Tag Archive | "Mark Teixeira"

Tuesday Top 7: Top 7 Sports Figures You’d Like to See Get Knocked Out By Tom Zbikowski

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Tuesday Top 7: Top 7 Sports Figures You’d Like to See Get Knocked Out By Tom Zbikowski

Posted on 08 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

In honor of the potential* (*probably not happening) fight between Baltimore Ravens S Tom Zbikowski and Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco (or is it Chad Johnson?), today’s Tuesday Top 7 topic was “The Top 7 Sports Figures You’d Like to See Get Knocked Out by Tom Zbikowski”…

(Note: This list is meant to be fun. We’re not actually encouraging violence against any of these folks. Please don’t be “that guy”…)

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Jim Irsay

irsay

6. Hines Ward

hinesward

5. Mark Teixeira

tex

4. Robert Horry

horry

3. Triple H

HHH

2. Jonathan Papelbon

PAPELBON

1. Jim Calhoun

calhoun

Drew Forrester’s list…

7. Roy Williams (North Carolina)

royw

6. Pete Weber

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q8PzkhEDlg[/youtube]

5. Tony Stewart

smoke

4. Aubrey Huff

huff

3. Cecil Newton

cecilnewton

2. Charlie Sheen

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

1. Pat Summitt

summitt

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Monday 3-Pointer: O’s and Pujols; Tourney Terps or Bubble Trouble & ACC Expansion a Failure?

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Monday 3-Pointer: O’s and Pujols; Tourney Terps or Bubble Trouble & ACC Expansion a Failure?

Posted on 21 February 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Monday 3-Pointer

#1 – Pujols and the Orioles

As the Pujols-imposed signing deadline came and went for the Cardinals last week without them reaching an accord, it still seems that most are of the mind that he and the Cardinals will somehow come to terms eventually, although early indications seem to point on that process dragging into the 2011-12 off-season and free agency. From the perspective of the Orioles, that has to be seen as a good thing.

The Orioles have already gone on the record (more or less) in stating that their pursuit of Pujols would be unlikely at best, and since they certainly haven’t seemed willing to break the bank in recent rounds of free agency there’s little reason to believe that Pujols in an Orioles uniform would be a realistic possibility; that however doesn’t mean that the O’s couldn’t or wouldn’t benefit if Pujols does indeed foray into free agency.

Clearly, with Derrek Lee on a 1-year flyer, the Orioles will be in pursuit of a first baseman at seasons end. A lot has been made of the fact that since the typical big spenders already seem reasonably well set at first (the Yankees with Teixeira, the Red Sox with Gonzalez if they can reach a long term agreement, the Angels with Morales, the Tigers with Cabrera, even the White Sox threw quite a bit of money at 1B & DH collectively this off-season) thereby increasing the Orioles likelihood of landing a respectable commodity there in free agency. Perhaps then if Pujols enters the fray of free agency, he’ll at least provide enough of a distraction to the rest of the market (see Cubs) to allow the O’s to swoop in and steal the likes of Prince Fielder or Michael Cuddyer while teams are busy wooing Pujols. It’s unlikely I know, but Pujols clouding the picture certainly can’t hurt the O’s, even if they have no realistic interest in signing him.

#2 – Terps in Bubble Trouble?

The Terps did their part against the NC State Wolfpack on Sunday to keep their tournament hopes alive, at least for now. It’s clearly a down season for the ACC this year, and an impending showdown with UNC remains the Terps last opportunity (outside of the ACC Tournament) to notch a signature win before selection Sunday.

The profile of the ACC is diminished overall, and the respective seasons of the two teams at the top of the conference rankings aren’t helping anything. Duke got out of the gates strong, but appeared to be clearly built around Kyrie Irving, the fact that he appeared to be so much a part of their non-conference success, coupled with the fact that Duke has rolled along unfettered in his absence doesn’t speak well for the ACC nationally. Nor do the early season struggles of Harrison Barnes and the Carolina Tarheels. After stumbling out of the gates, they too found their way against a depleted ACC. To date the Tarheels and Blue Devils have one conference loss each that wasn’t to each other.

