Sunday, October 19, 2014

Who Will Win the 2014 World Series? 10/19/14

Hey baseball fans!

The World Series is upon us! But who will win the 2014 Fall Classic, the Kansas City Royals or the San Francisco Giants? Only time will tell, but for now, click here to watch the video in which I predict who will be the champions of baseball for the 2014 campaign.


Thanks for watching the post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Vida Blue? But He Had No Reason to be Sad 10/17/14

Hey baseball fans!

The Royals and Giants will be playing in the 2014 World Series! In honor of this, I'm going to talk about a very famous pitcher who pitched for both Kansas City and San Francisco: Vida Blue!

Vida Blue pitched for the A's, Giants, and Royals from 1969-1983, 1985-1986. In his 17 years in the MLB, he recorded 209 wins and 161 losses, along with an ERA of 3.27. Vida is known for his constant attacking of the strike zone. He had a great curveball and change up, but his best pitch was his blazing fastball, which regularly reached speeds of 100 miles an hour. With the help of these pitches, Blue recorded a lifetime 1.23 WHIP and 37 career shutouts. The six-time All Star's best year came in 1971 with the Athletics, when he went 24-8 with a league-leading 1.82 earned run average. That year, he was the starter for the American League in the All Star Game and won the AL Cy Young Award and MVP, but Oakland failed to win the pennant. However, over the next three years, '72-'74, the A's didn't just win the pennant, they won the World Series and Blue played a big role on those championship teams.

In 1978, his first year with the Giants, Blue again started in the All Star Game, this time in the NL, thus becoming the first pitcher ever to start the All Star Game with the American and National League. His Giant career was very good: a record of 72-58 over six years with an ERA of 3.52. In the midst of his time with the Giants, however, Vida played with KC for two years, winning 13 games and losing 17, while posting an ERA of 4.49. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Vida pitched a no-hitter with the A's on September 21st, 1970 against the Twins, striking out nine in only his second year in the MLB. What an accomplishment!




















One of the most charitable athletes you will ever meet, Vida was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and still does charity work for the Bay Area. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

And if you're looking to read up on more baseball history, please check out my newly published e-book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, now available on the Kindle, Nook and iTunes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The History of the New York Mets 10/14/14

Hey baseball fans!

As many of you already know, I am a Yankees fan, but that does't mean that I can't root for the Mets if they just happen to be on TV. Yes, I do feel sorry for Mets fans (and Yankees fans alike), but the Mets have a pretty good history.


The New York Mets were created in 1962 in order to replace the former New York National League teams, the Giants and Dodgers, who moved to California a few years before. The Mets played their first games in the Polo Grounds, but then moved to Shea Stadium in 1964. Like most expansion teams, the Mets didn't start off well. In fact, they finished either last or second to last in their first seven years of existence. But then came the magical year of 1969. With the help of future Hall of Fame pitchers Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan along with All Star Jerry Koosman and manager Gil Hodges, the Mets barely beat the Chicago Cubs to win the NL East, then were victorious over the Braves in the NLCS, then destroyed the heavily favored Orioles in the World Series in five games. It was the first World Series won by a New York team in seven years and it would not be the last time the Mets won it all.


New York, after acquiring Willie Mays, went to its second World Series in franchise history in 1973, this time under the wing of the legendary Yogi Berra as manager. That Mets team was one of the worst teams to get to the Fall Classic, having gone 82-79 in the regular season. Despite this seemingly dismal record, the Mets gave the defending champion A's a run for their money, but Oakland won the Series in seven. Entering the 1980s, the Mets had not won a World Series since '69. Then came another magical year in Mets history: 1986.

The '86 Mets were full of stars, like Gary Carter, Lee Mazzilli, Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez on offense and Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Bob Ojeda, and Jesse Orosco on the pitching staff. The team won an astounding 108 games and the NL pennant and faced the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. The Red Sox went up in the Series three games to two and were leading after ten innings in Game Six at Shea, 5-3. The Mets proceeded to come from behind and win in walk-off fashion with the help of an untimely error by Red Sox first baseman, Bill Buckner, on a Mookie Wilson grounder with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. The Amazins then won Game Seven and were crowned champions of the baseball world for only the second time in the team's history. But it would be a year that no Mets fan would forget, as the fans in Queens, New York never stop talking about Buckner's blunder.


