Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Matt Nadel's First Ballot Hall of Famer Criteria 7/19/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is right around the corner, but what makes someone qualify as a first ballot Hall of Famer? Obviously the definition of greatness in baseball has changed over the years, but here are the most up-to-date criteria with which I judge baseball personalities on whether or not they're a first ballot Hall of Famer, whether the voters agree with me or not:

For contact hitters:

Criteria: .300+ career batting average
Why? Getting three hits in ten at-bats seems lackluster to most beginner baseball fans, but think to yourself about how you analyze a player's season, just based on batting average. Seeing a three in the tenths place is just a lot more attractive than a two.


Criteria: 3,000+ career hits
Why? Usually, Hall of Famers play around 20 years in baseball. If you average 150 hits a season over 20 years, you're Roberto Clemente (he finished his career with 3,000 hits on the dot). Who doesn't want to be Roberto Clemente? But seriously, usually the best contact hitters will have some 200+ hit seasons during their primes and then tail off a little bit at the end. That makes a round number like 3,000 so applicable. Recent Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio, had 3,060 hits for example.

For power hitters:

Criteria 500+ career home runs and/or 1,500+ career RBIs
Why? It's the same logic as with hits; a power hitter might have 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons during his prime, but then won't do as well later in his career. It's just a good number because it takes consistency into consideration while leaving room for bad seasons.


For the all-around hitters:

Criteria: 10+ career All Star Game appearances
Why? Ryne Sandberg, Pudge Rodriguez and Yogi Berra don't have career stats that jump out at you per se, but what they do have are a ton of All Star appearances. If a player is considered the greatest at his position in the league he plays in for ten or more years, then of course he deserves enshrinement in Cooperstown.


For pitchers:

Criteria: 250+ wins
Why? It used to be 300, but no pitcher has eclipsed that milestone since Randy Johnson did almost ten years ago. It's very rare that a pitcher even gets over 200 wins in a career, let alone 250, which makes the number extra special. Bert Blyleven, a Hall of Famer, had 287 wins. To put it into perspective, there are only 116 pitchers in baseball history to get over 200 career wins. Wow. Pitching is hard.


Criteria: ERA lower than 3.00
Why? It's a lot harder than it seems and it goes back to the batting average criteria, except the opposite; a two in the ones place looks better than a three.


Criteria: 8+ All Star Games
Why? I call this the "John Smoltz Rule" because he was a reliever and a starter at different points in his career, only has 213 career wins, has an ERA of 3.33, made eight All Star Games, and is in the Hall of Fame. So if a starter or reliever could pull off John Smoltz-like stats that gets them at least eight appearances in the Summer Classic, they should be in the Hall.


For managers, owners, and GMs:

Criteria: Win a lot.
Why? I'm grouping all of these positions together because they all are judged based on their team's success. Whether it be with one or multiple teams, if a head honcho leads his club to the promised land on multiple occasions, thus building at least a quasi-dynasty, then it's a done deal for me. See you in the Hall soon, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon!


Just remember that these criteria are for slam dunk Hall of Famers. Jeff Bagwell definitely deserves a spot in Cooperstown, but didn't amass any of these stats, so my criteria could be taken as unfair, right? Well, I didn't think he was going to get into the Hall on his first try anyway because BBWAA voters are a lot stricter when it comes to filling out their ballots. How else do you think potential HoFers should be judged? 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."


Sunday, July 9, 2017

An All-Out Slugfest: The History of the Home Run Derby 7/9/17

Hey baseball fans!

The All Star Game Home Run Derby is tomorrow, pitting the best sluggers in a competition of who has the most power! Personally, it's my favorite side event of the MLB All Star Game, so here are some things to know about the Home Run Derby before watching it tomorrow on ESPN:

The Derby started in 1985, with five players from each League participating. The number of participants changed throughout the 90s, but the four-person-per-League format that is used today was adopted in 2000. The way the tournament has been set up has also changed over the years. From 1991, the first year it was televised, to 2013, all the players were playing against each other and were given ten "outs," or hits that weren't home runs, to hit as many home runs as they can. The top home runs hitters in each round moved on until the final two. For the 2017 Home Run Derby, for example, Giancarlo Stanton will square off against Gary Sanchez, the one seed vs. the eighth seed, in a March Madness-style, head-to-head battle, where each player will be given four minutes to hit as many home runs as they can.



