Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yankees’ Split on Manny’s Signing

According to the New York Daily News a great divide exists in the front office of the New York Yankees regarding Manny Ramirez. According to a source familiar with the Yankees’ thinking, Brian Cashman has been lukewarm to the idea of signing Ramirez, but the rest of the front office — most notably Hal and Hank Steinbrenner — believes he is precisely what the Yankees need to bolster a lineup that underachieved in 2008.

One baseball official told the Daily News that the Yankees’ interest in Ramirez is more than cursory, that they see the slugger as the perfect complement in their lineup to Alex Rodriguez, forming a 1-2 punch like he did in Boston with David Ortiz.

The official believes that the Yankees are “going hard” after Ramirez, to the point where they are willing to give him a three-year deal worth from $22 million to $25 million per year.

Two other officials are skeptical that the Bombers would commit three years to the enigmatic Ramirez, who has already seen the Dodgers make and withdraw a two-year, $45 million offer this winter. Both of them believe the Yankees will linger in the background while agent Scott Boras works to gather offers, and if the market is limited, the Yanks will try to jump in with a two-year, $50 million package.

This could be great for the Yankees actually. Manny plays in New York constantly against his former team and becomes such a thorn to the Red Sox that even if he were to only play in those games, the Yankees would love having him.

I have to admire the Yankees for making a run at anyone and everyone they covet. As bad as the economy may be, at least they are not complaining about it based on their $209M payroll total from 2008. Things must be different economywise in the Yankee World. I just better not hear about how they are broke or have no money with it comes time to renegotiate with the players’ union again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bidding starts high for Ramirez...

Ned Colletti says he made Manny Ramirez an offer. The Dodgers would make him the second highest paid player behind A-Rod. We don't know the length or actual dollar amount, but word has it somewhere around 4-year at $22m to $27m. It is not the 5 year deal Manny is adamant about, but if this is where the bidding starts, we might see Manny make a higher average salary than Rodriguez over a shorter period of time. "If you saw the bid, it's nothing that we're embarrassed by," Colletti said at the GM meetings. "Manny was close to that number, anyway — closer to that area than the last place he's been. "Rodriguez currently has the top average at $27.5 million under the 10-year deal he agreed to before last season. Mets pitcher Johan Santana is second at $22.9 million under the six-season deal he agreed to this year. Ramirez, acquired from Boston on July 31, is coming off a $160 million, eight-year contract he signed with the Red Sox before the 2001 season.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Phillies can clinch title tonight *UPDATE*

The Rays got a stay of execution, divine intervention, or what ever you want to call it in the top of the 6th inning as BJ Upton got a base hit, stole second, then scored on a base knock to left field tying the score at two. The game was called due to weather then next inning and pushed to Tuesday. If the Rays did not send him to the plate and the stranded the tying run 90-feet away, then Philly’s series clenching win would have come as rain-induced shortened game. Do the Rays feel like they are off of life support and if they come back over the next 3 innings can they sweep the final two at the Trop and take the series?

As the Phillies Ryan Howard busted out of his slump in a big way Evan “don’t call me Eva” Longoria has fallen in a big one, and at the best and the worst of times. When the Phillies needed to put their foot on the throat of the Rays Howard went 3-for-4, with two jacks, five Ribbi’s, and raised his average to .353. Meanwhile when the Rays need a victory to get back in the series Eva goes 0-for-4, is still hitless in the series, with an average of .000. That could be the long and the short of it as game 5 takes shape tonight in Philly. I for one am done second guessing the Rays as they have come back from the brink time after time this season and defied the odds by holding off the perannual AL East snobs Sox and Yanks, but all of their “McGuyver-esque” moves may not get them out of this jam. The good news is, if they win tonight they make it back home where they have the best record in the Majors this year AND they have Kazmir on the bump. The bad news is need only one win to SEND them back home for the summer ant they have Cole “as the other side of the pillow” Hamels on the mound. I don’t dare say it but, you may see some Rays sitting courtside watch Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic kick off their season.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Rays “Shielded” from insurmountable 0-2 deficit

Tampa Bay got another pitching gem from James Shields when they needed it most shutting the Phillies out when he left the game and the Rays held on for a 4-2 win. Shields usually flourishes at home, where he was 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA during the season and continued his dominance in not allowing even that little. Coming to the aid of the Rays again was 23-year old David Price who came out of the pen to pitch well under World Series pressure once again. However when all is said and done the Phillies got what they came for, a split on the road and now go back home to try and hold serve and return to Tropicana Field with the commanding 3-1 lead needing only one win to secure the World Championship. One concern in the Philly clubhouse has to be the futility of Ryan Howard with runners in scoring position. Howard picked up his first two hits of the WS but is still does not have an RBI and is only hitting .222. If they hope to get back to the Trop even they will need more production from him and also Jason Werth hitting in the second spot. Do you like the Phills’ to sweep at home? Let us know here or in the MLB chat rooms.





