Saturday, June 28, 2014

BoS's WEEK 15 Award Winners

"Strike a Posey"
(Week 15 - N.L. Award Winners)

Buster Posey, the top catcher taken in the Inaugural BoS Draft & the Hannibal Cavemen's top overall pick is this week's N.L. Player of the Week Award winner. Posey batted .368 (7-for-19), with 3 home runs, 5 RBI & 6 runs.

The N.L. Pitcher of the Week goes to Clayton Kershaw (who in real-life during the week) pitched a no-hitter for the MLB Dodgers. Even though Kershaw recorded two no-decisions during the week, he only allowed one earned run in 16.2 innings of work (0.54 ERA), while striking out 11 batters for the Kings.

N.L. Honorable Mention:
  • OF- Jon Jay (HAN) - 9-for-25 (.360), 2 RBI, 3 runs & 3 SB.
  • SP- Homer Bailey (HAN) - W, 8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 8 K & 3 BB.
  • SS- Alcides Escobar (HOL) - 8-for-19 (.421), HR, 2 RBI, 5 runs & 4 SB.
  • OF- Bryce Harper (HOL) - 5-for-15 (.333), HR, 6 RBI, 2 runs & SB.
  • SP- Lance Lynn (HOL) - W, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 9 K & 2 BB.
  • 2B- Donovan Solano (KING) - 6-for-13 (.462), 4 RBI, run & SB.
  • OF- Curtis Granderson (KING) - 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 runs (Only batted .200 though/5-for-20).
  • SP- Tim Hudson (KING) - W, 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, K & 2 BB.
  • OF- Austin Jackson (POR) - 6-for-17 (.353), HR, 4 RBI & 4 runs.
  • OF- Mike Trout (POR) - 9-for-22 (.409), 4 RBI & a run.
  • SP- Hisashi Iwakuma (POR) - W, 7 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 K & 2 BB.
  • SP- Jonathan Niese (POR) - L, 7 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 6 K & 3 BB.
  • SS- Erick Aybar (SAC) - 9-for-24 (.375), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs & SB.
  • SS- Derek Jeter (SEA) - 9-for-26 (.346), RBI, 4 runs & SB.
  • 3B- Alex Rodriguez (SEA) - 4-for-11 (.364), 2 HR, 3 RBI & 3 runs.
  • SP- Bronson Arroyo (SEA) - W, 9 IP (SHO), 3 H, 5 K & 2 BB.
  • 1B- Brandon Belt (T.C.) - 9-for-26 (.346), 3 RBI, 3 runs & SB.
  • SS-Brian Dozier (T.C.) - 8-for-21 (.381), HR, 4 RBI, 2 runs & 3 steals.
  • 3B-Adrian Beltre (URB) - 7-for-21 (.333), 2 HR, 6 RBI & 2 runs.
  • SP- Cole Hamels (URB) - W/L, 13.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER (3.38), 11 K & 3 BB.
"Deja vu"
(Week 15 - A.L. Award Winners)

This week in the American League may come up as deja vu for many, and probably for good reason as the winners of Week 6 - Paul Goldschmidt (Fairgrove Tigers) and Justin Verlander (Carolina Eagles) are this week's winners for A.L. Player & A.L. Pitcher of the Week Awards.

Goldschmidt went 11-for-22 (.500) while hitting a pair of HR's, 8 RBI, 6 runs & a steal for the Tigers, while Verlander went 14.2 innings, allowing only 4 ER's on 10 hits, with 21 K's & a walk -- which included a victory. Verlander improved to 7-7 with a 2.40 ERA for the season.

A.L. Honorable Mention:
  • SS- Ruben Tejada (BOS) - 11-for-18 (.611), 4 RBI, 5 runs & a steal.
  • 3B- Chris Johnson (BOS) - Recently acquired Bravo: 9-for-24 (.375), HR, 5 RBI & 5 runs.
  • OF- Alex Gordon (BOS) - 10-for-25 (.400), 6 RBI, 6 runs & a steal.
  • SP- Johnny Cueto (BOS) - W (9-6, 3.41 ERA/Season), 6 IP, 6 H, ER, 7 K & 2 BB.
  • SP- R.A. Dickey (BOS) - 2 W, 15 IP, 13 H, 7 ER, 24 K's & 3 BB.
  • C- Carlos Santana (BRX) - 9-for-21 (.429), 2 HR, 4 RBI & 7 runs.
  • SP- Mark Buehrle (BRX) - W, 9 IP (CG), 7 H, 3 ER, 8 K & BB.
  • SP- C.C. Sabathia (BRX) - W, SHO in start + relief outing (BS): 9.2 IP, 6 H, ER, 9 K, 2 BB.
  • 1B- Adrian Gonzalez (BUF) - 11-for-25 (.444), HR, 4 RBI & 4 runs.
  • 3B- Miguel Cabrera (BUF) - 8-for-24 (.333), 3 HR, 4 RBI & 5 runs.
  • SP- Ross Detwiler (BUF) - W, 6 IP, 5 H, ER, 5 K & BB.
  • SP- Paul Maholm (BUF) - 8 IP, ND, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K & 4 BB.
  • SP- Clay Buchholz (CAR) - 8 IP, ND, 4 H, ER, 5 K & BB.
  • SP- Yovani Gallardo (CAR) - W (10th), 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 K & 2 BB.
  • 2B- Ian Kinsler (CHI) - 11-for-24 (.458), HR, 2 RBI, 3 runs & SB.
  • OF- Dexter Fowler (CHI) - 9-for-26 (.346), HR, 5 RBI, 5 runs & SB.
  • OF- Cameron Maybin (CHI) - 6-for-13 (.462), HR, 4 RBI, 2 runs & a steal.
  • SP- Kris Medlen (CHI) - L, 8 IP, ER, 7 K & BB.
  • SP- Garrett Richards (CHI) - W, 8 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 K & BB.
  • SP- Carlos Villanueva (CHI) - W, 7 IP, 10 H, 2 ER & 9 K's.
  • 1B- Joey Votto (S.S.) - 8-for-20 (.400), 6 RBI & 2 runs.
  • SP- Dillon Gee (S.S.) - Start + relief: 8.1 IP, ER, 3 H, 7 K & 2 BB.
  • SP- Tommy Milone (S.S.) - 9 IP, SHO, W, 4 H, 6 K & BB.
  • SP- Zack Greinke (WAS) - W, 8.2 IP, 5 H, ER & 11 K's.
  • SP- Kyle Lohse (WAS) - W (SHO), 16 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 5 K & 3 BB.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gwynn: One of a Kind

