Are the Yankees setting themselves up for an uneventful postseason?
09/29/2011 4:49 AM - Devo
This last series against the Tampa Bay Rays could mark a bad omen for the New York Yankees heading into the playoffs.
It is well written that once a team clinches a playoff birth they rest their starters, attempt to give the younger players some playing time and hope the healing process of injured players resets itself around playoff time.
The problem that I can see the Yankees facing is that after battling through a regular season marked with rotation problems and a seemingly endless task of taking down a Boston Red Sox squad that owned them at the beginning of the season, they now have to re-load and dial it up to the face the Detroit Tigers in two nights.
For now, the pressure has subsided, and the Bronx Bombers have been going through the motions of playing out the regular season schedule. I know everyone plays to win, but for the Yankees, the playoffs have been the only thing on their minds. In the epic debacle that was the extra-inning game that Dan Johnson (Jonathon Papelbon’s arch-enemy) emerged from nowhere for the second time, Girardi used over 10 different pitchers, some of whom most diehards have never heard of.
The night before, in a game they should have closed out, Rafael Soriano coughed up a late lead, and on Monday another six Yankees toed the rubber maxing out at two innings, while their line-up couldn’t quiet this unrelenting Rays club.
Momentum is key when entering October and right now momentum is not on their side. What is very surprising and what can always bail out any team at any time is pitching.
The Yankees ERA is ranked third in the American League at 3.71, something I would never have guessed when the beginning of the season began with more or less CC Sabathia as their only guaranteed victory. To compare, their team ERA was 4.26 in their 2009 championship season. Surprisingly rookie hurlers have emerged, a strong bullpen has bridged the gap to Mariano Rivera, and the home run is not the be-all end-all.
While this last series has been a showcase of some new faces for fans, Girardi and his boys have to gear up for Justin Verlander and the Tigers. In the end, this epic night of baseball was brought to a close by Evan Longoria’s classic blast. Hopefully a loss like motivates a Yankee clubhouse that knows how to win when it counts.
Don’t forget, Mariano Rivera could have shut down the Rays (who would have gone on to face Boston in a one-game playoff; outcome unknown?). What will people say if Tampa battles New York with a chance to go to the World Series and beats them?
Winnipeg Manitoba: A baseball hotbed
09/25/2011 8:44 AM - Devo
With the Winnipeg Jets dominating the headlines in Manitoba these days, we should not forget about the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent American Association.
The Goldeyes have been a staple of the Independent League circuit circa 1993. And for the tenth time in the last eleven years have led all of Indy ball with an average game day attendance of 5,740.
That is quite an accomplishment for a game dominated in the US and other countries. It really starts to make you wonder why there aren’t that many more Canadian organizations in existence. That is a whole other story on its own, so I’ll get back to the original topic.
With an attendance record like what the Goldeyes have, the business model must be in pristine shape. The location has to be superb, the fans have to love it and the product on the field must live up to expectations. Since their inaugural season, a plethora of talented players have been through the system and have reached the major leagues, giving their team a presence all their own;
Mike Cather (1995)
Jeff Zimmerman (1997)
Jeff Sparks (1997-1998)
George Sherrill (2002-2003)
Bobby Madritsch (2002)
Brian Myrow (1999-2001)
While averaging nearly 5,800 fans per game, how does that rank amongst all professional minor league teams?
According to the Goldeyes’ website, Winnipeg ranks 35th out of “350 affiliated, independent and summer collegiate baseball teams in North America and was one of only five independent teams to have an attendance increase from the 2010 season. There were 51 independent baseball teams that competed in the 2011 season”.
You really couldn’t ask for anything more if you are a representative of the team or local supporter. With numbers that can obviously compete against any market they are put up against, it really makes you proud, personally, as a Canadian baseball product that we are witnesses to such a great product.
Congratulations to the Winnipeg Goldeyes on the superb distinction as one of baseball’s best draws.
MLB All-Stars headed to Taiwan
09/23/2011 5:53 AM - Devo
Press release courtesy MLBPA
The 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series will consist of five games played between Nov. 2-6 in three different cities -- New Taipei City (XinZhuang Stadium) on Nov. 2, Taichung (Intercontinental Stadium) on Nov. 3 and 4th and Kaohsiung (Chengcing Lake Stadium) on Nov. 5 and 6th. Each game will feature the MLB team playing the Chinese Taipei national team and all games will be broadcast live in Taiwan by FTV, Major League Baseball's exclusive over-the-air broadcaster for regular-season and postseason games.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA will be selecting the MLB team and staff. A full roster and coaching staff will be released in October.
"Major League Baseball is excited to take another important step in showcasing our great game to Taiwan, continuing our objective to bring baseball to fans throughout the world," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "We are pleased that many fine players will represent Major League Baseball when they meet the top talents of Taiwan."
"Major League players are eager to return to Taiwan as part of the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series, and they look forward to joining their counterparts from the Chinese Taipei national team in helping grow the world-wide popularity of the game they love," said MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner. "The players also want to thank the people of Taiwan for once again welcoming them to their country."
"The baseball community and all of Taiwan are greatly anticipating this opportunity for our national team to compete against players from Major League Baseball," said Richard T.C. Lin, secretary general of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association. "We are delighted that Major League Baseball has returned to Taiwan and we look forward to seeing more games played here in the future."
There are currently 28 players from Taiwan playing in Major League organizations including two on Major League rosters.
The most recent MLB trip to Taiwan was in March 2010 when the Dodgers traveled to the country to play a two-game series against the Chinese Professional Baseball League All-Stars.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are committed to introducing the game at all levels, including providing a showcase for the best baseball talent from all over the world. From the World Baseball Classic to Opening Series, Spring Training games and All-Star exhibitions, together MLB and the MLBPA have dramatically expanded the platform for international events, bringing MLB teams and players to fans in Canada, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela.
Press release courtesy MLBPA
Stevie Richards: The Million Dollar Man?
09/20/2011 5:01 AM - Devo
Michael Manna is a professional wrestler who has wrestled for all the big promotions (ECW, WCW, WWE, TNA) for nearly 20 years under the name “Stevie Richards”. In his heyday, Manna was the leader of the B.W.O (Blue World Order), mocking the N.W.O. (New World Order) who was led by the Hulkster himself; Hulk Hogan.
While with the B.W.O in ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), Manna was involved in so many risqué angles that you never really knew what to expect; he even super-kicked Santa in the face. It is very rare for wrestlers to bridge generations (Hogan, Ric Flair), so when the lights go down; a second career is usually in the works.
Manna has been a lifelong fan of technology/gaming and in 2007 founded T4, a website dedicated to cover “technology in a fun, and casual manner” (courtesy of the T4 site). While his new endeavour has been making a name for itself in the gaming world, Manna brought controversy to MLB 2K11.
For those unaware, MLB 2K11 announced a challenge prior to the release of the 2010 version, where the first person to pitch a perfect game would receive a $1 million prize. So after this year’s version was released, Manna pitched the first perfect game using Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Unfortunately for Manna, when he completed the feat it was nearly one month too early. While the game was released on March 8, the contest did not officially begin until April 1.
Regardless of restrictions and rules, he can lay claim he is the “winner” but without the million! According to Manna, sometimes street credibility is better.
"It's just a fun thing. I want it to be a positive thing. But I am gonna brag that 'Hey man, I did this really cool thing.' They say 'geek cred' but it's a real thing in the tech community." (IGN March 10, 2011)