Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ichiro Suzuki Reaches The 4,000 Career Hit Plateau (U.S. Japan Combined)

Photo Courtesy of MLB.com
In his first at-bat against the Toronto Blue Jays, Ichiro Suzuki hit a single to reach the 4,000 hit plateau. In doing so, Ichiro hit a total of 1,278 hits in the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB) and 2,722 In Major League Baseball (MLB)

Now some have downplayed the mention of this milestone since many consider the NPB to be a minor league compared to the MLB. This post is not for the purpose of proving or disproving that (for the record I consider the NPB to be somewhere in between the MLB and AAA). And for the record, here in the U.S. his hit total is 2,722 for 59th all-time behind Roberto Alomar who has 2,724. 

For this post, all I want to do is to lay out all of the personal achievements of Ichiro both in MLB and the NPB. This compilation comes from the press bulletin dated August 21, 2013 entitled SABR Asian Baseball Research Committee Salutes Ichiro on Career Hit 4,000 by the SABR Asian Baseball Research Committee. His impressive career includes the following achievements:

Major League Baseball (MLB):

·         - 10× MLB All-Star (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)

·         - 10× Gold Glove Award (2001–2010)


·         - 3× Silver Slugger Award (2001, 2007, 2009)

·         - 2× AL batting champion (2001, 2004)

·         - AL MVP (2001)

·         - AL Rookie of the Year (2001)

·         - Highest Batting Average for ROY Winner (.350, appearing in 100+ games)

·         - AL stolen base leader (2001)

·         - Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award (2005)

·         - MLB All-Star Game MVP (2007)

·         - MLB Record: 262 hits, single season

·         - MLB Record: 225 singles, single season

·         - MLB Record: Most hits in 10 seasons (2,244)


Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB):

·         - 7× NPB All-Star (1994–2000)


·         - 3× PL MVP (1994–1996)


·         - 7× Golden Glove Award (1994–2000)


·         - 7× Best Nine Award (1994–2000)


·         - 3× Matsutaro Shoriki Award (1994–1995, 2004)

·         - 3× Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize (1994–1995, 2001)

·         - 7× PL Batting Champion (1994–2000)


·         - 5× PL Safe Hit Champion (1994–1998)


·         - 5× PL On-base Champion (1994–1996, 1999–2000)


·         - 1995 PL Stolen Base Champion

·         - 1995 PL RBI Champion

·         - Japan Series Champion (1996)


World Baseball Classic (WBC):
·         - 2x Champion (2006, 2009)

Regardless of what position you hold on the Ichiro Suzuki statistics/achievements stance, there's no doubt that he is an impressive Baseball player that has been able to be successful on both sides of the Pacific.

Sisco Kid

Monday, August 19, 2013

Frustration From A Lifelong Yankees Fan aka "What did A-Rod do today"

Frustrated doesn't even come close to describing how I feel. Now from day one of the 2013 season I knew that they Yankees wouldn't be making the postseason. I can accept that. I want the team to rebuild through youth and I know that growing pains coupled with losing seasons come with rebuilding. So my frustration doesn't stem from that. It stems from all the other bullshit that seems to be surrounding the team these days. I'm sorry to resort to profanity but I'm not feeling very cheery.

Hours can't seem to go by without one new report on how Alex Rodriguez did this or paid someone off or how the Yankees tried to sabotage his surgery and treatment. Add to that statements made in the media by numerous attorneys and Yankees brass turning this into a real shitshow that has eclipsed what the team does on the field and would make George Steinbrenner blush with embarrasement. For example, during last night's game we had customers ask "What did A-Rod do today". And while he had a productive game at the plate, all they cared about was the drama. There are 23 other players on this team who are doing their best to win games, players who are trying to keep their jobs for not only this season and for next season and all people care about is "What did A-Rod do today". The Yankees win a seesaw 9-6 game against the Boston Red Sox and all people seem to care about is "What did A-Rod do today". Plus the franchise isn't totally innocent in this drama as well. This whole public comment crusade by Yankee President Randy Levine is just bringing this down to a level that no administrator should. Its downright embarrassing. This drama has officially overshadowed the game. Threatening to become bigger than the game (if it isn't already). And undoubtedly it'll get uglier in the days to come.

