Being a Yankee fan, or even for those Red Sox fans on this MLBlogosphere, these next four days should present nothing else but Red Sox-Yankees analysis on any Yankee fan’s or Red Sox fan’s blog. That’s so simple. The best rivalry in baseball is nothing short of what it is put up to be. It is the single best part of the MLB. It is my favorite part of the year when the Yankees and Red Sox face off and everyone else’s involved in this rivalry. And basically, it is the only thing that should be talked about by any Red Sox or Yankee fan during the 18 games they play each other every year. It is just STELLAR.
So, everyone knows that the Yankees have been unsuccessful against the Red Sox thus far this season. They have been unable to win at home or on the road; extremely disappointing to Yankee fans. Now, with first place in our posession (meaning the Yankees), the Bronx Bombers have a certain upside to things now, now that they have succeeded past the Sox without actually beating them. But these next few games they play against the Red Sox will be played with a bigger sense of importance. The Yankees can really pull away from the Red Sox, and push their already solid 2.5 game lead to maybe a 5 game lead or a 6 game lead at best. A sweep would be phenominal seeing that we haven’t beaten them once this season. Four straight wins would be STELLAR.
The Yankees and Red Sox play a total of ten games to finish off the season series. Three of those are in Boston and the rest of them are in New York. This is a huge advantage for the Yankees and they need to take advantage of it. I can’t think of any better way to say it than that. If you can’t win at home, you don’t have as good a chance to win on the road.
Victor Martinez… just aquired in a blockbuster deal from the Cleveland Indians. A catcher/first baseman that has helped the Red Sox immensely in their current infield situation. They have Mike Lowell who hasn’t been to the top of his health. Since this has been the case, he has not started at third in the recent past and has forced Kevin Youkilis to shift over to third, the position he came to the Red Sox to play. Victor Martinez has fit into the first base position and has let Jason Varitek remain behind the plate. Late in the games, Mike Lowell has appeared to pinch hit giving the Red Sox much needed depth. Martinez will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox action and will be a huge part in it. Martinez is the offensive bat that has fit into an already loaded lineup for the Red Sox that has its fair share of power and just general good hitting. It will be interesting to watch how he performs.
Now, going sort of off topic. How about that Kung Fu Panda?
No not that one… this one.
Pablo Sandoval has been a huge part of bringing the San Francisco Giants back into the playoff race. They are currently first in the wild card race in the NL, only a half game ahead of their closest competitors in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies. The Giants aren’t going to get to the top of the division, with the Dodgers easily pulling away from day one, but with Sandoval leading the way offensively, the Giants could be the underdog that gets into the playoffs. They have the pitching; Lincecum and Cain. They have the defense; Rowand and Molina among them. They have the offense; Sandoval and Sanchez. What else is their that they need. Obviously they don’t have an overly great team, but they have what it takes to perform to a high standard and they could surely make it to the playoffs. Now, how far will they go in the playoffs? I’m not so sure. They do have to face off against the best of the best in the NL; the Dodgers, the Phils, most likely, and possibly the Cards, the Cubbies, or even the Brew Crew. All tough teams, but they should have enough to get into the playoffs in the first place. Sandoval leads the way offensively and all I can say to the Giants is this:
THE KUNG FU PANDA WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.
As all of you who read my post “Final Thoughts on Final Vote” know, my picks for the final vote were Shane Victorino and Ian Kinsler. You would also know that I thought Ian Kinsler should have already been in the All Star Game starting at second base instead of the reigning MVP Dustin Pedroia. Nothin against Pedroia who is having a good year, but Kinsler is having a better one. You would all know that Shane Victorino and Pablo Sandoval were both good choices in my eyes but that I would go with “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” simply because I felt he was having a better season. Now that the final vote is over, I have some more thoughts on the two guys that finished off the AL and NL All Star rosters. Shane Victorino and Brandon Inge.
Now, Shane Victorino did all that he could over the course of the time limit for the final vote, including a walk off, some very good stats, and a continued season of full out effort. He worked for it, deserved it, and is going to St. Louis to join some of his teammates in the NL’s attempt to win the All Star game for the first time in… I don’t know how long but the AL wins it almost every year. So this pick satisfies me and I have no further comment on the NL final man. Now the AL final vote pick has me thinking.
