According to CSNBaltimore.com Orioles insider Rich Dubroff, MLB is not allowing Nick Markakis and Trevor Plouffe to use specialized bats with pink labels this Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day and symbolize the fight against cancer. Check out the tweet here:
Markakis, and Plouffe wanted to use specially designed bat with pink label to symbolize fight against cancer. MLB said no.
— Rich Dubroff (@RichDubroffCSN) May 10, 2013
Before we get all up in arms and send a screaming, pitchfork-wielding mob to the Commissioner’s office, there may be a reason that the idea was rejected:
MLB says Louisville Slugger has exclusive rights to pink bats on Sunday. Markakis and Plouffe’s mothers are both cancer survivors.
— Rich Dubroff (@RichDubroffCSN) May 10, 2013
I’m not one to go back on my word or break off a contract, but this seems to fall under the category of “special exemption,” especially given that both players’ mothers have survived cancer. To me, it looks like a very cool, coordinated effort by Markakis and Plouffe to make MLB Mother’s Day even more unique and intimate.
The money and the media attention should focus on Louisville Slugger per the terms of the agreement, but it would be very nice to see a one-time exception made for Markakis and Plouffe. Can those two not at least use the same bats as other players and write their own message on to the wood?
As politically correct as the rules are, this sucks. Thoughts?
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
You could go to his Twitter page and find all the answers easily, but then the “quiz” aspect of this blog is completely ruined. So don’t do that. Don’t be that guy. Let’s do this without cheating, huh?
Let’s just break it down one photo at a time to test your baseball knowledge. I’ll put the three scouting reports below (with names deleted), and give three hints about each.
If you guess the correct player without hints, give yourself 4 points. For each hint you need to use thereafter, take off one point and only reward yourself with points if you guess the player correctly before the end. (Example: If I guess the first player after reading two of the hints, I’m down to two points total for that photo.)
At the bottom, you can see answers to all three and add up your total to determine what level of baseball awesome you really are. If those instructions are too unclear still, there’s nothing I can do to help you. And sorry, no prizes. We don’t make money. So you just get the honor of knowing you are a brilliant human being and baseball fan.
Let’s get this thing started. First, Idelson tweeted this ancient report on a young shortstop who ended up in the Hall of Fame after a long, successful career (4 points):
Hint #1 (3 points): This player was his team’s first black player and formed the first-ever black double play combination in MLB history.
Hint #2 (2 points): He won the NL MVP in 1958 and 1959 and retired with 512 home runs, yet never won a World Series ring.
Hint #3 (1 point): The mystery player above was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1977 and is one of only six players in franchise history to have his number retired (#14).
Did you figure that one out? Let’s skip ahead a few decades to the only current player on this quiz. Like our first player, this guy has played his entire career with the same team and will likely end up in Cooperstown as well. Remember, the team listed on each report isn’t necessarily the team they were drafted to (4 points):
Hint #1 (3 points): The Houston Astros’ failure to draft him first overall in the 1992 draft (Phil Nevin was their eventual choice) caused one of their best talent evaluators and scouts, Hal Newhouser, to quit his job in protest. This player went later in the first round to the team he still plays for today.
Hint #2 (2 points): Despite numerous top-ten finishes in the MVP voting, this player has never won the hardware. He has, however, won a Rookie of the Year award, All-Star Game MVP, World Series MVP, five Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers and the Hank Aaron Award so far over his career.
Hint #3 (1 point): This player has been his team’s captain since 2003, and holds the franchise record for hits and stolen bases. The five-time World Series winner registered his 3,000th career hit off David Price in 2011 and is commonly known as “Mr. November.”
That one was a bit easier, huh? If you didn’t get the answer right, chances are you’re either a toddler or very, very lost in the blogosphere right now. The last entrant is our only pitcher, who also entered the Hall of Fame after an illustrious career with three teams (4 points):
Hint #1 (3 points): This 1983 Hall of Fame inductee won more games than any other pitcher in the 1960’s, but was often overshadowed by Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson during that time frame. Though the report lists him as “Cuban or Puerto Rican,” he is actually Dominican.
Hint #2 (2 points): Well known for intimidation techniques involving throwing at batters’ heads, this backfired on the pitcher in a 1965 game against a rival club. After he threw at a player early in the game, tensions rose and a brawl ensued, in which this pitcher used a bat to hit the un-helmeted head of the opposing team’s catcher.
Hint #3 (1 point): The ten-time All-Star threw a no-hitter in 1963 and had his number (#27) retired by the team he spent all but two of his professional seasons with. That same team now honors this pitcher with a statue outside its ballpark on the West Coast, depicting his iconic leg kick.