Phillies play usual 8 innings and steal home field advantage

Runs were at a premium in game one of the World Series unlike the both Championship Series, where sending six across the plate was by no means a guarantee of victory. The Phillies only had half of that total but it was enough take home filed away from the Rays with a 3-2 win. In typical ‘Philly Fashion’ they held a one-run lead going into the ninth then handed the pill over to Lidge who slammed the door shut as he had done 41 times this year and improving Philly’s unbeaten mark when leading after 8 innings to an unbelievable 79-0. The Ray’s normally play the long-ball despite all of their speed in the line-up but they were only able to muster a solo jack in game 1. Now that the Phillies have rustled the home field away from the club with the best record in MLB this year, they just need to hold serve on the terrible green pavement in Philly to win their first title in 28 years, but we have counted the Rays out several times this year and won’t do it this time. Look for them to do what isn’t expected again and climb back in this series. Do you think the Rays still have a chance or is losing the Tropicana edge too much to overcome?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phillies play usual 8 innings and steal home field advantage

Runs were at a premium in game one of the World Series unlike the both Championship Series, where sending six across the plate was by no means a guarantee of victory. The Phillies only had half of that total but it was enough take home filed away from the Rays with a 3-2 win. In typical ‘Philly Fashion’ they held a one-run lead going into the ninth then handed the pill over to Lidge who slammed the door shut as he had done 41 times this year and improving Philly’s unbeaten mark when leading after 8 innings to an unbelievable 79-0. The Ray’s normally play the long-ball despite all of their speed in the line-up but they were only able to muster a solo jack in game 1. Now that the Phillies have rustled the home field away from the club with the best record in MLB this year, they just need to hold serve on the terrible green pavement in Philly to win their first title in 28 years, but we have counted the Rays out several times this year and won’t do it this time. Look for them to do what isn’t expected again and climb back in this series. Do you think the Rays still have a chance or is losing the Tropicana edge too much to overcome?



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rays breakthrough in Game 7 and will face Philly in World Series

After Matt Garza gave up the first inning jack to Dustin Pedroia Red Sox nation was creating t-shirts with “The Greatest Comeback Ever” imprinted on them, however the Rays stopped the presses in the middle innings and took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning where a rookie named David Price, who has only been with the club since May, came in out of the pin, shut the Sox down, leaving the bases loaded in the process and smothered the last gasp of the cardiac kids. With the exception of the afore mentioned Pedroia home run Garza pitched an absolute gem, exceeding his normal pitch count and allowing the Rays enough time to catch and pass the Sox. Then the kid comes in with this 12-1 minor league record and gets out of a big league jam via strike out and the rest could be history. So it will be the Phillies and Rays, the two teams Major League Baseball did NOT want in the World Series but rest assured the best teams of 2008 are competing for the prize and don’t be surprised if this is one of the best series of the last decade, and New York my breathe easier for now because the Boston didn’t make it, but these Rays are going to be around for a little while.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Red Sox rally as Dodgers fold

The reports of the Red Sox demise seemed to have been greatly exaggerated as they made the most amazing comeback that I have ever seen. Down three games to one, and 7-0 in game 5, if this was at any other stadium other than Fenway Park, half the fans would be gone, to a course of boos and the team would fold. But the Sox chose to disagree, battled, and came back to not only win the game but have a decent shot of forcing a game 7 as Josh Beckett is on the bump in game 6, and then anything can happen. If it does it will rank up there with “the comeback” vs. the Yankees resulting in their World Series victory. Can they do the impossible again? Meanwhile out in Tinsel Town Manny and the Blues could not recover from a far less daunting situation after serving up back-to-back two run jacks which reciprocated a two run deficit. The dodgers, in similar fashion to when Tom Niedenfeuer served up the 2-run homer to Jack Clark against the Cardinals in inning some years ago, simply folded their tent for the rest of that game and then mailed in game 5, going down four games to one. The run was nice while it lasted but ManRam will move on to what he calls “the highest bidder” and LA will go back to being a sub .500 club, still with no WS appearances in two decades. Props must go to Philly who woke the sleeping sticks and pounded the closest things LA had to ‘aces’ in Lowe and Billingsly, as neither posted one win in the series. Now they rest up for AL rep who now could be either one. Selig and many fans won’t get the series they wanted but don’t forget the 85’ series between the Cards/Royals when everyone wanted to see the Mets/Dodgers go up against the Angels (Reggie, Carew and Co.) that was one of the most exciting series to date. Could you get up for a Rays/Phillies series? Talk about here and in the MLB chat rooms.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Dodgers play a little 'chin music' of thier own

