My All-Time Team

I’m on a blogging spree right now.

A few weeks back during a lengthy car ride from Asheville, NC to the research triangle, I put together my all-time team. That’s right, team is italicized. I put it together as if these are the guys that I would want out on the field, on the mound, in my bullpen, and on bench fulfilling different roles.

So I put together a 25-man roster consisting of Major Leaguers past and present. Here they are with some explanation.

Starting Lineup

Secondbase – Rogers Hornsby
He holds the second highest batting average ever at .358, who else would you want as your leadoff man? He hit over .400 three times and won seven batting crowns. He fell just 70 hits short of the highly regarded 3,000 hit club.
Centerfield – Willie Mays
Power and speed reign in my centerfield as “Say Hey” topped 3,000 hits, 2,000 runs, stole 338 bases, drove in 1,903 runs, and hit 660 homeruns. This one’s really no competition.
Leftfield – Ted Williams
Don’t look at the numbers because he went to war in the middle of his career. Number 9 could rake. Just know that he was the last player to hit over .400 in a season. In my opinion, Williams and my cleanup hitter are the best hitters ever in the game, and the three spot is where you put your best hitter.
Rightfield – Babe Ruth
In his time, no one even came close to his power numbers. Little does anyone know that he also was a career .342 hitter. Do I really need to rattle off the stats? He may be the most highly regarded athlete in history.
Thirdbase – Mike Schmidt
Michael Jack had that lethal combo at the hot corner of power and fielding ability. Along with his 548 career longballs, he won ten gold glove awards. He may be part of that last group of unskepticized power hitters.
Firstbase – Lou Gehrig
Overshadowed by the Babe, Gehrig quietly hit .340 for his career and posted a .632 slugging percentage along with 493 homeruns and 1,995 RBI. Starting Pujols was tempting here, but I stuck him on the bench until further notice.
Catcher – Johnny Bench
He was clutch, great defensively, and won two MVP awards as a catcher.
Shortstop – Derek Jeter
I’m sorry. I needed someone from my generation in the starting lineup. Just kidding. But honestly, the level of hate I have for the Yankees is the level of respect I have for Jeter, ironic? He is the best hitter I have seen at taking the ball the other way. He inside-outs the ball like no other, how could you not want that at the bottom of your lineup?

Starting Rotation

Righthander – Walter Johnson
“The Big Train” threw hard. 417 career wins on one of the worst teams in baseball history is an impressive feat on its own. Imagine the amount of wins he would get on this team. Yikes.
Lefthander – Sandy Koufax
Yea yea, I know, “he only had a bunch of great years and not a whole career.” The thing is, those years weren’t just great, they were amazing. In a five-year span, Koufax won 111 games, had an ERA under 2.00, struckout a boatload, and threw four no-hitters. Untouchable.
Righthander – Satchel Paige
This is tough because the Negro Leagues didn’t keep statistics really. But the fact that whenever I hear anyone relate what Satchel did on the mound to Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Nolan Ryan combined and even better. I’m going to trust them. I’ll just say that he did well in the Majors at 60 years of age.
Lefthander – Lefty Grove
He won exactly 300 games in the big-leagues and sported a .680 winning percentage which is the third highest in the Hall of Fame.
Righthander – Cy Young
Well he does have an award named after him. Denton True holds a plethera of pitching records including wins (511) and complete games (749).

Bullpen

Righthander – Dennis Eckersley
He recorded 320 saves as a closer after he turned 32 years of age. I could use him to spot start if I needed to, but given my starters, he would just be coming out of the bullpen for me.
Lefthander – Randy Johnson
It’s my team, so I can put a starter in the ‘pen. Imagine Johnson coming out of the bullpen to face a few lefties.
Righthander – Nolan Ryan
Same story here. He’d be another starter out of the bullpen for me. In a much needed strikeout situation, why not bring in the all-time leader?
Righthander – Rollie Fingers
It would be impossible to keep that mustache and those 341 career saves out of this bullpen.
Setup Man – Trevor Hoffman
The all-time saves leader and his changeup would be my setup man.
Closer – Mariano Rivera
The cutter is absolutely filthy and once he’s retired, he will be considered the best closer of all-time, to me atleast.

