Sunday, October 22, 2017

7 Historical Facts about the 2017 World Series 10/22/17

Hey baseball fans!

Yes, I'm upset that the Yankees lost to the Astros in the ALCS, but the World Series is upon us! It's the 'Stros vs. the Dodgers in the 113th edition of the Fall Classic. Before the series starts, however, here are seven facts that'll give the matchup a little more meaning.


Fact #1: 
Much like the last couple of Fall Classics, the 2017 World Series is heavily focused on drought-ending. The Dodgers haven't won a World Series since 1988, while the Astros haven't won a single World Series in their 56-year history. Houston actually did appear in a World Series back in 2005, but they were swept by the White Sox. Speaking of which...

Fact #2:
The Astros are the first team in baseball history to win both the AL and NL pennants. The only other team that could also do it would be the Brewers, but they haven't made a World Series since their switch to the National League back in 1998.

Fact #3:
It's only the second World Series ever in which California and Texas, the two biggest U.S. states in terms of population, are represented by at least one team each. The first time this occurred was back in 2010, when the San Francisco Giants won in five games over the Texas Rangers.

Fact #4:
We could possibly see the hottest World Series game ever in terms of temperature. The hottest World Series game on record is a 94-degree Game One of the 2001 Series in Phoenix, but Game One of the 2017 Series has a predicted first-pitch temperature of 95 degrees.

Fact #5:
Because the Astros and Dodgers used to be in the same league and division, they've played a fair amount of games against each other. LA holds the edge, however, having won 388 of their 711 head-to-head matchups.

Fact #6:
In their Major League playing careers, the managers for LA and Houston, Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch, respectively, combined for 55 career home runs in 17 MLB seasons. Not a lot of power from the skippers, I see.

Fact #7:
The Dodgers, in terms of win-loss record in the World Series, are actually ranked 19th amongst all qualified teams, with only 45 wins in 105 World Series games played. The Astros, on the other hand, are tied for dead last in the category, having been swept in their only World Series appearance thus far.

Who's winning this series, Dodgers or Astros? 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."


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Analyzing the Potential 2017 World Series Matchups 10/15/17

Hey baseball fans!

We are down to the final four! Yes, the American League and National League Championship Series are finally here, which means we have ourselves four potential World Series matchups. In this post, I'll be looking at each of these matchups with a historical perspective and stating which World Series matchup I'd like to see the most, starting with number four.

Number Four: Astros vs. Dodgers
Historical Significance: These teams were National League competitors for ages before Houston switched over to the American League in 2013, but it's not like they were heated rivals, as they were in different divisions. What makes this matchup interesting is the potential drought-ending. LA hasn't won or been to a World Series since 1988 and the Astros haven't won a World Series at all, their last appearance coming in 2005, where they were swept by the White Sox. It would kind of have the feel of last year's World Series, but on a smaller scale.

Number Three: Yankees vs. Cubs
Historical Significance: These two teams haven't met in the World Series since 1938, but in both times this pair squared off on baseball's biggest stage (1932 and '38), Lou Gehrig and the Yankees swept the Lovable Losers easily. From the Cubs' last pennant to their World Series championship in 2016, the Yankees have won 17 World Series, but obviously it would be the Cubs trying to repeat as MLB champs. Both of these franchises have incredible histories with some incredible Hall of Famers and, down the road, if this World Series matchup were to happen this year, we could be seeing a lot of future Cooperstown inductees.

Number Two: Astros vs. Cubs
Historical Significance: No, these teams have never met up in the World Series because Houston has never made the Fall Classic as an AL team. Instead, these two ball clubs were NL Central rivals for almost 20 years. What's interesting about these teams is that when I was first getting into baseball, both of these teams were absolutely abysmal, each losing 90+ games consistently, while teams like the Phillies and Braves were winning 90+ games (how weird is that?). But ever since Houston switched leagues, these teams have become juggernauts and this World Series matchup would pit potential dynasties against each other. In my opinion, if this World Series were to take place, the winner will turn into a force to be reckoned with for the next five or more years.

