June 29, 2010

Win Free Tickets!

Alright...do I have your attention?

Two years ago, Wrigley Field played host to a Peoria Chiefs and Kane County Cougars game and saw 32,103 fans go through the turnstiles.

This year, The Hall of Very Good is partnering up with our friends at Little Cubs Field to send four people to the "Road to Wrigley Game"...for free! The game is Wednesday, July 7 at 7:05pm and the seats are in the Terrace Reserved section 218 on the third base side (click here for a seating chart).

Here's all you need to do. Drop The Hall an email, include your name and the name of your favorite Chicago Cub or Oakland Athletic and you're signed up to win!

Fans attending the "Road to Wrigley Game" will have the opportunity to participate in a number of traditional Minor League ballpark activities such as dizzy bat races, t-shirt tosses and the opportunity for all kids ages 14 and under to run the Wrigley Field bases at the end of the game.

Fans will also be entertained during the game by The Famous Chicken, who has performed at more than 8,500 Major League and Minor League games since the 1970s.

The Chiefs' inaugural game at Wrigley Field set a Midwest League attendance record with 32,103 fans at the July 29, 2008 game which was also the first Minor League game in the stadium's 96-year history. Peoria beat Kane County 9-8 in 12 innings.

The Peoria Chiefs are an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and the Kane County Cougars are affiliated with the Oakland Athletics. Both teams play in the Class A Midwest League.


For more information on Little Cubs Field in Freeport, IL...please visit their website www.littlecubsfield.com.


BallHype: hype it up!


Scott Rolen...Still Crushin'

Prior to the season, I wrote the following about Scott Rolen:

Provided he can stay healthy (easier said than done), Scott Rolen is 17 home runs away from 300. Sure the third baseman’s best years are behind him, but 17 home runs is not out of the picture.

I'll be honest, I kinda figured it would happen. The 35 year-old had a little bit of a resurgence last year, and it looked like it could carry over into 2010.

But did I ever think it would happen before July? Nope.

Well, courtesy of a fourth inning blast that ricocheted off the foul pole in left...it happened Monday night.

Fittingly, it came against the team that Rolen has hit exactly half of his 300 career home runs FOR...the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I don't know what to say about it," the 1997 National League Rookie of the Year said following the game. "I'm excited about it. My family is here and they're excited about it."

And if you are keeping track, Rolen is now the 128th player to reach the milestone for his career and the third (Derrick Lee and Alfonso Soriano are the others) this season.

As far as hitting home runs as a member of the Reds, only two other players ever reached 300 home runs in a Cincinnati uniform. Frank Robinson did it in 1965, whereas Johnny Bench accomplished the feat in 1978.

Coincidentally, the Hall of Famers also sit first (Bench with 389 career home runs) and second (Robinson with 324) all-time among anyone who played in the Queen City. Rolen resides somewhere between Duane Walker and Ryan Freel with 20 career jacks while with Cincy.



BallHype: hype it up!

June 28, 2010

Twitter Tuesday: On the Road

Years ago, Benjamin Franklin said the following: "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes".

In baseball, I'd have to imagine it could be amended to say "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except rainouts and roadtrips".

Here are some of my favorite recent tweets regarding the latter.

@Utbaseball30 (Scot Drucker): Last game in Indy today, back to Toledo finally....Someone on the team wore a Justin Beiber shirt to the field today, guess who?

@michael_schlact (Michael Schlact): Forgot how awesome the movie Book of Eli is. Watching it on the bus to Stockton.

@cpettit815 (Chris Pettit): @michael_schlact come on man, nobody wants to be in/near/around Stockton

@jfinch27 (Jennie Finch): Smiling that our bat girl put on Gangstas Paradise on the bus ride back yesterday... Oh it brought back some memories! Good Times!

@cogz4Christ (Chris Coghlan): Never been to Puerto Rico so I am excited for this trip! Plus we get to play the Mets. Gotta make up some ground...

@jonadkinsWV (Jon Adkins): Nice early flight into Norfolk thinking we can get in the bed as soon as we get to the hotel. Not so fast...no rooms ready!! Snuck up on em

@JarrodBParker (Jarrod Parker): Should i buy the new Miley Cyrus CD!?

Start with Bieber...end with Cyrus. Happy Tuesday, gang!


BallHype: hype it up!

June 27, 2010

Jamie Moyer...Home Run King

With one swing of the bat, Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells wiped Robin Roberts name from the record books.

I know it sounds dramatic, but after giving up 506 home runs, I wanted this Jamie Moyer post to begin with something other than "Moyer continues to defy Father Time" and "with every start Moyer eclipses another milestone".

The last time, the 47 year-old faced the Blue Jays was one year ago to the day...June 28, 2009. In that game, he gave up three dingers with two of them coming off the bat of second baseman Aaron Hill.

It is fitting that Moyer gave up home run number 506 against Toronto. Prior to the third inning bomb by Wells, the Philadelphia Phillies hurler had given up 40 career homers against the Jays...the second most by any of his opponents.

If you're curious how the rest of Moyer's record home runs shake out, check out what I wrote last week after he tied Hall of Famer Robin Roberts atop the all-time leaderboard.

