Thursday, March 29, 2012

MLB 80's Relics

There are two relics remaining from the 80's, and one of them was just guaranteed a spot on the Toronto Blue Jays 25-man roster...Omar Vizquel. The other, Jamie Moyer, is battling for a slot in the Colorado Rockies rotation.

The 44 year old Vizquel is set to enter his 24th MLB season. He earned the utility infielder role with the Jays with a great spring (.433/.952 in 15 games) and tremendous clubhouse reputation. He's currently 159 hits shy of 3000 for his career, and is unlikely to obtain that goal unless he sticks around another 3 years. Gotta admit, it would be fun to have him still playing the field into his late 40's.

Speaking of late 40's, Moyer is fully recovered from his TJ surgery that cost him all of 2010 and is vying for a job with the Rockies. He's currently 2-0, with a 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 11 K in 13 IP. Not bad for a man is nearly double the age of most of his teammates. It will be Grand Pappy's 25th season if he's able to latch on.

Each of these players have interesting Hall of Fame credentials. Vizquel is widely regarded as one of the best fielding shortstops of all time, but his offensive numbers aren't very good- .272/.690, but has stolen over 400 bases and scored over 1400 runs. Moyer is nearing 270 wins and seems to want to continue pitching until his body won't let him anymore, so who knows how close he can creep to becoming a member of the 300 win club.

Monday, March 26, 2012

MLB DUI Epidemic Continues


Add pitchers Matt Bush of the Tampa Bay Rays and Bobby Jenks of the Boston Red Sox to the list of idiots that have decided to drive drunk. I guarantee there are many other MLB players that are doing the same thing on a regular basis, but are going uncaught. It's just dumb. They make tons of money. Call a f'n cab. There is no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol. Bush is even a bigger dickhead because he critically injured a motorcyclist and then fled the scene. DUI is selfish bullshit!

Previous Offenders/Douchebags:
Mark Grace may not be a current MLB player, but we're going to add him to the infamous list of douchebags to be arrested for a DUI this year anyway (mugshot seen to the right). The 46 year old former firstbase star of the Chicago Cubs and current Arizona Diamondbacks announcer was pulled over during the Memorial Day weekend and didn't pass the field tests. Stupid, stupid man. Mark Grace is disgraceful.

Other idiots from earlier this year...



Since the turn of the calendar year from 2010 to 2011, 6 MLB players have been arrested for DUI. That's bullshit! The Mariners Adam Kennedy, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, Austin Kearns of the Indians, the Oakland Athletics Coco Crisp, Derek Lowe of the Braves, and now Shin-Soo Choo of the Indians. C'mon fellas, seriously?!?!?!?!

They have the money to do what the want, and one of those things should be hiring a f'n chauffeur, calling for a cab, or text a teammate to pick you up. Something, anything, but drive yourself while under the influence. I'm not pissed off that they drank to the point of inebriation, because that would be hypocritical of me. Nope, I'm pissed that they're stupid and selfish enough to put themselves and others in danger by operating a motor vehicle when it's simply not a necessity. Have we learned nothing from Nick Adenhart's tragic death or the saga of Jim Leyritz?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baseball Fantography

UNFORGETTABLE IMAGES OF OUR NATIONAL PASTIME
BY THE FANS. FOR THE FANS.

BASEBALL FANTOGRAPHY
A CELEBRATION IN SNAPSHOTS AND STORIES FROM THE FANS

For major league baseball’s 2012 Opening Day, author Andy Strasberg and publisher Abrams Image are proud to offer a stunning new book and a completely unique way of looking at the game we love.

They call it fantography. Photos by the fans, and for the fans.

When it comes to iconic baseball photos, fans think they’ve seen it all, but they haven’t. Strasberg presents a feast for the eyes in “BASEBALL FANTOGRAPHY: A Celebration in Snapshots and Stories from the Fans” (Abrams Image, April 1, 2012), the first in a series of books that focuses on the cherished memories of the amateur baseball photographer. This is a collection of never-before-seen snapshots and first-person anecdotes from fans from across the country and across generations, published together for the first time.

These are not the professional images that we’re used to seeing. They are better. They are more compelling than action photos or posed shots, and they are distinctively poignant and personal because there’s a story behind every one of them. We see parades from decades ago, travel photos taken mid-journey, ballparks in all of their grand glory, ageless Cooperstown, and heroes old and new. Each page is graced with vintage color shots, classic black and images from today along with captions that give them life and context.

And the images themselves are striking.

