Tag Archive | "Derek Jeter"

Ken Singleton YES Broadcaster

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YES Broadcaster Ken Singleton Thinks George Steinbrenner Was Good For Baseball Because It Forced Other Owners To Keep Up

Posted on 14 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Former Oriole great Ken Singleton, now a television commentator for the Yankees’ YES Network, has been in the New York clubhouse for the last 13 years and saw firsthand how the Yankee players reacted and interacted with owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 80.

Ken Singleton YES Broadcaster

He said that if one player were to take the news the hardest, it would have to have been Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, who has spent the last fourteen years-his entire MLB career-in a Yankee unfiorm under Steinbrenner’s ownership, and who often saw Steinbrenner as a father-figure.

Why, you might ask? Because Steinbrenner treated his players with the great admiration in the world the last decade and a half, and day-in and day-out put his players in a position to succeed and win, because that’s what Steinbrenner wanted and he knew that’s what his players wanted.

Steinbrenner won 7 World Championships during his 38 year run as owner of the Yankees.

“I think that those players, the ones that have been there the longest…”, Singleton told Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Friday,  “they realize George gives them the opportunity to win each and every year. He is going to go out and do the best he can, spend the money if you will, to put the best team possible on the field. It’s cause he wants the Yankees to win every single year.”

Singleton said in a way, Steinbrenner has spoiled his Yankee players because he knows no other organization in the league has the resources to treat the players this well.

“And those players really appreciate it because they’ve been there the longest. Derek Jeter’s been there 14 years, and been to the playoffs 13 years. He realizes with another team, that might not be the case.”

But Singleton also told Forrester that in the last day, he has talked to several players like Jeter who know that things are not going to change under Hank and Hal Steinbrenner because George built up the Yankees team so well and left it a good enough position to hand off the keys to his sons.

“If you’re a player and you’re competitive like he is,” Singleton said of Jeter, “you want someone who is going to support you. He realizes what Steinbrenner meant. I’m sure he hopes that that legacy continues. I think it will because I think they have the resources to do so.”

And Singleton also said that Steinbrenner’s sons know what kind of responsibility this stepping into their dad’s shoes, but already over the last four seasons in which Hank and Hal have really been in charge, they are a chip off the old block and this doesn’t mean bad news for the Yankee organization.

“I think the sons realize that the Yankees play more against their own legacy more than anyone else,” Singleton said,  “because they’ve won so many times. Now that’s expected and that’s the goal every single year.”

Singleton not only wanted to emphasize the fact that Steinbrenner left a great mark on the Yankees, his actions may have saved the game of baseball as a whole as well, just because the other owners of the league had to invest in their teams in order to keep up with Steinbrenner’s above and beyond attitude.

“I think George Steinbrenner has been pretty good for baseball because he’s forced the other owners to try and  keep up with him, ” Singleton said. ”  With things like building the YES Network, the Red Sox wouldnt have NESN and the Orioles probably wouldnt have MASN if the Yankees hadn’t got YES. What has happened is that it opened even bigger revenue streams for the other teams.”

“In that regard, he’s been good for baseball. Baseball’s been as popular as it’s ever been. When I was playing, the attendance figures were no where near where they are now.  The Yankees draw well. The Orioles , when the Yankees or the Red Sox come to town, draw well…I think in a way, it has forced other teams to get their acts together and see how their going to get their revenue streams together to try and keep up.”

Think of it this way. The Yankees may be worth billions of dollars now, and we as Oriole fans may hate that now, but every team in the major leagues had to spend money to make money, and that’s been in the case now with all the other successful teams in the league now, such as the Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets, and so forth.

And Singleton said if skeptics want proof of Steinbrenner’s investments or a physical piece of evidence to take a memento of Steinbrenner’s accomplishments as owner of the Yankees, he said all you need to do was go watch a game at the new Yankee Stadium, which was one of George’s last hurrahs as patriarch of the baseball’s storiest franchises.

“The fans have always had a great venue; it’s a great place to watch a baseball game. The old place had a lot of history, but you still get some of that feel in the New Yankee Stadium.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net for more news regarding the sudden death of Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Sports-Baltimore or not!

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Jerry Hairston Jr

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Jerry Hairston Jr:”George Bought A Franchise That Was Really Struggling…And Really Made It Into the Yankees That They Are Today”

Posted on 14 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Jerry Hairston Jr
Former Oriole second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. finally got to see the postseason last year with the New York Yankees, and while he spent only three months with the Pinstripers, he said that the team he eventually won his first World Series title with was probably the best organization he has played with and really made him feel like a member of a family.

And Hairston told Rex Snider on Tuesday that a lot of stemmed from the man straight at the top of the organization-Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away yesterday at the age of 80 of an apparent heart attack in his Tampa home.

“It’s a sad day not only in New York, but all of sports,” Hairston said. “Obviously the boss, Mr. Streinbrenner had a tremendous impact not just on sports, but also in pop culture. He really revolutionized the way you go about handling an organization, as far as spending on players and the treatment of their players.”

Hairston, who was drafted by the Orioles in 1997 and played seven seasons in Baltimore, came to the Yankees last year from the Cincinnati Reds as a utility infielder for their postseason run. For Hairston, he had played in New York before as a member of the opposing team in Baltimore for many years, but the minute he stepped into the Yankee clubhouse for the first time as a Yankee, he was immediately  welcomed with open arms.

“The first guy that greeted me was Mariano Rivera. The first thing he said to me was ‘welcome home’. That kind of took me back. I didn’t understand why he said that, but now being a Yankee and going through the World Series and winning it, you’re treated like a family member.”

Now after winning a championship last year, Hairston said that he is now part of an elite family that George Steinbrenner built from the top down.

“And I was only there for 3 months,” Hairston said. “One thing they always say is that if you win as a Yankee, you’re a Yankee for life.”

Hairston said that when he came to the Yankees last year, he had heard some things about the organization-some good some bad. But just being around the clubhouse and some of the players who knew Steinbrenner well, he learned some new things about him.

Obviously he wasn’t popular with the way he treated players in the 70’s and 80’s, and he eventually got banned for it for 3 years,” Hairston said, obviously referring to the incident he had with Dave Winfield and other conflicts he had over the years.

“But what I’ve heard, when he came back, he came back a changed man. He always wanted to win, but the way he treated his players he treated them differently. I know guys like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are very fond of him and the way he used to talk about Mr. Steinbrenner…I know today they’re very saddened.”

And while Steinbrenner’s appearances had dwindled over the past several years, Hairston got to see firsthand how the Yankees organization treated their own, and he was told by his fellow teammates that these luxuries were due to the work that Steinbrenner had put in over the years to make sure he had the best product on the field for his players and the fans.

Without question, they treat their players better than any organization that I’ve been with. If you ask for one thing, there’s three of it in your locker the next day. If I needed something done, they have two guys on the spot ready to help you…whether it’s something with you car, something with your family, they want you to have no excuse for performing on the field. The way they treat their players is none like any other team I’ve been with.”

