Posts Tagged ‘2012’

2013 MLB Hall of Fame Vote Headlines

January 13, 2013

Okay, besides the obvious: “HALL OF FAME SUCKS AND SHUTS OUT A MILLION DESERVING CANDIDATES!”

Now that we’ve rushed to conclusions, let’s take a step back. I believe there is a flaw in the voting system for the Hall of Fame. I thought that before this vote took place, and find myself thinking about it more often now that the shutout occurred.

I’m not sure I could ever articulate my suggestions in a fashion that exceeds this fantastic piece by Jeff Passan, so I’ll leave you with that. And this one from Jayson Stark.

Please come back and finish reading my blog before you get carried away with those incredibly well-written works of art. Thanks.

And as much as I’d like to just dive right in and go to town on those dirty rotten voters, we do have to give them a break. Not only are they tasked with an insanely difficult job, but they then have to deal with nuisances like myself immediately after.

To avoid becoming a talking head on this topic and running with the same exact story lines, here are some other things I was processing while sobbing in the shower after seeing nobody reach the 75 percent threshold:

1) The outside influence on and internal struggle of a voter is fascinating.

If you truly think ballots aren’t influenced by voters’ peers in most cases, you’re as blind as a bat. A baseball bat. It happens in all types of social situations, because the desire to fit in is stronger than the desire to do what’s right. I’m not saying that’s why some votes went down as they did, but it certainly played a role. If every ESPN voter except one had openly proclaimed in the office they were voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, steroids be damned, chances are the outcast would also vote for Bonds and Clemens. It’s a social science.

Even more intriguing to me is the struggle all baseball fans face with morality. Yours truly is still undecided whether or not, given a hypothetical Hall of Fame vote, I’d vote for someone who was busted for PED’s. On the one hand, they are legends in their own right and earned their numbers, even if slightly inflated because of a little pill. On the other, their crimes are far more offensive to me than anything Pete Rose did, and he is banned from the game forever.

2) I thought all ballots should be released…then reconsidered.

What would it accomplish? Sure, we want to know who cast a vote for Shawn Green, or which nimrods thought it okay to exclude a surefire in Craig Biggio. But all it would lead to is a collective, big boy temper tantrum that only gets us in a meaningless, heated Twitter argument with each other. There are plenty of voters who shouldn’t be voting, but they have the right to conceal their choices for whatever reason they want…and I’m fine with that. Besides, who’s to say all the hidden ballots weren’t perfectly reasonable?

3) That being said…

…why isn’t Orel Hershiser or Gil Hodges in the Hall of Fame yet? And why did it take voters so long to induct Hank Greenberg? That’s literally all I had for this one. Awkward. Moving on.

4) Kenny Lofton and Bernie Williams gone forever.http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/000/973/485/98433807_crop_650x440.jpg?1276726536

My heart breaks just writing those words. Two of my all-time favorite players and idols growing up did not receive the required five percent to stay on the ballot for 2014. Both players had very borderline cases as it was, but now their only hope is to be inducted by the Veteran’s Committee. That’s about as likely as Juan Uribe hitting a curveball, unfortunately. It’s too bad – who’s with me here: Creating a Hall of Fave in which fans get to choose non-Hall of Famers to grace the halls of a hallowed ground dedicated to the most popular players who ever played. This year, Kenny and Bernie would easily be in. Next year, we would welcome Sean Casey with open arms!

5) The PED users all get another shot.

Oh, stop. I’m allowed to group them together like that. Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro all survived the cut and will be on the ballot in 2014. In my humble opinion, Big Mac, Bonds and The Rocket will eventually hang a plaque in Cooperstown. In my humbler opinion, only Bonds and Clemens have the all-around numbers to be there. In my humblest opinion, those inevitable plaques should have a daftly-carved asterisk in each. The official prediction for me is that both Bonds and Clemens are in by 2018. McGwire? More like 2021.

6) Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker, ladies and gentleman!

This is similar to the Lofton-Williams scenario. Except that Martinez and Walker both have very good cases for Hall of Fame induction. Martinez is the DH. He deserves a spot in Cooperstown, and there’s nothing you can say that will make me budge from that position. As for Walker, is there any better five-year span out of the non-PED users than his .353/30/98/1.172 OPS line from 1997 (his MVP season, in which he also stole 33 bases) to 2002? He’s got the most anonymous Hall of Fame resumes in baseball, and the worst part of it all is Walker might get snubbed completely.

7) Biggio? More like Biggi-NO.

Goodness, that’s a money headline! How I don’t get paid to write those is beyond me. In all seriousness, since we are on the subject of snubs, why is Craig  Biggio not preparing a teary-eyed, soulful speech right now? I understand the aura (both negative and positive) around this year’s class, but the fact that 34 percent of voters found a reason to exclude a 3,000-hit club member who was an All-Star at two different positions and defined the word “grit,” while never raising questions about PED’s in an era where that was considered normal…is, honestly, blasphemous.

