Dear Baseball Santa…

Dear Baseball Santa,

I know I am cutting it a little close here. After all, Christmas is almost over and you are surely back up at the North Pole by now. I do have a few last minute baseball requests for you to work on over this next year. I know you are probably gonna be busy all year yelling at the elves to make the toys faster, but maybe in your spare time you can work on these requests? Pretty please with Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen on top? They are pretty simple requests, so if you could help a girl out, that would be greatly appreciated!

#1) If you could, can you keep the Yankees healthy in 2015? Or, if they do get hurt, can you make sure they don’t get hurt all at once? I understand they are a bunch of old farts out there, but I need them to do well this year. America needs them to do well this year! I wanna see my pinstriped boys in October again! And if A-Rod is back on the team, can you make sure he is productive and not just a super gigantic distraction? I know he’s gonna be a distraction, but it’ll be worth it if he can produce. And while you’re at it, can you please stop Brian McCann from hitting into the shift all year?

#2) On the topic of shifts, can you tell teams to let up on those defensive shifts a little bit? I get that pitching is all the rage right now, but I think everyone would love to see dudes get some more hits! Watching a one- or two-hit game is nice and all, but watching a team unload 10+ hits in one game is even better.

#3) Can you let the Padres be awesome? I mean, they made all of these crazy off-season trades and signings, so I would like to see them do well. They don’t have to make the postseason or anything, but it would be fun to watch them do well.

#4) While we are talking about the NL West, can you make sure that the Diamondbacks will finish with an above .500 record? I don’t even care if they make it to October (it’d be awesome, but I gotta be realistic!), but the fans in Arizona need a team they can believe in (and one who will beat the Giants).

#5) Please please please let the Red Sox suck this year. It’s not exactly fair, I know, but I am a Yankees fan and an asshole, so my request should come as no shock. If you can’t make them suck, can you at least make sure the Yankees finish 2015 with a better record than them? That’s all I want.

#6) If you could, please let Giancarlo Stanton mash many more homers. He’s a special player and he seems like a nice guy, so if you could let his bat stay hot, I’d really appreciate that.

#7) PLEASE DO NOT LET THE GIANTS WIN THE WORLD SERIES AGAIN. I know it isn’t going to be an even numbered year, but just hear me out on this one: It’s time for someone else to win the World Series, Santa, you know this.

#8) I would like fewer Tommy John surgeries to happen this year. It seems to be a popular thing now, so if you could limit the number of pitchers who have to get this surgery, everyone in the baseball community would really love that! And please let Matt Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Jose Fernandez, and Ivan Nova come back stronger than ever. The game is better with those guys pitching.

#9) Please stop letting the managers dawdle during instant replay reviews. If they are going to challenge something, have them do it quickly. No slow ambles onto the field while awaiting a thumbs up or down from the bench. Have them throw a flag or something, or only come out of the dugout if they want to challenge the play. PLEASE.

#10) Stop having Yasiel Puig make stupid choices. He’s a really fun player to watch, but having him make poor play calls and base running gaffs is really bothersome. He’s a better player than that. He could be the NL MVP if he just stopped doing stupid stuff.

Okay. I think that just about covers it. Oh! Wait! One more thing:
HURRY UP AND BRING BASEBALL BACK!!

Thanks a bunch, Baseball Santa!
XOXO,
Hannah

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

Like most Yankee fans, I have been wondering how A-Rod’s teammates will react to him being back in 2015. The media seems to think that he will be treated with anger and annoyance, with people walking on eggshells around him. Some fans think that he will be cast aside by teammates and the broadcasters for YES Network think the fans will welcome him back graciously IF he plays well. However, former teammate David Phelps, who was traded last week to Miami, thinks that he will be welcomed back warmly and that he actually does have friends on the team. Phelps speaks very highly of the former slugger, and he believes that as long as manager Joe Girardi keeps the clubhouse under control like he usually does, the team won’t resent him. Whether the fans will welcome him back remains to be seen, but if he can contribute to the team, my guess is that they will slowly forgive and forget, at least for the time being.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/david-phelps-a-rod-friends-yankees-article-1.2055435

A slight baseball deviation…Football!

