Category Archives: Baseball

How the Yankees Should Approach This Offseason

This is the worst time of the year. The Yankees’ season is over, and other teams are still playing baseball. It’s exponentially worse when one of those teams is the Boston Red Sox, who eliminated you by outscoring you 20-4 in two consecutive nights at Yankee Stadium. I was at Game 3, still not even close to over it. Regardless, aside from rooting hard for the Astros this week (which hurts bad enough after last year’s ALCS, but anything to keep the Sox out of the World Series), us Yankee fans have already started to look towards 2019. No, I’m not suggesting we have a classic old-school Yankees offseason and throw money at everyone. I actually saw a guy on Twitter who suggested we sign both Harper AND Machado, while also trading for Paul Goldschmidt. Unfortunately, this isn’t MLB 2K, this is real life. And while many are discussing the possibility one of those two star free agents ends up in the Bronx next season, there are much more pressing issues with the Yankees than adding another power hitter to the lineup. Here are the main issues Brian Cashman & Company are going have to address this offseason to ensure that the Yankees are still playing baseball at this time next year.

  1. Starting Pitching

Image result for patrick corbin yankees

Current Situation: You’ve heard Yankee haters say it all year, and while I honestly didn’t think our rotation was too bad, they did nothing to silence their critics in the postseason this year. Luis Severino was a Cy Young candidate in the first half and awful for most of the second half, followed by an underwhelming start in the Wild Card game and a dreadful start in ALDS Game 3. Regardless, Sevy will be back next year, and will be called upon to perform as this team’s ace. Maybe they need to work in some extra rest for him during the year so he isn’t burned out later in the season? Who knows. Behind him, Masahiro Tanaka had somewhat of an opposite season. Underwhelming first half, strong second half, and a great performance in ALDS Game 2. Those two are locked into the 2019 rotation, but beyond that is a question mark. I would think Jordan Montgomery would be given the opportunity to start at some point after a strong 2017 rookie season and great start to 2018, but he had Tommy John surgery in June after leaving a start against the Astros in May. I doubt he would be back for the start of 2019. Will CC Sabathia come back again? He was still effective at times, and really showed his age at others, especially late in the season. I would love for JA Happ to come back, as aside from his disappointing ALDS Game 1 start, he was great for the Yanks after they acquired him at the deadline. Oh, and Sonny Gray is still technically around, but Cashman has already more or less said he will be traded this offseason.

Offseason Plan of Action: Sign Arizona’s Patrick Corbin. He’s been tied to the Yanks for months, growing up a Yankee fan. Plain and simple, he’s the best starting pitcher on the market, and a damn good one at that. Corbin went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 200 innings in 2018. He would immediately be expected to anchor the rotation along with Sevy and Tanaka. Step 2 in my opinion should be re-sign Happ, at the right price. He’s shown the ability to pitch in the AL East, and was great down the stretch for the Yanks. To fill out the rotation, do they sign a low-risk high-reward veteran like a Garrett Richards or Tyson Ross? Or try and have a youngster like Justus Sheffield or Chance Adams win a spot? I think they do both. You can absolutely NEVER have enough starting pitching. If that isn’t Cashman’s #1 priority this offseason, he’s doing something wrong.

2. Left Field

Image result for clint frazier yankees

Current Situation: After being acquired in August, Andrew McCutchen effectively replaced Brett Gardner completely in the starting lineup. Gardy was having a dreadful second half, and McCutchen was definitely a spark for the Yanks down the stretch. Ideally, Clint Frazier would take over this role, but his 2018 was riddled by concussions.

Offseason Plan of Action: I love Gardy, but not at $11 million next year. If he’s willing to take a pay cut, great. If not, I wouldn’t mind the Yanks cutting ties with him. If McCutchen would come back at the right price, I would love him back too. Like I said, I would absolutely love for Clint Frazier to be in here. His bat, speed, and hustle would be fantastic at the top of our lineup. But concussions are no joke. Look for the Yankees to have a veteran in this role, either Gardy, Cutch or someone else, in case Frazier isn’t 100% for 2019.

