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Baseball

Baseball Salaries Are Out of Control

kershaw

You want the glove on my hand? That’s another $20 mil.

As I sit here and look at my bank account to determine if it is time for a microwaved dinner or if I can actually afford some decent food, I can’t help but feel utter rage over what I just read.  In recent years, Major League Baseball players have been setting record contract deals almost every other day. The Los Angeles Dodgers just signed Clayton Kershaw to the highest pitching deal in MLB history.  Kershaw’s new 7-year $215 million deal with Dodgers is the cherry on top of this insane baseball tradition.

cano

No one Cano how great it feels to be supercalifuckilicious rich. Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my money.

Just one month after Robinson Cano signed the 4th largest contract ever with the Seattle Mariners, pissing off every Yankees fan by the way, Kershaw agreed to an astonishing $31 million a year deal for 7 years.  This makes Kershaw now the 12th Pitcher in MLB history to sign a contract worth over $100 million dollars.  Yes you read that correctly, there are now 12 different pitchers that have signed contracts for playing a sport that demands them to work no more than 40 days out of the year.  When you look at it that way it really makes you wonder if any of these players are actually worth it.

money

Now if they can figure out how to catch a BALL as easily as they catch a BILL, they might start paying for themselves.

I still remember when Kevin Brown signed the first ever $100+ million dollar deal and how absurd that sounded when it happened.  Now it has just become absolutely disgraceful.  To keep it in perspective, it isn’t just pitchers that are paid with these exorbitant deals.  In 2013 alone, there were 20 different players that made at least $20 million dollars and only half of those were pitchers.  The amount of money these “athletes” are making is unfathomable.  If you don’t like my quotations on the word athletes take a look at the image below.

Image

That’s not fat – it’s money belts!

There is no denying that baseball is the overall least athletic of America’s 5 major sports (Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey and Soccer).  I just don’t understand how some teams can justify paying a single player this much money.  With Kershaw and Cano’s new deals there are now 6 players in the MLB that will make more money next season than the entire Houston Astros team (Houston’s 2013 teams total salary was slightly over $24,000,000).

arodSo I ask everyone reading this, is there any justification for paying someone this much money?  Sure, Kershaw has been the best pitcher in the National League, and arguably all of Baseball over the last 3 years, but even so is he worth $30+ million a season.  In his first 6 seasons, Clayton has only hit the 20 win mark once (21 in 2011 when he won his first Cy Young).  So let’s say that he is going to have a career year next season and win 25 games for the Dodgers; that would mean that LA paid Kershaw alone $1,228,571.43 for each of those wins.  That’s not even taking into account the games he might lose.  This is clearly a preposterous amount for any player no matter how good he may be.

All in all, my point is that Baseball needs to come up with some salary cap rules similar to those of the NBA to regulate what these players are making.   At this pace, players around bound to be making close to $40,000,000 a year by 2020.  That is just laughable!

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Piazza’s Latest Hall of Fame Snub is Ridiculous

mike

That’s right, we’re the number one team in Long Island, and we’ll stay that way until someone discovers the Long Island Tigers.

When it comes to being a New York Mets fan, there really isn’t too much to be proud of.  Since becoming a franchise in 62′, the Mets have only won 2 World Series, one of which the Boston Red Sox let roll through their legs.  With the lack of accomplishments, Mets fans cherish every moment of greatness they have more than most people normally would.  I mean Mets fans still talk about making the 2000 World Series, in which they lost, more than Yankees fans talk about it and they won.  Whenever the Mets have a player that is of the Hall of Fame caliber, they become an idol to every one of their fans.  Mike Piazza is arguably the greatest Mets player of all time as well as the greatest hitting catcher in MLB history.  Piazza’s latest snub from the Hall of Fame is a travesty that has every Mets fan in the world up in arms.

SI Piazza

The numbers speak for themselves. Seriously, they speak for themselves – problem is no one is listening.

Let’s start with Piazza’s career stats.  Mike was the 1,390th pick of the 1988 MLB draft and was originally a First Baseman.  His first coach, Tommy Lasorda, told him to learn to play catcher if he planned on ever making it in the Big Leagues.  It was a good choice as Mike went on to hit more Home Runs than any other catcher in the history of the game.  On top of his HR’s, Piazza won the 1993 Rookie of the Year award and went on a 10 season run from his rookie year to 2002 where he was named to the All-Star team and won the Silver Slugger all 10 years.  That alone should have been enough to put him in the HOF.  He did make it to another 2 All-Star games giving him a total of 12 and he was named the MVP of it in 1996.  Mike had a career batting average of .308, 427 Home Runs and 1,335 RBI’s.  How the hell has he been overlooked for two straight years now.

hofers

This year’s choices. The best of the best of the rest pass the test but we detest the jest of Mike who was messed. With. Again.