From a snapshot of a young, intense Roberto Clemente to a smiling and grayed Carl Yastrzemski well-past retirement, these photos catch these iconic players in times of quiet reflection, pre-game contemplation or off-field revelry. We see Hank Greenberg camouflaged in a business suit, Eddie Matthews leaving little to the imagination in a shower, and a treasure trove of images of other greats including Sandy Koufax, Tony Gwynn, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Cal Ripken Jr., Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks, Derek Jeter and Jackie Robinson among many, many others. These photos connect all generations of baseball players and their fans. It is almost as if we have been granted a look through our collective scrapbook of the game.

The project began for Strasberg when he unearthed a snapshot of him posing with Roger Maris at Yankee Stadium from 1966. He hadn’t seen the photo in decades and finding it sponsored a rush of warm memories of his boyhood idol and that day from over forty years ago. He knew that there were others like him out there. People whose treasured baseball photos lay buried in a closet of in a shoebox in the attic. He was right and “BASEBALL FANTOGRAPHY” is the result.

It is a timeless record of the fans’ baseball experience, a nostalgic journey, and, ultimately, a gift to baseball.

By the fans. For the fans.

To see samples of the snapshots, please visit address www.Fantography.net.

About the Author:
Andy Strasberg, a San Diego Padres executive from 1975 to 1996, operates a consulting firm that offers marketing expertise to baseball personalities, teams, leagues, and the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the coauthor of Baseball’s Greatest Hit and was the technical consultant on the HBO film 61*. He lives in San Diego.


BASEBALL FANTOGRAPHY
A Celebration in Snapshots and Stories from the Fans

Author: Andy Strasburg, with a Foreword by Bob Costas
Publisher: Abrams Image
Format: Hardcover; 192 pages; Retail Price: $19.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-4197-0213-6
Publication Date: April 1, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Full Preview of the 2012 MLB Season

Guest Post By: Craig Kibler

Well it’s that time of year again folks. The MLB regular season starts in just a few weeks so this is usually the most appropriate time for all self proclaimed baseball experts to make their predictions for the upcoming season. I won’t call myself an expert but I certainly take pride in my baseball knowledge.

There are many places with new faces this year and after this year’s free agency I felt it was hard to get a feel for how the league shakes out. Then MLB added a Wild Card team to each league and it confused me even more when I sat down and tried to establish where each team would finish in 2012.

I can’t wait to see how things actually turn out this year. As a Cubs fan my hopes for the season aren’t that high. However, the team is heading in a great direction under new team President Theo Epstein. Knowing that the Cubs will still be in a rebuilding phase this year, I can observe baseball care-free this year.

Feels good knowing I can just relax and take in the baseball season. So with that in mind I did a lot of research this year and I feel prepared to make what will most likely be ill-founded predictions for the 2012 MLB season.

To make this easy I will show you my division rankings, MVP winners, Cy Young winners, Wild Card teams, playoff match-ups & winners, ALCS & NLCS MVP’s, and World Series MVP.

Division rankings are based on predicted final standings of the regular season.



2012 Playoffs Predictions


Well there you have it. I present to you a full prediction report for the 2012 MLB regular season, playoffs, and awards. For support sake I will talk, in limited detail, about why I made the choices I did.

Division Winners: I think the East winner in the NL has to be Philly. They still look pretty banged up but the pitching staff is just too good for this team not to win the division. Sure everyone else in the East got a little better… Well not the Mets but that’s a lost cause at this point. The Marlins look solid but I still think there some weaknesses that will keep them from winning the division. The Marlins will probably compete with the Braves for the last Wild Card spot but I don’t see playoffs in Miami this season.

The winner in the AL East is always a toss-up, but I will give the edge to the Red Sox this year because they own a much better pitching staff than the pinstripes. Look for the Rays and Blue Jays to compete with the Yankees for a Wild Card spot but don’t expect 2 Wild Card teams from this division.

Both the NL & AL Central will be down this year. The top of both divisions look good with the Reds and Tigers but the remaining teams are lack luster in every sense of the phrase. Cardinals and Brewers will be decent but not playoff teams and the Tigers might be the only team in the AL Central to finish above .500.

The AL West is probably the most intriguing division this year and it’s all about the Rangers and Angels. With the moves the Angels made in the off-season it is hard to say they don’t have the best roster on paper. However, I am giving the advantage to the Rangers. I just think the Rangers have a slightly more complete team and a better bullpen. Rangers take the division and the Angels get a Wild Card spot.

The NL West might be the most competitive NL division top to bottom. The D’backs are coming off a surprising season where they won 94 games but I do not expect a repeat performance this season. With Buster Posey coming back I see the Giants taking this one. The Giants, like the Phillies, just have too much good pitching. I think the Rockies and Dodgers will battle for second in this division but in the end it will go to the Dodgers and so will the last playoff spot.

