Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves are 11-1. They just swept the Nationals and won 9-0 last night. Justin Upton is hitting .340 with 7 home runs. Chris Johnson, Paul Maholm, and Jayson Heyward are hot all while Freddie Freeman is on the DL.

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“It’s early,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I don’t think we’re going to play .998 baseball the rest of the way, but it sure is better than 1-11.”

For all of those changing your NL East picks slow it down, only four other teams have accomplished the feat since 2000: the 2002 Cleveland Indians, the 2003 Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, and the 2009 Florida Marlins. Coincidentally, of those four teams, only the Giants reached the post-season. In fact, the other three won 87 games or fewer. A hot start is no guarantee of long-term success.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Team Year Start Finish
DET 1911 11-1 89-65 2
PHI 1915 11-1 90-62NL Pennant
NYG 1918 11-1 71-53 2
NYG 1938 11-1 83-67 3
BRO 1940 11-1 88-65 2
BRO 1955 11-1 98-55WS Champ
PIT 1962 11-1 93-68 4
CLE 1966 11-1 81-81 5
BAL 1966 11-1 97-63WS Champ
CHC 1969 11-1 92-70 2
CIN 1980 11-1 89-73 3
OAK 1981 11-1 64-46Division Champ
ATL 1982 12-0 89-73Division Champ
DET 1984 11-1 104-58WS Champ
MIL 1987 12-0 91-71 3
ATL 1994 11-1 68-46 2
CLE 2002 11-1 74-88 3
SFG 2003 11-1 100-61 1
Division Champ
KCR 2003 11-1 83-79 3
FLA 2009 11-1 87-75 2
ATL 2013 11-1 ? ? ?

It will be fun to watch these Braves for the next few months. Don’t get too ahead of yourselves when looking at their record, their division won’t let them be dominant this season.

My Picks

PICKS:

NL GOLD GLOVES:

P: Clayton Kershaw

C: Yadier Molina

1B: Joey Votto

2B: Brandon Phillips

3B: Pedro Alvarez

SS: Brandon Crawford

OF: Andrew McCutchen

OF: Bryce Harper

OF: Ryan Braun

 

AL GOLD GLOVES:

P: Mark Buehrle

C: Matt Wieters

1B: Albert Pujols

2B: Robinson Cano

3B: Adrian Beltre

SS: JJ Hardy

OF: Mike Trout

OF: Austin Jackson

OF: Josh Hamilton

 

MVP:

NL: Ryan Braun

AL: Josh Hamilton

 

CY YOUNG:

NL: Clayton Kershaw

AL: Justin Verlander

 

COME BACK PLAYER:

NL: Ryan Howard

AL: Mariano Rivera

 

NOTABLE BUSTS:

NL: Carlos Ruiz

AL: Adam Jones, RA Dickey, Kansas City Royals

NL Predicitons

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST:

The most interesting team in all of baseball this year will be the Los Angeles Dodgers and here is why: their starting pitching must stay health, especially now with Greinke’s elbow on the fritz, while Billingsley and Lilly are starting the year on the DL… Kershaw is the best pitcher in the NL bar none and their lineup has a healthy Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. What will happen to the team when Hanley Ramirez gets healthy? I think they have a shot to win the West but that is all depending on how well the young pitching for the Dbacks is and also if the Giants can score more than 3 runs a game. The Rockies and the Padres will be irrelevant as usual.

  1. Giants: 92-70
  2. Dodgers: 2GB (NL Wild Card slot 2)
  3. Dbacks: 2.5 GB
  4. Rockies: 7.5 GB
  5. Padres: 18 GB

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL:

What is there to say about the NL Central this year? Pittsburgh will go under .500 again this year (sorry Pirate fans), the Cubs will be p*ss poor again and the Brewers, though with a healthy pitching staff with Gallardo and Lohse will not be relevant in the division. That leaves the Cardinals and the Reds. The Reds are a team that many are picking to win the National League and I have to say I like their chances. They have five good starters, starters that work late into games saving the bullpen innings. The rotation reads like this: Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake. The bullpen is strong as well with Broxton, Marshall, Parra, and a healthy Chapman. Watch out for the Reds in the postseason.

The Cardinals are a fun team to look at this year because of their quality arms throughout the bullpen and the rotation and also a solid lineup, Craig, Jay, Molina, Beltran, and Holliday could make the NL Central race very interesting this season.

