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MLB Civil Rights in Atlanta

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

MLB.com sums up this past weekend’s the 5th annual Civil Rights game that was played in Atlanta, GA. Having the game in Atlanta couldn’t have been more appropriate – being the origins of the Civil Rights movement. The Braves have a two-year agreement so the Civil Rights game will return to Atlanta for the 2012 games. Braves president, John Schuerholz, thinks since they got the games, he’s not so sure their going to want to take them anywhere else.

The Braves’ won 3-2 over the Phillies on Sunday afternoon, the rest weekend that included a round-table discussion for key social issues, a Youth Summit giving local kids a chance meet ex-Major Leaguers, a Saturday game for the Negro Leagues, a Beacon Awards Banquet and a Delta Civil Rights Game to end it on.

Celebrities and ex-MLB players alike came together, including Hank Aaron. And even though Schuerholz and Aaron would like to see the Civil Rights Game become a permanent fixture in Atlanta, being as important as it is, it’s noted that there are many civil rights stories all across the country, and the Civil Rights Games would like explore all of those. Hank Aaron is glad he gets to have one more season to honor those who paved the way at his adopted hometown.

“If Jackie Robinson had failed, not only on the field but even off the field, you wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see great players like Willie Mays, Ernie Banks or maybe myself or somebody else. I think it would’ve set baseball back at least 10 years or 15 years,” Aaron said in the TBS broadcast booth on Sunday. “This was a tremendous moment, especially what Jackie Robinson had to go through, not only on the field, but he had to carry himself so marvelous off the field.”

Read the full story at MLB.com

A-Rod Used Performance Enhancing Drugs

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

So that pretty much does it. I think everyone was hoping that Alex Rodriguez was clean. We all hoped that he would break Barry Bonds’ homerun record, and that we could put the steroid talk to rest. That is not going to happen. A-Rod will be giving a press conference at noon today.

It seems that being a great player was just not good enough for these guys. They are ultra-competitive, Type-A people, who are always looking for an edge. They definitely made a bad decision by getting into drugs, but Major League Baseball is the real bad guy. MLB should have had a policy in place for testing and education. Because they did not, players get to use excuses, and allegations cannot be proven.

Baseball reaped the benefits of the homerun titans like McGuire, Bonds, and Sosa, and now baseball is going to feel the effects of the steroid allegations. I think it is sad that now every fan thinks about all players of the past decade with such suspicion. Had testing been in place, these players would not have used performance enhancing drugs, and their legacies would be intact. As it stands, some of the greatest players of our lifetimes are going to go down in the record books as cheaters.

Learn a lesson from those that have gone before you. Practice hard, lift weights, eat right, and you won’t need steroids.

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

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

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…

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.

Instant Replay a First in the Majors

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Was A-Rod’s bomb a homer? I don’t know. I did not have a great angle. I do know that I didn’t really want to hear O’ Brian say it was foul one more time. The angle he was looking at was no good for telling fair or foul. I was happy that I actually saw the first use of replay in Major League Baseball.

The umpire had the best view and it wasn’t clear. This is exactly why replay is a good idea. It was quick and it got the call right. Obviously he did not see anything that made him want to call it foul.

If the technology is available then why not use it? The process took very little time and was smooth. Let’s get the calls right. Replay was great for the NFL and it will be great for MLB.

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