Tim Tebow Comes Out Of Retirement…For The MLB!


-David Strobach-

Former NFL QB and Heisman winner, Tim Tebow, has decided to pursue a career in professional baseball.  This is completely SERIOUS. So serious that he plans to hold a workout for MLB teams later this month and he’s been reportedly training over the past year in Arizona to refine his skills since he last played as a junior in high school in 2005.  At Nease High School, Tim Tebow was an all-state baseball player who raked .494.  Below is Tebow pictured in high school. Mark DeRosa jokingly said on MLB Network that he swings like Mark Teixeira.

(Courtesy of The St. Augustine Record)

 

Not convinced yet?  Tebow’s agents, Jimmy Sexton and Nick Khan,,  are working with Brodie Van Wagenen, the co-head of CAA Baseball, to make his baseball dream come true.  Van Wagenen said in a statement, “This may sound like a publicity stunt, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have seen Tim’s workouts and people inside and outside the industry – scouts, executives, players and fans – will be impressed by his talent. As an agent, I have a genuine respect for how hard it is to succeed at the game of baseball and a true admiration for those who possess the talent to play it at the Major League level. Tim’s tool set is real.”

 

The reactions revolving around Tebow’s baseball dream have been mixed…

 

Former Major Leaguer Gary Sheffield and 9-time All-Star has been impressed with Tebow:

Chad Moeller, a former MLB catcher has had great things to say about Tebow, “I am beyond impressed with Tim’s athleticism and swing, and it goes without saying that he has shown a high level of discipline and strong work ethic. I see bat speed and power and real baseball talent. I truly believe Tim has the skill set and potential to achieve his goal of playing in the Major Leagues, and based on what I have seen over the past two months, it could happen relatively quickly.”

 

Tom Kotchman, former Los Angeles Angels scout said to WEEI-AM, “We wanted to draft him, but he never sent back his information card. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise we were going to take him.”

An Independent League team has even offered Tebow a contract:

The White Sox AA affiliate, the Birmingham Barons joined in on the fun with a Michael Jordan reference:

Adam Jones, Greg Swindle, Dontrelle Willis aren’t too sure about Tebow:

 

Tim Tebow will continue to be ridiculed for his choice, but that won’t stop him.  He’s dealt with media crap his whole career.  Tim Tebow is the role model every kid should strive to be.  He is incredibly hard working, committed and persistent as well as a fantastic all around man.  I am rooting for him to make it. Is it likely? Odds are against him but anything is possible and I would love nothing more than to see Tebow prove everyone wrong!

Northwoods League HR Derby Makes A Big Splash!


-David Strobach-

The Northwoods League, an elite collegiate summer league, had their All-Star Week festivities down in Kenosha, WI where the Kenosha Kingfish play. The week started off with a home run derby, but this was no ordinary derby.  The players were launching balls off a pier into Lake Michigan over a fence constructed of buoys!  The hosting Kenosha Kingfish had their man, Marty Bechina (who plays for Michigan State), win the derby after blasting 6 dingers into Lake Michigan. I was lucky enough to attend both the home run derby and All-Star Game, and man it was an exciting two days.  The Kenosha Kingfish hit it out of the park (and into the lake) while hosting the All-Star events.

 

image2

Panorama of where I was seated for the derby.

 

 

image1

View of where the hitting was done off the pier.

 

After the derby on Monday, the All-Star Game was Tuesday at Historic Simmons Field in Kenosha, WI  between the North and South Divison.  The game got out to a rocky start after the North Division put on 7 runs in the first inning which included many errors (9 total in the game).  After a rough first inning, it was very good baseball from there on out.  The North Divison won 9-5 and both teams racked up 14 hits a piece.

 

My view of the Northwoods League All-Star Game

My view of the Northwoods League All-Star Game

 

image5

NWL All-Star Game

 

image3

Panorama from my seat at Historic Simmons Field

It may not be Major League baseball, but this event was a lot of fun! Get out there and support your local baseball teams!

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MLB Stars Talk Favorite and Least Favorite Uniforms


-David Strobach-

Watch as MLB stars talk about their favorite and least favorite uniforms around the league!  My favorite uniforms are the retro 1982 Brewers look and my least favorite uniforms are the current Miami Marlins! What are your favorite and least favorite uniforms in the MLB?

