The One-Man Wrecking Crew Gennady Golovkin

Periodically the sport of boxing will provide us with an unstoppable pugilist. The 1910′s and 1920′s belonged to a pair of former heavyweight champions in Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey. The 1930′s and 1940′s would be dominated by former heavyweight champion Joe Louis who would make way for Rocky Marciano to hold it down into the 1950′s. In the 1980′s former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson won the majority of his fights before he even entered the ring due to his tremendous punching power. In present day boxing the heavyweight division belongs to Wladimir Klitschko who is the undisputed champ there while WBA, WBC, and Ring Magazine Welterweight Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather is the biggest box-office draw in the sweet science. But then you have WBA and IBO Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin who has tremendous punching power and he is also in the process of developing a large fan base.

Triple G

Gennady Golovkin

Golovkin dusted off Daniel Geale with a third-round TKO this past Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City to retain his titles. As a professional fighter, Golovkin in 30-0 with 27 victories coming via a knockout. As a pro fighter Golovkin has never gone 12 rounds and his last 17 bouts have ended with him scoring a knockout victory. But is there anybody in the middleweight or super middleweight divisions that can hang with the man that is known as Triple G?

In an era in which boxers tend to duck each other, Golovkin will fight anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Each fighter that Golovkin faces has a plan until they get into the ring with him and meets his awesome punching power which has made boxers rethink what is important to them.

Last June, Golovkin scored a third-round knockout over Matthew Macklin and in the process Macklin was beaten as if he owed Golovkin money. After disposing of Saul Roman last August, Curtis Stevens called out Golovkin. Golovkin and Stevens met last November. Golovkin introduced Stevens to his tremendous punching power in the first round. Stevens who was clearly out of his league was unable to hang with Golovkin and the fight was stopped in the eighth round. Geale and Golovkin had previously met in the ring as amateurs, but the past meeting could not prepare Geale for the punishment that he had to endure on Saturday night.

During his in-ring, post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman, Golovkin called out current Ring Magazine and WBC Middleweight Champion Miguel Cotto which would make for a terrific fight. Cotto doesn’t duck and dodge fighters as he is a very proud man.

Golovkin’s fight against Geale was his first bout in the arena at MSG as opposed to the theater there. Golovkin versus Geale was not a sellout at the World’s Most Famous Arena this past Saturday night, but that would not be the case if Golovkin were to meet Cotto who has a large Puerto Rican fan base in New York City. The hiccup in the plan for Golovkin is that Cotto has his eyes on Canelo Alvarez pending that Alvarez is ready to move up to the middleweight division which could leave Triple G in limbo. If Golovkin were to move up to the super middleweight division, WBA (Unified) and IBF Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch has already come out basically stated that he wants no parts of Triple G. WBA (Super) and Ring Magazine Champion Andre Ward is the unofficial king of the division, but since his TKO victory over Chad Dawson in September 2012, Ward has only fought once. For Ward to fight Golovkin he would need at least one tuneup bout.

What scares some fighters about Golovkin is his tremendous punching power. It is Golovkin’s body shots more than the ones to an opponents face that do the damage. To defeat Golovkin a fighter is going to have go toe-to-toe with him in the middle of the ring without allowing himself to get trapped in the corner. Golovkin is an expert at cutting the ring off for an opponent while going to work on them in the corner.

In the meantime Golovkin can return to his home in Germany where he will play the waiting game as his humility will be on display. While some other fighters are all about flash, Golovkin treats fighting as a job. Golovkin trains hard because he simply wants to feed his family. When Golovkin is in the ring he cuts off the ring and stalks his prey. Opponents can run from Golovkin, but they can’t hide. It is only a matter of time before a top-notch fighter will climb into the ring with Golovkin who will be more than happy to introduce him to his powerful body shots.

