Tag Archive | "All Star Game"

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Northern Trust Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Pacific Palisades, CA), Champions Tour ACE Group Classic (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm Sunday 7pm from Naples, FL on Golf Channel), ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open (Thursday & Friday 12:30pm Saturday & Sunday 3pm from Yarralumla, AUS on Golf Channel); Women’s College Basketball: Clemson @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN3.com), Maryland @ Virginia (Sunday 5pm from Charlottesville, VA live on ESPN2); Tennis: ATP Tour SAP Open (Saturday 4pm & 11:30pm Sunday 6pm from San Jose live on Tennis Channel); Boxing: Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees (Saturday 10:30pm from Atlantic City live on HBO)

10. Mumford & Sons (Wednesday & Thursday 8pm Patriot Center); Big Head Todd & The Monsters (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live); Crack The Sky (Sunday 4:30pm & 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Tim Reynolds & TR3 (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Brian McKnight (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Center Stage); Little Big Town (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); Anthony Hamilton (Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Howard Theatre); Soul Asylum (Tuesday 8pm State Theatre); Pentatonix (Monday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); the virginmarys “King of Conflict” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Can’t think of a bigger no-brainer than Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” having won Album of the Year at the Grammys. In fact it was such a no-brainer I was certain it would be messed up…

The name Tim Reynolds doesn’t jump out at you? Maybe this will help.

I honestly dig Little Big Town a lot. But nothing they’ve done has ever topped their debut…

The virginmarys were the last really cool band I heard in 2012. I will need this record.

9. Royal Comedy Tour feat. Sommore, D.L. Hughley, Bruce Bruce & Mark Curry (Friday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); Seth Myers (Sunday 8pm Stevenson University Owings Mills Gym); Mike Epps (Friday 7pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Nick Offerman (Friday 8pm & 10:30pm Warner Theatre); Larry The Cable Guy (Saturday 5pm & 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); A Good Day to Die Hard” out in theaters (Thursday); Skyfall“, “The Sessions” and “The Man With The Iron Fists” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s Valentine’s Day plans (Thursday)

As you know, my Valentine’s Day plans don’t change much from year to year, even if I’m now celebrating as a soon-to-be married man. I put on a little D’Angelo, grab some massage oil and then head DIRECTLY to this…

It’s called “romance”, kids. Get in on it.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Navy players named to postseason All-Star Games

Posted on 12 December 2012 by WNST Staff

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Navy slot back Gee Gee Greene and wide receiver Brandon Turner have been selected for postseason all-star games.


Greene has been selected to play in the Raycom All-Star Football Classic, which will be played Saturday, January 19 in Montgomery, Ala.  The game will be broadcast live by CBS Sports Network.


Greene is Navy’s leading rusher in 2012 with 765 yards and three touchdowns on 108 carries.  He is averaging 7.1yards per carry, which is tied for the second best rushing average in school history for a single-season.


Greene is also a threat out in the passing game as he is second on the team in receiving with 17 catches for 297 yards and two touchdowns.


He has rushed for 2,011 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career, while catching 47 passes for 758 yards and seven touchdowns.  He is averaging 7.1 yards per carry in his career, which is fifth all-time at Navy, while his 3,452 all-purpose yards ranks fourth in school history and he is just three yards behind Chris McCoy for third.


Turner will play in the Casino Del Sol All-Star game on January 11 in Tucson, Ariz.  The game will be broadcast live by ESPN.


Turner was Navy’s leading receiver this fall with 20 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns.  Turner’s biggest catch of the year was his 49-yard pass reception late in the fourth quarter that set up quarterback Keenan Reynolds’ game-winning touchdown run last Saturday against Army.


Turner has 38 career catches for 710 yards and seven touchdowns .  He is averaging 18.7 yards per catch in his career.


Navy will travel to San Francisco to take on Arizona State on Saturday, Dec. 29 at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at 4 PM.  The game will be televised live by ESPN2.

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All Star Game to Forget

Posted on 13 July 2012 by scottzolotorow

This year’s Midsummer Classic will be quickly forgotten by the American Leaguers who got crushed by the San Francisco Giants. Matt Cain, Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey all contributed towards the National League’s 8-0 victory over the American League. Amazingly the final score really leads people to believe that the entire AL team played horribly, and I’m not saying that the game was close, but only 3 American League pitchers allowed hits. Verlander and Harrison who combined to allow the 8 runs in just two innings. Five of their combined eight hits were for extra bases, which is unacceptable for any pitcher in a regular season game for just two innings work. But this is the All-Star game and I think Justin Verlander and Matt Harrison will survive. Chris Sale allowed 2 hits and fought out of the jam.