On a side note, another conversation with a customer centered on the idea of rooting for A-Rod. I personally can't do it. A bit of personal disclosure here. I have two children who I try to instill in them that doing drugs are a bad thing. So how would it look if I rooted for a player while I'm at a game with them who is currently appealing a 211-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs AFTER publicly admitting in 2009 that he did steroids. I take this stance not from a "Holier than thou" point of view. I'm definitely not a teetotaler. I work in a bar and I drink and I'm not a saint but I don't believe in doing drugs. What people do to themselves is on them but it's not something that I do. But back to A-Rod. 

I'll admit that I rooted for him after his admission. I believe in giving someone a second chance. People make mistakes and I believe that you can atone for them. That you deserve the chance to do so since none of us are perfect and can all make mistakes. I believe that his admission caused him to become humbled, broken down and like in a storybook he was able to redeem himself with his performance post surgery and rehab during the 2009 season. His performance during the postseason culminated in his being a pivotal part in a World Series championship for the team and redemption for himself. But his actions since then have cast a negative light on the second chance I gave him to the point that I can't root for him any longer. Doing so would make me a hypocrite. Doing so would send my kids mixed signals. Like the old adage says "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

I'm not being fooled again. 

To a second point of last night's conversation "well McGwire, Giambi, Pettitte and others admitted but aren't being persecuted like A-Rod". Here's the difference. Those three made their admissions and as far as I know have taken themselves away from PEDs unlike A-Rod. Maybe they haven't stopped taking them and are smarter than A-Rod has been in covering their tracks. Who truly knows. As far as I know they've earned their second chance and haven't done anything to risk losing it. If the same thing happened to Giambi and/or Pettitte where they were involved in something like the Biogenesis scandal, I'd feel the same way. You had you second chance and threw it away as I believe A-Rod has. And here's one more point from last night "well how about those players who were caught and are still playing". My second chance rule still applies. They served their penalty and deserve a second chance. The only difference is that I don't object to their playing in the league since the players voted and approved the "Three Strikes" rule of 50, 100, and Lifetime ban for those who fail PED tests. Those are the rules. 

The real shame is that I have to become an objective observer of the 2013 Baseball season much sooner than I thought I would. I hate to feel that I'm turning my back on the Yankees but I can't root on blind faith. It's not the kind of fan I am. I know the team is flawed. I know the foundation is crumbling and want it to be rebuilt. I love my team now as much as I did when I was 10-years old. Its that love that has me saying "I can't root for A-Rod while all this bullshit is going on" instead of saying "What did A-Rod do today".

Maybe I've been fooled again after all...

Sisco Kid

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ryne Sandberg and a Dearth of Hall of Famers As Managers

Ryne Sandberg's recent promotion as interim manager of the Philadephia Phillies brought up something that was on my mind upon finishing reading Mike Schmidt's book Clearing the Bases: Juiced Players, Monster Salaries, Sham Records, and a Hall of Famer's Search for the Soul of Baseball:

In the book Mike Schmidt talks about his inability to get a managerial position at the Major League level and devotes some time to the idea as to why there aren't many Hall of Famers that become managers. At the time of the printing of the book in 2006, Schmidt states:
In the last thirty years, only two Hall of Fame players have managed in the majors: Yogi Berra and Frank Robinson. Only one (Robbie) is a big league manager today. Babe Ruth wanted to manage the Yankees when he retired and the offered him the Newark Bears. See what I mean?
Schmidt offers a theory as to why this is so using himself as an example:
Before 2004, I had nothing on my résumé to that would lead anyone to conclude that I had the right stuff to manage a team. As a player, my dealings with the press had been dicey at best. I'd been a high profile player, known to be a bit self-centered, and not necessarily a strong person outside the clubhouse.

How could I work for someone?

How could I work "within" a team where my opinion counted but wasn't the final one.

