Archive for MLB

Steroids : The Hall Of Fame Era

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, MLB, New York Yankees with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2011 by mattyfresh697400

GUILTY!

The Steroid era in Major League Baseball is long since over. No more 70 home run seasons, no more 50 home run seasons by 10 guys who never even came close to knocking 40 out of the park. No more ballooning biceps and comic book like cap sizes.

No , once the Federal government got involved with Congressional hearings Major League Baseball was forced to clean up its act and for the most part it did.

So a few years have passed and with the exception of the A-Rod revelation, all has been quiet on the roids front. You do get the occasional idiot offender but it is safe to say that the Steroid Era is over.

But at the Baseball Hall of Fame..the steroid era is really just getting started!

BIG MAC!

The first test case was Big Mac , All American hero Mark McGwire. Statistically McGwire was a non brainer 1st ballot hall of famer. He has 583 Career Home Runs and captivated the entire country in 1998 when he broke the single season home run record held by Roger Maris for over 35 years. And of course battled Sammy Sosa homer for homer for the entire month of september. It was Maris and Mantle all over again and the nation was hooked.

So needless to say Big Mac knocks 70 dingers and he is a national hero, fast forward a few years and McGwire is sitting before a congressional committee and basically sunk his own ship by refusing to discuss the subject of steroids. GUILTY!

Fast forward another two years and Mark McGwire is up for introduction in the hall and it’s not even close. He has now been eligible for three years and despite the fact that he is back in baseball as the cardinals hitting instructor , his votes keep going down.

Palmeiro.Guilty!

In the latest voting that came out this past week, it was Rafael Palmeiro who got the shaft. This guy was a 1000 percent lock to get into the hall first ballot. 500 home runs and 3000 hits…the only other guys in history with those numbers are named Mays and Aaron…. But of course this idiot also testified in front of Congress.. and in what would become a pretty historical soundbite, Palmeiro indignantly points his finger at the Senators and states “I Have never used steroids”

5 months later Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for PEDs while still an active player. GUILTY!

So the trend has started, Players with Hall Of Fame stats will not be getting into the Hall if they have been suspected of using steroids.  This is a slippery slope for the entire game of baseball…fans, players, journalists, all of us.

The Hall

If you are a true baseball fan then you truly must have the utmost respect for the Hall Of Fame. Cooperstown New York is hallowed ground for all baseball purists and I am comfortable saying that of all the professional sports leagues in our country , it is Baseball who has the most respected and most important Hall of Fame. The National Pastimes best of the best!!

Palmeiro and Big Mac might be able to fly somewhat under the radar in terms of popular debate regarding whether or not they should be in the Hall… but what will happen in two years when the names on the ballots are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa?

Well forget Sosa because without steroids he hits 450 dingers tops.

Rocket Man

But Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were guaranteed Hall Of Famers way before they ever hit the juice, see 3 Cy Youngs and 3 MVPs…..but then they started using steroids and they ended up with 7 Cy Young Awards and 6 MVPs….6 MVPs??? Are you kidding??

73 Home Runs in a Season, 300 wins, 4000 strikeouts…the numbers are earth shattering!

The Baseball writers association of america are the body that casts the HOF votes..  They are in the un-enviable position of deciding how to handle this dilemma. But it seems like most of the writers have drawn a line in the sand with Mac and Palmeiro, one can only assume that Bonds and Clemens are certainly not going to get in on the first ballot and perhaps never at all.

The world knows these guys cheated but by excluding them from the hall, the writers are in some ways attempting to erase an entire period of time, something that despite their best intentions is just not possible.

Hmm...

 

If I was a voter, for starters I would put Don Mattingly in the Hall immediately ..but that’s another story..if I was a voter I would put them all in. I hate Barry Bonds and he certainly used PEDS (as evidenced by his massive dome..the guy wears a size 14 1/8……HAT!!!) but it’s not like someone else was hitting those home runs, stealing those bases and scoring those runs. Roger Clemens is far from the most likeable Yankee, but he was certainly the most feared and most dominant pitcher for almost two decades. And Palmerio, you just cant ignore the numbers.