  1. Reds: 95-67
  2. Cardinals: 3GB (NL Wild Card slot 1)
  3. Brewers: 7 GB
  4. Pirates: 7GB
  5. Cubs: 22 GB 

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST:

This is my favorite division this year just because the Phillies, Braves, and Nationals all have the staffs to do well all season. I give the edge to the Nationals just because a more full lineup behind Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmerman, Haren and Detwiler. Oh yeah, and their closer, Rafael Soriano, had 42 saves for the Yankees last year. The Phillies and the Braves are interesting to think about. Can both lineups stay healthy this year? That’s a good question given Howard, Utley, J-Roll, the Uptons and Heyward have been hurt off and on for the past few seasons. Both rotations are solid but I just don’t think they have what it takes to beat out the Dodgers and the Cardinals for the 2 Wild Card slots, (I have the Cards with 92 wins and the Dodgers with 90). I wish I could give my team, the Mets, some love but again in 2013 they will be horrible, same with the Marlins.

  1. Nationals: 97-65
  2. Phillies: 9 GB
  3. Braves: 9 GB
  4. Mets: 17 GB
  5. Marlins: 20 GB

2013 Predictions!

This season will be full of surprises… that should go unsaid (because the same thing is said at the beginning of every season.) Y’all read my website for opinion and I am going to give it to you right here. Let me know what you all think about my predictions and what your predications are as well.

I will delve into each division, each for Gold Glove, CY Young and MVP winners. As well as come back players, busts and over-unders for the 2013 season.

Now without further a due, let us jump into this!

DIVISION PREDICTIONS:

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST:

This will be an interesting division this year. I am sure the A’s surprised you as well last year but do they have what it takes this year to repeat on top of the division? They have 5 very good starts as well as a very young lineup behind them. Do they have what it takes to take down the Los Angeles Angels? An angels lineup that has a hungry Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and now Josh Hamilton… You tell me if a time like that can lose a division. The Astros will be irrelevant again and I believe that the Rangers aren’t capable of a) staying healthy and b) pitching well all season. Oh, and the mariners are in the division too, don’t forget. The division will go like this:

  1. Angels: 94-68
  2. A’s: 4 GB
  3. Rangers: 5 GB
  4. Mariners: 12 GB
  5. Astros: 26 GB

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL:

This is easily the 2nd most intriguing race in baseball this year (just behind the AL East). What will come of the Indians and the Royals? The Twins will sadly be garbage again and the Tigers are the outright favorites. The reigning AL champions will be accompanied by the switch hitter Victor Martinez who missed all of the 2012 season. The White Sox may be able to give them a run for their money with a lineup solid throughout, and an automatic ace, Chris Sale, with a solid bullpen. In this division I give it to the Tigers, but just barely.

  1. Tigers: 93-69
  2. White Sox: 1 GB (Wild Card Slot 1)
  3. Royals: 4 GB
  4. Indians: 8 GB
  5. Twins: 18GB

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST:

This division will be incredibly fun to watch this season. What will come of the Blue Jays? Will they end up like the 2012 Miami Marlins? With a pitching staff with Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, JC Romero, and RA Dickey that might be hard to do. Their lineup reads like this:

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. Melky Cabrera LF
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B
  5. Adam Lind DH
  6. JP Arencibia C
  7. Colby Rasmus CF
  8. Emilio Bonifacio 2B
  9. Maicer Izturis 3B

Could a lineup this thorough, this potent, be denied an AL East title, especially with teams like the surprising O’s and the always strong Rays? Also in this division are the Yankees and the Red Sox who will have disappointing seasons.

The division will end up like this:

  1. Blue Jays: 92-70
  2. Rays: 2 GB (Wild Card Slot 2)
  3. Orioles: 5 GB
  4. Yankees: 7 GB
  5. Red Sox: 11 GB

…Stay tuned for NL predictions later today

Pete Rose Deserves to be in the Hall of Fame

To this day, one of the greatest hitters of all time, Peter Edward Rose, is yet to be immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. As a player, he was extraordinary. He played in 17 All Star games, and won three World Series. He won two Gold Glove awards, and a few MVPs. He is the all-time leader in hits, 4,286, at-bats, 14,053, and games played, 3,562. He created the head first slide to a bag, and never actually walked when he was walked; his constant speed and determination garnished his nickname, Charlie Hustle. A player of his caliber can only be left out of the Hall of Fame for one reason and one reason only, lying. Pete Rose had a gambling problem and bet on his own team while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Rose, of course, denied the claims for many years, even stating in an interview with Jim Gray of Sports Illustrated, “I’m not going to admit to something that didn’t happen.” Rose was confident in his language and use of words during the interview, and people believed him. He sounded real. Then came the truth. In his autobiography, Rose admitted to betting on baseball; however, he said he only bet for the Reds to win.