The bigger problem for the AL was only getting six hits. Two of those six were by Yankees and another was David Ortiz, making three out of six from the American League East. Oriole catcher, Matt Wieters, hit a ball that was caught at the Warning track, a ball that at Camden Yards is a home run.

As Orioles fans there are two positives from this game. The first is Jimmy Johnson’s shutdown inning with a strikeout and setting the NL down 1-2-3 in the 8th. The 2nd positive is that in that 8th inning all three Oriole All Stars were on the field at the same time.   That is the first time since 2005 that 3 Orioles were playing at the same time during the game. Unfortunately both Wieters and Adam Jones where hitless in their combined three at bats.

This loss was the 3rd straight for the American League after having a dominant reign in the thirteen seasons prior where they never lost and tied once in that miserable night in Milwaukee. With 21 of the last 26 World Series winners having home field advantage and the last nine teams to host a game seven, winning those contests, should this poor showing really give the National League representative of the Fall Classic the advantage? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I think the fact that a Wildcard team can receive home field advantage over a 100 game winning team is absolutely absurd. There is no good explanation for this other then Bud Selig wants fans to stay interested in the game. What he doesn’t realize is that the MLB All Star Game is 100 times better then the other three games combined. The Pro Bowl is a joke, which many players turn down chances to play in, the NBA all star averages 300 points a game and the NHL has a fantasy draft for its game.

The MLB fans will take the All Star Game seriously weather it means anything or not, its an important night where the entire country’s spotlight is on this one game because there is no other important event in the country happening on this night. Selig needs to cut the crap and “make it fun” and not “make it count.” By the way the last home team to lose a game seven at home happens to ironically be our beloved Orioles in ’79 to Pittsburgh.


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red sox o's

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Forget the Home Field Advantage: An AL Team Will Win the World Series

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Big Chee

Wretched. Sucky. Lopsided. These are just some of the adjectives I stumbled upon on Twitter this morning that described last night’s All Star Game, an 8-0 blowout victory for the National League. Right out of the gate, Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, surrendered 5 runs to give the National League a comfortable lead. From there, the American League had no answer for Cain, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Kershaw, Dickey, Hamels (you get the picture), and Melky Cabrera’s two run homer turned the game from a solid lead to a drubbing.

Speaking of Twitter, baseball fans on social media seem to be crying foul over the home field advantage the NL will earn once again in the World Series. I was not one of them, and I still believe that there is nothing wrong with adding a little competitive spirit to the Mid-Summer classic, I explained in my last blog on WNST.net.

However, in this 2012 season, let’s not spend too much time on this argument, because, quite frankly, it does not matter. This year, the American League’s individual teams are far superior to the National League, and it’s not even close. That can be evidenced by the fact that the American League went 142-110 (.563 win %) over the National League in interleague play this year, and the AL team with the best record (NY Yankees) swept the team in the NL with the best record (Washington Nationals.) Don’t get it twisted, I am well aware that the Texas Rangers have been victims of the American League losing two years in a row in the ASG, and if the Rangers had been home Game 7 last year, the results very well could have been different. However, one exhibition game in July cannot change the fact that there are five teams in the American League that are better than all in the National League,  even if it was a beat down. Here are the five teams that would beat the National League pennant winner in 2012, even if the game is held in the Nation’s Capital.

1.)       The New York Yankees

The Yankees are defying the post steroid era notion that achieving greatness is all about pitching. The 7yr/$161 Million Dollar Ace CC Sabathia has been solid, but his 3.45 ERA is far from spectacular. Ivan Nova might lead the staff with 10 wins, but his 3.92 ERA is even higher than Sabathia’s. Phil Hughes has been up and down all season, Andy Pettite is on the 60 Day DL and Hiroki Kuroda is simply an innings eater. Not to mention Michael Pineda’s season ending injury before the season even started, as well as the legend Mariano Rivera’s freak accident while shagging fly balls that put the rest of his career in jeopardy. This season could have been lost for the Yankees. However, they have the best winning percentage in baseball at the break, leading the Orioles by 7 games in the AL East.

