Friday, July 18, 2014 Monday, July 14, 2014

RE2PECT

No one would ever mistake me for being a Yankee fan. I was never a big fan of Derek Jeter either. I hated how he thrust his hips out as though a pitch was inside when it right over the middle of the plate to try to steal a ball call from the umpire. I hated his phantom tags and neighborhood plays at second base. I hated how he whined and wouldn’t forgive Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby when Jeter dislocated his shoulder on a legitimate hustle play by Huckaby at third base.

As the years have gone by though, I have grown to respect the man, the ballplayer and his legacy. I won’t miss Jeets, but I do tip my cap to him and I will applaud when he rightfully takes his place in Cooperstown five years from now.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My NL All-Star Ballot

C - Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

Lucroy is the clear choice behind the dish and it’s not even close. He leads all qualified NL backstops in BA (.331), OBP (.399), SLG (.511) and fWAR (3.8). Look for Yadier Molina (Cardinals) and Buster Posey (Giants) to make the team as reserves.

1B - Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Freddie Freeman (Braves), resurgent Justin Morneau (Rockies) and Anthony Rizzo (Cubs) deserve consideration here, but Goldschmidt is an easy choice as he leads all qualified NL first basemen in BA (.308), OBP (.398), SLG (.545) and fWAR (3.3). Mourneau may get snubbed due to roster space. Freeman and Rizzo though have a good chance to be the Braves and Cubs representatives as a reserves.

2B - Chase Utley, Phillies

I had no second thoughts about Utley as my choice here, but I was surprised to see Daniel Murphy (Mets) leading all qualified NL second basemen in fWAR (2.6), and it was hard to ignore Dee Gordon’s (Dodgers) 40 stolen bases and 2.5fWAR (tied for second with Utley). I expect both Murphy and Gordon to be named as reserves. Gordon’s speed makes him a particularly attractive late inning pinch running weapon.

SS - Troy Tulowitzky, Rockies

This was probably the easiest vote on either ballot. Tulo already has posted an fWAR of 4.8 (Jhonny Peralta is a distant second with 2.8, which is mostly due to his defensive value), and Tulo also leads all qualified NL shortstops in BA (.350), OBP (.441), SLG (.608) and home runs (18).

3B - Todd Frazier, Reds

Frazier is having a monster offensive season leading all NL third basemen in home runs (17), isolated power or ISO (.214), SLG (.503), stolen bases (13) and fWAR (3.5). Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) and Anthony Rendon (Nationals) will likely also make the NL squad as reserves.

OF - Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
OF - Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
OF - Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

McCutchen and Stanton were easy picks for me. The final spot came down to Puig and Carlos Gomez (Brewers). I opted for Puig as the starter. Gomez should make the squad as a reserve if he does not win a spot outright.

Photo Credits:
Top Left: Jonathan Lucroy, by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Top Right: Paul Goldschmidt, by Christian Peterson/Getty Images
Middle Left: Chase Utley, by Dan Schultz
/Getty Images
Middle: Troy Tulowitzky, by Doug Pensinger
/Getty Images
Middle Right: Todd Frazier, by Andy Lyons
/Getty Images
Bottom Left: Andrew McCutchen, by Al Bello
/Getty Images
Bottom Middle: Yasiel Puig, by Christian Peterson
/Getty Images
Bottom Right: Giancarlo Stanton, by Kevin C. Cox
/Getty Images

My AL All-Star Ballot

1B - Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

The White Sox Jose Abreu and the A’s Brandon Moss are both deserving, but my vote went to Cabrera, who is leads all AL first basemen in fWAR (3.3). I suspect that Abreu will be named as a reserve, while Moss may be squeezed out due to roster space.

2B - Brian Dozier, Twins

Ian Kinsler and Jose Altuve have higher posted a higher fWAR (3.7 and 3.1, respectively), but I went with Dozier’s balanced blend of power (15 HR), speed (15 SB, 4CS) and defense. Altuve should represent the Astros as a reserve. Kinsler could get snubbed due to roster space.

