Results tagged ‘ playoffs? ’

San Francisco Giants Offseason Recap and Preview

Not much better than winning the World Series:

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Though like many champions, the players wanted more money.

Grade: D-

Notable Additions:

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Miguel Tejada, Jeff Suppan, and Elmer Dessens (?).

Notable Subtractions:
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Juan Uribe, Chris Ray, Todd Wellemeyer, Edgar Renteria, Eugenio Velez, Jesus Guzman, and Jose Guillen.

Why?: Let us just say that they were a few players away from an F. They lost 3 starters from their World Series team and also overpaid for some of the players they kept. The reason they didn’t get an F was, they let the right players go.

Renteria was overpaid and is still deteriorating (which kills me as he is a fellow countryman of mine). Uribe was also a good player to let go because of his absolute lack of patience. He is underrated as a defender but it is good that the Giants are trying to rid themselves of the culture that put them last in the league in OBP in 2009 and in 19th last year.I also like the fact that they kept Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross. Even if they did overpay for them. The biggest thing all these transactions do is, enter in a new era of offense to win more championships with that outstanding staff

The Pitching will continue to improve. That’s right IMPROVE. The front three I don’t see regressing and Jonathan Sanchez can actually improve by just cutting down on balls. Barry Zito may or may not figure it out (he won’t be in the rotation but the pitcher I want to focus on is, Madison Bumgarner. Remember that last year was essentially his rookie year. The only thing I see getting in his way this year is how  much he pitched last year with the unexpected playoff run. Unless this affects them, I actually see the Giants Pitching as well as the Phillies this year.

Predicted Record Range: 89-94 wins. Pitching wins championships but I see them not moving up that much because they lost all that offense (for them it’s a lot).

Up Next: San Diego Padres

Atlanta Braves Offseason Recap and Preview

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At least they lost to the eventual champions.

Grade: B

Notable Additions:
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Dan Uggla, Scott Linebrink, and George Sherill.
Notable Subtractions:
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Billy Wagner, Derrek Lee, Kyle Farnsworth (because it actually helps the team), Melky Cabrera, Omar Infante, Rick Ankiel, Matt Diaz, and Takashi Saito.


Why?: When macroscopically looking at this list the grade should have been waaay lower but what I also see are young players coming up that are going to replace the key players lost in the Notable subtractions column.

For example, Billy Wagner is going to be replaced by Craig Kimbrel. He was inconsistent in his walks (16) but made up for it in strikeout (40). Even more amazing, he did it in 20.2 innings pitched. Another being, Derrek Lee is to be replaced by Freddie Freeman. I don’t know that much about him because he only had 24 at-bats in the Majors but if you haven’t heard he was Jason Heyward’s roommate in either college or the minor leagues.

The big acquisition was Dan Uggla, who I personally think will kill in his first year with the Braves. The Braves also don’t have to face him because I don’t remember the exact numbers but he hit his best at Turner Field because of the dimensions and lack of wall in left.


Predicted Record Range: 91-96 They have plugged holes with new talent and have a better line-up than last year. I expect to be in this range for the season.

At long last the entry is finished. Again, due to picture uploading problems.

Up Next: Florida Marlins

Philadelphia Phillies Offseason Recap and Preview

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I think it’s safe to say the first year of the Roy Halladay Era in Philadelphia went well for the Phillies. The playoffs under their standards but still pretty good.

Grade: A

Notable Additions:

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Cliff Lee, Delwyn Young, Brandon Moss, and Brian Bass.

Notable Subtractions:

 

Jayson Werth, Nate Robertson, Greg Dobbs, Jamie Moyer, and Chad Durbin.

Why?:   They got Cliff Lee and this might have varying responses. Some may say higher than an A some may say lower. The reason I gave the Phillies an A is because Lee was the only difference maker they signed but that one player caused a HUGE spike in Phillie mentions and stock sale.

Did they gain enough in net player Werth (heh, how’d that get in there?) to deserve an A? No. Did they also go overboard the set budget and break their own rule about signing pitchers? Yes. However, the whole Lee situation has done them infinite wonders as far as publicity is concerned and therefore ticket sales (which is why I won’t go to Philadelphia that much this year). So, I did factor in what it did for them as a business as well as what it did for them as a team.