8) Is Aaron Sele going to change the course of baseball history?

And isn’t that what any aspiring ball player dreams of doing? I’m sure Sele didn’t expect it to happen this way, but that one, perplexing vote that was cast for him means a couple of things: First, there’s a voter out there who needs serious help right away. And secondly, he could be the trigger for a potential process-changing policy shift. Whether it be a limit to the character-scrubbing clause, or an increase in votes allowed per BBWAA member, or the amendment to require all ballots to go public, Aaron Bleepin’ Sele might go down in history as the man who changed it all. Sort of.

9) Finally, the class of 2014. Ohhhhhhh, the class of 2014. Yikes.

You thought this year’s class was loaded. Scratch Dale Murphy (another deserving candidate…he was on my ballot!) off the 2012 list, and add Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas, and Jeff Kent. Good luck. There are three no-doubters in that new group alone for me, so choosing a class of ten Hall of Famers this time next year will be a tall task. Because I value baseball more than my personal health (it’s currently 2:18 a.m., and I have a demanding work day ahead of me starting around 7:30), I’ve taken a shot at cracking this conundrum.

So if you’re so inclined, take a peek at my video revealing the 10 guys I would vote for in next year’s Hall of Fame election:

Thanks for reading, and feel free to subscribe to my YouTube page, or to visit my other blogs at jamblinman2.wordpress.com, or 3u3d.mlblogs.com. Until next time, vote with caution.

Jeremy is an unpaid intern/unpaid sports writer/unpaid blogger combination who does this stuff because he absolutely loves it. Follow him on Twitter @Jamblinman, and LIKE his 2013 MLB Fan Cave campaign page on Facebook!

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There’s So Much Wrong with the MLB All-Star Game

July 1, 2012

20120702-121714.jpgI hate the All-Star Game. I really do. It’s stupid and contradictory and responsible for one of the worst moments in recent baseball history. The new format demands that the best respective rosters from each league be assembled, so as to assure a fair fight in the battle for home field advantage in the World Series.

Yet, as if these grown men need coddling that a Little League parent would be proud of, each team better have one representative, or the Padres might cry! Puh-lease.

Further, let’s make this game about the fans and allow them to vote in the starters even though a large majority of fans doesn’t actually know anything about the sport and spend hours voting for each player at each position on their favorite team (I’m looking at you, Giants fans…this is how Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford end up in the top five at their positions).

I have no beef with putting home field advantage on the line. It gives exponentially more meaning and intensity to the contest. And it keeps the baseball version of All-Star festivities much more entertaining than the NFL’s Pro Bowl, albeit more boring than the NBA’s.

But you damn well better let the players and coaches, who actually know what they are doing, determine the All-Star rosters in this case. And require that players who were voted in by trigger happy, stat-ignorant fans who probably won’t even WATCH the game, yet enjoy being part of the process…actually play. No “fatigue,” Derek Jeter. Come on.

Now I make very public my devotion to the Dodgers. So 99 percent of people who read this will probably brush off the rest of this blog as a biased, spiteful rant. But just because the Giants will be the subject of my fury for the next few paragraphs, I promise it has nothing to do with rivalry.

How can I prove it? Simple. When it comes to the All-Star Game, now that home field advantage IS on the line, the National League needs to act as one cohesive unit. Trust me, I love nothing more than to hate the Giants. But I will root for any players in a Giants hat in Kansas City, as long as he helps get my LEAGUE a win.

And it baffles me that Giants fans don’t feel the same way – well, no it doesn’t. I know a lot of awesome, smart Giants fans. But the ridiculous voting campaign I saw put on at AT&T Park last week was overstepping the boundaries. And now that the results are in, I’m convinced that if the PR Department for the Giants told its fans to swim to Alcatraz and back naked, they would oblige.

There is no other reasonable explanation for Freddy Sanchez (he of ZERO games played this season) earning 2.2 million votes. No other fan bases voted for him. That shows me that Giants fans were instructed to find anyone with “San Francisco Giants” under their names on the ballot at each position, and vote for them no matter what.

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People. We were 300,000 votes away from Brandon Crawford starting for the National League at shortstop. And if you don’t understand why that’s a big deal, my point has been proven. Because nobody cares to know who Crawford, the .220-hitting, probably-worst-player-on-the-team even is.

It’s all fine and good to vote for your players. Do it 25 times. That’s the maximum. But when I go to a game in the city, and I see a reporter on the Jumbotron in front of a room in some top-secret part of the ball park where fans are being given free food to sit in there and vote for Giants players all day…I’m going to be upset about it.

This has nothing to do with fairness and equality. There were three Dodgers worthy of All-Star consideration. Two of them made it, one won’t play because he’s injured. That’s great. I don’t mind. There were six Giants who deserved to make it. Four did, including Pablo Sandoval.

