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2009 Free Agent Class Rich With Talent

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Due to the tough economy and billions of dollars in financial bailouts, I find it only fitting to talk about where the 2009 Free Agency Class is headed and the ridiculous amount of money some of them will be making. This year’s class includes a 36 year old man that wants a contract until he is 43, making him the richest pitcher in MLB history, and the richest closer in history. Add plenty of super-agent Scott Boras into the mix, and we a have a recipe for a fun offseason (a.ka. disaster). I have created a list of what I believe to be the top ten free agents this offseason, and where I think they will end up.

1. C.C. Sabathia: Recently Sabathia was offered a contract in the ballpark of 6 years, $140 million from the New York Yankees. Due to my love of the Cleveland Indians, I am naively believing that he won’t sell his soul for a huge paycheck. I look for him to stay in the National League because he loves to hit. Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Manny Ramirez: No matter what you think of him, Manny can flat out hit. He is probably the best right handed hitter of my young lifetime. Although his agent won’t, we have to take into account that he is getting old. At 36 years old he can probably hit with anyone in the league, but at the end of the contract his agent is proposing (six years) he won’t be the same player. That is unless he joins the same gym as Barry Bonds, but I don’t see that happening. I look for him to get a four year deal with a club option for a fifth. Team: Los Angeles Angels

3. Mark Teixeira: At 28 years old, Mark Teixeira is still in his prime. He is someone that I could see receiving a six or seven year deal and over $100 million. I think Mark Teixeira should be the prize as far as hitters go. I am going to take all rational thought out of the equation and pick his team solely based on greed. Team: Cleveland Indians (please open up your wallets for once)

4. Francisco Rodriguez: KRod could not have had his record breaking season at a better time. Someone is going to open up their checkbook to the most dominating closer in the game. I think he could be looking at 5 years and $70 million. I don’t think it is out of the question that he stays with the Angels but… Team: New York Mets

5. A.J. Burnett: After hopefully losing the C.C. Sabathia sweepsteaks, I believe the Yankees will have to chase their tails to find another solid starting pitcher. I believe they will look Burnett’s way. However, i think they will once again get beat out by their American League East rivals. Team: Boston Red Sox

6. Derek Lowe: Derek Lowe is still a very solid pitcher. I think this is where the Yankees could make a splash. I think they will lose out on Sabathia, but need a solid starter for their rotation. They may be losing Pettitte, so I think a veteran like Lowe makes sense. Back to the AL East you go D-Lowe. Team: New York Yankees

7. Ben Sheets: Sheets is a tricky one to figure out. He is a great pitcher that is still fairly young, but hasn’t been completely healthy in a while. I could i see some of the bigger names (i.e. Yankees, Red Sox, Angels) take a stab at him, but I see him staying in the National League. Team: St Louis Cardinals

8. Orlando Hudson: I could see several teams vying for the services of Orlando Hudson. He will be the top middle infield free agent in baseball. Realistically (unlike with Teixeira), I could see the Indians in play here. They need to move Jhonny Peralta from shortstop anyway (presumably to third base), and Asdrubal Cabrera’s natural position is shortstop. That opens up a spot at second base. I believe it is a perfect fit. There is always the issue of cheapness with the Indians. Team: Cleveland Indians

9. Milton Bradley: There aren’t too many teams that would be willing to put up with Milton Bradley’s issues, which could drop his price into the mid market level. Milton’s talent has never been questioned, just his attitude. If his knee is not fully recovered, he could be limited to the AL as a DH. Team: Toronto Blue Jays

10. Ryan Dempster: Ryan Dempster was very solid for the Cubs last season. The Cubs have had such promising starters the past 10 years, but due to injury they haven’t worked out. I don’t see the Cubs letting him go. Team: Chicago Cubs

Baseball Rampage Nokona Bloodline Series Delivers

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Nokona recently released their highly anticipated Nokona Bloodline Gloves. They use a “proprietary Prime Leather” to construct a well crafted hand made baseball glove. They have a deep rustic blood color, that really stands out when lined up against competitors. Personally, I have been very excited about the release of this line of gloves. The Nokona Bloodline did not let me down. Nokona claims that “this will be the best fit you will ever have in a glove,” and I couldn’t agree more. I have played baseball for twenty years, and I haven’t had a glove that felt more comfortable on my hand. You can feel the attention to detail that is put into these American made gloves. Nokona has created a line that has mixed style, comfort, and durability that would be a perfect Christmas gift for anyone that is passionate about baseball.

12 Days of Giveaways at BaseballRampage.com

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Baseball Rampage 12 Days of Giveaways

BaseballRampage.com has just announced a contest on their website. This contest is called “12 Days of Giveaways.” Baseball Rampage will be giving away 12 $100 gift certificates to BaseballRampage.com just in time to use to finish up your holiday shopping.