And that brings that back full circle. It was George Steinbrenner who once said “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing.” Hairston saw that determination instilled in the Yankee way as soon as he came on board, and he knows that desire to win will not end with the death of George Steinbrenner.

“Without question, every organization I’ve been on, they want to win. The Yankees expect to win, and that’s a big difference. The way they go about their business; obviously its very very serious,” he said.

Hairston got to deal with Steinbrenner’s sons-Hal and Hank( who took over baseball ownership operations from their dad in 2008)-on a more frequent basis, but he could see right off the bat that the two Steinbrenner sons did not fall far from the tree. And yet, they may also have some of the more patient traits that their father lacked at times.

But in recent years, they’ve really enjoyed the game of baseball as a whole, and it really starts with Hal and Hank. Obviously they have the same fire as their father has, but they may go about it a little differently. I think they’re a little more compassionate with their players.”

But Hairston made it clear to Rex Snider that Hank and Hal Steinbrenner still have that same desire to win as George. That part of George isn’t lacking in these two, and their desire to keep things status quo is the right idea.

“Hank and Hal are the sons of George and aware of what his legacy is, and he what he meant to the New York Yankees. George bought a franchise that was really struggling in 1973, and really made it into the Yankees that they are today. They always want to respect the Yankee tradition, the “Yankee Way”. Without question, even though Mr. Steinbrenner has passed away, Hal and Hank will definitely continue on the tradition.”

And in the end, that’s what made George Steinbrenner great. While some of his actions over the years may seem selfish and seemed like it was for personal gain, Hairston said that you only need to take a look at the Yankee franchise as a whole and ask any Yankee fan or player how they were treated during their experience playing in pinstripes or watching a game in Yankee Stadium over the last 38 years.

And it didn’t take long for Hairston to buy into that. It only took him 90 days capped off by a World Series title.

“I was only there for half a season, but just the impact with the way they treated their fans. They always wanted to make sure they had the best product on the field for their fans. And I think the fans really appreciated the Steinbrenners for that. That’s why the Yankees have a tremendous following.

“Obviously with the tradition is like no other in all of sports, if you ask any Yankee fan today, ‘did your owner do whatever it took for your team to win?’, I would say overwhelmingly close to 100 percent would say that George Steinbrenner did that for the Yankees.”

Stay tuned in to WNST and WNST.net for more coverage regarding the death of one of baseball’s most well-known owners, George Steinbrenner. WNST-We Never Stop Talking!

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George Steinbrenner

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George Steinbrenner: To Some “The Witch is Dead”, But Yankees Owner Left Mark on Game

Posted on 13 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

A friend of mine who is from Boston, and obviously a Red Sox fan, just minutes ago had his status on Facebook as “The Witch is Dead“.

This was obviously stemming from the news that Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away this morning at the age of 80 due to an apparent heart attack.

George Steinbrenner

As an Orioles fan, I hated George Steinbrenner. He was one of the many roadblocks over the years toward key free agents coming to Baltimore, and his tenacity got Red Sox owner John Henry in the same bidding war up in Boston.

Longtime Oriole ace Mike Mussina was carted away by Steinbrenner’s money. Recently, Severna Park native Mark Teixeira was drawn into Steinbrenner’s deep pockets. AJ Burnett, whose wife lives in Monkton, joined the Yankees two years ago with a contract far beyond his true skills.

He has over-payed for dozens of free agents over the years, traded for every All-Star on every bad team, and bought, not brought, seven championships to the Yankees over the 38 years that he owned the team.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos actually followed Steinbrenner’s act of signing a huge cable TV deal by making a network to cover the team, and put more money in his pocket. Steinbrenner’s YES Network was the first of its kind.

In the dictionary, if you look under “meddling owner”, George Steinbrenner’s picture shows up.

He also had several high profile confrontations with several of his players and managers over his time in the owner’s box in New York.

He criticized several of his players, managers, and media personnel over the years, including firing manager Billy Martin five times. He canned Yankee great Yogi Berra early in the season in 1985. In a 20+ year stretch, Steinbrenner once went through 20 managers and 11 general managers.

He criticized Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter’s demeanor on and off the field, and the most notorius issue he had was with former outfielder and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, who Steinbrenner at the time made Winfield the highest paid player in the major leagues.

When Steinbrenner was ill-pleased with Winfield’s performance in the field against the Toronto Blue Jays, Steinbrenner paid $40,000 to a gambler to find dirt on Winfield. That act caught the attention of Major League Baseball, and banned Steinbrenner from baseball for life.

He was later reinstated in 1993, and after a few years later, Steinbrenner started to take steps in the right direction. One of his best decisions was the hiring of Joe Torre as manager, who brought those four World Series titles in George’s back pocket in the late 1990’s.

Brian Cashman has been general manager of the team since 1998, and has been a staple of the position for the last dozen years.

Steinbrenner bought the team from CBS in 1973 for about 8 million dollars. The team’s net worth now is close to a billion dollars.

Early on in his tenure, a New York tabloid tabbed him as “The Boss”. It stuck, and since that point, that nickname belongs to Steinbrenner.

The Boss is no longer in charge, but his name will be remembered in baseball for years to come.

Love him or hate him, there is no owner over the years that cared more about his team than George Steinbrenner. He brought the Yankees back to prominence and success, and he did his job as an owner.

His team made money, put fans in the seats, and won on the field. He used the system to his advantage, and brought the best talent in the majors into pinstripes.

But there is no owner in the major leagues-maybe in all professional sports-that cared more about his team than George Steinbrenner.

The Orioles have had an owner in  Angelos, ironically born on the same day one year removed from Steinbrenner, may have the money-making aspect of Steinbrenner down, but as to putting that money back into the talent on the field, Angelos has been lacking there.

To relate this back to my friend’s comment on “The Witch is Dead“, if we are the Munchkins in this situation, we should be honoring instead of ridiculing one of baseball’s best owners, no matter how much we hated “The Evil Empire” because Steinbrenner was great for the game.

In other news, Billy Martin has been fired from the baseball team in heaven twice in the last several hours…

Tune into WNST and WNST.net for more news regarding George Steinbrenner’s death and the hole it leaves in MLB! WNST-We Never Stop Talking!

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Don't Believe The Hype - It's Knicks or Cavs Tonight

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Don’t Believe The Hype – It’s Knicks or Cavs Tonight

Posted on 08 July 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

As the world waits with bated breath for LeBron James announce the venue at which he’ll be applying his craft for the foreseeable future, it would seem all but a foregone conclusion that James is set to join forces with DeWayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. That said, there have been lots of seemingly foregone conclusions surrounding the NBA’s free agent bonanza 2010, and so far few of them have actually come to fruition. So until LeBron makes it official in just a few hours, everywhere is still a possibility; or so it would seem.