Ever since quarterback Drew Stanton got injured last night while playing the Rams on Thursday Night Football, my brain has been distraught over the state of my beloved Arizona Cardinals. Baseball has been but a fleeting thought in my brain, but have no fear, I am still rocking my Yankees sweatshirt as I type. Anyway, while I was thinking about the state of those AZ Cardinals, my dad proposed an idea he heard on Sirius NFL Radio: getting a QB to come out of retirement and play the remainder of the season. What? That’s a thing? Who would do such a thing? Then, Dad suggested a name and it really got me thinking…

Brett. Farve.

What would happen if he came out of retirement (again)? Hmmmm… *foggy dream clouds*

“Can you believe that Brett Farve, once again, came out of retirement and has led these Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl victory?” Kevin Harlan asks Boomer Esiason, and the audience that is sitting at home, who had just watched what had been the greatest Super Bowl game of all time. Red and white confetti was falling from the sky as the Cardinals celebrated on the field while Tom Brady stood on the sidelines, stunned that Farve had beat him. Fans were weeping with joy in the stands while the offensive line hoisted Farve on their shoulders. “Ever since he came back to the game of football during week 16 to face the Seahawks, Farve has led this team in a way no one expected. He and head coach Bruce Arians have done a great job in leading this team to the biggest game of the year, which just so happened to be hosted in Arizona. After squeaking by his old Green Bay team to win the NFC title, Farve was ready to lead this team past the very good New England Patriots.”

“And let’s not forget, ” Boomer adds, “How lethal he and Larry Fitzgerald have been! These two working in tandem have been a force to be reckoned with. Fitz had 4 touchdown catches during the regular season, but he has had 5 in the playoffs alone. I swear, this is a quarterback and receiver match made in football heaven! And in tonight’s Super Bowl victory, Fitz had one of those touchdown catches, which won the game.”

The whole stadium, Patriot fans included, started chanting “FARVE! FARVE! FARVE!” as Brett Farve lifted the Super Bowl trophy above his head. It was a sight to behold as this great quarterback, whom everyone had discounted as soon as he announced he would play the remaining games for the Cardinals, let a few tears slide down his face. He had sealed his fate as the greatest quarterback to walk on planet earth. While the chants continued, sideline reporter James Lofton tapped Farve’s leg, asking for an interview. Farve nodded and the offensive line slowly let him down off their shoulders.

“Tell me Brett,” Lofton asked, “How is this Super Bowl victory compared to your victory with the Packers nearly 20 years ago?”

Farve gave a coy smile. “Ya know, I gotta say that this is the greatest win I have ever expirienced in my whole life.”

“So are you glad you came out of retirement for this? Or should I say, came out of retirement again?” Lofton teased.

Farve gave a chuckle. “Yes, I’m real glad I did this. But, I promised my family that this would be the last game of my career. And I mean it this time!”

“Even if Arians begs you to come back?”

Farve contemplated the question for a moment. “I think he should be just fine without me.” He glanced at the sidelines and nodded at Carson Palmer, who nodded back. Palmer would take over during 2015 next season and be great, more than living up to his contract. Farve knew he was leaving the team in good shape, but he was still going to soak in the moment as red confetti swirled around him. He knew he had more interviews to do before the day was done, but he wanted to enjoy this moment for a little bit longer.

The Jumbotron at the end of the stadium flashed “Arizona Cardinals: 2015 Super Bowl Champs!!!!”, and champs they were. The Next Man Up philosophy had worked better than anyone had hoped, but this Super Bowl was all about a different philosophy: Final Man Up.

And the final man up was Brett Farve.

So, there you have it. My creative writing piece on Brett Farve winning the 2015 Super Bowl. It’s stupid and kind of funny, but it was fun to write. Thanks for the idea, Dad!

Now, let’s get back to baseball.

High Socks to ChiSox, and Northside to Southside.

Look out, AL Central: The Chicago White Sox are coming to play. Not just play, they are coming to contend.

Much to my dismay, Yankees closer David Robertson has agreed (allegedly) to a 4 year, $46 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. Not only that, but he has limited no-trade protection. Robertson cashed in big time. It may not be “Papelbon” money like he was hoping, but my goodness he came awful close.

As if the news about D-Rob wasn’t enough, we just found out that Jeff Samardzija, who was previously with the other Chicago team, has landed with the White Sox (allegedly) via a trade with the Oakland Athletics.

