Monday morning Major League Notebook…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

 

Mike Trout

Mike Trout

  • Mike Trout is as good as they come; make it six seasons with at least 25 Home Runs and playing a defence that is incomparable.  I can only imagine the hype there would be about him if he were playing on the east coast; a New Jersey boy…loves his Philadelphia teams.  One of the greats.
  • Speaking of great…that is some kind of lineup the Red Sox put on the field.  Adding Rafael Devers and Anthony Binatendi has only made them stronger.  Going to be tough for my Yankees to catch them.
  • Speaking of my Yankees…this past weekend in Boston, Hicks, Judge and Sanchez each went 1 for 12…a combined 3 for 36; you’re not going to win many games with the meat of your order not producing.
  • Aaron Judge, pre All Star break: .334 BA and 30 HR; post All Star break: .122 BA and 7 HR.   He’s got to find his swing…chasing everything, sliders, high pitches…he looks lost.
  • Very well done MLB; your synergy with Little League baseball was terrific…watching major leaguers playing in a 2000 seat stadium, with little league teams watching…can only help to build our great game.  Then watching big leaguers shaking hands…just like the kids do…love it!!shaking hands
  • There is so much incredible young talent in the majors right now: Cody Bellinger, Rafael Devers, Anthony Binatendi, Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Jose Altuve,  John Carlo Stanton, Jose Ramirez…the future of baseball looks bright.
  • I had heard a lot about Sonny Grey before the Yankees got him at the trade deadline; sure haven’t seen much of him in his first few starts as a Yankee…always seems to be labouring on the mound, pitch count gets high really quickly and low strike out totals.  Hope he’s not another one of those guys who can’t play under the big spotlight in New York city.
  • Love, love, love this idea…all teams will be wearing specially designed socks…I’m a traditionalist and always loved the high socks and stirups…MLB is catching onto what the fans want…well done!!
    Socks_6fxw8hot_w2iizltw
  • Though I’m not a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals like my dad was, they sure do know how to rock those uniforms.
  • Aroldis Chapman has lost his closer role with the Yankees…costing them games in the 9th inning…three games in a row, he gave up two runs in the 9th; been relegated to 6th or 7th inning to regain his form.  Yankees are fortunate to have David Robertson and Dellin Betances  to close.
  • I think MLB umpires are feeling the heat with all the talk of virtual strike zones; though all the technology in baseball is not something I’m getting used to…watching some of the missed calls in the strike zone and then players being thrown out of games…you wonder if a virtual strike zone would calm down all the arguing about strike zone calls.  I don’t envy umpires and the pressure they are under.
  • It’s really something watching the way teams are setting up their infields based on the analytics; numbers don’t lie..and when a guy hits a ball right at an infielder who was positioned in a weird spot  (3rd baseman between 1st and 2nd), there is something to be said for all the analytics and number crunching.  David Cone, who does colour on the Yankees broadcasts, is obsessed with the numbers and sure makes the game interesting with all the information he gives the listener.
  • I DO NOT LIKE the “go to first base” intentional walk…where a manager just puts of four fingers and the hitter goes to first.  This is an attempt to save time…really two extra minutes??  What if there is a wild pitch on an intentional walk…what if the pitcher mixes up the batter and throws a strike?  Sorry MLB, this one I don’t agree with!!
  • Cubs are getting back into form…they may peak just in time for the playoffs!!

    andrew-mccutchen-little-league-world-series

    Pirates Andrew McCutchen witting with the kids at the Little League World Series!!

Major League Baseball notebook…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

brett-gardner_ero4c3usuimo10fltpwdqn2fk (1).jpg

Yankees LF and lead off hitter Brett Gardner…having a great season, getting better with age.

  • I was adamant in my claim that Aaron Judge should not participate in the Home Run Hitting contest, as it has historically messed up hitters’ swings.  Well, Judge was amazing in the the HR contest…but, as I said, he has seemed lost at the plate since then.   He is batting in the low .160’s after hitting in the .330’s the first half of the season.  Judge is swinging at sliders that he was laying off of in the first half, resulting in strikeouts in 26 straight games.  He’s a kid and has had a great rookie season…and probably has great things ahead, but…