How in the hell can Mike Schmidt fit in as an everyday working stiff, dedicated to making an organization a winner without being the top dog?

Aside from these concerns, any GM hiring me-Especially a GM in Philadelphia-would have to factor in the political fallout should I fall flat on my face and have to get canned.

Firing a Hall of Famer, especially one who has a statue at the stadium entrance, can be tricky.

To view this from a General Manager's perspective is to realize why so many high-profile players today ever get reasonable consideration for major league managerial jobs.
His theory concerning himself is rather candid and honest. He would get a chance to manage the Class A Florida State League Phillies Affiliate in Clearwater which he found to be an uncomfortable fit due to political and philosophical differences at the Single-A level. Schmidt also poses a general view as to why there aren't many Hall of Famers who have become managers in the last 30-40 years:
The general feel in baseball seems to be that high-achieving ballplayers don't make good managers because they don't have the patience to work with players of lesser skills.
This point made me think at least in the case of hitting coaches. Why is it that the best hitting coaches are the ones who weren't great hitters. As recently as this season, we saw Hall of Famer George Brett become the hitting coach for the Kansas City Royals only to step down less than two months after taking the position. In the article George Brett Resigns as Hitting Coach by the Associated Press dated July 25th, 2013 from ESPN.com, an interesting point came up:
He said at the time of his hiring May 30 that he always found the game easier to do than say -- that is, he found it natural to play and difficult to instruct. That never did change.

"I found out I was a better player, a better hitter, in my opinion, than a teacher," he admitted. "I was not a good mechanical hitting coach."

Brett said he has played several rounds of golf with Fred Couples over the years, yet the former Masters champion never gave him any tips. Not long ago, Brett asked him why.

"He told me, 'George, I know my swing, but I don't know yours,' " Brett said.
Rod Carew also found difficulties as a hitting coach  when he was hired as the Hitting instructor of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1999, holding the position until October 2001. According to John Donaldson's article Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training 2002 from CNNSI.com:
The Brewers set a major league record last year by striking out a stunning 1,399 times, with Jose Hernandez and Richie Sexson going neck-and-neck for the whiff crown (Hernandez won, 185-178). All the missing contributed to a team batting average of .251, better only than the impotent Mets and Pirates, and a 13-25 record in one-run games, the worst in the NL.

The Brewers also became the first team to have more strikeouts than hits.

All that led to the firing of hitting coach Rod Carew -- who struck out only 1,028 times in 19 years.
On the flipside, Tony Gwynn has found success as the head coach of his alma-mater's varsity Baseball team the San Diego State Aztecs. His eight-year record stands at 242-241 (.501) and his coaching record in league play stands at 124-82 (.602). But this isn't coaching and/or managing in the big leagues.

There have been recent cases of successful players being productive managers. Joe Torre found success with the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers as Don Mattingly has currently done with the Dodgers and Mike Scioscia with the Angels. But in looking at the current managerial roster in the pros (along with Mattingly), Dusty Baker, Kirk Gibson and Robin Ventura stand out to me as being productive players during their career making the jump to being productive managers. The rest (in my opinion) don't stack up.

We'll see if Sandberg gets a chance to have the "Interim" tag removed from his title with the Phillies or if he gets a chance with another team such as the Chicago Cubs in the future. Time will tell.

Sisco Kid

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Should Curtis Granderson Do and a word on Phil Hughes

I had a customer last night tell me that I was "Out of my mind" in talking about what Curtis Granderson should do during the upcoming offseason. I find that telling that to someone who you are having a conversation with is simply a form of dismissing their point of view without giving them a real chance to express their opinion. Its really not the way to have a discussion. I felt that history worked in my favor in what I felt Granderson should do.

As we know, Granderson has had an injury plagued campaign in his 2013 season. First a broken hand and then a broken pinky has caused him to miss a significant amount of time during his walk season. Where Granderson could have seen himself signing a multi-year deal at over $15 million a year, his limited play this year could have limited the bonanza he could have gained in a non-injured season. Consider that Granderson made $15 million this season and keeping in mind the free agency rules dictate that if a team wants to receive a compensation pick for losing a potential free agent, they must offer a qualifying offer to their free agent to be.