Every order in November is one chance to win. The more orders, the more chances to win. Each weekday, from 12/4-12/19, Baseball Rampage will randomly draw one winner to receive a $100 BaseballRampage.com gift certificate. The winners will be posted right here, on this blog, so check in to see if you win.

Read all the details and additional terms and conditions on the Baseball Rampage website.

Get a Free Pair Of Rawlings Batting Gloves with Purchase over $50

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Rawlings BGP355 Batting GlovesWhile supplies last you can get a free pair of Rawlings batting gloves when you purchase any Rawlings product over $50 at Baseball Rampage. The offer is for a free pair of Rawlings BGP355 batting gloves. These batting gloves are very high quality and retail for $15! If you need any baseball gear, check out this deal at BaseballRampage.com.

This offer will run until 12/31/08 or while supplies last.

Cinderella Devil Rays Could Save Baseball

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Tampa Bay Devil RaysWhile the national sports media has been pulling for a Red Sox vs. Dodgers World Series, the rest of us have been rooting for the long shot Tampa Bay Rays. I personally believe that the Rays could save baseball. Not the type of saving that we thought we had with McGwire vs. Sosa in a steroid infused chase to Roger Maris’ home record. The type of saving I am talking about is an underdog story. The same type of story that gives March Madness it’s luster. The Tampa Bay Rays are Major League Baseball’s George Mason or Kent State. They give the everyday person a sense of accomplishment when they see a team with the second lowest payroll dominate the mighty Yankees and Red Sox. Major League Baseball has fallen behind the NFL, NCAA Football, and NCAA Basketball as America’s game. They lack something that those three leagues have: Parody. Baseball doesn’t have regular underdogs like Gonzaga in basketball or Boise State in football. They don’t have the parody that never lets you count anyone out in the NFL. They have the Red Sox and Yankees….Until this year. So I think Major League Baseball should forget about their market sizes and realize that baseball needs an underdog. We need parody. We need the Rays.

-T DeGirolamo

Product Review: WSI Heatr Warming Sleeve

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

WSI Sportrs Heatr Warming SleeveSo I heard about this new product called the Heatr Warming Sleeve from WSI Sports. WSI Sports manufactures baseball-specific performance wear in Eagan, Minnesota. They have some very innovative products that promise some awesome results, but I wanted to see if the hype was for real.

The product claims that Wikmax HEATR generates heat while it wicks moisture off your skin. Designed to help get muscles warm and keep them warm. The WIKMAX HEATR material is located in the key muscle areas used in the pitching mechanics. The HEATR also helps get oxygen to the blood faster and keeps your muscles warm thus helping with recovery time.

So the Heatr Warming Sleeve is a compression sleeve worn from mid-biceps to wrist, that is made of the WIKMAX HEATR material. Seems like a great idea, but does it work?

I opened up one of these sleeves and put it on. I threw some balls in the cage, and took some swings. I felt multiple benefits from the sleeve. I like the compression aspect, and my muscles did feel slightly warmer in my throwing arm, but not hot or sweaty. It was very comfortable, and did not hinder my motion at all. The sleeve seems well manufactured, and the stitching seems very heavy duty. It feels like a quality product. I would have to pitch a complete game to tell you how it works over the course of nine innings, but after an initial review I would give the Heatr Warming Sleeve two thumbs up.

WSI also sells catcher’s shirts and compression pants, sliding shorts, moisture management apparel, and more. Right now you can get a free Heatr Warming Sleeve with any WSI Sports purchase at Baseball Rampage.

2008 Baseball Bat Clearance

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

2008 is winding down, and everyone has heard plenty about the economic crisis that is threatening Americans. Some people will have to cut back spending in certain areas, and one place where you could possibly do so is on baseball equipment. Obviously no one wants to do this, and hopefully no one reading this will, but we have a great solution.

Baseball Rampage has stock in some of the best 2008 bat models and to move the items, they are priced at up to 25% off retail prices. These bats often feature the same technology as newer bats, with different colors. If you or your child needs a new bat, now is a great time to get an outstanding baseball bat at a great price. You can also take advantage of Free Shipping on all orders over $99, which covers most of these bats.

If you are looking to save a little money, check out the clearance selection of baseball bats at Baseball Rampage.

2008 National League Cy Young Award

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Each year, as the weather cools and the hysteria of the Major League Baseball post season winds down, 28 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America decide on several regular season awards. Although many are debatable, this is the first year in recent memory that the writers will absolutely get one wrong.

The Cy Young Award is an award that is given to the most outstanding pitcher in each league. It is given to the player that exemplifies the most dominance over hitters in their respective league. In my opinion this is an easy choice, but there is an unwritten rule that will disqualify the most deserving player of his chance at grabbing his second Cy Young Award in as many years. This rule, of course, is that a player must play the entire season in one league. Baseball writers will undoubtedly take one away from C.C. Sabathia.

