Archive for the MLB Category

Manny Ramirez – Help or Hurt the White Sox?

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by nathanelwell

What’s certain is that 38 year-old slugger Manny Ramirez is heading to the Chicago White Sox.  What’s uncertain is how effective Manny will be.  Will it be “Manny being Manny” or will he help them reach the playoffs?  Jayson Stark had a compelling article on Manny, which would place Ramirez in the “Manny being Manny” camp.  And he has some valid points.   Not to mention all of Manny’s past woes: With the Red Sox, Manny’s knees were sore, but we never knew which one.  The water-bottle-in-the-back-pocket-syndrome.  The dropped-catch-and-then-sitting-on-the-ball-disorder.  With the Dodgers, his calf and hamstring seemed to be the problem.  The positive PEDs.  The one-pitch ejections.  The impending divorce of the McCourts, the owners of the Dodgers (there is an entire web-site dedicated to their demise).

But in baseball, what ultimately matters?  In 2008 (pre-PED suspension) Manny ONLY hit .396 with 17 HR, .743 slugging percentage, and .489 on-base percentage.  This was over the next two months after he was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers.  Can Manny duplicate these numbers with the White Sox?  He hasn’t exactly provided his “A game” over the last year and a half.  He has only played in about half of the last 260 games.  .269 batting avg.  Slugging and on-base percentages took a royal dive.  So what can make things work for Manny on the South Side?

If you ask me, Chicago is the perfect match for Manny, specifically with the antics of Ozzie Guillen.  In his usual banter-in-broken-English, Ozzie had some entertaining things to say about Manny becoming a South-sider: “I think its funny how people tell people ‘Manny being Manny’.  Hey, Manny be real…To me he’s a great guy.  He don’t have any problem with anybody…It’s two rules I have: You gotta be straight with the team and be there for the national anthem…If the guys can go there butt naked, they don’t have to wear a uniform.  They win game for me?  I’m only happy for them.”  Fair enough, Ozzie.  Essentially we’re looking at a one-month hire.  During Manny’s career, his September hitting has produced a .313 avg, 93 HR, .412 OBP, and a .604 SLG.  Why wouldn’t GM Ken Williams go after this guy?  So what if he left the Dodgers high and dry.  If I were Manny, I wouldn’t want to play for a team who has been caught in the middle of the royal McDivorce.

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Chan Ho’s Revenge

Posted in 1, MLB with tags , , , on April 19, 2010 by nathanelwell

Forget Montezuma.  Chan Ho Park, pitcher for the New York Yankees, has made a new name for himself.   I’d like to propose that at  Yankee Stadium, they announce Chan Ho Park on the loud speakers as Chan Ho “the runs” Park.  Just last week, Chan Ho Park was interviewed in the locker room after a terrible performance on the mound.  The media wanted to know why he pitched so poorly, and he gave them much more than they probably wanted to hear.  Was it the weather?  No.  Was it the crowd?  Most definitely not.  Was it something he ate?  Probably.  Do you remember the old rhyme, “When you’re driving in a Chevy and you’re feelin’ somethin’ heavy”?

Miguel Cabrera on road to recovery

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , on January 21, 2010 by nathanelwell

Tiger Woods is a sex addict.  John Edwards has a 2 year old daughter with his videographer (shocking).  Mark McGwire really did take steroids (gasp).  In the midst of all of the public scandals in sports and politics, its nice to see a story of redemption every once in awhile.  I am so hesitant to even turn on the news because negativity is often in the spotlight, and causes nothing but fear.  But I’m glad to hear that Miguel Cabrera, first-baseman for the Detroit Tigers, has successfully completed 3 months of rehab for his alcohol abuse.  I am a huge believer of rehab.  Whether its physical, mental, spiritual, substance abuse, etc.  We all have dysfunction, its just some of us decide to actually deal with it.

