It’s Baseball Playoff Time

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Baseball fans, rejoice. We’re into the start of a second season. The Royals last found themselves in a playoff game on October 27th, 1985. It was game seven of the world series. I was two years and change.

Brett Saberhagen and the Royals shut out the Cardinals 11-0 on that night in game seven of the World Series. Lonnie Smith! Willie Wilson! Some guy named Frank White hit clean-up that night and played second base. Their shortstop was Buddy Biancalana!

There’s something magical about the MLB playoffs. This post is a little overdue because of a busy workday but it’s great to see the A’s and Royals square off in front of a rabid crowd with all the talking heads saying this is the A’s last running of the bulls. Something’s got to give. Tonight is win or go home.

And in honor of the Royals big night – which is so very good for baseball – we have George Brett talking about the time he shit himself at Kokomos Steakhouse in Vegas.

How nice it is to be able to use those post categories ‘Kansas City Royals’ and ‘MLB Playoffs’ in the same place. You had to figure if you lived a long, normal lifespan you would live to see the Royals get here one time that you could recall. This *could* be the only time. Soak it in!

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Finally, we have reached our expiration date on the baseball season. At the same time as saying ‘finally’, it’s come all too soon. And it’s sad.

This weekend is not only the end of the Derek Jeter era but possible countless many others. And the sun sets on yet another glorious, memorable and fun baseball regular season.

It won’t be long until spring comes and all 30 teams are back in play. Until then, we’ll hold it down here. As long as there is baseball to talk about and appreciate, we’ll be doing it.

Enjoy your final regular season Saturday, when the sun is pulled up into the disappearing summer sky for just a few extra hours for us baseball fans who love the game dearly.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Just eight short days of regular season baseball remain counting this one. It’s hard to wonder how we got to this point in such a short amount of time. It’s the second to last regular season Saturday, which is always kind of somber.

It won’t be long until we’re pulling a Rogers Hornsby, sitting inside, staring out the window; waiting for spring to come.

We hope your fantasy team didn’t let you down and is still fighting for a championship; and we hope your real team hasn’t been mathematically eliminated. But if they have both failed you – make sure you take some time this Saturday to pay your respects to the greatest game on earth and at least check out a few innings of some action.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. Have a great Saturday.

Pete Rose to return to Major League Baseball?

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It’s now been 25 years since former Cincinnati Reds switch hitter Pete Rose was banned from Major League Baseball.

The 73-year-old agreed to permanent ineligibility from the sport after it was reported in 1989 that he had gambled on baseball games while both playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds.

Now, a quarter of a century later, fans are calling on one of the best baseball players of all time to be reinstated into the game. Known colloquially as ‘Charlie Hustler’, the star’s name has been coming back onto everybody’s radar, particularly in light of the impending retirement of Major League Commissioner Bud Selig.

Many sports commentators have had their say on the potential comeback of Pete Rose, including ESPN’s Keith Olbermann, who said of Rose: “He’s done his time. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

But were Rose’s crimes worthy of a lifetime ban? He made quite a name for himself in the 80s as a gambler, and a formal investigation was launched, with many of his associates such as bookmakers being interviewed. In findings named ‘The Dowd Report’, it was revealed that Rose had made bets on 52 Reds games in 1987, waging a minimum of $10,000 per day. Ohio’s Hall of Fame baseball reporter said of Rose’s activities: “The major problem with Rose betting on baseball, particularly the Reds, is that as manager he could control games, make decisions that could enhance his chances of winning his bets, thus jeopardizing the integrity of the game.”

Rose was in direct violation of Rule 21 Misconduct, which forbids any player, umpire, club or league official from betting on game play. In his 2004 autobiography, he admitted to betting on some games, but categorically denied betting on the Reds. Charlie Hustle tried to make one claim for reinstatement in 1992 but subsequently failed.

Some years later in 2003, it was reported that Bud Selig was “considering” his reinstatement, but no further moves were made.

The years have been kind to Rose however: it was recently revealed that he has kept up his gambling habits, having made a huge gamble on real estate which saw him make a $1 million profit. It’s unclear as to whether or not he still likes to have a dabble in sports betting, but it’s likely that he’ll probably be gambling in a more subtle way at RubyFortune.com nowadays rather than getting himself in trouble again for misconduct.

He recently made a brief show of a comeback when he returned to manage the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League. As the team had no affiliation with MLB, he was perfectly within his rights to do so.

Now, his return to managing could spark a petition for his return. He has told fans: “’I’ve waited 25 years, but I’ve done so because I was the one who screwed up. If I were given a second chance, I would be the happiest guy in the world.”

Final Send off for the Captain

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Derek Jeter began his final homestand in the Bronx tonight. He singled off R.A. Dickey, got caught stealing; probably trying to give the home crowd a nice memento to remember him by. And then he did something legendary.

