Archive | January, 2013

Checking out the Chicago Cubs in 2013. Is there hope on the North Side of Chicago?

11 Jan

Checking out the Chicago Cubs in 2013. Improvement?

Published by: Doc on 11th Jan 2013 | View all blogs by Doc
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Besides covering the Milwaukee Brewers, I wanted to cover a few other teams that I follow and like and today I’ve been looking into what the Brewers NL Central Division Rivals the Chicago Cubs are doing.

The Lovable Losers from the Friendly Confines at Wrigley Field. But it hasn’t been so lovable lately as the Cubs lost 101 games for only the third time in their long history dating back to the 1800s.

But don’t despair Cubs fans there is hope, and you don’t need to send the team down to Peoria as a minor league team. Although in a weird way that’s exactly what they’re doing to build this long time proud franchise back up.

Under the direction of team president Theo Epstein who constructed the Red Sox championship teams last decade, Jed Hoyer the general manager and Dale Sveum the manager the Cubs are building for the future while playing for the present as well.

They are bringing up some minor leaguers like Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Ian Stewart and Wellington Castro. They brought in a 32 year old pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa a possible closer from Japan. He will work alongside Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for late innings. Meanwhile outfielder Kosuke Fukodome who spent part of 5 years with the Cubs will return to Japan.

The Cubs also signed infielder Luis Valluena to a one year contract. Meanwhile the Cubs biggest acquisition was right hander Edwin Jackson who pitched for Washington last year and once pitched a no hitter in the majors while with Arizona in 2011. Jackson will be part of a Cubs rotation possibly with Matt Garza if he isn’t traded and returns from injury and Jeff Samardzija who has become a nice starter/reliever for the Cubs. Other pitchers the Cubs picked up include Scott Baker from the Twins, Scott Feldman from the Rangers and Carlos Villenueva who used to pitch for the Brewers.

Some other non roster invites of note that the Cubs will bring in to look at are Darnell McDonald who has had a good clutch bat for the Red Sox at times I remember and has a nice glove. Brent Lilibridge has played some infield for a few major league teams most recently the Braves and Dontrelle Willis who was once a very good pitcher for the Florida Marlins and pitched in Detroit for the Tigers for a few years as well. He is looking to make a comeback to form.

Add in veterans Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney who make a nice double play combination and Alfonso Soriano who still has good power at age 37, and this could be an interesting mixture and year for the Cubs.

They likely won’t win the division or get a playoff spot, but they shouldn’t lose 100 games again either. From what I’ve read the Cubs model for success is the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have had some great drafts for young talent, (Stephen Strasberg and Bryce Harper) and signing some good free agents to become a playoff team which they were last year and look to contend again this year.

The Cubs will be better so don’t lose hope my Cubs friends no selling out to Peoria. But the team is a year or two away likely from being really good again. However help is on the way and the building process has begun. So keep watching and pretty soon you’ll be able to start enjoying Wrigley Field again for more than the ballpark and ivy. Go Cubs Go and Hey Chicago What do You Say the Cubs are going to WIN today. Hopefully for Cubs fans that after winning game chant at Wrigley will be sung more often in the future. Cubs fans need that HOPE. Good luck! Doc.

 

 

 

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Baseball Hall of Fame or Shame. The Great Debate.

10 Jan

Hall of Fame or Shame? What should consitute induction?

Published by: Doc on 10th Jan 2013 | View all blogs by Doc
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Well getting back to baseball, and the topic of the day has been the Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame. For the first time since 1996 ironically around when this steroids era started, no one was inducted Of course this 2013 class could have been one of the greatest classes ever. Barry Bonds with 762 home runs the all time home run leader. Roger Clemens with 354 wins as a pitcher. Sammy Sosa with 609 home runs.

And then you have others in question like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza. Of course all these great players are linked to the steroids era and that’s a shame no matter what happened it was a part of the culture and time in baseball. 500 home run hitters Mark McGuire and Rafeal Palmerio’s legacies are also stained.

Even some players thought to be clean like 3000 hit member Craig Biggio and 3 time World Series champion Curt Schilling were excluded. And some long time veterans like pitcher Jack Morris, reliever Lee Smith, base stealer Tim Raines who had a cocaine problem himself and others. Of course we haven’t talked about the all time hits leader with 4,256 hits Pete Rose who remains banned for life for gambling.

So why is Ty Cobb the second all time hits leader with 4,191 hits in the Hall of Fame? He was considered one of the most dirtiest ruthless players ever. And Babe Ruth was a heavy beer drinker and ladies man lol.

I don’t know what the answer is for these Hall of Fames in football and baseball especially. But instead of just statistics, it seems like a lot of these choices are made by stuffy and traditionalist writers.

Now I’m not saying what these players did was right. It wasn’t. But it was a culture of the game at the time and their records and performance wasn’t banned like Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Chicago Black Sox were when the White Sox were accused of throwing the World Series against the Cincinatti Reds and profiting from it.

But we all watched these players like Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and Clemens among others. And we were drawn into their performances maybe in a falsehood but they and others still played the games and had to achieve these performances whether they took the stuff or not or how much it benefited or hurt them.

I wish we could go back and erase the whole thing but like vacating performances and championships it doesn’t change what happened or memories. The New Orleans Saints for example won the 2009 Super Bowl after some of their players were accused of being involved in bounty hits. But they’re still the Super Bowl Champs and their record still stands right? Reggie Bush and USC could still be college champions as well but his/their performances were vacated.

So what I’m saying is vacate all of it, if it never happened or accept it as a part of the game’s less than perfect history and these players tainted and all have a place in the Hall of Fame. Or is it a popularity contest and Good Samaritan Hall of Fame. In that case Tim Tebow and Tony Romo will get a call tomorrow lol. Best wishes, Doc

Brewers relieving situation in 2013

4 Jan

Further Checking out the Brewer Relievers for 2013 and an upgrade!

