Happy Birthday Bob Uecker/Harry Doyle

Happy 82nd birthday to one of baseball’s best announcers. Bob Uecker has withstood the test of time, and seems rather ageless over the last 30 years.

And holy shit look at the size of Andre the Giant’s hands and fingers in this video. My favorite Uecker moment comes at the end of this when he is choked so eloquently by The Giant at Wrestlemania IV.

Thinking Baseball Again

It’s my first post of 2016, it only took 25 days into the year to get to. With football season being down to the Super Bowl, my mind always crosses over back to my first love: the game of baseball.

And with those things I’ve started the usual nuances that baseball season brings; my house-keeping. I’m following a few new accounts on twitter. I’ve got MLB Network on the television after work (there’s a Montreal Expos documentary on tomorrow night at 9:00 PM ET).

I’m reading Ron Shandler and some of his fantasy baseball draft strategies. I’m starting to check Fangraphs every day again and reading about MLB’s tanking problem – the Reds are unfortunately mentioned.

We’re 69 days and 17 hours from the beginning of the MLB regular season. We all have to brave the month of February but 69 days is do-able.

Spring is almost in the air, and I’m ready for it about as early as ever. The crack of the bat is a few wake ups away from being among us all. I’ll try to start updating this page more each day.

Merry Christmas Baseball Fans

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Finding these under my tree as a kid was Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all baseball fans out there who have enjoyed reading this blog and following the best game on earth for the last eight or so years.

We have been extremely busy, and it’s the part of the year we usually let our brain rest writing about baseball. And of course the Reds recent direction has curbed our enthusiasm for the sport momentarily. But business is going to pick up soon in these parts. We’ll do our best to follow it all and recap everything we can and have a take that does not suck about all things baseball.

For now, enjoy your Christmas with your family. We hope you got the equivalent of that 1988 Darryl Strawberry Starting Lineup Figure – the one that eluded us for so many years as a kid!

Report: Barry Bonds to be Miami Marlins new hitting coach

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A slimmer, trimmer Barry Bonds than you remember is about to make his return to the game after being veiled in the sacred fraternity since 2007. It’s crazy, it’s been nearly a decade.

Bonds is reportedly expected to accept the Miami Marlins’ offer to become hitting coach.

You can just see that curmudgeon Jeffrey Loria sitting in his office high atop Marlins Park plotting his next empire that can’t go wrong. And somehow, we know it very well will.

Still, the thought of pairing Bonds with Giancarlo Stanton is something that excites us enough to get back to writing about baseball. And it’s usually this time of year that we dig in to the news again. Good on the Marlins for giving us something that inspires.

2016 World Series Odds

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With the 2015 season completely filed away in the books, we look to online sports handicapping odds to for clues to see who may rule the 2016 MLB season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are holding serve as 8/1 odds to be the 2016 Champions, with a host of over teams checking in second at 10/1. Those teams include the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and Washington Nationals.

The longest odds are the Philadelphia Phillies at 300/1.

The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Houston Astros are all at 12/1 currently.

Obviously, a lot of this can change with the pending free agents sitting out on the market. We wouldn’t venture to make a prediction yet; that comes in April!

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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There are only two games today, and college football has really taken center stage. But it’s LCS Saturday, and the Cubbies and Mets kick things off in Queens tonight.

Leaves are on the ground, the fall nip is in the air, and for the first time it really feels like October baseball all around us. We definitely needed to give homage to this with a Saturday baseball post.

Hopefully you don’t miss too much of the action because you’re being into going somewhere to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes trounce Penn State. This Cubs game tonight will be tight and full of drama! The only thing that would have made it perfect is if it would have been at Wrigley.

Soon enough.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers and the greatest game on earth. Enjoy your Saturday, all.

Chicago Cubs move on to the NLCS

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[Box Score]

It’s hard to believe this was the first time the Cubs have clinched a postseason series on Wrigley Field soil in their history. It’s hard to believe that Fernando Rodney and Clayton Richard got holds. I thought the Cubs were in trouble when Travis Wood was on in relief before the fifth frame was completed.

But the Cubs have such star power, and in our opinion their brightest start got the biggest hit.

