What’s lies ahead in the 2013 Major League Baseball season, well no one knows for sure but Opening Day is upon us and it’s time to roll out a few predictions. If you happened to listen to our live show this past week then you already heard those predictions.
Enjoy opening day, enjoy the season. I know I will.
American League East winner: Tampa Bay Rays
American League Central winner: Detroit Tigers
American League West winner: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
American League Wild-Card winner: Oakland Athletics
American League Wild-Card winner: Kansas City Royals
American League Pennant winner: Tampa Bay Rays
National League East winner: Washington Nationals
National League Central winner: Cincinnati Reds
National League West winner: San Francisco Giants
National League Wild-Card winner: Milwaukee Brewers
National League Wild-Card winner: Philadelphia Phillies
National League Pennant winner: Washington Nationals
American League Rookie of the Year: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
National League Rookie of the Year: Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres
American League Manger of the Year: John Farrell, Boston Red Sox
National League Manager of the Year: Bo Porter, Houston Astros
American League MVP: Yoenis Cespedas, Oakland Athletics
National League MVP: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
American League Cy Young Award: Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
National League Cy Young Award: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
The Seattle Mariners announced that a new high definition video display system will be installed at Safeco Field for the 2013 baseball season, replacing the main scoreboard in centerfield. It will be the largest in Major League Baseball and among the largest in all of sports. Measuring 56.7-feet high by 201.5-feet wide and covering 11,425 square feet, the new video screen fills the same location and space as the old scoreboard, but because the entire thing is a high definition screen, the video space itself is nearly 10 times the size of the current video screen.
To put it in perspective the Mariners say that the viewing area will be equal to about 2,182 42-inch flat screen TVs.“Northwest sports fans have never seen anything like this. From the high-resolution imagery to the dynamic presentation, this new video screen provides the flexibility to present real-time game information in a way we’ve never been able to do until now,” said Kevin Martinez, Seattle Mariners Vice President of Marketing.“
The new Panasonic HD video screen will combine 1080p x 3840 screen resolution and Surface Mount LED technology, which uses more pixels and therefore produces higher quality images. Paired with the latest ANC Sports VisionSOFT operating system, Safeco Field’s new video screen will have image quality that is superior to broadcast HD signals. VisionSOFT is the first 64-bit operating system in large format live event display.
The video screen and production upgrades are part of an estimated $15 million maintenance and capital improvement plan for Safeco Field to be completed before the 2013 season. The Mariners, who are responsible for maintenance, capital improvements and operations of Safeco Field, have invested over $80 million in the ballpark since 1999. All current improvements to Safeco Field are scheduled to be completed in time for the home opener on April 8 vs. the Houston Astros.
San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford combined to make the craziest play of the season last night against the Houston Astros. Houston’s catcher Jason Castro in the bottom of the first inning hit what still has MLB talking all-time bizarre.
Back on June 25, we posted the report that former 2000 National League MVP Jeff Kent was rumored to be a member of his favorite TV show as one of 15 contestants on the latest installment of Survivor, set in the Philippines.
Kent, 44, will match wits with the likes of 1980s sitcom star Lisa Whelchel, of Facts of Life fame, and two beauty pageant winners for the $1 million prize.
Kent, who left the game in 2008 after seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, says he’s long been a fan of the show where contestants are pitted against each other in tribes on remote locations and must work together on team challenges while all the while conspiring against each other to avoid the dreaded flame dousing that will get you on a boat home.
“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I hate to lose. You know, there are not many tall white guys with mustaches walking around still these days. I’m hoping my reputation’s not big enough that these people know who I am.”
This play was made by Houston Astros Double-A minor league affiliate the Corpus Christi Hooks outfielder Austin Wates.
Its quickly being labeled as the “Catch of the Millennium.” Wates made the major-league robbery of batter Nathan Freiman and avoided teammate Brandon Barnes at the fence.
At 49 years old Jamie Moyer has made it back in the big leagues. Moyer earned a spot in the Colorado Rockies rotation and will start the team’s second game of the season.
