Tagged: Brewers

Brewers Jean Segura Steals 1st Base

Just when you think you’ve seen everything in baseball, Brewers shortstop Jean Segura goes and does something we may never see again.  In the 8th inning against the Cubs, Segura reached base and then stole 2nd.  He then tried to steal 3rd base and got hung up resulting in this..

Let me attempt to explain.  Ryan Braun seeing the throw go to 3rd decides to take 2nd base, then Segura and Braun are both on the base.  Segura is safe when tagged and Braun is out when tagged because 2nd was Segura’s original base.  Segura assumed he was out at 2nd (which he should’ve been on his 2nd tag) and starts to run back to the dugout only to realize he had been safe at 2nd.   Knowingly (for the first time) that he’d end up out if he went back to 2nd, he steals 1st base and is safe.  Naturally, Segura is thrown out trying to re-steal 2nd base afterwards.

UPDATE: Here’s the full video of Segura’s antics including both steal attempts of 2nd base.

 

It’s not the first time we’ve seen someone steal 1st base though.  Flashback to Lloyd Moseby of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1987.

Luckily for Moseby, he ended up back at 2nd base in the end.  Segura’s still trying to find his way back.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Chowin’ Down: Meat Parfait and Shrimp Tacos

Imagine eating your favorite local food in a city where it’s not the norm.  Miller Park offers one of the most unique eating experiences that I have ever witnessed in a ballpark.  I was in Milwaukee to catch the Padres series when I was asked if I wanted to “eat something San Diego”.  I think that was because I had my Padres shirt and them not knowing I’m from Detroit.

But I said “sure,” and headed up a level to see what all the rave was about.  One stand on the 2nd level behind home plate serves a changing menu based on the visiting team.  The menu features a specialty that you would find in the visiting team’s city.  For San Diego, it is shrimp tacos.

Shrimp tacos were on the menu for the entire series and that was the only dish served with “San Diego flair,” but it was also the only one needed.  Each order came with three flour tortilla filled with grilled pineapple-cilantro slaw, avocado, blackened shrimp, and salsa verde sauce and chipotle ranch sauce.Image

Personally I love fish or shrimp tacos so this was a perfect fit for me.  The tortilla was warm and soft, the guacamole was tangy, the salsa verde gave it added flavor and the slaw gave the taco a very nice crunch.  Oh and the shrimp…ohhhh the shrimp.  If you are a seafood eater, you may be picky about your flavors and textures when it comes to good eats.  These fellas were abundant and bountiful. Each taco had four large shrimp on them to top it all off.

The best part of it all, these delicious shrimp tacos are so reasonably priced that your wallet doesn’t take the usual ballpark hit! Only $9.50!

-Angelo (@GODF_TH_R)

Then comes the perennial powerhouse that every visiting baseball fan should try. The epic Meat Parfait.
Three layers mashed potatoes, two layers meat, all covered in sweet barbeque sauce with some chives to top it off. Being from Milwaukee, I have been around since the consecration of this beautiful man snack and have had the pleasure of indulging in it’s classic meat and potatoes goodness multiple times.  It starts off with a typical scoop of mashed potatoes, which is then layered with your choice of either pulled pork or pulled beef.  I typically tend to go for the beef on the bottom layer and then pork on the top (Yes, you can mix and match). After another layer of potatoes and your pulled meat of choice, they cap it all off with the final potato scoop and drizzle it with as much barbeque as you can handle.Image

If your mouth isn’t watering at this point, you may not be human.  For eating tips, I generally recommend to try and get a nice mix of meat and potatoes in each bite, but be wary, because once you run out of meat at the bottom, it’s all mashed potatoes and remnants of BBQ from there.

You can find these in most corners of Miller Park on every level, and the same stand also offers delicious pulled BBQ sliders if the Meat Parfait is too much for you.  It all comes in at the nice price point of $7.00, which is completely affordable to every fan at the game. Hope to see you out at the stadium and enjoying one of the finer things in life: Pulled BBQ.

-Kurt (@FalconKP)

#MapesFantasySpecial for September 20th

Wei-Yin Chen gave us his 2nd consecutive successful #MapesFantasySpecial last night, despite not getting a win.  Mets Matt Harvey had his start pushed back due to rain, so we’ll see how that plays out tonight.  I’m not sure he can get a win against Cole Hamels, but hopefully the peripherals and strikeouts will be there.  Here’s what I like for Thursday, September 20th that’s available in more than half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.

Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie was featured on this week’s podcast as a 3UP player and I really like him at home against the White Sox.  Guthrie shut down the White Sox just a week and a half ago, tossing eight shutout innings.  Even more impressive, Guthrie has had three starts against the White Sox since coming to Kansas City, would you like to guess how many runs he’s given up in 23.2 innings?  That’s right, zero!  I’ll trust him one more time to get solid numbers, he’s owned in just 15% of fantasy leagues.

If You’re Desperate: Cardinals Jaime Garcia (49% owned) takes on the Astros in a solid matchup, but has been so terribly up and down since returning from injury he might no be worth the chance.  Brewers rookie Michael Fiers (45% owned) had 10 strikeouts, last time he faced the Pirates, but has a 5.40 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh this year.  A’s Tommy Milone (44% owned) hasn’t been good on the road this season and takes on Detroit at Comerica.  No thanks.  Nationals Ross Detwiler (35% owned) has been good this season and could help your WHIP, but don’t expect a ton of strikeouts.  If you need strikeouts and can afford the ERA/WHIP hit, Francisco Liriano (35% owned) could get you some strikeouts, but got lit up last time out against KC.  Lastly, Giants Barry Zito (21% owned) got beat up by Colorado last time at home, 4ER over 5.1 IP, but is 6-2 in his career with a 2.59 ERA and 1.09 WHIP against the Rockies.  The Rockies do have trouble scoring runs on the road, except against Andrew Cashner of course.

If You’re Desperate Rankings: Fiers, Zito, Detwiler, Garcia, Liriano, Milone

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

#MapesFantasySpecial For September 19th

The choices for the #MapesFantasySpecial are pretty slim on Wednesday, but I think there are a couple options that could help your fantasy team.

We featured his Brewers teammate Wily Peralta on this week’s podcast, but Marco Estrada has been just as great as Milwaukee has made a push for the playoffs. Estrada has given up just 1ER or less in four of his last five starts, with three of them giving up no earned runs at all. Estrada takes on a Pirates squad that he gave up just one earned run in seven innings with 10 strikeouts just three starts ago. If he puts up even slightly worse numbers, it’s a worthy pick-up that’s available in 73% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.

If You’re Desperate: Rays rookie Chris Archer has great strikeout potential (28K in 22.1IP) if you need a boost there. If you’re worried about the match-up against Boston, in Archer’s last start he shut down Texas over 7 innings with 11 strikeouts. Archer is owned in just 5% of leagues. Reds Mike Leake (10% owned) has good numbers in his career against the Cubs, but gave up 3ER in six innings last time he pitched at Wrigley. Orioles Joe Saunders (12% owned) has a juicy match-up at the Mariners and has settled down since getting roughed up in his first start with Baltimore. Unfortunately, he’s going up against King Felix, so don’t go in expecting a win. John Lannan (4% owned) was great in his 1st start back in place of Stephen Strasburg tossing 5.2 shutout innings. The Dodgers lineup still hasn’t been great and Lannan is 4-1 in his career against Los Angeles. Don’t expect to get many strikeouts though.

If You’re Desperate Rankings: Archer, Saunders, Leake, Lannan

Good luck in your fantasy leagues!

9/18 4 PM Update: Mets pitcher Matt Harvey was scratched from his start Tuesday night and will start Wednesday 9/19 instead. I like him more than any of these.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Weekend Watch!

Thank God it’s Friday!  Time for a new set of matchups this weekend.  Here are the series I’m looking forward to watching this weekend in descending order.

5) Athletics at Orioles

I didn’t have both of these teams at .500 or better on April 26th before the season and neither did you.  These have been two pleasant surprises and deserve some love.  I really wish that Yoenis Cespedes was left-handed to see if he could make a run at hitting the warehouse beyond the right field wall.  The pitching matchups are pretty decent, especially the opener with Brandon McCarthy and Jake Arrieta, Arrieta is my #MapesFantasySpecial for 4/27.  *cough follow me on Twitter @Mapes4FanCave cough* While Bartolo Colon was very good against Baltimore in 2011 with the Yankees having a paltry 1.52 ERA and sub 1.00 WHIP in 23.2 innings.

