Posted in Baseball

Comeback Players of the Year

Matt Harvey
Matt Harvey pitches against the Miami Marlins on June 8, 2013 at Citi Field (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Congratulations to Matt Harvey, who capped off a successful comeback from Tommy John surgery by pitching for the National League Champion Mets in the World Series. (Never mind that Terry Collins will probably be answering questions about leaving Harvey in for the ninth inning of Game 7 longer than he’s been asked about letting Johan Santana throw 134 pitches in his 2012 no-hitter.)

The American League award is generating some controversy, mainly because there’s no publicly available criteria for determining who should win it. Alex Rodriguez had an amazing year, especially considering his age and that he’d missed better than a year and a half due to injury and a PED suspension. But I don’t see why a player should be able to win an award for coming back from a PED suspension, no matter how great his season was (or how unjust the PED suspension was.)

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Opening Day, Interrupted

Bartolo Colon pitches against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field on June 13, 2014 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Bartolo Colon (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

My Opening Day experience consisted of catching pieces of the third and eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees, and parts of the eighth and ninth innings of the Mets’ 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.

The most memorable moment was hearing the fans at Yankee Stadium embrace Alex Rodriguez with a loud ovation during his first MLB plate appearance since 2013. (He walked, so that wasn’t especially exciting… but at least he had a better day that most of his teammates – A-Rod had one of three Yankee hits against Drew Hutchinson.)

Masahiro Tanaka had a terrible pitching line, allowing four earned runs in just four innings. I didn’t get to see him at all, but it doesn’t seem as though his new pitching style is nearly as effective as the old one that led to damage in his left ulnar collateral ligament. It’s a shame – I enjoyed watching the 2014 Tanaka.

Bartolo Colon proved that he was up to handling the Opening Day assignment for the Mets, even though fans wanted to see Matt Harvey. Jeurys Familia looked dominant – and that’s good, because he might become the closer for the immediate future. And at least this year, Terry Collins sent healthy pitchers to the mound to defend a ninth inning lead, although having Buddy Carlyle earn his first career save wasn’t in anyone’s Opening Day plans.

Let’s hope that today’s MRI doesn’t reveal any serious problems with Jenrry Mejia‘s arm.

Today, when I could actually sit down & watch a baseball game, neither the Mets nor the Blue Jays are playing.

New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

But that’s ok – I’ll get my baseball fix at the Trenton Thunder’s “Welcome North” event at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton this afternoon. The 3-6:30 p.m. event offers fans a chance to meet the 2015 Trenton Thunder team and get autographs, eat free hot dogs and take a tour of the ballpark.

Trenton’s roster this year includes four of the top five prospects in the Yankees’ farm system as judged by Baseball America: pitcher Luis Severino (#1), outfielder Aaron Judge (#2), first baseman Greg Bird (#4) and catcher Gary Sanchez (#5).

Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

Posted in Baseball, Somerset Patriots, Uncategorized

A-Rod & the Atlantic League

Alex Rodriguez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Alex Rodriguez during a 2013 rehab assignment with the Trenton Thunder (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez managed to steal some of the headlines from New Jersey’s George Washington Bridge scandal (and the NFL playoffs) yesterday, and a pair of Atlantic League teams are hoping to capitalize on the publicity to get a little attention of their own.

On Saturday, Long Island Ducks President Michael Pfaff emailed Newsday‘s Mark Herrmann to suggest that Rodriguez would be welcome to play there in 2014, should he be unable to convince a federal court to overturn his Major League Baseball suspension.

“While some MLB suspensions have been honored by the Atlantic League in the past, if Alex Rodriguez were unable to participate in the major leagues this season, we would be open to exploring giving him a chance to play, stay sharp and compete against a high level of competition while helping the Ducks chase a third consecutive championship,” Pfaff’s email said.

Today, Somerset Patriots Chairman Steve Kalafar made it clear that Rodriguez would not be welcome to join his team.

