Friday, February 28, 2014

Sogard Loses out to Wright in MLBN's Face of MLB Competition

After a three month long, hard fought, Twitter battle by the fans, David Wright the third baseman of the New York Mets was named Major League Baseball Network’s (MLBN) Face of MLB for 2014. The competition began with 30 different “faces,” one for each franchise, pitted against each other in a bracket-style competition. On Thursday it was whittled down to just two, Wright and Oakland Athletics’ second baseman Eric Sogard.
Eric  Sogard (Image courtesy of Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
Eric Sogard (Image courtesy of Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
The vote was close and the battle intense. Wright received 51% of the fan votes to Sogard’s 49%. Neither player was expected to be in this position back in December. Not with the faces of guys like the New York Yankees Derek Jeter, the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz and last year’s winner, from the Cincinnati Reds, Joey Votto in the mix.
The Oakland fans, however, took it upon themselves to launch a campaign much bigger than anyone could have thought possible. The Nerd Power campaign stems from the fact that Sogard is one of very few, if any, ball players that still wear their glasses on the field. Unfortunately for the Sogard, the A’s and their fans their ridiculously hilarious, creative tweets just weren’t enough to over take the Mets’ fans and their Captain America campaign for Wright.
For More of this Story Check Out Sports Unbiased - Your Alternative Source for Sports

Greinke Injured, CrAzy A's Fans and Trying to go to EVERY Single Home Game in a Season

Just a quick update because it is something I think is pretty news worthy .... I know that all injuries should be newsworthy but some more than others and I kinda felt like writing for bit since I am awake from voting for my boy Eric Sogard for the Face of Major League Baseball. Which is pretty freakin' awesome because it shows the power of a true fan base and a tight knit one. We are seriously AmAzing and it's not just this competition - not at all! We are creative, we love our players and they love us! We are crAzy but we are cool too. The RF Bleachers (I'd say we again but gotta give credit where credit is due!) make friends with the players from other teams and in turn they love us all! It's greAt and incredibly cool. We've also been called the loudest fans in baseball ... just ask the Detroit Tigers .... even after being shut out by Verlander in game 5 (yes, I do realize this has happened twice) - we still gave our players a five minute standing ovation ... so while we may be NERDS (both baseball and otherwise) ... we are the coolest nerds you will ever meet and by far the best fans in baseball .... but I completely digress ... 

Michael Hickey/Getty Images 
My point in starting this was really as the title may suggest that the Dodgers' star pitcher - well after Kershaw of course - Zach Greinke was forced to leave their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks early due to a calf injury. He faced only retired only one batter Diamondbacks leadoff hitter, Tony Compana on a first pitch fly ball to left. On his third pitch to second baseman Cliff Pennington Grenke landed wrong on his right leg. He threw one more pitch and hobbled a bit off the rubber and out came the trainers. Greinke threw two warm up pitches before being taken into the clubhouse for treatment. Greinke was diagnosed with a mild right calf strain. While this might not sound bad and doesn't sound like a big blow to the Dodgers, it could be. With the compressed Spring Training schedule due to the team's early start to the season in Australia there could be a question as to whether or not Greinke can start the season on time. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's outfielder Josh Hamilton recently suffered a calf strain that has him sitting out from Spring Training for the next couple of weeks. The injury makes it even more likely that Kershaw and either Hyun-Jin Ryu or Dan Haren will  be the starters for their opening series down under. There is a chance that this was just a cramp. Greinke says he's had them before and could pitch through it but at this point since it is still February there is no reason for the Dodgers to want him to do that ...

I mean that makes sense doesn't it? It's Spring Training, he's their second best starter and he actually told the press at one point that he had "absolutely no excitement about going to Australia." He did kinda try to correct that comment yesterday saying, 
If we're going to be there, and we obviously are, yes I'd like to pitch there," he said. "My comments, I didn't realize they would cause a stir. I'm looking forward to playing over there. No one wants me to say it, I had to vote to go, my vote was not to go. Now that we are going, I want to be there. I don't want the team to go and me sit here and watch. I don't want to go and watch. I want to play. I want to pitch good, I want to win games. You're forced to do what you're not used to do, it's harder to be able to do it to the best of your ability."
That last part of the comment was referring to his being outside his comfort zone by having to change his pitching routine and preparation for the trip to Australia. Again, I don't blame the guy because shit who wants that? I'd LOVE to go to Australia dont get me wrong but I get annoyed when I have to watch my team open in Japan (and now they are talking about Taiwan for next year ... why always my A's?? I mean seriously!!) and I just have to wake up in the middle of the night not travel there and play the game! I mean shit, that would suck. I once tried going to every single home game one year (made it to 78!) but that was rough and all I had to do was show up and sit there ... but some days the couch and a tv can be much more appealing ... Just sayin' - I'm not the perfect fan but I do try ... So yeah, I will leave y'all with that and of course this ...