In his first HOF eligible year, Piazza only received 57.8% of the votes and that number was raised this year when he got 62.2%.  Unfortunately, you need 75% of the votes to make it into the Hall of Fame.  Even though everyone and their mothers know that this overlook is bullshit, Piazza still played the roll of the bigger man when he gave props to the 3 people who did make it this year.  After the announcement he tweeted, “Big Congrats to Mad Dog, Tommy and Big Hurt! Well deserved Guys!”  He was referring to Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, all deserving might I add.  Classy move from Mike but I’m sure he would have liked to tweet some other things to the voters who have their heads up their asses.

dodgers

Catcher in Deny

In a statement released by the Mets, COO Jeff Wilpon called Piazza “a true Hall of Famer…We proudly display his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, and we’re hopeful that he’ll soon have one hanging in Cooperstown.”  All Mets fans agree Wilpon!

piazza

Hall of Shame.

There is some speculation that the reason Piazza had so many people not vote for him was because of his supposed use of PED’s.  This is what really pisses me off.  Piazza has never tested positive for any illegal drug use and the fact that he has been accused because of the era he played in is complete horse shit.  If that is in fact the case, shouldn’t Frank Thomas be given that exact same treatment?  In Piazza’s book he even goes on to say that he never used any PED’s, so what are we basing these suspicions on?

Whatever the case may be, the 571 voters better get their shit together next year because the Hall of Fame will lose all credibility by letting obvious inductees like Piazza slip through the cracks.


The American League East See-Saw

al eastDo you remember back during Spring Training in March when everyone was thinking that the AL East was wide open for anyone to grab?  Well it turns out not much has changed in the last 5 months.  Not only is the AL East the only division with 4 teams above a .500 winning percentage, but the 5th team that is under .500 is arguably one of the most dangerous offenses in the game.  As a Mets fan, I am nearing the point in my baseball season where I can stop caring about the Mets demise and I can start paying attention to the contenders whom I’ll be watching come September and October.  There is no doubt that the AL East is the most exciting division in baseball and I am going to break down how I feel the final 60 games will unfold and who will reign supreme in the East.

1st Place – Baltimore Orioles

orioles

Got to love those ORIOles, especially with their creamy center!

Right now, Baltimore is 3.5 games out of first place trailing both Tampa and Boston.  The reason I predict they will finish in first is because they are just too damn powerful in every position to not.  I’ve had the pleasure of watching a lot of Orioles games this year because of my addiction to watching Chris Davis At-Bats.  (Side note:  I haven’t enjoyed watching two powerhouses like Davis and Cabrera go back and forth with bombs so much since the glorious 98′ season with Sosa and McGuire.)  The Orioles rank first in baseball in Slugging Percentage, 3rd in Runs and 4th in Batting Average.  Rarely do you see so much power mixed with batting average for a whole team.  Buck Showalter has the luxury of changing his lineup on a nightly basis based on pitching matchups without ever sacrificing power or average.  The one weakness that the Orioles have faced all year long is their uneven pitching rotation.  While there have been some glimpses of success, for the most part the Baltimore rotation has sucked.  So while I believe that the O’s will power through with their offense for the rest of the regular season, I also think that their dismal pitching will lead to their playoff demise.

2nd Place – Tamp Bay Devil Rays

devil rays

The Devil maybe do it.

If you jump back exactly two months from today you would have seen the Devil Rays sitting in 4th place in the AL East.  If you look at the standings today, you will find Tampa in sole possession of first place by a half game over the Red Sox.  Tampa has been lights out since May 27th by posting a 35-17 record since then.  They have had all of their success with a steady balance of offense, pitching and defense.  Between Evan Longoria doing what Evan Longoria does and Matt Moore proving in his second season that he is a legitimate Ace in this league, the Devil Rays are set for many more seasons to come.  They have also found a nice diamond in the rough who actually used to hover around the Mendoza line while with the Dodgers; James Loney is hitting a remarkable .317 with 10 HR’s and 50 RBI’s after only hitting .249, 6 and 41 all last year between LA and Boston.  It also helps that he has stayed healthy all year and has played in 101 of Tampa’s 103 games thus far.  (Side note:  The Devil Rays just lit up CC Sabathia, who I think is a top 5 pitcher in the AL, for 7 runs making it the third time they scored at least 5 on him this season.)  The reason that I feel the Devil Rays will finish as one of the AL’s two Wild Card teams and not with the pennant is because while they are good in a lot of categories they aren’t the best in any of them and to win a division you need the best.

3rd Place – Boston Red Sox

red sox

Where there’s a will, there’s a Fenway.