    AP APTOPIX ROCKIES GIANTS BASEBALL S BBN USA CA

    Nolan Arenado

  • The Colorado Rockies are a fun team to watch…Nolan Arenado is a special player.
  • Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw….that’s some pretty sweet pitching right now in the Majors.
  • What else is left to say about Bryce Harper and Mike Trout?  They truly are generational players…superstars!!  Watching them both play is a treat…Harper has a little more swagger to his game, while Trout is just a joy to watch, whether in the batters box or making amazing catches in the outfield.
  • Watching the Winnipeg Goldeyes Reggie Abercrombie play centre field gives you a brief glimpse into what got him to the Majors; playing Independent League baseball, he still gives it everything he has…and makes catches that you don’t normally see in Indy ball.  “Why isn’t Reggie playing in the Majors Zaida?” asks my granddaughter Laine.  I respond, it’s probably because his bat wouldn’t be fast enough and being in his late ’30’s, not many teams want to take a chance on someone that age.  We’re lucky we get to see a player of his calibre right here in Winnipeg.

    Reggie

    Winnipeg Goldeyes Reggie Abercrombie

  • Talkng about great catches; this might be the best catch I’ve ever seen…Austin Jackson of the Detroit Tigers crashing into the Red Sox bullpen and making a spectacular catch:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCBCnHly59w
  • As a follow up to my blog of last week, I’d suggest Mr. Girardi’s managing seat is warming up quite a bit.  The team isn’t hitting, at all…there doesn’t seem to be any life in them.  After being in first place a full game ahead of the Red Sox, the Yankees suddenly find themselves four games out of first this morning.
  • The Red Sox were slumbering along (see NY Yankees) when they made a trade for Eduardo Nunez and called up their number one rookie prospect Rafael Devers; what a jolt of energy the two have brought to their team…woke them up and they are suddenly in first by four games.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing some kind of baseball; they recently completed a 43-7 stretch, the likes of which has not been seen for over 100 years. Again, it is the youth of that team that is talented and playing with great energy.  I’ve never disliked the Dodgers, but have never really been a fan…I must say I am enjoying watching this team.  It’s surprising when you realize they haven’t won a World Series since 1988.  That’s a long time in Dodger Land…I’m sure Mr. Lasorda is one happy Dodger fan these days.
    Turner

    Dodgers 3B man Justin Turner

     

  • Would love to see teams like the Brewers and Pirates make the playoffs, but it will still be the big money Cubs and Dodgers who squeeze those teams out.  Small market teams, like the Minnesota Twins, always seem to be at a competitive disadvantage trying to beat teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.
  • Seriously, what is it that keeps Mike Scioscia as manager of the Anaheim Angels…he’s been there for, I believe, 17 years and all they ever seem to do is tread water.
  • Brett Gardner has really grown on me this season, giving the Yankees a great left field and hitting out of the lead off spot at a level I never expected for him.  Seems to be getting better with age.
    Terreyes

Joe Girardi, Paul Maurice…let me introduce you to: the Hot Seat!!…by Chuck Duboff

 

 

© Chuck Duboff

In professional sports, there’s one place you don’t want to be, and that is on the Hot Seat. Coaches and managers throughout the long history of sports have always said that they are hired to be fired.  It’s a what have you done for me lately business and if your record was 1-17 last season or if you are on a 15 game losing streak, the noose tightens and you know that your job is in jeopardy.

Two of my favourite teams, the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Yankees now find themselves with a coach and manager who are on the proverbial hot seat.  Both Paul Maurice, head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, and, Joe Girardi, manager of the New York Yankees have been given lineups which now preclude any excuses.

Last season the Winnipeg Jets were one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL; they featured Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Nic Ehlers.  The Jets had no problem putting the puck in the net, but it was between the pipes where they struggled. Not having a veteran goalie put a lot of pressure on the rookie Conner Hellybucyk. Additionally, the Jets needed at least one more solid defence man if they wanted to make a move in the standings.

So, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff went out and got veteran goalie and former rookie of the year, Steve Mason, to stabilize the goaltending, and Dmitri Kulakov to fill out a six man D rotation, featuring Trouba, Big Buff, Morrissey, Enstrom and Myers.

Paul Maurice now has all that he wanted and the pressure is now on him to produce; I dare say, if the Jets struggle out of the gate, Maurice could be gone really quickly.  There is a reason that he is entering the upcoming season without a new contract.

Paul Maurice, you are on the hot seat.

