Saturday, December 31, 2016

Was It Worth It: Adrian Beltre and the Rangers 12/31/16

Hey baseball fans!

The MLB offseason has already been packed with excitement, as teams are already signing players to gigantic contracts. The question is, however, will the contracts be worth it? In this mini-series on Baseball with Matt, I will be examining the careers of current baseball players after they signed huge contracts to see whether the team that signed them has gotten enough back in return. For this post, let's check out the career of one of the most underrated hitters in baseball: Adrian Beltre.

Before the Big Bucks:
Adrian Beltre has been playing in the MLB for an extremely long time, since 1998 to be exact, and his first couple of years weren't filled with excitement. In the first six years of his career, which were played with the Dodgers, the third baseman never hit more than 23 homers in a season. But in 2004, he exploded, leading the league with 48 dingers with a .334 batting average and 121 RBIs. He placed second in the MVP voting and won his first career Silver Slugger that year. In the next six years of his career, he continued to post solid stats, averaging about 22 homers a season. He also collected his first two career Gold Gloves and made his first All Star Game in 2010. But after the 2010 campaign, which he played with the Red Sox, he was granted free agency. On January 6, 2011, Beltre signed a monster 6-year, $96 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

After the Signing:
I think it's safe to say that although $96 million is a lot of money, this deal was definitely worth it for the Rangers. In my opinion, even though he is not always recognized for it, Adrian Beltre has become one of the best third basemen in baseball. From 2011-2016, he's batted a solid .308, averaging 28 home runs and 94 RBIs a season. He's made three more All Star Games (2011, 2012, and 2014) and was even the starting third baseman for the AL for the '11 and '12 ASG. But perhaps the biggest reason why this deal was worth it for the Rangers was Beltre's insane fielding ability. He's won the Gold Glove at third base for the AL in four of the last six years. Oh, and did I mention that Beltre's unbelievable leadership and play has led the Rangers to four playoff births since 2011, including a trip to the 2011 World Series?

The bottom line is that if Beltre continues his dominance for another few years, he will absolutely be a Hall of Famer, despite the fact that he tries to make contact with the wildest of pitches. His time with the Rangers has made him the legend that he is. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Was It Worth It: Max Scherzer and the Nationals 12/24/16

Hey baseball fans!

The MLB offseason has already been packed with excitement, as teams are already signing players to gigantic contracts. The question is, however, will the contracts be worth it? In this mini-series on Baseball with Matt, I will be examining the careers of current baseball players after they signed huge contracts to see whether the team that signed them has gotten enough back in return. The first player I analyzed was Albert Pujols, but now let's travel to the mound to look at the career of Max Scherzer before and after he signed for big bucks to play in our nation's capital.

Before the Big Bucks:
Max Scherzer started his career with the Diamondbacks in 2008 and was traded to the Tigers following the 2009 season. The pitcher with different-colored eyes was just an alright pitcher for the first five years of his career. His best year in that timespan was 2012, when he went 16-7 with a 3.74 ERA. There were flashes of greatness, but he wasn't an All Star pitcher until 2013. That year with Detroit, he went 21-3 (those 21 wins led the league) with an ERA of 2.90, led the league with a 0.970 WHIP, was the AL starting pitcher at the All Star Game, and won the Cy Young Award. The next year, he again led the league in wins with 17 and again made the All Star Game. But following the 2014 season, he was granted free agency and signed a 7 year, $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals.

After Signing:
Boy, was this a great move for D.C. Sure, it's a lot of money, but it's been extremely worth it considering Scherzer is still one of the best pitchers in baseball. His record wasn't so hot in 2015, going just 14-12, but his ERA was his best of his career at 2.79. He made the NL All Star team, led the league in complete games and shutouts, and placed fifth in Cy Young Award voting. In 2016, he won a league-leading 20 games with a 2.96 ERA, led the league in strikeouts (284) and WHIP (0.968), made the All Star Game, and won his second career Cy Young Award. On top of that, he led a talented Nationals team to an NL East title. Seriously, this guy has been an insane pitcher in the National League. Speaking of pitching in the NL, Scherzer also had 12 RBIs in 2016. Wow!!

Max Scherzer is one of the most important reasons why the Nationals are a force to be reckoned with in the National League every single year. So, in conclusion, this deal has definitely been worth it so far for the Nats. Who knows what Scherzer will turn into in the last five years of his contract, but he doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Was It Worth It: Albert Pujols and the Angels 12/14/16

Hey baseball fans!

The Winter Meetings are here and teams are already signing players to gigantic contracts. The question is, however, will the contracts be worth it? In this new mini-series on Baseball with Matt, I will be examining the careers of current baseball players after they signed huge contracts and seeing if the team that signed them has gotten enough back in return. The first player I am analyzing will be Albert Pujols.