If you tried to tell me before this season started that you believed the Red Sox would be leading the Majors in Runs and On-Base Percentage I would have laughed in your face.  Well surprise surprise, that is exactly where they rank with just two months left in the season.  Big Papi David Ortiz is having a career year when most people thought he should have been washed up at this point.  It should only be a few months before we find out it is all from PED use, but let’s enjoy it while we can.  In his 16th season, the ageless wonder has a ridiculous stat line that would easily be up for MVP talks if it weren’t for the seasons that Davis and Cabrera are having.  The career .287 hitter is batting .323 with 19 HR’s and 65 RBI’s.  With Ortiz proving age doesn’t matter, the emergence of Jose Iglesias and Dustin Pedroia putting up consistently great numbers, the Red Sox offense has been great all year.  Their pitching, however, has the same issues that Baltimore’s does.  Lester, Lackey and Buchholz have all had streaks this year of great successes but for the most part, their inconsistencies are the exact reason they will lose to the Devil Rays in the one-game Wild Card playoffs.  Yeah, that’s right, I think both Wild Card teams this year are coming out of this beast of a division.

4th Place – New York Yankees

yankees

Damned Yankees.

While it pains me to say this, the Yankees are the most impressive team, (based on what they have), in this division.  Plagued with more injuries than I have ever seen a team suffer through, the Yankees have had to put laughable lineups on the field on almost a daily basis.  No Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, and Granderson has led to lineups filled with the Overbay’s and Hafner’s of the world that would barely make it in the minors.  Even with all of this adversity, the Yankees, whom I hate very much, have played way above average ball.  In fact, they have been in playoff contention since day one of the season until recently.  Even Yankees fans can admit that they did not expect to be above .500 at this point in the season but their roster and skill set are coming back to reality as they are now 7 games out of first.  CC has been struggling worse than he ever has in his career and outside of Cano, there is not one bright spot on the entire roster.  Thank God for Mariano Rivera who is absolutely killing it in his final year.  If there was ever going to be a season where the Mets were going to out play the Yankees it was this one and yet it still didn’t happen.  The Yankees have a lot of rebuilding to do over the next few years but they should not put their heads down because this season was way more of a success then it should have been.

5th Place – Toronto Blue Jays

toronto

Toronto feeling kind of Blue.

Before this season started I was talking about how the Blue Jays had a great chance to take this division with the offseason moves they made.  Turns out I was terribly wrong.  My boy, RA Dickey, is proving that there is a huge difference between pitching in the AL East and the NL East.  Last years NL Cy Young winner is getting lit up this year with a nearly 5 ERA and a pitiful 8-11 record.  It doesn’t help that he pitches in the best hitting division in baseball and in a stadium that seems to give up 10 Home Runs every game played there.  The Blue Jays struggles can not all be blamed on Dickey because their entire pitching staff BLOWS!  In fact, the best ERA on their starting rotation comes from Mark Buehrle and his awful 4.50 mark.  Pathetic!  It was a very tough start to the season for Toronto with Jose Reyes being injured and not one person on their team hitting above .300.  With the Blue Jays it has been Home Run or Strikeout all season long and it has led them to a pretty disappointing season.  The brightest spot on their team this year has been the power surge that Edwin Encarnacion has been on.  While his batting average is below .270 he has hit 28 Home Runs already and knocked in 80 RBI’s before August.  Unfortunately for Toronto, there is not much to cheer about this year and with the amount of money they spent in the offseason you can expect to see this team dismantled during the Winter.

You might disagree with my predictions for how this season will unfold but there is no denying that the American League East is the premier division in all of Baseball.


Silver Lining For New York Sports Fans

lining

and in front of every silver lining is a dark cloud…

As a huge New York Jets, Mets and Knicks fan, Monday was a very trying day for me.  Even though everything that could go wrong went wrong , I have taken more of an optimistic view over my three teams.  Yesterday, the New York Jets proved the world correct by finally ending what I consider to be the most pathetic and embarrassing season for a franchise that has been a joke for most of its existence.  The New York Mets became the first team since 1998 to trade away the past year’s Cy Young Award winner by dealing fan favorite RA Dickey to the Blue Jays (1998-Blue Jays traded Roger Clemens to the Yankees).  The New York Knicks had a visit from the most popular player in the league a year ago, Jeremy Lin, and got shellacked by him for the second time this season.  If you are a fan of any of these teams, or all three like myself, then Monday looked like and extremely rough day. I am going to explain why I feel there is a silver lining for each of these tumultuous events.

sanchez

Let’s wipe this dirty Sanchez off the face of the Jets once and for all!

