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Greg Cunningham

Opening Day 2016 posted by Greg Cunningham

In her book about growing up as a Brooklyn Dodger fan, Doris Kearns Goodwin laments an often-used cliché about the Dodgers, one which even made its way onto an official Dodger Calendar, and became the title of her memoir: “Wait until next year.”  As her coming of age story progresses, she learns the phrase is not just about hoping her beloved Dodgers win a World Series after a season of disappointment  (which they eventually did), but also about moving forward, finding solace, and using time to heal emotional wounds.

It is no surprise that the start of the baseball season is associated with the concept of rebirth and rejuvenation.  Spring wakes us from a long winter’s nap, and as the days get brighter, our spirits rebound as well.  As the home opener approaches, the sun has not quite set when we arrive home each evening, the winter hats and scarves are safely tucked away, and our energy levels grow stronger each day. 

By today, there is a palpable feeling of magic in the air.  The sun shines brighter, the sky seems bluer, and grass is as green as an emerald jewel.  Getting out of bed this morning was easy, and with each step, there is an extra bounce.  There is joy in our hearts and we almost giggle with excitement as the day progresses.   “No,” we tell our friends who are not indoctrinated in the game of threes and nines, “I am not on drugs.”  Today there is a euphoria better than any type of artificial high, a day for optimism and faith, a day like no other day on the calendar: today is Opening Day at Fenway Park.

Continue reading "Opening Day 2016"

Greg Cunningham

Opening Day 2015 posted by Greg Cunningham

Sports fans in Boston have been truly blessed.  Just fifteen years ago, uttering these words would have been absurd, as only those collecting Social Security would remember a time when any team other than the Celtics were able to raise a championship banner in the City of Boston.  And once some of the great Celtics players of the 80’s retired, the city went into a decade long funk, with absolutely nothing to celebrate. 

A high school freshman today has no concept of this Boston, a place for perennial losers, second place and second rate teams that never could quite make it to the finish.  But seemingly from out of nowhere, The New England Patriots began an onslaught of hope, a last second field goal that reminded us what it was like to raise our arms and yell for joy, and they did it again two years later.  Then we saw a miracle right before our very eyes, when the Red Sox reversed a curse that had lasted for three generations.  The Celtics and Bruins followed, along side two more World Series trophies.  Boston Pride was running high. 

But after a first to worst performance by the 2014 Boston Red Sox, we needed a little shot in the arm to get ourselves back on top.  “The Butler Did It” was a Monday-after-the-Super Bowl headline which took care of business.  We were reminded that, in Boston, we don’t just want to win, we expect it; a year without a banner is a year that is incomplete.  Two years ago, when President Barrack Obama raised our spirits from our lowest of moments, he told us, “…when the Sox, then Patriots…are champions again…the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street…Bet on it!”  We had no idea how prophetic he would really be.  Two years, and two parades later, the road to recovery has been realized.

Continue reading "Opening Day 2015"

Lions Fan

2014 Preseason Report: The Detroit Tigers posted by Lions Fan

The Detroit Tigers went through another disappointing season last year with a 6-10 record. Many of their fans thought they would be able to reach the playoffs after a hot 6-3 start but tapered off in the end with a 1-6 finish.

Much of the blame for the late season collapse has to be placed on the Lions offense. The team sputtered in offense in their final eight contests, being limited to 21 points or fewer. Former top pick Matthew Stafford was a picture of inconsistency last year, looking unstoppable in October but becoming error-prone later in the season.

To address their inconsistencies in offense, the team drafted Eric Ebron out of North Carolina. The tight end should be able to receive passes from Stafford and other quarterbacks. They also signed another tight end, veteran Golden Tate from the reigning champions Seattle Seahawks.

One thing that the Lions did well last year was protecting Stafford as the offensive line surrendered just 23 sacks. This is expected to become even better as two key players, left tackle Riley Reiff and LaAdrian Waddle, are still young and should improve this season.

On defense, the team will again rely on former No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh to lead the way. While he was also inconsistent last year, Suh was able to disrupt opponents on the interior.  But Suh and his partner Nick Fairley were heavily penalized, thus the team would like to see their 20 infractions go down this year.

The Lions have high hopes for Ziggy Ansah, the best rookie in terms of sacks last year. He’ll be joined by former college teammate Kyle Van Noy on the defensive line as well as Jason Jones who is coming off an injury.

