It’s MLB The Show ’15 Release Day…. At Midnight

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Better than Madden because it actually works like a game of the sport you see on television, and it won’t have all the bugs that reduce us gamers to glorified beta testers; MLB ’15 The Show comes out in just a few short hours.

We’ll have some screenshots and tales up shortly. As for the team, I think we’re rolling with the Marlins for our franchise. Giancarlo Stanton 470-foot video game bombs are just too much fun to pass up. If you’re a baseball fan and you’ve never given this game a whirl, you’re missing out!

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2015 Season Predictions Post: Corey

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Every March gives us the start of Spring, March Madness and hope for the fans of all 30 MLB teams. That’s right, a new season and a fresh slate of baseball is just around the corner. This MLB offseason was one of the more exciting that I can remember and I can’t wait to see the type of summer that follows. I missed pretty big on a couple of my playoff teams last year so I’m hoping this season I can do better. This is how I see things playing out in 2015.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

EAST
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. New York Yankees
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Tampa Bay Rays

CENTRAL
1. Cleveland Indians
2. Detroit Tigers*
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Minnesota Twins

WEST
1. Seattle Mariners
2. Los Angeles Angels*
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Houston Astros
5. Texas Rangers

NATIONAL LEAGUE

EAST
1. Washington Nationals
2. Miami Marlins
3. New York Mets
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Philadelphia Phillies

CENTRAL
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Pittsburgh Pirates*
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Milwaukee Brewers

WEST
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Diego Padres*
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies

*Denotes Wild Card teams

PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Games:
Detroit over Los Angeles
Pittsburgh over San Diego

Division Series:
Seattle over Detroit
Cleveland over Boston
Washington over Pittsburgh
Los Angeles over St. Louis

ALCS / NLCS:
Seattle over Cleveland
Washington over Los Angeles

World Series:
Washington Nationals over Seattle Mariners

I’m banking on the health of Harper, Rendon, Werth and Zimmerman to get that Nationals lineup over the hump. Their rotation is certainly built for a deep playoff run and I think the addition of Scherzer is what they really needed. A good run though for a real solid Mariners team.

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AL MVP
1. Mike Trout
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Miguel Cabrera

NL MVP
1. Yasiel Puig
2. Giancarlo Stanton
3. Paul Goldschmidt

AL CY YOUNG
1. Masahiro Tanaka
2. Felix Hernandez
3. Carlos Carrasco

NL CY YOUNG
1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Matt Harvey
3. Max Scherzer

AL Rookie of the Year
1. Carlos Rodon
2. Rusney Castillo
3. Daniel Norris

NL Rookie of the Year
1. Jorge Soler
2. Kris Bryant
3. Joc Pederson

AL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Shin-Soo Choo
2. Derek Holland
3. Alex Rodriguez

NL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Matt Harvey (Easy choice and I think he makes the Cy Young vote tough)
2. Joey Votto
3. Ryan Zimmerman

AL Bold Predictions

1. Anthony Gose leads the AL with 56 SBs.

2. Chris Carter and Evan Gattis hit more homers (75) than any other duo in AL.

3. Alex Rodriguez plays 120 games for the Yankees, hits 25 HR and drives in 85.

4. Andrew Miller leads the AL with 46 saves.

5. One of my favorite breakouts, Avisail Garcia, hits .300 with 25 HRs.

NL Bold Predictions

1. Dexter Fowler leads not just the NL but all the Majors with 120 runs scored.

2. Matt Harvey, back from TJ surgery, leads the NL with 238 strikeouts.

3. Anthony DeSclafani emerges as #2 SP for the Reds with a 3.50 ERA and 160 Ks.

4. Through the darkness of a poor Diamondbacks season, Paul Goldschmidt wins the NL Triple Crown.

5. Mike Morse drives in 100 RBI for the Marlins.

The Last Idle Sunday

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For the last time, there is no regular season baseball on a Sunday. The stadiums sit empty for now with just one week to go until the regular season kicks off at Wrigley Field.

We can make it through one week of anything. Especially this week with MLB ’15 the Show rolling out, a few season predictions posts still yet to come, and our season preview podcast. But one week from now we embark upon what could be the most exciting season of baseball we’ve ever seen. And they’re all so good that after a while, they blend together.

All the renewed hope comes with the start of a fresh 162.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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This is the final weekend without baseball. With a new season will bring renewed hope. So fill your final weekend without baseball with whatever will kill the time. We have practically outlasted the long, cold struggle.

Soon enough, there will be games on around the clock; and daily storylines of real games to react to. There will be daily fantasy baseball to play and lineups to set. It’s going to be a six month-plus baseball smorgasbord and we’re all invited.

This is the best time of year. Summer is on the horizon and there’s nothing better than the spring beginning of a fresh season. One week. This is going to be the longest week of work ever.