4) Brewers at Cardinals

Brewers are still looking to get back to .500 and are tossing their two aces, Gallardo and Greinke, on Saturday and Sunday.  The Cardinals have had the best offense in the National League so far.  They lead the NL in batting average, OPS, and OBP, while being 2nd in runs scored behind Atlanta.  St. Louis has also had the best signing in the senior circuit in 2012 so far in Carlos Beltran who’s filled the Albert Pujols void admirably with 5 home runs and pitching in 5 stolen bases on top of it.

Those two matchups are just the appetizers this weekend.  Here’s what MLB is serving up in the main course.  I can’t even rank these matchup 3-2-1, we’re going with 1 A, B, and C.

1C) Nationals at Dodgers

Two teams that were picked by many to most people to finish 4th in their respective divisions.  Instead, both are sitting pretty in 1st place as we speak.  I said in the offseason that the Nats had put together the most underrated rotation in the Majors.  The results so far?  The Nationals pitching staff has the best ERA in the league.  Ross Detwiler has been a great addition in place of John Lannan.  Stephen Strasburg is being Stephen Strasburg.  Gio Gonzalez is proving that he wasn’t just a product of Oakland’s ballpark as he has 20 straight scoreless innings.  The Dodgers?  Well they have Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw, that’s generally been enough so far.  Dee Gordon is among the league leader in stolen bases, but needs to start getting on base more for the Dodgers lineup to truly start clicking.  I just don’t think it will happen this weekend.

1B) Rays at Rangers

Both teams are riding momentum waves.  Rays picked up a walk-off win Thursday courtesy of Brandon Allen, while the Rangers took two of three from the Yankees.  In a rematch of last years 2011 Division Series the Rays seemingly have the pitching matchup advantage in sending James Shields (Friday) and David Price (Sunday) to the hill, while missing out on Yu Darvish.  Darvish was sparkling in his last start against New York and seems to have put his control issues behind him.  The pitching advantage might be nullified however by Texas’ fantastic offense.  Led by Josh Hamilton’s .390 AVG and 8 homers, the Rangers currently lead the Majors batting average, OPS, runs scored, and home runs.  This is a classic case of great pitching vs. great hitting.

1A) Tigers at Yankees

It’s a rematch of the other 2011 ALDS!  Both teams are reeling after the Yankees lost the series in Texas, while the Tigers got swept at home by the Seattle Mariners.  You read the 2nd half of that right.  Further proof that you can’t predict baseball, so I’m going to try anyway!  Can Justin Verlander and the Tigers end Ivan Nova’s run of franchise record of 15 straight winning decisions on Friday? (I think so.)  Will there be 20 runs in the Saturday matchup of Drew Smyly and Freddy Garcia? (Maybe.  Yankees do have problems facing a pitcher for the 1st time, see Yu Darvish.)  Can Derek Jeter keep his batting average over .400?  (Currently .420, I’ll say yes.)  Will Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder enjoy the confines of Yankee Stadium vs. spacious Comerica Park?  (Yes, I think they both homer, maybe even multiple times this weekend.)  Should be a great series in the Bronx.

What matchup are you excited to see this weekend?  Do you think Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton, and Derek Jeter keep up their torrid pace to start?

-Bryan Mapes

Four To Buy Low On

One of my favorite fantasy baseball strategies is buying low on players after the first few weeks of the season.  Things always even themselves out by the end of the year.  If a player has gotten their cold streak out of the way in April, means more fantasy goodness for you in the next few months.  Here’s who I am targeting.

Mark Reynolds, Orioles

An eyesore of one to start off with for sure.  Reynolds is hitting a paltry .125 this season with no home runs.  Reynolds however is a proven power source, hitting at least 28 home runs in each of the last 4 seasons.  If you can take the batting average hit, there are still a ton of home runs coming his way.  April is traditionally Reynolds’ worst month as he has just a .218 batting average in his career in the opening month.

Rickie Weeks, Brewers

Weeks is hitting .188 in 2012 after a .269 batting average each of the last two seasons.  Power numbers are still there as Weeks has three home runs so far early on the year.  The runs dropping was expected with Prince Fielder out of the lineup, but Weeks is still a top level second base or middle infielder option.