Number One: Yankees vs. Dodgers
Historical Significance: Legendary moments have occurred when these teams face off in the World Series, mostly because this matchup has occurred so many times in the past century. The Yanks and Dodgers hold the record amongst all baseball teams with 11 World Series meet-ups. In those meet-ups, the Bronx Bombers hold the advantage, winning eight of them. However, the Dodgers won their first World Series ever in franchise history in 1955 versus New York and also beat them in 1963 and 1981. Snider vs. Mantle or Judge vs. Bellinger? Seriously, this could be one fun World Series.


Which of these World Series matchups would you want to see the most? 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."

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My 2017 MLB Postseason Predictions 10/5/17

Hey baseball fans!

Even though I'm in college, what would October baseball be without some BwM MLB postseason predictions? So, without further ado, now that the Wild Card round has concluded, here's how I think the 2017 playoffs will go.


ALDS Series 1: Yankees vs. Indians
Winner in X games: Indians in five
Why? There's only one AL team that can beat the Indians and it just so happens to be the Yankees. Cleveland and New York had the best and second-best run differentials this season, respectively, so these teams give their pitchers plenty of run support. But Cleveland is just too good. If it goes to a fifth game, Corey Kluber is scheduled to pitch, so mark that down as a New York loss.

ALDS Series 2: Red Sox vs. Astros
Winner in X games: Astros in four
Why? Houston is way too dominant at the plate. Sure, their pitching has slumped this season, but they had the best team batting average in baseball this regular season by a long shot and the Sox can't send Chris Sale to the mound every day.

NLDS Series 1: Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers
Winner in X games: Diamondbacks in five
Why? LA is not the team that it was in the middle of the season and we all know how Clayton Kershaw performs in the postseason. Sure, the D-Backs barely have any playoff experience, but the Dodgers don't have much non-choking playoff experience in recent memory. In short, I'm giving this one to the boys in Arizona because of  a well-rounded pitching staff and a strong lineup filled with plenty of MVP candidates that hasn't quit basically all season.

NLDS Series 2: Cubs vs. Nationals
Winner in X games: Nationals in five
Why? It's about time the Nats lift the Washington sports choking curse and this is the year to do it. With an absolutely insane starting pitching staff, a revamped bullpen, a healthy Bryce Harper, and a weakened Cubs team from last season, this is the year for the Nationals to finally win in the playoffs.

ALCS: Astros vs. Indians
Winner in X games: Indians in six
Why? The Yankees are a balanced team and that's why I think they'll go toe-to-toe with the Tribe until the end of their ALDS, but the Astros don't have pitching. Cleveland is just too powerful on all fronts.

NLCS: Diamondbacks vs. Nationals
Winner in X games: Nationals in seven
Why? What a series this would be: two really good expansion teams who've never enjoyed a lot of success in the playoffs. But there is one constant for pennant winners that'll be true again in this series: pitching wins championships. The Nats will outlast the D-Backs because of their All-Star caliber starters, but it'll definitely be a close series overall.

World Series: Nationals vs. Indians
Winner in X games: Indians in five
Why? Plain and simple: World Series jitters in DC. If this World Series were to happen, it'll be exactly like the 2015 Fall Classic: a pennant winner of the previous year avenging their heart-breaking World Series loss by obliterating a team that is just happy to be there. I guess the Mets and Nationals will have more in common than just being in the same division together. Congrats, Cleveland.

Do you agree with my World Series 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."

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Bash Brothers: Big Mac and Canseco 9/25/17

Hey baseball fans!

Aaron Judge just set a new rookie record with 50 home runs in a season! But who hit 49, you ask? Well, his name is Mark McGwire and he was one half of one of the greatest hitting duos of the late '80s: the Bash Brothers.

The Oakland Athletics went to three straight World Series from 1988-1990 and one (well, more like two) of the reasons for their success was two young sluggers who won back-to-back Rookie of the Year Awards in 1986 and 1987, respectively: Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. They were known as the Bash Brother because, well, they could really bash the baseball. Like I said before, Big Mac hit 49 home runs in his rookie season, 1987, but Canseco's 33 rookie dingers in '86 aren't half bad either. During the full seasons that they played together, which was from 1987-1991, they won a combined three home run titles, each hit 30 or more home runs in four seasons, and played for the AL in the All Star Game a combined nine times. Big Mac and Canseco helped the A's win the World Series in 1989 in a sweep over the Giants and even though neither hit any home runs during the Bay Area Series, both batted over .290 to etch their names into Oakland sports lore.

