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News and insight on the latest around baseball and all sports. Please leave comments to my posts!



Updated: 2012-04-12T18:20:08.732-04:00

 



Predictions for the 2006 MLB Season

2006-04-02T13:13:23.576-04:00

Hey everyone. I know my blog's been dead for a few months now, but I figured I'd use it as a way to get my predictions out. Who knows, maybe I'll even start the blog up again, even if just during the summer (but I'm not sure about that).If MLB's past five seasons have taught us anything, it's that there is in fact a degree of parity in the league. Yes, there will always be the big-market teams like the Yankees who manage to make it to the postseason every year. Likewise, there will always be the small-market teams like the Devil Rays that can't make it out of the cellar of their respective divisions. However, amidst the constants of the league, there always seem to be several teams that have unexpected seasons.Lets take into consideration each World Series winner since 2001 and the results of each champion's previous season (with exception of 2004, during which the big-spending Red Sox finally broke the curse). Last year, the White Sox won the championship for the first time since 1917. In 2004, Chicago finished second in the AL Central with a recdord of 83-79, equalling a modest winning percentage of .512. Last year, they improved to 99-63 (.611 winning percentage), finishing on top of their division. Their winning percentage rose by .099 between 2004 and 2005. In 2002, Florida finished just 3.5 games out of last place in the NL East with a 79-83 record and a .488 winning percentage. In their championship season of 2003, they throttled to second place with a record of 91-71 and a winning percentage of .562, an improvement of .074. The Anaheim Angels finished with a 75-87 record (.463 winning percentage), good for third place in the four-team AL West. With a 99-63 record and a .611 winning percentage (a whopping .148 improvement), they made the playoffs as the AL Wild Card and went on to beat San Francisco in seven games in the World Series. Though the champion Diamondbacks of 2001 had a winning percentage increase of only .043 from the previous season, they had come into existence only four seasons before their championship.Looking at these results, we can pull away one crucial fact: the winner of the World Series is not necessarily a powerhouse or a star-studded team. Each World Series winner since 2001, with the exception of the Red Sox in 2004, was not expected to win the championship because of their lack of stars. However, clearly, what constitutes a championship team in Major League Baseball is evolving. While teams like the Yankees throw millions of dollars at the best free agents to do their best at making their own team look like last year's All Star team, the teams that are filled with role players, strong pitching, and emerging young stars have the best shot at winning the World Series. Many people accuse the Yankees of "buying championships," but really all they're doing, is paying way too much to buy playoff spots. Anyone can spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create a playoff team, but you need to spend money wisely to build a championship team. The most important factor to winning a World Series is the ability to hit a hot streak in the postseason and ride it. Recent history has shown that these teams will be the teams with the most solid pitcing, not the most star-filled lineup.As I mentioned, baseball's champions three major similarities are role players, strong pitching, and emerging young stars. High-payroll teams can still certainly make the playoffs, but the teams with these three characteristics have the greatest chance of winning the World Series. This is the general formula i used in making my predictions for this upcoming baseball season and how I came to a decision for my World Series predictionAL East1. Toronto Blue JaysThey're the only team in the east with decent pitching. The signings will improve the team greatly.2. New York YankeesTheir lineup is historic, but the pitching is, well, not. All of their games will have to be won 10-9.3. Boston Red SoxI like the Coco Crisp move, but the pitching is simply weak, and their best pitchers are injury prone.4. Tampa Bay Devil RaysTampa Bay wi[...]