Coco Crisp, Athletics

Crisp has been out of the A’s lineup with the flu and an inner ear infection.  His numbers though .167 batting average, three runs, and just two stolen bases make him an easy buy low.  If he’s owned you can point to those numbers and probably get him at a discounted price for a speedster with 30+ stolen bases the last two years and 49 in 2011.

Tim Lincecum, Giants

Something may be a little off on him as his velocity is still down.  Lincecum is still striking out batters at a great clip (24K in 18.2 IP) that shows he’s still doing things right.  Let his owner panic about his 8.20 ERA and 1.87 WHIP and swoop in.  Lincecum is still a great pitcher that has a great home pitchers park in San Francisco.

-Bryan Mapes

Five Things I Think I Think

I know, I know it’s only opening weekend there are still 159 games to go for most teams.  No need to panic if your team is 0-3 like my Braves or pop champagne if your team is 3-0 like the Mets and Orioles.  Wait What?!?!  The Mets and Orioles are undefeated still!  Here is what I’m taking from opening weekend.

1)      Beat The Streak really is a great, but amazingly difficult game.  You can win 5.6 million dollars if you’re able to compile a 56-game hitting streak choosing from the entire pool of Major League players on each day.  They now have a feature where you can double down and pick two players, but if one doesn’t get a hit your streak goes to zero.  Sounds simple enough to just pick a guy to get a hit.  It’s not.  We’re four days in and I like to think I know a thing or two about baseball.  I’m 3 for 8 in picking players and only hit the double down once for my longest streak being two.

2)      I underrated the Mets.  All of us took the 74.5 wins for boys from Queens to go under the total and they’re making us look foolish sweeping opening weekend from the Braves.  Frank Francisco who was terrible in Toronto closed out all three wins.  The lineup is better than you realize as long as David Wright is healthy, Daniel Murphy is a professional hitter, and Lucas Duda has 25 homer potential.  They still won’t contend I think, but .500 is definitely in play.

3)      I want to see Yoenis Cespedes in the Home Run Derby.  Here’s a link to the 462-foot bomb that he hit to center field.  Former Mariners third baseman and current color commentator Mike Blowers said he’s “never seen a ball hit to that part of the ballpark in Oakland, not even in batting practice.”

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20411309&topic_id=&c_id=oak&tcid=vpp_copy_20411309&v=3

4)      The Tigers offense could be potentially historic.  Miguel Cabrera is already locked in and having Prince Fielder behind him only is getting him pitches to hit.  Makes you wonder if Ryan Braun’s numbers were more skewed from having Prince protection rather than anything “illegal.”  Alex Avila who people thought might have been a fluke All-Star looks like he’ll continue to grow.  Or maybe the Red Sox pitching is just that bad.

5)      The Brewers just need to stop letting Yovani Gallardo face the Cardinals.  I understand he’s your marquee pitcher, but when he’s 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA in his career against St. Louis.  How about you save him for the 2nd series and go with Greinke/Marcum/Wolf and let Yoga take on the Cubs on Monday, a team that he’s 4-1 with a sub 3.00 ERA in his career.  The result instead 3.2IP, 7H, 5BB, 6ER and FOUR home runs given up in a loss to the rival Cardinals.

What did you take away from Opening Weekend?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes

Which Jersey Should YOU Buy?

Today, Major League Baseball released the list of the 20 best-selling jerseys in 2011.  Derek Jeter to no one’s surprise led MLB in jersey sales (He also was tops in 2010).  His Yankee teammate Mariano Rivera still cracked the list at #18 despite being north of 40 years old.  However, which jerseys are the best investments for the common baseball fan?  One that collects items from all teams, not just their favorite team.

Jeremy Dorn and I are going to do this draft style.  He won the toss and will pick 1st, while I get the 2nd and 3rd and then alternate after that. What we’re looking for in our jersey investments are quality of player, potential time in uniform, and overall awesomeness.  Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera would have been high on this list in 1997.  Now lets see if they can crack out top 20 as their careers wind down.