3. BullpenImage result for david robertson yankees

Current Situation:

You know Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, and Jonathan Holder will return to anchor the bullpen in 2019. I could definitely see young lefty Stephen Tarpley joining them as well. The main question? What to do with David Robertson and Zach Britton.

Offseason Plan of Action:

I thought Britton did a great job for us for the most part after acquiring him. That being said, I’m not sure I want to pay him the money he’s going to want, especially with Chapman’s contract and his injury history. I think Robertson makes more sense because he’s three years older and kind of a career Yankee, so he will likely come cheaper. However, a la Happ and McCutchen, I would love to see Britton back at the right price. Also, kind of a hot take, but can we move Luis Cessa to the bullpen please? He’s actually got some pretty good stuff. Good enough that for the first 1-2 innings of every start, he makes you go “wow he actually looks good,” only to get absolutely lit up the second time through the lineup and remember he’s actually trash. Make him a middle reliever with the ability to be a long guy in mop-up duties. Will it work? Who knows, but it can’t be worse than him getting called up a few times a year to lose us every game he starts.

4. Didi’s InjuryImage result for gleyber torres

Current Situation: The Yankees’ middle infield when healthy is a strength. Didi Gregorius is a great player (GREAT, not good), and despite a disappointing postseason, Gleyber Torres will be a star in this league. However, Didi is having Tommy John surgery, and will likely be out until at least the All-Star break. So now what?

Offseason Plan of Action: The easy answer is sign Machado, have him play short, and slide him over to third when Didi comes back. Not sure if I’m sold on dishing out another $400 million for Machado, especially when Miguel Andujar is a certified stud at third. Sure, Andujar could potentially learn first base or outfield, but a lot would have to go right for that plan to work. Here’s a more realistic plan: bring back Neil Walker, have him play second base every day, and slide Gleyber to short. Walker proved that when he gets consistent at-bats, as he did in the second half, he’s a solid every day player. He just can’t play once a week and be effective because he’s never done that. Gleyber is a great shortstop, as that’s his natural position. He’s no Didi, but he’s certainly not the worst replacement. Walker will be cheap, and when he comes back he can go back to his utility role getting time at first and third base in addition to spelling Gleyber and Didi when they need days off.

5. First BaseImage result for paul goldschmidt

Current Situation: I love Luke Voit. Guy was great for us down the stretch. Not good, great. But how long will that last? I’m not ready to hand him the job yet. Besides, another boom-or-bust righty power hitter in this lineup isn’t great. We’re too righty-heavy and too strikeout-heavy. That came back to bite us in the playoffs. Greg Bird could still come back and win it in spr… just kidding can’t even get through that one. My Bird-defending days are over. So where do the Yanks turn?

Offseason Plan of Action: Obviously the easy choice is do nothing, and hope either Voit continues to mash, or Bird maybe somehow taps into some alternate universe where he’s even half the player we once thought he could be. Can I have fun for a second and think about these two ideas?

  1. Sign Machado, move Andujar to first: I mean, that lineup would be insane. Miggy’s glove at third was never the issue, it’s his throws. If he could learn first base, man that infield would be insane.
  2. Trade for Paul Goldschmidt: I don’t know what it would take, or if the D-Backs would even move him, but Goldschmidt has quietly been one of the best players in baseball the past five years. After his $14.5 million team option in 2019, he will be a free agent. Maybe the Yankees can pry him loose? A 3x Gold Glove, 6x All-Star, .297 career-hitting first baseman does not sound too shabby to me.

Summary

In short, there are moves to be made this winter. If I had to pick what I want the 2019 Yankees’ Opening Day lineup to look like, while still being realistic, here’s the final product:

Lineup

  1. Andrew McCutchen
  2. Aaron Judge RF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  4. Giancarlo Stanton DH
  5. Aaron Hicks CF
  6. Gary Sanchez C
  7. Miguel Andujar 3B
  8. Gleyber Torres SS
  9. Neil Walker 2B

(with Didi returning to play short when healthy and Gleyber moving back to second)

Rotation

  1. Luis Severino
  2. Patrick Corbin
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. JA Happ
  5. Justus Sheffield/Chance Adams

Bullpen: Luis Cessa, Stephen Tarpley, Jonathan Holder, Chad Green, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman

Bench: Austin Romine, Luke Voit/Greg Bird (if not traded for Goldschmidt), Ronald Torreyes, Clint Frazier

 

Will this be the outcome? Maybe not even close, but what the hell do I know?