SS - Derek Jeter, Yankees

No, Jeter is not having an All-Star caliber season. His fWAR of 0.5 currently ranks 11th of 12 qualifying AL shortstops. His batting average (.268) and on-base percentage (.321) both rank fifth, while his slugging percentage is dead last. This is the All Star Game though, and I don’t want to watch Erick Aybar play short. I want Derek Jeter.

3B - Josh Donaldson, Athletics

Donaldson has been in an awful slump of late. Despite that he still leads all qualifying AL third sackers in HR (18), RBI (61) and UZR (12.5). The Mariners Kyle Seager is a close second place and should be named as a reserve.

C - Salvador Perez, Royals

This vote came down to Perez, Yan Gomes (Indians) and Derek Norris (Athletics) for me. Norris is mashing at the plate, posting a .309/.408/.509 slash line with 8 homers and 35 RBI. Ultimately I went with Perez, but all three could make the squad.

DH - Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

Victor Martinez, Nelson Cruz and David Ortiz all get hosed here as Edwin Encarnacion should have been on the ballot as a first baseman. He has started just sixteen games as the Blue Jays DH. He gets my vote though with his 26 bombs, 69 RBI, 194 total bases and .967 OPS.

OF - Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
OF - Michael Brantley, Indians
OF - Mike Trout, Angels

Trout, Bautista and Brantley were easy choices for me as they lead all AL outfielders in oWAR in that order. I might have selected Cruz here instead of Brantley if he were properly placed on that ballot as an outfielder. He has played 46 games in the outfield versus 39 as a DH. The list of those meriting consideration as reserves includes Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), Yoenis Cespedes (Athletics), Coco Crisp (Athletics), Dexter Fowler (Astros), Brett Gardner (Yankees), Alex Gordon (Royals), Adam Jones (Orioles) and Brandon Moss (Athletics). Some of this list will find themselves on the final player ballot. Most will ultimately be snubbed due to roster space.

Photo Credits:
Top Left: Miguel Cabrera, by Jason Miller/Getty
Top Middle: Brian Dozier, by David Banks/Getty
Top Right: Derek Jeter, by Elsa/Getty
Middle Left: Josh Donaldson, by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty
Middle: Salvador Perez, by Jamie Squire/Getty
Middle Right: Edwin Encarnacion, by Jamie Sabau/Getty
Bottom Left: Jose Bautista, by Jim McIsaac/Getty
Bottom Middle: Michael Brantley, by David Maxwell/Getty
Bottom Right: Mike Trout, by Bob Levey/Getty

Sunday, June 15, 2014
How Did I Celebrate Fathers Day?
Rocking three different jersey for three different WoDs during the in-house competition to celebrate CrossFit Synapse’s third anniversary with my wife, kids and all my Synapse friends. Congratulations to Allison and Jimmy, the wonderful coaches and owners of Synapse.
By the way that bruise on my left arm is from a foul tip that managed to avoid my chest protector while I was catching last Sunday. That’s the un-sexy story anyway. The sexy version is that my wife did it.

How Did I Celebrate Fathers Day?

Rocking three different jersey for three different WoDs during the in-house competition to celebrate CrossFit Synapse’s third anniversary with my wife, kids and all my Synapse friends. Congratulations to Allison and Jimmy, the wonderful coaches and owners of Synapse.

By the way that bruise on my left arm is from a foul tip that managed to avoid my chest protector while I was catching last Sunday. That’s the un-sexy story anyway. The sexy version is that my wife did it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Irony
What does a Tesla road service technician drive?
A Ford F250 PowerStroke diesel truck.
Photo by me.

Irony

What does a Tesla road service technician drive?

A Ford F250 PowerStroke diesel truck.

Photo by me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yoda Soundalike Samples

I received a casting call for a non-Union project looking for a Yoda “soundalike.” Here is the sample track I submitted. Hopefully I will get an audition.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Full Weekend

Yesterday, I competed in the California Affiliate League co-ed partner competition with several other teams from our box, CrossFit Synapse. Today, I caught nine full innings while wearing former Red Sox/Rays/Indians/Mets/Mariners catcher Kelly Shoppach’s old gear.