 If you are awake and it is before 5am on the West Coast  - wait! What the hell are you doing reading this ... get back on Twitter and VOTE #EricSogard 4 #FaceOfMLB! I so hope I get to write about this in the morning saying that he is the winner!! #NERDPOWER!!!! (I'm even wearing my own #RallySpecs as we speak because I'm cool like that and because I am incredibly blind ...)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A's Reddick Makes the "Catch of the Year" in first Spring Training Game (Twice!)

In the Oakland Athletics very first spring training game of 2014, right fielder Josh Reddick, made what everyone is calling "The Catch Of the Year." He did it not once but twice! Not only that, both times he robbed the same hitter, the San Francisco Giants' Michael Morse, of a home run!
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Image courtesy of Getty Images
His first catch over the right field ten-foot high fence is considered the better of the two but when you look at them side by side you can hardly tell the difference. The A's RF, nicknamed "Spiderman," can be seen literally jumping and scaling the fence while at the same time looking over his left shoulder to catch a ball that literally made a catcher in the Giants bullpen jump out of his seat. Apparently he thought the ball was going to land in his lap when it landed in Reddick's Glove.
Can it REALLY be the "catch of the year" if it isn't even March yet? The answer from many is "yes." In fact, most everyone that witnessed the catch feel the same way A's outfielder Sam Fuld felt when he said,
"The first one he made was the best play I've ever seen, on the field or as a fan or anywhere. Best play I've ever seen live, and then it just got wacky with the second one. You'll never see that ever again."
To Read the Rest of the Article Go to Sports Unbiased - Your Alternative Source For Sports 

One more pic for your viewing pleasure via USA Today Sports

It's Sogard vs. Wright, East Coast vs. West Coast in Face of MLB Finals!

The final two contestants in MLB Network's (MLBN) Face of Major League Baseball competition were announced on the show, The Hot Stove, this morning. The final two will be Eric Sogard of the Oakland Athletics and David Wright of the New York Mets. It's a battle of East Coast versus West Coast and a battle of a big name player in Wright versus a virtually, until now, unknown player in Sogard. 
Sogard's fans have made his "Nerd Power" extremely hard to beat. Their tweets, along with his teammates tweets, have been hilarious and the internet "memes" have been as well. The Athletics and their fans are supporting Sogard in this way but they are not offering prizes or follows for votes. Sogard is a great face for the Athletics. He is an underdog, a status the A's themselves embrace. He is the epitome of small market teams and the adversities they face in the shadow of so many big market teams. 
To Read The Rest of this Article Check out the MLB Pro Blog OPSN - Outside Pitch Sports Network

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Russell Wilson will Suit Up Monday for the Texas Rangers

AP/Getty Images
Super Bowl Champion quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks will be working out with the Texas Rangers come Monday. Wilson was taken by the Rangers in this year’s Rule Five Draft during the winter meetings in December. Rumors have been circulating since the Super Bowl about whether or not Wilson would make an appearance at the Rangers’ spring training camp in Surprise, AZ.
It was first reported that Wilson would attend spring training as a moral booster for the team, to keep the camp in a “winning atmosphere.” Since that first report Wilson’s agent has gone back and forth on what the Seahawks quarterback would decide to do regarding his second sport. Wilson’s intentions were made clear as he tweeted on February 20, 2014,
“@DangeRussWilson Hey @Ranger fans…See you at “Surprise” Arizona on March 3! #SpringTraining.”

To Read the Rest of the Article Check out the MLB Pro Blog OPSN - 
Outside Pitch Sports Network 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

For it's 1, 2 ... 3?? Wilson & Koufax Both Hit in Head by Line Drives

Alright, both of these incidents happened in Arizona during early Cactus League practices and not in Los Angeles but they did happen to a former Dodger and a current Angel .... 

There's a slightly disturbing trend happening to players of Los Angeles Major League Baseball teams. Two players, one former and one current, have been hit in the head with line drives in the last four days. One has to wonder who's next since things seem to happen in threes.

