The Playoffs are Here

Congratulations to the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays and their capturing of the American League Eastern Division. It was a long time coming, 22 years, and it was well worth the extra wait for the full blown celebration after they split the doubleheader versus the Orioles at Camden Yards Wednesday. Heck it was after they could have clinched Tuesday but were rained out. For myself that was agonizing enough, but still worth the wait.

Now the real fun will begin and the hope is that it lasts right through into early November with the ultimate goal accomplished, World Series Champions. But there is lots of work before that could be attained. The AL Wild Card game goes Tuesday and with the Yankees on the verge of securing home field for that game, the question is who will the Jays be playing starting Thursday. The Royals defeated the Twins 5-1 so as of this writing, the Jays are 0.5 behind the Royals for home field advantage for the playoffs. Jays play tonight and will have chance to even things again going to the final regular season game tomorrow at 3:10 pm vs Tampa Bay.

So the Jays at this point and several options still to be determined. Texas is on the verge at this moment of clinching the AL West so if current standings stay as they are, the Jays and Rangers will be up on Thursday. Now that poses an intriguing matchup for the Jays as Texas boasts solid firepower that will give the Jays pitchers fits and the fact that Texas, like the Jays, have been on fire in the second half. I would still give the advantage to the Jays as the starters have been among the best in the 2nd half and that’s a decided edge for the Jays. If it’s Price, Stroman, Dickey and Estrada as expected, just look to their second half numbers including now Stroman in September, which has been downright scary. They are among the leaders in ERA and wins. That’s going to be tough for the Rangers to crack regardless of their potent lineup. Continue reading The Playoffs are Here

Major Shakeup Needed in DC

Well the season is now over for the Washington Nationals. Granted the Nats had a number of injuries to deal with this season but they win the award for the most under achieving team in baseball for 2015. For this team to finish this season barely over 500 in a word is ridiculous. Consider their division has the two worst teams in the sport this season, in the Phillies and Braves, not to mention another bottom team in the Marlins. That’s beyond belief. The record is also in a year where Bryce Harper might wind up winning both the batting title and the home run crown. I have a plan here if I was running things in Washington what I would do once the last game was played in 2015 for the Nationals.

New GM and Manager

I do not relish people losing their jobs but in terms of the Nationals there needs to be new voices in the front office as well as the dugout. Unfortunately that means Mike Rizzo and Matt Williams need to be replaced.

Payroll Flexibility

Ownership has shown in the past that they are more than willing to spend to have a top level team. This was illustrated by Ryan Zimmerman‘s extension, as well as signing big free agents in Jason Werth and Max Scherzer. Believe it or not the Nationals have nearly 50 million coming off the books after this season (48.4 million to be exact). The players hitting the free agent market for the Nationals are Ian Desmond, Doug Fister, Dernard Span, Matt Thornton and Jordan Zimmermann. I don’t bring any of them back.

The Current Core – Position Players Continue reading Major Shakeup Needed in DC

Goodbye Yogi – Baseball Legend Dies at 90

As some of you know, I’ve been writing a book for the past year…make that almost two. Yes, I may have underestimated how long this takes.

I interviewed 50 ball players and personalities, many of them Hall of Famers. There are three I’m the most proud of. Sitting with George Brett in the President’s box in Kauffman Stadium ranks up there. Interviewing my childhood idol, Dave Winfield also makes that top list, as does my interview with Cito Gaston. Ok, maybe I have more than three favourites. But this interview I hadn’t mentioned to many people. This one was very special, and I was planning on keeping as a surprise. Well, perhaps now is an appropriate time to say that it was Yogi Berra, and let us all take this time to say goodbye to a baseball legend.

Yogi was a man who beat the odds. What do I mean? Just like Pete Rose was told, Yogi was probably too small for baseball, at 5’7″ and 185 lbs. The Yankee catcher would go on to hit 358 HR’s over his 19-year tenure, being selected to the All-Star team 18 times! He was also a 13-time World Series Champ, and won the MVP 3 times. Not bad for 5’7″, eh?

I was talking to a seasoned veteran baseball writer back when my book was just an idea, and mentioned I wanted to interview Berra.

“You need to be more realistic”, he said. “Yogi doesn’t do interviews anymore”. Continue reading Goodbye Yogi – Baseball Legend Dies at 90