Saturday Morning MLB notebook…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Joe DiMaggio holds the New York Yankees rookie record with 29 Home Runs in 1936.
Aaron Judge has now hit 25 and it’s only June 24th.  Mark McGwire has the rookie
record of 49 in 1987.
  • Wake up this morning to see that the Yankees finally released Chris Carter and brought up Tyler Austin from AAA; I have been saying for months, Carter is one of the worst major league players I have ever seen; from Houston to Milwaukee to the Yankees…plays with no emotion, can’t field and is a terrible hitter.  I have lots of respect for Brian Cashman, but this is one move I questioned the day they signed Carter in the off season.
  • Nice story coming out of LA, with yet another rookie crushing baseballs; Cody Bellinger, who was almost sent down to AAA in April, is doing for the Dodgers what Aaron Judge is doing for the Yankees.
    Bellinger
  • How bad are the Philadelphia Phillies; when I checked on Wednesday, they had won only 11 of their last 49 ballgames.  The conjecture is that the Phillies are aiming for 2019 to field an exciting team…they are following the path of both the Cubs and Astros, who completed gutted their teams, picked up high draft picks and now are stacked with great players.  How’d you like to be a fan of a team which says in spring training, we still have a couple of years to go before we’re any good.  Both the Phillies and the Padres are on this path and both play mind numbingly bad baseball.  Wonder if the owners would consider lowering ticket prices for the fans who have to put up with a mediocre team.
  • The unwritten rules of baseball: you don’t bunt to break up a no-hitter or perfect game.  Sorry, last time I checked a bunt was considered a hit…if you don’t want the bunt to break up the no no, then make a freaking play to stop it; if you’re talented enough to drop a bunt down and beat out the throw to first, good on ya.Bunting on a no hitter
  • Interesting watching Big Papi have his number retired in Boston last night; I’ve never had a problem with Ortiz ( Pedro is a different story), but if you look at his baseball card from the season he was brought over to the Red Sox from the Twins, you will see a man, much like Barry Bonds, who was half the size he was when he was crushing home runs.  When asked about steroids, PED’s, he gets very defensive…
  • Watched Max Scherzer pitch again for the Nats; what a great pitcher he is.  Felt badly for him…had another no-hitter going and was into the 8th inning; you could see he was running out of gas, but given the sorry state of the National’s bullpen, he stayed in there and ended up losing the game 2-1.  That loss is on the GM of the Nats, Mike Rizzo…go out and get your team some bullpen help!!
  • The National League West is going to be some dog race, right to the end of the season.  As of this morning, Arizona, Colorado and the Dodgers are all playing over .600 ball…that is really something.  They would appear to have a lock on both wild cards…so NL Central and East…you’re going to have to win outright.
  • Though the Twins have the foundation for an exciting young team, the Cleveland Indians are going to start pulling away.  They’ve got great starting pitching, a shut down closer in Andrew Miller and Edwin Encarnacion is starting to heat up.  With Terry Francona driving the bus…I can see the Tribe in the World Series again this season.  FYI…love Tito…great manager and just loves baseball.  Bonus points if you remember Terry Francona playing for the Montreal Expos.

  • Yasiel Puig…time to grow up buddy…I know it’s a big adjustment from life in Cuba; but you’ve been in North America for several years now…you’re not going to have a more understanding organization than the Dodgers…learn to show some respect to the game of baseball.

