Archive for July 2010

Matt Garza throws a No-No for the Rays

July 27, 2010

This year in baseball has to be the year of the pitcher. This is the 5th no hitter this year, along with two perfect games, and 84 total complete games.

But here is something even more special especially for the Rays of Tampa Bay. The Rays have been no-hit 3 times by Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox, Dallas Braden and the Oakland A’s, and Edwin Jackson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. But tonight, they got a taste of their own magic.

Pitcher Matt Garza took the mound for the Rays against the Detroit Tigers and made some history. He threw a complete game no hitter with 6 strikeouts and 1 walk. He only needed 120 pitches. Not to mention, it was also the franchises first ever. That is an accomplishment in its own right for how young the team has been created.

“We needed one. I don’t care who it came from. We just needed one for our own confidence,” Garza said, mindful that the Rays have been held hitless four times in their 13-season history — three times in the past year. “The guys are just as excited as I am. It’s fun.”

Garza (11-5) was the latest to shine in the Year of the Pitcher. The last time there were at least five no-hitters in a season was 1991, when Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan threw one of seven in the big leagues that year, according to STATS LLC.

“It was one of those days where everything lined up,” Garza said. “The defense made great plays. I really can’t say enough about them.”

It’s only the third time in major league history that a team has been involved in three no-hitters during one season. The 1917 St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox were involved in three — all against each other.

It’s also the first time in 37 years that two no-hitters have occurred in the same AL ballpark in one season. After going 1,006 games without one at Tropicana Field, two have been tossed in the last 11 games at the hitter-friendly dome.

The closest Detroit’s injury-depleted lineup came to a hit was Worth’s two-out liner, but Zobrist made a leaping grab above his head as he ran toward the wall.

 “I was able to time it just right for my jump. Caught it right in the end of my glove,” Zobrist said, smiling. “He pitched so great. It’s his day. I felt honored to be part of a game like that.” 

 

…What  a year it has been folks hasn’t it? Wow, this is remarkable! Garza was so close to perfection but that one walk cost him. But it is still an epic achievement and he did it in style with his 6 strikeouts due to his fastball hitting the spots. What is amazing about this is in Garza’s previous start, he allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Orioles. The Tigers lineup he faced was without Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge because of injuries. That’s crazy. 7 runs, to a no-hitter. I guess he made his adjustments…

…And when there is a no-hitter there has to be a famous play that takes place. Like, Dwayne Wise in the Buehrle game, Fowler for the Jimenez game, and a huge error by Uribe in the Sanchez game last year. In this game it was the Zobrist catch and the play was phenomenal. The athleticism Ben Zobrist made to get to the ball and make that play is beyond incredible…

…Another no hitter in the books this year and I wonder which pitcher will get one in the next coming months…

For more on this game and the no hitter check out ESPN.com and MLB.com for more information.

Advertisements

Michigan Renovates Stadium Even With Bad Economy

July 19, 2010

via ESPN:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan made a lot of changes to the Big House, erecting luxury boxes and club seats in towering structures that loom along both sidelines as part of a $226 million renovation.

Tour of the newly renovated Michigan Football Stadium on July 14th, 2010. (MARISSA MCCLAIN/ Daily)

It also increased the seating capacity to 109,901 for this season — up about 2,000 — to reclaim the distinction from Penn State of having the largest football stadium in the country.

Athletic director Dave Brandon is already envisioning the iconic venue getting even bigger.

“We’re already looking at future expansion,” he said Wednesday after the media and public got a chance to tour the new-look stadium.

Brandon said the project — which started a day after the 2007 season ended — is on budget and on time. He said revenue generated by suites and club seats has already covered costs.

“It’s already a financial win,” he said.

But the school still has some selling to do before the opener Sept. 4 at home against Connecticut. Twenty of the 81 suites are available and about 80 percent of the 2,952 club seats haven’t been sold yet.

Brandon said he’s optimistic that giving people a chance to sit in comfy club seats and walk into posh suites — an opportunity they had for 14 hours Wednesday — will be great marketing that should boost sales.

Season-ticket holder Ken Close, a 60-year-old resident of Toledo, Ohio, took advantage of the public tour because he doesn’t expect to have the money or a friend rich enough to see the premium seats again.