Kung-Fu Panda earned a spot, despite being injured for part of the season. But getting over 1 million votes the day before the results are announced to unseat David Wright, far and away the best third baseman in baseball, as the starter? That’s not even annoying, it’s just irresponsible.

And Giants fans, you have to not be sheep just following what the voice on the screen says. If you truly love baseball – hell, if you truly love your TEAM, you’d vote for the guys that deserve it. We know you love your team. Passion is excellent. But you’ll be kicking yourselves if Sandoval goes 0-2 in the All-Star Game and fails to get runners in a scoring situation. That could have been David Wright, a much better hitter, up in that spot.

And what if the National League goes on to lose? What if that happens and then the Giants make a run to the World Series? Are you going to enjoy playing IN Arlington? IN Los Angeles? IN New York? When all that needed to happen is filling in a little circle next to your guys the allotted 25 times: Sandoval, 3B. Posey, C. Cabrera, OF.

Obviously that’s an extreme situation, but part of me wishes Crawford had been voted in. Because I really think that would have made for an all-out remodeling of the process.

Anyway, let me re-state again. I’m not picking on Giants fans because I hate their team. I’m picking on Giants fans because they were the worst (by a mile) offenders of borderline illegal ballot stuffing for this thing. You can argue with me and say the Rangers have too many players in, and I’d probably agree. But Rangers fans didn’t get anyone who didn’t deserve consideration within striking distance of a starting spot. Just remember that.

Brandon Belt may some day be an All-Star. Freddy Sanchez will return to stardom if he gets healthy. And even Crawford may visit the Midsummer Classic some year. You never know.

But no matter how much you love them and the jerseys on their back, there is much more at stake than bragging rights for which team sends the most All-Stars to K.C.

There is the matter of the National League having to join forces, fans and all, to put the best possible team out on the field. Then once home field advantage has been earned, you can go back to quarreling intra-division and fighting for the right to actually use that home field advantage in October.

Obviously, many changes need to be made to the All-Star Game. Fans can’t be voting with so much at stake, and the stakes shouldn’t even be so high. I can understand where MLB is coming from, but when your slogan is “This One Counts,” fans have to be encouraged to remember that.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game…but if Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval are responsible for a National League loss in the All-Star Game, feel free to tell your nearest Giants fan to change his or her evil ways.

Whew. Okay. I feel better. Now don’t even get me started on snubs like Josh Reddick…

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How the All-Star Teams SHOULD Look

May 23, 2012

I believe the title is self-explanatory, so here goes:

National League

C – Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

1B – Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

2B – Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

SS – Rafael Furcal, St. Louis Cardinals

3B – David Wright, New York Mets

LF – Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giants

CF – Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

RF – Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

DH – Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals

SP – Brandon Beachy, Atlanta Braves

Bench – Bryan LaHair, Chicago Cubs

Bench – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

Bench – Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

Bench – Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

Bench – A.J. Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers

Bench – Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies

Bullpen – Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks

Bullpen – Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals

Bullpen – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

Bullpen – Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Bullpen – Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

Bullpen – Joel Hanrahan, Pittsburgh Pirates

Bullpen – Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds

Bullpen – Anthony Bass, San Diego Padres

American League

C – A.J. Pierszynski, Chicago White Sox (ew.)

1B – Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox

2B – Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

SS – Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

3B – Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels

LF – Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees

CF – Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles

RF – Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

DH – David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

SP – Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Bench – Josh Reddick, Oakland A’s

Bench – Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals

Bench – Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays

Bench – Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

Bench – Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians

Bench – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Bullpen – Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

Bullpen – Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels

Bullpen – CJ Wilson, Los Angeles Angels (ew.)

Bullpen – Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians

Bullpen – Jonathan Broxton, Kansas City Royals

Bullpen – David Price, Tampa Bay Rays

Bullpen – Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles

Bullpen – Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays

Bullpen – Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox

The All-Star Game forces me to choose one representative from each team, unfortunately. So there are literally dozens of snubs. Sorry I’m not sorry. Comment below and tell me who should be replaced and who got snubbed! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman.

The Quarter Season Report

May 21, 2012

We are essentially 1/4 of the way through the 2012 MLB season. As close to 1/4 of the way that you can be when the divisidator (yeah, I made that word up because math is hard) is 162. Needless to say there’s been some surprises (hello Dodgers and Orioles) and some massive disappointments (Yankees and Red Sox tied for last? Maybe the world really is ending in 2012!).

Here’s my quarter season report (records and stats as of 5/22/12):

Texas Rangers (27-18)

Biggest Surprise – Joe Nathan’s 11 saves in 12 opportunities and 2.41 ERA

Biggest Disappointment – Mike Napoli’s .233 average (but does it really matter in this lineup?)

Season Outlook – Running away with the West. Josh Hamilton is on pace for about 70 homers and 200 RBI. I’ll spot him 44 and 130.

Oakland A’s (22-23)

Biggest Surprise – Their record. I predicted this team to lose 100 games in 2012. Hey, there’s still team.

