland/Baltimore at New York

Started watching the Royals at Indians in the latter part of the game before extra innings.

With the score 1 apiece Jhonny Peralta singled on a line drive to left fielder David DeJesus in the bottom of the 9th. Asdrubal Cabrera was on second. DeJesus threw a one hopper to catcher Miguel Olivo, who held on to the ball while being collided into to record the out. Fast forward to the bottom of the 11th, this time the winning run on second being Michael Brantley. Jhonny Peralta again at the plate. Peralta singled to DeJesus who once again threw the outfield assist to Olivo who was knocked down again, but held on for the out. Top of the 12th, Miguel Olivo hit a solo homer, it ended up being the game winning homer. So Olivo the hero, but kudos to DeJesus' throwing arm!

The official description from the Royals site:

Miguel Olivo got the Royals started with an RBI groundout, withstood two collisions to deny runs at the plate and homered in the 12th to lead KC to a 2-1 win over Cleveland on Friday.


I also caught the end of the Orioles at Yankees. I tuned in just before Jeff Fiorentino grounded out to first baseman Jose Molina to pitcher Mark Melancon. Funny to see Molina playing 1B! One time I saw Expos backup catcher Einar Diaz play 3B at a game I was at in 2004. Molina probably could make it as a first baseman, when you think of Prince Fielder being at first.

Eric Hinske was the last out for the Yankees loss. Interesting fact, he has played for every AL East team save for the Orioles! The only non AL East team he has played for was for the Pirates.

Also of note, Justin Turner, Orioles 2B, got his first major league hit, a line drive to CF Brett Gardner. His major league debut was September 8th, at Boston, where he had 2 AB. He came in as a pinch hitter for Melvin Mora in the 7th. He stayed in the game playing third. His last AB was a line out to right.

Michael Dunn was the last of six Yankees pitchers tonight. He pitched the ninth. He gave up one hit, and struck out one. It was his second major league game at Yankee Stadium after making his major league debut September 4th in Toronto. In his MLB debut he only pitched .2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 walks (he was replaced by Edwar Ramirez, and then Aaron Hill doubled in those two runs).

Oh, and Derek Jeter got a couple hits.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nick Johnson departs, Livan returns

Not new news, regardless...

Nick Johnson has found himself on another useless team, the Florida Marlins. The Nationals traded him for Aaron Thompson. Thompson was with the Double A Jacksonville Suns, he finished with the Double A Nationals affiliate Harrisburg Senators. The Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League made the playoffs with a 47-23 record, while the Senators of the Eastern League did not make the playoffs with a 70-72 record.

Livan Hernandez was signed by the Nationals on the 26th of August, 6 days after being released by the Mets. I believe he is the only former Expo with the team, however I am too lazy to fact check, and really don't care to be honest.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bla bla bla

Thought I would write this post while it was fresh in my head.

I was watching Philadelphia at Atlanta, toward the end of the game on a certain network that carries MLB games. Anyway bottom 7, Adam LaRoche in his 11th game back with the Braves, singled to right. I believe Greg Norton was going to PH, but since LaRoche got on, Javier Vazquez, former Expos pitcher instead pinch hit for Eric O'Flaherty. Turns out Javier Vazquez is the league lead in sacrifice hits with 14! Whodathunkit? Not me, as I was not aware he was a good bunter.

In 2004, the last year of the Expos, Livan Hernandez tied (in 5th place) with Kris Benson for most sacrifice hits by a pitcher with 15. The top 4 were all shortstops with Royce Clayton leading with 24. Royce Clayton by the way is now retired. After a stint with the Jays in 2007, the Red Sox picked him up, he signed a minor leagur contract. He was called up in September, and although he did not play, he earned a World Series ring. He retired after that 2007 season.

Back to today's game. The Braves went on to win it in a come from behind walk off fashion in the bottom of the ninth. They were down only 3-2. Garret Anderson singled to right. Matt Diaz sacrifice bunted. Brad Lidge did not field it cleanly, he then threw in the direction of first, where it was very unlikely to be a play. Howard could not get it, that allowed Diaz to get all the way to third, while came in with the tying run. They then walked Adam LaRoche, and kind of sort of unintentionally intentionally walked Greg Norton, who was in for Peter Moylan. Omar Infante was then up. I had a feeling he would end it, and on the first pitch, walk off single to left.

The announcer said how Lidge should have ate the ball after his fielding error. I agree, then it would have been only first and second with no out. Who knows what would have happened then. From my small amount of baseball experience, I have done just that, ate the ball, even on plays where I could have, or should have thrown.

Switching to the Jays at Rays, the announcer said Scott Kazmir leads in the category of most pitches thrown in the first inning on average (not sure if it was the AL or MLB) with 19 I believe it was. I can not look up advanced stats, otherwise I'd try and check. Anyway, his longest outing this year is only 7 IP. And he only did that once, otherwise he is 6.2 or lower. Looks like he is struggling, at 6-7 and 6.50 ERA.
As I write this, Toronto are up 2-0. They scored 2 in the top of the 3rd. They also threatened in the top of the first, but Millar flied out, and Wells struck out swinging. Kazmir threw 21 pitches in the first.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Finally!

Finally back with a new post!

To get me going back on the baseball blog, I'll start with a fairly simple post. Also, in my next post, or second post from now, I'll elaborate on why I have been lazy.

Finally! That was what I was thinking today after getting a base hit after going 0 for 7 in the league I play in. 6 of which were strikeouts, a couple looking for sure. I was stinking it up. That is where the blog post came from. Anyway.

Just finished watching some of the White Sox beating up on the Yankees. Some plays of note.

I started watching the the top of the sixth, after Cano had just walked to load the bases with no outs. Melky Cabrera then lined out to left fielder Carlos Quentin. Alex Rodriguez did not try tagging, I believed he bluffed, to draw the throw, but that was it. The next play was another odd baseball play.

