Saturday, January 30, 2016

Piazza's Healing Homer 1/30/16

Hey baseball fans!

Growing up in the suburbs of New York, 9/11 has always been an important day for me, my friends, and my family. For my young kid readers who aren't familiar with why this date is significant, on September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked by terrorists and flown directly into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania, killing thousands of people. The United States and especially the area surrounding the Big Apple was devastated. Professional baseball games in New York City were cancelled after the attack, but even when they resumed, it was hard to forget the events that people had just witnessed. One ballplayer needed to step up and bring the nation together. That player would turn out to be 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Piazza.

Mike Piazza struck fear into any pitcher he faced throughout his 16-year career from 1992-2007 with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, and A's. The 62nd-round pick by LA became a perennial All Star, with 10 Silver Slugger Awards, 427 career home runs, a .308 lifetime batting average, and a .545 slugging percentage. Arguably the best hitting catcher of all time, Piazza became a fan favorite in the Mets organization, thanks to him being one of the driving forces in the Mets' 2000 National League pennant run, and he was still playing his home games in Shea Stadium when the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 occurred.

Ten days after those attacks, baseball resumed with a game at Shea Stadium, pitting the Mets against the Atlanta Braves on an emotional night for the entire USA. Atlanta was leading 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth, when Piazza stepped up to bat with one out and pinch-runner Desi Relaford at first base. At the second pitch he saw from Braves reliever Steve Karsay, Piazza crushed the ball into deep left-center field for a two-run, go-ahead home run! Click here to see the home run. All of New York and the United States rejoiced as the Mets, on the back of the Piazza homer, won the game, 3-2.

Congratulations, Mike Piazza, on your ticket to Cooperstown. You had a wonderful career, but to be honest, you could have had that one at-bat against the Braves and still made it into the Hall. That's how huge that shot was for baseball and the United States. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Snow-y Savior in San Francisco 1/23/16

Hey baseball fans!

In honor of Snowzilla 2016, let's discuss one of the wackiest moments in World Series history. The moment doesn't have to do with snow, but it does have to do with J.T. Snow. You may not know who J.T. Snow is, but he was a solid player for 16 seasons in the 1990s and 2000s, but perhaps his most famous moment in baseball came when he wasn't even at the plate.

The Angels were playing in San Francisco against the Giants in Game Five of the 2002 World Series. Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, San Fran was up, 8-4. With two runners on, one out, and reliever Ben Weber on the mound for the Angels, Kenny Lofton stepped to the plate. On a 2-1 count, Lofton crushed a pitch to deep right center field for an eventual triple. J.T. Snow scored first as Lofton continued to sprint across the bases.

Meanwhile, Giants' manager Dusty Baker's three-year-old son and Giants' bat boy, Darren, went to get Lofton's bat, but didn't realize that Giants' third baseman David Bell was still running hard towards home from second base, trying to score. Snow, however, did realize that and, as soon as he touched home plate, grabbed the young and tiny Darren and swooped him out of Bell's way, avoiding a collision that would have made Dusty Baker's family not too happy. Everything turned out okay in the end, though, as the Giants won the game by a final score of 16-4 and took a 3-2 lead in the Series. However, the Angels came back and won their first World Series in franchise history in seven games.

Oh well, Giants fans. At least your bat boy was unhurt and Dusty Baker didn't get yelled at by his family. By the way, if you want to see the play I just described to you, click here. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Original Griffey 1/15/16

Hey baseball fans!

Ken Griffey, Jr. is going to the Hall of Fame! But wait, who's Ken Griffey, Sr.? He may be overshadowed by his son, but George Kenneth Griffey, Sr. was a great hitter. During his 19-year career from 1973-1991 with the Reds, Yankees, Braves, and Mariners, Griffey collected 2,143 base hits, 152 home runs, and 859 RBIs. The three-time All Star outfielder was a driving force for Cincinnati's Big Red Machine throughout the 1970s. He was part of their two World Series championships in 1975 and 1976 after having two fine regular seasons. Combined, Griffey, Sr. batted .322 with 330 hits in those two Reds championship years. He batted over .300 in five other seasons besides the aforementioned ones and scored over 100 times in 1976 and 1977.