Biggest Disappointment – Kurt Suzuki’s offensive numbers. Hitting .221 with 13 RBI at this point is, ironically, offensive.

Season Outlook – Josh Reddick has surprised people with his production, and the young staff looks real good. I’m thinking 75 wins would be an incredible success for the A’s.

Seattle Mariners (21-25)

Biggest Surprise – Kyle Seager’s .270/5/26 line thus far. Who? Good question.

Biggest Disappointment – Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero. Neither are doing awful. But M’s fans are expecting bigger things.

Season Outlook – I know the standings say differently, but I have a feeling the Mariners will be the surprise AL West team we’re all talking about in September. Not the A’s.

Los Angeles Angels (20-25)

Biggest Surprise – How about a tie between the young guns, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout. The M.T.’s are the future in Anaheim.

Biggest Disappointment – The grounds crew. The rally monkey. None of the above. Albert Pujols, obviously. But he’s coming around, finally.

Season Outlook – Believe it or not, this team is only 7 games out of first. With that pitching and the inevitable Pujols rebound, they may sneak up on you by the all-star break.

Cleveland Indians (25-18)

Biggest Surprise – Derek Lowe’s 6-2 record and 2.15 ERA. I know it won’t last, but that doesn’t mean it’s not surprising…

Biggest Disappointment – I personally am disappointed by Casey Kotchman’s dismal numbers (.220/3/15). I expected that to be a bigger signing.

Season Outlook – The Bullpen Mafia is all too real, and an offense led by Asdrubal Cabrera will be right in the thick of things for a Wild Card spot. I still think Detroit takes the Central.

Chicago White Sox (22-22)

Biggest Surprise – Adam Dunn is back! The whole package! So far, 14 homers, 33 RBI and a terrible batting average.

Biggest Disappointment – The Phil Humber hangover. A perfect game…well played, sir. And then straight awfulness.

Season Outlook – It’s a fluke people. Sorry. The Sox story is real cute, but if they finish better than 4th (and that’s generous), I’ll eat a tomato. What? I hate tomatoes.

Detroit Tigers (20-23)

Biggest Surprise – Drew Smyly’s 2.89 ERA. If this guy is real, that trio of Verlander, Smyly and Fister is pretty terrifying.

Biggest Disappointment – With apologies to Brennan Boesch’s weak numbers, it’s got to be releasing Brandon Inge, only to see him go to Oakland and hit two grand slams in his first few games as an Athletic.

Season Outlook – Still the favorites. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are just getting started. They are both going to hit their strides, and send the rest of the division running for their lives.

Kansas City Royals (17-26)

Biggest Surprise – Jonathan Broxton’s 8 saves and 2.16 ERA. I figured the former Dodger would melt down again, but he’s holding his own. Mad props, big boy!

Biggest Disappointment – Eric Hosmer. Helloooooo sophomore slump. Hitting .191 is not quite what the Royals expected from their stellar young first baseman at this point.

Season Outlook – When Jonathan Sanchez returns from injury and Hosmer figures his crap out, this team is going to contend. Mark my words!

Minnesota Twins (15-28)

Biggest Surprise – Josh Willingham. Well not to me. I knew that would be a money signing. But you’ve gotta love Willy’s .283/8/27 line to this point.

Biggest Disappointment – Francisco Liriano. He is 0-5 with an 8.04 ERA. We knew he was inconsistent, but…wow.

Season Outlook – Bleak. Sorry, Twins fans. The magic has run out. They’ve got some pieces to build on, plus super stars in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (low batting average be damned). Just get some pitching, please!

Baltimore Orioles (28-17)

Biggest Surprise – The Baltimore Orioles are 28-17 and in 1st place in the A.L. East. That’s what.

Biggest Disappointment – Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz are severely underachieving. Luckily, Wei Chen and Jason Hammel are picking up the slack. So far.

Season Outlook – See above. If Arrieta and Matusz pick it up, this team actually has a shot with that loaded offense. But the pitching still might not be strong enough to contend in this division.

Tampa Bay Rays (27-18)

Biggest Surprise – Fernando Rodney is 14 for 14 in saves and has a sub-0.50 ERA. Holy guacamole.

Biggest Disappointment – Matt Moore, what in the world is your deal, buddy? A 1-4 record with a 5.07 ERA is not what people envisioned. So much for dark horse for AL Cy Young!

Season Outlook – This team is real! Watch out. Like the Dodgers in the National League, the Rays continue to win without their superstar. The reign of the Yankees and Red Sox might actually be over.

Toronto Blue Jays (24-21)

Biggest Surprise – It’s a straight-up tie. Edwin Encarnacion and his 14 home runs, tied with Kyle Drabek’s impressive start to the season.

Biggest Disappointment – The closer carousel. Sergio Santos went down with an injury, Francisco Cordero won and lost the job in about ten minutes flat, and now Casey Janssen is trying his hand in the 9th.