Here is the official scoring: "Jerry Hairston Jr. flies into a force out, left fielder Carlos Quentin to third baseman Gordon Beckham. Alex Rodriguez scores. Jorge Posada out at 3rd. Robinson Cano to 2nd. Jerry Hairston Jr. to 1st." So basically it was indeed a fly ball, but to no man's land behing short, and shy of the left fielder. Kind of like a blooper. Jerry Hairston Jr. bluffed, making it look like he was going to catch it. It then fell in, and he threw to third, just barely getting Jorge Posada out on the force. Had he not bluffed the catch, it would likely have been a base hit, and everyone would have been safe, with the bases loaded still. So basically a good play on his part (Hairston), to get an out, and have runners only on first and second. Not to mention it cost Hairston his hit. Another scenario would have been Jorge Posada being safe at third, with the same bluff play. Then it would have been a hit for Hairston. Only the one run scored. Had he not bluffed, and Posada was safe, who knows what could have happened. After that one run scored, it made it 7-3 in favour of the White Sox.

That play reminded me of one time I was watching a game (on TV), I think it was at Wrigley field, and the left fielder bluffed, as if he was going to catch it, but it was a home run. It fooled the announcers anyway!

I did not see the other outfield assist, however Tim McCarver and the Thom Brennaman broadcasting duo said how outfield assists are at the lowest ever since the early 1900's. That was a stat from Stats Inc from a couple years ago they said, that stil applies.

I just missed a baserunning error by Gordon Beckham. Apparently he rounded third thinking that a ground out (6-3) was the third out, so the first baseman threw to Alex Rodriguez to record the third out. He was mic'd, and Mark Kotsay said something to the effect of we'll let it go, as it was a 6 run inning for the Sox.

In the bottom of the 6th, Jeter made an error, allowing Gordon Beckham to reach safely. Your basic error, a play that should have been made, proving he is human.

Alright, that is all for now.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Mariano Rivera save number 500. (Finally a new entry!)

I managed to catch Mariano Rivera's 500th save. By accident really, well, sort of. I went to see if the game was still on, and I tuned in right around the start of the top of the ninth, with the Yankees up 3-2.

Of course it was his 500th save overall, and his 18th of this year. At the time of the save, he was 71 behind Trevor Hoffman who had 571 saves. As of this writing, Mariano has 502, while Trevor has 572.

The next closest in saves is Billy Wagner with 385, and Troy Percival with 358.

So each player with their age, and a bit more:








































Saves Age (Birth) MLB Debut SV %
Trevor Hoffman 572 41 (13 October 1967) 6 April 1993 .9346
Mariano Rivera 502 39 (29 November 1969) 23 May 1995 .9211
Billy Wagner 385 37 (25 July 1971) 13 September 1995 .8912
Troy Percival 358 39 (9 August 1969) 26 April 1995 .8972




The save situation itself was not interesting, but the fact it was an interleague game made it interesting.

Johnny Damon lined out to right to make the second out. Jeter was up next. In the dugout, Rivera was shown with a batting helmet on, then he had it off. Francisco Cervelli was then on the on deck circle, apparently trying to bluff the Mets, to get them to pitch to Jeter. Mariano was due up after Jeter for sure, as they were not going to take him out for a pinch hitter. They (Francisco Rodriguez) pitched one called strike, before pitching two balls, and then intentionally walking Jeter. Mariano earned his first career RBI, driving in Melky Cabrera with a base on balls. He took one good hack, fouling a 2-2 pitch. The next two pitches were balls for the walk.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Montreal Expos on the mlb.com front page

Well, sort of. It relates to Randy Johnson, and his attempt at getting win number 300 in his MLB pitching career. It will be against the Washington Nationals, what used to be the Montreal Expos, Johnson's first MLB club.

His first MLB affiliated club was the Jamestown Expos, now the Vermont Lake Monsters, back in 1985.

His MLB debut came September 15, 1988. In his debut, he earned the win, pitching 5 innings, giving up 6 hits, and 2 runs, all earned. His counterpart, Dave LaPoint was credited with the loss, also going 5 IP, but giving up 8 hits, and 7 runs, 6 earned. Both gave up 2 home runs, but Johnson struck out 5 while LaPoint only struck out 2. Both of the home runs Randy Johnson allowed were from Glenn Wilson.

He was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round in 1982 89th overall, but did not sign. He went in the second round to the Expos in 1985, 36th overall. With the Braves it was out of Livermore HS (CA), and with the Expos out of the University of Southern California.

He only played in 33 games as an Expo. His transaction to the Mariners was as follows:
May 25, 1989, he was traded by Montreal with Brian Holman and Gene Harris to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Mark Langston and a player to be named later. The PTBNL was Mike Campbell, July 31, 1989.

Randy Johnson as an Expo on the mlb front page
Trying for 300
Win 299.
Full coverage.

If that was not enough Canadian Content, the front page also links to this:

Quest for the Cup sparks MLB debate: Many personalities have strong hockey ties, give Finals picks. So there are no Canadian teams, but everyone knows we like our hockey. Despite no Canadian teams, I would not be surprised if the ratings are better for the Finals up here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Head to Head Interleague records for upcoming interleague 2009 series

Only one non interleague game today, Cubs at Padres. (Nice blog title eh! Alright, maybe not, coulda gone more Colbert on it.)

As for the others, I'll start with AL @ NL, as it is always interesting to see AL pitchers bat.

Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals. Not counting the Expos, Baltimore is 8-10 vs Washinton. Counting the Expos, they are 14-19. Therefore the Orioles are 6-10 against Montreal.

Cleveland Indians @ Cincinnati Reds. Cleveland leads 30-27 against Cincinnati (14-13 in Cincinati).

Tampa Bay Rays @ Florida Marlins. Tampa trails 26-35 against Florida (12-20 in Florida).

Toronto Blue Jays @ Atlanta Braves. Toronto leads 14-7 against Atlanta (6-3 in Atlanta).

Texas Rangers @ Houston Astros. Texas trails 23-25 against Houston (11-13 in Houston).

Kansas City Royals @ St. Louis Cardinals. Kansas City trails 23-28 (11-10 in St. Louis).

Los Angeles Angels @ Los Angeles Dodgers. Los Angeles Angels lead 38-30 against the Los Angeles Dodgers (15-19 at Los Angeles Dodgers).

NL @ AL

Colorado Rockies @ Detroit Tigers. Colorado leads 9-6 against Detroit (2-4 in Detroit)

Philadelphia Philles @ New York Yankees. Philadelphia trails 8-10 against New York (1-5 in New York).

New York Mets @ Boston Red Sox. New York trails 8-10 against Boston (3-6 in Boston).

Milwaukee Brewers @ Minnesota Twins. All time, Milwaukee trails 203-214 (94-114 in Minnesota). Interleague, Milwaukee trails 23-29 (10-16 in Minnestoa).