Notes and Predictions for the Playoffs

2005-10-04T15:21:48.546-04:00

So the end of the regular season is finally over and the playoff window is set. Personally, I'm pretty dissapointed with how everything shook out. First of all, there was a possible three way tie between Cleveland, Boston, and the Yankees. This would've been the first three way tie ever (as far as i know). I was really rooting for that to happen, but it didn't, of course. The thing that annoyed me a little more was how the AL East got determined. I still don't fully understand how it works out, just that it has to do with the Yankees and Red Sox head-to-head record, and please don't try to explain it to me, because I will just become more confused. The MLB should do something about that rule; they should't use tiebrakers to determine the divisional championships. I'm also upset that the media never really mentioned the possibility that the Yankees would only need to win one of the games against Boston if Cleveland lost two games to Chicago, but that's the media. I could write a whole post on them, but I'll save something like that for the offseason.One more thing before I get to the actual playoffs, I'd like to talk about how the Yankees are upset with Texas for taking out their starters, allowing the Angels to make a comeback win. This win gave Anaheim homefield advantage against the Yankees for the first round. Now, some people involved with the Yankee franchise, including Alex Rodriguez, are saying that Buck Showalter shouldn't have taken his starters out since New York was still relying on them for homefield advantage. John Sterling, the incredibly biased and somewhat clueless radio announcer, even gave a small speach on how it's a team's "duty" to try to win a game that could help determine who makes the playoffs (though it actually wasn't determining who made the playoffs, but how the teams were seeded). First of all, the reason the Yankees don't have homefield for the first round is largely the Yankees themselves. Going into the final game, the Yankees had a one game lead on Anaheim, but New York lost its last game as the Angels made their comeback win against Texas. If the Yankees had won that final game, we wouldn't even be talking about this. Instead, the Yankees and Angels ended the season tied and Anaheim had the head-to-head tiebreaker, so they got the better seeding. Secondly, it's Showalter's choice to decide whether or not he wanted his starters playing. It's not his job to keep them in just because another team needs him to win. Yes, it's entirely possible that Showalter, who has had sour feelings towards the Yankees ever since his firing after the 1995 season, purposely sat his starters so New York would be in a worse position for the postseason. However, either way, the Yankees cannot be complaining about another team's decisions.OK, now that that's out of the way, lets move on to the playoff matchups. I'll start with the NL.Padres vs. CardinalsDon't let their NL West Division championship fool you, the Padres are nothing to be very excited about. They narrowly avoided becoming the first team to win a division with a losing record (they finished 82-80). Their pitching, lead by Jake Peavy, can be impressive at times, but their offense can easily be just as dismal. St. Louis, on the other hand, had the best record in baseball (100-62) and was the only team to reach 100 wins this year. Their pitching, though porous at times, is generally strong, especially when it comes to their surprise ace, Chris Carpenter. Their offense resembles that of an AL team, loaded with power hitters like Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds, but also including small ball types like David Eckstein. The Cardinals are far and away the better team in this matchup, and nobody should be surprised to see San Diego swept.Prediction-Cardinals over Padres in 3Astros vs. BravesAs they did last year, Houston went through a long slump, specifically in their offense, to start the season, then picked up their play a month or so before the All-Star Break to come back and win the Wild Card. Though they have had enough offe[...]



And Down the Stretch They Come...