Before the Big Bucks: 
From 2001-2011, Albert Pujols was perhaps the best player in baseball. A first baseman for the Cardinals, Prince Albert batted .328 with an average of 40 home runs and 121 RBIs per season during those years. He made nine All Star Games and won the NL MVP three times. He also helped the Cardinals win the 2006 and 2011 World Series. But after the 2011 season, Pujols was granted free agency and signed a ten-year, $240 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. What a big contract, right? Well, at the time, Pujols was one of the best of the best in the MLB and the Angels needed some help in the lineup. Since then, however, things have not been the same for the slugging future Hall of Famer.

After Signing:
After playing with the Angels for five seasons, in my opinion, it's safe to say that this deal was not worth it for LA and here's why. Sure, Albert has averaged 29 home runs a season in Southern California, but other than that, his numbers have been significantly worse. His batting average per season with the Angels is a mediocre .266, 62 points lower than when playing by the Arch. His difference in slugging percentage is even worse: .474 compared to .617. And don't even get me started on his WAR: 7.8 per season in St. Louis and only 2.9 in LA. On top of all this, since 2012, the Angels have only made one playoff appearance, a 2014 AL West Division title, and in that appearance, they were swept in the first round. I don't think this sudden decline was really expected by the MLB community, but it's clear now why Pujols's stats have worsened since the 2011 season and it's not his fault: age. His body is starting to slow down, but it started slowing down at a rate that the Angels probably never saw coming. So, in conclusion, although Pujols has still put up solid numbers, they aren't what we have long considered to be "Albert Pujols numbers," so the deal was not worth it.

An Alternative: 
The Angels aren't exactly known for their pitching. In 2016, LA's pitching staff had an ERA of 4.28, good for 21st in baseball. Their hitting wasn't too good last year either, but it's on the pitcher's mound where there is a real concern. They also only saved 29 games last year, which was 28th in the MLB last year. Imagine if instead of signing Pujols in 2011, they traded for a guy like Yoenis Cespedes and then signed him on a much cheaper and shorter deal and in this past offseason signed someone like Kenley Jansen to improve the bullpen.

I'm not saying that I hate Albert Pujols. In fact, he's one of my favorite players right now and I'm always rooting for him to put up great stats. But the bottom line is that he's not the same first baseman from ten years ago. The Angels' franchise would be in a much better place right now if they hadn't spent that much money on him. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hispanic Baseball Last Name Vocab Quiz! 12/4/16

Hey baseball fans!

One of the things I love about baseball is how international it is, specifically how many Latin American players get the chance to play in the MLB. However, do you know what the last names of some familiar Spanish-speaking baseball players mean? That's what this post is for.

Last Name: C├ęspedes
Player with this last name: Yoenis C├ęspedes
Meaning: Lawns

Last Name: Posada
Player with this last name: Jorge Posada
Meaning: Inn

Last Name: Rivera
Player with this last name: Mariano Rivera
Meaning: Brook

Last Name: Cabrera
Players with this last name: Miguel Cabrera, Asdrubal Cabrera
Meaning: Goatherd

Last Name: Clemente
Player with this last name: Roberto Clemente
Meaning: Merciful

Last Name: Castillo
Player with this last name: Luis Castillo
Meaning: Castle

Last Name: Correa
Player with this last name: Carlos Correa
Meaning: Strap

Last Name: Last Name: Gallardo
Player with this last name: Yovani Gallardo
Meaning: Gallant

Last Name: Guerrero
Player with this last name: Vladimir Guerrero
Meaning: Warrior

Last Name: Delgado
Player with this last name: Carlos Delgado
Meaning: Thin

Last Name: Bautista
Player with this last name: Jose Bautista
Meaning: Baptist

Last Name: Garza
Player with this last name: Matt Garza
Meaning: Heron

Some of these meanings are extremely allegorical. Roberto Clemente was known for his charitable nature and Vlad Guerrero fought off every pitch thrown at him. Others make absolutely no sense. I don't think that Matt Garza would compare himself to a heron. And some are very funny. I would totally stay at a hotel called "Jorge's Posada." Any way, did you know any of the meanings to these last names? Leave more Hispanic baseball surnames in the comments section below with their translations. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Out with the Old 30, and In with the New MVP 11/22/16

Hey baseball fans!

It is the 55th anniversary of Frank Robinson being named NL MVP for the Cincinnati Reds during the 1961 MLB season. Robinson's '61 campaign was definitely deserving of the award, as he batted .323 with 37 home runs and 124 runs batted in. His monstrous .611 slugging percentage led the league that year and his efforts helped the Reds reach their first World Series since 1940, where they sadly lost to the Yankees. The man they called "The Judge" was in the middle of an unbelievable career and was one of the young stars of baseball. However, after the 1965 season, Reds owner Bill DeWitt decided to trade Robinson from Cinci to the Baltimore Orioles because he thought that the slugging Texas native was "not a young 30." This trade has come to be known as one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history and one of the reasons for that is what Robinson did the season directly after he was sent to Charm City.