Pittsburgh Pirates @ Chicago White Sox. Pittsburgh trails 8-12 against Chicago (2-7 in Chicago).

Arizona Diamondbacks @ Oakland Athletics. Arizona trails 8-10 against Oakland (5-4 in Oakland).

San Francisco Giants @ Seattle Mariners. San Francisco trails 9-10 against Seattle (4-7 in Seattle).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Around the Bigs

I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but one great thing about baseball is there countless different things that can happen. I am sure it is true for other sports, but it resonates most with baseball in my opinion.

Saturday I was watching the Rays at Red Sox. David Ortiz was at bat, the shift was on. He ended up getting a check swing single to left field! Carl Crawford committed a throwing error which allowed Ortiz to advance to second. Dustin Pedroia who walked the AB prior to David Ortiz got to third, but not before partially running into SS Jason Bartlett who was in the right side of the infield, but getting into position for possibly tagging Pedroia out. Pedroia then fell trying to possibly get back to second. Longoria was signalling to Crawford to throw to second all this time once he got to third to cover. Crawford threw said error, which then got Pedroia to third, and Ortiz to second. See the play here, click "Ortiz singles through the hole in the defense."

In the end the circus type play did not cost the Rays, as Jason Bay struck out on a foul tip, and Mike Lowell grounded out to 5-3.

Stealing home is always an interesting play, and Jayson Worth of the Phillies did so last night (May 12) against the Dodgers. Once Russell Martin tossed the ball back to Ronald Belisario, Werth was coming home, Belisario threw the ball back to Martin, but it was too late once the tag was applied. It went down in the bottom of the seventh. Pedro Feliz was at bat when it happened. Feliz bats right, so he was probably blocking Martin's peripheral vision well, until he had to move out of the way. Belisario throws right, but was probably facing forward when getting the ball back from Martin. All in all, it worked perfectly for Werth, scoring the Phillies fifth run.

Prior to stealing home, Werth singled to left. He then stole second (with Jimmy Rollins batting), and third (with Raul Ibanez batting). With Jimmy Rollins batting earlier in the game, Werth stole third. The latter was a double steal, as Ryan Howard stole second. According to this, Werth tied a franchise record, becoming the first Phillie to do so since Garry Maddox against the Pirates May 29, 1978. He was also the first Phillie to steal three bases in an inning since Pete Rose May 11, 1980. I don't remember too much old baseball, but it is reminiscent of Rickey Henderson.

Also last night, Chipper Jones was fairly irate about a call that went in the Mets favour. Carlos Beltran appeared to possibly be barely out on a tag by Chipper Jones, however the umpire looks like he did not have a perfect angle. Beltran then scored on a Luis Castillo sacrifice fly to LF Garret Anderson. That was the tying run, and the Mets went on to win with a walk-off walk, hence Chipped being irate about the call.

Finally, former Expo (also former Ranger, Cardinal, and Oriole) Fernando Tatis hit a grand slam today in the game the Mets went on to lose. Tatis is one of only a few players to have hit two grand slam in one game, he did it as a Cardinal April 23, 1999 as a Cardinal. Since then, Nomar Garciaparra and Bill Mueller have done so for the Red Sox, May 10, 1999, and July 29, 2003 respectively. The others.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Throwback jerseys in Seattle

I have to say I am a fan of throwback, or vintage jerseys.

I was watching the Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners tonight, and it was turn back the clocks night. To be more specific, 1939.

The Mariners were wearing Seattle Rainiers (throwback) jerseys from 1939 (from Jim Street Vet Scribe). The Rainiers went on to win three consecutive Pacific Coast League championships from 1940-1942.

The Athletics were wearing Oakland Oaks jerseys from 1939 as well.

The Oakland Athletic Oakland Oaks jerseys had the letter O on an oak leaf on their hats, similar to this, but it was a white O on a green leaf. The Mariners had an S on blue fitted caps with no MLB logo on the back. Both uniforms had nice striped socks.

There are some nice pics here.

And if you can't tell by now, I am a fan of the Uni Watch blog, mostly for MLB, and baseball, but also for other stuff too.

More:

Mariners to pay tribute to '39 Rainiers: Club will turn back the clock to honor PCL champions
Back, back, back to '39
Pacific Coast League Champions 1903 - 2006

Around the league, I watched the end of the Oakland at Seattle game last night, along with the Padres visiting the Dodgers. Both had dramatic bottom of the ninth wins, I'll take that over the Kentucky Derby any day!

In Seattle, tied 7-7 in the bottom of the ninth, Jose Lopez had a 14 (!) pitch at bat, before singling to right, to win the game. That at bat had 9 consectutive foul balls before the game winning hit! The first two pitches were balls, then two called strikes, said nine foul balls, and the hit.

In Los Angeles, tied 0-0 in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded, Russell Martin had quite an at bat too, ending in a walk off walk on a pitch low.

Tonight was a bottom of the tenth win for the Dodgers, their first extra innings game according to Mr. Scully. In Seattle, it almost had the chance for a dramatic ending, but Oakland scored the go ahead run in the top of the ninth, and the Mariners went down 123 in the bottom of the ninth. Bobby Crosby scored the go ahead run on a base hit by Gregorio Petit. He ignored the third base coach's stop sign, and plowed through Rob Johnson, even though he did not have the ball following Ichiro's one hopper to the plate. Had he held on, it was a sure out.

In Los Angeles, as Vin Scully said, it almost looked like it could be another walk off walk. However with the bases loaded, score tied at 1, Andre Ethier singled (fly ball to right, which I don't think Brian Giles had a chance to catch, unless playing very deep, so really a double, or perhaps a triple, but since it is a walk off...) to bring in Rafael Furcal for the win.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

So I figured it is about time I add my two cents about the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

I may get to see them in person next year, until then, I am living vicariously through others.

Where to start?

I suppose I'll start with the $1.5 billion behemoth called Yankee Stadium. The house that Steinbrenner built, or perhaps the house that Greed Built.

I think it lives up to the price tag, but reviews are mixed. To steal an appropriate word from this article, I think grandeur describes the stadium very well. It seems appropriate to call it Yankee Stadium once again, in all its glory for better or worse. Although I am not sure how it feels compared to the original with all the politics and everything involved in it.