I’m still betting on Knicks or Cavs tonight. The Knicks fan in me says, “New York was the first to begin making preparations for LeBron.” Indeed the Knicks have skirted the tampering line for several seasons now, through coaching and front office regime changes, their focus has been single minded and unwavering, get the King to the Empire City. By signing Amar’e Stoudamire already in free agency, the Knicks have provided LeBron with the best potential big man pairing amongst his suitors. Even if LeBron hasn’t figured it out yet, Stoudamire, and not Chris Bosh would be the ideal pairing for him if he hopes to advance his championship hopes. He’s an athletic marvel, capable of getting up and down the floor in a Mike D’Antonio system, an adept back to the basket player, who unlike Bosh appears both willing and ready to take on the dirty work, and do LeBron’s heavy lifting.


In Cleveland, regardless of your own feelings about the city, LeBron has security and familiarity. He also would return to the team that posted the league’s best records in each of the last two seasons, although one that hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of their NBA Finals run of 2007. As a native of nearby Akron, with a number of his childhood friends serving as confidants throughout this process, I’m still having a hard time believing that LeBron James would simply leave his city high and dry. The economic impact on the businesses surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena and throughout Cleveland would be immediate and seemingly devastating. What’s more, the Cavs still have some maneuverability under the cap themselves, and in Anderson Varejao and JJ Hickson they also have two of the most desirable trade commodities in the league, dollar for dollar.


I’d like to believe that seeing through what he began in Cleveland would be important to LeBron. Even more so, I wonder how future free agents might view the Cavs if they were unable to keep LeBron around. If there’s any such thing as karma in sports, LeBron will stay in Cleveland.


So where does Miami fit in? Going to Miami, and joining forces with 2 other max deal players seems like a best case scenario for LeBron, but would it be? If Miami is the answer to the question tonight, then you can only imagine that it’ll be a matter of time before Pat Riley pulls another Stan Van Gundy move, and replaces Heat coach Eric Spolestra on the bench with himself. You could also reasonably guess that he’ll do it anyway, with or without LeBron. In either case, the expectations would be immediate.


Using the majority of your salary cap on max players seems like such a good idea, that you have to wonder why other teams haven’t done it before. Then you look at what the Heat will have to spend in order to fill out their remaining roster spots, and the reason becomes clear. In order to be effective right away, the Heat would need a journeyman point guard – or a pure shooter since Wade and James are both adept ball handlers – on a mid level exception, they’d need Dexter Pittman to be ready to start at center, and deal with Dwight Howard, Kendrick Perkins or Andrew Bynum at playoff time, or get creative in trying to bring back Udonis Haslem and hope that Pittman can back him up. Rookie Jarvis Varnado will have to be ready to play too, since the Heat’s only other draft pick went to injured forward Da’Sean Butler, who surely can’t be counted on as a rookie, simply based on the injury he sustained in the Final Four. Michael Beasley and his $5 million or so in salary would have to be jettisoned, and finding suitors for him hasn’t been easy, and Mario Chalmers will have to be ready to run the offense for stretches in the third and fourth quarters of games. Let’s not forget how many games in this year’s playoffs alone were decided by the second units.


Have I mentioned that Bosh lacks toughness, and is unlikely to mix it up much in the paint? He’s not really a pick and roll player, more like pick and pop. At his best Bosh is Pau Gasol with limited range, at his worst, well Steven A. Smith probably summed it up best when he called him Manute Bol with tiny dreads. The dreads are gone, but that may be all that’s changed about that assessment when it really matters. And lastly, has anyone stopped to think about what would happen if one of these guys were hurt? Talk about scotch tape and bubble gum.


Here’s the most intriguing part for me though, and maybe the angle that provides the most insight too, depending on how you interpret it. We all remember LeBron famously sporting his Yankees cap as a guest of CC Sabathia – then with the Indians – at a Yankees / Tribe playoff game. So what does LeBron’s Yankee fandom lend to the speculation about his destination?


First, there’s the physical location angle. If LeBron simply loves New York, then Knicks it is, or maybe the Nets on an outside flyer. If it’s Yankee philosophy he embraces though, then consider this:


James’ beloved baseball team routinely scalps all of the best talent on the free agent market, and why wouldn’t they? Outside of wanting to build something where you are already playing, piling on to a team that’s already of championship timber and enjoying the ride seems ideal. Again, James own buddy Sabathia succumbed to the temptation to pile on with a winner, so for James to do so in Miami shouldn’t be a surprise. But real baseball fans understand that even while Alex Rodriguez was arguably the AL’s best player for a number of years before joining the Yankees, and while with them, the Yankees have never been A-Rod’s team. Derek Jeter is Mr. Yankee, just like, for now at least, Wade is Mr. Heat.


If A-Rod never wins a World Series ring in the middle of an order that doesn’t feature Derek Jeter, his legacy will be lessened; not tarnished, but certainly lessened. Jeter has rings without A-Rod, much like Wade has one of his own already. If LeBron joins the Heat, the expectation will be championships, 3 in the next 5 seasons I’d say. Anything less would just be lame, and we’ll remember those teams more for the ones that they lost than the ones that they didn’t. And they will lose some, Kobe and the Lakers are still licking their chops, the Magic are primed, toughened angry and cohesive already, they’ll be a factor. The Original Big 3 in Boston are setting up to make a run, and desperation is riding with them, and whether you like the Joe Johnson signing or not, the Hawks only laid a proverbial egg in the playoffs because they were a really good team, otherwise no one would have noticed when they fizzled. Atlanta is tough, defensive minded and back together with new and hopefully better leadership.


The road to the Finals might not roll through Miami for a couple of years. Still don’t believe that his team can fail? Go back and look at the 2004 Olympic team, they didn’t have Bosh, but they were loaded and coached by Larry Brown, yet lost to Puerto Rico, Lithuania and Argentina, not exactly the Celtics, Magic and Lakers in their own right.


Everything to lose, nothing to gain, that will be LeBron’s cross to bear in Miami. He’ll be out front for the criticism, but will have to share the praise. And multiple championships are the expectation already. Here’s betting this was all a clever rouse and it’ll be Knicks or Cavs tonight. 



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"Hall Of Famers" .... As We Stand Here Today

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“Hall Of Famers” …. As We Stand Here Today

Posted on 08 July 2010 by Rex Snider

I can’t help it. I’m a baseball junkie …..

It’s my favorite sport and regardless of the Orioles demise, I still get wrapped up in anything and everything concerning America’s pasttime. And, as much as I don’t really care for next week’s Homerun Derby, I still get excited about the lure of the All Star Game. So, I write about baseball, to include, my memories and opinions.

Over the past week, I’ve covered current All Stars, as well as MVPs, Cy Youngs and Rookies Of The Year. Where else can I go?

Well, I can take the historical path, I suppose.

Are there sure-lock HALL OF FAMERS in the game, today? You bet. In fact, my list includes players, managers, executives and owners. As with anything else, it’s puely subjective. However, I do feel I’m absolutely right about 99.9% of this crowd …..

