Congrats to Phil Humber

Congrats to Phil Humber of the White Sox on his perfect game today.   Didn’t get to see it, but these are always special.

Coverage of the perfect game is available here.

Cool MLB “Generational” Video

MLB has had some fun with video trickery and made this commercial for themselves where a ton of greats from all eras of baseball are “together” on the field. Yeah, it’s obviously video trickery, but it’s still a pretty cool video just the same.
You’ve probably seen this if you’re a regular watcher of MLB Network, but if you’re not, then you may not have seen it. Definitely worth a watch.

2009 Playoff Predictions (Yeah, I’m late)

I meant to do this the day the playoffs started, but I forgot. We’re three days in, but I’m doing them anyway. Yeah, I’m doing them based on the fact that all the series have two games played now. Sue me. :)
ALDS: Angels over Red Sox in 4, Yankees over Twins in 3
ALCS: Yankees over Angels in 6
NLDS: Phillies over Rockies in 4, Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
NLCS: Phillies over Dodgers in 7
World Series: Yankees over Phillies in 6
Obviously, my first choice would be for my Phillies to repeat. But failing that, I want the World Series to be Dodgers vs Yankees, so TORRE CAN BEAT STEINBRENNER!
Also, bases loaded with nobody out an nobody scores? Yeah, you got screwed on a foul ball call Twins, but come on. Bases loaded and you don’t score any? Yeah, you don’t deserve to win. I originally was going to call that series as Yankees sweep in 3, but then in the middle of Game 2, I thought the Twins could make it a series. But after that no run scoring fiasco, no. You need to go home Minnesota. Not that the Tigers would have done any better there anyway.

Bad Pennsylvania Baseball

If you’ve been following my site for awhile, you know I’m also a Phillies fan. I grew up in Philadelphia, so I still follow my home town team a lot. It’s gotten a lot easier to do so in the last 5 years or so with the proliferation of Internet coverage, but I’ve always sort of paid attention to them. Also, my wife is from Pittsburgh. While she’s a major epic level Steelers fan, she only superficially paid attention to the Pirates. She kind of stopped around the time Barry Bonds left there.
I bring this up, because something happened today which gave both of my home town Pennsylvania teams something notorious.
The one for the Phillies happened on July 15, 2007. That was the day the Phillies lost their 10,000th game in franchise history. No other professional sporting team anywhere in any sport has done that. Granted, the team has been around since 1883, so they had 124 years to work on that record. Anyway, it’s pretty impressively awful. BTW Rangers fans – your connection to this was the losing pitcher for the Phillies that day – Adam Eaton :)
The other thing happened with the Pirates today. Today was the day they lost their 82nd game of the 2009 season. This now officially makes it 17 seasons since the Pirates last had a winning record, which would have been 1992’s incarnation, who went 92-70, and lost to the Braves. Right after that, Barry Bonds went to the Giants as a free agent, and the Pirates haven’t won since. Makes you wonder if the Pirates should sign Bonds back as a publicity stunt, and stick him out there to break the Bonds curse. :) Seriously, though – 17 in a row doesn’t seem nearly as bad as 10,000 losses though, but 17 years in a row with a losing record is pretty bad.
And whose record did the Pirates break tonight? That’s right, the 1933-48 Phillies!

Rusty Greer has been dethroned

It looks like Rusty Greer’s diving catch to save Kenny Rogers’ perfect game has been dethroned as one of the best catches to save a perfect game. DeWayne Wise made this fantastic catch to save Mark Buehrle’s perfect game.

The Youtube video above will probably get removed, as MLB tends to get that stuff offline quickly, if it is gone, go here. Stupid mlb not allowing embedded clips. :(
I haven’t watched the detail on the MLB Network or Baseball Tonight as I write this, but what do you need to know? Perfect game – 27 up, 27 down. Good for him. I also really got a kick out of the story of Barack Obama calling him up for congrats.

All-Stars Among Us

I don’t know about you, but I rather liked that intro video in front of the All-Star Game last Tuesday. Found it on Youtube. Here it is. If you can’t see the video below, click here to see it (in HD).

Nelson Cruz and the Home Run Derby

When it was announced that Nelson “Sail Around the World” Cruz was going to be in the 2009 Home Run Derby, I don’t think anyone expected much out of him. I mean look at who he was playing against. Ryan Howard, Albert Freakin’ Pujols, Prince Fielder. Not that Nelson Cruz is a slouch – he’s having a great power season. But come on, he’s not Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols. I think just about everyone EXPECTED Pujols to win the thing before it started.
Nelson came out, and showed some power in the first round. He tied Prince Fielder for most in the first round with eleven home runs. He also seemed to love the “Big Mac Land” sign in left field. First, he hit the thing, making a quite audible bang. A few later, he hit a ball right over the sign, and then the next swing after that one he hit it WAY above the sign, up into the fourth and upper deck. Quite a titanic shot. They only said it went 440 ft, but it looked a heck of a lot longer than that!
He had some that were quite impressive, and I enjoyed seeing Cruz perform. Obviously because I’m a Rangers fan I liked that, but I think I would have enjoyed that performance had I not known him ahead of time.
In round two, Nelson only had five home runs, but it was enough to give him second place after the second round, putting him in the finals against Prince Fielder. Nelson seemed a little out of gas, although when he did connect, it was good. Check out this chart of where all his hit balls went:

There’s a video montage of Cruz’s home runs via this link over at mlb.com. Stupidly, they don’t allow you to embed video remotely, or I’d do that. Anyway, the ball that hit the Big Mac sign was his second home run. The one that went over the Big Mac sign was the eighth home run (roughly 1:34 into the video clip), and then the titanic shot was right after that at time mark 1:39.
Again, I liked seeing him get as far as he did, and I don’t think there’s anything bad with him second. Was a nice showing for him on the national stage.
Now that’s the nice-y stuff. Here’s the complaints…
1) TOO FREAKIN’ LONG! – Nelson Cruz didn’t come up to bat until the show was already about twenty minutes long. They had this silly thing first where someone came out, and pointed where he wanted Albert Pujols to hit a home run – and he tried. Twice. Didn’t get it. Pujols took like a dozen balls before he swung it seemed. Wow. I don’t really have a problem with this in theory, but given the problems this event has with being peceived as too long… Waiting 20 minutes to actually start is stupid. Perhaps this could have been after it was over, or inbetween rounds 1 and 2 or something like that? Come on.
2) TIME SLOT – This is more a TiVo/DVR thing, but.. Does anyone believe it will stay within it’s time slot of two hours? Come on – this hasn’t ended in under two hours in like, ever… Even before it started, I padded it by an hour, and you know what? It didn’t even fit. My TiVo recording ran out (to record something else at 10PM) when Fielder was batting in the final round. Fortunately, I immediately flipped over to my iPod touch and the MLB At Bat app, which was showing the derby live streamed. I was able to see the end of it that way, but when the Derby doesn’t fit within a three hour allotment of time (one of which was a grant from me), that’s just STUPID. If I remember right, they finished the first round just a few minutes before the two hour mark. Good lord, that’s nuts.
3) Chris Berman: I know a lot of people dislike Chris Berman. I like him a lot – but for football. I’ve never been a fan of his baseball commentating. Even saying that, I’ve always kind of liked him in the HR derby. But not anymore. I think it’s time for a change – his shtick needs to go. I think they should put someone else in there. But NOT Joe Morgan. I could do another entry on why he needs to be replaced, too. ESPN has enough guys on their roster, they could stick someone else in there. Put John Kruk there, we could see the Randy Johnson / John Kruk footage every year. :)
4) Talking over at bats: I believe it was Joe Mauer this year, but it seems there’s always a player that is up at bat, and the announcers are busy talking to some baseball player or exec or something during that player’s Derby atbat. But they don’t talk about the guy at the plate – they’re talking about anything BUT him. While I’m not a Twins or Joe Mauer fan, if I was one, I’d be pissed they weren’t talking about my guy, and talking about anything else. That kind of stuff should be between rounds, not DURING them. Shut up! What would be nice would be using the alternate language feed TV stations almost never use to let me hear what’s going on in the stadium, but shut off the announcers.
I’m undecided about ESPN’s home run tracker thing. The “put a trail on the ball” as it flies out of the park. I kind of thought that the NHL tried that some years ago with “Superpuck“, and it went away when the real fans started a revolt over the idea. I expect the same thing will happen here. If they try bringing it in on their regular coverage, I might have to have a stronger reaction.
On the positive side, I am so glad they stopped having some sideline reporter accost the player when they come out of the box. They always asked them stupid questions like “What did it feel like when you hit home run #4?” I mean come on – who cares? That was auto skip stuff on the TiVo. At least it’s gone – last night they just sent a kid with Gatorade and a towel, which is what it should be.
Overall, I think the derby is fine. I know a lot of people rag on it, but I think it’s just minor tweaks and it can be OK. Does anyone remember the last home run derby that wasn’t led by Chris Berman?
And for a laugh, check out this link, which is a drinking game based on the 2009 Home Run Derby. Made me chuckle for sure.

All Star Game Bonuses

Read an article over at bizofbaseball.com today about the breakdown over who gets what bonus for being named to the All Star team. Here’s what I found for the three Rangers players named:
Michael Young – $50,000
Josh Hamilton – $10,000
Nelson Cruz – He wasn’t listed, so it’s probably zero.

All Star Game Stuff

Well, Ian Kinsler lost both the main vote to Dustin Pedroia in the main vote at second base. He was then put up for the final vote. He was also screwed there and lost that vote by some unstated “very small number”.
That left our regular All-Star votes of Josh Hamilton voted in as a starter, and Michael Young selected as a backup. That was our contingent. Which is OK, for a team that’s not known for being all that great overall. I thought Kevin Millwood should have been on the pitching staff, but until we win, we’re not getting that kind of respect.
Today it was announced that Nelson Cruz was named to the All-Star team as a replacement for Torii Hunter, who went on the DL today. I also read that Ian Kinsler could still possibly be added as a replacement for Pedroia, whose wife is having some sort of pregnancy problems. That’s something that needs to be prayed for – new life is always good.
Back to baseball, though. If Ian gets added, it will be slightly amusing from the aspect of he didn’t get voted in – twice, and would end up starting anyway. :)
Over in the NL, I was rather excited to see that Jason Werth was added to the NL roster in place of Carlos Beltran. Also Shane Victorino made it in on the final vote, so there’s four Phillies on there, and we could have four Rangers if Kinsler ends up on there anyway.
Looking forward to Tuesday.