Heaven added a legit hitter to their lineup on Monday (June 16th), with the passing of Tony Gwynn.

I don't know where to start, I don't want this article to sound repeated or regurgitated, but at the same time it's difficult not to talk about the stats or his infectious smile, voice & laugh. Anthony Keith Gwynn, known to the fans and baseball world as Tony Gwynn, was in a class all by himself when it came to class, he never thought about bolting San Diego, even when he could have easily made more money elsewhere. He never bolted town for a winning franchise like the New York Yankees, in which they had a great shot every year to win a World Series. He played for a city that truly respected him, a city that was known to honor heroes (the city shows it's respect for service members, maybe more than any other franchise), a city that treated Gwynn as family, and Gwynn felt the same way for this town, this is where his family lived, the way he looked at it, why would anyone want to leave here?

He played his college career in San Diego for the San Diego State Aztecs in which he also had a great college basketball career, leaving SDSU as the team's all-time assists leader, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres & San Diego Clippers on the same day.

Luckily for me, and other baseball fans, he chose baseball. Tony Gwynn was possibly the hardest working hitter since Ted Willliams. It was common knowledge that he studied film religiously, so much that one of his nicknames was "Captain Video" -- most players never understood why he studied as much as he did, how much better can this guy get? How much more could he possibly improve? His lifetime batting average of .338 ranks as the second-highest since World War II, and would finish with 3,141 career hits. Added weight later in his career, would lead to shortened seasons and time out of action with bad knees -- Gwynn would point to the fact that he couldn't lay off the Twinkies & was glad he chose baseball over the NBA, because he would have not lasted long.

There was a time when Gwynn was a feared base runner, in which he compiled a career total of 319 stolen bases, with a career-high 56 steals during his 1987 campaign. During a six-year stretch he would also win 5 Gold Gloves.
Gwynn - Cool in shades.

I fell onto Tony Gwynn probably sometime in 1983 initially, I remember "This Week in Baseball" doing a segment of Gwynn, and I was just getting into baseball, I just played T-Ball a couple years ago and was starting to play Recreational Summer Leagues during this time. During the show, I was taken back on his wonderful smile, good-natured attitude, and on how hard he worked at being a good hitter -- his career was just starting to take off, and it really stuck with me. I remember the first card I ever owned of his, his 1985 Topps Baseball card, I remembered the fact he also just played us (the Detroit Tigers) in the 1984 World Series, I remember liking the 85' Topps in general (still one of my absolute favorites) and thinking how cool he looked in shades -- of course, this is before 1992 when he started rocking out the Oakley's.

I easily own over 500 Tony Gwynn Baseball Cards, I have a few of his rookie cards (as well as duplicates of those), I always felt if I bought myself a custom-made Detroit Tigers jersey, it would be the classic white uniforms with the English D, with my last name "Baier" on back with the number 19. I once pondered the #76, for my birth year, but for me and especially at this moment, the #19 reigns supreme.

I also remember a time when my friends from our neighborhood started doubting Gwynn's future when his batting averages starting dipping in 1990 through 1992, batting averages of .309 & back to back seasons of .317 -- this following three consecutive batting titles from 1987-1989. Then in 1993, came .358. After that could be one of the most impressive four-year stretches in hitting after 1938. Gwynn would win four consecutive batting titles with batting averages of .394, .368, .353 & .372 -- let me note that he was up against some tough hitters like Larry Walker, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Gary Sheffield, Colorado's hitters who constantly competed for high batting averages, among the likes of Barry Larkin, Mark Grace and Gary Sheffield who were consistently in the batting average leaders at this time.

