Tag Archive | "Manny Ramirez"

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Fallen Bird Rises in L.A.

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Jay Trucker

The last time Jay Gibbons was in the greater Baltimore area, he was playing for the independent Atlantic League Newark Bears when they took on the York Revolution (slogan: “REVOLUTION!”).
The former “future star” for the Orioles had sunk below the minor league system.

Now in his 30s and having trouble hitting (fielding was never Gibby’s “thing”), the redheaded lefty was an unlikely candidate to be protecting Manny Ramirez as a cleanup hitter any time soon.

Yet, that’s exactly what he was doing Saturday night, batting fourth for the L.A. Dodgers and helping his new club with a 2 for 3 performance and a home run. The Gibbons-led Dodgers (63-62) defeated the Reds 8-5.

Prior to his recent call-up, Gibbons hadn’t had a major league at bat since the inglorious finale of the 2007, in which he hit .230 as an Oriole. Plagued by steroid scandal and without a position in the field, Gibbons was cut prior to the ’08 season.

He split the next two seasons between the Atlantic League’s Bears and Long Island Ducks and in the Florida Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league systems. But it wasn’t until he tore up the Dodger’s AAA Albuquerque affiliate that Gibbons earned his chance to return to the bigs.

As a Dodger, Gibbons has been primarily used as a pinch hitter thus far. He is hitting .400 with 2 homers. During his time as an Oriole, Gibby complained when he was relegated to the bench and never had success as a PH. If he has learned how to hit off the bench during his time in the baseball wilderness, he may have new life as a pinch hitter in the National League.

Gibbons, 33, was never a “sad story” by most measures. He made millions of dollars hitting a ball with a bat and he cheated to get better at doing so. Fans feigned disgust at his steroid usage, but really was chased out of town due to poor play, not poor morals.

It is perhaps fitting, though, that as bloated, arrogant jerkface Roger Clemens faces federal charges, one of the least distinguished Mitchell Report members makes an unlikely return to the majors. Maybe Jay Gibbons could give Mr. Clemens a lesson in humility. He’s probably learned plenty of it these last few seasons.

Good luck, Gibby. I’ll be rooting for you. I mean, why not?

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“Rex Being Rex” Ain’t Good Enough ….

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Rex Snider

Over the course of the last week, we’ve all heard nearly every conceivable defense of Rex Ryan’s boorish, egotistical and salaciously driven style.

This community has an obvious and understandable soft spot for Rex and his publicly exposed antics. While the soccer mom in Des Moines, Iowa, might’ve dropped her jaw at a few snippets of last week’s Hard Knocks debut, we just shrugged and thought “yeah, that’s him ….”

And, to be totally honest, that was my initial reaction to Rex’s first couple drops of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge bombs.

Yet, somewhere amid a program aimed at training camp reality, we seemed to be exposed to a boastful coach’s rendition of Andrew Dice Clay, minus the intimate gathering and cigarette. I think it’s fair to say Rex crossed the line of responsible representation.

As I’ve said in the past, he doesn’t simply represent Rex Ryan Inc.

He is the face of the New York Jets. He is a steward among 32 of the NFL’s elite minds. He is a role model for impressionable players and future coaches. At least, I thought he was …..

Now, I’m not so sure.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended by anything Rex Ryan says or does on television. And, I’m definitely not a hypocrite – I have used language that exceeds the vulgarity of anything heard on Hard Knocks. But, I don’t use it in mixed company, regardless of my purpose.

In the days that have engulfed last week’s Hard Knocks premiere, Rex Ryan’s name has become an even greater lightning rod for discussion and debate. It seems like EVERY football fan has an opinion of his antics.

And, to be totally fair about this subject, Rex has garnered a flattering amount of defenders and loyalists. Yeah, yeah, I get the whole 1st Ammendment argument. That’s fine. But, having the right to do or say something doesn’t qualify that action as responsible or prudent.

People pay extraordinary prices for things they say every single day.

That said, the most regurgitated and recycled defense of Rex’s antics last week …. or ANY OTHER SITUATION WHERE HE SAYS STUPID, ILL-ADVISED THINGS, is “that’s just Rex being Rex” or “that’s the way he is.”

Really?

Is that the best possible excuse available?

Unfortunately, the “that’s just ____ being ____” tag is being used way too often to oblige someone’s shortcomings.

The phrase, as I recall, was first used to defend Manny Ramirez’s lazy and distracted approach to playing baseball at the highest level. Manny’s quirky, disinterested customs eventually have a negative impact on the team he represents. Just ask Theo Epstein and Ned Colletti.

Yet, its become kinda sheik to arbitrarily say “that’s just Manny being Manny.” I guess the line is getting old with more people than me. I recently heard the Manny-phrase refigured to its true spirited intent …..

That’s just a JACKASS being a JACKASS.

Fair enough.

But, it doesn’t begin to excuse someone for improper behavior or decorum. In fact, there is no legitimate reason for being a JACKASS.

Manny Ramirez’s indifference to detail was tolerated, because he was productive with a bat in his hands. But, when the baggage outweighs the production, even Manny is shown the door. The Red Sox aborted their franchise of his presence – and paid his remaining salary ($7 million) for the 2008 season.

The Dodgers want to trade Manny, too. But, they’re not in a spot to eat his remaining 2010 salary.