Let’s start with J-E-T-S (Just End The Season); Thank God they did!  I have never in my life rooted for one of my teams to lose…except for last night.  The Jets have been an  absolute CIRCUS since the end of last season.  The acquisition of Tim Tebow was a mistake from the get-go and not once did the Jets and their coaching staff try to rectify that situation.  The pathetic Offensive Coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, was fired only to be replaced by an even worse one, Tony Sparano.  Mark Sanchez’s ability as a QB receded worse that Lebron James’ hair line.  The Jets had arguably the worst receiving core in NFL history and couldn’t develop a running attack against any formidable opponents.  So why was I rooting against the Jets yesterday, even with their playoff chances still intact if they had won?  Because it would have all been the same shit again next year if the Jets showed even the slightest bit of success.  With this mortifying loss on Monday Night Football last night no Jets fans will ever have to watch Mark Sanchez at the QB position ever again! Ii has been announced that Greg McElroy will start Sunday against the Chargers.  The Jets GM, Mike Tannenbaum, is either going to be replaced or he is going to be put on such a hot seat that he will have no choice but to fix this never-ending pile of issues.  The Jets need to be completely revamped and there is no way that would have happened without them losing last night so there is the silver lining.

lin

It was Linevitable that the Knicks would lose sometime…

My New York Knicks have not given their fans much to complain about this season.  They have the best record in the Eastern Conference and have looked like a title contender the whole year.  They have really only hit one speed bump this season and their name is the Houston Rockets.  The last time the Knicks had to worry about the Rockets was in 1994 when they met in the NBA Finals and went to an exhilarating game 7 which the Knicks inevitably ended up losing.  Ever since Jeremy Lin left the Knicks for a more than generous contract with the Rockets, there has been a target on his back.  Unfortunately for the Knickerbockers, that target was too small to see because for the second time this season, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets manhandled them.  I never had any ill will towards Lin once he left, especially because I knew what the Knicks overall plan was and he just wasn’t the right fit for Woodson’s game plan.  So what’s the upside to the Knicks losing twice to a supposedly inferior team?  First, the Rockets most likely won’t make the playoffs this year so the Knicks won’t be playing them again until next year.  Secondly, there was no way the Knicks were going to go 77-5 so we were bound to lose eventually.  Finally, the real silver lining behind this most recent loss at the Garden to the slightly above average Houston Rockets is that we now know exactly what we need Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire for.  Shumpert wasn’t really an issue but everyone was questioning where Amare would fit in and the truth of the matter is that STAT is an extremely talented player and in situations where Melo or even Tyson or Kidd or Felton are out with injury, STAT can be a viable option that can help earn that W.

mets

Like a sugar daddy getting his new arm candy, the Mets are putting their money into some young talent.

The New York Mets are very good at being very bad.  Outside of a handful of years that Mike Piazza was destroying anything in his way, the Mets have been completely irrelevant for nearly a quarter century.  Last year the Mets let one of their franchise’s greatest players ever, Jose Reyes, leave to their divisional foe, the Miami Marlins,  due to their money issues.  Worst part about that was that Reyes was coming off of his best ever year and the National League Batting Title.  Yesterday, the Mets completed a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays which ended with the reigning CY Young Winner and Mets fan favorite RA Dickey leaving after one of the greatest pitching seasons in NY Mets history.  So how can losing your best pitcher and biggest ticket attraction have any positives behind it? Well, I’ll start by saying that with or without Dickey, the Mets were not going anywhere any time soon.  Having said that, the Mets have no money and they need to figure out new ways to rebuild a franchise that does not have much going for it right now.  I feel that they did the right thing by signing David Wright for pretty much the rest of his career.  Now they have to figure out who will hit around him and what direction they want their franchise to go.  Between Wheeler and Harvey the Mets have some talented pitching coming up soon.  In the trade for Dickey, the Mets acquired arguably one of the best young talents in the Minors, catcher Travis d’Arnaud.  On top of that they saved a butt load of money and have positioned themselves to be a formidable opponent within a few years.  I see some bright things in the Mets future and I think it starts with Travis d’Arnaud.

So even if you are still having a hard time recovering from yesterday’s exhausting and trying events, just know that each of them have a silver lining and everything should be okay soon enough.


Are Youk Serious?

youk

Start spreading the news, I am leaving today.
I want to be a part of it, New Youk, New Youk.

This is not the first time the Yankees have sold their souls to bring in a former Boston Red Sox player.  The list seems to be getting longer and longer each offseason.  Mike Stanley, Wade Boggs, Sparky Lyle, Luis Tiant, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon, Derek Lowe  were all once hated enemies before they put on the pinstripes.  Hell, even Babe Ruth was a member of the Sox before he rewrote the baseball record books in the Bronx.  I can deal with rooting for an old rival, especially in this day and age where players rarely play their entire careers in one city.  Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon all helped bring World Series titles to the Yankees, and therefore will always be appreciated by the Bronx faithful.  The fact that Kevin Youkilis spent most of is career in Boston is not my major concern.

money

As Curly Joe might say: NYouk, NYouk, NYouk!