2005-09-25T15:01:48.523-04:00

Well, here we are, a week from the end of the season. The A's are six games back from the Angels for the AL West lead. The White Sox are 1.5 games ahead of the Indians for first in the AL Central. The Yankees and the Red Sox are tied for the AL East divisional title. Oh yea, and the difference between the first place Indians and the second place Red Sox or Yankees for the Wild Card is 1.5 games.Oy vey.Personally, I think the race in the West is over. Starting Monday, the A's and the Angels have a four-game series in Oakland, so Oakland still certainly has a shot to cover the ground between them and Anaheim. However, the Angels have shown themselves to be a much more consistant team this year. At the start of the season, Oakland was struggling mightily. Pretty much the only reason that they're even in this race at all is because of the midseason hot streak they had. I've been impressed by the A's rookies and the pitching staff (for the most part) this year, most notably rookie closer Houston Street and young pitcher Danny Haren, among others. Nevertheless, they just haven't proved to me that they can sustain themselves during the coming week to come out on top of the division. The Angels get my pick here.The course that the AL Central has taken this year is bizarre. For the first half of the year, the White Sox were one of the two best teams in baseball, along with St. Louis. With Minnesota and Cleveland both having rough times to start the year, it looked like it was going to be easy sailing for Chicago. Around the All Star Break, things began to change. The White Sox were still continuing to win, but not at the same pace as they had been winning at earlier. At the same time, Cleveland was starting to improve. The Indians got better and better in the coming months, and now they've managed not only to put themselves in the lead in the Wild Card, but in a great position to win the division. While Chicago, who has been struggling lately, will be playing a somewhat solid Detroit team, Cleveland will play Tampa Bay at home, before the White Sox and Indians square off in Cleveland during the last series of the season. Clevelands youth and lack of experience could hurt them when it comes down to pressure packed times in a game, but, if they can manage to keep that from affecting their play, they could certainly win this division. Chicago's pitching, what's been carrying the team for the whole year, is beginning to come apart. Mark Buehrle, a Cy Young candidate for the whole year, has struggled, and, I mean, how ironic is it that Jose Contreras has been their best pitcher lately? Cleveland could certainly take advantage of Chicago's pitching problems. Either way, I'll be rooting for the Indians, just to see such an upset.Now we come to the classic matchup: Boston vs. New York. Boston's pitching has been terrible of late, while just the opposite has been true with the Yankees. To start the year, the Yankees struggled to get every win. The pitching was terrible, with Randy Johnson, George Steinbrenner's big offseason aquisition, not being much better than the rest of the staff. However, Mike Mussina's pitching improved, the front office went out and got Shawn Chacon, and Aaron Small was called up from the farm system. No matter what way you look at it, the Yankees have gotten lucky in terms of how their pitching has recovered. Still, they have improved enough to tie the Red Sox for first, who looked like they would run away with the division. The way things have been going lately, it looks like the division will come down to the final series of the season at Fenway Park, or maybe even beyond that. In the last few weeks, it has seemed like the Yankees have been unbeatable. It's so close between the two teams, it's tough to make a prediction. What it may come down to is this: Boston plays all of its remaining games, including the final series against the Yankees, at Fenway, while the Yankees will play the rest of their games on the road (that is, unless the Yankees and Red Sox a[...]



Predictions and Midseason Awards

2005-07-12T16:15:04.456-04:00

Well, everyone, today is the All Star Game: the unnofficial halfway marker of the baseball season. So I thought it would be a good idea to look back at my preseason predictions and see how accurate I've been so far.AL East winner: My preseason pick-Yankees Leader-Red SoxThough, in my opinion, the Yankees made some questionable offseason moves, I don't think many people predicted this much of a dropoff. At this point, the Yankees don't have many offensive problems, but the pitching has been atrocious. They decided to trade for old star in Randy Johnson, who they are now paying a lot of money to only to see him be mediocre at best. Before the season, I though that Mussina and Pavano would be good, Johnson and Jaret Wright would be decent, and then they'd have the miserable Kevin Brown at the back end of the rotation. While that wouldn't be a great rotation, I thought that the Yankee offense would bail them out of some bad performances. However, the staff has been much worse than I predicted, and the Yankees will continue to be inconsistant for the rest of the year.Winner of the AL East: Red SoxAL Central winner: My preseason pick-Twins Leader-White SoxBefore the season, I wasn't very excited about the White Sox. It didn't seem like they made any significant changes to make themselves better than they have been the last few years. However, with Scott Podsednik leading their new smallball style along with fantastic pitching from Buehrle and Garland, the Sox have been the most successful team this year. I think the Twins will still make it to the playoffs as the wild card, but, even if Chicago doesn't play as well as they have so far, it would still be tough for them to lose their current lead.Winner of the AL Central: White Sox*Twins win the wild cardAL West winnner: My preseason pick-Angels Leader-AngelsBoth at the beginning of the season and now, the Angels arethe clear cut favorite in this division. They have an offense well balanced with speed and power and, though the rotation isn't that great, they're one of the few teams in baseball with a very solid bullpen. We all know that the Rangers have fantastic offensive ability and, this year, they are showing improvement in the pitching staff, but they still are not at the point where they can beat out the Angels in the divisional race. The Angels continue to be the best team in the division.Winner of the AL West: AngelsNL East winner: My preseason pick-Marlins Leader-NationalsNobody in the right mind could've predicted that the Nationals would be leading this division at the All Star Break. However, even with a mediocre offense, they've managed to climb to the top of the most competitive division in baseball. I can't say that I think the Nationals are a fluke, but I just can't imagine them continuing be this successful in the second half. Even if they continue to be as successful as they are now, I've always thought this year that the Marlins were the best team in the east, and I trust them to come out on top (as long as their pitching stays healthy).Winner of the NL East: MarlinsNL Central winner: My preseason pick-Cardinals Leader-CardinalsI never doubted that the Cardinals were one of the best teams in baseball. However, I thought that the Cubs would make things much more interesting during the regular season and that they'd make the playoffs as the wild card. However, once again riddled with injuries, they haven't shown yet that they can be a playoff team. The Cards have built up a substantial lead and will not lose it down the stretch. However, if, by some miracle, the Cubs can stay healthy for the rest of the year, look out.Winner of the NL Central: Cardinals*Cubs win the wild card (I'll go out on a limb here)NL West winner: My preseason pick-Padres Leader-PadresThis hasn't exactly panned out to be the most exciting of divisions. San Diego is the only team with a record above .500 while the rest of the teams in the division have been dissapointing. The Dodgers hav[...]



