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!

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:


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.