Tagged: USA

The Next March Maddness

Okay no one has got the trivia yet but I have a good felling some one will get it by Friday.

***********************************************************************************************************Wow. Did not see that coming. Spotting their “Halloween”, orange and black uniforms the Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic not once, but twice! Then a few hours before that Italy knocked out team Canada! Then today Venezuela beat the USA! Well its March and there is madness. Could the World Baseball Classic become the next March Madness? I really do not think so. Maybe next time but not right now. Now if the WBC guys wanted less upsets maybe they could turn each game into a best of three series. The only flaw with that is less guys would want to play. I like the upsets though. I mean the Netherlands have to major league players; Rick Vanden Hurk, and Greg Malman. They do have ten prospects on their roster though. The Dominican Republic has twenty major league guys and six free agents. Moises Alou, the long time veteran outfielder said after the WBC he would retire. Well he might be wishing he did not say that. Alou wanted to go with a bang but went out with a whimper. Now if this had happened once some might call it luck. But they beat the twice so is it still luck? I honestly say yes. I think the Dominican Republic just underestimated the Netherlands and then they still underestimated them in the second game. Now the Netherlands will have their hands full now though. In pool two they have to face the U.S.A., Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. I think the U.S.A. and Puerto Rico will win this pool. 

Now the Italy beating Canada was not as bad but still an upset. Italy has five major league guys and nine prospects. Canada has ten major league players and fifteen minor league players. Now sure Canada only has ten players but these are guys like Jason Bay, Justin Morneau, and Russell Martin. When was the last time you have heard of Chris Denorfia? Exactly. He is a backup outfielder on the Athletics. Really the only guy you might have known was Mike Piazza, the hitting coach. You also might have heard of Twins shortstop Nick Punto or Texas Ranger’s outfielder Frank Catalanotto.
Team Italy at European Championships 2007
Now this was the least of the upsets so far. Venezuela beat the U.S.A. tonight five to three. The U.S.A. did not have their A game tonight as seven batters did not get a hit. I am sure the U.S.A. just did not want to have someone get hurt or something. Every player on the U.S.A. team is in the majors. Venezuela has eighteen major league players and four minor league players. The bullpen though is their one flaw. Well it was not tonight. The only major league players in the bullpen are Ramon Ramirez (not the one on the Red Sox, he is on the Reds) and K-Rod. Your bullpen could stink but if you have K-Rod in their he turns it good . . . on second thought it does not. The bullpen is one of the most important things in baseball and if you do not believe me look at the Mets. The U.S.A. has an outstanding bullpen with four closers and one of if not the best setup man in MLB J.J. Putz. You see the U.S.A. has everything on a good night; pitching, defense, speed, and bats. That is why they will be the 2009 World Baseball Classic Champions.
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All right here is today’s hint for the question, “Who threw the first no hitter under lights?”
So far the hints are . . .
1- It can be any league or country.
2- I have known the answer my whole life.
3- He does not have a wikipedia page.
4- He has a common last name.
5- He played for the Kansas City Blues and the Indianapolis Indians.
6- He was in the Yankees’ and Mets’ farm system at the same time.
7- He played for two different Yankee farm system teams.
8- He stopped playing in 1935 to work on a railroad so he could make more money during the great depression.

Today’s hint is, He played for the Quincy Gems and the league ha played in was the American Association. Good Luck! 

Photo Credits

1- asia.news.yahoo.com
2- mister-baseball.com
3- padres.mlblogs.com
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Position Problems

Congrats to wezz over at Major League Baseball: Through the Eyes of a UK Red Sox Fan for getting the answer to yesterday’s trivia. The question was Which pitcher holds the major league record for most grand slams allowed (10)? The answer was hall of famer, Nolan Ryan.

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So the World Baseball Classic is officially underway, yet two teams have position problems. The USA and the Dominican Republic.

United States of America

Who is going to be team USA’s closer. There are so many options. So I decided the best way to decide would be to look at every candidate.