Canseco was traded to the Rangers midway through the 1992 season and then bounced around the league until retiring in 2001, but finished his career with 462 career home runs. McGwire, meanwhile, stayed with the A's until getting traded to the Cardinals during the 1997 season and would go on to set the record for most home runs in a single season in 1998 with 70 (but it was broken three years later by Barry Bonds) and is one of two hitters in baseball history with back-to-back seasons of at least 60 home runs (the other being Sammy Sosa). He finished his career with 583 home runs, which is good for eleventh on the all-time list.

It's sad that neither of these great hitters are in the Hall of Fame, but boy did they give excitement to the city of Oakland in the late 1980s. "The Bash Brothers" is a pretty good nickname, after all. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tie Goes To The Runner... or the 1916 Giants 9/14/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Cleveland Indians have set a new American League record with 21 straight games with a victory! It's an insane streak, but it actually isn't the best of its kind. Let's talk about the team with the most consecutive games without a loss: the 1916 Giants. And yes, the phrasing is different for a reason.

Entering a game against the Brooklyn Robins (present-day Dodgers) on September 7, the 1916 Giants had a win-loss record of 60-62-2. Yes, back in the day, there were ties if games had to be called due to darkness or precipitation. The Giants ended up winning that game on the 7th by a final score of 4-1. Then, they won their next three games against the Phillies, their next four against the Reds, and their next three against the Pirates. So, they've won eleven straight so far, which is not half bad at all in the slightest. However, in their next game, which was against the Pirates, they tied by a final score of 1-1. So the Giants have gone 12 straight games without a loss, but their winning streak is over.

But that didn't stop them from winning 14 of their next FOURTEEN GAMES! That means that the 1916 Giants went 26 games, almost a whole month, without suffering a loss. How crazy is that? Sure, the streak did stop at 26 straight games without a loss after an 8-3 loss to the Braves, but a quasi-winning streak like that has never been done in baseball history before or since. Three other teams have streaks of 20 or more games without a loss in baseball history, but none of those streaks surpass 21 games. The 1916 Giants ended up improving their total season wins from September 7th by 26 at season's end.


Will the 2017 Indians surpass the 1916 Giants for most consecutive games in baseball history without a loss? 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."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

My Catching College BUddy 9/5/17

Hey baseball fans!

I start my classes at Boston University today and there is a member of the Hall of Fame who also attended BU. The only thing is, he went to college almost a century ago: Mickey Cochrane!

Cochrane played for the then-Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers from 1924-1937 and quickly in his career became one of the premier catchers of his era in Major League Baseball. Although he didn't have that long a career, his biggest claim to fame is his career batting average, which was a miraculous .320. Yes, there have been plenty of hitters with higher lifetime batting averages, but none of them are catchers. So essentially, the best hitting catcher in baseball history shares an alma mater with me, so that's cool. Nicknamed "Black Mike" for his "fierce, competitive spirit" according to the Hall of Fame's website, Cochrane batted over his lifetime batting average in seven seasons and batted over .300 in two more seasons. The two-time MVP has a ton of seasons that can be argued were his best, but in only one season did he lead the league in on-base percentage. That year was 1933 and his OBP was an astounding .459, but his highest single-season batting average was a "measly" .357, which he accomplished in 1930.

Cochrane's fiery attitude helped lead his teams to five pennants and three World Series championships. With the A's, he went to the Fall Classic from 1929-1931 and with the Tigers in 1934 and 1935. His batting average during his World Series appearances dropped significantly compared to his career average, but he made up for that while in Detroit when he was the team's player-manager. In fact, Cochrane was such a good manager that even Hall of Fame Hank Greenberg called him "inspirational." That's high praise coming from one of the game's best sluggers.


