All posts by TheNaturalMevs

A Wonderful Rendition of the Mayweather/Pacquaio Fight (Floyd Mayweather’s Punch-out!)

Not a baseball item; but it had me chuckling chortling pretty hard and it’s a slow baseball day so it makes the site. I was fast asleep last night by the time it came time to search for illegal streams of the greatest fight that wasn’t. My kid is exhausting me. I was asleep at 10:30 on a Saturday night. Brutal.

This is just great, though.

Voting for the All Star Game is underway (Online Only)

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MLB All Star Game voting is underway, and this is the time of the year that in the seventy years prior; you and your family or friends would get the great paper ballot at the game. Nothing that great lasts forever. Baseball has decided it wasn’t proper use of their resources to do that anymore.

Balloting is only online now. We took a stab at our first ballot for old times sake today. Spoiler alert: there are personal favorites in here. And why the hell not. Some fan base will send someone who is hitting .245 to the game, so I’m going to vote for my guys.

Here are the guys I want to see in Cincinnati in July:

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Your Saturday Baseball Post

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What, you thought we would forget about the Saturday baseball post? It’s the NFL Draft, the Kentucky Derby, Pacquio vs. Mayweather; yet at the center of our universe is the MLB full slate.

The Mets and Nationals. The Reds and Braves. The Yankees and Red Sox. The Brewers and Cubbies.

These are just a few of the rams that are locking horns this weekend in baseball. At some point today, something will take place that’s never happened before in baseball. Even though it’s essentially the same game that was played 100 years ago, you’ll see something completely unique today or tonight that seems interesting or new to you. How does anyone live without being a baseball fan?

It’s also date night. That happens about once every six months when you have a kid. I’m going to try not to peak too many times at my phone to check scores because it bothers my wife. Yeah, good luck.

And oh man, do we have a good 80’s tune cooked up for you today – a tune that should be played on the loud speaker at a ballpark near you. The Warrior.

Or for you Grand Theft Auto V fans (if you want some, let us know and come get some online), a little Survivor.

Happy Saturday, and thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

The Gentleman’s Game Cup Series – Swindaman3 wins the week

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With a big home run from Evan Gattis, and a 30+ point performance from Lance Lynn on the mound, Swindaman3 posted a hearty effort that had him celebrating his first Gentleman’s Game Cup Series Victory.

Last night was a strange night on DraftKings and in Daily Fantasy Baseball if you decided to venture into the murky waters. In contrast to last week’s high-scoring affair, it seemed like a good lineup last night was simply breaking 100; as evidenced by the contestants in this great pantheon.

“I would rather win a Gentleman’s cup than climb Mt. Everest or finish a marathon,” Swindaman3 said after the hard-fought victory, which saw him edge out t3Bird04 by just over seven points.

The yearly standings see the top three players gridlocked in a tie for first place, while the group still waits for Jsquad34 to join the party.

Yearly Standings:
DStars45 – 14 points
Diamondhoggers – 14 points
t3bird04 – 14 Points
Swindaman3 – 11 Points
Jsquad34 – 7 Points

Here is a copy of the winning lineup:
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As for us, we went with highly-rated plays like Jose Abreu (he loves Friday evenings), Mookie Betts, and Kyle Seager. Plays that were regarded by wOBA metrics and Derek Carty and experts alike. This trio yielded two points.

Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays with 660 Home Runs Last Night

We were telling a friend at work on Friday afternoon that this was going to be the weekend that Alex Rodriguez met Willie Mays at that legendary, iconic number of 660 career home runs.

It was always meant to go down at Fenway Park, since the day Alex Rodriguez was born.

When it happened last night, there was no ESPN Alert text (come to think of it, I don’t get those anymore); there was hardly the tweets or notifications or headline news alerts to my phone.

It was just another quiet event that seemed largely passed over in baseball. We won’t be in silence about it here. It’s a milestone.