“It is still Jamie Moyer. It’s the Jamie Moyer that was pitching prior to the arm injury that cost him the entire 2011 season. It’s the same guy,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
“It’s the same worker. It’s the same professional. It’s the same stuff, same velocity, same pitches. When he’s right, same type of effectiveness. You’re going to venture into this.”
Moyer, who is entering his 25th major league season, posted a 2.77 ERA this spring and beat out 22-year-old Tyler Chatwood and 28-year-old Guillermo Moscoso for a rotation spot.
Moyer will start April 7 against the Houston Astros. He can become the oldest pitcher in major league history to earn a victory. The last player to play in the majors at 49 years old was infielder Julio Franco, who finished out the season with the Atlanta Braves in 2007 after turning 49 in August.
Moyer will be 50 in November and has a career record of 267-204 with a 4.24 ERA. He was an All-Star in 2003 with the Seattle Mariners, and he made his major league debut on June 16, 1986 with the Chicago Cubs.
St. Louis Cardinals Lance Berkman says baseball Commissioner Bud Selig used extortion to get new Houston Astros owner Jim Crane to change leagues as a condition for the team’s sale in November.
Berkman told ESPN.com and CBSSports.com in an interview at Kissimmee, Fla.: “I feel basically like the commissioner extorted Jim Crane into moving the Astros.”
Although a key figure on last year’s World Series champion Cardinals, Berkman still has a soft spot for the Astros and Houston, where he played for 12 seasons.
Four months ago, Berkman termed it a “travesty” that the Astros were being forced to move to the American League in 2013 to facilitate baseball’s scheduling realignment. And Berkman said he’d feel comfortable using the word “extort” in face-to-face conversation with Selig, should the opportunity present itself.
“If he called me, I would tell him,” Berkman said. “I think that’s exactly what it was. To tell (Crane), ‘We’re going to hold the sale of the team up until you guys agreed to switch?’ It just happened that the Astros were being sold at an optimal time for that to happen.”
It’s not the first time Berkman has kicked sand Selig’s way. In September 2008, after MLB determined an Astros-Cubs series should be played in Milwakee after Hurricane Ike, Berkman said: “Major League Baseball has always valued the dollar more than they do the individual, the players and their families.”
Selig took out a two-page ad in the Houston Chronicle to justify the move. Crane agreed to buy the Astros for $680 million last May but sought to renegotiate erms after the Players Association and the commissioner’s office agreed on a realignment plan that would place 15 teams in each league.The Astros were reluctant to switch leagues because of increased travel costs and increased short-term costs to produce a designated hitter.
Crane told ESPN.com that he did, in fact, receive a price reduction to $615 million with former Astros owner Drayton McLane and the other 29 MLB teams making up the difference. Crane isn’t complaining about the settlement and, apparently, not looking for sympathy from Berkman.
“I think it was a good deal for baseball,” Crane told ESPN.com. “I think it was a good deal for our owners. Would we have preferred to stay in the National League? Probably, yeah. But that wasn’t the deal that was presented to us.
“Lance can say what Lance wants to say. He has great ties to the Astros and was a great player there for years. We certainly understand that he’s opinionated, but I wouldn’t use that strong a term (‘extort’). I think it was just a business deal that got renegotiated.”
While it may be all fine with Crane, we’ll see if there might just be a fine from Selig.
Glad to know the Fat Elvis listens to the show since I’ve been saying this exact same thing since the notion of the Houston Astros being moved into the American League was brought up.
Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who had the memorable call on Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, will retire as the radio voice of the Houston Astros after the 2012 season. Hamilton was the recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 1992.
This will be the 84-year-old Hamilton’s 28th year with the Astros and 59th year overall calling Major League Baseball games. He will remain with the team after this season working mostly on special events, but will make sporadic appearances on radio broadcasts.
Hamilton made the call on Aaron’s 715th home run on April 8, 1974, as a broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves. He has also called 11 no-hitters, Nolan Ryan’s 4,000th strikeout in 1985 and Craig Biggio’s 3,000th hit in 2007.