I also remember Jack Clark, oh how I hated Jack Clark! Clark led the charge among some teammates that Gwynn cared about his batting titles more than winning in 1990. Clark continued to call Gwynn selfish, which is funny considering everywhere Clark went he created waves -- plus this is the same Clark who has gone elsewhere signing huge contracts (for back then) which he never lived up to. The players that sided with Clark were most notably Mike Pagliarulo and Garry Templeton. Never cared much for Templeton either, who ran himself out of St.Louis by flipping off his home crowd, and was traded for future Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith, than he would go on to disappoint San Diego fans with a dramatic drop in numbers compared to how he played in St. Louis. The remainder of the 1990 season was a wash for Gwynn, who was hurt by his teammates, and eventually avoided them the remainder of the season, in which he would bat .309 (his lowest batting average for a full season). Clark (of course) bolted for more money in Boston, as San Diego awarded their best player in Gwynn with a 3-year, $12.25 million deal (with a $1 million signing bonus).

One of my favorite memories had to be Tony Gwynn scoring the winning run during the 1994 All-Star Game during the bottom of the 10th, on a ball hit by Moises Alou -- the victory ended a losing streak for the National League, who have not won a All-Star Game since 1987. The game seemed to give the fans one last thing to cheer about, fans knew of the probable & eventual Players Strike to take place starting in mid-August.

Gwynn of course, to San Diego is known as "Mr.Padre" -- there is no other player in the history of the San Diego Padres that even comes close. During the time of his retirement, he owned the top spot in 10 of the team's offensive categories. There is a wonderful statue of him out in front of the Padres' current home of Petco Park.

Career Achievements & Facts.
  • Attended College at San Diego State University, which he played Baseball & Basketball (which actually was his favorite sport) for the Aztecs.
  • In Basketball, he was a highly recruited point guard in high school before landing at SDSU, where he would set records for assists in a game, season & career. Two-time Western Athletic Conference (WAC) All-Conference Second Team
  • Played as a Left Fielder & DH for San Diego State, who were looking for two outfield replacements on the Baseball team when Gwynn joined. He would hit .301 his first season & end up being a two-time All-American outfielder his final two years for the Aztecs, after leading the team in hitting.
  • Named Third-Team All-American by Baseball News (1980).
  • Named First-Team All-American by Baseball News (1981).
  • Named First-Team Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Outfielder (1981).
Tony Gwynn's 1983 Topps Rookie Card.
  • Selected by the San Diego Padres in the 3rd Round (#58 overall) of the 1981 Major League Baseball Draft. Same day was selected by the San Diego Clippers of the NBA in the 10th Round.
  • Spent time at Class A Walla Walla from 1981-1982.
  • Promoted from Triple A Hawaii & made MLB debut on July 19, 1982. Started center field and would earn his first big-league hit (double) during his 4th at-bat.
  • Rookie-year 1982 would be the only season he batted below .300, and that was .289 -- he would never bat below .300 in any full-season during his career.
1984: The first of many big years for Tony.
  • 1984: First full-season, he would win first N.L. Batting Title (.351) while be elected to first All-Star Game while helping the San Diego Padres to their first N.L. West Division Title, as well as their first National League Championship as they fell in the World Series to the Detroit Tigers in 5 games.
  • Finished 3rd in N.L. MVP voting (1984), closest he would come to winning the award.
  • Signs deal for "less money" with Padres after 84' season: 6 years for a total of $4.6 million.
  • Won first Gold Glove (1986), leading putouts & total chances; 2nd with 19 assists.
  • Became 5th N.L. Player during the century with 5 Stolen Bases in a single-game.
Gwynn & Boggs: The two best hitters in the game at 1987 All-Star Game.
  • Best hitting month of his career, June 1987: Batting .473 (44-for-93).
  • 1987 Season: Wins his second N.L. Batting Title with .370 average, highest batting average since Stan Musial's .376 in 1948. Steals career high 56 bases, making him first-ever N.L. player to hit at least .370 with 50+ stolen bases. Posts two 5-hit games during season, with a career-high 1.022 OPS.
  • Gwynn would win second consecutive N.L. Batting Title in 1988 with lowest batting average ever for a National League Batting Champion, with .313 mark. Gwynn missed 21 games on DL at beginning of season (injuring thumb on play in Pittsburgh) -- he was batting .246 as of July 2, 1988.
  • Recorded 1,000th career hit off of Nolan Ryan on April 22nd, 1988.
  • Gwynn wins 3rd straight N.L. Batting Title (4th overall) in 1989, playing with a sore left Achilles Tendon, he would go 3-for-4 twice during the season's final weekend to edge Will Clark with .336 average.
  • December 1989: Falls to 7th highest-paid San Diego Padre, after acquiring Jack Clark from New York Yankees in a trade.
Gwynn's 1987 Silver Slugger Award Display.
  • A controversial season between Gwynn and teammate Jack Clark (as mentioned above), finishing with career-low .309 average for the 1990 season. After the season, Clark signs with Boston, Gwynn signs new deal with Padres, making him highest-paid Padre for a total of $12.25 million (over 3 years).
Gwynn's 1990 Score - Dream Team -- Getting a little heavier.

