MLB Today

Baseball – THE CASTRO CONNECTION


-David Strobach.-

There is no Hall of Fame where Castro is going……

Fidel Castro, the cruel and harsh Cuban dictator, may have had an opportunity that could have altered the path of Cuba, history and his own life.  Fidel Castro was a star pitcher at the University of Havana.  It was always rumored that Fidel tried out for either the Washington Senators or the New York Yankees.  So…what if?  What if he had made the team?

This is more than baseball…this is world history.

Castro, one of the most cruel dictators in the world; could things have gone differently?  He ranks among the inhumane ruthless dictators in history.  Let’s review:  Castro, a communist, lived in an obscenely luxurious palace, ruled with violent military force, while his own people would average an income of about 19 dollars a month.  Human rights were being stripped from the people including: freedom of choice, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.  Embargos left the people hungry and without employment. Whoever would oppose him was imprisoned, many “disappeared”, and thousands were forced to flee Cuba.  So many innocent lives and families were affected.  Sadly, numerous people were tortured and killed.

Think about this.  What would’ve have happened to Cuba if Fidel Castro made it to the “Bigs?”  Would so many lives still have been ruined? Would another ruthless dictator just have taken his place in history?  How would the Cuban missile crisis have turned out?  Would it ever have happened at all? Would Cuba be communist?  If not, would they have been our allies?  Could the Cold War have ended differently or at least the threats?  Could world history have been totally different?  What if headlines read, CASTRO THROWS NO HITTER! instead of CASTRO KILLS PROTESTERS????

Image result for fidel castro baseball

It’s amazing to think . . . what would have happened if he had only made the team and been part of something awesome, like BASEBALL !?!?!?

PERHAPS NOW, AFTER HIS PASSING, RELATIONS WITH CUBA WILL CHANGE……AND IN TURN, WE CAN ENJOY BASEBALL TOGETHER!

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Pic from: http://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/fidel-castro-and-baseball

 

 

Bleacher Boy Logo Reveal


-David Strobach-

Today I have a big reveal for you all! I am totally psyched to share my new logos created especially for Bleacher Boy.  After some less than scientific surveys of fans, family, and friends, I am pleased to say we have 2 winners.  My primary logo, liked by serious baseball fans, and my personal favorite is…

Final logo

My secondary logo is a favorite of many of the ladies and vintage fans:

 

Logo 8

Look for the logos to identify Bleacher Boy as it grows to the next level.  Special thanks to my graphic designer, Andrea Stern, and to those who responded so enthusiastically!!!

Feedback is always welcome!

 

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Tim Tebow Comes Out Of Retirement…For The MLB!


-David Strobach-

Former NFL QB and Heisman winner, Tim Tebow, has decided to pursue a career in professional baseball.  This is completely SERIOUS. So serious that he plans to hold a workout for MLB teams later this month and he’s been reportedly training over the past year in Arizona to refine his skills since he last played as a junior in high school in 2005.  At Nease High School, Tim Tebow was an all-state baseball player who raked .494.  Below is Tebow pictured in high school. Mark DeRosa jokingly said on MLB Network that he swings like Mark Teixeira.

(Courtesy of The St. Augustine Record)

 

Not convinced yet?  Tebow’s agents, Jimmy Sexton and Nick Khan,,  are working with Brodie Van Wagenen, the co-head of CAA Baseball, to make his baseball dream come true.  Van Wagenen said in a statement, “This may sound like a publicity stunt, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have seen Tim’s workouts and people inside and outside the industry – scouts, executives, players and fans – will be impressed by his talent. As an agent, I have a genuine respect for how hard it is to succeed at the game of baseball and a true admiration for those who possess the talent to play it at the Major League level. Tim’s tool set is real.”

 

The reactions revolving around Tebow’s baseball dream have been mixed…

 

Former Major Leaguer Gary Sheffield and 9-time All-Star has been impressed with Tebow:

Chad Moeller, a former MLB catcher has had great things to say about Tebow, “I am beyond impressed with Tim’s athleticism and swing, and it goes without saying that he has shown a high level of discipline and strong work ethic. I see bat speed and power and real baseball talent. I truly believe Tim has the skill set and potential to achieve his goal of playing in the Major Leagues, and based on what I have seen over the past two months, it could happen relatively quickly.”