Here is a brief review with pictures from the Field of Schemes website, The new Yankee Stadium: What we got for all that money. In that article it links to a couple proper articles the author (Neil deMause) wrote about the new Yankee Stadium. For your convenience, New Yankee Stadium Opens Its Vast, Expensive Gates (from The Village Voice) and Out at the Ballpark, A Visit to the New Yankee Stadium (from Baseball Prospectus).

I am not sure it could be called The Friendly Confines, if they ever felt like stealing the Wrigley nickname. This from ball snagger extraordinaire Zack Hample blog entry. His entry, 4/18/09 at Yankee Stadium, has plenty of pictures and descriptions. Temple, Shrine, a couple words that come to mind seeing some of the pictures!

Before the home runs were flying out of Yankee Stadium, the most discussed issue with the new Stadium was the overpriced seats. Add the recession to the equation, and that will equal many seats not sold. This post, This is Ridiculous, from the Sliding Into Home Yankees blog, captures it well.

Bleacher creatures can now move into other parts of the stadium, I believe I heard sarcastically, so they can buy more high priced merchandise. Although I would not be surprised if it were the case. In fact it probably is one of the reasons. From the Village Voice article, they cannot go to the field level. Security being tight, as you can read in Zack's post.

Certain bleacher seats in center field, left and right center have an obstructed view of the opposite side, as the Mohegan Sun sports bar, which is behind the batter's eye juts out. Here is a picture from the above Village Voice article. I can only imagine sitting right beside the wall of said bar a few good rows back, one would only be able to see half the outfield!

Speaking of jutting out, check out this picture from Keith Olbermann's mlblog. It is George Steinbrenner's private box, towering above the masses, and several feet out as well. With a clear view into the Yankees dugout as Keith stated! I am reminded of the Simpsons episode where they find their way into Rupert Murdoch's private box on Super Bowl!

I am going to devote a post to the home runs hit out of new Yankee Stadium, in the meantime, Keith Olbermann's entry titled The Home Run Menace raises the issue.

So I suppose from what I hear, Yankee Stadium is huuuuge, but the field plays small. Whereas Citi Field is smaller, yet the field plays big.

Through six games at Citi Field, 10 home runs were hit. 26 were hit through six games at Yankee Stadium. This is counting only regular season games. The two worst games were of course the third game against the Indians, when they won 22-4, and the Yankees 9-7 walk-off win over the A's Wednesday. In the Indians win, 8 home runs were hit, 6 by Cleveland. In the recent Yankees win, 5 were hit, 4 by the Yankees.

In the first proper game at Yankee Stadium, spring training, Cubs at Yankees April 3, the Yankees hit 3 home runs off of Ted Lilly. The next day they hit 3 off Rich Harden, and 1 off Luis Vizcaino. In that second game, the Cubs only managed 1 off Andy Pettitte. So that is 8 more home runs, for a total of 34, in a total of 8 games there!

So Citi Field. I'd have to say I lean more towards Citi for being smaller, and maybe more a park to see a good ballgame at. Maybe. Still I hear about how it compares to the old venue, that would be Shea, for atmosphere, and if it has the history within.

For a good critique of Citi Field, again, Zack Hample has a good aptly titled post, Citi Field critique. This entry, Flushing in Flushing, a fairly comical entry from Uni Watch blog has a few good pictures, some as the stadium was still a work in progress (at the paragraph that starts "as for the stadium itself").

I also prefer Citi Field for being modelled after Ebbets Field. As I like old time baseball.

So I guess that is about it for now, if I come upon more posts of interest, I'll add them at the end of future posts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays, Home Opening Series 2009

Having returned from Toronto, and the opening series, time to write about it.

In the home opening series, the Jays went 3-1, in fairly convincing fashion.

The home opener started for Toronto with 2 outs, Alex Rios drew a walk. Vernon Wells doubled. Adam Lind singled, driving in Rios and Wells. Lind advanced to second on a fielding error by Magglio 'in need of a haircut' Ordonez. Scott Rolen, HBP. Lyle Overbay then doubled, bringing in Lind and Rolen. Rod Barajas flies out softly to end the inning. 4-0 Toronto. Nice start.

The Jays are now 25-8 on home openers. Trivia: The Jays true home opener in 2001 was an 8-1 win over Tampa Bay (April 9), as was their 'home' opener (April 1) in Estadio Hiram Bithorn in Puerto Rico, winning 8-1 over Texas.

As I said with the series, the 33rd home opener was in convincing fashion too, winning 12-5. Justin Verlander only lasted 3.2 innings, giving up 8 runs, all earned. Adam Lind went 4 for 5 with 6 RBI!

Game 2 ended in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off sacrifice fly from Rod Barajas bringing in Jose Bautista. This after being down 3-0, going into the bottom of the eighth, then taking the lead 4-3, with a three run homer from Aaron Hill, after Scott Rolen hit a solo home run to lead off the home half.

Game 3 was not so good for the Jays as Jesse Litsch gave up all 5 runs on the long ball. Miguel Cabrera hit a three run shot in the first. He also hit a solo home run in the fifth. His second AB was a pop out to Aaron Hill. Brandon Inge also hit a solo home run, in the sixth.

Despite the Tigers start, the Jays looked like they could have made a game of it. Marco Scutaro led off the game with a double off of Zach Miner. Aaron Hill then doubled, brining in Scutaro. Rios then singled to get Hill to third. Vernon Wells walked. With the bases loaded and no one out, Adam Lind had the chance to do some damage, but instead grounded into a force out (5-2). Scott Rolen then flied into a DP, 9-2. Zach Miner went 5.2 innings, and gave up only three more hits after those three.

Game 4 was the battle of the Major League debut pitchers. Rick Porcello for Detroit, and Ricky Romero for Toronto. Frederick Porcello went 27th overall in the 2007 Draft. Ricky Romero went 6th overall in the 2005 Draft. As I read in a newspaper, only he and Tampa's pick, 8th overall, Wade Townsend, were the only two players who had not played in the MLB entering this season from the top ten picks in that draft. Now obviously it is just Wade Townsend, but that isn't of too much interest, just thought I'd add that.

Ricky Romero won the battle, going 6 IP with 2 R, while Porcello went 5 IP with 5 R.