In terms of the 2018 Yankees, it just sucks. Sucks having that high of expectations, to essentially shit the bed all year, still win 100 games, get the split you needed at Fenway, and be embarrassed by your rivals on your home field to be eliminated. No 27 rings arguments, no excuses. They were the better team this year, or at least they sure did play like they were. For now, Go Astros, and then we’ll see what this offseason brings us.

P.S. Shoutout to my wonderful girlfriend for putting up with me losing my mind during this year’s postseason, my superstitions are beyond real when it comes to Yankees baseball.

Anybody Who Thinks Giancarlo Stanton Should Be Traded Is a Fool

The Yankees were eliminated from the 2018 ALDS this past week, and wrapped up a season that was filled with records, yet overloaded with disappointment. It ended the way it should’ve, with a too-little-too-late rally coming up short, an impressive lack of hitting with runners in scoring position, bad starting pitching, strikeouts, and horrible, horrible managing from Aaron Boone. Every flaw the Yankees were worried about coming into the season absolutely came back to bite them in the ass. Regardless, the Red Sox were clearly the better team, or at least were able to perform like it, and they move on while the Yankees can start to work on their offseason golf hacks.

See the source image

The worst person about the end of every season is the overreactions. Yankee fans immediately jump to “When is Cashman gonna fire Boone?”, “Why didn’t we get deGrom at the deadline?”, “We need to sign Harper and Machado this offseason”, and the worst one “Giancarlo Stanton needs to be traded”.

People who want to trade Giancarlo Stanton after a year of 38 HR and 100 RBI are the same type of people who watched the video of Kobe jumping over a car, tried to do it themselves, then miserably failed and had to go to the hospital because they broke their foot. They think that just because some people hit home runs and bat .300 that everybody should. They think that just because Aaron Judge got on base the at bat before, Giancarlo Stanton needs to as well. They think that just because Kobe jumped over a car, they can too. It doesn’t work like that, and it never will. No two players are the same, and you definitely can’t jump over that BMW.

And to be fair, I don’t want to defend Giancarlo too much either. He was not effective this postseason, and does strike out a hefty amount. His best game in the series came in the blowout loss when he hit the ball hard three times. He struck out on three pitches TWICE in massive, game-deciding situations. He wasn’t good, but don’t even act like when he stepped up to the plate every time you didn’t have a feeling he was going to hit a ball all the way to Moron Mountain (Space Jam reference for you uncultured folks out there).

You don’t give away a guy like that. Last year, he was a player who anybody in baseball would have been blessed to have on their team (as a player, ignoring contract issues). He is a guy who instantly makes your lineup more dangerous simply by writing his damn name on the lineup card. People don’t think about it, and maybe it’s because the Yankees never had a consistent #3 hitter and Judge was hurt for 2 months so the results weren’t as clear, but those top of the lineup guys are going to see MUCH more strikes with Giancarlo in that 4 spot over Andujar, Bird, Didi, Hicks or whoever else was going to bat there at the beginning of the season without him. Point at his final numbers all you want, which still are better than most of the players in the league, but his name alone makes him an asset. You cannot deny that.

See the source image

The worst part is…the same people who are yelling to trade Stanton are probably the same ones who criticized the Marlins for trading him. They’re like a bunch of people who eat Milky Ways instead of Snickers…never satisfied (ha). No, I don’t think the Yankees needed him to be successful this year. Perhaps they could have waited and gotten Yelich, who likely would have been a better fit for the lineup. But he fell in their lap, and Cashman did what anybody would have done.

Let me put this into a simpler perspective as to why he should not be traded:

-The Red Sox recently offered Mookie Betts a HEFTY extension that he turned down. They did this because they see his potential. He is 26 years old  (as of October 7) and on his way to his first MVP.

-When Giancarlo Stanton won the 2017 NL MVP, he was 27 years old (one year older than Betts for those of us without a calculator nearby).