There you have it! Add up your points from the three reports and follow this graph below to determine how baseball savvy you really are:
11-12 points: You ARE a demi-god. Like Yoenis Cespedes, but with baseball trivia instead of a bat.
9-10 points: You are Mr. Consistency. Pretty much Todd Helton, minus the DUI (we assume).
7-8 points: You are a scrapper, much like Bryce Harper. Very impressive, but still room to improve.
4-6 points: You really let us down. We might as well call you Matt Bush, Jr.
1-3 points: You can’t be serious. You strike out more often than Mark Reynolds blindfolded.
0 points: You need to leave. Exit our blog, right now.
Thanks for taking our scouting report pop quiz! We appreciate all feedback, positive or negative, in the comments section below!
1. Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs)
2. Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)
3. Juan Marichal (San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers)
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
This golden nugget of greatness occurred before the bottom of the fourth inning began at Petco Park on Wednesday, in a game that the Dodgers would eventually win 4-3 over the Padres.
Scully continues to go on a slightly nonsensical, yet thoroughly enjoyable, ramble about a new DirecTV service called “DogTV. Then, the 85-year-old, smooth-voiced legend concluded with a relevant question: “Does that mean cats can’t watch it?”
Scully’s ability to be at the top of a difficult profession for decades upon decades and master his craft with grace, style, and accuracy is why he will forever be remembered as the greatest announcer who ever lived. The fact that Scully was able to tear viewers’ eyes away from game action to tune in with full attention to his brief tangent and end up just smiling with amusement, is beyond impressive.
He has the charm of a guffawing grandfather, the wit of a very old fox, and the voice of God (sorry, Morgan Freeman). Go ahead and watch the clip linked below and try not to smile as Scully giggles and gasps his way through a very troubling set of questions for someone who was born when Babe Ruth was still playing (though I’d argue his general knowledge of all this doggone technology us whippersnappers use these days is far superior to most people his age).
And, in fairness, the questions remain–what IS a hashtag? They really don’t make sense, beyond the “trendability” of such things. And though DirecTV’s concept is marvelous, what happens to my poor cat when all he sees on the tube all day is those dumb dogs chasing their tails? I can only imagine.
Take a look at Vin’s hilarious diatribe RIGHT HERE. Is this one of the best announcer moments in recent memory? Tell us in the comments below!
Oh…and for what it’s worth? After Scully’s little speech, #VinScully began trending on Twitter. Naturally.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
After the Houston Astros dis–hey…stop laughing…it really happened–dismantled the Texas Rangers last night at Minute Maid Park, we had our first full day of baseball today.
Naturally, ESPN kicked it off with proof that they are extremely stubborn as a network, pitting C.C. Sabathia and the hobbled Yankees versus Jon Lester and the completely average Red Sox.
There were so many amazing moments in a long day of ball that it was hard to narrow down to just five. But here is our best shot at it. This is what we do at Three Up, Three Down. We write stuff on baseball-related activities for your enjoyment. So, enjoy!
5. Justin Jacks One
Welcome to Atlanta, where the playa’s play and Upton hits bombs like every day. No disrespect to Freddie Freeman, who also went mammo today, but this Justin Upton blast was put in orbit. And it’s not just a top moment because of the distance–the Braves outfield is the most freakish in baseball, and this is just the first sampling. The Braves faithful have been waiting for this moment since the original trade was made, and the little bro definitely didn’t disappoint.
4. Brewers Bailed Out
One of KP’s least favorite memories of the 2012 season was any blown save by John Axford and Co. If you see our tallest group member, give him a hug. Because Axford was at it again on Opening Day, giving up a no-doubter with two outs in the ninth to the Rockies’ Dexter Fowler, which tied the game. Fortunately for Milwaukee and the home fans, the Rockies pitching staff is deplorable and Jonathan Lucroy was able to score a walk-off sac fly and bail the bullpen out.
3. Bryce Decides Twice is Nice
If there was any debate that last year’s NL Rookie of the Year would suffer from a sophomore slump, he killed it quick. In his first two at-bats of the 2013 season, Bryce Harper absolutely crushed two Ricky Nolasco pitches and put them in the right field bleachers. I’m not buying that his second one has landed yet. In fact, it might currently be traveling over the Atlantic Ocean. Keep an eye out for it. The 20-year-old phenom is on pace for 324 jacks this year.
The late Cardinals legend and Hall of Famer Stan Musial is being honored by the team with a cool, classy patch (pictured to the right) on their left sleeves in 2013. But the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hosted the Cards on Opening Day, pulled off a fantastic move by paying homage with a video tribute to Musial between innings. Unfortunately, I don’t have video for you, but the gesture itself was a true act of sportsmanship and remembrance of one of the greatest hitters and humans the world has ever seen.
