Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Anniversary Kerry!

On May 19th, 2009 the Kansas City Royals scored four runs in the ninth inning off of Cleveland Indians closer Kerry Wood and won 6–5.

Yesterday, May 19th, 2010, the Royals faced Wood again in the ninth inning, down by one run. This year they scored five times, and eventually won the game 8–4.

Don't you just love anniversaries? Is it too early to be looking forward to a six-run ninth next year?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Crazy 2010 Predictions

  1. Roy Halladay will win the National League Cy Young award, while winning 26 games for the Phillies.

  2. The Kansas City Royals will finish last in their division (again).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Year 1 in Chicago

The past few months of driving around the Chicagoland area has revealed the new Cubs ad campaign "Year 1". Yes, as in the beginning. Like, its only been 1 year since we won the World Series as opposed to the reality of 101 and counting. Wait, its 102 now... I think.

Well, after thinking some ad company should be fired, further contemplation had me nominating them for the Nobel Peace Prize. Their complete disregard for the history may actually be the solution to all the world's psychiatric issues.

Jews and Palastinians (and all the Middle East) just wake up and it's day one of "Year 1". Chechnya might like being a part of Russia, Scotland would call itself Northern England, and Guitmo detainees would be released to grow corn in Billings, MT. No one remembers anything that happend in the last 101 years (or 102, my New Year's Resolution was to stop keeping track). It would be like forgetful forgiveness.

Think about all the seemingly harmless things you do at home like leaving the seat up or belching at the table, even procrastinating doing the dishes and fixing the toaster. Your wife no longer remembers! Hallelujah!

Sigh... Then reality sets in. I'm bound to leave the toilet seat up again in the morning, just like the Cubs are bound to get me all excited before moving my hairline back another 2 inches. Silly slogans can't erase history, it can't erase who you are. Besides, deep down every Cubs fan admits silently that we embrace who we really are...Patient.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gordon Heyward: A Tale of Two Cities

No. I didn't misspell Heyward. This isn't a post about the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, the Butler Bulldogs, or their forward Gordon Hayward. This is a story about two people, in similar situations, with very different outcomes.

Yesterday was Opening Day. I was excited to see that ESPN 3 would be offering a few games for my viewing pleasure, and had tuned in to see the Chicago Cubs vs. the Atlanta Braves for my first look at the Braves' rookie sensation, Jason Heyward.

Heyward, just 20 years old, made such an impression in Spring Training that the Braves had no choice but to keep him on the roster and to put him in right field on Opening Day. His first major league at bat came with two on and one out in the first inning. Watching him take the first two offerings from Carlos Zambrano for balls one and two, I began thinking of a very similar at-bat I saw on Opening Day three years ago.

Alex Gordon, like Heyward was a highly touted amateur drafted in the first round. Both were local. Gordon was born in Lincoln, NE where he later starred for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He was a local kid, playing for the home team, the Kansas City Royals. Heyward was also taken by his home town club, the Braves. Alex Gordon was a 'can't-miss' prospect. The complete package. He could hit for power. Hit for average. Play tremendous defense at third base. Run. Throw. He could do everything. His junior season at Nebraska "he swept the collegiate baseball awards for college player of the year, winning the Golden Spikes Award, the Dick Howser Award, the Brooks Wallace Award and the ABCA Rawlings Player of the Year." Selecting Alex Gordon second overall in the 2005 amateur draft was a no-brainer for the Royals, and by most accounts, any team in their position would have done the same.

In his first professional season, Gordon was named the 2006 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. Jason Heyward was the recipient of the same award in 2009. Gordon was destined for greatness, and Royals fans everywhere could hardly wait for him bring a winning tradition back to Kansas City.

During Spring Training in 2007, no one out-hit or out-played the rising Royals phenom. Hall 0f Fame third-baseman George Brett told reporters that he'd never seen a talent the likes of Alex Gordon, confessing that Gordon was better than he had been. Just like Jason Heyward, Gordon's performance that spring earned him a spot in the Opening Day lineup, and comparisons to Hall of Fame talent. Gordon was going to be the next George Brett, Heyward the next Ken Griffey, Jr.

Before ever taking the field for his Major League debut, Gordon was the face of the franchise. He was the Future, and the Future looked bright. His chance to prove himself came early. Just like Heyward, Gordon's first Major League at-bat came with runners in scoring position in the first inning on Opening Day.

The similarities between these two rookies are too great to ignore. As I was glued to the screen during Heyward's at-bat Monday, I knew exactly what Braves fans were feeling. The home-grown talent, coming to the plate in front of the home crowd, all of them hoping that the rookie would live up to the hype. Three years ago it was Alex Gordon with two outs and the bases loaded in Kansas City. Yesterday it was Jason Heyward, two on and one out in Atlanta.

On the third offering from Zambrano, all of Heyward's potential became pure kinetic energy with one powerful swing sending the pitch screaming over the right field fence for a three-run homerun. The Opening Day crowd roared. Heyward had delivered.

But three years ago the crowd at Kauffman Stadium didn't roar—it groaned. In his first chance to live up to the hype, Gordon struck out. His delivery is still pending.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome back, Big Mac!!

Big Mac comes clean,

Mark McGwire admitted today what we all knew but waited 5 years to hear from Big Red.

"I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It's time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize. I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 off season and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the '90s, including during the 1998 season.”

Where do we go from here? It has been several years since Big Mac cranked his last home run and he is coming back to the game to be the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. Mark will never be looked at the same way, and that is something that he brought upon himself, but he does deserve forgiveness. Should we treat him like a hero? No, admitting that you have done something wrong is an expected behavior in our society. Should we continue to ostracize him? No! Mark, deserves better and should get better from the baseball community.

We just saw the election of Andre Dawson to the baseball hall of fame and I can only hope that the call for big mac will not be far away. Did mac cheat? Yes, he just admitted it. Does the hall of fame admit cheaters? I think they have already and will admit more in the future. The baseball hall of fame is a museum of people who played baseball at the highest level. It is not the integrity HOF, or the good guy HOF or the “I never used PED HOF.” We need to ask ourselves one question, “Does Mark McGwire belong in the HOF?” Any answer that does not end in yes would be an incorrect answer in my opinion. I think he will be in the HOF no earlier than 2011 but no later than 2014. And that is exactly where he belongs!