MLB: National League Playoff Race Getting Lit!

Sports fans love October baseball and the excitement that comes with it. So much history happens during playoff baseball. In the National League right now, it feels like October baseball every single night. One loss can move you from a playoff spot to out of the playoffs. The playoffs are in full effect for about 10 teams still trying to lock up a spot at October baseball. As it stands right now the playoffs would be the Cubs, Phillies, D’Backs are atop the division and the two wildcard teams would be the Milwaukee Brewers and the LA Dodgers. But there are 5 more teams that are a 3 game winning streak away from a playoff spot. First we’re going to get into the WILDCARD teams.

NL Playoffs LABeginning with the 6 seed or the second wildcard team. If the season were to end today. The LA Dodgers are sitting at 61-50, the same exact record as the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The D’Backs owned the Dodgers early on in the season and have the better record head to head against the Dodgers so far this year so they hold the tie breaker. That was then this is now. Playoffs are on the line and the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have 7 games left against each other beginning the end of August. For right now the Dodgers have a very slim grasp on the final spot. The Dodgers went all in on Manny Machado, who is most likely a rental player. They also grabbed Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins. With the loss of stud SS Corey Seager, they had to pick up the slack somewhere. Still not a lock to make the playoffs. Hopefully giving up those prospects to secure Machado for half a season comes back to bite them, yeah I am a D’Backs fan stop hating.

NL Playoffs CrewThe number 4 seed, or the 1st wildcard team, are the Milwaukee Brewers. They actually have more wins than the 1st place Cubs but are in second place by 1 game because they have more losses. They’re 64-49 right now and have made a few moves to go all in trading away some pieces and are neck and neck with Chicago. It’s safe to say both of those teams are sitting in the best position right now. The Brewers had 5 representatives in the All-Star game. Jesus Aguilar, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffers, and Outfielder Christian Yelich were there 5 All-Stars. The team is balanced offensively and play great defense. Starting Pitching is the only question mark heading into October.

NL Playoffs GOldyMoving out to the Wild, Wild West. The Arizona Diamondbacks hold the slightest of advantages over rival Dodgers. As of right now, the D’Backs and Dodgers have the same record but the D’Backs are 8-4 against the Dodgers this year. The biggest flaw in the D’Backs post season blue print is the bullpen. They were a very aggressive team with a very depleted farm system. The D’Backs had limited top 100 prospects to package in trades but they made it work. Bringing relief pitcher Brad Ziegler back, who has more appearances than any reliever in D’Backs history. Also adding Matt Andriese from the Rays, he’s a relief pitcher that can log multiple innings out of the pen giving the D’Backs a long relief option. D’Backs also brought in Jake Diekman, the hard throwing lefty from the Rangers. Offensively, the D’Backs added two HUGE pieces in John Jay, with world series experience and recently added the switch hitter Eduardo Escobar to play 3rd. The pickup of Escobar turned out to be bigger than expected when Jake Lamb elected to have shoulder surgery shutting down his season. Terry Lovullo is prime to make another run at the post season. This time hopefully they won’t be playing in the stressful wildcard game.

NL Playoffs ArrietaMoving out east to the NL East. The Philadelphia Phillies are sitting in first place at 61-48. So the D’Backs, the Dodgers, and the Phillies all have 61 wins. The Phillies haven’t been relevant since Cliff Lee was throwing scoreless innings in his sleep. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are long gone now. Now they have Jake Arrieta who helped break the Cubs World Series slump. If they make the playoffs having Jake Arrieta is a serious advantage with his experience and toughness. Another huge off-season move was bringing in Carlos Santana from the Indians. Santana also has a lot of post season experience contributing to the Indians World Series Run in 2016. Santana has 16 dingers and 63 RBI’s. Moving to free agency picking up Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets was a move that helps offensively and defensively. A Web Gem machine and adding 18 homeruns in 2018, Cabrera looks to help Philidalphia secure a playoff spot in the crowded National League.