1. Kershaw Goes Krazy
Let me set the stage: The defending champions travel to their heated rival’s new stadium and face their fancy new team in a battle between two of the best pitchers in the league. A pitcher’s duel turns into a one-man show as Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw not only throws a complete game, four-hit shutout, but hits a go-ahead home run that breaks a scoreless tie in the eighth inning. Unbelievable. And in a game that began with a well-choreographed first pitch skit from Dodgers heroes Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser. I have to take a second to brag, as humbly as possible. I tweeted THIS about five minutes before magic occurred. Of course it was a coincidence but it makes me believe in fairy tale endings, and reinforces our love of this magical sport.
Buckle up, baseball fans. This was just day one. Only 161 more regular season games to go! Vote below on which one of these moments should have been in the top five, or comment about any moments we missed!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
We couldn’t just stop with the opening round of pools C and D! Jeremy and Mapes of course had to delve into the 2nd round of pools A and B. It will give Mapes something more to root for than just saying the word “honkbal” over and over and over. The first WBC fantasy draft and rules can be found here.
There are only four teams in this round two so the rules change to where we need at least two players from every team and a maximum of four from each team. The same positions and point scoring system applies! We’re choosing from Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands. Jeremy had the first pick in the pools C and D draft so, Mapes will take the opening pick in this draft Let’s roll!
Cuban. Barry. Bonds. Let’s just move on.
Pick #2 – Team Jeremy: Shinnosuke Abe, C (Japan)
Did you really have to go the “Barry Bonds” route? Why not the Cuban Babe Ruth? In any case, this guy is the Japanese Buster Posey. No, seriously. He won MVP on the champion team, named the Giants. And he’s just as good with the bat, better with the glove.
Pick #3 – Team Jeremy: Alfredo Despaigne, OF (Cuba)
What more do you want? This guy has a 1.636 OPS in the World Baseball Classic so far, which was capped off by an absolute monster three-run homer against Japan in the opening round. Despaigne is en FUEGO right now.
Pick #4 – Team Mapes: Chien-Ming Wang, SP (Chinese Taipei)
I really loved what I saw from Wang in his first start of the WBC. His sinker ball was really working and I expect him to go for a full six innings and contend for a win in this round.
Pick #5 – Team Jeremy: Danny Betancourt, SP (Cuba)
My team will be stocked full of Cubans. There’s good reason. Yes, these guys can mash on offense, but if you watched Danny Betancourt’s first round performance (eight strikeouts, by the way), you know this dude is straight filth.
Pick #6 – Team Mapes: Andrelton Simmons, SS (Netherlands)
Homer pick! I wasn’t letting Simba get away from me with my love of the Braves. He hit over .300 in the first round, plus gets plenty of at-bats atop the Dutch lineup.
Pick #7 – Team Jeremy: Diegomar Markwell, SP (Netherlands)
Depending on Markwell’s matchup in the quarterfinals, this could come back to haunt me. But he was downright nasty in the first game of the tournament against a powerful Korea team, so I’m hopeful he’ll score me some big points.
Pick #8 – Team Mapes: Jose Fernandez, 2B (Cuba)
I wanted to ensure that I was strong up the middle and also take as much of Cuba’s powerhouse lineup. I’m doubling down on those with Fernandez, who led Pool A and B in the first round with a .625 batting average. I hope it carries over to round two.
Pick #9 – Team Jeremy: Yoshio Itoi, OF (Japan)
Itoi had a big first round, hitting .300 with four RBI and two stolen bases. He has a unique blend of speed, power and contact hitting abilities, which I hope he will continue to ride into round two for my team.
I thought about going symmetry and taking the other “Ching-Ming” on Chinese Taipei, but instead I’ll go with Dai-Kang Yang who played in all three games for Chinese Taipei. He led the team in total bases in round one, which is what I need to rack up points!
Pick #11 – Team Jeremy: Frederich Cepeda, OF (Cuba)
My outfield is just unfair. Itoi, Despaigne, and now the latter’s Cuban teammate, Cepeda. He tied for the team lead with 9 total bases in their first three games, including two doubles and a triple. The .500 batting average and .615 on-base percentage sealed the deal for me, though.
Pick #12 – Team Mapes: Kazuhisa Makita, RP (Japan)
Can’t resist a submarine-throwing closer. Just can’t do it.
Pick #13 – Team Jeremy: Loek Van Mil, RP (Netherlands)
This picture is not photoshopped. Van Mil is 7’1″ and comes at the hitters from seemingly inches away. He got the job done for the Netherlands in the first round, and I expect him to close out any games that they lead in round two.