Ten Things About Jamie Moyer's 505 Home Runs


BallHype: hype it up!

June 25, 2010

Friday 5: Matt Antonelli

A number of current and former athletes have taken to social media…Chad Ochocinco, Shaquille O’Neal and even Jose Canseco.

But only a few do it well.

One of those guys is former San Diego Padres number one pick and current Portland Beaver, second baseman Matt Antonelli. From his status updates regarding his recent hand injury to live tweeting throughout the NBA Finals, Antonelli has taken to Facebook and Twitter like a duck (or in his case…beaver) to water. He has even contributed a “Matt’s Mailbag” feature here at The Hall of Very Good.

This week, the Padres hopeful and wannabe YouTube video sensation (more on that later) is taking his crack at this week’s “Friday 5”.

HOVG: Who was your biggest influence and why?

ANTONELLI: My biggest influence as far as baseball is concerned would have to be my dad. He got me into baseball when I was really young and coached me throughout most of my childhood. He hasn't missed many games in my life, even when I went to school 800 miles away from home, and now that I play most of my games on the other side of the country.

HOVG: What is your most memorable travel experience?

ANTONELLI: My most memorable travel experience was definitely during Spring Training in 2008 when we traveled to China to play the Dodgers in a two game series. I am pretty sure it was the first time two Major League baseball teams played a game in China, so it is always cool to be the first to do something like that. I have never been to another country other than the US, Canada and Mexico, so to be able to travel to the other side of the world was an awesome experience. Being able to spend five days learning more about China's culture and being able to visit so many historic sites was something I will always remember.

HOVG: What is your favorite baseball term or saying?

ANTONELLI: I am not sure why, but hearing Crash Davis call Nuke LaLoosh "meat" over and over again in “Bull Durham” has always made me laugh.

HOVG: What is your best experience or greatest accomplishment?

ANTONELLI: I've had a lot of experiences in the game of baseball that have been a whole lot of fun to take part in. I can't even think of them all, but to name a few: Winning a state championship in high school, being given the opportunity to attend Wake Forest and play baseball there, being drafted into professional baseball by the San Diego Padres, winning a Double-A championship, making my Major League Debut.

HOVG: When did you know that you “made it”?

ANTONELLI: Hmm, that is a tough question. I've never really had a moment where I sat there and thought to myself that I had made it. I'm still hoping that I have a lot left in my baseball career and I'm just working hard everyday to get back to the Major Leagues where I have always wanted to play since I was a young kid.

While Matt Antonelli continues to nurse his hand injury, he is doing his best to keep everyone up to date and entertained over
at his website. And until he gets back out on the field full time, be one of the tens of thousands to check out his hoops skills.

And as always, if you have a question for Antonelli, you can email him at mattantonelli9@gmail.com who knows, you might just be featured in a Matt’s Mailbag post here at The Hall.



BallHype: hype it up!

June 24, 2010

My 2010 All-Star Picks

There are a few “can’t miss” sporting events that, when I plan my day-to-day life, I make sure I take into account.

First…the Indianapolis 500. There’s a reason that it is billed the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but since this is a baseball site and not an auto racing site, I won’t get into it.

A close second to the Indy 500 is the MLB All-Star Game. From the opening moments to the last out…I’ve been paying attention to this thing for as long as I can remember. That said, one of my fondest memories was when I was a kid, sitting in the garage listening to the game on the radio.

It was the middle of July and a lightning storm knocked out the power to our neighborhood. But there I was, with an ancient battery powered clock radio to my ear, listening to the game that I so painstakingly took ownership of.

You see, every year, I fill out an All-Star ballot. Only one.

Never more…never none.

It’s always been that way, and here are my 2010 selections.

CATCHER

AL: Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
NL: Ivan Rodriguez - Washington Nationals

Right out the gate, I know I’m going to get a “Pudge…really?!?" from plenty of you and you’d be justified in asking. But here’s the deal, I look at the All-Star Game as a celebration of the greats. Rodriguez is on the way out…he gets my vote. And Mauer, well, Mauer is Mauer…I’d like to see you argue against his inclusion!

FIRST BASE

AL: Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
NL: Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals


Miggy is in because, right off the bat, I didn’t want to include two Minnesota Twins. Sure, Justin Morneau is having a spectacular season…but so is Cabrera. I only hope that Billy Butler in Kansas City makes his way to Anaheim as his numbers do warrant inclusion. In the National League it is really, really hard to vote against Pujols. Hopefully Ryan Howard will provide a nice 1-2 punch in the middle of the lineup from the DH spot.

SECOND BASE

AL: Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
NL: Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies


Utley is having a down year, but he is an All-Star. Much like several others on this list, he’s a guy who owns this spot on the roster until he is ready to relinquish it. Cano, on the other hand, is putting up some of the best numbers in the Majors this year. He’s often overshadowed, so it’s nice to see him take center stage for once.

SHORTSTOP

AL: Derek Jeter - New York Yankees
NL: Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Major League Baseball does not do enough to hitch their wagon to Jeter. The guy is the epitome of All-Star and is class personified…and that’s coming from a Red Sox fan. His National League counterpart Ramirez (a former Red Sox might you), is one of my favorite players out there, so leaving him off my ballot would have been ludicrous.