NL Playoffs CubsFinally, the Chicago Cubs. The team we all used to cheer for because we felt so bad that they have gone so long without a World Series. Well, a lot has happened since that and am now looking for them to get dethroned in the division. None the less, the Cubs can put up runs in a hurry, play very good defense and have good enough pitching to make a deep post season run. The Cubs still have the core nucleus that won a World Series two years ago. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Wilson Contreras. Of course, they also have John Lester, who’s no stranger to big time games and the spotlight. Lester is 9-7 in the post season with a 2.55 ERA. Id be happy to have a pitcher like that on my squad to take the bump game 1 of a playoff series.

NL PlayoffsOk, so now we’ve seen the teams that are in as of now. We still have 2 months to go, but it should be safe to say that this playoff race will come down to the final week of the season. Starting in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves are only .5 games behind the Phillies. Sitting at 3rd place in the NL Central is the Pittsburgh Pirates who are 57-53 and 4 games back in the wildcard, 6 games behind the division leader Cubs. Oh lets not forget the Cardinals who are right behind the Pirates. Last time the Cardinals won the World Series they were 9 games out of the playoffs in early September. Having the Cardinals lingering around is not good for any body. The Giants, currently in the middle of a 4 game set with the D’Backs and 5 games out of 1st place. The team that is the scariest team is the Rockies who are 2 games out of 1st place in the NL West and have probably the best offensive lineup in the National League. Gold Glove 3rd basemen Nolan Arenado leads the team with 28 homeruns followed by Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story with 21 bombs. Ian Desmond is lagging behind with 19 homers. That is a lot of power in one lineup. 

The final playoff outcome is going to come down to the final week of the season. There are 10 solid teams scattered throughout the NL. A few winning streaks and losing streaks and these playoff spots will be turned around. A lot of these teams minus the Giants and Rockies made a ton of free-agency moves to get to the playoffs. We’ll see which moves paid off the most and if the patience of the Rockies paid off. Going to be a fun two months in the NL leading up to the REAL October baseball where legends are born.

 

 

MLB: AJ Hinch, Then and Now… Ousted By The D’Backs Becoming A Gem In Houston

A tale of two Cities. Arizona and Houston. Former Diamondbacks GM, Josh Byrnes decided that he wanted to change the current trend of a major league manager. When the D’Backs canned Bob Melvin, Byrnes went straight to AJ Hinch, who had zero managerial experience at the time. At the time he was hired by Byrnes, he was Director of Player Personnel in the farm system. AJ didn’t get much of a chance to succeed being that he was replacing Bob Melvin, who was loved in the clubhouse, and he has never been a skipper before. He went from T-Ball to the Major’s overnight and he wasn’t ready to lead a team at the time. however, he did get invaluable experience that prepared him to be a World Series Manager. He was hired at 35, fired at 36, with a record of 89-123. After he was axed from the D’Backs, he had no idea if he’d ever be given an opportunity like this again.

AJ Trophy

People questioned Josh Byrnes over and over again for the Hire of Hinch in 2009, but in reality, Byrnes was ahead of his time. GM’s are looking for the next AJ Hinch. At the time, the move was a disaster, Hinch and Byrnes were fired 14 months later. Being a Head Coach is one of the most insecure jobs, it is very cutthroat. If you don’t produce early, you’ll be on your way out real quick, and that is what happened for Hinch and Byrnes. Hinch didn’t even get to make it through a full season from start to finish before he was shown the door. At the time, D’Backs fans weren’t upset about it because Hinch was such a no name. Also, D’Backs fans were eager to have Kirk Gibson take over the team. Having Gibson the bench coach for Hinch didn’t seem right, given Gibson’s MLB resume.

He brings unique leadership and perspective to the job… We’re not here to reinvent the wheel, but to change the nature of the job a little bit? OK, we’ll do that. A.J.’s a leader. He connects with people. He gets things done.- Josh Byrnes after Hiring AJ Hinch.