In post steroid era ball where players in their 30s are supposed to be tailing off and fading into the sunset, the Yankee veterans only continue to shine. They lead the majors with 134 home runs as a team.  Derek Jeter at 38 years old is tied for 1st in hits in the American League with Miguel Cabrera. Nick Swisher is on pace for over 100 RBIs. Eric Chavez has shown flashes of the player he was in his prime in Oakland, his versatility and personality has been great for the clubhouse. Andruw Jones has been punishing left handed pitchers as of late. And let’s not forget that Robinson Cano and Mark Texiera’s important defensive ability. All Star Curtis Granderson continues to be worth the investment when they snatched him from Detroit before last season, he has 24 HRs at the break. This lineup is loaded 1-9 and even superb National League starters like Clayton Kershaw and Steven Strasburg cannot find relief in this lineup.

2.)       Texas Rangers

You may be wondering: How can the Texas Rangers be on this list when they have lost the World Series the past two years in a row without the home field advantage? Or you may be curious how the Rangers will fare after two integral pieces of their 2011 postseason out of the conversation this year. I’m talking their #1 last year, CJ Wilson, who left for Los Angeles and their preseason #2 starter Derek Holland who has been less than mediocre in 2012, spotting a 5.05 ERA at the break.

Production at the plate has been key for another successful season thus far in Arlington for the Texas Rangers, who sport the 2nd best record in baseball at 52-34, leading the Angels by 4 games in the West. You can make an argument that despite his recent cool-off from his historic April, Josh Hamilton had a MVP 1st half, batting .308, leading baseball in both HRs (27) and RBIs (75). Ian Kinsler leads the majors with 63 runs scored. Fellow All-Stars Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli are key contributors to the Rangers leading the majors in team average (.280), runs (443), hits (844) and RBIs (430).

The pitching staff inevitably will have to play a big part in this team’s success just like 2011, and there are new names that will do so. Despite a somewhat slow start by Yu Darvish, the $100 million man from Japan made the All-Star Team and continues to improve and adjust to the American game. Fellow All-Star Matt Harrison has been even better with an 11-4 record and 3.10 ERA. Roy Oswalt adds a veteran presence, even if he has been up and down. If the lineup just continues business as usual in dominating opposing pitching staffs, this should lessen the pressure of this staff to carry them to a World Series victory.

3.)       Los Angeles Angels

The Angels seem to get lost in the conversation for World Series favorites at the All-Star break, due to the fact that if the season ended today, they would face the Baltimore Orioles in a one game playoff for the wildcard draw in the postseason. They are 48-38, four games back of Texas in the AL West, probably short of the lofty expectations this team faced to start the 2012 season. The Angels made the biggest splash at MLB’s Winter Meetings, signing preseason favorite AL MVP Albert Pujols to a 10 year/$254 million dollar deal. In addition, they snatched up former Texas Ranger and Cy Young contender CJ Wilson to form a 1-2 punch with Jered Weaver that could be the best in the game.  While the Angels are getting slowly but surely getting back on track, their start to 2012 was not exactly a smooth ride. Pujols went 92 at-bats in the month of April without hitting a home run. Weaver & Wilson have been rock solid, middle of the rotation guys Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have been extremely disappointing with 4.86 and 5.75 ERAs, respectively.

I have not even mentioned Mike Trout, the best position player in the American League not named Josh Hamilton. The All-Star Game last night gave Trout national exposure. The baby faced 20 year old not only leads the American League in batting average at .341, but he gets himself in position to score more than anyone in the AL as well with 26 steals at the break. Mark Trumbo will continue his power surge and build off his 22 home runs. Torii Hunter is continuing to prove how valuable of a veteran he is on this roster in the #2 spot in the lineup as well as his defensive ability in the outfield. Manager Mike Scoscia has the experience and savvy to keep this team rolling in the 2nd half and in the playoffs. It would be shocking if the AL West does not produce two of the four teams in the Final 4 of the American League playoffs.

4.)       Detroit Tigers

Fittingly, the Tigers are mentioned right after the Angels, another team that failed to live up to expectations after they partook in an active offseason. Prince Fielder signed with Detroit for 9 years, $214 million making him the second biggest FA signing behind Pujols.  Ace Justin Verlander was the starter in the American League All Star Game. Yet this team is only 44-42 at the break and in 3rd place in the worst division in the American League, the Central.

