Friday 5 – Switch Hitters

After last week’s time off, I’m back with today’s Friday 5.  Since baseball season just ended and I’m not ready for it to be over, I’m dedicating today’s list to switch hitters.

During my brief and generally forgettable baseball career, I toyed with the idea of switch hitting.  It lasted for a practice before I got tired of striking out.   Since then, I’ve always been enamored with the idea of it.  So let’s take a look at the Top 5 switch hitters in the game today starting with:

5. Kendry Morales – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Can one season make you one of the top five switch hitters in the game?  Sure it can.  Morales was given the full-time starting job for the first time this season and he didn’t disappoint.  The 26 year-old put up .306 batting average, 34 long balls, and 108 RBIs.  For years we heard of his potential and it finally came to fruition.  Morales hits for right around the same average from both sides of the plate, but he has markedly more power from the left side where he hit 30 homers.  If Morales can do this for a few more years he’ll become one of the premier switch hitters in the game.

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Matt Wieters First Career Home Run

Tonight in the bottom of the second inning in a game against the New York Mets, Matt Wieters hit a two-run, 368-foot shot over the left field wall off of Tim Redding to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead. The Mets never had the lead in this game. My Orioles dominated. It was awesome. Mark this day as the beginning of the rampage that is Matt Wieters. He is poised to take the league by storm. I’m pumped.

Another interesting point from the game tonight is that Nick Markakis went four for four and scored two runs.

Congrats on your first MLB home run, Matt. We’re all excited for what  your future holds.

Wieters watching his first career home run

Wieters watching his first career home run

2009 Baseball Previews – NL East

Baseball begins one week from today with a showdown between the Atlanta Braves and the defending champions Philadelphia Phillies.  So with that in mind, we’ll take a look at the very competitive NL East.  For the AL previews check here: East, Central, WestContinue reading

Back To Their Old Tricks

sabEarlier this morning it was reported that the New York Yankees have signed starter CC Sabathia to a 7 year, $161 million contract.  Good to see the Yankees won’t lose their free-spending ways under Hank and Hal’s new regime.

Sabathia will join Chien-Ming Wang, maybe Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes, unless they sign Derek Lowe or AJ Burnett (or both).  Sabathia carried the Brewers into the playoffs down the stretch, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA.  This was after starting 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA with the Cleveland Indians.  Not exactly eye-popping there and Sabathia has lost 10 games or more in five of his eight seasons.

Another point of concern is the number of innings that the soon-to-be 28 year old has already thrown.  In his first eight seasons, he averages 222 innings and had seven complete games in 17 starts for the Brewers down the stretch.  Assuming Sabathia doesn’t opt-out after his third year in the Bronx, there’s no telling how his body will hold up until he’s 35.  Consider me skeptical on this one, but it’s the Yankees, this is what they do.

2855916183_fb4b070161The other big signing yesterday was Francisco Rodriguez signing with the New York Mets.  K-Rod will be 27 next year, and set a record last year with 62 saves.   He’s had at least 40 saves in each of the last four years.  Now, having said that, I don’t like him at all.  I don’t like paying big money to relievers.  I know the Mets have had their bullpen woes down the stretch the last two years, but overpaying for a closer in not the right answer.  I know Billy Wagner is hurt, but he’s been great the last two years.  Is K-Rod really that big of an improvement?  I think the middle relievers are more in need of the upgrade, not a big money closer.

Side note on K-Rod, I talked with a guy this summer who used to work for the Angels.  He said Rodriguez was one of the biggest prima-donnas in the game.  “He’s one of those guys who has to have his hat dry cleaned every day.”  Pair that with his on-field antics and I think you’ll find a fairly unlikeable guy.  Throw that into the Mets clubhouse which hasn’t had the best track record of cohesion, granted it got much better under Jerry Manuel, but still.

Also, Kerry Wood found a new home in Cleveland on a 2-year deal.  Good for him, now that he’s not a Cub, I hope he does well.

Now that two of the bigger free agents have found homes, we may see even more fall into place.  Check out MLBTradeRumors for all the up to date information.

Final Day of the Regular Season

I know yesterday was a huge day in college football (it almost reminded me of way back in 2007) and we won’t ignore that.  Hopefully, I’ll have some time later to go back and write something up.

Anyway, today I drug myself to a computer lab on campus so I won’t be tempted to watch the Rams get beat or any of the season’s final baseball games.  I have an 8 page paper due tomorrow about the stability of the Russian ice cream market.  Fun.  As you can tell, I’m working very hard.  I have three Yahoo windows open updating box scores from the Mets-Marlins, Cubs-Brewers, and an NFL game at the same time.  Right now the Cubs just intentionally passed Prince Fielder to put runners on first and third with one out in the Bottom of the 7th.  A sac fly from JJ Hardy would tie the game at one.  In the other game, Carle Beltran just homered to tie the game at two heading to the top of the 7th.  (Hardy just walked, come on Cory Hart)

As you all know, if either the Brewers or the Mets lose and the other wins, they’re staying home in October.  If they both win or lose, then we’ll have a one game playoff tomorrow night at Shea.    As a Braves fan, I’m pulling hard for the Brewers because seeing Mets fans in pain makes me laugh.  (Hart struck out.  Come on Craig Counsell)

As for the NFL, Jacksonville just won in OT and Kansas City may get the first win in 2008 for Missouri.  I’d love to give some more insight than that, but I’m in the back of a stuffy classroom writing about how the ’98 Russian Financial Crisis impacted ice cream sales. (Counsell walked! Tie game!)