THIRD BASE

AL: Michael Young - Texas Rangers
NL: Chipper Jones - Atlanta Braves

I’ve got a strong, strong hatred for Alex Rodriguez. Sure, I know he’s great, but I can never bring myself to vote for him. Ever. That said, welcome to the ballot, the all-time hit king for the Texas Rangers…Michael Young. The National League is tricky. Much like putting I-Rod behind the plate, I am inclined to put Chipper at third. I know his season has pretty much been garbage, but given he might hang it up after the season, why not throw him a bone?

OUTFIELD

AL: Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners, Josh Hamilton - Texas Rangers and Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays
NL: Andre Ethier - Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers and Jason Heyward - Atlanta Braves


Ichiro is a shoe-in and Hamilton is still a good story…especially because he is having a good season. Crawford is in because, well, you need a speedster and let’s face it…Crawford is pretty darn good. Over in the National League, it pains me to not include Manny Ramirez, but something tells me he'd be cool with taking the time off and handing the reigns over to Ethier. Braun is a no-brainer given there needs to be at least one Brewer and Heyward, well, let’s just say that I love the story and I’ve bought into all the hype. And yes, I know that, earlier, I said the All-Star Game should be "a celebration of the greats", but before Strasmas came...Heyward captured the baseball world.

DESIGNATED HITTER

AL: Vladimir Guerrero - Texas Rangers


Guerrero is, like others, one of those guys that you kinda have to include if he is having the slightest bit of a good season. Thankfully the guy is playing like a monster, so the choice is an easy one. And since I said it before, I’ll say it again, I wouldn’t mind Ken Griffey Jr. get some sort of notice in a couple of weeks.

STARTING PITCHER

AL: Andy Pettitte - New York Yankees
NL: Ubaldo Jimenez - Colorado Rockies

Jimenez has done just about everything this season that you could ask for…and he’s doing it in Colorado! From the no-hitter to the miniscule ERA, the man is out Halladaying Roy Halladay. In the American League, Pettitte gets my game ball even though I get physically ill watching the man pitch. I like the season he is putting up and when it comes to marquee pitchers in the AL…the veteran lefty is near the top of the list.


So there you have it...MY picks for the 2010 All-Star Game. Who would you replace...and why? Let me know!


BallHype: hype it up!

June 23, 2010

Ten Things About Jamie Moyer's 505 Home Runs

With one swing of the bat, Cleveland’s Russell Branyan put Jamie Moyer one home run away from making history.

You see, the solo home run that Branyan hit Tuesday night was the 505th given up by Moyer…tying him with Hall of Famer Robin Roberts for the most home runs allowed in Major League Baseball history.

For Moyer, it all started June 16, 1986 with a win against the Philadelphia Phillies. A week later, those same Phillies would take on the Moyer’s Cubs again. Early on, Juan Samuel would send a first inning offering deep for what would be the first of many, many home runs hit against the veteran lefty.

And just how many home runs is 505?

Well…if Moyer accomplished the feat as a hitter, he would be sandwiched between Hall of Famer Eddie Murray (504 career bombs) and Gary Sheffield (509) on the all-time list. He’d have outslugged legends Lou Gehrig (493) and Stan Musial (475).

But as it is, the Phillies pitcher has never hit one out (zero home runs in 24 seasons), but he’s given up a quarter ton. Here are ten things you might not have known about Jamie Moyer’s date with history.

1386
Born November 17, 1962, Jamie Moyer is the only active player that can tell you where he was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Nearly four years (or 1386 days) after Moyer was born, Robin Roberts, then with the Chicago Cubs, gave up his 505th and final home run to Willie Stargell.

322
Over the span of Moyer’s 24 year career, he’s been touched up by 322 different batters. By comparison, Roberts gave up his 505 home runs to only 209 different batters. But who victimized Moyer the most? That honor belongs to right handed slugger Manny Ramirez…who has hit ten home runs against Moyer. Among left handed batters, Carlos Delgado (eight home runs) is the leader and for switch hitters…Bernie Williams (seven) holds the distinction. A fun fact about those 322 batters that Moyer has given up gopher balls to, they carry with them birthdates ranging from 1949 (Mike Schmidt) to 1986 (Chris Davis). Last month, Moyer faced the youngest player in the Majors, Starlin Castro (born March 24, 1990), but did not give up a home run to him. Yet.

221
For his career, Jamie Moyer has given up a home run during five different presidential administrations…the most being 221 during the 2001-2008 run of George W. Bush. The other presidents that occupied the White House while Moyer toed the rubber…Ronald Reagan (58 home runs), George Bush (21), Bill Clinton (164) and, of course, Barack Obama (41 and counting).

63
On April 22, Moyer faced off against All-World slugger Jason Heyward and his Atlanta Braves. The veteran would get the better of the rookie, striking him out once in the three times they met. But since this same “ten things” treatment was given to Heyward after he went yard in his first at bat, it is appropriate to point out that Moyer had already given up 63 home runs before the “J-Hey Kid” was born August 9, 1989.