Justin Blackmon Is Wasting A Golden Oppotunity

Jacksonville Jaguars

Justin Blackmon

When current Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon began his collegiate career at Oklahoma State University, he had some pretty big shoes to fill. In 2008, current Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant tore it up at Oklahoma State with 87 receptions to go along with 1,480 receiving yards and 19 receiving touchdowns. In 2010, Blackmon began to write his own legacy at Oklahoma State as he had 111 receptions that year to go along with 1,782 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns. Blackmon would leave college as a two-time first-team All-American, two-time Bilietnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top wide receiver and he was also the Big 12 Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2010. The Jaguars made Blackmon the fifth overall selection of the 2012 National Football league Draft as he was expected to be a cornerstone of their franchise, but he has been far from it.

In 2012, Blackmon appeared in all 16 games for the Jaguars and he led all NFL rookies in receptions (64), and receiving yards (865). But last season due to injuries and suspensions Blackmon only appeared in four games as he only managed to get 29 receptions for 415 receiving yards and a touchdown. Blackmon has talent, but he has nearly the same amount arrests and suspensions that he has touchdowns so far in the National Football League.

Blackmon’s problems with the law dates back to his time in college. In 2010 while at Oklahoma State, Blackmon was arrested in Texas for DUI. In 2012, just prior to beginning his NFL career, Blackmon was arrested in Stillwater, Oklahoma for DUI. In April 2013, Blackmon was suspended by the National Football League for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Last November, Blackmon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his second violation of their substance abuse policy. This week Blackmon was arrested in Oklahoma for possession of marijuana. Blackmon is already suspended indefinitely by the National Football League and he is walking a very fine line with the league.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a history of suspending players; especially repeat offenders like Blackmon. Because of this I doubt that you will see Blackmon suit up for the Jaguars in the upcoming season and his overall career in the National Football League could be in jeopardy. At 6’1″, 210 lbs., Blackmon has the size and the physical ability to be an elite wide receiver in the NFL, but right now it is all about him using his brain.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan has come out recently and expressed his desire to keep Blackmon on the team, but it is time for the young man to get it together. Blackmon is only 24-years of age and I do not believe that he has fully grasped the enormous opportunity that he currently has in the NFL. In last spring’s NFL Draft, Jaguars general manager David Caldwell used to early picks on wide receivers as he selected Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson which shows that the Jags could be ready to move on from Blackmon.

The main thing for Blackmon is that he is a still a young man and he needs to be mentored. But if he doesn’t grasp the enormity he will soon be a man without football. Former National Football League head coach Herman Edwards has always been adamant that “playing in the NFL is not a right, but a privilege”. Blackmon has physical talent, but talent alone won’t allow him to get a paycheck from the Jaguars or any other National Football League team.

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

Should Players Bypass College For Money Overseas?

Between 1995 and 2005 there were 28 players that were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft that came straight out of high school. But beginning in 2006, the NBA passed a rule that in order to be eligible for the NBA Draft, a player had to be out of high school for at least one year while also being at least 19 years of age. Since the NBA implemented this rule, 53 college freshman have been selected in the first round of the draft. The eligibility requirements for the NBA are a joke as the majority of these players attend college for a year when they truly do not want to be there. Three players that have used in loopholes in the NBA’s eligibility rules for the draft are current Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, New York Knicks power forward Jeremy Tyler and China-bound point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

As a high school senior at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, Jennings averaged 32.7 points, 7.4 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. In 2008, Jennings spurned a basketball scholarship to the University of Arizona and opted to play professionally for Lottomatica Roma in Italy on a one-year contract for $1.65 million. Jennings only averaged 17 minutes per game as he averaged 5.5 points, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 rebounds. It was a humbling experience for Jennings as he claimed that he was treated like a “little kid”. Jennings would return to the United States in 2009 and he was drafted with the tenth overall selection of that year’s NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. After spending a year in Europe, Jennings was adamant that other potential NBA players should not follow suit.

In 2009, Tyler decided to skip his final year of high school to play in Israel for Maccabi Haifa. But after just 10 games, Tyler basically got homesick and he decided to come back to the States.

