Category Archives: Baseball
In this past week Josh Hamilton has broke the single game AL record for total bases in a game, hit four homers in a game, and has six total homers. Those six homers this past week for Hamilton are more homers than Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, and Joe Mauer combined for the season.
What’s the difference between Josh Hamilton and those five players? All of those players, with the exception of Soriano, are in the first or second year of long-term contracts worth over 100 million apiece (Soriano is the 5th year of a 8 year/$136 million deal) while Josh Hamilton is the last year of his contract.
After listening to some talk shows and feverishly looking over stats, I’ve come to realize that the ultimate motivating factor for most athletes in money. So, when a player is nearing the end of their contract they feel more motivated to do well. And by doing well in your “contract year,” players can then sign contacts which will earn them more money in the future.
Obviously this wont happen again, but a way to keep all players motivated financially is to only allow one-year contracts.
By: Jeff Passan
The program failed Bud Selig. It’s the program he insisted on and rubber-stamped. He believed it would save his sport and salvage his reputation. Put a stringent performance-enhancing drug policy in place – one that runs 18,175 words long and tries to cover every conceivable slice of conceivability – and Congress no longer would shame him and baseball like it did that day seven years ago.
Ryan Braun beat the program Thursday. His lawyers never bothered arguing whether or not Braun had taken the synthetic testosterone that showed up in his urine during the 2011 playoffs. They argued about the urine that showed up in the cup, which Braun signed to affirm had been sealed and packaged correctly. And they argued about the cup that went into a box that was supposed to go to FedEx that Saturday night. And they argued that because the FedEx store was closed and the test collector took the sample home and put it in his refrigerator until Monday – the standard-operating procedure in every major doping program across the world but one not spelled out distinctly among Selig’s 18,175 words – that the sample did not follow the proper chain of custody and thus was invalid.
And so it was.
Make no mistake: This was a technicality. It was a loophole. Most of all, it was brilliant lawyering by Braun’s attorneys. Hundreds of tests had been handled in exactly the same manner in baseball and never before had the players’ union protested their accuracy. Sources from MLB and the union told Yahoo! Sports the chain-of-custody section of the joint-drug agreement is likely to be rewritten to ensure that a defense similar to Braun’s would have no legs. Because even some inside baseball who should be on Braun’s side – players, agents and other officials – see his prevailing as a Pyrrhic victory.
Baseball for years has fought its past. Players doped. Records fell. Trust eroded. No matter one’s moral judgment of PEDs, baseball is better when the talk and storylines converge on the product, not injections, patches and creams. Players joke about how they know the program isn’t working because so few have been caught in recent years, but MLB pursuing a case against Braun – the reigning National League MVP and savior of the team Selig once owned, the Milwaukee Brewers – proved the sport would bare its teeth when appropriate.
To lose for the first time in arbitration, then, and in such fashion no less, devastated those in baseball committed to making the game as clean as possible. They believed it an open-and-shut case. Braun’s testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio was nearly 30:1. A 4:1 ratio is the threshold for a positive and the 50-game suspension that accompanies. Braun’s defense didn’t try to explain why the test found synthetic testosterone. It read deep into Section XI of the program – “PROCEDURES AFTER COLLECTION” – found a weakness and exploited it enough to convince independent arbitrator Shyam Das to absolve Braun.
Honing in on that rule was the most inspired part of a defense that grew even more difficult upon the leaking of the positive test to ESPN in December. The chain of custody – how the sample is taken and handled to the point of delivery to the testing laboratory in Montreal – is imperative to the sanctity of any program. Casting chain-of-custody doubt is often an athlete’s best chance at absolution. Braun hired the right people. They convinced Das that even though the collector had stored the samples “in a cool and secure location,” as the program advises, it was not sufficient to maintaining chain of custody.
“This stuff happens around the world all the time,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Association. “They’re collected at people’s homes after the UPS or FedEx or DHL is closed. The DCO (doping-control officer) keeps it with them. These are well-trained people whose job it is to maintain it.”
According to baseball’s rules – or at least Das’ interpretation of them – protocol in other sports did not matter to baseball. Nor did the security seals on Braun’s two tamper-resistant samples remaining in place and the collection agent testifying at the arbitration hearing that the samples had remained untouched. Ultimately, what mattered were a FedEx store’s hours and how if one in Milwaukee was open on the Saturday night after Game 1 of the NL Division Series, Braun may have arrived at spring training Friday staring at a suspension.
“This,” one baseball official said, “is like a criminal getting off because he wasn’t read his Miranda rights.”
That’s an understandable comparison, though it neglects an important aspect of the Braun case: Had his lawyers not chosen to use the chain-of-custody argument, they could have implemented another defense – perhaps one that was similarly effective. MLB and the union agreed to this particular process because players deserve fair trials within the rules. Braun received his, and because the rules were not explicit enough, he prevailed.