I'm going to be very blunt about this: he won the Triple Crown. Yeah, that's right; in Frank Robinson's first season after he was sent to the O's, he batted .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBIs, which all led the league, giving him the Triple Crown. And just to rub it in DeWitt's face, Robinson also led the league in runs scored (122), on-base percentage (.410), slugging percentage (.637), and total bases (367). And to rub it in DeWitt's face even more, Robinson's explosive, AL MVP-winning campaign helped the Orioles win the franchise's first World Series with a sweep of the Dodgers in the 1966 Fall Classic. Wow, for an old guy, he sure could swing the bat well.

With the 1966 AL MVP under his belt, Frank Robinson became the only player in baseball history to win the MVP for teams in both leagues. Really, what an ignorant move by the Reds' front office to trade a man who would go on to finish his career with 586 home runs, tenth-most all time. And no wonder that Frank chose to wear an O's cap on his Hall of Fame plaque! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

My 2016 MLB Awards Prediction Video 11/12/16

Hey baseball fans!

Since the 2016 season is officially over, it's time for the week where everyone debates about who is going to win the four major MLB offseason awards in each league: Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award, and MVP. If you want to know who I think will win each award, click here to see my predictions.

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

These Teams Need Water Quickly! (Get it? Drought?) 11/8/16

Hey baseball fans!

The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908, thus erasing their 108-year championship drought. So, who has the longest drought now and when will it end? In this post, I will try to predict the end to the six current longest championship droughts in MLB history.

Number Six (Tied): Washington Nationals
Last championship: N/A (joined the MLB in 1969 as the Montreal Expos)
Chances to break the curse: The one time the Nationals even came close to winning (let alone making) the World Series came in 1981, when the then-Expos faced the Dodgers in the NLCS, where LA won in five in the then-best-of-five series.
When will they win and why? I'd say within the next five years. Washington has been good for a long time and will continue to make many postseasons to come. Soon, they will become experienced enough in playing baseball during October that they will make and win the World Series.

Number Six (Tied): San Diego Padres
Last championship: N/A (joined the MLB in 1969)
Chances to break the curse: San Diego won the NL pennant in 1984 and 1998, but lost the Fall Classic to the Tigers and Yankees, respectively. They have won exactly one World Series game in franchise history.
When will they win and why? By the end of the half-century. Not to be pessimistic, Padres fans, but your team's division has two juggernaut teams and two up-and-coming teams. However, once the Padres manage to overcome the beast that is the NL West, which will definitely be before 2050, they will definitely be able to cruise through the rest of the NL on the way to their first World Series championship.

Number Six (Tied): Milwaukee Brewers
Last championship: N/A (joined the MLB in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots, moved from AL to NL prior to the 1998 season)
Chances to break the curse: The Brew Crew made the World Series in 1982 as the AL representative, but lost the Series to the Cardinals in seven, hard-fought games.
When will they win and why? Within the next 20 years. The NL Central has become a lot more competitive since Milwaukee's 2011 NL Central division first-place finish and compared to the other teams in the division, it doesn't look good in Wisconsin to even make the playoffs. But at the same time, teams in that division always seem to fluctuate up and down the MLB standings year by year, so there is a good chance that the Brewers will win the Fall Classic sooner rather than later.

Number Three: Houston Astros
Last championship: N/A (joined the MLB in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s)
Chances to break the curse: The Astros lost the 2005 World Series to the White Sox in a sweep in the franchise's only World Series appearance.
When will they win and why? In less than 10 years. Houston right now is a very young, inexperienced team. However, they can compete with anyone in the regular season. Once the young squad becomes full of postseason veterans, then they will win the rings.

Number Two: Texas Rangers
Last championship: N/A (joined the MLB in 1961 as the Washington Senators)
Chances to break the curse: Texas won back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011, but lost both World Series to the Giants and Cardinals, respectively. (See? What did I say about those NL Central and West teams?)
When will they win and why? In less than 10 years. The Rangers got good again in 2015 because of a strong nucleus of solid players. I can see them contending for the title as early as next season.

Number One: Cleveland Indians
Last championship: 1948
Chances to break the curse: In 1954, they were swept by the Giants. In 1995, pitching beat hitting as the Braves took the title away from them. In 1997, the upstart Marlins finished their amazing season with a Fall Classic victory over the Indians in a dramatic, seven-game series. In 2016, well, you know.
When will they win and why? 2018. I don't want to give my way-too-early prediction for the 2017 World Series winner before free agency, so I'll play it safe and say the Indians will end their championship drought a year later. They're just a good, all-around team. It's as simple as that.