The Astros will honor him with “Milo Hamilton Day” on his 85th birthday Sept. 2.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced several changes Thursday at the owners meetings in Milwaukee. Among the highlights:
The long-expected sale of the Houston Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane was unanimously approved. Crane agreed to purchase the team in May for $680 million, but will get $35 million from McLane and $25 million from MLB because the Astros will move to the American League in 2013. At that point, each league will have 15 teams, meaning there will be at least one interleague series at all times. Houston will go from the NL Central to the AL West.
Selig announced an additional wild card to each league. However, it is unclear whether that plan would be implemented in 2012 or 2013. Selig added that the two wild-card teams in each league will face each other in a one-game playoff to advance to the next round.
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman told a Houston radio station in January that the Texas Rangers were an “average team” without star pitcher Cliff Lee. Berkman knew he couldn’t run from the cameras so he looked straight into the first one that zoomed in on his face and offered an apologies to the entire state of Texas.
“I’m not afraid to say, ‘Hey, I wasn’t right,’” Berkman said.
Berkman never thought the Rangers would be playing in thew World Series and that’s why he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Cardinals in the offseason, even though Texas also pursued him. We posted the Berkman report back on January 29 in which he also said that he believed the Rangers had caught lightning in a bottle and they got hot when they made last year’s World Series.
He even denounced the rest of Texas pitching staff, which performed “better than their talent level and, consequently, they had a great year.”
The Cardinals, Berkman figured, had the pieces to make a deep postseason run but turns out the Rangers did, too.
“Certainly the last thing I want is to have the entire state of Texas to be mad at me,” Berkman said before a workout Tuesday at Busch Stadium. “I don’t want to disrespect any players the Rangers have, because they have a fine baseball team. I think if you say enough things publicly, eventually you’re going to say some things that are probably not great, and that’s the case here.”
Berkman resurrected his career in St. Louis, hitting .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs this season. His performance over the first half earned him another All-Star nod, so he took the opportunity to apologize in person to Rangers ace C.J. Wilson for his comments about the Texas pitching staff.
“There was actually a note in my locker from Lance saying, ‘Hey, congratulations on your guys’ success. I guess I was wrong. Not the first time,’” Wilson said.
“They’re in the World Series, I’m in the World Series. I’m happy for him. He’s played great,” Wilson said. “He’s played a lot better than he did last year. So in that regard, he stepped up to his end of the bargain and we stepped to our end of the bargain.”
Berkman said his biggest regret isn’t what he said, but that he rubbed some people back in Texas the wrong way. He was born and raised in the state and played most of his career for the Houston Astros.
“I’m not afraid of the public scrutiny,” he said. “I’m not afraid to say, ‘Hey, I wasn’t right in my opinions,’ and it probably won’t be the last time.”
Houston Astros outfielder Jordan Schafer, who in 2008 was suspended for violating baseball’s minor league drug program, was arrested early Tuesday and charged with a felony count of possession of marijuana. Schafer was arrested at the Cheesecake Factory in Tampa after police said they spotted an expired Mississippi license tag on his 2008 Range Rover, after which both front windows were found to be rolled down and a “strong odor of marijuana was emitting.”
Also according to the arrest report, Schafer had a marijuana joint in his hand and a search of the vehicle uncovered a “clear plastic container containing a marijuana. The report said he had 25 grams of marijuana. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana makes the crime a third-degree felony in Florida.
As a Atlanta Braves minor leaguer and top prospect in 2008, Schafer was suspended 50 games in 2008 for use of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). The Braves traded him to Houston in the July 31 deal in which they acquired outfielder Michael Bourn.
It’s that time of year where the MLB has come to a close and team veterans make the 2011 rookies show up to the ballpark in outlandish costumes. Earlier this week we posted the Colorado Rockies dressing up as characters from Star Wars and now now have a few others to bring you. Thanks to the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays for participating. And shame on those teams that haven’t yet exposed their rookie costume hazing photos.
If your wondering who the one player is singled out is, that’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, who makes for one pretty nasty looking Lady Gaga.
Whoever decided that Astros second baseman Jose Altuve should be a jockey, that is just brilliant.