Chipper Jones

Quite frankly, he’s going to be a benificiary of NOT being tied to any Performance Enhancing Drug scandals. Did he use? I don’t know. However, as we look at him TODAY, there are no smoking guns.

Over 17 seasons, Chipper has achieved some HOF-worthy stats – .306 avg, 2464 hits, 432 homers, 487 doubles

He also owns an MVP, as well as a ring. And, he’s well liked. Chipper has spent his entire career in one city and I think such an honor and loyalty gets rewarded by media voters. Perhaps, he’s not a first ballot guy. But, he’s in Cooperstown.

John Schuerholz

Baltimore guy makes good, huh? Schuerholz has evolved into one of the most respected scouting minds in the game. He was instrumental in the construction of the Kansas City Royals of the 80’s, and more famously, the Atlanta Braves of the past 20 years.

Schuerholz’s Braves have appeared in the postseason 13 times over his two decades at the helm. He owns two rings and has drafted a gang of future Hall Of Fame players.

Bobby Cox

Indeed, he’s earned his bust, in Cooperstown. Bobby Cox has skippered the Atlanta Braves through their era of dominance, in the National League’s Eastern Division. Heck, he’s even been recognized with a CAKE, at the U.S. Capitol …..

His managing career includes 5 Pennants and a World Championship, along with a .556 winning percentage. Bobby Cox is absolutely a Hall Of Famer. And, with his retirement at the end of this season, he probably won’t be waiting too long.

Omar Vizquel

Before you say “NO WAY,” just consider one name ….. Ozzie Smith. Lets look at their careers …..

Smith – .262 avg, 2460 hits, 580 steals, 13 Gold Gloves

Vizquel – .272 avg, 2735 hits, 391 steals, 11 Gold Gloves

I think Omar Vizquel is another player who might wait for a “thin year” of candidates. But, I do think he’s ultimately a Hall Of Famer. I’ll admit part of my reasoning is also tied to some dissent. I didn’t think Ozzie Smith’s career was really HOF-worthy. Very good? Yes. Great? No. Thus, I think Vizquel reaches the Ozzie Smith threshhold and earns his place in Cooperstown.

Manny Ramirez

I’m not part of the group that thinks players with direct ties to Performance Enhancing Drug usage will be denied entry to the Hall Of Fame. This was the Steroid Era – period. Some users will make, some will not. Mark McGwire was not a HOF-worthy player. Manny Ramirez is …..

Manny’s numbers are undeniable – .313 avg, 2553 hits, 554 homers, 544 doubles. Although, he lacks the organizational commitment of a Chipper Jones, he has been dominant over the course of his career. In fact, he’s a first ballot guy.

Joe Torre

He’s in …. regardless of the advantages the New York Yankees have enjoyed over other organizations. Torre was a guiding, laid-back influence, who managed an array of attitudes. And, he never panicked under pressure.

Joe Torre has managed 5 different ballclubs, over 29 years. He owns a .540 winning percentage, along with 6 Pennants and 4 World Championships. Yes, all of these titles came with the Yankees, but he still has them.

Trevor Hoffman

He’s just short of 600 career saves. Of course, Hoffman is also the all-time saves leader. It’s pretty difficult to deny his dominance in this role and, along with Mariano Rivera, he’s been the standard for closers over the last several years.

I would’nt be surprised if Trevor Hoffman fails in his first HOF ballot. I think closers always run that risk. But, he’ll gain entry into Cooperstown. After all, his name is always mentioned when discussing the greatest closers in the history of the game.

Jim Thome

Some people actually agonize over this one. It’s a SLAM DUNK. Jim Thome is another player who has no direct tie to Performance Enhancing Drugs during the course of his career. Are we suspicious? Sure …. but, all players have really earned a lifted eyebrow.

Thome’s stats are career defining – 574 homers, 423 doubles, 1593 rbi and 1646 walks. Of course, the longball really makes Thome. He’s closing in on 600 homers and in a limted role, he’s swatted 10 in the first half of the season. He’s also a nice guy and voters remember that.

Mariano Rivera

While he is not the career saves leader, many observers believe Rivera is the most dominant closer in the history of the game. Overtaking Trevor Hoffman is not out of the question, but health and age are crucial, at this point. Regardless, Mariano Rivera has enjoyed a great career …..

With 545 saves and a 2.22 era, he could walk away today and anticipate his induction into the Hall Of Fame. And, that’s the spirit of this blog …..

Alex Rodriguez

Yep, he certainly gets lumped in with Manny Ramirez and other sluggers who’ve been busted for Performance Enhancing Drug usage. That said, A’Rod has been the game’s best player over the last 15 seasons. He’s on pace to succeed Barry Bonds as the All-Time Homerun King, probably by 2015 …..

A’Rod is 3 homers shy of #600 …. 1 stolen base shy of #300 …. 388 hits shy of #3000 and just 35 doubles shy of reaching his 500th two-bagger. Unless, he does something very “OJ-ish”, A’Rod is a shoo-in …..

Derek Jeter

The Yankees are flowing in now, huh? Jeter is another first ballot guy. He, too, is closing in on 3000 hits. Jeter has certainly been the backbone of a formidable New York franchise, over the last 15 seasons. While he has stellar stats, he also possesses an array of the intangible qualities.

Derek Jeter is universally respected for playing the game the right way. He’s got a handful of rings and a noted reputation for good character and loyalty. He’s an absolute lock for first-ballot induction into Cooperstown.

George Steinbrenner

Uh-oh …. here come the negative comments and f-bombs. Hey, it is what it is ….. and George Steinbrenner owns a franchise that has reinvented itself, a couple times. He also has 7 World Championships during his ownership and that’s difficult to diminish.

I’ll concede Steinbrenner has his critics and dissenters. He’s also been banned from the game; earlier in his ownership. That said, his “business of baseball” has been legendary and he’ll be remembered as such. Some folks will think his dealings hurt the game and some will disagree. I think he was innovator.

Jamie Moyer

Count ’em …. 267 wins. Moyer is 33 shy of the magical 300 mark. However, even more amazing is his durability and longevity in this game. He’s 47 years old and midway thru his 24th Major League season.

Some observers may think he never dominated, and that’s okay. But, Jamie Moyer will be recognized for everything else. He’s headed to the Hall Of Fame – and, regardless, of how many ballots it takes, he’s gonna be an old dude when he gets there. Good for him !!!! It’s a great story …..

Ichiro Suzuki

Without a doubt, he’ll be coming back across the pond a mere five years after he hangs it up. Ichiro has arguably been the best player in the game, since arriving just nine years ago. In that brief time, he’s hit for a .332 clip and achieved 200+ hits in EVERY full season, along with Gold Gloves. He’s also been an All Star, each season.

