Tag Archive | "new york yankees"

Jeter gets Oscar for HBP performance

Derek Jeter gets the Oscar for his HBP performance in yesterday’s Yankees, Rays game. The amount of sports-talk radio time spent analyzing one at-bat is astounding, but then again, it involved the Yanks, their division rival Tampa Bay Rays and the pinstriped captain, Derek Jeter, America’s male sweetheart.

Bottom line, Derek Jeter played baseball the way it is supposed to be played, including all the little cheats that are traditional.

Derek Jeter cheated?!

Stop the presses; cover the eyes of children everywhere. Is it possible that if he cheats on the field he might actually do the same off the field? You know, like ingesting substances that are banned in the game.

For Pete’s sake, have we really bought his choirboy image to the extent that we think he is incapable of being a teammate that does everything necessary to get his team a win? The win hoped for on Wednesday night would have pushed the Yankees one more game ahead of the Rays in the hotly contested AL East.

Just because he called Joe Torre, “Mr. Torre” during his tenure in New York and hasn’t produced a baby mama that we know of yet, doesn’t mean the guy isn’t a ball player. This is baseball my friends. People steal signs, make believe they checked their swing, claim they didn’t trap a fly ball in the outfield and say they beat the tag at second.

Jeter faked being hit by a pitch, period. Of course it was the Academy Award performance he gave, that was so over the top it had Yankees fans laughing their heads off. Who knew he had it in him? Even fans have bought into the cliches: “He plays the game the right way”, “He’s a class act”, “He provides so many intangibles to the team”, and finally, my new current favorite, “He might be the best Yankee ever”.

Brand-Jeter stands for truth, justice and the American way, not for faking to get on base, that isn’t covered in the above cliche list. Suck it up folks, the guy is human and a ballplayer, nothing more and nothing less. Congrats to Jeter for not only getting to first base, but in the process, getting the opponent’s manager tossed. Sometimes you have to stand for being more than a brand.

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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AL pennant races heating up

Over three quarters of the baseball season has been played and when the calendar flips to September expect some exciting American League pennant races to go down to the wire.

While no teams have been mathematically eliminated, only six AL teams still have a greater than 10% chance of making it to the playoffs according to www.coolstandings.com.

Since only four teams make the playoffs we should see some tight series as teams grind it out and the schedule rounds third and heads for home. Here’s the rundown of the remaining teams vying for a post-season spot.

AL East:

Competitors and their Playoff Chances:

New York Yankees: 93.8%

Tampa Bay Rays: 93.3%

Boston Red Sox: 10.5%

Stretch Run Outlook:

Although the Red Sox still have a little greater than 10% chance of making the playoffs, it is looking more and more certain that they will be spending October at home for the first time since 2006. If you were to pick a random player from the Red Sox opening day roster, you would more than likely choose someone who has spent time on the DL this year.

Currently, the list of injured Red Sox includes Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. The injuries, coupled with the ineffectiveness of Josh Beckett and John Lackey have essentially killed the Red Sox playoff hopes. While they still have a chance to get in, they picked up Detroit Tigers player Johnny Damon on waivers today hoping to increase their chances. Besides Damon, they would have to use a cast including several replacement players to get through the two strongest teams in baseball.

As you can see from the playoff odds, both the Rays and Yankees are likely to make the playoffs this year. The Yankees currently have a one game lead in the division and the Rays lead the Wild Card race by 5.5 games (over the Red Sox). The Chicago White Sox are the only non division leading AL East team that is even within 10 games of the Rays.

On the year, the Yankees have the best run-differential in all of baseball (followed closely by the Rays) and are leading the majors in runs scored. The Yanks are third in the AL in fewest runs allowed, so the pitching hasn’t been too shabby either.

The Rays on the other hand, have allowed the fewest runs while pushing the third most across the plate.

Over the rest of the season, the Yankees and Rays meet seven more times (four of them at Yankee Stadium), which could play a huge part in deciding who wins the division and who takes the Wild Card. The Rays currently hold the advantage between the two teams, with a 6-5 record and +1 run differential in 11 games against the Yankees.

While it probably won’t matter who wins the division and who takes the Wild Card (both teams will likely be the favorites to advance to the ALCS), I would put my money on the Yankees at this point. Although the return of Jeff Neimann will help, I think the Rays would have benefited from leaving Jeremy Hellickson in the starting rotation instead of Wade Davis.