To clarify what I mean about a qualifying offer I'm going to post an explanation from the article As expected, new rules impact free-agent market by Matthew Leach dated February 12, 2013 from MLB.com:
Under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the structure has changed. The old Type A and Type B designations are gone. When a player reaches free agency, his former team may make him what is known as a qualifying offer, worth the average amount of the previous season's top 125 salaries -- $13.3 million this offseason.
If the player accepts the offer, again he is considered to be signed to a contract for the next season. If he declines, the team that signs him gives up a Draft pick, while the team losing the player gains one -- though not the same pick.
The signing team gives up a first-round selection, unless it possesses one of the first 10 selections. In that case, the team gives up its next selection after that. The team losing the player, meanwhile, gains a sandwich pick at the end of the first round. This applies as long as the player signs before the start of the next Draft.
I would believe that the amount for the qualifying offer for this year's free agents is higher than last season's $13.3 million dollars, probably even closer to the $15 million dollar mark that Granderson made this season. Given that, here is what I suggested that I was told I was "out of my mind" about.

I said that Curtis Granderson should take the qualifying offer the Yankees are sure to make. In doing so, he would be signed to a one year deal for 2014 near or around the $15 million mark and gives himself an opportunity to have the kind of offensive season that he would like to have going into a walk season than the one he is having now.  While the customer stated that he didn't believe that Granderson would be offered anything more than $10 million a year and that he would be stupid to not take a secure deal in the range of three years $30 million dollars. My point was (though I wasn't able to present it since I did have other customers to serve drinks to) you only needed to look at the example of Granderson's teammate Alfonso Soriano.

When Soriano's contract with the Rangers expired after the 2005 season the offers for a long term deal that Soriano wanted just weren't there for the taking. He signed a one year deal with the Washington Nationals and put up a slash line of .277/.351/.560 with 46 homers and 95 RBI which was an improvement from .268/.309/.512 with 36 homers and 104 RBI the season before. The next offseason, Soriano signed an eight year $161-million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

The only difference between Soriano and Granderson is that Granderson is only one year older than where Soriano was when he decided to sign with the Nationals. My point is why settle for a lesser long term deal when Granderson can redeem himself in one season and bang out a bigger deal afterwards since he will be 32 years old.

On a side note, we also spoke about Yankees starter Phil Hughes. The customer places the full blame on his season squarely on Hughes' shoulders. I felt somewhat differently. Hughes has not helped his cause with his performance this season but my point to him was that a pitcher doesn't do it all alone (I guess the sabermetricians are rubbing off on me after all). The offense is to somewhat to blame since the team has not backed him up with runs in games where he pitched.

Consider this, the Yankees have been shutout twice in starts by Hughes. They lost 6-0 to the Dodgers where Hughes gave up five runs in six innings and 2-0 to the Rangers where he gave up two runs in eight innings. They have also been held to one run four times (2-1 1 run allowed, 11-1 5 runs allowed, 5-1 2 runs allowed, 4-1 4 runs allowed) and two runs four times (12-2 7 runs allowed, 3-2 2 runs allowed, 5-2 3 runs allowed). That's 10 of 22 starts of two runs scored or less in his behalf. The team has only scored five or more runs in five starts made by Hughes which were all games won by the Yankees (3 wins for Hughes).

The run support has not been there whether he had a mediocre or a great game. Granted, Hughes didn't pitch like Mike Harvey or Clayton Kershaw in those starts but the offense didn't back him up either.

I believe that Phil Hughes would greatly benefit from a new start with another team like San Diego, Houston or even Pittsburgh maybe even becoming a number two pitcher on those staffs to which I was also told that I was wrong and out of my mind for thinking that. So goes the life of a bartender in NYC. Oh well.

Any suggestions? Agree? Disagree?

