Sunday, June 25, 2017

You're From Where and You Root for Whom? 6/25/17

Hey baseball fans!

Relocation happens to teams all the time and sometimes, the fans from the original cities still root for the team that now plays in a different city. Need some examples? Well, here you go.

DC residents wearing Twins' and Rangers' gear? 
Technically, Walter Johnson played for the Twins organization, even though he never set foot on a Minneapolis mound. The Minnesota Twins were originally the Washington Senators and played in our nation's capital until 1961, when they moved way up north to Minnesota and became the Twins. Senators fans didn't have to worry for long, as a new incarnation of the Senators joined the MLB in 1961. They were only there until 1971 and then moved to Texas to become the Rangers.

New Yorkers wearing "Kershaw" and "Bumgarner" jerseys?
Dodgers and Giants fans don't all come from California. Most of the older fans of those teams lived in New York City. Thats's right: before Los Angeles and San Francisco, it was Brooklyn and New York, respectively, for the Dodgers and Giants. Some of the greatest players to ever play on those teams like Jackie Robinson or Christy Mathewson never played out west, instead wowing fans in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

An Orioles fan living across the street from a Brewers/Cardinals fan?
The Orioles are an original AL team, coming into baseball in 1901 as the first Milwaukee Brewers, but quickly moved to St. Louis in 1902 and were known as the Browns until the franchise moved to Baltimore prior to the 1954 season. The Browns had little success, only winning one AL pennant in St. Louis in 1944 and, lost the World Series to, you guessed it, the Cardinals.

A's fans eating cheese steaks and Kansas City barbecue?
The Oakland A's weren't always playing their games in the Bay Area, but actually started out in Philadelphia in 1901 as the A's. They then moved to Kansas City for the 1955 season until 1967, only coming to Oakland in 1968.

Braves fans watch their team with beans and/or cheese?
The Boston Braves played in Boston until 1952; they played in Milwaukee until 1965; and they've been in Atlanta ever since. Actually, the Braves have the unique distinction of being the only major American sports team to win exactly one championship in three different cities and won those World Series in 1914, 1957, and 1995.

Nats fans speak French?
The Washington Nationals were originally from Montreal and were known as the Expos until the 2005 season, when they moved to DC. Expos fans miss their team so much that, to fill the void, there have been talks of future MLB expansion to Montreal.

Watching Brewers games on the Space Needle?
The Brewers were actually founded as the Seattle Pilots in 1969, but only stayed there for one year.

Ask your grandparents if the team they root for now was the same team they rooted for when they were kids. You might be surprised at their answers. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Five MLB Teams That Need a Name Change 6/18/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Cleveland Indians have been under much scrutiny in recent years over their derogatory name and mascot. Pair that with the MLB's push for a more marketable league and it got me thinking: "What teams could use a name change to amp up their marketability?" To answer my own question, here are five of them.

Team #1: Philadelphia Phillies
New Name: Philadelphia Liberty
Why? The MLB is lacking in singular team names (I would say teams that don't end in "s," but there are the Red and White Sox) and what creativity comes in naming the team based solely on the name of the city in which they play? Although this name is already taken by the WNBA's New York Liberty, Philadelphia is as patriotic of a city as NYC. Also, the Phillie Phanatic in a triangular, Revolution-styled hat would be very cute.

Team #2: Oakland Athletics
New Name: Oakland Leviathans
Why? Oakland's saltwater lake, Lake Merritt, has its own sea monster nicknamed the "Oak-ness monster." What a marketing opportunity for the ages for Oakland.

Team #3: Pittsburgh Pirates
New Name: Pittsburgh Ironsmiths
Why? They're called the Pirates because in 1880, they "pirated" a player from the A's, so they need a name change. The "Steelers" is already taken by one of the most successful NFL teams in football history, but steel is made partially of iron and, in my opinion, "Ironsmiths" sounds cooler anyway. With that being said, Pittsburgh is home to the most bridges of any city in the world and has more public staircases than even hilly cities such as San Francisco and Cincinnati. What material is in those railings? Iron, of course.

Team #4: Minnesota Twins
New Name: Minnesota North Stars
Why? The hockey team of the same name moved to Dallas and are now known as just the Stars, but this name is infinitely better than "Twins."

Team #5: Cleveland Indians
New Name: Cleveland Hammers
Why? I'll end this post with the team I talked about at the beginning. For obvious reasons, Cleveland must scrap their old name. The name "Hammers" shows the city's industrial, hard-working aspect. Also, selling blowup hammers at the game for kids to play with would make some nice money for the boys in the Cleveland front office.

What other teams need a name change? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Five Fun Facts About the MLB Wild Card 6/10/17

Hey baseball fans!