Now begins the case of Mudiay. Mudiay is a native of the Congo and he had verbally agreed to play college basketball in the upcoming season at Southern Methodist University for head coach Larry Brown. But there have been rumors about Mudiay’s eligibility for the upcoming college basketball season and this week Mudiay turned down SMU in favor of money as he signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal to play in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers. Jennings couldn’t wait to get out of Italy while Tyler didn’t last a month in Israel. But what about Mudiay?

Unlike Jennings and Tyler, Mudiay has already lived in another country as he comes from the Congo.

Unlike most college freshman in this era that are treated like rock stars when they arrive on a college campus, youngsters overseas are given a harsh reality check. Sometimes players are not paid on time overseas and they get lost in the shuffle as they are in a foreign land. But at big-time colleges and universities in the United States these players are literally playing for free. In power college basketball conferences such as the Atlantic Coast and Big Ten Conferences, each basketball team on average generates about $15 million per year. But with the exception of a few Nike brand or Adidas sweatsuits and sneakers, the players that generate the money do not see a dime of it.

The problems of players such as Jennings, Tyler, and Mudiay, could be fixed if the NBA decided to further establish their developmental league. Generally the NBA Developmental League is reserved for players that either left school early and didn’t get drafted who are trying to make it to the league or players that had an NBA career and are trying to make it back there. But what if just like in Major League Baseball, the NBA would draft players straight out of high school and put them into a minor-league system?

The days of a basketball players staying all four years in college is a dying concept as today’s athlete realizes more than ever that sports is a business and they must be compensated handsomely for their services. The era in which the NCAA prohibited freshman from playing collegiate athletics is a thing of the past as well. With national exposure on the high school circuit that includes AAU teams and under-18 national teams, these basketball players are ready for the bright lights when they arrive on campus to play for free. So why force them to be there?

The purpose of going to college is to become further educated which should enhance your earning ability. But these high school basketball players already have a skill that will allow them to earn a lucrative salary.

The NBA implemented their rule in 2006 due to the fact that teams were taking chances by drafting the teeny boppers in the first round and it was tough for them to gauge how good a prospective high school kid would be in a few years. To me it is just a cop out by the NBA and their respective teams due to the fact some of these same teams will draft “seasoned” college basketball players who do not work out either. My message to the NBA teams that are griping about the high schoolers is simple; hire better scouts. But the NBA will continue to turn a blind eye to this problem due to the fact the collegiate game gets an opportunity to have some fun as players that would have never stepped foot on a college campus are now there for at least a year.

Each year University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari rolls out the red carpet to unveil five new McDonald’s All-Americans in his starting lineup. Calipari consistently does this because each year he loses numerous freshman to the NBA Draft. The NCAA and their institutions want to push the issue of academics and the fact that these basketball players are “student athletes” and it is hilarious. Most of these players that potentially have a pro career ahead of them take out insurance policies on themselves while they are still “amateurs”. If a basketball player enters college and he knows that he is going to the NBA Draft in a year, theoretically he only has to go to school for the fall semester in order to remain eligible; so where is the wonderful idea of academia going?

We live in a world where players are signed to professional baseball and tennis contracts at the age of 16. Soccer phenoms are recruited to play professionally before they can shave and the same can be said about child prodigies in golf. The NBA is lagging behind in this issue and we need to see more players follow the path of Jennings, Tyler, and Mudiay with less heading to college campuses in this country to “volunteer” their services so that coaches and school administrators can get rich off of their skill.

 

The Jays Must Get Back On Track

Toronto Blue JaysThe Toronto Blue Jays have not made the postseason since 1993 when they won their last World Series Championship and thus they were the feel good story of the first half of the 2014 Major League Baseball season. On June 6, the Blue Jays donned a record of 38-24 and they were in first place in the American League East with a six-game lead over the second place New York Yankees. Since then the Blue Jays are only 13-25. Their six-game lead over the Yankees has evaporated and they are now four games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East. A season that started off so promising is slipping away from the Jays, but the ship can be righted.