Bench

Catcher – Ivan Rodriguez
Around a .300 career average hitter, he would be on my bench for his defense. Whenever Bench would need a break, his defense wouldn’t be missed because Pudge’s is amazing as well.
Firstbase – Albert Pujols
359 career homeruns and counting. Around a career .333 average. In each of his first nine seasons in the Majors, Albert has topped 30 homeruns and 100 RBI. He doesn’t turn 30 until next year.
1B/OF – Hank Aaron
Who better to bring up with the game on the line other than the all-time homerun leader?
Infielder – Pete Rose
The Hit King can come off my bench to pinch-hit, I don’t care if he gambles.
Outfielder – Rickey Henderson
Pinch runner extraordinaire. The all-time steals leader would tear up the basepaths late in the game when we need a runner to get into scoring position.
Outfielder – Roberto Clemente
With exactly 3,000 hits and the cannon for an arm that he’s got, he would be a perfect role player for this team, getting starts here and there.

Scottie Halo

Scott Kazmir has been traded to the Los Angeles Angels after a deal reportedly didn’t go down prior to the July 31st trading deadline. Almost a month later, the Angels have bolstered their rotation.

kazmir.jpgIn what has been a tough season (8-7, 5.92 ERA) for the still very young southpaw, the Angels may have been attracted to go get the kid after two solid starts in which he went seven and a third giving up three runs against Texas and going six innings of one-run ball in which he struck out ten against Toronto.

Perhaps the 25-year-old is turning a corner on a terrible season thus far, so the Angels, who look to take the AL West grabbed the strikeout pitcher hoping for some results as September nears.

Their rotation has had a rough year as well. Along with the tragic loss of Nick Adenhart, both Ervin Santana and John Lackey started the year on the disabled list. Here’s how they’ve been in 2009–

John Lackey — 8-7 // 4.16 ERA
Ervin Santana — 7-7 // 5.94 ERA
Joe Saunders — 10-7 // 5.27 ERA
Jered Weaver — 13-5 // 4.03 ERA

Trevor Bell will likely be out which leaves that fifth spot for Kazmir, who’s statistics fit right in with the rest of this struggling rotation. For now, the Angels can get away with the struggling pitching because they hit so well. They do all the little things correctly.

Come playoff time, that may not be the case. The playoffs are about how well your pitchers step up and put your team into a position to win (along with the little things). Kazmir was just there last year and he’s faced the Yanks and Red Sox many, many times before. So if they happen to meet in the playoffs, his knowledge of their hitters will help out the Angels’ staff.

Stadium Resume

After a exciting, yet dissapointing, series in Pittsburgh that I’d rather not blog about due to frustration, I’ll give you all the stadiums I’ve been to.

Just a quick note on the Fightins. Hopefully they can start scoring with runners in scoring position. Last night they should have put the Pirates away in the first inning with the bases loaded and no outs. It is frustrating to watch and that leaves JA Happ with no room for error. Other than Garrett Jones’ rainmaker, he pitched very nicely, just as he has been all season long. Right now I am about 50/50 as to who I’d pick for NL Rookie of the Year between Happ and Tommy Hanson in Atlanta.
happ.jpgHopefully they score some runs on the Braves and get some solid pitching tonight from Pedro to bounce back from that series.

Anyways, here’s the list.


 Major League Baseball (no longer in use)
Veterans Stadium — Philadelphia Phillies
Tiger Stadium — Detroit Tigers
Shea Stadium — New York Mets
Olympic Stadium — Montreal Expos
RFK Stadium — Washington Nationals

Major League Baseball (in use)
Citizen’s Bank Park — Philadelphia Phillies
Rogers Centre — Toronto Blue Jays
Camden Yards — Baltimore Orioles
PNC Park — Pittsburgh Pirates
US Cellular Field — Chicago White Sox
Fenway Park — Boston Red Sox
Coors Field — Colorado Rockies
Busch Stadium — St. Louis Cardinals
Citi Field — New York Mets

Minor Leagues
AAA International League
PNC Field — previously Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Moosic, PA)
Louisville Slugger Field — Louisville Bats (Louisville, KY)
McCoy Stadium — Pawtucket Red Sox (Pawtucket, RI)
Durham Bulls Athletic Park — Durham Bulls (Durham, NC)
AAA Pacific Coast League
Secuirity Services Field — Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Colorado Springs, CO)
AA Eastern League
Blair County Ballpark — Altoona Curve (Altoona, PA)
FirstEnergy Stadium — Reading Phillies (Reading, PA)
Mercer County Waterfront Park — Trenton Thunder (Trenton, NJ)
Prince George Stadium — Bowie Baysox (Bowie, MD)
altoonacurve.jpgA Carolina League

