Category Archives: spring training

Real Live Baseball was played today

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Even though the games don’t count for anything except for conversation pieces at the water cooler at work, baseball is officially unofficially back and part of our lives again.

The Reds won. Yoenis Cespedes hit a grand slam. Marcus Semien hit two bombs, including one off of Madison Bumgarner. The Pirates import went yard. Baseball things were happening.

And this is only the beginning. The weather is still awful here in Ohio but soon the snow will melt and spring will bring renewed hope and baseball games that count. And sunshine in the morning. But it would still be nice to take about three weeks off work, drive down to Florida and go to a few Spring Training camps. I’m going to do that someday if I’m ever successful enough to make it happen. That’s a big ‘if’.

Can we just sit this guy until the season begins, please?

I say this only half in jest, but seriously. For those that have serious fantasy ownership stock in Stanton (like we do), the absolute WORST thing that could happen is any injury that would cause him to miss the opener in April.

He’s fine by the way, but I hate hearing stuff like this. Makes me cringe just a little.

Mike Trout hit a Grand Slam today

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This is probably a signal that there will be no lettting up in Mike Trout’s game this season. When you think back across time, a player like Trout comes along every 30 to 50 years. You better take a step back this year and enjoy the kid, because he’s probably the most amazing thing to enter the game of baseball since early 90’s Ken Griffey Jr. – and that Griffey was nothing short of hypnotizing. Can this season get underway already so we can just see what insane things Mike Trout has in store for fans of this great game?

Today, Mike Trout took a piece of James McDonald he can never have back. Of course it was a grand slam bomb to left field.

Click through the jump for the video.
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Gregory Polanco’s nickname is ‘El Coffee’, and he went yard today

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They’re calling him “El Coffee” and he’s got the twitter handle to prove it. We’re excited about Gregory Polanco – some scouts compare his big, powerful, looping swing to Darryl Strawberry.

While everyone is talking about Ryan Braun’s home run in his first spring at-bat, the one we took note of was the one hit by the youngster who wears Bucco black. Today, Polanco broke a scoreless tie against the Yankees with his first Spring Training bomb. It’s fun to think about what happens if Polanco goes nuts all spring and somehow forces the Pirates hand in putting him on the Opening Day roster. An outfield of Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco could be so much damn fun.

Although it’s highly unlikely Polanco has that electric of a spring, it’s fun to hope and follow along. Almost as fun as it is to watch that home run swing over and over.

You want to see Polanco’s spring bomb? Go ahead, treat yourself. It’s been a long week. Click through the jump and we’ll show it to you.
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Baseball is Back

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Today, baseball returned to the field (and there was only one collegiate team in play as an opponent).

The Reds beat their friends from around the Cuyahoga 8-3. Jay Bruce was back in right field. Joey Votto manned first base. Billy Hamilton hit lead-off and played centerfield.

Even though it was a long day at work, it seemed all was once again right with the world. Spring is on it’s way. There is a new hope arriving. As the sun shined during freezing temperatures outside today, something just felt different.

That Yasiel Puig guy went 2 for 3 as well.

Bryce Harper is packed and ready for Spring Training

 

We aren’t that far. As bad and as brutal as February is to the baseball fan, we can make it. More tweets like this from players all around the league will be rolling in more frequently as the days roll by. Once we get to March Madness, we’ve basically made it.

And it’s good to see a player like Harper reporting for duty early. Washington Nationals position players weren’t due in until February 18th. It’s safe to assume Harper is spending his Valentines Day in route to Viera, Florida. That’s the kind of player we like – a guy who shows up early ready to dig in and work on getting better.

I love you, Kid

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Bryce Harper collected three more hits today. I don’t want to jinx the kid too early or anything but he’s started spring training by going 6 for 8. He’s already in his manager’s ear about not wanting to sit. He doesn’t know these games don’t count. And this guy is too good to be true.

Keep sitting him now and again, Davey. He’ll wear himself out by July at this pace. Every spring there’s inevitably one player I really like who has a monstrous spring. Then the stats disappear in April and somehow he gets off to a really slow start. I hope this isn’t the case with Harper.

Buster Olney also said recently on his podcast (18:40 mark): “Joey Votto on Harper: Essentially, he can’t be beaten. He has a “slump proof swing.”

There are real Spring Training Baseball Games Today

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It’s been a long wait and February isn’t over yet, but baseball games are going on as we speak. If you haven’t updated your MLB At Bat subscription, now is the time.

It’s days like today and times like this that I wish I was still able to play down in the warm Florida sun.