Playoffs: Always hard to predict any baseball playoff so I just went with gut instincts on this one. I think that the Rangers are still the best team in AL and no one can compete with the talent level of a healthy Phillies team. If both teams stay healthy I think we will see the Rangers make their third trip in as many years to the World Series, only to lose for a third consecutive time. This year the Rangers become the Buffalo Bills of the MLB. Colors match so the role will fit nicely.

Awards: I think there are several players that can end winning the MVP and Cy Young in both leagues. Taking all things into consideration like age, team, numbers from last year, team additions, ball park, and so on. When you look at my picks, you can tell that I didn’t stretch too much. It almost looks like I’m just name dropping and hoping I’m right. Well duh. The best baseball minds could spend hours trying to figure out who will win MVP and Cy Young this year and be completely wrong.

No one really sticks out above the rest in the AL MVP race so I went with Adrian Gonzales. Adrian should have great numbers again this year on a division winning team in Boston. Great numbers while being a member of the AL East champ is always a good recipe for hardware at the end of the year.

Now that Albert is in the AL I think the NL MVP could be a lock for 2010 MVP Joey Votto. With Braun’s recent bad PR and no Prince or Albert, I think it opens up the MVP for Joey Votto. Like Gonzales, Votto will have great numbers again and his team should easily win the division.

When it comes to Cy Young I just think of the two best pitchers in each league. I don’t think I will have too many people argue with me on Verlander and Halladay.

Well I think Billy Joel once said, you may be right and I may be crazy. But at least I’m not Tim Tebow.

About the Author: Craig Kibler is the lead blogger for Sports Traveler, a leading sports tourism site providing MLB tickets and travel packages.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chipper Jones to Retire


Larry "Chipper" Jones has been hinting at retirement for the past couple seasons and now he's made it official by stating the 2012 season will be his last. Chipper is one of the best switch hitters of all-time. He's played primarily 3rd base during his career, but did have a stint in LF for a time and a little bit of shortstop too. With a lifetime .304 average, .935 OPS, 1561 runs scored and RBI, 2615 hits, and 454 homeruns over 18 seasons he's a surefire Hall-of-Famer. This year's stats will just be icing on the cake. Some may remember him for his injuries, but he should be remembered for being a tremendous player for more than a decade while helping lead the Braves to all of those consecutive NL East division crowns.

Monday, March 19, 2012

MLB Zombie Killer


Did you know the MLB logo man is also a trained zombie assassin?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mid-Spring Leaders


We're midway through Spring Training and here are the players doing best in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues.

Hitting:
Average - .483 Gregor Blanco/Giants (Min. 30 plate appearances)

OPS - 1.300 Miguel Cabrera/Tigers (Min. 30 plate appearances)

Runs - 11 Eric Sogard/Athletics

Doubles- 6 Brett Lawrie/Blue Jays

Triples - 2 (5 tied)

Homeruns - 4 Ryan Raburn/Tigers, Alfonso Soriano/Cubs

RBI - 14 Ryan Raburn/Tigers

Stolen Bases - 6 Gregor Blanco/Giants

Pitching:
Games - 7 Sergio Romo/Giants

Innings - 11.1 Blake Beaven/Mariners

Strikeouts - 13 Madison Bumgarner/Giants, Justin Verlander/Tigers, Brian Matusz/Orioles

ERA - 0.00 Wade LeBlanc/Marlins, Mike Minor/Braves (Min. 9 IP)

WHIP - 0.10 Wade LeBlanc/Marlins (Min. 9 IP)

Wins - 2 (12 tied)

Saves - 2 (6 tied)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Evolution of Baseball


I think that's Jose Canseco, the third one from the left.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Keychain

Hey all!

A few weeks ago, I received a special package here at my AZ bunker. It was a cute keychain featuring my favorite team, the Chicago White Sox.

It is a small, round keychain, maybe around an inch in diameter. The front of the keychain features a shield-like logo of the Chicago White Sox, with stars lining the bottom edge. On the back, one sees the AL logo with a baseball and the MLB logo. My keychain still had the sticker of authenticity covering the baseball, so you know you'll be getting the real thing.

In terms of materials, I would say that this is made of pewter. I have another keychain on my pencil bag that is made of pewter, and it looks about the same, texture-wise, as this keychain.

I've included pictures of this keychain as well, modeling it on my hand with my very faded henna tattoos on my arm and fingers providing a backdrop.

Front:



Back:



It sure is cute!

If you want to buy one for yourself (or for someone else) with your favorite team, you can find them here at: Wholesale Keychains.