I don’t view yesterday’s acquisition of Kevin Youkilis in high regard because I don’t think it really makes the Yankees a much better team on the field.  Youkilis is a 34-year-old ball player who is absolutely on the decline.  In 111 games last season with Boston and the Chicago White Sox, Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs.  During the steroid error, it was possible for a 34-year-old player to bounce back and have a good year after such a down year.  Now it appears that players are aging as they used to and I’d be shocked to see Youkilis put up any of the same numbers as he used to when he was against the Yankees in his prime.

old people

Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!
What? Baseball field? We’re playing baseball???

The Yankees problem is age.  The roster last year reflects this issue.  Injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Mark Texeira and others hindered their production all season long.  Though the Yanks were able to get through the regular season and into the playoff tournament, the lone feat is not good enough for Yankee fans.  Relying year after year on aged players like Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez and the before mentioned players will not be
enough to return us to glory years.  I want the Yankees to build a dynasty like they enjoyed in the 90’s.  Piecing a team of aging veterans is not the answer.

surgery

2 wheelchairs short of looking like the arrival gate at West Palm Beach airport.

Youkilis will be needed to play third base until the aging, billion dollar investment A-Rod recovers from hip surgery.  However, who is to say that A-Rod is even able to play an effective third base upon his return.  Even when he is healthy, A-Rod only starts about a third of his games at third.  Therefore, the Yankees will be relying on Youkilis to play a huge chunk of the season at the hot corner.  The problem with that is for the past several years, Youkilis has been
battling a bad back and had only averaged 115 games per year.  I’m not sure that backing up your aging, often injured third baseman with another aging, often injured third baseman is the best route.  I’m just hoping Brian Cashman knows something that I don’t.

yanks

Nothing says I Love You like a (baseball) diamond. Except for lots of money.

As a Yankee fan, I am prepared to root Kevin Youkilis on and welcome him to the Bronx when I see him at the Stadium.  I hope I am wrong in my critique of this signing.  Maybe Youkilis rediscovers himself with a new change of scenery and some extra motivation to show the Sox that they made a mistake.  From watching him over the year, I know he is a smart, professional player who does all the little things that the Yankees and Red Sox both love.  I understand the Yankees are probably thrilled with the fact that he accepted a one year deal, because of
the huge emphasis they have put into cutting their team salary in 2014.  However, my frustration as a fan exists in the fact that I can’t see the Yankees long-term plans and the Yankees reduced spending on old players does absolutely nothing to solve this issue.  In a world where my Jets are the most dysfunctional organization in the NFL and my Rangers are locked out of work, I am very reliant on the Yankees to bring me some joy in the near and long-term future.  As of now, I’m having a hard time figuring out how this will happen…


Sucks to be Baltimore!

The Baltimore Orioles had a few good teams in the 1990’s, lead by Cal Ripken Junior, Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson and Mike Mussina.  Unfortunately, their success took place during the latest Yankee dynasty and therefore the O’s were never able to reach their desired pinnacle of a World Series Title.  After the retirement of Ripken, the Orioles dropped off the face of the relevant baseball planet.  For over a decade the Orioles looked up at the standings every season and saw the Yankees and Red Sox sitting pretty atop the leader board.

The good news for the Orioles is that they were at least competitive with the Rays and Blue Jays for the battle for 3rd in the AL East.  Then in the late, 2000’s, the Rays all of a sudden got talented and began competing with the Red Sox and the Yanks.  All of the Rays years of sucking paid off, and their quality draft picks came to the big leagues and took off.  Tampa reached the World Series in 2008, a feat Baltimore was unable to accomplish in their 90’s run.  As a result of Tampa’s success, there were two basement beaters in the AL East…Baltimore and Toronto.

Then the craziest thing happened this year…The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore switched places.  Boston fell apart, the Orioles pushed the Yankees for the division crown and eventually settled for a Wild Card birth and first round matchup vs. New York.  Well, the Yankees disposed the Orioles in five games but baseball experts all over the world were saying how successful of a season Baltimore had and that it could be a building block for next year.

Fast forward 6 weeks and the Toronto Blue Jays are the talk of the big leagues.  After their blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, the Blue Jays have put themselves in a position to compete with the rest of the division.  Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Beurhle and Josh Johnson are all bonafide big leaguers who will help contribute immediately to a Toronto Blue Jays that already has big league talent on the roster in players like Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie.  Then two days ago, the Blue Jays inked Melky Cabrera to a deal and even though he’s coming off a steroid scandal, he’ll still add to their suddenly deep team.

As for Baltimore’s future, I believe the Toronto moves drop them back down to fourth in the division.  The Yankees will always be the Yankees because they have the money to retool year after year.  The Rays still have the youngest and deepest rotation in the American League and if some of their players like Evan Longoria were healthy all last year, I believe they could have taken the AL East crown from both the Yankees and the Rays.  The Blue Jays will be better than the Orioles next year because their talent will have time to go to Spring Training together and mesh, unlike the Dodgers talent collection attempt this past year.  The other thing Baltimore needs to consider is that the Boston Red Sox are down right now, but we all know that they will be back in short time.  The demand for a winner in Bean Town is too strong and the front office has already stated that they are willing to spend money to build sooner rather than later.

