February 2009

Baseball Scandals– The Outcome of the Game

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Barry Bonds could be facing two years in prison, and everyone is talking about it, and other baseball scandals in the past. Here are my takes on some of baseball’s most infamous scandals: 
Steroids Users and Abusers:
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Ever since Jose Canseco came out with that book accusing many beloved players around the league of abusing steroids, it has remained one of the most talked about topics in baseball. Then the Mitchell Report came out and many more players were accused. I cannot respect anyone who uses steroids– I can’t respect someone who doesn’t respect the game. They are setting a bad example for the future stars of baseball, and they are ruining the beauty of the game. 
Cheating is cheating and if players use steroids, then they have an unfair advantage over other naturally talented players. They still have to be able to hit the ball, but they sure can hit it harder. I do not think that the Hall of Fame should be an option for those players that used steroids, and I do not think that some of their records should stand. I believe that Barry Bonds is guilty [don’t hate me Steven!!], so I still consider Hank Aaron to be the home run king. 
The problem is that steroids affect the outcome of the game in an unethical way. I just want the game to be clean, and played with pure, natural talent. 
Pete Rose:
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Pete Rose has been ineligible for Hall of Fame eligibility because he bet on games while he was a manger. From the stories that I’ve heard and the videos that I’ve watched, Pete Rose played the game like no other. He did not cheat, he did not do anything TO the game of baseball. Betting on the game does not affect the outcome– steroids do. I don’t think gambling is the most ethical thing a person can do, and I do not condone it in any way, but I do not think that Pete Rose should be banned from the Hall of Fame because he bet on his team– he deserves to be there. He has been punished long enough. 
1919 ‘Black Sox’ Scandal:
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Everyone knows what happened. The eight players that were paid to throw the 1919 against the Cincinnati Red Stockings. This affected the outcome of the World Series because it was not just betting on winning or losing, it was paying people to specifically throw games. Shoeless Joe Jackson did accept the money, but he did not throw the series. .375 is not throwing a series, it is doing what Alex Rodriguez wishes he could do in the post season. Some of the players should be ineligible to be in the HOF, but Shoeless Joe Jackson did not throw the series. He played exactly how he was supposed to play. 
Daily Dosage of Baseball
Thankfully today’s daily dosage was not as tragic as yesterday’s. I was not harassed (yes I was), but at least I didn’t have to talk about Babe Ruth. I did get a ‘Hey Elizabeth, guess what? The Red Sox suck!’, but that was it. 
I went to the library to look for Ken Burns’ ‘Baseball’ because I would like to use it for my research paper. Unfortunately I could not find it, so my friend and I went downstairs and asked the front desk. They could not find it either, but the guy at the front was happy that my friend and I have taken an interest in baseball at “such a young age”. 
Then we went to Mr. Gedeon (in yesterday’s Daily Dosage) and he and I talked about more baseball. I told him that the Mets had personally offended me because of 1986. He also mentioned how relieved he was that Ben Sheets would not be joining the Mets because of that ridiculous elbow surgery. 
The Free Agent Files
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Like Jen, I do not understand why Sheets is having surgery now, when he could’ve had it in October or November. Was he planning telling his suitors that he would be needing elbow surgery after all of his claims that he was healthy? Well, we won’t be seeing Sheets until July or August. 
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Instead of talking about Manny Ramirez, how about Bobby Abreu? Where could he be going? He would be a nice addition to the Braves, but I think that they would be smarter to go with younger talent like Nick Swisher. I think he and Adam Dunn are in similar positions right now. Where do you think Abreu will go? 
What do you think about these HOF potentials? 
-Elizabeth

#17– Cecil Cooper

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Continuing in the tradition recently established here by Jimmy, I have decided to dedicate my latest rank. After some research, I have come to the conclusion that #17 goes to Cecil Cooper. 

