Sunday, March 22, 2015

My First Ever Spring Training Game!!! 3/21/15

Hey baseball fans!

I want to tell you about my recent trip to Florida! No, it wasn't just a regular trip; I took a trip to my first ever spring training game!

Spring training is a month-long period for players to prepare for the season by actually playing games. But the games aren't held in the teams' seasonal stadiums. Instead, the eastern teams go play their home games in Florida, while the more western teams play their preseason contests in Arizona (and no, the Diamondbacks, Rays, and Marlins don't play at Chase Field, Tropicana Field, or Marlins Park, respectively, during spring training). So, this weekend, I took a trip down to Delray Beach, Florida (by myself on a plane for the first time ever) to visit my grandparents. My grandpa, who's an avid baseball fan, took me to see a spring training matchup of the Atlanta Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals.


During the month of March, the Cardinals play their games at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, about 45 minutes from my grandparents' apartment in Delray Beach. So yesterday, on March 21st, my grandpa and I went to the Stadium located on the campus of Florida Atlantic University and watched the Cards host the Braves.


Roger Dean Stadium is beautiful, even though it has the capacity to hold only about 6,900 seats. The stadium was packed to the brim. I didn't realize that there were so many Cardinals fans living in Jupiter. It was very hot. The game time temperature was 84˚!!! Anyway, the pitching matchup for the game couldn't have been better. For St. Louis, Adam Wainwright (left) made his first spring training start after finishing 2014 with 20 wins, and pitching for the Braves was Chien-Ming Wang (right), a former Yankee starter.














Now, both teams have stacked lineups, but undoubtedly, the fan favorite was Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina (pictured below). The All Star has won two World Series with the club and is one of the best catchers in baseball today.


Even with Yadi in St. Louis' lineup and Freddie Freeman in Atlanta's, the game was scoreless through eight-and-a-half innings. However, the Cardinals finally won it in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off single by Dean Anna. Cardinals win, 1-0! The game was super fun and I can't wait to go to another spring training game next year. I highly recommend going to one.

Thank you so much to my grandparents (who are pictured below at a sports bar where we went for dinner) for hosting me this weekend and for taking me to the game. I couldn't be happier with how this weekend played out. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Update 3/15/15

Hey baseball fans,

I thought I'd use this post to give you an update on my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers - An Introduction to Baseball History, which is being published by Summer Game Books.



As you may know, the book has been out in e-book form since about September and I am donating all of my proceeds to the four baseball-related foundations below:









Anyway, I have some really big stuff to tell you. First, the book will be out in paperback form in about two weeks and can already be pre-ordered on Amazon at this link. So far, I have all 5 Star reviews on Amazon, by the way. The book is about 100 pages long and has over 50 of the most iconic pictures in baseball history, in addition to what I wrote in each of the 26 chapters.

Here's a picture of the Table of Contents, so you can have a sneak peek of what's in the book:



Here's what others in the baseball world are saying:

"Matt is a serious student of the game with a great appreciation and respect for baseball history. It is wonderful to see this level of passion in such a young fan.  Matt's insight serves as an inspiration to all of us who adore our National Pastime."  Jeff Idelson, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President

"You can enjoy  big league baseball for  just being a cool game, or you can latch onto its history and really appreciate it. Is Mike Trout the next Mickey Mantle? Was Willie Mays better than Joe DiMaggio? Matt Nadel gets it.  And now he's delivered a terrific book to get every young fan all caught up.   This is a walk off winner."  Marty Appel, Author of Pinstripe Empire and former NY Yankees P.R. Director

"Matt's passion for baseball brings me back to my youth, and serves as a reminder of why I fell in love with the game in the first place.  It's about the people and their stories, and Matt's appreciation of the history of the sport will serve as a wonderful source for the next generation of fans."  Ian Eagle, sports broadcaster

"All I can say is READ THIS BOOK!! Matt has poured the essential points of 150 years of baseball history into it in a way that only a kid could do. While this book will teach you a lot, I think what it may do even better is inspire you to read even more about the game that I love so much."  Jim Palmer, Baltimore Orioles pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer, and Foreword author for Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers

The book has even gotten some press, including:


Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf 


SI Kids

The New York Post

MLB

The second big piece of news is I already have three book signings set up:


Bergino Baseball Clubhouse
67 East 11th St., NYC
March 26th at 7PM





Barnes & Noble
240 US 22, Springfield, NJ
April 26th at noon




The Teaneck Dogouse (a cool sports bar)
1415 Palisade Ave., Teaneck, NJ
May 3rd at 5:30PM


I hope a lot of you can come out to one of my signings. If not, just buy a paperback and I promise to sign it when I see you!!  It's only ten bucks.

That's it for now.  Tune in soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."





Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Where Are These Hall of Famers From? 3/10/15

Hey baseball fans!