The moral to this message? Even the productive jackasses find a way to ruin a good thing; a good home.

Now, I’m not calling Rex Ryan a “jackass.” I want to be very clear about that. I will LOVE him forever …. for bringing a decade of intensity to the Ravens feared defense. I will always respect his gameplanning and innovative techniques. And, I will wish him well, except when his team plays the Ravens.

But, aside from my personal perspective of anything regarding Rex Ryan, he will meet the same ultimate demise as Manny Ramirez and hundreds of other NFL coaches. That’s the way it is.

He’s in the FISH BOWL environment of New York. It’s the epicenter of anything media-related. Of course, this includes sports media.

Rex Ryan has not been totally spared by New York sports media, either. The Jets lost 6 of 7 games in the middle stretch of the 2009 season, and Rex took his beating from reporters. But, he lucked out and the Colts purposely tanked a matchup against “Gang Green” in Week 16 …. which opened a door to the postseason for the Jets.

As everyone knows, they got HOT at the right time. The Jets advanced to the AFC Championship, before losing to the Colts. The next day, the New York media took their shots at Rex …..

In the months that have passed, many New Yorkers embraced that postseason run and lauded “Sexy Rexy” for delivering some excitement that Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, Pete Caroll and Rich Kotite (remember him?) couldn’t deliver. He’s become a cult hero, of sorts.

On the wave of popularity, HBO’s Hard Knocks showed up on the doorstep.

And, the love affair between Rex Ryan, New York’s media and the fans is a threesome for the ages. But, stay tuned …..

Potential critics are biting their tongues as the Darrelle Revis saga stretches on. But, let the Jets lose to the Ravens, without Revis in the secondary (he’ll be there) and Rex will hear it. If the Jets lose to the Patriots or Dolphins, Rex will hear hear it. If the Jets fall short of last year’s finish, Rex will hear it.

Welcome to New York.

Trust me, this Hard Knocks experience is going to rear a very ugly head at some point before that big ball falls in Time Square. And, Rex is going to be the target of everyone’s frustration …..

“You had to show off for the cameras”

“You had to bring in Broadway Joe”

“You had to brag about the Super Bowl”

“You had to let Sanchise get a bigger ego”

“You had to F-this and F-that”

Watch and see, it’s coming. Meanwhile, as I wrote last week, Belichick and Parcells/Sporano are hard at work, while secretly plotting to do two things …..

1) Win the AFC-East

2) Embarrass Rex Ryan

Just as Rex promotes himself, he also exposes himself. Eventually, the baggage becomes too heavy to bear. Enter, Manny Ramirez ….

While the bottom line is WINNING, Rex has compromised other important qualities demanded of a Head Coach. Yeah, Woody Johnson is willing to overlook the f-bomb debacle, so long as the Jets win. And, therein lies the first potential crack in this relationship.

Let the Jets lose. And, compound it with team sponsors avoiding Rex’s endorsement, because of his Hard Knocks stand-up comedy routine. Then, we’ll see just how appealing the “New York Rex Ryan” product will be for everyone.

Will Sprint, Marriott, MetLife, jetBlue, Coors Light, Pathmark and Primesport want Rex Ryan pitching their product. I’m betting “NO FREAKIN’ WAY.”

In fact, if Rex sticks to his guns and resulting language, he’ll eventually be unmarketable. And, that might suit him fine. But, it’s not good business.

Of course, this whole soap opera has birthed residual drama throughout the sports and entertainment world …..

Tony Dungy has suggested he wouldn’t hire Rex Ryan as a head coach.

Buddy Ryan (Rex’s pops) has basically challenged Dungy to a cage match.

And, virtually everyone else is saying “that’s just Rex being Rex.” For better or worse …..

I guess Rex really is being himself ….. or he was being himself. After watching last night’s Hard Knocks, I noticed that Rex cleaned up his publicly-placed language, significantly. In fact, he dropped the f-bomb just one time, and the camera camouflaged his mouth when it occurred.

Yesterday afternoon, I drew a comparison (or difference) between Rex Ryan and Giants Head Coach, Tom Coughlin …..

If you recall, Coughlin was portrayed as a guy who would not fit in New York. His players hated him and he was known as a sheepishly bad interview. He’s now entering his 7th season on the job.

Rex Ryan, on the other hand, is being portrayed as the “perfect fit” for the New York media personality. His players love him and he’s as engaging as Bill Clinton at a stag party. Rex owns New York …. just ask him.

The differences between these two coaches are immense. Rex has that firey, tumultuous intensity. He’s a FLARE. He burns hot and bright. But, flares generally don’t last very long. Coughlin is a low key kinda guy. He’s a candle. He burns slow and dim. Yet, he lasts a fairly substantial time.

These qualities can and do exist in every pro sports town. New York, in the global scope, really has nothing to do with it.

So, here we sit less than a month before the 2010 season commences. Rex Ryan has been busy writing checks his team will be forced to cash. He has promised more than wins. He has guaranteed a Super Bowl.

Once again, his mouth could catapult him above the mere mortals. Or, it could prove to be his biggest liability. I’m betting on the latter. I love Rex, but his team got lucky, last year. And, they’re overhyped, this year.

While Rex will not be joining Manny Ramirez among the unemployed anytime soon, he’s bound to get humbled sooner rather than later.