The legendary catcher's career came to an abrupt end on May 25, 1937, when he was struck in the head by a pitch thrown by Yankees pitcher Bump Hadley. It is that injury that sparked conversation about making wearing a helmet while batting mandatory. However, despite retiring at the age of 34, Cochrane was still rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947 with 79.5% of the vote. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, August 26, 2017

ML"what would"B: What if David Freese Failed the Cards in the 2011 World Series? Part 2 8/26/17

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for Part 2 of my ML"what would"B about what if David Freese hadn't come up in the clutch in Game Six of the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals. We last saw the Albert Pujols-led Cardinals beat the Josh Hamilton-led Texas Rangers in the 2013 World Series, while Prince Fielder and his Los Angeles Angels watched from their couches. But what happens to the Halos and the plump first baseman in the coming years?

Remember in real life how Fielder was traded for Ian Kinsler of the Rangers in a surprise move right after the 2013 season? Well in the continuation of this alternate timeline, because Fielder isn't on the Tigers, that trade never happens. Instead, Kinsler and Josh Hamilton get shipped off to the Motor City for Chris Davis, who was acquired by the Tigers just a year prior from the Orioles. The Rangers already had a terrible 2014 season in real life, but it gets a lot worse for them as Davis underperforms.  The Angels, on the other hand, soar to a better record than anyone could've expected. Fielder still gets injured for most of the season, but the re-signing of Zack Greinke turns out to be a beautiful move, as he wins 20 games and finishes in the top for AL Cy Young Award voting. Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker flourish as well and LA ends up with the best pitching staff in baseball. Couple that with Mike Trout's first AL MVP and the emergence of C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun and the Angels go 103-59 in 2014.


Meanwhile, the Orioles still win the AL East with 96 games, but the Royals sneak away with the AL Central, as V-Mart can no longer provide the pop the Tigers' lineup needed in the DH position, considering he now plays for the AL East-champion Orioles. Nonetheless, the Tigers get the second Wild Card spot while the A's keep the first spot. In the NL, the Nationals still win the NL East on the back of their pitching staff. The Giants win the NL West with 92 wins over the Dodgers, who finished with 91 wins and the first NL Wild Card spot because Zack Greinke is still with the Angels and Clayton Kershaw can't carry the entire starting pitching staff. The Cardinals win the Central at 95 wins with Pujols still in the lineup and the Pirates finish with the second Wild Card spot at 88 wins. The Giants end up making the World Series like in real life, but instead meet the Angels in the Fall Classic, whose pitching carries them to the AL pennant, despite Mike Trout's struggles. The even-numbered year dynasty for the Giants runs out of steam, as the Los Angeles Angels win the 2002 World Series rematch, as Greinke, not Madison Bumgarner, wins World Series MVP.

The 2014 MLB offseason remains the same, but the 2015 season has a lot of shake-ups in just one division: the AL West. Chris Davis's numbers pick up again, so the Rangers win 93 games and the AL West title. The Angels win 91 games on the back of a great bounce-back season from Fielder and a second consecutive great season for the pitching staff. The Astros lose an extra three games and the second AL Wild Card spot, which is now occupied by the Yankees, while the Blue Jays and Royals still win their respective divisions. The only massive change in the NL standings comes for the Cardinals. Mark Reynolds's 13 home runs are replaced with Pujols's 40, which boosts the Cardinals win total from 100 to 105, giving them more momentum come playoff time. The Cardinals end up winning the NL pennant after taking care of the Cubs and Mets in the playoffs on the strength of Pujols and meet the Blue Jays in the World Series. Wait, how the Blue Jays? Well the Angels win the Wild Card game versus the Yankees and are actually able to put the Royals away in the division series, unlike the Astros in real life. But they are just no match for the fearsome lineup the Blue Jays possess, who fly to their first Fall Classic in almost a quarter of a century. So who wins the Battle of the Birds? Who cares? At least they both got to the World Series, here in the ML"what would"B.