New York has gone to only one more World Series since 1986 and it was against the Yankees in 2000. In the first Subway Series since 1956, the Yanks whipped the Mets in five games. Sorry Mets fans, but the Bronx Bombers were in the midst of a dynasty. Actually the Mets almost got to another World Series in 2006, but lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS.

The Amazins moved to Citi Field prior to the 2009 season, but have yet to make the playoffs in the new stadium. Hopefully, they can accomplish this task in the coming years. Anyway, thanks so much for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Human Tanglefoot Flypaper 10/9/14

Hey baseball fans!

The division series are over and now the MLB postseason moves to the championship series. The state of Missouri is represented in both leagues' series, actually, in the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. Speaking of Missouri, did you know that there are ten baseball Hall of Famers from the Show Me State? Some of them you know, like Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Earl Weaver, and even Carl Hubbell. But do you know who Dodgers Hall of Famer Zack Wheat is?

Wheat, a native of Hamilton, Missouri, played in the MLB for 19 years with the Brooklyn Dodgers (for 18 years) and the A's from 1909-1927. Buck, as he was nicknamed, batted over .300 16 times in his career and won the batting title in 1918 with a .335 batting average. His career batting average of .317 ranks 47th out of all Hall of Fame hitters. Wheat collected 2,884 career base hits, 1,248 RBIs, and scored 1,289 runs, but was known more for his fielding than his hitting. As a left fielder, he was known as being very graceful, like Joe DiMaggio, but also had a cannon for an arm, like Roberto Clemente. Although he fielded and batted like the star he was, the Brooklyn teams he was on never did too spectacularly. Wheat made it to the World Series twice with the Dodgers, in 1916 and 1920, but lost in both Series. But it didn't matter,  as Zack was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1959 via the Veterans Committee.


Here's a fun fact about the Dodger Hall of Famer: In 1916, the outfield wall at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field had the following advertisement for Tanglefoot flypaper: "In 1915, Wheat, Brooklyn, caught 345 flies. Tanglefoot caught 50,000,000,000 flies." What a funny yet brilliant ad. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Sunday, October 5, 2014

The 300th Post on Baseball with Matt!!!!!!!!!! 10/5/14

Hey baseball fans!

This is my 300th post on Baseball with Matt! I'm so happy that I've done so many fun things in my blogging career and it's all thanks to you: the viewers.


To celebrate number 300, I put up a vlog on YouTube in which I talk about the blog, my book that just came out (which is now available as an e-book on the Kindle, the Nook and iTunes) and the MLB playoffs. If you want to watch it, just click here.



Thanks so much for reading my posts over the last couple of years. I hope you enjoy the video and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Postseason and How It Works 10/2/14

Hey baseball fans!

With the MLB postseason already here (and two teams already eliminated), I want to teach you about how the postseason works because, over the years, a lot has changed about it.

From 1903 (the first World Series) to 1968, there was only one division per league. So, back then, the best team in the American League faced off against the best National League team in the World Series. Starting in 1969, the playoffs became two rounds: a round to decide the winner of each league and the World Series. This playoff format was needed because the leagues were getting too big for one division. In the first year that this kind of postseason was implemented, the '69 Mets won it all.


The two-round playoff format stood until 1981, a season that was split into two halves due to a mid-season strike. Major League Baseball decided that for that year, there would be an extra round to start the playoffs. This extra first round featured the division winners from the first half of the season against the division winners from the second half. From there, the playoffs were the same. Although the MLB went back to the two-round postseason the next year, the three-round postseason would come up again in the near future.

By 1994, there were too many expansion teams for just two divisions per league, so the MLB created three of them per league: the East, Central, and West. This caused a problem with the playoff format because you need an even number of teams per league in the playoffs. Thus, the Wild Card team was implemented into the postseason. The Wild Card is the team with the best record in each league that did not win a division. For example, the first AL team to win the Wild Card was the Yankees in 1995 (1994 was cut short due to another strike and the '94 playoffs were cancelled). They didn't win the AL East, but they did win 79 games, the most of any team that didn't win a division in the American League. (79 games does seem like a low win total, I know, but the first part of the '95 campaign was cut off because of the strike that started in 1994.)