He has shown no signs of slowing down. And, I do wonder where his numbers would climb, if he played in a good lineup. He’s in his tenth season, and Ichiro is a slam dunk first-ballot Hall Of Famer. Don’t even argue it …..

Albert Pujols

Yeah, he’s in. I’ve always been skeptical of his inflated numbers and behemoth frame. But, once again, there are no direct ties between Pujols and Performance Enhancing Drugs. He’s been a monster over the last ten years.

Look at these numbers – .332 avg, 1810 hits, 386 homers ….. since 2001. If he retired today, Albert Pujols would be inducted on his initial ballot. There is little doubt of that. And, he’s just 30 years old. That’s just sick …..

Tony LaRussa

Yep, he’s a Hall Of Famer. LaRussa has managed 32 seasons, while garnering 5 Pennants and 2 World Championships. And, he sports a .535 winning percentage …..

There is also the argument that Tony LaRussa has been a WINNER wherever he goes. Joe Torre does not have that distinction. And, LaRussa has managed teams with far lesser payrolls. He’ll be elected to the Hall Of Fame at some point.

Vlad Guerrero

If Chipper Jones is a Hall Of Famer, so is Vlad. While he has battled injuries over his 15 seasons, he’s been a steady, if not dominant performer during the course of his career. In fact, he could’ve been one of the game’s greatest players, but he’s missed nearly 200 games, due to injury.

The career numbers don’t lie – .322 avg, 2350 hits, 426 homers, 434 doubles. Although, his Major league resume’ is nearing an end, Vlad could reach the 500 homerun club, if he stays healthy. That’s a BIG if …. but, he’s a Hall Of Famer.

Ivan Rodriguez

While he will always be remembered for his defensive prowess, and a ROCKET arm, “Pudge” has also enjoyed a very stellar offensive career. He has a career batting average of .299, along with 2772 hits, 306 homers and 561 doubles.

Yet, it’s his skills as a catcher that really makes Pudge the complete Hall Of Famer. He has 13 Golden Gloves and many obervers regard him as possessing the best arm EVER, for catchers. That’s difficult to argue. Welcome to Cooperstown …..

Well, that’s it. Agree? Disagree? We’ll chat about it TODAY @ 2pm …..

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Mailbag: Thursday the 8th of LeBron

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Mailbag: Thursday the 8th of LeBron

Posted on 08 July 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

There’s been some mail, and a few on air discussions cut short that I’ve been meaning to catch up on. And since some of it at least is timely, there’s no time like the present, so here goes, the first edition of Thyrl’s Mail Bag. And if you have a question, comment or idea, send it to me at thyrl@wnst.net.  


With all of the NBA’s free agent buzz, a caller off air asked who the highest paid NBA players were in 2009-10.


It’s an interesting list, and leads you to wonder where some of the teams spending big might find themselves on the tail ends of these monster contracts, especially with a new collective bargaining agreement on the near horizon too.


Here’s the top 10, from hoopshype.com for 2009-10:

1. Kobe Bryant $24.8 mil

2. Rashard Lewis $20.5 mil

3. Kevin Garnett $18.8 mil

4. Tim Duncan $18.7 mil

5. Michael Redd $18.3 mil

6. Pau Gasol $17.8 mil

7. Andrei Kiralenko $17.8 mil

8. Yao Ming $17.6 mil

9. Gilbert Arenas $17.7 mil

10. Vince Carter $17.3 mil


For all of the grief baseball gets, there top 10 looks much better. Here are the MLB rankings from CBSSports.com for 2010:

1. Alex Rodriguez $33 mil

2. CC Sabathia $24.2 mil

3. Derek Jeter $22.6 mil

4. Mark Teixeira $20.6 mil

5. Johan Santana $20.1 mil

6. Miguel Cabrera $20 mil

7. Carlos Beltran $19.4 mil

8. Ryan Howard, Carlos Lee & Alfonso Soriano $19 mil


And USA Today’s top 10 NFL salaries for 2009:

1. Philip Rivers $25.5 mil

2. Jay Cutler $22 mil

3. Eli Manning $20.5 mil

4. Kurt Warner $19 mil

5. Kelvin Hayden $17.4 mil

6. Matt Schaub $17 mil

7. Julius Peppers $16.6 mil

8. Chris Long $16.5 mil

9. Greg Jennings $16.2 mil

10. Antonio Smith $15.5 mil


Jeff, who didn’t identify where he was from wanted to know who has the biggest potential among this year’s crop of free agents to be a bust?


For the money Jeff, Chris Bosh seems a bit too willing to concede the driver’s seat to another superstar. Although he’s a willing second fiddle, he doesn’t seem to be a willing #5 in the NBA, and therefore probably lacks the toughness a superstar would need in the paint. If winning the Eastern Conference means solving Dwight Howard, I like A’mare Stoudamire’s chances much better than the pick and pop game of Bosh. But the even easier answer is Darko, again.


Kevin in Fallston heard me say – in a moment of weakness perhaps – that the O’s might be close, and wants to know exactly how close.


Kevin, I’d say not quite as close as the ’06 Rays or even the ’03 Tigers, but still much closer than the ’46 Cubs. Or so I hope.


And Adrian in Essex wants to know what I expect LeBron will announce tomorrow at “The Decision”.


The Knicks fan in me wants him to go to New York, the closet Nets fan growing inside of me wants New Jersey, my humanitarian side wants him to stay in Cleveland, but more than anything, I want to see it drug out a little further. I’m hoping to see LeBron at a table, flanked by World Wide Wes on one side, Simon Cowell on the other, and a parade of teams auditioning to win the judges and America over. After that we’ll have a nationwide vote, and Shaq can emcee the results show. I’m almost afraid to see it all end, so are a lot of teams, I’ll bet.





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My “Imperfect” A.L. All Star Team …..

Posted on 01 July 2010 by Rex Snider

There is really no such thing as the PERFECT team, regardless of whether it’s of an All Star caliber or not. However, I do think it’s pretty easy to think of very formidable teams, especially when you’re afforded the luxury of selecting players from an inventory of more than a dozen squads.

I have no doubt Joe Girardi and Charlie Manuel will be wrestling with some emotion, obligation, expectation and even POLITICS when selecting the reserve members of their respective All Star rosters.

They have friends in other organizations …..

They have their own players to consider rewarding …..

They have Bud Selig looking over their shoulders …..

But, what would it be like if the All Star managers were truly afforded the latitude of selecting the reserves by distinguishing those whom he feels give the team the very best chance of winning? Why is thIS primary consideration? Well, the game counts.

Bud Selig is hellbent on ensuring the victorious All Star squad secures homefield advantage for their respective league’s World Series representative.

Joe Girardi and Charlie Manuel skippered their team’s to the 2009 fall classic. Heck, Manuel’s Phillies have appeared in the LAST TWO World Series. They’re also the same team that forfeited it’s defense of the World Championship on the Yankee Stadium turf, following Game 6, last year.