Baseball, like every sport, has expanded over the years. With more teams comes more playoff spots and with more playoff spots comes the Wild Card. The Wild Card team is the top team in each league  who didn't finish in first in a division. The Wild Card was first used for the 1995 MLB season and was expanded to two teams for the 2012 season and onward. Now, the two Wild Card teams in each league play a one-game playoff to decide who will face the number one seed in the AL and NL Division Series. But those are only just some of the many fun facts the MLB Wild Card has to offer, so here are some more:

Fact #1: Like I said before, the Wild Card was implemented for the 1995 MLB playoffs (but was going to be used in 1994 had there not have been a playoffs-cancelling strike). The Yankees and Rockies were the first Wild Card teams in AL and NL history, respectively, but both were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.

Fact #2: The Marlins are undoubtedly the best Wild Card team the MLB has ever seen. They've only been the Wild Card in the National League twice, but won the World Series both times. In 1997, the Marlins became the first Wild Card team to win the World Series and, in 2003, became the first Wild Card team to win the Fall Classic twice (pictured below). The Marlins are the only World Series champion to not have a division title in their history.

Fact #3: Four other teams besides the Marlins have been Wild Card World Series champions: the 2002 Angels, 2004 Red Sox, 2011 Cardinals, and the 2014 Giants (pictured below). The 2002 and 2014 World Series are the only ones to be made up fully of Wild Card teams: Angels versus Giants in '02 and Giants versus Royals in '14. The three-year stretch from 2002-2004 of Wild Card World Series champions is a record.

Fact #4: The 2001 Oakland Athletics hold the distinction of being the winningest Wild Card team in MLB history, going 102-60. They lost to the Yankees in the divisional series, three games to two. The winningest NL Wild Card team was the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates, who finished the season at 98-64, but lost to the Cubs in the Wild Card Round.

Fact #5: The Astros, because they switched leagues in 2013, are the only MLB team to win the Wild Card in both leagues. In 2004 and 2005, the Astros finished in second place in the NL Central (and in 2005 won the NL pennant) and in 2015, finished in second place in the AL West.

I personally love the Wild Card because it makes the postseason that much more unpredictable and thus, more exciting. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Baseball with Matt's Hog Wild Toys Trick Shot Video 6/3/17

Hey baseball fans!

A couple of weeks ago, this great toy company called Hog Wild Toys sent me some awesome baseball-themed toys! To show you what they sent me, I thought the best thing to do was to make a Dude Perfect-esque trick shot video! So, if you'd like to see that video, click here, and if you'd like to shop for some great Hog Wild Toys stuff, click here to go to their website.

Thanks for watching the video and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Aaron Judge Edition 5/25/17

Hey baseball fans!

As a Yankees fan, I am in love with rookie sensation and (somehow) MVP candidate Aaron Judge. The giant of an outfielder for New York has cracked a major league-leading 15 home runs thus far through the season. But, in today's social age, there's more to Aaron Judge than just his bat. To be specific, Judge has a hashtag, #AllRise, and a cheering section in Yankee Stadium known as "The Judge's Chambers." But what if some of the greatest players to ever walk on the diamond had these things also?

Player: Babe Ruth
Hashtag: #RespectTheSultan
Cheering Section: The King's Quarters
Why? Ruth had many nicknames, but two of them that I specifically thought of for his hashtag and cheering section are the "Sultan of Swat" and the "King of Crash." These two nicknames really bring out of the regal side of Ruth's persona.

Player: Walter Johnson
Hashtag: #AllAboard
Cheering Section: The Train Station
Why? Johnson's nickname was "The Big Train," so people would definitely be "on board" (get it?) with his train-themed hashtag and cheering section.

Player: Bob Lemon
Hashtag: #TasteTheSour
Cheering Section: The Lemon Orchard
Why? For those who don't know, Lemon was a seven-time All Star pitcher for the Indians in the late '40s and '50s who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978. He wasn't necessarily always sour, but his last name certainly was. Had he been playing in a more technological age, all of Cleveland would be using his hashtag when he pitched. And his cheering section? Lemons everywhere.

Player: Dennis Eckersley
Hashtag: #FearTheStache
Cheering Section: The Eck Deck
Why? He had a great mustache and the name of the cheering section is catchy. It's as simple as that.

Player: Luke Appling
Hashtag: #FeelThePain
Cheering Section: The Hospital
Why? He was nicknamed "Old Aches and Pains!" How funny is that?!

What are some hashtags and cheering sections you would give to some of the other all-time greats? Write them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Baseball Hall of Fame Spelling Bee 5/15/17

Hey baseball fans!

