Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

I didn’t want to see an end like this…

Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, as well as a partially torn meniscus last night while attempting to field a fly ball during batting practice. His 2012 season is likely over.

With speculation that the the 42-year-old pitcher planned to retire at the end of the year, it’s quite possible that this is the end of Rivera’s playing career as well.

Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher that I ever saw play the game. (Sorry Dennis Eckersley, but you were only dominant for a few years… Rivera was the best closer in baseball for more than a decade and set post-season marks that will probably never be matched.)

And unlike some other recent Yankees stars, Rivera has always been a class act.

If this is really the end, I’m sorry to see Rivera’s storied career come to a close with a freak injury.

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Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

First day tidbits: Jonathon Niese, Mariano Rivera & Manny Ramirez

Jonathon Niese's 2011 Allen & Ginter card

When New York Mets pitchers and catchers reported to spring training yesterday, one had a slightly different look. Starter Jonathon Niese had off-season nose surgery that was originally intended for cosmetic reasons, but ended up helping him to breathe more easily. If this ends up helping Niese to improve his stamina, we can thank Carlos Beltran for planting the idea in his former teammate’s head last year.

Today is the first official day of workouts, and there are two bullpen sessions that will probably attract a lot of media attention. Johan Santana is scheduled to throw again after a successful bullpen session Friday, and it’s important to see how he handles a regular throwing schedule. Prospect Jenrry Mejia, who made his debut in 2010 to mixed and fairly disappointing results, is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time since having Tommy John surgery last year.

Amateur draft

And while I was concerned about what the new basic agreement would do to the Mets’ ability to sign players through the amateur draft, it seems that they will be allowed to spend slightly more this year than they did in 2011. (Of course, it remains to be seen whether they are willing — or can afford to  — spend the full amount allocated for their draft bonus pool.)

Around MLB

In other baseball news, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera implied that this would be his final season in the major leagues. Normally, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear a 42-year-old baseball player talking about retirement — but Rivera really doesn’t  pitch like a 42-year-old baseball player. Is there another closer you’d rather have in 2012 than the future Hall-of-Famer? I can’t think of one.

Continue reading “First day tidbits: Jonathon Niese, Mariano Rivera & Manny Ramirez”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Tuesday Morning Roundup: Baseball card reviews, Mets history & indy league attendance numbers

Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Mariano Rivera set the all-time saves record yesterday afternoon, and I found out about it when Models and Steiner Sports emailed me about the souvenirs going on sale. I didn’t even realize the Yankees were playing a day game. (By the way, Steiner – what’s up with selling a commemorative baseball with a facsimile autograph for $50?)

The Mets were off on Monday. They begin a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight, their final road games of the 2011 season. These will actually be big games – Atlanta’s wild card lead is down to just 2.5 games over St. Louis, and San Francisco is 3.5 games behind. I’d love to see the Mets knock out the Cardinals so the Giants could swoop in, take the wild card and give me a team to root for in the playoffs instead of another one to root against.

Since there’s no 2011 Mets game to talk about, how about some Mets history: Sports Illustrated went into the vault to show us some great photos from the 1986 World Series, while Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing recalled a less-illustrious era of Mets history – a sparsely-attended intrasquad game played at Shea Stadium in 1981 as the players prepared to return from a 7-week strike. (via Mets Police)

Or how about some baseball card reviews of sets I won’t be buying: Marie from A Cardboard Problem looks at Topps Chrome, while Sam from the Daily Dimwit shows us some Topps Marquee cards. I know many collectors like the flash of Topps Chrome, but after I bought some Topps Series I cards, less Topps Series II cards, way too many Topps Opening Day cards (because they’re cheap and I’m still working on the mascots insert set) and even a few Pro Debut cards, I’ve had enough of the design. Marquee is just well out of my price comfort zone.

And since I know a few of my readers are into independent league attendance numbers, here are some figures compiled by Ballpark Digest2011 Independent Average Attendance by League ; 2011 Independent Attendance by Average.

So, are you still paying attention to the last nine games of the regular season? Or have you switched over to another sport?

Posted in Newark Bears, Uncategorized

Sunday morning roundup: Mets get Chipper-ed; Phils win another title & Rivera chases saves mark

The Mets lost another disappointing game to the Atlanta Braves yesterday, getting beaten 1-0 thanks to Chipper Jones yet again.

Tim Hudson didn't allow a run against the Mets on Saturday. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I’d like to give Tim Hudson credit for pitching a good game, but after watching the Mets’ offense look pathetic all week (except for Friday’s 20-hit game) I just don’t know how much he deserves.

R.A. Dickey pitched well again and ended up with a loss – he never seems to get any run support. However, he bears part of the responsibility for the team’s failure to score. Twice yesterday he came up in sacrifice situations; both times (including once with runners on first and second with none out), he failed to get the bunt down. This has become a pattern with the team – one that Terry Collins needs to address.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies clinched their fifth consecutive division title and Mariano Rivera tied Trevor Hoffman for the all-time saves record. Now maybe it’s just me, but I’m surprised at how much less attention Rivera’s push towards the saves record is getting compared to Derek Jeter‘s 3000th hit chase. I’m not enamored with the saves stat, but I think an all-time record is more significant than reaching a plateau that 27 others have achieved before.

And the Phillies’ “2011 Playoffs” cap is ugly. Whatever happened to caps that actually said “Division Champion”?

Continue reading “Sunday morning roundup: Mets get Chipper-ed; Phils win another title & Rivera chases saves mark”

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Thoughts on the All-Star Game & other stuff

Prince Fielder
Prince Fielder (Photo credit: Steve Paluch)

Prince Fielder blasted a three-run homer off of C.J. Wilson to lead the NL to victory in last night’s All-Star Game, then immediately came out of the game (seemingly so he could be interviewed by a FOX sideline reporter.)

I think it would have been more fun to see if Fielder could have hit another homer the next time he came up, but Bruce Bochy wanted to be sure everybody got to play. There was enough lineup-shuffling that 41 of 42 position players and 19 of 26 pitchers got into the game, if I kept accurate count. I understand the sentiment, but I’d rather see a return to the old days when starters played most of the game.

For all the fuss about players skipping out on the All-Star Game, 79 of the 84 that were selected made the trip to Arizona. Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez just had surgery, and CC Sabathia was a last-minute replacement who had to be immediately replaced himself because he started on Sunday. That just leaves Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. I’m sure both players did benefit from a three-day mental and physical break. I’m sure that the 79 players that went to the All-Star Game would have benefited as well. Jeter and Rivera are often looked up to as examples of what baseball players should be like, but in this instance I’m glad more didn’t follow in their footsteps.

If you haven’t had your fill of All-Star Games, MLB Network will be showing the Triple-A All-Star Game tonight. If you just want to see regular baseball, SNY is showing the Brooklyn Cyclones game.

Continue reading “Thoughts on the All-Star Game & other stuff”