When do you think your favorite team will win their next World Series? Let me know in the comments section down below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Billy Goat Curse Is Just the Beginning! 10/31/16

Hey baseball fans!

I'm going to be extremely frank: I am absolutely, one-hundred percent, rooting for the Cubs to win the World Series. The only thing that is stopping them from doing so is all of their curses. So, in this blog post, I will be jinxing some of their lesser-known curses (because everyone talks about the billy goat one) by writing about them. HERE WE GO!!

The Curse of the Black Cat:
The Cubs were in first place in the NL East for almost the entirety of the 1969 season, until a visit to Shea Stadium in mid-September. In the Big Apple, facing the second-place Mets, a black cat (an animal known to be a bad omen), circled Cubs third baseman Ron Santo in the batters' box. Chicago would end up losing the division to the Mets after losing 17 of the 25 games they played in September.

The Kwa-Ma-Rolas Curse:
The Kwa-Ma-Rolas totem pole was placed on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago in 1929. According to Native American legend, the pole should be facing east, which would be away from Wrigley Field. But instead, it faces towards the Cubs' home stadium. What a blessing.

The Back to the Future Curse:
The movie "Back to the Future: Part II," which came out in 1989, predicted a Cubs' World Series victory in 2015. Naturally, the Cubs didn't even make the Fall Classic last year, losing the NLCS to the Mets in a sweep.

The Century Curse:
In 2008, 100 years after the Cubbies' last World Series championship, they looked like they could finally end the curse and were heavily favored to do so. They ended up getting swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS.

The Greg Maddux Curse:
Greg Maddux started his Hall of Fame career with the Cubs, but left the Cubs in 1992 via free agency to the Braves. Maddux's Braves team in '98 and his Dodgers team in 2008 were both responsible for ending the Cubs' quest of a long-awaited World Series title in those respective years.

The Curse of the Gatorade Glove:
Leon Durham's glove was soaked in gatorade after a huge container of the sports drink spilled everywhere across the Cubs' dugout during Game 5 of the 1984 NLCS against the Padres. Later in the game, Durham committed a Buckner-esque error that eventually resulted in the Padres advancing to the franchise's first World Series.

Well, that should do it. Good luck, Cubs! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What was the MLB like back in 1945? 10/23/16

Hey baseball fans!

Here are five MLB-related fun facts about 1945, the last year the Chicago Cubs won the NL pennant before 2016.

Fact #1: Hal Newhouser, the Hall of Fame pitcher who played for the Detroit Tigers, took home AL MVP honors that year after leading all AL pitchers in wins (25), ERA (1.81), and strikeouts (212).

Fact #2: Cubs All Star first baseman and outfielder, Phil Cavarretta, after leading the NL with a .355 batting average, won the NL MVP.

Fact #3: Ten people were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945: Jim O'Rourke, King Kelly, Hughie Jennings, Hugh Duffy, Ed Delahanty (plaque pictured below), Jimmy Collins, Fred Clarke, Dan Brouthers, Roger Bresnahan, and Wilbert Robinson.

Fact #4: There were only 16 teams in the MLB during the '45 season. The Cubs ended up with the best record in baseball that year, going 98-56.

Fact #5: The Yankees finished the 1945 MLB campaign with a record of 81-71. That was the third of four times that they didn't finish with over 90 wins in a season in the 1940s.

1945 sure was a long time ago, but congratulations to the Cubs for finally making it back to the World Series! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Eight Fun Facts About Connie Mack 10/18/16

Hey baseball fans!

It has been 66 years to the day since Connie Mack retired as a baseball manager. The former manager of the Pirates (1894-1896) and A's (1901-1950) is considered one of the greatest managers of all time. To honor him, here are eight fun Connie Mack facts.

Fact #1: Mack's full birth name is Cornelius McGillicuddy, but he is always referred to as Connie Mack.

Fact #2: He had a playing career before he was a manager. From 1886-1896 with the original Washington Nationals, Buffalo Bisons of the Players' League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, he batted .245 with 659 base hits.

Fact #3: He is the Cy Young of managers. He has the most wins (3,731), losses (3,948), and games managed (7,755) out of any manager in baseball history. He also had 76 ties. If only he could've won more games than he lost.

Fact #4: Mack is a five-time World Series champion, which is third on the all-time list. In 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, and 1930, he led the Athletics to Fall Classic victories.

Fact #5: Connie Mack was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937, when he was still managing the A's.

Fact #6: The legendary A's manager coached 20 Hall of Famers during his 50-year stint with the team, including Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Collins, and Lefty Grove.