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Cecil Cooper was nicknamed “Coop”, so immediately I wondered if the fans chanted “Coooooooooooop” like they chant today for “Youuuuuuk”, or maybe even how the Yankees cheer for “Moose”. Cooper has statistics similar to Jim Rice (the average at least), and played for 17 seasons, six of which were with the Red Sox, the others with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has a career average of .298 with 2,192 hits and 1,125 RBIs. He was a five time All-Star, and went on a run from 1977-1983 in which he hit .300 or higher. His career year was 1980 in which he batted .352. In fact, Youkilis is even more similar to him because the both of them are Gold Glover first baseman. He has also won the Roberto Clemente award, was inducted into the Brewers Walk of Fame, and has been the manager of the Astros for the past two years. 
I added that ‘Statistic Counter’ to my blog, unfortunately I set it to start at zero so I have absolutely no idea how many “hits” I really have. 
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Daily Dosage of Baseball

Today’s dose of baseball came in my second period American History class. We are currently learning about the 1920’s and we were talking about pop culture icons. We all know that baseball was popular in the 1920’s and so the icon that we talked about was none other than, George Herman Ruth, better known as Babe Ruth. As soon as I saw his picture come up on the powerpoint, I cringed.
Dr. King [teacher]: And there was Babe Ruth, the baseball icon. Elizabeth, would you like to talk about him? [I wonder how he knew that I would know about him….]
Me: No… I mean… Well, he was the home run king for a while… But, he actually came from no where really. He lived at an orphanage for a while, he was both a pitcher and a hitter… He’s probably the greatest player all time. 
Well, as soon as Babe’s picture came up on the powerpoint, the guys in my class jumped on the opportunity to bring up the most infamous trade in baseball history. Their snickering and mockery began! Here are some of the low-lights that they centered on: 
Babe Ruth used to play for the Red Sox didn’t he? Oh wait, what happened? Oh yeah! He was sold to the Yankees so your manager could finance a play right? 
Me: Get over it! 
I would go see that play, wouldn’t you?
Me: Never… 
It went on and on to the World Series titles, and then back to Babe Ruth with many hushes, shushes, ‘get over its’, ‘don’t start with me’s’ and more. I know that he is probably the greatest baseball player of all time, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t cringe every time that I hear his name. 
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Apparently, Mark Kotsay is having back surgery. Our backup first baseman is having back surgery less than a month before Spring Training is beginning. The Red Sox re-signed him a couple of weeks ago to a $1 million dollar contract, and he’s getting back surgery?? Did we know about this upon signing him? 
Still, the Red Sox don’t expect him to be missing much time. This explains the recent signing of Brad Wilkerson, another veteran first baseman who happens to also be a left handed hitter. It was a minor league deal for a “base salary” at $400,000 with incentives (my favorite!!) up to $2.5 million. 
What about Jeff Bailey? What about Lars Anderson? Those are two very capable first basemen. I know Anderson needs some more time to develop down in the minors, but Bailey did relatively well with the Red Sox. Couldn’t Bailey be the back up first baseman? 
Jeff posted a comment on my recent Prime 9 blog about Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie. He asked if Lugo even deserves an opportunity to “battle” it out for shortstop. Here is what I think:
I know that Jed Lowrie proved himself, I know that he can field well, and that he can hit in the clutch. I got tired of Julio bobbling the ball and over throwing first base, I got tired of him striking out on the low and outside pitches every single time! I liked that young face of Jed Lowrie, plus, he was my project! However, if the Red Sox made a pretty big investment with Lugo. It didn’t really turn out they way that he wanted it to, but if we were to put him on the bench, wouldn’t that be kind of wasteful? 
If Lowrie does prove himself in Spring Training, then by all means, he deserves a starting spot, regardless of Lugo’s contract. 
Thanks again for helping me come in at 17! 
-Elizabeth

New Edition: ‘My Daily Dosage of Baseball’

I am not sure if any of you realized, but my ‘Prime 9′ (enjoy the pun Metsmainman) only had eight topics. My mistake, but to those of you who were wondering, ‘what the heck is number nine’…