AL Central:

Competitors and their Playoff Chances:

Minnesota Twins: 88.2%

Chicago White Sox: 13.5%

Stretch Run Outlook:

The Central originally looked like a three team race, but the Detroit Tigers have collapsed leaving the White Sox and Twins to battle for the Division.

Just 12 days ago on August 11th, the Twins and White Sox were actually tied atop the division, but a Chicago cold streak and Minnesota hot streak have allowed the Twins to open up a five game lead over the White Sox.

Going forward, I just don’t see the White Sox catching the Twins. So far, the Twins have scored more runs and allowed fewer than the White Sox. The Twins also have a much larger group of players on the DL and will only get even stronger from here on out (especially when Justin Morneau returns).

The two teams face off only three times over the remainder of the season, which could be considered a positive or negative for the White Sox. The easiest way to make up ground is by playing head-to-head, but the White Sox are only 5-10 against the Twins so far this year, and might only stand to lose more if they played more often.

Although the White Sox have some hitters (specifically Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham) who have stepped up in the second half, they will struggle to play better than the more complete Twins team.

AL West:

Competitors and their Playoff Chances:

Texas Rangers: 92.4%

Both the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics have less than a five percent chance of making the playoffs, so the AL West doesn’t appear to be much of a race down the stretch. The Rangers have played the worst baseball (.561 winning percentage) of any division leader (they actually have only the fifth best record in the American League) yet still hold an eight game division lead. Thus far the Rangers have split the season series (6-6) with Oakland and hold a slight edge over (7-5) over Los Angeles so unless something drastic changes in the division, the Rangers should be coasting toward October and getting set to play the Wild Card winner.

Used with permission of the author.

 Along with contributing to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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A-Rod Finally Hits No. 600, anybody notice?

The wait is over, and we can all breathe easy.  No, the BP hasn’t gotten the oil leak completely plugged just yet.   

 The second-longest wait in America is over – Alex Rodriguez finally hit his 600th home run today, blasting a 2-run shot off Toronto’s Shaun Marcum into straightaway center field.  Luckily for the Yankees, the ball landed in a net that hangs above Monument Park, thus enabling the team to retrieve it and auction it off online.  Commemorative infield dirt, anyone? (the actual ball is pictured here).

 A-Rod becomes only the seventh player in MLB history to do so.  In addition, at age 35, he is now the youngest player to hit number 600 (Yankee legend Babe Ruth was the previous record-holder, hitting his at age 36).  While this is an impressive accomplishment, what’s even more astounding is the lack of interest in A-Rod’s home run.

Let’s face it – “A-Fraud” is probably only second behind “BALCO” Barry Bonds in terms of the fans’ least-favorite modern slugger.  Rodriguez is always going to have the stigma of prior performance enhancing drug use (or as he called it in his infamous 2009 press conference, “Boli”), so this should come as no surprise.  There has been very little buzz about #600 outside of the New York tri-state area.  And even there, some of the local media, such as ESPN’s Ian O’Connor, aren’t afraid to state this fact.

In fact, a lot of baseball fans were openly rooting for him to have a prolonged home run drought, similar to the anti-Bonds backlash as he prepared to break Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record.  The opposite was true in 1998 during the McGwire/Sosa home run “chase.”

The bottom line is that no one cares.  America in 2010 is a lot different than it was in previous decades.  The majority of sports fans don’t much care for athletes that cheat (Tiger Woods), think they’re above the law (Ben Roethlisberger) or are even the least bit narcissistic (LeBron James). 

At least now we can move on to more important things, like the story that stole A-Rod’s thunder − Brett Favre’s latest retire/un-retire debacle.  Now there’s an athlete who has his finger on the fans’ pulse.

Used with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for Examiner.com and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. He previously wrote for 1766, the Rutgers Alumni Magazine, and popular blog, ‘The Outer Loop’.  Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter for more MLB and sports observations.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLB, Recent BuzzComments (0)

MLB trade deadline deals, RECAP

The month of July (specifically the last week) is always a busy time for Major League Baseball. The All-Star game is fun, but the real action comes at the end of the month, when MLB reaches its non-waiver trade deadline.