Brandon Inge, the third baseman from the Detroit Tigers. He’s having a good season, don’t get me wrong. But out of the guys that were available in the final vote, I don’t see how so many people picked Inge. He isn’t one of those hugely popular guys who can just count on his popularity to get picked. He isn’t that kind of guy. Kinsler on the other hand, has a following, is having a better season than Dustin Pedroia. He should have at least been a backup for the second base position. Now that he is going to be absent for this midsummer classic, it will feel like there is something important missing. Almost like missing an arm or a leg. Also, another guy that I feel got snubbed was Alexei Ramirez, the White Sox shortstop. He started off the season slow, but come May, he turned it on and has been having a STELLAR season. Now, there is some tough competition at the shortstop position this year (Jeter, Bartlett) and I can see how he didn’t get in. But I thought he could have maybe gotten in anyway. He’s having a good enough season so if he got in, there would be no question from me about him deserving the spot.
Well, that’s all I can say about this. I’m kind of all thought out. ‘Til next time…
The All Star teams were announced Sunday and I was pumped to see a bunch of my favorite players make the teams. Jay-Bay, Big Tex, Tim “the Kid” Lincecum, Curtis “How Grand He is” Granderson. They all made the team and I am pumped for the game and the entire All Star weekend. It’s going to rock.
So now, with most of the spots filled, there are the final votes to think about to see who will make the final spot on the AL and NL rosters. In the AL, Ian Kinsler, Chone Figgins, Brandon Inge, Carlos Pena, and Adam Lind make up the final vote list. In the NL, Pablo Sandoval, Shane Victorino, Cristian Guzman, Matt Kemp, and Mark Reynolds line up in hope of having their All Star dreams come true. All deserving, all willing, and all worthy choices of these two spots. But only one can be picked and everyone has their own opinions on who should be in St. Louis for the game. I believe my picks are solid and I can back them up. Some may not agree with them but some will. It all depends on your point of perspective. Here’s mine.
The first thing voters have to think of when they make their votes for the entire rosters in general is how they think the game should be played. Should it be played to win or should it be played with just the top players in each league. If you think the game is to be won, you might alter your picks to make sure there is more versatility on each roster. In the AL, instead of picking Ian Kinsler, who is having a STELLAR season, you may pick Chone Figgins who can play a few different positions. He can be moved around for a switch when you need to pinch hit for a pitcher. Since the game is being played in the National League, this is a very important aspect of the game, assuming you are playing to win the game. Now, if you take the “the best players should play” route, then Ian Kinsler and Carlos Pena would most likely be at the top of most peoples’ list. They have the best stats of the five players in the AL and they are the most worthy of the spot. But again, it all depends on how you look at the game.
On the NL side, you might pick an outfielder for the final vote, Shane Victorino or Matt Kemp for instance. The outfield is the most versatile position for the All Star game and outfielders can generally move around from each of the three positions. On the other hand, if you look at who deserves it the most, Victorino and Kemp would be up there, and Pablo Sandoval would be up there. Among the five, those three have the best stats. The same for the AL goes for the NL. It all depends on how you look at the game.
Personally, the way I look at it is this… the best players should make it, regardless of their versatility. I mean, yeah some guys that deserve it more than others aren’t going to make it because there is no spot for their position on the roster left. They might not be the best at their position and they won’t make the team. Say an outfielder makes the team because there are more outfield spots on the roster than second baseman. But say the second baseman is having a better season than the outfielder. Tough break. He’s not going to make the team. That is going to happen sometimes. But the best players at the positions available should make the team. That is the whole concept of the All Star Game. All Stars are the best in the game. They are meant to be honored at the All Star game as the best of the best. Not the guys who will help the team win. That rule was only recently appointed anyway. Back in the day when the All Star game was first started, the rosters were made up of those who were the best in the league. Now that the game counts, people take on a different perspective that I think ruins the voting process. All Stars are All Stars… that’s so simple.