It's a scary thought, getting hit in the head with a line drive. A ball moving that fast and hitting you in the right place can very possibly kill you. That means Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and Angels' pitcher CJ Wilson are both extremely lucky men. Both were struck in the head with a line drive during batting practice. Both, while still requiring medical attention, walked off the field on their own.
On Saturday at the Los Angeles Dodgers' training camp in Glendale, AZ Koufax was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Andre Ethier while watching pitching prospect Ross Stripling. Koufax, 78, maintained his footing but suffered a cut to the forehead.  He was, however, immediately carted off by the team’s trainers in a golf cart and immediately tended to by the medical staff. The HOF pitcher seemed to take it in stride being seen later that day in the Dodgers' clubhouse conversing with some of the players.
A mere four days later Angels' starting pitcher CJ Wilson was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Yorvit Torreabla while throwing live batting practice. Wilson was knocked to the ground suffering a gash on his head. He, like Koufax, never lost conciousness and actually wanted to continue pitching. At the insistence of the team and medical staff he was taken to the hospital for a CT scan as a precaution. Wilson downplayed the incident later tweeting,
@str8edger8cer Everything is fine, except that pitch I threw. Shoulda caught it. Thanks for the  - lesson is to not pitch to contact! Haha
Image courtesy of Greg Flume/Getty Images
Image courtesy of Greg Flume/Getty Images
These kinds of injuries though should not be taken lightly though.  In 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks' pitcher Brandon McCarthy, then of the Oakland Athletics, was hit in the head with a line drive during a game. He was out for the rest of the season, underwent emergency surgery and experience a seizure last year. McCarthy’s misfortune sparked the approval of an optional padded cap for pitchers by MLB. However rare, the possibility of a serious injury is omnipresent.
To Read the Remainder of this Article Go to SportsUnbiased - Your Alternative Source For Sports

MLBN's Face of MLB Competition Down to the Final Four!

If you haven't heard about it yet then you must not have a Twitter account. MLB Network's (MLBN) Face of MLB is a bracket-style competition that faces off each of the fan voted "face of the franchise" players against each other. The competition is now down to the Final Four: David Wright of the New York Mets, Eric Sogard of the Oakland Athletics, Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays.Not who you thought it would be, huh? While Wright and Hernandez may be big names, not one of the teams is a team that gets a lot of press on a regular basis. First are two east coast teams, both usually overshadowed by the New York Yankees and then there are two American League West teams. Let's face it, not many in the eastern U.S. stay up late to watch the A's battle the Mariners!
To Read the Rest of my Article and VOTE in our S.U. Poll Check Out Sports Unbiased - Your Alternative Source For Sports!

Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Oakland Athletics: Life of a MLB Season Ticket Holder: Spring Training Preparation

This week on  2014 Oakland Athletics: Life of a MLB Season Ticket Holder, I am getting ready to head out to Phoenix, Arizona to see my A's play a little baseball. I feel like Spring Training is something every baseball fan should experience, especially if you are dedicated enough to be a STH.
This is one of my favorite times of year: getting to a mini baseball fix to tide me over until Opening Day as well as some shopping, mani/pedi's, and getting my hair done. It's all about rejuvenating for the upcoming season. Oh and this year will include an extra shopping trip for socks, of course! But there are a lot of other things I have learned over the years that might be helpful for fans new to the Spring Training experience!
(Image courtesy of Barbara Rainwater)
(Image courtesy of Barbara Rainwater)
As for clothes to bring, I always wear shorts or a skirt to the games. I would, though, caution you to bring at least one or two outfits and shoes for bad weather. Just last year we arrived right after a huge snow storm (in Arizona in February, who knew?). Another year we were at a game vs the Texas Rangers, it rained and was cold. However most of the time it is just gorgeous, perfect baseball weather. As they say though, don't put all your eggs in one basket. I learned that one the hard way. Sure it all sounds girly: clothes, shoes, mani/pedis, but we are really there to watch the games
I have not missed going to Spring Training since the year 2000. It has become a tradition for my mom and me. We choose to fly to Phoenix. I have some friends who carpool and drive. Do whatever works for you. You can usually get cheap deals on Southwest and on such a short flight, the service and leg space are just fine!
Since our first trip, my mom and I have stayed at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotels Phoenix. It is extremely convenient for us. It is only about a five minute drive to Phoenix Municipal Stadium where the A's play. They also offer a free shuttle. (I recommend taking the shuttle on days when the team is playing a rival like the San Francisco Giants. It is much easier to avoid the extra crowds that day, plus you never know what kind of interesting characters you will meet on the shuttle.)
Comfort is one of the reasons we stay at the DoubleTree. Our first few years a lot of the players stayed there, so we thought it would be cool; but, not many of them stay there anymore. A few do but it isn't like in 2003 when we were in the hot tub with Miguel Tejada or swimming in the pool with Kim and Kennedy Hudson. Then there was the time I was cornered in the bar in 2004 by Ricardo Rincon, I knew he knew me because he'd thrown me quite a few baseballs at games with his phone number on it. I never called, but when we met at the bar he really wouldn't take no thank you to his dinner invitation. Here's what I did. I said "Thank you very much Ricardo but I am here with my best friend, Christopher and my mother so they would have to be able to come with us to dinner." I was quite surprised that his answer was "yes." It turned out that we had a really lovely time eating authentic Mexican food and dancing all night. Thankfully, it was all very innocent, and he turned out to be a very interesting, nice guy. Even now some of the minor league players with invites to training camp happen to stay there, so you never really know who you may run into or even become friends with. It all depends on the year!
To Read the Rest of My Story Go to Sports Unbiased - Your Alternative Source For Sports!