By my count, 25 major trades happened in the month of July, with 22 of them coming within the last week. Twenty-five teams were involved in these trades with the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics all stayed quiet as the deadline passed.

The most active buyers were the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees and the teams that unloaded the most talent were the Arizona Diamondbacks, Pittsburg Pirates and Cleveland Indians.

Instead of analyzing each individual trade, I’ll go through a division-by-division breakdown about which trades will ultimately affect who is going to be playing in October.

AL East:

Coming into the trade deadline, the Yankees were not only the favorites to win the division, but also to win the World Series. Given that the Tampa Bay Rays made only one move (and a small move at that) the Yankees would have still been the favorites had they kept the status quo.

Instead, the Yankees went out and acquired Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Woods. Sure, all three of them are passed their prime, but with the Yankees they will simply be role players, complimenting an already deep core.

Both the Rays and the Boston Red Sox were relatively quiet. The Rays added some relief help in Chad Qualls, while the Red Sox added catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and traded away reliever Ramon Ramirez. With only these minor additions, I think the Rays and Red Sox will hold place in the second half, meaning the Rays will be playing in October while the Red Sox watch from home.

Both the Blue Jays and the Orioles were sellers at the deadline. Between the two of them, the Blue Jays got the biggest prize in Yunel Escobar, who has the talent to be an All-Star shortstop if he can stay focused on baseball. The Blue Jays also had an interesting trade with the Astros, sending top prospect Brett Wallace away for Anthony Gose.

AL Central:

With Jake Peavy out for the year, the division leading Chicago White Sox went out and added pitching help by acquiring Edwin Jackson from Arizona. The Twins also upgraded their pitching staff by adding closer Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals.

Riddled with injuries, the Detroit Tigers stayed relatively quiet at the deadline, adding only Jhonny Peralta and failing to address some of their major holes.

As the season plays on, Chicago and Minnesota will battle for the division lead as Detroit slowly begins to lag behind. In the end, my money is on the Twins, who are smoking hot right now.

Both Kansas City and Cleveland were sellers (as expected). Cleveland is still waiting on half of its returns, as both of their trades with the Yankees involve players to be named later. Kansas City didn’t make out with any stud prospects, but Tim Collins could be a future closer, as he has dominated in AA this year and has struck out 15.4 batters per nine innings.

AL West:

The Rangers made the earliest splash of anyone, acquiring Bengie Molina and Cliff Lee before the All-Star break. In the end, the team with the biggest lead in baseball added five players (also including Mark Lowe, Christian Guzman and Jorge Cantu) to fill various roles on the team.

The Angels, who are currently tied for second, came away with Dan Haren, but he alone likely won’t be enough to get catch the Rangers. For the record, I think the Angels got away with robbery in the Haren trade, as the centerpiece going to the Diamondbacks was mediocre starter Joe Saunders. The Halos almost added Derek Lee as well, but he used his no-trade clause to prevent that deal.

Seattle didn’t complete any trades near the deadline (only the Lee trade early in the month) and Oakland stood pat. In the end, I don’t see much changing in this division. The Angels will finish the year ahead of Oakland, but won’t have enough to catch Texas.

NL East:

The division leaders both made strides to improve their teams this month. The Philadelphia Phillies grabbed headlines by acquiring Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros. Although he got hammered in his first start, Oswalt gives the Astros a phenomenal number two starter.

Despite what you may have heard (after the Oswalt trade), the Atlanta Braves actually remain the division leaders at this point. After acquiring Alex Gonzalez early in the month, the Braves took Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth from the Royals. If Ankiel lives up to his potential, he will be a huge boost to the Braves. If not, he will still be better than Nate McLouth.

All in all, I still think the Braves will win the division. Even if Oswalt pitches well, over a third of the season, he only adds about a win or two to the Phillies, which is further back than they are right now.

The Mets stood pat at the deadline. They are seven games back, and weren’t clear buyers or sellers. The Marlins seemingly also kept the status quo. Although they did trade, they were sellers in one instance (Jorge Cantu to the Rangers) and buyers in another (acquiring Will Ohman from the Orioles). Neither the Mets nor Marlins are going to compete for the division title.