Today's post is going to be a bit different. Here's how it's going to go:

1) I will write down the names of six baseball Hall of Famers
2) In your head or with friends, try to guess the hometowns of said HoFers
3) Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see the answers

If you get them all right, good for you! If you don't get any of these right, don't worry about it.

a) Bob Feller
b) Babe Ruth
c) Ferguson Jenkins
d) Jackie Robinson
e) Ozzie Smith
f) Bert Blyleven

Now see if you can come up with the answers all by yourself and then scroll down.



                                                       














a) Bob Feller-Van Meter, Iowa
It's pretty simple how you remember that Feller is from this town in Iowa; his nickname is the "Heater from Van Meter."

b) Babe Ruth-Baltimore, Maryland
Ruth is pretty famous for being born in the Charm City. In fact, he actually has a museum there.

c) Ferguson Jenkins-Chatham, Ontario, Canada
It's fine if you didn't guess the exact town where Fergie was born.  However, Jenkins' birth country is important because in 1991, he became the first Canadian inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

d) Jackie Robinson-Cario, Georgia
Even when he was first born, Robinson faced racist comments in the South. However, he eventually overcame them and became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. Fun fact about Cairo: it is also the hometown of Teresa Edwards, a former professional basketball player who won four gold medals with the United States' Women's Basketball team in the Olympics.

e) Ozzie Smith-Mobile, Alabama
Not only was the Wizard born here, but also fellow Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Sacramento Kings center, DeMarcus Cousins, and Cleon Jones, the left fielder for the Mets who made the last out of the 1969 World Series.

f) Bert Blyleven-Zeist, Netherlands
I would not expect anyone to believe that Blyleven is from the Netherlands, but he didn't stay there for long. Even though both of Bert's parents are from the European country, the family moved to Canada when the eventual pitcher was two and to California when he was five.

I hope you enjoyed this quiz. What quiz should I do next? Let me know in the comments section below. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Ryan Express 3/6/15

Hey baseball fans!

Phil Niekro pitched for 24 years in the MLB, Jamie Moyer pitched for 25 years, and Tommy John pitched for 26. But did you know that someone pitched for an even longer time in the Major Leagues than those guys? I'll give you a hint: this pitcher who played in the MLB for 27 years pitched for the 1969 Mets and was also a teammate of Rod Carew in 1979. That's right; it's Nolan Ryan!

Lynn Nolan Ryan (commonly referred to as Nolan Ryan) pitched in the Major Leagues from 1966, 1968-1993 with the Mets, Angels, Astros, and Rangers. Ryan won 324 games during his career, which is 14th on the all-time wins list. However, ironically, he ranks third on the all-time losses list, having racked up 292 losses during his great career (the all-time losses leader is actually Cy Young). His ERA isn't too shabby, though: 3.19. But undoubtedly, his claim to fame was his ability to strike people out.

There's a reason why he's nicknamed the Ryan Express; the ball came at you like a speeding locomotive. His speedy and hard-to-hit fastballs helped Nolan Ryan collect a record 5,714 career strikeouts, 839 strikeouts ahead of the second-place Randy Johnson. He led the league in strikeouts eleven times, with his single-season high at 383, a feat he accomplished in 1973 with the Angels. In the World Series era, that's a record for single season strikeouts. Also, his 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched stands at fifth on the all-time list, only behind Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood, Pedro Martinez, and Max Scherzer. So basically, you were going to swing and miss three times when you faced the flaming Ryan Express.

The eight-time All Star is also first all time in amount of hits given up in nine innings, having given up just 6.6 hits per nine innings. His 61 career shutouts are tied with Tom Seaver for seventh on the all-time shutouts list. Also, and probably most importantly, his seven career no-hitters are a record that has not been touched since his retirement. He pitched four of them in a span of three years with California, one with the Astros, and two with the Rangers.


Ultimately, all of these achievements paid off for Ryan, as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 with 98.8 percent of the vote. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Who's a Better Hitter: Cobb, Ruth, or Wagner? 3/1/15

Hey baseball fans!

There's a question on my mind that I, for the longest time, was never able to figure out the answer. The question is who is the best hitter from the first Hall of Fame class? In case you don't know, in 1936, the first three hitters inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. So, out of those three, who's the best at hitting? Personally, I think it's Ruth and I'll tell you why in three simple reasons:

Reason Number One: He Revolutionized Hitting
Why? Small ball was the way to win games back in the Dead Ball Era, the time in which Wagner and Cobb collected their 3,000+ hits. Small ball is basically not using power, so home runs weren't common at all and teams were fine with that. They were winning ballgames even without hitting the ball over the fence. However, when the Bambino started hitting home runs, the Dead Ball Era came to a close and the Live Ball Era began. Soon enough, Ruth and the Yankees were clobbering the opposition in runs produced, which is why they won so many pennants during his tenure. Sure, he had a great supporting cast, but he was hitting on average (including the years he was only a pitcher) 33 home runs a year at a time when everyone else was hitting 15 or less a year. In short, Honus and Ty were great hitters, but Ruth changed the game forever to what it is today.