Sisco Kid

For Further Reading
- Click Here for Curtis Granderson's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com
- Click Here for Alfonso Soriano's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com
- Click Here for Phil Hughes's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mariano Blows Three Straight Saves

The Detroit Tigers led by reigning American League MVP Miguel Cabrera strike again against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. As with Friday night, the Tigers struck with the longball against Rivera to make history. According to Michael Kay on the Yankees' broadcast:
- Mariano Rivera has never blown three straight saves
- Rivera has only allowed two homers in one inning five times, this was third time since 1996
- The two home runs by Cabrera and Martinez are the first two home runs to blow a save. Other four times it happened as follows: twice as a starter, one in a blow out, one in a tied game
- In 56 games against Detroit, Rivera had only given up 2 homers. This weekend he's given up 3 in two games
- In last 25 years, three straight blown saves by a Yankees closer/reliever has only happened twice: Dave Righetti in 1988 and Kyle Farnsworth in 2006
- Miguel Cabrera is the fifth player with multiple career home runs against Rivera and first to do so in consecutive at-bats
This shows how deep that Detroit Tigers lineup is and how much of an amazing player Miguel Cabrera is. We really are watching one of the best offensive players to ever lace up a pair of cleats. And about the other player who is considered the best in his position? I'm not worried about Mariano. Its part of the game. Though never let it be said that Rivera's last year would be anything but interesting.

Sisco Kid

Ken Griffey Jr...One of the Best

With the recent induction to the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame of Ken Griffey Jr., talk about where he stands all-time has started generating speed. This is no different on Facebook. My friend Mike tagged me in the following post related to Ken Griffey Jr.:
I love hearing people argue how A-Rod could have been the greatest baseball player ever or how Albert Pujols might become that. People of today's generation need to YouTube or Google Ken Griffey Jr. and see what the greatest baseball player ever actually looked like.
Now this got me thinking on Ken Griffey Jr. As I have mentioned in the past, his dad Ken Griffey Sr., was one of my (and my mom's favorite players) growing up. His son hit the scene in 1989 and took the Baseball world by storm in an era where we still hadn't had 24/7 sports coverage (I still remembering catching up on late nights on the weekends with the George Michael Sports Machine). Surprsingly now, Junior finished third in the 1989 American League Rookie of the Year award behind Gregg Olsen and Tom "Flash" Gordon. Junior would continue to develop into a helluva player that I found was pissing me off more and more as a Yankees fan.

Its well known that Junior has a dislike of the New York Yankees going back to his childhood days when he was yelled at by former Yankees Manager Billy Martin while his dad played for the Yankees and it seemed to be his motivating factor when playing against my team. That all came to a head (at least for me) in Game Five of the 1995 ALDS when he came around and scored the winning run to advance the Mariners in their first ever playoff series win. His big toothy grin under the pile of Mariners teammates pissed me off to no end but as history states the Yankees got the last laugh since they won three World Series in the years that Griffey finished playing in Seattle. So there Junior, take that. LOL.


Personal feelings aside, there's no denying that Junior is one of the best players of all-time. I won't say greatest but he's up there. Similar to how people say about Ted Williams in regard to his time missed due to his service to his country, imagine the numbers that Junior could have finished with if he had not missed a considerable time to injury. Where Junior averaged 140 games from 1989-1999 with Seattle, he averaged 110 games while in Cincinnati from 2000-2008. That's a decent amount of time lost per season. At first his injuries were due to playing with reckless abandon as we see Bryce Harper do with the Washington Nationals. Later it seemed that his injuries in Cincinnati had to do with a lack of conditioning. Still a line like the following is amazing (Courtesy of Baseball Reference.com):


Add to that one AL MVP (1997), six top-ten finishes in MVP voting, thirteen All-Star appearances, ten Gold Glove awards and seven Silver Sluggers awards. Definitely not shabby and good for a first-ballot entry to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as a Hall of Famer in 2016.

Congrats Junior and thank you for everything you gave the game...even that big toothy grin under that pile in 1995. The game is better because of it.

Sisco Kid





Monday, August 5, 2013

Who Is The Only 300 Game Winner To Play With Sandy Koufax

I just finished reading Jane Leavy's Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy (P.S) and I have to say that Koufax is an amazing person aside from being one of the best pitchers in the history of the game. I have a bunch of posts that I want to write based on situations that Ms. Leavy writes in her book and I want to start of with a bit of a surprising question. Who is the only 300 game winner to play with Sandy Koufax?