New York Yankees News and Notes:

  • Nice to see Masahero Tanaka back to his old form last night, facing his countryman Yu Darvish.  Though it may seem tedious to others, there’s nothing better than two great pitchers going up against each other.
  • Ronald Torreyes…talk about a guy living the dream.  A journeyman infielder whom the Yankees picked up…I dare say he’s been one of the most valuable players for the Yankees this season, filling in for Didi for a long stretch and Hedley the past few days.  Last night he picked up his first walk off RBI…so great seeing his teammates excited for him.  You don’t have to be a big man in baseball to play the game  (see Jose Altuve)Terreyes
  • Tyler Clippard has just suddenly lost it; had a great April and May coming out of the bullpen, but has been awful the last few weeks.  Same with Dillon Betances…not the dominating pitcher he was.
  • I love the Yankees double play combo of Didi and Starlin Castro…but, watching both of them commit inexcusable errors the other night, is just a reminder that no matter how good you are…mistakes are going to happen.
  • Aaron Judge is 1 of 6 players in Yankees history to hit at least 25 HR through 70 team games. The others:
    Babe Ruth
    Roger Maris
    Lou Gehrig
    Mickey Mantle
    Alex Rodriguez 

    Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.

The Saturday Morning MLB notebook, edition 1…by Chuck Duboff

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© Chuck Duboff

  • Launch angle and exit velocity…the first stats from the age of analytics that I’ve actually bought into; you learn a lot about a player by the launch angle of a hit ball and velocity with which it is coming off the bat.
  • Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez…not Maris and Mantle, but they sure are fun to watch at the plate; Judge has incredible power to all fields, steals bases, and plays a great right field.  Meanwhile, Sanchez covers the whole plate and crushes the ball; like Judge, many over 400 feet.  Behind the plate he has rocket for an arm..exciting times ahead for my Yankees.
  • The Baltimore Orioles are in free fall, mainly because of really poor starting pitching.  You don’t have pitching, you don’t win!!!
  • The Blue Jays are a mess…yes, they have been hurt by lots of injuries, but so have many teams  (in the past five days, the Yankees lost CC Sabathia, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez to injury)…I don’t think the Jays have overcome the loss of EE and their starting pitching is not what they expected.
  • Put up your hand if you thought the Minnesota Twins would be battling for first on June 17th…I had them finishing last again; I don’t think they’ll hold off Cleveland, but nice to see a bright future for the Twinkies.
  • Detroit, Kansas City and the White Sox…BORING!!!!
  • Houston Astros have run away with the AL West…their talent level is outstanding…Carlos Correa and George Springer are great young players, while Dallas Keichel is back to his great pitching.  The Astros are an example of the trend in all sports (Hello NY Jets, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia 76ers) of teams gutting their roster and rebuilding on high draft picks.

    MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals

    Love watching Max Scherzer pitch for the Nationals.

  • If the Washington Nationals could ever get late inning bullpen help, they’d be tough to beat…but, far too many leads are blown in the 8th and 9th inning.  They may have to pay big to find a closer.  The rest of the division, Mets, Phillies, Braves don’t instil confidence in their fan base.
  • Who saw the Milwaukee Brewers and Eric Thames giving the Chicago Cubs a run for their money?  I think the Cubs are still in hangover mode from last year’s historic World Series win…if they get out of their funk, they’ll pull away, but that’s not a given.

    Blackmon

    Charlie Blackmon is a tremendous lead off hitter for the Rockies.

  • I really, really like the Colorado Rockies lineup…Charlie Blackmon is some kinda talented, as is Nolan Arenado…and they finally have some pitching.  Though the Dodgers freely spend Magic Johnson’s money, the only thing that will allow them to compete is the youth on their team.  Who saw the San Francisco Giants nosediving like they have this year?
  • MLB wants to do something about the pace of the game, shortening the length of games…so they do something ridiculous like having the intentional walk automatically go to first with no pitches; i have seen far too many mistakes made by the pitcher and catcher on an intentional walk to just shelve it.  So, two minutes are possibly saved here.  But then…instant freakin replay!!!  Some replays are so tedious, they take up to two to three minutes per challenge…and if you have four or five per game, you’re adding, not subtracting, minutes onto the game.  Leave the game alone, it was just fine as it was, thank you.  Oh, and Chase Utley, thanks for nothing…your slide into second base now has taken away exciting plays at both second and home; this isn’t ballet (which I like), but rather pro sports.
    Utley

 

Yankees News and Notes:

  • Yankees were on a great 5 game winning streak, handling both Boston and Baltimore at home; then the dreaded West Coast trip to Anaheim and Oakland; bullpen falls apart, CC put on the DL, Sanchez and Hicks injured, and suddenly you’re down to a one game lead int he AL East.
  • Love the double play combo of Dee Dee Gregorious and Starlin Castro…great gloves and both can really rake.
  • Matt Holiday has helped Aaron Judge a lot this year, teaching him how to be a pro and his approach at the plate.  Great signing by Cashman in the off season.
    holliday-judge-15c13793a19c4945
  • Chris Carter has Dave Kingman written all over him; it’s either feast or famine for him…he either crushes a ball to deep centre field or strikes out…
  • I like waht I have seen so far of the Yankees 5th starter, Jordan Montgomery; a crafty young lefty who mixes it up like Andy Petitte.
  • Masahero Tanaka sure hasn’t given the Yankees Ace like pitching this season; his pitches are flat with little movement on them.
  • I could listen to Michael Kay and Paul O’Neil on the YES Network 24/7; smart baseball guys, and even more importantly they have fun with what they are doing.  I love how self-deprecating Paul O’Neil is…so much fun.

    Michael_Kay,_Paul_O'Neill,_Ken_Singleton_in_broadcast_booth

    Michael Kay, Paul O’Neil and Ken Singleton in the YES broadcast booth…so entertaining and knowledgable about baseball.

  • Jon Sterling and Suzy Waldman on WFAN are a joy to listen to …takes me back to the days of listening to baseball on the radio..they paint a great picture of what’s going on in the game…so entertaining.
  • Aaron Hicks has turned into the great CF the Minnesota Twins thought he would be; another great move by Brian Cashman.
  • Never been a big Brett Gardner fan…but he’s done a nice job in the leadoff spot this season…a surprising 13 HR’s already.  He and Holiday are having a “bald guys challenge”…to see who hits more HR”s this season…loser has to try and grow his hair out for a month…love it.
  • When the YES Network used to pan around Yankee Stadium, you’d still see thousands of Jeter jerseys…but, watch now and all you see are Judge, t-shirts and jerseys…they can’t make them up fast enough!!!
  • I don’t know if Aaron Judge can continue at this pace, but, there are no signs that he can’t; he’s sitting at a 23 HR’s, a batting average of .345, 52 RBI’s and when he’s not hitting home runs, he’s either walking or getting a hit.  Last night he flew around the bases and got a triple after crushing a ball against the right field fence.  The measuring stick is Mr. Jeter, but somebody raised Aaron Judge really well, because I don’t think i’ve seen a more humble young athlete in my life.  Lots of Jeter and Mark Scheifele in him.

There’s a special sound of a ball hit 495 feet…you know it when you hear it; by Chuck Duboff

Yankee fans

If you can’t be there!!

Sunday afternoon, June 11th, I was watching the New York Yankees play the Baltimore Orioles on the YES television network.  The previous evening the Yankees had overwhelmed Orioles pitching in a 16-3 win.  It was a new day on Sunday and the Orioles were looking to avoid getting swept by their AL East rivals, the New York Yankees.

Chris Tillman was on the mound for the Orioles and it looked like he was going to cruise through the first inning.  He got through the first two batters, Brett Gardner and Aaron HIcks; both Yankees broadcasters, Michael Kay and Paul O’Neil, commented that Tillman had difficult first innings throughout the whole season…and prophetically, following getting two outs, the Yankees bats caught on fire once again, and scored five runs in the first inning.

In order to give Masahera Tanaka an extra days rest, the Yankees went with a bullpen committee pitching staff to face the Orioles.  The Yankees were taking care of things and had a comfortable 7-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th inning when…. Aaron Judge took a 1-1 pitch from Logan Verrett to left field…no, not just left field…he crushed the ball well over the bleachers and deep into the stands…but, it’s the sound of the ball coming off the bat…that’s not the sound of a 390 ft home run.   I was watching the game, when suddenly Verrett made a pitch…and the sound of the ball hitting the bat was indescribable…

 

I couldn’t believe what I had just seen; a ball driven so far, so deep into the stands!!  The broadcasters were almost speechless, the Yankees players in the dugout were in disbelief.  Replaying it over and over, there is a sound that you hear, when the bat and ball connect that is so unique, so rarely heard.  Wow, just wow.