Cabrera’s issues became public last October when he became drunk late one night and came home to scuffle with his wife.  Fortunately she called the police, and fortunately he was sent to the police station.  Ok, so Cabrera made a poor decision.  He had too much to drink, said some things he shouldn’t have, and let his entire team down.  BUT, he chose to do something about it.  Cabrera says that he hasn’t had a drink since that fateful night when he was hanging out with Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.  Good for him.

My hope for Cabrera, is that he stays off the bottle and focuses on his game.  He is such a talented athlete, a lifetime .311 avg, 209 HR.  I can only hope that Cabrera will be a motivation to other baseball players who struggle with the same issues.  Side note: Cabrera currently has a contract with the Tigers that is over $152 million.  Why would someone in the athletic spotlight with that much money choose to waste his time and energy on the bottle?  Why does misery seem to follow money? Weird.

Milton Bradley’s suspension – justified or overreaction?

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , on September 21, 2009 by nathanelwell

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Right fielder Milton Bradley has been suspended by the Cubs for the remainder of the 2009 season.  GM Jim Hendry says that he was suspended after “learning of the players remarks in the Daily Herald”.  I won’t go into the details, but you can read the article here.  I would guess that most people who hear about this would not be surprised.  Honestly, it relieves me.  And I certainly hope that they find a way to trade him in the off season.  Milton Bradley, in my opinion, has been a “chemistry breaker” for years.

Some would say that the media and fans have unfairly formed an opinion about him and haven’t even given him a chance in Chicago.  Even if there was 1 ounce of truth to this, Bradley has created the media perception by himself.  Whether its tearing his ACL after going after an ump, or kicking and punching the water cooler around in the clubhouse, players undoubtedly started to get weary of Bradley and his bad temper.  It does nothing but alienate Bradley from the rest of the team, and it keeps him from playing to his ability.  From a fan standpoint, when you try and chase after fans in the stands, they aren’t going to like you!  From a media standpoint, when you call someone from the press “Uncle Tom” that is not going to help your perception either!  Its what my Dad always calls the “echo effect”.  The echo effect is to “respond to and treat others as you would want them to do to you”.  Bradley has dug his own grave in this department.

Should we mainly focus on a players stats and ability on the field?  Absolutely.  But we can’t ignore or forget a players behavior, either – especially if it is detrimental towards fans, the media, and most importantly the team.  And clearly, the Chicago Cubs must have felt the same way.  Bradley said that “I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment.  There’s too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly.  Everything is just bashing you. It’s just negativity.”  The problem with Bradley’s comments are that they are inconsistent with what some other players feel.  Reed Johnson said that “I came from Toronto and come here and just like fall in love with the city and fall in love with the organization…Its just hard for me to believe that you can come to this city, come to this organization, and not enjoy your time here.”

Although I feel badly for Bradley that he can’t play baseball until 2010, I certainly hope that he can learn from his mistakes, and help fix the perception that he has already so badly damaged…And hopefully this will be done away from the Chicago Cubs!

Baseball and Relativism

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by nathanelwell

Ask my wife, and she’ll tell you that I love baseball.  It doesn’t matter if its the Padres/Nationals or the Cubs/White Sox, I love to watch the game.  Since I was a little guy, I’ve loved to play the game as well – from t-ball and juice boxes to high school and sunflower seeds, it was an everyday part of my life growing up.  So its with baseball that I choose as my “arena” to test a belief system that many in our culture associate themselves with.  That belief system is relativism.  WordNet would define relativism as “the philosophical doctrine that all criteria of judgment are relative to the individuals and situations involved”.  Webster’s dictionary defines it as “a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them”.  So in summary: I am doing an “experiment” of sorts.  The guinea pig is relativism, and the maze that the guinea pig is tested in is called baseball.   Any questions?  anyone?  ANYONE??