AL West Updates: Rangers & Ron Washington, Angels & Mike Trout - Talk Extensions

Rangers, Ron Washington Agree to One-Year Extension
The Texas Rangers and manager Ron Washington have agreed on a one-year contract extension through the 2015 season. Washington will be entering his eighth and what would have been, without the extension, his final season with the Rangers.
Washington is the most successful manager in Texas Rangers’ history. He took the team all the way to the World Series in both 2010 and 2011. Those two appearances were the only World Series appearances the Rangers have ever made. Unfortunately for Washington and the Rangers both appearances ended in defeat. The Rangers were defeated by the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.
He has 611 wins in seven seasons with the Rangers which is the most ever for a Rangers’ manager and is also the fourth most of any manager since 2007.  His .538 winning percentage is yet another Texas Rangers record.
According to the Rangers’ general manager, Jon Daniels, there was never a question of whether or not Washinton’s contract would be extended.  Discussions between Washington and the club regarding the extension were ongoing throughout last season and the off season. They were not finalized, however, until last week. The announcement was officially made Monday after the team’s intrasquad game. The financial details of the extension have not yet been made available to the public.

Angels, Mike Trout Talk Six-Year Extension

Image Courtesy of Getty Images
Image Courtesy of Getty Images
Mike Trout, 22, is arguably one of the best players in Major League Baseball. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are thinking about taking a page out of the Atlanta Braves’ playbook, wanting to lock down their young talent. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, the two parties have been discussing a six-year contract extension worth $150 million.
Really this appears to be a good deal any way you look at it for both the Angels and for Trout. Under the current circumstances, Trout will not even be eligible for salary arbitration until next year and won’t have free-agent status until 2017. As a young player without the extension, Trout, who has finished second in the American League MVP voting to the Detroit Tiger’s Miguel Cabrera his first two years in the league, won’t even make $1 million in 2014. His services and talent are, at least by the current going rates, worth much more than that.
With an extension the Angels are getting a young, healthy, MVP caliber player and Trout would end up making around $25 million next season alone. Another plus for Trout would be that once hitting free-agency he would only be 28-years old. At that age he will have made as much as many players make in a career and still be in his prime.
Last season Trout hit .323 with 39 doubles, nine triples, 27 homers, 97 RBI, 33 stolen bases and 109 runs scored. Players with numbers like that do not come along very often and the Angels should follow the Braves’ example. The Braves recently extended contracts with several of their young, talented players who like Trout will be eligible for free agency even with the extensions while still in their primes. A contract extension for Trout at this time seems like a win-win for both the player and the ball club.
For More Check Out Sports Unbiased - Your Alternative Source For Sports

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Boy and My Pup, Too Early on a Saturday Morning! (and my 2nd attempt at using Vine)

This was too cute for me not to post and I may talk a lot of shit on here sometimes but I don't put a lot of my personal shit on my blog at all. I had to share this tho! I caught my boyfriend giving my dog a high five waaaay too early for either of them on a Saturday morning! Soooo Adorable!! (with a little Hank Williams III in the background ... good times!

Check out OaklandAsSocksGirl's post on Vine! Bebe Gives A High Five!

