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The Morning After ….. from a Fan’s Perspective.

I love the morning after.  My morning coffee and the sports page ~ one of the joys of my life. This morning I read the sports page with great intensity, devoured every word and then turned to my trusty PC, starting with the major sports media and ending up with the baseball blogs.  And here’s the one that really struck my fancy.  “Letter from a Disappointed Fan.”  It was a good read and I could relate.  I’ve been there.  But in 2010 my team won the World Series and my perspective changed.  I was ecstatic, in heaven, loved everything and everybody.  Life was good, no it was  great!   I’ll never forget that feeling because I still have it, it’s still there.  So this year to be perfectly honest when we made the playoffs it was really nice, but it wasn’t the same, especially when we were down 3-1 to the Cardinals and it was okay. I mean we’d already won the World Series so I was okay with that.  I really thought the Nats or Reds would take the Division this year anyhow and that was my mindset and it was okay, since they had the better records. 

Miguel Cabrera 2004 World Series

So we made it to the World Series again and, to tell you the truth, I really like the Detroit Tigers.  I like their players, their manager and their fans.  I’ve been a Miguel Cabrera fan since, as a rookie with the Florida Marlins, he helped whoop the Yankees into submission in the 2003 World Series, and now this year he’s won the Triple Crown.  How cool is that?  The same goes for Justin Verlander.  I think he’s a real asset to baseball.  He’s a great role model for our kids and his persona during the first game of this World Series says it all.  I wrote about him last week “Paper Tigers Tamed by a Panda and a Bear”.  And of course Prince Fielder.  Seems like he’s always been around, always has and always will be.  Just a lot of fun to watch.  And these Detroit fans are the same ones who gave  Umpire Jim Joyce a standing ovation the day after he blew a call that cost the Tiger pitcher, Armando Galarraga, a perfect game, because he was forthright and honest to immediately ‘fess up to his error.  Class.

So last night during the post game shows (sometimes they’re  more fun than the game) I heard Jim Leyland say this.     

“They were better than we were,” Leyland said, “and you can’t say anything different. I mean, if it goes seven games and you lose the seventh game on a freak play or something, you might say, well, we were as good as they were. But in this series, we were not as good as they were. The Giants beat us. They did a fantastic job. They’re the world champions and they deserve to be the world champions.”

Detroit’s Jim Leyland

And you can’t forget Jim Leyland.   How can you not love these Tigers?  Did you ever during one play, one at bat, during this World Series see or hear anything negative or unsportsmanlike out of any of these guys?  I sure didn’t (well, maybe after the game or in the dugout, but nothing for public display).    Here’s a team that beat the stuffing out of the New York Yankees in the ALCS chase for the pennant.  They beat them bad.  They beat them four games in a row in a best of 7 series.  So of course there was genuine disappointment on the Tigers team but they played with class and they lost with class.  

So this morning I was really super happy that my San Francisco Giants had won their second World Series in three years. It was great!  And, from this fan’s perspective, it was equally great (well, almost) witnessing the first class Detroit Tigers standing tall in their defeat, gentlemen to the end.  And,really, isn’t that what it’s all about?   It is from this fan’s perspective.

2012 MLB Team and Player Salaries

2012 All Star Game Photo

Here’s the 2012 update to our 2011 listing published August 27, 2011.  This comes to us compliments of USA Today.  If you’ll click the individual teams, you can access the individual players salaries.  It will be interesting to note the annual salaries of the teams that make the playoffs;  in other words, did they get what they paid for?  For example; the Washington Nationals have the best record in the Majors this year, but have the 11th Lowest Salary out of 30 Teams.   Salary Chart Linked Here

2012 MLB Salaries  
 

TEAM

TOTAL PAYROLL
New York Yankees $ 197,962,289
Philadelphia Phillies $ 174,538,938
Boston Red Sox $ 173,186,617
Los Angeles Angels $ 154,485,166
Detroit Tigers $ 132,300,000
Texas Rangers $ 120,510,974
Miami Marlins $ 118,078,000
San Francisco Giants $ 117,620,683
St. Louis Cardinals $ 110,300,862
Milwaukee Brewers $ 97,653,944
Chicago White Sox $ 96,919,500
Los Angeles Dodgers $ 95,143,575
Minnesota Twins $ 94,085,000
New York Mets $ 93,353,983
Chicago Cubs $ 88,197,033
Atlanta Braves $ 83,309,942
Cincinnati Reds $ 82,203,616
Seattle Mariners $ 81,978,100
Baltimore Orioles $ 81,428,999
Washington Nationals $ 81,336,143
Cleveland Indians $ 78,430,300
Colorado Rockies $ 78,069,571
Toronto Blue Jays $ 75,489,200
Arizona Diamondbacks $ 74,284,833
Tampa Bay Rays $ 64,173,500
Pittsburgh Pirates $ 63,431,999
Kansas City Royals $ 60,916,225
Houston Astros $ 60,651,000
Oakland Athletics $ 55,372,500
San Diego Padres $ 55,244,700

               

The Nationals could still make a run without Stephen Strasburg

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

The Nationals enter today’s action with the best record in baseball at 85-53. Yet with the attention given to the unique situation involving the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg, one would think they would be doomed without him. That’s just not the case. And it’s really a discredit to a well-balanced ballclub.