The Nationals were sellers (as expected) although they hung onto a couple guys (Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham) that could have brought the team significant value. I think the Nationals robbed the Twins, as Wilson Ramos could be a perennial All-Star at catcher and Matt Capps is an average at best closer.

NL Central:

There really weren’t any buyers in the NL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Jake Westbrook, but in doing so lost Ryan Ludwick. Their main competition for the division title, the Cincinnati Reds did nothing at all, which surprises me.

In the end, I like the Cardinals to win the division. I think they will benefit from what was essentially a swap of Ludwick for Westbrook, and have more talent than the Reds.

The Brewers also stood firm, which is interesting since they are not going to compete this year and had some valuable trade pieces (notably Corey Hart).

The Chicago Cubs (Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot), Houston Astros (Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Anthony Gose) and Pittsburg Pirates (just about everyone in the bullpen worth mentioning aside from Evan Meek) all shed some salary and added young talent. The Cubs could have done more in my mind, as they are still a veteran loaded team that isn’t close to competing.

NL West:

The front running (and offensively starved) San Diego Padres went out and acquired a solid bat in Ryan Ludwick. The San Francisco Giants on the other hand (who are also offensively challenged) ignored their needs while beefing up their bullpen for the stretch run.

Colorado didn’t make any trades, deciding to stand pat (although the recent returns of Troy Tulowitski and Jorge De La Rosa could boost the team up in the standings). The Los Angeles Dodgers were the big buyers in the division, adding Scott Podsednik, Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel.

The Dodgers did a great job of adding talent, but they are already 7.5 games out of first and I don’t think they did enough to get all the way back.

Ultimately, I think the top four slots in the division will go San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado, in what might be one of the closest four team races in baseball history.

Arizona sold off just about everyone worth mentioning at the deadline. They got some decent talent in return, but I think that Dan Haren could have fetched more value had the D-Backs waited until the deadline to deal him. Arizona will still get two more players at the end of the year, as the Angels and Rays owe them a player to be named later.

Used with permission of the author.

 Along with contributing to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLB, Recent BuzzComments (0)

“The Boss” a controversial era ends

On July 13, 2010, Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees lost one of their most eccentric owners on the same day they celebrated their 81st All-Star Game. 

George “The Boss” Steinbrenner suffered a heart attack in his Tampa, Florida home and passed away after 37 years of ownership in Major League Baseball, a stint that began in 1973 when he purchased the Yankees.

To commemorate the owner, the Yankees will be wearing custom-made patches on their game jerseys for the remainder of the season.   

Steinbrenner revolutionized ownership in all major league sports after his purchase of the New York Yankees from CBS on January 3, 1973, an acquisition that occurred after his failed attempt to purchase the Cleveland Indians a year earlier.

Steinbrenner would go on to hold ownership of the Yankees longer than any previous owner in the team’s history and soon became known for his controversial moves with management, players and other personnel.

Three months after he unpacked his bags in the Bronx, controversy ensued when the team’s president left the organization after crossing paths with The Boss. The following season, Steinbrenner attempted to hire rival manager Dick Williams from the Oakland Athletics but was prevented from doing so due to Williams remaining under contract with the A’s. Adding controversy to this attempt was the fact Williams had mysteriously resigned following a second consecutive World Series championship for his A’s.

At that same time, the A’s and Yankees rivalry was fueled when the flamboyant Yankees owner began targeting and signing several Oakland players including Catfish Hunter and most notably, Reggie Jackson. 

Steinbrenner was also notorious for his grooming demands that prevented players from displaying facial hair with the exception of mustaches – a policy that was challenged several times most notably by fan favorite, Don Mattingly.

A more recent example of the results from the hair codes around the Yankee clubhouse is when Johnny Damon left the Boston Red Sox organization with his shoulder-length hair and a full beard then showed up at his first Yankees press conference as clean shaven as a Marine.

Throughout his years at the helm, regardless of performance, Steinbrenner would change management. In fact, Billy Martin was fired and eventually rehired five times among the twenty changes that were made in The Boss’ first 23 years of ownership.  Many times personal animosity would result from on-field moves and decisions such as the case of Buck Showalter’s resignation in 1995. 