I say the games have been played, the records have been set, the stats are in the books.

Home Run King

If the history can’t be changed I am not sure ignoring it and in turn ignoring the players that made that history is really the right move for the game of baseball.

Yankees in 2011!

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AROD # 600 and The Hall Of Fame Debate.

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, History, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NYC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

AROD # 600!!

I have a new love in my life and her name is TWITTER.  Fine ,  I might very well be a little late to the tweet party , but that is all good! At some point this summer I figured out the amazing beauty of twitter and I dove in headfirst. But rather than detail the workings of the super-social network that is twitter, I would prefer to talk about Baseball , and the milestone that occurred when Alex Rodriquez of my beloved New York Yankees finally clubbed career home run # 600.

In typical Arod fashion he hit # 600 during a day game (of which I could not attend) , He hit it in the first inning when there were zero dramatic implications (although the 2 run shot did turn out to be all the Yankees needed for the W) and in very typical Arod fashion, it took him a while to hit it. He might be one of the greatest to ever play the game but  the dude is just not great with milestones.

The Real HR King

But as sure as the sun rises each day Arod was going to blast # 600 and he did! And just as soon as the ball landed in monument park , the great sports debate of our time jumped right back to the front page of every paper, the top of every blog and of course to the greatest sounding board of all…TWITTER.

Baseball is all about history and stats, plain and simple. The game is defined by its history and the numbers that make up that history. Any real baseball fan is at heart a statistics person, perhaps not in the sense that you like to sit around and bang out ill computations like Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” , but you know the single season HR record , you know that Rickey Henderson is the all time stolen base king and you know the mother of all statistics….you know who the all time Baseball Home Run King is….or do you?

# 600 for Arod has quickly resurrected the Steroid era debate or what is now cutely known as the PED debate (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Do those admitted and or accused ROID users belong in the Hall Of Fame, Do the Home Runs actually count, should all the numbers be tossed?

Alex Rodriquez is only the 7th player in Baseball history to knock 600 career bombs, the club he joins is beyond exclusive and some members beyond reproach. The Babe , Hank Aaron , Willie Mays and even Ken Griffey JR. are all safely and cleanly in the record books..no asterisk required, they are all in the Hall of Fame (with the exception of Jr. , and he is a first ballot shoe in with out question. Its the other two members who make things interesting.

Always a KING!!!!

Sammy Sosa, who along with Mark McGwire captivated the nation in 1998 with the great single season home run chase as they both smashed the record of Roger Maris (61 dingers) Sosa has 610 career home runs and before the PED debate would have been a no brainer for the HOF. In fact pre -2003 when the house of cards started to unfold, the rule of thumb was, if you hit 500 career home runs you basically get into the Hall Of Fame automatically.

Thats about right!

Well when it became terribly obvious that Barry Bonds was a freak of nature whose cap size grew like 10 sizes in two seasons and at the age of 38 started banging out 50 plus homers a year and then in 2002 broke the already obscene single season record of 70 held by McGwire , the jig was up. Major League Baseball could no longer look the other way and before you knew it  a slew of incredible home run hitters and perhaps the games greatest pitcher were lying before congress and labeled , well , cheaters.

Back to yesterday , again Arod goes yard and Twitter is burning up.  “Does Arod belong in the HOF?”  “Bonds and Clemens will never get in” “Sosa and McGwire stand no shot ever” “Rafael Palmeiro is a doucher” (Agreed..what up coop)

The Future King?

So just being at Cooperstown two weeks ago , and  having a pretty solid handle on what it means to be in Cooperstown from a fans perspective.. I chimed in on twitter…. “If The Hall is willing to recognize Bonds  statistically as the all time HR King and displays his record breaking home run ball as well, why should he not get his plaque too” ( I want to note that I despise Barry Bonds , but he was going to the Hall prior to his cheating so… go fish)

Well this turned out to be a great question ,  because before I knew what was happening I was being retweeted by espn bloggers and well-known sports columnists and I am thinking , damn this twitter thing is pretty freakin cool.