Say goodbye to the Bernie Lean and Hello to the Ed Lover Dance

You guys do realize that when he does this that there will be an entire stadium of people doing this all summer ... But hey, I guess if he dances too then we can all look silly together! Knowing A's fans this could all get pretty interesting!! LOL! #AsFansRule #EdLoverDance

Check out Oakland Athletics's post on Vine! Coco Crisp does the new 2014 Ed Lover Dance!

MLB Network's Face of MLB Fan Vote: Just who is This Guy with the Glasses?

Getty Images
If you are a big baseball fan or even just a causal baseball fan you probably watch MLB Network (MLBN) from time to time if not, like me, multiple times per day. If you have watched MLBN in the last month then you are probably wondering, "who is that guy with the glasses?" I don't blame you, he is on the Oakland Athletics who, less face it, no matter how good they are just don't get a lot of press. Just look at Josh Donaldson's snub from last season's All-Star Game
I have to pause here because I am sure you are probably wondering, "Who the heck is Josh Donaldson?" Well, he is the All-Star caliber, finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2013 and very dedicated third baseman for the Oakland Athletics. But this article is not about the Oakland's Bringer of Rain.
Again, where am I going with this right? How in the world is this all still related to that guy with the glasses, right? I'm just trying to show you how little press the A's get each year except talking revolving around their "old stadium' and "small fan base."
Each year MLB Network holds a fan decided competition online. A "face" of each Major League Baseball organization is chosen and they then compete go head to head against each other in a bracket style playoff.
(Image courtesy of Jamey Van Dyke @PerfectGameGear)
(Image courtesy of Jamey Van Dyke @PerfectGameGear)
This year the Face of the Oakland Athletics as voted on by the fans is, second baseman, Eric Sogard. He's a nice guy who quietly does his job and does it well. Until now was only known for making pitcher Matt Garza a little too mad for knowing how to bunt properly and for as, previously mentioned, wearing glasses. Sogard is one of very few, if any, major league players who wear their glasses on the field. Stephen Vogt, Oakland's catcher, said of Sogard,
“I think he’s what the A’s are all about, he’s under-the-radar and very good, the epitome of the Oakland ‘As.
Over the past year Sogard and his glasses have gotten the attention of the Oakland fans. The A's, who do have a somewhat smaller fan base than say the New York Yankees, have quite a mighty one. Oakland fans have been called by many the loudest fans in baseball. Now they are trying to make themselves nationally heard in MLBN's Face of the MLB competition.
Sogard as everyone's favorite professor Dr. Indiana Jones (Image courtesy of Omar G @Omar01)
Sogard as everyone's favorite professor Dr. Indiana Jones (Image courtesy of Omar G @Omar01)
Sogard is a fan favorite because everyone loves a guy with glasses and a lot of hustle. His nicknames include The Professor and Harry Potter (I once heard someone yell, "Expelliamus," in a game where Sogard turned a double play). His other monikers, often used as hashtags to identify him on Twitter, are NerdPower and RallySpecs. At one point his glasses even had their own Twitter account.
Since being voted as "The Face," as his teammates now call him, Sogard surpassed the Chicago Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Colorado Rockies' fan favorite, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the first and second rounds of the bracket. Even more surprising was that he beat out Tulowitzki by a whopping 68% of the fan votes. Sogard was of course very humble on the subject of his new celebrity saying,
“Obviously, it started as a joke more than anything, but the fans are starting to grab a hold of it and run with it. Obviously, my baseball credentials don’t match up to Tulowitzki, but it’s great to see the power of the Oakland fans when they come together.”

For More On This Story Visit Sports Unbiased - Your Alternative Source For Sports

Friday, February 21, 2014

HOF Koufax Hit with Line Drive by Ethier at Dodgers Training Camp!