Daniel S. Frawley Stadium — Wilmington Blue Rocks (Wilmington, DE)
Calvin Falwell Field — Lynchburg Hillcats (Lynchburg, VA)
Salem Memorial Ballpark — previously Salem Avalanche (Salem, VA)
A Florida State League
Joker Marchant Stadium — Lakeland Tigers (Lakeland, FL)
A South Atlantic League
Grayson Stadium — Savannah Sand Gnats (Savannah, GA)
Joseph Riley Ballpark — Charleston River Dogs (Charleston, SC)
McCormick Field — Ashville Tourists (Ashville, NC)
Short-A New York-Penn League
Ripken Stadium — Aberdeen Ironbirds (Aberdeen, MD)
Damaschke Field — Oneonta Tigers/Yankees (Oneonta, NY)
Centennial Field — Vermont Lake Monsters/Expos (Burlington, VT)
Donovan Stadium at Murname Field — Utica Blue Sox (Utica, NY) no longer exist
Rookie-Adv Appalachian League
American Legion Field — Danville Braves (Danville, VA)
Calfee Park — previously Pulaski Blue Jays (Pulaski, VA)

Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
Campbell’s Field — Camden River Sharks (Camden, NJ)
TD Bank Ballpark — Somerset Patriots (Bridgewater, NJ)

Misc. Ballparks
Field of Dreams (Dyersville, Iowa)
Doubleday Field (Cooperstown, NY)

I think that’s all.

Back to School

I’m back at school and today was the first day of classes. More importantly though, Cliff Lee continues to run the NL. His ERA since being traded to the Phils is a miniscule 0.68, after the two runs he gave up in today’s 6-2 win over the Mets, were unearned.

Utley kind of threw the ball around after dropping a routine popup. But he did sit yesterday and he always wants to be out there competing, I wasn’t providing a scapegoat for him there although it kind of sounded like it. There’s no excuses for that.

How about Eric Bruntlett? Due to the fact that the Phils are playing thirteen straight days, Charlie Manuel is looking for spots to give guys rest. Bruntlett who filled in for Utley yesterday went 3-for-5 while turning an unassisted triple play to end the game (he also made two errors earlier that inning, so he better have gotten all three outs there). Today he was the starter at short while Jimmy Rollins got a break. In today’s game, he was 1-for-4. So over the past two days he went 4-for-9 which isn’t bad for a guy hitting under the mendoza line.

bruntlett.jpgThe main reason he is still on this team is because he plays a million positions. They’re just looking for his bat to start coming around for the hopeful postseason.

Usually the Mets are leading the division right around now and then September rolls around, and then that’s when they implode as a team. Nope, not this year. Apart from K-Rod, every star player they have has gotten hurt (now that Johan may need season ending surgery).

I don’t feel bad, not one bit. The “Melts” always fail.

Short post, I know.

Dog Days Prognostications

I’m here on my family vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. And I had some downtime so I figured rather than sleep or look at the clouds that are eye level outside our mountain house, I would blog.

And okay, caught me, I said I wouldn’t be posting again until I got back to school, but.. I am. I figured I would post some of my predictions for the rest of the season. Note: These are my predictions as of August 5th, I reserve the right to change my mind as the season progresses, after all–it is my blog.

clifflee.jpgThe NL West goes to the Dodgers, that was hard.

The Phillies are in quite a slump. They’re not hitting, not pitching all too well, and making an error here and there. The greeting card sitting at Cliff Lee‘s locker when he arrived at CBP Tuesday might have read: “Welcome to town, Mr. Lee! We’ll continue to win once every fifth day when you’re out on the mound and maybe not even win then, if our offense doesn’t get going!” Lets hope that Lee didn’t bring the funk that the whole Cleveland Indians team is going through to Philly. I’m just playing around, teams go through valleys and reach mountain peaks throughout the season and I’m hoping the Phils are just in a small valley. My guess is that the Phils don’t suffer from Tribe Syndrome, turn it around in the coming week, and win the NL East.

If the Rangers had more than Dustin Nippert and Kevin Millwood then I would seriously consider them in the West over the Angels. But since they don’t, I got the Halos.

One of the best races to watch may be that AL Central. It is going to come down to what pitching staff steps up and holds off each opponent because the Tigers, White Sox, and Twins all scrap until the end to win baseball games. I love the punches Buerhle, Danks, and Floyd but the combination of Mauer and Morneau is lethal as well. So lets knock off who leads the division right now, the Detroit Tigers. They’re near the back of the AL in a bunch of categories and in the long haul, that won’t get you to the playoffs. So if its White Sox vs. Twins, advantage: Twins. They are 7-5 against the ChiSox this year.