There are 37 at large berths for the tournament this season. The Big East looks like they’ll be sending 11 teams to the dance, the Big 10 and Big 12 may send 7 teams each, depending on how many upsets take place in the conference tourneys, and how many automatic bids are sewn up by sleepers, the ACC could be looking at as few as 4 teams in the field. Still, winning out would leave the Terps at 10-6 in the conference with wins against UNC and FSU. Although teams in the ACC have been left out before, I’d be hard pressed to imagine the Terps being ignored at 10-6. I ‘d be hard pressed too, to imagine this Terps team running the slate from here out to get to 10-6, but we’ll see.

#3 – ACC Expansion a Failure?

Speaking of the ACC’s low basketball profile this season, as we Maryland fans lament was has seemingly been the backward slide of both the football and basketball programs since the early part of the last decade, the conference as a whole is arguably suffering the same fate. Might we now ask if conference expansion has been a success, a work in progress or outright failure for the ACC? At this point I’ll go with outright failure.

The BCS was unleashed on college football in 1998, with a format mandating 6 automatic berths and 2 at-large berths into 8 bowl games. The at-large berths were expanded to 4 in 2006. The ACC added Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004 and then Boston College in 2005.

In the 6 years prior to conference expansion, the ACC had 1 BCS win, coming in the form of a Florida State national title, 3 title game appearances (all by Florida State) and no at large BCS berths since the system’s inception. Additionally, Miami (1 of the 3 teams taken on by the ACC) had 1 national title, 2 title game appearances and 3 total BCS berths (2 wins) before joining the ACC. In the 7 seasons since conference expansion the ACC has 1 BCS win (by Virginia Tech over Cincinnati in the ’08 Orange Bowl), no appearances in the national title game, and still no at-large berths, despite the addition of two more at-larges in 2006. All-time the ACC is 2-11 in BCS games. Meanwhile, due to the exclusive ESPN TV deal negotiated by the conference, games are often hard to find and relegated to internet broadcasts on ESPN3.

In the 7 years since expansion the ACC has won 3 national championships and garnered 39 berths into the NCAA tournament. That compared to 2 national titles and 31 berths in the 7 years prior to expansion. In that same time frame however, the Big East, spurred into action by the ACC pillaging of them, have built themselves into far and away the best basketball conference in the country, a distinction once reserved for the ACC.

Someone at conference headquarters ought to be thinking ahead and getting busy on a conference television network, or they’ll be left behind there financially too. Maybe, before long the ACC will find itself being cannibalized by the Big East, SEC and others as things seem to be moving further and further in that direction.

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The “Most Disappointing Performers” of 2010 …..

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The “Most Disappointing Performers” of 2010 …..

Posted on 22 December 2010 by Rex Snider

A week ago, I introduced my first LIST chronicling sports and events, in 2010. At the time, I guaranteed variations of such rankings, including the GOOD, BAD and downright PATHETIC. For some odd reason, developing this year’s lists has not been an easy endeavor. Hence, the delay in posting …..

Today’s list regards the “MOST DISAPPOINTING PERFORMERS OF 2010”. The criteria are simple; the list applies exclusively to professional athletes and the 2010 year. As always, I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions …..
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10) Donovan McNabb – while he certainly maintains a healthy core of supporters, it’s pretty difficult to blindly overlook McNabb’s tumultuous, yet brief stint in the nation’s capital. He’s grinding thru a tough season that has yielded the fewest touchdown passes (14) and most interceptions (15) of his 10 seasons as a starting quarterback.

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 19: Quarterback Donovan McNabb  of the Washington Redskins on the sidelines against play against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It’s become quite obvious that McNabb and Mike Shanahan are not on the same page, as two benchings would certainly indicate. The Redskins are mired in another losing season, and regardless of a potential Hall of Fame career, McNabb must accept a great deal of accountability for a lackluster offensive attack.

Hmmm …. do you think they’re smiling up in Philly?
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9) Alex Rodriguez – I never thought this name would appear on such a list; well, not in 2010, anyway. However, I think it’s pretty fair to say A’Rod easily suffered through the worst season of his career as a starting 3rd baseman/shortstop.

Aug. 11, 2010 - Arlington, Texas, USA - August 11, 2010. Yankees third baseman ALEX RODRIGUEZ in the dugout as The New York Yankees played the Texas Rangers in a Major League Baseball game at the Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

While the Orioles (and a few other teams) would gladly receive a 3rd baseman who hits for a .270 clip, with 30 homers and 125 RBI, the New York Yankees expect much more production. And, when they’re paying that player an annual salary of $33 million, I’d say such demands are warranted.