Despite the rule changes, there have been some players who have clearly dominated the Derby. Todd Frazier of the White Sox leads all players in HRD history with 91 career Derby homers. He won the whole thing in 2015 while playing for the Reds. Josh Hamilton hit a single-round record of 28 home runs in the first round of the 2008 Derby, but eventually lost in the final round to Justin Morneau. Ken Griffey, Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes are the only two players to win the contest in back-to-back years (Griffey in '98 and '99 & Cespedes in '13 and '14). Griffey also won it in 1994, making him the only three-time champ. Prince Fielder is the only Derby participant to win it at least once in both Leagues, winning it in 2009 as a member of the NL Milwaukee Brewers and in 2012 as a member of the AL Detroit Tigers (pictured below). Hall of Famers to have won the homer tourney are Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., Griffey, and Frank Thomas.


My favorite Home Run Derby that I've ever watched was in 2011, when in Chase Field, Robinson Cano of the Yankees, while being pitched to by his dad, beat Adrain Gonzalez of the Red Sox in the final round of a classic desert showdown. What's the favorite Derby you've ever watched and who do you think will win it tomorrow? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! 7/1/17

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! July 1 is the day of the year when the New York Mets pay a retired, slightly ok baseball player about $1 million annually until 2034! Now I know some of you may be confused, but let me explain.

Bonilla played in the MLB from 1986-2001 with a plethora of teams, actually making six All Star Games as an outfielder. He doesn't have the stats to be in the Hall of Fame, so the fact that he is still receiving money from the Mets is mind-boggling. Basically, the Mets signed Bonilla to a deferred-money deal after not wanting him on the roster after the 2000 season, meaning that rather paying all of Bonilla's $5.9 million salary for the year right then and there, they would pay percentages of it over time with interest (at a negotiated 8% per year). The deal kicked in with the first payment being issued on July 1, 2011. The only problem for the Mets is the $5.9 million in 2000 will be worth $29.8 million by the time the deal is done. So now, the Mets organization is stuck paying Bonilla $1.19 million every July 1 until 2033! The worst part of it all for the Amazins is that Bonilla lives in Florida now, where there's no income tax, so he's really taking aaaaalllllll of that dough. Classic move by the Mets' front office.


On a separate note, happy Canada Day to Joey Votto, Russell Martin, and the Toronto Blue Jays. If you were in Bobby Bonilla's shoes, how would you spend your annual mega-paycheck, eh? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

You're From Where and You Root for Whom? 6/25/17

Hey baseball fans!

Relocation happens to teams all the time and sometimes, the fans from the original cities still root for the team that now plays in a different city. Need some examples? Well, here you go.

DC residents wearing Twins' and Rangers' gear? 
Technically, Walter Johnson played for the Twins organization, even though he never set foot on a Minneapolis mound. The Minnesota Twins were originally the Washington Senators and played in our nation's capital until 1961, when they moved way up north to Minnesota and became the Twins. Senators fans didn't have to worry for long, as a new incarnation of the Senators joined the MLB in 1961. They were only there until 1971 and then moved to Texas to become the Rangers.

New Yorkers wearing "Kershaw" and "Bumgarner" jerseys?
Dodgers and Giants fans don't all come from California. Most of the older fans of those teams lived in New York City. Thats's right: before Los Angeles and San Francisco, it was Brooklyn and New York, respectively, for the Dodgers and Giants. Some of the greatest players to ever play on those teams like Jackie Robinson or Christy Mathewson never played out west, instead wowing fans in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.


An Orioles fan living across the street from a Brewers/Cardinals fan?
The Orioles are an original AL team, coming into baseball in 1901 as the first Milwaukee Brewers, but quickly moved to St. Louis in 1902 and were known as the Browns until the franchise moved to Baltimore prior to the 1954 season. The Browns had little success, only winning one AL pennant in St. Louis in 1944 and, lost the World Series to, you guessed it, the Cardinals.

A's fans eating cheese steaks and Kansas City barbecue?
The Oakland A's weren't always playing their games in the Bay Area, but actually started out in Philadelphia in 1901 as the A's. They then moved to Kansas City for the 1955 season until 1967, only coming to Oakland in 1968.

Braves fans watch their team with beans and/or cheese?
The Boston Braves played in Boston until 1952; they played in Milwaukee until 1965; and they've been in Atlanta ever since. Actually, the Braves have the unique distinction of being the only major American sports team to win exactly one championship in three different cities and won those World Series in 1914, 1957, and 1995.


Nats fans speak French?
The Washington Nationals were originally from Montreal and were known as the Expos until the 2005 season, when they moved to DC. Expos fans miss their team so much that, to fill the void, there have been talks of future MLB expansion to Montreal.

Watching Brewers games on the Space Needle?
The Brewers were actually founded as the Seattle Pilots in 1969, but only stayed there for one year.