-BUT, if next year Betts hits, oh I don’t know, 38 HR, has 100 RBI, and bats .266 in his age 26 campaign, should the Red Sox then trade him? Were they stupid to offer him a massive contract extension? NO!

If you didn’t get the analogy, I’m basically saying that the only difference (in terms of player impact) between trading Stanton this year and trading Betts next year (if he runs into a bad campaign) is the age difference of two years. Players have down years, it happens. Pitchers adjust, or they throw them less pitches to hit. You cannot be blind to the other ways a player impacts a roster besides general stats, and if you give up on an MVP-caliber player after ONE SEASON, you are an irrational, uneducated thinker. The Yankees have TWO franchise players nearing/in their prime, with a heavy youth movement on the way. Stanton will come around, and the argument that he should be traded is absolutely absurd.

Wait a week or two before you say stupid things.

100 Wins Ain’t Bad, Now the Real Season Starts

I know the Wild Card game wasn’t what we had hoped for, or even expected, coming into 2018. After coming within one win of the World Series and adding Giancarlo Stanton, nearly everyone picked the Yankees to win the AL East. But they didn’t. The Red Sox were the better team this year, hands-down. The Sox only won the season series by a game at 10-9, but the main thing they did was take care of business against the bad teams, namely the Baltimore Orioles. Throw in the dagger that was the four-game sweep at Fenway in early August, and the Red Sox are your AL East champs.

But all things considered, this Yankee team overcame a lot to reach 100 wins, besting last year’s total of 91 by nine. Their best player, Aaron Judge, missed nearly two months with a broken wrist. Gary Sanchez followed up his stellar first two seasons in the bigs with one of the most disappointing seasons for an athlete I have ever seen, batting just .186. Stanton went through huge slumps, hearing boos from the Bronx crowd during his first homestand in Pinstripes. Didi Gregorius missed a month with injury, and had a dreadful month of May. Luis Severino had an underwhelming second half. Aroldis Chapman missed time with injury. Jordan Montgomery was out for the year. Sonny Gray pitched his way out of the rotation. We started two rookies in the infield. Greg Bird forgot how to hit a baseball. Brett Gardner finally showed his age. And yet, this team still won 100 games.

Miguel Andujar emerged as not only baseball’s best rookie, but one of the best hitters in the game in the second half. Gleyber Torres showed he could be a star in this league for years to come. Luke Voit burst onto the scene to become a fixture in this lineup. Stanton carried us for periods of time. J.A. Happ pitched better than we could ever ask for after being acquired at the trade deadline. Neil Walker was the best hitter on the team for a short stretch. Masahiro Tanaka pitched like the ace we know he can be down the stretch. Didi Gregorius had another career year. Aaron Hicks continues to quietly become one of the best outfielders in the league. And maybe, just maybe, this team is finally healthy together for the first time all year.

Am I trying to say this team is a success because they won 100 games even with a lot of injuries and underperformance? Absolutely not. But they have shown the ability to overcome adversity for sure. Finishing eight games behind the Red Sox is not a success. But even if we were the ones finishing with 108 wins and the AL East crown, that is not a success either. Ever since the Yankees were eliminated last year, it was clear the 2018 Yanks are World Series or bust. Anything short of a parade down the Canyon of Heroes, and the season is a failure.

Not winning the division and having to play yet another Wild Card game is a huge obstacle on the way to that goal. In just one night, a season’s worth of work can come to an end. But anything is possible. No one thought we would beat the Indians last year. We gave away Game 2 to fall behind 2-0, and still won the series. We looked lifeless in Houston, only to win three in the Bronx and then come up just short. All I’m saying is, anything can happen in October. This train is still rolling, and you better believe anything short of a title is a failure. Let’s go Yanks baby.