Who do you think would win this version of the 2015 World Series? 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."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

ML"what would"B: What if David Freese Failed the Cards in the 2011 World Series? Part 1 8/16/17

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for another ML"what would"B, where I analyze a "what-if" scenario in baseball history, like what if the Yankees had won the 2004 ALCS. In this installment, let's see what would have happened if David Freese hadn't come up clutch for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Six of the 2011 World Series. To refresh, the Texas Rangers were one strike away from winning the franchise's first World Series in 2011, when they were up by two in the bottom of the ninth against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Then, David Freese hit a two-RBI triple that was just barely out of the reach of Nelson Cruz in right field to tie the game and would go on to hit a walk-off home run a few innings later to send the series to a final game, a game the Cardinals won. But what would've happened if Cruz made the catch in right to secure a ring for the team from the Lone Star State?

Well, the butterfly effect would be felt just a few short months later during free agency. You see, coming off a World Series loss and with only one career World Series ring, there's no way Albert Pujols would've left St. Louis to take the massive ten-year contract with the Angels. It would be a disservice to Cardinals fans everywhere. So, instead, he re-signs with the Missouri team on a cheaper and shorter deal with the thought of avenging the team's Fall Classic defeat. That leaves the Angels without a first baseman, but Prince Fielder is still a free agent. So, LA uses the money they would've used on Pujols to instead sign the plump former slugger of the Milwaukee Brewers to a nine-year, $214 million deal. Without the help from Fielder, the 2012 AL real-life pennant-winning Detroit Tigers dip, as Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera can't carry the whole team to glory. So the White Sox finish tied with Detroit in the AL Central at 86 wins and beat them in the one-game playoff, as Chris Sale out-duels Justin Verlander. Meanwhile, the Cardinals turn into a juggernaut, fueled by the re-signing of one of the greatest hitters in franchise history. They win 95 games in 2012, good enough to edge out the Reds by a game for the NL Central crown, meaning Cincinnati gets the second NL Wild Card spot. The win-loss records for the rest of the teams remain virtually the same.


In the 2012 playoffs, the Rangers lose to Baltimore in the AL Wild Card Game, while the Braves edge out the Reds because in this scenario, there is no bad infield fly rule call that messes up Atlanta's chances at advancing in the playoffs. In the divisional round, the Yankees take care of the Orioles and the A's crush the White Sox in the AL, while in the NL, the Nationals actually win a playoff series by taking their series against the Braves in five games and the Cardinals beat the Giants. In the championship series, the Yankees take down Oakland and the Cardinals actually fall to Washington. Remember: the St. Louis bats went completely quiet in the actual 2012 NLCS against the Giants. So, the 2012 World Series is set: Yankees vs. Nationals. Aaaaaaand, the Nationals sweep the Yankees! Slumping bats in the Bronx couldn't stop the upstart Nationals, who win the franchise's first World Series!

After coming up short in the AL West race in 2012, the Angels make a statement by not signing Josh Hamilton in the offseason, who instead goes back to Texas. Instead, they re-sign Zack Greike to help the pitching staff get back on track. But the biggest move comes from the Tigers, who trade DH Victor Martinez to the Orioles for young slugger and first baseman Chris Davis. With the addition of Torii Hunter as well, the 2013 Tigers manage to win the AL Central, as Davis explodes for 53 home runs and the AL MVP. Meanwhile, the Rangers win the AL West at 94 games in a tight race with Oakland, who finishes just a game back. The Nationals, coming off their historic run in the 2012 playoffs, win five more games and the second NL Wild Card spot, which pushes the Reds out of the playoffs entirely. The Cardinals make the NL look silly, cruising to the World Series to face... the Texas Rangers? Yeah, remember how Texas re-signed Josh Hamilton in the offseason? Well, he goes nuts in the playoffs, carrying the Rangers past the Tigers and Red Sox and onto the World Series for a World Series rematch. This time, the Cardinals don't squander the chance to give Pujols his second ring, using their number one offense and number five pitching staff to take down the Rangers.


But wait, what's that "Part 1" doing in the title of this post, you may ask? Well, we have to see what happens to Prince Fielder and the Angels in 2014 onward, don't we? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ichiro, Edgar, and the 2001 Seattle Mariners 8/9/17

Hey baseball fans!