Kris Bryant is very fond of his rival Pirates all black uniforms. Photo: Paul Beaty/Associated Press 

 

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Fan Failures on All-Star Vote


-David Strobach-

The annual All-Star Game rosters are out and the fickle fan vote has resulted in some poor choices once AGAIN!

 

I actually really like how the AL votes panned out.  I agree with most main starters that the fans picked here.  Miggy could very well be starting over Hosmer at first, but Hosmer has been incredible.  Many may be fuming over the fact that Astros SS Carlos Correa isn’t in the game, but Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor have been two of the best players in the game.  The AL SS position is incredibly strong and Correa simply has not been as good as the two that are in the game.  It’s great to see Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright (2.68 ERA) deservedly make the roster.

Lindor has been a major sparkplug for the thriving Indians (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Although I thought the fans did a good job with the AL, it is embarrassing for the NL showing.  The entire Cubs infield starting is ridiculous.  Don’t me wrong, I am a Brewers fan but I am not being biased here because some facts and stats offer up some better some options.   Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant deserve to start, they are some of the best in the league.

Addison Russell starting…you gotta be kidding me! He’s hitting .242/.337/.418 with an OPS of .754 and 11 home runs.  The fans voted him to start over Corey Seager! Seager is hitting .303/.363/.537 with an OPS of .900 and 17 home runs.  Seager is a reserve and is  currently the BEST shortstop in the NL and beats Russell in almost EVERY WAY!  By no means is Russell a bad player, but there’s not a chance in the world he should be starting.  Trevor Story (.257/.324/.530 with an .854 OPS and 19 home runs) is a final vote candidate so he may make it, but he could have been on the team easily over Russell  The slick fielding and most underrated player in baseball, Brandon Crawford (.271/.344/.425 with an OPS of .769 and 8 home runs) would have been a better choice too. It is impossible to say Russell is the top NL SS.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Second baseman, Ben Zorbist, has been stellar this year, but starting over reserve Daniel Murphy….c’mon.  Zorbist is hitting .291/.399/.474 with an OPS of .873 and 12 bombs while Murphy has arguably been the best hitter in baseball and is leading the league in hits (101) and average with .345/.384/.574 and an OPS of .957 and 14 home runs.  Zorbist should be the reserve here.

Love em or hate em, Ryan Braun (final vote candidate) should have been a sure thing starter for the All-Star Game. He could still get in the game, but it is absurd he isn’t starting.  He leads all NL outfielders in batting average and is slashing .322/.378/.533 and an OPS of .912 and 13 dingers.  He’s arguably also been the best outfielder in the NL and more than deserving for an All-Star spot. It makes total sense that fans may not vote for Braun because of the PED cloud hanging over his head, which is a big reason why the fan vote itself needs to end because this game matters.

The MLB All-Star Game winner’s league earns World Series home field advantage which is huge.  Baseball’s “best” is not being truly represented by the fans for a game of significant value.  I think most Cubs fans would agree they would rather have Seager up to win the game than Russell.  Teams should have full control of their World Series destinies, including who has home field advantage and not let fans put that in otherplayers hands.  The MLB needs to do one or the other: take away the fan vote or take the value from the game.

 

 

Rosters below:

AL Starters

C Salvador Perez, Royals (highest total vote getter)
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
2B Jose Altuve, Astros
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
3B Manny Machado, Orioles
OF Mike Trout, Angels
OF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

 

AL Reserves

C Stephen Vogt, Athletics
C Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B Robinson Cano, Mariners
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
3B Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
IF Eduardo Nunez, Twins
OF Carlos Beltran, Yankees
OF Ian Desmond, Rangers
OF Mark Trumbo, Orioles
DH Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

AL Pitchers

RHP Marco Estrada, Blue Jays
LHP Cole Hamels, Rangers
RHP Danny Salazar, Indians
LHP Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP Steven Wright, Red Sox
RHP Dellin Betances, Yankees
RHP Brad Brach, Orioles
RHP Zach Britton, Orioles
RHP Alex Colome, Rays
RHP Wade Davis, Royals (injured)
RHP Will Harris, Astros
RHP Kelvin Herrera, Royals
RHP Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox
LHP Andrew Miller, Yankees