Season Outlook – There’s something about this team. They are still one piece away from legitimacy for me. If the O’s keep their pace up, Toronto is in danger of being the best last-place team in MLB history.

New York Yankees (23-21)

Biggest Surprise – Andy Pettitte is back in the pinstripes and he looks damn good doing it! Can he keep this up all season?

Biggest Disappointment – Poor Mo Rivera, tearing his ACL shagging fly balls in batting practice, ending his season. We can only hope the legend returns for 2013.

Season Outlook – They are still the Yankees. This is still one of the most ferocious offenses in all of baseball, and I fully expect Hiroki Kuroda to recover and help take this team to the playoffs.

Boston Red Sox (22-22)

Biggest Surprise – Will Middlebrooks is a fresh face in the bigs, but nobody expected such an immediate impact from the youngster. He’s here to stay!

Biggest Disappointment – Without a doubt, Clay Buchholz, who I expected to have a fantastic season in leading the BoSox back to glory.

Season Outlook – Much worse than I expected. If this team is going to make a playoff run, something MUST be done about the pitching staff.

Los Angeles Dodgers (30-13)

Biggest Surprise – A.J. Ellis’ ridiculous breakout season. He is hitting .327 with a .449 on-base percentage, and flawlessly handling the second best pitching staff in all of baseball.

Biggest Disappointment – Javy Guerra, a.k.a. the Guerracuda. That nickname backfired, as the day after I bestowed it upon him on Twitter, he took a line drive off the face, lost the closer’s role, and his ERA ballooned.

Season Outlook – I am one very happy fan. My boys in blue are the best team in baseball, and continue to be so with Matt Kemp on the DL for the past week and a half. They are the favorites in the West, and all of the National League. AND I LOVE IT.

San Francisco Giants (23-21)

Biggest Surprise – Until recently., Barry Zito. But I’m going to have to go with Melky Cabrera overall. He’s been above and beyond what the Giants ever expected when they signed him this winter, hitting .356.

Biggest Disappointment – Well obviously, that would be Tim Lincecum. His 2-4 record and 6.04 ERA should absolutely terrify the Giants. Maybe it’s a good thing he didn’t sign long-term yet.

Season Outlook – I just can’t imagine Melky staying this hot, nor Timmy this bad. But, I think 87 wins or so is the ceiling for the 2012 Giants, unless they make a deadline move.

Arizona Diamondbacks (19-25)

Biggest Surprise – Wade Miley’s 5-1 record with 2.14 ERA thrust him into the early lead for the NL Rookie of the Year award.

Biggest Disappointment – Justin Upton has yet to show up yet. His power numbers are decent but underwhelming, and a .253 average ain’t gonna cut it, kid. They really need him to step up.

Season Outlook – The D’Backs are in big trouble. The offense can still score at will, but the pitching staff has been proved to be a 2011 fluke. Hate to say I told you so! Wait. No I don’t.

Colorado Rockies (16-27)

Biggest Surprise – Jamie Moyer, the 49-year-old wonder, who became the oldest winning pitcher in the history of baseball. Congrats, Jamie!

Biggest Disappointment – It’s no surprise, but the starting rotation is disgustingly bad. My goodness. Moyer gets a Senior Citizen’s free pass, but the rest of the guys are struggling.

Season Outlook – It’s hard for me to count the Rockies out at any point, considering their penchant for historic comebacks. But this rotation is really, really bad. Donezo. Toast. Peace.

San Diego Padres (16-29)

Biggest Surprise – Anthony Bass! Three Up, Three Down’s first professional player to appear as a guest has come storming out of the Padres’ bullpen to the tune of a 2.89 ERA and 51 K’s in 10 games.

Biggest Disappointment – Clayton Richard’s 2-5 record and 4.63 ERA. This guy was supposed to be an anchor in the up-and-coming rotation. Not so much.

Season Outlook – Just awful. The only thing they might be able to accomplish is beating the Rockies.

St. Louis Cardinals (25-19)

Biggest Surprise – Carlos Beltran, a.k.a. Albert Pujols’ replacement. While Beltran is looking like…well, Pujols…over in St. Louis, Pujols is flirting with the Mendoza line in Anaheim.

Biggest Disappointment – Adam Wainwright’s rough start. He pitched a gem in his last start against the Padres, but for the most part he’s looked like a shell of his former self.

Season Outlook – Definitely a serious playoff contender, though I believe the Reds will win the Central. If Waino keeps getting his swag back and Chris Carpenter comes back strong, it’ll be a tight race.

Cincinnati Reds (24-19)

Biggest Surprise – Okay, we knew Aroldis Chapman was talented, but what the hell has gotten into that left arm of his? He’s now the closer in Cincy and throwing triple digits while posting a 0.00 ERA.