So we've gone from just a World Series to a League Championship Series and a World Series to a Division Series, League Championship Series, and a World Series. Would you believe that there has been another round added to the MLB postseason? In 2012, the Wild Card playoff was added to the postseason. The Wild Card playoff features the two best teams in each league that didn't win their respective division in a one-game round that decides which team will go on to face the team with the best record in each league. The San Francisco Giants just won the 2014 NL Wild Card playoff against the Pittsburgh Pirates, so they will face the Washington Nationals, the team with the best record in the National League, in the National League Division Series.

So, just to reiterate, the 2014 playoffs have four rounds: a one-game Wild Card playoff (which has already happened), a best-of-five Division Series, a best-of-seven League Championship Series, and a best-of-seven World Series. Anyway, I hope I didn't confuse you with the postseason format and thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."




Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Captain Retires - My Tribute to Mr. November 9/28/14

Hey baseball fans!

Today was Derek Jeter's last game as a professional baseball player. Although it's sad, he is just one step closer to being immortalized in the Hall of Fame. Why should he be in the Hall of Fame? I thought you'd never ask.

Jeter was drafted by the Yankees with the sixth pick of the 1992 MLB Draft. He was brought up to the majors in 1995 due to injuries on the Yankees' roster, but didn't become a full-time player until 1996. In '96, he won Rookie of the Year and led the Yankees to the World Series to face the Atlanta Braves and eventually won it, giving Jeter his first ring. 1998 was Jeter's first year of 200+ hits (his first of eight) and his first All Star Game (he would play in 14 during his career). He helped New York to the best record in AL history up to that point with 114 wins and the team eventually won the Fall Classic against the Padres in a sweep. 1999 was probably Jeter's best year offensively, batting .349 with 24 home runs, 102 RBIs, and 219 hits. The Yanks again won the World Series (ring number three for Jeter) and they would do the same the next year against the Mets. In fact, Jeter made history that year when he became the first man to win All Star Game MVP and World Series MVP in the same season after having a great 2000 World Series.

Jeter was always a great opposite field contact hitter, but his fielding gets a little lost when people talk about his greatness. The Yankee captain from 2003-2014 collected five Gold Gloves at shortstop. He also had some power, winning the Silver Slugger Award for shortstops five times.

From 2001-2008, Jeter never batted under .290 in a season, never had less than 150 hits, and never scored less than 85 runs in a season. He was doing phenomenally, but the Yankees weren't winning championships. Luckily for Jeter and the Yanks, that all changed in 2009. The Bronx Bombers won 103 games and the AL East title, while Jeter took sole possession of first place on the all-time Yankee hits list, passing Lou Gehrig for the title on September 11th, 2009. With the help of Derek, New York won its first World Series since 2000. That's one of the things that people love about Jeter: he helped his team win by hitting in the clutch, earning him the nickname Captain Clutch.


On July 9th, 2011, Derek collected hit number 3,000 on a homer off David Price of the Rays, becoming just the second man to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit (the first was Hall of Fame teammate, Wade Boggs). Jeter currently stands at sixth all time in hits with 3,465, along with a .310 lifetime batting average. He is also tenth all time in runs scored with 1,923.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to talk about his famous plays. Who could forget his clutch game-tying homer in Game One of the 1996 ALCS against Baltimore (with the help of Jeffrey Maier, of course)? Who could forget the Flip he made to Jorge Posada to get Jeremy Giambi of the A's out at the plate in a critical Game Three of the 2001 ALDS? Who could forget his walk-off home run in Game Four of the '01 World Series against the Diamondbacks, the first home run in the history of the MLB in November? And finally, who could forget Jeter's dive into the stands to prevent Trot Nixon from getting a hit in a tough Summer game at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox? (See the picture below of the "Dive" that will be appearing forever on the bottom center of the cover of my upcoming book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers - An Introduction to Baseball History.) All of these plays will be forever remembered in baseball lore and it's amazing that Derek Sanderson Jeter was the player who executed all four of them.



Again, it's very sad that Jeter is retiring, but he gave his heart and soul to the game and I have to give him RE2PECT for that. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."