The ALCS may be even at one game a piece but the Sox did what they set out to do and got a split at Tropicana Field which recently has become a tough place to play now that they actually have more than five thousand fans at the games. Boston sends out Lester and the Knuckleballer Wakefield in games 3 and 4 while the Rays counter with Garza and Sonnanstine. I don’t why we bother to list the starting pitchers because they don’t seem to make it out of the fifth inning. In any case these have been two great games so far and are making believers out of the baseball faithful that you don’t need a team from New York to have an exciting post season. The powers that be would want to see a rematch of the NBA finals with Boston/LA and the return of Manny, but if the Sox don’t take game 3 at home and send a .500 pitcher in Wakfield to the mound in game 4 they may have to deal with ratings worse than the forgotten Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Seattle. In the NL the Dodgers showed some pride, heart, and a little huevos in not only standing up to Philly but making them duck for a change. After taking a commanding five run lead Dodger pitcher Kuroda retaliated for the behind the head pitch to Man Ram with an over-the-head pitch of his own. This cleared the bases but most importantly made a statement that they won’t going to be intimidated. An impressive home win for LA but if they don’t hold serve in game four it won’t mean a thing. Is there a collision course for another Boston/LA showdown? Would you like to see that or a fresh face in the World Series? Talk about it here and in the MLB chat rooms.



Phils and Rays now in driver seat

Phils one win away after 4 run 8th

For the first time in the post season the Dodger relief staff was less than optimal and the Phillies took full advantage of it, pounding out two 2-run jacks in the 8th inning to find themselves one win away from the World Series. The normally ice-cold and reliable LA staff was flaccid, serving up big flys of epic proportions. Taking a 2 run lead into the 8th inning Philly got a power surge from unexpected places, Jose Victorino and some guy named Matt Stairs and when they finally found the balls Philly was up two with two to go. Now it is all over but the shouting as LA must sweet the last three of the series, two of which are in Philadelphia. Joe made a great run at it, and for his first year got better results than LA had showed in twenty years but he will have to wait until next year to prove he was more than the beneficiary of a Steinbrenner exorbitant pay roll.

Rays take trip to Fenway and regain home field

Barring ALCS game one the Rays have been the most consistent offensive team in the post season thus far, as once again they scored more runs than they have total playoff games and sent the Fenway crowd home early in game 3. Now the worst they can do is go back home retaining their home field advantage. However with Tim Wakefield on the bump in game four they will look to do more than that, mainly take a commanding 3-1 lead back home with a chance to clinch at home. The matchup Bud Selig and most of the baseball world wanted to see looks like a dim fantasy right now, being read it’s last rights. The RedSox bats may have something to say about it before it’s all said and done but had better show some stick tonight to counter the run-production of the Rays. This time there won’t a Manny speech to draw the attention off the futility they will have to handle that on their own.


The ALCS may be even at one game a piece but the Sox did what they set out to do and got a split at Tropicana Field which recently has become a tough place to play now that they actually have more than five thousand fans at the games. Boston sends out Lester and the Knuckleballer Wakefield in games 3 and 4 while the Rays counter with Garza and Sonnanstine. I don’t why we bother to list the starting pitchers because they don’t seem to make it out of the fifth inning. In any case these have been two great games so far and are making believers out of the baseball faithful that you don’t need a team from New York to have an exciting post season. The powers that be would want to see a rematch of the NBA finals with Boston/LA and the return of Manny, but if the Sox don’t take game 3 at home and send a .500 pitcher in Wakfield to the mound in game 4 they may have to deal with ratings worse than the forgotten Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Seattle. In the NL the Dodgers showed some pride, heart, and a little huevos in not only standing up to Philly but making them duck for a change. After taking a commanding five run lead Dodger pitcher Kuroda retaliated for the behind the head pitch to Man Ram with an over-the-head pitch of his own. This cleared the bases but most importantly made a statement that they won’t going to be intimidated. An impressive home win for LA but if they don’t hold serve in game four it won’t mean a thing. Is there a collision course for another Boston/LA showdown? Would you like to see that or a fresh face in the World Series? Talk about it here and in the MLB chat rooms.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Best record no guarantee to playing in October

The Angels needed two games, five hours, and 12 innings to finally break a curse of their own against the Red Sox. They still trail the series 1-2 but this was the type of game that could swing the mo’ back to Anaheim. The Sox were one wide pitch, or one base hit away from the ALCS on several occasions only for the largest crowd at Fenway Park to see a game since WWII walk away disappointed. It’s the type of game that can turn a series around, and rest assured the pressure is now on the Sox to close things out in game 4 or risk going back to the home of the 100 game winners. The team with the best record in the NL did not have as much resolve as the Dodgers swept away the past and the Cubs all at once. A 3-1 win in game 3 signified the first series win for LA since Captain Kirk beamed them up in 88’ for a World Series Championship and the end of the season for the 97-win Cubs and their fans who thought the drought was over. Was this a collapse or did they just run into the hottest team in baseball right now? The Dodgers have always had good pitching (best ERA in the NL), but now they have some stick to go with it. How far can Manny and Blues go? The NLCS is set as the Phillies took care of business themselves with a 6-2 win over Milwaukee to end the other DS three games to one. During the year both LA and Philly swept each other in 4 game series, but this could come down to LA doing what not many around the league were able to do, not silence but at least keep the Philadelphia bats under control. Lastly, don’t count out Ozzie’s crazy train just yet as they move on to game four after a close 5-3 win over the Rays. As good as the LA/Bos series has been, is anyone giving the winner of this series a chance?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Top Dogs in Big Trouble