My amazing partner and I finished thirteenth out of 58 teams in the intermediate division. It was a pretty good showing for my first out-of-box competition and her first in a year. The most satisfying part was representing my CrossFit family and competing against/with dozens of tremendously fit and dedicated athletes from across Southern California.

Despite pushing myself through three WoDs yesterday, I was not dreading the thought of catching today. The legs were strong and lively. More importantly, the arm was feeling good and got stronger as the game progressed (frickin’ laser beams!). I had good at-bats too, putting the ball in play on good swings in my three plate appearances (I just need one to drop in for a hit).

Tomorrow, another WoD awaits.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Rookie outfield and Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras homered in his second MLB at-bat today. Yesterday, the Cardinals finally called up Taveras from Memphis where he had been hitting .325/.373/.524 with 7 HR and 40 RBI in 49 games.

View from My Seat
29 years ago today I watched my first and thus far only game at Fenway Park. I made the trip to Boston from my boarding school in the Berkshires of Massachusetts with teammates from my baseball team. Tickets in the right field bleachers cost just $3 for that Friday night game. A ticket in the same section for a Friday night game now costs $30.
I took the photo above with my old Minolta XE-7 SLR and a 70-210mm Sigma zoom lens. Al Nipper is on the mound with Rich Gedman behind the plate and Marty Barrett at second. I believe that is Larry Parrish at bat with Gary Ward on deck.
The 16-29 Texas Rangers, led by future Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, were in town to face the Sox, who were just 21-25 on the young season, mired in sixth place in the then seven team AL East, 8-1/2 games behind the Blue Jays. Attendance was tepid that day with just 19,623 officially announced.
The Rangers won 3-1. Starter Mike Mason gave up just one run, on a home run by Mike “Hit Man” Easler, over 7-1/3 innings to get the win and raise his record to 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA. Dave Stewart, yes that Dave Stewart the future Oakland A’s ace, went the final 1-2/3 innings to earn his third save on the season. Though he pitched relatively well, surrendering just two runs (one earned) over eight full frames, Al Nipper took the loss to drop his record to 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA. Here is the box score from the game, courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
Next year, I hope to attend my 30th class reunion. It would be my first visit back to the campus in twenty years. Hopefully the Red Sox will be home so that I can catch my second game at Fenway during the trip. 
Photo by me.

View from My Seat

29 years ago today I watched my first and thus far only game at Fenway Park. I made the trip to Boston from my boarding school in the Berkshires of Massachusetts with teammates from my baseball team. Tickets in the right field bleachers cost just $3 for that Friday night game. A ticket in the same section for a Friday night game now costs $30.

I took the photo above with my old Minolta XE-7 SLR and a 70-210mm Sigma zoom lens. Al Nipper is on the mound with Rich Gedman behind the plate and Marty Barrett at second. I believe that is Larry Parrish at bat with Gary Ward on deck.

The 16-29 Texas Rangers, led by future Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, were in town to face the Sox, who were just 21-25 on the young season, mired in sixth place in the then seven team AL East, 8-1/2 games behind the Blue Jays. Attendance was tepid that day with just 19,623 officially announced.

The Rangers won 3-1. Starter Mike Mason gave up just one run, on a home run by Mike “Hit Man” Easler, over 7-1/3 innings to get the win and raise his record to 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA. Dave Stewart, yes that Dave Stewart the future Oakland A’s ace, went the final 1-2/3 innings to earn his third save on the season. Though he pitched relatively well, surrendering just two runs (one earned) over eight full frames, Al Nipper took the loss to drop his record to 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA. Here is the box score from the game, courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

Next year, I hope to attend my 30th class reunion. It would be my first visit back to the campus in twenty years. Hopefully the Red Sox will be home so that I can catch my second game at Fenway during the trip. 

Photo by me.