Major League Baseball, which banned illegal performance-enhancing drugs and amphetamines, now has several teams restricting the use of energy drinks. Teams are discouraging the use of Red Bull and other energy drinks, with most banning it in the minor leagues.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros have stopped providing energy drinks in their clubhouse on the big league level and the Milwaukee Brewers have removed them throughout their minor league system. All clubs are citing harmful effects but can’t ban the beverages because they are not prohibited in the collective bargaining agreement.
“We take the same education approach with the energy drinks that we take with supplements,” said Ross Atkins, vice president/player development of the Cleveland Indians. “We ask why a player is using it, is there something else natural he could to improve his energy levels?”
The Astros began taking precautions in 2009 when reliever Wesley Wright was taken to a hospital and treated for dehydration. He said he drank several cans of Red Bull and soft drinks before pitching that afternoon.
“We’ve had a couple of issues regarding dehydration,” Astros General Manager Ed Wade said, “and our people think they can be traced to misuse, overuse of energy drinks. It just seemed that we shouldn’t be creating an environment where we’re almost facilitating the effects of dehydration.”
This of course has caused several players to speak out.
Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan, who typically consumes two Red Bull drinks a day, said: “I don’t see why it should be banned. You’ve got to go out there 162 games. You’re playing 21 games in a row, and switching time zones, and you want to be mentally and physically ready. If fans can sit in the stands and drink it, why can’t we drink it during games? We’re human, too.”
“It’s asinine,” Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz said. “What are they going to ban next, coffee? Soft drinks? It’s so bizarre.”
Last night the University of Maryland defeated the Miami Hurricanes 32-24 in new head coach Randy Edsall’s debut. However the game was not about Edsall or the Hurricanes new coach Al Golden or even the recent NCAA investigation surrounding the school thanks to convicted felon Nevin Shapiro but instead the uniforms donned by the Terrapins designed by Under Armour.
The University of Maryland’s new uniforms dominated Twitter and Google. The Terrapins emerged from the locker room with new white uniforms patterned after the state flag. They wore wild helmets spashed with red and white on the left side and black and yellow on the right, and the pattern continued to the shoulders. Unfortunately the new uniforms drew hate and laughter from athletes and media members throughout Monday night. LeBron James of the Miami Heat tweeted:
“OH GOSH. Maryland uniforms. #Ewwwwww!”
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas tweeted:
“The 1970′s Houston Astros have just released a statement that they would not be caught dead in the new Maryland football uniforms.”
What James, Bilas and most everyone fail to realize though is the uniforms really did create a national buzz for Maryland even if it was uncomplimentary.
To see the Terps 32 different uniform combinations they have planned for the rest of the season click HERE.
Every Thursday Sports Grind Entertainment will present you with the Mama Margie’s Major Meltdown. The recipient of this honor goes to the Oakland Athletics who gave up a Major League Baseball first in three grand slams in one game. Only twice in history had two teams combined to hit three grand slams in one game. The New York Yankees equaled that by themselves last Thursday. Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson were the big hitters in helping the Yankees beat the Athletics 22-9. The last time a game included three grand slams was in 1987 when the Chicago Cubs beat the Houston Astros 22-7 at Wrigley Field. In 1986, the Baltimore Orioles hit two against the Texas Rangers but lost 13-11.
Back on August 15, we got word that MLB owners had put approval of the sale of the Houston Astros to Jim Crane on hold, prompting me to as “could Drayton McLane be forced to find a new buyer?” Turns out Major League Baseball is investigating allegations of war profiteering and unfair hiring practices against Crane.
Complaints were filed in 1997 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against one of Crane’s companies, Eagle USA Airfreight, regarding the company’s policy on hiring blacks and women. The EEOC sought $20 million to settle the case in 2001; Eagle agreed to pay $8.5 million into a settlement fund while denying it had violated employment laws. A judicial review later found that 203 of 2,073 claims had merit.
In the war profiteering case another of Crane’s companies, Eagle Global Logistics, paid $4 million to settle a Justice Department lawsuit which claimed the company had inflated the costs of military shipments to Iraq.
Astros owner McLane continued to express optimism that Crane ultimately would be approved. The revamping of the organization has already taken place with the players but the fates of general manager Ed Wade and field manager Brad Mills has been on hold until a sale is finished.
