Tag:All-Star Game
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:33 pm
 

Josh Hamilton's struggles due to blue eyes?

Hamilton

By Evan Brunell


Josh Hamilton thinks he knows why he struggles in day games.

It's his blue eyes.

"I ask guys all the time" as to whether they struggle in day games, Hamilton told ESPN 103.3 FM" "Guys with blue eyes, brown eyes, whatever ... and guys with blue eyes have a tough time."

Hamilton is hitting .297/.360/.513 in his follow-up campaign to his MVP season, which is an impressive mark but quite a bit off his line from 2010. Yet, if you look at just his night numbers, he's tossing up silly numbers with a .376/.415/.661 line in 118 PA. His day numbers are a different story, as he's flailing to the tune of a .112/.246/.184 mark in 57 PA. Hamilton had a wide split in 2010 too, but it wasn't as severe: .286/.345/.474 in the day and .384/.433/.688 at night.

"It's just hard for me to see [at the plate] in the daytime," Hamilton said. "It's just what it is. Try to go up [to the plate] squinting and see a white ball while the sun is shining right off the plate, you know, and beaming right up in your face."

The solution could be in a pair of sunglasses that he used in the field last season, but could not find. Until now.

"Hopefully that'll help my eyes relax enough to take them off and bat and put them on again," Hamilton said.

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Posted on: June 23, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Harper headed to Futures Game

Bryce HarperBy C. Trent Rosecrans

It's hardly a surprise, but Bryce Harper has been selected for next month's All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Major League Baseball released the entire Futures Game roster Thursday that, in addition to Harper, includes last year's No. 3 overall pick Manny Machado of the Orioles, Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, Rays lefty Matt Moore, Cleveland infielder Jason Kipnis and Angels outfielder Mike Trout. The entire roster is available here.

The game, played on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, features some of the top talent in the minor leagues. Harper is certainly that.

The No. 1 pick in last year's draft hit .330/.429/.586 with 14 home runs in 64 games in the first half of the season at low-Class A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Nationals' other Futures Game representative, right-hander Brad Peacock was a 41st-round pick in the 2006 draft. The 23-year-old is 8-2 with a 2.46 ERA in 11 starts and 13 total games for Double-A Harrisburg.

Each team is represented in the game, which features 25-man rosters split among a team made of players from the United States and then a World team. The latter features players from 12 different countries and territories outside the 50 states.

Also, make sure you get ready, because the Eye On Baseball team will be on-site at Chase Field for the Futures Game and for the rest of the All-Star Festivities from July 10-12.

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 3:57 pm
 

No changes in AL All-Star voting

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh HamiltonThis time of year, Major League Baseball releases All-Star voting totals every week, and at some point it becomes white noise -- especially when there's no change in the voting.

In the American League update released Monday, the top three at each position remained unchanged.

Of the nine positions fans get to vote for in the AL, eight are currently occupied by American League East players, with Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton the lone exception. And even the reigning MVP is getting some heat from Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury. Hamilton is third in outfield voting (trailing Toronto's Jose Bautista and New York's Curtis Granderson) with 2,400,408 votes, and Ellsbury now has 2,249,323 votes. Fellow Sox outfielder Carl Crawford is fifth.

The infield is dominated by Yankees -- catcher Russell Martin, second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter. First-baseman Adrian Gonzalez and DH David Oritz of the Red Sox lead at their positions.

Voting runs through June 30, and the teams are announced July 3. 

The complete voting is available on MLB.com.

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 1:39 am
 

Bochy to use Giant bias for All-Star nods

Sergio Romo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

When filling out the roster for the All-Star team, National League manager Bruce Bochy said he'll have at least one easy tie-breaker -- if the player is a Giant, he will get the nod.

"I'll try to be fair, but I'll be biased, to be honest," Bochy told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "If I can get guys from my club on there, I'll do it. That's the prerogative you get as manager."