The Astros GM, Jeff Luhnow, couldn’t stop thinking of AJ Hinch when he was doing his managerial search back in 2015. Hinch had a background unlike anyone else on the Astros short list. Hinch was only 40 years old which helps relate to the players in a clubhouse being younger, he also has 20 years of experience in the game. He’s ambitious, relates well to the players and has a psychology degree from Stanford. He’s worked as a catcher for 7 years, he’s worked as a farm director, an instructor, and Front-office executive.

AJ

This was a very bold move for Luhnow, the Astros were averaging 104 losses for the past 4 years prior to the Hinch hire. Astros Fans at the time wanted a big name. They were tired of losing and Hinch wasn’t a huge name, but he was the right name. The Astros were infused with young talent, Jose Altuve was a star, but he was producing all by himself. Carlos Correa was dominating the minors as a teenager and George Springer was a young talent that was a few years away. Luhnow wasn’t phased by Hinch’s win-loss record at the time. When those younger players hit rough patches or slumps, who better than to talk them up than AJ Hinch, “Been there done that,” he says. Hinch’s rough AZ stint only makes him a better manager today.

He’s a great human being… He loves the game. He loves the competition. When things haven’t gone well, he evaluates and tries to get better. I hate to be corny, but it’s his character… People who know him well trust his judgement, character, intentions. Those are important things in a job like that.- Josh Byrnes after Hinch was Hired by the Astros

Since taking over the Houston Astros, Hinch is 338-254 and took them to a 86-76 record his first season, including a post season appearance. The previous 4 seasons before Hinch they were 56-106, 55-107, 51-111, and 70-92 the year before Hinch. Hinch’s ability to connect with young players is what separates him from anyone else. He wanted to change the culture in Houston, and to let the young guys know that it is OK to fail. It’s how you respond to failure that separates a player. 

Why isn’t anyone around here talking about Winning? We’re not doing this just to get better. We’re doing this to win. The talent in this room is good enough to win right now, and it’s not OK to be mediocre anymore. – AJ Hinch addressing the Locker Room after being hired.

World Series Astros Dodgers Baseball

AJ Hinch’s path to the World Series was not easy and was filled with adversity, from his time as a catcher that only hit .200, or his very short time as skipper for the D’Backs. All of those struggles have made him a great leader. The Astros wouldn’t trade AJ Hinch for anybody. They’re a young team hungry to repeat as World Champions. Altuve, Correa, and Springer would run through a brick wall for Hinch, he’s a players coach and gets the most out of whatever lineup he throws out there. Currently, the Astros hold a 5 game cushion over the Mariners for 1st place of the AL West. AJ’s first words to the team have really resonated and sunk in. He said,  “Why doesn’t anybody talk about Winning?” Well, now that is the only thing the Astros talk about.

Sports: Mid-Way Through 2018, Let’s Hand Out Some Awards!

Looking through the first half of 2018, there are multiple players and teams we need to acknowledge. We had the Super Bowl in February, PHILLY PHILLY!! We had the Vegas Knights just blow sports fans minds, hockey fan or not, we had Villanova join college basketball greatness, and we had some of the top upsets in March Madness history. Oh yeah, super teams are also taking over the NBA, Warriors winning the 3 title in 4 years proves that. None the less, what they’re doing is remarkable.

  • Most Outstanding Team
    • Vegas Golden Knights
      • There was no better story in Sports than what the Golden Knights did for the city of Las Vegas. For the city of Las Vegas, they needed the Golden Knights. After the events on October 1st shook the nation and was considered to be the worst tragedy in the modern era as a gunmen opened fire on the Vegas strip killing about 50 people injuring a ton more. The Golden Knights were an expansion team that had a 500-1 chance to win the Cup. They exceeded all odds and brought a smile to a city that desperately needed one. The Term “Vegas Strong” has become an uplifting symbol for the city, and the Vegas Golden Knights backed it up. Finishing as the top seed out west and backed it up all the way to the Stanley Cup only to get dropped by Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals in 5.

My favorite part about this past season was getting to see the entire city of Las Vegas really unite through the Knights… It definitely made a transient town feel like home to millions of people. -Hannah Williams, a member of the Golden Aces.