Again, there is too much talent on this team for this to continue. Let’s start with the pitching staff. Don’t overthink Verlander’s meltdown last night in the first inning. He’s in contention for another Cy Young, as he leads the league with strikeouts at 128 and is 4th in the majors with a 2.58 ERA. Max Scherzer, 8-5, has been much improved and rookie Drew Smyly has hit the All Star break in stride, winning his last two starts and holding a 4-3 record into the break.

At the plate, Miguel Cabrera is certainly in the running along with Hamilton and Trout for AL MVP. He is hitting .324 and is tied in first with Jeter for hits with 111 , is 2nd in the AL behind Hamilton with 71 RBIs Right below the young phenom in batting average is Austin Jackson of Detroit, hitting .332. Prince Fielder has not been atop the league as far as statistics go, but his presence at the plate will be a huge factor in determining where the Tigers go in the 2nd half.

Finally, let’s not also forget their manager Jim Leyland. This guy has been in the game long enough and had plenty of success throughout his entire career to not let this slow start get his guys unraveled. His cool demeanor will allow for his players to bring it all together making a run to the World Series in 2012.

5.)       Chicago White Sox

However, the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox are my choice for the 5th team that would win the World Series against an NL team because they are better than any of the NL teams that will be in the World Series. Now hear me out on this one:

A good portion of this article has been in regards to the strength of the lineups of each of these teams. When you take a look at the White Sox, their lineup is certainly potent enough to compete at the next level. And just like the Yankees, the veterans are getting it done on the South Side. Let’s start with the resurgent Adam Dunn. Whatever it was that Dunn did in the offseason to get this mojo back after his disastrous 2011 campaign, it has turned him into a comeback player of the year candidate. He leads the American League in walks and is 2nd in HR with 25. How about Alex Rios? He is third in the AL in hits for the first place White Sox. Still think Team Captain Paul Konerko is not a Hall of Famer? He just made is 6th All Star Game and is 3rd in the AL in average at .329. Finally, if you’ve never heard of Alejando De Aza, it’s ok. But get to know him now: he’s 5th in the AL in runs scored and chipped in 15 SBs.

Speaking of guys one might not ever heard of, let’s move onto the pitching staff and ace Chris Sale. Sale has been so spectacular this season that he could have easily been selected to start last night’s All Star Game and who knows? Maybe it would have been worth watching All this 23 year old has done is spot a 2.19 ERA, .95 WHIP (both 2nd in the AL) along with 10 wins. Let’s not forget another member of the White Sox who could be mentioned as Comeback Player of the Year in Jake Peavy. He leads the team with 108 K’s, and just made his 3rd All Star appearance. Also, keep an eye on Jose Quintana in the 2nd half. In 8 starts he is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA.

Even if you are just a casual baseball fan, you probably could have guessed the first four teams on this list.  As far as the fifth position, there are plenty of teams that can receive consideration. The Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation features All Star David Price which led the MLB last year in ERA. The Boston Red Sox started 2012 slow, but are slowly creeping into the Wild Card conversation and getting healthy. Let’s not forget about the great things that the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians have done this year! If those two teams acquire some big name pitching at the deadline, they could certainly be considered for a shot at the World Series.

So there you have it. There are the five teams that will beat the Dodgers, Nationals, Giants, Braves, Pirates or whoever the National League crowns champions and earns home field advantage in the World Series. Let the debate begin…

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What the MLB All-Star game is missing

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What the MLB All-Star game is missing

Posted on 11 July 2012 by James Finn

I’ve seen and heard far too much negative about the MLB All-Star game.  Why does this player get elected over that one?  Why does an exhibition game count?  Why should anybody on the Padres or A’s have any influence on October baseball?  Who the hell is Wade Miley?

There’s no “fixing” the All-Star game.  It is what it is.  Except the whole “Make it count” thing, that’s easy.  Maybe that doesn’t get fixed until Bud Selig retires, but it’s an easy fix.

Selecting players to these games is always a challenge.  It’s been this way for years.  Popular players = Ratings = Revenue, so a fan vote is needed.  In this emerging age of social media and interactivity, if you aren’t engaging your fans, you probably are losing your fans.  MLB did a stellar job this year of engaging the Fan vote, especially with the “Final Selection”.  The campaigning, though a bit overdone, absolutely had the public participating.  Additional kudos to Twitter for being able to handle the load when the voting began there.