I think we’re all going to find out that Rex Ryan is a bit of a charade. That aside, if he doesn’t deliver, he’ll eventually find himself commanding an NFL team’s defense in another city.

Regardless, I’d bet the house that Tony Dungy won’t be his boss …..

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Ex Oriole OF Jay Gibbons on Comeback to Majors: “I Felt Like I Had To Give It One More Shot”

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Ex Oriole OF Jay Gibbons on Comeback to Majors: “I Felt Like I Had To Give It One More Shot”

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Ryan Chell

Jay Gibbons
Former Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons was chased out of the major leagues for using anabolic steroids.

One of the 100+ names mentioned in the now famous Mitchell Report, Gibbons was one of the first-and one of the few-players to be suspended for using anabolic steroids.

That, prompted by a slow start to the 2008 season, caused the Orioles to release Gibbons in the spring of 2008, and Gibbons never played in a major league game again.

Up until this week, as Gibbons was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque and joined his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gibbons homered, his first in almost three years, in the Dodgers 15-9 victory over the Phillies Wednesday night, while driving in three runs.

Gibbons was able to spend a few minutes with WNST’s own Rex Snider Thursday to talk about his accomplishment in fighting his way back to the big leagues, this time in the right way, and he is having the time of his life because he’s back doing what he loves.

“It’s been an interesting few years. I’m happy to be back, whether it be for a week or the rest of the year. I’m going to enjoy it, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Gibbons said it was very hard to make it to the big leagues this time around. He made the major leagues the first time by being selected as a Rule 5 draft pick by the Orioles in 2000.

“It seemed like it was harder to make it to the big leagues the second time, so it was a little more gratifying,” Gibbons said. “The first time I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off…I didn’t know where I was. But this time around, being from L.A. and playing in front of my family, it was pretty cool, and it was an experience I won’t forget.”

Gibbons made his debut Sunday at home against the Nationals, a game in which he came in to pinch-hit for the newly acquired Ted Lilly. Gibbons made the most of his first opportunity in the big leagues in almost three years by slapping a RBI-single off longtime pitcher Miguel Batista, bringing in Ronnie Belliard.

Gibbons said he was anxious a little bit, but once he stepped in the batter’s box, he was relaxed and in his comfort zone.

“It was more of being on deck, taking it all in again. I had some butterflies going in the stomach, but when I got to the plate , it was just playing baseball anywhere and you try and do your job and try and drive the run in.”

Gibbons had had shots over the years for minor league jobs, but that was the extent of his MLB career. The Mitchell Report had turned out to be a blacklisted list of names for the MLB, and with Gibbons on that list and no teams calling for his services, he initially retired early last year.

“I was home for 5 months. When no one wants you, I guess you have to call your retirement. I just walked away from the game and spent time with my family, which was great.”

But the game kept pulling on Gibbons to get back out there and keep trying to get back at it, especially when he was watching last year’s playoffs.

“You get bored when you retire. It wasn’t until playoff time last year that I still felt that fire in me, and I felt like I had to give it one more shot.”

Gibbons was invited to spring training for the Dodgers this year after doing the same last year for the Marlins. Only this time, Gibbons wasn’t cut by the ball club, and he felt like having a lot of people close to him supporting his efforts, and that desire, helped him impress Joe Torre enough to get a minor league deal.

“I was just trying to prove it to myself, and I had my family’s support, and my friend’s support, and just proving to myself that I could make it back and that I have still some ability to play this game. The Dodgers fortunately enough and gratefully enough gave me an opportunity in spring training just to win a minor league job, and I was happy with that.”

Gibbons, who played his college ball at Cal State University, now gets to be close to home with his three kids.

“Its great. Im able to live in my house in California and to drive to the stadium. That’s a dream come true right now, especially with the three little kids. The travel’s been really tough. It’s almost surreal growing up a Dodger fan, and being a Dodger today. I’m taking it all in and really enjoying it.”

Gibbons has actually started two games this week instead of outfielder Matt Kemp, but likely when Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, Jeff Weaver, and Russell Martin return from the disabled list, Gibbons will likely be a casualty of some roster moves.

Gibbons said he doesn’t care how long this thing goes; he is just happy with having this time in the big leagues.

“Things went well down there this year, and whether it’s for next week or the rest of the year, it’s a bonus for me.”

But for as long as he’s here, Gibbons said he wants to help this team as much as he can to get back into the playoff hunt in the NL West and usurp the Padres atop the division.

We’ve got to play well the remainder of the season the last month and a half. With the Padres, I dont think anybody expected this. Hopefully we can make up ground pretty quickly.”

“I was the last piece we needed to add. We’re perfect now,” Gibbons laughed.  But still, I think we’ve got a very good team here. We have some really good pitching. We’ve had some guys banged up…Furcal and Manny would help this lineup a lot. We just need to play well as a team, drive out runs when they’re out there, and our pitching is always going to keep us in the game. If we can hit, I think we’ll be in every game.”

And who knows, Gibbons may  be exposed to waivers in order to attempt to return to the minor leagues, and who knows…maybe a return to the Orioles is possible? Gibbons said he is still a fan of the Orioles franchise that gave him his start, and he wishes them the best.

Jay Gibbons

And so far, the team has been playing their best under Buck Showalter.