MLB ’15 The Show Looks Visually Good

In about three days, we’ll have MLB ’15 in our hands and we’ll bang out some games on the cyber diamond. We’ll post our own bit of screenshots and tell a few tales of what we think of the game. Some early copies of the game have went out to some fortunate (and possibly crazy) folks. There were copies of The Show selling for over $400 on ebay recently.

Here are a few screenshots that you can find on the Operation Sports forums if you’re not banned. Look at that ivy at Wrigley!

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I can’t wait to get my hands on this game. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have it for this weekend or I wouldn’t leave the house. And after all, I have important things like Wrestlemania and three more fantasy drafts to get done.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s Saturday, and the start of the regular season is just over two weeks away. We’re getting so very close to a wonderful run of nightly games and story lines from the greatest sport on earth.

Last night was our ‘Jake Mauer Experience’ auction draft over on Ottoneu. I did only okay, I feel like I punted saves a little bit. But I ate like a pig and enjoyed a couple Jake Dogs (recipe below) and laughed like a little schoolgirl with a few of my buddies at a few of the draft exploits.

Recipe for a Jake Mauer Dog:
-Hot Dog of choice (we use Tony Pakos brand)
-Coleslaw
-Chilli (Skyline or Tony Pakos brand)
-Hot pickles
-Onion
-Mustard
-Pretzel Bun
-Shredded cheese (optional)

I had three last night. Nothing says it’s baseball season like a dog named after the black sheep Mauer brother.

Baseball will start every game at the same time on the season’s final day

This is absolutely awesome for those of you who say baseball isn’t exciting or doesn’t feature enough drama.

Per a report in the LA Times, the idea stems from trying to create the maximum amount of drama leading into the playoffs:

“If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result,” said Tony Pettiti, MLB chief operating officer.

“If we do have games coming down to the wire, we want to make sure we maximize that day.”

I love it! I absolutely dig it. It’s going to be a Sunday in September, and baseball is forgetting about juicy television revenues in multiple markets in order to get people talking about this one final day which will surely have several teams vying for playoff positioning. This should have been done years ago.

Christian “the boy” Yelich signs a man’s contract

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins

You have to tip your cap to the Marlins for taking this whole being a culpable Major League franchise thing seriously; they’re simply not screwing around anymore.

The Marlins locked up more of their young talent to a long-term contract yesterday, signing outfielder Christian Yelich to seven-year contract extension worth $49.5 million dollars.

Yelich boasts a career on-base percentage of .365, and a career batting average of .285 in 206 career big league ballgames. If he’s posting these numbers as a 21 and 22 year old, he’s showing you who he is as a player. He has a .400 slugging percentage that has a tendency to rise, evidenced by the number of extra-base hits he had last season (45).

Good for you Marlins. You somehow find a way to get Jose Fernandez locked down over the next five to ten years and you have a real window to compete here. Could Jeffrey Loria someday be viewed as a ‘great owner’? Baseball can be crazy and unpredictable.

The Madness before the Masterpiece

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I always kind of liked March Madness, not because I’m a huge basketball fan; but it just means that we are really close the the baseball regular season starting. It’s the appetizer before the main course. The salad before the Porterhouse.

My bracket is already totally screwed. Other than running my office pool for a bunch of folks that know basketball, it’s ‘hey, thanks for coming out’ for me and my hideous picks.

But soon enough we enter a new realm, a realm where I actually know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Bryce Harper is once again voted most overrated player by his peers

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Sometimes you have to be objective and just react to the news, even if it’s something you don’t fully agree with. Via the Washington Post, Bryce Harper has once again been voted baseball’s most overrated player in a poll of current MLB players.

Bryce Harper was voted the “most overrated player in MLB” for a second consecutive year. Harper received 41 percent of the vote, while Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was second , just as he was last season, with 15 percent.

The voting was much closer last year, with Harper (24 percent), uh, edging out Puig (21 percent) and Alex Rodriguez (14 percent). Incidentally, the Dodgers are projected to finish with the second-most wins in baseball this season (89). Perhaps MLB players are just jealous of success.

Not exactly the type of confidence-inspiring thing you want to learn as a player while enduring a spring training that you’re hitting .176.

Yes, Harper might be a tad overrated by the media and public. He’s also been a pretty good player when he’s been healthy. His Scott Boras saying things like Harper deserves some 12-year, $300 million dollar deal is asinine. It probably rubs some guys around the game the wrong way if they’re not outright laughing at it.

We are getting to a point where you hope that Harper begins to shed some of the overrated tag in 2015. But he’s definitely not locked in at the moment. Here’s to hoping for an April like the one he had in 2013.

The Baseball Show Podcast: talking Out of the Park ’16 with Developer Brad Cook

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It’s really spring – and with another March passing us by it’s like a rite of passage that a new version of Out of the Park Baseball arrives on time.