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
What if you were Andre Ethier right now? How would you feel? Relieved? Embarrassed (even though it was a fluke accident)? Scared? Would you be sending flowers? I know I would after hitting a line drive that could have killed a legendary Hall of Famer!
Yes, at the Los Angeles Dodgers spring training camp in Glendale, AZ a line drive ball, out of the hand of prospect Ross Stripling and off the bat of Andre Ethier, hit HOF pitcher Sandy Koufax in the head. These types of injuries are not to be taken lightly. A line drive ball does have the capacity to kill someone if hit in the right place in the head at a high speed. In 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy, then with the Oakland Athletics, was hit in the head with a line drive during a game. He was out for the rest of the season and has since been experiencing seizures. Line drives do hit people and hurt them but it is an out of the ordinary occurrence.
That is why this must have been so insane for poor Mr. Ethier. What if you were the guy who killed the great Sandy Koufax? The Dodgers would have you traded where? Siberia? Just to have hurt someone is bad enough but a 78-year old legend? My own mind is blown at the thought. 
Getty Images
Anyway, the good news is that Mr. Koufax is alright. Koufax miraculously remained on his feet despite suffering a gash to his forehead. He was, however, immediately carted off by the team's trainers in a golf cart and was treated by medical staff. Reigning Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, was sitting 20 feet away when Koufax was hit. He told reporters later, 
 "It didn't look good. I'm glad he walked off."
Such a scary moment for everyone involved but Koufax seemed to take it like the champ he is. He was later reported to be seen walking around the Dodgers clubhouse talking to some of the players. If there are any lasting side effects, as there have been with McCarthy, they remain to be seen. 
Koufax is a regular at the Dodgers spring training camp and works as a special assistant to team president Mark Walter. For the past two seasons he has also worked informally as a coach for the younger pitchers. 
Ethier later told the press that, of course, he was worried,
"Wouldn't you be? Not just because of who he is, but anybody who gets hit. It's scary. I've seen it happen."
Of course no player or fan ever wants to see a person hit by a line drive but in this case it did matter a little more because of who he hit. Dodgers pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt, seemed still shaken hours later saying,
"Everybody was like, 'Oh my gosh, You don't want anybody hit, but Sandy? I mean, you don't want that to happen to anybody, but especially him, he's out here to support and help us and be around. I just got a sick feeling from the sound of it."
Well, thankfully, the entire baseball world can breathe a sigh of relief that the Hall of Famer is safe and sound. I'm sure Andre Ethier is doing the exact same thing!
For More News From Around The League Visit MLB Nation!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rangers May Be Down Yet Another Starting Pitcher in Harrison, Could be Helpful for Oakland

Yet again as in almost every previous year to date the critics have gushed over the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to win the American League Western Division Title. This year, with the signing of Robinson Cano, among others, they are even throwing the Seattle Mariners into the mix. So why not the back to back AL West Champion Oakland Athletics? 

Two years in a row the Athletics have won the AL West and still all this talk, talk, talk of how the Rangers are better with Prince Fielder or how Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton will bounce back for the Angels, etc. It's clearly insanity right? The A's have a great team with a stellar rotation and arguably one of the leagues best bullpens. They make be lacking in a major power hitter but if guys like Brandon Moss, Coco Crisp & Josh Donaldson can bring their 2013 successes to 2014 and Josh Reddick can return to his 2012 form the A's should be just fine, as usual ... And as is also usual they will have to do it in underdog (and unappreciated fashion).

Harrison (Image courtesy of Getty Images)
On another note the Rangers MAY have lost yet another starting pitcher from there rotation today, leaving them with only two starting rotation spots filled by Yu Darvish and Martin Perez. Here's a quick story I did for MLB Nation on starting pitcher, Matt Harrison's possible sidelining: 