The two guys I would pick would be Kinsler and Victorino. Now, Kinsler doesn’t give you much versatility. Big deal. He is having a better season than the starting second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, but might not even get in because of his lack of versatility. Victorino on the other hand is an outfielder and is more valuable as a versatile tool than maybe the other guys. Sandoval is also very versatile, able to play at the catcher, third base, and first base positions. It doesn’t get much more versatile than that. And Kemp is an oufielder too. But out of the three, I think Victorino is the best and is having the best season. In this case, it all comes down to who you think is having a better season. If the player is having a good season and is also versatile, than you have a great player and an easy pick. It’s pretty simple.
Now, those are my thoughts on how the All Star voting process should go. I’m sure there are many of you out there who disagree with my whole point of view, but I really don’t care. My final thought… All Stars are All Stars.
For any of you who don’t know Riley Poole, he is one of the main characters in the National Treasure movies. Acting alongside Nicholas Cage and Diane Kruger (Ben Gates and Abigale Chase), Justin Bartha (Riley Poole) makes the wise cracks that make the movie great. Amidst the action and adventure, Bartha’s wise cracks keep the movie going. To me, he is the funniest character in the movie and a very important one in that.
Now, there is a reason I am talking about Mr. Riley Poole on this MLBlog. It is because there is a strong comparison between Riley and many of the MLB players out there who don’t get a ton of credit for what they do on a daily basis. The guys who put up good, consistent numbers to keep the team in it to win it. Those are what I am calling the Riley Pooles of Baseball. I mean, how would Ben Gates have stolen the Declaration of Independance without Riley at his side talking him through it? How would they have survived the constant threats from Ian Howe and his men? How would they have gotten to the treasure? Riley was a very important character in this movie and there are many of them around the MLB.
Riley Poole of Baseball #1: Jacoby Ellsbury- Now, I’m not saying that nobody knows about this kid or doesn’t appreciate him. Because I know first hand how much he is loved around here in Boston. He is one of the favorites among every single fan. But his job with the Boston Red Sox is extremely important and it hasn’t been recognized that much (at least I haven’t heard any talk about him). Ellsbury is currently second to Carl Crawford with 30 steals on the season. He is on a phenominal pace and will easily end the season with over 40 stolen bases. He gets on base to produce runs and to score them himself. He has already stolen home this season in one of the biggest moments for the Red Sox all season- in a game against the Yankees. Ellsbury is also a great defender. He plays a STELLAR center field. He makes diving catches all the time. Despite not having a great arm, he has a respectable one and makes up for it with his amazing diving catches. With all the talent surrounding him, this kid is doing as well as anyone. All in all, this kid has a great amount of talent and is not getting recognized for it.
- Riley Poole of Baseball #2: Brad Hawpe- Now this guy is definitely not getting enough respect for what he has done this season in Colorado. He is one of the biggest reasons for the Rockies’ recent success. He is currently batting .333, has a .604 slugging percentage, has 11 homers, 53 RBI, and 136 total bases. He is tearing it up. Now I’m not saying he is having an MVP worthy season, because he has a lot to compete with (Pujols, Wright, Fielder). He has earned an All Star vote from me though. He is doing everything right in Colorado and I don’t think he is getting even close to the amound of appreciation he deserves. Even I am appreciating him and I’m not even a Rockies fan.
3. Riley Poole of Baseball #3: Pablo Sandoval- The reason I chose this guy as #3 is because he is having a STELLAR season in a place where so many people go unrecognized. Sandoval is one of them. Now, you’ve got Tim Lincecum and Bengie Molina, but what about those other guys that contribute so much to the team and don’t get the respect and appreciation they deserve. Sandoval, Randy Winn, Aaron Rowand, and Edgar Renteria (sort of) are all playing well but don’t get back what they give. Well, Sandoval is playing the best out of these guys so I chose him, He is batting .336, has a .544 slugging percentage, has hit eight homers (respectable), has driven in 34 runs, and has 131 total bases. He is having a good season and no one is giving him credit. Well I am. Now, I don’t really care at all about what is going on in Frisco but this guy deserves the credit and I am giving it to him. Congrats man.
So I hope all of you get what I am trying to say here. Professional baseball would be going no where without the Riley Pooles of Baseball.