If you’re just sitting around today getting ready for the weekend, I suggest you read Pat Jordan’s post over at SB Nation about Spring Training. If you’re not ready for baseball yet you will be when you get done reading the article. It embodies everything a Spring Training story should.

The Reds and Indians kick off their spring slate at 3:00 PM today. I can almost smell the pine tar. This is a great time of year to be a baseball fan.

 

The Latest Bryce Harper Sports Illustrated Cover

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I planned to make a trip to the book store on Friday to pick up a few 2013 Fantasy Baseball magazines. Now I’ve added this to my want list.

The most notable quote I’ve seen thus far out of the Tom Verducci story on Harper:

“I’m not going to put it my head. Sophomore slump? I was a sophomore in college and raked. Why can’t you rake in the big leagues?”

If you’re keeping score at home, this is the second Sports Illustrated cover for Harper and his first as a big leaguer.

A Great Quote by Bryce Harper shows why we Love Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper is already issuing gems for today’s diehard fan, he’s 230 pounds and he’s ready to wreck baseballs. This quote caught our eye, and it’s why we’ve loved Harper from the start. You know he means it when he says:

“I’m still 20,” he said. “I’m still young. I’m going to treat every guy on our team with respect, going to treat every guy in the other dugout with respect. I’m still that young guy out there. I’m still going to play the same game I play.”

And now the gem:

“Go out there and give 120%, play hurt, sick, on my death bed,” he said. “Go out there and work hard, play the game the right way, change nothing.”

He goes on to talk about his personal goals that he would rather not share and how autograph seekers aren’t necessarily fans. But nothing in the article tops that quote or goes further to illustrate to you how Harper’s baseball compass is aligned.

Unless this guy murders someone, there’s a good chance he could end up our favorite athlete of all time, of all time! OF ALL TIME!

Since the Super Bowl is over we turn our collective attention to spring training…

And as the first primer to the start of baseball’s preseason, we’ll update you on the spring training locations for all the teams.  Let’s start on the West coast…well Arizona is kind of just a desert, but it’s close enough.  The Reds recently moved here from Florida because trashy Arizona is better than trashy Florida. Right?

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Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Cleveland have strayed a little further west than you might think, but somebody had to do it.

Now on to the dirty South.  Old people in particular love spring training games because it feels like the old time with bleachers and $1 hot dogs.  Perfect for Florida.  Here it is.

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Hmm.  Tampa moves a little south for spring training and Miami moves a little north.  There must be something to this.  Keep counting the days until pitchers and catchers report.

H/T to MLB for the maps.

Chipper on Jason Heyward: “He’s 90 Percent Back”

The significance of us sponsoring Jason Heyward’s Baseball Reference page could mean only one thing: we felt that the man was a generational talent ready to blossom in front of our eyes last year.

He wasn’t just rewarded with our admonishment. There was another Opening Day home run. There were SportsCenter comercials. A twitter account created solely to track when he hits a home run. He became Nike’s new ‘Swingman’.

But then the struggles came, and the injuries lingered. Heyward’s sophomore campaign became one continuous desolate ruin.

By reading an article focused on the reconstruction of J-Hey by Paul Newberry, we learn that Chipper Jones seems to think the worst is behind Heyward.

“He’ll get it done. He’ll get it back. He’s 90 percent back,” Jones said.

I hope Chipper’s right. This guy has a chance to be the crown jewel of the entire league if he’s right. There’s some other interesting points in the write-up–like Heyward coming off a bit ‘snarky’ when asked about childhood memories of David Justice and Fred McGriff.

There’s also a bit where new Braves hitting coach Greg Walker mentions this:

“We went back and looked at 2010, when he was really good,” Walker said. “We said to him, ‘OK, this is what you did. You’ve done it before, so that’s you.’ We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We’re not trying to change Jason Heyward. We’re trying to get him to maximize his potential. We showed him. We filmed him and showed him what he looks like now, and how he looked in 2010. He saw the difference. To be honest with you, we haven’t made a lot of changes. We’re just trying to clean him up and get him back to where he was.”

So if you’re keeping score at home, Greg Walker and the Braves do not want to change Jason Heyward. But they want him to hit like he did in 2010.This idea is absurd, because if you saw him at the plate for much of last year, of course the Braves would like to change Jason Heyward. But you must be careful with the treatment and wording of such things around young potential stars.

And my mind shifts back to that rumor we heard way back when–when someone had said that the legendary Bobby Cox had said that Heyward was like a Ferrari: you have to be careful with them, you don’t want to dent them.