“I think this is great,” Close said. “I know some traditionalists didn’t want to make these big changes, but I think they’re wonderful. We’ll make new memories here. You have to grow with the times.”

226 MILLION DOLLARS???? are you kidding me??? This must be a joke right? You know what this economy could do with that amount of money? Instead of helping out the world right now, sports stadiums are getting bigger and bigger or changing every other year. From looking at the new Yankee Stadium everyday that was 1 billion dollars to now this renovation on a college football game. This is outrageous and needs to be stopped because this money could be used for bigger and better things even academically than athletically. People need to manage their money better…

…It also increased the seating capacity to 109,901 for this season. That is a ton of people, probably more than the state of Rhode Island. That is way too many people to attend a game. Speaking of attendance, Twenty of the 81 suites are available and about 80 percent of the 2,952 club seats haven’t been sold yet for the September 4th opener against Connecticut. Who has the money to go to the game?? You can go watch it on TV for free in  a bar. Seriously, this is crazy. How do they expect to fill up the stadium September 4th…

…Here is the best part. Season-ticket holder Ken Close, a 60-year-old resident of Toledo, Ohio, took advantage of the public tour because he doesn’t expect to have the money or a friend rich enough to see the premium seats again. So he took out money, for one game he will go to in the renovated stadium? Wow. That is crazy. I understand that he has been a season ticket holder but it’s not worth the money and time if you can only go to one because they are so expensive. This really annoyed me because money in sports could be used for better things especially in college but obviously they are not and it is effecting everyone…

Update 2010 NBA Free Agency

July 19, 2010

Big Z joins the Big 3

Jermaine O’Neal and Nate Robinson sign with the Boston Celtics.

Veteran Center Brad Miller signs with the Houston Rockets.

 Zydrunas Ilgauskas joins Lebron in South Beach.

Josh Childress returns from Greece with newly acquired Hedo Turkoglu in Phoenix.

 Al Jefferson traded to the Utah Jazz.

Raja Bell rejects Lakers and signs with Utah Jazz.

Mike Miller signs with the Miami Heat.

Bulls add another Jazz player in Ronnie Brewer.

Orlando Magic resign J.J. Redick.

Charlotte traded center Tyson Chandler and center Alexis Ajinca to Dallas for center Erick Dampier, forward Eduardo Najera, guard Matt Carroll and cash considerations.

Miami signed forward Udonis Haslem to a five-year contract.

Golden State guard Anthony Morrow traded to New Jersey for a 2011 second-round draft pick.

Minnesota acquired forward Michael Beasley from Miami for a 2011 and 2014 second-round draft picks and cash considerations.

New Jersey agreed to terms with guard Jordan Farmar.

…out of all of these the one that are great trades are the Al Jefferson to Utah and the Michael Beasley to the Timberwolves. Both trades significantly help the team and really make them more competitive next year. I think both guys under achieved last year and on a new team with some new life they can thrive and become stars. I really like this deal and I really like what these teams are doing moving forward…

…The signings that confuse me are the Ronnie Brewer and Jordan Farmar deals. What are these players and teams thinking. 3 former Jazz players on the Bulls. What are the Bulls thinking? They can take the winning in Utah and bring it to Chicago. I don’t think so. I really think this is just more panic replacement moves by Chicago. Also, why is Jordan Farmar backing up another point guard let alone Devin Harris. What does he see in New Jersey? Does he expect more playing time? These are the questions I ask myself and they just puzzle me completely. Oh the NBA, what a great free agency…

2010 All Star game helmets

July 19, 2010

What was going on in the All Star Game. Did anyone look at the helmets? They were Huge!!!! 