So, Baltimore Oriole fans, if you are out there…sucks to be you!  You had a good year, it was cute but you didn’t really accomplish all that much actually.  The Yankees beat you in the division race and the playoffs and Yankee fans are disappointed with the end result of 2012!  It’s time for you to go back to the dungeon for the next decade or so and let the AL East heavyweights battle it out.  Hey, at least the Ravens are relevant….


2012 World Series Preview and Predictions

The 2012 Major League Baseball season has been nothing short of spectacularly crazy.  From a plethora of injuries to emerging young superstars, this season has been non-stop entertainment for baseball fans around the world.  The World Series is now upon us, as the best team from the American League faces off with the best from the National League to determine who the greatest team of the year is.  The Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants both traveled completely different paths to reach this final plateau, but in the end they will battle it out on America’s biggest stage to win that coveted trophy in the Fall Classic.  Here is a breakdown of each team position by position and how they matchup with each other.

Catcher:  Buster Posey vs. Alex Avila

Buster Posey is coming off of just winning the Comeback Player of the Year in the National League and his play in the playoffs has shown why.  Posey is one of the top two most important bats in the Giants lineup while his counterpart, Alex Avila, is clearly in his lineup for defensive purposes.  Posey isn’t so bad on the defensive end himself and with Avila batting even worse in the postseason (.227) than he did in the regular season (.243), Posey is proving to be the much better catcher between the two.

Edge:  Buster Posey

1st Base:  Brandon Belt vs Prince Fielder

Like the catcher position, this comparison is almost unfair.  Brandon Belt is a solid defensive first baseman but is only in his first full season in the Majors, making him a work in progress.  Prince Fielder on the other hand was one of the biggest pickups of the offseason and teamed up with his PIC, Miguel Cabrera, to absolutely dominate pitching across the league all season long.  On top of Fielder’s ridiculously good hitting, he is also getting better defensively every game and will soon pass his father as the best in the family.

Edge:  Prince Fielder

2nd Base:  Marco Scutaro vs. Omar Infante

If I was asked at the beginning of the playoffs who is the better between these two second basemen I wouldn’t have hesitated in saying Omar Infante.  But after a 14-hit NLCS which resulted in Scutaro winning the NLCS MVP, he is now the favorite in my mind.  Both of these players are defensive specialists with the ability to hit for average, but there is not much power coming from either of them.  Scutaro is slowly turning into the best midseason acquisition of the league, and Infante has been nothing more than just a solid #9 hitter in the Tigers lineup.

Edge:  Marco Scutaro

Shortstop:  Brandon Crawford vs. Jhonny Peralta

Both of these players are clear indications of defensive specialists.  The only difference between the two is power and experience, Crawford 2 years and Peralta 9 years.  Peralta is always a threat to go deep and has had an amazing 2012 playoffs thus far (.343 BA), with a couple bombs already.  Crawford will not hit for power, he only has two extra base hits in the playoffs, but he is a scrappy player and will find ways to get on base to help his team.  Neither of these teams rely heavily on either of these SS and their offense, but both can make an impact on any given day.

Edge:  Jhonny Peralta

3rd Base:  Pablo Sandoval vs. Miguel Cabrera

This has to be the most intriguing matchup of any position in this series.  The first Triple Crown winner since 1967, Miguel Cabrera, versus one of the most lovable and talented players in his position, Pablo Sandoval, will be heavily watched by every spectator.  Unfortunately for Sandoval, he will be compared to the best player in the game right now for the entirety of the series.  Cabrera is without question the best hitter in the league and the fact that he matches that with stellar defense makes him a priceless player.  I like Panda, but it is tough when you are compared to the best.  Cabrera is coming off of arguably one of the greatest offensive seasons ever and single-handedly carried the Tigers offense for most of the year.

Edge:  Miguel Cabrera

Left Field:  Gregor Blanco vs. Andy Dirks/Delmon Young

Obviously Detroit does not play two left fielders but since they are an American League team, they do play with a designated hitter. While I am not positive who the Giants will throw out there as the extra bat when the games are being played in Detroit, I do know that Delmon Young will be strictly a DH when they are home.  Andy plays a solid left field and even has some pop to his bat but he will not be playing when they are in San Francisco.  So I will be comparing Blanco to Young and even though Blanco has had a good year and has a solid glove, Delmon proved in his ALCS trouncing of the Yankees, just how valuable he can be.  Young’s glove is a little skeptical but not enough to keep his bat out of the lineup.