“It really depends on what you have in the big leagues…what kind of team you have. But whatever Buck is doing, it’s working. I talked to Brian Roberts yesterday, and they’re buying into it so far. And they’re having fun and that’s the key to everything, having fun and being loose. And when young guys are loose, they play better. I’m still an Oriole fan. I root for them to do well, and that city is dying for a winner there, and I really hope that this is a start of a turnaround for them.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to track Jay Gibbons in his return to the majors. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Where Will Rafael Palmeiro Be A Year From Today …..

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Where Will Rafael Palmeiro Be A Year From Today …..

Posted on 23 July 2010 by Rex Snider

As this blog is being posted, the collective population of Cooperstown, New York, is growing by the dozens. After all, it’s this weekend, EVERY YEAR, when baseball is celebrated and the game’s class of immortals grows.

This year, only one player will receive the distinction known as “Hall Of Famer” …..
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Of course, as soon as Andre Dawson completes his induction speech and as the festivities begin to draw toward a close, the Baseball Writers of America will officially be on the clock ….

For the first time EVER, those with the discriminative ability to vote YES for enshrining a player among the very greatest of the sport will have a true dilemma. For the past decade, we’ve discussed steroids and HGH to the point of exhaustion. We’re all tired of it.

Yet, for the Hall Of Fame’s voters, their most daunting task is just beginning …..

As they consider the nominees for the CLASS OF 2011, they’ll be presented with name of the first “worthy” candidate with a noted, distinguishable tie to Performance Enhancing Drugs. And, no, don’t invoke the Mark McGwire inclusion. Regardless of what he might’ve injested, McGwire did not achieve a Hall Of Fame resume’.

But, Rafael Palmeiro did reach the threshhold. In fact, he surpassed it.

3020 hits & 569 homeruns
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End of discussion, right? I sure wish that was the case, but it’s not. Whether Palmeiro cracks 75% of the vote is very questionable. It’s really an unknown, at this point.

Whether he used ONCE, TWICE or SEVERAL times, Rafael Palmeiro is about to become a very vital part of baseball history. He’s the guinea pig for an assembled cast of beefed-up players who were great throughout a substantial portion of their careers.

Trust me, we have another six months before finding out, but Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez will be watching for the results. I’ll suggest it’s fair to assume they’ll need to witness Palmeiro’s acceptance, prior to reasonably hoping they, too, will join Ruth, Mantle, Cobb and Williams.
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For my money, I think Rafael Palmeiro is a Hall Of Famer. But, I’ve got a sobering suspicion he’ll be excluded, next year. Why? Heck, I don’t know.

There simply seems to be alot of contempt for him. And, much of it is attributed to the media members covering the game. We’re more than five years removed from Palmeiro’s darkest days. Yet, many still hold his failed drug test as the determining factor in his destiny.

If the writers decline his entry, I’ll understand. But, they better be consistent and fair about their convictions. All of them make it or none of them do. Anything short of a balanced process will be as damaging as the revelavtion of drug usage, itself.

We shall see …..

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Introducing The “All American League Team” Over The Last 25 Years …..

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Introducing The “All American League Team” Over The Last 25 Years …..

Posted on 21 July 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, Allen McCallum and I spent the better part of Tuesday’s show discussing the American League’s best players over the last quarter century. Of course, we agreed on some and disagreed on just as many.

Below, find my list of offensive players. Tomorrow, I’ll post the pitching staff. Just remember, IT ONLY COVERS THE SPAN OF 1985-2010 …..

Catcher – Ivan Rodriguez
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You could probably make an argument for a few different backstops, but “PUDGE” has simply been the best catcher in the American League during this time span. The AL-only numbers are undeniable – 2477 hits, 281 homeruns and a .301 batting average.

Figure in 13 Gold Gloves and 14 All Star appearances, in the American League, and it’s easy to see he is absolutely unrivaled. Yeah, he obviously used PED’s, but he was damn good when he was skinnier than a rail.
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First Base – Rafael Palmeiro
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Don’t say STEROIDS. I don’t wanna hear it. Plenty of players used, Palmeiro simply got caught. His career achievements are almost exclusive to the criteria – American League (1985-2010) …..

I don’t even see a close second, with one exception. Don’t despair “Big Hurt” fans, he made the list. Just wait a little while …..
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Second Base – Roberto Alomar
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Hello, McFly ??? This might be the single greatest Hall Of Fame injustice of the last 25 years. Roberto Alomar is not only the greatest second baseman of the last quarter century, he’s arguably among the five best players of the cited generation.

Yep, he was THAT GOOD …..
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Third Base – Wade Boggs
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Did you play baseball during Bogg’s heyday? If so, don’t tell me you didn’t try eating CHICKEN before a half dozen straight games …. before figuring out DIET really had nothing to do with it. Boggs was probably among the three very best hitters of the last 25 years – regardless of league.

Here we are a couple decades removed from the Margo Adams debacle. Remember her? I wonder what she looks like TODAY? She was the one HIT & RUN the hitting champ would prefer to forget. If she happened today, it would be a non-issue.

Wade Boggs was a hitting machine …. on and off the field. And, he’s the American League’s best third baseman, since 1985.
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Shortstop – Alex Rodriguez
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Shoot me !!!! Dump my body in the nearest landfill …..