  • Most Outstanding Performance
    • Donte DiVincenzo, VillanovaDonte D
      • The Villanova Wildcats do not win their second championship in 3 years because of the Michael Jordan of Delaware as they call him back home, Donte DiVincenzo. DiVincenzo scored 31 points off the bench on 10 of 15 shooting. The Michigan Wolverines didn’t circle DiVincenzo has the player that would beat them. Most thought they would have to shut down player of the year Jalen Brunson or Mikal Bridges, instead DiVincenzo had the game of his life skyrocketing up the NBA draft board in the most recent draft.
  • Best Comeback Story
    • Super Bowl Champ and the University of Arizona’s Very Own, Nick FolesFols MVP
      • Foles began his career with the Eagles where he was the backup to Michael Vick but after an injury in 2013, Foles became ‘the guy’ in Philly. He went on to throw 27 TD’s and 2 INT that season also earning an ESPY. After a broken collarbone forced him to miss the next season, he was traded to the Rams then was asked to be released when they drafted Jared Goff. Nick Foles seriously contemplated retiring at that point. The Eagles picked him back up to back up Carson Wentz. After a 10-2 start, Wentz suffered an ACL tear, and yet again, Nick Foles is there to pickup the city of Philly. He went 3-1 as the starter heading into the playoffs. Obviously the ruthless fans of Philly were very weary of Foles ability to carry this team through the Playoffs. If it weren’t for his UofA background, I don’t think he comes out of this. He takes down 2016 MVP Matt Ryan, then routes the Vikings going 26-33 with 3 TD’s. Then Nick Foles faces 5 time champion Tom Brady or AKA the GOAT. Nick Foles through for 373 yards including being on the receiving end of a TD. He was named MVP of the Super Bowl and etched his name in football history with that win over the Patriots when all odds were against him.
  • Best Game
    • Game 2 College World Series Oregon State Vs. Arkansas Game Was LITbaseball_Oregon_State.jpg
      • Oregon State is a college baseball powerhouse winning two national championships prior to this season. They face the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2018 college baseball best of 3 series, being down 1-0 in the series. Also losing 3-0 in the 9th inning. Arkansas is basically an out away from being crowned college baseball champs. Arkansas was a lazy fly ball away from winning the world series for the first time in its school’s history. Instead, Cadyn Grenier hits a RBI single to tie the game, then, Trevor Larnach launches a 2 run shot to win game two. Oregon State goes on to win their 3rd title since 2006.
  • Top NBA Player
    • Lebron JamesLBJ Magic
      • Even though it seems pretty far-fetched to think Lebron James is still out doing himself, turns out he is. In his 15th season Lebron averaged 27.5 ppg (most since 2010), career high in rpg at 9.1, and tied a career high in apg at 8.6. Very special numbers for a player that has given everything he has for 15 seasons in the NBA, and still progressing. Not to mention he just signed on to finally play out west, Hollywood and Lebron James are a fairytale ending to a historic career. There are some other names deserving, but Lebron deserves to get the love here for what he accomplished with a C list team.
  • Top MLB Player
  • Top NFL Player
    • Nick Foles
      • Foles is the top ESPY award winner through the first half of the season. We talked in length about what he has accomplished. No NFL player has done more in 2018 than Nick Foles, only a few years removed from contemplating retirement.
  • Most Surprising Storyline

When they walked off that floor, the emotions when you invest in something that much, the emotions were overwhelming some of them, and I wanted them to walk off that floor with their heads high because they have a lot to be proud of… And I’ll tell you this: When you’re done as a young player, you know it’s not as much what you left behind; it’s what you impacted. And these kids — these young men, they’re not kids — they impacted so many. The name ‘Loyola’ will never be the same. Loyola Chicago — they’ve changed the perception, doing things the right way. They changed a community. They changed, across the country, the alumni, the pride. And that’s hard to do. And to get to this stage, I’m a better person and a better coach for coaching this group.- Coach Porter Moses

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics

2018 is already half way over. We’ve had plenty of excitement, March Madness with tons of upsets, a backup QB beating the greatest QB of all-time in the Super Bowl. With the NFL approaching and NBA free-agency going crazy, the rest of 2018 looks to be just as exciting.