The 2010 season was a downer for A’Rod, as he’s still counted as a true five-tool player. At 34, his best days are assuredly in the rear view mirror …. but, I’m sure the Steinbrenner’s still expect a batting average in the vicinity of .300, with 35 homers, 30 doubles, 10 steals and 125 RBI.

And, for the money they’re spending …. I don’t blame them.
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#8) Chris Johnson – I think everybody remembers Johnson’s season of domination, in 2009, right? He became the sixth player to rush for 2,000+ yards, in NFL history. He basked in the spotlight and became the top pick in most 2010 Fantasy Football Drafts.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 18: Running back Chris Johnson  of the Tennessee Titans warms up prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 18, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Of course, Johnson fed the adoration and suspense by predicting he would rush for 2,500 yards, in this 2010 season. It was a ludicrous goal to set and an even crazier hope for a growing collection of fans. With a couple games remaining, Johnson finds himself with 1,267 rushing yards.

Not a bad year, huh? By most accounts, it wouldn’t be a disappointing season …. but, even Johnson expected and guaranteed more.
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7) A.J. Burnett – here’s the one guy who justifies Andy MacPhail’s reluctance to overpay free agents, huh? Just a couple years ago, A.J. Burnett shared prospective shopping lists with Mark Teixeira. As we know, the Orioles made token offers and both players ended up in pinstripes.

New York Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett throws a pitch in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium in New York City on April 17, 2010.  UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

While Teixeira has produced at an expected level, Burnett has struggled to achieve the lofty statistics that rendered him one of the most coveted pitchers in the 2008 shopping market. And, 2010 was simply a season to forget, as Burnett produced a 5.26 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, while finding a way to lose more games than he won.

Perhaps, A.J. Burnett is on the shortest leash, heading into 2011. The Yankees are a team that can withstand bad contracts, and unless he recaptures some dominance, Burnett might find himself pitching in Kansas City or Baltimore …. sooner rather than later.
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6) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – I have never maintained the belief that Earnhardt was among the very best talents in NASCAR, let alone comparable to the legend of his father. However, I also never foresaw him performing this badly, either.

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 14: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the  AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 14, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

We’re approaching three years since Earnhardt won his last race, and he’s finished outside the Top-20 in season standings for two straight years. On a weekly basis, he’s being viewed as just part of the field, rather than a threat win any particular race.

Still, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR’S most popular competitor and he easily earns more money than any fellow driver (and most ballplayers) on an annual basis. Only in America, huh? What’s the incentive to win? Perhaps, Earnhardt’s popularity really is undermining any hunger to win …..
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5) Greg Oden – as he’s shelved in his fourth season as a pro basketball player, Oden stands to potentially become one of the biggest BUSTS in NBA history. To date, the former #1 overall pick has earned almost $20 million, while playing in just 82 career games.

ATLANTA - MARCH 30:  Greg Oden #20 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up during practice for the NCAA Men's Final Four at the Georgia Dome on March 30, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Hmmm …. my calculator says that’s about $230,000, per game. Not bad for a night’s work, huh? In 2010, the figures are even uglier – Oden hasn’t played a single game, this year. But, he’s being paid $4.3 million for such services.

To suggest Greg Oden has been a disappointment, in 2010, is an absolute understatement. Then, again, maybe the Trailblazers don’t expect anything from him – which is exactly what he’s giving them.
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4) Randy Moss – how about a standing ovation and resounding applause for the first dude who makes both of my BAD lists, in 2010. As the 2010 season winds down, Randy Moss finds himself making no real contribution to the Tennessee Titans offense.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11: Randy Moss  of the Minnesota Vikings looks on against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 11, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 29-20. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Ironically, the same can pretty much be said for his brief stint, in Minnesota, as well. That’s right, it’s been a couple months since Moss forced his way out of New England – where they’re readying to seize the top seed in the AFC playoff picture.