Detroit                         IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA

Porcello (L, 0-1) 5.0    9    4    4    1    4    2    7.20

Toronto                             IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA

Romero, R (W, 1-0) 6.0    7    2    2    2    5       1 3.00

Former Expos catcher Michael Barrett (see pics below) started game 4. He went 1 for 4 with an RBI. He made a nice play in the top of the 4th. To keep the score at only 2-0 in favour of the Tigers, he applied the tag, getting Ramon Santiago out at home on an Adam Everett double. The double was a fly ball to right, where Alex Rios threw to Aaron Hill, who threw to Barrett (9-4-2). In the bottom of the fourth Barrett singled to left to bring in Jose Bautista.

Jays home opener pictures (official MLB ones). Follow that link to get to all regular season MLB galleries.

As far as non baseball things go, the pre game presentation was interesting in that it had a video that copied the Hinterland Who's Who (you have to be a Canadian, but probably easy to find) segments. It was the Jays mascot doing odd jobs in the off season. Most interesting was the brief light show that had a good number of the hotel rooms around the scoreboard lighting on and off in strobe light fashion.


This is right after a fielding error by Adam Everett in the home opener April 6. Vernon Wells reached on said error, while Scutaro scored, Rios went to second and Hill to third.



Some Tigers stretching before game 2, April 7. For what baseball I do play, I am interested in the warmups, stretching, etc. ballplayers do, as I can't exactly afford a personal trainer.


More Tigers stretching.


This is Brandon League coming into the game (April 9) throwing his final warm up pitches. This is after Curtis Granderson singled off of Jesse Carlson. Michael Barrett doing the catching.


Michael Barrett taking a pitch way inside from Juan Rincon!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Last WBC post till 2013


Well maybe not, but last one directly related to the World Baseball Classic for a while.

I think I have pretty much said all I have had to say, this post is mainly to show a few pictures I took.

My next post should be with pictures from the Toronto Detroit series.

The picture above is the first game, once the Canadian team had been announced, and soon the Americans. The next one is a panoramic shot while Team USA is being announced.

The final one is one from the rafters, well, pretty much.


This is an action shot, it is Cesar Izturis taking a pitch quite inside in the bottom of the third.

Finally, I managed to snag a ball during BP of the USA Venezuela game. It has a marker through the 2009, I imagine to signify it is a BP ball. Missing from the picture is the customary Rawlings logo as seen on official MLB balls, but in the matching gold colour. I would say I like trying to get BP balls, but I am not quite as fanatical as Zack Hample!

Livan Hernandez commences first game at Citi Field

It was still Spring Training, but former Expo ace Livan Hernandez started the first game at Citi Field. Jacoby Ellsbury was the first batter Livan faced. Livan:



ERAIPHRERBBSOHRBF
2.553.010023012


Useful tidbit of information:

I was looking up pitcher's performance at the plate (since Livan has been known to homer on occasion), and Micah Owings, who I never heard of prior has a .319 average in 116 AB. He won the NL Silver Slugger in 2007. Not far behind is Adam Wainwright batting .289 in 128 AB.

Random tidbit of useless information:

Johnny Damon was taking pictures from the top of the dugout around the bottom of the eighth at new Yankeee Stadium.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

End of Spring Trainging 2009 games.

With Spring Training 2009 coming to an end, that means some interesting games will be happening. So, in order...

Tomorrow the Astros (split squad) face their Double-A affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks in Corpus Christi at Whataburger Field. The Padres, also a split squad also face their Texas League Double-A affiliate, the San Antonio Mission in San Antonio at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, what a boring name! Just kidding I don't know Nelson Wolff, but beats corporate naming. Dodgers face the Angels at home, that is in Dodger Stadium. The Athletics visit the Giants in San Francisco in another spring training interleague rival game.

Friday, the Orioles play host to the Nationals in Norfolk, home of the O's Triple-A affiliate Norfolk Tides, at Harbor Park. The Cincinnati Reds will visit their new Double-A affiliate, Carolina Mudcats. They were affiliated with the Marlins from 2003-2008.

Friday will get the most attention at the new Yankee Stadium and Mets park, Citi Field host their first games. The Yankees host the Cubs for a game Saturday and Sunday, while the Mets host the Red Sox, also for two games Saturday and Sunday.

Philadelphia and Atlanta will both host spring training games Friday and Saturday. Philadelphia will play last years World Series runners up, Tampa Bay Rays. Detroit will visit Atlanta both of those days. Detroit will then be heading to the Great White North where I'll see them against the Jays for the whole series! That would be Monday to Thursday.

Said Friday and Saturday will see the Dodgers still at home, hosting the Brewers. Sunday the Dodgers end Spring Training at AT&T park.

The Giants will host the A's Friday as well (Thursday as above), and Saturday face the A's in Oakland at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Friday and Saturday the Astros are at home in Houston to take on the Indians.

Friday the Texas Rangers are at the home of their Double-A affiliate Frisco RoughRiders to host the Royals. Saturday they face the Royals again, but at their park in Arlington.

Friday and Saturday is another MLB/Double-A matchup, but this time for the St. Louis Cardinals and Memphis Cardinals, in Memphis.

The Diamondbacks host the White Sox at Chase Field, you guessed it, Friday and Saturday. Padres will host the Angels Friday before the teams meet again Saturday but in Los Angeles.

The Mariners will play the Rockies in Las Vegas, alternating as home and away team. Friday Seattle will be the home team, Saturday Colorado. They will play at Cashman Field, home of the Las Vegas 51s, the now Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays.

That about sums it up. The Phillies home opener is Sunday night as they were the World Series Champs. They host the Braves. Monday is off, and then Tuesday and Wednesday the series resumes and ends, respectively. Must be to keep the schedule in order, while having the Sunday Night game.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More World Baseball Classic (Asian work ethic)

With the World Baseball Classic now over, and Japan having defended their inaugural WBC championship, I thought I'd revisit it, and add some personal pics.

So I watched the end of the first semifinal game, Korea beating Venezuela 10-2. Also I watched most of Japan beating the US 9-4. The commentators for MLB International, what I watched here in Canada, Gary Thorne and Rick Sutcliffe brought up the point about the Korean work ethic during their semifinal game. I believe I heard the same in regards to the Japanese squad too earlier on at some point.

They said how they Koreans were playing balls off the outfield walls, to see how the ball caroms. Also how they stress the importance of drills, such as practising the 6-4 and 4-6 toss to initiate a DP. They also on numerous occasions note how the Asians play very sound fundamental ball. I admit to not being a big fan of Asian baseball prior to this years WBC, as I am North American, grew up with MLB, and so on, with that said, my appreciation for Asian baseball has grown.