 

 

Sports: Bo Jackson, The All-Time Best Athlete We Hardly Got To See

Bo Jackson was the first super human athlete we’ve seen. Long before he became an NFL and MLB star he was a childhood, school yard legend. The stories of Bo were all said to be true. Stories that were mythical, like jumping a Volkswagen, dunking a stick into a basketball hoop in 8th grade, or killing a pastor’s pig because he threw a rock too hard. All were said to be true stories.

However, Jackson eventually put his special athleticism to good use in football, baseball, and track. Bo caught the eye of baseball kingpin, George Steinbrenner while in high school. In 1982, The Boss, as they called Steinbrenner wanted Bo to be a starting Outfielder for the pinstripes and took him in the second round. Bo’s first love was always baseball. Bo’s high school coach let Steinbrenner send his top scout to Alabama to see Bo hit in the cage, on the first pitch he saw he hit a rocket back to the screen causing the cage to collapse on both of them. The scout had seen enough and the Yankees drafted him in the 2nd. He chose another path, not many players have the moxie to say ‘No’ to Steinbrenner, but Bo Knows what he’s doing. He chose to be a star in College first, then became one of the most ridiculous athletes of all-time.

Jackson opted to take the college route. Before committing to Auburn, Coach Bear Bryant Bo Auburn 2showed up to Bo’s house twice to recruit him to the Crimson Tide. Bryant told Bo that he probably wouldn’t see game action until late in his sophomore season or junior year. That wasn’t good enough for Bo. He chose Auburn because they knew his worth and his value. Bo Jackson played a huge part in changing the outcome of the Iron Bowl as well as future recruiting. Alabama had a stranglehold on that rivalry game for 9 years prior to Bo beating Alabama in the final seconds in 1982. Being a state record holder in the high jump, Bo took the ball over the goal line for the win. Auburn was going to allow him to play baseball, football, and track. While at Auburn, he was the SEC player of the year in 1985, Heisman trophy winner in 1985 and a 2 time all-american in football. Jackson was set to be the highest paid NFL player in history had he stuck with one sport.  While playing baseball at Auburn he played 3 seasons, one of which was cut short due to being ruled ineligible by the NCAA. His breakout season coming in 1985, Jackson hit .401 with 17 home runs and 43 RBI’s.

Jackson was set to be the number 1 overall pick in the upcoming football draft and teams were unsure of which sport Bo was going to choose. One team in particular invited Jackson for a physical during his senior year baseball season, Jackson asked the organization if he was breaking any NCAA rules. The Buccaneers were the team that ensured Bo he wasn’t breaking any rules. The NCAA was notified of this trip to Tampa and Bo was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Something he has never forgot. Tampa cost him a chance to be a first round player in the MLB draft; more importantly a chance to play the game he loved most, baseball. Bo was drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To this day, Bo Jackson despises the Buccaneers organization because he feels they screwed him so he was going to screw them twice as hard.They drafted him number 1 overall in 1986, but chose to not ever sign with them. He chose to play baseball instead. Here you have the number 1 pick who is due to make a fortune playing football, decides to turn that down to play baseball and started in double A Memphis taking a bus to games. He fell to the 4th round to the Kansas City Royals because teams were hesitant, not knowing which sport Bo would choose. Huge gamble for the former Heisman trophy winner.

bo-jackson-nike

Well, that gamble paid off when he made his major league debut that same year. His first MLB game he faced off Hall of Famer Steve Carlton and he got an infield single on a ground ball hit to second base. Let me say that again, he beat out a ground ball to SECOND BASE. People weren’t used to seeing someone that big, 220lbs, run that fast. He also had one of the most explosive throwing arms of all-time. He was truly blessed being able to throw it on the fly with regularity about 400 feet. It was special to see. It’s crazy to think what Bo could have accomplished had he never played football. He considered football to be a ‘hobby’. Once baseball season ended, he played football as if it were fishing or hunting. Baseball was always his first true love but he had football in his soul. He was too good to not play football.