We posted yesterday that the Texas Rangers were trying to set the Guinness World Record for most people wearing sunglasses in the dark in celebration of the first day of summer against the Houston Astros. They needed all 33,533 fans to help break that record in the bottom of the sixth inning and that included President George W. Bush and Nolan Ryan.
The Texas Rangers hope to set a Guinness World Record tonight when they face the Houston Astros by having the most people wearing sunglasses at night. The Rangers will give out 30,000 sunglasses, provided by Reliant Energy, and ask those fans to don them for 10 minutes at the end of the sixth inning, when a Guinness World Records official will confirm the record.
This seems to be the year for Major League Baseball teams shooting for obscure world records as you might recall, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim set a world record earlier this season for most people wearing Mexican wrestling masks.
The Texas Rangers drafted University of Georgia paralyzed outfielder Johnathan Taylor on Wednesday in the 33rd round of baseball’s amateur draft. Taylor, a junior, was partially paralyzed this spring when he suffered a broken neck in an outfield collision with teammate Zach Cone, the Rangers also drafted but in the second round.
Cone and Taylor are friends, but their collision March 6 in a game against Florida State left Taylor paralyzed and is unlikely to walk again and is considered a paraplegic because the paralysis affected all his extremities.
The Houston Astros made a gesture of their own by drafting Buddy Lamothe, a pitcher out San Jacinto College, in the 40th round. Lamothe, 20, a Vermont native who had a 0.77 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings was paralyzed in a diving accident about a month ago and is currently undergoing inpatient rehabilitation in Houston.
Memorial Day is time to celebrate those who have served our wonderful country and take in some baseball as spring gives way to summer. What better way to bring all three together than outdoor baseball at Wrigley Field with a flyover, well for those in attendance to watch the Chicago Cubs take on the Houston Astros on Monday got an unexpected military flyover in the fourth inning. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, speaking with the game’s announcers at the time, was taken aback least and said it best “you can’t beat Memorial Day.”
Watch video of it HERE
2K Sports announced they had a winner of the MLB 2K11 $1 Million Perfect Game Contest. Brian Kingrey, a music teacher from Hammond, Louisiana walks away with the prize after pitching the first verified perfect game following the opening of the contest on April 1st. Like last year the feat was completed on the first day however it happened even quicker this time around as it came within two hours of the contest opening up.
It was accomplished using cover athlete Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies against the Houston Astros. The best part of it all is that Kingrey had never even played a baseball video game before picking this one up.
Last night during the Houston Astros game against the New York Mets a fan ran out onto the field and suddenly morphed into Spider-Man right in the middle of Carlos Lee’s at bat. The security at Minute Maid Park never had a chance.
A Milwaukee Brewers fan brought a sign to Miller Park on Friday Night against the Houston Astros that asked Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun to marry her attached with her cell phone number at the top of the sign. Once the sign was shown on television that not only could locals see but everyone,myself included that was watching on the MLB Extra Innings package, she began to receive more than 200 calls and 600 text messages within that hour. But in the end she missed the one call she was waiting for.
In an effort to show his appreciation for the support Braun tried to call the girl after the game but by then her voicemail was full which lead him to joke “it wasn’t meant to be.”
The New York Mets where in the mist of getting off to a terrible start this season and looking for anyway to change their losing ways. Prior to Thursday’s game against the Houston Astros, the Mets COO Jeff Wilpon ordered for the destruction of “Stanley,” a black and yellow rolling toolbox that had become the bullpen’s mascot. “Stanley” held some of the essentials and non-essentials such as candy, medical supplies, fingernail clippers, Krazy Glue and miscellaneous toys for the guys out in the bullpen. Wilpon issued a simple decree: “Get rid of Stanley.”
Wilpon gave his order to Dan Warthen, the pitching coach. So on Thursday afternoon, Warthen asked every player and coach to donate an article of clothing or piece of equipment to place inside Stanley as a sacrifice and then was taken into a back room before the game and ceremonially obliterated with bats.
The Mets have now won four straight including that night against the Astros.