Fact #7: Connie Mack wanted to coach good people in addition to good players. With that in mind, he created a code of conduct in 1916 that all of the players he managed had to abide by:
  • I will always play the game to the best of my ability.
  • I will always play to win, but if I lose, I will not look for an excuse to detract from my opponent's victory.
  • I will never take an unfair advantage in order to win.
  • I will always abide by the rules of the game—on the diamond as well as in my daily life.
  • I will always conduct myself as a true sportsman—on and off the playing field. I will always strive for the good of the entire team rather than for my own glory.
  • I will never gloat in victory or pity myself in defeat. I will do my utmost to keep myself clean—physically, mentally, and morally.
  • I will always judge a teammate or an opponent as an individual and never on the basis of race or religion.
Fact #8: Mack's strategy for keeping a team good was youth and aggressiveness. He always preferred younger players over veterans and always favored slugging percentage over batting average. He also hardly issued intentional walks, no matter who the batter was. 

What a manager Connie Mack was. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Top Five Favorite Toronto Blue Jays of All Time 10/11/16

Hey baseball fans!

The Blue Jays are on to the ALCS! So yes, I may have messed up that prediction. Nonetheless, congrats to the city of Toronto on being one step closer to getting to the World Series. With that in mind, here are my top five favorite Toronto Blue Jays of all time:

Number Five: Jose Bautista
Why? Joey Bats actually follows me on Twitter, and has been one of the most prominent sluggers on the Blue Jays' super-slugging teams of the last few seasons. Bautista has made the All Star Game six out of the eight years he's played above the border and has averaged 33 homers a season during those years.

Number Four: Joe Carter
Why? Joe Carter's walk-off, come-from-behind, World Series-winning home run that won the Jays their second straight championship in 1993 is definitely the main reason why he's on the list, but Carter was a fan favorite in Toronto for other reasons. He made five All Star Games in seven seasons with the Blue Jays and averaged over 100 RBIs a season with the team.

Number Three: Roy Halladay
Why? As a Yankee fan, I hated him, but as a baseball historian, he's awesome. He won almost two thirds of his games as a Blue Jay and even won a Cy Young Award with the club in 2003. Seven of his twelve years in Canada ended with double-digit wins and four of those years ended with an ERA below 3.00.

Number Two: Roberto Alomar
Why? He was an All Star and Gold Glover at second base every year he played in the SkyDome and was also a key contributor to the Blue Jays' two World Series championships in '92 and '93. His .307 batting average with Toronto wasn't too shabby, either.

Number One: Paul Molitor
Why? This choice might be a little controversial, but it is definitely justified. Molitor played three seasons with the Blue Jays from 1993-1995 and in two of them, 1993 and 1994, he posted his second and third-best single season batting averages in his entire career at .332 and .341, respectively. He placed second in AL MVP voting in 1993, but did win the 1993 World Series MVP after batting .500 with 8 RBIs in the six-game Series against the Phillies. His career north of the border was short, but it was extremely saturated with productivity.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know 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, October 2, 2016

My Five MLB Playoff Predictions 10/2/16

Hey baseball fans!

It's the last day of the MLB season, which means the MLB playoffs are fast approaching. So, here are five predictions for what will happen during the 2016 Major League Baseball postseason.

Prediction #1: David Ortiz goes into a slump against the Indians
David Ortiz's final year in baseball sure was a great one. He'll end the year with 35+ home runs and a .300+ batting average. He batted .295 against the Indians in the 2007 ALCS, but the 2016 Indians are a different team. The team's combined ERA this season is 20 points better than the '07 Tribe and one can argue that the current Indians' starting pitching staff is a lot more complete than it was nine years ago. Ortiz definitely has a slight chance of batting okay against the Cleveland starters, but I just really can't see him doing well in the upcoming series.

Prediction #2: San Francisco doesn't win the World Series
Whether it be losing the Wild Card Game or not making the playoffs at all, the Giants are not making it past the first round of the 2016 postseason. I say this because of their third-worst post-All Star Break record among all teams in the MLB. Frankly, the team has not been the same since mid-July and it's tough to say that they'll have the momentum entering the postseason to win even just one game. Even though it's an even-numbered year, don't expect to see another World Series banner in AT&T Park.

Prediction #3: The Rangers win the AL Wild Card Game
The Blue Jays and the Orioles came into the 2016 season with high expectations. The O's shopped heavily in the offseason and improved their team a lot, while the Jays kept all of the important pieces that helped them win the AL East in 2015. With that in mind, I don't think either of these teams have lived up to the hype. They each should've won 90+ games this season, but inconsistencies across the board prevented that from happening. Even if the Tigers do manage to snatch up one of the Wild Card spots, none of the potential AL Wild Card teams is really ready to face the Rangers.