One of Steinbrenner’s most unusual moves for the era came before the beginning of the 1981 season when Dave Winfield was presented with a $23 million contract over a period of ten years.  At the time, this move made Winfield the highest paid player in the history of baseball. By 1985 Steinbrenner openly questioned the performance of Winfield to media personnel after the team struggled in a September series against the rival Toronto Blue Jays. 

The feud with Winfield finally culminated in 1990 when it was discovered that Steinbrenner had paid for information to be “dug up” on Winfield who had already sued the Yankees in the amount of $300,000 due to a violation of contract issues.

After investigation by MLB, Steinbrenner would receive a lifetime ban from baseball that was later lifted when he was reinstated in 1993. The feud would remain so bitter that Winfield chose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the San Diego Padres – the first team Winfield had played for and the city he had left to become a member of the Yankees.

Steinbrenner eventually become less involved in the actual operations of the team and it was during this period that the team became a consistent contender, playing neck-and-neck with the eventual World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays until September 1993. The Yankees finally returned to the playoffs in 1995 ending a 14-year drought. 

In a more recent move that was heavily criticized by the media and numerous members within baseball, Steinbrenner hired Joe Torre in 1996 in what would end up his longest managerial relationship at a record of twelve years. With Torre as manager, Steinbrenner produced a World Series winner when the Yankees defeated a very competitive Atlanta Braves team in six games in 1996. 

The team would return to, and win, the World Series again in 1998, 1999 and 2000 while making the playoffs every season for 12 consecutive years until falling short and finishing third in the competitive American League East in 2008. 

Success was once again right around the corner as the Yankees again captured the World Series championship in 2009 after a series with the Philadelphia Phillies.  The championship marked the 27thof the organization and the seventh under the ownership of Steinbrenner. 

Steinbrenner leaves behind a legacy of championships and controversy as owner of the New York Yankees.

The salaries of professional sports were forever changed when Dave Winfield was pulled away from the San Diego Padres with such a lucrative offer for that time.  For the most part – prior to Steinbrenner – management was content to hire general managers and presidents who would run the operation of the game as they watched from a distance.

The Boss was one of the first to become involved in day-to-day operations of the team and began a legacy of management changes during unsuccessful periods that still echo today.  Steinbrenner was one of the first to look for immediate success with new management and that trend has continued across all four major sports leagues. Above all, though, Steinbrenner will remain beloved as a man that loved his Yankees, city and game.

Used with permission of the author.

Cade Caldwell is an Atlanta-based sportswriter and contributor to Sports Climax.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in MLB, Recent BuzzComments (2)

Tigers’ rookies Boesch and Jackson tearing it up

Boesch vs. Hanson (Photo: Cindy Ferda / SC)

The 2nd place Detroit Tigers appear to be built for the present and future as their rookie tandem of Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson continue to tear up the bases like in yesterday’s 10-4 win against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

Most expected the Tigers (40-34) to depend on sluggers Miguel Cabrera (.332, 20HR, 64 RBI), Magglio Ordonez (.319, 10HR, 49RBI) and newly-acquired Johnny Damon to carry the load this season but Boesch and Jackson have contributed an enormous amount at the plate.

During yesterday’s 17-hit attack on starter Tommy Hanson and the Braves pitching staff, Boesch and Jackson’s combined stats included 5 hits, including a two-run, 400-ft. dinger by Boesch, 5 RBI and 4 runs.

After yesterday’s performance in Atlanta, Boesch improved his season’s average to a team-leading .338 while Jackson’s leaped to .307.

Both hitters have enough at bats to qualify for the AL Rookie-of-the-Year voting and are getting their share of attention regarding the award. The tandem sits well above the rookie pack in the American League at No. 1 and No. 2 in batting average with the nearest trailer Tampa Rays Reid Brignac batting .272.

Jackson came to Detroit as the main acquisition in the unpopular trade with the bitter rival New York Yankees that sent fan-favorite Curtis Granderson off to the Big Apple.

If Jackson stays on this kind of pace, it won’t take long for Tigers fans to “forgive” Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski for making the move.

BTW, here’s another stat for all the Dombrowski haters. While Jackson continues to tear it up for Motown’s Tigers, Granderson is hitting a career-low .237 in New York.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, MLB, Recent BuzzComments (1)

Joe Torre taking heat, now faces Yankees

Joe Torre has been getting killed on Los Angeles sports-talk radio and now has to rally his Dodgers against the evil empire that used to employ him: the New York Yankees.

