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Monday, November 30, 2009

2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates

2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates

Returning Players: Andre Dawson (67%), Bert Blylevin (62.7%), Lee Smith (44.5%), Jack Morris (44%), Tim Raines (22.6%), Mark McGwire (21.9%), Alan Trammell (17.4%), Dave Parker (15%), Don Mattingly (11.9%), Dale Murphy (11.5%), and Harold Baines (5.9%)
First Time Players: Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Shane Reynolds, Dave Segui, Robin Ventura, and Todd Zeile.

To be considered an eligible candidate for the Hall of Fame, the player must adhere to the following criteria:
  • Candidate has played at least 10 seasons in the Major Leagues.
  • Candidate has been retired from the Major Leagues for at least 5 years.
  • Candidate can not be on baseball's ineligible list to be considered for the Hall of Fame.

General Rules and Procedure for the Hall of Fame voters:
  • Each voter will have ten votes to cast for who they think should be inducted into the Hall.
  • If a player receives at least 75% of the total votes, he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
  • If a player receives less than 5% of the total vote, he will not be eligible to appear of future ballots.
This year's Hall of Fame candidate list was released on November 27th, 2009. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) members who have been active for at least 10 years will be allowed to cast ten votes for the eligible players by December 31, 2009. On January 6th, 2010 the new members of the Hall of Fame will be announced, and their Induction Ceremony is set for July 25th, 2010 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

(Picture of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown provided by

So here's my 10 votes.... (if only I could really vote!)

Andre Dawson aka The Hawk
Dawson is already a Hall of Famer in my mind, and it's not just because he's a beloved Cubbie. He played 21 seasons in the Majors while compiling a .279 career average with 2,774 hits and 438 home runs. He's an 8x All Star, 8x Gold Glover, 4x Silver Slugger, while also being named the 1987 MVP, 1977 Rookie of the Year, and 1987 Home Run Derby Champion. In his 21 year career, he spent 11 seasons with the Montreal Expos (who have his #10 retired), 6 years with the Cubs (1987-1992), 2 years with the Boston Red Sox, then finished his last two Major League seasons with the Florida Marlins in '95 and '96. When he was on the ballot for consideration to the Hall in 2005 he received 52.3% of the vote. In 2006 it climbed to 61%, but fell back to 56.7% in 2007. In 2008 it went back up to 65.9% in what was considered to be a better class of candidates than who is in this year.

In Ryne Sandbergs 2005 Induction speech to the Hall of Fame, he said the following of Hawk: "No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson. He's the best I've ever seen. I watched him win an MVP for a last-place team in 1987 [with the Cubs], and it was the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen in baseball. He did it the right way, the natural way, and he did it in the field and on the bases and in every way, and I hope he will stand up here someday."
"S" Vote: YES (1 of 10)

Bert Blyleven
Blyleven played for 5 Major League teams over a course of 23 years in the Major Leagues. His numbers speak for themselves- he compiled a 287-250 record on an ERA of 3.31 with 3,701 strike outs. He's a 2x All Star, a 2x World Series Champion, and the 1989 AL Comeback Player of the Year. Most noteably in his career was his no hitter from September 22, 1977. If Bert is not elected into the Hall by 2012, he won't be voted on by the BBWAA, but instead could still be inducted by the Veteran's Committee. Blyleven is known for having one of the best curveballs ever seen in the Majors. Visit Bert Belongs to get more info.
"S" Vote: YES (2 of 10)

Lee Smith
I golfed with Lee a few weeks ago at the Fergie Jenkins Golf Outing and I was just blown away! This guy is so laid back and has such a great attitude, I can't believe he's not in the Hall for his character alone! He even signed some "HOF 2010" baseballs for people as a joke! But, his 18 year career is anything but a joke. He's currently holds the record for the 3rd most saves all time with 478. The next active player that could pass him is Billy Wagner who has 130+ less. It's seriously a shame this man is NOT in the Hall already. On top of that record, he's a 7x All Star and 3x Relief Man of the Year (twice in the NL and once in the AL). Lee has been described as "the best one inning pitcher the game ever saw." He's eligible to be voted on by the BBWAA until 2017 as long as he maintains a +5% of votes. Dennis Eckersley, who has 88 less saves that Lee, is in the Hall of Fame. Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, and Bruce Sutter, all members of the Hall, have 137, 168, and 178 less saves than Lee, respectively.
"S" Vote: YES (3 of 10)