Before pitchers and catchers reported to Surprise, Arizona for the Texas Rangers' spring training camp there were already questions regarding the team's starting rotation. RHP Colby Lewis is expected to be fine for the season but he is just coming off of a hip surgery that no other pitcher has had before and it is not known if it will have any affect on his delivery or if he will remain healthy leaving Lewis fighting to take back his spot in the rotation. LHP Derek Holland is out until at least mid season due to knee surgery after an injury he acquired at home, tripping over his dog. For LHP Alexi Ogando there is no guarantee that his arm can hold up an entire season in a starting role. That left Texas with three proven starters, RHP Yu Darvish, LHP Martin Perez and LHP Matt Harrison.
Now it appears that the Ranger may be down another starting pitcher. Southpaw Matt Harrison was expected to return to camp this season at 100 percent after having three surgeries, two of them on his lower back to repair a herniated disk, that kept him out of the game for almost all of the team's 2013 campaign. He began experiencing stiffness in his neck on Tuesday. Being cautious this caused the team to keep Harrison from throwing his first live bullpen session of the spring.
It has been reported Thursday that the stiffness and pain Harrison had been feeling has now moved down to his lower back near the area where he had the two surgeries and that the Rangers are taking no chances with their proven starter. He will have an MRI today and will be returning to Texas on Monday to see team spine specialist, Dr. Drew Dorsett, who performed two of Harrison's surgeries last year. Harrison is being sidelined until at least a prognosis is given by Dr. Dorsett. On the subject Harrison told Associated Press reporters,
 There is obviously some concern there from what happened last year. I just hope that it's not a serious issue and something I can take a few days down and stay on top of my core program and get right back out there.
Hanson (Image courtesy of Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
The loss of Harrison could greatly strain the already ailing Ranger's starting rotation. There are other possibilities for them to use in starting rolls such as, the just signed, RHP Tommy Hanson. Hanson had a terrible year in 2013 going 3-4 with a 5.42 ERA in just 15 games with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He had been losing velocity on his fastball and also had a family tragedy that derailed his season. As of now there are no guarantees that Hanson will take a starting role, but it is  likely considering the injury count continues to build in Texas. Also fighting to fill the emptiness in the Rangers' rotation are Robbie RossTanner ScheppersNick Tepesch and Michael Kirkman. However having to use Ross or Scheppers would deplete the bullpen strength leaving the Rangers weaker later in games.
Harrison was a star back in 2012 winning 18 games for the Rangers and posting a 3.29 ERA. He was the strongest of the Rangers pitchers going into the post season that year. As the Rangers pitching woes continue it is being questioned if they can really make a run at the American League Western Division Title this year.
 For More News from Around the League visit MLB Nation

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Major League Baseball Drops Lawsuit Against Biogenesis in PED Scandal

Biogenesis Lab (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
It appears that Major League Baseball has dropped its lawsuit against Biogenesis, a now defunct anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Florida. Coral Gables is located just southwest of downtown Miami. The clinic was at the center of baseball's most recent "steroid scandal." Players began receiving suspensions in 2012 for their involvement with Biogenesis, the culmination of which was the historic 211-game suspension of New York Yankees' star third baseman Alex Rodriguez on August 5, 2013.
Of course as we know, Rodriguez appealed his suspension which was reduced to 162-games plus any 2014 post season games. Though the actual story about the Biogenesis lab was broken by the Miami New Times in January 2013, players connected to the clinic were being suspended near the end of the 2012 season.
The first of the major league players suspended in 2012 for 50 games each were Oakland Athletics' pitcher Bartolo Colon, San Francisco Giants' outfielder Melky Cabrera and San Diego Padres' catcher Yamani Grandal. Both Colon and Cabrera began serving their 50-game suspensions in 2012 with Colon's lasting until the first five games of the 2013 season.
But when the story broke in January 2013, 14 more players were connected to Biogenesis and proceedings for the suspensions began. Ryan Braun, former National League MVP and Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder, was the first to be suspended for 65-games or what was the remainder of the 2013 season. Braun reportedly made a deal with MLB when he was shown the evidence they had against him.
Ryan Braun (Marc Serota/Getty Images)
After that, 12 other players were handed out 50-game suspensions that were not eligible for appeal. The list of players included Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, Johnny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers and Francisco Cerevelli of the New York Yankees. Two players on the list Gio Gonzalez, of the Washington Nationals and Danny Valencia, then a player for the Boston Red Sox, were among the original list of players named, but both were cleared of any wrongdoing.
The 13 player suspensions are the most to be imposed simultaneously in the history of organized baseball. The previous record was in 1919 when eight of the 1919 Red Sox, later remembered as the "Black Sox," were given lifetime bans for throwing the World Series under former federal judge and the first Commissioner of Baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis....
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Look who the Orioles picked? Bet Santana is Pissed!

Today, as I predicted would happen in a previous post! That the Orioles would and indeed they did forfeit their first round, 17th overall draft pick. But the question then was "Will it be Santana or Jimenez? Well today we got our answer. Ubaldo Jimenez whose been on the free-agent market for wuite some time now has signed with the Orioles for four years and $50 million.

(Getty Images)
The Orioles were really in desperate need of a proven 5th starter. Even after signing Suk-min Yoon, there is no guarantee that he will produce in the majors even with his spotless 24-0 record last season with the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).

The Orioles kind of alienated themselves from AJ Burnett by cancelling contracts and sparking bad blood with former Oakland Athletics' closer Grant Balfour and  OF Tyler Colvin. They lost out on Arroyo to the Diamondbacks who would have been better for them than both Burnett and Jimenez who have draft picks tied to them while Burnett did not. Jimenez went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts for Cleveland last season. He turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Indians, so Baltimore would have to forfeit its first-round draft pick to sign him.