The case for the Colorado Rockies (in a few sentences):
They have the pitching finally as their rotation has really come together this season even when Jeff Francis went down before the season started. Seth Smith and Dexter Fowler are maturing in the majors. They’ve always had the middle-of-the-lineup bats to drive in the guys that get on base before them. Todd Helton is healthy. They have more home games left than any other NL contender. They’re my NL wild card pick.

fowler.jpgWhy not the Giants?
This makes me feel like a HUGE hypocrite. I usually am all about pitching. Pitching wins, pitching wins, pitching wins. That’s what I lay my baseball foundation on. The Giants have one of  the best staffs in the National League. AND they just upgraded their awful offense AND they’re now scoring runs. They do have some great young players but I’m not sure that I can see this team playing in October. Maybe because I’ve never seen Freddy Sanchez there. Haha. Speaking of which…

Poor Pirates fans. But only the Pirates fans because Pittsburgh’s won two other championships this year. Jerry Crasnick, of ESPN.com, wrote a great article about the dismantling of this team here: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=4373943.

Lets get to the touchy subject, the AL East. The Red Sox own the Yankees this year, but the Rays own the Red Sox, but the Yankees lead the division. Huh? Yea, this is a tough division to choose. The Yankees score 0.29 more runs per game than the Red Sox and 0.32 more than the Rays. The Sox ERA is 0.06 better than the Rays and 0.39 better than the Yanks. My guess is that the Yanks lose their game and a half lead to the Red Sox.

Then since the Yankees play in a park where an everyday flyout to right is homerun, I say they win the wild card. Followed closely by Tampa Bay who put themselves in too big of a hole to start to season. My same reasoning for why the Rangers don’t win the West is the same reasoning I’m using here for the wild card.

This may be preaching to the choir, but the Cardinals really bolstered their lineup at the deadline. It is a top tier NL lineup now. As long as the pitching keeps the Cards in games I see the additions of Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo, and Matt Holliday paying off and getting the Cards into October. Sorry Cubbies.

So as of now, my playoff pairings guess goes:
Twins at Red Sox
Rockies at Phillies
Yankees at Angels
Cardinals at Dodgers

It’s Been a While

Last time I wrote here, it was May 18th. It certainly has been quite a while. I find that when I’m home and not at school, I either don’t have time for writing here or when I do have time, well, obviously I don’t blog. I guess until now.

Here’s what I’ve been up to since May 18th [in no particular order]

-Had my entire legion season. We were 7-7 at one point, the final eight games didnt go so well. Fun season though.

-A bunch of Phillies games. Most recently I went Wednesday, when their ten game win streak was snapped. Bummer. I figured Moyer versus a veteran team wasn’t going to work out so well.

-I went up to Citi Field for a Mets/Phils game. The Fightins came out on top in extras, thanks to a Chase Utley homerun and some nice Jayson Werth catches in right.

-The Homerun Derby. No one really stole the show, but Prince Fielder does crush baseballs, I thought Carlos Pena or Nelson Cruz were going to win it, but the Prince showed me up.

-The 2009 Major League Baseball All Star Game. You’ll get ’em next year Charlie. It was a good game, you all saw it so I won’t go into details. But did anyone see the weird, creepy bald headed guy that the camera went to for a few seconds?! Joe Buck said nothing about him. It was right up on his face, he looked around, and then they changed screens. It freaked us out.

-For all who care, so none of you, I also went to Ocean City, Maryland for a week with some of my friends. It was a solid time. Been to the beach a bunch too.

-Working.

-Yardwork.

-MRI on my shoulder which turned out not to be a torn cartilage underneath my rotator cuff, but just inflammation and scar tissue. Praise the Lord.

-Sunburn.

What’s ahead for me–

-Cooperstown for a weekend.

-Vacation and Ocean City, New Jersey.

Here’s my favorite picture from the summer thus far–

werthdayparty.jpg

The title of the Philadelphia Daily News read, “WERTHDAY PARTY!”

Don’t expect another post until I’m back at school.

One-Two Offensive Punch

I just saw a segment on Baseball Tonight about the best one-two offensive punches in baseball. So here’s my top ten in order without explanation…

1. Joe Mauer / Justin Morneau MIN
2. Carlos Pena / Evan Longoria TB
3. Chase Utley / Ryan Howard PHI
4. Mark Teixiera / Alex Rodriguez NYY
5. Ryan Zimmerman / Adam Dunn WAS
6. Adam Jones / Nick Markakis BAL
7. Kevin Youkilis / Jason Bay BOS
8. Carlos Beltran / David Wright NYM
9. Michael Young / Josh Hamilton TEX
10. Ryan Braun / Prince Fielder MIL
Wild Card: Todd Helton / Brad Hawpe COL

markakis.jpg