Nationals starters are first in the majors with a 3.29 ERA, but as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Postnotes, their 3.31 ERA without him would still be the best. Gio Gonzalez (2.98 ERA), Jordan Zimmermann (2.99 ERA), Ross Detwiler (3.15 ERA) and Edwin Jackson (3.63 ERA) are all among the top 20 in the National League in ERA. Having Strasburg available would certainly enhance their chances of making a deep run in the postseason, but they are still pretty stocked in the rotation.

And that’s not even talking about the other areas of the ballclub. Nationals relievers…

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Pudge Rodriguez, Florida Marlins Catcher in 2003 World Series, to Retire.

Ivan Rodriguez, Sports Illustrated Magazine

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the pending retirement of  Dontrelle Willis, former pitcher with the 2003 World Series Champions Florida Marlins.  And now again today I read that Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is set to announce his retirement.

I’m not sure why those 2003 Florida Marlins have a soft spot in my heart, but for sure I’ll always remember that World Series.  Maybe it was because they were playing the New York Yankees and I didn’t give them a prayer for winning.  Maybe it was because the combination of Dontrelle and Pudge was something truly awesome to watch.  Or maybe it was because I watched the entire series from a condo in Puerto Vallarta; the first two games in Spanish before I figured out how to change the receiver to English.  It was memorable because the Spanish speaking announcers were unashamedly cheering for the Yankees and their obvious disappointment was hilarious to listen to.  And  even though I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, there was no doubt in my mind what they were thinking!

Pudge Rodriguez with the Texas Rangers

Ivan Rodriguez will be eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame in five years and undoubtedly will be inducted at some point. His list of credentials and honors is impressive indeed and  he has chosen to retire as a Texas Ranger.  But even though he only spent one year with the Florida Marlins, that’s what I’ll always remember him as.  The Florida Marlins catcher in the 2003 World Series.  Thanks for the memories Pudge Rodriguez.  You deserve all the accolades you’re about to receive!

Introducing Florida’s New “Marlins Park” ….. Finally!

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I say “finally” because it’s taken some serious negotiations to make this ballpark happen.   The organization has been fighting to build their own park since the mid-1990′s.  And after numerous financing problems, lawsuits,  SEC investigations  other challenges, the powers-that-be were able to overcome.

It’s hard to believe the new Marlins Park is the smallest stadium in Major League Baseball with an actual seating capacity of 37,000.  The photos in the slide show  indicate this is one humongous Star Wars state-of-the-art facility.

It’s also the sixth Major League Baseball stadium to have a retractable roof and will maintain an average temperature of 75°F when the roof is closed.   A welcome addition to anyone braving the heat on those hot and humid Florida game-days.

Some of the photos above have been generously loaned to us  from fellow blogger, Cecilia Tan.  Please check out her website “Why I like Baseball” featuring the new Marlins Park stadium in her most recent post.

The “D-Train” Has Left the Station. “We Hardly Knew ye D”

Dontrelle Willis

I’m really sad this morning to read about Dontrelle Willis being released from yet another team, this time the Philadelphia Phillies.  I’ve been following this kid since his 2003 debut with the Florida Marlins.  He was just so much fun to watch,  with that wild and goofy wind-up he had and always a big smile.  I’d never seen anything like it before and probably never will again.

He was dynamite back then!  And I wasn’t the only one who was enthralled with the kid.  He was named the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year.   And that wasn’t all he did in 2003.   In game 4 of the 2003 NL Division Series he hit 3 for 3 (one was a triple) and scored a run, this all being done as a “pitcher”, and then beat the socks off my home team, the San Francisco Giants.  The Marlins won the 2003 World Series, and I’ll never forget Dontrelle Willis in that series.

Dontrelle Willis & Miguel Cabrera in Detroit

Dontrelle was born and raised in Oakland and raised by his very strong, tough and intelligent mother, Joyce.  She was not only a commercial welder, working on such bridges as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, but she was also a softball catcher and avid Oakland A’s fan.  This was the defining influence on Dontrelle that propelled him all the way to the Major Leagues.  His dad bailed out when he was a toddler.  I don’t know this, but I think they probably had a pretty tough time during those early years.  We  know one thing though.  He loved his mama!

I’m sorry the “D-Train’s” career has been de-railed again.  In December, 2011 the Phillies signed him to a one year million dollar deal with expectations that he’d be a bullpen pitcher.  He was released  yesterday after just three spring training appearances.