Pick #1: Matt Kemp, Dodgers

You know I have to go with my boy Matt Kemp. He was one home run shy of 40/40 last season, and just signed a long-term deal with the Dodgers. So to meet the criteria, we have the quality, we have the time spent in uniform, and the overall awesomeness speaks for itself. But I’ll elaborate anyway, because I have an unhealthy bromance with Kemp. Undoubtedly the best five-tool player in baseball today, Kemp hits for average (.324 in 2011), power (39 home runs, 126 RBI last year), steals bases (40), plays defense, and guns people from the outfield (NL Gold Glove for center field). He does all these things while being incredibly handsome. That’s all. Go buy a #27 jersey, everyone.

Pick #2: Joey Votto, Reds

A pick I don’t think you saw coming.  After signing a long extension, Votto will be in a Reds uniform potentially through the 2024 season.  That’s what I’m looking for in my picks.  It’s much easier for me to buy a jersey, when I have the security that player won’t be gone any time soon.  Votto is no slouch of a player either.  He is the 2010 NL MVP and his 162 game averages of .313 BA/31 HR/105 RBI will only get better as he continues in his current prime.  He’ll end up on a short list of greatest Reds of all-time especially if he leads the Queen City to their first World Series title since 1990.  What also helps Votto’s case is what other Reds jersey would you buy?  Brandon Phillips?  Johnny Cueto?  Jay Bruce?  Drew Stubbs?  Give me Votto all day.

Pick #3: Albert Pujols, Angels

The player you probably thought I was going with at #2, but the extra length on Votto’s contract gave him the nod over Pujols.  It’s always nice to get in on the ground floor of a new player that has just joined a team.  Especially when he signs a NINE-year contract.  Angels fans won’t go wrong having a Pujols #5 jersey in their closet as he passes milestone after milestone and ends his career in Anaheim.  Pujols’ credentials speak for themself, 3-time MVP, 9-time All-Star, 2-time World Series champion, and 445 home runs and counting.  You gave me potentially the greatest player in MLB history in my closet, hope you can recover from that.

Pick #4: Matt Cain, Giants

Hah! Gotcha, Mapes. I hate the Giants with all my might, but I can’t deny greatness when I see it. Cain just signed a long extension in San Francisco and should be at the top of the rotation, dominating poor National League hitters for almost another decade. If you want a guy who not only oozes talent and will be in one place for a long time, but is also generally accepted as one of baseball’s good guys, go buy a Matt Cain #18 jersey. Even if it is that ugly orange and black.

Pick #5: Ryan Braun, Brewers

Hah!  Gotcha, Dorn.  That wouldn’t be the Giants jersey I would buy AND I just got the Dodger fan to take a Giants jersey.  I’ll take Ryan Braun last year’s NL MVP.  With Prince Fielder now in Detroit, it doesn’t leave many options for a Brewers jersey in your closet.  Braun is signed in Milwaukee through the 2020 season with a mutual option for 2021, or as I like to call it “longer than Matt Cain.”  I love that I have now locked up the last four years worth of National League MVP’s in my closet while you’re sitting with your favorite player and not even the best pitcher on your hated rival.  Advantage Mapes.  Bonus point for Braun is you get the sweet, baseball mitt style Brewers uniform.

Pick #6: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

First of all, I only took Cain because I’m butt hurt that the Dodgers can’t sign him. It makes sense, just let the logic sink in. I guess we’ll see which Giants jersey you WOULD take here soon *cough, Posey, cough* and that’s nice that you want to represent a player who roids. Well done. I’m taking Miggy for Detroit and his yearly MVP quest. I recently ranked him as the second best player in all of baseball and his numbers back that up. I don’t even care to look how long he will be with the Tigers under his current contract. Why? Because if he moves to a new team, I’ll gladly go out and get the new jersey anyway! That’s how badass this guy is.

Pick #7: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Sure go buy a new Cabrera jersey after 2015, maybe he’ll even go to the Dodgers.  Nah, he’ll probably be another free agent they don’t sign.  I’m taking the best shortstop in the game, Mr. Troy Tulowitzki.  Rockies lock up their players long-term, if you had bought a Todd Helton jersey in 1997, you’d still be wearing it proudly today. (Top 4: Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Helton)  I’ll take nine years of Tulo than 4 years of Cabrera any day.  He hasn’t even hit his peak and has batting titles in his future hitting in Coors Field.  Plus, chicks dig the purple.  It’s science.