Why did 2009’s defending World Champions forsake homefield advantage to the Yankees? We know that answer – the American League won the 2009 All Star game.

On the heels of such a bitter defeat, I would think Manuel has every reason to want to win this upcoming All Star matchup. Girardi should harbor the same desire and motivation. So, would the rosters look different if the managers could select the players whom they believed to comprise the most dangerous of teams?

I think so.

That means beyond the players selected by the fans, the manager would get to choose 25 reserves, to comprise a total of 34 players. And, the STUPID rule of including at least one player from every team MUST be discarded for this process. It should be forgotten, anyway.

This isn’t Little league. You play to win the game. Just ask Herm Edwards …. and Bud Selig.

So, if I stood in Joe Girardi’s shoes and I really wanted to win the upcoming game, this is what my All Star roster would look like …..

ELECTED PLAYERS (voting thru July 1, 2010)

Catcher – Joe Mauer
1st Base – Justin Morneau
2nd Base – Robinson Cano
3rd Base – Evan Longoria
Shortstop – Derek Jeter
Outfield – Ichiro Suzuki, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton
DH – Vlad Guerrero

RESERVES (selected by manager)

Catcher – Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli

It’s a shame Matt Wieters is struggling, because Napoli really gets the noD by default. Jorge Posada is not healthy. Heck, Victor Martinez may not be healthy, either.

1st Base – Miguel Cabrera, Kevin Youkilis

Cabrera is the best of the bunch, including Morneau. And, Kevin Youkilis is a guy I want at the plate with the game on the line. His bush league antics and mannerisms are irritating, but he’s an OBP stud.

2nd Base – Ben Zobrist

Nobody else carries a likelihood of being a difference maker, especially with Pedroia on the DL. Cano and Zobrist would split the duties.

3rd Base – Michael Young, Alex Rodriguez

Obvious choices, huh? Forget Adrian Beltre’s .349 clip, I want A’Rod or Young at the plate.

Shortstop – Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar

A more traditional run of shortstops, huh? All speed, no power. It’s not a very good year for this position. These guys could do damage on the basepaths.

Outfield – Shin Soo Choo, Alex Rios, Nick Markakis, Brett Gardner, Nelson Cruz

I’m taking Choo, Rios and Markakis to play LF/CF/RF, respectively. In the second half of the game, I want guys playing their positions. Gardner is a fantastic spark plug and Cruz is a threat anytime he steps to the plate.

DH – Vernon Wells

I was torn between Wells and Billy Butler. But, I went with the power.

Starting Pitchers – Cliff Lee, David Price, Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester, Jered Weaver, Francisco Liriano

Why these guys? While they throw hard and have an impressive haul of strikeouts, their success is equally attributed to having a great “out pitch,” beyond the fastball. I think all of them would baffle National League hitters …. and they’re having a GREAT season.

Relief Pitchers – Mariano Rivera, Joakim Soria, Neftali Feliz

In a word, NASTY. All three of them could nail down a perfect 9th against the heart of the NL order.

Well, there it is – all 34 players for my American League All Star Team. Now that I’m looking back at it, I’ve made some perculiar observations …..

* I’m taking at least one player from each A.L. team, except the Oakland A’s. That said, if a pitcher backed out, I would probably take Andrew Bailey.

* While Mark Teixeira would not make my team (over Cabrera and Youkilis), two of the players the Rangers acquired for him (Perez and Andrus) are on my squad.

* My roster would include NINE first-time All Stars.


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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won't Get It ....

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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won’t Get It ….

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Rex Snider

While I’m not a passionate fan of Michael Vick’s play on the football field, I have been quietly rooting for him since last season’s return.

To be honest, my hope in seeing him overcome his past has no real tie to football or athletic achievements, at all. I’ve really hoped he would leave his sordid transgressions and the associated lifestyle in the rear view mirror, while proving to himself and others that he is indeed a “CHANGED MAN.”

Better yet, I thought Michael Vick could motivate a growing generation of adolescents who’ve made poor personal choices in their young lives. Maybe, just maybe, his story and ultimate rise from self-destruction would help others in an inspirational way.

There is just one “catch” ….. this anticipated story of a compassionate comeback needs to stay on track.

As recently as a couple weeks ago, things were looking very opimistic.

Today, I’m not so sure.

As the world now knows, Michael Vick celebrated his 30th birthday with a BIG BASH at a Virginia Beach nightclub, on Thursday night. It was promoted and advertised to the general public, via Facebook, Twitter and informal means.

While some people might think that hosting parties and momentous celebrations are an expressed inclusion of our freedoms, many of us also realize that such events are an invitation to more than just dancing, drinking and eating birthday cake.

And, discerning between these two considerations is probably where Michael Vick screwed up.

I don’t care that he’s a convicted felon and federal parolee; I don’t simply assume he’s done something illegal. He’s paid his debt to society – he has every right to attend charity functions at Martins West, movie premieres in Hollywood and parties thrown in his honor.

However, a clearly distinct line distinguishes the difference between the “RIGHT” to do something, and whether it’s “RIGHT” to do something. I’m certain celebrities employ such decision making methods when considering their presence and involvement at events – both public and private in nature.

It doesn’t matter if they organize or host the event, if a BIG NAME is in attendance and something goes wrong, they’ll be forever tied to it. Just ask TMZ’s Harvey Levin …..

When is the last time this guy did something DUMB or ill-advised in a social setting?

Good luck finding such an incident. You’ll likely search for days and still never find any smoking guns. And, there is a very plausible reason behind striking out on any quest in finding dirt on Peyton Manning – HE KNOWS BETTER.

Peyton Manning is aware of his image, reputation and obligation to an array of different people. The list includes …..
His Team

His Wife

His Business Partners

His Family’s Name

I’m sure you see my point – even if you disagree. But, the names go beyond Peyton Manning. I’m confident this list of guys will not be arrested, accused of criminal conduct or attending a party where another attendee is SHOT, in 2010 ….. Drew Brees, Derek Jeter, Steve Nash, Donovan McNabb, Andy Roddick, Albert Pujols, Hines Ward, Tim Duncan, Jeff Gordon, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco …..

How about this ….. I can think of a list of guys who have endured legal troubles, while making some very poor choices in their respectives pasts. But, they’ve given us every reason to believe we won’t be seeing their name associated with crime and punishment, by year’s end. For me, the list starts with Ray Lewis.

It’s been a decade since Ray ran afoul of the legal system or found himself in a public meltdown of poor judgement. He’s way beyond such indiscretions – he values his reputation and image. He has plenty of company among those who’ve had troubles and overcame them, like ….. Kobe Bryant, Ricky Williams, Josh Hamilton, Kurt Busch, Bernard Hopkins, Brett Favre and Jamal Lewis.

