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Monday, November 29, 2010

Yes, I have more than one favorite team. Try to stop me.

The offseason kills us all, I know, so I've decided to use this evening to put together my Bucket List for 2011. I do this every year, including one or two new stadium visits. My favorite team, unfortunately for 2011, is the Chicago Cubs so most will involve them. I have my own issues with the Rickett's, management, and overall team members of the Cubs, but my love for the team comes from history and tradition and like any beligerent fan I stand by them through thick and thin.

While I'm constructing the list tonight, I'd like to note that I have MANY favorite teams, and despite how some feel (that I can only have one favorite), all I have to say to them is... TRY TO STOP ME! And I'm dead serious. You wouldn't believe how many people say I can't like more than one team, when in reality I like 25 of the 30, will watch all 30, and follow 4 like it's my religion. And why should I feel like I can only pick one? Who decided that? I love baseball like its my family, and like a real family you have more than one favorite and even a few distant cousins you can't quite stand.

So after the Cubs, my second favorite team is the Boston Red Sox whose bullpen in the late 80's almost put me in an early grave. Thankfully in 2004 I was rewarded with a long awaited Championship and thanks to my father, I was at the game they won it all. Hence furthering my belief that the Cubs will one day win, as well.

Next favorite is the Minnesota Twins, the team I was raised to root for - Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, and Kirby Puckett were my favorite players when I was still in diapers, I assume due to my father's love for the grinders. Growing up, Torii Hunter was my favorite player rooting from his spiderman-like home-run-robbing defensive plays against the White Sox.

In 2006 I started reading a lot of books and old interviews of players of the early 1900's. One book in particular, The Glory of Their Times was a big influence on my view baseball in the earliest days of professional existance. Learning about the early New York Giants before their move to SF really got me hooked on the organization, and to this day the fans of SF really reach me on a different level.

Remembering my bucket lists for prior seasons, I'm starting to dream bigger and better. One of the best trips I'd ever been on was my first time to PNC in Pittsburgh. That trip had a lot of emotional significance to me, as my grandfather had just passed away. But celebrating life through baseball has always been a way for me to cope, and PNC will always hold sentimental value for me after that trip. As I mentioned above, in 2004 I was at the game (Oct. 27, 2004) when the Red Sox won it all for the first time in 86 years. In 2009 I attended my very first Home Run Derby and vowed to never miss another.

So if you have some ideas, I'd love to hear them! Email me at and I'll post the best bucket list items for 2011.

Thanks & happy offseason,
The Baseball Life,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Agency 2011

Per the new rules filed by Major League Baseball, with approval from the players association, following yesterdays commencement of the World Series players no longer need to file for free agency, but are automatically entered. With that, the teams in which the players are coming from have exclusive negotiating rights for the first 5 days. Grinders like Cody Ross may even affect the contacts of the Cliff Lee's, who will most likely hold off on signing early if teams pursue the game-changers like Ross with over-valued his contracts.