Pick #8: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

Who doesn’t love a little Cutch? McCutchen is locked up for the next half decade at least with Pittsburgh, and when the Pirates finally climb back above .500 and start to contend again, McCutchen is going to be the face of the new era. He plays a solid center field and can rake with the best of them. He’s still young too…give him another two or three years and you’ll be seeing #22 jerseys everywhere. Not just in Pittsburgh.

Pick #9: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

You finally have a pick I like.  I have to go with my man Giancarlo Stanton before you snap him up on me.  Hell, I’m wearing his jersey t-shirt in my favorite color (orange) right now.  I don’t have to worry about the Marlins changing their uniforms so I know I’m getting full tenure of the jersey when he’s in Miami.  Stanton isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, where I might get worried that he moves on in free agency.  Even then he’ll just be entering his prime and I have no qualms of getting another Stanton jersey, preferably a Braves one.

Pick #10: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

Bring on the girlfriend jokes. I know, I know. But is there really a cooler catcher to get a jersey of in baseball right now? Not only is he far and away the best defensive catcher in baseball, but he really brought on his offensive game in 2011. Talk all you want about Pujols and Freese and Carpenter from last year’s World Series run, but Yadi is the heart and soul of that team. There’s a reason he looks so angry all the time – he’s a very intense, focused player. And even though he wouldn’t care, I’d love to rep his jersey. That #4 is going to be the backstop for the Cards through at least 2017.

Pick #11: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

I’ll even let you take Jose and Bengie Molina’s jerseys too.  You could’ve had Molina in the last round if you wanted, but I’m sure you do look good in Cardinal red.  I’m gonna go with the jersey t-shirt I actually bought today.  I had a Jonathan Papelbon jersey t-shirt and we had a good run from 2006-2011, I picked Gonzalez today over Jacoby Ellsbury.  The Red Sox have A-Gon in the lineup through 2018, I’ll take a solid seven years out of this shirt.  There are no worries about the Red Sox changing uniforms.  There’s a guy sitting out there that I thought would go top 5, but I can’t bring myself to take him yet.  Maybe next round.

Pick #12: Felix Hernandez, Mariners

King Felix is still one of the most underappreciated pitchers in baseball. Mostly because he’s been buried on bad teams in Seattle. You’ve to go love this guy. He’s already established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game, and he’s still surprisingly young. If you have any baseball fashion sense (says the guy wearing jeans, $25 Nikes and a 10-year-old sweater), you know the Mariners jerseys are sick. And when you throw the “Hernandez” across the shoulders, you’re really stylin’! Felix loves living in the Pacific Northwest and is already signed there for a while longer. But I feel like by the time he’s due a new deal, the M’s will be contending, so I’ll take my chances.

Pick #13: Prince Fielder, Tigers

You really just picked a guy who’s rampant in trade rumors and is more than likely gone after 2014?  You’re gonna go poor with all the jersey you have to buy.  I’ll take the player I thought was going to go in the top 5 picks, the Tiger you should have picked, and a slugger that’s signed in the uniform through 2020, Prince Fielder!  Chicks dig the long ball and Fielder provides that.  Tigers also have a timeless uniform and worst case if he leaves, I can always pretend it’s a Cecil Fielder jersey.

Pick #14: Eric Hosmer, Royals

I have so much bro love for Hosmer that it hurts. He’s still on his rookie deal and will more than likely be the next long-term deal handed out by Royals management. You know I have to get a Hosmer jersey in that powder blue, too. As for the Fielder jersey, it’s a solid choice. He’s going to be a popular choice though, and I am more of a dark horse jersey kind of man. For example, I rep my James Loney Dodger jersey proudly all the time. Now imagine another pretty blue jersey with another first baseman’s name across the back? Hosmer is the best young first baseman in the game, Freddie Freeman be damned.

Pick #15: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

That is the first pick you’ve made that made slam something in anger.  I should’ve gone Hosmer over Prince because you already had a Tigers jersey.  That was a misstep on my part.  I’ll redeem myself with taking the ONLY pitcher jersey I would buy and that is Strasburg.  I fear the big injury with pitchers and they never recover, but I think Strasburg already has that out of the way.  There is no player in MLB that gets the attention he does when he’s on his game.  He’s under contract until 2016 and I look really good in red.

