Here’s another post from newly minted writer Brent. His sports knowledge is vastly impressive and to be frank, a little worrisome. Below you’ll find a reference to Bo Jackson, someone named Charlie something and a Techmo Super Bowl video among other items. It’s quite the creation. We’ll try to get both new guys set up with accounts this week and cut out this bloviating middleman…
My fellow copywriter Ariel is giving you a taste of what youâll see in the playoffs this fall, but there is a lot you wonât see again until Spring Training.
I love Spring Training. I love that it gives every team a brand new start so they can suck and fall well short of expectations (New York Mets, Chicago Cubs), be awesome (Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees), or just experience more fledgling mediocrity (Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays). But for me, it doesnât get much better than post-season baseball. Iâm a Minnesota Twins fan and while the Twins havenât had much success in October in the last decade, they have at least been in the playoffs in four of the last seven seasons, including a Game 163 in 2008 that they lost to the Chicago White Sox. John Danks shut the Twins out in that game but could not deliver the same result in his regular season finale this year against the Detroit Tigers when he walked three in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded. Now the Twins and Tigers will square off in Game 163. 2009 is the third season in a row to require a 163rd game. Two years ago the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 9-8 in 13 innings.
But it is always fun to see your favorite players on the biggest stage come October. I loved getting to see Johan Santana toe the rubber for the Twins in meaningful October games, not that he will ever do that again playing for the New York Minaya Mets. Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, and Cristian Guzman all cut their playoff teeth with the Twins. It sucks that they havenât been to the World Series since Kirby Puckett wanted to âsee you tomorrow nightâ in 1991 (Thank you very much, Jack Buck), but I feel better about being a Twins fan than had I grown up falling in love with a team like the Kansas City Royals, who havenât been to the post-season since 1985 when they had George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, and Charlie Leibrandt, who gave up Kirby Puckettâs 11th inning homer in Game 6 in 1991 when he was an Atlanta Brave.
The playoffs this year will be loaded with big names: Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Kate Hudson, Derek Jeter, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Becket, Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Vlad Guerrero, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Brad Lidgeâs sky high ERA. Doug Mientkiewicz is a big name in length and he is a Dodger, but he is out for the year so you will not see him in the âyoffs.
Without ye, the show must go onâŚ
But there are guys who had phenomenal seasons who wonât see stadium lights after October 4th. Zack Greinke led the majors in ERA at 2.16, led the AL in WHIP at 1.07 and finished 3rd in strikeouts in all of baseball. And he won 16 games on a team that won 65 all season.
Albert Pujols got all the press this year in the NL, but what about Prince Fielder’s monster season? Prince set a Brewer record for RBIâs at 141, he hit 46 home runs, behind only 47 by Albert Pujols, and he hit .299 with an on-base percentage of .412.
Roy Halladayâs reputation speaks for itself and because Toronto couldnât get a deadline deal worked out (other than sending Alex Rios to the Chicago White Sox), he too will miss the playoffs, just as he has in every season of his career. The Toronto Blue Jays havenât seen the post-season since they won back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993. Remember Joe Carter jumping around first base? That team also had Minnesota natives Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, and former Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball stand out Dave Winfield (yes, basketball, he was also drafted by the Minnesota Vikings without ever having played a down of football in his life) on the roster.
Two Sports Ramblings
Fernandez went from the Pads to the Mets in 1992 in a deal involving former outfielder/running back D.J. Dozier and then the Mets traded Fernandez back to the Blue Jays in June of 1993. The Padres received McGriff, Dozier, and Wally Whitehurst in exchange for a World SeriesâŚ (more or less, Iâm blowing it out of proportion. But I canât help but be reminded of when the Vikings traded for now MMA fighter Herschel Walker and gave the Cowboys a dynasty. I think Hershal Walker also tried out to be an Olympic bobsledder at some point, too. He dabbles.).
Besides Dozier and Winfield, the Padres and Blue Jays have other dual sport athlete connections. Tony Gwynn was drafted by the San Diego Clippers the same day the Padres drafted him, but he chose to be a Hall of Fame hitter over a rotund basketball player. Danny Ainge was a Blue Jay farmhand and a Boston Celtics point guard before he became the GM and ripped Kevin Garnett out of Minnesota, along with the hearts of many Minnesota nice hoop fans.
Our old friend Charlie Leibrandt from a few paragraphs ago played with a couple of two-sport athletes. He was a teammate of Bo Jackson on the Royals, who of course was an Oakland Raider and legendary Tecmo Super Bowl player.
Then Olâ Charlie pitched with Tom Glavine on the Braves. Glavine was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL. Glavine played with Kenny Lofton in 1997, who was an Arizona Wildcat point guard in college. And of course Deion Sanders was a Brave and Atlanta Falcon simultaneously. If you watch the 1991 World Series DVD that MLB put out, you will see Deion sitting in the front row near the Braves dugout sporting some huge bling and sweet hair.
So anyway, back on topic, Roy Halladay only plays baseball and his year is over. So are the seasons of Ryan Braun, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, James Shields, Andrew McCutchen, Nick Markakis, Matt Weiters, and Jay Bruce.
Besides getting ready to vacation in warm climates, what else do these guys have in common with Greinke, Fielder, and Halladay? In the next few years, theyâll each probably receive ginormous contract offers from teams you will see in the playoffs this year: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and The Los Angeles, California Angels of Aneheim, USA. Or other big market teams, like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago White Sox.
Small market teams find it difficult to hold on to their best young talent, even through the playersâ arbitration years, after all, Ryan Howard was awarded $10 million in arbitration after striking out 199 times. I wonder what Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks will get after striking out over 400 times over the last two seasons?
There are pitfalls to rooting for both small market and big market teams, however. Small market teams, like my Twins, have to wave good-bye to guys like Johan Santana and Torii Hunter because they cannot afford to keep them. The Tampa Bay Rays will find out the same thing when they try to hold on to Carl Crawford and others. The Florida Marlins know this reality well and will face it again when it comes time to pay Josh Johnson, Dan Uggla, and Ramirez.
Big market teams throw money at players like they are Pacman Jones making it rain. But that comes with great risk sometimes, too. San Francisco gave Barry Zito $126 million over seven years and they got a #3 starter at best. The Cubs are locked in to Alfonso Soriano for more than any club would like to be. Mike Hampton signed a monster deal once upon a time and then spent much of that time on the DL. The same can be said about Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Jason Schmidt and others.
Things you should know that have happened sort of under-the-radar and may be of help to you in future fantasy drafts or baseball nerd conversations:
Jair Jurrjens had a 2.61 ERA for the Braves this year, good for 6th best in baseball.
Only three teams had more complete games this year than Roy Halladay.
The New York Mets hit 95 homers as a team, last in the league and 149 behind the league leading New York Yankess. The Mets could combine home run totals with seven other teams and still have fewer than the Yankees did. Handfuls of players could combine their home run totals to have the greater than sign in their favor when compared with the Mets.
Fielder, Braun, and Mike Cameron > 2009 Mets.
Mauer, Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer > 2009 Mets.
The second baseman of the AL East* > 2009 Mets.
Pujols, Fielder, and Carlos Zambrano > 2009 Mets.
Juan Pierre wins the 2009 award for most at-bats without a home run: 380.
Aaron Harang is 6â 7â. He will be next year, too.