Of course, the final group is those who’ve committed multiple transgressions. Arrested? Yes. Stupid decisions? Yes. Numerous occurences of one or both? Yes. These are the guys you’re most likely going to be hearing about during a BREAKING NEWS segment, early in the morning. This is where you’ll find Brandon Marshall, Elijah Dukes, Sidney Ponson, Marshawn Lynch, Mike Tyson, John Daly, Jeremy Mayfield, Cedric Benson, Allen Iverson, Matt Jones, Delonte West and Michael Vick.

Hey, it’s accurate.

Michael Vick may very well have intended to celebrate an innocent occasion, last Thursday. In fact, I’d be willing to bet on it. He doesn’t want to screw up – he doesn’t want to be out of a job – he doesn’t want to go back to prison. I honestly believe these things.

However, I also believe Michael Vick lacks the sensibility to dissect a proposed action or decision, while considering the ramifications of the FALLOUT if something goes wrong. That’s exactly what he should’ve done when the idea of his birthday party being held at a nightclub, and open to the general public was tabled.


Well, there are a few reasons. Foremost, there is very little positive exposure to be gained in a nightclub environment. While nightclubs attract girls dressed in their sexiest wares, they also serve as a hotspot for people with checkered characters. Say what you will – Mike should be whoring himself to more “feel good” opportunities than President Obama, Tom Cruise and the CEO of BP, combined.

Another consideration is Michael Vick should not host, endorse or attach his likeness to ANY EVENT, unless he has direct control over it. I don’t care if a promoter really handled the party, its got the name MICHAEL VICK forever stamped to it. In the future (or in hindsight), he should celebrate his birthday with a party at home or in an establishment that can offer a respected reputation and a high degree of decorum.

If he wants to get CRAZEE and dance with some hotties, while fondling an expensive champagne bottle, he should have the party at home – and make all guests leave their cellphones at the door. Be assured, that’s what happens at Diddy’s house. And, he has much less to worry about than Mike does.

You don’t think Alex Rodriguez enjoyed the arrival of his 30th birthday? How about Ladanian Tomlinson? Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Shaq? They just make good decisions when it comes to enjoying themslves.

As we sit here today, Michael Vick has problems. He might not face any legal sanctions with his Probation Officer. But, I think that everything else is in limbo. I’d bet my HOUSE that a certain group of individuals are angry as HELL. They’ve attached themselves to Michael Vick and he has let them down. Of course, the most important one is obvious …..

However, you can also include Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Tony Dungy and Arthur Blank. Each of them went to bat for him, helped him or had a HUGE part in giving him this most recent chance to make a living as a member of the National Football League.

What could they do differently, specifically ask “Michael, will you be celebrating your 30th birthday in a nightclub” ??? They should’ve expected that he would exercise better judgement. No doubt, they rightfully expected it from him.

With each passing hour, more and more details regarding the NIGHTLIFE of Michael Vick are surfacing. Welcome to the age of Twitter, Facebook and online tabloids. We now know Vick hosted parties in May, as well as April.

I wonder if dog fighting co-defendant, Quanis Phillips, attended those events. Probably not. Why did he attend this one? Well, it was held near his home. But, most importantly, he attended last Thursday’s party, because he could.

NOBODY and/or NO PLAN was in place to stop such a situation. And, if they did plan for it, they failed …. which is even worse, if you really think about it.

Thursday’s incident is a loud, distinct message to one of Michael Vick’s former endorsers, as if they have really considered resurrecting his marketability …..

You can bet the folks in Beaverton, Oregon, are thinking one thing …. “MIKE AIN”T WORTH THE RISK.” And, if Nike is scared off, so is McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Visa and Under Armor. Like humans, corporations are known to forgive and reconcile, but they arguably take far less chances than people do.

Over the last few days, we’ve heard the typical “we will wait until all the facts are known before addressing the situation” line. It’s the SAFE thing to say …. and it may very well apply to the United States Justice Department’s role in the life of Michael Vick.

But, rest assured, NFL spokeman, Greg Aiello, was better off giving the politically correct statement, rather than saying “Roger is done with this experiment.”

As for the Eagles, did you expect them to say “Mr. Lurie is knee deep in trying to void Michael Vick’s contract.” Oh and “Jeff Garcia is visiting team headquarters, later this week.”

Perhaps, both Mr. Goodell and Mr. Lurie haven’t exercised such drastic measures. But, you can bet they’re not sitting on their hands while waiting for an outcome, either. Not a chance …..

They know what they need to know.

Michael Vick may never, EVER be involved in another incident of violence. He may never pose for another mugshot in his life.

But, he cannot be trusted to really think about a potential outcome to the hair-brained ideas of family, friends and cohorts. No doubt, he’s as spontaneously reactive to his cultural ideals as Paris Hilton is to shopping for shoes.

He’s evidently incapable of change. He is who he is …..

He just can’t be trusted to do the RIGHT thing.

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Strasburg An All Star ???  You Bet ....

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Strasburg An All Star ??? You Bet ….

Posted on 23 June 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, we knew this topic would finally surface, right? It’s been all of two weeks and Stephen Strasburg has mowed his way through opposing Major League lineups.

At this point, the righty looks unstoppable. Yeah, I said it. He’s logged 19 innings, and struckout 32 batters. At the same time, he’s only surrendered 10 hits and 5 walks. That’s the definition of DOMINANT.

His streak of impeccable pitching is likely to continue, too.

This afternoon, Strasburg will be fed a diet of lackluster hitting in the form of the Kansas City Royals. They’re not beating him. I’d say the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets will be hard-pressed to do any damage, either.

That’s it – the Royals, Braves and Mets stand between Stephen Strasburg and Charlie Manuel’s inevitable, gutwrenching decision. Indeed, it’s not an easy conclusion …..

On one hand, there’s the prospect of playing by BUD SELIG’S STUPID RULES. Remember, this game counts. The winning league is awarded homefield advantage in the 2010 World Series. Charlie Manuel’s Phillies have been to TWO STRAIGHT Fall Classics.

Thus, he has every reason to believe his team can return for a third straight year, right?

If he believes the Phillies are a World Championship-caliber team, Charlie Manuel’s decision is easier than many might think. Who does he want facing the American League lineup in the 7th and 8th inning …..

Matt Capps?

Heath Bell?

Francisco Cordero?

Gimme a break. I’m an American League guy. I believe in the homerun. I embrace the DH. I savor not seeing Jake Arrieta with a stick in his hands. In fact, I hope the A.L. pulverizes the N.L. squad in the All Star game.

And, I couldn’t give a damn about the Philadelphia Phillies. I don’t care if they win or lose. In fact, I could only find one vision of the Phillies that really inspires me to enjoy the sight of their uniform ….

But, if I had a stake in the National League’s hopes – if I really wanted the National League team to win ….. and I had a voice in deciding who was on the team, Stephen Strasburg would be on the All Star squad. I don’t care if he’s earned it – he’s one of the best weapons in ensuring a win and ultimately, HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE.