Pick #16: Matt Moore, Rays

Whoa, calm down there buddy! Strasburg is the ONLY pitcher’s jersey you would take? I think the fact that he’s already been injured is reason to NOT take him. What if the same problem crops up again? Once you’re damaged goods, you will literally always have the injury questions following you. So I’ll go with a guy who’s very young, very talented and going to be a breakout star in Tampa in 2012. He’s still on a rookie deal so he should be around for at least four more years, and he will have a chance to contend for a Cy Young by 2013 in my opinion. Moore, Felix and Cain. I dig my pitcher jerseys!

Pick #17: Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays

You’re right, I’d probably take a Matt Moore jersey too.  I even picked him to win AL Cy Young this year somewhere on this blog.  You took Hosmer, so I’ve to get a young stud in a blue jersey too and none better than Brett Lawrie.  Toronto just updated their uniforms coming into this season, so hopefully they stick with them for a while.  Lawrie is also a Canadian born and bred, so I have a feeling he can be a lifetime Blue Jay, unless they stick a team in Vancouver in the next 15 years, making this a safer investment.

Pick #18: Carlos Santana, Indians

You can’t take a guy who hasn’t actually proved anything yet…can you? I’m going with a sure bet. I don’t know if Santana will ever bring his average up, but the power game alone is going to keep fans in love with this young catcher. Plus, I’m still a little bitter that the Dodgers traded him away for Casey Blake. Talk about a bad decision. Right now, I’ve got the best young catcher in the AL Central, the best young first baseman, and the best overall player in the division all tied up on my team. I’m not a huge fan of that division, but I’ll gladly wear these guys’ jerseys.

Pick #19: Buster Posey, Giants

I’ll take the guy I knew you wouldn’t pick or be ridiculed for being a Dodgers fan with two Giants jerseys in his closet.  Posey went to my favorite college when I was little (Florida State) and we have the same birthday!  How do I NOT take him?  As previously mentioned, orange is my favorite color too.  Posey is on his way to super stardom and being the best catcher in the game, unless Joe Mauer can get himself back on track.  A steal this late in the jersey draft as Posey’s jersey was in the top 20 sold in 2011 and he was hurt for the 2nd half.

Pick #20: Robinson Cano, Yankees

How can you have an epic jersey collection without a Yankee in there? I know they are the Evil Empire but if you think those classic threads are ugly, you are a sad, sorry person. If I’m going to take a Yank, it’s gotta be Cano. He’s the future of their franchise and has already established himself as a legit MVP candidate. He’ll be there for life more than likely as all great Yankees are. When I put that on, I’ll get evil glares until they see the big #20 on my back.

Clearly, I’ve out-drafted you tonight, Mapes. I’ll give you props for taking Giancarlo, Tulo and Strasburg. They are bold picks and we could be talking about those three for years to come. But Votto, Prince, Pujols and A-Gon? Come on, I know you’re more original than that! Everyone already has those ones, and while they look pretty, you’ll be matching about 5,000 other fans at any given game.

My team is clearly the more solid one, what with a classic Yankee jersey, the best young star in baseball (Kemp), and three awesome pitchers included on the rack. When making these choices, one must consider first how the jersey looks, then how relevant the player is. And anyone who thinks a Yadi Molina Cards jersey won’t just be pure glory is clearly in contact with Ryan Braun’s dealer.

Robinson Cano was going to make my honorable mention list, but they fact that he’s a free agent after next season kept me at bay.  If he got signed to a 7-year extension tomorrow, he catapults to top 3.  I was for players that I know I will get many years of enjoyment out of.   You will be buying jerseys left and right while I’ll still slip on my Votto, Pujols, Fielder, and Gonzalez late into this decade.  Gonzalez isn’t as owned as you think in Boston, I’ve actually been to Fenway Park.  Plus, I have the color wheel completely covered red, purple, navy blue, bright blue, black, and orange.  My quality of player is also far better and I didn’t pick a jersey of my biggest rival with my 2nd pick, what kind of fan are you?

Here are our honorable mentions!