Whatever your heart says, the sobering truth is A’Rod is the American League’s best shortstop of the last 25 years. He hasn’t played the position in nearly 7 years and he still has more hits, homeruns, rbi and steals than any other A.L. shortstop of the last quarter century.
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Outfield (not by specific position) – Ichiro Suzuki
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He has achieved monumental accomplishments in the span of ONE decade. In fact, Ichiro hasn’t finished playing his 10th full season, yet. But, he’s collected 2151 hits, 363 steals and a .332 batting average. At this rate, he’ll collect his 3000th hit approximately halfway thru his 14th season.

Can you imagine if he would’ve arrived on the scene before his 27th birthday, or if he played in a better lineup? Throw in 10 All Star appearances and 9 Gold Gloves (in 9 full seasons) and Ichiro is arguably the GREATEST PLAYER of the last 25 years.
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Outfield – Manny Ramirez
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Love him, hate him …. he’s among the very best of the American League’s STARS over the last quarter century …..

A.L. stats alone – 2318 hits, 510 homeruns and a .313 batting average. Throw in a couple World Championships, and it’s pretty hard to deny Manny Ramirez’s pedigree. And, there is a concrete argument suggesting that he doesn’t always play his hardest. After all, Manny is usually being Manny, right?
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Outfield – Ken Griffey Jr.
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I originally omitted him from the list. But, Junior has enjoyed a better A.L.-only resume’ than Rickey Henderson over the duration of the last 25 years. If the consideration was the last 30 years, it might be different. However, it’s not …..

Of course, Junior hit the scene with an energy and power display that made many of us think he would re-write history. That didn’t happen, but he’s still among the 3 best A.L. outfielders of the last 25 years. In 14 American League seasons, he racked up 1877 hits, 420 bombs and a .291 batting average. Toss in 10 Gold Gloves and just as many All Star appearances, and he’s a notable choice over the likes of Rickey Henderson.

Yeah, I know the RICKEY arguments are coming. Don’t waste your time. As I said, we’re talking about the last 25 years, which means you’ve gotta wipe away the first half dozen seasons of Rickey’s career. Thus, since 1985, he was a slightly above average hitting A.L. outfielder – with 1754 hits, 475 steals and a .278 batting average. Include 6 All Star appearances and ZERO Gold Gloves and Rickey simply doesn’t shape up to Griffey’s achievements.
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Designated Hitter – Frank Thomas
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I told you the BIG HURT would make the list. After all, he’s arguably the most prolific power hitter of the last 25 years. He could hit the ball 500 feet. Yet, he was disciplined. You don’t wanna throw Frank a strike? No problem, he’d gladly drop his stick and trot down to first base. Count ‘em – 1667 walks, while only whiffing 1397 times. That’s remarkable for a hitter who averaged 35+ homers, per season.

Much to my good friend Allen McCallum’s chagrin, the WALK defines a huge part of the Big Hurt’s pedigree. Allen penalizes Thomas for not being more of a ‘swinger, while feeling he should’ve been more aggressive, especially as a #3 hitter. I wholeheartedly disagree. Regardless of batting position, what’s the one thing we know? In fact, what’s a bigger KILLER than heroin and crack, combined? FREAKIN’ WALKS. Ask any pitcher !!!!

Frank Thomas amassed 2468 hits, 521 homers and a .301 batting average in 19 seasons. He’s a first ballot Hall Of Famer. And, if has a hair on his rear-end, he’ll call this guy and ask him to make the introduction, at Cooperstown …..
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And, while we’re at it, lets refute the Edgar Martinez talk, right now. Along with Bret Boone and Jay Buhner, Edgar suddenly found the “Fountain Of Youth” (or Primobolan and Winstrol) as he neared his 30th birthday. Yeah, I know plenty of the guys in this blog USED. But, at least they were good at some point before they found “help.” Who has their best seasons between ages 32-37 ??? Hmmm …. how about Hulk Hogan, Barry Bonds and Edgar Martinez. Gimme a break …..

Lets look at Martinez before 30 …..
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Now, lets look at Martinez after his 32nd birthday …..
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Like I said, plenty of players used performance enhancing drugs. There is no getting around it. I just think some guys really developed an edge they’d never realized, prior to the usage. And, a core sect of those type of players were on a team in the Pacific Northwest.

It surely wasn’t the coffee …..

Tomorrow, I’ll do the American League pitching staff.

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Friday Mud: The King, The Pie, And the Hall of Fame

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Drew Forrester

Friday has arrived and with it, I offer you another exciting edition of “Friday Mud” here at WNST.net.

Three weeks into its run, “Friday Mud” has captured several national awards and accolades including “Most Enlightening Friday Blog”, “Best Blog in a city with a horrible baseball team” and “Mike Oxbig’s Blue Ribbon Winner”.

I know what you’re thinking…get on with it Drew, start impressing us. 

OK, OK, OK.  Here we go.

> Now I understand why the Orioles are so bad.  We’ve seen who the problem is.  It’s Felix Pie.  Last night in Texas was HIS first win of the year.  He’s played 11 games this season and he’s 1-10.  OK, so it’s not really Pie’s fault.  In fact, he helped win the game last night.  I just thought that was a funny stat.  Dude had played in 10 games before Thursday in Texas and was 0-10 on the year.  I wonder if he thought, “Is it me?”