Kenny Rogers at the Midsummer Classic

2005-07-10T23:36:07.233-04:00

I'd just like to comment on Kenny Roger's decision to go to the All Star Game this year. I don't care how sorry he is or how much he wishes he could redo what happened with the cameraman, he should not go the the game. Let's establish this first: no matter where Rogers goes on the road this year, including the All Star Game, he will get booed. The fans will continue to give him a hard time through the rest of the year. Kenny might regret getting angry, but no matter how many apologies he gives, he will continue to be booed by fans away from Arlington.

(image) Something in the chicken?: Kenny got a little upset with a cameraman earlier this season.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, take this into consideration: despite the MLB trying to make the All Star Game more important, it will always be viewed as just a worthless exhibition game, by both the players and the fans (most of them at least). This is also why I don't mind players refusing to go to get rest. Instead of making the game count, the MLB should market it as a celebration of baseball and its best players for the fans to see. After all, that's really what it was meant to be at first. If you see a baseball official say that it's important for Kenny to play because he's one of the best pitchers and the All Star Game is important so he needs to pitch for his team, don't believe the official, because I'm sure that the MLB is more concerned with public relations than the outcome of the game when it comes to the All Star Game.

(image) The other Kenny Rogers would be none too happy.

I think that both the MLB and Rogers should've looked at the situation and came to the realization that, if and or when Kenny comes to the mound during the game, he will get booed immensely, making the MLB look pretty bad. Of course, the MLB wouldn't want that, so I can't see them wanting Rogers to play. However, he was chosen, so I think the MLB and Terry Francona did a good job in telling him that it's his choice to decide if he wants to go through that. So at this point, the ball was in Kenny's court. I think he should've realized that, not only was an appearance at the All Star Game going to hurt his image, it was also going to make baseball look bad. Thus, he should've taken it upon himself to save himself and the MLB of this embarassment.

However, of course, Kenny wants his All Star bonus money, so of course he'll go! Thank's Kenny.
-Adam



The All Star Game: A Joke?

2005-07-08T16:38:01.356-04:00

Well, it's that time of year again: the All Star Game is just a few days away. I could sit here and talk about how Hideki Matsui got snubbed by the players and the voters on the last man vote. I could say how Scott Podsednik doesn't belong anywhere near Detroit during the All Star Game. I could tell you a lot of things about how some players got snubbed and about how some All Stars shouldn't be playing. But I'm not going to. Why, you ask? Because the MLB has managed to turn the All Star Game into a big joke.


(image) The All Star Game will be played in Detroit this year.

What the All Star Game should be is a celebration of the game; a place to see a friendly game between the best of the best in the MLB. However, through a few bad gimmicks, the game has become very uninteresting. First of all, the rule about how each team has to have at least one representative is proof, if there isn't enough, that the game has become purely about making money for the MLB. They want every MLB city to have a reason to watch the game and buy hats, memorabilia, etc. If it's supposed to be a game consisting of the best of the best, don't have worse players play just for the sake of each team being represented.And, of course, you can't go without mentioning the fact that "this time, it counts." This was probably the worst way possible that the MLB could've gone about trying to get better ratings for the game: make it have playoff implications. Now, just to get more people to watch what, in my opinion, is a rather boring game, they say whoever wins the All Star Game gets homefield advantage for the World Series. This game is supposed to be a friendly exhibition for the fans to see, and now it has an effect on the World Series? Come on.