Continue reading "2014 Preseason Report: The Detroit Tigers"

Nationals News

Gio Gonzales posted by Nationals News

Born September 19, 1985, Gio Gonzales plays MLB for Washington Nationals as their pitcher. For right-handers, Gio uses the four-seam and two-seam fastballs, curveball, and the changeup. He mainly reserves the curveball for left-handers, when being ahead in the count. His whiff rate is above average, with curveball at 36%, and changeup at 35%. His curveball also has an excellent ground ball to fly ball ratio of 7:1.

Gonzales played baseball in high school and his school team won the state championships twice. His professional career started when he was drafted in the first round of the 2004 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox. In 2005, the White Sox traded Gonzales to Philadelphia Phillies, where he was considered the number two prospect. In 2007, he was back with the White Sox, and in that season, he played 150 innings and struck out 185.

In 2008, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics, and was called up to play the majors in August, when he made his MLB debut. However, in 2009, he was back with the minor leagues, playing for Sacramento River Cats, a Triple-A team. In 2011, Gonzales was chosen to play in the MLB All-Star game.

In December 2011, the Athletics traded Gonzales to the Washington Nationals. He went on to make the national record for pitching 25 scoreless innings consecutively. Gonzales was included in the 2012 roster, and by the end of the season, he managed to improve his record to 12-3 with a 2.92 ERA. In August 2012, Gonzales pitched the second complete game of his career, and hit his first home run against Houston Astros. In the same month, he also pitched the first shut out game of his career against St Louis Cardinals 10-0. In July 2014, Gonzales made the 1000th strikeout of his career against Milwaukee Brewers.

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Blue Jays Fan

R A Dickey posted by Blue Jays Fan

Born October 29, 1974, R. A. Dickey is a MLB pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays. He mainly relies on the knuckleball, which has served him well in his pitching career. Dickey switches between a slow knuckler at 54 mph and a fast knuckler that can reach a speed of up to 83 mph. He also uses four-seam and two-seam fastballs in the range of 82 to 85 mph, and occasionally resorts to a changeup, which is in the range of 76 to 78 mph.

Dickey played baseball in school and college, but started his professional career when he was drafted in 1996 by the Texas Rangers; however, his debut was not until 2001. In 2004, he started the season strongly with a 4-1 record but by the end of the season, he was down to 6-7 record with a poor 5.61 ERA. Dickey realized he had to better his pitch, and in 2006, he was given a chance to experiment with the knuckleball, and was named the fifth starter by the Rangers. However, in the first start, he gave away six home runs, and he was demoted to play with Oklahoma Red Hawks, a Triple-A team, which is a minor league affiliate of the Rangers.

From 2007 to 2010, Dickey mainly played minor league for Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners. In January 2010, Dickey signed a contract with New York Mets to play minor league, and he was assigned to Buffalo Bisons, a Triple-A team. However, in 2012, during Cy Young Award Season, Dickey played excellently, and was the first pitcher to win 10 games of the MLB season. In December 2012, Dickey was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, and in February 2013, Dickey was named the starter for the opening day. In June 2014, Dickey managed the 1,000th strikeout of his career, while pitching against Chicago White Sox.

Continue reading "R A Dickey"

Rangers Fan

Neal Cotts posted by Rangers Fan

Born March 25, 1980, Neal Cotts is a MLB pitcher with the Texas Rangers. Cotts played for his college, Illinois State University, and won the honors of All-Missouri Valley Conference for his team. When he finished college, he was ranked all-time fifth in strikeouts, when he struck 263 in only three seasons, playing for the Redbirds. In 2001 draft, Cotts was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics.

Cotts started his professional career, playing the 2002 season for Modesto, a Single-A team of the California League. In 28 starts, he won 12 games. However, during the off-season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. For the 2003 season, Cotts was ranked third prospect in the franchise's system. He began the season playing for Birmingham, a Double-A team of the Southern League. He posted 131 strikeouts, 9-6 record, and 2.12 ERA. In August 2003, Cotts earned his first win against the Texas Rangers, when he pitched for five innings and allowed five hits. However, the season ended with Cotts posting 1-1 record and 8.10 ERA.

In 2006, the Chicago Cubs acquired Cotts in a trade, but in May 2007, he was optioned to play Iowa, a Triple-A team, when Cubs recalled Sean Marshall, a left-handed pitcher. In 2007, Cotts was again signed to a one-year contract by the Cubs and he started playing for Triple-A teams. He was recalled in May 2008, after the Cubs traded Scott Eyre, their veteran pitcher.