The Red Sox Have the Most Insufferable Fan Base

I know Yankee fans get a lot of hate and I will admit in some ways we suck. There are a ton of Yankee fans out there that probably never/rarely watched before Aaron Judge made the Bronx fun again in 2017, fans that will jump to the “27 rings!” argument faster than David Price jumping to find an excuse to not pitch against the Yankees, and fans that probably don’t even realize Joe Girardi was a World Series winning Yanks catcher before he gave us this legendary line as manager.Image result for joe girardi its not what you want

 

That being said, the most insufferable fan base on this planet is that of the Boston Red Sox. Yes, in my mind they’re worse than Warriors fans, Patriots fans, even Duke basketball fans. That’s a very biased opinion as I’m a Yankee fan myself, but I actually cannot stand Red Sox fans. My hatred began as an 8-year old at Fenway, being cursed at and told to go back to the Bronx while wearing my Gary Sheffield t-shirt. I’m all for heckling fans of the opposing team, but if I’m ever heckling an 8 year old punch me in the face because I’ve had about three too many.

I don’t even care about that now though. It’s a fond memory of mine, my first real taste of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. I even respect that about them. Too many fan bases are too nice in my opinion. I went to a game in Cleveland this summer, and I really anticipated getting more hate, especially after how we beat them in the Division Series last year. Nope, the people couldn’t have been nicer to us; an Indians fan even bought my friend and I beers at the bar before the game. You come into Fenway or Yankee Stadium, and you know the fans are gonna be going crazy. Red Sox fans are definitely dedicated and I respect them for that. But they are insufferable.

They’re insufferable because I’ve never met a fan base that loves to make excuses as much as they do. The Yankees have not played their best baseball in the second half. And yeah it hurt losing Judge, but he is far from the only reason we have been flat. Bottom line, a ton of our guys have underperformed, and that’s why we’re playing for home field advantage in the wild card right now and not battling the Sox for the AL East, as most assumed we would be. But if the Red Sox lose a game? Even to the Yankees, the team with the third-best winning percentage in baseball? Their fans can’t believe it. It’s like losing isn’t even a possibility in their minds. There has to be something wrong.

On Tuesday, the Yanks beat the Sox in the series opener 3-2 thanks to a huge three-run homer from Neil Walker and six strong innings from J.A. Happ. A great game, and one that the Yankees nearly gave away. They totaled only three hits in the ballgame, and botched two game-ending double play balls in the 9th before finally turning one the third time. What was Sox fans’ excuse for why they didn’t win this one?

JV lineup?! You sat Mookie and Benintendi (who later pinch hit), but otherwise EVERYONE else was in there. Obviously Mookie Betts is a game changer, and one of the best players in baseball. But am I supposed to feel bad that Alex Cora opted to give him an off-day against the Yankees? For sure not, especially when we’d been without our best player for almost two months prior to that game. If you wanna say the Red Sox outplayed the Yankees, I’d agree with you. But them not being able to cash in on two Yankee errors in the 9th has nothing to do with them sitting Mookie, get outta here with that bullshit.

Last night was a huge game for the Yankees. Again, I know the division is over, but at this point it’s all about getting our guys back on track and building momentum for the Wild Card game. They did just that last night with a 10-1 drubbing of the Red Sox. Most importantly, Luis Severino looked more like the Cy Young candidate we saw in the first half of the season. 10-1, that’s a huge margin of victory. What kind of excuse could Sox fans make this time? They jumped to their favorite, “Yankee Stadium is a Little League field.”

I can’t even wrap my mind around this one. Do both teams not get nine innings of at bats… in the same stadium? Do they push back the fences when the Red Sox hit? Of course Voit’s homers and Andujar’s solo shot would be fly outs in most stadiums, they barely got out to the short porch. But what was stopping the Red Sox from doing the same thing? A homer is a homer. If you wanna argue and tell me that over the course of a season a Yankee player’s stats are inflated because he plays half his games with the short porch in right, then fine. I agree with that. But to complain about the results of an individual game because of the dimensions of the stadium is blasphemous. Fenway is legendary, but how many times does the Green Monster turn what would be easy fly outs in any other park to doubles or home runs? Multiple times a game. You lost 10-1, just live with it.

The Red Sox have been the better team this year, no doubt about it. They completely derailed our division hopes with the four-game sweep at Fenway in early August. You didn’t hear us Yankee fans making any excuses back then (anyone who said Judge alone would’ve made that series much different is an idiot.) It’s pathetic that Sox fans need to try and come up with an excuse for every loss they have.