I’m thinking about adding another hobby to my offseason curriculum, and that’s all it would be. My number 1 priority is the Kansas City Royals. I have to do my job with the Kansas City Royals before I do anything else. Whatever comes after baseball is just a hobby for Bo Jackson, just like fishing and hunting.- Bo Jackson at a Press Conference

After a few seasons of baseball, Bo received a phone call asking if he’d play football again. His response was, “if its Tampa, you can forget about it.” His agent said it was the LA Raiders and he said “hell yeah.” Al Davis drafted Bo Jackson in the 7th round. Teams weren’t even considering Bo, nobody thought that he would play football. He came in and played with Future Hall of Famer, Marcus Allen putting together a pretty scary duo.

Bo Marcus

Jackson must have been pretty special if you come into LA and make Raiders fan kind of forget about hall of fame running back Marcus Allen, obviously an exaggeration but he had incredible moments. For a player who never liked to practice. A player who would sometimes get into arguments with coaches about running too much during practice. This just adds to the legacy of Bo Jackson, his talents were incredibly natural and god-given. Everything changed in 1 playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1990 after being tackled by LB Kevin Walker. It didn’t look like anything that serious at the time but because of the force of Bo Jackson’s running style it causes his hip to pop out. Complications caused this to end his career in football and career with the Royals. However, Bo Jackson looked former teammate George Brett in the eye and said, “I’ll be back.” The White Sox took a chance on him, only playing 23 games in 1991. He had hip replacement surgery that spring and rehabbed vigorously getting into the shape of his life after missing all of the 1992 season. He played in 85 games in 1993 and then announced his retirement from baseball.

My workout was running down fly balls, stealing a base, or running for my life on the football field.- Bo Jackson on not liking practice

Bo Jackson, is the only player in history that has made the pro bowl and an All-Star in the MLB. He was a very special player on the field. We’ve never seen anyone that big and run that fast. The bat speed and arm strength he showed matched that of countless hall of famers. Unfortunately, we as fans only get to see a few glimpses of what Bo Jackson would have been. His career was cut down incredibly short. He was a once in a lifetime type of athlete and his legend should never be forgotten for any sports fan. The Nike campaign ‘Bo Knows’ perfectly portrays it perfectly, Bo Jackson could have played any sport he wanted. Truly a gifted athlete. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sports: G.O.A.T’s Of Today

The term GOAT is being widely spoken around the sports world. The Greatest Of All Time, is what it means. A few players dominating their sport have moved into the conversation, if they weren’t there already. Lebron James and the golden boy Tom Brady are already in the conversation. Brady vs. Montana and James vs. Michael Jordan are two topics we’ll never hear the end of. Albert Pujols certainly has the numbers but has done it far more quietly. Pujols is only the 4th player in the history of baseball to have 3,000 hits and at least 600 home runs. GOAT worthy if you ask me.

TB12

The term GOAT has been synonymous with Brady since he won his 5th Super Bowl in 8 trips. 8 trips to the Super Bowl in 17 career seasons is unthinkable. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Tom Brady is the most dominant QB of all-time. Which is the most impressive list to stand a top in all sports. Brady’s turning 40 soon and you’d still think he’s 29 years old. The QB that Brady has been trying to top is Joe Montana who has 4 super bowl wins, in 4 trips. That’s something Brady can’t say, Montana doesn’t know what it feels like to lose in the Super Bowl. At the end of the day, Brady does have the rings and is top 5 in basically every single offensive category. Bottom line, the two Bay area products will forever be linked as the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. 