In January 2010, Pittsburg Pirates signed Cotts for playing minor league, but he was released in September, when he had to undergo hip surgery. In November 2010, Cotts signed a contract with the New York Yankees, but he was again released by February 2011 due to his physical issues. In 2012, Cotts signed a contract with the Texas Rangers but he was assigned to minor league. In May 2013, Cotts was back in the Major Leagues when he pitched against Oakland, but his performance has remained poor up to now.

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Rays Fan

Grant Balfour posted by Rays Fan

Born December 30, 1977 in Australia, Grant Balfour plays MLB for the Tampa Bay Rays as their relief pitcher. Amongst Australian pitchers in MLB, he currently holds the record for maximum strikeouts and all-time saves. Balfour made his debut in MLB in 2001, when he was drafted by Minnesota Twins. He remained with the Twins until 2004, and spent most of 2005 recovering from an injury. In 2006, Cincinnati Reds signed him, and he played for them for about a year.

Balfour was absent from the MLB scene for three years and returned in July 2007 to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. In the eighth inning against the Diamondbacks, he struck out the first hitter, and relieved Chris Capuano to end it with a tie 2-2. Later he walked a batter, hit one, and allowed a home run, which gave a 5-2 win to the Diamondbacks. In 2007, Balfour was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, and was in their bullpen for the rest of the season. He finished the 2008 season with 82 strikeouts, 6-2 record, and 1.54 ERA. In January 2011, Balfour signed a two-year contract with Oakland Athletics, and he was named to be their closer. In July 2013, Balfour made a record of highest consecutive saves in his franchise.

In December 2013, agreed to a $15 million deal with Baltimore Orioles for two years. However, in December the deal was jeopardized, as the Orioles had issues with his physical and did not want to sign him. Balfour wanted to file a grievance challenging the Orioles decision, but later agreed to a contract with Tampa Bay Rays for two years. In 2014, during the start of the season, after pitching in 24 games, Balfour's ERA was 6.46, which was quite poor. Subsequently in June, Balfour was removed from the role of a closer.

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STL <a href=Cardinals Fan" title="STL Cardinals Fan" class="floatLeft">

Randy Choate posted by STL Cardinals Fan

Born September 5, 1975, Randy Choate plays Major League Baseball for the St Louis Cardinals as their pitcher. He is a left-handed pitcher, makes a sidearm delivery, and he mainly pitches sliders and sinking fastballs. He excels in inducing ground balls from left-handers, especially in double plays, and his sinker induces 71.4% ground ball rate. He delivers the slider with a sideways movement, which induces a swing-and-miss rate of 19.5%.

Choate was a baseball letterman in school, and while attending college he earned second team and third team College All-American, and All-Star Atlantic Coast Conference. He started his professional career when New York Yankees drafted him in 1997, and he pitched for Oneonta Yankees, Tampa Yankees, and Greensboro Bats. In 2000, he was promoted to play for Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A team.

In July 2000, Choate made his debut in MLB, playing against Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and retired one batman that he faced. He went on to play 22 games that season, and posted a record of 0-1, and ERA of 4.76. In the following two years, Choate performed even more poorly, posting an ERA of 6.23 in 23 games. In December 2003, Choate was traded to the Montreal Expos, who in turn traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in March 2004. In that season, he played 74 games posting a 2-4 record and 4.62 ERA.

In November 2007, Choate was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers for one year, but in 2008 was injured and spent most of this time in rehab assignments. In January 2009, Tampa Bay Rays signed him to play minor league, and he posted the first save of his career in May, while playing against Minnesota Twins. In 2011-2012, Choate was with the Miami Marlins, and in July 2012, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In December 2012, Choate signed a contract worth $7.5 million with St Louis Cardinals for three years.

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SF Giants Fan

Tim Hudson posted by SF Giants Fan

Born July 14, 1975, Tim Hudson plays MLB for the San Francisco Giants as their pitcher. He mainly uses the sinker pitch at a speed of around 89 to 91 mph. The next most used pitch by him is the cutter at a range of 85 to 88 mph. However, for left-handers he also includes splitter at 79 to 82 mph and the curveball at 76 to 78 mph, apart from the sinker.

Hudson started playing baseball for his school and finished with a record of 12-1 and ERA of 1.78. Through college too, Hudson pitched excellently and in 1997, he played for the Tigers as an outfielder and pitcher. He finished with a record of 15-2, and ERA of 2.97, which earned him SEC Player of the Year honor.