After the first three rounds of the MLB playoffs the team with the best record both the NL and AL have yet to record a victory, as the Cubs (0-2) and Angels (0-1) find their backs against the wall. The Cubs sent their ace to the mound in Game 2 and the “Great Zambrano” was greeted with hits from the Dodgers and errors from his defense, as each member of his infield contributed one and they tied an NLDS record for futility, with the sum of parts equaling a 10-3 loss and almost and insurmountable 0-2 deficit for the Cubs. Meanwhile the best record in baseball, the LA Angels, dropped game one against the defending champion Red Sox and now face Daisuke in must win game 2 or risk having to scale Mount Everest in winter. The Brewers also find themselves down 0-2 and had their ace rocked as well as Phills got a huge 2 strike Grand Slam from Shane Victorino in the second providing the all the juice Philly needed to last the remaining 7 innings. Sabathia had his worst outing as a Brewer and it could not have come at a worse time as they must now sweep a team with a whole lot of momentum. Lastly, the Rays won their first ever playoff game and look to take the commander in game 2. Are the Cubs destined to continue the heartbreak? Are the Angels going to right the ship? Regardless of play during the season, who looks the best NOW?

Monday, September 29, 2008

'South Siders' hold off Twins in one game playoff

In a dramatic one-game playoff the Chicago White Sox got contributions from their senior citizens/future hall of famers Jim Thome and Ken Griffey Jr. One did it with the stick and the other with the arm as they defeated the Twins 1-0, turning the table in a game that resembled Minnesota’s 1-0 memorable victory over the Braves in the World Series where JoMo pitched his gem. Thome hit what proved to be the game winning 461 foot hr in the 7th inning after Jr. threw out a runner at the plate in the sixth. Both pitchers had excellent games but John Danks ,who went eight innings despite the Twins starters have a .434 career batting average against him, was the story of the game. Now after winning two straight games that could have ended their season, the ‘South Siders’ get on a plane to Tampa to take on the Rays on Thursday. Do they have enough left in the tank to carry them through the ALDS?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One train left to leave the station en route to October

As one of the most exciting regular seasons in recent memory comes to a close, after 181 games all is not decided as there is still one ‘hanging chad’ yet to be tabulated. The Chicago White Sox have let their lead in the AL Central slip away the last week and a half of the season and now trail the Minnesota Twins by ½ game with one game to play. A make up game with the Tigers will take place on Monday and, if victorious, a one game playoff will be played to determine the division winner. It seems as if Ozzie’s always on the hotseat but don’t discount the 2005 champs so quickly as a fortuitous coin flip means if there is a one-game playoff it will be held at US Cellular Field. Can the ‘Ozzie and the South Siders’ run the table and get back to playoffs? If so, how far can they go?

It was going to take a memorable season to help Met Fans forget the collapse at the end of the 2007 season, instead they now have another reason to be miserable after fading down the stretch again and you can’t blame Willy for this one. For the second straight season the team with the second highest payroll in baseball will not participate in the post season. A 4-2 loss to the Marlins accompanied with the Brewers comeback 3-1 win vs. the Cubs sealed the fate of the Metropolitans now the largest television market in the world will not have a team playing fall baseball. Who, if anyone, is responsible for the Met Meltdown? Did they just run out of juice the final weeks of the season?

Meanwhile the other positions are set for what will be a great postseason stretch. Can anyone in the AL contest the Angles single season dominance? It’s obvious the NL is wide open but is this FINALLY the year for the Cubs, or can LA Joe ride the Dodger wave to their first series win since the Regan Administration?



Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another memorable weekend for MLB

The Yankees said goodbye to a sports icon as they played their last game in Yankee Stadium, and you could hear the ghost throughout the game. Meanwhile across town, The Braves rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and a 7-6 win Sunday that stalled New York's playoff push. The Mets fell 1½ games behind Philadelphia in the NL East, who beat Florida 5-2. New York's edge in the wild-card race was cut to 1½ games by Milwaukee, which beat Cincinnati 8-1. In the NL West the Dodgers got stung by their incessant nemesis San Francisco losing 2 of 3 and clinging to a 2.5 game lead with six to play. Oh yea, don’t hold your breath but the Cubs are one win away from assuring that the road to the World Series will have to go through Wrigley. In the AL the Rays/Sox and Sox/Twins treaded water over the weekend which suits Tampa and the South Siders just fine, but rest assured there is more to come before the week is over. What was the top story over the weekend, the NY drama of the closing of the house that Ruth built? The Metropolitans failure to secure key wins? The Cubs in position to end a century of futility?