The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers just went 43-7 over a 50-game span! That hasn't been done in more than a century! The Dodgers' performance this year begs the question of whether or not they will break the record for most team wins in a single season. This record is owned by two teams, the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Cubs set the record while only playing a 154-game season, so their winning percentage is a lot better than that of the '01 Mariners. With that being said, it is virtually impossible for the Dodgers this season to break the record for single-season winning percentage, but let's talk about that Mariners team for a second. 116 wins? How?

To put it simply, Ichiro Suzuki (pictured below) is how. The Japanese All Star debuted in the MLB in 2001 with Seattle and boy did he have an unbelievable rookie season. The then-27-year-old batted a league-leading .350 and also led the league in base hits with 242, over 30 hits more than the second place finisher. His insane season made him the second-ever hitter to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season (the first being Fred Lynn of the 1975 Red Sox). But it wasn't just the Asian phenom who helped the Mariners go 116-46. Edgar Martinez, Brett Boone, and John Olerud each batted over .300 on the season and they & Mike Cameron each drove in over 90 runs. Brett Boone probably had the best slugging season of the bunch, punching out 37 home runs and collecting a league-leading 141 RBIs.


The starting pitching staff wasn't half bad, either. Each pitcher who made at least 15 starts also won at least ten games. Freddy Garcia (pictured below) probably had the best season out of the starting pitchers, placing third in Cy Young voting, going 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA. 38-year-old Jamie Moyer won 20 games for the first time in his career and Paul Abbott won 17 of his own. The bullpen was backed by Japanese closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, whose 45 saves were second in all of baseball that year. All in all, the Mariners batted .288 as a team, tops in the American League, while their 3.54 team ERA was tops in baseball. Suzuki, Boone, Olerud, Martinez, Cameron, Garcia, Sasaki, and reliever Jeff Nelson were all All Stars and the Mariners' run differential that season was 300 runs, which is absolutely unprecedented.


The Seattle magic ran out eventually, however, as they ended up losing the 2001 ALCS to the Yankees. That's interesting, because the 1906 Cubs also didn't win that year's World Series either. Maybe 116 is an unlucky win total in baseball. If the Dodgers reach 116 wins on the dot, we'll find out the number's luck in October. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Preview of the 2018 Hall of Fame Vote 8/1/17

Hey baseball fans!

Hall of Fame induction ceremonies took place yesterday, which means it's time to start discussing the potential members of the 2018 HoF class. I don't want to dive too deep (I will instead save my hardcore analyzing for right before the vote), but let's look at some of the names on the ballot for next year.

The Non-Debatable Hall of Famers
Chipper Jones and Jim Thome highlight the class and both have a 99.9% chance of getting in on their first try. Jones was the face of the Braves franchise for well over a decade and has a .303 lifetime batting average, while Thome is seventh on the all time home runs list at 612 career dingers. In my mind, these guys are no-brainers.










Other Intriguing First-Timers
Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, and Omar Vizquel (pictured below) headline the remaining first-timers on the ballot and are all very up in the air. Due to the strictness of Hall of Fame voters for the last couple of years, it would be hard for these guys to get in, but I wouldn't be blown out of my chair if one or more do. Notice how there aren't any pitchers listed yet in this post. That's because the first-time pitchers' class is weaker this year than in past years.


The "Should've Gotten In Last Year" Guys
Vlad Guerrero absolutely deserved to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but we'll have to see if the voters come to their senses next January. Billy Wagner (pictured below) and Trevor Hoffman are in bad positions because if they don't get into the Hall in '18, they will have to compete for votes with Mariano Rivera in 2019, which is a battle they will both painfully lose.


How Is Edgar Martinez Not A Hall of Famer By Now?
Seriously, how? The guy has an award named after him that is awarded to the best DH in the AL every season. For Pete's sake, even the MLB knows that Martinez is the best DH of all time (sorry, Big Papi), so why can't BBWAA voters see that?


As for Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens...
We'll just have to wait and see.

It's never too early to start talking about the next generation of Cooperstown inductees, so thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Killer Nickname, Killer Bat 7/26/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Twins are (magically) in playoff contention! What an exciting time to live near the Twin Cities. In fact, one of my favorite hitters in baseball history played for the Twins. His name is Harmon Killebrew and he was purely awesome.