I am an apologetic supporter of this unique Hall of Fame situation. I believe that the Hall of Fame should be the place where one is immortalized because of what he did on the field, not what he did off of it. I argue for the induction of these men, cheaters or not, because it is a part of baseball history. The way the Hall of Fame voting process has been is wrong and unfair to those who deserve to be inducted. Once a year, baseball writers for across the country arbitrarily vote for whom they think should go into the Hall of Fame. They are allowed ten votes, one for any name on the ballot. Those with seventy five percent of the vote or higher are inducted in. An uneducated baseball mind may think that seems fair, but when one digs deeper into the situation it is evident that it isn’t. A baseball writer’s job is to inform the public about anything happening in the game, and during the steroid era, 1995- 2005, all they did was praise these men for their incredible numbers and the way the put on a show, completely giving a blind eye to what was really going on. Now, these same men who praised these players, players of which have now been caught for cheating, are voting for their acceptance into the Hall of Fame. They are the judge, the jury, and the ultimate reason why the Hall of Fame today is a lackluster view of what it can be. Betting on baseball is illegal, which is the reason Pete Rose was kicked off the ballot in the first place. If doing something illegal gets you kicked off the ballot, then shouldn’t every player ever caught taking steroids be taken off the ballot as well. Not in the eyes of the only people that matter, the baseball writers.

With all of the steroid era players now appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot, Pete Rose is still getting no say as to whether he deserves to be inducted in the Hall of Fame with them. He deserves to be in. Yes, he bet on baseball, but only as a manager. He cheated, he lied, but so did Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire, and the list goes on and on. Nothing these men did is anything different than what Pete Rose did. Rose’s lapse in judgment tarnished the game’s integrity. It did not improve his chances to be enshrined. Can we say the same for Bonds, Clemens, pete-roseMcGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa and Alex Rodriguez? All are at least suspected of cheating the game, in a different way, a better way, apparently. Each made the right mistake. Allegedly. None has joined Rose on the game’s permanently ineligible list.

Due to a better understanding of the game, players are clean and playing baseball the natural way, a way that Pete Rose played, hard nosed, dirty, rough. The Hall of Fame’s purpose is to honor achievement; it is a museum, a shrine, to the history of baseball, good or bad. Rose had 4,256 hits. No one had more. Rose’s gambling didn’t help him get 4,256 hits. It didn’t mess with the outcome of a game any more than another player’s pill, cream, or needle did. It’s erroneous to suggest that because Rose never was found to have bet against his own team, his gambling was less harmful. Rose was admittedly a selfish player, but his selfishness never hurt his team. Compare that with the profound selfishness displayed by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Peter Edward Rose was banned for life from baseball because of allegedly betting on baseball games. Nineteen thirty six Hall of Fame inductee, Ty Cobb, openly admitted to murdering a man, but this did not stop him from entering the Hall of Fame. If not the greatest player, Ty Cobb was easily the fiercest competitor. He was a racist who refused to even look at someone with darker skin. He was malevolent, day in and day out. He would sharpen his cleats before games to make sure everyone knew that if you got in his way you were making a trip to the emergency room before the day was over. Rose, fierce like Cobb, heightened the hatred of him throughout his years playing and after. But, if one is going to compare Pete Rose to Ty Cobb, then treat Pete Rose like Ty Cobb.

The Hall of Fame’s purpose is to preserve baseball history and immortalize those who played the game. One hundred years from now, when fathers are telling their sons about Cooperstown and the history of baseball, will baseball have done the right thing and enshrine this man, to make sure his legacy will live on? If this keeps him from ever seeing his name on a plaque on the wall in Cooperstown, than what is the purpose of the Hall of Fame? There is nothing more for Charlie Hustle than to just wait. He needs to tell his side of the story; he needs to support all that is right with baseball, but most of all he needs to wait. Sadly, waiting is all he has left. He has paid his dues and now he has to sit and watch as one by one, these cheaters get elected in. Pete Rose played with the most hustle and the most intensity of anyone who ha

050412_peteRose_bcol_widecs ever played this game. His passion, his love for winning, and being the best has, up to this day, been in vain. Something needs to be done with the Hall of Fame. Something needs to be

fixed to show the fans, and prove to the writers that all men, morally good or bad, need to be placed in the Hall of Fame because of what they accomplished on the field, not their blunders off of it. Pete Rose is now seventy-one years old, his wait though, seems to be lasting him an eternity.

