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Brad VanFossan
Brad VanFossan
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Richard Kagan

Hit Parade On for ChiSox posted by Richard Kagan

Well, I've been waiting for this.  Finally, the Sox broke out with the hits and out-slugged and swept the Division leading Cleveland Indians.  Today's score was 12-6.  Yesterday's tally was 14-7.  Did Jay Cutler throw a TD pass?

The Sox have hit the tar out of the ball.  Today's hit total was 15.  Saturday it was 17.  Paul Konerko is on a 13 game hitting streak.  He hit his 11th HR to break a 4--4 tie and sent the Sox rolling to its 5th win in a row.  The Sox are now a half-game behind the Indians.  Hitting doesn't win Division titles, but it brings fans to the park, and it is exciting.  Plus it makes up for mediocre pitching.  Yesterday Jake Peavy didn't have his best stuff but he got the win.  Today Gavin Floyd was rocked early but lasted 5 frames to notch his 4th win of the season.  Konerko is currently batting .399 for the year, the leader in the majors.  Someone please recognize him as an outstanding White Sox who is playing himself onto the AL All-star team.  A couple of solid weeks of play and he will clinch it.  But that's a month away. 

Alex Rios and Dayan Viciendo have both really hit the ball well.  Viciendo looks like Carlos Lee, and hits like a young Manny Ramirez.  He has a great upside and can knock the ball.  It's good to see guys getting hits, and driving in runs.  Adam Dunn has 15 HR's, 4 more than last season's total.  Dunn, who seems to either hit a HR or strike out, at least is hitting the ball fair.  It would be nice to see him hit a few singles to add to his profile.  The Sox don't need another Dave Kingman in their lineup. He was a power hitter who either hit a blast or KO'd.  The Sox have this potential.  They have hitters.  They can score runs. This hot streak will eventually fade.  The staring pitching needs to come around. 

Continue reading "Hit Parade On for ChiSox"


Richard Kagan

Sox Still Alive After Seattle Sweep posted by Richard Kagan

There is good news an bad news if you are a long-time Chicago White Sox fan.  The good news, the White Sox moved into 2nd place ahead of the Cleveland Indians by a half game when the Sox won and the Indians lost on Sunday.  Now, the bad news, the Sox face Minnesota Twins, who have the Sox's number in recent years.  The last time they played, the Sox swept the Twins in Minnesota.  The Twins will be seeking to return the favor.

The ChicSox got strong piching from Gavid Floyd who pitched into the 8th inning and left the game with a 9-2 lead.  Chicago got that lead courtesy of Dayan Viciendo's three-run blast, his first home runs as a member of the Sox.  Ty Flowers, the backup catcher to A.J. Pryzienski, hit his first grand slam over the walll in left field.  Chicago scored 6 runs in the inning to take a commanding 9-0 lead.  When you get good pitching and a productive offense, you will win games.  The problem is can the White Sox get enough run production against good teams? 

If they can, this may be a memorable September run.  If not, start looking for golf dates.  The Sox trail Detroit by 6 games and will face them 6 timed before the season ends.

Continue reading "Sox Still Alive After Seattle Sweep"


David

Shin-Soo Choo: one of a kind posted by David

Shin-Soo Choo likely earned an exemption from South Korea’s two-year military service requirement, as his country won this year’s just-completed Asian Games.  Led by none other than Choo, who hit .571 (8-for-14) with three home runs, six walks, eight runs scored and 11 RBIs during the tournament, South Korea defeated Taiwan, 9-3, in the final game earlier today.

In addition to becoming the first Asian to join the 20-20 club in 2009, Choo is the first player in Indians franchise history (bear in mind the Tribe is more than a century old) to hit .300 with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in consecutive seasons.  Joe Carter, who played in Cleveland for six years, accomplished the feat in 1986 and even went 30-30 the next season, but saw his average fall from .302 to .264.  Roberto Alomar almost did it three years in a row (1999-2001 – coincidentally his only seasons with the Indians), but fell one home run short in 2000 – the middle year of the would-be-streak.

Besides his offensive production, Choo also led all American League rightfielders with 14 assists this past season.  Shin-Soo Choo not having to miss two years in the prime of his career is Good for Ball.

And then there were 10

The last 16 postseasons have featured eight teams with a chance to be crowned World Series champions, but 2012 could be the first year with four rounds of playoff ball.  (Game 163 – sometimes called a one-game playoff – counts as part of the regular season, so there have never been more than three rounds of postseason play in the Big Leagues.)  How could this be?  Bud Selig announced this week a proposal to expand the playoffs to 10 teams – three division winners and TWO Wild Card teams in each league.  It is rumored that the extra round – played between the two Wild Card teams – would be either a best-of-three series or a one-game winner-take-all.