The Jays got the season off on the right foot because they were clicking on all cylinders. The Blue Jays were getting quality starting pitching from the likes of Mark Buehrle and they had one of the best lineups in MLB led by All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Toronto was even holding its own against good clubs. In May, the Blue Jays swept a three-game series against the American League West leading Oakland Athletics and in June they were able to sweep the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers. In spite of being based in Canada, things have changed for the Blue Jays in a New York minute.

The injury bug has caught up with the Jays as third baseman Brett Lawrie has been on the disabled list since June 22 with a broken finger. Encarnacion has been sidelined since July 5 when he suffered a quad injury. And Blue Jays designated hitter Adam Lind has been on the disabled list since July 7 with a non-displaced fracture in his foot. The result has been that a once potent Blue Jays lineup has taken it down a notch. This season the Blue Jays offense is second in the American League lead in home runs with 119. The Jays are also third in the AL in slugging percentage (.422), and fourth in runs scored (446). But over their last 10 games before ten games before the All-Star break, Toronto’s offense only managed to produce 24 runs. It is very important for the Jays offense to produce runs due to the lack pitching of pitching that they are getting which was highlighted by last night’s 14-1 shellacking at the hands of the Boston Red Sox.

This year the Blue Jays team earned run average of 4.17 is 11th in the American League. Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle began the season with a record of 10-1 to go along with an earned run average of 2.10 as he appeared to be an AL Cy Young candidate. But since June 1, Buehrle is 0-5 with three no-decisions and his earned run average has jumped to 2.86. Starting pitcher R.A. Dickey is 7-10 this season with a 3.95 earned run average. Behind Buehrle, Dickey has been the second best pitcher for the Jays this season, but he has not been anywhere near as dominant as he was when he won the National League Cy Young Award in 2012 as a member of the New York Mets. The Blue Jays also have 12 blown saves this season which is tied for seventh in the AL.

When this team got off to a good start I said that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos needed to inquire about getting another starting pitcher if they were going to remain in the playoff hunt. Now the Blue Jays could also use some bullpen help as well.

The Blue Jays missed out the opportunity to acquire starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs when he was traded earlier this month to the A’s. The Tampa Bay Rays are starting to get hot which means that starting pitcher David Price more than likely will not be put on the open market this season. The Mets have dangled starting pitcher Bartolo Colon out there on the market and the closer that we get to the July 31st trading deadline the more pressure that I will see shift to Anthopolous as far making a moving to improve Toronto’s pitching. The Philadelphia Phillies are floundering in the basement of the NL East and they have pieces that the Blue Jays could use in All-Star second baseman Chase Utley, starting pitcher Cliff Lee, and relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon to get them over the hump. Relief pitcher Addison Reed is in his first season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. This past June former Major League Baseball manager Tony La Russa took over as the Diamondbacks chief baseball officer. The Diamondbacks have been stuck in last place in the National League West all season. La Russa is not attached to any of the current players on the Diamondbacks team and he could put Reed and his 23 saves on the trading block.

As far as pitching goes the dominoes are beginning to fall as the Los Angeles Angels recently acquired All-Star relief pitcher Huston Street from the San Diego Padres. Combine the Street trade with the Samardzija deal and Anthopoulos is running out of pitchers that can improve the Blue Jays for the stretch run.

Lawrie, Lind, and Encarnacion will all soon be returning to a Blue Jays lineup that includes Bautista, shortstop Jose Reyes, and outfielder Melky Cabrera. The Blue Jays can hit with anyone in baseball, but they must be able to pitch in order to be a viable playoff threat. The Blue Jays have enough hitting to win the AL East as 85 wins might do it this season. But if Anthopoulos fails to sure up their pitching it could be a mute point.