He entered the 2010 season as one of the most legitimate receivers in the NFL. Yet, thru 14 games, Moss has just 5 touchdowns and 27 receptions. Of the 5 scores, he has only two over the last couple months. Is he disappointment? Yes, very much so …..
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3) Lebron James – you can call him King James, All Star or Chosen One …. just don’t call him a WINNER. While his 2010 has been the tale of two cities and teams, Lebron James has failed to establish himself as the driving force behind a corps capable of winning BIG GAMES.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James stands on the court during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls in game 3 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the United Center in Chicago on April 22, 2010. The Bulls won 108-106 and trail the Cavliers 2-1 in the best of seven series.  UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

He packed it in against the Celtics, back in May. He chose to flee a team he commanded for a team where he’s surrounded. Leaders don’t need such security – just see Jordan, Magic or Bird.

The story of the 2010-2011 Miami Heat has not been written. They’re winning regular season contests, but will they win the postseason games, where leadership is a MUST? Based on his past, it’s pretty safe to assume Lebron cannot be counted upon when it matters most – and such a reality defines disappointment.
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2) Brett Favre – if he just had a crystal ball, huh? In some distinct ways, I feel badly for Favre. He obviously plays the game with a sheer love for the competition, and a legend of his stature should not walk away in such a beaten state.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 05: Brett Favre  of the Minnesota Vikings leaves the field after defeating the Buffalo Bills at the Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on December 5, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

But, Brett Favre gambled on one season too many. Buoyed by last January’s NFC Championship Game …. and near miss, he caved to pressure from the Vikings and returned for another season and shot at the Super Bowl.

It has proven to be a mistake. Favre wasn’t healthy when the season began and he should’ve been smart enough to realize and accept it. Of course, America’s favorite bimbo, Jenn Sterger, has only added to the dysfunction of this disastrous season.

In the words of the great Clint Eastwood, “a man must know his limitations.” Unfortunately, Brett Favre did not recognize his limitations, as 2010 became his worst season, ever.
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#1) Tiger Woods – well, could it really be anyone else? As the entire world knows, Tiger’s life unraveled into a sordid, corrupt mess, in 2010. From adulterous affairs, to domestic discord and lost sponsorships, Tiger lost an awful lot …..

Tiger Woods waits to hit off of the 11th tee box during the first round of the Quail Hollow Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 29, 2010.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

The losing also carried onto the golf course. He played the worst golf of his professional career and looked totally lost, at times. From the hecklers speckled in the galleries, to the gaudy airplane banners soaring overhead, Tiger’s presence at a golf tournament became very “tabloid-ish”.

However, I think Tiger Woods is the MOST DISAPPOINTING PERFORMER of 2010, because we expect such greatness from him. He is easily the most dominant athlete of the last decade. And, to see his game struggle due to something other than the natural progressions of age or injury is very sad, indeed.

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Ugly History Repeats Itself

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Erich Hawbaker

In last night’s Yankees-Rangers game, the Orioles faithful had a flashback. In an eerily similar play to Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, the visiting team’s outfielder backed up the wall, didn’t make the catch, and then immediately pointed up at the stands above to signify fan interference. I watched the replay at least 10 times (isn’t DVR great?), and one could make the argument that this ball really may not have been caught even if it had gone untouched. But one can also clearly see that a fan is pushing Nelson Cruz’s glove away while another one is grabbing the ball and then giving Cruz the middle finger.

I was actually pulling for Texas going into this year’s postseason. This may be a big deviation from my staunchly capitalist philosophy on life, but I think it’s nice for everybody to win sometimes, and when my team is out of it, I’ll typically support the one that has never won a championship before or has not done so in a long time (the Rangers are the only team of the 8 in this year’s playoffs who have never won a World Series). And I respect fans who have remained true to their colors thru years of losing and frustration, and who never gave in to the temptation to jump on someone else’s bandwagon. I can even admit that I was happy for the Red Sox when they finally won it in 2004, but that was short-lived as their fans then proceeded to become even more obnoxious than their counterparts from New York.

We all know that what happened in 1996 was absolutely the wrong call. What happened last night may or may not have been. But baseball wasn’t using replay back then, and now they supposedly are at the umpires’ discretion. If you’re the ump in that situation, you have to at least look at it. Have to. Calling the game correctly is your job, and you were recently given a wonderful new tool to help you do that in case you’re not really sure what you just saw. The refusal to utilize replay in that instance was inexcusable. But I don’t expect Bud Selig will do anything about it; we wouldn’t want to jeopardize baseball’s “human element” now, would we?