I need the Yanks to win tonight. Can’t let them beat Tanaka and win the division on our own turf. And I NEED a Yankees-Red Sox ALDS like I need air to breathe. I know that getting eliminated by them would be absolutely brutal. But this season has been so weird that it needs to end with one of these teams knocking out the other. It’s the only way.

Buck Foston go Yanks, Tanaka time tonight.

For the First Time Ever, I am Excited About David Wright

David Wright has technically been a New York Met since 2004, but he has not played in a Major League game since May of 2016.  For many years, Wright was one of the better third basemen in Major League Baseball, but, ironically, I am currently the most excited I have ever been about David Wright.

On most days since April of 2015, I have assumed that David Wright’s MLB career was finished.  Wright found himself on the DL eight days into the Mets’ 2015 season.  During that DL stint, we learned that Wright had been diagnosed with spinal stenosis.  As the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes on July 31 and went on a tear in August, David Wright had become an afterthought…albeit an afterthought of “His career might be over.”  Then, lo and behold, Wright returned in late August and was the Mets’ regular third baseman en route to the World Series. 

Image result for david wright 2015
Image via Sporting News

However, after David hit .185 (10 for 54) in the 2015 postseason, I hoped he would retire.  I figured that he had a signature moment – a homerun in the first World Series game ever played at Citi Field – but that his body would not allow him to play Major League Baseball at a high level any longer.  Spinal stenosis is a debilitating condition, and I considered his on-field time from late August through November 1 of 2015 should be his swan song.  Had he retired after the 2015 season, the Mets would have ensured that there would be no awkward situation in which the Mets would have to decide between playing a broken-down David Wright or a better player at third base.  I did not want to see Wright end up in a position where he guts out 40 games per season at a .200 batting average, as fans clamor to see a journeyman .260 hitter start over him.  That would have been awkward for all of us, and I wanted no part of it.

Well, interestingly enough, Wright did not retire after 2015….but my fear did not play out either.  In 2016, Wright was hitting .226 with 7 homers when he went on the DL over Memorial Day Weekend.  Since then, he has never been on the active Mets roster.  As he has battled major neck and shoulder problems (on top of the spinal-stenosis back problems), he has become the ultimate afterthought in terms of the present-day Mets.  Until the past week or two, most of us have thought of David Wright’s Mets career in past tense.  Sure, in 2017, Jose Reyes (who served as the Mets’ primary third baseman for much of the season) said all the right things (no pun intended) about keeping the seat warm for Wright.  Those two have such a strong friendship, dating back to 2003-4, and any good friend believes the best in his or her friends.  However, in the case of Wright being the Mets’ everyday third baseman, it was wishful thinking on Reyes’s part….and every Mets fan knew it.

Fast forward to 2018 when the Mets signed Todd Frazier to the Mets’ third baseman, and nobody was worrying that the Mets had given away Wright’s position.  Wright was done.  His career was in the past.  We would occasionally hear about him having light workouts or having catches with people.  Woop-dee-doo.  I do not care about that stuff for guys on the 10-day DL; I did not care with Wright either.  That said, all of a sudden, a few weeks ago, Wright actually began playing in rehab games in Port St. Lucie.  I do not generally care about that stuff either, but, given Wright’s situation, I was interested.  Honestly, I had never thought he would make it back this far.

Now, as I sit here on September 13, I see a player who has not played in more than 2.5 seasons but has worked through incredibly painful and debilitating injuries to try to get back on the field.  How often do we see players, especially those in their mid-30s, return after that much time off?   I know that Wright is coming back for only one or a few games before retiring, but it remains quite a feat. It would have been very easy at any time since early 2015 for Wright to retire.  Sure, the money he is making is a good motivator to try to play again, but I do not care.  Especially since Wright went down “for good” in May 2016, he has to have known that; if he were ever to return to the Majors, he would be a shell of what he once was.  He has to have known that he has had very few MLB games left in him….but that does not matter to him.  Many players would not have fought back for more than 2.5 years like Wright has.  Wright just wants to play on an MLB field one more time, and he will have that opportunity on the Mets. That is a great story.