Gwynn starts rockin' out the Oakleys (circa 1992).
  • 1991: Passed Gene Richards as all-time leader in triples & stolen bases for the San Diego Padres. Batted .373 at All-Star Break, but batted only .243 after break due to bad knee.
  • Meets Ted Williams for the very first time during 1992 All-Star Game.
  • Finished 1993 with second-best (at the time) batting average of his career at .358, despite the Padres' "fire sale" of players such as Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, Tony Fernandez & others.
  • 2,000th career hit on August 6th, 1993.
1995 Fleer Ultra - Hitting Machine.
  • Gwynn's .394 batting average in the strike-shortened season was highest in National League since Bill Terry hit .401 during 1930 season. 5th National League Batting Title & start of four consecutive batting titles to come.
  • 6th N.L. Batting Title in 1995 (.368).
  • Branch Rickey Award Winner in 1995.
  • Wins 7th Batting Title (.353) in 1996, as the San Diego Padres reach the playoffs for the first time since their World Series season of 1984.
  • Wins 8th N.L. Batting Title (2nd to only Ty Cobb) with .372 average -- four straight batting titles. Also had 17 HR & 119 RBI's, with 49 doubles.
  • Becomes 3rd Padre to hit 100 career HR's on June 7th, 1997.
Gwynn on cover of 1997 SI.
  • Batted .321 with 16 HRs to help the Padres win their second National League Pennant in 1998, only to be swept in four games to one of the best teams in MLB history, the 1998 New York Yankees.
  • Gwynn's 1998 World Series stats: batted .500 in 16 at-bats, including a HR off of David Wells in Game 1.
  • Lou Gehrig Memorial Award Winner in 1998.
  • 3,000th Career hit came on August 6th, 1999 off of Expos' reliever Dan Smith in Montreal. The 2,284 games it took to get there was the third-fewest amount of games in the 22-man club of the 3,000 hit club.
  • Winner of the Roberto Clemente Award in 1999.
  • Turned 40 in 2000. Hampered by injuries at the end of his career, on June 28th, 2001 he announced he would retire at the end of the season, he would go on to hit .324 for the season, his 19th consecutive season of batting at least .300 for the season.

  • Inducted into the Padres' Hall of Fame in 2002.
  • Jersey #19 was retired by the San Diego Padres in 2004.
  • 9 1/2 foot statue unveiled in Petco Park, 2007. reads "Tony Gwynn, Mr.Padre" with a quote his dad used to repeat "If you work hard, good things will happen."
  • On January 9, 2007 was elected into Baseball Hall of Fame, inducted with Cal Ripken, Jr. on July 28th, bringing in record crowd of 14,000+ people.

  • 15-time N.L. All-Star (Voted to start by fans in 11 of the games).
  • 8-time N.L. Batting Champion (1984, 1987-1989, 1994-1997).
  • 5-time Gold Glove Winner (1986-1987, 1989-1991).
  • 7-time Silver Slugger Award Winner (1984, 1986-1987, 1989, 1994-1995, 1997).
  • 15 consecutive seasons in Top 10 for season batting averages.

  • .338 career batting average with 3,141 career hits.
  • 135 Home Runs for career.
  • 1,138 RBI
  • Led league in singles & hits - seven times.
  • Padres' all-time hit leader, passed Dave Winfield for top spot way back in 1998, setting the new mark at the time 1,135 hits, would hit a little more than 2,000 more hits.

Tony, you will be forever missed.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Coming At Ya!

We have plenty coming up, including...

  • My tribute to my fallen hero Tony Gwynn, who passed away Monday morning, at age 54.
  • The Traverse City Tigers' 1988 Season in the Mid-West Winter League.
  • A Post on the Boys of Summer League's 2013 Season (2012 MLB Stats) -- and about the men who have made this league possible.
  • The future of my Traverse City Crusaders in the Mid-West Baseball League, and how those players are doing in real-life in the MLB.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The 1st Annual BoS All-Star Game

Welcome to Washington, D.C., home of the Washington Filibusters.

NATIONAL LEAGUE All-Stars Starting Lineup
1. CF-Mike Trout (POR)
.257 AVG, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 27 SB   .784 OPS
2. LF-Yoenis Cespedes (SEA)
.261 AVG, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 8 SB   .823 OPS
3. 3B-Adrian Beltre (URB)
.352 AVG, 15 HR, 61 RBI   .969 OPS
4. RF-Giancarlo Stanton (T.C.)
.266 AVG, 21 HR, 46 RBI   .958 OPS
5. 1B-Edwin Encarnacion (SAC)
.196 AVG, 20 HR, 44 RBI   .716 OPS
6. C-Carlos Ruiz (URB)
.376 AVG, 12 HR, 35 RBI   1.087 OPS
7. DH-Josh Willingham (SEA)
.232 AVG, 16 HR, 46 RBI   .807 OPS
8. 2B-Neil Walker (HAN)
.269 AVG, 10 HR, 28 RBI   .794 OPS
9. SS-Erick Aybar (SAC)
.352 AVG, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 4 SB   .861 OPS