I posted a rant about this and good old Jeffrey Maier on Facebook last night as it was happening, but my angst subsided rather quickly as it became clear that karma in the form of Bengie Molina was going to take care of this one on its own. This drew a reply from my stepbrother, who is also a diehard O’s fan. He told me that I need to just get over Jeffrey Maier, and I think he’s right. I will be adding that to my list of New Years resolutions, along with losing some more weight (35 lbs lost so far!), reading more, getting back to my drawing, and practicing my German.

I can’t forget what happened in 1996, but I guess I can stop being so pissed about it. Maybe the real reason that it still stirs so much anger in me after 14 years (and if you’re reading this I don’t need to tell you) is that the Orioles have been sitting in the basement of the AL East ever since. The last time they made the playoffs or even broke .500, I was in middle school, Bill Clinton was President, and the Nintendo 64 was the most advanced video game system on the market. Plenty of other bad teams have gotten their acts together between then and now, but the Orioles under Peter The Terrible have only gotten worse. There is a whole generation of kids out there now who have never seen a winning Orioles team, and unfortunately I don’t see that changing any time soon. But while I’m waiting, I can at least find a little solace in the evil empire being behind 3 games to 2 and having to go the rest of the way without their newest million dollar baby Mark Teixeira. As my ancestors would say, “Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude.”

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Yankees could be in for a Lone Star stomping

Posted on 13 October 2010 by Rex Snider

If you share my hatred for the New York Yankees, are you optimistic about their potential demise in the upcoming American League Championship Series?

I think it’s quite possible …..

Admittedly, I have a very soft spot for the Tampa Bay Rays. They exist in Major League Baseball’s most competitive division and they’ve assembled a collective group of ballplayers capable of beating the very best teams. Their cast of talent championed the American League’s Eastern Division, which is a huge accomplishment.

But, last night, I steadfastly rooted for the Texas Rangers in the finale of the teams’ five game series. I wanted to see Nolan Ryan advance to the next round. I wanted to see Josh Hamilton on a bigger stage. I wanted to see Cliff Lee, again.

Oh yeah, and I hope to see Mark Teixeira beaten by his old team.

Most of all, I think the Rangers stand a better chance of beating the Yankees, in comparison to the Rays. While realizing the Rays handled the Yankees during the regular season and they’re very familiar with their divisional rival, I think they’re quite evenly matched. Whereas, I think the Rangers might have the respective strengths to exploit the Yankees weaknesses, especially in a short series.

We all know the Yankees vulnerability is the starting pitching. They’re forced to add A.J. Burnett and his 5.26 ERA and 1.51 WHIP to the postseason roster; he’ll likely pitch Game #4. Burnett joins C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes in rounding out the rotation. Aside from Pettitte’s postseason resume’, the Yankees staff is not overly impressive.

Maybe it’s just me, but I like the Texas lineup against New York’s staff. The Rangers can hit. Better yet, they can MASH …. and the power potential in that lineup exists from top to bottom. They’re also aggressive on the basepaths, as we saw in last night’s win over the Rays. On two occasions, the Rangers scored from 2nd base on ground balls to the infield.

At the same time, I respect the Yankees lineup. However, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have suffered through less than stellar seasons. And, we may very well see the Yankees finally paying the price for an assembled outfield that includes Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner. Not exactly a vintage Yankees cast, huh?

If I look at these teams with a sobering view, the impressions are pretty simple …..

Yankees lineup vs. Rangers lineup – Advantage Rangers

Yankees starting pitching vs. Rangers starting pitching – Advantage Rangers

Yankees bullpen vs. Rangers bullpen – Advantage Rangers

Yankees intangibles vs. Rangers intangibles – Advantage Yankees

I’m certain some readers will think I’m crazy and making conclusions exclusively with my heart, while hoping the Yankees get smoked. Well, I’m certain that figures somehwere into my perspective – I’m only human. And, I do hate the Yankees.

However, I think the Texas Rangers are a more complete ballclub. They just beat the team that outlasted the Yankees through 162 games. And, they rose to the occasion when it mattered most.