Source: Baseball-reference.com

The Cardinal Way Is Once Again On Display

The St. Louis Cardinals came into existence in 1882 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings and their team history is one of the best and deepest in all of professional sports. The Cardinals 11 World Series Championships are the second most in Major League Baseball history. The Cardinals have a litany of Baseball Hall of Famers that includes Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, and Ozzie Smith. Since 2000, the Cardinals have only had one losing season with two World Series Championships in four appearances in the Fall Classic over that stretch. After winning the World Series in 2011, the Cardinals fell one game short of making the Fall Classic in 2012. The Cardinals made the World Series last year, but they were knocked off there by the Boston Red Sox in six games. The Cardinals came into this season expecting to once again be a playoff contender, but for the most part things have been a little different.

Since the start of the MLB season, the Milwaukee Brewers have been the team to beat in the National League Central as they have held down the top spot. A month ago the Brewers had a 5.5 game lead over the Cardinals in the division. But now the Brewers are tied with the Cardinals for first place in the division. The Cards have rallied to catch the Brewers in spite of the fact that they are currently without catcher Yadier Molina who is sidelined with ligament damage in his thumb. Molina is a six-time National League All-Star and he has also won seven Gold Glove Awards for his prowess behind the plate. Without a doubt Molina is the heart and soul of the Cardinals, but the Cardinals have a never-say-die attitude along with the next man up mentality as each player knows that he must be up for the challenge. This is the same mentality that the Cardinals used in 2006 when they won the World Series.

In 2004 and 2005, the Cardinals won 100-plus games in both seasons, but they were unable to win it all. The Cardinals only went 83-78 in 2006 and they were able to win the World Series. After winning the World Series in 2011, the Cardinals saw longtime first baseman Albert Pujols leave via free agency to join the Los Angeles Angels. In two years without Pujols, the Cardinals have two postseason appearances to their credit. Now the current Cardinals team is not littered with superstars, but with a bunch of guys that do everything very well.

Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is in his third season and in each year he has improved. Adams is currently second in the NL in batting average (.323) while he also has 12 homers and 43 runs batted in. At 34-years of age Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is not the power threat that he once was, but he still leads the club in runs batted in with 50 and he has a .376 on-base percentage. Last year as a member of the Detroit Tigers, shortstop Jhonny Peralta was suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games due to his role in the Biogenesis scandal. The Cards signed Peralta last winter to a four-year deal worth $53 million and he is currently leading the team in home runs with 14.

In the past few years the Cardinals pitching rotation has been defined by starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. Since 2009, Wainwright has led the NL in wins on two occasions and his 12 victories this season are leading the Senior Circuit. Wainwright is also leading the National League in earned run average this season at 1.83. But aside from Wainwright, starting pitcher Lance Lynn has emerged in the Cardinals rotation. In 2012, Lynn was fourth in the NL in wins with 18. So far this season Lynn is 11-6 and he has a decent shot of winning 18 games if not more this season. If Lynn does win 18 or more games in 2014 it should mark the Cards once again winning the NL Central.

Under manager Mike Matheny, the Cardinals simply do not beat themselves. The season the Cardinals have only committed 47 errors which is the second fewest in the National League and their pitching staff has only given up 20 unearned runs.

In their next eight games the Cardinals do not play a team that currently has a winning record as they have two home games with the Tampa Bay Rays before traveling to take on the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres respectively.The Cardinals are anticipating getting Molina back from the disabled list at some point which will be a tremendous shot in the arm for this club. In spring training I projected the Cardinals to win the 2014 World Series and come October, this battled test club may still emerge when the smoke clears.

Source: Baseball-reference.com

 

Is It Time For The Rockies To Trade Tulo And CarGo?

Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki

In 2007, the Colorado Rockies came out of nowhere to win the National League Pennant for the first and only time in franchise history. The Rockies would make the postseason again in 2009, but since then things have gotten worse as they have only had one winning season. The Rockies began this season with a record of 26-20 and there was optimism from their fan base in the Rocky Mountains as they appeared as if they were going to contend with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants atop the National League West. But the Rockies are now 40-56 and they’re in last place in the NL West as they are 13 games behind the Giants and Dodgers who are tied for first place in the division. The Rockies currently have the second worst record in the National League and with the July 31st trade deadline looming in Major League Baseball, the Rockies should listen to offers as far as dealing their two best baseball players in All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

The Rockies drafted Tulowitzki in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft and by 2006 he made his Major League debut. When the Rockies went to the World Series in 2007, Tulowitzki batted .291 with 24 homers and 99 runs batted in as he finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting. Tulowitzki is a four-time NL All-Star and he is also one of the premier shortstops in baseball. For his nine-year MLB career the 29-year old Tulowitzki is a lifetime .299 hitter and he has averaged 30 home runs and 102 runs batted in. If Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd is open to trading Tulowitzki, what would make him enticing to potential suitors would be the fact that he is under contract through 2021.

As far as potential suitors for Tulowitzki, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets make the most sense. After 20 years in the Majors, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of the season and the Bronx Bombers need a replacement for him. After winning the World Series last season, the Red Sox have struggled mightily this season; especially at shortstop. The Mets have not had a winning season since 2008 and they are in need of something to pump some life into their fan base while also filling a void at shortstop that they have been unable to fill since Jose Reyes left as a free agent in 2011.

The Yankees have the money to cover Tulowitzki’s salary, but they don’t have the prospects that the Rockies may seek in return. However if the Yankees would be willing to take on most or all of the $129 million that is remaining on Tulowitzki’s contract then the Rockies and O’Dowd might take a bite. The Red Sox have the finances and the prospects that the Rockies would covet in a deal for Tulowitzki. The Mets have the prospects to make a trade with the Rockies, but they are still a team that is strapped for cash and taking a stab at Tulowitzki is a long shot.

The downside for teams trying to trade for Tulowitzki is that he cannot stay healthy. Tulowitzki has never appeared in all 162 games during the regular season and he hasn’t appeared in more than 140 games since 2011 which could scare teams off. It didn’t help Tulowitzki’s case that he limped off of the field tonight in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez

For Gonzalez his baseball journey began in 2002 when he was signed as a 16-year old from Venezuela by the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2007, the Diamondbacks would trade Gonzalez to the Oakland Athletics who would turn around and trade him to the Rockies in 2009. Gonzalez had his best season in 2010 when he led the National League in batting average (.336). Gonzalez also hit 34 home runs that season along with 117 runs batted in and 26 stolen bases as he finished third in the NL MVP voting. Gonzalez is a three-time National League All-Star, but like Tulowitzki, the man dubbed as “CarGo” cannot remain healthy. For his seven-year MLB career Gonzalez has never appeared in more than 145 games and this season he has only appeared in 56 games due to a thumb injury. Gonzalez is under contract with the Rockies through 2017 and he is still owed $53 million.

If the Rockies were to trade Gonzalez the two teams that jump out as potential suitors are the Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners. As is the case with Tulowitzki, the Red Sox have a need in the outfield that Gonzalez could fill. The Mariners need help in the outfield and they also need a bat in their lineup that can provide protection for All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano.

Aside from being out of the race in their division, the Rockies are also 12.5 games off of the pace in the National League’s Wild Card race. This team is not going anywhere with Tulowitzki and Gonzalez on their roster and the time for O’Dowd to re-tool the Rockies is now. More than anything the Rockies need help on their pitching staff as their 5.06 team earned run average this season is the worst in baseball. Pitching always trumps hitting and trading the bats of Tulowitzki and Gonzalez can bring some arms back to Denver where the Rockies are in dire straits of that.