Continue reading "Shin-Soo Choo: one of a kind"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Sox get Spanked posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Well, when I was looking at the pitching matchup the other day, I really thought Wednesday's game against the Indians was a guarenteed win. Hah! I don't know if Masterson was bitter about facing his old team ( though I kinda doubt that, since he always speaks glowingly of the Sox organization when he's interviewed about them)...or if it was a matter of probability and Masterson simply had to win a game sooner or later. Much in the same manner that Buckholz was due for a rough outing (if 3 runs over 7 innings can be considered rough)...

Clay didn't have his best stuff. That was obvious in the first inning. Still, he had a quality outing, and if the offense could have picked him up then this was still a game the Sox could have won. That all went out the window when a man with the most...uh, interesting name in the Major Leagues took the mound.

Enter: Boof Bonser.

 Boof, the only games I've seen you pitch were in the Metrodome with the Twins, and you weren't a particularly impressive pitcher then. If you've been brought to the Sox bull pen to eat up innings in which the game is already lost, Fine. However, being down 0-3 in the 8th is hardly a foregone conclusion. Boof proceeds to load bases, give up many runs, and the final score is 11-0.

 Now this obviously wasn't all Boof's fault. The offense forgot there was a game last night. Stacking the lineup with lefty's against Masterson did not work out.

 All things considered. Good for Masterson. He was great in the middle relief role here in Boston, and its unfortunate that he was traded to a team in the rebuilding phase, and asked to assume a role he was unfamiliar with. I'm glad he finally got a win, I'm just sorry it came against the Sox. Masterson, best of luck to you.

Continue reading "Sox get Spanked"


Brad VanFossan

State of the (Cleveland Sports) Union Address posted by Brad VanFossan

State of the (Cleveland Sports) Union Address

Cleveland Indians Edition

By Brad VanFossan

Dear Cleveland Indians,

I have assessed the performance of your ball club both on and off the field over the past few years. You seemed to have your stuff together for awhile there, but even being the Indians in name, it is not ok for your ownership and front office to continue to blow smoke up your fans hind ends.

Your acts of frugalness are similar to those of other elder statesmen who have held this office. They took a little extra cash to their grave, but not a World Series ring. I think you get my drift Mr. Dolan. Your continued signings of stiffs, oops, no disrespect to said elder statesmen, but your continued signings of the likes of Jason Johnson, David Dellucci, Trot Nixon, Jake Westbrook, and Travis Hafner show a sign of fiscal irresponsibility that only the national debt could also stake claim to. The monies saved from making smarter business decisions could all have been put in a kitty to help fairly compensate the likes of Carsten Charles Sabathia, Clifton Lee, and Victor Martinez.

You have alienated your fan base to the point that they would rather drive to Youngstown and watch Elton John in concert. Heck, they would rather watch him in concert on HBO then tune into STO. Another problem we found, yes this list was almost as long as Mike Brown’s face Monday night, but I digress. Another problem with your ball club, Mr. Dolan, and Mr. Shapiro (and by the way Mr. Shapiro, I thought you played a good role as the main character in the new Nightmare on Elm St.), you own the network your games are broadcasted on. Most of your employers are afraid to criticize your horrendous decisions, and yes, even you Mr. Drennan, although you do more than most, you still walk a fine line.

Continue reading "State of the (Cleveland Sports) Union Address"


David

Oh, what a night! posted by David

As if Ubaldo Jimenez’s no-hitter was not enough excitement for one day, the Mets and Cardinals took part in a marathon contest, playing a 20-inning game Saturday in St. Louis.  If that does not…, the most remarkable part of the monumental occasion was that the two teams went scoreless through the first 18 frames!  That’s like back-to-back shutouts being thrown by both teams!  In a game that took nearly seven hours and featured an astounding 18 pitchers (two of whom were actually position players that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sent to the hill), three Met hitters – Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, and Jeff Francoeur – went a combined 0 for 21.  That is an ugly line in the box score for three of the team’s four best offensive players.

How ‘bout that?

How about Roy Halladay?  In his first four starts, Halladay is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA and a 0.879 WHIP.  He has thrown two complete games – including one shutout – and in 33 innings pitched, has struck out 28 while walking three.  The ace of the Philadelphia pitching staff has more wins than walks, and has collected as many hits (three) in the batter’s box as he has allowed earned runs.  With a strong team playing behind him, Halladay has a real chance to become baseball’s first 25-game winner since Bob Welch, who in 1990 won 27 of his 35 starts.

How about Jorge Cantu?  The Marlins infielder had a hit and an RBI in the first 10 games of 2010 to set a new record to begin a season.  It is worth noting that Cantu also collected a hit and RBI in the last four games he played in 2009 and dating back to last year, he has a 20-game hitting streak.  Cantu’s consistency has helped Florida to a 9-7 record thus far – just a game and a half behind the division-leading Phillies.  To put into perspective how impressive Cantu’s hit-and-RBI streak is, consider this: during Joe Dimaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941, the longest RBI streak he put together was seven consecutive games; in fact, The Yankee Clipper even went seven games straight

Continue reading "Oh, what a night!"