Prediction #4: D.C. finally gets to see an NLCS
The Nationals have been a good team for a long time, but they honestly did a lot better than I thought they would in 2016. I thought they would finish with around 85 wins and maybe a second Wild Card spot, but apparently not. With that being said, statistically, the Nats are better at pitching and hitting than the Dodgers. That's all the reasoning I need to make this prediction.

Prediction #5: The Cubs make the World Series
I'm not going to say that the Cubs will win the World Series, because their could be some AL surprises that I can't confidently predict, but I can definitely say that the Cubs will win the NL pennant. With multiple Cy Young award candidates in the starting pitching staff and a couple of MVP candidates in the batting order as well, it's virtually impossible to say that this juggernaut NL squad will not be in the 2016 Fall Classic.

Do you agree with my predictions? Let me know 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."

Friday, September 23, 2016

An Intentional Scheduling Mishap 9/23/16

Hey baseball fans!

Did you know that in 1961, American League teams played 162 games while National League teams played just 154? Crazy, right? Yes, but let me explain.

Before 1961, there were eight teams in each league in the MLB. However, the MLB decided to expand in ’61 to compete with the newly proposed Continental League that would actually fold in 1960. The expansion teams of that year were the Washington Senators (the present-day Texas Rangers) and the LA Angels. As great as it was that the MLB was getting larger, there was now a scheduling issue in the American League. Prior to the additions, each team played each other 22 times a season, but with the additions, that number would be way too much. So, it was decided that each AL team would play each other 18 times a season for a total of 162 games played.

There was still one problem: what about the NL teams? Well, they actually stuck with the 154-game season in 1961. The only reason that worked is because AL and NL teams didn’t play each other in the regular season until 1997. Once the National League added the Astros and Mets in 1962, they adopted the 162-game season. Now the argument for why Roger Maris’s single-season home run record was illegitimate in 1961 gets a little more interesting.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Birth Year's World Series Winners: The 1999 Yankees 9/15/16

Hey baseball fans!

I was born on February 21, 1999, which means I was born in the same year that the Yankees won the World Series! I think this is really cool because the Yanks are my favorite team and it's almost as if I was destined to root for them. With that in mind, here is a quick synopsis about my birth year World Series winners: the 1999 New York Yankees.

The '99 Yankees came into the season with some big expectations, having won 114 games the previous season, an AL record at the time. They didn't have a lot to improve on in the offseason, considering the team was loaded with stars, but the one key transaction the Bronx Bombers made was trading for Roger Clemens in a four-player trade that most notably sent Yankee fan favorite David Wells to the Blue Jays. Clemens was the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and although he had a down year for his standards, the rest of the Yankee pitchers were solid. They averaged 4.13 runs allowed per game, which was good for second in the American League. Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez led the starting staff with 17 wins, David Cone pitched a perfect game on July 18, and Mariano Rivera collected a league-leading 45 saves.

The Yankee hitting was good as always, placing in the top ten as a team in runs scored, hits, and batting average. Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, and Bernie Williams all had over 100 RBIs and Jeter and Williams each batted over .340. Other notable hitters in the lineup included Chuck Knoblauch, who kept up his larcenous ways by stealing 28 bases, and Chili Davis who hit 19 home runs and drove in 78 runs. By season's end, New York ended up with the best record in the American League with 98 wins. The Yanks would sweep the Rangers in the ALDS, beat the Red Sox in the ALCS in five games, and sweep the NL champion Braves in the World Series to extend their World Series winning streak to twelve straight games.

It wasn't as awesome as the 1998 season, but the '99 squad was still scary good. What MLB team won the World Series in your birth year? Leave your comments 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, September 10, 2016

How Well Did Jackie Robinson Do on April 15th? 9/10/16

Hey baseball fans!

April 15th is one of the most important days of the baseball season, because it is on that date in 1947 that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. It was such a momentous occasion in not only baseball history, but also in sports and American history. But how well did Jackie Robinson actually do at the plate on Jackie Robinson Day? Thanks to some rummaging through the Dodgers' schedules and box scores of the late '40s and early '50s, I have an answer.

Including the day that he broke the color barrier, Robinson actually didn't do as well as some would think on April 15th throughout his career. He only played in five games on that date during his career, because MLB seasons back then sometimes started after April 15th. In those five April 15 games in which Jackie played, he only went 2-12 for a batting average of .167. However, there are some bright spots in his stat line on Jackie Robinson Days. For example, he walked on average once a game, which means that for every game he played on April 15, he was on base at least once. He hit his only Jackie Robinson Day home run on April 15, 1954 against the Pirates, which also plated home Pee Wee Reese. He only struck out once in those five games, which came in 1955 against the Giants. Lastly, and this is probably the coolest statistic, every time the Dodgers played on April 15 with Jackie in the lineup, they won!! So maybe Jackie could've done better on his day personally, but the Dodgers as a team did really well.