That attitude is far from unusual, even if it's not really fair. But as long as the current system is in place, it'll continue to happen. And while I don't necessarily like it, I do understand it. As a manager, your No. 1 priority is your own team and its well-being. If you can boost the confidence or reward one of your own players and get them in your corner, you're going to do it. Bochy will do it, Ron Washington will do it and I would do it if I were in their shoes. It's just the way it is. Last season Joe Girardi named eight Yankees to the All-Star team and according to Baggarly, since 1996 pennant winners have averaged 4.7 representatives in the game.

However, Bochy is looking at doing one thing differently in picking his All-Star squad -- loading up on middle relievers. Bochy said he is looking hard at adding the likes of his set-up men, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez to the team. He also said he's giving serious consideration to Atlanta's Jonny Venters and Washington's Tyler Clippard. All four are certainly worthy, especially over a pitcher earning cheap saves for a bad team.

Really, who is more deserving of an All-Star spot -- Leo Nunez and Huston Street, or Venters and Romo?

Nunez and Street each have 19 saves -- one fewer than league-leader Brian Wilson (a Giant who will likely get an All-Star nod) -- but Nunez has a 3.77 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, while Street has a 3.69 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Meanwhile, Romo has a 2.29 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP (in fewer innings, to be sure) and Venters (who has more innings than either Nunez or Street) has a 0.44 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP. Venters may be baseball's best reliever right now, if he's not an All-Star this season, nobody is.

The All-Star manager picking more middle relievers is another move away from a reliance on the save stat -- and with expanded rosters and homefield advantage on the line, middle relievers are more likely to be used in situational moves and in the type of situations they are used to, in the middle of an inning with runners on. Closers usually come in with a clean slate in the ninth, needing just three outs to pick up the save, while a guy like Venters or Romo is used to coming in with men on and the game on the line.

And when it comes down to that situation, Bochy -- or any manager -- will want to put the game on the line with someone he knows well, and that could be Santos or Lopez, and that's OK with me.

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 12:54 am
 

No Home Run Derby for Hamilton

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh HamiltonJosh Hamilton is currently on pace to start for the American League in the All-Star Game, but he will not be participating in the Home Run Derby, he said Friday.

"I already said to them, I'm not doing it," Hamilton said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Let [Jose] Bautista hit 29, and maybe I'll come back and do it."

Hamilton hasn't participated in the Home Run Derby since hitting 28 homers in the first round of the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Despite Hamilton's record first-round, Justin Morneau won the event in 2008.

Hamilton missed a month of the season with a shoulder injury and has hit just four home runs, but three of them have come since June 3.

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 8:22 pm
 

All-Star ballot revealed... on April 26

By Evan Brunell

All-Star GameApril 26.

That's how long baseball waited before revealing the All-Star ballot for the upcoming midsummer classic.

That begs the question how exactly one is supposed to evaluate who is deserving of the honor when there isn't even a full month's worth of data yet. It just emphasizes the fact that the All-Star Game is a popularity contest, and that's reflected in the ballot as well.

Take Kendrys Morales, for example. He has yet to play this season after being knocked out of commission last May. Now, nearly a full year after Morales last appeared in a big-league game, he finds himself on the first-base ballot for the American League. He's sharing time with Dan Johnson of the Rays and Justin Morneau of the Twins, who have done absolutely nothing thus far to warrant being placed on the ballot. Derrek Lee and Kila Ka'aihue aren't deserving either, while Mitch Moreland gets the honor of being nominated despite part-time duty.

It's the same in the NL. Brandon Belt has already been demoted... Brad Hawpe may be out of baseball entirely by the time July rolls around... Juan Miranda has barely played at first lately...

And the trend continues for the rest of the players. It's all too easy to pick out those that don't belong at all, whether poor production or not being on the team any longer. Hey, the Mets have second base represented by Brad Emaus... except they waived the Rule 5 player and sent him back to Toronto several days ago, who flipped him to Colorado and is now playing in Triple-A. How about Tsuyoshi Nishioka representing the Twins despite fracturing his left leg in early April? Nishioka may not even be back for the All-Star Game, but will undoubtedly get plenty of votes from the Japanese contingent.