> The only thing that would have made last night’s televised press conference more memorable would have been if LeBron James would have come out in a long white robe and sandals and walked across water on his way to the seated area with Jim Gray

> Rex Snider’s Thursday blog on Hall of Fame candidates (read it here) got me to thinking about a couple of guys he listed, and a couple that he didn’t.  Jamie Moyer is a “no” – unless he gets to 300 wins.  Jim Thome is a “yes”.  George Steinbrenner got kicked out of baseball for 2 years.  He’s been a great owner.  But he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.  Manny Ramirez is a definite “yes”.  DEF-I-NITE.  But I’ll give you a guy that Rex didn’t mention and no one else is talking about…and he is starting to drive down Hall of Fame-Maybe Lane.  He’s played in 16 seasons.  He has two rings.  I don’t know how much longer he’ll play, but he’s over the 2,500 hit mark already and if he plays two more years after this, he’s going to finish in the neighborhood of the magic 3k plateau.  You’ve probably NEVER thought to yourself, “Is (name listed at the bottom of the blog — don’t peak yet, think who it might be) a Hall of Famer?  I’m telling you, he very well MIGHT be if he has two more good seasons after this one.  (For some of you who can’t read:  Please note this:  The guy in question still has work to do to get in.  Get that?  WORK. TO. DO.  He probably has to reach 3,000 hits to deserve consideration.  That means he needs about 400 more.  That’s only going to happen if he plays 2 or 3 more seasons.  Right now, though, he’s ON. THE. WAY….to being considered.)

> Paul Goydos shot 59 yesterday.  He’s a golfer.  59 is the magical number in golf.  A lot of us have shot in the 100′s, 90′s, 80′s, 70′s and 60′s.  But only a rare group have ever shot something in the 50′s (for 18 holes, that is).  I was 7-under par through 10 holes in a tournament a few years back and started thinking about shooting 59 and promptly shot 67.  That’s what happens when you think about it.  You get in your own way, as the golf saying goes, and you wind up in meltdown-mode.  Then again, I’m not Paul Goydos.

> Is there any chance that ESPN’s Stuart Scott is using a fake eye?  You know what I mean…like Brian Warner of Marilyn Manson.  Does Scott have a fake lazy eye to give him a more impressionable look?  You have to admit, it’s catchy.  You also have to admit this:  That dude loves him some “Association”.  Rumors persist he’s actually engaged to the NBA logo. 

>  I’ll take the Netherlands to beat Spain, 2-1, on Sunday.  Then again, I took Brazil to win the whole thing before the World Cup started.  And I thought Germany would beat Spain.  Hey, I did call the Slovenia win over Algeria.  So there.

> Since the British Open will already be underway during next week’s “Friday Mud”, I’ll give you my top three right here, right now.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Graeme McDowell hang around next week.  Coming off of his U.S. Open win and his knowledge of links golf, look for him to be a threat over the weekend.  I like Zach Johnson next week.  His flat swing and low ball flight will certainly help him in Scotland.  Here’s the winner:   I’m not biting on the Justin Rose pick like everyone else in America — he’s actually been TOO hot recently — but I’ll toss an Englishman in there as the champion.  His name is Ross Fisher.  You’ll thank me for that on July 18.

 > Don’t forget to take part in the “Who’s the best putter in Baltimore?” contest next Monday, July 12 at one of Baltimore’s Classic 5 golf courses.  Go to www.classic5golf.com for all the details.  If you win, you get free golf for the rest of the year at any of Baltimore’s Classic 5 courses.  By the way, I’m having a one-hour TV special on Sunday night to announce whether or not I’m going to participate in the putting contest on Monday.  Be sure and tune in…brought to you by Koons Ford of Security Blvd, www.koonsbaltimoreford.com.

>  And the Hall of Famer possibility I referenced above is…this guy.  Check out the records. 

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 …..
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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.
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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
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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.
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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 …..
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 …..
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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 …..
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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 …..
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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 …..
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 …..
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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.
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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 …..
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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.
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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 …..
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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 …..
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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Former MLB GM John Hart: “Any Organization Would Like [Machado]“

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Former MLB GM John Hart: “Any Organization Would Like [Machado]“

Posted on 07 June 2010 by Ryan Chell

Former Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers general manager John Hart has a great track record as a baseball executive in the majors, and built those two franchises into winners. He joined Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark here on WNST 1570 to talk about today’s Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, and how Baltimore’s rebuilding franchise should go in the draft in an effort to keep building up the franchise to get it back to its winning ways.

 Former Rangers and Indians GM John Hart knows how to build a winning program, and passed on his knowledge to us.

Hart, who took over the Cleveland Indians in 1991, was at the helm for nine years, and during that time the Indians won six of the possible nine American League central championships and made appearances in the World Series in 1995 and 1997. The list of players on those teams were outstanding including Kenny Lofton, Jose Mesa, Sandy Alomar Jr, Omar Vizquel, Manny Ramirez, Eddie Murray, Jim Thome,  Orel Hershiser and Hart was one of the integral parts in keeping that team together for the time they were in Cleveland.

During his time in Cleveland, Hart was 870-681 as GM of the team and was outs away from winning two World Series. Now, he serves as a studio analyst for the MLB Network, and looking at this year’s draft, he weighed in to Drew and Glenn about the top picks in the draft this year, and if he were to make the decisions here in Baltimore, he said that the Orioles are going to like whoever falls to them behind Bryce Harper going to the Nationals and whoever the Pirates take with the #2 pick.