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

Monday, September 5, 2016

How is a .435 Winning Percentage Good?! 9/5/16

Hey baseball fans!

Catcher Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees has just finished one of the greatest months for a rookie in MLB history. I mean, seriously, hitting 11 home runs is impressive even for a ten-year veteran! In honor of Gary Sanchez's historic rookie month in the Bronx, here is a look at one of the most historic inaugural campaigns for a franchise in MLB history.

The Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators entered the American League in 1961. It was the first year of the new 162-game season format, so naturally everyone expected both expansion franchises to lose at least 100 games each, which actually didn't end up being true for both franchises. The Senators fulfilled the predictions by many by losing exactly 100 games in their first season as a team. However, the Angels ended up with a 70-91 record (they weren't in contention for the postseason, so one of their games wasn't rescheduled) and that .435 winning percentage is the best winning percentage for any expansion franchise in their first season in the World Series era. The ironic thing about the Angels is that they would have to wait another 40 years before they won their first World Series, while the Mets, who finished 40-120 in their first season in 1962, won their first championship in 1969. Sorry Angels, but just remember that good things come to those who wait.

Do you think an expansion team in today's MLB could finish with a record better than the 1961 Angels? 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."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Top Five Cities for Future MLB Franchises 8/31/16

Hey baseball fans!

With other professional sports leagues expanding and some even becoming more international, like the NHL and NFL, respectively, here is my list of the top five cities in the U.S. and abroad where future MLB franchises should play:

Number Five: Mexico City, Mexico
Why? Like I said before: going international is trending in sports right now and baseball is one of Mexico's most popular sports. Mexico City has a population of around 20 million people, a little bit more than twice that of New York City and it's also the capital of Mexico, meaning that putting an MLB team there will only increase the MLB's popularity around the world.

Number Four: Oklahoma City
Why? OKC only has one professional American sports team right now and, in my opinion, its best years are behind it. Sorry Thunder fans. Additionally, arguably one of the biggest rivalries in baseball right now is between the Rangers and Astros, two Texas teams that have never won a World Series title. Throw another southwestern team into the mix, and you've got yourself a very exciting three-team war.

Number Three: New Orleans
Why? There are plenty of great Hall of Famers from the South, like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and a multitude of others. I'm sure the New Orleans Superdome would sell out for many New Orleans baseball games and one of the Big Easy's most famous characteristics is the same as that of baseball players: being very superstitious.

Number Two: Las Vegas
Why? Prior to the announcement of the new NHL team, there was no professional American sports teams in Sin City and native Las Vegans like Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant have really put the Nevada city on the MLB map. Putting an expansion franchise there would only make the Vegas night life even more exciting, as long as you're not busy gambling.

Number One: Montreal, Canada
Why? You should've seen this coming. Ever since the Expos left Montreal for Washington, D.C., everyone has wanted to see another franchise in the French Canadian city. I mean seriously, the Blue Jays had a packed house at two Spring Training games at Olympic Stadium this past spring. If that doesn't scream "We deserve an MLB team," then I don't know what does.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know 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."

By the way, if you liked my post, maybe you'd also be interested in checking out my book on baseball history, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers. I'm even giving all of the money to four baseball-related charities.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Baseball and Softball in the Olympics 8/20/16

Hey baseball fans!

Baseball and softball will officially be back in the Olympic Games in Tokyo during the 2020 Summer Olympics! I am so excited to watch the world's best play in Japan. Here is a brief history of Olympic baseball and softball.

For the longest time, the two sports were only considered recreational in the Olympics. There were no medals awarded for the best team and the sports didn't really gain the recognition they deserved. However, there were some instances that made it apparent that baseball should have been an Olympic sport sooner than it actually became one. An exhibition game between two American teams during the 1936 Berlin Games was watched live by around 100,000 people, almost double the seating capacity at Yankee Stadium, and an exhibition game between the U.S. and Australia during the 1956 Melbourne Games was watched live by 114,000 people, the largest attendance for a baseball game ever to that date.

The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles were the first games to have a tournament for baseball, but the sport was still considered an exhibition and no medals were awarded for first place Japan or second place United States. The two countries flip-flopped positions in the '88 Seoul Games, but still no official medals were given out. Finally, baseball became an official Olympic sport in time for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, while softball became one for the '96 Games in Atlanta. Both sports had eight team round-robin tournaments. The teams with the most wins would face off in semifinals and finals. However, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) voted baseball and softball out of the Olympics for the 2012 Games in London, becoming the first sports to be voted out of the Olympics since polo was eliminated from the 1936 Games. But baseball and softball will be back for the 2020 Tokyo Games after the IOC approved their return on August 3, 2016.