I also learned to never underestimate a Young, as demonstrated by both Dimitri and Delmon (did these people have names not in D?). So, the signing of young Delwyn did not hurt my grade.

Not much else happened besides the Cliff Lee signing but as those of you reading since December know and as those of you who haven’t can see here, I thought highly of how this signing was set up in the previous years.

Predicted Record Range: 94-99 This may seem a bit low considering how much I have lauded them in this entry but their line-up has pacified considerably with the loss of Utley and worth(so that’s where it went). Do I think that they will win the World Series if/when Utley comes back full force? Yes, but until then they will struggle in streaks to put runs up. I actually have the NL East being a race if not the Braves winning it.

Baltimore Orioles Offseason Recap and Preview

Baltimore Orioles 2010: 

 1. Badness in the first half. 
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 2. Buck in the second. 
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 Grade: A+ 
 
 
Notable Additions:
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Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, Kevin Gregg, JJ Hardy, Jeremy Accardo, Justin Duchscherer, Randy Winn, and Vladimir Guerrero.
 
Notable Subtractions:
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Ty Wigginton, Sean Henn, Corey Patterson, and Garrett Atkins.
 
 
Why?:  Why do the Orioles have a higher grade than the Red Sox? That is because the Orioles gained players that will make more of a impact wins wise than the Red Sox. They also didn’t lose as many impact players as the Red Sox did.
 
The Orioles gained an impact player at every position besides that which they already had settled, Brian Roberts at Second. In doing this they also, solidified the middle of their line-up. They have a difference making hitter at each spot in the line-up now: DH Vladimir Guerrero, C Matt Wieters, 1B Derrek Lee, 2B Brian Roberts, 3B Mark Reynolds, SS JJ Hardy, LF Luke Scott, CF Adam Jones, RF Nick Markakis.
 
I think that this lineup will be one of the best in the Majors. It’s like a discount version of the Yankee’s line-up (no holes in it). Can anyone argue with me that the only influential player they lost is Ty Wigginton? They really lost near nothing this offseason.
 
But who cares about hitters (And never begin you sentences with a conjunction)? It’s pitching that wins championships. Here the names are not as abundant nor are the names as big. The weak pont of this team is still starting pitchers but they did  get some bullpen guys.
 
 
Predicted Record Range: 70-75 they might have a vastly separated this year’s line-up from that of last but they still have to pitch and probably won’t repeat their post break record from last year.

New York Yankees Offseason Recap and Preview

Another year, another playoff. The only time the Yankees have missed the playoffs in my life time was in 2008 and they were closing a historic stadium:

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I mean even Manny has to accept the simple truth that the Yankees will always be at least good:
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Grade: C-
Notable Additions:
 
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Raphael Soriano, Russell Martin, Pedro Fecliciano, and Freddy Garcia.
Notable Subtractions:
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Andy Pettitte, Javier Vasquez, Austin Kearns, Chad Gaudin, Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman Marcus Thames, and Dustin Moseley.
Why?:   Another season of the Bronx is burning? I must have had at least half a dozen people ask me “Do you think the Yankees are making the playoffs this year?” My answer, I ‘m not sure. It isn’t because the Yankees aren’t a playoff caliber team but I see the Red Sox beating them for the division. As for the wild card, there are 3 really good teams in the AL Central, 3 great line-ups, and 3 solid pitching staffs. I don’t see this division as a purely “win it and in it” division. The wild card race will be competitive this year because there are three teams that will keep the pace up all year.
However, let me get something straight. The Yankees are not a horrible team all of a sudden because of the losses they took. Yankee fans see eight names in the “Notable Subtractions” section I see mid summer pick ups and easily replaceable players (except Pettitte) but losing Pettitte will not destroy this team. I will remind people that this team won NINETY FIVE games last year. I know they lost Pettitte but they didn’t have him for half of last year and he is not worth ten games in and of himself.

As far as the other players lost go. Most were the product of mid season trades anyway. Meaning, the Yankees were not afraid to lose them. The Yankees will almost always have mid season acquisitions because they will almost always be in the hunt (how they always have trade pieces is another issue).

