Archive | August, 2012

A big blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers. What will it mean for both teams?

26 Aug

So what do we make of the big blockbuster trade between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday? Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for James Loney and three minor leaguers including two pretty good minor league pitchers going to the Red Sox.

It was a salary cap move for the Red Sox who are out of the race this season, and the Dodgers are going for it now in the NL playoff race and taking on the big salaries. The move was basically a salary and character dump for the Red Sox.

Adrian Gonzalez paid immediate dividends hitting a home run Saturday night at Dodger Stadium in his first at bat as a Dodger. Josh Beckett, once a quality pitcher has struggled the last year or so and maybe a change of scenery will be good for a pitcher who has pitched on two World Series winning teams in 2003 and 2007.

Carl Crawford meanwhile is having Tommy John surgery, and he wont be ready until at least next season.

As a fan of the Red Sox I dislike losing Adrian Gonzalez the most, a quality first baseman and a good hitter. Hey I would have liked to get Matt Kemp or Andre Eithier in return for Gonzalez, probably wishing there, but James Loney will be a good replacement at first base. And if these minor league pitchers develop the Red Sox will be in a good situation and could go after a quality free agent or two now that some money has opened up with the moves. Remember they let go of Kevin Youkolis to the White Sox earlier this year as well.

Finally I hope that Bobby Valentine will get at least another year as manager. The team he inherited wasn’t his or GM Ben Cherington’s, and was left over from the previous GM Theo Epstien and manager Terry Francona whose team collapsed in the pennant race in September 2011.

Say what you want about Valentine who has an eccentric and somewhat volitale style. He is a good baseball man though and if he and the Red Sox can get their team together and play well then good times may be ahead in Boston, and winning cures most all. So we’ll see what happens and talk soon again. Enjoy the pennant race. Best wishes. Bratman

Roger Clemens comes back to pitch in baseball, some more HGH controversy, and a couple sad farewells

23 Aug

Well after being found not guilty whatever you believe in his trial for HGH recently, Roger Clemens has decided to come back to baseball not as a coach or player just yet, but as a 50 year old pitcher.

Only someone with Roger Clemens ego and talent. No it’s not the major leagues just yet, but that might not be far behind. Clemens has signed with the Sugarland Skeeters, an independent minor leaqgue baeball team in the Atlantic League. And Clemens is slated to have his first start Saturday at home vs Bridgeport.

So we’ll see what happens and will Roger Clemens end up back in the major leagues possibly with the Houston Astros who he pitched for from 2004-2006. I saw him pitch in a game vs the Brewers in Houston in 2006. Clemens pitched 7 scoreless innings in a game the Astros won 1-0. Rocket Man, by Elton John his theme song, blared over the intercom.  He last pitched in the majors in a second stint with the Yankees in 2007. Clemens has over 350 victories and you wonder why he wants to pitch again.

His Hall of Fame Induction would come up next summer, but that is clouded by his HGH controversy. And if he does pitch in the majors that would delay that vote another 5 years. Shrwed move by him, but it’s hard to see when the Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Clemens Steroids and HGH group will get in the Hall of Fame. I’m sure they’ll all get in before Pete Rose who just gambled.

And on Wednesday Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games for HGH use a week after the  SF Giants Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for the same thing. So the HGH problem isn’t going away just yet.

Finally a sad note. Our hearts and prayers go out to Elizabeth “Sportsblogger” Chapman who’s father in law passed away this morning. Our thoughts are with you Beth and your family in this tough time.

 RIP to your father in law  Beth. Also Happy Anniversary to my late maternal grandparents Betty and Vernon “Bim” Youngdahl who were married 71 years ago today August 23, 1941. We miss you always.

Best wishes, take care and talk soon. Bratman

The Washington Nationals should try to see if Steven Strasberg can pitch or not in the pennant race

18 Aug

The other big sports story that I wanted to talk about briefly is the Washington Nationals decision to shut down their young star pitcher Steven Strasberg to save his arm. Strasberg a phenom young pitcher had Tommy John Surgery last year at age 23. He is pitching really well at 14-5 this season and almst 140 innings of work.