As I blogged a few days ago it was time that the O's finally gave in and gave up that draft pick. They were out of options otherwise unless they signed Santana or Jimenez. They ultimately went with Jimenez ... It will be interesting to see where Santana will end up and who still needs a starter and is willing to give up their best draft pick ... my point in this blog was to talk about Jimenez! But I'm kinda off onto topic number #2 ....

Are free-agents who turn down a qualifying offer from their current team really truly free if they have a draft pick attached to their name??

I'd say hello no! But I will get to that in second. I mean yes, the Tanaka signing basically held everything in stasis for the entire month of January which I found disgusting and unfair! Then to be the last pitchers left because you are controlled by a draft pick and no one wants you? To me that means that even if you have played long enough and finally become a free agent but because you couldn't decide you have to feel dragged down. Because while you can blame Tanaka for January, both Ubaldo and Santana should have been signed by now ... I guess Mr. Jimenez has now. 

Ervin Santana
 (Image courtesy of Jaime Squire/Getty Images)
The Orioles needed a closer and a starter and probably would have done better without being overly picky about team physical. I would bet - if I actually had any money - that Grant Balfour has a great year for the Tampa Bay Rays. I don't know too much about Colvin except that he too got screwed by the Orioles over a physical. I personally think that the Orioles need to loosen the reins a bit and chill out or they wouldn't have had to spend $50 million and a first round draft pick to get Jimenez ... if he has a Cy Young year then he may be worth it but who sees that in the stars right now?

The question as of this moment is what teams is desperate for a starter and which teams are brave enough to give up that first round pick?? And how would you feel if you were Santana? Is there anyone in the hunt left for a starter?? Betcha he didnt think that it would be like this come mid February!! Can't wait to find out!!

A's Claim LHP Joe Savery on Waivers From Philly

(Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The Oakland Athletics claimed LHP Joe Savery on outright waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies Monday. To make room for him on the 40-man roster the A's moved fellow southpaw, Eric O'Flaherty on the 60-day Disabled List. O'Flaherty who is coming off of Tommy John Surgery isn't expected to be ready to pitch until July so the move works out just fine.
The transaction ends a disappointing stint in Philly for Savery, who was the Phillies' first round draft pick in 2007. Savery was known not only for his top fastball but also for his big bat, a bat he never even got to use in Philadelphia and will most likely never use in Oakland either. His fastball declined in 2011 and he was re-signed by the Phillies as a first baseman and designated hitter. He played in 2012 for the Single-A Clearwater Threshers, sharing time at first base with Darin Ruf.
Later during a 23-inning game, both Savery and Ruf were called into pitch and everyone realized that Savory's fastball was miraculously back. Savery moved quickly up through the minors and was called up to the Phillies as a pitcher, the very same season he started in Single-A as a first baseman.
(Getty Images)
Savery was 3-2 with the Phillies posting a 4.12 ERA in 41 games over the past three seasons. In 2013, however, he posted a solid 3.15 ERA in 20 innings pitched but only faced a total of 86 batters over that span making it quite a small sample to make comparisons. Hopefully, Savery will be get more of an opportunity with the Athletics that he did not get in Philly and be able to bolster the Athletics' already stellar bullpen.

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2014 Oakland Athletics: Life of a MLB Season Ticket Holder

So this column is going to appear on Sports Unbiased every Monday at 12pm Eastern Time! I hope you guys will take a minute to read it and once it gets going, really enjoy it!! :-)

xx ~ Jen

Welcome to the first edition of 2014 Oakland A’s: Life of a MLB Season Ticket Holder. I’m Jen aka the original “Oakland A’s Socks Girl.” I’ve also had season tickets for well over a decade now. I sit down the third base line in Section 128, row two, seat eight, directly behind the Athletics’ bullpen. That’s my seat. I LOVE that seat. I could be buried with that seat and know that I died happy! My mom sits in seat nine and my dad in ten. Seat seven also belongs to the Rainwater family but being that my brother lives in Merced, CA, we usually have a guest. Technically we only have our season tickets for every weekend home stand. But lucky for my mom and me, the A’s have a great policy where you can turn in tickets that you aren’t going to use or that you didn’t use to be able to go to weekday games. So in essence, I usually make four to five games every home stand, which equals out to about 60 games per season....

Wanna Read More? Click here .... Sports Unbiased - Life of a MLB Season Ticket Holder