SP-David Price (URB)
12-3, 2.18 ERA, 123 K's   .876 WHIP

AMERICAN LEAGUE All-Stars Starting Lineup
1. LF-Melky Cabrera (S.S.)
.322 AVG, 11 HR, 43 RBI, 8 SB   .918 OPS
2. C-Joe Mauer (S.S.)
.331 AVG, 3 HR, 37 RBI   .871 OPS
3. DH-Matt Holliday (S.S.)
.251 AVG, 16 HR, 46 RBI   .787 OPS
4. 3B-Miguel Cabrera (BUF)
.287 AVG, 19 HR, 45 RBI, 5 SB   .909 OPS
5. RF-Carlos Beltran (WAS)
.268 AVG, 20 HR, 48 RBI, 7 SB   .887 OPS
6. 2B-Ben Zobrist (S.S.)
.260 AVG, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 6 SB   .888 OPS
7. 1B-Nick Swisher (CHI)
.274 AVG, 16 HR, 48 RBI   .898 OPS
8. SS-Hanley Ramirez (BRX)
.257 AVG, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 7 SB   .767 OPS
9. CF-B.J. Upton (CAR)
.278 AVG, 10 HR, 24 RBI, 17 SB   .871 OPS

SP-Kris Medlen (CHI)
7-4, 2.72 ERA, 119 K   .860 WHIP

David Price of the Urbana Locomotives will take the mound for the National League, against Kris Medlen of the Chicago Nine for the American League.

Top of the 1st
Mike Trout steps up to the plate, this kid is the future, and believe me the Portland Microbrewers knew this taking him as the top overall pick in the league's inaugural draft this past winter. The pitch to Trout, he hits a pebble bounce towards Ben Zobrist at second, Zobrist juggles it, throws quickly to first, not in time! Trout beats it out for a single. Batting 2nd, it's the Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes of the Seattle Rainiers steps up to the plate. Medlen delivers the pitch to Yoenis, another grounder to Zobrist, Zobrist flings it over to second to Hanley Ramirez for one, over to Swisher at first -- safe, but they get the lead runner, one out. Kris Medlen strikes out Adrian Beltre, swinging in the dirt for out number two. Giancarlo Stanton, the lone Traverse City Panther, swings throughout the at-bat, and gives Medlen his 2nd K of the day, side retired.

Bottom of the 1st
Melky Cabrera of the South Shore Fighting Imps comes to the plate to face David Price, as we all know that Price won the starting pitching job with 100% of the first-place vote, as if there was any doubt -- what a season he's having. Cabrera grounds it towards short, Erick Aybar is going to have to run in on this one, picks it up and throws in one motion towards first, and they nip the runner. Price is now to face Joe Mauer of the Imps, one of 6 Imps to be named to the All-Star Game. Mauer could be considered a early favorite for the American League MVP -- which in all honesty could go to a few of those Imp players, who sport the American League's best record at the break with a 53-28 record . Price delivers, Mauer hits a blooper to right that will fall right in front of the right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Matt Holliday works the count & draws a walk on a high fastball by Price, runners now on 1st & 2nd, one out. Bringing up one of the most feared hitters on the planet in Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera hits a easy bouncer to Neil Walker, flips to Aybar at second over to first -- oh, double play and they get of the inning.

Top of the 2nd
Edwin Encarnacion of the Sacramento 66'ers steps up to the plate, he's batting 5th and has developed into one of the bigger sluggers in the game, a bit of a late-bloomer. Medlen brings the heat, strikes out Encarnacion, that is 3 K's for Medlen already. Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz comes to the plate, has put together a great season for the Locomotives -- Ruiz has a 1.087 OPS & .376 Batting Average for the season, if he had the plate appearances, he would lead the National League in both categories. This Urbana team has some bang in the lineup, and their rotation led by Price has been unbelievable. Chooch puts a lazy fly out to center which will be no problem for B.J. Upton of the Carolina Eagles to put it away, two outs. Medlen to face the Designated Hitter Josh Willingham, Willingham keeps battling pitches, by following it off -- then pops it up behind the plate, Mauer throws his mask off, side retired. Still no score for either team.

Bottom of the 2nd
Carlos Beltran steps up to the plate for the Washington Filibusters, Beltran ranks in the leaders for most of the offensive categories in the American League. The Filibusters tied the Imps by sending 6 players to the mid-summer classic, despite their 39-42 record. Beltran grounds it weakly to first to Encarnacion, as Encarnacion takes it himself, and steps on first for the first out. Next up is the versatile Ben Zobrist, he has played DH, the OF, but mostly 2B, and is capable of playing shortstop as well -- I guarantee that if you asked Manager Bill Gillam if Zobrist is as important to the team as say Mauer or Fernando Rodney, he would say yes. Zobrist pokes this one to left-center, Cespedes and Trout converge, Trout calls him off and takes it for out number two. Nick Swisher steps up to the plate, momentarily was on the South Shore roster until being involved in that Joey Votto deal. Price comes with the heat, and Swisher smacks this one past Beltre at third, but Aybar is there to back him up, spins & fires, the long throw and they get him -- what a play by Aybar as the Washington crowd cheers. End of the inning.