Monday, September 15, 2008

MLB gears up from grand finale

Where else can you start but the AL East as the current has shifted once again, and now the Red Sox are again in position to steal the division away from the Rays (whose fans still don’t seem to care). Getting help from their nemesis NYY, the Sox are down by only a game going into Tampa for a 3-game set where they are 0-6 this year. However they do have the ‘Ace’ of their pen, Matsuzaka (16-2) on the bump to start the series who has not lost a game since July 28. Conversely, the Rays will counter with their ace, Kazmir(11-6) and look to extend their lead. Keep in mind the loser does not automatically go home for the year, but the consolation prize is a round trip ticket to Anaheim, California to visit Disneyland and Angels, and an exit from the playoffs. Keep in mind the Rays must go on the road for their next TEN after this series so at least a 2 -1 split is mandatory. The schedule and fate favor the Sox, do you think the Rays can hold them off?





From there we jump to the other side as the NL East and Central have dogfights of their own going with just as many sub plots. A Milwaukee collapse down the stretch (3-7 last 10) has opened the door and Houston (winners of 13/15) has walked right through it and find themselves only 2 games out. An immediate byproduct of this was the firing of manager Ned Yoast Monday. However divine intervention may want to see the Brew Crew back in the playoffs for the first time since the Regan Administration. Due to the turbulent hurricane weather the games had to be move to a dome stadium as a stipulation of Bud Selig, and they indeed up in Milwaukee at Miller Park, and were promptly ‘No-Hit’ by Carlos Zambrano in a game they almost had to have. Obviously there is outrage coming form the Astro clubhouse but the show will go on, on the road for the Stros’ that is, and they miss out on two crucial home games down the stretch. Is thre incredible late season surge over?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Joe has the Dodgers in first, Mets salvage series, Tampa cramping up near the tape

We were SO CLOSE to becoming profits by sticking with the Rays through thick and thin but they appear to be fading down the stretch and that lead that looked so insurmountable a little over a month ago is down to .5 as of the time of this posting and will probably be -.5 at the end of the night. They continue to play great at home but with only six or their remaining games in Tampa, things don’t look good for them holding on. Meanwhile the “Mannyless” Sox appear to be hitting their stride and honestly no one wants to travel to Anaheim in the first round as the Wild Card. In the Central, the Sox of White are doing just enough to hold of the Twins but by the end of the week we could possibly have to update again as the South Siders’ have a nasty 10-game roadie upcoming. On the other side the Joe and his boys in blue have taken over the NL Division lead after sweeping the D-Backs in a three game series in LA. Zona’s two aces continue to let the side down as once the Cy Young favorite, Brandon Webb has not been able to notch a W, the D-Backs have lost 7 of their last 10, and are lucky to only be a game and half out. Only in the WAC Conference could 3 over .500 be good enough for a comfortable lead in early September. After letting a chance to sweep the Mets and pull within a half-game slip away, Philly host the fading fish and the Metropolitans get to beat up on the Nats so don’t look for much ground to be made up over the next three days but this race will come down to how Philly takes care of the non-BCS teams on the road the last 2 weeks of the season. Let us know who you like to take each division crown.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Baseball saves it's best for last and gears up for a great September

Where do you begin when talking about the amazing September this is going to be for MLB? With divisional and wild card races that will more than likely come down to the last weekend of the season the only thing that will be missing is are the Yankees. Starting in the AL Central where the White Sox and Twins have played about 140 games and still can’t pick a winner, only separated by a game. They have three more with each other near the end of September that could decide it. The winner moves on and the loser goes home with the Sox of Red owning the WC. It looked like the afore mentioned Red Sox were content in pulling off another wild card run to the World Series, but a recent stumble by the Rays have given them visions of taking down the division. It has been over 100 years since a club has gone from the worst record in baseball to the best, and that was before MLB as we know it, so odds would be in favor of a Tampa collapse, and with 17 of their last 25 on the road it doesn’t look good. However, the entire baseball world has doubted them all year, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them stare down adversity and take this thing at the wire. Hey, the Republicans had more people at their convention that the Rays draw for a home game so going on the road may not be such a bad thing after all.



On the flip side of the coin, each NL race is still up for grabs and the Wild Card is slated to go to Milwaukee right now, but don’t pencil them in just yet as of all the teams left in the hunt, in either division, the Cubs have the least home games (6), and the most road (16) to that 4.5 game deficit may not be as secure as it looks in the morning paper. On the right coast, the Mets must try to hold off Philly (3 back) which will be tough due to the offensive power of the new “Lumber Company”, the upcoming 3 game series could open the door for the Phils and put the fear of life into the NY faithful that it will be a reenactment of last year’s collapse, or the Mets could turn over a new leaf, with their new coach, and slam the door shut. Lastly, we come to MLB’s version of Division II the NL West, as bad as the division is, the race has made up for it. The Dodgers and D-Backs hook up for three-game stint that will put one of them in the cat bird seat. They both have more games on the road than they do at home and are BARELY playing .500 ball now so don’t look for much to change down the stretch. In other words, a 3 game lead could prove to be insurmountable. No worries, the winner of this division goes in as the default playoff entry and will be a “feeder fish” for some lucky team with the second best record. So, of all the subplots coming down the stretch, who will be left standing? Talk about it here and on in the MLB chat rooms.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

162 games may not be enough to decide half of MLB’s divisions.