Biggest Disappointment – Drew Stubbs’ slow start. The Reds have tons of offense, but you’ve gotta expect better than .244/5/13 through his first 42 games.

Season Outlook – With Mat Latos getting his groove on, the Reds are my favorites to win the NL Central. Time will tell!

Houston Astros (21-23)

Biggest Surprise – The fact that they are this good so early! You’ve got to love the young offense with Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez, Jed Lowrie and others.

Biggest Disappointment – J.A. Happ. Again. He’s got a constantly-ballooning ERA, and just hasn’t been the guy they expected since picking him up.

Season Outlook – They are still a 5th-place team, but I think the ‘Stros are better than I originally gave them credit for. Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and the young offense could be better than most expect.

Pittsburgh Pirates (20-24)

Biggest Surprise – Erik Bedard, without a doubt. His 2-5 record does not reflect the way he’s been pitching in 2012. These adjectives do: shocking, impressive and filthy.

Biggest Disappointment – Pedro Alvarez. AGAIN. This kid has all the talent in the world, but just can’t put it together. His power numbers are up this season, but he can’t hit in the clutch and he’s hitting a paltry .203.

Season Outlook – I still think the Pirates are a .500 team for the first time in decades (literally), but they are going to have to get a fresh bat and arm at the trading deadline.

Milwaukee Brewers (18-26)

Biggest Surprise – Jonathan Lucroy’s all-star worthy season. The Brewers look like geniuses for signing him long-term. So far, he’s hitting .349 and driven in 29 RBI.

Biggest Disappointment – Yovani Gallardo’s 2-4 record and ERA well over 4.00. He’s always had a rep for being inconsistent, but this is something even worse than usual.

Season Outlook – I don’t think the Brewers are THIS bad, but clearly missing Prince Fielder hurts. Aramis Ramirez just isn’t filling the gap, and the aforementioned “ace” needs to step it up.

Chicago Cubs (15-29)

Biggest Surprise – Bryan LaHair’s out-of-nowhere offensive surge. Unfortunately for LaHair and his ridiculous numbers, he’ll either be moved or changing positions as soon as the Cubbies call up Anthony Rizzo.

Biggest Disappointment – Is there such thing as disappointment for Cubs fans anymore? Or are they just numb to it now?

Season Outlook – The same as usual. Battling to stay out of the cellar. I like some of the young talent on this team, but it’s going to take a few years to become totally relevant again.

Washington Nationals (26-18)

Biggest Surprise – Bryce Harper’s immediate impact upon being called up. This guy is clearly here to stay. His sweet swing is going to trump his attitude problems eventually.

Biggest Disappointment – Injuries. Mike Morse, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman have all already missed time. Imagine how scary this team is when they all return to full strength.

Season Outlook – I remember just a couple short months ago when I picked this team to win the division and people thought I was nuts. Well, look at me now, Mom! They are a sure-fire favorite to make the playoffs this season.

Atlanta Braves (26-19)

Biggest Surprise – Brandon Beachy’s National League-leading ERA. We knew he had skillz, but damn. The kid is a legitimate top of the rotation guy! As if the Braves needed any more of those.

Biggest Disappointment – Jair Jurrjens. One of my favorite fantasy sleepers over recent years has been J.J., but he really struggled this year, so the Braves sent him down.

Season Outlook – I picked them to finish 4th, and they still might. But similar to the Blue Jays, they would be one of the best 4th-place teams ever. They are certainly favorites to at least take a Wild Card spot in Chipper’s farewell season.

Miami Marlins (24-20)

Biggest Surprise – Omar Infante’s all-star numbers. They knew they’d have offense with Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton, but they couldn’t have expected such an impressive start from Infante.

Biggest Disappointment – I would have said Josh Johnson a few weeks ago, but he’s stepped it up big time. I’ll go with Gaby Sanchez’s recent demotion to AAA after a horrid start.

Season Outlook – Deceptively good. Carlos Zambrano and Mark Buehrle are both pitching well, and the offense is just downright scary. They could sneak in and steal the division.

New York Mets (24-20)

Biggest Surprise – Frank Francisco’s 12 out of 14 saves. His ERA is awful, but we all thought signing him for a closer’s role was a joke. Look who’s laughing now!

Biggest Disappointment – Andres Torres hitting .187 as Angel Pagan’s replacement, while Pagan flourishes in San Francisco. These kinds of moves are why the Mets can’t be good.

Season Outlook – They are certainly a better team than I thought, but how long can guys with unpronounceable names like Kirk Nieuwenhuis (good luck) carry them as David Wright’s sidekick? Not much longer.

Philadelphia Phillies (22-23)

Biggest Surprise – Carlos Ruiz, absolutely. He’s been pacing all National League catchers with offensive numbers and should definitely earn a berth to the All-Star game.

Biggest Disappointment – That the high-payroll Philadelphia Phillies are in last place. The pitching has been fine, but the offense needs a spark, and quick.