  1. Troy Glaus, 1B - Atlanta
  2. Eric Hinske, OF - Atlanta
  3. Derrek Lee, 1B - Atlanta
  4. Kris Benson, SP - Arizona
  5. Mike Hampton, SP - Arizona
  6. Aaron Heilman, RP - Arizona
  7. Adam LaRoche, 1B - Arizona
  8. Rodrigo Lopez, SP - Arizona
  9. Brandon Webb, SP - Arizona
  10. Cesar Izturis, SS - Baltimore
  11. Julio Lugo, 2B - Baltimore
  12. Kevin Millwood, SP - Baltimore
  13. Corey Patterson, OF - Baltimore
  14. Koji Uehara, RP - Baltimore*
  15. Ty Wigginton, 1B - Baltimore
  16. Bill Hall, OF - Boston
  17. Mike Lowell, 1B - Boston
  18. Victor Martinez, C - Boston
  19. Jason Varitek, C - Boston
  20. Xavier Nady, OF - Chicago (NL)
  21. Willie Bloomquist, OF - Cincinatti
  22. Miguel Cairo, 3B - Cincinatti
  23. Jim Edmonds, OF - Cincinatti
  24. Ramon J. Hernandez, C - Cincinatti
  25. Michael Lincoln, RP - Cincinatti
  26. Arthur Rhodes, RP - Cincinatti
  27. Russ Springer, RP - Cincinatti
  28. Joe Beimel, RP - Colorado 
  29. Jorge De La Rosa, SP - Colorado
  30. Octavio Dotel, RP - Colorado
  31. Jasion Giambi, 1B - Colorado
  32.  Melvin Mora, 3B - Colorado
  33. Jay Payton, OF - Colorado
  34. Freddy Garcia, SP - Chicago (AL)
  35. Andruw Jones, OF - Chicago (AL)
  36. Paul Konerko, 1B - Chicago (AL)
  37. Mark Kotsay, DH - Chicago (AL)
  38. A.J. Pierzynski, C - Chicago (AL)
  39. J.J. Putz, RP - Chicago (AL)
  40. Manny Ramirez, OF - Chicago (AL)
  41. Omar Vizquel, 3B - Chicago (AL) - SIGNED BY CWS $1.75MM, 1 YR
  42. Jeremy Bonderman, SP - Detroit
  43. Johnny Damon, DH - Detroit
  44. Gerald Laird, C - Detroit
  45. Magglio Ordonez, OF - Detroit 
  46. Jhonny Peralta, 3B - Detroit - option declined by DET
  47. Bobby Seay, RP - Detroit
  48. Will Ohman, RP - Florida
  49. Jorge Sosa, RP - Florida
  50. Chad Tracy, 3B - Florida
  51. Geoff Blum, SS - Houston
  52. Brian Moehler, RP - Houston
  53. Bruce Chen, SP - Kansas City
  54. Hideki Matsui, DH - Los Angeles (AL)
  55. Scot Shields, RP - Los Angeles (AL)
  56. Brad Ausmus, C - Los Angeles (NL)
  57. Rod Barajas, C - Los Angeles (NL)
  58. Jay Gibbons, OF - Los Angeles (NL)
  59. Reed Johnson, OF - Los Angeles (NL)
  60. Hiroki Kuroda, SP - Los Angeles (NL) *
  61. Vincente Padilla, SP - Los Angeles (NL)
  62. Jeff Weaver, RP - Los Angeles (NL)
  63. Dave Bush, SP - Milwaukee
  64. Chris Capuano, SP - Milwaukee
  65. Craig Counsell, SS - Milwaukee
  66. Doug Davis, SP - Milwaukee - option declined by MIL
  67. Trevor Hoffman, RP - Milwaukee - option declined by MIL
  68. Gregg Zaun, C - Milwaukee - option declined by MIL
  69. Jess Crain, RP - Minnesota
  70. Randy Flores, RP - Minnesota
  71. Brian Fuentes, RP - Minnesota
  72. Matt Guerrier, RP - Minnesota
  73. Orlando Hudson, 2B - Minnesota
  74. Ron Mahay, RP - Minnesota
  75. Carl Pavano, SP - Minnesota
  76. Nick Punto, 3B - Minnesota
  77. Jon Rauch, RP - Minnesota
  78. Jim Thome, DH - Minnesota
  79. Henry Blanco, C - New York (NL)
  80. Elmer Dessens, RP - New York (NL)
  81. Kelvim Escobar, RP - New York (NL)
  82. Pedro Feliciano, RP - New York (NL)
  83. Fernando Tatis, 1B - New York (NL)
  84. Lance Berkman, 1B - New York (AL)
  85. Chad Gaudin, RP - New York (AL)
  86. Derek Jeter, SS - New York (AL)
  87. Nick Johnson, DH - New York (AL)
  88. Austin Kearns, OF - New York (AL)
  89. Chad Moeller, C - New York (AL)
  90. Andy Pettitte, SP - New York (AL)
  91. Mariano Rivera, RP - New York (AL)
  92. Marcus Thames, OF - New York (AL)
  93. Javier Vazquez, SP - New York (AL)
  94. Kerry Wood, RP - New York (AL)
  95. Boof Bonser, RP - Oakland
  96. Justin Duchscherer, SP - Oakland
  97. Ben Sheets, SP - Oakland
  98. Jose Contreras,RP - Philadelphia
  99. Chad Durbin, RP - Philadelphia
  100. J.C. Romero, RP - Philadelphia
  101. Mike Sweeney, DH - Philadelphia
  102. Jayson Werth, OF - Philadelphia
  103. Chan Ho Park, RP - Philadelphia
  104. Kevin Correia, SP - San Diego
  105. David Eckstein, 2B - San Diego
  106. Jon Garland, SP - San Diego
  107. Jerry Hairston Jr., SS - San Diego
  108. Matt Stairs, OF - San Diego
  109. Miguel Tejada, 3B - San Diego
  110. Yorvit Torrealba, C - San Diego
  111. Josh Bard, C - Seattle
  112. Chris Woodward, SS - Seattle
  113. Jamey Wright, RP - Seattle
  114. Pat Burrell, OF - San Francisco
  115. Jose Guillen, DH - San Francisco
  116. Aubrey Huff, 1B - San Francisco
  117. Guillermo Mota, RP - San Francisco
  118. Juan Uribe, 3B - San Francisco
  119. Pedro Feliz, 3B - St. Louis
  120. Jason LaRue, C - St. Louis
  121. Mike MacDougal, RP - St. Louis
  122. Aaron Miles, 2B - St. Louis
  123. Brad Penny, SP - St. Louis
  124. Dennys Reyes, RP - St. Louis
  125. Jeff Suppan, RP - St. Louis
  126. Jake Westbrook, SP - St. Louis
  127. Randy Winn, OF - St. Louis
  128. Rocco Baldelli, OF - Tampa Bay
  129. Grant Balfour, RP - Tampa Bay
  130. Joaquin Benoit, RP - Tampa Bay
  131. Randy Choate, RP - Tampa Bay
  132. Carl Crawford, OF - Tampa Bay
  133. Brad Hawpe, OF - Tampa Bay
  134. Gabe Kapler, OF - Tampa Bay
  135. Carlos Pena, 1B - Tampa Bay
  136. Chad Qualls, RP - Tampa Bay
  137. Rafael Soriano, RP - Tampa Bay
  138. Jorge Cantu, 3B - Texas
  139. Frank Francisco, RP - Texas
  140. Cristian Guzman, 2B - Texas
  141. Cliff Lee, SP - Texas
  142. Bengie Molina, C - Texas 
  143. Matt Treanor, C - Texas
  144. John Buck, C - Toronto
  145. Scott Downs, RP - Toronto
  146. Jason Frasor, RP - Toronto
  147. Lyle Overbay, 1B - Toronto
  148. Miguel Batista, RP - Washington
  149. Adam Dunn, 1B - Washington
  150. Willie Harris, OF - Washington
  151. Kevin Mench, OF - Washington
* Free agent per contract provision.