Back when I was a little guy watching my Yankees, Mantle and Maris…the coverage of baseball was nowhere near the same.  There was the Saturday afternoon game of the week…and that was it. You didn’t get to see every game, every day, so you never really knew the true story of the home runs that Mantle and Maris were hitting.

Today, with the benefit of amazing technology, we can watch every pitch, every game,
every day.  I believe I’ve now watched Aaron Judge’s mammoth home run more than
a hundred times…unlike Roger or the Mick whose home runs I only saw if they hit them
on a Saturday afternoon.
mickey-mantle-roger-maris-signed-photo-bb32e
Aaron Judge came up again in the 7th inning and crushed his 22nd home run of the season into right centre field…a mere 395 feet.  Coming back to the dugout he got the silent treatment from his team mates…Judge played along and pretended he was giving the high-five to every player…upon which all the players ran up to him with
congratulations!!
In over 50 years of watching baseball, the only other time I can honestly remember
hearing that sound is when the Winnipeg Goldeyes were in the playoffs, extra innings
and Barbero Cannazero crushed one to deep left field…to win the game.  The moment the ball hit the bat you knew it was gone…deep over the fence, likely into the Red River.
A very humble young man, Aaron Judge; check out these great videos:

50 Years Later…not Shoeless Joe or Moonlight Graham; it’s my grandson on the same baseball field!!

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© Chuck Duboff

School wasn’t really that important that day; who cared about fractions when I had a game that night.   I couldn’t wait to get home and put on my grey Giants uniform. Baseball…that’s all that really mattered; whether studying the Yankees box scores or playing a game, baseball was my life.

As soon as I got home from school, I’d eat, get my uniform on, check to make sure it looked like the way Mickey Mantle wore it…then I’d get on my bike and get over to Diamond #3 at the Garden City Community Centre.  Was I pitching that night or was it shortstop?  I had just pitched a no-hitter a few days earlier, shutting down the other team with my nasty side arm delivery.  So it didn’t really matter if I pitched that night; as long as I was on a baseball diamond, I was in my heaven.

It’s 50 years later and I’m sitting on the same fan benches that were there when I was playing; I look out and there’s my grandson Ben playing left field on the same diamond.  It really was a surreal moment watching Ben playing catch with his teammates, his number 27 Royals jersey tucked in perfectly and looking like a ball player…I expected the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Moonlight Graham and Mickey Mantle to make their way onto the field.

The cool winds sent a chill through the fans…it was the Big Chill…it was Time playing games with our reality, reminding us how short this thing called life is and how soon we walk off this field and become ghosts, just  like all those others who loved and played baseball.

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MLB Opening Day observations…by Chuck Duboff

openign day 2

© Chuck Duboff

  • MLB TV is awesome; every game, every day!!  You get to check into games around the league…and of course, it’s essentially a Yankees season ticket.  Oh the times we live in…just amazing.
  • I am just not sold on John Gibbons as a manager…even after his contract extension. Watching him go against Buck Showalter…he just seems so overmatched.
  • I’ve always said that Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt were the best 3B I’ve ever seen.  Right now Manny Machado is as good as it gets…that play he made yesterday might have been the greatest play I’ve ever seen at third base.  A diving stab of a screamer down the 3B line; and then from his knees he threw a rope to first base to get the runner!!  WOW!!manny-machado-injury
  • Listening to Joe Girardi talk about the “kids” and having to protect them…and manage expectations, sounds exactly like Paul Maurice talking about his young Jets and managing expectations…Gary Sanchez and Patrik Laine.
  • Trying to watch a baseball game from the Trop in Tampa is excruciating, even when they are playing the Yankees.  I lasted about 5 innings.  If Tampa doesn’t do something about a ballpark very soon, they will be gone.