The NFL I feel does the best job with their Pro-bowl selections, splitting the vote between Fans, Players, and coaches.  Perhaps if baseball could mirror what the NFL does, we’ll see deserving players like David Wright start, and under performers like Dan Uggla be omitted.  Regardless of how it’s handled, it will spark debate.  It’s a part of any sort of selection process (sports, The Oscars, American Idol).  This is a predictable debate in media at All-Star time every year, and makes for good filler.

I have a different argument.

The All-Star game needs a “Skills Challenge”.

And I’m not talking about watching roided-out freaks whack a batting practice home runs.  Not that it doesn’t take skill, it’s only that after 3 hours, it becomes excruciating to watch.  It becomes redundant, and I can only tolerate Chris Berman’s “Back-Back-Back-Back” call so much before I’m “Click-Click-Clicking” my remote.  Don’t eliminate the Derby.  There are many fans that enjoy it, just, supplement it with something else. I’m talking something similar to what the NBA and NHL currently do (and NFL used to do).  Here are my ideas.  I’m open to suggestions on the names.

1) The “Top Gun” Challenge:  Who’s got the quickest Fastball?  Put your arm to the test.  I’d love to see Justin Verlander, Steven Strasburg, and Tim Lincecum, match heat?  10 pitches for each pitcher.  Top speed wins.  Must be a strike to count.  Would need a high Ultimate bragging rights, and something really cool for your Wikipedia page.

Note: Not to be confused with the “Top Gun Karaoke” Challenge, where you attempt to get the entire bar to join you in “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling”

2) The “Around the Diamond” challenge:  This is a SPEED challenge. Who’s most likely to hit an inside the park home run?  This challenge would pit the fleetest of foot in a timed race around the bases.  Bourne, Bryce, Kemp, and a handfull of speedy rookies could help settle the debated argument of Fastest in the league.

3) The “To the plate” challenge: Who’s got the best gun in the outfield?  Ichiro? Markakis? Francoeur? From the warning track of the outfield, you must hurl the ball down to home.  It would provide different results each year, as the hosting ballpark is bound to have different dimensions.

I’m open to something new.  I’d even sit down and watch the pitchers play carnival games.  Throw the ball and knock down the 3 milk bottles stacked on top of each other.  Or how long does it take them to knock down all the furry cats?

Are players likely to do this?  Would club owners allow their players to participate?  Probably not.  They’ll press the argument it’s not worth risking injury.  Truth be told, you can be injured at any given time, regular season, skills competetion, leaping into home plate after a walk-off homer, pick-up basketball game, playing Guitar Hero, and as I learned on Monday, falling asleep while tanning.

@JamesTFinn on Twitter

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All Star Game

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Fixing the MLB All-Star Festivities

Posted on 10 July 2012 by WNST Staff

After the 2002 All-Star game, the genius that is Bud Selig thought it would be a great idea to place value to the game by determining home field advantage for the World Series. Since, the game is more competitive, as managers are actually utilizing the 34 man rosters, instead of throwing players out there to get them in the game (even if it’s out of position). But its results leave a disadvantage to the best teams in the league. Over a 162 game season, the teams with the best records deserve home field throughout the playoffs.

Players such as Jose Altuve for the Houston Astros and Ryan Cook for the Oakland Athletics, who play for teams with no chance at even a Wild Card spot, will determine who has home field in game seven of the series. Now it does not always end incorrectly, but why is the risk necessary. There are other ways to not only make the game, but the entire week more competitive.

Instead of matchups be between the American vs. National Leagues, change the format similar to hockey; U.S.A vs. the World. The game is so diverse now that assembling rosters for both squads will be equally accessible as the current system. This should not be just for the game though, but all the festivities, including the Home Run Derby.

One of the most rememberable moments from last year’s games was watching David Ortiz wipe the sweat off Robinson Cano’s head during the derby; blasphemy for a Red Sox and Yankee to interact this way in any other portion of the season. The bond between country men will always be stronger than team ties, so why not use that to the MLB’s advantage.

The Future’s game already follows this format, but why not expand upon that idea as well; as the game only displays highly touted lower level minor leaguers. Why not add a Rising Star’s game (like the NBA has already done), where players from higher level farm systems and up-and-coming rookies mixed into rosters. Who wouldn’t want to see Manny Machado take on Yu Darvish? Dylan Bundy pitch against Jesus Montero?

