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Pro Sports Wrap - by Sam Ruesler

Playoff Broadcast

October 19th 2012 22:56


The MLB Playoffs have been great once again. Games and series have been filled with excitement, outside of the Yankees showing against the Detroit Tigers. Even with October shining on us, there has been a problem for me and that has to do with part of the television broadcasts.

There are no more games on TBS thankfully. They show the "k zone", or whatever you want to call it, the whole game. First of all I've never liked it on any broadcast. Having watched tons of baseball over the years I know what a strike and a ball look like. I don't need an extra visual for that, especially one that is way off. It never adjusted the size of the strike zone, which should change for each batter unless they are all the same height. What makes it worse is that every umpire has a different strike zone so this it just makes viewers frustrated with what are shown as blown calls. It's easy to tell by just watching the game if the call was wrong. Get rid of this stupid, useless visual.


They other problem with the broadcasts for the MLB playoffs started last year and is really only on FOX. The spot of the camera is different in different stadiums but gives pretty much the same view, from centerfield into the catcher. This gives a perfect view of the pitch, its location, and the batters swing. Well FOX thought it would be a great idea to show the game from behind homeplate. This isn't a problem if it would just be on replays, but it isn't. For random pitches the broadcast switches to this view, where you can't tell where the pitch is at, and if the batter hits it you don't know how hard or where the ball is going until they switch to a different camera.


I know these are little problems and some people may like them, but I have no idea why they would. I just want to see the excitement from a view that shows me what is going on and without a visual that implies that I'm an idiot and have never watched basbeall. Outside of that I'm happy; Yankees are out and Cardinals look like they will be playing in their 4th World Series in the last 9 years. Still love October.
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Loving October

October 15th 2012 17:35


October 26, 2011, I'm still living with my parents and it just happens to be Game 6 of the World Series between my beloved St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. 1 Strike away from series being over and a parade down in Texas. It was an ugly game throughout so hard to watch, but now its late in the evening and I can't watch for other reasons. Then all of a sudden David Freese, aka The Big Chill, drives one deep to right; I have my finger on the button ready to change the channel if the ball is caught. It never was and I jumped around like crazy waking my parents up. Moments later I'm hit right in the heart again by Josh Hamilton's first home run in forever, but then Lance Berkman copies Freese and extends my hopes and dreams even farther. Yes, once again I woke my parents up and again when #23 walked it off.

That is the greatest comeback I have ever seen in baseball and showed why playoff baseball is unlike anything else. They have just started this year and have already delivered more of the same. Not living with my parents now and sitting at a bar and grill I'm watching Game 5 between the Cardinals and Nationals. The place is packed and loud ready for the game. Minutes into the winner take all contest the place is silent. 3-0 Washington and then 6-0. What is going on? Cardinals chip away making us all wonder can they do it again. We leave to head home as the the lead is cut in half, 6-3. Game is being paused back home so we pick back up where we left off. Daniel Descalso always in the lineup for his defense drives one out in the 8th to cut the lead to 1. Jason Motte gives up a run in the bottom to move it back to a 2 run ballgame.

After a lead off double in the 9th that extra run looms large. Two quick outs bring Stl down to their last strike, but Yadier Molina works a great walked followed but the exact same thing from Freese. Descalso comes up again and instead of being patient like his teammates he swings at the first pitch; it's hit hard but within a diving reach of the shortstop. Off the glove and a tie game bringing up inexperienced Pete Kosma. After Descalso steals 2nd (something Kosma doesn't remember) a double the other way completes the biggest comeback in a winner take all game ever.

All 3 of the other divisional series went the distance. Oakland was down 2 games to 0 going back home and scored 3 9th inning runs to send it to final game where Justin Verlander sent them packing in a dominant fashion. The Giants were also down 2 games to none but were heading to Cincinnati for the final 3. They completely flipped around their offense, which was lacking in the first 3 games, and moved on to face Saint Louis. The Yankees had a comeback of their own against Baltimore in Game 3. If you aren't a baseball fan you are missing out on the best drama there is in sports. My roommate is not a baseball fan but he is loving it now. You know the rest of the playoffs will bring more ups and downs for fans, and that's why you have to love October.
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20 Long Years

October 4th 2012 16:59

The baseball regular season is now over. It was exciting with all the Perfect Games and No Hitters, plus Josh Hamilton's 4 homerun game. Also Miguel Cabrera completed the first Triple Crown since 1967. Will he win the MVP though?There was also controversy in Washington with sitting Strasburg as the team is fighting for a World Series ring.