Players wore the big helmets during All Star Game

 

…I understand why they wore these helmets. 1. It is a great marketing time to do it. The All Star game, everyone is watching, and try something new to appeal to people. 2. To save the players from getting hit from all the pitchers in the game who threw 95-100 mph fastballs… 

…I think that it really helped the players become more safe and get more marketing of this helmet out during the All Star game but it definitely affected the players swing except for David Wright (Below) who has worn that helmet before. That is why the game was so low scoring at 3-1. If the players would have worn other helmets, then I would think the final score would be completely different… 

…Finally, these helmets may be safe but are horrible to look at and they affect the game. I like that they used them in a game where it doesn’t matter but if they used them during the regular season, I for one would be very upset. Very strange appearance in the All Star game…

The 2010 MLB All Star Game

July 19, 2010

The All Star game is a game that the National League never looks forward to every year. It is because they had lost 13 in a row up until this one July 13th night. On the night that George Steinbrenner died, baseball lived on and it was a great game. 

Before the game started, this year is titled, “The year of the pitcher.” With all the pitchers throwing over 95 mph along with the league throwing 2 perfect games (nearly three) and 3 no hit bids, MLB pitching has been phenomenal. 

The National League's Brian McCann, of the Atlanta Braves, hits a three-run double in the seventh inning of the All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 13, 2010, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

 

In the game there were 18 total strikeouts in the game and was it was a 1-1 tie in the 7th when Catcher Brian McCann stepped up to the plate and hit a two-out, three run double to give the lead to the NL 3-1. The bullpen pulled away in the 9th and the NL won their first all-star game in 13 years. After the game, McCann was awarded the MVP of the game and he deserved it. 

Here is a great quote from the 5 time Atlanta Braves Catcher: 

“You dream of moments like this as a kid. It was amazing.” 

…Unlucky 13? I don’t think so. For the NL this is a complete lucky number. They got the clutch hit when they needed it and it all started with Scott Rolen. He got on base with a single and then went first to third on a Matt Holliday single. Because of his hustle, he was able to win the game for the NL to represent the home team in the World Series…” 

…I will admit this wasn’t the best game to watch ever. But if you like pitching then this game was for you. To me, the best All Star game ever was the 2008 All Star game in New York. I’m not saying this cause I am from New York I am saying this because of the Josh Hamilton Home run display, the 3 errors by Dan Uggla, the three throw outs at home plate, and Aaron Cook getting out of a bases loaded 0 out jam in the 10th inning. Nothing beats that game. If you never watched it, shame on you cause it was the best All Star game of the modern era. Tivo it, download it, something, just watch it if you didn’t… 

…In the end, congrats to the National League and the hope the battles in the second half get close so we can start bringing out the races… 

Full Box Score of the game and highlights check out ESPN.com and MLB.com for more all-star recap.

The Yankees George “The Boss” Steinbrenner dies at 80

July 19, 2010

Last week was a wild week and nothing as surprising as the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died the day of the All Star game, July 13th at the age of 80. The cause of death was a heart attack. Steinbrenner was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and died at about 6:30 a.m. ET, according to reports.

He was a legend himself in the new Yankee Stadium

When the  New York Yankees lost their legendary owner, this is what people had to say about his legacy:

“George was ‘The Boss,’ make no mistake,” Hall of Famer. “He built the Yankees into champions, and that’s something nobody can ever deny. He was a very generous, caring, passionate man. George and I had our differences, but who didn’t? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much.” – Yogi Berra

“He was and always will be as much of a New York Yankee as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and all of the other Yankee legends,” baseball. “Although we would have disagreements over the years, they never interfered with our friendship and commitment to each other. Our friendship was built on loyalty and trust and it never wavered.” – MLB commissioner Bud Selig

“It’s a difficult time, on a great day for baseball, the All-Star Game, something everyone looks to,” Yankees and AL manager. “A great man in baseball passed. He’s meant so much to not only this organization, but to the game of baseball, and to all of us personally.” – Yankees Manager Joe Girardi

“Few people have had a bigger impact on New York over the past four decades than George Steinbrenner.”  “George had a deep love for New York, and his steely determination to succeed combined with his deep respect and appreciation for talent and hard work made him a quintessential New Yorker.” – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“I think he’s a father figure to everyone that was in our organization in the past or present, because he really took care of his players.” I remember my first, second year, I was on third base and got doubled off on a line drive in the infield and we won the game. After the game he was yelling at me for, ‘Don’t ever get doubled off again. We won the game, but he expected perfection, and that rubbed off. And whether it was the players, the front office, the people working at the stadium, didn’t make a difference. He expected perfection.” – Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter

…These quotes are just so powerful…

In 37-plus seasons as owner, Steinbrenner led the Yankees to seven World Series championships, 11 American League pennants and 16 AL East titles.