Jack Morris
Morris is another qualified ballplayer for the Hall of Fame. Over his 18 year career he posted a 254-186 record, and was known for his fastball, slider, and a humiliating splitter. Morris was a 5x All Star, 4x World Series Champion, 1991 World Series MVP, and the recipient of 2 Babe Ruth Awards. He never surpassed 2,500 strikeouts and had a higher ERA of his fellow candidates at 3.90. He was the first ever 20 game winner for the Blue Jays. He currently ranks 1st all time for the Tigers for wild pitches, and 8th overall in the Major Leagues, but he also holds the record for leading his team in wins 11 times. Lastly, he holds the Major League record for most consecutive opening day starts with 14, from 1980-1993.
"S" Vote: YES (4 of 10)

Mark McGwire
I was going to vote for Tim Raines, until I heard his interview on Homeplate MLB on XM radio yesterday (11/29/09). I've never been on the bandwagon to get McGwire into the Hall until after hearing Raines's reason NOT to put him in and the conversation that ensued. Yes he admitted to using Andro, not steroids, although it's easy to assume him guilty of it. But, the fact remains that Andro was NOT a band substance at the time he used it, and without getting off track with steroid usage, i'll say this and only this: if it wasn't band, then why punish him for using it? That was the owners and commissioners fault for allowing it, not McGwuire's for using it.

That being said, I'll return to the reason why he should be in the Hall: his stats and character. Mark McGwire is one of the most upstanding humans in this world and believes in the "baseball as life" mentallity that I (and most of you) share. And on top of that, his stats compiled from 18 seasons in the Majors reflect that of a true Hall of Famer. He's a 12x All Star, 3x Silver Slugger, 1989 World Series Champion (OAK), 1990 Gold Glover, 1987 Rookie of the Year, 1992 Home Run Derby Champion, and the recipient of the 1999 Lou Gehrig Award. He holds 2 Major League records that still stand today, the first being his home run to at bat ratio of 1-to-10.62 (Ryan Howard is second with 1-to-11.32, and Babe Ruth is third with 1-to-11.80). The other record he holds is for most homeruns hit by a rookie, at 49 in 1987. Mark McGwire is partially responsible for reviving baseball after the strike shortened season in 1994. His home run race with Sammy Sosa in 1998 put a much needed spark back into the game. Mark McGwire should be honored with an induction into the Hall. For crying out loud, the Cardinals didn't even hold a public press conference when he signed on as the new hitting coach this year due to the media and it's predicted backlash. It's time to move on from steroid talk and acknowledge that he is a Hall of Famer.
"S" Vote: YES (5 of 10)

Dave Parker aka "The Cobra"
In the last vote for consideration for the Hall of Fame, Parker only received 15% of the vote, but while he may not be a Hall of Famer to most I believe his percentage should be a lot higher, but he has had a lot of tough classes to compete with. He's a 7x All Star, 2x World Series Champion, 3x Gold Glover, 3x Silver Slugger, while also being named the 1978 NL MVP, 1979 MLB All Star Game MVP, and the 1985 Home Run Derby Champion. In 19 seasons he compiled a .290 career average with 2,712 hits and 339 home runs. He spent most of his career with the Pirates (11 seasons) and was known as a solid defensive outfielder with a powerful arm. In the 1979 All Star game, he threw out Jim Rice at third base and Brian Downing at home which adding a sac-fly to help the NL win and earn him the MVP.
"S" Vote: YES (6 of 10)

Don Mattingly aka "Donnie Baseball" and "The Hit Man"
As a firstbaseman, Mattingly played his entire 14 year career with the New York Yankees, from 1982-1995. From 1991-1995 he was the team Captain, and in 1997 his #23 was retired by his team. Over his career he posted a .307 average and a .829 OPS. Mattingly is also a 6x All Star, 9x Gold Glover, 3x Silver Slugger while being named the 1985 AL MVP and receiving the Loug Gehrig Award in 1993. He hold the Major League Baseball record for 6 grand slams in a single season. Considering the other options for the Hall, Mattingly's stats qualify him at least 5% of the votes.
"S" Vote: YES (7 of 10)

Roberto Alomar
Considered the best secondbaseman in the history of the game, Alomar should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Over his career he posted a .300 batting average with 2,724 hits and 474 stolen bases. He's a 12x All Star, 2x World Series Champion, 10x Gold Glover at second base (MLB Record), 4x Silver Slugger, and was named the 1992 ALCS MVP as well as the 1998 All Star Game MVP. Alomar was awarded the Toronto Blue Jays Level of Excellence at the Roger's Centre, joining legends George Bell, Tony Fernandez, and Joe Carter. He has voiced that he wants to wear a Blue Jays hat if he gets inducted into the Hall, which will make him the first player ever to do so.
"S" Vote: YES (8 of 10)