bron

Perhaps the most criticized GOAT in any sport has to be Lebron James. A man who has been on Sportcenter since he was playing at St. Mary’s in high school. The Jordan/James discussions have been ongoing since James broke out into the league back in 2003-2004. We’re going to save a ton of time by not going into the comparison right now and just look at the greatness of Lebron. James is a 4 time MVP, 3 time finals MVP, 14 time all-star, and 6 time all-defensive team. Simply put, that is a GOAT type resume, no questions asked. We’ve never seen a player that big and athletic in the league and if he shot better from 3 and a higher free-throw percentage he’d be averaging over 30 points a game for his 14 year career. He’s currently only averaging 27.2 ppg. The one thing standing in his way of taking down MJ is championships. Jordan is 6 out of 6 in the NBA finals, never smelling defeat. Whereas, Lebron, has been to the finals 9 times and only has won 3 times. Which for any other player that is fine, Lebron has been chasing Jordan since he picked up a basketball. 3 isn’t good enough for Lebron.

It’s hard for me to believe that someone doesn’t recognize his greatness… It’s hard for me to believe. This guy does everything. He’s like a Swiss Army knife. He does everything, and he’s competitive as hell and frankly I wish people would leave him alone.- Jerry West on Lebron

albert

Finally, we close out with a pretty quiet GOAT, and that is Albert Pujols. Pujols is only the 4th player all-time to have 3,000 hits and 600 home runs. With all the history in baseball, being in that exclusive club is very worthy of being the best. Pujols has never been implicated in any steroid conversation and has been a very classy player for the game of baseball. He’s been one of the most productive players in the history of baseball for so many years, and did so quietly.

MLB: Some Records Were Never Meant To Be Broken

The phrase, “records were meant to be broken”, isn’t the case when it comes to baseball. Baseball records can stand for a very long time, but mainly because the game is so different now. The key to all of these records comes down to durability. Players just aren’t as durable as they once were. The last major record to be broken that we didn’t see coming was Miguel Cabera winning the triple crown in 2012. A record that stood in the major leagues since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabera led the AL with a .330 BA, 44 HR, 139 RBI. The triple crown was something we didn’t think we’d see again so we can’t say for sure the following records won’t be broken, however they do seem to be unreachable.

cal r.jpg

First, lets kick this off with Cal Ripken JR. and his consecutive games played of 2,632 games straight over a 16 year span with the Orioles. This was something that we’ll never be able to see again. Players just aren’t as durable as they once were. Cal was a freak of nature to be able to withstand 160 game seasons for that long and not miss a game. Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 games stood for 56 years before Ripken broke it. It’ll stand for at least another 50 plus years, if this record falls, the player to break it probably isn’t even born yet. Currently if any player gets to 100 straight games that gets some recognition. A lot of managers play the numbers game and play match-ups or use a platoon of players for certain positions. Very rarely do you see players play a full 162 game season anymore. Making Ripken’s record even that much more jaw dropping.

Nobody will ever do what Ricky Williams did once he got to first base. He would be on ricky3rd in about 5-10 minutes, then he would score about 30 seconds to a minute after that. This takes care of two all-time records for one player. 2,295 times he touched home plate in his 25 year career. Key word yet again, durability. Ricky also totaled 1,406 stolen bases in his career. He finished 1st in stolen bases in 12 seasons and finished top 10 in the league in 22 seasons. He also finished 1st in runs scored in 5 seasons and top 10 in 12 seasons. We’ll never see another player like Ricky. The way he moved across the bases and the the way he put pressure on the defense to make a perfect play every time was amazing to watch.

Going back even further, there will never be another hitter hit above .400 since Ted Williams in 1941. With the way pitchers are dealing, it’s very hard to get up that high. ted-williams-4.jpgPitchers in this day and age are hitting triple digits on the radar gun with regularity. The last person to sniff .400 was Tony Gwynn in 1994, hitting .394 that year. Ted Williams hit .406 back in 1941. That’s as far back as we’ll go because all the other hitters over .400 were in the 1800’s. The part that is really special about his 1941 season, is that he was batting .399 going into a double-header the last day of the season. They would have rounded that up to be a .400 average, however, Williams wanted to earn that average. Ted Williams went 6-8 that day and ended the season at .406 that year.