Buy some soon!
tamtam

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Free 1 Day Fantasy Event- Win $250

If you haven't joined the fantasy site DraftStreet.com yet, then you're missing out brotha. I've been playing regularly since mid-summer 2011 and have won more money than I've lost. Started out testing my skills in MLB, then NFL, and now the NBA. Well, More Hardball is happy to announce an opportunity for you to join for free and win up to $90. Below you will find a link for a free roll for this Friday's NBA games. Prize pool is $250 and the top 6 finishers get paid. It takes only a few minutes to register and build a team of 8 players from a $100K salary cap. C'mon, do it!

Click on this link for 1-Day Fantasy Event!!!

Peace Out Carlos Guillen

The beleaguered Carlos Guillen has decided to call it career, rather than attempt to stick with the Seattle Mariners on a minor league deal. Over the past 4 seasons, he has only played 290 games, steadily decreasing every year. The 36 year old is retiring a 3-time All-Star with a .285/.355/.443 slash line and 733 R, 124 HR, and 660 RBI over 14 seasons with the Mariners and Tigers. According to Baseball-Reference.com he was worth 26.3 Wins Above Replacement player (WAR) for his career. He played primarily SS, but also some 3rd and 2nd base, along with some OF. Although his playing days have ceased due to injuries, don't feel too bad for him, he's earned over $69M. Not too shabby.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Kickoff

Though it's a week late, better now than never.

In a rare show of color, I present my official greetings for the start of Spring Training, here in sunny Arizona.





If you're wondering, I did use a model for the figure in my cartoon. I based the figure on Gerardo Parra, the left field slugger for my local team, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Enjoy!

tamtam

Saga of Brien Taylor, Yankee Turned Drug Dealer

Remember Brien Taylor? If not, don't feel bad, he's only one of the biggest busts in the history of baseball. In fact, he was so much of a dud, that he never even reached the majors after being selected by the vaunted New York Yankees with the 1st pick in the 1991 draft.

Well, Taylor is out of baseball now, and has been selling dope to make ends meet. The 40 year old washed up douchebag pitcher had been selling large amounts of cocaine and crack to an undercover narcotics officer. Needless to say, he's been arrested.

I only recall this guy because of the retarded unique spelling of his first name and his once valuable rookie card (seen to the right). Other than that, this guy was entirely forgettable. In 7 minor league seasons (with Yankees and Indians) he managed a lackluster 22-30 record with a 5.13 ERA. Most of that success came in the beginning of his professional career, because he ended with these 4 ERA's: 18.73 ('96), 14.33 ('97), 9.59 ('98), and 27.00 ('00). The shittiness can apparently be blamed on an injury to his pitching shoulder he obtained from a fight in 1993, and post-operation was never the same.

Snippet from our review of the #1 picks from 1989-1998:
1991- Brien Taylor/P/New York Yankees: No MLB experience. This pick brings back some memories. Memory 1- remember when the Yankees used to suck and actually "earned" the first pick in the draft due to sucking. Memory 2- Taylor is one of only two #1 picks to never make it to the bigs (other being Steve Chilcott). Poor Brien became a headcase in the minors and lost control of his pitches racking up far greater than a walk per inning pitched. Example- in 1996 with the Greensboro Bats he walked 43 batters in just 16 innings. How the hell is that even possible?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Early Spring Updates

*Miami Marlins young slugging right fielder has undergone a name change. The artist formerly known as Mike Stanton wants to go by Giancarlo Stanton. Not sure the reason for the sudden change of heart, but it's not totally "Ochocinco" type stuff considering his real name is Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton.

*Ryan Howard has suffered a setback in his rehab from a torn Achilles. He developed a seroma where the incision was made on his leg and had to have it cleaned and restitched. Timetable for return was May, but it is indefinite now.

*The Oakland A's were already heading into the season with a lackluster offense, and now incumbent third basemen Scott Sizemore as suffered a season ending injury by tearing his ACL.

*Juan Guitierrez tore a pectoral muscle during outfield drills and is out for at least a month. Arguably the best defensive center fielder in the game is looking at a second consecutive season fouled up by injuries (last year had a severe stomach problem).

*The St. Louis Cardinal locked up their championship guiding catcher Yadier Molina for 5 years $75M. That's a buttload of money for a catcher set to turn 30, but hey, it's not my money.

*Longtime Red Sox Tim "Knuckle Ballin'" Wakefield and catcher Jason Varitek announced their retirements.

*Grady Sizemore is injured...again. Silly Indians for re-signing him.

*Poor AJ Burnett, dude just can't seem to catch a break...or can he? He broke his right orbital bone around his eye during bunting practice and now has to undergo surgery. Return date yet to be determined.