Though I know the answer from having read the book, I decided to look at the teams that Koufax played with in his short but illustrious career. Koufax played from 1955-1966 for both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Looking at some of the amazing pitchers he played with: Don Drysdale, Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Johnny Podres, Roger Craig, Ralph Branca, Sal Maglie and Claude Osteen, I had a hard time finding another pitcher that would become an eventual 300-game winner. I confirmed what the book had said when I searched the roster for the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers team and saw the name of a 21-year old rookie by the name of Don Sutton.

Sutton compiled a 324-256 career record in 23 seasons with the Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A's and California Angels. In the only season that he played along side Koufax, Sutton went 12-12 with a 2.99 ERA in 37 games (35 starts). He struck out 209 batters while walking 52 and giving up 192 hits in 225.2 innings pitched for a WHIP of 1.081.

In what context did I find that Sutton was the only 300-game winner that played with Koufax? Allow me to let Ms. Leavy tell you as she did in her book:
In 1998, when the Dodgers retired Sutton’s uniform number, an invitation to the festivities never reached Koufax. O’Malley assumed Koufax knew he was invited based on an earlier conversation and did not want a form letter to be sent to him. So Koufax paid his own way, showing up at the stadium unexpected. There was no mention of him in the pre-written script. After the ceremony, Sutton told Koufax how much it meant that he had come. “How could I not?” Koufax replied. “You’re the only three-hundred-game winner I ever played with.” Leavy, Jane (2009-10-13). Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy (P.S.) . HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 
There you have it. Don Sutton is the only eventual 300-game winner to play with fellow Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. I'll have more on Koufax in the days to come.

Sisco Kid

For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access Sandy Koufax's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com
- Click Here to access Don Sutton's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Where Is Andruw Jones

Since I'm thoroughly tired of the Biogenesis drama and the eventual announcement of suspensions that are believed to be coming on Monday will only add to the drama, I want to get as far away as I can by taking a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun to check in on former Major Leaguer Andruw Jones. Remember him?

Jones recently passed the 2,000 hit mark (MLB/NPB combined) with a single in the 8th inning in a game for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles against the Nippon Ham Fighters. Jones, a 16-year MLB veteran who many believed to be a future Hall of Famer, signed with the Golden Eagles this past offseason for approximately $3.5 million dollars/¥300 million yen including signing bonus, base salary and performance bonuses.

Jones followed the news of the signing with a productive performance for the Dutch team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic with a trip to the semifinals and a loss to the eventual champion Dominican Republic. Jones batted 9-for-27 (.333) with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored  while drawing five walks in a leadership role for the young Dutch team.

So far this season for the Golden Eagles, Jones has put up the following numbers:


Those aren't the best of numbers for the 10x Gold Glover but at the age of 35 and coming off of a numbers of years as a platoon player for The New York Yankees, I believe he is making the best of his opportunity in Japan.

Jones is currently second on the team in homers with 17 and 51 RBI (behind another former Yankees platoon player Casey Mcgehee who has 20 homers and 58 RBI) and  was one of the five representative for the Golden Eagles in the All-Star Game series (the Central and Pacific League All-Stars play three games against each other) batting 1-6 in the three games in which he played. Jones is also one of the reasons why the Golden Eagles are in first place in the Pacific League, seven games ahead of the second place Seibu Lions.

It would remain to be seen whether Jones returns to MLB for the 2014 season or if he decides to continue playing in the NPB. Either way, Jones seems to be doing well for himself and is quite comfortable playing for the Golden Eagles.

I'll pop back to Japan to see how he's doing a little later in the NPB season.