44
In 2004, Moyer, at 41, posted a 7-13 record and a 5.21 ERA. To top off what was, arguably, one of his worst seasons, he would also give up a career high 44 home runs. In back to back starts against the Yankees in May, Alex Rodriguez went deep for three of his six career home runs against the left-hander.

42
When consider that Moyer has given up home runs to all 30 Major League teams (and yes, that includes the Montreal Expos AND Washington Nationals and all three incarnations of the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels), it is no surprise that he has allowed home runs in 42 different ballparks (259 at home and 246 on the road). The five stadiums that played host to the most home runs are, not surprisingly, places that called Moyer home…Safeco Field (89 home runs), CitizensBank Park (54), Camden Yards (47), Kingdome (38) and Wrigley Field (36).

7
An amazing stat when you look at the 505 home runs that Moyer has given up is this…295 of them were solo shots. On the flip side of the coin, only seven of them were with the bases juiced. Moyer gave up his first grand slam to Craig Paquette in May 1997…his most recent was in August 2004.

6
As mentioned, 322 batters have gone deep off Moyer. Five of them (Mike Schmidt, Wade Boggs, Paul Molitor, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr.) are currently in the Hall of Fame. A sixth, Andre Dawson, will be joining them in Cooperstown next month.

2
To say Jamie Moyer spans generations would be an understatement. Over his 24 year career, he has given up home runs to two father/son combos. In 1994, he gave up a home run to Cecil Fielder…14 years later, Cecil’s son Prince took Moyer deep for the first of his two career home runs. Similarly, Moyer has also given up home runs to both Tony Penas…Senior in 1993 and Junior in 2007. And if you were curious about siblings, only the Molinas (Bengie and Jose) have taken Moyer yard.

1
Only once, has Jamie Moyer been the victim of a walk-off home run. On June 24, 2004, the Texas Rangers infielder Alfonso Soriano spoiled Moyer’s only relief appearance with a two run blast in the bottom of the 18th inning. Soriano is also, coincidentally, one of only 15 batters to have lead off a game against Moyer with a home run.

Moyer’s next start looks to be Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Over the span of his career, he has given up 40 homers against the Jays and 22 of them have come north of the border.

The last time, the 47 year-old faced the Blue Jays was June 28, 2009…almost one calendar year from this upcoming start. In that game, he gave up three dingers with two of them coming against second baseman Aaron Hill.



BallHype: hype it up!

June 22, 2010

Robinson Cano vs. Mark Reynolds

Somewhere, somebody had to have had money on it, right?

What was going to happen first...Robinson Cano was going to collect his 100th hit of the season or Mark Reynolds was going to go down swinging for the 100th time?

Both are their respective league leaders in each category and both are, seemingly, looking to get to the 100 mark earlier than in previous years.

Last season, Cano didn't get his 100th hit until the Bronx Bombers' 82nd game...a July 6 contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. It was his 351st plate appearance.

He would finish the season third in the American League with 204.

The all-time leader in strikeouts in a season, Reynolds, hit the century mark last year on June 26. It was his 307th plate appearance and his team's 74th game of the season...coincidentally, an interleague affair against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Monday night, both entered the 2001 World Series rematch stuck at 99.

Cano has done little wrong this season. His .367 batting average entering Monday night's game is nearly 30 points higher than his closest competitor and on the mound for the Diamondbacks was a pitcher he had seen 21 times before...Rodrigo Lopez.

Head to head, Cano came in batting .286 lifetime against Lopez and in his fourth at bat, he would get the base knock he needed in the top of the eighth...his 302nd plate appearance of the year.

Across the diamond, the free swinging Reynolds had never faced Yankees starter A.J. Burnett, so it was unknown how the two would match up. After hitting a home run off the righty in the first, it was clear that the bullpen might have to come into to play.

First out of the pen was Chad Gaudin, a pitcher who has K'd Reynolds six times in eleven plate appearances...but the best he could do was walk the slugger.

In the bottom of the seventh, facing Chan Ho Park, the Diamondbacks third baseman struck out. And if you're keeping track, it was Reynolds' first ever strikeout against Park and his 282nd plate appearance of the season.

Now, I'm not sure what the payout would have been (we'll leave that up to the eggheads over at bodog.com), but if you picked Mark Reynolds...you won.

If you have either one on your fantasy team, odds are it is a different story.


BallHype: hype it up!

Twitter Tuesday: The NBA Finals

It's amazing to me how much pro athletes follow other sports. That said, this past week saw the baseball Twitterspere buzzing with tweets about the World Cup and the NBA Finals.

It didn't matter if they were rooting for the Lakers, Celtics or neither...plenty of guys had something to say about last week's Game Seven and its outcome.

@BrettAnderson49 (Brett Anderson): Whose gonna win tonight?

@broshuis (Garrett Broshuis): Trying to finish off The Atlantic while watching NBA Game 7. The two are as compatible as Hugh Hefner and Margaret Thatcher.

@cpettit815 (Chris Pettit): eating Pedros Tacos while watching the LakeShow... it doesn't get much better than this...