Edge:  Delmon Young

Center Field:  Angel Pagan vs. Austin Jackson

I have a soft spot in my heart for Angel Pagan because he is truly one of the hardest working men in the game and he has proved that again this season in his first year in San Francisco.  Pagan is extremely talented in the field and provides the Giants with some important at bats at the front of the lineup.  Austin Jackson has the same responsibility for the Tigers.  Jackson is one of the fastest in the game and he might even come out of this season with a gold glove.  He is young and super talented in every aspect of the game.  While I absolutely love Pagan as a player I think that Jackson is just on another level talent-wise.

Edge:  Austin Jackson

Right Field:  Hunter Pence vs.  Brennan Boesch

Boesch is always a threat when he picks up a bat and he adds to that by playing a solid right field.  Boesch will find himself anywhere from the 6 to the 8 hole in the lineup and with Cabrera and Fielder in front of him, he will have a big role to play for driving in runs for the Tigers.  In my mind, Hunter Pence is one of the most talented outfielders in the National League.  Unfortunately for the Giants, he is yet to really emerge as that superstar I know he is.  Pence had a subpar regular season and he hasn’t done anything particularly special in the postseason, but every one of Detroit’s pitchers knows the threat that Hunter poses every time he is at the plate.  I think this will be a good series for Pence and he will finally prove his worth as a San Francisco Giant.

Edge:  Hunter Pence

Starting Pitching:  Justin Verlander and company vs. Matt Cain and company

I love the pitching matchups that will be coming out of this series.  While I think that Justin Verlander is the best pitcher that the Majors has seen since Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens were in their prime, I think that the pitchers the Giants are throwing out there can give them a run for their money.  Verlander will be facing Barry Zito in game 1 of the World Series because Cain is just on two days rest after pitching a masterful game 7 in the NLCS against the Cardinals that inevitably led to their WS trip.  The Giants have Bumgarner and Vogelsong to round out their starting 4 with Lincecum available for long relief or even an injury replacement.  The Tigers have strikeout master Scherzer, Fister, and Sanchez to follow in Verlander’s footsteps.  I don’t think the Tigers staff will have as easy a time as they did against the anemic bats of the Yankees, but there is no denying the amount of talent that Detroit puts out there on a nightly basis.

Edge:  Justin Verlander and company

Relief Pitching:  Sergio Romo and company vs. Jose Valverde and company

In my NLCS preview, I completely underrated the Giants bullpen.  They pitched magnificently throughout the NLCS and were flawless in the final 3 wins that brought them to the World Series.  Sergio Romo has had a couple of hiccups but he has managed to get himself out of any trouble that came his way.  Jose Valverde on the other hand got rocked in his only game against the Yankees and was lucky enough to have his team save him in an eventual game 1 victory.  Both of these teams have solid set up men and long relievers that can salvage games in any inning.  What it comes down is that both of these teams starting pitching staffs are so good that the bullpens will not see much action in this series.

Edge:  Sergio Romo and company

Manager:  Bruce Bochy vs. Jim Leyland

I think that Bruce Bochy has done an incredible job all season long, leading the Giants to yet another NL West crown and now a trip to his second World Series in three years.  What’s most impressive is that Bochy has done all of this without one bona fide superstar on their roster.  It has been the true definition of team play.  Leyland took a totally different approach to the season as he had his team revamped in the offseason into a teams of all-stars and it clearly took him longer than expected to get his shit together.  It wasn’t until mid-September that Detroit even took first place in the pathetic AL Central.  Well, that slow start is behind them and the Tigers are coming off one of the most dominant sweeps in Championship Series history, and with Leyland’s already uber-impressive resume, I find it hard not to pick Detroit as the team with a managerial advantage.

Edge:  Jim Leyland

Overall, these two teams are ridiculously close on paper.  I think this series will come down to 7 hard fought games and each of these teams fans will be on the edge of their seats on a nightly basis.  I feel that Detroit has a slight advantage by having Justin Verlander pitch game 1, which will give Leyland the option to put him in for a game 4 start and maybe even a game 7 one if necessary.  I know I am looking forward to well played World Series and I can’t wait to see who takes home the grand prize.

Series Prediction:  Detroit Tigers in 7


Epic Failure

Let me start by saying congratulations to the Detroit Tigers on their ALCS victory, as they were the team I picked in the beginning of the season to win the whole damn thing.  Now for the topic at hand.  The New York Yankees not only lost in the ALCS to the Detroit Tigers, but they absolutely got obliterated and they had more dysfunction in their dugout and front office then I have ever seen a team have in the playoffs EVER.  After a hard fought ALDS against their division rival Baltimore Orioles in 5 games, no one in the world expected to see what happened to the Yankees in the Championship Series.  From losing their captain, Derek Jeter, to a season ending injury, all the way to the worst hitting performance in playoff history, everything that could go wrong for the Yankees did and now there are tons of questions around where they should go from here.