The Dodgers finally broke a six-game losing streak with a big 10-6 win against the LA Angels of Anaheim on Thursday night.

The Angels have taken all but one of the six inter-league games played so far this season and that only made things worse for the Dodgers skipper.

When base running and fielding mistakes made his stars look lackadaisical, Torre suffered more than the usual criticism.That’s because Angels manager, Mike Scioscia is renowned for drilling his players from the lowest level of the minor leagues on baseball fundamentals.

Matt Kemp criticized by GM for fielding errors

Torre and the Dodgers have had an up and down season. Early on they slipped to eight games below .500 only to see themselves rally and take the top spot in their division.

But coming off the lackluster play of the previous week and a half and knowing the World Champs are at the door for the weekend can’t be pleasant.

Oh, you’ll read all the sweet stories about how Torre’s mainstay players in pinstripes adore him and can’t wait to see him again, but unfortunately none of them play for his team.

Despite that, Torre and fans are entitled to better than they were getting from the players who wear Dodger blue. Every little mistake can take its toll when the pitching situation continues to be fluid.

With two rookies seeing a lot of time in the rotation due to vets being on the DL (Padilla and now Billingsley) reliance on timely hitting and execution of plays is even more important.

Torre’s style is one of an adult talking with other adults in a calm, measured manner. But the losing streak provoked a rare closed-door meeting with his club on Wednesday night. It’s unclear if the law of averages took over or Torre’s little chat with his players had an effect.

And here come the Yankees with their World Series championship rings barely tucked away in their vaults. Sporting the best record in the majors this year and two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East, the team has had its share of pitching issues with A.J. Burnett mired in a slump and Javier Vazquez yet to distinguish himself as a fifth starter.

But Torre would kill for the Yanks pitching woes just as he would love to have the calming presence of Rivera, Jeter, Posada and Pettite in the clubhouse. But they aren’t walking through the door anytime soon.

Torre must somehow inspire his team to show the Steinbrenner brats that they care about him enough to make a good showing in the three-game set.

I’m sure at this point he’d settle for no base running mistakes and no balls getting past Matt Kemp in centerfield.

Chris Lardieri, LA Dodgers Examiner has more on the team and their owners, here.

Box score of Dodgers victory over Angels, here

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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It’s finally official; Johnny Damon is a Detroit Tiger

LAKELAND, Fla. – It’s finally official; Johnny Damon is a Detroit Tiger.

After reports first surfaced this weekend on SI.com on Saturday night that Damon had signed a one year deal for Photo Credit: Julian H. Gonzalez DFPapproximately $8 million with the Detroit Tigers pending a physical, Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com that “significant progress” had been made in talks with Damon but he could not confirm a signing.

Today, in a press conference held at the Tigers’ spring training facility in Lakeland, Florida, Damon was officially presented as the newest Tiger.

The 36-year-old outfielder has an impressive resume that includes being a part of two World Series winning teams, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

A two-time American League All-Star, Damon hit 24 home runs and drove in 82 runs for the Yankees last year and since 2007 has batted .325 at Comerica Park.

Over the past couple of weeks, rumors were flying that the Atlanta Braves had thrown a hat into the ring along with the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox. Both Atlanta and Detroit hold spring training in Florida near Damon’s Orlando area home so they were the front-runners when the bidding began.

According to MLB.com reports, when the Braves learned Damon was interested in the team, he was offered a one year contract that included deferred funds. However, according to one MLB.com report, the Braves made the offer “with an understanding that they would likely be outbid by the Tigers or another Major League club.”

Other reports surfaced that Damon’s wife wanted to go to Chicago. During today’s press conference when Damon was introduced and given a Detroit Tigers No. 18 uniform, he said repeatedly that Detroit was where he and his family wanted to be.

He also warned that talk that his wife did not want to go to Detroit was untrue and that if the quotes did not come directly from him or his wife, then they probably were not true.

“This is where I wanted to be. Detroit is the team I wanted to play with. It finally worked out, “said Damon.

In addition to writing her Chicago Cubs column for Examiner.com, Miriam Romain has been published in several Cubs annuals by Maple Street Press and is a contributor to SportsClimax.com . She is also writing a book with the working title “Summers at Wrigley with my Dad.”