Sure, another pitcher who’s contributed the entire season is likely to be sacrificed. Maybe, it’s Capps or Bell. Heck, it might be Tim Hudson or Mike Pelfrey. Who cares? I’d want Strasburg pitching for my sqaud before nearly any N.L. hurler.

It doesn’t matter who DESERVES to go to the All Star Game. Remember, Bud changed the rules and the ultimate reason for competing in this “EXHIBITION.” Winning the game matters – and it really matters when the guy making the decision watched his team forsake their WORLD TITLE, in Game 6 …. on the other team’s field, just 7 months ago !!!!

In a twisted way, selecting Stephen Strasburg to be an All Star would serve as a double edged weapon. It would alienate some veteran players and managers. But, I think Bud Selig and his cronies would love it – in the short term …..

Think about it ….. Stephen Strasburg matched up against Derek Jeter or Joe Mauer or Ichiro Suzuki or Vlad Guerrero or Evan Longoria or Miguel Cabrera or Ty Wiggington. Okay, strike the last one. But, you know what I mean.

Major League Baseball would love such a matchup – for NOW. However, in selecting a pitcher who hasn’t really EARNED an All Star appearance, Charlie Manuel might inspire a future impetus for choosing All Star reserves (and especially pitchers) based on WHO’S HOT, as opposed to who’s really earned it.

This is probably the single best way of finally defeating Bud Selig’s asinine All Star outcome. He wants the game to matter – so make it matter and put winning ahead of distinction. At some point, an A.L. or N.L. manager would end up selecting a staff full of closers. Watch and see ….

Do it, Charlie.

Don’t listen to Dusty Baker. What the hell does he know? He’s a loser. He’s been managing 17 seasons and he’s been to ONE World Series. Who cares if he’s belly-aching over Stephen Strasburg’s prospects of making the All Star team.

Don’t follow your heart, either, Charlie.

Just remember what it felt like as your team walked off the field, in Yankee Stadium, last November. Your Phillies were the defending World Champions, yet they left their “strap” in the Bronx, didn’t they?

Don’t let it happen, again. Win the All Star Game – period.

That’s the RULES.

Make this kid an All Star.

He’ll improve your chances of securing homefield advantage for the National League. And, today, that’s really what it’s all about.

Just ask Bud …..

Thanks Earl !!!!

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Arrieta, Hernandez provide rare moment of hope in lost season

Posted on 11 June 2010 by Luke Jones

We’re all looking for something positive to grasp onto as the Orioles enter the summer on pace to finish with the worst record in franchise history.

But searching for positives in a 17-43 disaster of a season is kind of like pointing out the luxuries on the Titantic before that pesky chunk of ice got in the way.

A daunting task, but that’s what we’re left with having a baseball team 22 games out of first place in the second week of June.

It was a far cry from the franchise-changing evening that occurred in our nation’s capital earlier this week with Stephen Strasburg’s historic debut for the Nationals, but Jake Arrieta and David Hernandez provided a brief moment of optimism on Thursday night in a season of epic failure.

Arrieta, making his major league debut, wasn’t tremendous, but he pitched six tough innings against the defending world champions to collect his first victory, beating the New York Yankees, 4-3. The 24-year-old struck out six Yankees—including Marcus Thames to end a scoring threat in his final inning of work—and allowed only four hits while displaying good movement on his fastball and an impressive slider.

He displayed a stronger sense of poise than most pitchers’ debuts we’ve witnessed in recent years, particularly in the sixth when the Yankees were threatening to tie and take the lead with the bases loaded before fanning Thames with a low-and-away slider.

“It’s real satisfying to throw well in my debut and get a win against these guys, it feels good,” Arrieta said. “I just wanted to make pitches and not let the adrenaline get the best of me. I think through the first three innings, at times, it did. But I kind of got into a groove from the fourth on and got out of a jam in the sixth. There were a lot of positives out of tonight.”

Another positive came two innings later when Hernandez, gaining more confidence with every appearance out of the bullpen, earned his first major league save, pumping fastballs at 97 miles per hour as he preserved the victory for Arrieta. Having struggled as a starter, Hernandez was disappointed in being moved to the bullpen but has allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings of relief.

Thursday night’s performance against the Yankees was a brief sample of why so many scouts projected Hernandez as a late-inning reliever with closer potential as he worked his way through the minors. Of course, it’s only one outing, but it was an impressive first act.

“That definitely probably ranks right up there with making my major league debut,” Hernandez said.

The only thing more disappointing than the Orioles’ record is the overwhelming part in which the supposed future core of players has played in the losing. In reality, it matters little what Ty Wigginton or Miguel Tejada or Kevin Millwood do, unless you’re hopelessly wishing a desperate team will throw a bunch of prospects at the Orioles’ feet for their services at the trade deadline.

The performance—or lack thereof—of the team’s young players is the only thing that truly matters at this point, and the results haven’t been there. Not even close.

Matt Wieters, expected to be baseball’s next big star behind the plate, is hitting .241 and has driven in a measly 17 runs.

2009 All-Star Adam Jones continues to flail away at low-and-away breaking balls with a .251 average and 19 RBIs when he was hitting .335 with 37 runs driven in on the same date last year.

Nolan Reimold, a candidate for Rookie of the Year in 2009 before suffering an Achilles injury, is hitting just .179—at Triple-A Norfolk.

And Brad Bergesen was demoted to the minors earlier in the season and now resides in the bullpen with a 6.75 ERA, trying to regain the effective sinker that made him the team’s most effective starting pitcher as a rookie in 2009.

Even if this season wasn’t really about wins and losses, despite what we were told last fall by general manager Andy MacPhail, it’s been a season of regression instead of development.

So forgive us if we take a tiny sliver of satisfaction from the accomplishments of two young pitchers on Thursday night—especially when they come against the Yankees.

“It’s always good to do well against a team like that,” Hernandez said. “They’re a team that knows how to win.”

The Orioles are clearly a team that does not, evident in both their record and the way they conduct themselves after a rare victory with the now regular—and ridiculous—occurrence of a shaving cream pie for the key contributor. It’s just another sign that this team fully expects to lose every night and parties like it’s 1999 when it does pull off the scarce win.

Make no mistake, laughter and music in the clubhouse are common occurrences and are well deserved after a win, but after venturing over to the New York clubhouse after its 4-2 win over the Orioles on Wednesday, the differences were night and day as Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and the Yankees were all business after doing the job they fully expect to do every night.


Of course, the difference in talent is night and day too.

And so is the mindset.

Despite this, the Orioles beat the superior Yankees on Thursday night behind the arms of Arrieta and Hernandez.

We can only continue to watch and hope for more of these small signs—and a willingness to open the checkbook in the offseason for some prime talent—as the Orioles painfully move through the remainder of a horrid season.

There’s no saving this season, but small signs for the future will have to do for now.

And Arrieta and Hernandez provided just that.

**Go to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Jake Arrieta and David Hernandez about their performances in Thursday night’s game.**

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