Ask your grandparents if the team they root for now was the same team they rooted for when they were kids. You might be surprised at their answers. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Five MLB Teams That Need a Name Change 6/18/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Cleveland Indians have been under much scrutiny in recent years over their derogatory name and mascot. Pair that with the MLB's push for a more marketable league and it got me thinking: "What teams could use a name change to amp up their marketability?" To answer my own question, here are five of them.

Team #1: Philadelphia Phillies
New Name: Philadelphia Liberty
Why? The MLB is lacking in singular team names (I would say teams that don't end in "s," but there are the Red and White Sox) and what creativity comes in naming the team based solely on the name of the city in which they play? Although this name is already taken by the WNBA's New York Liberty, Philadelphia is as patriotic of a city as NYC. Also, the Phillie Phanatic in a triangular, Revolution-styled hat would be very cute.













Team #2: Oakland Athletics
New Name: Oakland Leviathans
Why? Oakland's saltwater lake, Lake Merritt, has its own sea monster nicknamed the "Oak-ness monster." What a marketing opportunity for the ages for Oakland.















Team #3: Pittsburgh Pirates
New Name: Pittsburgh Ironsmiths
Why? They're called the Pirates because in 1880, they "pirated" a player from the A's, so they need a name change. The "Steelers" is already taken by one of the most successful NFL teams in football history, but steel is made partially of iron and, in my opinion, "Ironsmiths" sounds cooler anyway. With that being said, Pittsburgh is home to the most bridges of any city in the world and has more public staircases than even hilly cities such as San Francisco and Cincinnati. What material is in those railings? Iron, of course.











Team #4: Minnesota Twins
New Name: Minnesota North Stars
Why? The hockey team of the same name moved to Dallas and are now known as just the Stars, but this name is infinitely better than "Twins."















Team #5: Cleveland Indians
New Name: Cleveland Hammers
Why? I'll end this post with the team I talked about at the beginning. For obvious reasons, Cleveland must scrap their old name. The name "Hammers" shows the city's industrial, hard-working aspect. Also, selling blowup hammers at the game for kids to play with would make some nice money for the boys in the Cleveland front office.













What other teams need a name change? 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."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Five Fun Facts About the MLB Wild Card 6/10/17

Hey baseball fans!

Baseball, like every sport, has expanded over the years. With more teams comes more playoff spots and with more playoff spots comes the Wild Card. The Wild Card team is the top team in each league  who didn't finish in first in a division. The Wild Card was first used for the 1995 MLB season and was expanded to two teams for the 2012 season and onward. Now, the two Wild Card teams in each league play a one-game playoff to decide who will face the number one seed in the AL and NL Division Series. But those are only just some of the many fun facts the MLB Wild Card has to offer, so here are some more:

Fact #1: Like I said before, the Wild Card was implemented for the 1995 MLB playoffs (but was going to be used in 1994 had there not have been a playoffs-cancelling strike). The Yankees and Rockies were the first Wild Card teams in AL and NL history, respectively, but both were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.

Fact #2: The Marlins are undoubtedly the best Wild Card team the MLB has ever seen. They've only been the Wild Card in the National League twice, but won the World Series both times. In 1997, the Marlins became the first Wild Card team to win the World Series and, in 2003, became the first Wild Card team to win the Fall Classic twice (pictured below). The Marlins are the only World Series champion to not have a division title in their history.


Fact #3: Four other teams besides the Marlins have been Wild Card World Series champions: the 2002 Angels, 2004 Red Sox, 2011 Cardinals, and the 2014 Giants (pictured below). The 2002 and 2014 World Series are the only ones to be made up fully of Wild Card teams: Angels versus Giants in '02 and Giants versus Royals in '14. The three-year stretch from 2002-2004 of Wild Card World Series champions is a record.


Fact #4: The 2001 Oakland Athletics hold the distinction of being the winningest Wild Card team in MLB history, going 102-60. They lost to the Yankees in the divisional series, three games to two. The winningest NL Wild Card team was the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates, who finished the season at 98-64, but lost to the Cubs in the Wild Card Round.

Fact #5: The Astros, because they switched leagues in 2013, are the only MLB team to win the Wild Card in both leagues. In 2004 and 2005, the Astros finished in second place in the NL Central (and in 2005 won the NL pennant) and in 2015, finished in second place in the AL West.

I personally love the Wild Card because it makes the postseason that much more unpredictable and thus, more exciting. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Baseball with Matt's Hog Wild Toys Trick Shot Video 6/3/17

Hey baseball fans!

A couple of weeks ago, this great toy company called Hog Wild Toys sent me some awesome baseball-themed toys! To show you what they sent me, I thought the best thing to do was to make a Dude Perfect-esque trick shot video! So, if you'd like to see that video, click here, and if you'd like to shop for some great Hog Wild Toys stuff, click here to go to their website.




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