But the Nationals want to have precaution and shut down their young pitcher after about 160 innings or so. However the Nationals are having their best season in years at 74-45 with the majors best record.

That creates a question whether the Nationals are being too cautious with their young pitcher. Nolan Ryan the Hall of Fame pitcher had a “rubber arm” and pitched 27 years in the majors without a major injury. Other arms like Strasberg could go out at any moment no matter how much they control it. I believe in caution, but the Nationals should try to play for the big moment this season. There is no guarantee they will be this good again. And  it might help to build up Strasberg’s arm long term or not. Either way I think the Nationals should try to maximize the moment and see what Strasberg can or can’t do. I’m not a doctor and caution is always important, but I think that Strasberg should be allowed to pitch if he wants to. It’s his pitching life and career and the Nationals should see what he can do. Good luck checking that out. Best wishes. Talk soon. Bratman

A perfect game in baseball, another tough loss for the Brewers. manager Bobby Valentine’s status in Boston and I’m finishing a great vacation today.

16 Aug

A pretty great afternoon in baseball as Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners threw the third perfect game this season in the majors 1-0 over the Tampa Bay Rays, joining Matt Cain and Phiilip Humber. It was the sixth no hitter in baseball this season. It was also the third no hitter involving the Mariners this season. Phillip Humber threw a perfect against the Mariners in April. The Mariners used 6 pitchers to throw one against the Dodgers in June. Three perfect games have never been pitched in the same season and Hernandez perfecto was the 23rd in baseball history.

The Milwaukee Brewers, one of my favorite teams lost another tough game 7-6, giving up a 6-5 lead to the Colorado Rockies in Colorado. The bullpen this year has been the Brewers worst enemy. Meanwhile a couple other baseball notes, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has had his players like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz among others talk to Red Sox Management about disagreements and his controversial managing style. I have heard various reports from players and management about his managing style and the Red Sox poor results this season.

Valentine is a good baseball mind, but he has always been controversial and somewhat arrogant in his managing style. I am a Red Sox fan so it is tough to see and I support him as Red Sox manager. But there are several who are accountable for the Red Sox struggles the last few years from players to management to the manager. I personally liked Terry Francona the Red Sox cerebral and previous manager, But detractors will say he let the Red Sox who collapsed in a playoff race last September as the reason for his departure. The Red Sox have talent but also a lot of big names and egos which get in their way. Putting a big ego manager like Bobby Valentine in charge only adds fuel to the fire with a big ego and talent club like the Red Sox. He might be just the ticket for a smaller market team like the Brewers that needs a good kick in the pants this season.

Also another unfortunate incident in baseball as the San Fransisco Giants Melky Cabrera, the MVP for the National League in the All Star Game is facing a 50 game suspension for testosterone use. It equates to the final 45 games of this season plus the Giants first 5 playoff games meaning he wouldnt be eligible likely until the National League Championship series. If the Giants dont make the playoffs the final 5 games of the suspension will be served next season. Another disappointing development in baseball drug testing, but Cabrera to his credit accepts and doesnt deny it. Too bad he felt he had to take HGH.

Finally I want to celebrate a personal accomplishment this week on vacation. Besides the two salmon we caught and you can see them on my Facebook page or Eli Sportsblogger’s page. Also I climbed a 100 foot Eagle Tower at Door County, Wisconsin for the second time in my life. I am scared of heights and falling and hyperventilated a bit but I decided to make it up to the top again and I’m still breathing. LOL. Best wishes and talk soon. Bratman

Brewers sweep NL Central Division leading Reds with 3-2 comeback win

9 Aug

The Milwaukee Brewers are an ordinary 51-59. The Cincinatti Reds were 66-44 coming into the game today and hoping not to be swept by a Milwaukee Brewers team that has been up and down all season. In Milwaukee Wednesday afternoon, the Reds led 2-0 before the Brewers Carlos Gomes hit a sixth inning homer to make it 2-1 Reds. In the bottom of the eighth the Brewers right fielder had an infield hit with two outs off Red reliever Jonathon Broxton a new Reds pickup from the KC Royals. He stole second and made it to third on a throwing error by the Reds catcher Dioneer Navarro.

