Category Archives: Random Baseball Thoughts

Yankees To Wear Commemorative ‘Captain’ Patch For Remainder Of 2014 Baseball Season

Yankees To Wear Commemorative ‘Captain’ Patch For Remainder Of 2014 Baseball Season

From ESPN.com

The New York Yankees announced Tuesday that the team will wear a patch of Derek Jeter’s final-season logo on all player hats and uniforms from Sept. 7, the day that the shortstop will be honored at Yankee Stadium, through the end of the season.

The baseballs with Jeter logos that will be put in play on Sept. 7, and the uniforms used in the game and throughout the rest of the season will be sold by Steiner Sports, company president Brandon Steiner said.

Steiner also has an exclusive autograph deal with Jeter and has been selling more than 200 Jeter-signed products, including game-used jerseys that retail for $25,000.

Leading up to Jeter’s final games, an even greater flow of merchandise has hit the shelves. New Era is selling a three-cap box of Jeter hats for $150. The hats, which are available only at Yankee Stadium and official Yankees stores, are limited to 2,014 sets.

New Era Cap president Pete Augustine told ESPN.com that the company, which has been making hats since 1920, has never celebrated a player like this.

“As soon as he announced this was going to be his final season, we could see the market was hungry for it,” Augustine said. “We’ve never seen this much interest from a player perspective, and I’m not sure we ever will.”

New Era has made more than 50 Jeter products for sale, including a white leather fitted hat for $99.99.

“We literally can’t keep product in stock,” Augustine said. “We make it, it sells out.”

New Era sells more Yankees caps than any other team, as 23 percent of the company’s Major League Baseball business this year has been generated off the Yankees logo. Augustine said Jeter’s final season has helped push the numbers by a few percentage points.

The Yankees will also be selling a commemorative Jeter issue of Yankees Magazine for $20.

Jeter’s No. 2 jersey is the best-selling jersey in the league this year, according to MLB spokesman Matt Bourne, and Nike is seeking to further capitalize on its spokesman by trademarking “RE2PECT,” which it is already using on gear sold in stores.

Tickets for Derek Jeter Day, which the Yankees announced on July 18, have become among the hottest tickets of the year, along with Sept. 25, his last home game.

jeter captain patch

Derek Jeter Leaps Past Carl Yastrzemski With Hit #3,420 And Into 7th Place On The All-Time Hits List!!

Derek Jeter Leaps Past Carl Yastrzemski With Hit #3,420 And Into 7th Place On The All-Time Hits List!

From ESPN.com

ARLINGTON, Texas — New York Yankess shortstop Derek Jeter moved ahead of Carl Yastrzemski and into seventh place on baseball’s all-time hits list with three hits off Yu Darvish in the first seven innings of Monday night’s 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

“You know, it’s quite an accomplishment,” Jeter said. “It’s tough to enjoy when you lost the game but yeah, I’m pretty sure when this season is over and done with, I’ll look back and get a chance to realize how special it was. But yeah, any time you talk about a list of all-time great players its pretty special.”

The Yankees’ 40-year-old captain accomplished the feat with a quintessential Jeter single: a drive into right field off an inside-out swing with two outs and a runner on first base in the seventh inning. The hit was the 3,420th of Jeter’s 20-year major league career, which puts him 10 hits behind No. 6 on the list, Honus Wagner. That will likely be the last hurdle Jeter can clear before his retirement at the end of this season; the player in fifth place, Tris Speaker, is 94 hits ahead, with 3,514.

Earlier in the game, Jeter had tied Yastrzemski with a ground-rule double, a line drive that bounced into the stands in distant right-center field in the third inning.

“It’s been neat to watch,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s passed a lot of people; you think about the doubles, he broke that last week, and then you move up on the all-time hit list. He’s been amazing.”

Asked before the game to recall his favorite memories in the ballpark now called Global Life Park, Jeter said, “We’ve had some battles here in the postseason. Early in my career, on the way to the World Series, we had to go through some tough Texas teams. That’s what stands out the most.”

Now Jeter has a regular-season moment in Texas to remember as well.

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Former Marlins’ Ace Josh Beckett Fires First No-Hitter Of 2014

Former Marlins’ Ace Josh Beckett Fires First No-Hitter Of 2014

From USAToday.com

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Josh Beckett was the pitcher no one wanted.