When these two teams meet, the Rangers will feature the best player of the two rosters, thanks to Josh Hamilton. They’ll also feature the best pitcher on both clubs, as Cliff Lee has proven. The Rangers are a better team and they’ll prove it in 6 games.

You heard it here …..

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Orioles today: The “bad fan debate” ignites when you’ve won 8 of 9

Posted on 12 August 2010 by Drew Forrester

Over the last few days, as the Orioles surge continues and folks start sniffing what it’s really like to have a decent team play baseball in August, you’re starting to hear THIS theme a lot more:  ”Oh yeah, now that the team is winning again, people are suddenly back on board.”

First of all, don’t confuse winning 8 of 9 with “winning again”.  The Reds are “winning again”.  The Padres are “winning again”.  The Rangers are “winning again”.

What the Orioles are doing right now is making good use of a rabbit’s foot.  They’re not “winning again”.  They’re “finally on a hot streak”.

When the Birds play a meaningful game in September – one that impacts their position in the American League East standings – that’s when you’ll be able to say “the Orioles are winning again”.  When’s that going to happen?  Hell, I don’t know.  Probably around the same time I qualify for The Masters.  Or Pete Yorn puts out a bad album.  Or Towson football has a winning season.

I know this:  I’d love to see it – the Orioles playing a meaningful game – happen soon.  Next year would be great.  That’s not soon enough for me, but if it happens in 2011, I’ll be satisfied.

So, after four months of having their jaws wired shut, the Apologists are now back in full force.  You remember those folks, right?  They were the collective group of Fantasyland inhabitants who spouted off three years ago about how Andy was going to fix the franchise (evidently with magic, not money) and have watched in horror this season as the club has spiraled down the American League ladder.

Earlier in the year, Steve Melewski, an Employee-in-Law of the Orioles via his work at MASN, authored a piece in which he divided the (diminishing) Orioles fan base by basically saying, “you’re either with the team – and a fan – or you’re not with the team and you’re not a fan.”

Recently, a local blogger – Neal Shaffer – whom I respect as a writer and a diehard baseball enthusiast, tried taking a similar tact by writing his own piece in which he said, “those of you who have abandoned the team need to get back on right now…in the infancy of this re-birth…don’t wait around until the team gets REALLY good again or you’ll be considered a front-runner.”

Pardon my French, but what a bunch of bullsh*t that is.

Anyone in Baltimore who has abandoned the Orioles has done so with good reason.

They’ve done so not only because the O’s have lost for 13 straight years, but because the team has aggravated, alienated and almost intentionally disconnected with the fanbase that supported the team since the 1950′s.  They’ve done so because, while the on-field product has gone DOWN since 1998, prices and the expense of “supporting the team” has gone UP.  They’ve done so because the fans want the team to win more than the team itself wants to win.

The folks who really follow the club and have a keen eye for things like whether or not the organization is trying to win – and Neal Shaffer falls in that category – have figured out the game.  And they don’t want to play along anymore.

I don’t think it makes you a bad fan if you look at the landscape of baseball in Baltimore and say, “You know, I don’t think it’s worth giving them $24 to watch the game tonight at Camden Yards.”

The subject of “what makes you a bad fan?” is as controversial as asking folks who voted for Barrack Obama if they feel like they’ve contributed to the downfall of the country.  Lots of folks have a definition for “what makes a bad fan”.  Lots of people think they know what’s ruined the country. Everyone has their own idea(s).

Bad. Fan.

If you don’t sign off on 13 years of losing…and years and years of failing to spend money on quality free agents…and doing stupid stuff like charging people (who already AREN’T going) more money for tickets on the day of the game…that somehow makes you a BAD FAN.

No, it doesn’t.

In fact, I’d argue the exact opposite.

If you’re one of the last 3,300 in town who still fork over your money for tickets and applaud the team’s decision to NOT try and sign Mark Teixeira or Matt Holliday or A.J. Burnett — then I’d have to consider calling YOU a bad fan, for it’s people like you who have continued to keep the flame lit for the Orioles during this period of time where they’ve crawled into the fetal position and allowed the American League to force them into submission.

Maybe those who HAVEN’T stopped going to the games are the real people to blame.  Maybe those of you who give the team a free pass every off-season when they write themselves a big check instead of writing one to 3 or 4 good players are the ones to blame.  Maybe those of you who don’t have the balls to say, “this is crazy…you guys have to start running the team better or I’m not coming anymore” are to blame.