He first weighed in on Brito High (Miami) shortstop Manny Machado, who has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez coming into the league. While Hart said the A-Rod comparisons aren’t fair, he said that he does have legitimate power and compares him more to a big, powerful hitter out in Colorado, Troy Tulowitzki.

“Machado is an infielder with a bat and power,” Hart said. “He’s only going to fill out and he’s got a lot of room to grow. Any organization would like this kid.”

Hart said that when Machado finally does fill out, he probably will be your stereotypical 6’4”, 215 lb. hitter who has a chance to stay at shortstop for a few years until a move to third or the outfield is likely.

With that kind of talent, the Pirates are likely to take Machado. And with Orioles GM Andy MacPhail’s philosophy of “buying the bats and growing the arms”, the next best option for the Orioles at the 3rd spot in the draft is Woodlands High (Texas) pitcher Jameson Taillon.

Taillon, 18, is a tall, intimidating right hander who stands at 6’7”, 230 pounds and has four plus pitches in his repertoire.  This guy could be a front-of-the-line rotation guy in a couple years, and pairing him with Hobgood in last year’s draft along with maybe Tillman, Matusz, and Arrieta could give the Orioles one of the best rotations in all baseball if they all pan out, which is not certain.

But Hart says this is certain: Taillon is the real deal.

“I tell you the scouts I’ve talked to said he is one of the top four amateur high school pitchers they’ve ever seen,” Hart said. “He’s going to pitch with a plus fastball… and he’s got a great makeup. He’s a guy you can anchor any staff around, and he’s got front of the rotation stuff.”

But Hart did leave us with this. He said that it’s probably better for GMs to wait on the high school guys till later on in the draft, and most GMs already follow that policy because they want the players up in the big leagues as soon as possible. Hart says to look for the  guy that will give you “the most impact”, and then a GM can look on their draft with success.

But it will take a few years to figure out if a draft will work or not.

Listen live to Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark on WNST 1570 AM for the “The Morning Reaction” Monday through Friday!

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Top 25 Sports Moments of 2009

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Top 25 Sports Moments of 2009

Posted on 16 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

This is my companion piece to yesterday’s local version. Please feel free to chime in about either. Tomorrow will be my “Top 10 Games of 2009.”

Honorable Mention:
Bemidji State Makes a Run For the Little Guys, Rod Woodson and Bruce Smith Enter Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ms. Patrick Goes to NASCAR, Dwight Howard takes Magic to Finals, Michelle Wie Wins First LPGA Event, Syracuse Gets Another Lax Title, Kimbo Slice Goes to UFC, Thierry Henry Cheats France into World Cup, Serena Williams Loses her Mind, Del Potro Stuns Federer, Utah Gets Another Non-BCS BCS Win, Usain Bolt Does it Again, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta Get Big Wins for Girls, Philadelphia Loses a Voice, Alabama Ends Tebow’s Run, Michael Jordan goes to Springfield

25-Jimmie Johnson Makes it 4 Straight

jimmie

24-Rickey Gets to the Hall

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcd0fdt4JyU[/youtube]

23-Bobby Bowden Hangs ‘Em Up

bowden

22-Favre is Back. Again.

favre

21-Manny Being A Cheater

manny

20-Phelps Outduels Cavic Despite Scientific Disadvantage

phelps

19-Texas Survives to Play For Title

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Drr0-3I6k[/youtube]

18-Plaxico Burress Goes to Jail

plax

17-Syracuse/UConn Play College Hoops Classic

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em–HcJDVjo[/youtube]

16-Nick Adenhart Dies in Car Crash

adenhart

15-Sid The Kid Wins First Cup

cup

14-US Soccer Pulls Absolute Stunner

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqHWFT_6-sY[/youtube]

13-Erin Andrews Video Shuts Down Internet

andrews

12-Mine That Bird Wins One for the Little Guys

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjY-rrAoTl8[/youtube]

11-Michael Vick Comes to Philly

vick

10-Tom Watson NEARLY Does It

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_X3uGXCL28[/youtube]

Do you even REMEMBER that Stewart Cink won the British Open? Neither do I. In a sport that is completely irrelevant without its biggest star, it took a man on the verge of turning 60 to somehow find relevance. It was a fun weekend, even for those of us who don’t necessarily enjoy golf.

9-A-Rod Comes Clean

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwLszCGc8Vg[/youtube]

My how quickly a year goes by. If the Yanks don’t win the AL East (or World Series)-this might be the #2 story of the year, as it would have been one more time where one of the greatest players of all time let his team down. BUT-the Yanks won, and we all sorta forgot about this awkward moment in Spring Training. Could it cost Alex Rodriguez a place in Cooperstown one day? Maybe.

8-Brock Lesnar Gives UFC Biggest Moment in History

brock

The biggest fight moment of the year was also the biggest moment in Mixed Martial Arts history. (Of course, if they could somehow figure out a way to get Brock, Fedor and Kimbo into the same ring at one time-the world might explode.) Dana White hit a home run with Brock Lesnar. He brought in someone with major appeal due to his background as an amateur wrestler, WWE champion and a failed NFL attempt. Lesnar rose quickly in a watered-down heavyweight division; and with one win over Randy Couture-he went from “The Next Big Thing” to “The Thing” at UFC 100 in July. Everyone watched, everyone talked about it; and the UFC finally had their crowning mainstream moment.