He was the dead money, $35 million worth, thrown into the mega Boston Red Sox-Dodgers’ trade two years ago.

The 34-year-old Beckett even wondered privately last summer whether he might have thrown his last pitch in the big leagues. And until two weeks ago, he had gone two years without winning a game.

Then, along came the glorious Sunday afternoon, when Beckett stood tall on the mound, mobbed by his teammates, celebrating the greatest regular-season game he ever pitched — the first no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season, 6-0, over the Philadelphia Phillies.

It was the 24th no-hitter in Dodgers’ history and their first since Hideo Nomo in 1996. It was the first no-hitter against the Phillies at home since 1969. And in 321 career starts, it was the first no-hitter in Beckett’s career.

Do you believe in sweet redemption?

“I didn’t think I had no-hit stuff,” said Beckett, once the posterboy for the Red Sox woes in 2012, and a culprit of the infamous chicken-and-beer escapades by pitchers during games. “I really just kept them guessing.”

Oh, he fooled everyone all right. Really, he’s been doing it all season long.

The Dodgers certainly weren’t counting on him this year. He was simply a candidate to make the team as a fifth starter. It’s why they signed Paul Maholm in spring training. Who could blame the Dodgers? He had a rib removed in thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last July to repair condition that was affecting his right shoulder.

He wondered if his career was over.

Let’s face it, if he wasn’t owed $17 million this year, the Dodgers wouldn’t have bothered bringing him back.

He worked out religiously all winter, telling himself if this was it, he was going to go out his way.

“I’m going to throw as hard as I can and see what happens,” Beckett said this spring. “I’ll throw the ball until I blow out, and I’m hoping that’s not for a few more years.”

Beckett, showing no fear Sunday, threw 128 pitches — the last a 94-mph fastball by Chase Utley for the final out and entrance into baseball history.

“It was awesome,” Beckett, who struck out six and walked three, told reporters afterward. “I took a moment in the ninth while I was warming up. It was what it was, and if I threw one, great. If not, I have healthy kids and a healthy wife — and that’s the main goal.”

A year ago, he was the unhealthy one — the numbness in his right hand and arm refused to go away. He was 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA when he was shut down for the season.

“It’s crazy how simple things,” Beckett said, “become difficult to do.”

Beckett showed up at spring training asking only that he be given the opportunity to prove to the Dodgers that he could help them.

“I’m here to try and win a job and let upper management take care of all the other stuff,” Beckett said that February morning. “I want to be with the Dodgers. I want to be a Dodger. I felt like I was treated really good last year through everything and I’d kind of like to help repay that.”

Well, guess who’s been a mainstay in the Dodgers’ starting rotation, showing that same fiery competitiveness that earned him the World Series MVP award in 2003 when the Marlins knocked off the Yankees?

Beckett doesn’t rely on his fastball any longer, but rather his curveball, throwing it almost any time in any situation. He has reestablished himself as one of the most consistent starters in the National League.

Now, nearly two years after the mega trade that included $275 million in contracts, with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and left fielder Carl Crawford going from Boston to Los Angeles, and first baseman James Loney and prospects going to Boston, Beckett has emerged as the biggest surprise in the deal.

Beckett, who opened the year on the DL with a thumb injury, is now 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA. He has yielded two or fewer runs in six of his last eight starts, and, yes, he’s getting better.

“Josh has been throwing the ball good all year,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “For him to be able to do that today is nice, for everything he’s been through with us. The surgery last year, missing the whole season. Changing himself as a pitcher. Using the breaking ball more and everything else.

“It was fun to watch.”‘

If the Dodgers have a sense of humor, they’ll even have chicken and beer on the flight home to Los Angeles. And celebrate the man who is a living testament to what can happen when you refuse to give up.

josh-beckett

Albert Pujols: Welcome To “Club 500″

Albert Pujols:  Welcome To “Club 500″

From USAToday.com

WASHINGTON – Albert Pujols’ 500th home run is a milestone, but it’s also a significant marker for the Los Angeles Angels and the investment they made in one of baseball’s premier hitters.

Pujols became the 26th player and third-youngest to hit No. 500 when he connected for his second of Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals.