@GrillCheese49 (Jason Grilli): Watching Celtics vs Lakers. Who will win? I am saying the refs will play a big part in the result. What do ya think?

@TommyLasorda (Tommy Lasorda): Lakers - How sweet it is; the fruits of victory! Congratulations

@jonadkinsWV (Jon Adkins): Hey Lakers or Kobe Bryant fans....Michael Jordan didn't ever need a game 7....just sayin!

@MattAntonelli9 (Matt Antonelli): Why do idiots start fires and riots when their city wins a championship...people love an excuse to act like idiots I don't get it

@OzzieGuillen (Ozzie Guillen): Thanks lakers to make my son happy loved congrats one more mr jackson I wish I was you

@Craw_Daddy26 (Evan Crawford): I'm wondering. . .what does someone have to do in their career to take the title of best player ever from Michael Jordan?

So, the NBA Finals aside, I've got to share two of my favorite tweets of the week. The first came from St. Louis Cardinals farmhand, and one of my favorite new tweeters named C.J., C.J. Beatty.

@cjbeatty44: Yo check this out!!!! Mr. Belding from save by the bell came by before our game!!!

The second came from former Major Leaguer (and current Edmonton Capital) Cliff Brumbaugh.

@Brum24: Benches Clear At Royal Athletic Park Getting too old for this stuff!!

So there you have it, some NBA Finals thoughts, a mention of the World Cup and absolutely NO mention of vuvuzelas.

Well...maybe just one.

@cogz4Christ (Chris Coghlan): Im having a hard time sleeping cause i have this painful ringing from those stupid horns at the game tonight!!



BallHype: hype it up!

June 18, 2010

Talkin' Baseball With Ken Griffey Sr.

Two weeks after his sudden retirement announcement, Ken Griffey Jr. is still making headlines.

Whether it is sharing memories of the guy C.J. Wilson calls “the Willie Mays of his generation” or weighing whether or not he should be an All-Star, people are still talking about Junior.

Last week, before his Dayton Dragons took on the Beloit Snappers, Senior Griffey took questions from the media about his new role as a minor league hitting coach, Pete Rose’s bat and, of course, his son.

The Hall of Very Good was along for the ride…here’s how it all shook out.

MEDIA: After baseball, is coaching what you wanted to do?

SENIOR: I went right into it…I didn’t hesitate at all. I retired in 1991 and in 1992, I was the hitting coach for the Mariners.

MEDIA: How far do you want to go…do you want to manage the Cincinnati Reds one of these days?

SENIOR: No, I went that route. (Laughs) I got interviewed for dozens of clubs three or four times and when you get interviewed for six or seven hours, you figure you might have the job. It just didn’t work out. Right here, working with the kids is where I want to be.

MEDIA: What led you to riding the buses in the Minor Leagues?

SENIOR: First of all…I started here. I played five years in the Minor Leagues, so riding the buses never really bothered me. I enjoy the sightseeing and all that.

MEDIA: What were you doing before you became a Minor League coach?

SENIOR: I was scouting for the Reds. I got out of the big leagues in ’02 or 2000, I can’t remember which one it was…there was just too much politics for me. It was easier for me to get into scouting.

MEDIA: What’s the most enjoyable part of working with these kids?

SENIOR: Just watching them progress…watching them day in and day out. You can watch them progress and you can see how they make adjustments. That’s the pleasure I get.

MEDIA: It’s your first year as the hitting coach in Dayton, do you ever just pop in a tape of Junior and show them the sweetest swing in baseball?

SENIOR: Not yet. (Laughs) I’ll show them at the end of the year probably. (Laughs) I try to get them to watch some of the big league players…(Albert) Pujols, Jay Bruce. When they’re playing, just watch them hit. They’re doing the same thing these guys are doing and I just tell them that the man difference between the Majors and here is consistency.

MEDIA: Not everyone can be a home run hitter these days. Are you working with the guys that are batting second like you did and telling them “this is not the time to hit home runs ”?

SENIOR: When we’re out there working, each player has a different swing and I just try to get them to understand that if they can make good contact every time, they’ve got a chance. If you make good contact and you have enough power, you’re going to hit it out of the park. If they can make good contact eight out of ten times, they’ve got a good chance at getting two or three hits. That’s what we work on.

MEDIA: In your career, the most you struck out was 84 times, now strikeouts are like a way of life in the Majors…how did that happen? Are you trying to do something about that?

SENIOR: When I came through (with the Reds), I was hitting second in the lineup so I wasn’t supposed to strike out at all. I was supposed to get on base. Now, over the last ten years, it’s been about home runs and in order for you to hit home runs, you’ve got to have a longer swing and go for it. You’re going to miss a lot of balls and I guess that’s what the higher strikeout ratio is all about. I’m just here trying to help these kids try to continue their career, go up higher and just be consistent.

MEDIA: Do you still have some contact with most of your old teammates?

SENIOR: I talk to all of them all time. George Foster, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose…of course. Davey (Concepcion) and (Cesar) Geronimo are really the only two that are out of communication. I’m not going to Venezuela and I’m not going to the Dominican. Tony Perez is in Miami…George, Joe, Pete and Johnny Bench I see a lot too.