-Brian Fuentes

The main reason that there is a hole hear is because of him and Joe Nathan. Nathan decided to skip the classic while Fuentes said he will only participate if the USA goes on to the second round due to family issues. Fuentes just signed with the Angels this offseason. Fuentes was a three time all-star with the Rockies. Odds 4-1 The fact that he will not be in the first round opens up the door to someone else but he could become the closer in the second round.

Heath Bell

Bell does not have much experience at closer. His whole carer he has been a setup man and because Trevor Hoffman signed with the Brewers he became closer for the Padres. Bell only has two saves in his five year carer. Odds 25-1 Bell might work for the Padres but he will not work for team USA.

-Jonathan Broxton

Last season the Dodgers had two closers, Takashi Saito and Broxton. Now that Saito signed with the Red Sox Broxton is the Dodgers only closer. Broxton can bring some heat and is a gamer. He handles the pressure great. Odds 7-1 The only thing that hurts his chances are the fact that he does not have as much experience as some other guys on the team.

-J.J. Putz

Putz is a great choice. He has experience which this team kind of lacks. He knows how to handle pressure and can throw heat. The Mets have a gift with Putz because now they have three all-star closers. Billy Wagner, Fransisco Rodriguez, and Putz. Odds 3-1. Putz is a lot like Broxton just Putz has more experience. It is very possible that team USA will switch off between Fuentes and Putz. 

-Brad Ziegler

You probably remember Ziegler. I mean he tossed 39 scoreless innings last year in a row as a rookie! Ziegler has a slight advantage because he throws sidearm and it is possible that some players from other countries have never seen a sidearmer pitch. The one thing that seems to kill everyone’s chances is experience. Last year was Ziegler’s first. He pitched in 47 games with eleven saves. Odds 10-1 Ziegler is very promising but I just do not think he is ready just yet to be the closer in the WBC.

Dominican Republic

All right I am sure by know that you have all seen that A-Roid will not be playing in the WBC due to a torn labrum in his hip. So that opens third base up. So here are his possible replacements.

-Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre is the only other third baseman on team Dominican Republic’s roster. Last season he made fourteen errors at third and won a Golden Glove. He also has a good bat. In 2008 he hit .266 with 25 home runs. Odds 6-1 The fact that he is the only other third baseman helps him a ton.

-Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano is a second baseman for the Yankees and has played a total of zero games at third base. He has a .982 carer fielding percentage at second though. His bat is decent. Last season he hit .271 with fourteen home runs. Odds 25-1 He has never played a single game at third which just ruins his chances. He he was faster or had a better glove I might make the odds 15-1 but he would still not get the job.

-Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez is a regular shortstop and has played zero games at third base. The three things that help him though are his glove, bat, a wheels. Ramirez made only twenty-two errors last season at shortstop. His bat is great too. In 2008 he hit .301 with 33 home runs, and 67 RBI’s. The last thing that helps him is he is fast. He stole 35 bases last year. Odds 8-1 I really have nothing bad to say about him but he just has not played at third base.

-Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes is the shortstop for the Mets and is another guy who has played zero games at third base. Reyes though has a great glove. He made only seventeen errors at shortstop in 2008. He is a great contact hitter and his .297 average kind of proves it. Reyes also stole 56 bases last season! Odds 17-1 Reyes has all the tools of a third baseman but just doesn’t have enough power in my opinion. He also will probably be the starting shortstop.

-Miguel Tejada

Miguel Tejada is the shortstop for the Houston Astros and has played one game of third base back in 1999 with the Oakland A’s. Not a single ball was hit to him though. Tejada did not have the best season ever last year but did manage to hit .283 with thirteen home runs, and 66 RBI’s. He also stole seven bases. Odds 4-1 Tejada played third in a game against the Cardinals and did not make an error. 

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All right here is today’s question. “Who is credited with being the first fielder to wear sunglasses at his position.”

Hint- His last name is the first name of a NFL star

Photo Credits

-Sorry guys no photos this time. Extra the next few days, I promise.