Season Outlook – If Ryan Howard and Chase Utley can provide the aforementioned spark, they could make a late run. If not, they are destined to flounder in the bottom of the standings.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

Tonight’s Forecast…A Freeeeeeeese!

April 8, 2012

So…this Freese guy. Goes by David. Plays for the Cardinals? Big hit in the World Series? A few of them actually? Still confused? Get the hell out of my blog then.

I couldn’t decide if he was a one-hit (no pun intended because it doesn’t make statistical sense) wonder, because hot streaks are common in baseball. Now he’s busted out of the gates in 2012, hitting just under .500 through the first four games. 

Ruh-roh. All my skepticism, gone. PUBLIC skepticism on podcasts, in blogs, in conversation all pointing towards my belief that it might have been a fluke. 

All the while, ignoring my girlfriend’s (diehard Cardinals fan) desperate plea: DAVID FREESE IS GOOD. YOU WATCH.

And as much fun as I’ve had telling her that I’ll only be impressed if he goes 5-for-5, I’m starting to crack. How can I hate on a guy who plays so hard, hustles so long, and is that damn clutch? The fact is, I can’t.

But the question remains: Is he legit? Is David Freese the real deal? I don’t know. Four official games does not an MVP make, but I am starting to enjoy watching him play. He plays in the same fashion that I modeled my game after in high school. Good defense, timely hitting and lots of hard work. 

Okay, so he’s a hell of a lot better. But, still…

This season will be a great measuring stick for last postseason’s mystery man. Talk to me in a couple months, and if he’s still a catalyst in that St. Louis lineup, I will consider. CONSIDER. Saying that tonight’s forecast is, in fact, a Freese.

Until tomorrow, don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball!

The Stars are Fading

March 13, 2012

I was talking with a buddy about this via text earlier today: All the stars from our generation in baseball are starting to retire. And it hurts. We’ve already lost Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. to retirement.

Alex Rodriguez is a hobbled old man (but really, who liked him anyway?). Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones are winding down their careers. It’s just a sad, sad time for us 90’s kids.

The one that kills me the most is Mariano Rivera. As we all know by now, Mo has decided to be frustratingly covert about his post-2012 plans. He has hinted at coming back and hinted at retiring, but when the contract is up, he’ll have a big decision to make.

Rivera is getting on in years, but he’s still one of the best closers in baseball and is absolutely dominant in the postseason. He hasn’t had any major health issues, so this is purely brought on by being satisfied with his illustrious career.

It’s not often that a player gets to go out like that, but nobody is more deserving of such an honor than Mariano.

Whether or not Mo decides to retire after the season, he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and go down as the greatest closer the game has ever seen. He’s won five rings with the Yankees and has an almost microscopic postseason ERA. The numbers will be remembered, but there are so many other intangibles that stand out about Rivera.

The reasons I will miss him (and let’s be real…the reasons I’ll cry when he retires) formulate an endless list. First and foremost, he is one of those rare players (like Jeter and Bernie Williams) who have the humility and class to make any baseball fan root for them.

I hate the Yankees – I’m in the majority there. But if you tell me that you hate Rivera, you will get a swift kick to the groin. Unless you’re bigger and faster than me. It’s impossible to hate a guy that has earned the sport’s respect with his play and his demeanor.

I remember watching an E:60 special on Mo a few months back. He hails from a small town in Panama, where he often returns in the off-season to help rebuild and financially strengthen a poor community. He is trying to spread the gospel of baseball in the place he grew up.

That’s not necessarily out of the ordinary for a successful Major Leaguer. But, Rivera is one of those once-in-a-lifetime players whose scope of influence is so vast that it can literally touch any fan, player or person on multiple continents.

Rivera never had a controversial moment in New York, even under the bright lights of the big city. He never basked in that spotlight, even amidst a wealth of prima donna teammates like A-Rod.

And perhaps best of all, Rivera is a great sport. Despite serving up the World Series-winning rally in 2001 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in one of his rare moments of failure, Mo never made excuses about his play.

Rivera is a true champion and a model human being. For my sake, your sake, and baseball’s sake, let’s hope he sticks around for another contract or two and continues to dominate hitters for a living. Bromantic tribute, end.

Not Your Ordinary Sports Blog

February 8, 2012

Today, we are not focusing on my addiction. We are focusing on the only more important thing in the world than sports: Me! Obviously. But seriously, I’m on my knees here. Pleading, begging, shining your shoes; whatever it takes. All I’m asking. Is for a little respect…

Just a little bit.

Or maybe just your vote. This is a campaign of sorts, (a JAMpaign, perhaps?) but it’s not nearly as expensive for me as President Obama’s re-election run will be. Not nearly as pointless as anyone not named Barack’s attempt will be. And certainly not as idiotic as Roseanne Barr’s.

