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