Prior to this, I have heard that the Japanese box score is much more detailed than ours, and also that they have two batting cages going simultaneously for batting practise. With all this in mind one can easily see how the level of baseball in Japan is very high, not to mention Asia in general.

On paper, Venezuela should have been the team to handle Korea, as Korea had just one MLB player on their roster. The same applies to the Japan USA game, although not quite as much, as we know Japan is a strong baseball nation. Japan only had 5 MLB players on their roster.

For those that play baseball, as I do, we can learn a lot from the Asian work ethic. I predict plenty more Asian MLB imports in the near future, including, but definitely not limited to Yu Darvish.

Of note in the final, as the above commentators said, you'd never see a MLB manager leaving a relief pitcher in after allowing the tying run, and then to start the next inning too. Therefore he was credited with the blown save, and a save!

That reminds me how the commentators also said how during any stoppage in play, tv commercials, etc, the Asian teams, I imagine Japan, and Korea at least, the players would get on the field (just off the bench, in foul territory) to warm up, or stay warm. Once that was disallowed, the players would use the dugout to toss the ball. Most players being against the dugout fencing, thus leaving a decent space to stay warm and toss the ball.

So this post ended up being a little longer than I expected, so I'll write a final WBC post that includes a couple pics.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Minor League (Triple A) affiliation changes for 2009

This was a post I have been meaning to write for a little while ago. I'd probably write more about the minors if I knew more! Anyway, there are a few changes worth noting. I'll start with Triple A.

The Syracuse Chiefs are now the Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Their triple A club prior was the Columbus Clippers for 2007 and 2008. The Jays end their long 31 year affiliation with them, and now have the Las Vegas 51s. I mentioned this in a past post. That won't be too convenient unless the Jays are playing on the West Coast. The 51s were the Dodgers affiliate from 2001 - 2008.

The Dodgers now have the Albuquerque Isotopes (named after the Simpsons episode where the Springfield Isotopes were supposed to move to Albuquerque). They were the Marlins affiliate before that, from 2003 - 2008. Said Simpsons (Hungry, Hungry Homer) episode aired March 4, 2001. At that point the Albuquerque Isotopes were still the Calgary Cannons. On another note, Canada should have more minor league ball, not to mention major league ball (*cough*Montreal*cough*), maybe the World Baseball Classic will help bring more ball back to Canada, as that is the goal of the tourney, or one of. That and when Selig leaves, but this all deserves a post of its own.

So the Marlins have a better affiliate now geographically, the New Orleans Zephyrs. They were affiliated with the Mets for 2007 and 2008, Nationals for 2005 and 2006, and the Astros from 1997 - 2004 (to go a little ways back). They were the first professional team to return after Hurricane Katrina (from Wikipedia). I actually helped with that Wikipedia article around that time! Anyway...

The Mets now have the Buffalo Bisons as their Triple A squadron. It was a possibility that the Jays would get Buffalo, but I suppose that obviously did not work out, or happen. They were the Indians affiliate from 1995 - 2008. So now the Indians have the Columbus Clippers.

I think that covers it. I will end this post now, and cover more affiliation changes soon. I had a lot of help from this article, Baseball affiliation changes don’t follow the script, and accompanying graphic!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Baseball pictures

So, for lack of a better post, not actually saying this is a bad post though, I thought I'd post something underrated. As the title states, that would be baseball pictures.

I enjoy checking out still images, as it gives a different prospective than video, and also in many cases stuff not often seen in video. MLB.com has plenty of pics, unfortunately they are not too easily browsed. One can go to the gallery page on mlb.com, and see recent pics, but to see pics from farther back requires a bit more digging and/or clicking though the flash menus.

So I'll post some links to the sections where pics can be found.

March 14 spring training pictures. From that page you can get to other spring training daily galleries.

For an example of some things not scene in video, check out picture four from this set. It offers a glimpse into photo day, players lining up for their media photograph. Speaking of that, I read a good post over at Uni Watch, the aptly titled, "Okay, Everyone Say, ‘High Cheese…’".

Picture three in this set, from February 14, A.J. Burnett with his new club throwing a bullpen session.

Phillies specific galleries. Newest set is March 11, guess I'll find out if it will update without changing the url with newer galleries. I linked to this one as the first pic is Shane Victorino, and Jimmy Rollins in WBC USA attire before facing the Phillies in an exhibition game March 5 (the US won 9-6). Also in there is Jeter.

And, World Baseball Classic pictures.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

World Baseball Classic Pool C

Well, the biggest disappointment from Pool C is Canada not advancing to Round 2, or not getting past Italy.

Game one had a nervous, tense ending. With Brett Lawrie pinch running for Joey Votto at second, Jason Bay fouled a ball that just barely found the seats, then flied out to Shane Victorino, who I might add is very short, he is 5'9". Anyway, it was a close game, ending 6-5 in favour of the Americans. Jason Bay was the potential winning run.

With that game in mind, and generally, I don't think I was the only one thinking that beating Italy should not be so hard. Looking back though, regardless of the starting pitcher, Italy were a surprisingly good team. When they were playing Venezuela, until Venezuela broke it open, and kept the lead, it could have been anyone's game. Italy was getting the hits, just not capitalising. With two outs in the top of the first, Italy had runners on first and second, but then grounded into a force out. Frank Catalanotto and former Expo Valentino Pascucci singled before Chris Denorfia grounded into said force out, at second.

The United States Venezuela game on Sunday was good until the US got to the Venezuelan pitching in the sixth. Starting with Victor Zambrano striking our Kevin Youkilis, however he reached on a wild pitch. Then with the bases loaded, Mark DeRosa walked, and that brought in Youkilis.

I had some semi leet seats down the right field line, that is how I knew Victorino was so short. Never really noticed on TV. Bobby Abreu was getting his fair share of taunting, in the end though, Venezuela got the best of the US squad. Toward the end of the US thrashing of Venezuela, a group of American fans were yelling out they infielders starting with 1B Youkilis, in a positive way. Youk acknowledged, followed by Dustin Pedroia, and Derek Jeter. Not sure if Mark DeRosa responded, but I don't believe Heath Bell did, as he had to focus on pitching. From my vantage point, the Adam Dunn homer looked like quite a monster shot, hitting the 200 level at Rogers Centre SkyDome. I can only imagine how Chris Iannetta's homer (in the final Pool C game, Venezuela at USA) would have looked if sitting down the left field line, as it truly was a towering monster shot, hitting the 400 level! Or anywhere it would have probably looked impressive for that matter. Most of this is not too exciting, just a few notes from being there. By the way, I think Adam Dunn would have been a good pickup by the Jays.