Jeter hit a home run off Dickey into the left field seats. As he rounded the bases, he had to be wondering if it was the last one he’ll hit.

Unless you’re living in a cave, you heard about Derek Jeter’s legendary Gatorade commercial that rolled out today. It’s all kinds of awesome.

Jeter’s last game at the stadium will be next Wednesday, an afternoon game that many of us will miss because we’ll be at work. I’m really going to miss Derek Jeter. I think everyone who loves the game of baseball feels the same way about it. I have received so many text messages today from my baseball brigade of friends who all said they’re really sad to see him go.

On the night after the Angels clinch, some comprehensive reads on Mike Trout

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The Angels became the first team in baseball to clinch last night. The player most responsible for that was Mike Trout. Our buddy Corey sent us this old but classic read from Baseball America from 2011 that someone retweeted the other night in the wake of the Angels firing Greg Morhardt. Morhardt was the scout who gave the recommendation to draft Mike Trout.

And then there’s Dave Cameron over on FOX Sports, who shows us that Mike Trout is the best ever up until his age 22 season.

One thing was for sure all season long, when we got the alert texts from the @TroutAtBat twitter account this season, we stopped what we were doing and tuned into the at-bat on our iPhone. He’s the only guy in baseball who can command that or who ever has commanded that. We feel like we’ve paused to take notice of what we’re seeing. And even we can’t do him justice, as good as he is.

We still love you, Jay

We are hoping (and praying) that this is not the case, but it is a very real possibility that Jay Bruce is somehow inconceivably entering his final two weeks as a Cincinnati Red. It is sad, and it makes us a little sick to our stomach. This was the player we had hoped that our kids would grow up watching in Cincinnati.

There are whispers that the Reds ownership wants to clean house, and perhaps Bruce is atop that list.

From disappointing, to dispiriting to disastrous. Again: Losing a lot now is a good thing. The more the Reds lose, the less likely those in charge are to dismiss this season as an injury-bombed aberration. Insiders have suggested to me this will not be the case, that the Big Man is sufficiently hissed to do some serious housecleaning. That is good. Boldness is required, if only to change the blood. We know what the current blood can do, at its peak. It’s past that now. Time for a Keith Richards-esque transfusion. (Excellent, OG-based reference, right?)

Gulp.

While we’ve had to check out of doing the Reds every night for our own health (this is just really depressing and hard to watch) we wanted to note that Jay Bruce won the Reds a game last week with his glove, preserving a 1-0 Cueto shutout over those rotten-assed Cardinals in a game St. Louis desperately needed.

If indeed this is it – Bruce’s last ride into town – we will have a lot more to say about it at a later time. Let’s put it this way: no matter what we’re doing that final Sunday of the regular season, September 28th; we’re going to make sure we soak in Bruce’s last three or four plate appearances.

Bryce Harper continues his assault of the Mets pitching staff in New York

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Bryce Harper is just a great bet to succeed any time he’s playing in New York. Tonight he hit what play by play guy Bob Carpenter called fittingly, a ‘Ruthian Clout’ into the upper deck in right field. It was one of three hits Harper collected in a Nationals win, and he also walked.

This long home run comes off a promising young arm in Zack Wheeler, who Harper was previously 1 for 11 against with six strikeouts. Another pretty good arm that Harper adds to his wall of big game pelts.

As the below graphic will show, Harper has really slaughtered the baseball at Citi Field. His 13th home run of the 2014 season was his sixth career home run in New York.

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You look at Harper’s numbers in what hasn’t exactly been the breakout season everyone hoped for, and he’s had one of the best stretches of his career quietly since August 1st (.284, 10 HR, 19 RBI).

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Happy Saturday in Major League Baseball!

After today, by our count there are only two Saturday dates remaining in the regular season. That’s entirely awful. Mostly everyone out there – even some who love baseball – are more focused on the NCAA football schedule today and they’re simply killing time until the opening round of the MLB playoffs. That’s understandable.

It’s still hard to beat a Saturday during the baseball season when everyone is in play, and fantasy baseball championships are on the line.

And if you playing on placing a wager today, you can see the odds at allpro. Special thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers who have started us in a hole this football season.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Bryce Harper hits a monster home run off Craig Kimbrel

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Bryce Harper’s power has fully returned. As evidenced by this swing against his greatest nemesis, he might still have holes in his swing; but Craig Kimbrel found a part of the zone where such a hole does not exist.

The Nationals lost the game 6-2, and this came in the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation. But Harper has taken some impressive pitcher’s deep this season, with the last two being Kimbrel and Clayton Kershaw.

It’s the classic power vs. power match-up that people always want to see at the park. Possibly the most-feared right-handed closer in the game against the young phenom made famous from his pre-highschool YouTube home runs. He was previously 1 for 7 with five strikeouts against Kimbrel, and it looked like he was headed for a sixth.