 

Tom Kotchman, former Los Angeles Angels scout said to WEEI-AM, “We wanted to draft him, but he never sent back his information card. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise we were going to take him.”

An Independent League team has even offered Tebow a contract:

The White Sox AA affiliate, the Birmingham Barons joined in on the fun with a Michael Jordan reference:

Adam Jones, Greg Swindle, Dontrelle Willis aren’t too sure about Tebow:

 

https://twitter.com/GregSwindell/status/763031491651723264

Tim Tebow will continue to be ridiculed for his choice, but that won’t stop him.  He’s dealt with media crap his whole career.  Tim Tebow is the role model every kid should strive to be.  He is incredibly hard working, committed and persistent as well as a fantastic all around man.  I am rooting for him to make it. Is it likely? Odds are against him but anything is possible and I would love nothing more than to see Tebow prove everyone wrong!

Northwoods League HR Derby Makes A Big Splash!


-David Strobach-

The Northwoods League, an elite collegiate summer league, had their All-Star Week festivities down in Kenosha, WI where the Kenosha Kingfish play. The week started off with a home run derby, but this was no ordinary derby.  The players were launching balls off a pier into Lake Michigan over a fence constructed of buoys!  The hosting Kenosha Kingfish had their man, Marty Bechina (who plays for Michigan State), win the derby after blasting 6 dingers into Lake Michigan. I was lucky enough to attend both the home run derby and All-Star Game, and man it was an exciting two days.  The Kenosha Kingfish hit it out of the park (and into the lake) while hosting the All-Star events.

 

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Panorama of where I was seated for the derby.

 

 

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View of where the hitting was done off the pier.

 

After the derby on Monday, the All-Star Game was Tuesday at Historic Simmons Field in Kenosha, WI  between the North and South Divison.  The game got out to a rocky start after the North Division put on 7 runs in the first inning which included many errors (9 total in the game).  After a rough first inning, it was very good baseball from there on out.  The North Divison won 9-5 and both teams racked up 14 hits a piece.

 

My view of the Northwoods League All-Star Game

My view of the Northwoods League All-Star Game

 

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NWL All-Star Game

 

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Panorama from my seat at Historic Simmons Field

It may not be Major League baseball, but this event was a lot of fun! Get out there and support your local baseball teams!

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MLB Stars Talk Favorite and Least Favorite Uniforms


-David Strobach-

Watch as MLB stars talk about their favorite and least favorite uniforms around the league!  My favorite uniforms are the retro 1982 Brewers look and my least favorite uniforms are the current Miami Marlins! What are your favorite and least favorite uniforms in the MLB?

Kris Bryant is very fond of his rival Pirates all black uniforms. Photo: Paul Beaty/Associated Press 

 

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Fan Failures on All-Star Vote


-David Strobach-

The annual All-Star Game rosters are out and the fickle fan vote has resulted in some poor choices once AGAIN!

 

I actually really like how the AL votes panned out.  I agree with most main starters that the fans picked here.  Miggy could very well be starting over Hosmer at first, but Hosmer has been incredible.  Many may be fuming over the fact that Astros SS Carlos Correa isn’t in the game, but Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor have been two of the best players in the game.  The AL SS position is incredibly strong and Correa simply has not been as good as the two that are in the game.  It’s great to see Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright (2.68 ERA) deservedly make the roster.

Lindor has been a major sparkplug for the thriving Indians (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Although I thought the fans did a good job with the AL, it is embarrassing for the NL showing.  The entire Cubs infield starting is ridiculous.  Don’t me wrong, I am a Brewers fan but I am not being biased here because some facts and stats offer up some better some options.   Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant deserve to start, they are some of the best in the league.