Lets say that the Chicago Cubs are playing the Philadelphia Phillies. (this is a total random pairing, and has no relation to who is actually playing tonight, the teams and characters are purely coincidental…)   Pedro Martinez is pitching, and Derrek Lee is batting (again, purely coincidental).  Martinez throws a pitch, that hits the catcher’s mitt with a loud SMACK and the umpire gestures the third strike, effectively striking out Derrek Lee.  But Lee turns around to the umpire and says, “I don’t see it that way.  It may mean to you that it takes 3 strikes for a strike-out, but for me, it takes 5 strikes for a strike out.”  The umpire rolls his eyes, but lets Lee step back into the batters box.  On the next pitch, Derrek Lee hits a line drive, and the ball bounces off the center field wall.  As he is rounding the first base to head to second, Phillie first baseman Ryan Howard steps right in the baseline path, blocking Lee from getting to second.  As soon as the ball is thrown in to the infield, Phillie second baseman Chase Utley tags out Lee, who is still caught in the basepath behind Howard.  “That is fielder interference!” exclaims Lee.  Howard turns around with a chuckle and says “It all depends on what the phrase ‘fielder interference’ means”.  Hopefully you all get the picture.

At the risk of giving my “opinion” in a sports blog, I must say that relativism is a dead-end philosophy that would be contradicted in so many ways in our society.  In a world where no accountability is desired, “anything goes”, and it all depends what “is” means, a society cannot function without objective truths, in the same way that baseball cannot function without objective rules.  If you don’t believe me, then try telling me that all truth is relative.  Isn’t that an objective statement?  Anyone???

Pitcher Perfect!

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by nathanelwell

070418_whiteSox_vmed_8p_widecMark Buehrle notched the 18th perfect game in MLB history today, in front of a frenzied crowd at U.S. Cellular Field.  Probably the most amazing part of the game did not come from the last out, but from the first out in the 9th inning.  Gabe Kapler came to the plate and hit a deep fly ball to left center field.  To the naked eye, it appeared to be a home run, before Center Fielder Dwayne Wise leaped up over the wall and made an unbelievable snow-cone catch, the ball popping out of the glove, and then catching with his bare hand.  There is not much to say about this feat.  Congratulations Mark Buerhle, I am excited for you, even if I am a North-sider!

Jonathan “No-No” Sanchez

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , , , , on July 11, 2009 by nathanelwell

APTOPIX Padres Giants Baseball On Friday evening, San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez shocked the sports world by throwing 2009’s first no-hitter.  Just one evening after the phenom Tim Lincecum took a no-hitter into the 7th, Sanchez mimicked the feat except held the Padres hitless for all 9 innings.  As Yogi Berra once quipped, “Its like deja vu all over again”.  Jonathan Sanchez was probably the least likely candidate to toss a no-hitter.  On a night where other starters included Dan Haren, Derek Lowe, Chris Carpenter, and Roy Oswalt, it seemed ironic that the 2-8 Sanchez, who was just recently demoted to the bullpen, would get the no-no.  And did I mention that he was starting because Randy Johnson was injured?

One of the most touching parts of the whole evening was when Jonathan revealed that this was the first time that his father had ever seen him pitch in person.  His whole family had flown in from Puerto Rico the night before.  After Sanchez struck out the last batter to complete his no-hitter, the camera showed him hugging manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti.  If we crack open the history books, we find that Sanchez’ no-no was the first by a left handed Giants pitcher since 1929, back when Carl Hubbell accomplished the feat with the New York Giants.  The last no-hitter thrown by a Giant was in 1976 by John Montefusco.

Perhaps the most nail-biting part of the game came with 1 out in the 9th, when Aaron Rowand saved a deep fly ball by Edgar Gonzalez for the 2nd out.  In the words of Harry Caray, Edgar needed one more biscuit for breakfast and that ball would have been gone.  Sanchez then struck out Everth Cabrera to end the game.  Besides this being Sanchez’ first no-hitter, it was also his first complete game and shut-out.  There is no doubt that Sanchez has re-solidified his spot in the starting rotation after a night like that.  Congratulations, Jonathan, our hats go off to you!