And for the next few hours, the debate raged and I came to a few conclusions.

1. There is a consensus that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are dirt bags and are never getting into the Hall of Fame.

2. The Jury is still out on Arod as far as the public is concerned although my money is on him getting into the Hall because time is on his side.

3. and finally….That twitter might be the single greatest blow to worker productivity modern man has ever seen.

Congrats AROD…looking forward to # 700 and eventually # 763 and looking forward to continuing the great STEROID debate….on TWITTER of course!

West Coast Road Trip!

Posted in Baseball, MLB, New York Yankees with tags , , , on April 20, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

http://samluce.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/ny-yankees-logo.jpg

West Coast road trip. I am not talking about me and my boys hopping into the Rover and driving cross country, I am talking about when the Bronx Bombers fly cross country and face their West Coast rivals. The beauty in the New York Yankee west coast rode trip….the 10:00pm start time on TV.

As a kid, this was it for me. Slide into bed around 10:30 on a school night and watch the Yankees till about 1:ooam. Now I have never really had a bed time per se, but being able to watch those games after home work was completed, phone calls were made, even most likely some action figures played with. Lights out , TV on…….Yankees on the West Coast is great!

So tonight the Yankees start their first west coast swing of 2010 (If I am correct there will only be one more West Coast road trip this 2010 campaign and that is not until mid – july)

The surging bombers are playing the suprising A’s. Should be a solid match up.But watching these game that start at 10 are the best.

PREDICTION : Yanks Take 2 of 3

Yanks First Homestand…

Posted in Baseball, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NY Times with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

Even Ramiro Pena had two RBI's on Sunday

I had the pleasure of attending three games of the first Yankee homestand this past week and much to my surprise the Yankees, basically started the season where they left off…running their opponents off the field. The Yankees are notoriously slow starters in the month of April. If the team finishes the month at .500 you figure that is about average, well the 2010 bombers are currently 9 and 3 and quite simply look..GREAT. With the exception of TEX and Javier Vazquez, each player is contributing and CC, Posada and Cano are off to blazing starts. Even the Yankee elder Andy Pettitte is in top form.

Its also worth mentioning the Yankees have hardly had the easiest schedule to start the 2010 campaign. They have won series against The Red Sox,  The Tampa Bay Rays, The Angels and the Rangers. All these teams are mentioned as potential playoff contenders and the Yanks have handled them with ease, in fact this is the first time since 1926 that the franchise has won its first four series of the season….Things are looking good right now in the Yankee Universe!

But the Yankees now travel out west where they face the surprising upstart Oakland A’s (who are also off to a hot start) Then the team will visit Anaheim which is never fun.

I am not raising the AL east flag just yet, but its nice to sit atop the division this early and even nicer to see the SOX 5 games out of first!!!

Lets keep this going!!

Read what the NY times has to say about the Yanks great start.

Yankees Dot Com

“Yanks Core 4 Belong in Cooperstown”

Posted in Baseball, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

CORE 4

Yanks’ Core 4 Belong in Cooperstown….that was the headline on an email my mother sent me this afternoon. Somethings just bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. This was an article on the CBS2 website about those veteran Yankees that have now become known affectionately as the core 4. Jeter, Mariano, Andy and Jorge.

Now the headline and the article really started me thinking….why not? Why can’t all four of these guys end up in Cooperstown, where baseball legends truly live forever.

“How rare is it an accomplishment in today’s day and age of sports mercenaries , hired guns and piles of cash that four guys basically stay together on the same team and consistently  drive that team to be the best in its sport, while at the same time, individually , remain among the best to play at their respective positions both actively and historically?”