Image result for david wright rehab
Image via Newsday

The funny thing is that, until now, David Wright never truly excited me as a Met.  When Wright had his best seasons from 2005 through 2008, I was always more excited by Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado.  Wright was a great player, but I felt that those three were the true stars.  Unfortunately, as those players left, Wright stepped down from “Great” to “Very Good”.  During those “very good” years of 2009 through 2014, the Mets were not very good.  By 2015, when the Mets finally made it to a World Series with Wright, the stars had become the pitchers and Cespedes.  Therefore, for one reason or another, David Wright had never excited me….until now. 

Yes, David Wright is one of the best people in baseball.  He is a good-looking guy, and he has been a great face for the Mets’ franchise.  He is one of the few pro athletes who can legitimately be a role model for kids.  However, his dedication to work his way back to the majors makes him more of a role model than ever.  For the first time in David Wright’s career, I am excited to watch him play.  He might end up playing only three games or two games or one game.  That does not matter to me.  It will be very emotional to see him return to the Mets’ lineup, and I am excited to see #5 play third base for the Mets at least one more time.

The Most Silent NL MVP Candidate

Maybe it’s just me, but MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Cy Young discussions are some of my favorite discussions to have in baseball. Pretty much anyone that has a clue about the sport can speak on the topic, and you won’t get any showoffs trying to make outrageous statements because the conversation pretty much writes itself. If you try and tell me somebody like Andrelton Simmons should be a candidate just because he’s batting .296 and is good on defense, I will tell you that you should learn how to not talk anymore.

This year, the NL MVP has been notoriously close, but mostly for the fact that nobody has broken away from the crowd with ridiculous seasons. The AL is looking at J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts competing for a batting title on the same team, Jose Ramirez is having another crazy year as the quietest superstar in baseball, and Mike Trout continues to be baseball’s messiah. In the NL, you have a few players that experts are suggesting, but there’s one player I simply don’t understand why he isn’t in the discussion.

Trevor Story. The guy that hit a baseball that is currently in orbit around Earth.

I have not heard many people use his name in the discussion, but the Rockies are currently one game ahead of the Dodgers and Story is a big reason why. Here’s are some of the top NL MVP Candidates and their most focused-on stats:

Matt Carpenter, STL .270 AVG, 35 HR, 77 RBI
Freddie Freeman, ATL .306 AVG, 21 HR, 84 RBI
Javier Baez, CHC .294 AVG, 30 HR, 100 RBI
Nolan Arenado, COL .297 AVG, 32 HR, 95 RBI
Max Scherzer, WAS 17 Wins, 2.31 ERA, 271 Ks
Aaron Nola, PHI 16 Wins, 2.29 ERA, 196 Ks
Jacob deGrom, NYM 8 Wins (lol), 1.68 ERA, 230 Ks
Christian Yelich, MIL .316 AVG, 18 HR, 61 RBI

And here is Story’s line:

Trevor Story, COL .293 AVG, 31 HR, 96 RBI

Not to mention (but I will), he also has 25 stolen bases, the most of any of the other candidates. Now, I certainly believe stats don’t tell the entire story (no pun intended). There are factors that make a player an MVP Candidate and factors that don’t. For example, some players stats might be better because they are part of a more dangerous lineup. The Rockies have 2 MVP-caliber players, Charlie Blackmon, and former batting champ D.J. LeMahieu all in the top 5 positions in their lineup. That is going to inflate your RBI stats, as well as get you more hitable pitches because pitchers have to get outs somewhere. Matt Carpenter, on the other hand, is not part of as dangerous of a lineup with the only fearful hitters being Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna. Therefore, his RBI total and average will depreciate. For a reason as simple as this, that makes Carpenter that much more valuable to his team than Story, and a large reason why he’s on the consistent discussion list as opposed to the Rockies shortstop.

Image result for trevor story
Image via USA Today

But, I believe Story’s numbers are too good to be ignored. As a middle infielder that is going to finish with 35+ HR and 100+ RBI with an average floating around .300, that cannot be played off as a slightly above average season. Baez is supposedly the front-runner and he’s having the same season as Story, just on the other side of the second base bag.

I’m not saying he needs to be crowned the winner right now, but in a year that nobody is running away with the title, it would be cool to see an underdog pull away in September and walk away with the award. It should be an interesting battle for the rest of the season to see who comes out on top.