Ever hear of Willie McCovey? Well, think of Killebrew as his AL counterpart. The Indiana native played in the majors from 1954-1975 with the Senators/Twins and Royals, the latter for just a year. "The Killer," as he was nicknamed, actually didn't even play a full season until 1959, but boy, did he have a great year: 42 homers, 105 RBIs, and All Star Game appearance number one of eleven. Killebrew torched AL pitching throughout the years, amassing 40 homers in eight different seasons and leading the league in homers in six of those seasons. He also collected 100+ RBIs in a season nine times, three times leading the league in the category. All of these slugging milestones helped him reach the following career numbers: 573 homers (12th all time) and 1,584 RBIs (tied for 41st on the all-time list with the great Rogers Hornsby). He is one of 99 hitters in baseball history with a career slugging percentage over .500 (.509) and is 15th on the all-time walks list with 1,559. He must've been a pretty feared hitter, if he could work the count like that.

His best year in baseball was 1969, when he cracked a career-high 49 dingers, drove in a career high 140 runs, and walked an astounding 145 times, tied for the 20th most walks by a batter in a single season. His Twins went 97-65 and although they lost to the Orioles in the ALCS, Killebrew still won the MVP that year. Earlier in his career, during the '65 Fall Classic, Killebrew batted .286 (his career BA was .256) with a homer and two RBIs, but LA won the series in seven.


Despite never attaining the glory of winning a World Series, Harmon Killebrew was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, his fourth year on the ballot, with 83.1% of the vote. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Matt Nadel's First Ballot Hall of Famer Criteria 7/19/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is right around the corner, but what makes someone qualify as a first ballot Hall of Famer? Obviously the definition of greatness in baseball has changed over the years, but here are the most up-to-date criteria with which I judge baseball personalities on whether or not they're a first ballot Hall of Famer, whether the voters agree with me or not:

For contact hitters:

Criteria: .300+ career batting average
Why? Getting three hits in ten at-bats seems lackluster to most beginner baseball fans, but think to yourself about how you analyze a player's season, just based on batting average. Seeing a three in the tenths place is just a lot more attractive than a two.


Criteria: 3,000+ career hits
Why? Usually, Hall of Famers play around 20 years in baseball. If you average 150 hits a season over 20 years, you're Roberto Clemente (he finished his career with 3,000 hits on the dot). Who doesn't want to be Roberto Clemente? But seriously, usually the best contact hitters will have some 200+ hit seasons during their primes and then tail off a little bit at the end. That makes a round number like 3,000 so applicable. Recent Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio, had 3,060 hits for example.

For power hitters:

Criteria 500+ career home runs and/or 1,500+ career RBIs
Why? It's the same logic as with hits; a power hitter might have 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons during his prime, but then won't do as well later in his career. It's just a good number because it takes consistency into consideration while leaving room for bad seasons.


For the all-around hitters:

Criteria: 10+ career All Star Game appearances
Why? Ryne Sandberg, Pudge Rodriguez and Yogi Berra don't have career stats that jump out at you per se, but what they do have are a ton of All Star appearances. If a player is considered the greatest at his position in the league he plays in for ten or more years, then of course he deserves enshrinement in Cooperstown.


For pitchers:

Criteria: 250+ wins
Why? It used to be 300, but no pitcher has eclipsed that milestone since Randy Johnson did almost ten years ago. It's very rare that a pitcher even gets over 200 wins in a career, let alone 250, which makes the number extra special. Bert Blyleven, a Hall of Famer, had 287 wins. To put it into perspective, there are only 116 pitchers in baseball history to get over 200 career wins. Wow. Pitching is hard.


Criteria: ERA lower than 3.00
Why? It's a lot harder than it seems and it goes back to the batting average criteria, except the opposite; a two in the ones place looks better than a three.


Criteria: 8+ All Star Games
Why? I call this the "John Smoltz Rule" because he was a reliever and a starter at different points in his career, only has 213 career wins, has an ERA of 3.33, made eight All Star Games, and is in the Hall of Fame. So if a starter or reliever could pull off John Smoltz-like stats that gets them at least eight appearances in the Summer Classic, they should be in the Hall.