So, it was a good WBC Pool C in Toronto. I enjoyed the first three games in person. However it would have been nicer if Canada wasn't upset at home. However not quite as big of an upset as the Netherlands taking out the Dominican Republic! The eneding itself was not the most dramatic alone, but given the teams involved, it was fairly dramatic!

I'll see if I have any pictures worth uploading, and do so in my next post.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Warming up for the World Baseball Classic

Plenty of interesting exhibition games currently going on in Florida, and a few in Arizona.

Tuesday I did not work so I could watch Canada face the Blue Jays. I watched most until I dosed off during it, until the very very end. It looked pretty sweet, however the announcers said it was only in the 50s Fahrenheit, or between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. Canada won 6-4. Matt Stairs received an ovation from the Dunedin crowd. Today the Blue Jays won in a walk off win against Team USA, while Canada lost to the Phillies 6-5. Surely Matt Stairs would have received another ovation at Bright House Field, spring training home of the Phillies in Clearwater, FL. I'll have some highlights to watch (nuts to the NHL trade deadline!).

On Tuesday the Dominican Republic creamed the Florida Marlins 10-1. The Netherlands had a close game against Pittsburgh, losing 5-4. Also a close game for Puerto Rico, losing 3-2 against Minnesota. The United States beat the Yankees 6-5. All these scores and more.

Today, Italy beat Florida this time, but by the score of 5-1. Panama beat Detroit 9-3. Cincinnati beat the Netherlands 5-4 in 10. Mexico lit up Arizona, beating them 19-4! Puerto Rico beat Tampa Bay 2-1, and Australia beat Seattle 11-9. Again, however Wednesday's results.

Today, Canada plays the Yankees, and USA plays the Phillies. Despite the fact the MLB clubs are the spring training clubs, so they have many minor leaguers, looks like the World Baseball Classic should prove to be interesting. Today's schedule, and eventually results.

I'll be heading to Toronto for the first three games at Skydome (yup!). Canada vs the US, Italy vs Venezuela, and game one winner vs game two winner.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Woohoo, baseball again!

The Minnesota Twins host the Boston Red Sox (split squad) at Fort Myers, Florida at Hammond Stadium. Game time is 19:05 EST. It can be seen on NESN, MLBN, or Sportsnet in Canada.

Earlier today in a 7 inning exhibition game, the Red Sox beat Boston College 7 - 1. Read about it over at Joy of Sox.

Tonight:

Boston
Ellsbury, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Youkilis, 1B
Bay, LF
Wilkerson, RF
Lowrie, SS
Bailey, DH
Bard, J,
Velazquez, 3B

Minnesota
Casilla, 2B
Punto, SS
Morneau, 1B
Cuddyer, RF
Kubel, DH
Young, LF
Buscher, 3B
Redmond, C
Pridie, CF

And Wakefield vs Glen Perkins on the mound.

As stated above, former Expo Brad Wilkerson makes his Red Sock debut, in right.

Since it is spring training, I won't elaborate too much. Instead, go here for spring training results and schedules.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brad Wilkerson joins the Red Sox

It took a little while, as it looks like the Brad Wilkerson deal was done February 3, pending a physical, but it was officially announced February 16 that the Red Sox "signed OF Brad Wilkerson to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training."

Assuming he makes the team, it should be interesting to see if he returns to form. He has not played as well as he could have since leaving the Expos. And that includes the Nationals.

He will be trying to for roles as backup first baseman and fifth outfielder.

There are plenty of former Expos still around, including players that have been in the Expos system. I won't pretend to know where they all are. I pretty much only know the most familiar, and some up and coming players in the last few years. For a much better list, I recommend checking out this forum post: Ancien Expos - 2009 over at encorebaseballmontreal.com. To translate a bit, the first list is ex Expos in regular lineups, followed by non-roster invitees (NRI), former players in the Expos organisation in regular team lineups, and finally former players in the organisation that are NRI.

Speaking of encorebaseballmontreal.com, if you are reading this and you are located in Montreal, they have a baseball league in the summer, so you should join, and see me embarrass myself in the summer!

Links:

Now a Sox, Wilkerson aims high: Veteran in camp hoping to land a spot as backup for Boston. (note to the author/mlb, it should be now a Sock, or now a Sox member)

Also, unrelated, Baseball growing in Canada, says Bay.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Major League Baseball Spring Training 2009

With Spring Training 2009 getting underway, I updated my little Google Maps mashup, hopefully I will get around to make it somewhat better, but it works anyway.

MLB Spring Training 2009

So a few changes were made since last year. Most notable is the Dodgers leaving Vero Beach and Holman Stadium for the Cactus League. Spring training was held in Dodgertown for 61 seasons, from 1948 to 2008. Going back to when they were still in Brooklyn. Their brand new Cactus League park is Camelback Ranch in Glendale, just outside Phoenix.

The Cleveland Indians are the other team leaving the Grapefruit League for the Cactus League. There new location in Arizona is the Goodyear Park in Goodyear, AZ. They are returning to the Cactus League after 16 seasons in Florida. They were in Winter Haven, Florida, at the Chain of Lakes Park.

The Tampa Bay rays move slightly south, from St. Petersburg to Port Charlotte. They move to the "newly renovated state-of-the-art" Charlotte Sports Park after having been in the Progress Energy Park, Home of Al Lang Field.

The Chicago White Sox move from Tucson to Phoenix (Glendale to be more specific) to share Camelback Ranch with the Dodgers.

So now in 2009 the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are closer to the same number of teams. In 2008 there were 18 teams in Florida, and obviously 12 in Arizona, now however the ratio is 16 to 14. Next year the Cincinnati Reds will leave the Grapefruit League, and join the Indians in Goodyear.

For the geeks: Maps showing each teams move in plain old Google Maps (as I don't have the javascript knowledge to do a DIY site!).