Griffey, Sr. was by far the best Griffey in baseball history until his son hit 600+ home runs en route to the Hall of Fame. But there is one moment that links the two together that is absolutely magical. On September 14, 1990, the Mariners were playing the Angels in Los Angeles. Ken Griffey, Sr. and Jr. were batting in the two and three spots in the Mariners' lineup. In the top of the first inning, after a Harold Reynolds walk, Senior came up and hit a home run to make the score 2-0. Then, Junior hit a home run! It was and still is the only time that a father and son duo hit back-to-back home runs in baseball history.

So even though Junior is going to Cooperstown, Senior still had a great career and got to enjoy some of it as his son's teammate. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How Well Do You Know the MLB World Series Winners? 1/10/16

Hey baseball fans!

So I recently got into Sporcle, a website with tons of quizzes on lots of different topics. Being myself, I've been hooked on the baseball quizzes. The one baseball quiz that I have done consistently well on is the one where you have to write down every single World Series winner. My record for completing this quiz is three minutes and 21 seconds.

So why am I telling you this? Well, it's very simple: I challenge you to beat my record. Click right here to do the quiz and make sure to send me your high score either by tweeting me @BaseballwMatt or by commenting in the comments section below. I believe in you! You can beat my score! You just have to try hard enough!

Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, January 4, 2016

If I Had A Hall of Fame Ballot 2016 1/4/16

Hey baseball fans!

Hall of Fame voting is this Wednesday for the Class of 2016! I'm so pumped to see who's going to get in, who's going to barely miss the cut, and who surprisingly won't make it. In honor of Hall of Fame voting season, here are the players who I think should get into the Hall in 2016 in their first year of eligibility:

Player One: Ken Griffey, Jr.
Why? He was a member of the All-Century team of the 1900s and only played for just a single decade (the 90's) in the 100-year span. The 13-time All Star and 1997 AL MVP's 630 career home runs and 1,836 RBIs rank sixth and 15th all time, respectively.

Player Two: Trevor Hoffman
Why? It's very simple: the seven-time All Star and two-time saves leader is one of only two pitchers in baseball history with over 600 saves (601 to be exact). That 2.87 career ERA isn't too shabby, either. He also helped the Padres get to the franchise's second World Series in its history in 1998 by saving a whopping 53 games with an ERA of 1.48.  [Bonus from Matt: If Hoffman gets in, he will be my 16th HOF'er interview. Here's the interview I did of Hoffman in 2013.]

Player Three: Billy Wagner
Why? He's no Trevor Hoffman, but the seven-time All Star has a great case for the Hall of Fame in 2016. He saved 422 games during his career while posting an ERA of 2.31. Oh, and those 422 saves rank fifth all time.

Just to clear things up, Griffey, Hoffman, and Wagner are not the only players I think deserve to be in the Hall. I also think that Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Jeff Kent, Tim Raines, and Fred McGriff belong in Cooperstown. Anyway, do you agree with my opinions? Leave your thoughts in the comment section. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, January 1, 2016

Three Wins in Three Cities? Which Team Did That? 1/1/16

Hey baseball fans!

Two posts ago, I asked you the following questions: There's only one baseball team to win a World Series while playing in three different cities. What was the team and in which cities did they play their home games in which years? For those who answered each question correct, good job! If you didn't, here are the answers.

The Atlanta Braves have won three World Series in franchise history and won each of them while playing their home games in different cities! How funny is that? Their first championship came in 1914 against the juggernaut Boston Red Sox, who already had won two of the first ten Fall Classics up to the '14 season. On the back of a 94-59 record, the Boston Braves took care of the Sox in a four-game sweep.

The next Braves championship came in 1957, while playing their home games in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Braves had a great team which included Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Red Schoendienst, and Hank Aaron. They took down the Mickey Mantle-led New York Yankees in a heated seven-game series.

The third and most recent Braves World Series win was as the Atlanta Braves in 1995. The '90s Braves made it to five World Series during the decade, but won it all only in '95. With the help of a pitching staff that included Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine, Atlanta took down the powerful Cleveland Indians in six games.

I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz." Happy New Year!!!