Works Cited

“Cincinnati Reds.” Bleacher Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

Daugherty, Paul. “Why Rose Should Be in Hall of Fame and Drug Cheats Should Not.” Pete Rose Deserves a Spot in Cooperstown but Steroid Users Do Not. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

Stark, Jayson. “White Sox Go from Cursed To first.” ESPN.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

Expanding the “Den”

Ladies, gentleman, and scholars, I am looking for a way to expand my voice and expand this site into something blogs have never seen before. What would you, my viewers, like to see? I am looking at making a 10-15 youtube video, once a week, on the happenings in baseball for that week. Am I in over my head? What do you, my fans, think? 

Miami Lists of PED Users Released

Major League Baseball released a statement today in the wake of yet another link between the best players in the game and performance enhancing drugs, “We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances. These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts.” Since the release of the ‘Mitchell Report’ in 2007, the MLB anti- doping program has done what it has seen to be the right decision in the battle against illegal performance enhancing drugs.

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“In a list by an anti- aging clinic in Miami, Florida,” Miami New Times reports, “prominent ballplayers were on it, such as Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzales, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, and Melky Cabrera.” The names were on records Miami New Times said were given to it by an employee who worked at Biogenesis of America before it closed last month. Miami New Times reported that the records show the firm sold performance-enhancing drugs, including human growth hormone, testosterone and anabolic steroids.

It is now up to the MLB Commissioners office to determine whether these accusations, evidence based or not, are fact or fallacy  All we do as baseball fans is wait. We wait for decisions and we now wait for judgement. Will their punishments be strict, fair? How will PED testing be changed because of this test? Now we wait. All I know is that A-rod, if linked, should never be allowed to be on the Hall of

Fame ballot after his career is over. This would be the SECOND TIME in 5 years he would be linked to PEDs. Let’s hope Major League baseball does the right thing here.

 

Lets Talk Hall of Fame for a Second…

The 2013 Hall of Fame vote came out and as we know, nobody got in. This puzzles most fans of baseball as to why the 7-time CY Young Award winner and the all time home run king didn’t get more than 40% of the BBWAA votes. They now have fourteen years of eligibility left to get into the HOF and as one can assume, they will get in. As will Houston Astro Craig Biggio, and eventually Mike Piazza and Curt Shilling as well. As for players like Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Tim Raines, and Lee Smith, though some deserving, might not get as lucky.

Lets talk about the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot; Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, and Luis Gonzalez will be on the ballot for the first time and I am pretty sure we can make assumptions as to who will be voted in. Maddux, Mussina, Thomas and Glavine will for sure imgresearn 75% of the vote but as for the second base all time leader in home runs, Jeff Kent, will have to wait a few years. Kent is for sure in the same class as Biggio when it comes to HOF possibilities, but I am sorry to say that Luis Gonzales, a career .283 avg with 2,500 hits, although a great player, just doesn’t cut it.When you take the history of the Hall of Fame you see recurring trends in voting. Two of the best players of all time are not going to “first ballot” Hall of Famers but lets look at all the other incredible players who weren’t first ballot either:

  • Jimmie Foxx, 7 years on the ballot
  • Hank Greenberg, 9
  • Rogers Hornsby, 5
  • Eddie Mathews, 5
  • Harmon Killabrew, 4
  • DUKE SNIDER, 11
  • JOE DIMAGGIO, 5

Shame on the voters for making Duke Snider and Joe Dimaggio wait that long to get in the hall. But, that is the nature of the

imgres-1beast in this incredibly biased, judge and jury, way of voting that has perpetuated from the crop of BBWAA voters.

Oh, and one more thing. I want us to take a look at Kenny Lofton:

Lofton is one of six players in history to have 100 home runs and 600 stolen bases and four of the other five were first-ballot Hall of Famers (Ty Cobb, imgres-2Lou Brock, Joe Morgan and Rickey Henderson), and Tim Raines, another guy who should be in the Hall, is the other. While Lofton might not be the offensive equal to any of those guys, he was an underrated offensive player and a stellar defensive center fielder.

I’m not saying he’s a Hall of Famer. The case is close and if he never got in, it wouldn’t be an injustice, but it should be considered for more than just this year. The injustice here is that he received just 3.2 percent of the vote and is now off the ballot.

If you’re going to penalize “steroid guys” for inflated numbers, then you can’t penalize those who didn’t post inflated numbers. The voters can’t have it both ways.

But, of course, being judge and jury, the writers have the final say.