Baseball Movie Review – Sugar

by on April 22, 2010   No Comments

The movie Sugar came out on limited release in April of last year and it took me a year to get it via NetFlix, but all the hype was worth the wait – and I wasn’t disapointed.  Sugar is the account of a teenage Dominican, signed at 16 and playing at a Major League Academy in the Dominican, getting the call at age 18 to play in the Low-A Midwest League in the United States with the Swing of the Quad Cities (now the Quad City River Bandits).

Freak(s) of Nature – Switch Pitcher

by on April 20, 2010   3 Comments

Undoubtedly, most baseball fans are aware of ex-Creighton now New York Yankees minor league switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.  In case you missed his first prime time moment, take the time to check out the eight minute video above, because it is absolutely hysterical.

What you may not have heard of is that Pat Venditte isn’t alone in his ability that seems to laugh at God.  There is actually another pitcher out there with MLB caliber stuff with both arms.

Open Mouth, Insert Foot – featuring Orlando Hudson

by on April 14, 2010   2 Comments

Orlando Hudson thinks there is racism in baseball that supersedes a club’s desire to win.  He didn’t come out and say those words, but that is pretty easy to infer by his recent comments regarding the jobless state of aging sluggers Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield.  Here is a taste of his recent comments to media:

“You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job.  Guy with [27 home runs and 81 RBIs] and can’t get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You’ve got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get $5, $6 million, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can’t get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can’t get a job. …

“We both know what it is. You’ll get it right. You’ll figure it out. I’m not gonna say it because then I’ll be in [trouble].”

“Call it what you want to,” Hudson said. “I ain’t fit to say it. After I retire I’ll say it. I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to say after I retire.”

The Condition that Must Not Be Named – The Thing

by on April 13, 2010   3 Comments

The Orioles addition of Mike Gonzalez was one of the reason I picked the Orioles to finish in 3rd place in the AL East, but just a week into the 2010 season, Gonzalez reportedly has “The Thing,” and is on shaky ground as the Orioles closer.

Some call it the yips, some call it Chuck Knoblauch syndrome, but most in the game just call it, “The Thing.”  The reason for the ambiguity is two-fold – because it is a physiological disorder that can come on so fast and so unexplained that no one can really tell you how or why it happens, and secondly, everyone in the game has seen or known someone first hand that has been stricken with “The Thing” and how devastating it can be, so whether out of respect or fear, no one likes to talk about it.  Simply put, the thing is when you suddenly and inexplicably lose any and all control of where the ball is headed once it leaves your hand.

2010 MLB Draft Prospect Update 4/11/10

by on April 11, 2010   No Comments

Mid-season update on who’s stock is up and who’s stock in down as we look ahead to the 2010 MLB Draft.

Dream a Little Dream

by on April 10, 2010   2 Comments

Ah, how I love early season baseball.  Where the Blue Jays and Rays are tied atop the AL East, Garrett Jones of the Pirates is tops in the NL is home runs, and Dallas Braden (who?) of the Oakland Athletics is your Major League strikeout champion.  One can dream, can’t he?  Oh, so harsh, that reality, and great equalizer, that is 162 games that takes into account not just the level of talent in the big leagues, but the depth of the entire organization.  But screw it, here is your 4-game award winners:

Open Mouth, Insert Foot – featuring Joe West

by on April 9, 2010   11 Comments

Baseball is a multi-billion dollar revenue machine and until the economic pot-hole in 2009, had seen attendance grow exponentially at all levels from independent baseball to the big leagues.  However, some, like umpire Joe West (pictured throwing out Jerry Manuel, although I like to pretend he is shaking his booty to some hip-hop song) that enjoy the game enough to make his career out of it, but can’t be bothered to hang around and work for four whole hours.  More specifically, hang around and work four whole hours for the one of the best rivalries in all of sports – the Yankees vs. the Red Sox.

“They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace. They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play. The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up. We try. And [Tuesday night’s game] still almost went four hours . . . This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.”

Au contraire, Mr. West….

Houston, We Have a Problem – the Astros

by on April 8, 2010   4 Comments

The Houston Astros racked up three losses to open the season faster than I had a chance to look at a boxscore and ask, “They have Geoff Blum hitting 5th?”

Sorry bout cha, Hunter Pence.  Buena suertes, Carlos Lee.  With Lance Berkman on the shelf until at least April 10th (but probably much later) after surgeons went back in to clean up his aching knee, you get a journey-man first-basemen Geoff Blum, with his career 162-game average of .250 and 12 homers, to protect your two only real power threats in Pence and Lee.

That’s not to leave out your table setters, OF Michael Bourn and 2B Kaz Matsui, who have respective career OBPs of .326 and .302 respectively.

Oh, and then there is the pitching staff….

Mauer Gives $70 Million to Charity

by on March 30, 2010   10 Comments

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.

Making the Cut – Spring Training Reality

by on March 18, 2010   No Comments

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.