In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance in Tampa Bay many of you have NOT, half the pennant races are still up for grabs with only 30 games to go. Two are currently within one game and change from day to day. Starting in the NL east where, after an amazing 7 run comeback win, the Phils find themselves only ½ game back of the Metropolitans. However, over the last month of the season the Phils have the more difficult schedule by far. With 17 games against teams in the pennant race as opposed to only 10 for the MYM, in a race that is so close we think that will be the difference. Furthermore after their collapse at the end of the season last year that cost Willie Randolph his job, don’t look for the Mets to repeat the feat. We like them to hold on and get take the division. The Brewers already got dibs on the Wildcard so to the victor go the spoils and the loser is home in time for Thanksgiving.




It’s a good thing baseball does not go by a “win by 2” like volleyball otherwise the AL Central could go to 200 games. Right now the White Sox have the upper hand and are a game up but by the time this is posted in could be the exact opposite. The Twins are starting their ‘kick’ down the stretch but at 6-4 and 5-5 respectively neither are setting the league on fire. The loser may still get a Wild Card birth here as the Red Sox up by two games for now, but that is subject to change. We happen to like the ‘South Siders’ down the stretch solely because of their strength of schedule, or lack there of, as they have a 3-game stint with the Angels who are not playing well and a 4-game with the Yankees who are now buried next to Hoffa and other NY gangsters. The one advantage the Twins do have is that the 3-game, head-to-head series vs. the White Sox that could decide it is in Minnesota. Who is your pick to come out of the AL Central?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rays now have best record in baseball and a few believers

The Rays look like they are looking to do more than just become a nuisance to the perennial powerhouses as someone forgot to tell them that they were just for show. Don’t look now but the Rays are now tied for the best record in baseball with the Angels and Cubs. Moreover, Tampa Bay is going toe-to-toe with team that has lead from start to finish this year and is arguably the team to beat in the AL. We have read a lot of post and there are a lot of people out there who owe the Rays an apology. They did not fade in the heat of the AL East and, like a good sprinter in the Men’s 200, are increasing their lead going into the home stretch. They also have the best home record in baseball to accompany the best overall. Now if they could just get the rest of the nation AND their home fans in Florida to take notice, they might be able to get more than 16k for a home game and it won’t seem like such a shock when they open the post season with home field advantage.




Monday, August 11, 2008

120 games into the season 5 out of 6 races, still up for grabs

In the AL East the Rays have proven all pundits wrong and actually do have the stones to hold off the Sox and Yanks. After stumbling out of the gate after the all-star break the Rays have won 8 of their last 10 and opened up a 4 ½ game lead in the AL East. With Joba out for a minimum of 15, and getting the prickly side of the broom in Anaheim, the Yanks appear to have a fork in them. Now the question is, can the “Mannyless” Sox have enough offense to run down the Rays? If not, they should be able to hold on to the Wild Card, get into the playoffs and then anything can happen. In the Central one would have to go with the ‘other’ sox to take down the crown, but one of the afore mentioned clubs could soon be “must win” series as the White Sox and Red Sox meet on the south side of a series that if a sweep occurs could change fortunes in a hurry.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trades, division races, and Manny. This is getting good.

The trade deadline moves have stolen the headlines and rightfully so, but whomever made the schedule should get bought a cold one for the matchups that have fallen on a weekend where MLB needs to stake a claim or get lost in the Olympic shuffle. Dodgers/D-Backs separated by one game and getting together for a four-game set at Chavez Ravine. The first place Angels going through Boston, then stopping in NYC for four nights with both of those teams chasing the Rays and needing to win the series. Cubs & Brewers going 1 & 2, and battling in Milwaukee. Lastly, in the AL Central, in case you’ve forgotten, the Sox and Twins are within a couple of games and will square off. Now Jr. coming to town and bringing HR’s with him with the hope that is veteran leadership will bring the South Siders together in time to hold on down the stretch. What do you think is the best match up, division race, and trade beneficiary?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Torre and the Dodgers enjoying the view from up top

As he sun tans in 80 degree weather, shops with his lap dog on Rodeo Drive, and takes meetings to sell a screen play, Joe Torre now has his Los Angeles Dodgers in first place in the NL West, and the struggling 3rd place Yankees are a million miles away. Yes, it’s true the NL West is somewhere between triple A and Division 1, but has the under .500 Dodgers sit in first place that is just fine for the NY transplant. But with one half of the season to go can the winner of the west still end the season with a respectable record and/or make some noise in the playoffs? Well, this isn’t like the NFL or NBA where if you play in a tough division you might be worn down come playoff time so the answer is probably no. Just the same it won’t go over will in the Big Apple if Joe is in Blue and their still playing even in September and the pinstripes are watching.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Angels and Rays (yes, the Rays) look like teams to beat in 2nd half

They have been the press darlings the entire year and deservingly so. The Tampa Bay Rays, after a thorough drubbing of the Red Sox at home, have a four game lead in the AL East and will take something close to it into the All-Star break. Winners of nine of their last 10, playing .700 ball at home and .500 on the road, they are now not only a bonifide contender but the team to beat in the East. The question is, can the kids hold up under the pressure if they drop a couple of games they should win, or go on the a tough roadie and find teams like the Yanks and Sox in their rear view mirror a couple of games back? Will they fold? I say their time has come and it’s the Yankees who will not have enough to finish as their pitching will not hold up.