MEDIA: What do you think about the latest report of some guy having Pete Rose’s bat having a little something inside?

SENIOR: I have no idea what that’s about. (Laughs) I’ve never heard of that.

MEDIA: What’s Junior’s next move going to be? Have you talked to him at all? Is he going to stay in the game like you have?

SENIOR: You know…I don’t know. I haven’t really sat down and talked to him about any of that. I know one thing…he’s making plans for me to go hunting with him sometime this winter, but that’s about it right now.

MEDIA: He seems like he was pretty pleased with retiring. Does he have any regrets?

SENIOR: He was happy about everything. When I first talked to him, it was two o’clock in the morning on the day he decided to call it quits. He was driving through Sioux Falls, South Dakota and he seemed pretty happy about the decision he made. He wasn’t going to play very much and he knew it. There wasn’t any reason for him to stay around and be a distraction.

MEDIA: What does it say about him doing this compared to some other options that were available?


SENIOR: I’ll put it this way…his mother raised him right. She’s the one that put all the knots on his head. Seeing that he did things the way they were supposed to be done, I am very proud of him.

MEDIA: When you look at his numbers and the 630 homers, do you think it will be even more staggering when the look at the era, the fact that he couldn’t stay healthy, yet he put up the big numbers?

SENIOR: I don’t know if anyone is going to worry about that. All I know is that people will talk about the steroid era and all the home runs. But I tell you what, it’s going to be hard enough to get him to Cooperstown. He doesn’t like to make speeches. (Laughs) He wants me to introduce him, but I don’t know…we’ll have to wait and see.

Ken Griffey Sr. played 19 years in the Majors and retired in 1991 with a career .296 batting average and 2143 hits. He was the starting rightfielder for the back-to-back World Champion Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976.

In 1990, with Seattle, he and his son, Ken Griffey Jr. became the first father-and-son tandem to play on the same team. They played their first game together against the Kansas City Royals on August 31 and a month later, the two hit back-to-back home runs.

In 2010, Senior was hired as the batting coach for the Dayton Dragons, the Reds' Single-A affiliate.

***Special thanks to Marcus Jacobs of the Beloit Snappers for making this possible and friends of The Hall Andy Gannon and Adam Warner (among others) for asking some questions.***


BallHype: hype it up!

June 17, 2010

Jon Adkins Now Louisville's All-Time Saves Leader

There’s a moment in the 1988 classic “Bull Durham” when Susan Sarandon’s Annie Savoy is urging Crash Davis to let The Sporting News know about his pursuit of the all-time Minor League home run record.

“247 home runs in the minors would be a dubious honor, if ya think about it,” the Kevin Costner character responds.

With all the baseball headlines being filled with perfect games and team milestones, it’s easy to forget the guys that are busting their tails to make it to the Majors.

Or in some cases…back.

Like Annie, I think it would be great to see a friend succeed on any level and before the season even started, I told Louisville Bats closer Jon Adkins that when he earned his tenth save this year…I was going to write about it.

Adkins is a guy, like Davis, that has seen his time in “the show”, but also…has found himself in plenty of Minor League ballparks. Last year, his travels took him overseas to Korea where he led the Korean Baseball Organization in saves with 26.

This past December, he was back in the states, inking a Minor League deal with one of his former clubs, the Cincinnati Reds. Following spring training, he ended up in the same place he was in 2008…Louisville.

Tonight, in front of 8373 fans at Louisville Slugger Field, Adkins became the team’s all-time saves leader.

“It's a great honor,” Adkins told The Hall exclusively following the game. “A lot of great players have come through there and the team has a lot of history too. But, at the same time it means you've been in Triple-A too long as well. It was special being able to break the record at home.”

Adkins entered the game, appropriately enough, against the Durham Bulls with two outs in the ninth. He needed just three pitches to get shortstop Angel Chavez to ground out weakly in front of the plate and unseat Mark Grater to become the Louisville franchise leader in saves with 40.

“Anytime you can break a record of any kind, it's special,” Adkins added. “Louisville has some of the best fans in MILB baseball. They support us through good times and bad. I enjoy every game I play at Louisville Slugger Field.”

In his last stint with the Bats, Adkins was the team’s Co-MVP and an All-Star. Prior to this season, team Vice President/General Manager Dale Owens welcomed the righty back with open arms.

“He is a great pitcher and a great influence on younger players in the clubhouse,” Owens told The Hall back in December. “He certainly has the talent to pitch in the Major Leagues.”

After the game, he was just as enthused.

"I'm very happy for Jon. I don't care what level you participate at you want to be the best," Owens told the Hall exclusively. "In the history of the Louisville franchise, no closer has done better. It's a nice accomplishment and one I'm sure he'll be very proud of long after his career is over."

It remains to be seen if Adkins, who saw action in four Spring Training games for the parent club, will get the call north this season, but one this is certain…The Hall of Very Good will be with him every step of the journey.

Someone might even have to tell The Sporting News about it.


BallHype: hype it up!