Barry Larkin
One of the greatest short stops of all time, Barry Larkin played 19 years in the Major Leagues. He is a 12x All Star, 9x Silver Slugger, 3x Gold Glover, and won a World Series with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990. He was the 1995 NL MVP, and was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award in 1993 and the Lou Gehrig Award in 1994. During the 1990 World Series, Larkin batted .353 and helped sweep the A's. Over his career he posted a .295 batting average with 379 stolen bases, 2,340 hits, and 198 home runs. In only his 3rd Major League season, he led the Majors in least amount of strikeouts (24 in 588 at bats). In 1996 he became the 1st short stop ever to join the 30-30 club. The next year he was named Reds Captain, and was the first player ever since Concepcion's retirement to be named that honor. As of 2009 the Reds have not issued the #11 to anyone and plan to retire it soon.
"S" Vote: YES (9 of 10)
Fred McGriff and Robin Ventura
I couldn't decide who to chose for my last vote so I put them as a tie. Neither should be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but both have stats to make a push for it. Over his 19 year career, McGriff was a 5x All Star, won a World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 1995, was a 3x Silver Slugger, and was the 1994 MLB All Star Game MVP. Ventura was a player I grew up watching on the White Sox, and I loved his style of competition. Over his 16 year career he was a 2x All Star, 6x Gold Glover, and the 1988 Golden Spikes Award recipient.
"S" Vote: Tied- YES (10 of 10)

"Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played,"
-The National Baseball Hall of Fame criteria rules 
Happy Offseason!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 MLB Awards- Final List

Final List of all 2009 MLB Awards winners:

NL: Albert Pujols (STL)
AL: Joe Mauer (MIN)

NL: Tim Lincecum (SFG)
AL: Zach Greinke (KC)

NL: Chris Coghlan (FLA)
AL: Andrew Bailey (OAK)

NL: Jim Tracy (COL)
AL: Mike Scioscia (LAA)

NL: Chris Carpenter (STL)
AL: Aaron Hill (TOR)

Mariano Rivera (NYY)

C: Yadier Molina (STL)
1B: Adrian Gonzalez (SD)
2B: Orlando Hudson (LAD)
3B: Ryan Zimmerman (NAT)
SS: Jimmy Rollins (PHI)
OF: Michael Bourn (HOU)
OF: Matt Kemp (LAD)
OF: Shane Victorino (PHI)
P: Adam Wainwright (STL)

C: Joe Mauer (MIN)
1B: Mark Teixeira (NYY)
2B: Placido Polanco (DET)
3B: Evan Longoria (TB)
SS: Derek Jeter (NYY)
OF: Torii Hunter (LAA)
OF: Adam Jones (BAL)
OF: Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)
P: Mark Buehrle (CHW)

C: Brian McCann (ATL)
1B: Albert Pujols (STL)
2B: Chase Utley (PHI)
3B: Ryan Zimmerman (NAT)
SS: Hanley Ramirez (FLA)
OF: Ryan Braun (MIL)
OF: Andre Ethier (LAD)
OF: Matt Kemp (LAD)
P: Carlos Zambrano (CHC)

C: Joe Mauer (MIN)
1B: Mark Teixeira (NYY)
2B: Aaron Hill (TOR)
3B: Evan Longoria (TB)
SS: Derek Jeter (NYY)
OF: Jason Bay (BOS)
OF: Torii Hunter (LAA)
OF: Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)
P: Adam Lind (TOR)

Other Awards
Hank Aaron Awards: Derek Jeter (NYY) and Albert Pujols (STL)
Clemente Award: Derek Jeter (NYY)
Pepsi Clutch Performer: Andre Ethier (LAD)

Minor League Awards:
J.G. Taylor Spink Award as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year: Buster Posey (SFG)
Hitter of the Year: Roberto Lopez (LAA)
Starter of the Year: Madison Bumgardner (SFG)
Reliever of the Year: Robert Manuel (CIN)
Single Game Performance of the Year: David Francis (ATL)
Team of the Year: Trenton Thunder (NYY)