Predicted Record Range: 87-92 wins They will slow up a little. Maybe I’m just a spoiled Yankee fan but I think they will indeed contend once more. Another thing to take into account is the impact Jesus Montero will have on the line-up which I cannot account for.

To parents: recaps of our last two games will be up tomorrow. To everyone else: the study I mentioned in some entry I can’t remember about adults’ perception of baseball will be up before next Sunday.

Detroit Tigers Offseason Recap and Preview

Any time your team is most remembered for a failure than its successes. It’s not good:
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Grade: B+

Notable Additions:
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Victor Martinez, Joaquin Benoit, and Brad Penny.

Notable Subtractions:
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Armando Galarraga, Zack Miner, Adam Everett, and Gerald Laird.

Why?: Although they did make some improvements, they did so in a way that managed to anger the other 29 teams for what may be years to come.  Now, I’m not saying that it wasn’t inevitable but whoever gave the first big multi year deal to a middle reliever was going to be hated. It just so happens that the Tigers made that move. From now on, acquiring and developing middle relief talent will be changed forever in that it is now a more valuable asset.

The losses, although insignificant in talent could come back to bite the Tigers if they keep the injury bug with them in 2011. Although they upgraded the spot of fourth and fifth starters with Brad Penny and Phil Coke, they sacrificed depth when they let go of Galarraga and Miner. Now if any starter goes down (and who ever heard of a rotation going through the season completely healthy) they will have to turn to Mr. AAA instead of a proven starter like Galarraga. This might cost them just enough spots to be edged out by one of the other strong teams in the Central.

Also, they did get rid of defensive depth in Laird but took care of that by getting Omir Santos. Everett on the other hand, should have been kept. I know the Tigers like to think optimistically but when was the last time he played 120+ games. I’ve got the answer, 2007. Again, I like Everett significantly better than a AAA shotstop or second baseman or even Ramon Santiago.

Predicted Record Range: 84-89 They made some significant additions and are getting players back but the Tigers’ players do tend to ebb and flow (Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera). Will they finally all have good seasons at the same time? If so, this team has enough talent to win the division but the mean of the ebb and flow is the predicted range.

Next Up: Cleveland Indians

Tomorrow is a double header for Fordham. So the data from this game might back me up over part of the weekend. I will get the first entry by end of Saturday but make no promises about the second. I will try and get the player bios on the roster entry as soon as I can but baseball season can be hectic. We’ll see.

Texas Ranger’s Offseason Recap and Preview

Well, they are the defending American League champions:
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Grade: CNotable Additions:
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Adrian Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba, Mike Napoli, Arthur Rhodes, Brandon Webb, and Dave Bush.

Notable Subtractions:
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Cliff Lee, Jeff Francoeur, Rich Harden, Frank Francisco, Jorge Cantu, Bengie Molina, and Vladimir Guerrero.

Why?: Well actually, after losing out on Cliff Lee I thought the Rangers had a pretty good off-season. They certainly increased the depth in their line-up. Despite this, the reason I give them a C and not higher, is that Cliff Lee’s role as a role model for a very young rotation might have been greater than his individual contribution to the team. When Nolan Ryan first joined the Rangers as an executive, he wanted to have the pitchers throwing more innings and more strikes. Well, no one this side of Roy Halladay does this better than Cliff Lee. Although, Yorvit Torrealba did have some experience in managing a budding staff with the Padres last season and he will probably be the starting catcher for the Rangers for most of this season. As Mike Napoli’s defense behind the plate is a concern for the coaching staff and front office.

I see the Ranger’s becoming a better version of their 2005-2009 clubs, an offense that has to score more runs than the starters give up. True, they have more depth than those teams had, but they still have no clear cut #2 after CJ Wilson. I do like best, their acquisition of Brandon Webb more than that of Adrian Beltre. I think that he could get back to being a top of the line starter. Will he? Probably not but if he doesn’t, you are only paying a million dollars for most likely a veteran who contributes in the back of the rotation. This is dependent on the fact that Michael Young is staying but, I think that the only team without a weak roster spot ie the Yankee’s fourth and fifth starters or the Red Sox’s Catcher.