Source: Baseball-reference.com

 

The Curse Of Nolan Ryan On The Texas Rangers

Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan

Over the years the term “cursed” has applied to several Major League Baseball teams. In 1918, the Boston Red Sox were coming off of winning their third World Series Championship in four years. But following the 1919 Major League Baseball season, then Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold the rights to pitcher/outfielder Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Frazee used the money of the sale of Ruth to finance a Broadway play entitled “No, No, Nanette”. With Ruth on their roster the Yankees would win four World Series Titles. And now the Yankees have won more World Series Championships (27) than any other MLB franchise. The sale of Ruth to the Yankees was dubbed as the “Curse of the Bambino” as the Red Sox would not win another World Series Championship until 2004. In Game of the 1945 World Series, then Chicago Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley ejected ticket holder Billy Sianis and his goat from Wrigley Field in Chicago. Many people have said that as Sianis exited Wrigley Field he proclaimed that “the Cubs would never win” and that he placed a curse on the North Siders. The Cubs have not made the World Series since 1945 and they have not won it all since 1908. Then there is the case of the Texas Rangers and Nolan Ryan.

The history of the Rangers goes back to 1961 when they began playing Major League Baseball as the Washington Senators.  The Rangers moved to Arlington, Texas in 1972, but they were unable to secure a postseason berth until 1996. And from 2000-2008, the Rangers only had one winning season.

In 2008, Ryan was named as the Rangers team president and by 2009 he was a part of an ownership group that purchased the team. Ryan would go on to be named as the Rangers CEO in 2009 and he would oversee the biggest stretch of success in franchise history. From 2008-2013, the Rangers posted winning records in each year which was highlighted by consecutive American League Pennants in 2010 and 2011. But a power struggle began within the Rangers organization between Ryan and Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels. After the 2013 Major League Baseball season ended, Ryan resigned from his post with the Rangers.

It didn’t take Ryan that long for Ryan to land on his feet as he was hired by the Houston Astros this past February as a special assistant to Astros owner Jim Crane. Without Ryan on board this season, the Rangers have taken a nosedive.

The Rangers finished the first half of the MLB season with a record of 38-57 which is the worst in the league. The Rangers are 21 games behind the first place Oakland Athletics in the American League West and with 67 games left their season is all but over.

The Rangers have been bitten by the injury bug in 2014 as they currently have nine players on the 60-day disabled list. The Rangers are 1-14 in their last 15 ballgames and they are on pace to lose 95 games in a season for the first time since 1985.

Ryan’s new team in the Astros are currently 40-56. It may not sound that significant, but the Astors are on pace to have their first non-100 loss season since 2010 and with a young nucleus led by outfielder George Springer, Houston is looking to a contender sooner rather than later.

Mentally and physically, Ryan is as tough as they come. Ryan spent 27 years in Major League Baseball as a starting pitcher. Ryan threw 7 no-hitters and he retired as baseball’s all-time leader in strikeouts with 5,714. Ryan also won 324 games and the same winning formula that he had as a player was brought to the front office. Ryan was a great player and typically great players improve the play of the people around them which is what happened when he was in the front office in Arlington.

There was a clash between Daniels and Ryan with the Rangers. Instead of the sides being able to work things out, the egos of Ryan and Daniels got the best of them which has helped the team’s downfall this season. With Ryan and Daniels in the Rangers front office, the team continuously lost out in retaining their players in free agency, as they were able to win at least 90 games in each season from 2010-2013. Now the Rangers are in the process of trying to start over from scratch as Ryan and the Astros are on their way up.

Source: Baseball-reference.com

 

It Is Time For MLB To Forgive Pete Rose

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is a place to honor the greatest contributions of people to the game of baseball as it tells a tremendous story. Cy Young was immortalized there because he won more games (511) than any other pitcher in Major League Baseball history. On September 6, 1995, Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. broke the unbreakable record of “The Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig when he appeared in 2,131 consecutive games. Ripken’s streak would end with 2,632 consecutive games and in 2007 he was enshrined in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Then there is the case of Pete Rose. Rose is MLB’s all-time leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), plate appearances (15, 890) and at-bats (14,053), but he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1989 then Major League Baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti banned Rose for life including permanent ineligibility into the Baseball Hall of Fame due to Rose’s involvement in betting on baseball games while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. What made the matter worse was that Giamatti died only eight days after banning Rose for life. Since Giamatti’s death, the two MLB commissioners that have succeeded him (Fay Vincent and Bud Selig) have refused to overturn his decision regarding Rose.