The home run was the 12th of Harper’s 2014 season and 54th in his career.

The Marlins are willing to break the bank for Giancarlo Stanton

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If you like what’s good for baseball, (we feel) that you should want the Miami Marlins to find a way to keep big Giancarlo Stanton in South Beach as their centerpiece for a long time to come.

According to a story that broke this morning by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, that’s exactly what they’re going to try to do this offseason.

“He’s the leader of this franchise,” Marlins president David Samson tells USA TODAY Sports. “We always knew the talent he had, but what he’s done this year, playing every day, he’s the definition of a game-changer.

“We call him a no-food player. A no-bathroom player. When he comes to the plate, nobody leaves their seat.

We like that second quote by David Samson – that’s exactly what Stanton is.

The article by USA Today seems to highlight the Marlins’ bright future. There are some pieces, but we don’t quite feel that it’s a roster destined for anything beyond mediocrity. The Marlins need to find a way to re-sign Stanton and then get extremely creative in attracting more talent up and down the roster to truly build around the player who could become the highest-paid in Marlins history.

Make no mistake about it, we’re really hoping Stanton signs that long-term contract in Miami. There are rumors that Stanton could become baseball’s first $300 million dollar player. If his next eight to ten years are anything like this one, he is deserving of that.

When you see this, you know you’ve heard the Death knell for the Indians’ season

Alright, so I feel halfway bad posting this. But I am going to post it anyways for all those Cleveland Indians fans who might have had an ounce of hope left in them. Your season ended last night. J.D. Martinez took that swell kid Cody Allen out to deep center, and with it you can begin looking forward to the Browns 6-10 season that awaits them here in the fall.

I was in a fantasy football draft with about a half dozen Cleveland Indians fans when Martinez got this paydirt, and each one of them had a unique obscenity to truly capture the moment. You could tell that they too knew; deep down inside, that another Indians season will end without delivering the ultimate joy of victory.

Cleveland collapses are the most remarkable kinds of collapses.

News to us: Harry Caray once went out 288 consecutive nights

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I got to talking with a buddy at work today who somehow mentions that Harry Caray went out 288 consecutive days back in his heyday. They knew this because they found the legend’s diary, he said.

There’s an internet to prove my friend wasn’t lying. Harry Caray drank the fuck out of 1972.

Highlights that need documented:

Jan. 16 something unusual happens. Caray is in Miami, yet there are no expenses, just one enigmatic word, “Super.”

After that break, if indeed it was, comes 288 consecutive days in bars, not only in Chicago, but New York City, and of course on the road with the Sox, beginning with spring training in Sarasota.

The unbroken streak pauses Nov. 3, when all we get is “to K City @310.” The only completely blank day is Monday, Nov. 6 — what must THAT have been like? Then off to the races again.

[snip]

“I was out with Harry Caray a couple of times,” the Tribune’s Rick Kogan said. “It was always at the Pump Room. He was one of the most charming people in the world.”

How so?

“Drunk but joyful,” Kogan said. “It always wound up being a joyful, laughter-filled time.”

[snip]

But give Caray credit. As old-fashioned, and perhaps even pathological, as the bar-crawling seems today, there is another truth worth mentioning: Harry Caray could have taken his drinks at home. He went out because it was his job.

“He felt the bartender and bar people were his fans,” Rittenberg said. “He felt he was responsible He would stop in 10 joints. He was just a gregarious guy.”

I think I just wish that one time in my life, I could have enjoyed beers with Harry Caray. Hell, at this point I would just like to have met someone who enjoyed a drink or two with the guy.

Some things really are just larger than life. And 288 days in a row would suffice as that. I don’t know if I could handle 10 in a row right now.

Bryce Harper homers off Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium

Clayton Kershaw was so good, so on his game last evening in Los Angeles that he only allowed three hits in eight innings of work. This was the only one that counted for anything in a Dodgers 4-1 win.

No sooner did Vin Scully finish telling viewers of the broadcast that Bryce Harper was a ‘pleasant fellow’ when the lightning quick bat flipped through the zone; and oh-my-gosh Bryce Harper just took the game’s best pitcher deep into the Chavez Rivine night to legit right-center on a night when he’s got his best stuff.

In our opinion, that’s why this one – the 53rd home run of Bryce Harper’s big league career – is his most epic yet. It came on a night when he started in centerfield, at a ballpark where he’s had a season of his career wrecked.

It’s obvious that there are just few left-handed hitters in the game who can do this to Kershaw. It’s obvious that this shows what Harper is capable of when he’s right and he’s on. But more than anything it’s just epic that he took top-of-his-game Kershaw out to those deep yellow bleachers in a pitchers’ park on a night when Kershaw was nearly unhittable (and had owned Harper pretty good in the first two at-bats).

Baseball