Addison Russell starting…you gotta be kidding me! He’s hitting .242/.337/.418 with an OPS of .754 and 11 home runs.  The fans voted him to start over Corey Seager! Seager is hitting .303/.363/.537 with an OPS of .900 and 17 home runs.  Seager is a reserve and is  currently the BEST shortstop in the NL and beats Russell in almost EVERY WAY!  By no means is Russell a bad player, but there’s not a chance in the world he should be starting.  Trevor Story (.257/.324/.530 with an .854 OPS and 19 home runs) is a final vote candidate so he may make it, but he could have been on the team easily over Russell  The slick fielding and most underrated player in baseball, Brandon Crawford (.271/.344/.425 with an OPS of .769 and 8 home runs) would have been a better choice too. It is impossible to say Russell is the top NL SS.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Second baseman, Ben Zorbist, has been stellar this year, but starting over reserve Daniel Murphy….c’mon.  Zorbist is hitting .291/.399/.474 with an OPS of .873 and 12 bombs while Murphy has arguably been the best hitter in baseball and is leading the league in hits (101) and average with .345/.384/.574 and an OPS of .957 and 14 home runs.  Zorbist should be the reserve here.

Love em or hate em, Ryan Braun (final vote candidate) should have been a sure thing starter for the All-Star Game. He could still get in the game, but it is absurd he isn’t starting.  He leads all NL outfielders in batting average and is slashing .322/.378/.533 and an OPS of .912 and 13 dingers.  He’s arguably also been the best outfielder in the NL and more than deserving for an All-Star spot. It makes total sense that fans may not vote for Braun because of the PED cloud hanging over his head, which is a big reason why the fan vote itself needs to end because this game matters.

The MLB All-Star Game winner’s league earns World Series home field advantage which is huge.  Baseball’s “best” is not being truly represented by the fans for a game of significant value.  I think most Cubs fans would agree they would rather have Seager up to win the game than Russell.  Teams should have full control of their World Series destinies, including who has home field advantage and not let fans put that in otherplayers hands.  The MLB needs to do one or the other: take away the fan vote or take the value from the game.

 

 

Rosters below:

AL Starters

C Salvador Perez, Royals (highest total vote getter)
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
2B Jose Altuve, Astros
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
3B Manny Machado, Orioles
OF Mike Trout, Angels
OF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

 

AL Reserves

C Stephen Vogt, Athletics
C Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B Robinson Cano, Mariners
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
3B Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
IF Eduardo Nunez, Twins
OF Carlos Beltran, Yankees
OF Ian Desmond, Rangers
OF Mark Trumbo, Orioles
DH Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

AL Pitchers

RHP Marco Estrada, Blue Jays
LHP Cole Hamels, Rangers
RHP Danny Salazar, Indians
LHP Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP Steven Wright, Red Sox
RHP Dellin Betances, Yankees
RHP Brad Brach, Orioles
RHP Zach Britton, Orioles
RHP Alex Colome, Rays
RHP Wade Davis, Royals (injured)
RHP Will Harris, Astros
RHP Kelvin Herrera, Royals
RHP Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox
LHP Andrew Miller, Yankees

 

NL Starters

C Buster Posey, Giants
1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
SS Addison Russell, Cubs
3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
OF Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
OF Dexter Fowler, Cubs

NL Reserves

C Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
C Wilson Ramos, Nationals
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
1B Wil Myers, Padres
2B Daniel Murphy, Nationals
SS Corey Seager, Dodgers
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
IF Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
OF Odubel Herrera, Phillies
OF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
OF Adam Duvall, Reds

NL Pitchers

RHP Jake Arrieta, Cubs
LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants
RHP Johnny Cueto, Giants
RHP Jose Fernandez, Marlins
LHP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (injured)
LHP Jon Lester, Cubs
RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
RHP Julio Teheran, Braves
RHP Jeurys Familia, Mets
RHP Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
RHP Mark Melancon, Pirates
RHP A.J. Ramos, Marlins
RHP Fernando Rodney, Padres/Marlins

 

 

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Jose Reyes Gets A Second Chance With The Mets


Kathy Willens/AP Photo

 