Baseball may not like it and may appeal. And Tygart may say: “It’s a kick in the gut to clean athletes.” And one GM may express his sentiments in a simple text message: “Braun, ugh.” But the reality after Thursday’s decision remains: Even though a banned PED showed up in Ryan Braun’s urine, baseball cannot recognize him as a PED user. And because such a judgment was culled from the minutiae of the sport’s own program, that hurts more than Rafael Palmeiro, more than Manny Ramirez, more than A-Rod or Roger Clemens or Mark McGwire or any of the other players linked to PEDs.
This was supposed to prove testing works. Instead, it exposed the program’s fallibility.
No longer is there any incentive for Braun to explain away his T:E ratio or the testosterone in his urine, not when he can claim innocence. He won Thursday, though that’s not the real shame of the Braun case.
It’s that for almost seven years, ever since Congress fricasseed Selig and embarrassed the sport, baseball has tried to clean itself up. And that no matter how hard it tries, no matter how noble its intentions, no matter how much it cares, baseball’s War on Drugs may be just as futile as America’s.
Bud Selig said he wanted the toughest. He got it. And it still wasn’t tough enough.
Here’s my list from 1-30: Notice there are a lot of AL teams at the top of the list.
Improved rotation has the Yankees much improved after last years early playoff exit
After two straight World Series defeats, is this team becoming baseball’s version of the Buffalo Bills?
Rotation depth and the return of Carlos Pena have the Rays as a legitimate contender.
After two straight years of their bats failing in the playoffs, has their time finally run out?
With the acquisitions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, do the Angels have enough to reclaim the top spot in the AL West?
Not much change in personnel here. Will the new manager have a positive effect on this team in a stacked AL East.
How long will it take for the Tigers to realize Miguel Cabrera can’t play third base?
I still don’t know how they won the World Series. How big of a loss will Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa be to this storied franchise?
Team added pieces in the off-season. How will they fare after last season’s surprise post season appearance?
10. Miami Marlins
This team is going to be a reality show. Either it’s going to go quite well or horribly wrong.
11. Atlanta Braves
Team didn’t do much in the off-season after a staggering collapse. How will it fare in the improved NL East?
12. Cincinnati Reds
Is this the year the Reds finally return to the playoffs?
13. Colorado Rockies
After a disappointing 2011, will their acquisitions of multiple 30+ year olds lead them to success?
There hasn’t been this much excitement for the Nationals, well ever. Too bad they’re in the NL East.
They be around .500 again and finish in fourth place in the gruesome AL East.
If this team could hit, they’d be a playoff team. However, they can’t.
Minus Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun suspended 50 games, these Brewers aren’t going anywhere.
Young and up coming team. They won’t contend this year, but have a bright future.
Matt Kemp is one heck of a player.
Health, health, health and Fausto Carmona–I mean Roberto Hernandez Heredia.
21. San Diego Padres
Lost their ace and best hitter the past two off seasons. However, they do have a lot of young talent, so the cupboard isn’t bare.
22. Minnesota Twins
If Joe Mauer and Justin Mourneau stay healthy, they could be a lot better than people expect.
23. Chicago Cubs
How long will it take for new GM Theo Epstein to turn this cursed franchise around?
I really don’t now what the make of this team. How will Robin Ventura fare in his first managerial job?
25. Seattle Mariners
Thankfully for them, the Oakland A’s are in their division. Poor Mariners.
26. New York Mets
It’s hard to believe that a team could be so bad that their GM is laughing his team. It’s tough being #2 to the Yankees in New York I guess.
There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, the Pirates will finish under .500 this year.
In a way you should pity this team, but the AL East teams need someone to beat up on. Why not the Orioles?
29. Oakland A’s
Move to San José already!
30. Houston Astros
It’s hard to understand how a team in such a large market can be this bad. 100 losses is again on the horizon.
- 5 MLB Teams Doomed to Disappoint in 2012 (bleacherreport.com)
- Ranking AL East Bullpens and Benches (yankeesfansunite.wordpress.com)
- From Pujols’ contract to Braun’s ban, spring training questions abound (cbssports.com)
- The Highest Paid Baseball Players (celebritynetworth.com)
By David Brown
Gary Carter just loved baseball so much. Someone gave him the nickname “The Kid” because he wore his joy and enthusiasm for the game on the sleeves of his uniforms. The Montreal Expos. The New York Mets. The San Francisco Giants. The Los Angeles Dodgers. And Palm Beach Atlantic University, where he was the head coach.
No matter where he was or what he was doing, it was obvious that Carter was in love with baseball.
Carter died on Thursday after suffering from brain cancer. His daughter Kimmie Bloemers published an announcement on a family website. The Hall of Fame catcher, the biggest face of the Expos franchise and a leader among superstars on the World Series champion Mets in 1986, was 57 years old. He hit 324 career homers, made 11 All-Star teams and seemed to have a blast doing every bit of it.