Jeremy: Yonder Alonso (Padres), Justin Upton (Diamondbacks), and Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)

Bryan: Starlin Castro (Cubs), Jason Heyward/Freddie Freeman (Braves), and Joe Mauer (Twins)

Final Jersey Rosters:

Jeremy: Kemp (Dodgers), Cain (Giants), Cabrera (Tigers), McCutchen (Pirates), Molina (Cardinals), Hernandez (Mariners), Hosmer (Royals), Moore (Rays), Santana (Indians), and Cano (Yankees)

Bryan: Votto (Reds), Pujols (Angels), Braun (Brewers), Tulowitzki (Rockies), Stanton (Marlins), Gonzalez (Red Sox), Fielder (Tigers), Strasburg (Nationals), Lawrie (Blue Jays), Posey (Giants)

The fact that we got through twenty players and there are still a bunch of players that I would proudly wear on the street, shows what a great place America’s pastime is in.

Who would you want in your collection?  Vote in the poll, eave a comment or yell at us on Twitter @Mapes4FanCave for Bryan or @Jamblinman for Jeremy!

Opening Day Friday, What to Look For

Opening Day Thursday is almost in the books.  I sit here watching the Dodgers and Padres with the masterful Vin Scully calling the game taking in all that we already saw.  Great pitching matchups in the afternoon games, a walk-off win for the Detroit Tigers after Jose Valverde blew the save after not messing up a chance in all of 2011, and the longest game in Opening Day history with the Blue Jays and Indians going SIXTEEN innings after Chris Perez coughed up a three-run lead for Cleveland in the top of the 9th.  It’s gonna be hard for Friday’s matchups to top all of that.  Let’s see what we have on tap.

White Sox at Rangers 2:05 ET

The Rangers begin their march for a 3rd straight AL pennant, something that hasn’t been done since the 1998-2001 New York Yankees.  Important for John Danks to get through the 1st inning unscathed as the Rangers top 4 hitters in the lineup all hit .350 or better off of Danks in their career.

Twins at Orioles 3:05 ET

Possibly the worst opening day pitching matchup between Carl Pavano and Jake Arietta.  Twins fans will just be excited to have their M&M boys (Mauer and Morneau) back in the lineup together after they missed a combined 173 games for Minnesota in 2011.

Yankees at Rays 3:10 ET

New York and Tampa Bay start off the 2012 regular season the same way the 2011 one ended at Tropicana Field.  If the drama for this game is anything like game #162, we’re in for a treat.  My AL MVP prediction Robinson Cano hits .386 lifetime against James Shields and makes for a solid Beat the Streak pick on MLB.com

Cardinals at Brewers 4:10 ET

Ryan Braun doesn’t have to face the road crowd after a tumultuous offseason.  The real story here though is Yovani Gallardo, who sports a 1-7 record with a 5.66 ERA in his career against rival St. Louis.  A stat that will not make my co-host Kurt Peter very happy at all.

Rockies at Astros 7:05 ET

Jeremy Guthrie gets the Opening Day nod for Colorado after being traded for in the offseason.  Guthrie was solid in spring training and is the Mapes Special for fantasy streaming pitcher of the day (owned in just 5% of Yahoo! leagues).  Rules for the Mapes Special are they must be available in more than half of leagues, I’ll have another one coming up.

Giants at Diamondbacks 7:10 ET

Two Cy Young candidates on the hill in Tim Lincecum and Ian Kennedy, so expect a pitcher’s duel like we saw in many games Thursday.  The big story though, is the return of catcher Buster Posey to the Giants lineup after a devastating ankle injury last season.  If Posey is 100% he makes the Giants lineup average instead of subpar.

Dodgers at Padres 10:05 ET

The only two teams that play both Thursday and Friday.  For those of you that get to listen to Vin Scully again, I’m deeply jealous.  Cory Luebke and Chad Billingsley make for an interesting pitching matchup in Petco Park has both have had success against their opponent.

Royals at Angels 10:05 ET

Alright, I guess you should be watching Albert Pujols debut for the Halos.  I’m not going to get cute on this one.

Mariners at Athletics 10:05 ET

Welcome back to America.  Not a rematch that we saw in Japan as Brandon McCarthy will take on Jason Vargas instead of Felix Hernandez.  Both McCarthy and Vargas were impressive in their 2012 debuts in Japan, with the Athletics ballpark coming into play Jason Vargas (7% owned) is the 2nd Mapes Special of the day!

Enjoy opening day #4!

-Bryan Mapes