HOLY BALLS YOU GUYS.

None of this is confirmed of course, but don’t be stupid. All of these reporters can’t be wrong! (please read that sentence with a smidgen of sarcasm) But for real though. the south side of ChiTown came to play during these winter meetings. As a Yankees fan, I take comfort knowing they will get a first-round draft pick (that will probably get traded away for an “established” player, like, three years down the road…) for D-Rob. However, as a baseball fan, you have to wonder what Billy Beane is doing over there in Oakland. He has traded away many fan favorites and basically dismantled the team from last year. He’s kind of a mad genius, so even though what he is doing seems crazy, I can’t expect anything less.

It will be interesting to see what the rest of these winter meetings will hold…

He’s not DJ!

Okay, time for a mini-rant.

Didi Gregorius is NOT Derek Jeter.

Let me say that again: Didi Gregorius is NOT Derek Jeter!

No one is Derek Jeter, except for Derek Jeter.

Everyone knows that the D-Backs, Tigers, and Yankees pulled off a pretty important trade yesterday which sent the D-Backs’ shortstop to the Yankees. Now, as anyone who has even had a inkling of what baseball is knows about a shortstop who was employed by the Yankees for the last 20 years. Yeah, Derek Jeter. That guy. Him. The guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer. Everyone keeps saying what big shoes Gregorius has to fill, and they are right. He will be under extreme pressure to do well, but can we stop asking him to be Jeter and can we stop saying that he isn’t? Can’t we just say “He’s Didi”, not “He’s no Jeter”?

Here’s a newsflash: NO ONE IS DEREK JETER. No one will ever be Derek Jeter again. Jeter was the kind of player that comes around once in a generation and no one should expect Didi or anyone else to be what Jeter was! It’s the equivalent of saying that David Robertson is no Mariano Rivera. See, that’s the problem with having these once-in-a-generation type of players: the next guy in line gets overwhelmed with undue and terribly unnecessary critique. Didi is a really good shortstop and he is going to do very well for the Yankees, but he doesn’t need the extra pressure to be Derek Jeter. No one can be Derek Jeter, just like no one can be Mariano Rivera.

Let Didi do his thing. Just stop comparing him to Jeter. He’s gonna be under enough pressure as it is, so let’s stop being turds. Let Didi be Didi. Don’t make Didi be Derek and stop saying Didi isn’t Derek. Because you’re right, he’s not: He’s Didi.

Trade BFFs

Being enemies is so 2001.

If you don’t believe me, just look at some of the trades the Yankees and Diamondbacks have been making. They have made three (3!!) trades with each other since the July non-waiver deadline, with the latest trade coming today. The third trade, which was made today, involves the Detroit Tigers, just to shake things up. All three clubs have just confirmed today’s big trade news, and every MLB reporter has been talking about it since about 8am AZ time this morning. The D-Backs are sending shortstop Didi Gregorius to New York, the Yanks are sending RHP Shane Greene to the Tigers, and the Tigers are sending LHP Robbie Ray and big-time prospect Domingo Lebya to the D-Backs.

Let’s have a run down of the three trades the Yankees and D-Backs have made:
1) Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees, Vidal Nuno to the D-Backs.
2) Martin Prado (bae!) to the Yankees, hot-hitting catching prospect Peter O’Brien to D-Backs.
3) Didi Gregorius to the Yankees, Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers, Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba to the D-Backs.

So much for being enemies, huh? Growing up in AZ, you are trained to believe that the Yanks are a bigger enemy than illegal immigrants, snow, or the Los Angeles Dodgers (Hence why my love of both teams has led to threats of violence from friends and threats of being disowned by my parents. Hi Mom! I know you are reading this because you are the only person who does! Love you!!). However, these 2001 World Series foes seem to be heavily relying on each other these last six months. In fact, with the Prado (bae in pinstripes) and Gregorius trades, I knew they would happen before they happened! No, I’m not psychic – outstanding and gorgeous will be acceptable titles instead – but I knew what the Yankees needed and what the D-Backs could give. With A-Rod’s suspension and no solid second-baseman in 2014, the Yanks needed a versatile infielder who could play 3rd, 2nd, or outfield. Cue Martin Prado (bae…wit dat booty)! And this year, the Yanks needed a shortstop and guess who has a surplus of shortstops? The D-Backs! See? It’s not that hard to predict trades; you just have to pay attention.