Reason Number Two: WAR
Why? Sabermetrics is a big deal now, so it's important to look at the Wins Above Replacement statistic when comparing the Sultan of Swat to the Georgia Peach and Flying Dutchman. Anyway, Ruth's WAR is the best of all time, at 183.6, meaning that if he was replaced by someone else, his teams would have lost 183.6 more games. Now, you would think that Cobb and Wagner would be right behind him, right? Well, no. Cobb comes in at sixth on the all-time WAR list at 151.1, roughly 30 games below the Babe and Wagner's career Wins Above Replacement is tenth all time, at 131.0. So what does this all mean? It means that even though Ruth played with tons of Hall of Famers, he was still the hitter that was the key to winning games.

Reason Number Three: The Opinion of the People
Why? I'm not the only one who thinks that Ruth is the best hitter from the '36 Hall of Fame class. Ted Williams, who is considered by many the best hitter that ever lived, considers George Herman Ruth to be the best hitter of all time and, on his list that you can visit by clicking here, you will see that Ty Cobb is number six and Wagner doesn't even appear on it. Ranker.com, Baseball Reference, and Baseball's Greatest Hitters all agree that Bambino is the best hitter ever. So it's not just me that thinks the Behemoth of Bust was a better hitter than Ty Cobb or Honus Wagner.


I just want to clarify something: I love Ty Cobb and I love Honus Wagner. But I think that, by a small margin, Babe Ruth is a better hitter than them. What do you think? Who's better: Cobb, Wagner, or Ruth? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A (Sort of) Interview with Ty Cobb!!! 2/25/15

Hey baseball fans!

Today I have a special interview! It's with the Hall of Famer who has the best lifetime batting average of all time (.366), Ty Cobb! But wait: Ty Cobb has been dead since 1961, so how could I have possibly interviewed him? Good question. Remember my "interviews" with Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, where I asked someone who knew a lot about one of the hitters to answer questions as if he was him? Well, I did the same thing with this interview. The person who answered my questions as if he was Cobb is Norm Coleman, an actor who actually plays Ty Cobb on stage for the past eight years in the play "Tyrus Cobb." Norm's answers were awesome and I think they sound exactly like how Cobb himself would answer the questions.

The real Ty Cobb below:



Norm below in Ty Cobb character:




But before I present the interview, click here for a quick bio on the Georgia Peach. The link will actually take you to where you can buy my book, "Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction to Baseball History, " which I highly recommend. If  you flip to chapter three in the book, you will see a whole section on "Cantankerous (meaning argumentative) Cobb." Hope you find the biography interesting. Anyway, let's get to the interview.

Matt: You faced a lot of tough pitchers during your playing days, but who was the toughest to hit against?
Ty: The two most difficult pitchers for me to handle were Babe Ruth when he pitched for Boston and Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators. Both entered the Hall of Fame with me in 1936. The Babe threw only two pitches, fastball, up high and in tight, and a curve, low and away. You knew they were coming and sometimes he’d yell at me, telling me what was coming. He dared you to hit it and if you got a hit, he’d scream at me, "You got lucky Ty." I went 22 for 67 with a batting average of .328 against George. No one threw faster than Walter Johnson. If they had radar guns back then, his fastball would clock near 100 mph. Johnson feared hitting a batter, afraid he might kill him if he hit the batter in the head. So I would step in closer to the plate, making Walter throw a little outside, making it a little easier for me to hit the ball to left and get 120 hits in 328 at-bats for an average of .366. Every hitter has one guy he can’t hit. For me, there was a little fellow named Bill Bayne (pictured below), pitched for the St. Louis Browns between 1919 and 1924. I faced him 36 times and got only 5 hits, which was a batting average of .139. I never could figure him out.


Matt: How do you think you would fare against the pitchers of today if you played in 2015?
Ty: Probably hit about .125 because I am 129 years old now. But seriously, playing today, in my prime, about .365. There are some great pitchers throwing today, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Madison Bumgarner to name a few, but I would have no problem hitting if I played today.

Matt: Which way of hitting is the one that will win teams championships for many years to come, small ball or power?
Ty: The game today is power, fans like to see home runs. But, give me a team with 3 top starters, a strong bullpen, strong fielding up the middle, a strong bench, team unity and a smart manger who can handle all the millionaires playing and that team will win championships. For example, the San Francisco Giants. No one hitting 40 home runs on that team, but they play smart small ball at its best.