Top of the 3rd
The A.L. Manager brings in Justin Verlander of the Carolina Eagles, to pitch in the top of the 3rd, he currently leads the American League with a 2.39 ERA & pitched the league's first-ever no-hitter earlier this season against the Bronx Bombers. He'll face Neil Walker of the Hannibal Cavemen. Walker swings at a pitch he would like back, as he pops it to shortstop Hanley Ramirez of the Bombers.Verlander to face Erick Aybar of the 66'ers, Aybar holds the distinction of having the single-game record with 6 hits. The pitch to Aybar, a healthy cut by Aybar, but it's behind the plate, Mauer takes this one -- two away. Stepping up is Mike Trout, how many people would pay to see this match-up? Verlander vs. Trout. Verlander brings the heat, Trout rips it to right, past Beltran into the corner, Trout will hustle for two and he's in safe, easily -- the double by Trout is his second hit of the ballgame. Trout is now in scoring position, as Verlander will have to deal with Yoenis Cespedes of the Rainiers, one of the few bright spots for Seattle, who remain to be a bit of a mystery. Verlander comes to the plate, and Cespedes yanks it towards third, Miguel Cabrera up with the throw, throws it to first, and gets Cespedes by a stride -- still scoreless, as the American League will come to the plate.

Bottom of the 3rd
Clayton Kershaw will come in to relieve David Price, Price exits with one hit allowed in two innings, no K's for the big arm from Vanderbilt. Kershaw will face the Bronx Bombers' Hanley Ramirez who steps up to the plate for the first time tonight. Kershaw with the pitch, a towering fly ball to center, Trout sees it, has plenty of room, one down. Kershaw to face B.J. Upton, the pitch, Upton smacks a Texas Leaguer to left, rounds first & holds. Kershaw delivers high fast ball, Upton is off and running, Ruiz up guns the throw to second, and he's out! The American League trying to make things happen, great throw by Urbana's Carlos Ruiz. Two outs, Melky Cabrera still at the plate, the pitch, this one is hit, Cespedes in left got a great jump, and chases it down for the catch -- three away.

Top of the 4th
The A.L. brings out one of the crowd favorites, in Filibusters' star Zack Greinke [stats], Verlander faced four and allowed a double to Trout in the 3rd. Greinke will face Adrian Beltre, one of the early N.L. favorites for the Urbana Locomotives. Greinke comes home with it, Beltre with the big swing, and it's a whiff! One down. That brings up Giancarlo Stanton, who currently plays for the league's worst team, when we asked Panthers' Manager Shawn Baier earlier in the week, he told us "If you told me before the season, that at this point in the season that we would be dead-last in the entire league, I would have thought you were crazy." He did mention that they plan to stay put with their roster on the most part, the front office feels they are in good position for seasons to come, lots of young talent, and that up-and-coming rotation led by Yu Darvish and Matt Harvey is not going to be a picnic for any lineup to face when it all comes together. Meanwhile, Greinke delivers the pitch to Stanton, Stanton turns the bat loose, but comes up empty, two away. This now brings up slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who plays for a team with power, but in dire need for pitching -- Greinke comes home with it, Encarnacion grounds it to Zobrist, Zobrist to first for the easy out. Still scoreless as we go down to the home-half of the inning.

Bottom of the 4th
Kershaw is yanked for Urbana starter Cole Hamels. Hamels, actually had to rely on the fan's vote for the final two spots for the N.L. roster to make this All-Star Game, so here he is, one of the best lefties in the game today. Hamels will face Joe Mauer, who had a single his first time up -- Hamels with the pitch, checked swing, ball four and Mauer trots down to first. Hamels to face the DH-Matt Holliday, the pitch, it's lined over third, the left fielder Cespedes is chasing it, still running, he's up with it, Mauer rounds third, but the coach is putting up the stop sign, as the throw comes into Aybar at short, Holliday is in with a double. Which brings Miguel Cabrera up to the plate, Hamels delivers, Cabrera starts to go around, did he hold up? Yes, a bases on balls for Cabrera, as the bases are now loaded for Carlos Beltran.

The manager decides to keep in Hamels for a bit, as there is activity in the pen. Hamels delivers the pitch to Beltran, Beltran goes and gets this one, and this one is hit, Cespedes is running towards the left field wall, as he watches it disappear into the stands, a Grand Slam for Beltran in front of his home fans of Washington, are you kidding me?!

The visiting manager comes out and points towards the pen, as he calls on Hamels' Urbana teammate Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda to face Ben Zobrist, the pitch, and he strikes out, one away. Kuroda to face Nick Swisher, the pitch comes in, he chops it down to Encarnacion on first, takes the high hop and throws it to Kuroda covering first, two down. Kuroda has one more batter to face to end this big inning by the American League All-Stars, that batter will be Hanley Ramirez. The pitch to Ramirez, a routine grounder to second, the throw to first, side retired, but not before the A.L. draws first blood,
American League 4, National League 0

Carlos Beltran gets the home crowd on it's feet with his Grand Slam.

Top of the 5th
The Filibusters' Kyle Lohse will come in to relieve his Washington teammate for the top of the inning, Greinke records two K's in one inning of work. Lohse delivers the pitch to Carlos Ruiz, Ruiz got some serious wood on this one, it's got plenty of hang time, Ruiz got under it just by a hair, and there to make the catch in right is Beltran -- one away. Josh Willingham draws a walk. The N.L. Manager decides to bring in a pinch-runner for the slow Willingham, and will rely on the wheels of Jon Jay (Hannibal), so Jay is the DH for now. Lohse looks over at first, sets up to pitch against Neil Walker, the pitch, this one is hit to right, Jay is around second & going for third, Carlos Beltran up with the throw and nails Jay at third by inches! What a throw! Beltran is making quite an early bid for the All-Star Game MVP here, Miguel just gets that tag on Jay's right arm. Two outs, runner on first, for Erick Aybar. Lohse with the pitch, Aybar lays down a swinging bunt to third, Miguel Cabrera is up with throws it to first, and they get him. Side retired, and a possible spark by the National League is stomped out by Beltran.