7-Michigan State Lifts Detroit….Until Falling to Carolina

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncqwc_XKtSs[/youtube]

The “moment” belonged to the Spartans. The city of Detroit was DESPERATE for something to rally around given the dire state of their economy, and the run to the Final Four by Michigan State game them exactly that. None of this takes anything away from what North Carolina accomplished, either. Tyler Hansbrough will go down as one of the all-time great college basketball players in history, and what happened in Detroit was his moment even more than it was Michigan State’s.

6-Tim Tebow Gets His

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuUUGxrDR1M[/youtube]

Hate Tim Tebow all you want, but he’s been nothing short of amazing in his college football career. Plus, he’s been amazing off the field as well. His halftime rally was arguably greater than his on-field performance…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-qodBTlMtA[/youtube]

And hell-as far as moments go, his return to Gainesville may have been just as good….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ981abswsI[/youtube]

How did Sports Illustrated manage to screw this up??? This was a NO-BRAINER for Sportsman of the Year.

5-Federer Moves Past Sampras with Wimbledon Classic over Roddick

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IwBJ41_jIk[/youtube]

Was it as good as Federer-Nadal in ’08? I don’t know. It’s easy to say know; but watching the highlights again-wow. These two put on an epic match without the #1 vs. #2 billing or the rivalry status that Roger and Rafa had in ’08. It seemed like a fitting way for Pete Sampras’ career major title record to be broken, as Federer had to withstand the greatest career performance by the top American tennis player.

4-Kobe Gets Redemption

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUE73GqyPuU[/youtube]

Some people said he couldn’t win without Shaq. Others said he wasn’t the same after what happened in Colorado. They were all wrong. Kobe Bryant was just fine. The group of players around him (Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, etc.) certainly lacked the “sex appeal” of previous Lakers teams, but it didn’t limit their effectiveness. And even more remarkably; Phil Jackson broke the record for most NBA Championships by a head coach (10, surpassing Red Auerbach’s 9)-arguably the most significant record of the year and yet mostly unnoticed.

3-Yankees Do It Again

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsxZp6p8xqo[/youtube]

The excitement surrounding the New York Yankees winning their 27th World Series title had about as much to do with the anger most MLB fans felt towards the idea that the Yanks “bought” their title as it did with any actual celebration. Sure, the Yanks rolled out the equivalent of an All-Star lineup just about every night; but they still had to win the thing. Meanwhile, there were reports that baseball was played over the summer in Baltimore. We have not been able to confirm them just yet.

2-Steelers Win Super Bowl Classic

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOfouSAAkZY[/youtube]

God I hate admitting that anything they do is good. But this one certainly ranks amongst the greatest Super Bowl games of all time, thanks to the remarkable individual efforts of Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, James Harrison, Kurt Warner, etc. Now let’s all hope that nothing good ever happens to those a-holes in Pittsburgh again.

1-Tiger Shows He’s Human

crash

Was the moment Tiger Woods hit a tree in Florida the biggest moment of the year? Maybe not. But the collective “moment” that has extended from Thanksgiving to the end of the year has certainly been; mostly because it has obviously transcended sport. He’s the biggest athlete in the world-and he has peaked everyone’s interest; even if you don’t really care who he slept with. If Tiger eventually comes back and wins the Masters, this will be a story of redemption. If Tiger never wins another major, this will go down as one of the all-time great career declines in the history of sports. Probably the greatest. Enough to move Tim Finchem to alcohol…..

[myspace]http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=101355061[/myspace]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Manny being Andre

Posted on 15 October 2009 by dansoderberg

As I type this post Manny Ramirez has just hammered a 2 run bomb into the Chavez Ravine bleachers to cut the Phillies game 1 lead to 5-4. It’s a great sign for the Dodgers as they’ll need a big series from Manny to have a chance to knock off the defending World Champs. While Manny missed 50 games this season for violating MLB’s drug policy Dodgers RF Andre Ethier emerged as the team’s top clutch hitter. Ethier set career highs in HRs, RBI and OPS in 2009. He hit 4 walk off homers and had a .932 OPS in late and close game situations.

The problem for the Dodgers is that for all Ethier’s heroics he does not fare well against left handed pitching with just a .345 slugging percentage in 187 plate appearances this season. The Phillies feature a rotation of left-handers Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and JA Happ and have the potential to start a lefty in 6 games of the potential 7 game series. Manny will need to catch fire to neutralize Philadephia’s advantage. Manny hasn’t put up typical Manny Ramirez numbers this season and he certainly let down his team and fan base with his suspension. With a career OPS of 1.067 against left-handers Manny will have plenty of opportunities to redeem himself.

As for the ALCS matchup, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia made the curious decision to start Joe Saunders in game 2. Saunders pitched to a 4.41 ERA this season and was 1-1 with a 4.72 in 2 starts against the Yankees this season. Jered Weaver and Scott Kazmir will be pushed back to Games 3 and 4.

Yankee Manager Joe Girardi has announced his intention to go with a 3 man rotation for the series and given the amount of rain expected in the Northeast over the weekend he may end up being able to start C.C. Sabathia 3 times in a 7 game series. Sabathia pitched well against the offensively challenged Twins in the ALDS, but he still has some postseason demons to exorcise.

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