Meanwhile, over in Gotham City, Joe Girardi finds himself in the same situation as Paul Maurice.  It’s make the playoffs and go for a deep run, challenging for the World Series. Anything less, for example, not making the playoffs…and Joe  will be managing elsewhere next season.

Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, has provided Girardi with an absolutely complete roster, with the additions of Sonny Grey and Jaime Garcia to the starting rotation, Todd Frazier to the 3B bag, and David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to an already dominating bullpen.  The bullpen is so strong now, that all the Yankees need is 5 or 6 innings from their starter and then its shutdown time.

Looking at the everyday players, the lineup now looks like this:

  1. Brett Gardner (Jacoby Elsbury)
  2. Clint Frazier (Aaron Hicks)
  3. Aaron Judge
  4. Gary Sanchez
  5. Didi Gregorious
  6. Matt Holiday
  7. Starlin Castro
  8. Chase Headley
  9. Todd Frazier

I dare say that is one very intimidating lineup for any pitcher to face.  The Yankees have a mix of both veterans and kids to ride through the playoffs.  Girardi has a solid starting pitching staff, shutdown bullpen and a powerful everyday lineup.

Paul Maurice and Joe Girardi…you are now on the hot seat.  Anything less than deep playoff runs, and I dare say your jobs are in jeopardy.

 

The Sunday Morning New York Yankees report…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

Yankees skipper, Joe Girardi

  • Yankees are going for it…acquire Jamie Garcia from the Twins; still in talks with Oakland to acquire Sonny Grey; both Sevarino and Montgomery are hitting innings pitched totals they’ve never thrown before…it’s wise on Cashman’s part to acquire starting pitching.
  • That trade with the White Sox that brought Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle was the turning point of the season; there is a confidence about the team that wasn’t there prior to the All-Star game; Frazier plays a great 3rd base and has a solid bat; Robertson and Kahnle are two outstanding relief pitchers, giving Girardi a really deep bullpen.
  • What a great story Todd Frazier is; grew up in Jersey, just miles from Yankee stadium…Paul O’Neil was his favourite player; and now, here he is, playing for his boyhood team; he said he feels like a little kid again playing ball!!  How cool is that!!

    toddfrazier27s-web

    Todd Frazier

  • Speaking of Frazier, the other Frazier, the kid, Clint Frazier, is going to make it very difficult for Cashman to send him back down to the minors; the kid has a great bat, lots of power and plays a solid left field; when Aaron Hicks is healthy, not sure what they are going to do with Jacoby Ellsbury…no way I send Clint Frazier down to the minors.
  •  Ronald Torreyes…has been invaluable this season…filling in for Didi, Castro…and swinging a solid bat…the dude is “smaller than you Zaida Chuck”, yet he has played his way into an important role with the Yankees.  Every team needs a Torreyes.
  • Have never been much of a Brett Gardner fan…but he is having an outstanding season; he’s always played a great centre or left field, but this year his bat has been sensational…with Friday night hitting his 19th HR for a walk off in the 11th inning and then yesterday, hitting a clutch single in the bottom of the 9th to give the Yankees their 6th win in a row.  Well done Brett…they call you the undisputed leader in the locker room!!
    brett-gardner_ero4c3usuimo10fltpwdqn2fk

    Brett Gardner

     

  • The middle of the Yankees order, after Gardner leads off…Clint Frazier bats second, Aaron Judge third, Gary Sanchez fourth, Matt Holiday and then Didi…that is some kind of lineup for a pitcher to navigate through.
  • Nice seeing Chase Headley find his bat again…playing a very nice first base.
  • The Yankees are doing all of this without Starlin Castro..they are being extra cautious with his hamstring…but when he gets back, that’s another smokin bat in a very deep lineup.
  • What a bullpen…from Adam Warren, to Chad Greene, to David Robertson to Tommy Kahnle to Dellin Betancis to Aroldis Chapman…wow!!
  • Oh yeah…there’s some kid named Aaron Judge, whose mere presence at the plate has got opposing managers trying to figure out how to pitch to him…you know Judge is in his groove, when he is getting walks…and not chasing pitches out of the strike zone!!
  • There is nothing better than listening to Michael Kay and Paul O’Neil broadcast a Yankees game on the YES Network…brilliant and hilarious!!
  • Mind you, listening to Jon Sterling and Suzy Waldman on WFAN radio…brings out the little kid in me…listening to ballgames on my transistor radio
  • Luis Sevarino, CC, Masahiro Tanaka, Jaime Garcia…maybe Jordan Montgomery or Sonny Grey??…nice rotation for Joe to work with.
  • Having MLB TV allows me to watch every Yankees game…essentially a season ticket for both home and road games…have never enjoyed Yankees baseball as much as I am this season.
  • Be nice to see Matt Holdiay heat up…he’s a solid bat right in the middle of the lineup…been struggling, but, he’s a veteran and will figure it out.
  • To quote the bleacher creatures in right field (that would be right at the top of my bucket list…to be sitting in right field and doing the role call with the crazy Yankee fans)….LETS GO YANKEES!!!!!  LETS GO YANKEES!!!! LETS GO YANKEES!!!!