    Expos

  • Speaking of moving Tampa, it sounds like Montreal has all the money in place for a return of MLB.   From what I have been reading and hearing, once Rob Manford winks his eye to Montreal, construction of a ballpark will begin.  Would love to see the Expos back…Raines, Dawson, Cromartie, Ellis Valentine, Gary Carter, Steve Rodgers…man I loved that team.
  • The New York Mets may not have the strongest lineup, but with that pitching taking them deep into games, they have a chance to win every day…that is some kinda starting pitching.noah-syndergaard-efe6986baed78494
  • The St. Louis Cardinals, draft and develop…and with patience each season they insert a couple more home grown players.  They’ve been doing this for a very long time…sound familiar Winnipeg Jets fans?
  • Really liking the development of the Minnesota Twins…it may be awhile, but they are headed in the right direction.  Byron Buxton is one of their young players who has a bright future…made a sensational catch in centre field yesterday.Byron-Buxton-1
  • Madison Bumgarner, great starting pitcher, hits two Home Runs on opening day…umm, ok…can you also fix the plumbing in my kitchen?  That is just sick, but makes baseball the great game that it is.
  • Speaking of teams with not a lot of hitting, but great pitching…I think you can give the NL West to the Dodgers already; I think the Colorado Rockies might be their only competition this season; Clayton Kershaw, not too shabby.Clayton-Kershaw
  • Memo to Mickey Steen:  Clayton Kershaw makes more money than the whole San Diego Padres team combined.
  • It’s just one game Craig, don’t worry about your Cubs, they’ll be fine.
  • Love watching Bryce Harper at the plate…and when he crushes one like he did again on opening day (that’s 5 opening day home runs), that’s what makes baseball so exciting.
  • MLB is messing with the game too much: sending a batter to first base without a pitch being thrown on intentional walks…sorry, that’s just messing with the game. Too much can happen on an intentional walk!!  You’re saving a minute or two, but all that time being spent on replays on challenges is ruing the game…it disrupts the natural flow of the game.

    opening day

Back home…and its baseball time; Winnipeg Goldeyes, New York Yankees, Fantasy baseball…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Back home last night from two weeks in paradise and I can’t wait to dive into the 2017 baseball season.

I have some catching up to do with our Winnipeg Goldeyes; looks like we’ve signed some really interesting prospects at catcher and outfielder.  I think I’ll have to sit down with Andrew and Steve and get caught up on our newest players.  Given that it’s March 2nd already, Goldeyes training camp is just around the corner.

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That’s Goldeyes 2nd baseman Casio Grider celebrating last season’s championship.

The New York Yankees are actually following though on their youth movement plan; from Gary Sanchez behind the plate, to Aaron Judge in right field…this Yankees team might actually be watchable this season.  I don’t see them any better than third place, behind both Boston and Toronto, but at the very least they’ll be a little more competitive.

sanchez-1024x683

New York Yankees rookie catcher, Gary Sanchez

Going to start working on my Fantasy Baseball teams today; usually sign up for three leagues…and I can proudly say that these past three seasons, I have won at least one championship out of my three teams.  It’s a daily analysis of players and trends and really keeps you involved in the day to day of MLB.

Speaking of MLB, I will be signing up for MLB TV later today; doesn’t get much better, every game, every day, right at your finger tips.  Not only that, but by getting the MLB TV, it allows you to also access all games right on your mobile device.   How sweeeeet it is!

It’s almost spring; training camp exhibition games have started; Rick Forney is putting together another competitive Goldeyes team…it’s baseball season, when the dreams of young boys turn to home runs, strike outs, stolen bases…PLAY BALL!!!

kids baseball

 

The MLB report for Tuesday, September 29th…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Yogi 3

1. The Cubs and Pirates have the second and third best records in the majors, better than both the Mets and Dodgers…yet, one of them will be quickly knocked out in the Wild Card Game next week. Seems like an injustice to me.