In fact, that argument is as silly as the one being made by the Apologists who say “you better get on board now or you’re a BAD FAN.”

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 30 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because after the Ultimate Frisbee highlight on Deadspin the other day that I posted in my “Top 10 Baseball Distractions” column; apparently Deadspin got the idea that Ultimate Frisbee highlights may be even cooler than videos of guys getting dunked on…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kst2yrNJolY[/youtube]

Freaking awesome. I want to be exactly like Beaufort Kittredge. Other than the name-as long as I get to keep the trust fund.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Orioles ‘finally’ hired Buck Showalter as manager

I’ll save you the “I told you they’d hire him after the Ravens reported to Westminster” comments. Wait. Sorry!

I guess the “breaking” part of this “breaking news” is lessened because we knew this was coming-having been reported by Ken Rosenthal as a “done deal” before the All-Star Game. (Edit from GMC: Ken Rosenthal would know.) But it is still significant when a team hires a manager, even if it is a team that hasn’t played a meaningful game in well over a decade.

A handful of folks in town are excited about Showalter. The rest of the folks in town would only be excited if he could play CB. Count me in the group that’s interested, but by no means excited. I’d be excited if he was bringing Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling with him; as well as Mark Teixeira and Nelson Cruz. Otherwise, I’ll withhold excitement until I know that they’re going to get some real players.

Connie Mack would need better players to win in Charm City-and from everything I can tell, Buck Showalter is no Connie Mack. But I’d love to see him don a similar hat…

2. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Birds hoping Showalter can be ‘miracle worker’

There is a significant question about how much control Showalter is going to have of the organization, specifically personnel. He’s been known to be a control freak, but he’s going to be working for a President of Baseball Operations (Andy MacPhail) who laid the groundwork for the team’s “Plan”, and an owner (Peter Angelos) who has a history of meddling even when it’s been said that he gave up control.

Of course, this is where some will make the argument that the addition of Showalter could be a signal of the end of the MacPhail regime. That could very well be true. I’m not yet sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing yet.

If it’s a “miracle worker” the Birds were looking for, I’m not sure why they didn’t consider Francesca Frigo (Thanks Next Round!)…

frigo

3. The AP’s Bernie Wilson says O’s traded Miguel Tejada to San Diego Padres for RHP prospect Wynn Pelzer

In the words of Veronica Corningstone: Miguel Tejada, “Thanks for stopping by.”

There won’t really be too many memories of the 2nd Miguel Tejada tenure in Baltimore-although he played exactly as many meaningful games this time around as he did the first; but the team does get a player in exchange that could end up turning into…something?

Pelzer is by no means a “top prospect” in the Pads’ organization, but is a guy who could offer something moving forward. I talked to a couple of MLB personnel guys last night about Pelzer-and the responses I got ranged from “good arm” to “live arm” to “will be better as a reliever than as a starter” to “big league ready soon” to “needs to match mentally what he has physically.”

I never get too excited about a minor league player (no matter who they are), and that won’t change with Pelzer. Although-he IS a South Carolina guy, so hopefully we can chat about Hootie & The Blowfish. There just isn’t enough of that in the world.

4. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says part of Andy MacPhail’s reasoning for Tejada trade was to get Josh Bell back to Baltimore

Which is fine-as long as the organization isn’t thinking that they have “the answer” at 3B and can’t consider an upgrade in the offseason. Josh Bell may end up being a very good player; but if the team wants to win-they need real major league players at every position; not a group of guys who might end up being real major league players.

That being said, my guess is that the organization’s brass will do everything in their power to make sure that Bell is the Opening Day 3B in April. If that’s the case, I hope he spends the rest of the year looking like Matt Williams.

I just have a bad feeling it might not happen.

5. The AP says Corey Patterson’s homer, Ty Wigginton’s sac fly lead Birds past Kansas City Royals in 11 innings

Hey Hey! That’s win number 1 after the season ended on Sunday-and it only took extra innings against one of the OTHER worst teams in baseball to get it done!