Pujols’ 500th, off Washington’s Taylor Jordan, went into the seats in left-center field at Nationals Park with Mike Trout on first base, giving Pujols five RBI for the night and the Angels a 6-2 lead. They wound up winning 7-2.

Pujols’ homers were his seventh and eighth this season to give him the major league lead a season after he hit a career-low 17. His five RBI give him 18 in his past 13 games.

That’s as promising a return as Pujols has given the Angels since 2012, the first year of the 10-year, $240 million contract he signed. He’s making $23 million this season, a number that grows by a million each year through 2021.

Pujols hit 30 homers and drove in 105 runs in 2012 but was limited by injuries – most notably plantar fasciitis – to 99 games last season. In his 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, he led the National League twice in homers and topped 40 six times, including a career-high 49 in 2006.

Only Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx got to 500 sooner than Pujols, who is 34 years and 96 days old. Rodriguez was 32 years, 8 days when he got to 500 in 2007. Foxx was 32 years, 338 days when he got there in 1940.

Pujols hit No. 499 to stake the Angels to a 3-0 lead three batters into the game against Jordan, a line drive just inside the left-field foul pole. He’s the first player to hit Nos. 499 and 500 in the same game.

Pujols is the first player in five seasons to reach 500. When Gary Sheffield, the most recent new member of the club got his on April 17, 2009, he capped a stretch in which eight players got to 500 in a span of six seasons.

He becomes the 12th player with 500 career homers, 500 doubles and 1,500 RBI, joining Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson,Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez and Rodriguez.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Washington Nationals

Rangers’ Pitcher Yu Darvish Fastest Ever To 500 K’s

Rangers’ Pitcher Yu Darvish Fastest Ever To 500 K’s

From MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG – Yu Darvish set a Major League record by striking out the first two batters he faced in Sunday’s start against the Rays.

The two strikeouts gave Darvish 500 for his career in 401 2/3 innings. The Rangers’ right-hander becomes the fastest pitcher as a starter to ever reach 500 strikeouts as far as number of innings it took to get there. Kerry Wood held the old record by doing it in 404 2/3 innings. Mark Prior did it in 421 2/3 innings and Stephen Strasburg did so in 426 1/3 innings.

Darvish was activated off the disabled list before the game. He had been sidelined with stiffness in his neck that forced him to miss his Opening Day start against the Phillies.

Yu Darvish

Derek Jeter Moves Into Eighth Place On The All-time Hits List Passing Paul Molitor

Derek Jeter Moves Into Eighth Place On The All-time Hits List Passing Paul Molitor

From CBSSports.com

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter moved into sole possession of eighth place on the all-time hits list on Sunday. He singled in the third inning to tie Paul Molitor, then he singled again in the fourth to jump over him.

Here is the all-time hit list at the moment:

  1. Pete Rose – 4,256 hits
  2. Ty Cobb – 4,189
  3. Hank Aaron – 3,771
  4. Stan Musial – 3,630
  5. Tris Speaker – 3,514
  6. Honus Wagner – 3,420
  7. Carl Yastrzemski – 3,419
  8. Derek Jeter – 3,320
  9. Paul Molitor – 3,319
  10. Eddie Collins – 3,315

With a great season, Jeter could jump Tris Speaker to take over fifth place all-time. Jeter is retiring after the season and looks likely to call it a career with at least the sixth most hits in baseball history. That is something else.

Coming into Sunday’s game, Jeter was 2-for-11 with four walks on the season. Had he not missed almost all of 2013 with leg and ankle problems, he’d have a chance to finish his career as high as third place on the all-time hits list.

Cap Anson, who played during the 1800s, retired with 3,435 career hits, but pre-1900 hit totals are not recognized due to the unreliability of the information.

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Miguel Cabrera Becomes Youngest Player To Reach 2,000 Career Hits

Miguel Cabrera Becomes Youngest Player To Reach 2,000 Career Hits

From USAToday.com

The Detroit Tigers remain undefeated in games, but not replay challenges.

They beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-4 at Comerica Park.

Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-5 with an RBI single in the sixth inning and a two-run home run in the eighth. The home run was Cabrera’s 2,000th career hit.

He became the ninth player to reach 2,000 hits before his 31st birthday and the seventh-youngest to reach that mark.

Cabrera