New York was 11 years removed from its last championship when he headed a group that bought the team from CBS Inc. on Jan. 3, 1973, for about 10 million dollars.

He revolutionized the Yankee franchise and the world of sports by starting his own television network and ballpark food company. Forbes now values the Yankees at $1.6 billion, trailing only Manchester United ($1.8 billion) and the Dallas Cowboys ($1.65 billion).

The Steinbrenner family said that funeral arrangements will be private. However, details about an additional public service will be announced at a later date.

Flags were lowered to half-staff at New York’s City Hall and a marquee outside the $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium  “the house that George built” to honor “George M. Steinbrenner III, 1930-2010.”

…Wow, a Yankees Legend dies on a very special night of the All Star game. It was a very sad day that Tuesday night and the Yankees organization and the whole ballclub handled the situation well and the honor ceremony (below) before the game against the Rays at the Stadium hit my heart very deep. The class man himself Derek Jeter said a beautiful speech along with the flowers at home plate by Mariano “Mo” Rivera and the moment of silence just touched baseball fans all around the world…

…The man created a dynasty and a world of entertainment. He did some of the most amusing things by firing and hiring managers like Billy Martin and creating the Yankees from a team of scrubs to a team of legends again. It’s something no other owner in other sport has done and he is going to be missed dearly. I will miss his amusing remarks, new stadiums, and dream teams. He created the Yankees to the Bankees and I don’t think that will change anytime soon…

For more on this story and future developments go to ESPN.com and Yankees.com

MLB All Star Week: Home Run Derby

July 15, 2010

In the past few home run derby’s, the best performance doesn’t win. Examples are 2008, Josh Hamilton’s hits a record of 28 homers in the first round at Yankee stadium and the winner of the derby was Justin Morneau. In 2006, David Wright hit 16 in the first round and made a name for himself but Ryan Howard won that year. In 2003, Albert Pujols hits 14 in the second round but lost to none other than Garret Anderson. No one remembers these guys winning but everyone remembers the show that the other players put on from that home run derby. So what would happen this year?

On Monday, The Home Run Derby stuck Angel Stadium and not many big bats entered the tournament besides David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, and Matt Holliday. The random participants were Nick Swisher, Chris Young, and Hanley Ramirez.

The first round started off with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart hitting 13 homers right off the bat. Then Swisher hit 4, Wells hit 2, C.Young hit 1. Right from there, you knew that it wasn’t going to be an interesting derby.

Then after the first round, Red Sox DH David Ortiz started to heat up and hit 13 in that round. Hanley Ramirez would follow-up with 11 homers and it would be a final between the battle of youth versus experience. However, Ortiz was too much for the young Hanley and hit 11 in the final round with a total of 32 to win the Derby.

Here is the list:

 
Player Team Round 1 Round 2 Subtotal Finals Total
David Ortiz Boston 8 13 21 11 32
Hanley Ramírez Florida 9 12 21 5 26
Corey Hart Milwaukee 13 0 13 13
Miguel Cabrera Detroit 7 5 12 12
Matt Holliday St. Louis 5 5 5
Nick Swisher New York (AL) 4 4 4
Vernon Wells Toronto 2 2 2
Chris Young Arizona 1 1 1

David Ortiz must have been using his juices to hit out those homers or he must be really good at slow pitch softball because he fisted so many out of there. Granted, he did blast some out of the yard easily but it looked like he wasn’t even trying and it was flying off his bat. To be a .183 hitter with one home run to a 17 home run guy and .280 hitter in over two months is one of the most drastic changes I have ever seen in baseball. While his swing may look sweet now,  I really think this will affect his swing come the next couple of months…

…Couple of other notes to mention is Holliday hit the farthest home run at 497, a moon shot which was extremely impressive. Give it up to Corey Hart who, like David Ortiz, struggled early but has found his stroke and is a leader. To hit 13 in a round is really impressive and that was the most in a round since his teammate Prince Fielder in 2009 had 11…