Matt: Not including you, who do you think is the best Tiger of all time?
Ty: That’s a tough question because there were so many great Tiger hitters. To name a few of my all-time favorites, I would start with two men who played with me, Sam Crawford (pictured below) and Harry Heilmann, who hit over .390 four times and .400 once. Moving up to the modern era, the slugging Hank Greenberg, who hit 58 homers in 1938, almost beating Ruth’s record. I'm also a big fan of Al Kaline and, from today, of course Miguel Cabrera.


Matt: Do players of today deserve such huge contracts? Why not?
Ty: That’s the American way. Capitalism at its best. Not many people complain when CEO’s make millions, or top Hollywood actors make $20 million a movie, or top rock bands charge $400 a ticket or top entertainers in Las Vegas make big money. Thanks to television contracts, owners and players are reaping the benefits. And free agency. It is the average fan who suffers, unable to pay the high ticket prices. Besides, no one is holding a gun to the owners' heads when they sign a player to a 7 or 8 year contract for multi-millions. That is a mistake in my opinion. Think A-Rod or Barry Zito with the Giants.

Matt: If you were MLB's commissioner, what rules would you add or change to the MLB?
Ty: Outlaw the DH. Cut back on Inter-League play. Outlaw the All Star Game winner deciding which League gets home field advantage in the World Series. A truly dumb rule. And like gambling, if you are caught using steroids, you are banned for life. Go back to alternating in the World Series. That worked well for over 60 years.

Matt: Do you prefer regular Coke or Diet Coke? [Note from Matt: Ty Cobb was an early investor in both Coca Cola and General Motors]
Ty: Regular Coke. I never acquired a taste for the diet stuff.


Thank you to Norm Coleman for emulating Ty Cobb so well in your answers. Click here if you would like to learn more about what Coleman has done, does, and will be doing in the coming future. Anyway, thanks for reading this interview and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why Alan Trammell Belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame 2/22/15

Hey baseball fans!

Yesterday was my birthday, so you know what that means: an Alan Trammell post! For those of you who don't know it, Trammell and I share a birthday (February 21st) and he's the only person in baseball who I share a birthday with that should be in the Hall of Fame. So, for this Trammell Birthday post, I'm going to give three reasons why the Detroit Tigers shortstop from 1977-1996 should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.



Reason Number One: More All Star Games than fellow AL shortstop, Robin Yount:
Look, I don't want to be mean, but Robin Yount was only an All Star for three seasons: 1980 and 1982-1983. Trammell, who played in 20 seasons in the MLB, just like Yount, went to six All Star Games: 1980, 1984-1985, 1987-1988, and 1990. Also, in the two of the three years that Yount was voted into the ASG, Trammell had a better batting average than him (in 1980, Trammell batted .300, while Yount batted .293 and in 1983, Trammell batted .319 and Yount batted .308). Yes, Robin has over 3,000 hits and Trammell doesn't, but both of their lifetime batting averages are .285. Considering Yount is a Hall of Famer (and a deserving one), Trammell should be one also.

Reason Number Two: 1984 World Series MVP recipient:
I know what you're thinking: what does winning the '84 WS MVP have to do with anything? Well, let me put it this way: the 1984 Tigers were absolutely stacked. In their regular hitting lineup were All Stars Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker and Trammell, along with star hitters Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, and Darrell Evans. However, despite all of these great names on offense, it was only Trammell who was recognized as the best hitter on the Tigers during the 1984 Fall Classic against the Padres; he batted .450 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs. Alan was probably the biggest reason why Detroit won its fourth World Series in franchise history -- because on the biggest of stages, he performed at the highest caliber, making him a "clutch" hitter. If you can come through in the clutch in a tough situation, just like Trammell did in 1984 for the Tigers, that's yet another reason why you deserve a plaque in Cooperstown.



Reason Number Three: WAR and JAWS:
To summarize what each of these sabermetric stats are, WAR (or wins above replacement) is the amount of wins a team would not have won if a specific player was replaced in the lineup/rotation, and JAWS (or Jaffe WAR Score system) measures a player's Hall of Fame worthiness by averaging a player's career WAR with his seven year peak WAR. Trammell's WAR is 70.4, meaning that if he was replaced in the lineup by another player, his Tigers teams would have won 70.4 less games. Now, you would think that a guy who played for 20 years would have a higher WAR, but out of all of the shortstops in MLB history, Trammell's WAR is actually better than Derek Jeter's and 14 Hall of Fame shortstops', including Barry Larkin, Joe Cronin, and Joe Sewell. In addition, his JAWS number is 57.5. The average of 21 Hall of Fame shortstops is a WAR of 66.7 and a JAWS of 54.7, so Trammell is higher than these HOF averages!! So, considering that JAWS and WAR are correlated statistics, Trammell is very worthy of being in the Hall of Fame.

What do you think? Have I convinced you that Alan Trammell belongs in the HOF? Leave your comments below. Thanks for reading and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."