Want to play a fun game with your friends and family? Have them try to spell the following names of baseball Hall of Famers! They're tougher than you think:

Craig Biggio
Bert Blyleven
Lou Boudreau
Earl Combs (it's pronounced "Cooms")
Ed Delahanty
Bobby Doerr
Harmon Killebrew
Nap Lajoie (pronounced "Lajoway")
Heinie Manush (pronounced "Manoosh")
Bill Mazeroski
Phil Niekro (I actually always miss this one up)
Mike Schmidt (common last name, but still hard to spell)

The last name deserves its own list for how many times I've misspelled it: Carl Yastrzemski. Once you get tripped up in the middle, there's no turning back.

Could your friends spell these names? I highly recommend you test them out. It'll be fun! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Top Five World Series That I've Watched 5/10/17

Hey baseball fans!

I've done a lot of "Top Five" posts on BwM that have been about me recounting history from stories, but for this "Top Five" post, I want to count down something I witnessed firsthand: my top five World Series I've watched (in person or on TV). Since I became a baseball fan during the 2007 playoffs, the Series in contention start from 2008.

Number Five: 2009
End Result: Yankees over Phillies in six
Why? This one is special because it's the only World Series where I watched my favorite team win. I loved that 2009 Yankees team and it will always stay near and dear to my heart.
Favorite Moment: Hideki Matsui had a record six RBIs in Game Six en route to his World Series MVP and he swung at a pitch that almost hit the ground for a home run.

Number Four: 2010
End Result: Giants over Rangers in five
Why? The Rangers had just beaten the Yanks in the ALCS and I wanted to see them really get destroyed, which they did. I was also very happy for the Giants, who won their first World Series in 56 years in 2010.
Favorite Moment: Seeing Brian Wilson and Buster Posey jump into each other's arms after the final out of Game Five always gives me the goosebumps when watching something about the Giants' dynasty of recent years.

Number Three: 2014
End Result: Giants over Royals in seven
Why? Oh my god was this series insane. It went back and forth and came down to the final play. It was nail-biting all the way through.
Favorite Moment: Giants second baseman Joe Panik helped turn an insane double play in Game Seven that helped San Fran keep the 2-2 tie at the time. It went through a bunch of replays before finally being called a double play.

Number Two: 2011
End Result: Cardinals over Rangers in seven
Why? This was a World Series that will be remembered for the Cardinals' clutch batting towards the end of Game Six. They escaped two situations in which the Rangers were a strike away from a World Series title. The entire series was full of history and although I wanted the Rangers to win, they still gave it a fight.
Favorite Moment: David Freese's 12th-inning walk-off homer is the single most important home run I have ever witnessed firsthand, because it was the first baseball history moment that people will ask me where was when I saw it and who I was with at the time. It was that momentous!!

Number One: 2016
End Result: Cubs over Indians in seven
Why? What other World Series was it going to be? It had great moments and two gigantic World Series droughts were on the line. I was extremely happy for the Cubs when they won and the Series as a whole revived baseball just a little bit.
Favorite Moment: Easily the World Series-clinching ground ball fielded by Kris Bryant and thrown to Anthony Rizzo. What a time for the city of Chicago.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Same League, But World Series Opponents? HOW?! 4/29/17

Hey baseball fans!

When I began reading more about the World Series winners of the past, 1982 was a weird one for me to grasp. It shouldn't have been that weird to me, though. The Cardinals won in seven games. There was nothing wrong with that. But what was weird was their World Series opponents: the Milwaukee Brewers! How in the world could two teams who currently play in the same division also face each other in the World Series? It bends all rules of baseball! Oh, but that's just the tip of the iceberg, folks. Because in 2005, the White Sox won the World Series in a sweep of... the Astros, yet another team in the same division as its victor!

For all you youngsters out there, the Brewers and Astros used to be in different leagues. The Brewers were originally an American League team founded in 1969 and didn't switch to the National League until 1998. The Astros, originally founded in 1962, played in the National League until they switched over to the AL in 2013. I understand how confusing this might sound, but I got used to it, so it shouldn't be hard for anyone else to do so as well.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Jackie Robinson Day Experience 4/21/17

Hey baseball fans!

A couple of weeks ago, I planned a trip to the Bronx with my girlfriend, Meredith, to see a Yankees game. Looking at the dates available, we concluded that the best day to go was April 15th, so we bought tickets for that Yankees game where they would host the Cardinals. I didn't think anything of the day's significance until I turned on the television the morning of the game and remembered it was Jackie Robinson Day.

Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated every year on April 15th all across the MLB to honor Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier on that date in 1947. On that day, Robinson didn't do much at the plate for the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, but he did a lot for the game of baseball. Without him and the perseverance he exuded during his playing days, so many of the MLB's best would've been unable to play America's pastime at the professional level. Prior to that day in 2017, I had never experienced a special day on the MLB calendar, days that include Mothers' Day or Memorial Day. It was awe-inspiring to see all of the players on each side don Robinson's now-retired number 42 to pay homage to the trailblazer.