Oakland Athletics drafted Hudson in 1997 in the sixth round of the draft, and he made his MLB debut in June 1999 when he played against the San Diego Padres. In the game, he allowed only three runs, but Athletics lost 5-3. Hudson recorded the first win of his career in June, playing against Los Angeles Dodgers. Here, in seven innings, he allowed only a single run with a 9-3 record.

In 2005, Hudson was traded by Athletics to the Atlanta Braves, and in August of the same year, Hudson earned his 100th win of his career, playing against St Louis Cardinals. However, he did not play well in the second season, but was back in good form in 2007, finishing the season with a record of 16-10 and ERA of 3.33. In November 2013, Hudson signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants for $23 million. In August, he led his team to win 4-2 against the Colorado Rockies, and managed the 2000th strikeout of his career as well.

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Padres Fan

Ian Kennedy posted by Padres Fan

Born December 19, 1984, Ian Kennedy plays MLB for San Diego Padres as their pitcher. Kennedy throws five types of pitches, including two-seam and four-seam fastballs at around 90 to 95 mph, a knuckle-curve at around 75 to 78 mph, a Vulcan changeup that is above average, and a cutter at around 85 mph. Kennedy started playing baseball in school and he was awarded many "valuable player" awards. In college, he played for University of Southern California and again received several awards and broke school records.

Kennedy started his professional baseball career in 2006, when he was drafted in the first round by the New York Yankees. He pitched for New York Penn League's team, Staten Island Yankees for 2.2 innings. In 2007, he played 63 innings for Tampa Yankees of Florida State League and posted record of 6-1, 1.29 ERA, and struck out 72. This earned him a promotion to Trenton Thunder, Double-A team of the Eastern League, where his record was 5-1, ERA was 2.59, and he struck out 57.

In September 2007, Kennedy made his debut in MLB, playing for the Yankees as a replacement for Mike Mussina. In seven innings, he struck out six, and allowed three runs and five hits. In December 2009, Kennedy was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and started with two scoreless innings for his new team. However, in April he had his first victory playing 8 innings, where he struck out six, and allowed six hits and four runs. In August, while pitching against the San Diego Padres, Kennedy struck out 12 and allowed only a single hit, which is his career best. In July 2013, Kennedy was traded to the San Diego Padres, and was immediately included in the rotation of the team. In 2014, Kennedy made his 200th strikeout, which made him the fourth pitcher of the Padres to reach this record.

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MLB Baseball News

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Watch: Patriots' Julian Edelman hits a ball over Fenway's Green Monster (Shu

Edelman, entering his eighth season in the NFL, was at Fenway Park on Wednesday, before his adopted team, the Red Sox, hosted his childhood team, the San Francisco Giants. According to Edelman, he hit “six or seven”balls over the famed Green Monster. Edelman got to spend some time with Red Sox third-base coach Brian Butterfield, a huge Patriots fan, and also met third baseman Travis Shaw, who like Edelman played at Kent State. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Watch Live: Ichiro's quest for 3,000 hits continues in Free Game of the Day (Big Lea

It’s only a matter of time now before Ichiro Suzuki becomes the 30th player to notch 3,000 hits in Major League Baseball. The 42-year-old outfielder will enter Sunday’s game against the New York Mets with 2,996 hits, meaning Ichiro could easily reach the milestone this week. Unfortunately, Ichiro is not in the Marlins lineup on Sunday, but his pursuit of 3,000 still adds a whole new level of intrigue to an already important game, which we’re happy to say will be featured as the Free Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

The Chicago Cubs have acquired hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the New York Y

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs have acquired hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the New York Yankees. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Cardinals arrive in New York at 8:30 am after flight delay (The Associated Press)

The St. Louis Cardinals did not arrive at their hotel in New York until 8:30 a.m. Monday after a flight delay that followed a nationally televised night game. St. Louis' 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Sunday night's ESPN game lasted 3 hours, 49 minutes, and ended shortly before 11 p.m. CDT. The plane taking the Cardinals to New York did not land in St. Louis on time because of weather, causing the team to remain in its clubhouse for several hours. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Astros prospect Bregman gets call to majors year out of LSU (The Associated Press)

It was just over a year ago that Alex Bregman finished his career at LSU. Bregman made his big league debut for the Astros on Monday night against the New York Yankees after flying through the minors. ''It's been a fun last year,'' Bregman said before the game. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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