The playoffs have come to visit Oakland, who made the 3rd biggest comeback ever to win the division (beating Texas on final day for it), and also Baltimore at least for Friday in their one game playoff against Texas. The Braves didn't fall apart this year and will face the Cardinals in a one game playoff. Will Saint Louis spoil Atlanta's hope again? As a diehard Cards fan I hope so and am happy with the 2nd wild card spot. Everyone was saying this addition would make the last day even more exciting than last year; well they were wrong. Nothing will ever compare to last year. All the playoff teams were decided before the final game, and the only real exciting thing was the fight for the AL West.

What do the playoffs and a neutered bear have in common? No Cubs. Also consistent is the absence of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They made it 20 straight years without a winning record finishing at 79-83. Last year they made a push and fell apart after the All-Star break; this year they had playoff hopes until the middle of September where they lost 7 in a row and 18 of the last 23 to end the month. An MVP candidate was even roaming center field for them until he cooled down as well. 20 years is a very long time and who knows when the pain will stop; the NL Central is a very good division even with the Cubs helping you add on some victories. Hey, there's always next year.
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Molina Equals MVP

October 1st 2012 23:15

Being a huge Stl Cardinals I'm probably extremely bias here, but I don't care. Yadier Molina should be the NL MVP. He definitely is the most important. The team is totally different without him in there. Best defensive player in all of baseball; he has the best arm and handles the pitching staff perfectly.

Now this year he has added offense to his arsenal. Before he was a liability in the batter's box, and now he is 5th in average in the NL at .317. 22 home runs and 75 rbi's are career highs. Buster Posey is considered the lead candidate and his numbers are a little better(.337, 23, 100). It's the same situation as in the AL between Cabrera and Trout. Molina and Trout are barely behind in the big stats but both play way better defense. Yadier has also proved he can steal a base with 12 compared to Posey's 1.

Both the Giants and Red Birds will make playoffs making the argument nonexistent. I don't see Molina winning it but he definitely deserves some love, a lot of it.
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Triple Crown but No MVP?

September 24th 2012 18:18

The year was 1967. The Packers have beaten the Chiefs in the first ever Super Bowl and the Outer Space Treaty has been signed. After all this happend Carl Yastrzemski became the 17th and last player to complete the triple crown in the MLB. It is even more rare than hitting 4 home runs in a game or throwing a perfect game. You could also consider it an even bigger accomplishment, being that it is a full season's worth of greatness.

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Wild Card Craziness

September 14th 2012 19:48

I was against adding another wild card team to each league in the MLB. With less than a month left and so many teams having a chance to make it to October, I still don't like it. What was wrong with the way it was? Wasn't the last day of the season last year the best ever? I believe so. When they announced this decision in the offseason all the "experts" loved it because it would make the end even more exciting. I don't think so.

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Rich to Broke

September 13th 2012 17:20

4 Years $100 million, when you see this you automatically think of a contract for some sort of professional athlete. That is a lot of money. Do athletes deserve to make so much? That can be, has been, and will continue to be debated. I'm not going to do that though. The only reason that bothers me is because I love sports and am jealous. Who wouldn't want to play a game they love and make enough to live many lifetimes?

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At the age of 32, Mark Buehrle is obviously only searching for a three-year contract, and this makes him a popular candidate on the free agent market. According to Sports Illustrated, 14 teams are after him, with the Rangers, Nationals, and the busy Marlins the most aggressive pursuers. This could give Buehrle a bloated contract, but he is a solid pitcher with a very low injury risk who should end up being a solid signing. Buehrle would like a no-trade clause and $14 million a year; about his market value.

A few teams are interested in the top free agent third baseman; Aramis Ramirez. Among these teams looking for a solid bat at a weak offensive position are the Brewers, Phillies, and Angels. It's looking like A-Ram wants three or four years on his deal, but I wouldn't go past three seasons with Ramirez


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Happy 42nd Mo

November 29th 2011 19:23
The greatest closer in MLB history turns 42 today, and his number is also 42 because he played before Jackie Robinson's number was retired league-wide. Mariano Rivera is obviously a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and anyone who suggests otherwise is toiling in idiocy. Happy birthday Mo, and I hope you don't retire after the 2012 season. He's still going strong into his 40's, and that's something I can say for maybe a handful of other players in history.