2. As I said in the last report…don’t know how Matt Williams kept his job all season…he lost the locker room and that resulted in that Papelbon-Haper dugout fight yesterday.

jonathan-papelbon-bryce-harper

3. I had chills watching that bottom of the 9th on Sunday afternoon when Josh Donaldson hit that walk off home run. Watching Bautista, Encarnacion and Donaldson mashing like they do…reminds me of when I was 7 years old watching Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle crushing them on a daily basis. Watching the Mount Crushmore boys hit home runs…the summer I became a Blue Jays fan.

4. My only area of concern for the Blue Jays is if the kids in the bullpen. Sanchez and Osuna, can handle the playoff pressure.

5. With the ongoing injury problems for Masahira Tanaka, the Yankees are fortunate that they held on to Luis Sevarino at the trade dead line; everybody wanted him…the Tigers were even offering up David Price, but the Yankees stuck to their guns about building from within. Additionally, having lost Tex for the season, another one of their homegrown players, Greg Bird, has done a great job of filling in at 1B.

6. Pete Rose, who admitted to gambling on games his team was playing, met with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hoping for re-instatement; Manfred has indicated that he would have a decision by the end of the year. (Manfred recently shot down a request to have Shoeless Joe Jackson re-instated) You put the integrity of a league in jeopardy if you allow Pete Rose back. Pete Rose bet on games his very own Cincinnati Reds were playing in; he admitted this. What kind of message would that send to players and fans? Pete Rose was a great ballplayer, there’s no debating that, however, he gambled and then for years lied about it. MLB cannot re-instate him.

Pete Rose Sports Illustrated cover

7. Mike Trout is some kind of ballplayer…too bad he doesn’t have more protection in the lineup. Check out another phenomenal catch by Trout:

8. Rogers is going to have to open the bank vault to sign David Price who will be a free agent at the end of the season; I think they will take a serious run at him…I just get a sense that he likes both playing on the Blue Jays and the city of Toronto…but who knows. As a wise man says: “stay tuned”

9. Who do you have for the National Cy Young: Grienke, Kershaw or the Cubs, Jake Arrieta?

Jake arriets

10. Who do you have for the American League Cy Young: David Price…or????

11. RIP Yogi Berra…you were the catcher of my youth, of my 1961 Yankees…along with Mickey, Roger, Whitey, Moose, Elston, Tony, Clete and Tom Tresh…You and Casey Stengal must have been some show together. You may have given us:
“It ain’t over till it’s over”…sadly, it is over Yogi…BUT, you will never be forgotten.

Roj

My Franchise Four for: Jets 1.0; Jets 2.0, Bombers, Goldeyes and Yankees…by Chuck Duboff. Who is on your list? Leave in the comment section.

© Chuck Duboff

Winnipeg Jets 1.0 Hull, Hawerchuk, Teemu and Hatskin

bobby-jets-skating

Dale-Hawerchuk

Teemu

hatskin_hull

Winnipeg Jets 2.0 Wheeler, Ladd, Byfuglien and Chipman

Wheeler

Ladd OT

Dustin-Byfuglien-wm

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Bud Grant, Kenny Ploen, Cal Murphy, Chris Walby

bud_grant

Ploen

Cal_Murphy_2000_14149

Chris_Walby_2010_15103

Winnipeg Goldeyes: Brian Duva, Andrew Collier, Ace Walker, Luis Alen

Duva

andrew collier 2

Ace

Alen

New York Yankees: Mantle, O’Neill, Jeter and Maris

Mickey-mantle

paul-oneill

derek jeter

Maris

WHO IS ON YOUR JETS 1.0, JETS 2.0, BOMBERS AND GOLDEYES LIST?…AND WHO IS ON YOUR FAVOURITE MLB TEAM LIST? LEAVE YOUR LISTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.