Archive for July 2011

Home Run Derby: National League lineup is set

July 7, 2011

Via ESPN:

 

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)

Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder selected teammate Rickie Weeks, the Los Angeles DodgersMatt Kemp and St. Louis CardinalsMatt Hollidayto represent the National League in Monday night’s Home Run Derby.

“It was very tough, I wanted everybody to be in it. I definitely wanted someone from the Diamondbacks to be in it, but these guys, I know these guys really well, and these are my picks, no hard feelings,” Fielder said Tuesday.

Arizona hosts the All-Star Game on Tuesday and Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton had said he was interested in representing the NL.

“I wish I could invite everyone I knew. That was the only part that was a little tough, trying to narrow it down,” Fielder said.

Kemp came into play on Tuesday with an NL-best 22 home runs. Fielder has 21, Weeks has 15 and Holliday has the fewest with 10 but has hit in the contest two previous times. Weeks said he’s not concerned about messing up his swing by trying to hit home runs because they try to outhit each other in batting practice.

“We mess around with it all the time in BP,” Weeks said. “It’s one of those things where if you’re confident in yourself and your swing; some people have different swings, of course, and they might have to create more lift or something like that. Maybe that might mess them up, possibly. Some people have long homers and some people have hard homers — you just want to stay with what got you here and go hard and have fun, really.”

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he’s already talked to Weeks about not altering his swing and said he’s comfortable with two of his best hitters being part of the festivities.

“Rickie said he’s going to be fine,” Roenicke said. “I think he can turn it on and off when he wants to.”

Fielder says he’ll use Triple-A hitting coach Sandy Guerrero as his pitcher in the derby, the same person who threw to him when he won the contest in 2009. Weeks said he wasn’t sure who he’d pick, either Guerrero or Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. Fielder did have a little advice for his teammate on preparing for the contest.

“It’s kind of intense, it’s not as easygoing as you might think it is,” Fielder said. “You get serious because of course you want to win.”

The new format this year pits the NL against the AL for charity, and the American League hitters include 2010 derby champ David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox along with his teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. Bautista leads the majors with 27 homers.

With that potent lineup, Fielder decided not to make any guarantees on who would win the competition.

“I’m not going to do that,” Fielder said. “I guarantee I’ll swing hard, though.”

This lineup is more random than the American League but it does have a dynamic duo just like Papi and Gonzo. In Milwaukee, I have seen Weeks and Fielder battle it out in batting practice and I have to say that they will definitely put on a show and Weeks can shock some people. He has tons of power and instead of hitting those towering home runs, he is going to hit some lasers to left field. It will be highly amusing to see what Fielder and Weeks do in comparison to the Boston Brigade. As for Kemp and Holliday, they deserve to be on the roster and I think Kemp deserved a bid to the All Star team and is a snub. I am glad he is able to get a chance to compete in something and he is a great raw talent. Finally, I think Holliday is a good choice as he has been on a tear lately and his swing will perfectly fit the home run derby and the dimensions of Chase Field. I can’t believe it’s July in the baseball season! Bring on the long balls…

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Nationals Bryce Harper Update

July 7, 2011

Bryce Harper is a phenom and this tweet shows everything. The kid can really hit the baseball and the call up was needed. He was batting .318 with 14 home runs and 19 stolen bases. However, what I don’t agree with in Bryce is his attitude towards the game sometimes. Was he really bored in single A? Was it a problem playing in Hagerstown? These are the questions I ask when talking about this season for him. He is a young 18-year-old and he can really play the game but if he does actions like this in the majors, he might get plunked one time or another…

Home Run Derby: American League rosters are set

July 6, 2011

Via ESPN:

Boston Red Sox teammates Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz will be heading to the All-Star Game together.

They’ll be teaming up in the All-Star Home Run Derby, too.

Ortiz is the captain of the American League team, and he said Sunday he had selected Gonzalez and Toronto’s Jose Bautista, one of the starting outfielders, as part of his four-man Derby team.

