Monday, June 4, 2012

NESN Reports Youk Will Likely go to One of Three Teams reported Sunday that Kevin Youkilis' most likely destinations, if he is traded from Boston, are the LA Dodgers, Arizona, and Philadelphia.  Boston GM Ben Cherington claims that all trade talks involving Youk were started by other teams, and not the Red Sox.

Of those three teams, I think the Phillies are most likely to get Youk.  They've really been struggling this year, and it will take much more than a solid return by Ryan Howard to overcome the Nationals and Marlins.  Besides, the Phillies have been very aggressive in adding talent over the past few years without much regard for cost, such as when they signed Cliff Lee. 

With a dwindling window of opportunity for the aging Phillies' nucleus, management will be even more willing to get help for the team.

As a Rockies fan, I was intrigued when I heard the Rockies were possibly interested in Youkilis, but I know the cautious approach of GM Dan O'Dowd would never allow for such a risky trade.  Besides, the Rockies' best infield prospect, Nolan Arenado, is nearly ready to break in at the majors.  Youkilis is only under contract through this season (he has a team for 2013) but he would be a rather expensive bridge to Arenado.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

That Timeless Thwack

Watching Saturday's Chicago Cubs-SF Giants game yesterday, the average fan might have thought he had been sucked into some hole in the time-space continuum and spit out in the year 1912 for a good ol' fashioned ball game.  The uniforms for both teams were baggy with the old-school white and black logos, the PA announcer used an old-style megaphone to read off the starting lineups, and peanuts cost just five cents.  (you can watch the highlights here).

 Besides the multi-million dollar triple-deck stadium with a capacity of over 40,000 and the enormous electronic scoreboard in the outfield, it practically felt like a classic day for baseball at the brand-new Polo Grounds.
     The PA announcer for Saturday's game between the 
       New York/San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.

Games like this one remind me of the special connection between modern baseball and its past.  Basketball, football, and hockey have gone through too many changes in the past or are just too new for people to appreciate their pasts.  Baseball, however, has been as constant as the sun over the years.

The NBA's rough past is usually mocked for its low scoring games where teams would hold the ball for minutes on end without a shot clock to forbid such behavior.  And although the NHL has been around since 1917, there really isn't much to talk about from when the league had four teams.  The NFL didn't even have a forward pass until legendary shortstop Honus Wagner had played nine big league seasons.

Even though baseball is now much more focused on homeruns, and players are hulks compared to their counterparts of 1900, it is always fun to look back and compare the two different styles of play.  What if Cy Young were to pitch to today's hitters?  Would he still blow the ball right by them?  What if we put Josh Hamilton in the Polo Grounds?  Would he pound the ball over the shallow right-field fence, or would he be able to reach the distant center-field fence?

The beauty of baseball is that our favorite players of today, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, and Roy Halladay, are playing the same game that Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Walter Johnson played a hundred years ago.  The rules are essentially the same for both eras, which is what I think makes the connection between baseball's past and present so intriguing.

 Most sports fans alive today were around when the Super Bowl, the NFL's most widely-regarded tradition, was first played.  Similarly, almost everyone can claim a direct family relation to someone who was alive when the NBA formed in 1946.  How many people can say they were around for the first World Series in 1901?  How many can even say they've met someone who was alive then?

Saturday's Cubs-Giants game reminds us that although it was over one hundred years ago that the game we love was first introduced, the players only need to pull on their uniforms and step onto the field to turn back the clock.  And there we are again, Wrigley's Cubs battling John McGraw and the Giants at the Polo Grounds with the familiar smell of roasted peanuts in the air, and the ball popping off the bat with that timeless thwack.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oddities from this Week in Baseball

While you most likely heard about Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds saving a man's life and saw this amazing catch by an Ohio pitcher, there are a few quirky things that happened in baseball this week that you may have missed.  I present to you four interesting events from this week in baseball you might just find entertaining.