Anyway, looking at the trade today makes a lot of sense for all the teams involved. The Yankees get their shortstop, Gregorius, who is a one-man defensive highlight reel. The Tigers get Greene, who has filthy stuff and potential to be a solid pitcher. I will miss him in pinstripes, but he will do great in Mo-Town as a back-end starter. And the D-Backs got a pitcher who could be a “diamond-back” in the rough (see what I did there?!), be it in the rotation or the bullpen, and they got a minor leaguer who can RAKE. Yes, Leyba has some time before he gets to the bigs and his defense is not as good as it should be, but he has done nothing except put up power numbers in the minors.

Now, if you can recall, this is not the first time the Tigers, Yanks, and D-Backs made a trade. Back in 2009, there was a blockbuster trade. The Yanks sent Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Tigers and pitcher Ian Kennedy to the D-Backs. The Tigers sent Curtis Granderson to the Yanks and Edwin Jackson to the D-backs. And the D-Backs? Well, they sent a little-known pitcher named Max Scherzer to the Tigers, along with pitcher Daniel Schlereth…How cool would it be if this trade came full circle and Max Scherzer signed with the Yankees this off-season? I would cry. Obviously, this trade burned the D-Backs bad since Kennedy was a dud for them and Scherzer, well, he won his Cy Young elsewhere. Hopefully, the trade today won’t burn the snakes again.

I like today’s trade, mostly because I will still get to see Didi play on a regular basis. He is awesome and will be a great addition to the Yankees infield. Now, if the Yanks could just re-sign Brandon McCarthy and sign Scherzer, that would be great!

Here’s some good Just A Bit Outside articles about the trade…BTW, if you aren’t on the JABO train yet, I recommend it, especially if you like insider opinions and saber-metrics!
http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/baseball-joe/blog/yankees-diamondbacks-tigers-trade-didi-gregorius-shane-greene-analysis-120514
http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/baseball-joe/blog/the-heir-apparent-to-derek-jet-no-stop-it-120514

…And here are some more articles because this trade involves my two favorite teams on planet earth and you fools need to be well informed!
http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/keith-law/post?id=3016&ex_cid=InsiderTwitter_Law_GregoriusTrade
http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/12/05/didi-gregorius-trade-yankees-diamondbacks-tigers/19956169/

Cruz-ing to Safeco…

If you don’t follow MLB Memes on Twitter, I highly recommend doing so. They make fun of everyone and every team (although I would say they make fun of the Yankees more than others…) and some of things they post are genuinely funny. After news broke that Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz signed a 4 year/$57 million deal with the Seattle Mariners, MLB Memes posted a photo of a graveyard that said “Nelson Cruz in Safeco Field, where power hitters go to die”. I laughed because it is true.

When the Mariners swiped Robinson Cano from the Yankees in the off-season last year, I was upset. There went our power-hitter and it was something the Yankees never quite recovered from. Being the spiteful person that I am, I really did not want to see Cano’s home run totals be high. I got my wish. He only hit 14 home runs in 2014. To put that number into perspective, he hit 27 in 2013 and 33 in 2012. He was still incredibly productive, with an average over .300 most of the year, but his home run numbers dropped significantly without that short right field porch Yankee Stadium offered him.

Cano’s example begs the question if Nelson Cruz will see similar drop offs in his power numbers. My guess is they will drop. Camden Yards, where Cruz slugged his way through 2014, is a pretty good hitters ballpark. Safeco Field is cavernous. Some people will argue that the power numbers come from a hitter-friendly park (such as Camden Yards, or Yankee Stadium in Cano’s case), which is totally valid. For example, Troy Tulowitzki could be considered a power hitter at Coors Field, but not even close whenever he is on the road. Ball parks have a lot to do with it, but raw power is something else.

Nelson Cruz has raw power. That was never the question. The question is if he will be able to make a meaningful difference in Seattle. He will make a big impact in terms of getting runs in, but will that be all? Do the Mariners want to spend so much money on these power hitters when they know full well that their ball park is a graveyard of power hitters? I would have signed Cruz myself, but I think they also need to play small ball in their big ball park. Seattle will be very good in 2015, but it won’t be because of the long ball.