If I’m going to be a .400 hitter, I want more than my toenails on the line. I kept thinking about the thousands of swings I had taken to prepare myself. I had practiced and practiced. I kept saying to myself, ‘You are ready.’ I went to the ballpark the next day more eager to hit than I had ever been. -Ted Williams before the

Finally we move to the pitchers. All-time wins and strikeouts are two milestones thatnolan are pretty out of reach for anyone in today’s game. The only pitchers pitching right now that might have a chance depending on injuries and longevity is Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer, Kershaw is 30 and Scherzer is 33. Both of these pitchers shouldn’t be in the conversation yet and have a long ways to go. Nolan Ryan, the strikeout king, will be sitting on top for a very long time with his 5,714 strikeouts. Kershaw has about 2,100 K’s and Scherzer has about 2,200 K’s. Other pitchers in the mix are Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander, both are getting up in age making it very improbable.

CY1

Finally we move to the all-time winner in career wins, CY Young. CY had 511 wins over a 22 year career. They name the award of the league’s top pitcher after him. Just picture this ridiculous season for a second. In 1902, CY Young was 32-11 with a 2.15 ERA and 41 complete games. Pitchers in the modern era don’t pitch that many innings and the rotations are 5 man rotations instead of 4 man rotations.

Baseball being America’s past time has some of the most historical feats in any sport. Records that stand for 50 plus years. These records don’t seem to be in danger of being broken any time soon. Most of these guys came before our time and it would be great to see someone in the modern era come close to some of these but I don’t see anyone in the game right now that can take down Cal, Ted Williams, CY, Nolan Ryan, or Ricky Henderson’s milestones. I don’t think these records were meant to be broken!

 

MLB Milestones: Albert 3,000!

With one swing of the bat, Albert Pujols joined Willie Mayes and Hank Aaron as the only players to hit 600 home runs and have 3,000 hits. Pujols singled to right on a slider from Mariners pitcher Mike Leake on a 1-0 count. Becoming the 32nd member of the 3,000 hit club. Since entering the league in 2001, Albert Pujols has filled out the box score almost every night with some magic at the plate. Pujols has a special mix of power to all fields and patience. For 18 years he’s been terrorizing opposing pitchers. As a Dbacks fan, I know I was happy to see him go to the American League. He is climbing up the record books day-by-day, pitch-by-pitch. The season is still early, plenty of time for him to pat those godly numbers. The next player close to touching 3,000 hits is Miguel Cabrera, who is sitting about 400 hits or so shy of 3,000.

There is no time to fool around when you practice. Every drill must have a purpose. I try to never get away from that. Habits are important. – Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols is still showing power with 6 home runs but his average is dipping at .248. Either way, he’s still a productive baseball player on this level. Even in a league with young phenom’s popping up every day, he still holds it down at first base. Someone of Pujols’ caliber doesn’t back down from anyone. Watching him hit as been nothing short of amazing. He’s also contributing to a 1st place team the LA Angels.

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Not that Pujols needed anything to add to his resume, but there’s nothing wrong with adding 3K hits to that resume. He received the nickname “the machine” for being an almost ‘perfect’ hitter and having a rock solid physique. Very few holes in his offensive game. A pure power hitter that has patience and can also hit for average is a very rare thing. Here are some of his astonishing numbers.

  • 3 Time NL MVP
  • 10 Time All-Star
  • 2 Time World Series Champ
  • NL Rookie of the Year
  • 620 Home Runs and 3,000 Hits

It will be weird to see baseball without Pujols once he walks away from the game. He has given us fans something special for the past two decades. Pujols has shown class and professionalism throughout his career and will be a first ballot hall of famer. Younger players need to look at him and watch the way he practices and how he carries himself off the field, something he says is equally as important. For fans, that holds a lot of weight.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done playing this game. It doesn’t matter what you did on the field. It’s about what you did off the field and the lives that you touch off the field.- Albert Pujols