1. One fan got very lucky on Wednesday when he caught Carlos Quentin's 3rd inning homerun and then Darwin Barney's walkoff homerun.  You can view the video here.  Just go to the 20 second mark to see the first homerun, and then the to 1:49 to see the second that he caught.

2. On Tuesday, a group of Cubs fans completed a nearly 2,000-mile journey in which they walked from Mesa, AZ to Wrigley Field with a goat. Their reasons?  To raise awareness for cancer, and also to reverse the Curse of the Billy Goat.  The Cubs beat the Padres 5-3 on the day they finished their walk, so hey, they might be on to something.

3. Royals legend George Brett used Twitter to assemble a search-and-rescue team for his missing dog Charlie. Many of Brett's 12,000+ followers helped to find his dog after he posted about its disappearance on Twitter.  The original tweet went out on Tuesday, and yesterday Brett announced that his dog was home and safe.

4. Nyjer Morgan has set a new MLB record, and no, it's not most uncensored expletives shouted on TV or most entertaining brawl to watch, though he probably holds those records already.  Morgan has set a record for most at-bats to start a season without an RBI, according to, hitting 120 times without bringing a runner home.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Busy Day For Rockies: Moyer, CarGo, and Tulo all in the News

There was big news out of Denver Wednesday for the Colorado Rockies.  At 19-29 going into Wednesday, there was little to write home about concerning the Rockies, but the Rockies made news before, during and after their 13-5 win over the Houston Astros.

Before the game, the Rockies announced that 49-year old lefty Jamie Moyer was designated for assignment, meaning he will most likely be cut within the next 10 days. Moyer was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA for the Rockies this year.  On April 17th he became the oldest pitcher to win a game when he beat the San Diego Padres 5-3.  Besides that highlight, Moyer's season has mostly been a reminder to the baseball world why pitchers retire by the time their bodies start to decline near the age of fourty.  You have to admire Moyer's spirit in continuing his career, but I don't see him improving upon his meager stuff at this point.  Josh Outman will start in Moyer's place on Friday.

During the game, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez hit three homeruns to help his team rout the Astros.  That  makes 13 for him this season.

The grim news came after the game, when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said he is "going to miss a few days at least" with a groin injury.  Tulowitzki also said that a DL stint is possible, and he will get an MRI on Thursday if his groin is "still really sore."

CHW Broadcaster Enraged at Pitcher's Ejection

Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana was ejected from this afternoon's game against the Tampa Bay Rays after throwing a pitch behind Tampa Bay Rays hitter Ben Zobrist.

Umpire Mark Wegner ejected Quintana immediately on the suspicion that Quintana was retaliating after Rays pitcher Alex Cobb hit two Chicago hitters earlier in the game.  This led to a tirade by White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, which you can listen to here.

Harrelson, who is famous for his "you can put it on the Board YES!" call, is no stranger to rants on umpires.  In this instance, I think Harrelson has some reason to complain since Wegner never warned the benches prior to the ejection, but Quintana's attempted beaning seems completely intentional.  White Six catcher A.J. Pierzynski was hit in the third inning of today's game because of his hard slide into Ben Zobrist during yesterday's game.

This incident is very similar to Saturday's ejection of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Henderson Alvarez.  An outspoken broadcaster, if there actually was one calling that game with a Blue Jays bias, would have the right to go off about the umpire's decision.  It was a one run game, and after surrendering three straight homeruns, Alvarez sure didn't want any more trouble.  More importantly, Alvarez had no motive to bean Ian Kinsler.  Quintana, on the other hand, was almost certainly throwing at Zobrist on purpose.  \

While I appreciate the day-to-day enthusiasm of Harrelson, I think he would be best in toning down his bias.  Instead of immediately jumping to the conclusion that the umpire was out to get the White Sox, he should have calmed down for just a second and though about the reasons Quintana had for throwing at the batter.