But it’s absolutely more important. To me. And if you love me, which you do, it’s important for you as well. I’ve been selected as one of the 50 finalists for the MLB Fan Cave competition. That means I’m better than approximately 9,950 other baseball nerds at making videos and being pretty.

The next step is to be better than 9,970 other hopefuls. For the mathematically challenged, that means we are being sliced from 50 to 30. Over the next two weeks, I have to garner enough votes on MLBFanCave.com to make the final roster of 30 candidates, who are flown to Arizona for the next step; spending a week at Spring Training.

**UPDATE: I stand corrected, for once. I was picked out of a pool of over 22,000 applicants!**

That’s where YOU come in. Please find my doofy video, (don’t watch it unless you want to laugh at me and make me cry) and vote. I’ve linked it in this blog multiple times. I’m dropping hints as big as New York City. Speaking of the Big Apple, if I continue to progress through this competition, MLB Network will put me up in the city and force me into hard labor. The final job? Watching every single one of the 2,000-plus baseball games from March through November and making regular appearances on the network interviewing players.

And just for the record, among the names of people confirmed to visit the MLB Fan Cave in 2012 are David Ortiz, Brandon Phillips, C.C. Sabathia and…wait for it. Matt mother-freakin’ Kemp. My baseballs are dropping just thinking about meeting those guys.

I know this seems like a plea for sending me on an eight-month vacation. But I promise, it’s more like rehab. And I know you all enjoy my blog way too much for me to go get my problem fixed. Still, this is an absolute dream job. I’ve loved baseball since the doctors were wiping bodily fluids off my freshly-born face. Wow, sorry about that…

And it could really take me places. I can’t ask for a better opportunity. All I need are your votes. Just a click to the link, a scroll to the video, and one more click for your favorite jambler’s video. I guess this is the moment I reveal my name, so you can accurately click away. I go by Jamblinman, but the parents call me “Jeremy” for some reason. My surname is “Dorn.” That’s about as vague as it will get. But if you didn’t put two and two together, you have more problems than you know.

So please. Go to MLBFanCave.com and find that Jeremy Dorn guy, watch his video if you are a torturous, horrible person, but most importantly, VOTE! Everyone who votes for me gets 50 bucksan open-mouthed kiss…a high five. Yes, hand-to-hand contact. Get excited.

Vote for me. Yes we can!

And the Freak Gets Freakier

February 7, 2012

Let’s get this out of the way. Congrats, dude. Now hopefully we are done talking football for quite some time. The most mundane ending to a season in the history of the world has occurred, and what a shame if 2012 is actually the last year we all exist. The 49ers are so damn close to the Promised Land!

Anyway, back to the greatest sport in the world, since that’s all anyone really cares about in the sports world between February and October. I’ve got a strange inkling that Tim Lincecum is either awkwardly obese under an extra baggy jersey or might possibly be near death from lack of consumption.

I know those are two extremes, but according to reports, the Freak shed 22 pounds this offseason. Even more troubling, he claims to have been near 200 last season. Um. No chance. WHERE DID THOSE POUNDS DROP FROM? His hair? Among other nicknames, he’s been hailed as “Tiny Tim” for a reason. He’s not a big guy, but he brings a big fastball and some filthy off-speed stuff. He’s incredibly skinny, like the gawky skater kid who always wore a black hoodie in high school and never had his headphones actually off his ears, regardless of whether or not music was playing.

But I guess Lincecum had poundage to lose. And he did, by cutting out McDonald’s (is that even a sacrifice unless you’re painfully hungover?) completely and In-N-Out partially. I can understand losing Mickey D’s, but he’s insane to drop In-N-Out. That is the best, creamy goodness-in-burger ever made. Props to Timmy for making it happen, and time will tell if he will benefit from being that skinny. I know it gets windy by the Bay, so he might need some heavy cleats to keep him on the actual field when he’s pitching.

And hundreds of years later, white people decided to finally do the Native Americans a solid. I’m not sure if this quite makes up for everything, but let’s just let bygones be bygones and rip the unbelievably racist, ghastly savage patches off the Atlanta Braves’ new weekend alternate uniforms.

That is one of the ugliest logos I’ve seen in sports…ever. And on top of that, it’s blatantly offensive. Major League Baseball and the Braves made a very keen decision. For once. Honestly, I am one to side with Native Americans on issues over sports teams using likenesses as logos and mascots and what not, but usually I’m soft on it overall. I don’t think the Indians’ Chief Wahoo is troubling (in fact, he looks quite happy), but that creepy one on the Braves’ uni definitely had to go.

I leave you with a stern message today, kids. Don’t text and drive. Yeah, he wasn’t even close to making that turn. Oops, sorry about your car, Dad.

And of course, drum roll please…the Tuesday Tweet of the Day! Yayyyy! Any Kobe doubters still out there? Bueller? Bueller? Didn’t think so.

I’m gonna go take some cuts in the cage. I’m using Tim Lincecum as my bat. Hah, get it? Okay bye.


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