“The Somerset Patriots honor the decisions and suspensions in our working relationship with Major League Baseball,” Kalafar said in a team-issued statement. “We would expect all other teams within the Atlantic League to operate the same as allowing a suspended player to continue playing and representing any of our teams would be a hurtful precedent.”

Even if the suspension is upheld (which legal experts believe will happen), Rodriguez would need the Yankees’ permission to play for another team since he is still under contract with them.

So basically, the chances of A-Rod playing in the Atlantic League this year are only slightly better than mine. Still, it never hurts to look for a bit of free publicity when you have the chance.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @PaulsRandomStuf on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

9 moments from 2013: A-Rod’s all-time Trenton circus

During the final nine days of 2013, I’m going to revisit nine memorable baseball moments from the year.

Alex Rodriguez swings and misses during an at-bat for the Trenton Thunder on Aug. 2, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Alex Rodriguez swings and misses during an at-bat for the Trenton Thunder on Aug. 2, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Long before baseball players left their spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, I bought a ticket to the August 2nd game between the Trenton Thunder and Reading Fightin Phils. I wanted to make sure I got the giveaway item: a set of baseball cards recognizing the Trenton Thunder’s All-Time Team.

By August 1st, baseball cards were an afterthought for nearly everyone who was planning to go to the game. With the threat of a still-to-be-determined suspension hanging over his head, Alex Rodriguez had been sent to Trenton to continue his rehab assignment.
Continue reading “9 moments from 2013: A-Rod’s all-time Trenton circus”

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Uncategorized

Tarnished stars and autograph collecting

Alex Rodriguez's autograph isn't worth what it used to be, but that didn't stop a crowd from seeking them during his rehab assignment in Trenton earlier this month (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Alex Rodriguez’s autograph isn’t worth what it used to be, but that didn’t stop a crowd from seeking them during his rehab assignment in Trenton earlier this month (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Bud Selig’s crusade against Alex Rodriguez has hurt his hobby marketability – to the point where many autographed items are going unsold on eBay and Steiner-certified signed baseballs could be had for $60 or less.

The market for Roger Clemens autographs doesn’t seem much better, although fewer pieces seem to be listed.  One Steiner-certified baseball sold for $51 on July 26.

Nevertheless, MAB Celebrity Services is counting on Yankee fans excited about the upcoming 15th anniversary of the team’s 1999 World Series Championship to spend big for a few seconds of “The Rocket’s” time next January.

The autograph show promoter sent out an email this afternoon promoting Clemens’ scheduled appearance at the January 25th, 2014 “Pinstripe Perfection” event.  Start saving now if you want to add Clemens’ autograph to that special item you’re working on.

Autographs will cost:

  • $199 for flat items up to 11″ x 14″ and baseballs
  • $249 for larger flat items, mini helmets and equipment
  • $299 for bats, jerseys and jersey numbers

Inscriptions are an additional $99.

My guess is that he’ll be a big draw despite the price – Clemens has not done any New York-area autograph shows recently, and there are a lot of Yankee fans (and Red Sox fans) in the area who need his autograph for team-signed items, plus all of the collectors with 300-win, 3000+ strikeout, Cy Young or Rookie of the Year projects.

It  would have been fun to watch Dwight Gooden and Clemens in the same pitching rotation in the 1980s, but now I’m glad Clemens decided to go to college instead of signing with the Mets so I don’t need his autograph for my collection. (I have to admit, I’m less than thrilled every time I see one of my Lenny Dykstra items these days.)

Do players like Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco still have a place in your sports memorabilia collection?

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Yankees GM won’t rule out Staten Island rehab for A-Rod


Alex Rodriguez (Photo credit: Keith Allison)
Alex Rodriguez (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Speaking of Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman expects his third baseman to spend the full 20 days allowed for a minor league rehabilitation assignment before returning to the major leagues.

But just because he’s not going to be back in the Bronx for another couple of weeks, it doesn’t mean A-Rod couldn’t find his way back to New York sooner.

Dean Balsamini of the Staten Island Advance writes:

Asked if A-Rod could see some action with the Staten Island Yankees, Cashman told beat reporters Thursday morning that it was a possibility, but nothing was definite.