Predicted Record range: 86-91 wins and 76-71 losses. Which will be good for either 1st or second place in the West depending on the Athletics’ record but I don’t see them reaching the World Series if they do win because of the lack of a dominant ace, though they do have a plethora of depth in the rotation. There is always the possibility that they have the World Series loser syndrome, which is to say that they will fall off substantially but I think that they will keep the pace because of their youth. True that this could be a reason for their demise but… where was I going with this? Can I change my mind now? Oh well, I already wrote the entry.

Up Next: Oakland Athletics

P.S. I know this isn’t a letter but, did anyone notice that even though I wrote a pretty extensive entry on Spring Training beginning. I was not featured on the Mlblogs home page (for those who don’t know how to get there click on the Mlblogs Network in the upper left corner) I mean there were entries that were only three sentences and even one that only had eight views when I saw it (#15).

10/19/10 ALCS: Yankee Stadium

Ah the playoffs. So much excitement in the air. So magical the feeling, that people must show up really early… at least that’s what I thought.I left my school at about 2:45.

I walked down Fordham road to the B train and waited what seemed like a fifteen or twenty minutes because I wanted to beat all the people that were getting to the stadium today.

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At the time I was willing to accept defeat to all the people that had surely camped out

overnight.

When I got out of the subway, I saw a huge line of people going towards what looked to be the center field gate.

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Instead of going in this line and hoping it lead to the gate I went to the front to see if there was any hope of getting to the front of it.

The result:

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Sound the fanfare for I have gotten to the front of the line. Their turned out to be two lines in the bigger line.

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The first line turned out to be for people who were waiting try and get tickets being released before the game. Or at least, something to that nature. The second line was for employees waiting to get in.

The time:

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The game was starting at 8:00 and the gates were opening at 5:00. So I had almost two hours to burn before I could even get in to the stadium.

I also couldn’t lay down in front of the gate because of all the employees coming through to get into the stadium:DSCN1393.JPG

And if you are wondering, the clothsline clip on my hat is because the Yankees had World Series hats for $5 but they were all size 8s. I am a size 7 so I needed the clip for it to not go down to my ears.

From about 3:30 on every ten minutes felt like an hour in itself. There’s an hour and a half between 3:30 and 5:00 so do the math.

Also, remember how I thought people would be camped out over night before. Well I could have come at 4:45 and still have been the first one in line. However, the worst thing was that even though I had been waiting since 3:00 and all the security guards had seen me since then, they waited until 4:55, when there were sizable lines to tell the people that they would only be opening one gate and it wasn’t mine.

WOW!!! I had waited since 3:00 to be the first one in line and they waited until people started getting there to tell me that I would have to go to the back of the newly formed line. (Maybe I should change the name of this blog to the Big Apple Rant because it seems that’s all I do.)

Anyway, while in line a person came into it behind me that I thought I recognized. He was a man with glasses and a sting back pack. That looked something like this:

ys2.jpgI wasn’t really sure at that point so I wasn’t going to make an idiot out of myself and ask some random stranger if I know them. However, when people started mentioning different times for the gates opening. he looked like the person who would most likely know. So I asked him if the gates were opening at 5:00 or not. He told me they were and followed up with “You’re Mateo aren’t you? You were one of Zack’s clients.” I affirmed his suspicsion and he told me about how he had read the article about me . He then went on to introduce himself as the Yankee Stadium Ballhawk. I had looked at his profile on www.mygameballs.com once or twice and remebered him vaguely.

Anyway, enough of this, open the gates already!! I got into the stadium, got my bag checked and raced behind Alex who I probably should have mentioned was at the gates with us.

Well, it was 5:00 and you’d think they would have started bp by now but:

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I now had some time on my hands (never had that before he said sarcastically). Tony Pena was playing catch by the dugout with an UTY (unidentified throwing Yankee).

I went over there wearing this sweatshirt:
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For those who haven’t read the descrition of the blog I go to a high school called Fordham Prep, which is on the Fordham U campus. What our school does is, instead of making and buying their own gear they just take the left overs the university’s baseball team has.