On the other side of the coin, you have the most consistent team in baseball the LA Angels who seem to play about as well on the road as they do at home, even better. But the Angel bats will need to come out of hibernation in the second half of the season as the league will not be as forgiving and neither will the schedule. Last I checked they will not have any more games scheduled with the NL west.

Hey our bad for doubting the Twins and we’re eating a lot of crow right now, but we still don’t think they can hold their mud and be around with the wheel goes round’. We’ll be the first to apologize if they’re still standing in October but based on the last 20 years, I think we’re ok. Honestly, we hope they prove us wrong because it would be great to see a new face in mix this year. Meanwhile “Crazy Ozzie” and his band of Mercenaries are leading the way with an impressive .575 winning percentage. The ‘tough love’ seems to be working.



In the NL on the other hand there are six teams that have a great shot to represent, all within 4.5 of the lead as in the Central the Cubs an Cards just completed a pre-break blood bath with the Cubs left standing and leading by 2 games. We can’t even comment on the ‘goat thing’, the ‘century drought’, or any of the other trite headlines that follow the loveable losers but if Kerry Woods doesn’t improve on his blown save pct. (25%) there will be mass suicide watches in the windy city come Fall. Meanwhile the mastermind that is Tony LaRussa has the Cards back in the thick of things just waiting for the Cubs to take their typical late season stumble. We have the Brewers in this mix as well just because they have enough stick to win games on offense alone.

In the NL East we like the Phills to pull away in the end and end the Sunshine State’s dream of an “Orange Juice Series” but it’s good to NOT be able to see the color of the seats this late in the season as in prior years they drew more for the high school baseball finals then the Marlin’s games but that’s what happens when you hock your future to win in one year, it could take a decade to get back. The case doesn’t hold true for Philly as they were never given the proposition to trade one shot for 10 years of futility they haven’t been in the mix this late since Bake McBride played center field, but will represent the division this year and then Arlen Spector will have something else to do with his time. This just in, the Lancaster Jethawks now lead the NL west by 5 games and will probably win the division going away. If the Giants are 10 game under .500 and only 4.5 games out, we can’t even take this division seriously. There are no contenders here, enjoy your vacation in LA Joe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

All-Star break less than one month away

Major League Batting Average Leaders

1. C Jones ATL .394

2. L Berkman HOU .358

3. A Pujols STL .347

4. M Holliday COL .332

5. M Bradley TEX .330

6. J Mauer MIN .325

7. A Rodriguez NYY .324

8. J Damon NYY .323

8. H Matsui NYY .323

10.R Martin LAD .314


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RBI Leaders

1. J Hamilton TEX 76

2. A Gonzalez SD 65

3. R Howard PHI 64

4. C Utley PHI 63

5. L Berkman HOU 62

6. J Guillen KC 60

7. J Morneau MIN 59

8. C Lee HOU 58

9. R Braun MIL 57

9. M Teixeira ATL 57

9. D Uggla FLA 57

Who would be your starting lineup? Would Milton Bradley be on your team, if so, as a starter or as a sub? Looking at the top batting averages in the league how are the Yankees 5 game out? Is their pitching that bad, and do they need to make some moves before the break to make up the ground? Will this be a typical NYY late season surge at the finish for more business as usual. What to make of the Rays they look like they have some actual staying power. Last but not least, although they don't have any players at the top of the charts in stats the Cubs are tied for the best record in baseball and FINALLY look poised to get back to the show after a century. Is this the year? Smacchat gets more extensive coverage of the year from here on out but let us know your thoughts here or in the MLB game chatrooms.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cards and Tigers in major trouble before all-star break

Albert Pujols suffered a ‘strained left calf’ in the seventh inning of the Card third straight victory and will be out indefinitely. What this means is that St. Louis, tied for the second best record in the NL, will not be able to keep pace with the red-hot Cubs. A .591 winning percentage that would give them a sizeable lead in NL West or tied for first in the East, is only good enough for second in the toughest division in baseball this year. Without Albert the Cards can not hope to keep pace and my find themselves out of the race for the pennant and had better focus on the wild card.

Another disparate situation on the AL side is the Detroit Tigers who already find themselves ten games back of the division leader and struggling just to stay there. The Dontrel Willis trade has officially blown up in their face. The 29 million dollar debacle where they traded pitchers from their farm system who already have more MLB wins this year (4) than the D-train. Now the highest paid A pitcher in history, Willis was sent down to “reconstruct” his physical and mental game. Meanwhile Cabrera(.278) has not materialized as the dominating hitter to accompany Ordonez and where has pudge(.250) disappeared to? Add these factors up and the sum is a last place team with a payroll of a contender, but a management team on the chopping block.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cubs on a roll, should NL West be regulated?