The fact is that the All Star Game is supposed to be purely for the fans' enjoyment. In my opinion, and I'm sure in the opinion of many others, the game has become not that enjoyable to watch. However, that doesn't mean that they need to make these silly changes to attract more viewers. Sure, some changes could be made. I think if they changed it from being AL vs. NL to U.S. vs. World (like what the NHL has), the game might be slightly more interesting to watch. However, just because changes need to be made doesn't give the MLB the right to make the gimmicks of an exhibition game make the game itself worse or affect other aspects of baseball.
-Adam

I'd like to hear your comments!




Can You Spell "Piniella" Backwards?

2005-07-06T22:25:03.860-04:00

I was surprised today to find out that Lou Piniella would be making some drastic changes to how he manages a game in terms of his pitchers. He announced today that, instead of going with the norm (starting pitcher starts, relievers follow if necessary), he will start the game with a relief pitcher, then have the starter come in around the 3rd inning. It was very surprising to hear this come from one of the most respected managers in the game. It may sound like one of those "it's so crazy it's genius" things at first, but, when you look at it, it's definitely not.

(image) His decision is a result of his unhappiness with the Tampa Bay front office, which he has been upset with since he
first arrived.

There are so many different ways that this can go terribly terribly wrong. First of all, the reason he's doing this is because the bullpen has been completely unreliable this year (remember the 13 run inning by the Yankees?). I don't understand how he plans to fix this by making the relievers start the game. I mean, if a player stinks in the late innings, then he'll stink in the early innings, right? So instead of blowing leads late in the game, they'll dig themselves into an early hole. What fun! Secondly, lets say that the starting relievers do pitch well, and the starter comes into the game around the 3rd or 4th inning. Then lets say the starter starts to lose it around the 6th or 7th inning. Well, normally, the manager would bring in his relief pitchers to bridge the gap between the starter and the closer. Well, his best relievers (who aren't very good anyways) have already been used, so now they have to hold a thin lead with 3 or 4 really bad pitchers. I just lost my appetite.

To be honest, I think Lou knows that this is a pretty stupid idea. I think this is just another of the many ways that he has shown disgust towards the Devil Rays' front office. When Piniella agreed to come to Tampa Bay, he was told by the front office that they would increase their spending over the years, but they have not, of course. This is Lou's way of saying, "Well, what the heck am I supposed to do?" Don't take Lou for a fool in this case, because I think that he knows that the move is silly. However, a bad move is a bad move. I certainly do understand why he's disgruntled in Tampa, but I can't say that I agree with what he's doing.

The moral of the story: Piniella wont spend any more time with the Devil Rays than he has to.
-Adam
COMMENT



Gary Sheffield=Pete Rose?