There's too many more examples to bother with. The point is clear: by releasing the ballot so early, baseball is opening itself to ridicule all in the name of trying to get as many votes as possible (someone explain why each e-mail address is allowed 15 submitted ballots?). By doing this, they're putting players on there clearly undeserving. Do we really need every single team represented in every position?

Seriously, what's the point of listing Brad Hawpe when he doesn't deserve it? There will be family, friends and Padres fans who tick Hawpe's name off despite not being deserving. How is that fair to the other candidates who could see their starting spot swung by all those extra votes going to Hawpe?

And why, if the ballot was released today, are players like Belt and Emaus (who is on his third team since "earning" his ballot nod!) still on there? 

Because there was no one else better, apparently. And rather than leave off a representative from that team, it's better to go forward with a broken and lousy ballot?

The fix here is painfully simple. Release the ballot in late May or early June, and restrict it to those who play at least to league-average production. Limit the total number of representatives per position per league to eight -- half of the NL clubs, and slightly more than half of the AL clubs. That will provide plenty of deserving candidates, plus a mixture of "average" candidates who could play their way into consideration or simple serve as filler. The play of the nominees at that point will be much easier to figure out as well, with a larger sample size to draw from.

But hey, at least baseball will be able to trumpet what will likely be a record-breaking amount of votes.

It's too bad that most of them will be worthless.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 9, 2010 4:29 pm
 

Diamondbacks reveal 2011 All-Star Game logo

Logo The Arizona Diamondbacks have revealed the logo for the 2011 All-Star Game, but without the usual pomp and circumstance.

"The reason we have not is because there's been so much noise and attention around the political matter," Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall explained to the Arizona Republic .

Of course, the political matter Hall refers to is Arizona's recent passing of a law that cracks down on illegal immigration in the state. There have been numerous calls for citizens to boycott the game as well as for comissioner Bud Selig to move the game out of the state entirely.

However, Arizona has begun the process of promoting the July 12 game to season-ticket holders, who saw the logo in renewal packages. This was a necessity to promote renewing tickets as each season-ticket holder will have an opportunity to buy a ticket to the game.

"It's a big part of our sales pitch for the upcoming season," Hall added.

The Diamondbacks do plan, at some point, to publicize the logo, especially with a sign at Chase Field.

"With the logo out there now, why couldn't we put it up and have a presence at the ballpark so the fans can celebrate it and the anticipation can grow."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 15, 2010 9:59 am
Edited on: July 15, 2010 11:17 am
 

Thumb kept A-Rod on All-Star bench

Alex Rodriguez Trailing 3-1, your slowest player leads off the ninth with a single.

You pinch run for him, right? It's a no-brainer for even a rec league softball manager. So what was Alex Rodriguez, the last man on the bench for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game, doing riding the pine as David Ortiz, who moves with all the grace of a box turtle, got himself thrown out on the basepaths? Or while Adrian Beltre, suffering from a hamstring injury, hit? Or while John Buck, a lifetime .239 batter, hit with home-field advantage in the World Series on the line?

Turns out, as first reported by SI.com, that Rodriguez had a "slightly sore" right thumb and wasn't going to be put into the game except in an emergency.

"We weren't going to push it," a team source said. "Four days off for our big guy."

Which begs several questions.

Why was Rodriguez even there? He wasn't selected by the fans or the players, he was hand-picked by Girardi, the one man who should have known if Rodriguez needed the break.

And if he knew Rodriguez was unavailable, why did Girardi burn through all 11 of his other reserve offensive players instead of saving someone to pinch hit or pinch run late?

Even if the thumb thing cropped up late or the benching was an order from the Yankees, why didn't Girardi replace him on the roster? Rodriguez still would have gotten credit for an All-Star selection.

"Michael Young should have been here then," one player told SI, referring to the Rangers' third baseman.

"It's a Yankee thing," said another, shaking his head and laughing.

-- David Andriesen

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