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Lowell’s Recovery
After being the MVP of the 2007 World Series, Mikey’s numbers dropped, and he did not even play in the ALCS. I think the reason for that was his troublesome hip. His range over at third base was minimized, and his batting average dropped to .274 and his RBI total was diminished. Mike has had surgery this offseason, and according to some sources around the web, his rehab is going very well. I cannot believe that I forgot him after vying for his place on the team as the Red Sox pursued Mark Teixeira. 2009 is Lowell’s year to show the Red Sox that he is not done just yet! I think he has the ability to show us all that it was well worth it not picking up Teixeira. 
My Daily Dosage of Baseball
I think I’ve decided to dedicate this section of my blog to any baseball conversation(s) that I have throughout the day. Today, Mr. Gedeon, my gym teacher from last semester and I talked about the Mets. 
Gedeon: So we [the Mets] got Oliver Perez
Me: Yeah, for the same price as Derek Lowe! 3 years, $36 million…
Gedeon: Yeah, but I would rather Perez than Lowe
Me: Really? But Perez has been known to be inconsistent…
Gedeon: Well, kind of.. but at random times. And you know when he’s off, like if he’ll walk six people or something
Me: Yeah, Dice-K does that sometimes in the first inning. He always manages to get out of it unscathed though. You guys could still get Ben Sheets
Gedeon: Yeah, that would make me happy, I know they’re talking to him.
Me: Yup, but the Rangers are in the mix now too… You guys could be getting Manny Ramirez… potentially… maybe…
Gedeon: Yeah, I wish… 
Me: I don’t know, I don’t really see it happening
Gedeon: Yeah… well he could always go back to the Red Sox
Me: No, he’s not coming back
Gedeon: Don’t you miss him?
Me: Yes… 
Here is where I launch into my story about how I made a statue of his head in seventh grade, and how it hurts me every time to look at it! If you haven’t heard, Manny turned down a 1 year $25 million dollar contract from the Dodgers. I also had this conversation with my friend Cloe. She was appalled that anyone could decline $25 million, but as I replied to her, Manny does think that he is God’s gift to the baseball world. 
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I think we all know why Manny declined this deal– he wants to go long term. I think that he would be willing to settle for less money, but more years. I don’t understand why he wants to be tied down so badly, he tends to get tired of places pretty easily. This has not discouraged either side from negotiations as they are still talking. Where is Manny going to go? 
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Apparently, an offer from the Nationals has been sitting with Adam Dunn for a while. It does not seem like he is too eager to head over there. If no one else has offered him anything, it looks like he may have to settle. 
Baseball has come back faster than I expected it would. In about a week, pitchers and catchers will finally be reporting to their respective Spring Training camps. As soon as the Super bowl ended, baseball officially took center stage. For some people, March is about college basketball’s ‘March Madness’, but for us, it’s all about Spring Training. How will you guys fill the void until it officially begins? 
The Latest Leaders came out today from this past week. Julia is number one!! I think she deserves a huge congratulations from all of us, and I think we knew that it would only be a matter of time before she would be number one. She is such a wonderful, hardworking blogger. 
I dropped down to number 17, but I suppose that happens with blogging inconsistently and an annoying week. Regardless, I am always honored to even be in the latest leaders. My dedication will be coming soon! Thank you all for reading, and congratulations if you were on the list!!
-Elizabeth

My Prime 9 Answers to the Red Sox’s Spring Questions

Life after Varitek re-signed has been so much easier. I have slept better the past two days, I am not as testy, and I got to tell everyone how happy I was that he re-signed. I guess it was a little obvious that I wanted him back. 