Back in May 2011, we passed along the stunning news, which the New York Daily News first reported, that doctors had found small tumors on Carter’s brain. His condition was always grave, but occasionally there seemed to be glimmers of hope that Carter could outlast his condition a little while longer. Can anyone doubt that he gave it everything he had? It is sad that Carter was ill and it is sad that he is gone. But with death, hopefully there also comes relief. And some peace.
“Driven by a remarkable enthusiasm for the game, Gary Carter became one of the elite catchers of all-time. ‘The Kid’ was an 11-time All-Star and a durable, consistent slugger for the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets, and he ranks among the most beloved players in the history of both of those franchises. Like all baseball fans, I will always remember his leadership for the ’86 Mets and his pivotal role in one of the greatest World Series ever played.”
That ’86 Series seemed in the bag for the Boston Red Sox until Carter came up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6.
In an Answer Man Q&A from August 2010, Carter recalled what was going through his mind with the Mets on the verge of losing the Series:
“You know, I wasn’t going to make the last out of the World Series. I had dreamed that dream so many times of setting the tone and imagining what it would be like to be there, and coming up there with the bases loaded and two outs and a two-strike count and coming through with a big hit. I lived the dream. As a kid, growing up, that’s all I ever thought about — one day, being on that stage. It’s such a fond memory and it’s hard to believe that next year will be the 25-year anniversary of that World Series.”
Carter’s hit started the Mets’ famous and improbable rally, and set up victory in Game 7. Carter also famously put baseball back in the good graces of the public after a players strike with a two-homer performance to win MVP honors for the NL at the 1981 All-Star game.
And he was a guest on “The Baseball Bunch,” a TV show hosted by fellow catcher Johnny Bench that entertained as it taught kids the game. That was Carter, if you paid attention. Baseball has lost one of its greatest ambassadors.
- Gary Carter, Hall Of Famer And Mets Hero, Dies Of Brain Cancer At 57 (npr.org)
- Gary Carter Dies (myfoxny.com)
- Gary Carter, catcher was 57 (laobserved.com)
- Gary Carter, Baseball Hall of Famer, dead at 57 (thestar.com)
- Hall of Fame Catcher Gary Carter Dies (abcnews.go.com)
This was a pretty easy one to pick. The Lakers and the Celtics have 16 and 17 titles respectively which represents 33 of the 65 NBA championships. The Lakers and the Celtics rivalry started with the 1959 NBA Finals with the Celtics winning the NBA title in a four game sweep. In the postseason the Lakers and Celtics has faced off in 12 series (all in the finals) which the Celtics winning 9 out of the 12; however the Lakers have won three of the past four.
These two franchises are the two most storied in the NBA having more hall of famers than any other franchise. Great Celtics who have had their number retired include: Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, John Havlicek, Tommy Heinson. K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, and many others; a total of 33 people who have ties with the Celtics are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, more than any other team. Great Lakers who have had their number retied include: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, and James Worth; a total of 23 people who have ties with the Lakers are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
I have to admit I am very biased here. I am a die hard Yankee fan. The Yankees are the most successful baseball team in terms of World Series titles BY FAR. The Yankees and the Red Sox have had a rivalry ever since Babe Ruth was sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees which started the legendary “Curse of the Bambino.” The Red Sox between 1918 to 2004, a total of 86 years, the Sox did not win a single World Series title while the Yankees won 26. However, it all changed in 2004 when the Red Sox became the baseball only team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit and win the series. This lead the Red Sox to winning the 2o04 title and the 2007 title. Over the past 15 years the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry has become the center of baseball with both team being penennial World Series contenders.
In the regular season the Yankees have won 1,132 games to the Red Sox 954. In the postseason they’ve only faced off in three series (all the ALCS) with the Yankees winning two of the three series. Both teams have had many players who are currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Yankees have 16 people who have their number retired including: Billy Martin, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Roger Maris, Thurman Munson, Whitey Ford, Don Mattingly, Elston Howard, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Casey Stengel, and Jackie Robinson. The Red Sox have ten numbers retired including: Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, and Jackie Robinson.
1980-1989: San Francisco 49ers/New York Giants
I don’t feel like going any further…
This was an easy pick. These are currently the two best club teams in the world. Both are based in Spain. There are the #1 and #2 earning clubs in the world. There players and fans have an intense dislike/hatred towards one another which stems from regional ties. The rivalry intensified following the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. El Clasico’ is the game which all football fans clamor are eager to see because of the immense talent of the players on the pitch, the intensity of the game, and the bragging rights.
I am not going to list all of the great players for these squads because that’d take way too long.
|Head to Head Matches|
|Copa del Rey||14||10||6|
|Spanish Super Cup||3||5||2|
|UEFA Champions Leagues||2||3||3|
|Copa del Rey||25||18|
|Supercopa De Espana||10||8|
|Other Domestic Titles||5||2|
|European Cup/UEFA Champions League||4||9|
|UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League||0||2|
|UEFA Cup Winners Cup||4||0|
|UEFA Super Cup||4||1|
|FIFA Club World Cup||2||0|