Joe Mauer inked a 8-year contract with his hometown Minnesota Twins this past week worth $23 million a year starting in 2011 for a total guaranteed value of $184 million. If you play fantasy baseball you know that Joe Mauer is the best offensive catcher on planet Earth, but he is also one of the best defensive catchers, too, which separates him from the shortlist of quality catchers in the big leagues.
Despite being one of the highest paid players in the game, Mauer still generously gave the Twins a hometown discount and the IRS should make an exception and allow him to write off at least $70 million as a donation to charity.
This is a question I’m sure many out of town fans have been asked at one time or another. It just doesn’t make sense for you to not like the team in your state (or my case province).
This is especially true from my life. Born in Ontario Canada, Toronto should be my natural choice of baseball team, shouldn’t it? I mean, my earliest memories in baseball are of the Toronto Blue Jays winning the World Series.
My answer is that Baseball is a game of tradition and there is no exception when dealing with the fan’s perspective. True, a lot of the time it is buried within the city or states tradition as well. But there are other roots. Think back to your earliest baseball memories. Do you remember both teams that were playing? Do you remember any of the players? How were you experiencing the game? Who were you experiencing the game with?
People in the game of baseball have a slightly different view of spring training than most fans, who glow with excitement at the words, “Pitchers and catchers report,” and drool over the opportunity to see the game’s biggest stars in the quaint Grapefruit or Cactus League ballparks.
The reality for most who have played the game is that while highly touted prospects battle on the big field for a chance to head north with the Major League club, the real battles are held on the back fields. These minor leaguers, most of whom are anonymous to media and fan base alike, take the field every morning and leave the field every night with their ears perked, waiting for the doomsday-like call into an office where a group of people let them know their dream is over.
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It’s a trade that is more likely to be considered in your fantasy baseball league or on your new version of MLB 2K10, but ESPN’s Buster Olney has reported that the Philadelphia Phillies have “internally discussed” a deal that would send Ryan Howard (and presumably multiple prospects) to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Albert Pujols.
As Bobby Cox enters his final year as the Atlanta Braves manager, I find myself feeling both nostalgic and eager for a new skipper. Us Braves fans have always held Bobby in high regard. I mean, he is the fourth-winningest manager in Major League history, has the most wins of any Braves manager, four Manager of the Year awards, the all-time ejection record, the only person (player or manager) to get ejected from 2 World Series games, and took the Braves to 14 consecutive division titles. However, in light of the past 3 seasons, I am ready for something new.
Angels center fielder Torii Hunter had a mic in his face at the wrong time this past week when he was quoted as saying that black latino players were “imposters” and inferred that Major League baseball signed black Latinos as an alternative to black Americans. Hunter’s comments, while remarkably misinformed, had a positive side effect of sparking up debate over an international draft. Hunter’s quote:
“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African American. They’re not us. They’re impostors… As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’
Truly the best way to keep baseball in its current mind state, and even making it better possibly, would be by putting in a salary cap. This would level out the playing field and keep all the past traditions and rivalries in place. Put the salary limit at roughly 110-20 million (hard for NYs , BOS, LAs , and a few others) with a minimum at 50-60 million (the owners can agree on the dollar amount, depending on how much the top wants to give to the bottom and their must be a minimum, for true equal competition) (I know the lower end teams are being forced to spend the revenue tax <Marlins= Hanley Rameriz> but the top needs to have a cap to make the current proposal really work). Give teams 2 or 3 years deadline to make the cap and results would be shocking (I think so). Some clubs would be forced to trade major players or even stars for prospects and the bottom clubs would have to do vice verse (Yankees and Red Sox players going to teams like Kansas City, San Diego, Florida, and Oakland).
Of all the things Bud Selig has done in his time as the commissioner of Major League Baseball, his new idea certainly takes the cake (assuming that cake is baked with large portions of ludicrous and crazy pills, that is.)
Selig has made some questionable decisions (or lack thereof) in his time, from not reconsidering the reinstatement of Pete Rose to making the exhibition All Star game determine home-field advantage in the World Series to his questionable decision about Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, the idea pitched from Selig’s “special committee for on-field matters” surpasses all of those.
Good news first: Unless you’ve been living in a cone of baseball silence during the past few months, you’ve heard of Jason Heyward. In case you have not heard of him… just think of Labron James in a baseball uniform. He’s 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, has the patience of a seasoned veteran, only 1 strikeout so far this spring, and he’s 20 years old. He’s being compared to the likes of Fred McGriff, Dave Parker, and God. All signs are pointing to him being the Braves starting right fielder come April, and we (Braves nation) couldn’t be happier.