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In my American Literature class, we are reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’m sure that most of you have read this great American classic, and you can attest to how well written and intriguing it is. As I was reading through chapter four, we are introduced to Meyer Wolfsheim, a character who was inspired by Arnold Rothstein, the man who fixed the 1919 World Series. As we were discussing it in English today, my teacher said,
“Alright, we are introduced to a new character in this chapter, who is it?”
Immediately, I jumped on the opportunity to maybe– MAYBE get some baseball into this. 
“We are introduced to Meyer Wolfsheim, he’s a gambler– the guy who fixed the 1919 World Series–“
“Yes, would you care to explain that”
Ah, my one track mind was appeased! You all know the story of the 1919 World Series, I’m sure Jen can tell it best, and she will also endorse Shoeless Joe’s innocence. We even went on to the famous quote: “Say it ain’t so Joe,”. Too bad it was so. This is also where Ken Burns got the title for his episode, “The Faith of Fifty Million People”.
This wasn’t the only time that the 1919 World Series came up today. In my AP American History class, we just started learning about the 20’s. So of course I got the snide comment:
“Well, you know we won’t be seeing the RED SOX in this decade, they last won the World Series in 1919…”
1919?? I think we’re a year off here. 
“Actually, the Cincinatti Red Stockings won the World Series in 1919, it was the year of the infamous Black Sox Scandal? Yeah, the Red Sox won the World Series in 1918″
I love finding baseball innuendos wherever I possibly can. I’m thinking that it’s called ‘itching for baseball syndrome’ but I’m not really sure. 
As I logged onto the Red Sox website, as I always do as soon as I get home, I noticed the latest article Spring to Bring Nine Answers for Sox. Instead of reading through the article and then reporting the same thing, I decided to just look at the bold print, and offer my analysis on each subject. It’s like my own little Prime 9. I fully credit Ian Browne with the ideas and witty titles, but this is just my personal take. I have not read this article. 
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Big Papi tries to get his groove back
I think we all remember the… painful struggles that Big Papi went through the entire season last year. Especially the prolonged slump at the beginning of the year, which was shattered in a grand slam which I called against the Texas Rangers. It’s been known that he has bad wrists, and the doctor’s diagnosis was merely rest. There are 162 games in baseball, and one day off here and there simply won’t cut it. I think that since he rested it this entire offseason, that he has a great chance of getting his “groove” back for the 2009 season. Plus, he’ll get some extra practice in the World Baseball Classic. 
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Lugo and Lowrie battle it out at short stop
I knew that this was bound to happen as soon as Lowrie came up to fill Lugo’s void, which he happened to do very well. In fact, I knew he’d be good when I scouted him out at Spring Training last year. Lugo struggled at the plate, he struggled defensively… okay, he just struggled. When Lowrie came up on the other hand, he was great defensively, and even though his numbers fell towards the end, he DID have that walk off hit for the ALDS. He’s a bit better in the clutch than Lugo, but not by that much. I still think we need to give Lugo the benefit of the doubt, but I’d hate to see Lowrie’s efforts go to waste. 
Varitek’s Offense
I don’t need to say much about this. I’ve told you about his offensive stats, but I don’t think I mentioned much that he had been going through a somewhat nasty divorce throughout the year. Think back to 2007, specifically, JD Drew. Apparently, his son had some medical issues throughout the year, and that obviously hindered his offensive capabilities. So perhaps now that this divorce has settled down, Varitek might have a similar turn around year to JD Drew. It’s hard not to let your personal life interfere with your performance. It’s unavoidable, we’re all humans. 
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Bard-Wakefield back together again
Bard was absolutely fine in Spring Training 2006. In fact, everyone had him set to catch Wakefield for the year, he had battled it out and he won. Before the season started though, it seemed like he outthought himself a bit. If he could catch Wakefield before, there is no reason that he can’t catch him again. 
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Matsuzaka’s temporary exodus (I thought Ian’s title for this was clever)
I’m assuming this means journey to the World Baseball classic (told you I didn’t read it). The thing about Dice-K was that for a lot of his starts, he only went five or six innings. With our bullpen this year, that is a [unadvised] possibility. We want Dice-K to have longevity, and hopefully, the World Baseball Classic won’t tire him out before the season. There is no way we could prevent him from playing with Japan, after all, he is a superstar. 
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Baldelli’s Energy Level
Now that he has been re-diagnosed with “channelopathy”, which is treatable, I think it is a bit more clear. He has even admitted that he is not an everyday player, but we all know that when he does play, he plays well. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench is great. 
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Ellsbury’s Consistency
When Jacoby Ellsbury came up from Triple AAA Pawtucket in 2007, everyone was wowed by him. The way he hit in the clutch was incredible for an inexperienced player like himself. The problem was, a lot of people expected him to continue to play like that which is completely unrealistic. I think that now that he has had a year to adjust to the big leagues, that he will really improve. He’s a .285 average guy for me. He’s a catalyst for the rest of the offense– if he gets on base, he will steal, and then runs will happen. If he has a good year in 2009, I can see the Red Sox going long term with him. 
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Sorting out the bullpen
Don’t they say that you can never have enough pitching? The Red Sox now have an abundance of pitchers, which they lacked last year. We have an incredible bullpen, probably one of the best in the majors. The bullpen is so overlooked sometimes, everyone always talks about the hitters and the starters, but the bullpen really matters! We could trade for more catching depth, which is what we need. Plus, more members of the bullpen band! 
-Elizabeth
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