Then Carlos Gomez came up again and got a base hit and stole second. That was followed by 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun getting out of an 0-18 slump with a double to drive in Gomez and a 3-2 Brewers lead.

New Brewers closer Jim Henderson came in for the save and the no quit Brewers had an impressive sweep over the NL Central Division leading Cincinatti Reds now 66-45. It doesn’t mean much in the standing as the Brewers are 14’5 games behind the Reds. But they showed no quitting in beating a good Reds team. Also they found a new closer the last couple nights in Jim Henderson. And rookie Jean Segura made his debut at shortstop in the Reds series and got his first base hit in the major leagues  on Wednesday.  Segura was one of the minor leagures that came over in the Zach Greinke trade with the Angels. Just imagine someday if he gets a lot of hits I can recall Segura getting his first major league hit. Pretty special along with the Brewers win. 

I enjoy watching the Brewers play win or lose. They are my hometown team and they play in a small market in baseball without a salary cap. That is why I have liked them unconditionally for years. When they win it is always a special treat whether I’m at the game or watching at home. Thanks for reading always and best wishes. Bratman

I went to a college minor league game on Tuesday night north of Milwaukee

8 Aug

Tuesday night I went to a collegiate minor league game north of Milwaukee to support a long time friend who has helped me with my love of sports and works in sports marketing. In the last few years he has been part of a group that has started a summer collegiate team called the Lakeshore Chinooks that is playing in its first year. The team is partially owned by Milwaukee Brewers legend and Hall of Famer Robin Yount and longtime Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker.

A few years ago I went to a planning  session with my friend at Concordia College in Mequon, Wisconsin where the team is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The team plays at Kapco Park and is very much a minor league atmosphere similar to the Beloit Snappers a professional minor league team where I have attended minor league games in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Minor League or Summer Collegiate baseball doesn’t have the same talent as the major leagues. But the love of the game is on the field and in the stands and they have promotional contests between innings that the fans can participate in. And its a lot cheaper to go to the games.

The Chinooks were a .500 team coming into the game Tuesday night and only have 5 games left. They lost this game 7-4. It was a 2-1 game going to the bottom of the seventh and they had the tying run on but couldn’t push it across. A five run inning by their opponent the Madison Mallards made it a 7-1 lead before the Chinooks made it a 7-4 final with three runs too late in the bottom of the ninth.

The Chinnoks are out of the playoff race but it was fun to watch. The players with college eligibility are unpaid unlike the professional minor leagues. They come from all over the country and different schools to play in a summer league like this. One of the Chinooks players is also the nephew of Robin Yount as well.

It was a fun and interesting evening to watch some different baseball. On the way home I listened to the major league Milwaukee Brewers defeat the NL Central leading Cincinatti Reds 3-1 for the second night in a row across town at Miller Park in Milwaukee. So it was a really good night for baseball and enjoyable as well to see something new. Best wishes always and talk soon. Bratman

 

August 2, 1979:Thurman Munson Yankees catcher of the 1970s died in a plane crash 33 years ago today

2 Aug

A sad memory today as it was 33 years ago in 1979 when Yankees catcher Thurman Munson was killed in his own plane crash. He flew his own small engine plane often between his home in Ohio and New York where he played for the Yankees. He was practicing takeoffs and landings at the Akron, Ohio airport when his plane crashed.

Munson was killed and 2 others survived. I heard about it and then it was announced at the Milwaukee Brewers/Boston Red Sox game that I attended that night August 2, 1979.

A very sad memory in baseball history and I wanted to remember it today. Best wishes Paul/Bratman