 

NL Starters

C Buster Posey, Giants
1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
SS Addison Russell, Cubs
3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
OF Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
OF Dexter Fowler, Cubs

NL Reserves

C Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
C Wilson Ramos, Nationals
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
1B Wil Myers, Padres
2B Daniel Murphy, Nationals
SS Corey Seager, Dodgers
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
IF Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
OF Odubel Herrera, Phillies
OF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
OF Adam Duvall, Reds

NL Pitchers

RHP Jake Arrieta, Cubs
LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants
RHP Johnny Cueto, Giants
RHP Jose Fernandez, Marlins
LHP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (injured)
LHP Jon Lester, Cubs
RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
RHP Julio Teheran, Braves
RHP Jeurys Familia, Mets
RHP Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
RHP Mark Melancon, Pirates
RHP A.J. Ramos, Marlins
RHP Fernando Rodney, Padres/Marlins

 

 

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Jose Reyes Gets A Second Chance With The Mets


Kathy Willens/AP Photo

 

-David Strobach-

The New York Mets have signed free agent shortstop, Jose Reyes, to a minor league deal after clearing waivers with the Rockies to reunite the two parties.  Jose Reyes was a star for the  Mets from 2003-2011 and left for a $106 million contract spanning 6 years with the Marlins.  He was then traded to the Blue Jays, then the Rockies acquired him in the Troy Tulowitzki deal.    Reyes was suspended without pay (lost $6.25 million) through May 31 for his domestic violence incident last October where he grabbed his wife by the throat and pushed her into a glass door while in Hawaii.  He was arrested, but after his wife was uncooperative with the prosecution, the charges were later dropped.   Even though he was never formally charged, he still violated the MLB domestic abuse policy which led to his suspension. The Mets GM Sandy Alderson feels Jose has learned from his mistake, served his punishment, and deserves a second chance saying:

 

“I did meet with Jose personally. We talked for about an hour. Obviously, this domestic abuse issue was the focal point of that conversation. I came away feeling that he had taken responsibility for this mistake on his part, that he was remorseful. He obviously has paid a penalty for this, both financially and in terms of his career. He, I believe, is committed to ongoing counseling and support of organizations working against domestic abuse. And obviously, in addition to this personal meeting, we had a lot of internal conversations. [Chief operating officer] Jeff Wilpon was directly involved in this every step of the way. We were aware of the possible controversy this would generate. We’re also fully aware of the responsibility we sort of have to be leaders in this area of fighting domestic abuse.”  Sandy also said, “At the same time, Jose was a member of the Mets organization for 12 years. He was signed at 16 years of age. He was a solid citizen during all of that time. And so, if you think of it in those terms, us as a place where Jose grew up, almost as a surrogate family, we felt that he deserved a second chance, and that second chance was most appropriate with us.”

Also saying:

“We fully understand there will be differences of opinion about this. Some people will feel strongly and differently. I think we accept that. We respect that. All I can say is both Jose and the organization will be held to a standard going forward that recognizes the seriousness of domestic abuse and a commitment to stand against it.”

Reyes expressed regret for his actions and is looking forward to future saying below:

“As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred and remain remorseful and apologetic to my family. I have completed the counseling required by MLB, have been in ongoing therapy, and will continue with counseling going forward. I appreciate the Mets organization for believing in me and providing the opportunity to come back home to New York.”

Tim Farrell/The Star-Ledger

The Mets are hoping this second chance for their former star helps a line up desperately looking for a boost as well as add depth.  He will spend around a week in the minors to recalibrate his skills before joining the MLB roster.  The Rockies are responsible for the $39 million he’s owed and the Mets only have to pay him the league minimum of $507,50.  This is a great low-risk, high-reward opportunity for New York.  His role will not be as shortstop with the Mets as Asdrubal Cabrera blocks him there.  He will be playing 3rd and even work in the outfield.  Reyes should be slotted into the leadoff spot to boost the Mets order.  He will also bring a much needed speed to a team barren of it.  It is unfair for anyone to expect his 2011 batting title days coming back as Alderson said on his expectations:

“Do we expect him to win the National League battle title this year the way he did in 2011? No. Has he lost a step – maybe? Is he the premier shortstop that he once was? It doesn’t really matter — he’s not going to play shortstop. So we’ve taken all of those things into account. We think he can help us. You know, from a motivational standpoint, I don’t think we would be able to find a player who is more determined, more highly motivated to perform than Jose is today.”