I would like you all to check out My2Cent's take on some really crazy blockbuster MLB trade that is hypothetical, but interesting all the same. If you like these sorts of mulling posts, then this one is for you


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11/2011 Player Profile: Torii Hunter

November 28th 2011 15:57
At the age of 36, Anaheim Angels right fielder Torii Hunter is obviously beginning to see a decline in skill. He is still a productive hitter, but his defense has fallen off ever since he has played for the Angels. His defense has been overrated, and those who think Hunter is still one of the best outfielders in baseball would be dead wrong. He's still a solid player, but his offensive value doesn't translate as well into a more hitter-heavy position (right field). The five-year deal worth $90 million dollars that he signed in 2007 has actually been a rather poor one, as Hunter has been worth about $55 million dollars through his first four seasons when he was expected to be worth $72 million through those years. It wasn't a huge mistake, but people who think this was a good deal would also be wrong.

I mainly want to focus on Hunter as a player now, than rather talk about his historical value (that's what the historical player profiles are for). The RF was worth 2.5 WAR last season, as he was solid in the field and decent- not likely to continue- on the bases despite just five stolen bases. With 82 RBIs, 80 runs, and a .332 wOBA, Torii Hunter was an above-average hitter last season. He only hit .262, but his on-base percentage of .336 was solid as were his 23 homers


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11/24 MLB Rumors: Reliever Rumblings

November 24th 2011 09:48
The New York Times reports that Joe Torre could be interested in owning- mostly partially owning- the Los Angeles Dodgers. While this doesn't seem likely, there is a chance that Torre ends up teaming up with somebody like Rick Caruso to own the team.

The Minnesota Twins are interested in re-signing Matt Capps and implementing him as their closer after Joe Nathan signed with the Texas Rangers. Capps is a slightly below-average closer, but he's the best option they have and will likely be cheaper than making a move like trading for Francisco Cordero or Huston Street
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2011's Best Starting Pitchers

November 23rd 2011 18:53
This is a ranking of the best starting pitchers of the 2011 season, and it's based on the performance of last season alone.

1. Roy Halladay- His 2.20 FIP was awesome, his efficiency gets overlooked because of the hype surrounding the guy directly below him


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Two Days, Two Tragedies

November 21st 2011 19:33
On Sunday, Arkansas redshirt freshman tight end Garrett Uekman was pronounced dead at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayatteville, Arkansas. Although you may not know him, I can assure you that his teammates, friends, family, and coaches knew and loved the 19 year old TE.

“Garrett’s loss is a terrible shock for the University of Arkansas and the Razorback program,” Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. “Our sincere condolences go out to his family and to all of those who knew him. He will be missed by many friends, teammates and others throughout campus. The well-being of our student-athletes is at the very core of our mission and when a tragedy like this happens it is a tremendous loss to the entire campus community. We will work with various campus services to provide support for the Uekman family, our student-athletes, coaches and staff during this difficult time


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The Colorado Rockies were discussing a trade that would send closer Huston Street to the New York Mets for starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey. The funny thing is that the Mets rejected the deal, because they didn't really like Street. It's funny, because Street is a much better player than Pelfrey. I mean, Pelfrey is a below-average starter who would be an awful fit in Coors Field. Bob Geren is the New York Mets bench coach, and part of the reason why this deal didn't go through is because Street and Geren hate eachother from their days in Oakland. I don't blame Street, because Geren is an incompetent manager and most players hate playing for him. Tell me why he was hired again? Oh yeah, that's right, Sandy Alderson likes bringing in former Oakland guys; look at their manager Terry Collins (at least he's okay).

Instead of worrying about what could have happened, let's talk about what might happen. That's what rumors are about, right? Brandon Phillips was easily the NL's best second baseman this season, and it is incumbent upon the Cincinnati Reds to extend him. He's got one more year left on his contract, thanks to a team option that was exercised on Halloween, but the Reds would obviously want their second best player to stay longer


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Albert Pujols is coming off of the worst season of his career, and many people are questioning whether or not the inevitable is happening; is the greatest player of this decade beginning to decline? It's a fair question to ask, but Pujols is still going to be a valuable player over the next few seasons. The Cardinals are still trying to make sure that Pujols will retire with the team, as they have not retracked on their earlier offer of nine years and about 200 million. It seems ludicrous, but Pujols is that valuable to the franchise as a Cardinal. Naturally, the future Hall of Famer has far less value for any other team. The Marlins have- to nobody's surprise- offered Puj a contract well below 200 million dollars. Pujols would obviously be better off re-signing, because that type of money just isn't given to players who will be heading into their late 30's during the deal.