What Rodriguez has done this season has been nothing short of impressive. He’s hit six home runs. It was a pinch-hit home run off Junichi Tazawa; typically a pretty tough righty to go yard off of. It tied the game the Yankees eventually won 3-2.

Maybe the bigger milestone is A-Rod actually passing Mays. Maybe that will bring about more raucous and noise.

We’re not sure exactly how to feel about Rodriguez. How many of those home runs were steroid-aided and how does it all compare and matter? We’ll never have the right answer. But he still reached a number that sticks in your mind forever, and that’s a lot of trips around the bases no matter how you arrive at it.

It deserves recognition of some sort.

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The Bull Ride is over.

Really sad news today coming out of the Queen City. Homer Bailey will have Tommy John surgery, ending his 2015 season and adding questions to when he will be back in 2016, and what kind of pitcher will come back when it happens.

Bailey has always been one of our favorite starting pitchers in the big leagues. We remember the 2004 day that Homer Bailey was drafted; the reports that came out were that he didn’t really care for baseball. He just did it because he could make a lot of money at it and threw hard. That’s proven to be false; there has always been an immense tiger in this guy’s tank.

Then there were reports that Bailey wouldn’t listen to coaching and suggestions about his pitch repertoire. Again, Bailey seemed to adapt and adjust as a soulful member of the Reds clubhouse. He may have never been in contention for a Cy Young, but when this guy was on; he was absolutely unhittable. He did learn to pitch, and he definitely took instruction.

We point to obviously the two no-hitters and game three of the 2012 NLDS – a game that Bailey should have won at home in Cincinnati to send the Reds to the NLCS and possibly on to a title. Those were the moments where you saw Bailey at his absolute best. There were parts of two seasons earlier in his career where down the stretch, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. You saw flashes, you just never got it for the entire year.

Unfortunately, this seems to be another domino falling in what we knew was going to be an inevitable end to a window for the current nucleus.

The Reds will come to task from the media for handing Bailey that huge contract extension; but they did it for their fans. This guy threw two no hitters. Scouts saw the same thing we all did: a guy who could blow people away with 97 late in the game after 100 pitches. That said, everyone remarked on the high stress delivery Bailey had. Every time we joked with some friends about who we wanted in the ‘who is next for Tommy John’ pool, Bailey was the only name we wanted in the draft. Now it’s no longer a joke. It’s very possible that Homer Bailey never regains his dominant form.

It’s been a helluva ride, and we’re rooting for the guy. He’s definitely in our top 10 favorite starting pitchers of all time. We don’t want to sound like this is an obituary for the guy’s career; we’re rooting for you Homer and hope to see you take the ball again every fifth day and end your career in Cincinnati on a high note. Teaching that next youngster how to grab the bull rope when the lights go on.

The Nats were destined to get an Uggla Win

I watched a lot of this one on the side last night, and it was a wild one. You look at the final score of 13-12, and you can venture to guess that some odd things happened.

Washington came in to this game having lost six straight contests (Matt Williams is so terrible), and found themselves in a 9-1 hole in the third inning.

In this game:

  • The Nationals got home runs from Denard Span, Jose Lobaton, and Dan Uggla. The Uggla bomb was the kill shot. I bet Jason Grilli feels like he slept with a Sasquatch woman last evening.
  • Julio Teheran started for the Braves, and highly-regarded Nationals prospect A.J. Cole made his big league debut for the Nats.
  • Luis Avilan and Jason Grilli blew this lead allowing six runs; they were collectively worse than Blake Treinen and Tanner Roark who did everything they could to keep the Nationals on their losing streak.
  • Freddie Freeman and A.J. Pierzynski had four hits each.
  • Look at what Lobaton, Span and freaking Uggla did as far as damage! Thirteen hits, three homers, nine batted in.

So the Nationals are off the schneid. We actually aren’t going to say that this is the win that turns their season around. They’re still in deep shit, and Matt Williams is still their skipper.

But it’s a wild game with an ending that was obviously destined to be ‘Uggla’. I bet Uggla felt good doing that to the team that cast him aside without concern.