The Cubs are looking to win their tenth straight game, are in first place in June for the first time since they won the world series before my grandfather was born. A great match up with Greg Maddox who won his first Cy Young award with the Cubs some time ago is upcoming including the meat of the first half schedule. Are they going to be around when all is said and done in October?
Does anyone want to win the NL West? Better yet does someone in the East want to transfer to the West? The D-Backs and Dodgers have BOTH lost 7 of their last 10 but manage to keep their place. Arizona is still 3.5 up on LA who is still 7 games back and 3.5 up on the third place club. Obviously this is the worst division in baseball? But can it become anything other than a first round playoff practice for the team with the best record?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

previous post

Although this is a marathon, after 20 games in we’re beginning to see who might have the mettle to make a run at a pennant. In the AL West the Angles are where we expected them but the A’s are a surprise. Meanwhile in the Central, the White Sox take the early lead but this division has no standouts so look for the top of this division to change more often then the BCS. It is nice to see the Royals near the top, but then again they always tease their fans early the season then fade, this year will be no different. In the East, the Red Sox have assumed the top spot as predicted, while the Yankees are 500, in third place, with A-Rod injured, and an owner trying to change the pitching rotation. Is the Empire beginning to show cracks in the foundation? And what about the Rays? Everyone’s sleeper this year is still in bed 20 games in.
In the NL West Joe Torre is finding out how the other half lives as he and the Dodgers find themselves in the cellar. The D-Backs look like the best team in baseball let alone the NL leading by 5 games already, and taking control of the weakest division in the MLB. The NL Central could be the best AND the most competitive with the Cubs, Brewers, and Cards shuffling the deck on top. By the way is Pittsburgh EVER going to be any good?? The NL East looks line the NBA Western Conference with 4 of the 5 teams looking like they can win it. Is the division that good and they are just beating themselves or is it mediocrity playing themselves. Who has the stability to last the marathon? Who will improve over the next 20? Let us know here and in the MLB game chat rooms.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Smacchat Pre-Season Power Rankings

Injured A-Rod was not in the posted Yankee lineup for Tuesday night's game against the White Sox. A-Rod, batting .308 with four homers and 10 RBIs, strained his right quadriceps Sunday at Baltimore. Morgan Ensberg was listed as the starting third baseman against Chicago.

Hank Steinbrenner needs to put the silver spoon back in his mouth, shut the ‘F’ up, and let the new Yankee manager do his job. Right now they need to gain some footing or they will find themselves with in an almost insurmountable whole, and the season may be over before it begins.






Here are the Smacchat Pre-Season Power rankings let us know what you think here or in the team chat rooms.

NL WEST....NL Central...NL East
Dodgers....Brewers......Mets

AL West....AL Central...AL East
Mariners...Tigers.......Red Sox


Bonds looking for a home?

Home run king Barry Bonds is still a man without a baseball team. But he's still ready to play, according to his agent.The Giants let Bonds go after his record-breaking 2007 season, deciding to go with youth and ending the slugger's 15-year run as the starting left fielder. While Bonds had 28 home runs and a .480 on-base percentage in 340 at-bats last season, he will turn 44 in July and has played the last few seasons with a balky right knee. Bonds also faces a federal indictment on multiple counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, stemming from his testimony in the BALCO investigation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A-Rod expects questions to come his way

Alex Rodriguez expects to be questioned repeatedly about drug use as he approaches Barry Bonds' career home-run record. Rodriguez, who signed a record $275 million, 10-year contract to remain with the New York Yankees, won his third AL MVP award last season after leading the major leagues with 54 home runs and 156 RBIs. The 11-time All-Star, who is 32, enters the season 17th on the career list with 518 home runs, 244 behind the record Bonds established last year. "Last year, I got tested 9-to-10 times," Rodriguez said. "We have a very, very strict policy, and I think the game is making tremendous strides." Rodriguez also denied a claim last week by former Texas teammate John Rocker that doctors from management and the players' association told A-Rod, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Rocker following a spring training meeting how to effectively use steroids. Rodriguez and Rocker were with the Rangers in 2002.

"That did not happen," A-Rod said.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Goose is in, Rocket speaks out

On his ninth try, Rich "Goose" Gossage got into the Hall of Fame with 86 percent of the votes, up from 71.2% from last year. For just over 10-years Gossage was one of the premiere relief pitchers with the Yankees, Rangers, and Padres.
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Stealing the BCS Championship party was Roger Clemens press conference where the roughly one-minute phone conversation with Brian McNamee was played over 50 times on the ESPN network. When all was said and done, it was a whole lotta nothin' that didn't change the minds of most people. More importantly was the fact that Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit against McNamee which now opens the door for deposition and/or counter suit, as mcNamee lawyer stated in the New York Times that "it's war". Stay tuned for chapter two as the Rocket will testify on capital hill next month.
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