Sisco Kid

For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access Andruw Jones' career MLB statistics from Baseball Reference.com
- Click Here to access Andruw Jones' career NPB statistics from the English language version of the NPB website
- Click Here to access the article from NikkanSports.com announcing the Andruw Jones signing by the Golden Eagles dated December 8, 2012
- Click Here to access Jason Coskrey's article Eagles slugger Jones gets his first taste of NPB All-Star Series from the Japan Times dated July 21, 2013


Friday, August 2, 2013

My POV on Alex Rodriguez

There have been those out there in the media and those people who I have spoken about that have said that Alex Rodriguez might be a somewhat sympathetic figure in what some are saying is a witch-hunt by Major League Baseball. One such article is William C. Rhoden's article Baseball’s Bullying Makes It Tempting to Root for Rodriguez from the New York Times dated August 1, 2013. In the article Rhoden says:
Funny how Major League Baseball can make you root for the villain.Commissioner Bud Selig’s heavy-handed approach to the investigation of Alex Rodriguez has almost turned Rodriguez into a sympathetic figure. And that’s difficult....The aggressive pursuit of Rodriguez fits into baseball’s recent patterns of demonizing unpopular players and casting them as the faces of the P.E.D. epidemic.
I disagree with this. Ryan Braun, who flat out lied was not an unpopular player. When the news broke that he failed a test, there wasn't the same type of outcry by the fans and media compared to a potential posititve test by someone like Bonds or Rodriguez. Why? Braun was a player people liked and rooted for. He got votes of support from many different people including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Now everyone is left with egg on their face because of it. Braun wasn't demonized in the least. This brings me to Rodriguez.

I can't sympathize with him. He brought this all on himself. Rodriguez got away with his first admission of steroids usage in 2009. He was humbled, broken down put all his sins out in the open and came back to redeem himself with his performance during that season and in the Postseason. The A-Rod haters won't admit it but the Yankees don't win the World Series without his hitting. Had he never gotten another post-season hit it would not have taken away from that performance and proverbial rising like a Phoenix from a perceived burning bonfire of a career. But his return to find some miracle performance enhancing whatever has tarnished that and he's the only one to blame for that.

The rules are clear. He could have met with authorized medical practitioners who work within the rules to try and find a way to help him if he felt he couldn't better himself as he aged. But he didn't. He chose to do things differently and he's going to end up paying for it now but also in the end whether he gets 100 games, a year or a lifetime ban. He might play Baseball again, but it'll be for naught. His career is over. His dreams of being the best player ever are over and he will never get into the Hall of Fame. It really is quite sad.

Sisco Kid

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Izzy and The Girls at The Somerset Patriots Game

My friend Izzy recently had the distinction of being on the field of the Somerset Patriots with his daughters while his oldest threw out the first pitch. The Patriots squared off against their Atlantic League Freedom Division rivals The Lancaster Barnstormers. Here is his story:
On Sunday July 21, 2013 I had the pleasure of having a Dads day out with my two daughters. Mommy was out of town on business and I had tickets to the Somerset Patriots game as part of Masons night out at the ballpark. The Patriots play in the Atlantic Independent League.

Many of my lodge brothers were in attendance with their families and both of my girls felt right at home in the picnic area where we were camped at the game in left field. This was our second year in a row going to a Patriots game as family night.

Couple days before the game I was contacted by my lodge brother who put this together and asked if I wanted to be one of the first pitch participants before the game started. I was excited for the opportunity of just being on the field and I wanted my older daughter to throw the ball. At almost age 7 she's already getting a pretty good arm lol. It was also great to be on the field together with Yankees great Sparky Lyle the manager of the Patriots. I took a quick video of her throw and she was psyched to do it. What I didn't know was there was a professional photographer taking pictures of each thrower and towards the end of the game the Patriots rep that took care of us gave me a framed still action photo of her throw! Nice surprise and great keepsake.


video
The Patriots were losing 2-0 until the bottom of the 9th when they tied the game and had everyone on their feet. They ended up losing 3-2 in the 10th but it was a great game and the family picnic fun was actually the best part

Look forward to doing it again next year
So there you have it. As I have friends who have amazing experiences at the Ballpark or at any other Baseball themed event, I'll try to have them send in a guest post. Glad you and your girls had a good time Izzy. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sisco Kid