Documenting the Game No One Saw in Baltimore

Baltimore Unrest Forces Orioles Play White Sox In An Empty Camden Yards

One of the strangest games in Major League history right here was played today; completed in two hours and three minutes (which brings aboard the question; what is it about fans that add an hour plus on to the standard big league game).

The box score will show an 8-2 win by the Orioles. The official attendance may show ‘1’ in some spots; but no fans were present. Gary Thorne did his best Master’s voice impression.

This is the type of game that you would have loved to be able to say you saw. Unfortunately I was working and getting stuff done that had to be done. But if a game was played in an Alfred Hitchcock movie on a scorched-earth, this was it.

Robin Ventura said he didn’t like it.

“It was just a surreal environment,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I really don’t think we want to play in another one like this. I don’t think they do either.”

This game will always have it’s unique place in history because of the fine inhabitants of Baltimore and what they have done to their city. It is just another reminder that each baseball game is a unique little pearl; not like any of the others before it. Like a snowflake. Even if no one saw the snowflake fall.

The best all-around account of things comes from Jerry Crasnick over at ESPN.

Bryce Harper visits an old friend in South Beach

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[Box Score]

Seasons ago, Danny Haren and Bryce Harper were teammates. It was back in the 2013 season when Davey Johnson treated Haren like he was Gomer Pyle in the team barracks.

Haren has been in a few different clubhouses since that season, and the unlikely paths of Harper and Haren crossed for the first time. The ball landed in the bullpen for a 1-0 Washington lead, and the 60th home run of Harper’s career.

Haren somehow smoke and mirrored the Nationals for another couple innings and the Nationals dropped the game 6-2. The Nationals were swept out of town in Miami this weekend and now have the worst record in their division at 7-12.

Bryce Harper has five home runs in the 2015 season and 60 for his career.

A Bat Flippin’ Good Time Podcast: Hamilton, Trout, Mets, Statcast, the Yips, and more

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Tonight on A Bat Flippin’ Good Time Podcast, I was joined by Mike Hllywa and M.J. Lloyd. I thought we had a great little show here tonight, one of our better efforts; but then again I am the same guy who thought it was a good idea to bet my hard earned, real-life wages against Matt Harvey today when he faced off with C.C. Sabathia.

That said, we talked about a lot of great topics tonight:

  • Josh Hamilton traded to the Texas Rangers
  • The debt of MLB Statcast
  • Surprises in baseball: the New York Mets, the Kansas City Royals, Nelson Cruz, and others.
  • Our usual Mike Trout mention
  • The Royals want to fight everybody
  • Kris Bryant, Giancarlo Stanton chatter
  • Clint tells a story on the Yips
  • Media markets in baseball – where is great, and where is a pressure cooker?

And as always, there’s a lot of golden stuff in between. Like Hllywa’s one-liners. Or me getting his last name right finally after eight tries. Or M.J.’s goat. If you have an hour at lunch and you’re allowed to put your headphones on, eat your lunch, zone out and listen to some great baseball talk; you should enjoy this installment.

From now on, we shall call him ‘Jimmy Paradise’

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If you aren’t paying close attention (or playing Daily Fantasy Baseball and enjoying his $2000 price tag on DraftKings while it lasts), you might be missing what Jimmy Paredes is doing right now in Baltimore.

There’s a little magic going for this guy in Baltimore right now – and a little magic happened tonight when I was texting my buddy Corey about Mr. Paredes and his phone auto-corrected to ‘Jimmy Paradise’.

Every now and again; when you’ve been playing fantasy baseball long enough and watching baseball long enough, you can tell when something magical is about to happen. It struck me tonight as I saw Paredes get four hits at Camden Yards (including a bomb that gave the O’s the lead) that the man that NO ONE in the Fantasy Baseball community had as any type of a sleeper just might be the biggest of them all out there right now.

He’s 26, he’s had pretty good minor league numbers; there are sites that probably will soon grant him multiple position eligibility, he hits in the middle of the Orioles lineup at a park that seems to manufacture career seasons. What is not to love about Paradise?