While I wasn’t rooting against the Yankees, I can’t say that it doesn’t feel a little good that the always successful Yankees got a little dose of what it feels like to walk in  the Mets cleats.  The Yankees are the most successful and the most hated team in all of baseball so outside of the Yankees fans the baseball world is thrilled with this collapse.  What the Yanks did in the ALCS was the single most pathetic offensive performance in PLAYOFF HISTORY!  It’s pretty remarkable because after the historic 4-game comeback in the 2004 ALCS against their biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox, no one ever thought that the Yankees would be able to have a worse playoff series.  Guess again people because this series against the Tigers was a hell of a lot worse.  My fellow Sports Debater, NYBobby, stated in his ALCS preview (https://sports-debaters.com/2012/10/13/american-league-championship-series-preview-and-prediction/) that the Yankees would definitely lose if they continued to struggle at the plate.  I guess he was right.  This was the first time that the Yankees were swept in a playoff series since 1980.  They had played in 36 playoff series since then which is a MLB record for most consecutive series without being swept.

We all saw signs of anemic hitting for the Yankees during their series against the Orioles, but not many people thought it would carry over to the ALCS.  The Yankees had the highest payroll in all of baseball this season ($222 million), which isn’t a big surprise, but their playoff batting average sure was.  The Yankees set a Major League Baseball playoff record with a microscopic .188 postseason BA.  Even more pathetic then that was the fact that they only batted .157 in the ALCS, meaning that their hitting actually got worse from the Orioles series to the Tigers.  The Yanks only scored an abysmal 6 runs throughout the ALCS and they never had a lead in any game.  What is really bothering me about these disgusting hitting numbers is that analysts and fans are trying to place all the blame on the easy scapegoat, Alex Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was benched in 3 different games in the playoffs and seemed to be getting all of the heat for the Yankees struggles.  Luckily for ARod (.111 BA in ALCS) , he was at least able to get some digits from some hotties in the crowd while being benched.  While ARod is an easy person to point the finger at, he wasn’t close to being the only problem for the men wearing pinstripes.

The Yankees scored in just 3 of the 39 innings in the ALCS, which seems really hard to beleive but it’s true.  The “savior,” or ARod’s replacement, Eric Chavez, hit for a big doughnut 0-16 with 8 strikeouts, which I think ARod could have probably managed to hit if he tried really hard.  Robinson Cano (.056 BA in ALCS) and Curtis Granderson (.000 BA in ALCS) were destroying the ball all regular season long but once they entered the playoffs neither of them seemed to be able to make contact.  Mark Teixeira (.200 BA in ALCS) seemed to be blind at the plate and the Yankees regular season role players, Nick Swisher (.250 BA in ALCS), Russel Martin (.143 BA in ALCS) and Brett Gardner (.000 BA in ALCS) all seemed like glorified minor league ball players.  Ichiro Suzuki (.353 BA in ALCS) and Eduardo Nunez (.333 BA in ALCS) were the only breathes of fresh air for the polluted Yankees during this demolition that the Tigers performed on them.  The only bad thing about that is Eduardo Nunez wouldn’t even have been playing if Jeter didn’t get injured, so as a consolation prize it kind of sucks.

While the overall numbers of the series surprises me, the end result does not.  I said it for the entire season that the Yankees will not be successful come playoff time if they didn’t find more ways to score runs outside of the long ball.  The regular season and the playoffs are two totally different animals.  Ask the Texas Rangers who lost in two straight World Series entering this year and couldn’t even get past the one game playoff against the Oakland Athletics.  This epic failure for the New York Yankees comes with a lot of questions for the upcoming season and unfortunately for Yankee fans, it doesn’t look too good.

George Steinbrenner must be rolling over in his grave as his “Evil Empire,” that he has built for over three decades is slowly unraveling.  From the beginning of the season for the Yankees something felt off.  The season was bookended with injuries to two of the greatest Yankees of all time, Mariano Rivera went down really early with a freak like season ending injury and Jeter went down at the beginning of the end during the ALCS.  Pitching was never a problem during the sluggish playoff run, but the sweep against Detroit was finalized with the Yankees Ace, CC Sabathia, getting absolutely manhandled by the Tigers power lineup.  I think that’s what they call a cherry on the top of the shit sundae the Yankees served their fans this postseason.

For pretty much any other team in all of baseball, a trip to the Championship Series would be considered a successful season, but the Yankees and their fans know that this season will go down as an epic failure.  The Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager, Brian Cashman, has a lot of issues to focus on during the offseason and non of it will be easy.  Do the Yankees try and dump some of these outlandish salaries like Granderson and ARod?  Do we place some of the blame on Joe Girardi and try get him replaced?  If they return, how much time does Jeter and Rivera still have left?  Was this series an indication of where Robinson Cano’s career is heading?  What pitchers do the Yanks need to resign and or go after?  The questions are honestly endless, but there is a lot of fixing that needs to be done and it needs to be done fast.