Bottom of the 5th
Portland's Anibal Sanchez will come in for the N.L., he will face B.J. Upton, who is 1-for-1 with a single. The pitch to Upton, he loops it to the gap in left, Upton rounds first, but will stay, second safety for Upton.
David Murphy of the Bronx Bombers will pinch-hit for Melky Cabrera, who was hitless in two at-bats, he bats left, and faces the righty Sanchez. The pitch comes in to Murphy, it's a long drive to right, he buried this one as Stanton in right just stands there -- two-run blast for Murphy!

Sanchez walks Joe Mauer, which will be it for Sanchez, just like Hamels he couldn't record an out. The National League will lose the platoon advantage, with southpaw Gio Gonzalez, they may have to go with him for two innings possibly. Matt Holliday steps up to the plate with a double, walk & run in this one. Gonzalez brings the heat, Holliday lunges at it, and that's strike three, one away. Miguel Cabrera comes to the plate, hitless in one at-bat with a walk. Gonzalez sets, delivers, and Cabrera goes down swinging. The fans get up on their feet as Carlos Beltran approaches the plate, runner on first, two outs; Beltran had a Grand Slam during the bottom of the fourth, to break this one open. Gonzalez with the pitch, Beltran whacks it, Stanton in right has a long way to go, still after it, near the line, and it's caught to end the inning. American League 6, National League 0

The Bombers' David Murphy.

Top of the 6th
David Murphy stays in the game to play left for Melky Cabrera, Miguel Cabrera is out at third for David Wright, Ian Desmond will take over at short for Hanley Ramirez, Robinson Cano in at second for Ben Zobrist, Albert Pujols takes over at first for Nick Swisher, while Shane Victorino of the Boston Bravos takes over in center for B.J. Upton (who had two singles). They will go with a new pitcher, Madison Bumgarner of the Fairgrove Tigers will take over. They are obviously taking advantage of the score, Carlos Beltran and Joe Mauer are the only two starters that remain in the game. Bumgarner will face the Microbrewers' Mike Trout who is a perfect 2-for-2 so far. Bumgarner to the plate, this one is hit hard towards the gap in right center, Victorino is racing back, he won't get it, as it bangs off the wall, Victorino chases it down, as Trout cruises into second for his 2nd double & 3rd hit of the game. The N.L. skipper is going to yank Yoenis Cespedes out of the game, sending in Andrew McCutchen to the plate.
Bumgarner delivers, McCutchen drills this one to left, but it's right at the left fielder David Murphy who barely had to move, Trout thinks about tagging, but holds second, one out. Bumgarner will now have to face the dangerous Adrian Beltre; Bumgarner with the pitch to Beltre, it's off the end of his bat, easy pop fly for Robinson Cano at second, two down. The N.L. skipper goes to the bench for Josh Hamilton, he'll take over for Giancarlo Stanton in right. Hamilton ends up hitting a skyscraper to left, Murphy camps under it, three away. Score remains: American League 6, National League 0

Bottom of the 6th
McCutchen & Hamilton remain in the game at the corner outfield spots. Buster Posey of the Cavemen replaces Carlos Ruiz behind the plate. Edwin Encarnacion moves over to 3B to replace Adrian Beltre, while Garrett Jones comes in to play first. The King Road Kings' Darwin Barney comes in to play at second base. Leaving Mike Moustakas, Jimmy Rollins & Carlos Quentin on the bench for now. Gio Gonzalez stays in for now to pitch to Robinson Cano. Cano hits a high fly to center, routine for Trout, one down. The skipper comes to the mound, and will have the righty Bartolo Colon (Portland) to face Albert Pujols (Carolina), in his first at-bat of the game. Colon comes with it, it's grounded to the right side, Jones is up with it, flips it to Colon covering, two away. Ian Desmond steps up to the plate. Desmond ends up grounding it weakly to Jones at first, as Jones takes it himself, stepping on the bag, side retired.

Mike Trout makes a statement to the league.

Top of the 7th
The Buffalo Yankees' Jordan Zimmermann will come in for Bumgarner. Zimmermann to face Edwin Encarnacion, Encarnacion ends up sending a deep fly to right center as Beltran chase it down for the catch. Zimmermann strikes out Buster Posey. The southpaw Sean Burnett to face the lefty Jon Jay, playing DH. Burnett sets up, delivers, and strikes him out -- three away.