The Milwaukee Brewers are probably going to foolishly go internally and the very light-hitting Mat Gamel at first. As a result, the Brewers are focusing their resources on other positions; such as shortstop. Jose Reyes isn't the only option, as the team is talking to the under-priced, scrappy Clint Barmes. The Brew Crew have also contacted veteran and former MVP Jimmy Rollins, but don't rule out the possibility of them signing the "perennial groan"; Yuniesky Betancourt. Again, how was this guy ever a Type B FA? (Like Shrek, I know it happened, but I just can't believe it. Don't blame Elias, the league gave them their mindbogglingly stupid method


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It isn't always pretty, but Francisco Cordero gets the job done, and there are quite a few teams clamoring for his services via trade. Cordero is about a league-average closer, and a solid prospect is about what the Reds should expect from a deal. However, there is a good chance that a team overpays for him and factors in his gaudy save numbers a little too much.

Although the Padres have given a two year deal to Heath Bell, they don't really like the prospects of him re-signing. Bell could stand to make more with one of the many west coast teams interested in him, and one can't rule out the Red Sox as players in the race for Bell. Even though he is a little overrated, Bell is still a pretty good closer, but a team looking to give him- as Sports Illustrated states- three years and 30 million is giving up too much


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11/14 MLB Rumors and News: The Dodgers

November 14th 2011 19:05
It looks like the Los Angeles Dodgers are poised to pay my 2011 NL MVP 160 million dollars over eight seasons. This is a bargain for the Dodgers, as Matt Kemp should easily be a 4.5 WAR player over that time span, and he is definitely one of the most talented players in the Majors right now.

Remember in the spring last year when the Milwaukee Brewers offered Prince Fielder a five year deal worth 100 million? And Fielder didn't even give a counter-offer? It looks like the Brewers are definitely going to move on, and it is obvious that Fielder is doing the same and really wants to test his value on the market. I believe that Fielder will get seven years and 156.5 million dollars on the open market in a deal that is similar to what Adrian Gonzalez got


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2011 PSW NL MVP

November 9th 2011 15:45
To me, there really wasn't any other option as to the winner of the NL MVP (for this blog at least). The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the best ballplayers out there in Matt Kemp, and I could just end the argument by talking about how he was one homer away from a 40/40 season. I won't, and that's because I like reading my own writing. No, but it actually is important to actually analyzing a player besides taking a couple of stats and naming them off. That is what evaluating a player is, in a sense, because you just take statistics and put them together. However, the important part is the last clause of the sentence; and it is what I will attempt to do. Just how good was Kemp in 2011 and why was he this good?

The best statistic at estimating a player's value is WAR, and the sabermatrician's Snickers bar has Kemp at an NL-leading 8.7 WAR. A threat on the basepaths (40), the same can't be said about his relatively poor range in the outfield. By no means does he stink in center, but aside from his arm, he really doesn't hold that much value defensively. Still, subpar play on defense doesn't take away from his overall accomplishments and versatility of Kemp on offense. Center fielders who can hit 39 home runs with an on base percentage a literal tick under .400 are extremely valuable commodities in the MLB


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I was left shaking my head in disgust when looking at the title on Yahoo! Sports baseball homepage for the free agent tracker. I've never liked Jeff Passan to begin with, but calling somebody a "major league imposter" is uncalled for and bush league. Everyone's favorite Yankee-hater and Rays-lover is at it again, and I really hope he learns to tone it down. It's one thing to criticize a player, but it's another thing when you insult them to that degree.

Because of injuries, GM Sandy Alderson won't re-sign Jose Reyes to a contract longer than five years. That makes a lot of sense, and I wouldn't give him over five years with or without injuries. This is a guy who could very easily bust out of his contract, because he is a 28 year old shortstop who relies heavily on speed. The Nats and Brewers appear to be the frontrunners, and I am sure that he won't make "Crawford money" in light of how that deal went down


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We all know that TLR retired, Davey Johnson is getting ready for another season in Washington, the Sabathia deal, and the moves dealing with Dempster, Grady, and Carmona. I don't want to focus on those moves at the moment, but I will take a look at the Derek Lowe trade and the obvious Brian Cashman re-signing.

Derek Lowe was traded to the Indians for some random minor leaguer, and the Braves will pay ten of the 15 million that the righty is due in 2012. It's a good deal for both teams, as the Braves save some money and get a prospect while getting rid of a starter in a crowded rotation. Lowe has always oupitched his ERA, in that his predictive stats are always better than his actual earned runs allowed. I do expect him to have a better 2012 campaign, but he won't set the world on fire (it's Derek Lowe guys). Still, the Indians get an above-average pitcher who fits in nicely


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