Copyright © 2010 – Sports Climax™

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MLB Ignores Dire Need to Expand Replay Rules

After botching several critical calls during this year’s playoff series and World Series, Major League Baseball decided to ignore the serious issue surrounding their sport and did not present any proposals to expand on their current video replay system – Sports Climax Editor

Below is a story contributed by National Sportswriter Paula Duffy.

CHICAGO – In Chicago this week, the MLB general managers never even made a proposal related to expansion of replay, never cuzzi-callmind  vote on anything.Mlb.com reported on Tuesday afternoon that the prevailing opinion was in sync with public statements made by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. 

MLB executive vice president, Jimmy Lee Solomon said:

“We only have now a season and a couple of months’ experience with it. Now there are those who clamor for more and more instant replay. I think we have to digest what we’ve got. We’ve got to look at this technology and look at where we are as a sport.”

In other words, what’s your hurry buddy, we don’t like to be pushed. As previously noted, a younger more tech-savvy base of executives wouldn’t blink at discussing what was the hottest topic to come out of the post-season, besides A-Rod’s awakening and use of pitchers on “short rest”.

Yankees GM, Brian Cashman spoke for those of us who don’t see this as heresy or acting hastily. MLB.com carries this quote: I’m big on technology,” Cashman said. “I’m open to any way we can help the umpires. We want what the umpires want — to get the calls right.”

Unfortunately he added that he would leave the matter up to the Commissioner’s Office and the umpire’s union. If they believe all is fine, Cashman will be good with that.

Too bad.

I don’t expect revolutionary changes to be made only a week after the conclusion of the World Series but the absence of an agenda item with a proposal that could be studied and debated is disheartening. We’re left with the usual blather that can be summed up by a statement made by Mets’ GM, Omar Minaya: “Look, umpires are going to make bad calls.”

Well at least that doesn’t need to be an agenda item and debated. We all know that already.

Tired of the same old sports page? Then check out Paula Duffy’s insightful (and often humorous) take on the sports day at her Examiner.com page! The popular co-host for Sports Journey Radio is also a contributor to the Huffington Post and founder of the sports learning site Incidental Contact. In her spare time, Duffy practices law in Los Angeles. But don’t hold that against her.

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Twins Get Boned, Then Lose to Yankees 4-3

NEW YORK – The botched call left field umpire Phil Cuzzi made last night during the New York Yankees 4-3 victory over the cuzzi-callvisiting Minnesota Twins is sending shock waves through the baseball world, especially in Minnesota where the Twins return home down 2-0 in their five-game series against the New York Yankees.

Detroit Tigers fans may be referring to this call as justice. Just days earlier, home plate umpire Randy Marsh missed Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge getting hit by a pitch in the 12th inning with the bases loaded in crucial Game 163 against these same Twins.

Like the Twins, the Tigers should have been guaranteed at least one run and both went on to lose in the bottom of the same inning the botched calls occurred.

In the top of the 11th inning of last night’s game, Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer ripped a line shot down the left field line that glanced off Melky Cabrera’s glove in fair territory then clearly landed fair, several inches inside the left field line.

Mauer should have been awarded a ground rule double but instead, Mauer was given a single, the Twins followed with two singles loading the bases with no out but failed to score. Cuzzi’s call took a run from the Twins as Mauer would have crossed home plate on one of those hits.

Like Tigers Manager Jim Leyland a week earlier, Ron Gardenhire did not directly blame the outcome of the game on the call considering their teams had plenty of other opportunities to win the games.

Crew chief Tim Tschida admitted seeing the tape of the Mauer hit after the game and admitted it was a blown call then offered this comment, “There’s a guy [Cuzzi] sitting over in the umpire’s dressing room right now that feels horrible. Nobody feels it worse than the umpire.”

Don’t be so sure about that.

Sports Climax received several emails from our readers slamming this call. One reader asked if that were a case of a “Jersey Ump on the Take?” The email continued, “I would check his [Cuzzi’s] bank account today to see if the bookee’s [sic] check has cleared. He was less than 20 feet away, staring right at it and missed it twice. Yankee Magic! Yankee Cheat!!”

Not sure about bookies or payoffs but after viewing the video of the play, a visit to his optician should certainly be recommended.

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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