The competitive nature would be dually noted at the Major League level, as the players are playing for pride again; a notion lost over the years with the million dollar salaries. If the World Baseball Classic has proven anything, it is a nations bond is much stronger than an individual’s allegiance to a franchise. It will get back to the idea that the Mid-Summer Classic is not about money but ability. Both teams could easily be re-tooled with this year’s All-Stars.

Imagine these starting lineups:

C: Buster Posey
1B: Prince Fielder
2B: Dan Uggla
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: David Wright
LF: Ryan Braun
CF: Josh Hamilton
RF: Curtis Granderson
DH: Mark Trumbo
SP: Justin Verlander
RP: Craig Kimbrel
CP: Jim Johnson

C: Yadier Molina
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Elvis Andrus
3B: Miguel Cabrera
LF: Carlos Gonzalez
CF: Carlos Beltran
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: David Ortiz
SP: Felix Hernandez
RP: Fernando Rodney
CP: Aroldis Chapman

Current day baseball is an international game and MLB should take advantage of being the most diverse league in the world. Competition will bring out the best in the top notch athletes across the sport, making the All-Star game once again relevant (without lessening the regular season).

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All Star Final Vote: Who gets Mine?

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All Star Final Vote: Who gets Mine?

Posted on 04 July 2012 by James Finn

The Final Vote.  The last chance to select a deserving player to the 2012 All-Star Game.  5 players selected from each league, and the fans vote for who is most deserving (but really, who’s most popular and/or who plays in the larger market).  Voting can be done online, or via text message (which is fantastic if you have unlimited texting).  Locally, Jason Hammel is in the running for one of these spots, but likely blew his chances with a poor outing on Tuesday.  About 45 minutes down 95, Rookie Wunderkind Bryce Harper is up for one of these spots on the NL roster.

Allow me to break down who I’m voting for in each league.  I’ll begin with the NL, as the majority of readers here won’t be fans of my AL choice. (Spoiler Alert: It’s not Jason Hammel.)

National League: Aaron Hill (Arizona Diamondbacks)

My choice was made a bit easier when Chipper Jones was promoted to the All-Star team after Matt Kemp’s injury will force him to be a spectator.  Aaron,. as of this posting, is last in NL voting, but I feel is getting overlooked.  He’s become the only player since 1931 to hit for the cycle twice in the same season.  He executed this feet over a 2 week span.  In the month of June, Hill batted .370, with 13 multi-hit games, and a .700 slugging percentage.  Not bad for a #2 hitter.  His diamondbacks finished the month 16-10, helping pull his club over a .500 record at months end (although, they have dropped 4 straight).  He might not be the sexy pick Bryce Harper is (he’ll have plenty of opportunities), or the eventual winner (David Freese became a star in last years Fall classic), but ultimately, has my support.


American League: Jake Peavy (Chicago White Sox)

Ok.  Hear me out, Baltimore.  No this isn’t a reaction to Hammel’s 12 Earned runs over his last 2 starts.  This is simply a reaction to how well Peavy has performed this season.  His 6-5 record doesn’t jump off the page as a must have on the All-Star roster, but, Wins and Losses does not a pitcher make.  In 16 starts this season, Peavy has delivered a quality start (at least 6 innings, with no more than 3 earned runs) 13 times, with 3 complete games.  His ERA 2.96, 101 K’s and 0.99 WHIP are among the league leaders.  Peavy has been the victim of Run Support.  In the 5 games he’s lost this season, the White Sox have managed to score a mere 2 runs (which is peculiar, as the Sox are the 4th highest scoring team in the AL).  Peavy could easily (and should be) a 10 game winner.  He, however, is overshadowed by his own teammate,  Chris Sale, who has near identical stats, but has found runn support.  An All-star selection for Peavy would solidify a great comeback story for a pitcher who has hit rock-average since his 2007 Cy-Young season.  Yu Darvish, ill win this spot, as he has the entire far east clicking and texting for him.

Why not Jason Hammel?

This decision is not going to make me popular, so be it.  I LOVE Jason Hammel.  It’s so much more than a crush.  Hear me out.