Pick #14 – Team Mapes: Hung-Wen Chen, RP (Chinese Taipei)
I needed to grab another reliever, with Van Mil gone and my strategy of only grabbing Cuban offensive players, that leaves me with Hung-Wen Chen who picked up a save in round one.
Pick #15 – Team Jeremy: Curt Smith, 1B (Netherlands)
I think this is a big sleeper pick. I love this guy filling in at first base. If there’s one player who was unknown among other big names on this team’s roster, it was Smith. He only had seven at-bats in the first three games (thanks to four walks), but hit .286 in that span.
Pick #16 – Team Mapes: Yulieski Gourriel, 3B (Cuba)
I know, I know. Gourriel went 1 for 13 in round one, but he still hits in the heart of the Cuban lineup. I’ll gladly take his upside, when I need a third baseman anyway this late!
Pick #17 – Team Jeremy: Xander Bogaerts, 3B (Netherlands)
You can have your Cuban missile launcher, I’ll take my all-around stud in Red Sox top prospect Bogaerts. If defense counted, he’d be even more valuable. But so far with the bat, Bogaerts has been relatively quiet. That won’t last long for the career .296 minor league hitter. I hope he breaks out when he’s on my team.
Pick #18- Team Mapes: Hisayoshi Chono, OF (Japan)
This is where I panicked, but I like Chono’s upside. I think he bounces back after hitting .200 in round one, but will get all the time in left field for team Japan.
Pick #19 – Team Jeremy: Chih-Sheng Lin, SS (Chinese Taipei)
At this point, I’m still in need of two Chinese Taipei representatives. With middle infield to fill, I looked at Lin to provide some offensive pop for my team. He hit .300 in the first round, and also got on base quite frequently (.417 OBP).
Pick #20 – Team Mapes: Andruw Jones, OF (Netherlands)
My other Braves homer pick! I love that Netherlands has control of Curacao so they can use Simmons and Jones in the WBC. I can’t resist not having a player I grew up watching in Atlanta on my team and he was even pretty good in round one.
Pick #21 – Team Jeremy: Alexei Bell, OF/Util (Cuba)
With my utility pick, I had to go back to the bats of Cuba. I could have closed my eyes and picked any of the hitters, but I settled with Bell because I still can’t get his ridiculous homer the other night out of my memory. Hopefully there’s more where that came from.
Pick #22 – Team Mapes: Erisbel Arruebarruena, SS/Util (Cuba)
The guy can hit and I really just took him so I would have more reason to learn how to pronounce his last name.
I ruled out the Cuban closer by selecting Bell with my previous pick, but that’s all fine and dandy. I don’t know if Settsu will get me any saves, but he did lock down one of Japan’s two wins in round one. He’s unhittable and could score me a few sneaky points.
Pick #24 – Team Mapes: Dashenko Ricardo, C (Netherlands)
Well I have to take a catcher and Ricardo hit .400 in round one. Honk if you love honkbal!
Pick #25 – Team Jeremy: Yen-Wen Kuo, 2B (Chinese Taipei)
Well, I wasn’t going to leave his double play partner alone on my roster! I fill out the team with a necessary pick of the Taipei second baseman, and can’t complain about his .333 average in round one!
Pick #26 – Team Mapes: Masahiro Tanaka, SP (Japan)
With Jeremy taking his starting pitchers super early it let me take my choice of Japanese starters to round out my team. I like Tanaka’s upside, even though Kenta Maeda had the better numbers for Japan in round one. Plus, this opens me up to plenty of “you have no marbles” jokes like Tanaka from Major League 2.
Now all four pools are represented, even if we showed up a bit late to the party (Can you blame us? We’re still waiting for Jose Abreu’s home run ball to land, okay?). We have our teams and will let fate dictate this the rest of the way. Follow along with us on Twitter at the tags below, and don’t forget to vote for who you think has the best team below!
Last time, we told you that four of the five members of this blog and podcast were trying out again for the MLB Fan Cave. While we were hoping to get all four of us to 4th and Broadway, we did have two of us make the top 52. We would love your support as we continue our dream of representing our teams in New York City.
Bryan Mapes: Atlanta Braves Fan
You can vote for Bryan by going here!
Jeremy Dorn: Los Angeles Dodgers Fan
You can vote for Jeremy by going here!