There were two really cool things I noticed as the game unfolded. First of all, because the Cardinals were the away team, they batted first, and the first batter in their lineup was Dexter Fowler. Just last October, Fowler became the first African-American to bat for the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, because the last World Series the Cubs made took place two year prior to Robinson's historic day. I thought that was a very appropriate and classy lineup idea by Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny, whether he knew what he was doing or not. Second, that game featured the most possible combined World Series rings between two teams, the Yankees with the most at 27 and the Cards with the second-most at 11. But despite this, these two historically legendary franchises took part in a tradition shared by teams that haven't even been to the World Series: honoring a true baseball star in Jackie Robinson.

Thank you, Jackie, for all that you've done for the game. Also, the Yankees won that day and extended their winning streak to six games, so that's good. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Celebrate Good World Series, Come On! 4/13/17

Hey baseball fans!

2017 is a big year in baseball, not only for yet another season of America's pastime, but there are also plenty of World Series anniversaries to be celebrated, so let's take a look at all the World Series winners who won during a year where the last digit was seven.

1907: Cubs
The double-play combination of Tinkers to Evers to Chance coupled with the sheer dominance of Mordecai Brown on the mound led to a 107-win Cubs team that won the World Series over the Tigers in an easy sweep.

1917: White Sox
This would end up being the last year the Sox would win a championship for 88 years. Based on record, the 1917 ChiSox were the best team in franchise history, posting the only 100-win season ever on the South Side. Most people were paying attention to World War I, but Eddie Collins and the rest of Chicago made sure the White Sox would be prevalent in the papers in October with a six-game victory over the Giants

1927, 1937, 1947, 1957: All Yankees
Basically Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle terrorized the American League for almost five decades, while winning some Fall Classics in the middle. Probably the most important of them all was '27, when Ruth and Gehrig helped the "Murderers' Row" Yankees get into the conversation of best team ever.

1967: Cardinals
Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA during the regular season as he and the rest of the St. Louis Cardinals stopped the Red Sox's historic World Series search in a dramatic seven-game series. Not even Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski could stop the torrid pitching of Gibson, who won his second World Series MVP.

1977: Yankees
Reggie Jackson may have caused many problems in the clubhouse throughout the season, but he eventually helped the Yankees avenge their '76 World Series loss to the Reds in a six-game series victory against the Dodgers. This is the World Series where Jackson famously cracked four homers on four consecutive swings.

1987: Twins
The first World Series where the home team won every game, the 1987 World Series saw the true power of loud, domed stadiums, as the Metrodome really helped out the Twins' bats and made the Cardinals extremely frightened for their lives.

1997: Marlins
It was a dramatic World Series that ended in a walk-off single in extra innings and it will forever be remembered as one of the most juxtaposed World Series ever in terms of climate. Miami and Cleveland in October: you can't really have a greater difference in weather than that.

2007: Red Sox
Just three years after they broke the Curse of the Bambino, Terry Francona and company decided to taste victory one more time, sweeping the Rockies in the Fall Classic for the franchise's seventh championship.

To all who are celebrating significant World Series anniversaries this year, congratulations! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Five Predictions for the 2017 MLB Season 4/5/17

Hey baseball fans!

The season has already started and boy has it already been exciting!! I can't wait to see how the 2017 MLB season will end, so instead, I'm going to try to predict what will happen. Here are five of my predictions for the 2017 MLB campaign:

Prediction #1: Andrew McCutchen makes the All Star Game, but is traded at the deadline
I'm sure Cutch's 2016 year was just a fluke and he'll be back to his old self by the Midsummer Classic. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the Pirates move on with their semi-rebuilding phase and ship McCutchen off for prospects. It's been talked about for at least several months now and I can see it happening before July 31.

Prediction #2: Chris Sale wins the AL Cy Young Award
He's arguably the best pitcher in the American League on the league's best offense. He'll get a ton of run support and should win at least 20 games.

Prediction #3: Nolan Arenado cracks 50+ homers
Arenado is one of the brightest young talents in baseball and plays in a home ballpark where home runs are pretty common. The Rockies' third baseman is bound to have an unbelievable season, which might even include an MVP Award, if Colorado can pull itself together at least a little bit.

Prediction #4: Cubs repeat as NL Central champions
I'm not going to say just yet that the Cubbies are going to win the 2017 World Series, but their team is solid and will definitely feed off of pretty subpar competition within the NL Central. I mean, seriously, the Cardinals are the only other good team in that division. As long as the Cubs don't somehow screw things up, they'll be at the top of the NL Central come October.

Prediction #5: The Yankees and Astros get the AL Wild Card spots... again
It's all about the youth movement right now in baseball and the Yanks and 'Stros are showing off their young talent in the form of future wins. Gary Sanchez and Jose Altuve will carry these teams to the playoffs with around 86 wins apiece.

Do you agree with my predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."