 

One of the people around the dugout was Michael Kay doing pre-game interviews for YES.
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He went to Fordham U and recognized the sweatshirt of his alma mater and responded accordingly. The reason I mention this is one of the growing list of reasons why I won’t be going to Yankee Stadium again soon. I would have been able to talk to him about how to break into the sports broadcasting industry had it not been for the moat of seats by the dugouts that no one is allowed to get in even during batting practice (AAAAAAAAAAARGH).

The Yankees then came out to stretch and throw:

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I had my nameless #25 jersey on under the sweatshirt so I paid specific attention to Mark Teixeira:
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but  when he finished, his throwing partner took the ball and started throwing with someone else.

I moved on. I started playing umpire whenever Kerry Wood threw a ball to Sergio Mitre and it worked… sort of. Alex was in front of me and trying to get the same ball. When Kerry stopped throwing we were both waving. Alex in the front row and I in about the twelveth row. Kerry tossed it up so I thought at first it was going to Alex but then realized it was thrown to me. The ball was very underthrown. I started running forward but to no avail. It landed in the sixth row and bounced over my head and into about the twentieth row, where a fan in the twenty fifth row beat me
to it.
“Show me that arm Kerry!!”

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 For the Yankee’s batting practice I tried right field. Waaaay too crowded. I went up to the second deck. “you can’t come up here for batting practice”. Really, This is further from home plate than the field level seats.

So I went to the bleachers. There were two balls I had a shot at in the bleachers. A-Rod hit one (without batting gloves which was weird) and I ran over but someone was already standing there and dropped it when it hit his hands but caught it in midair before it hit the ground. The next was hit by Curtis Granderson, I ran down to the bottom of the bleachers and stretched as far as I could without falling onto the field level seats.I was seriously worrying about getting shutout for this game.

Texas came out to throw and I raced to the left field seats:

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I really thank Greg Barasch (gregb123 if I ever tell him about this blog) for lending me hi Ranger’s gear:
Thumbnail image for DSCN1423.JPGIt got me three toss ups from Rangers playersI followed Neftali Feliz when he finished throwing all the way from left field until the dugout waving my arm like crazy and holding my Ranger’s towel in my mouth. He finally rewarded me when he got to dugout. I was so thankful I gave it to a lady that was legitimately trying to get the ball as well.I was walking back to left field when I noticed that Michael Krikman was finishing his throwing. I stopped in foul ground and he gave me ball #2.

I then made my way to left field and held the towel up for every player that finished throwing. Mitch Moreland was about the third player gave me my third ball of the day.

I was initially kicked out from left field by this usher:

DSCN1403.JPGbut then he let me stay for the rest of batting practice. Now he left for parts of bp and I probably could have moved down the sections but didn’t want to ruin it for all others after me that wanted to stay for batting practice.

I occasionally went up to my actual seats but which view would you rather have.

This one:

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Or this one:
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Enough said. No home runs came to that part of left field but it was a much better view. The game was pretty good for most of it except for those last two innings. A side note is that I have never seen so many people get thrown out. About 5-6 fans got thrown out that I saw and many more in the bleachers. Unbelievable, there were guards in the bullpen that looked like Peyton Manning analyzing the defense (fans) and calling the guards to the right spot to eject fans in the bleachers.

The game was over and I was the only person within a mile of the bullpen and guess what. No baseballs from Rangers players. I then changed into Yankee’s gear in anticipation for the groundskeeper throwing the remaining five baseballs into the crowd:

DSCN1415.JPGThe groundskeeper overthrew some one and I outran the person to the ball rolling down the aisle. I had gotten 4 balls on the day.

Stats:Thumbnail image for DSCN1425.JPG

  • 4 baseballs at this game (3 in the picture because I gave one away)
  • 56 baseballs in 20 games this season = 2.8 balls per game
  • 57 total baseballs

I just wanted to get this in because I thought it was important and was reminded by the memorial at Yankee Stadium. Fred “Freddy sez” Schuman had a heart attack last week, went into a coma, and died last Sunday.

Here are some of the pictures from the memorial:

DSCN1404.JPGHere is the memorial itself.

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A close up of the picture.
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Here is the pan doing its wonder but by different hands.

I found out on Sunday because one of Dad’s friends was very close to Freddy. I forgot about it until I heard the echo of the pan in the great hall and stumbled upon this.

In any case, R.I.P.

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