We’ll have more on our journey as it progresses. I can personally say day one of the top 52 has been a whirlwind for me to say the least. I almost drove off the highway when I found out from my brother that I had made it. I wasn’t able to do anything at work, and having my bar guests vote for me while I worked was so nice of them. I ended up gaining 100 Twitter followers because of the support of the best fans on Twitter: Braves fans! (Sorry Jeremy) I posted two promotional videos that you can watch here and here. Plus, I got retweets from Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm, the Braves, and Adam Greenberg. The latter two even followed me on Twitter. Almost forgot the part where I pulled Troy Tulowitzki and Bruce Sutter game-used memorabilia out of Topps packs on a live video, crazy! Day one has been a blast, and I can’t wait for the next 13 of top 52 voting!
Jeremy woke up to the good news and was running on pure adrenaline all day because of it. He also got a ton of love from the Twitterverse (follow @Jamblinman), and was able to secure what will hopefully be the first of many interviews. He even convinced his fellow interns at San Francisco Magazine to tweet on the Giants-friendly publication on his behalf. Jeremy was in the top 50 last year and remembers well the difficulties, pressures, and sleepless nights involved with campaigning for the top 30 cut. It was a great start to a great campaign, and he hopes to continue the posivibes all the way into New York to represent 3u3d and the Dodgers in the Fan Cave!
Angelo and Brian both put out awesome videos and have our utmost respect. They were great candidates for the MLB Fan Cave as well.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
You have to give Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduirneckenckeicnckine (upon further review, it’s actually “Zdurineck,” but who’s counting?) credit for recognizing a weakness and aggressively pursuing a solution.
It’s no secret that the Mariners have needed offensive punch for a long time, but this off-season they finally did something about it. In December, they traded starting pitcher Jason Vargas to the Angels for slugger Kendrys Morales. And this week, they put together a three-team trade to snag Michael Morse from the Washington Nationals.
This lineup hasn’t had two middle-of-the-order power threats in it since Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson — and we all know how that turned out.
Add in the fact that Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero will presumably improve on their 2012 seasons, as well as a handful of top prospects on the verge of promotion (shortstop Nick Franklin and catcher Mike Zunino for example), and this Seattle team might be very, very real.
Let’s break it down:
OF/1B Michael Morse
SP A.J. Cole (AAA)
SP Blake Treinen (Class A+)
Player to be Named Later
C John Jaso
To me, the clear winners are the Mariners. That being said, all three teams do improve in one way or another. The Nationals can afford to trade away a power bat for prospects with the re-signing of Adam LaRoche recently and the addition of Denard Span to the outfield (which will push Bryce Harper to left field, most likely).
Washington actually traded Cole, a top pitching prospect, to Oakland originally for Gio Gonzalez. Getting him back may be a coup, even though they have solid pitching depth already. If the player to be named later is of any consequence, the Nationals could potentially win this trade. And while Treinen isn’t an uber-prospect, the 24-year-old has some upside (92 to 23 K to BB ratio last season).
Fear not, A’s fans — your team did good, too. Oakland was forced to designate George Kottaras for assignment to make room for Jaso, but they landed the good bat behind the plate that Billy Beane has been pursuing for years. In 2012, Jaso hit .276 with 10 homers and 50 RBI in just under 300 at-bats.
But as Beane always does, he scored a hitter who gets on base at a ridiculous clip (.394 last season). Jaso will battle it out with Derek Norris for the starting job, but it should be a very good platoon for the A’s lineup in 2013.
But back to the man of the hour, Morse. This may be a one-year experiment for the Mariners, who sorely need the offense, because Morse will be a free agent after the season. But it might be well worth it.
In 2012, Morse hit 18 homers and 62 RBI in just 102 games. Since getting regular playing time in Washington (Morse had his first four seasons in Seattle, but didn’t see much time), he has become a legit power threat.
In just over 350 career games as a National, Morse hit about 70 home runs (he’s good for just under 30 in a full season, essentially). But the real gem is what this does for the Mariners’ lineup.
It’s this writer’s opinion that the Mariners are an under-the-radar club who may be next year’s Oakland A’s. Why? Last season they were buried in the best division in baseball, so people might not remember they won 75 games. With two legitimate bats bolstering the lineup, plus the aforementioned prospects, the M’s could be very scary in 2013.
And lest we forget Felix Hernandez anchoring an above-average rotation with three star pitching prospects just waiting for a shot at the big leagues. Even if one of the prospects pans out, the rotation more than replaces Vargas.
Assume Morse and Morales stay healthy, and I think the Mariners are good for a .500 season in a very worst-case scenario. In a division where it will take 90 wins to sniff the playoffs, they would have to get incredible production from other members of the lineup too, but we saw it happen in Oakland last season.
Either way, the Mariners are going for it and I respect that. Seattle has improved, as is the goal with any trade. Therefore, they win this trade for me.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)