2009 Players of the Month for Major League Baseball (NL/AL):
Player of the Month: Evan Longoria (TB)/Albert Pujols (STL)
Pitcher of the Month: Zach Greinke (KC)/Johan Santana (NYM)
Rookie of the Month: Scott Richmond (TOR)/ Brian Barden (STL)
Player of the Month: Joe Mauer (MIN)/Justin Upton (ARI)
Pitcher of the Month: Justin Verlander (DET)/Trevor Hoffman (MIL)
Rookie of the Month: Rick Porcello (DET)/Gerardo Parra (ARI)
Player of the Month: BJ Upton (TB)/Albert Pujols (STL)
Pitcher of the Month: Felix Hernandez (SEA)/Tim Lincecum (SFG)
Rookie of the Month: Nolan Reimold (BAL)/Tommy Hanson (ATL)
Player of the Month: Bobby Abreu (LAA)/Ryan Ludwick (STL)
Pitcher of the Month: Jarrod Washburn (SEA)/Wandy Rodriguez (HOU)
Rookie of the Month: Gordon Beckham (CHW)/Garrett Jones (PIT)
Player of the Month: Kendry Morales (LAA)/Ryan Howard (PHI)
Pitcher of the Month: CC Sabathia (NYY)/Chris Carpenter (STL)
Rookie of the Month: Andrew Bailey (OAK)/Chris Coghlan (FLA)
Player of the Month: Billy Butler (KC)/ Derrek Lee (CHC)
Pitcher of the Month: Felix Hernandez (SEA)/Jair Jurrjens (ATL)
Rookie of the Month: Brett Anderson (OAK)/Casey McGehee (MIL)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why I'm Thankful for each MLB team

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here at Between the Lines! The perfect day to give thanks, which is where I want to start- with all of you! From my mom who inspires me everyday to see beyond the sport and into it's soul, to my dad who is always available for baseball talk and teaches me something new everyday, and especially to all of my friends, old and new, and my family who read my blog every day and support me through it all! This past year has been one that has had it fair shares of downs, but because of all of you it's had it's highest ups.

Friends, family, health, and good times... I'm always thankful for you!

But what am I most thankful for? Yes... Major League Baseball. Each team, at some time in their history has done something for each one of us die hard fans that makes us thankful day in and day out. Some things we rarely think about, but they are with us and we are reminded of them today.

A-Y of thankfulness
Angels- In 2009 the Angels reminded us what it means to be a family. They showed us how to support one another, and how to rise above and win in the name of a fallen teammate. When they Angels ran out to centerfield to touch the wall with Adenharts memorial, they made me thankful for my family and remind us all to cherish the time we have with one another. For that, I will always be thankful.

Astros- To the Houston Astros, who gave us an opportunity to see an organization support a player like Craig Biggio while he played his entire 20 season career with the same team. The baseball purist in me likes to believe that this game is more than just a business and I'm thankful for organizations that remind us of this.

Athletics- I'm thankful for Billy Beane, who's work ethic inspired Major League Baseball in "Moneyball" and continues to challenge the ways in which scouts and statisticians think outside the box. Because of Billy, the front offices of baseball run more effectively and have contributed to baseball as we know it today.

Blue Jays- From 1977-2004 Tom Cheek was the voice of the Blue Jays. His voice is still associated with anyone to remember's Torontos first World Series in 1992 to his famous call when they repeated the next year. As a passionate fan himself, he called 4,306 consecutive games. A Ford C. Frick finalist, we should all be thankful for his colorful and historic contributions to baseball.

Braves- I'm thankful to have seen a team win so many penants in my life, that isn't the Yankees. From Hudson and Smoltz, to the Miracle Season of 1914. I'm thankful for any team with history that has provided a basis of excellence in the majors today.

Brewers- I'm thankful for Bob Uecker, one of my favorite best baseball broadcasters ever! He's been in baseball for over half a century and wouldn't have it any other way.

Cardinals- I hate to admit it, but thank you to Albert Pujols for being perfect.

Cubs- Thank you for being my family and introducing me to my best friends in the world. Thank you for Mark Grace, the Tinker-Evers-Chance combination, Greg Maddox, and Charlie Grimm. Thank you for being broadcast on TV when most teams weren't, you gave me a great excuse in 2nd grade to fake sick and watch opening day every single year!

Diamondbacks- Thank you for helping Mark Grace win a World Series, even if it wasn't with the Cubs.

Dodgers- Thank you for Tommy Lasorda, one of the most inspirational figures in baseball. Someone who thinks with their heart and isn't motivated by money. A hero of mine, Tommy is someone who lives and breathes with baseball and without him baseball would be missing a big part of it's soul.