Michael Young...Hit King

Last September the countdown was on in the Big Apple as its current superest(?) of superstars Derek Jeter was just a few hits away from surpassing Lou Gehrig on the all-time Yankee hit list.

Last night, the Rangers brass apparently forgot to issue a memo that Michael Young entered the game within spitting distance of becoming their team's all-time hit king.

There was no fanfare, no countdown graphics on SportsCenter...no ceremonial chotchkies available over at MLB.com.

I guess that's the difference when your team's all-time king is the still active Ivan Rodriguez and the total is a seemingly paltry (yet, in Young's case, pretty impressive) 1747 hits.

Young collected two base knocks against the Florida Marlins Wednesday night to increase his career total to 1748 in just 1416 games. "Pudge" recorded his 1747 over two stints with the team and 1507 games.

Suffice it to say, Young was honored and humbled by the accomplishment.

"I knew it'd mean a lot, but now that it's finished, I kind of look back on the career I've had in Texas and the players I've passed, it means a lot," the six-time All-Star told reporters following the game. "I've played my whole career in one uniform. Hopefully I can finish it in this uniform."

And if you're curious, Young is now just the fourth active player to be his team's all-time hit leader joining the aforementioned Jeter, Todd Helton in Colorado and Carl Crawford in Tampa Bay.

Next season, there are two other players poised to become their team's all-time hit leaders. Ichiro Suzuki (2121) is 120 hits behind Seattle hit king Edgar Martinez (2241) and in Toronto, Vernon Wells (1436) is chasing Tony Fernandez for the top spot (1583).

It's your guess as to which one gets higher billing on the Worldwide Leader...but the smart money is on Ichiro.



BallHype: hype it up!

June 16, 2010

Jim Edmonds Returns to Anaheim

Much was made of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jim Edmonds’ return to Angel Stadium…a stadium he hadn’t played in since his final game as an Angel.

He was hitless in what was the Angels last game of the 1999 season (he was 2-5 against the Halos Tuesday night) and right before the start of 2000, he found himself traded to the Cardinals for Kent Bottenfield and Adam Kennedy.

Kennedy had a pretty successful career for the Anaheim (and later Los Angeles) Angels, winning a World Series in 2002, whereas Bottenfield saw himself shipped to Philadelphia at the trade deadline in 2000.

“Jimmy Ballgame” saw his career flourish in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, playing alongside Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen, but just how great of a player did the Angels give up?

For starters, there are a few avenues you can go down in order to come to some sort of conclusion.

First, you could start by comparing him to contemporary outfielders like Steve Finley and Luis Gonzalez. Both guys who, in my mind, would illustrate what my gut tells me…Jim Edmonds DOES NOT belong alongside those enshrined in Cooperstown.

Frankly, not one of the three belongs in the same sentence as the sleepy New York town.

Sure, Edmonds is good…he was a world champ in 2006, a four-time all-star and twice he’s finished in the top five in the MVP voting. But Hall worthy?

No way.

But then I remembered…you CAN go into the Hall based on your defense (a la Bill Mazeroski or Ozzie Smith) and Edmonds did bring home eight Gold Gloves in a nine year span. With this guy, his repertoire was the opposite of most…his defense was the delicious dessert at the forefront and batting was the icing.

At the plate, the 39 year-old is sitting at 385 career home runs (more than Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner and Tony Perez), a .284 career batting average with five seasons above the .300 mark.

Barring injuries (and honestly, couldn’t we say that about a bunch of players) and a season away from pro ball, Edmonds could be nearing 500 bombs and 2500 hits versus where he’ll end up…closer to 400 and 2100.

Again, he is good…just not great.

Ask yourself this…do his highlight reel catches and sub-"benchmark" numbers make him more of a Hall of Famer than someone like Jim Thome, Ivan Rodriguez or Chipper Jones? Because, let's face it, that's who he is likely going to be up against when he comes up for selection.

My guess is he'll be a guy, like Steve Garvey, Dave Parker or Don Mattingly, destined to appear on the ballot for the full 15 years...but not great enough to break through the doors.

I could be wrong…but only time will tell.



BallHype: hype it up!

June 15, 2010

Twitter Tuesday: Garrett Broshuis

Every so often, you stumble upon someone on Twitter that (A) you've never heard of and (B) you're kicking yourself for having not found them sooner.

Such is the case for former San Francisco farmhand Garrett Broshuis.

Broshuis drops one-liners with the ease of a stand up comic...a stand up comic that found himself getting drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 MLB Draft, that is.

TWITTER HANDLE: @Broshuis

SAMPLE TWEETS:

I feel like college conferences are in a pre-World War I state of secret alliances. Just waiting for an Archduke Ferdinand moment.

Watching the 1981 version of "Clash of the Titans." Is it supposed to be a comedy? 'Cause I'm finding this hilarious.

Note to Rich White People: Stop doing stupid crap such as attempting to sail around the world when you're 16 just so you can gain attention.

Note to media: Stop showing Rich White People doing stupid stuff (sailing around the world at 16) and maybe they'll stop craving attention.