David

The most promising time of the year posted by David

Today’s post is brought to you from Toledo, Ohio.  With Spring Training wrapping up in just over a week, every team has reason to be hopeful that this will be their year.  Though it is widely accepted that exhibition games are meaningless, the Giants should feel good about their 18-7 record this spring, and the Indians are certainly pleased that they have won 13 of their first 19 games.  The reigning World Series champion Yankees, meanwhile, can shake off their 9-12 record as rustiness.  It may not have the excitement of October, but April is when everyone’s glass is half full; no one has ground to make up or nagging injuries to play through.  Every team has a share of first place, and that’s what makes it the most promising time of the year.

How ‘bout that?

How about Joe Nathan?  Coming off a strong 2009 (47 saves, 2.10 E.R.A and 0.932 WHIP), the Twins closer will miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery.  The back end of the Twins bullpen is now up for grabs, and the AL Central is anyone’s for the taking.  Three different teams (Twins, White Sox, and Indians) have won the division the last three years, and each of the last two has been decided by a one-game playoff.  Detroit and Chicago, the Twins’ main competition in 2009, will benefit most from Minnesota’s loss.

How about John Smoltz?  The veteran right-hander will begin the season in the broadcast booth rather than on the mound, working as a color analyst for TBS.  Smoltz did some commentating back in 2008 while on Atlanta’s Disabled List.  If Smoltz is truly finished as a player, he combines with former teammates (and fellow retirees) Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine for 873 career wins and 154 saves.  Not surprisingly, both Maddux and Glavine will remain in the game in some capacity, the former serving as an assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry, and the latter as a special assistant to Braves President John Schuerholz.

Continue reading "The most promising time of the year"


David

Next stop in my baseball career – the Toledo Mud Hens! posted by David

In my life I have attended many more major league games than minor league ones, but 2010 will be a chance for me to experience the minors like never before.  I will be working in media relations for the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League.  The Mud Hens are the Triple-A affiliate of the Tigers and play at Fifth Third Field, just an hour from Detroit, which means that Tigers on rehab assignments will likely make cameo appearances throughout the season.

Those who have worn the Mud Hen uniform include Hall of Famers Kirby Puckett (the team was affiliated with the Twins from 1978 through 1986) and manager Casey Stengel, as well as longtime Tigers Travis Fryman and Kirk Gibson, and active players Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and Carlos Peña of the Red Sox.  Scott Sizemore, who will replace Placido Polanco as Detroit’s 2nd baseman this season, spent the better part of 2009 in Toledo.

Toledo, Ohio is a place I had never been until recently, but I am very happy to become a part of the Mud Hens staff and thrilled to work a full season in professional baseball.

Two more notable retirements

The 2009-2010 offseason has already seen the end of the brilliant careers of Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas, but two other players with solid resumes announced their retirements this past week.

Nomar Garciaparra played for the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, and Athletics, collected 1,747 hits, 229 home runs, 95 stolen bases, and a batting line of .313/.361/.521, and made six-time All-Star teams.  He was unanimously selected as the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year, and won back-to-back batting titles with very impressive averages – .357 and .372 – in 1999 and 2000.  In those years, Garciaparra also set career OPS highs at 1.022 (second to Manny Ramirez in the AL) and 1.033.  In seven postseason series, he hit .321 with seven home runs.  Nomar guaranteed himself a spot in the record books on May 10, 1999, when he became the 11th player in major league history to hit two grand slams in a single game.

Continue reading "Next stop in my baseball career – ..."


Brad VanFossan

Golden Effort Falls Just Short posted by Brad VanFossan

A Golden Effort Falls Just Short By Brad VanFossan I know it’s more than just a hockey game when my 63 year old father is looking forward to watching, and has been watching most of the hockey games during this Olympics. I know it’s more than just a game when patrons at bars ask to turn the hockey game on, both the men’s and women’s games, as I have seen happen over the last couple weeks. This is about reliving nostalgia for those who were around for the 1980 Gold Medal team‘s “Miracle“ run. And it’s about wanting to experience that same feeling for those of us who were too young or weren’t around then. This is the kind of thing the brings generations of sons and fathers together creating memories that become part of family lore. More importantly, this is a message to the world that hockey isn’t a secondary sport in the United States anymore, but one we can excel at, and even be the best.  It’s almost time for the opening face off, winning twice on enemy territory won’t be easy, but I think if anyone can, it’s this group of relentless young men. No matter what the outcome, they will put forth an effort to be proud of.My in game thoughts from the penalty box: -In the first U.S./Canada match up the U.S. was able to score first, taking the crowd out of things for a bit, today Canada scored first, it’s the first time the U.S. has trailed all Olympics. -Jonathan Toews goal was off of a rebound, not too much cause for concern yet. The U.S. is still playing pretty well, theyContinue reading "Golden Effort Falls Just Short"


David

Two more great careers reach the end of the line posted by David

Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas officially announced their retirements this week, ending speculation that either one would attempt a comeback in 2010 after not appearing in a big league game last season.  Glavine was a great finesse pitcher of his generation, and Thomas was a premiere slugger of the nineties.