Anthony Rizzo, with the death blow. It’s nearly a carbon copy of last night’s home run:

Monster home run from forgotten man Javier Baez that swung the entire momentum of the game, while you were driving home from work. Kyle Schwarber with the exclamation point home run that left Wrigley.

Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon were electric in the 8th and 9th. The energy at Wrigley Field was absolutely incredible. This is a team worthy of watching in the NLCS, and they’ve now knocked off the team with the best record in baseball. This is the beginning of a long and glorious run for the Cubs, and it’s good for baseball.

Betting on Baseball

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This one hurts a little bit to write.

It looked like the Houston Astros were going to move on to a freaking LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES for crying out loud. And then, things fell apart. That ball took an unlikely hop over Carlos Correa’s head in the best game of his career. And those upstart, pest, Royals are once again fixin’ to spoil everyone’s fun. It sucks, because Correa dropped two bombs in the 9-6 collapse.

We had dreams man; dreams of the Astros making the World Series and playing the Cubs in something that would be totally fresh for the game of baseball. Something so different than what we’ve seen before.

And I’m here to tell you that today, that all went away.

You know how it goes in this column. Whether we’re letting someone else pay the juice or we’re paying a little bit to win the Ben Franklin, we’re just simply picking the winner. Wednesday night at 8:05 PM, Johnny Cueto opposes Collin McHugh in game five of the LDS. The game will be in Kansas City. The Royals are a -131 favorite at the current moment with the Astros hanging around at +121.

It really sucks, but the Astros are going to lose game five in Kansas City. And I’m sorry if that makes me a bad person in that I don’t really like the Royals; but they don’t do much for me. They cease at entertaining me. They just don’t. I realize they’re a small-market who is ‘all-in’ and went out to get Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist and look how cute they are because they’re this close to getting back and avenging game seven from last year and look how fast they run the bases! But I don’t care. I don’t like them.

It’s just the way it is. You want a winner, and we’re feeding you one. We are totally surprised the Royals don’t check in as a bit higher favorite right now to steer you away from the winning side. But that will probably happen by game time. Get to the best online sportsbooks while you can and grab the Kansas City Royals -131 to make a little side dough.

We’re sorry Astros; leave the party kicking and screaming!

Cubbies!

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No matter what happens from here, Cubs fans will always have this one night at Wrigley Field. And holy Hell, was that as fun as it looked or what?

The top six players in the Cubs lineup (Fowler, Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Castro) all hit pretty tremendous home runs deep into the Chicago night. The wind was blowing out, and the Cubs powered past those evil rotten Redbirds from St. Louis 8-6.

Our favorite was definitely the Anthony Rizzo bomb; his first hit in the playoffs:

Sure, the Cardinals hung four runs on Jake Arrieta which is impressive in it’s own right. But Arrieta was nasty enough to strike out nine and get the Cubbies in control of this series.

Tomorrow at 4:37 eastern time when the sun is still in the sky; some late afternoon baseball will against be played at splendid Wrigley Field. We are really hoping this series wraps up tomorrow night and the Cubbies roll onward. Maybe Back to the Future was right all those years ago.

There’s baseball at Wrigley Field Today

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One of the most magical days of my life was when I visited Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was an absolutely, picture perfect day from start to finish. That day, we decided that it was one of the most magical places not only in baseball but in all of the world. That day, we decided that the Cubs were not an NL Central evil, but rather something that should be treasured by those who love baseball.

Today, playoff baseball returns to Wrigley Field. It’s the first time since October 2nd, 2008 when the Cubs lost to the Dodgers 10-3. That team was built around Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Derek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano started the first two games of that series. Good old Rich Harden took the loss in game three of that LDS series and the Cubs were swept. This team has a bit better foundation. We knew they would win the other night to ensure at least two games at Wrigley Field.

Tonight at 6:07 PM EST has the makings of a classic: the best pitcher in baseball at the moment Jake Arrieta takes the bump opposing Michael Wacha who is always solid in his own right. The Cubs have a golden opportunity to take control of this series and really as a -210 Vegas odds favorite, something weird is going to have to happen for them not to do so.

And we love it. There’s nothing more boring than the Cardinals grinding out 2-0 wins in the playoffs. It makes us want to move on to another sport. These Cubs however; they’re a breath of fresh air. They’re something new. And it would be good for the sport the longer these guys are alive in the playoffs and that huge market and their rabid fans get to live out the hopes of lifting the curse of the Billygoat and Steve Bartman!