I hope everyone else is enjoying the drama that is Sunday afternoon.  I sure am.  Stupid Russian ice cream.

Ed.’s note – As soon as this was published, several things happened in quick succession.  First, Wes Helms and Dan Uggla hit back to back homers for the Marlins.  Then, Donnie Avery (!) scored on a 37 yeard rush for the Rams.  Then, Ryan Bruan hit a tie-breaking 2-run homer for the Brewers in Milwaukee.  Now everyone just hold form and we’ll have a nice October.

Fan Suing New York City

We hope everyone had a great and safe 4th of July.  Weller came down to Columbia to visit for a couple days and did some grilling and watched fireworks and generally did a whole lot of nothing.

Now on to the sports.  I woke up this afternoon to this article about a fan in New York City who is suing the city for $5.5 million after being struck in the face with a broken bat during a August 8th game against the Braves.  The shattered bat left the man with what he called a “broken face.”

I’m not completely familiar with the legal process, but I’m not sure what the city of New York has to do with someone being hit with baseball bat, and I’m not sure why it would cost $5.5 million if they did.  I feel very bad for this guy and I think they should do something about the maple bats that splinter into multiple pieces, unlike the ash bats.  Like my roommate said, “A-Rod uses ash bats, they can’t be any worse.”

I checked the back of my ticket from the May 31st Cardinals against the Pirates and it says:

The holder assumes all risk and incidental of the Game of Baseball, whether occurring prior too, during or subsequent to the playing of the game, including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by thrown bats and thrown or batted balls, and agrees that Busch Stadium, the participating clubs, Cardinals Ballpark, LLC, St. Louis Cardinals LLC and their affiliates, agents, or players, are not liable for injuries resulting from such causes.

I would imagine the Mets’ policy is equivalent to this and that their “St. Louis Cardinals LLC and their affiliates” would encompass the city as well, but again, I don’t know enough about the legal process.  Best of luck to this Mets fan, I guess.  I hope he gets their entire team disbanded.

I was reminded of another odd lawsuit from a couple years ago.  I don’t know how this one turned out, but it’s worth reading.

Wow, We’ve Been Slacking

It’s bee quite a while since we last posted something up here, but it’s not from lack of events in the sports world. Basically, we’re just big slackers and we know it. Sometimes video games matter more than anything else.

The Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals, though I didn’t watch any of it. I’m glad for KG and Ray Allen, but I lost all respect for Paul Pierce. Not that I had much for him to begin with given his college choice. I’m just glad basketball is over so I don’t have to listen to Stephen A. Smith anymore.

The Mets cowardly fired their manager, Willie Randolph, in the middle of the night. I never thought Randolph was a very good manager to begin with, but what is Omar Minaya thinking? Two weeks ago he has a very public meeting to keep Randolph and then let speculation run rampant until firing him in the
middle of the night while the Mets were across the country in Los Angeles. This drew the ire of many people around the sports world, making Willie Randolph quite a sympathetic figure. Omar Minaya tried to make himself look like a decent human being by saying he didn’t want the firing to be leaked and have Randolph hear it from someone else. Omar Minaya is a doof and the Mets should be hang their heads on this one. The Mariners also fired everyone related to their team. I heard they were keeping Ichiro and Felix Hernandez and are going to try and win games only using those two.

The first game of the Quarterfinals in the European Championships was this afternoon with Germany taking down Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal 3-2. The Germans will take on winner of tomorrow’s Turkey-Croatia match. Finally Germany has looked like the team I picked to win, making me feel a little bit better about my decision. At this point, the Dutch have looked invincible. If they play close to the way they have up to this point, then I don’t see anyone touching them. A Germany-Holland final would make for a spectacular game.

Tiger Woods is done for the year. After his thrilling extra-extra hole playoff win in the US Open, Woods revealed that he’d have knee surgery that would sideline him for at least 6 months. I figured he’d be out until the British Open, but not this long. Apparently he tore his ACL while jogging last year. Golf ratings will take a massive hit around the country. I doubt I will watch any for the rest of the year.

Also, Dayn Perry wrote one of the stupidest articles of all time earlier this week.  Read it, try to make sense of it.  I’ve never been real sure why Foxsports continues to pay this guy.

That might catch us up a little. I think Weller has something planned for later, but tends to fall asleep like a narcoleptic person, so I don’t know what to make of that. We won’t slack this bad again, we promise.

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