Giants-  The New York Giants, who were one of baseballs first ever teams, helped make baseball into America's Pastime. All the books I've read in the past year have all be centered around baseball from the early 1900's and the common theme is the Giants, who's legends like John McGraw could never be replaced. The Giants captured America with moments like in 1951 with "The Shot Heard Round the World" to 1954 with Willie May's "The Catch." I'm thankful for this organization, even if they are in SF now.

Indians- I'm thankful for an organization that supports its fans as much as they suppor their team. When I first asked what "455" meant on the outfield wall, I didn't believe it... but it's true.

Mariners- Thank you to the Mariners for producing guys like A-Rod and Griffey then losing them to free agency and trades.

Marlins- When I think of the Marlins, I'm thankful for the small market mentallity of putting together a staff of pitchers that are young and can compete against some of the highest markets in the league. The 2009 Marlins starting rotation was one of my all time favorites. Josh Johnson, Andrew Miller (UNC Alumn), Ricky Nolasco (former Cub), Anibol Sanchez, and Chris Volstad.

Mets- I'm not ever thankful for the Mets. Especially not for 1969 or 1986. If Ron Santo hates them, thats enough reason for me, too.

Nationals- Thank you to the Nationals for coming back to Washington, where they once played and where a cherish ballclub from 1901-1960 as the Senators. Mostly memorable for their 1924 World Series which had stars like Joe Cronin and Walter Johnson. I'm thankful when I see small market teams with bright futures like the Nat's who will have a powerhouse team with a core group of guys to lock down the rotation for years to come.

Orioles- Thank you for giving Felix Pie a home. Oh, and for Cal Ripken and his streak of playing in 2,632 consecutive games not only helped build a franchise but also gave way to the longest standing ovation ever at a ballgame of 22 minutes.

Padres- Besides the 1984 season, I'm thankful for Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield, two of the games greatest players who both came out of San Diego.

Phillies- Thank you for winning a World Series for Harry Kalas before he passed away. He was another true voice of the game and died happy as a World Series Champion.

Pirates- Well if it wasn't for the Pirates, who knows how long it would have taken to get baseball on the radio. And thank you to Branch Rickey who instilled rules with the Pirates that remain in effect today- like the mandatory use of batting helmets.

Rangers- Thank you for giving Josh Hamilton a second chance.

Rays- The Rays are responsible for giving small market teams hope. Without their 2007 season, we might have seen a push for a salary cap or worse for Major League Baseball. Their World Series appearance gave fans of teams like the Marlins and Nationals faith in the rebuilding process.

Red Sox- Thank you for 2004! I was there in person when they won it all and to this day has been the best day of my life and for that I am eternally thankful.

Reds- Thank you for George Foster and Pete Rose, two players I have enjoyed learning about for the past 23 years of my life. The Big Red Machine that marked the 70's, thank you!

Rockies- Finally a team that makes baseball possible in Colorado! After many failed attempts the Rockies played their first game in 1993 and have made progress since. Plus, they've become a team to watch out for and their growing fan base has led to the popularity of baseball along the western states. Plus you have to love a town that Larry Walker is a hometown hero as voted by the residents!

Royals- Well they started off on the right foot in 1969 with George Brett and Lou Piniella. They were once a dominant franchise, which many don't think of when you hear Royals since their downward spiral in the 90's to current. But you never know, guys like Zack Greinke can turn a ballclub around and thankfully the Royals have that shot.

Tigers & Twins- Thank you for Game 163 this year. As I told Nick Punto a week ago, it was the best game I have ever seen in my life.

White Sox- Thankful for a class act like Mark Buehrle and being able to see from start to finish a perfect game in Chicago!

Yankees- Thank you for Derek Jeter, one of the most motivating and hardest working players in the Majors.

To every player that takes the field everyday, thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving to all & remember today to at least spend some thought remember what it is that you are thankful for =)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Japanese Baseball vs American Baseball

I’m in the midst of reading a book recommended to me from a coworker entitled “You Gotta Have Wa,” and while only half way through the book, I can already say it’s one for the most classic, passionate fans.

Written by Robert Whiting, it encompasses the culture of baseball oversees and it’s dramatic differences in philosophy as compared to what we are use to in America in regards to Major League Baseball.

“Baseball is more than just a game. It has eternal value. Through it, one learns the beautiful and noble spirit of Japan,”
- Suishu Tobita (1886-1965),
Japan’s original “God of Baseball.

Although organized/professional baseball in Japan did not start until 1935, a notable 66 years following the start of professional ball in the states, Japan dates the existence of the sport back to 1867 (2 years before MLB began with the Cincinnati Red Stockings) with an American teacher named Horace Wilson. It all started when he introduced his students to the simple tools of the game- the ball and the bat. Five years later, Albert Bates developed the first organized contest between two teams, but it wasn’t until 1878 that an avid Red Sox fan, Hiroshi Hiraoka came to establish the first ever Japanese baseball team, consisting of blue collar workers who even wore “geta” (wooden sandals) while running the bases.