How do I know C.C. has no chance? Follow me back to 1998. Randy Johnson was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Houston Astros. He went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA and led the Astros to the playoffs. Johnson finished seventh in Cy Young Voting. While Johnson should have won, I would argue that Sabathia’s NL performance was without a doubt more dominating than Johnsons. C.C. couldn’t have been more dominant if he was pitching against the Milwaukee Over 50 Recreational League. But voters don’t look at dominance. They go to MLB.com and sort stats by wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. Even though Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, 7 complete games, 3 shutouts, and one “unofficial” no hitter, you will most definitely see Brandon Webb or Tim Lincecum accept the hardware. Not to take anything away from Webb’s 22 wins or Lincecum’s 2.62 ERA, but these two weren’t rolled out to the hill on three days rest or forced to pitch almost every game until the game was over. Sabathia was a workhorse that dominated from the very first time he took the mound in the NL, and is the most significant reason the Brewers are in the playoffs. If that doesn’t exemplify dominance, then I don’t know what does.

But what do I know? I’m just a blogger, not a Baseball Writer…

How Do You Choose the Right Baseball Glove?

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Baseball Glove Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing baseball gloves it is important to understand the differences that make a certain glove appropriate for a certain position. There are many options, but with a bit of guidance, you can get the perfect baseball glove for your needs.

Catcher

If you play catcher your choice of mitt is a bit simpler. You need a catcher’s mitt!

Shop for Catcher’s Mitts

First Base

Like catcher’s, first basemen use a special mitt that helps them scoop balls out of the dirt, and also lessons the impact of the ball on the hand since they catch so many throws.

Shop for First Base Mitts

Second Base/Shortstop

When playing at a higher level, the middle infielders will be using a glove with a length of 10″ – 11 1/2″. The shorter the glove is the less likely the fielder will fumble the ball in the webbing. When using a short glove, the ball pops out of the glove, which is important to the middle infielders for double plays and smooth transfers of the ball to first.

Shop for Second Base/Shortstop Gloves

Third Base

A third baseman will use a glove that is slightly longer, being anywhere from 11 1/4″ – 11 3/4″. A third baseman uses a slightly larger glove because third base is closest to the batter and is known for having hard hit ground balls and line drives. The extra length is there to snag line drives and hard grounders.

Shop for Third Base Gloves

Pitcher

A pitcher will want to use a closed web glove that is anywhere from 11 1/2″ – 12″ that is one solid color. The closed web will conceal the pitchers grip on the baseball to hide which pitch is being thrown, and the single color is a rule in baseball.

Shop for Pitcher’s Gloves

Outfield

When it comes to the outfield the more length the better. The more material that can stretch the reach of a fielder tracking down a fly ball is a plus. When choosing a pocket for a glove,it comes down to a matter of preference. Most outfielders use a “trap-eze” style, an “I-Bar”, or “T-Bar”.These web styles allow the player to shield the sun on sunny days to catch fly balls.

Shop for Outfield Gloves

Youth Baseball Gloves

When buying a glove for a younger player, the most important factor is comfort. You want the player to be comfortable. Most gloves from 11 1/4″ – 11 3/4″ are perfect for youth players. Follow the same rules above in regards to the web style.

Shop for Youth Baseball Gloves

Cleveland Indians and the Columbus Clippers Agree on a 4 Year Deal

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Being based in Columbus, we feel very fortunate to have a great AAA baseball team in town. For years I have attended “Dime-a-Dog” nights and proudly rang my bell for the Clippers in Cooper Stadium on the South Side of Columbus. The Clippers were the farm team for the NY Yankees from 1979-2006, and the Clippers saw some great players rise through their ranks including Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada.

The Yankees ended the relationship, and the Washington Nationals became the Clips MLB affiliate. Both teams’ contracts were up this season, and this left the door wide open for the much talked about partnership between the 2 Ohio clubs. The Indians announced Thursday that they had signed a four-year player development contract with the Columbus Clippers of the International League, marking the Tribe’s Triple-A move from Buffalo to Ohio’s state capital.

This deal makes perfect sense for all involved parties. Avid Indians fans from all over the state now can make a short trip to watch their prospects develop in Columbus. Columbus fans can make the 2+ hour trip to Cleveland and follow the former Clippers. This partnership will bring together two great baseball organizations, and make both stronger.

The Clippers will open the 2009 season in Huntington Park in the Arena District. The renderings of the park are outstanding, and I can see this becomeing a great attraction because of the new affiliation with the Indians, and also the location of the stadium in the heart of the Arena District. 2009 should be an exciting season for the Clippers and Columbus.

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