2005-07-06T22:01:41.606-04:00

As you know, several days ago a deal involving Mike Cameron and Gary Sheffield was being discussed. During the day, Sheffield had an interview with WFAN New York, in which he basically warned the other 29 teams in the league that he can be a lot to handle. His tirade brought up talk of his history of being disgruntled throughout his career. While listening to the Mets pregame show later that day, Howie Rose brought something up that I had never heard before: Sheffield admitted to this announcer that he had purposely played poorly in an attempt to get himself traded. Everyone around baseball certainly knows Sheffield as being a selfish guy, but purposely playing poorly is no small thing.Rose made the point that this is just as bad as Pete Rose (no relation to Howie that i know of) betting on baseball. Naturally, I was a bit surprised at first, considering that I had never even heard about Sheffield doing this until now. However, after thinking about it for a while, I realized that Howie Rose was completely right. The biggest problem with betting on baseball is that, if the person bets against his own team, he's going to try to play or manage worse to try to win that bet. Although Rose denies betting against the Reds as a manager (this is when he was betting), I don't believe him, especially after lying about betting on baseball for about 14 years. On days that he bet against the Reds, it's logical to think that he would purposely make worse decisions in order to win his bet. Looking at what Sheffield did, he played worse to get what he wanted: a trade out of Milwaukee. In both cases, the person (either Rose or Sheffield) sacrificed their team's chance to win because of selfishness.As we all know, Sheffield isn't exactly the number one nice guy in baseball. It seems that he always finds away to get into contract disputes with his team and is constantly seeking a trade (or, in the most recent case, denouncing any trade involving him). Not to mention, he got a complete free pass during the debates on steroids this off-season. Because his name was linked with BALCO and he is still one of the best hitters in the game though getting old, he should've been one of the main players on which the talks were centered. However, he recieved almost no attention during the talks. If you don't remember, several weeks before the whole BALCO thing boiled over, Sheffield did an interview with ESPN, saying that he unknowingly took steroids; he said that his trainer told him it was arthritis cream and that he trusted his trainer. First of all, this is nonsense. He wouldn't take something without knowing what it was. Second of all, this is basically the same thing that Barry Bonds told the court in San Francisco. While Bonds was the complete center of the steroid debate, Sheffield got no flak. I'm not trying to make Bonds out to be innocent. In fact, I dislike him the most out of all the steroid guys. However, the fact that Sheffield and Bonds admitted to the exact same thing and only one of them got flak for it seems silly, doesn't it?While with the Yankees, Sheffield has been decently quiet with the exception of the interview. However, it's time that we identify him as being in the same class as the Barry Bonds' and the Mark McGwire's of baseball. After all, that's where he belongs. -Adam Sheffield, as a Dodger, with Bonds. Sheffield said that it was Bonds who got him involved with BALCO.Remember to leave a comment!(Note: this will be my last post until Wednesday at the earliest)[...]



Sorting Out the NL East

2005-06-30T17:11:56.623-04:00

The NL East is by far the most competitive division in the league. In no other division are the first place and last place teams separated by a single-digit amount of games. For over a decade, the Braves have dominated the division. However, they seem more vulnerable this year than any year during their run of 13 consecutive division titles. Not to mention, the other teams have caught up with them and are threatening to end the streak. Even so, with all the teams in the division so even, it's tough to tell who will be the one to end the streak, if the streak is ended at all. I'll attempt to make sense of this mess by process of elimination: one by one, I'll try to whittle the NL East down to try to figure out who should win it this year. Here it goes:First out: Phillies. It seems as though, every year, Philadelphia underachieves. In recent years, this has been attributed to the presence of Larry Bowa as the manager, but now with him out, we should realize that a large part of the underachievement might have been the players' fault more than we assumed. Although Bobby Abreu has lived up to the hype, Jim Thome, the other big bopper, has gone through a decline in production compared to other years. The pitching has also been shaky: the Phillies are 12th in the NL with a 4.70 ERA. The starters will have to step up even more now with the loss of Randy Wolf. Overall, the team is just way too inconsistant to win the division title. They may seem solid on paper, but they can't be this inconsistant and come away with a playoff spot.Second out: Mets. It pains me to get them out so early. I was considering putting the Braves in this spot, but the tiebrakers were that the Braves seem to always overachieve and, head to head, they kill the Mets. In most spots, the Mets are a team of "almosts," in that they're close to being really strong in those spots, but they need to improve on one element there. Jose Reyes is one of the fastest players I've ever seen, but he doesn't get on base enough. Cliff Floyd can be really good when healthy, but he gets injured often, though not yet this season (knock on wood). Also, with the exception of Pedro, the rotation can be very inconsistant. You never quite know what you're going to get from Glavine, Victor Zambrano, or Kaz Ishii every time they take the mound. And, of course, the bullpen is in shambles. The first priority for the Mets should be to improve the bullpen. If they can do that in future years while also making strides in other areas of the game, they might turn out to be a real contender in a few years.Third to go: Braves. This was tough for me as well. Yes, I know, the Braves have history working for them (13 straight division titles). Again, they often overachieve (I think it's been something like 3 stright years that I've picked them to not come in first). Not to mention, Bobby Cox is most likely the best manager in the game. However, what it comes down to is that the Braves are a team made up of too many rookies. I do think that Cox and some of the older players on the roster (ie Chipper Jones and John Smoltz) will help them along, but this wont be enough to take a 14th straight title.One last team out: Nationals. Since the season started, they have been surpassing all expectations as they sit atop the division today. I would like to see this team succeed at this rate for a while longer putting them in the same class as some of the other division leaders that have been contenders for a few years now (remember, this team was the Expos last year). I certainly do think that they have the capability to win the NL East as they've had both solid pitching and solid hitting all year. However, in my opinion, the team that I've put ahead of them is the class of the division.And that team is....the Marlins. I picked them to win the division before the season began, and I'm stickin[...]