Their passion for the game is remarkable. Japanese baseball started on a right and moral path. Simply put, Japanese baseball is a prideful tradition, one that brings honor to their culture and depicts their way of life. They view baseball in the same light as living a peaceful, moral and upstanding life, and therefore it’s easy to see why baseball literally is life to the Japanese.

“This country has got its national flag all wrong. Instead of a rising sun in the center, there should be a baseball,” - British Tourist.

 Whiting adds, “ The Japanese found the one-on-one battle between pitcher and batter similar in psychology to sumo and the martial arts. It involved split-second timing and a special harmony of mental and physical strength. As such, the Ministry of Education deemed it good for the national character,” (page 28). And thus, baseball was worshipped.

The Japanese believe that suffering builds character and in turn the difference between winning and losing is determined. They even view training as being more important than the game itself. In late baseball in Japan, ending a game in a tie was a sign of respect so that no one team would be inferior to another. The score was not the importance, instead the emphasis was put on the preparation and execution of their talents. The abundance of strict rules and the work horse mentality guided these players into a prideful representation of their country which over time has transformed into a harmonious, selfless, loving and patient culture of individuals.

On page 60 of the book, Whiting writes, “For American’s baseball is a job. For the Japanese it is a way of life.” Personally, I have always believed that any valuable life lesson can be taught through sports, especially baseball. It’s one reason my parents got me into softball and basketball when I was growing up. It’s as simple as instilling a coach to help your child listen, and as in-depth as teaching them how to trust in the unity of people. Want to teach them how to work with others towards a common goal? Teach them to hit a fly to right to get the runner in from third. Do you want them to be a leader? You teach them patience at the plate and the value of a walk. Japanese baseball gets it. The entire philosophy behind baseball in Japan encompasses my entire passion for the game. It not only tests you physically and mentally, but socially and morally.

When I think of Japanese baseball I think of Ryne Sandberg’s induction speech into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I think of the emphasis of sacrificing, the importance of moving runners over, and the quality of the individuals that believe in those words. I have a lot of respect for the Japanese Culture because of what I have learned from it through baseball. I have the absolute and utmost respect for any ballplayer, whether it be high school, college, or professional who plays the game with passion, selflessness, and with respect to the people on his team, in the stands, and most importantly for the ones who have come before him.

Happy Offseaon,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chris Coghlan vs Nick Yohanek

**I'm bumping this up to the top b/c we've had some recent comments that I think re-raise this issue (it was originally posted May 18, 2009) **

On May 8th, 2009 Chris Coghlan made his Major League debut, and got his first major league hit on a night where he went 2 for 4,and even scored a run to help the Marlins beat the Rockies 8-3. Five nights later, on May 13th, Chris Coghlan hit his first major league home run against the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee. What should have been a special moment for the rookie, was ruined by a fan who apparently asked too much in exchange of the ball. Of course we all wish that we lived in a world where everyone was nice to everyone and nothing bad could ever happen- no spite, no jealously, no greed.... no ridiculous ransom for a baseball. But evil shines its ugly head more often than not, and on Wednesday night we were reminded of it when the Marlins new rookie, Chris Coghlan spoke to reporters about his ransomed baseball- one that will now bring back memories of the dramatic pursuit of negotiations, rather than the unprecedented joy it brought hours earlier. To a locker room full of reporters, Coghlan explained his experience in dealing with the fan who caught the ball, Nick Yohanek, and the ever changing requests in order to obtain the ball.
"He wasn't the most polite or respectful guy about the whole process," Coghlan said Thursday. "He told me he goes around a lot and catches these balls and holds them for ransom — even though he doesn't say that he does, it seems that way. Then he wanted other things that I didn't think (were) fair." (Yohanek asked for a bat and balled signed by his teammate, Hanley Ramirez as well as autographs with "To Nick- Thanks for catching my first career HR" inscribed on it. He also asked for tickets to the new Yankee stadium when the Marlins play there this year, despite Yohanek's dispute about this.)