Published by: Doc on 4th Jan 2013 | View all blogs by Doc
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As I’ve talked about in the last couple blogs about the Milwaukee Brewers, they haven’t had a spectacular winter as far as big splashy names and high prices, but that can often sink a small market team like the Brewers without a salary cap. But Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is smarter than that and he has been around baseball more than a block or two, and he knows how to run a baseball team productively on a budget. Is this Moneyball 2? Who will be the Brewers Brad Pitt in this movie lol. Seriously Melvin has gotten rid of unproductive relievers such as Jose Veras, Fransisco Rodriguez, Tim Dillard, Kameron Loe, Manny Parra, Mike McLendon and Livan Hernandez. He kept the good ones in John Axford who when he’s on is pretty reliable and Jim Henderson who’s like the new farm boy flamethrower. He filled in or shared the closing duties nicely with Axford last summer. And the new guys I’ve mentioned Burke Badenhop, Tom Gorzelany, Mike Gonzalez the last two from the 2012 playoff Washington Nationals should be good. Both Gorzelany and Gonzalez are left handed specialists and it’s always good to have a southpaw to throw from the other side of the plate. Another name the Brewers relievers will be counting on is Brandon Kintzler who is a quality reliever when healthy. That should fill six of the seven bullpen spots for the Brewers. And one last name to look out for is right hander Michael Olmsted who could be promoted soon from the minor leagues. He is a 6-6 power pitcher who had pitched in the Boston system and then in Japan. Boston didn’t want to lose him, but didn’t have a spot on their 40 man roster. Boston, the Red Sox loss could be the Brewers gem or diamond in the rough . We’ll see. Anyway in closing the Brewers don’t have a lot of big names behind Axford and AX needs to return to his lights out 2011 performance when he didn’t blow a save after opening day until the playoffs. The relievers may be inexperienced and the quality may be underrated for now but the depth is there which the Brewers needed, and if they shine in the major leagues that quality will shine through like a bright light on opposing hitters in Milwaukee this season. So Shine the Light Brewer pitchers and especially the relievers. Like a flashlight shining in your face, that’s how hard they want to make it to hit Milwaukee pitching. Lights Out! Have a great season and Go Brewers Go! Doc.

 

Milwaukee Brewers 2013 Prospects and A look at the Brewers 2013 Season

2 Jan

Milwaukee Brewers exciting new prospects and the state of the team heading into 2013.

Published by: Doc on 2nd Jan 2013 | View all blogs by Doc
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Well the calendar has turned to 2013, so we are officially in the year of the next baseball season. I’ve been checking out the Milwaukee Brewers, my old hometown team and the team that I’m going to be covering mostly for Basebook this year which I’m really excited about. For my first assignment I’ve been asked to check out the Brewers young prospects and the state of the team heading into 2013. And it’s coming quicker than you already think. Pitchers and catchers report in 40 days. Spring and time out at the ballpark and watching baseball are almost here again. For the Brewers, they have a couple exciting position player s developing in the minor leagues that I found out about at Brewers.com . Hunter Morris is a first baseman and a left handed bat in the Southern League where he was the MVP of Double A Ball last year. Whenever he comes up he could fill in for Corey Hart at first base who is in the final year of his contract unless he gets an extension. He could also send Hart last year at first base, back out to right field as insurance. Also the Brewers have a young second baseman at Triple A Scooter Jennett, who is good defensively and has some good pop in his bat even though he’s a small guy. The word on these minor leaguers is that they are not in the class of a Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart former Brewer farmhands who became star major league players. But they are good and they could be up in the majors sometime this year or in 2014. Meanwhile the Brewers also have some young arms to bolster their rotation and they have made some improvement in the bullpen as well. Willie Peralta, Mark Rogers and Mike Fiers all spent time on the mound for the Brewers in 2012 and they could be starting pitching options for the Brewers in 2013. Also Marco Estrada is another option and Chris Narveson will be back from shoulder surgery. Yovanni Gallardo also returns as the ace for the Brewers and a quality pitcher and bat as well. He once hit a home run against 300 game winner former flamethrower Randy Johnson a few years back so that’s a bonus. Also the Brewers picked up Tom Gorzelany a left hander from the Washington Nationals last year. He will bolster a Brewers bullpen that was last in the National League last year and he could be a starter as well. Another reliever the Brewers picked up was right hander Burke Badenhop acquired in a trade last month from the Tampa Bay Rays. So the Brewers may not have gotten a top name quality pitcher like starter Ryan Dempster who was in the Brewers eyes, but ended up with the bigger market Boston Red Sox. But Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is crafty with his budget and signings and has kept a small market team competitive in Milwaukee for the Brewers. Finally the Brewers are also set pretty well with their position player starters for 2013, so they didn’t make any big moves there. And they have an exciting young 22 year old shortstop Jean Segura who has a nice arm and bat at shortstop so that’s exciting. The Brewers led the National League in homers and stolen bases this year so with a quality offense that’s why they have concentrated on improving the pitching this winter. And even though they didn’t sign any big splashy names, costing more money , they have found a way to remain competitive and I’m excited to see how this young and veteran group of Brewers meshes together in spring training and into the 2013 season. I think this could be an exciting season where the Brewers can compete again for a division title or wild card position in the National League. And I am from Milwaukee, and sometimes get up to Miller Park in the summer to see a game. Wouldn’t that be exciting to do a game and field report from there! Go Brewers and Slide Bernie Brewer Slide as Brewers Hall of Fame Announcer Bob Uecker calls another home run Get up and get out of here Gone for the Brewers. Talk soon. Doc.