Sunday Morning Random Thoughts…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

  • What better way to start the day then watching Aaron Judge absolutely crush another Home Run…almost completely out of Safeco Field.
  • Bombers chocked on that game Friday night…with a 42-27 lead and 7 minutes left in the game…Coach O’Shea calls yet another one of his head scratchers…a fake punt on your own 26 yard line….HUH???
  • President Doofus…why would anybody be looking into Pardons if nobody is guilty about anything.  When I listen to highly respected Conservative politicians and journalists talk about the shame of your presidency…I shake my head in disbelief as to the embarrassment  you are to your country.  You have time to have several meeting with that Despot, Putin…but you don’t have time to speak to the NAACP convention.
    trump-ahh
  • Made in AmeriKa week…yet all of Trumps products…and Ivanka’s…are made in 3rd world slave houses!!!  The hypocrisy knows no limits…
  • Some people bring a calming, peaceful understanding to your world and you feel blessed to know them…
  • While others whom you would hope care about you…don’t even make the time to respond to messages or say hello/chat at social gatherings.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are a prime example of how important developing young players is…they are an exciting to watch play because of the kids on their team…and…watching Clayton Kershaw pitch is a true joy…I’ve never been much of a fan of the Dodgers…but, I would put Kershaw right up there with the greats in baseball history…with the likes of Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan…there are the must see home run hitters like his team mate Cody Bellinger, but, Kershaw is a pitcher who is worth making the time to watch.
    Clayton-Kershaw-windup
  • Beautiful weather…better enjoy it while we can..July is coming to an end and then we have a few good weeks in August…looks like a sun filled, warm week ahead.
  • Love me a good thunderstorm.
  • All the hockey forecasts for next season have the Jets rated as one of the most talented teams in the league…with most predictions have the Jets going deep into the playoffs; that being said, every forecast also has Coach Maurice #1 on the hot seat list…if he can’t do something special with the lineup that he is being given this year…then he will be Toast!!  This is your chance coach…a stacked lineup, a solid, proven goalie…time to work your magic!!
  • Something else watching the Goldeyes hit four home runs in the first inning of an afternoon game!!
  • Brian Pallister…you heartless human being…I have zero respect for you and your lying.  You promised to maintain health care services, you promised to cut the PST…none of which you have made happen…you are only gutting essential services…a health care system that all Manitobans have been proud of!!
    brian-pallister-nurse-001
  • So all of the people still left standing around Trump, those he hasn’t fired, are all lawyering up…hmmm…I wonder why that would be?  From Jared Kuschner to Paul Manifort to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum…pops is going to throw you under the bus…I hope Mueller and his team are able to dig into the Orange Haired Bluto’s tax returns and find out what he has been hiding.
  • …and talking about hiding…I would love nothing more than to know what Putin has on Trump…it must be Huuuuuuge…and Trump is sweating.
    trump-putin-1024
  • Big trade by the Yankees this week getting Todd Frasier and a couple of solid bullpen arms; Yankees still need a starter…with Pineda down with Tommy John surgery, you can’t rely on rookies to take you deep into the playoffs.  I’m guessing either Yu Darvish or Sonny Grey will be a Yankee by weeks end.
  • Seriously, is this not once of the greatest baseball moments you’ve seen!!  I don’t know who raised Aaron Judge, but he has turned into one fine young man: (click the link:
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwfskegATmY

Thursday morning random thoughts…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Dylan stage