-David Strobach-

The New York Mets have signed free agent shortstop, Jose Reyes, to a minor league deal after clearing waivers with the Rockies to reunite the two parties.  Jose Reyes was a star for the  Mets from 2003-2011 and left for a $106 million contract spanning 6 years with the Marlins.  He was then traded to the Blue Jays, then the Rockies acquired him in the Troy Tulowitzki deal.    Reyes was suspended without pay (lost $6.25 million) through May 31 for his domestic violence incident last October where he grabbed his wife by the throat and pushed her into a glass door while in Hawaii.  He was arrested, but after his wife was uncooperative with the prosecution, the charges were later dropped.   Even though he was never formally charged, he still violated the MLB domestic abuse policy which led to his suspension. The Mets GM Sandy Alderson feels Jose has learned from his mistake, served his punishment, and deserves a second chance saying:

 

“I did meet with Jose personally. We talked for about an hour. Obviously, this domestic abuse issue was the focal point of that conversation. I came away feeling that he had taken responsibility for this mistake on his part, that he was remorseful. He obviously has paid a penalty for this, both financially and in terms of his career. He, I believe, is committed to ongoing counseling and support of organizations working against domestic abuse. And obviously, in addition to this personal meeting, we had a lot of internal conversations. [Chief operating officer] Jeff Wilpon was directly involved in this every step of the way. We were aware of the possible controversy this would generate. We’re also fully aware of the responsibility we sort of have to be leaders in this area of fighting domestic abuse.”  Sandy also said, “At the same time, Jose was a member of the Mets organization for 12 years. He was signed at 16 years of age. He was a solid citizen during all of that time. And so, if you think of it in those terms, us as a place where Jose grew up, almost as a surrogate family, we felt that he deserved a second chance, and that second chance was most appropriate with us.”

Also saying:

“We fully understand there will be differences of opinion about this. Some people will feel strongly and differently. I think we accept that. We respect that. All I can say is both Jose and the organization will be held to a standard going forward that recognizes the seriousness of domestic abuse and a commitment to stand against it.”

Reyes expressed regret for his actions and is looking forward to future saying below:

“As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred and remain remorseful and apologetic to my family. I have completed the counseling required by MLB, have been in ongoing therapy, and will continue with counseling going forward. I appreciate the Mets organization for believing in me and providing the opportunity to come back home to New York.”

Tim Farrell/The Star-Ledger

The Mets are hoping this second chance for their former star helps a line up desperately looking for a boost as well as add depth.  He will spend around a week in the minors to recalibrate his skills before joining the MLB roster.  The Rockies are responsible for the $39 million he’s owed and the Mets only have to pay him the league minimum of $507,50.  This is a great low-risk, high-reward opportunity for New York.  His role will not be as shortstop with the Mets as Asdrubal Cabrera blocks him there.  He will be playing 3rd and even work in the outfield.  Reyes should be slotted into the leadoff spot to boost the Mets order.  He will also bring a much needed speed to a team barren of it.  It is unfair for anyone to expect his 2011 batting title days coming back as Alderson said on his expectations:

“Do we expect him to win the National League battle title this year the way he did in 2011? No. Has he lost a step – maybe? Is he the premier shortstop that he once was? It doesn’t really matter — he’s not going to play shortstop. So we’ve taken all of those things into account. We think he can help us. You know, from a motivational standpoint, I don’t think we would be able to find a player who is more determined, more highly motivated to perform than Jose is today.”

I personally used to be a fan of Reyes, but lost all respect for him after his altercation with his wife.  With the statements from Alderson, it seems that the Mets have and are continuing to handle the situation well.  It is great to see the MLB as a whole handling domestic violence seriously.   I hope Reyes has truly learned from his mistake.  Based on the statements, both parties feel that he has.  It is good to see that his counselling will continue while in New York.  Even though I will never look at him the same like many others and rightfully so, I wish the best for him and his family and hope he grows from this experience.  You can spend your life working hard, building up your reputation, and respect, doing great things – but it only takes one regrettable act to have it all come crashing down.  Any man that hurts his wife is not a man at all. However, I do believe in second chances.

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