The 2001 World Series Was The Best One Ever Don’t @Me

Today is the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks which is pretty crazy to think about. Someone born on the day of the attacks would be taking their driver’s test today. For those of us from the New York/New Jersey area, the attacks hit particularly close to home because you surely knew those who lost loved ones that day. It was the greatest tragedy to ever happen on American soil. Our nation was hurting, and looking for any way to try and numb the pain, it turned to sports.

After a six-day hiatus, Major League Baseball finally resumed games after the attacks. Ultimately, the New York Yankees found themselves in their fourth straight World Series, and fifth in six seasons. Their opponent was the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team playing just their fourth season after joining MLB in 1998. The result was the best World Series ever played. I know there have been plenty of legendary Fall Classics. You have Pirates over Yankees in 7 in 1960, The ’86 Mets taking down the Red Sox, Kirby Puckett’s Twins beating the Braves in 1991, Cardinals over Rangers in 2011, and of course the Cubs ending their 108-year title drought over the Indians just two years ago. But this series had so much emotion behind it and late-game heroics that it’s the clear choice in my mind.

After losing the first two games in Arizona, the Yankees returned home to the Bronx for Game 3. They were greeted with a ceremonial first pitch from a pretty special guest.

That video still gives me the chills every time. This was a stadium full of people who had lost loved ones just a few weeks ago, turning to baseball as their way to escape the pain. After the Yankees won Game 3 behind Roger Clemens, they suddenly found themselves with their backs against the wall in Game 4, down 3-1 with two outs. They were at risk of a dreadful 3-1 series deficit. Tino Martinez, however, had other plans.

I can’t even imagine how much the old Stadium must’ve been shaking. I swear I want nothing more than the opportunity to experience what playoff baseball was like in the Bronx during the late-90’s/early-2000’s dynasty. The Yanks won Game 4 in extras thanks to a walk-off home run from none other than Derek Sanderson Jeter himself.

The season delay from the 9/11 attacks caused the series to start later than usual, making Game 4 the first ever November MLB game. Therefore, Jeter’s heroics earned him the nickname “Mr. November.”

Game 5 was, as the late great Yogi Berra would say, “deja vu all over again.” The Yankees once again found themselves down two runs with two outs in the ninth inning. This time, Scott Brosius provided the heroics.

Absolute madness. Once again, the Yanks won it in extras, thanks to Alfonso Soriano.

The rest of the blog is painful for me to write as a Yankee fan, but I would be remiss to not include the last two games in what I consider the “best World Series ever.” After the series returned to Arizona, the D-Backs drubbed the Yankees 15-2 in Game 6. There is nothing like a Game 7 in sports. To me, I don’t know how you could even begin to consider a series as the “best ever” without a Game 7. Fortunately, this Game 7 did not fail to live up to the hype.

Arizona’s Curt Schilling and the Yanks’ Roger Clemens were stuck in a pitcher’s duel, with the game tied at 1 in the eighth. Soriano came up big again, homering off of Schilling to give the Yanks a 2-1 lead. This was huge, as manager Joe Torre was able to turn the game over to the best reliever of all-time, his closer Mariano Rivera. Rivera was especially potent in the postseason, and after working a scoreless eighth, he lowered his career playoff ERA to 0.70. However, after a leadoff single, an errant throw by Rivera on a bunt, a double, and a hit by pitch, this happened.

It hurts to watch. But at the end of the day, the Yankees did their job; they helped heal a city in pain. This series had it all. A first pitch by the President in the same city where the largest terrorist attack in history happened weeks earlier. Back-to-back two-out ninth inning comebacks/extra inning walk-offs. A team that just joined the league winning it all in Game 7 off of the greatest reliever of all time. Not to mention Hall of Fame caliber players like Jeter, Rivera, Schilling, and Randy Johnson. Please try and explain to me how this wasn’t the best World Series of all-time, you can’t.

And to all first responders to the 9/11 attacks, thank you so much. To those who served our country following the attacks, thank you for your service. To anyone who lost loved ones in the attacks, our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless America and we will never forget.