In the years that have followed the banishment from the game that he loves, Rose had admitted guilt and remorse over his betting on baseball games and he should now be enshrined into Cooperstown.

For 24 years Rose played the game of baseball with reckless abandon as he was nicknamed “Charlie Hustle”. Rose was a 17-time Major League Baseball All-Star, three-time World Series Champion, and a one-time National League MVP. In 1978 Rose came as close as any player has come to breaking Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak as he had a hit in 44 consecutive games.

Rose did bet on the Reds while managing the team between 1984-1989, but at least he bet on them to win. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but on his way out as MLB commissioner, the time is now for Selig to lift Rose’s lifetime ban.

Rose has recently gone public regarding his banishment and he makes a compelling argument for his reinstatement. The late 1990′s to the mid-2000′s will be defined as the “steroid era” in Major League Baseball. Players linked to steroids such as Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds are still a part of the game of baseball.

In 1998 McGwire surpassed Roger Maris’ single-season home run record of 61 when he went yard 70 times. McGwire would retire in 2001 before returning to the Cardinals in 2010 as a hitting coach. McGwire is currently the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2001 Bonds would surpass McGwire’s 70 home runs when he hit 73 homers. In 2007 Bonds surpassed Henry Aaron’s mark of 755 career home runs. Bonds finished his MLB career with 762 career home runs and his 756th home run ball is at Cooperstown. Up until his retirement that season, Bonds’ jersey was on sale at MLB.com. The Giants also brought Bonds back this year as a guest spring training instructor.

In 2011, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was selected as the NL MVP. Shortly thereafter reports surfaced that Braun tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but he skated by on a technicality due to the fact that the tester did not immediately ship Braun’s test to the lab. Braun would subsequently be suspended by Major League Baseball last season for 65 games due to being linked to the Biogenesis Scandal. In spite of this Braun was never asked by Selig to return his MVP award.

After the 2011 MLB season, the Kansas City Royals traded outfielder Mekly Cabrera to the Giants. In 2012 with the Giants, Cabreara was in the midst of a career season as he was batting .346 with 11 homers, and 60 runs batted in. Cabrera was selected to the National League’s All-Star team in 2012 and he was also named as the game’s MVP. But shortly thereafter Cabrera tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. San Francisco was in the midst of a postseason run and Giants general manager Brian Sabean declined to bring Cabrera back to the team in spite of the fact that he was eligible. The Giants would go on to win the World Series without Cabrera. Cabrera was in search of a big payday that off-season, but he had to settle for a two-year, $16 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Last year then Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was suspended by MLB for 50 games due to his involvement in the Biogenesis Scandal. The Rangers let Cruz hit free agency last winter where the Orioles signed him to a one-year deal for $8.5 million. Cruz was voted by the fans to this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game and he is currently second in the American League in home runs this season with 28. Cruz is set for a huge payday in the off-season for his services.

While steroids were a part of baseball, some folks in MLB turned a blind eye to it and in spite of drastic measures by Selig to eliminate it from the game, the players that have used performance-enhancing drugs have been welcomed back with open with open arms while Rose continues to get the dry shaft.

Major League Baseball continues to be filled with hypocrisy. Ty Cobb was an open racist yet he is immortalized in Cooperstown as one of the best baseball players. With next year’s MLB All-Star Game set to take place in Rose’s hometown of Cincinnati, the time is now for things to come full circle. 25 years have gone by without Rose having that burden lifted off of his back. Rose made a big mistake and he has indeed paid for it. But if Selig and MLB continue to turn their backs on him they will continue to set the wrong precedent.

Source: Baseball-reference.com