  • Thank you Mr. Dylan for a great show…best you’ve done in years!!  The songs and lyrics were clearly recognizable…and you got me with Highway 61, that was awesome!!
  • Did I happen to mention that my grandson Ben is an absolute baseball freak!!  He’s 8 years old and can tell you who every player is, what team he is on and the position he plays…sounds like his Zaida Chuck!!
  • Bombers’ QB Matt Nichols needs a bounce back game tonight…big time!!  I’m a fan of his, but were he to have a second bad game in a row, the doubt would start creeping in for all fans.
  • Speaking of creep…Donald Trump, you bloated megalomanic, you gonna throw Don Jr. under the bus to take the rap for you…or will it be Jared Kushner!!  God knows that if you throw “that Jew” Kushner under the bus, your KKK base will be thrilled!!
  • Last summer it was Tavern United and the Tragically HIp with Carly and Matt, while last night we hit Tavern first and then enjoyed Bob Dylan together…doesn’t get much better than enjoying one of your music icons with your two grown kids!!
    Pic with Car and Matt
  • I couldn’t be more thrilled than to have bought an Aaron Judge jersey…while wearing it, the little kid in me comes out, imagining myself slugging home runs for my New York Yankees.  Watching him break Joe DiMaggio’s rookie season HR record and then watching him with the HR Derby with Laine and Ben…priceless, just priceless.

     

  • Geoff and I had a nice long chat about the Jets the other day…and the fact that our window to win is quite small; we are going to have to be putting out big money to Trouba, Morrisey, Laine and Ehlers; fitting that all under the salary cap is going to be tough.  Chicago hasn’t won anything since signing Toews and Kane to long term deals.  Winning is paramount this season…and that’s why Chevy is referring to “winning now” in his interviews.  Both he and Maurice know, now is the time to win.
  • Brian Pallister…you heartless, lying human being.
  • brian-pallister-nurse-001 (1)
  • Goldeyes seem to be getting on a role…but Forney better track down some rookies…that bench is looking very thin right now.
  • Bomber game tonight, then family parties Friday and Saturday night…one busy summer!!
  • There are times when you just need to move on from certain friends…they had a time and place in your life, but no longer are they a positive.  You let go and move on.
  • Thanks Jono for the long talk and caring.
  • So very cool watching True North Square coming up in the heart of downtown…what an exciting change it will be when completed.
    TNSquare
  • It’s sad when certain Americans move up to Canada and then try and impose their Donald Trump values upon us…you’re entitled to your opinion, but racist rhetoric belongs in your homeland with Herr Trump.
  • Thank you Carly and Matt…that was one great night together…love you both so very much and couldn’t be prouder of the adults you have grown into!!
    19944336_10155202756375783_4067379004772247880_o

Aaron Judge breaks Joe DiMaggio’s 81 year old New York Yankee record…by Chuck Duboff

 

© Chuck Duboff

They are the New York Yankees.  A history like no other team.  Winners of 27 World Series.  You think of the great New York Yankees and the list is the whose who of the baseball greats.  The Babe, Babe Ruth…The Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig…Joe D, Joe DiMaggio…the Mick, Mickey Mantle, the Captain, Derek Jeter.  These Yankee greats set records and helped the Yankees become the storied franchise that they are.

It was in 1936, 81 years ago, that Joe DiMaggio broke into the Majors with the New York Yankees; during that memorable season, Joe D homered 29 teams to set the New York Yankee record for Home Runs by a rookie.  That record has held up for 8 decades.

It’s 2017 and along has come a rookie who has broken Joe DiMaggio’s record in just 84 games.  Last evening, 25 year old Aaron Judge hit his 30th home run of the season.  Think about that for a moment.  30 home runs in 84 games.  For 81 years no Yankee has come close to Joe D’s record, yet, young Aaron Judge, a humble, courteous, team first player, has not only broken the record, but is on a pace to set all sorts of records.

When a young player has his name mentioned in the same breath as Joe DiMaggio, you know you have got a special player.  Judge has made tremendous adjustments at the plate; no longer is he swinging at bad pitches.  He is leading the Majors in taking pitchers to a full count.  He has a .333 batting average and leads the Majors with 66 RBI’s.  He leads the Majors with 12 Home Runs over 430 feet.  Yet it was one home run, a 495 foot bomb, which captured the imagination of Yankee Nation,