The ball symbolizes years of hard work for the 23 year old rookie, who did more than earn it- he paid for it. For those of you who aren't aware, when a player hits a milestone home run or gets his first major league hit, home run, etc., the player typically likes to have the ball from it, and they will pay for it or offer the fan some incentives for it. This is where it got ugly with Nick Yohanek. Instead of graciously offering Coghlan the ball, he got greedy. He thought only of himself and what he could get out of it. Imagine yourself as this player, and you've worked hard your whole life to make it to the Majors, and then it finally happens. You're living your dream and you even hit your first official Major League home run. You're estatic out of your mind, your thanking everyone around you who was there for you and who has helped you along the way. Your high fiving teammates and the moment is replaying itself over and over again,as if it's on permanent repeat in your mind. You want that baseball- it has significance to you. That ball not only symbolizes years of hard work and struggle to make it to the majors, but it symbolizes your success- your ability to accomplish the one thing you've worked your whole life for. Having that baseball, and just being able to look at it, reminds you of all the little steps it took you to get to that moment. The moment brought you to the plate in Miller Park, connecting with the ball, and driving it into the stands. True, it is just a ball- but not to the guy who hit it. The cork, the leather, the yarn -it's all bound together to make that ball and it represents one of the purest past times of our great country. To that one player, it represents his mark that he will have forever left on this beautiful game.

It's easy to say the obvious- once the ball leaves the field it is the property of whomever catches it. Well thank God Bobby Scales didn't have his moment ruined. The fan in the first row behind the Cubs dugout tossed Bobby's first Major League hit back. It was probably unnoticed by many, but as soon as I saw that ball bounced into the stands, I stopped and waited to see what would happen. Lucky for Scales, his moment wasn't tainted by negotiations. Thank God that the fan who caught Ken Griffey Jr's 500th home run gave the ball back without asking for anything. Griffey, being the class act that he is, set it up so that the guy and his family stayed in a 5-star hotel with all expenses paid for the All-Star game that year and even got him and his family tickets for the All-Star game, autographed jerseys, and other memorabilia. The best part? Griffey set it up so that the guy who graciously gave back his home run ball was able to be on the field to shag balls during the Home Run Derby. This man, and the one who tossed back Bobby's ball, asked for nothing and simply gave back the ball because they understood the sentiment it held.

Love of baseball comes from understanding it's roots. It's not derived from attending the most games and catching the most balls. That's an obsession. Some people might say I have an obsession because I attend so many games, but I do it out of love. I love being there and there is no where else I'd rather be, even if you paid me. I already know that if I caught that ball, I'd head straight over to the bullpen and hand it to the bullpen coach, no questions asked. Why would I try to benefit off something I didn't earn? Yeah, I may have caught it, but big deal. Anyone with hands can catch it. But only Coghlan deserved it. I don't know what kind of a man Chris Coghlan is. He may not have offered anything in exchange for the ball like Griffey once did. He very well could have just taken it and walked away, but who am I to demand he show me appreciation? Who is Nick Yohanek to ask for autographed bats and tickets to games? It's a small price for Coghlan to pay for his baseball, true, but nonetheless its tacky and classless. Unfortunately we live in a society where people continually try to take credit for things they don't earn, but I continue to believe that there are some of us who would do the right thing. I wish someone else would have caught Coghlan's first Major League home run ball. I wish someone else could have been part of that once in a lifetime experience for Coghlan. Too bad greed prevailed. While no one can take away the fact that Chris Coghlan hit his first Major League home run, Nick Yohanek took away what could have been a great memory for Chris.
(Nick Yohanek with the ball and his written requests)
While my bias on this issue is obvious I would still like to be able to offer Nick Yohanek's side of the story, so CLICK HERE to read his very own blog post of the experience and decide for yourself what your opinion is. Thanks for reading!


*comments disabled due to spamming. 7/5/2010

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AL Gold Glove Winners 2009

Congratulations to this years American League Gold Glove winners!
 Pitcher - Mark Buehrle - Chicago White Sox
Catcher - Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
1B - Mark Teixeira - New York Yankees
2B - Placido Polanco - Detroit Tigers
3B - Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays
SS - Derek Jeter - New York Yankees
OF - Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles
OF - Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
OF - Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Friday, November 6, 2009

ESPN Updates

11/6/09 8:40pm CST [ESPN News Update] Dodgers OF Manny Ramirez has exercised 20-million dollar contract option for 2010.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New York Yankees are World Series Champions.

**Credit to Brad Nolan for walking me through the difficult process of "print screen" and how to open the paint program. Oh, and thanks for posting this picture on my facebook wall, b/c now I am sharing it with everyone, hahaha. Go Red Sox.