Cuba won the gold in baseball in 1992, 1996, and 2004, while the U.S. took gold in 2000 and South Korea in 2008. Other teams to have placed in the top three include Australia (silver in '04), Chinese Taipei (silver in '92) and Japan (silver in '96 and bronze in '92 and '04). In softball, the U.S. won the first three golds, while Japan took gold in 2008. Australia and China have won the other medals during softball's Olympic history. Pitcher Pedro Luiz Lazo for Cuba is the most decorated baseball Olympian, helping Cuba to four medals from 1996-2008. Pitcher Jennie Finch never lost a game for the U.S. softball team during Olympic play and was on the nation's gold medal team in 2004 and silver medal team in 2008.

Who else is excited for baseball and softball in the Olympics? 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."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2001: An Ichiro Odyssey 8/15/16

Hey baseball fans!

The future is bright in the Bronx! Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge hit back-to-back home runs in their first major league at-bats on Saturday against the Rays, the first time that has ever happened in history. In honor of the Baby Bombers and a certain someone just getting to 3,000 hits, here is one of the greatest rookie seasons in MLB history.

Ichiro Suzuki was one of the greatest Nippon Professional Baseball hitters in the Japanese baseball league's history. Playing for the Orix Blue Wave from 1992-2000, Ichiro batted an astounding .353! His name became known around the baseball world and before the 2001 MLB season, he signed with the Seattle Mariners. Everyone knew he was a star in the making, but no one could've ever predicted the year he was going to have in 2001.

The 27-year-old MLB rookie led the league in the following categories: plate appearances (738), at-bats (692), stolen bases (56), batting average (.350), and base hits (242). He became the first player since Jackie Robinson in 1949 to lead the league in batting average and stolen bases in the same season. Ichiro was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, became the first rookie to receive the most votes for the All Star Game due to the MLB allowing voting in Japan, and became the first Rookie of the Year Award winner since Fred Lynn in 1975 to win the MVP in the same year. He is also the only hitter in baseball history to win the RoY, MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and start in the All Star Game in the same season. Honestly, Ichiro's rookie campaign was just magical.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention; Suzuki helped his Mariners win 116 games, the most in the American League ever. Sadly, Seattle lost to the Yankees in the 2001 ALCS and are still the only AL team to never reach the World Series. However, Ichiro Suzuki will forever be known as one of if not the greatest hitter in the history of the Seattle Mariners and it all started during that legendary rookie year. Congrats on 3,000, Ichiro. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Dominant Ballplayers of My Generation 8/8/16

Hey baseball fans!

Ichiro Suzuki has 3,000 career hits! I am so happy for him because this is a guy who I grew up watching for more than half of his great career. This got me thinking: who are some of my favorite current MLB players whose entire careers I've grown up watching since I started following baseball back in 2007? Here are a few in no particular order:

Number One: Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia has always been one of my favorite players in baseball playing now because I was a baseball fan rookie when he was an MLB rookie. I've seen him evolve into the All Star and MVP that he is today and have always respected him, even though he's on the Red Sox. One of the best second baseman in baseball, Pedroia has not just captivated me since 2007, but many other baseball fans across the nation. A .298 career batting average is pretty darn good.

Number Two: Andrew McCutchen
I remember when Cutch was lighting up Pittsburgh in 2009 and I could tell right then and there that he was going to be a star, but I didn't know what he would specialize in. To my surprise, he is great at all aspects of the game. He's batted over .300, hit more than 30 homers, stole more than 25 bases, been to multiple All Star Games, won many Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger Awards, and was even an MVP in 2013. He's a real five-tool player and it's been really cool to see him dominate the game in so many ways.

Number Three: Clayton Kershaw
I mean, he's the best pitcher in baseball and it's not even close. It seems impossible that a pitcher today could have a career ERA of 2.39, but that's exactly what Kershaw's is. The LA Dodger has been intimidating hitters since 2008 and I actually remember when he was just good and not legendary. All I know is I would not want to face him in a live game or even batting practice.

Numbers Four and Five: Mike Trout and Bryce Harper
The 1980s had Mike Schmidt and George Brett and the 2010s have Trout and Harper. The 2012 Rookies of the Year in the AL and NL, respectively, have torn up baseball since they joined the league. Trout has had a bit more success overall, but they're pretty even nowadays. This is the prime battle between two young players at the same position in current baseball over who is the best and I hope it continues for many years to come. When these guys came into the league, they were so hyped up, and now I know that this is justified. Some players, they are.

Who are some of your favorite players that you grew up watching? Write your comments in the comments section. Thanks so much for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."