Following the Moonlight: A Lesson From Mr. Graham

2005-06-29T23:30:22.100-04:00

As I'm sure you've heard, it is being reported that today is the 100th anniversary of Moonlight Graham's one game in the outfield for the New York Giants. He was just another young kid that never quite made it to the big leagues-until Mr. Kinsella ran across his name in the Baseball Encyclopedia, noticing that he played in a game, but never got an at bat. Kinsella decided to include him in his book, Shoeless Joe, as an old man (and eventually a young kid) that finally got his one at bat. The book was later adapted into the popular movie, Field of Dreams. In the story, Graham epitomized your everyday young minor leaguer determined to make the big show.

He never did make it other than the one game, but, in the story, he wasn't that upset about missing out on a career. The only thing that he really wanted was one chance at the plate in the big leagues. No great career, no fame, just one at bat. If only players' attitudes today could only be anything close to this. A large amount of players today seem to be ignorant to the roots and true core of the game: to enjoy playing. Today has been the center of a lot of talk involving a trade sending Gary Sheffield to the Mets. Today, in an interview with WFAN in New York as he shunned a possible trade, he made himself out to be a great person because he allowed the Yankees to defer the money in his contract. He has also admitted to purposely playing poorley earlier in his career in Milwaukee to try to get traded. Kenny Rogers harassed a cameraman during warm-ups, damaging the camera, not to mention his own image. Barry Bonds.....well......need I say more? Today, players ignore the past of the game and only care about their money and egos. If only they could, in a sense, take a page from Moonlight's book. All that Graham wanted was one shot at a hit-no fame, no glory-just an at bat. Of course, with the outrageous contracts these days, don't expect anything to change anytime soon, but wouldn't it be great to see a game with no stupid side-stories, no soap operas, no players complaining about contracts? Again, don't expect anything to change, but that was how the game was made to be: just a game. If they could only just follow the Moonlight....
-Adam

Remember to comment please!



The End of Yankee Dominance

2005-06-29T13:26:57.520-04:00

How the Yankees have abused their power and driven the franchise into an unpromising future.(I created this post on Monday and it has been sitting on my site since then, but this is my first day with an RSS feed to sportsblogs.org, so I thought I would repost it for all you to see).Since 2001, it's seemed as though the Yankees were going to be able to practically buy the championship every year. With the signings of such players as Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield, and trades for Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, they were perennially aquiring the best player on the market. I think it is fine for any team to use all of their resources to get the players they want, even the Yankees. If a team's front office does not put all of their effort into getting the necessary aquisitions to improve the team, they're not doing their job. However, while the Yankees have appeared to make themselves invincible, they've really just set themselves up for a massive drop-off.During the Yankee success of the late 1990's, the team never recruited big stars off the market. Farmhands Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada, among others, were allowed to grow through the Yankee farm system until they were ready for the big leagues. Role players, such as Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, and Tino Martinez were brought in from the outside to compliment the nucleus of the up-and-coming stars. This way, the Yankees grew off a predominantly young and talented team to dominate the league from 1996-2001.However, since then, George Steinbrenner has reverted to the strategy that he used during the 1980's: sign the best players out there, old or not. This strategy was death to the team in the '80's, and history is beginning to repeat itself here in 2005. The Yankees are signing players that, although stars in their prime, are aging and whose talents are diminishing. They spent millions of dollars on players that were beginning to lose their touch, only to see them hit rock bottom in pinstripes. For example, the Yankees traded for Kevin Brown before the 2004 season. Since then, he has not done anything to justify him recieving a multi-million dollar salary. Since no team would be willing to trade for him, the Yankees are stuck with him on the payroll. Also, Randy Johnson, who had been a star pitcher all of his career, was brought to the Yankees and given a two year extension on his contract. However, his production has not been as expected, and now the Yankees are stuck with a 40 year old decent pitcher at best who they are paying millions of dollars to.What it comes down to is that the Yankees, by neglecting their farm system and signing old players, have destroyed their future. This might sound weird, but it would be in a Yankee fan's best interest to hope to see the Yankees lose most of their games before the trading deadline passes. This is the only way the Yankee front office will be willing to face the fact that they are not going to make the playoffs this year. Although a longshot, hopefully this would convice the Yankees to be sellers come the deadline. Albeit they don't have much to trade, I would recommend that they deal Gary Sheffield for some quality minor leaguers. Out of the aging stars that they have, he is the only one that continues to be productive, and would definitely have value in the market. This may sound shocking to Yankee fans, but it's one of the few ways that the Yankees can help themselves in the future at this point. The fact is that the Yankees will not make the playoffs this year, so trading Sheffield would be the best way to get younger and to try to make the future brighter. The Yankees have only been getting worse in recent years, and don't expect them to get better any time soon.-Adam[...]