Brian Matusz threw 3 innings of no-hit ball last night. I’m not really sure what happened after that, but the three innings were really good! (Edit from GMC: Thank God we stopped the whole “Apologist of the Morning” thing. I’d win going away…)

Nice to see Corey Patterson playing the role of “hero” again after that grand slam to tie things up against the Texas Rangers in the 9th a few weeks ago in Arlington. He’ll savor these memories when he’s doing…whatever it is he’ll be doing…next season.

Of course, despite the new regime…I wouldn’t be stunned at all if Corey Patterson lined up in Left Field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in April 2011…or at least on the bench. He’s exactly the type of player the organization loves.

6. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of win

I have no idea how to handle this. I’m so used to saying “you don’t want to look at this” that I don’t know how to go about saying “you might actually want to look at this.”

Nick Markakis also homered last night-which has been much to rare this season.

You know what, look at the numbers-celebrate them-and then take a look at Jakki Degg. It’s a win-win! (Thanks Barstool Sports!)

jakkidegg

7. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Chris Tillman struggled for Norfolk Tides, Joel Guzman homered for Bowie Baysox on farm

Before we move on from the Orioles, a few things:

-The O’s and Royals are back at it in KC tonight. Jake Arrieta faces Sean O’Sullivan-with first pitch from Kauffman Stadium at 8:10pm on MASN2. Like I said yesterday, I’ll go with a split this weekend.

-Did you miss former MLB Scout Frankie Piliere on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester on AM1570 WNST discussing Wynn Pelzer and other trade deadline stuff? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other guests included:

  • Craig Calcaterra (NBCSports.com “HardballTalk”)-who went around MLB, touching on Strasburg, Oswalt, etc.
  • Rich Dubroff (Carroll County Times)-who discussed the Showalter hiring and the impact it will have on the Birds
  • Dan Wilcox (Former Ravens TE)-who discussed Training Camp and more

It’s all in the Audio Vault if you want to check it out.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Todd Heap placed on non-football illness list, Rodelin Anthony & Fabian Washington activated from PUP list

The Fabian Washington news is REALLY good news, and the Todd Heap news really isn’t that bad. The Rodelin Anthony news happened.

This team needs their top corners healthy. With no offense to Cary Williams or Travis Fisher or Walt Harris, they’re just not great options. At least one of them will end up making the team-but this organization is certainly better off not having any of them suit up.

Of course-early reports from practice today say neither Fabian nor Dominique Foxworth were practicing; so we’ll have to follow that. Just when all of the news was starting to be good…

9. USA Today’s Gary Graves says Ravens not ‘shying away’ from Super Bowl discussion as full Training Camp begins at McDaniel College

Nor should they be. They’ve been a Super Bowl contender ever since they acquired Anquan Boldin.

For the record, I’m not shying away from the fact that Shannon James is ridiculously hot despite the fact that she’s wearing a Philadelphia Phillies shirt (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

shannonjames

10. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ravens owner Bisciotti believes Sergio Kindle will be with Ravens for ‘long time’

Which is why the conversations about liability, etc. earlier this week were so ridiculous. The Ravens want to give Sergio Kindle a contract and are GOING to give Sergio Kindle a contract. He’s going to get plenty of money-but they’re not going to pay him for the time he wasn’t working. The contract structure will be the same, it will just reflect the fact that he wasn’t working for a while.

Questions continue regarding Kindle’s accident. It seems as though folks are accepting the possible narcolepsy explanation from his former Longhorns coach Mack Brown as a factual explanation-which is just as dangerous as accepting any of the possible explanations regarding alcohol, etc. that were thrown around earlier this week.

The fact remains that we still don’t know. Hopefully we will know soon.

11. ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk says former ST/WR David Tyree to retire with New York Giants

Eh, one more time, why not?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-aKfTK2LiM[/youtube]

(Edit from GMC: Watching that again just reminds me how terrible Joe Buck is. It was one of the greatest moments in Super Bowl history and he treated it like it was a routine first down in a regular season game. Ugh.)

And finally, I leave you with this.

“Dinner For Schmucks” opens tonight. It isn’t getting great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but Zach Galifianakis is HILARIOUS…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TrY29ixBGc[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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

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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…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV-GJ9iNX8g[/youtube]

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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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.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY …. WE’LL TALK ABOUT THIS TODAY AT 2PM !!!!

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