It’s not his stats.  I can compare what he’s done, and how he, with the help of Wei-Yin Chen, have been the model of consistency to an Orioles starting rotation.  What he’s done is the ultimate “I’ll Show them” after being packaged out of Colorado.  I’m proud of what Hammel has done this season.  Perhaps when he is ultimately left off the roster, it puts a chip back on his shoulder.  Mentally, he can mow down batters in every MLB city, saying to himself “This is for not voting me in”.  Hammel’s value is that he’s underrated.  An All-star selection messes with that mantra a bit.  Additionally, he’s only 29.  He’s not exactly Chipper Jones, jockeying for one more day in the sun.  If Hammel has truly evolved into the pitcher he’s shown he can be, this won’t be the only time he’s in the conversation for the All-Star game.  Finally, the Birds are well represented in Kansas City.  By Hammel not being selected, he’ll be good and ready to take the bump the first game after the break.

And honestly, If by some unlikely twist of fate, Hammel makes the cut, I’ll be the happiest man in all of Birdland.

Please send all your hate in the comments below.

@JamesTFinn on Twitter.

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Os All Star Snubs

Posted on 03 July 2012 by scottzolotorow

The O’s will send three players to the All-Star game next Tuesday at KauffmanStadium in Kansas City. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters will both play in their 2nd classic, while shutdown closer, Jim Johnson, will attend his first. Pitcher Jason Hammel has a chance to be the fourth, you can vote for him on the Orioles website, it’s unlimited and I voted probably at least 100 times.

Over the last six seasons, the Orioles hadn’t sent more than one player to the game.Of the current players only three had made the Midsummer Classic as a member of the Orioles: recently re-injured Brian Roberts (’05 and ’07), Adam Jones (’09), and Matt Wieters last season. The most all-stars the Orioles have ever had in a single season was seven back in 1970. From the ’69 season through the ’72 season the Orioles sent at least six players each year.

But this season could have seen a few more Orioles in Kansas City.  In my opinion along with Hammel; JJ Hardy, Pedro Strop, and Chris Davis all put up numbers that would usually qualify for the All-star team. Pedro Strop to me is the biggest all-star snub. He has the 7th lowest ERA in the  majors at 1.25 and has only allowed 5 runs in 36 innings pitched. He has one of the nastiest sliders and 2-seam fastballs in the game but because he just a set-up man, he didn’t make the classic. It’s a real shame that relievers don’t make the classic. A team’s bullpen is very important to their team’s success with only the closer getting recognition, just look at the Orioles bullpen last year as opposed to this season. JJ Hardy has the most home runs by an American League shortstop and is third in the American League in RBI’s. But his most impressive stat is his .992 fielding percentage. Hardy has only committed 3 errors and has started every game but one. Now for the man who I want to see hit in the home-run derby and play in the game, Chris Davis. Davis has the 6th highest average for a first basemen in the Major League and the 2nd most home runs of any first basemen with 14. Those are as good of offensive numbers as any all-star first basemen in baseball. So next season I expect 75 votes from every Orioles fan, i registered the maximum 25 on each of my three email addresses. If you say that you only have one, I now expect you to create two more just to vote for the Orioles next season. But seriously folks, If Orioles fans don’t vote for these lesser know studs, who will!


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Orioles Well-represented in All-Star Game

Posted on 01 July 2012 by Luke Jones

Off to their best start in seven years, the Orioles will send  three players to the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 10, with a chance at a fourth.

Closer Jim Johnson, center fielder Adam Jones and catcher Matt Wieters were selected as reserves to play in the 83rd edition of the Midsummer Classic at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. It’s the first time since 2005 the Orioles have received multiple All-Star Game selections.

Jones and Wieters were selected as reserves.

In his first full season as the Baltimore closer, Johnson has been one of the best in baseball as his 23 saves are tied for the major-league lead. The 29-year-old has blown only one save all season and has already set a career high in saves, more than doubling the 21 career saves he had prior to the 2012 season.

Johnson has only allowed five earned runs in 34 2/3 innings pitched this season, good for a 1.30 earned run average.

He is the first Orioles pitcher to be selected to the All-Star Game since George Sherrill was chosen for the 2008 All-Star Game at old Yankee Stadium.

Though narrowly missing being voted in as a starting outfielder, Jones was the most deserving of the Orioles’ selections as he’s enjoying the finest season of his seven-year career. The 26-year-old leads Baltimore in batting average (.300), home runs (19), runs batted in (41), runs (51), on-base percentage (.343), and slugging percentage (.554) and was rewarded for his tremendous play with a six-year, $85.5 million contract in late May to remain with the Orioles through the 2018 season.