The End of Yankee Dominance

2005-06-29T13:27:29.376-04:00

Since 2001, it's seemed as though the Yankees were going to be able to practically buy the championship every year. With the signings of such players as Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield, and trades for Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, they were perennially aquiring the best player on the market. I think it is fine for any team to use all of their resources to get the players they want, even the Yankees. If a team's front office does not put all of their effort into getting the necessary aquisitions to improve the team, they're not doing their job. However, while the Yankees have appeared to make themselves invincible, they've really just set themselves up for a massive drop-off.

During the Yankee success of the late 1990's, the team never recruited big stars off the market. Farmhands Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada, among others, were allowed to grow through the Yankee farm system until they were ready for the big leagues. Role players, such as Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, and Tino Martinez were brought in from the outside to compliment the nucleus of the up-and-coming stars. This way, the Yankees grew off a predominantly young and talented team to dominate the league from 1996-2001.

However, since then, George Steinbrenner has reverted to the strategy that he used during the 1980's: sign the best players out there, old or not. This strategy was death to the team in the '80's, and history is beginning to repeat itself here in 2005. The Yankees are signing players that, although stars in their prime, are aging and whose talents are diminishing. They spent millions of dollars on players that were beginning to lose their touch, only to see them hit rock bottom in pinstripes. For example, the Yankees traded for Kevin Brown before the 2004 season. Since then, he has not done anything to justify him recieving a multi-million dollar salary. Since no team would be willing to trade for him, the Yankees are stuck with him on the payroll. Also, Randy Johnson, who had been a star pitcher all of his career, was brought to the Yankees and given a two year extension on his contract. However, his production has not been as expected, and now the Yankees are stuck with a 40 year old decent pitcher at best who they are paying millions of dollars to.

What it comes down to is that the Yankees, by neglecting their farm system and signing old players, have destroyed their future. This might sound weird, but it would be in a Yankee fan's best interest to hope to see the Yankees lose most of their games before the trading deadline passes. This is the only way the Yankee front office will be willing to face the fact that they are not going to make the playoffs this year. Although a longshot, hopefully this would convice the Yankees to be sellers come the deadline. Albeit they don't have much to trade, I would recommend that they deal Gary Sheffield for some quality minor leaguers. Out of the aging stars that they have, he is the only one that continues to be productive, and would definitely have value in the market. This may sound shocking to Yankee fans, but it's one of the few ways that the Yankees can help themselves in the future at this point. The fact is that the Yankees will not make the playoffs this year, so trading Sheffield would be the best way to get younger and to try to make the future brighter. The Yankees have only been getting worse in recent years, and don't expect them to get better any time soon.
-Adam



Hey!

2005-06-27T16:02:17.663-04:00

Hey there. I've decided to start a sports blog. I'll be covering mostly baseball, along with the other major sports (and no, NASCAR is not a sport). I'm not sure how often I'll get around to writing for this, but we'll see. Feel free to post replies to me; I'll enjoy reading them (and it will tell me that at least some people are actually reading this stuff). I look foward to posting.
-Adam