Los Angeles Dodgers: Vero Beach, Florida to Glendale, Arizona.
Cleveland Indians: Winter Haven, Florida to Goodyear, Arizona.
Tampa Bay Rays: St. Petersburg to Port Charlotte.
Chicago White Sox: Tucson to Glendale.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Marlins Stadium and Selig

I am not one to usually post such short blog entries, but felt my last post was appropriate. It comes after the announcment of Allan 'Bud' Selig's salary of the fiscal year ending October 31, 2007 being $18.35 million. $17.47 million in base compensation, and "$461,540 in contributions to employee benefit plans, and $422,590 in expense accounts and other allowances." That is $7.15 million more than his NFL equivalent, Roger Goddell. Surely he could afford to give himself more (hopefully he won't!), however, that is still a huge sum. I have no idea how much of his personal money he gives to charity, but surely the MLB endorsed Boys and Girls club would not mind some!

My logic for being happy to see him go is mostly for his role in helping the demise of baseball in Montreal. He was there during the 1994 strike, where the Expos were the best in baseball at the time, and there all the time Montreal was struggling to keep a team, until becoming a lame duck team, and of course their departure. I'm sure there are plenty more reasons people do not like him.

In other news, the Florida Marlins new park which would be scheduled to open in 2012 comes down to two votes today (city, 9 a.m. county, 1 p.m.). Even if it indeed comes to fruition, looks like it will be just like Montreal's Olympic Stadium, being paid off for years to come. It took 30 years after the Olympics to pay off the Olympic Stadium, and for the new Marlins park it would look like this: "roughly $1.8 billion over 40 years, with payments starting small but escalating significantly over time." Read more, Florida Marlins stadium comes down to two votes Friday. Also check out Field of Schemes for this and other ballpark, stadium and arena fiascoes news. Oh, and check out the local coverage links to the side for respective newspaper coverage.

Finally, looks like 762* is back in the news (That, and all it encompasses is another story in itself to tie to Selig!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

World Baseball Classic provisional rosters announced

I plagiarised that title, but that is it!

So anyway, I think Canada'a team looks good, as Canada has had more and more players in the bigs the past few years. Obviously it won't be easy.

A few names:

Jeff Francis LHP
Eric Gagné RHP
Rich Harden RHP
Scott Richmond RHP

Russell Martin Catcher
Justin Morneau 1B
Pete Orr 2B/Inf
Mark Teahen Inf.
Joey Votto 1B

See all the provisional rosters here (PDF). And all WBC news here.

Update:

Better viewing options for the provisional rosters:

All players

Sorted by MLB club

Team rosters

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tim Wallach named Albuquerque Isotopes new manager

Montreal Expos veteran, Tim Wallach has been named the new manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes. This is the first year the Isotopes are the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate, as they had the Las Vegas 51s prior (as I mentioned in a previous post). The Isotopes were the Marlins Triple-A team from 2003 to 2008.

Wallach spent 13 seasons with the Expos, before moving onto the Dodgers, California Angels, and ending his career with the Dodgers. He was a three time gold glover at third, and a two time silver slugger.

After retiring in 1996, he was named hitting instructor for the then Class A (high level) Dodgers affiliate, San Bernardino Stampede, in 1997 (They are once again a Dodgers affiliate, now called the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino since 2003. They were a Mariners affiliate from 2001 to 2006.). He then stepped in as manager for the second half of the 1998 season. In 2000 he coached at Cal State-Fullerton. In 2001 he took over as manager for the Class A advanced Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. They have been an Angels affiliate since then.

Friday, January 09, 2009

2008, Former Expos with the Nationals

Last year I never got around to write about the former Expos still with, or with the Nationals. So, no time like the present.

Starting with the pitching staff, Chad Cordero is the most notable. He only played in 6 games though, all in April, no thanks to (right) shoulder tendinitis starting at the end of March. Shoulder issues persisted, and landed him on the DL May 2nd, with a tear of the right latissimus dorsi muscle. That is what caused him to miss the remainder of the season. On October 30th, he refused his assignment to Triple-A Syracuse (now the Nationals Triple-A team, not the Blue Jays. The Jays get the Dodgers former Triple-A squad, the Las Vegas 51s, only 2000 (3218 KM) or so miles away as the crow flies or 3600 (5793 KM) driving! More on affiliations in a future post.) and became a free agent. He won't be returning to the Nationals as Jim Bowden said Cordero would be non tendered after the season in July. Cordero was upset that the announcement was made so early. Bowden gave the news out first to a sports talk radio station (Sports Talk 980), and apologised acknowledging he should have told Cordero and his agent first.

Luis Ayala played in 62 games with the Nationals before being sent to the Mets August 17 for a player to be named later (INF Anderson Hernandez August 20). He then played 19 games as a Met. Ayala started with the Expos in 2003 making his MLB debut March 31, 2003. He played in 65 and 81 games for the Expos in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

Canadian Shawn Hill was with the Nationals in 2008, and still is. He played a whopping 3 games with the Expos, all in 2004. His MLB debut came June 29, 2004. He was drafted by the Expos in the sixth round in 2000. He made his way up the Expos affiliation ladder starting with the GCL Expos in 2000. Last year he played in 12 games for Washington. His MLB most being 2007 with 16 GP and GS. Injury has caused him to miss a lot of games. He missed all of 2005 with Tommy John surgery.

Jon Rauch was traded to Arizona for 2B Emilio Bonifacio July 22, 2008. He played in 48 games for the Nationals last year, and 26 for Arizona. As an Expo he played in 9, and started 2 (which probably goes to show how 2004 went for the Expos, that is, starting a relief pitcher).

And finally...

Is the injury prone Nick Johnson. 2005 and 2006 were fairly good years for him, only missing a few games due to injury. In 2005 he played in 131 games, starting 126. 2006 he played in 147 games, starting 143. This compared with 73 games played, and 70 games started in 2004 for the Expos. 2005 and 2006 were the two seasons he played the most games since he started him MLB career (MLB debut August 21, 2001). He missed all of 2007 after he fractured his right femur September 23, 2006, after colliding with Austin Kearns on what would be a David Wright bloop triple. So in 2008 he played in 38 games, starting 34. All this in April and May, before landing on the DL for the rest of the season with a torn ligament sheath in his right wrist. He is still on the roster. On a side note, it is worth noting he has been showing good patience at the plate, drawing 110 base on balls in 2006, which tied him for fifth overall in the MLB.

I think that is it. Only Shawn Hill, and Nick Johnson remain with the team.