Yankees broadcaster Jon Sterling called it the best: “A Judgian Home Run”…495 feet!! That is the kind of Home Run that brings back memories of Mickey Mantle crushing them and the Babe with his “Ruthian Home Runs.”  Judge has crept into the annals of Yankee lore and with his mammoth Home Runs he has become must see At Bat every time he gets to the plate.  Upon hitting that 495 foot Home Run, Topps baseball cards, rushed out this card celebrating that Home Run….and being the Yankee fan that I am, I ordered it and it arrived just yesterday:

Topps Judge

When I saw the package in the mailbox, I felt like the little kid whose boy hood hero was Mickey Mantle.  Here it is, some 56 years later and Aaron Judge has made me feel like a little kid again.  I had the good fortune of watching him tie Joe DiMaggio’s record along with my grandchildren Laine and Ben.  I jumped up in the air when I saw it going to deep centre field…the reaction by the kids was special…they had never seen the little boy in me..and getting to watch Yankee history with them was so very special.

Managers may come up with ways to pitch Judge; pitchers may find a weak spot in his swing…and he may still go into protracted slumps…but, for the first 3 1/2 months of the season, 25 year old Aaron Judge, has added him self to the New York Yankee record book and brought electricity and excitement back to New York Yankees baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Morning MLB notebook…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Tumpane

Umpire John Tumpane saves the life of a young woman in crisis about to jump off a bridge!!

  • John Tumpane, MLB Umpire…restores our faith in humanity by saving the life of a young lady about to jump off a bridge.  Good on ya John!!  Well done.
  • Miguel Montero…you just don’t do that man; you never throw a teammate under a bus.  Montero, after having had the Washington Nationals steal 7 bases on him, went to the media and blamed pitcher Jake Ariata for all the stolen bases.  Theo Epstein acted swiftly and the next morning Montero was released…as he should have been.  Well done Theo…
  • Roberto Osuna…that took a lot of courage to publicly speak about your anxiety, depression…”I fee lost”.  You’re not alone Roberto; the more people talk about mental health issues, the more accepting society will be come.  Stay strong my man.
    Osuna

    Roberto Osuna:  “I feel lost”

     

  • It seems like every season the New York Mets go through an endless stream of players on the DL; just this week, former Met pitcher Ron Darlin, now a broadcaster for the team, called into question the skill/talent of the training staff for the Mets.  Having a great training staff is so important to any professional team.
  • Hands up if you saw the San Francisco Giants nosediving like they have this season.
  • The NL West…now that is exciting baseball; the D Backs and Rockies playing great ball, while the Dodgers unearthed another gem, with rooki Cody Bellinger exciting fans with 22 Home Runs; love watching young kids breaking into the majors!!
    cody-bellinger-topper-jaffe
  • With video replay and the strike zone so defined on TV…it amazes me how many times umpires miss the strike zone by a very significant margin; saw one the other day where the pitch had to be at least a foot outside the strike zone and the ump called it a strike…and of course, the batter went off on the ump, as did the manager.  Robots for umpires are coming…I hate it, but…the technology is there.
  • Nice seeing the Atlanta Braves finally show some progress in their massive rebuild.
  • Surprisingly, the St Louis Cardinals don’t have much…for an organization that prides itself on developing players (hello Winnipeg Jets), this current crop of young Cardinals are nothing more than average.  (sorry Dad..lol)

    Yankees News and Notes:

  • The Yankees DL is overflowing…currently, CC Sabathia, Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday and last night, Yankee phenom, Dustin Fowler was added to the list.
  • Speaking of Dustin Fowler, he had his dream come true and with all the Yankee injuries, was called up to the Majors for the first time.  Sadly, he sustained an horrific injury: ruptured his right patella tendon and out for the sdeason; its hard watching the following videos; Yankees manager Joe Girardi was in tears
  • http://web.yesnetwork.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=1555729283
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGxodzBxAXc
  • Aaron Judge is at 27 HR’s and is on a pace for 58 for the season.  Don’t know if he can keep it up, but sure has made for an exciting season.
  • Yankees bullpen has been in shambles during this struggle to hold on with all of the injuries.
  • Masahiro Tanaka seems to have found himself again; with Tanaka, Sevarino and rookie Jordan Montgomery, here’s hoping they can stay within breathing distance of the Red Sox.  Good Michael Pineda is outstanding, but, you never know what you are getting with him.
    Sevy

    Luis Sevarino

     

  • It’ll take some kind of juggling act for Joe Girardi to navigate the Yankees through this tough stretch, but, all teams go through injury woes and the depth of the organization is severely tested!!

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.
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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.

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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