Jones had a career-long 20-game hitting streak in May and became the first player since Mark McGwire in 1988 to homer in the 15th inning or later twice in the same season when he hit game-winning home runs in Boston and Kansas City in the month of May.

This is Jones’ second All-Star selection after he was selected as a representative in the 2009 All-Star Game played in St. Louis.

Named the club’s most valuable player last season, Jones is poised to break the career highs he set in 2011  with 151 games, 26 doubles, 25 home runs, 83 RBI, 12 stolen bases, 53 extra-base hits, and .466 slugging percentage.

Selected as an All-Star catcher for the second straight year, Wieters is hitting .249 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI. Though his seven errors have already surpassed the five he committed all last season, the 26-year-old has thrown out 36 percent of runners trying to steal this season.

Wieters hit his first career grand slam and tied a career high with five RBI in a win over the Chicago White Sox on April 16.

He is the first Baltimore player to be selected to consecutive All-Star Games since shortstop Miguel Tejada was chosen to play in three straight from 2004 through 2006.

The Orioles and their fans have a chance to send a fourth representative to Kansas City with P Jason Hammel a part of the five-man “Fan Vote.”

Hammel is up against Royals closer Jonathan Broxton, Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, White Sox starter Jake Peavy, and Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish.

Acquired in the Jeremy Guthrie trade that was met with much scrutiny, Hammel has emerged as the club’s best starting pitcher in 2012, going 8-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 15 starts. The right-hander has struck out 89 batters while walking 32 in 93 innings this season.

Hammel set the tone for his surprising season by carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his Orioles debut in a win over the Minnesota Twins on April 8. He pitched a one-hit shutout against Atlanta on June 16 and followed that outing by allowing one unearned run in eight innings of work in a win against Washington on June 22.

Hammel may have lost a last-second push to the All-Star team. In his last start against the Los Angeles Angels, he only lasted 3 1/3 innings while allowing eight earned runs.

WNST’s Ryan Chell contributed to this report.

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Jones falls to fifth in All-Star voting for AL outfielders

Posted on 25 June 2012 by Luke Jones

With four days remaining to vote, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is falling behind in the quest for his name to be in the starting lineup of the 2012 All-Star Game.

The most recent voting results were released on Monday with Jones falling behind Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, putting the Baltimore outfielder in fifth place. Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, and Jose Bautista would be the American League starters in the outfield if voting ended today, but less than 150,000 votes separate Jones with the third-place Bautista.

Matt Wieters is currently third among AL catchers, but the Rangers’ Mike Napoli leads by more than a million votes.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy is third in the AL at his position while Robert Andino comes in fifth among AL second basemen.

Voting for the 83rd annual All-Star Game on July 10 in Kansas City concludes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday.


Prince Fielder, Tigers: 2,825,532
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 2,261,388
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 1,863,873
Mitch Moreland, Rangers: 1,711,659
Albert Pujols, Angels: 1,429,154

Robinson Cano, Yankees: 3,559,290
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 3,462,367
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 1,666,282
Jason Kipnis, Indians: 852,325
Robert Andino, Orioles: 714,560

Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 3,073,541
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 2,692,047
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 1,748,534
Evan Longoria, Rays: 1,688,509
Mike Moustakas, Royals: 968,068

Derek Jeter, Yankees: 4,407,982
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 2,764,888
J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 1,331,927
Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: 1,063,137
Alcides Escobar, Royals: 880,111

Mike Napoli, Rangers: 3,008,228
Joe Mauer, Twins: 1,772,228
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 1,623,459
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: 1,416,594
Russell Martin, Yankees: 1,156,820

David Ortiz, Red Sox: 3,128,711
Michael Young, Rangers: 2,564,572
Adam Dunn, White Sox: 1,436,643
Raul Ibañez, Yankees: 1,429,894
Billy Butler, Royals: 1,105,870

Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 7,310,824
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 3,812,339
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 2,773,442
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 2,681,019
Adam Jones, Orioles: 2,633,259
David Murphy, Rangers: 1,738,805
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 1,529,349
Austin Jackson, Tigers: 1,212,881
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 1,183,817
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 1,031,382
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 1,015,482
Alex Gordon, Royals: 901,595
Nick Markakis, Orioles: 888,183
B.J. Upton, Rays: 881,785
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 775,261

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