Ortiz also said he had spoken with the New York YankeesMark Teixeira about being the fourth participant. Teixeira said he would do it if chosen for the All-Star team, but he was not selected.

Teixeira said that despite texting with Ortiz about playing, he’d rather spend time with his family.

“I’m not going to go out there,” Teixeira said.

Instead, Teixeira’s teammate Robinson Cano has taken the spot.

“He’s in,” Ortiz said Monday. “We talked earlier today. To put him in was a simple decision.”

Ortiz had also talked to the Texas RangersJosh Hamilton, as well.

“I’d definitely consider it,” Hamilton said Sunday, before Cano was chosen. “I’m not saying for sure I’d do it, but it would be a fun thing to take part in the first one like that ever with the guys that would be there with you doing it.”

Gonzalez is hoping to better his previous appearance in the Derby, when he only hit two homers in St. Louis.

Ortiz will be asking AL home-run hitters to beat a squad of sluggers selected by Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. Ortiz (2010) and Fielder (2009) were tabbed by MLB to pick the teams because they are the last two players to win the contest. Ortiz and Fielder will each pick three teammates and the leagues will compete against each other in this year’s event.

This team is pretty stacked in my opinion because of the raw power on the team. With Papi, Gonzo, and Bautista on the team you are looking at a round of each having 10 home runs or more. Adding Cano is just a bonus and he could even surprise some people like Vlad Guerrero did in San Fran a few years back. I think it should be an interesting year at Chase Field but im interested in seeing which players swing will be messed up the most after participating in this event…

Marquette Athletic Director Steve Cottingham quits

July 6, 2011

Via ESPN:

Marquette athletic director Steve Cottingham resigned Thursday, parting ways with a program facing scrutiny for recent legal issues.

Cottingham was named the school’s interim athletic director in January 2007 and took the role on a permanent basis a year later. He oversaw a tumultuous transition after men’s basketball coach Tom Crean left for Indiana, and successor Buzz Williams has kept up the program’s winning ways on the court.

But Marquette recently has been criticized for the way it handled sexual assault allegations against unidentified athletes.

“Although recent events involving a few student-athletes have certainly been a disappointment to me, I leave Marquette with positive feelings and confidence in its future,” Cottingham wrote in a letter to Marquette President Robert Wild.

Prosecutors decided in May not to charge the athletes involved in the alleged assaults. District Attorney John Chisholm said at the time that investigations into two separate alleged assaults were impeded because Marquette’s public safety department didn’t tell authorities.

Instead, it advised students of options available, including reporting the allegations to the police department.

Marquette’s Dean of Students, Dr. Stephanie Quade, said at the time that the school was “not proud” of the incidents or the way they were handled. She said the school had changed protocol to notify police immediately.

“We have had meetings with Marquette University and its public safety department in order to ensure such a lapse between the reporting of a crime and its investigation never occurs again,” Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn said in a statement at the time. “Marquette University has pledged to do better. We will hold them to their word.”

Neither the school or law enforcement has identified the athletes.

Cottingham oversaw expansion of the school’s athletic programs, including the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse beginning in 2012, and a drive to boost Marquette’s athletic scholarship fund.

He recently gave Williams a contract extension, fending off interest from rival schools after the Golden Eagles’ surprise run to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.

Deputy athletic director Mike Broeker will be the acting athletic director pending a permanent replacement.

…This is a sad story because when I used to be around Steve in the press room he was super nice guy and knew what it meant to be an athletic director. He also knew what it meant to be a Golden Eagle at Marquette. Steve went to almost every single athletic event and supported all the athletics regardless of their prestige. I just remember seeing him at the women’s volleyball game when they weren’t that good my freshman year and he was in the stands cheering them on. I think with the hirings of Buzz Williams, Bond Shamansky, and the new lacrosse coaches, Steve left Marquette in good hands and did what was best for the school. He came in with a lot to do and he left with great success…