Not so long ago

It’s been a wild and rocky road.  Will he be back?  I don’t know.  But I know one thing.  Dontrelle Willis provided me with some of my most memorable baseball experiences and I hope he does come back, though at 40 years old it’s unlikely.

To Dontrelle Willis:  Best Wishes.  I wish we could have gotten to know you better kid!

Now …. Where is that Batter’s Box Again?

I was so excited about Buster Posey’s twins this morning, almost missed this great little ditty of a video, compliments of  Frisco Fastball,   one of my favorite blogs.  It reminded me of that Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First” comedy routine, except this is for real ~ I think.

“Even though Casilla could not have reached a pitch over the plate, he said with a straight face, “I was looking for a fastball away,” drawing howls of protest and laughter from teammates nearby. ” Hank Shulman,  SF Chronicle.  

And yes, please welcome into the world two more Posey’s,  Addison Lynn & Lee Dempsey Posey, born yesterday, August 14, 2011.  Congratulations to Buster and Kristin!  It was rumored Brian Sabean was up really early trying to come up with an MLB contract for infants.  But it’s just a rumor, probably nothing to it.  

Scott Cousins? ….. Irrelevant.

#28 Buster Posey

First, let me begin by saying I don’t believe Scott Cousins is irrelevant as a person, as a human being.  Of course he’s relevant.  But the story these past two weeks that has taken baseball hostage is about something else.  It’s about a love story that’s taken hold on every person who ever thought of being a Giants fan and it has everything to do with Buster Posey.  Buster’s the ultimate “guy”.   He’s become our knight in shining armor, our Casey at the Bat, our savior of all things baseball.  I don’t know exactly how this happened, but it happened.   I started collecting Buster Posey memorabilia  when he first came into our farm system after the 2008 draft.   And he lived up to everything we expected of him.  He was our hope for the future and our promise of all good things to come.  He was what it meant to be a San Francisco Giant. 

So on May 29, 2011, during a Florida Marlins - San Francisco Giants ballgame, at the top of the 12th inning, with the score tied, and the game on the line, when Buster Posey endured a career-threatening injury,  the collective gasp of everything “Giant” was heard throughout the baseball world and beyond.  We’re still reeling from the ramifications of that injury.  Some of us deal with it better than others, but of course the one who continues to suffer the most is Buster Posey, both physically and emotionally.  I was surprised when Buster came out with his statement the day after the injury with a not-so-charitable attitude toward Cousins, the agressor in the play.  But when Brian Sabean, General Manager of the SF Giants, hurled his scathing comments  directly to and about Scott Cousins, a line was crossed.  Now, all of a sudden, Scott Cousins has become irrelevant and the play at the plate has become irrelevant. 

Have we learned nothing from these past couple months?   I’m thinking about that awful incident involving one of our own, Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten after a Dodger-Giants game March 31, 2011, in the stadium parking lot.   The outpouring of love and support for Bryan was incredible and this included a huge contingent of support from the Los Angeles Dodger fans.   Everyone banded together in support of this SF Giants fan who was involved in this terrible crime.  Baseball was at its finest.  

And now, the SF Giants are involved in a truly unfortunate “accident” and not only the fans, but the Giants management, are showing nothing but indignation and outrage that it could possibly happen to them, to one of their own.   Well, I’m sorry, but it did.  It happened.  And we’re all hurting.  We miss Buster.  We miss seeing him every day, in the dugout, behind the plate, at the plate.  But why do we insist on having a villain in this scenario?  Why can’t we get past this and accept it as an unfortunate accident and move forward?  Scott Cousins did not intentionally get up in the morning , arrive at the ball park, and decide this was the day he was going to nail Buster Posey with a career-threatening hit.  Cousins did what he was trained to do.  He’s a competitor and he’s supposed to try his very best to do everything he can to help his team win games.  And that’s what he was doing when this incident occurred.  That’s all he was doing.  There was no malicious intent to destroy anyone. He made a split-second decision just like all the other split-second decisions that are made on the ball field on a daily basis.  The end result was disastrous, but it was not intentional.

Not that it matters, but this morning I read an article by ESPN.Com quoting Johnny Bench  (link to one of my favorite Posey Cards here) that puts Buster Posey at fault.  Johnny Bench is considered an expert in this area, being one of the all-time greatest catchers who’s ever played the game.  He’s also an avid supporter and fan of Posey and has been quoted many times these past few years acknowledging what a fine young person and athlete and catcher he is.   Everyone has an opinion;  100 bloggers, 100 different opinions.  The reason I bring this up is because everyone makes mistakes; I make mistakes and you make mistakes, Scott Cousins makes mistakes and Johnny Bench makes mistakes.  

Will MLB change the rules?  Maybe.  But how this injury to Buster Posey happened is not as important as how we’re going to get past it.  And we will.  But the sooner the better.