Dear ESPN: Despite your best efforts to ram the WorldCup down my throat, I will not be watching it. Sincerely, Baseball is Better

Great. End the game in a tie. Who's running this thing? Bud Selig?

The musings of Garrett Broshuis can be found over at his site, Life in the Minors. Broshuis has also been published online by Baseball America and The Sporting News.

Not too shabby.


BallHype: hype it up!

June 12, 2010

Meet Your Newest Red Sox Hero...Daniel Nava

And with one swing of the bat...Daniel Nava became the city of Boston's newest folk hero.

Sure, his arrival Saturday wasn't as publicized as Stephen Strasburg's, as explosive as Jason Heyward's or as rare as Mike Leake's...wait, nevermind, yes it was.

In his first Major League at bat Saturday, the Red Sox left fielder send the first pitch he saw from Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton 400-plus feet into the right field seats for a go ahead grand slam.

To put it all in perspective, what Nava did has only happened one other time. In 2006, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam on the first pitch thrown his way. Overall, only four players have hit grand slams in their first at-bat.

Nava, the 2007 Golden League MVP, became just the fourth Red Sox player to homer in his first big league at-bat and the second to do so on the first pitch. Bill Lefebvre accomplished the feat June
10, 1938. It was the only home run he would ever hit.

Maybe now the 27 year-old Nava can get the attention of ESPN's Erin Andrews.


BallHype: hype it up!

June 11, 2010

Andy Pettitte Makes Yankees History

Seven years ago, the Houston Astros made history, sending a record six pitchers to the mound to no-hit the New York Yankees. And of the 266 that have been thrown since 1875, it still stands as the last combined (there have been nine total) no-no.

But my how things have changed since June 11, 2003.

Since that 8-0 drubbing, the Yankees have rattled off four straight wins versus the 'stros, winning by a combined score of 29-10.

When Andy Pettitte took the hill Friday night against the aforementioned Astros, he was looking to cross a few items off his list.

Right out the gate, it was going to be his first start against the only other team he played for. If you recall, Pettitte followed his buddy (and fellow Texan) Roger Clemens to Houston for three seasons starting in 2004 and ending in 2006.

Since it was going to be Pettitte's first start against his former club (coincidentally one of two teams he's never faced...the other being the Yankees), he was looking to add another name to the long list of teams he's beaten. In case you were wondering, the Chicago Cubs are the only team the 37 year-old has faced that he hasn't beaten.

And lastly, coming in at 199-110 in pinstripes, the lefty was angling to become just the third pitcher to reach 200 wins in Yankees pinstripes, with Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231) being the other two.

Suffice it to say, Pettitte nailed down number 200 Friday night with a 4-3 win or else this whole diatribe would be moot. But historically, what does 200 wins for one team mean for a player?

There are now five teams that have had three or more pitchers tabulate 200 or more victories with them. Both the Braves and Giants franchises have had five, Detroit has had four and the Indians are tied with the Yankees at three apiece. Interestingly enough, that accounts for close to two-thirds of the pitchers that have reached the milestone with one teams.

Of the now 31 pitchers who have accomplished the feat in one uniform, all but six (Hooks Dauss, George Mullin, Mickey Lolich, Mel Harder, Charlie Root and Wilbur Cooper) have made it to the Hall of Fame with another two (Tom Glavine and John Smoltz) not yet eligible.

So what does that mean for Pettitte?

Does 200 wins for the Bronx Bombers grant him a one-way ticket to Cooperstown like it did Ford and Ruffing or does it just ensure that his number 46 will safely be tucked away in Monument Park alongside other Yankees legends?

It's tough to say right now, but you can bet that my stance hasn't changed since I
first posted it back in December.

Andy Pettitte re-signs with Yankees


BallHype: hype it up!

Alfonso Soriano Joins the 300 Club

I'd like to say I'm clairvoyant (I'm not), but just yesterday...I wrote the following regarding Alfonso Soriano and his quest to join the fictitious 300 Home Run Club:

If I was a betting man (and I'm not), I'd say Soriano's best chance is Friday versus Peavy...a pitcher who he's hitting .375 (6 for 16) with two career home runs against.

Well...it happened today.

Against Peavy.

It's true. With a second inning blast off the White Sox pitcher, Soriano became just the 127th player to reach 300 career home runs. Wednesday night, his Chicago Cubs teammate Derrek Lee reached the milestone.

If this trend continues, Scott Rolen (currently enjoying a resurgence in Cincinnati) should be the next guy to knock his 300th out of the park. Rolen is currently sitting at 297.

But what's next for Soriano?

A quick glance at his career numbers and you're reminded just how good this guy was and could have been. He's a four-time member of the 30-30 club and is one of only 4 players (Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez are the others) to have gone 40-40.

So...steals maybe?

With 300 career home runs and 261 stolen bases, Soriano has an outside shot at joining Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, Bobby Bonds, Reggie Sanders and Steve Finley as the only players to have 300 of each.

Also within sniffing distance is A-Rod, who, with 299 career steals (including a paltry two so far this season) looks to get there first.

And yeah, you read it right...Reggie Sanders was just mentioned in the same post as Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds. Take THAT, Bernard Gilkey!


BallHype: hype it up!