It’s the greatest sports game simulation experience that someone can have. It’s like crack for the baseball fan.

I was lucky enough to be joined by head developer Brad Cook on tonight’s show to talk about new additions and maybe introduce some exciting experiences of my own past in OOTP. Brad also touches on the group’s next project, Beyond the Sideline Football.

Follow OOTP on twitter here, and check out their development website over at OOTP Developments. As Brad mentions on the show, the game will be ready for play on Monday, March 23rd; killing many long hours before the real start of the regular season and beyond.

Thanks to Brad for joining us again!

Washington Nationals 2015 Team Preview

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We continue the 2015 Team Previews today with baseball’s mightiest team on paper for the upcoming year, the Washington Nationals. We love watching Washington because of all the young talent they’ve drafted and developed into Major League players. The nucleus is ripe, and there are a few new faces that dot a star-studded roster.

Last year’s postseason was a tough pill to swallow if you were pulling for the Nationals to finally get to the World Series. They ended the regular season peaking at the right time, they had their guys at full-health; the stars seemed aligned. And then a lesser team in the Giants promptly dismissed the Nationals in four games. In some ways, maybe it was the best thing that could have happened other than getting to the Fall Classic. They probably don’t go out and sign Max Scherzer if they win it all. Matt Williams needed humbled. Bryce Harper showed just enough dominance that he could be a major force in 2015. They’re arguably a better team today than they were ever in 2014.

This might not be the National’s last chance to win the whole thing, but they’ll arguably never have a better chance. This kind of has to be the year if this group is going to get it done. They’re truly at their peak, in our opinion. The Braves are weak, and the Marlins don’t have the firepower to pull this off quite yet. They should dominate their division and just maybe, they’ll show the world why they’re 7/2 Vegas odds to win the NL Pennant in the upcoming season. Vegas loves these Nats. It’s for good reason.

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Happy Belated Birthday, Darryl Strawberry

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It’s hard to believe my first favorite player Darryl Strawberry turned 53 this past Thursday – there was a post on ESPN SweetSpot by David Schoenfield to honor the popular semi-star of the 80’s and early 90’s.

There were a couple of good snippets out of that post:

Lloyd McClendon, Strawberry’s minor league roommate: “There was a lot of pressure on him, and he didn’t know how to handle it. … He was young, he didn’t have good work habits. In this game, it’s easy to stay in bed all day, especially on the road. What Darryl didn’t understand is that you have to get your body regulated. You’ve got to get up early, walk around and do things — go to the mall, take in a movie. It’s very easy to lie around and grab a bite and go play. But you’re not getting yourself ready either physically or mentally to play the game.”

I had never read that account before on Strawberry. It sheds some light into what the party lifestyle of a Major Leaguer was in that day in age. And if that doesn’t, this does:

He is living in self-imposed exile, talking about his former home cities, New York and Los Angeles, as his versions of Sodom and Gomorrah.

“It became a lifestyle for me,” Strawberry says. “Drink, do coke, get women, do something freaky … all that stuff. I did it for so long. I played games when I was drunk, or just getting off a drunk or all-night partying or coming down off amphetamines. With alcohol and drugs it was the excitement. That’s how I got addicted. It was an exciting way to escape from everything else. Coming to the major leagues at such a young age and coming to New York … maybe someplace else it would be a little different, but New York is a party place, an upbeat place.”

And Strawberry is now an example that no matter how many times you hit rock-bottom, there is hope. He’s a born again Christian today who has a recovery center in Orlando named after him. He’s lived to be 53. He didn’t retire as the ‘Black Ted Williams’ as scouts said he would, and he doesn’t have 500 career home runs to his name. But that’s really not important. Strawberry’s once in a generation talent left it’s mark on the game with moments and stories you hear. I remember my uncle talking about this Olympic Stadium home run in Montreal off Strawberry’s bat (along with a few foul balls he hit in Cincinnati that were over 500 feet).

Strawberry disappointed me many times when I was a youngster (he was out of the lineup the first game I ever attended with my parents and left me crying in the stands as an eight year old, he probably went on a bender the night before) but I am proud of the person he’s become and proud to say he was my first favorite player. It was because of his swing, his power, and his last name.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Tomorrow marks three weeks until Opening Night at Wrigley Field. The days are starting to roll by. The week that passed will always be marked by Ferrell-mania energizing a weary nation (he has his own B-R page now).

It’s Saturday, and this post is always to salute the greatest game the universe has to offer.

I need to get into another series to pass the time on the last few weeks of the off-season. To a man, I’m not sure there was a series outside of Breaking Bad that I got more into then Nip/Tuck. This was the most powerful scene of that series. They don’t make them like they used to.

Baseball