The southpaw won 305 games, two Cy Young Awards, and four Silver Sluggers.  He was a 10-time All-Star, had five 20-win seasons, and was named the 1995 World Series MVP for leading the Braves to victory.  Glavine’s Fall Classic performance included eight innings of one-hit, shutout ball in a decisive Game 6 against the Cleveland Indians.  In addition to cleanup man Albert Belle, the Cleveland lineup featured the likes of Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and then-future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.  Meanwhile, Braves hitters were only able to put a single run on the board in the bottom of the sixth, leaving Glavine with no margin for error.  Among his lesser-known achievements, Glavine allowed just one grand slam in 682 games – all starts – over his 22-year major league career.  Finally, at the time of his retirement, he was second only to Omar Vizquel in sacrifice bunts among active players, with 216.  (The next-closest – pitcher or position player – is longtime teammate John Smoltz, with 136.)

Thomas hit 521 home runs, collected 2,468 hits, and finishes with an impressive line of .301/.419/.555.  He won back-to-back MVP awards, four Silver Sluggers, and one batting title.  Additionally, he had 11 seasons with 100+ RBI’s and was named to five consecutive All-Star teams (1993-1997) at a very competitive time for American League first basemen.  (Mark McGwire, John Olerud, Mo Vaughn, Tino Martinez, Cecil Fielder, Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro were perennial contenders.)  The Big Hurt’s best year came in 1994, when he set career highs in batting average (.353), on-base-percentage (.487), and slugging percentage (.729), and despite being limited to 113 games by the players’ strike, hit 38 home runs and drove in 101 runs.  Thomas’s monstrous slugging percentage that season puts him in a club with guys named Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Hornsby, and Foxx.

Continue reading "Two more great careers reach the end of the line"

Cleveland Indians News

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Recounting the moments that defined Derek Jeter (The Associated Press)

Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees are 59-36 and four games up in the AL East, headed to their sixth of nine consecutive division titles. At this moment, though, they trail the Cleveland Indians by one run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jeter has just hit an RBI single with two outs, and the bases are loaded for left-handed slugger Jason Giambi. The count goes full and Cleveland ace CC Sabathia prefers to stay in the windup, giving all three Yankees on base a running start as he unfolds his 6-foot-7, 290-pound frame for a slow delivery to the plate. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Indians-Twins Preview (The Associated Press)

A second straight appearance in the wild-card round is looking bleak for the Cleveland Indians, and they didn't do themselves any favors by letting the series opener with the Minnesota Twins slip away in the late innings. Cleveland turns to rookie starter T.J. House as it looks to bounce back Saturday night at Target Field. The Indians (79-74) are tied with the New York Yankees and trail Seattle, Oakland and Kansas City in the wild-card standings with nine games to play, giving them few opportunities to make up ground. They led by one run heading into the ninth inning Friday, but the Twins tied the game before Trevor Plouffe's RBI single in the 10th gave Minnesota a 5-4 victory. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Daniel Nava's slam damages Royals (Big League Stew)

Daniel Nava of the Boston Red Sox handed the Kansas City Royals a major setback to their playoff aspirations Sunday. But did the Royals, who haven't reached the postseason since winning the World Series 29 years ago, have to be so darned helpful to him? With several better options seemingly available, Royals manager Ned Yost used right-hander Aaron Crow to face Nava, a switch-hitter, with the bases loaded and Kansas City leading by a run in the top of the sixth inning. Nava turned on the first pitch, a 93 mph fastball on the inside corner, and crushed it to right for a grand slam. The Royals lost 8-4 and, with the Detroit Tigers beating the Cleveland Indians, fell 1 1/2 games back in the American League Central. Why was using Crow a bad idea? [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Tigers-Indians Preview (The Associated Press)

The Detroit Tigers have spent the past three weeks striving to overtake Kansas City in the AL Central, but both clubs have another team almost on their heels. While hoping to get Miguel Cabrera back, the Tigers will seek to reclaim sole possession of first place and slow down the surging Cleveland Indians on Monday. Detroit (74-62) will be alone atop the division for the first time since Aug. 10 if it wins for the seventh time in 10 games and Kansas City drops its fourth in a row Monday night. The Tigers were in line to stay tied with the Royals after a 6-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, but Kansas City's game against Cleveland was suspended with the Indians leading 4-2 in the 10th inning. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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