So toast your 312 ale! We’re pulling for the Cubs to do this.

Betting on Baseball Saturday 10/10

A real wiseguy, Jimmy the Greek
A real wiseguy, Jimmy the Greek

Anyone looking for today’s casino bonuses will realize that they can grab the Chicago Cubs as a nice underdog this afternoon in St. Louis. The Cubbies are a +122 underdog currently at the Las Vegas Westgate for instance, with Kyle Hendricks opposing lefty Jaime Garcia.

The Cardinals Cardinal’d the shit out of the Cubs last night. That’s what the Cardinals do. They get home runs from Tommy Pham and great pitching performances from guys like John Lackey who was pumping 95 MPH gas and getting strike calls several inches off the plate. When those things are happening, the public is going to get slaughtered (Jon Lester probably had a huge public backing) and the casino’s and sportsbooks will absolutely slaughter you.

But DO NOT be swayed by all this. The Cubs are a good team. On name recognition sure, more people are going to know 10-6 Jaime Garcia and his 2.43 ERA. Kyle Kendricks is a solid 25-year old pitcher in his own right who has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last three starts. Meanwhile, Garcia has allowed four or greater earned runs in three of his last four.

This series is going to get evened up today. The Cubs have a lineup with lefties who OPS at a .772 clip against left handed pitching. They can get to Garcia tonight in St. Louis, and they’ll do just enough to get this series to Wrigley all tied up.

It’s hard to believe in all this time, the Cubs and Cardinals met for the first time in the playoffs last evening in their history! I would have missed that trivia question.

Our pick is the Chicago Cubs +122 on the moneyline. Go with the Cubs and make it a winning day.

Go Cubs Go

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It’s a Friday night in October. We have nowhere to be, and nowhere to go. The Cubs are playing playoff baseball, tonight against those rotten Redbirds. The only thing that could make this one more picture perfect is if Harry Caray and Bill Murray were toasting at Wrigley Field. Or if the game was being played at Wrigley at all.

The Cubbies think a changing of the guard is taking place in the National League Central. We certainly think they’re the more talented team on paper.

There’s just something that scares us about the Cardinals. They’re pesky. They’ve never needed to be good ‘on paper’ to go to a World Series and ruin an entire October of playoff baseball. They can take over the entire world with Thomas Pham and a can opener.

Just like tonight; it will be a dogfight and probably even a loss for the Cubs. You’ve got John Lackey opposing Jon Lester. Lester is nails in the playoffs. Everything should line up for the Cubs to take game one and get at minimum a sweep or two playoff games at beautiful Wrigley.

Yet we know how this works out for the Cardinals and this time of year. And their Cardinal way bullshit. The Cubs are our playoff horse and we hope they can give us something to really pull for into the next round. Lets end that curse of the Billy Goat together.

The Reds are sticking with Bryan Price

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Well, this is really bad news.

Walt Jocketty will do nothing as usual, announcing that Bryan Price will return as Reds manager in 2016. Price boasts about a .430 winning percentage in two seasons as the skipper of this downtrodden club.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel. All hope for a better future, a way out, something to look forward to next spring; have just gone out the window.

I have nothing more to comment on the Reds at this time. They have amazed me.

The Houston Astros close down Yankee Stadium to open the 2015 MLB Playoffs

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[Box Score]

Dallas Kuechel on three days rest was no problem.

For the first time since this blog has been in operation, and the first time since they were an American League team, the Astros are in the playoffs and have won a game, sending the Yankees home with a 3-0 win at Yankee Stadium. This loss comes a day after CC Sabathia announced he was entering a treatment facility for alcohol addiction. While distractions in baseball are often overblown, you have to wonder if this didn’t play a role in the Yankees coming out a bit flat.

Houston collected just five hits, two of them home runs from Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez. Another an RBI single by Jose Altuve. And now they’ll move on to continue their season in Kansas City against the reigning American League Champions.

It’s a pretty great story that this group of kids have risen from the ashes of a near 100-loss team to become one of the finest Cinderella stories in the game a year later. Phenomenal job by the Astros front office to put the pieces in place to get this done.

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