He is Jimmy Paradise.

 

Giancarlo Stanton visits the Clevelander on a Saturday with a monster home run

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While we dozed off, Giancarlo baptized one into the ‘you can only hit a ball here in a video game’ area off some poor schlup just trying to mop up in an 8-0 Marlins win over the Nationals. And just as we thought the Nationals were starting to get rolling, it appears we actually had the wrong team that was about to get hot. The Marlins have suddenly won four in a row.

The home run was Stanton’s fifth of the season, and it follows up that rapier laser he hit into the seats in Philly the other day. It brings up a good point – in terms of watching a guy in the big leagues hit a home run – has there ever been a guy who is more fun to watch do the act?

Stephen Strasburg was his usual ‘meh’ self. Certainly not a guy that’s ever going to step in and end a slide for the Nationals.

But lets not talk about them. The Marlins are the story right now. We would not mind seeing them catch fire and become the hottest team in baseball. This team is going to be very fun to watch at some point. And look at little Tom Koehler throwing some shutout baseball for them!

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Welcome to Saturday – the best day of the week if you’re a baseball fan. A time when we lower the flag to half mass and salute the greatest game on earth.

It’s a damp, solemn little final Saturday in April. It’s hard to believe the first month of the regular season has almost concluded. If you had the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals as our best teams – raise your hand (liar).

So you best have your fantasy lineups set with everyone in them. We’ve got a full slate with everyone in action, another best part about baseball on a Saturday. Unless you’re subject to some funky blackout restriction, you should be able to see just about anyone you want on television today.

There’s a couple national games on Fox Sports One and MLB Network tonight for those who are lucky enough to have those on their television package. Do yourself a favor tonight: stay in, turn the lights down, and watch some ball.

Now here’s your 80’s song of the week that should be played on a loudspeaker at a ballpark near you:

It will always remind me of Walter White sadly touching that chemistry lab for the last time in Breaking Bad; and it reminds me a little bit of my daughter for some reason. Great song, in any event.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. Enjoy your Saturday.

Gentleman’s Game Cup Series, Week Three: DStars45 Sets a New Gentleman’s Game Record

On Friday evening, our panel of professionals took their usual stab at grabbing points in the Gentleman’s Cup Series.

Despite a rousting effort by t3bird04, DStars45 was the whole show. Helped along by monstrous efforts from the likes of Felix Hernandez, Carlos Martinez, and Anthony Rizzo; DStars45 sets a new Gents Game high score of 176.4 and takes home the five point first-place finish for the third week, pulling him ever so slightly ahead of us.
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Most interesting of DStars45’s lineup was that his highest-priced hitter; Buster Posey, tallied the only zero out in the rarified air of Coors Field. DStars45 was also helped by $2000 Jimmy Paredes who hit three hole in Baltimore and represented well by going yard.

Yearly Standings:
DStars45 – 12 points
Diamondhoggers – 11 points
t3bird04 – 10 Points
Swindaman3 – 6 Points
Jsquad34 – 6 Points

Here’s a look at the winning lineup:

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If you were one of the unfortunate ones who decided to pump in a few nickels to the DFS world for the first time tonight, you were welcomed with uncharacteristically high scoring. A lineup of 160 points was probably good enough to make you $10, if you placed your chips correctly.

However, in this game of champions, this series of greatness; only one man can take-all. Forget the millions, the trips to Vegas or the Playboy Mansion. The man who rises from the ashes of the gents game late in September will be known as the finest champion the Daily Fantasy Baseball world has ever known.

Next week these five men continue onward in this royal gala of DFS competition.

And you must stay tuned. Yes, you must stay tuned to find out the incredible drama. Will Swindaman3 play Xander Bogaerts once again when he is sitting? Will the silent JSquad34 rise up and yell? Will the T3bird step to the end of the limb and use Mike Pelfrey? Tune in next week to the Gentleman’s Game Cup Series to find out.