For managers, owners, and GMs:

Criteria: Win a lot.
Why? I'm grouping all of these positions together because they all are judged based on their team's success. Whether it be with one or multiple teams, if a head honcho leads his club to the promised land on multiple occasions, thus building at least a quasi-dynasty, then it's a done deal for me. See you in the Hall soon, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon!


Just remember that these criteria are for slam dunk Hall of Famers. Jeff Bagwell definitely deserves a spot in Cooperstown, but didn't amass any of these stats, so my criteria could be taken as unfair, right? Well, I didn't think he was going to get into the Hall on his first try anyway because BBWAA voters are a lot stricter when it comes to filling out their ballots. How else do you think potential HoFers should be judged? 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."


Sunday, July 9, 2017

An All-Out Slugfest: The History of the Home Run Derby 7/9/17

Hey baseball fans!

The All Star Game Home Run Derby is tomorrow, pitting the best sluggers in a competition of who has the most power! Personally, it's my favorite side event of the MLB All Star Game, so here are some things to know about the Home Run Derby before watching it tomorrow on ESPN:

The Derby started in 1985, with five players from each League participating. The number of participants changed throughout the 90s, but the four-person-per-League format that is used today was adopted in 2000. The way the tournament has been set up has also changed over the years. From 1991, the first year it was televised, to 2013, all the players were playing against each other and were given ten "outs," or hits that weren't home runs, to hit as many home runs as they can. The top home runs hitters in each round moved on until the final two. For the 2017 Home Run Derby, for example, Giancarlo Stanton will square off against Gary Sanchez, the one seed vs. the eighth seed, in a March Madness-style, head-to-head battle, where each player will be given four minutes to hit as many home runs as they can.



Despite the rule changes, there have been some players who have clearly dominated the Derby. Todd Frazier of the White Sox leads all players in HRD history with 91 career Derby homers. He won the whole thing in 2015 while playing for the Reds. Josh Hamilton hit a single-round record of 28 home runs in the first round of the 2008 Derby, but eventually lost in the final round to Justin Morneau. Ken Griffey, Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes are the only two players to win the contest in back-to-back years (Griffey in '98 and '99 & Cespedes in '13 and '14). Griffey also won it in 1994, making him the only three-time champ. Prince Fielder is the only Derby participant to win it at least once in both Leagues, winning it in 2009 as a member of the NL Milwaukee Brewers and in 2012 as a member of the AL Detroit Tigers (pictured below). Hall of Famers to have won the homer tourney are Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., Griffey, and Frank Thomas.


My favorite Home Run Derby that I've ever watched was in 2011, when in Chase Field, Robinson Cano of the Yankees, while being pitched to by his dad, beat Adrain Gonzalez of the Red Sox in the final round of a classic desert showdown. What's the favorite Derby you've ever watched and who do you think will win it tomorrow? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! 7/1/17

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! July 1 is the day of the year when the New York Mets pay a retired, slightly ok baseball player about $1 million annually until 2034! Now I know some of you may be confused, but let me explain.

Bonilla played in the MLB from 1986-2001 with a plethora of teams, actually making six All Star Games as an outfielder. He doesn't have the stats to be in the Hall of Fame, so the fact that he is still receiving money from the Mets is mind-boggling. Basically, the Mets signed Bonilla to a deferred-money deal after not wanting him on the roster after the 2000 season, meaning that rather paying all of Bonilla's $5.9 million salary for the year right then and there, they would pay percentages of it over time with interest (at a negotiated 8% per year). The deal kicked in with the first payment being issued on July 1, 2011. The only problem for the Mets is the $5.9 million in 2000 will be worth $29.8 million by the time the deal is done. So now, the Mets organization is stuck paying Bonilla $1.19 million every July 1 until 2033! The worst part of it all for the Amazins is that Bonilla lives in Florida now, where there's no income tax, so he's really taking aaaaalllllll of that dough. Classic move by the Mets' front office.


On a separate note, happy Canada Day to Joey Votto, Russell Martin, and the Toronto Blue Jays. If you were in Bobby Bonilla's shoes, how would you spend your annual mega-paycheck, eh? 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 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."