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."