The following players currently have club options. If they are not exercised by their given club, they will become a free agent, as well.
  1. Rick Ankiel, OF - Atlanta
  2. Kyle Farnsworth, RP - Atlanta
  3. Alex Gonzalez, SS - Atlanta - SIGNED $2.5MM 11/2/10 by ATL
  4. Omar Infante, 2B - Atlanta - SIGNED $2.5MM 11/2/10 by ATL
  5. Mark Hendrickson, RP - Baltimore
  6. Adrian Beltre, 3B - Boston
  7. Felipe Lopez, 3B - Boston
  8. David Ortiz, DH - Boston
  9. Aramis Ramirez, 3B - Chicago (NL)
  10. Bronson Arroyo, SP - Cinsinatti
  11. Orlando Cabrera, SS - Cincinatti
  12. Aaron Harang, SP - Cincinatti
  13. Jeff Francis, SP - Colorado
  14. Miguel Olivo, C - Colorado
  15. Scotty Podsednik, OF - Los Angeles (NL)
  16. Jose Reyes, SS - New York (NL) - Has an $11MM option by 11/15/10
  17. Eric Chavez, DH - Oakland
  18. Coco Crisp, OF - Oakland
  19. Mark Ellis, 2B - Oakland
  20. Chris Young, SP - San Diego
  21. Erik Bedard, SP - Seattle
  22. Russell Branyan, 1B - Seattle
  23. Edgar Rentaria, SS - San Francisco
  24. Dan Wheeler, RP - Tampa Bay
  25. Valdimir Guerrero, DH - Texas
  26. Kevin Gregg, RP - Toronto
  27. Adam Kennedy, 2B - Washington

Welcome to the offseason, folks. I'll be glued to until March, so stay tuned. Feel free to share offseason events that others can participate in. For that matter, share anything baseball related, because for us... baseball never ends!

The Baseball Life,