Monday, November 2, 2009

MLB Charities Awareness Month on BTL

November is the official month for MLB Charity Awareness on Baseball Between the Lines.
Please join us in supporting this push for charity involvement in November by sharing your experiences and information on the many foundations throughout Major League Baseball.

"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives"
Jackie Robinson

I am a big supporter for charities, and what's better than mixing baseball into charity? I am currently the Director of Marketing for the Doug Davis Foundation, but instead of shamelessly plugging my own charity, I want to get the word out of all kinds of charities around the Major Leagues.

Find one that you agree with and would like to support, and become involved! If you don't have the money to donate, offer your time or even help make the charity known to friends and family. Word of mouth is huge for these charities, and when it reaches the right people, good things happen that benefit everyone especially the people that are directly affected by the charities.

Listed are some charities, with their mission statements, that I think may appeal to the mass of readers:

The Torii Hunter Project: The focus of this project is building kids with strong character and assisting them with a college education.

Doug Davis Foundation: Assisting children with medical, social and family needs. "Helping better the lives of Children."

Fergie Jenkins Foundation

The Harmon Killebrew Foundation: Dedicated to enriching the quality of life by promoting positive and healthful participation in sports, specifically baseball, by partnering with other 501c3 organizations to raise funds for their missions of promoting mental & physical health, education, self-sufficiency and community service

 Mark Grace: His foundation benefits many worthy charities and also gives of his time and talent to support the charities of other big leaguers.

Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation: ARF saves dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters and brings people and animals together to enrich each others lives. ARF strives to create a world where every loving dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion animal, and where children learn to care. Their vision for ARF is an organization that can not only aid abandoned and homeless animals, but also promote the concept that people's lives can be enhanced by strengthening the bonds between humans and animals.

 Derrek Lee's Project 3000: Two Major Sports Figures Team Up to Fight an Important Cause of Childhood Blindness

Derrek Lee's 1st Touch Foundation: Derrek Lee and his wife began the 1st Touch Foundation in 2005 as a vehicle to encourage and support the educational aspirations of young people in the community. "Believe the Unseen"

Charity Wines: They team with a superstar athlete, celebrity or other high profile/notable person and they graciously donate the use of their name and image to produce a unique wine brand. The funds from the wine go to support that said players choice of charity.

The Athlete's Closet: The Athlete’s Closet is the result of great people wanting to do a great thing – help their fellow man. The Athlete’s Closet raises money to buy clothing and food for the poor.

The Ryan Howard Family Foundation: The Mission of the Ryan Howard Family Foundation is to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth and families. This is achieved primarily through the development and implementation of programs that advance education, nutrition, physical fitness, and social economic status.

Home Run Challenge: Prostate Cancer Foundation

Chipper Jones Family Foundation: "I believe in using my gifts and public image to help the community."

The Russ Ortiz Family Foundation: The cornerstone of our foundation is based on our Christian principles of faith and family first. Our foundation was established to support local and national foundations/charities that strive to Serve, Protect, and Care for those who are less fortunate or who do not have the capability to accomplish this task. Our goal is to bless as many individuals or families, especially in the community we live in, with their most immediate needs.

Throughout November different Major League Player's Charities will be featured to help provide awareness. November is the beginning of the offseason and is typically when most ballplayers are able to host events. If you would like to volunteer, donate auction items, bid in our auctions, attend our events, or learn more information about the Doug Davis Foundation, please contact me asap! As of right now, there are 19 foursomes left in our 2nd Annual Celebrity Golf Invitational. If you are involved in other charities, please send in your experiences to share with others and urge them to join as well!

I truly believe in helping others. The first donation I ever made was to the Jimmy V Foundation when I was 18 years old, and I've never stopped. Even when I only had a part time job and was in school full time, I skipped a night out and donated $10 every once in a while to a different charity. You're donations support a number of things, whether is be paying the domain fee for the site to reach the world, or directly paying for the medical attention for the needed. All the baseball players above are all using their name to help attract attention to issues that need your help. Even if you just make a small donation to a chairty, send a copy my way!

My goal is to raise $5,000 through awareness from this site! Every dollar counts!
Donate to ANY MLB Player's associated foundation, send me an e-mail ( stating the amount and we will keep track of the totals! I will also inform the charities you donate to of the cause we are promoting here on Between the Lines!

"How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal and you have to be willing to work for it." - Jimmy Valvano

"We need money for research. It may not save my life. It may save my children's lives. It may save someone you know." -Jimmy V.
Yours in Baseball,

***I was trying to find Kerry Wood's charity site which use to be but it seems like it's not functioning? If anyone has any info on this please e-mail me at Thank you!