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are first ballot locks, I would not be surprised if both players end up with 100% vote totals, that might sound crazy since the highest vote total ever was Tom Seaver with 98.6%, but if you take a step back and look at Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada and all they have accomplished at the their positions and the fact that each has 5 world series rings and each played an invaluable part of the Yankee Dynasty of both the late 90’s and the current Yankee dynasty (and do not be fooled people, we are in the midst of another one)

Look no further than the numbers, they do not lie. As I stated above Jeter might end up with 4000 hits and his reputation as a leader and a winner alone would qualify him for a plaque. Mariano is the greatest at what he does and I submit we will never see another like him. A post-season ERA of 0.74 , what does that even mean? Mariano was born on planet Krypton, we have had the pleasure of watching superman in pinstripes all these years.

So that leaves us with Jorge and Andy, and like with any good sports debate there will be plenty of those out there that disagree.

Posada might have a leg up here because he is a catcher, there are only 13 catchers in the Hall of Fame. Posada is a 5 time all-star, with a .278 average over 16 seasons , 246 Home Runs, 970 RBIs and over 1500 hits. If Posada stopped playing today and finished with those numbers, his career stats in the above categories would be better than 9 catchers already enshrined in the hall. Couple the numbers with 5 rings and the fact that he looks like he can be productive for another 2-3 seasons easy and hip-hip JORGE should be a lock!!

So that leaves us with Andy Pettitte. The article from CBS 2 made a great comparison; Retired Yankee Mike Mussina is often in the HOF conversation, but if you can mention Mussina as a possible member of the Hall , then Pettitte has to be seriously considered. Andy is currently 232-135  in 16 seasons, with two 21 win seasons under his belt. Modern dat baseball is different from it was 20 years ago and the days of the 300 win pitcher are basically over, and since that is the case new standards for the hall must be established. Andy Pettitte is a winner who will most likely end up with 250 Career wins (which is nothing to sneeze at)

All you need to do is look at the post season for 2009, Pettitte clinched the Division series, the LCS and the World Series. 5 rings and those stats, cm on.

You might have to go back to the Yankee Dynasty of the late 40’s and 50’s to find 4 teammates who all belong in the hall, but that is exactly what we have now. Enjoy it while it lasts!

I’ll see the CORE 4 in Cooperstown!!!

Raise The Flag and Kiss The Ring….Yankee Opening Day!!

Posted in Baseball, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees with tags , , , , on April 13, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

https://i0.wp.com/grantmc.mlblogs.com/Chris%20Rose%20Yankees.jpg

Today is a great day. Every opening day is exciting, it marks the start of a 6 month campaign. 162 games. 162 games is a-lot of baseball and for the die-hard fans we pretty much live and die with every single pitch of every single game. April is the time for new beginnings where all teams start fresh and start even. But there is something particularly sweet about this opening day, as we raise our 27th World Series flag high above the stadium for the entire baseball universe to see. In year one of our new home, the house that Jeter built , we took home the prize and today we take one final moment to celebrate and thank the boys who got us there and then…its back to business, the business of winning number 28. Were simply never satisfied.

And in perhaps the sweetest scheduling quirk ever, Hideki Matsui will get his well deserved first ring, wearing a Los Angeles Angels uniform.how cool is that?

But again for today… Raise The Flag and Kiss The Ring!!!

27 World Series Titles…..How sweet it is!!!

65 Days Till BASEBALL!!!!!

Posted in Baseball, New York Yankees with tags , , on January 29, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

Call me crazy but the NEW YORK YANKEES will repeat as World Series Champions in 2010! The key with the Yankees is the nucleus of the “CORE 4” Jeter, Mariano, Petitte and Posada. With all 4 returning and expected to be healthy, thats 20 World Series Titles between them. That is EXPERIENCE of the most valuable kind. And of course each one of them has already repeated in back to back years as World Series Champs. So not only do they know how hard it is to get there and win, but also how hard it is to do that in back to back years. The new blood on the Yankees, or rather those who just tasted ultimate victory for the first time, AROD, CC, AJ, Nicky Swish, TEX, Cano, Hughes, Joba…these guys will be so hungry to get there again. I think the fact that this team jelled so well and won it all , is quite simply a recipe for repeat GREATNESS.

2010 is going to be a legendary year for the Bombers!!!!

LETS GO YANKEES!!!!!!!!!