Bottom of the 7th
Reliever Jonathan Broxton of Seattle, will come in for Colon to face Boston's Shane Victorino. Victorino grounds it to second, Darwin Barney scoops it, throws it to first, BAD THROW -- but Jones manages to stretch and keep his foot on the bag, one out. David Murphy steps up to the plate, he hit a two-run pinch-hit home run during the bottom of the 5th. Broxton to the plate, and loses hime, Murphy draws a free pass and is now on first. Joe Mauer steps to the plate, Murphy is off-and-running, Mauer sends this one into the corner in right, Josh Hamilton is after it, Murphy is around third & he'll score, as Mauer rolls into second with a double, he's 2-for-2 with 2 walks, a RBI & run. The locals skipper will call on Paul Goldschmidt to bat for Matt Holliday, he'll likely play DH the remainder of the game, as Pujols will finish playing at first. Broxton comes with the heater, and strikes out Goldschmidt, two outs. David Wright, the 3rd overall pick in the inaugural BoS Draft, steps to the plate for the very first time -- the N.L. will make a change on the mound with Casey Jannsen coming in. Janssen comes to the plate, Wright flies to center to finish the inning. American League 7, National League 0

Top of the 8th
Carlos Santana of the Bronx Bombers, will catch for his Bronx teammate reliever Jim Johnson, who takes over for Burnett. The American League looked as if they were going to give Carlos Beltran another chance to add to his big night, but wants to get everyone in if they can, so his replacement will be Jason Heyward of Fairgrove. Darwin Barney leads off by hitting a liner over Ian Desmond's head, a single for Barney. The National League will give Mike Moustakas a chance to play, he's the lone Holland Hitchhiker on the All-Star roster, he's pinch-hitting for shortstop Erick Aybar. Moustakas grounds it to second baseman Robinson Cano, who gets the lead runner at second, but that's all they'll get as Moustakas is safe at first. One out, Johnson to face Mike Trout who's collected 3 of the National League's 5 hits; Johnson delivers, hit sharply towards third past a diving David Wright, Moustakas is around second, Murphy in left is still after it, picks it up, Moustakas is around third, but they'll hold him, as Trout makes it to second on his 3rd double & 4th hit of the game! What a show by the youngster, the face of the league, and to kick off the first All-Star Game with 4 hits. The American League will go to the pen for the Bravos' Craig Kimbrel, they don't want this one to become a ballgame suddenly. Kimbrel sets up to face Andrew McCutchen, the pitch, it's a dying quail to right, it drops ahead of Heyward, Jason Heyward is up with it, Moustakas scores, Mike Trout must have missed the sign, he's coming in strong, he's fast, he might just beat it, NO! He's out by inches! McCutchen into second safely. What a throw by Heyward! The shutout is gone, but now there is two outs for National League who are trying to fight their way back into this one. Garrett Jones grounds it to the mound, as Kimbrel throws it to first for the final out. American League 7, National League 1

Bottom of the 8th
Mike Moustakas stays in and plays third, Jimmy Rollins comes in at short, while Encarnacion is done for the day. The southpaw Jonathan Niese of Portland, comes in to face the lefty Jason Heyward, he's second in the entire Boys of Summer league in ERA with a 2.22 ERA (behind Price). The pitch from Niese, it's high -- Heyward draws a walk. Niese pitches to Robinson Cano, Cano hits it on the ground to short, Rollins is up with it, the relay to Darwin Barney at second, the throw to first, and they nip Cano as they turn the double play. Niese goes 2/3 of an inning as they call on Jonathan Papelbon, the leading vote-getter for N.L. relievers. Papelbon to face Albert Pujols, the pitch, Pujols smacks this one into the gap in right, Pujols is digging, Trout is now up with it, the throw to second, the tag & he's safe! Papelbon gets Ian Desmond to hit a routine fly to left, to retire the side.
Fernando Rodney: 28 Saves at the Break!

Top of the 9th
The American League go to the pen for Fernando Rodney, who's putting together an impressive, historic season -- he is blowing away the competition with 28 Saves at the All-Star Break, the remarkable part is that he has a 0.67 ERA. They will also have Jonny Gomes enters the game in left, in place for David Murphy, Gomes won't get any at-bats in this one, unless the National League make a crazy comeback. Rodney strikes out the lead off man in Josh Hamilton. Jimmy Rollins comes to the plate for his first at-bat of the night, Rodney delivers, Rollins smacks it to center, Victorino is there, two away. Down to their final out, the National League has Buster Posey at the plate -- Rodney comes home with it, paints the black, strike three called & that's the game!

The American League win big on Carlos Beltran's Grand Slam in the 4th.

American League 7
National League 1

M.V.P. - Carlos Beltran (Washington)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Disturbance in the Force-Out

2012 Izzy #2 - Darth Vader (1970 Topps Baseball)

Sorry that it has been a little while since I have wrote, believe me.. it was not my choice. I momentarily experimented with computer protection that I suspiciously think was attacking me suddenly. I never ever had problems before, so in my opinion they gave their game away.

Anyways, due to this, although I had no problem while being on Facebook,, and checking my email in Yahoo! Mail, I did however have a difficult time going on other blog sites, my own blog to do work, and other sites such as Baseball

How dare they take away my Baseball away from me?! Better unleash Vader on them...

So there will be plenty of blogging coming your way --including results of the remainder of the Mid-West Winter League, the Boys of Summer APBA League (my league) and the cool guys that are in it, and how the season is going, etc etc. Plus some more trade news and updates on my Traverse City Crusaders, including how those players are doing in the 2014 MLB Season.

Thanks for your patience, all is well now...
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