I personally used to be a fan of Reyes, but lost all respect for him after his altercation with his wife.  With the statements from Alderson, it seems that the Mets have and are continuing to handle the situation well.  It is great to see the MLB as a whole handling domestic violence seriously.   I hope Reyes has truly learned from his mistake.  Based on the statements, both parties feel that he has.  It is good to see that his counselling will continue while in New York.  Even though I will never look at him the same like many others and rightfully so, I wish the best for him and his family and hope he grows from this experience.  You can spend your life working hard, building up your reputation, and respect, doing great things – but it only takes one regrettable act to have it all come crashing down.  Any man that hurts his wife is not a man at all. However, I do believe in second chances.

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Put Pitchers in the Derby!


-David Strobach-

Recently in the media there have been tons of buzz about a pitcher possibly being in the Home Run Derby. Specifically, a lot of talk about Madison Bumgarner . Noah Syndergaard, aka “Thor,” has expressed interest in this event as well as Jake Arrieta.  Also, Adam Wainwright wants a part in the derby.  Should the MLB have a pitcher’s Home Run Derby or let them hit with the big boppers?  The answer to either question is YES, absolutely.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

This is something baseball needs.  It’s a breath of fresh air to the All-Star break and would be wildly entertaining. The new derby rules the MLB put into place were a fantastic addition last year, but this would make the event even better.  Having either a pitcher derby or throwing some in with everyone else would make the event must-see T.V.  The MLB has even discussed the possibility having a pitchers derby.  It would probably make more sense to only add a pitcher or two to the mix of all other players.

It is totally understandable for teams and managers to be worried about the health of the pitchers if they partook in this.  It’s the ony arguemnt on why pitchers shouldn’t be included.  It’s safe to to say all of Chicago would be furious if Arrieta went out there swinging out of his shoes, causing a severe oblique strain.  No team wants their ace going down for a fun little show.  It’s risk that has to be taken for every player that participates.

Out of all players, I truly believe MadBum could give everyone a run for their money in the derby.  Some players are mesmerized by his batting practice sessions.   He’s simply a BEAST or “ox-strong, farm-bred,” as Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson described him.  After all, he has homered twice off one of the greatest pitchers of our time, Clayton Kershaw.  Watch, in awe as MadBum drops two bombs off the star lefty.  If these two swings don’t influence you to put him in the derby, I don’t know what will.

 

 

Imagine MadBum sailing balls into the sand of Petco Park, Thor using his hammer to crush balls out and Arrieta hitting bombs off of Western Metal Supply Company in left field.  Talk about a the best All-Star event ever.  Baseball, it’s time for pitchers to be involved in the Home Run Derby!

 

What would you think of this?  Should they be included or have their own derby?

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Who is the True “Hit King,” Rose or Ichiro?


-David Strobach-

Ichiro Suzuki lined a double off San Diego Padres pitcher  Fernando Rodney for his 4,257th hit of his baseball career from Japan and Major League Baseball which combined passed Pete Rose for all-time hits.  In Japan Ichiro had 1,278 hits and 2,979 MLB hits.  Many people are crowning Ichiro the “Hit King” which is spurring much debate, is Ichiro the true “Hit King,” or is it Charlie Hustle?

 

Ichiro right away was his respectable humble self saying, “For me, it’s not about the record, it’s about my teammates and the fans.”  He has always been a such a humble and great man.  He did not claim himself as “Hit King” or boast about it in any way.

Ichiro’s iconic at-bat routine will forever be remembered- Nick Wass/Associated Press

Pete Rose made his opinion known to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale saying,

“It sounds like in Japan they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high school hits. I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball. There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there? It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.”

As much as this pains me to say it, I agree with Pete Rose.  All of Ichiro’s hits in Japan shouldn’t be in consideration when talking about MLB records.  It is incredible that Ichiro has hit that much in his career and even more incredible that he is approaching 3,000 MLB hits after coming into the Majors as 27 year-old.  Pete Rose, however, should still be considered MLB’s “Hit King” because he hit all 4,256 of them in the MLB.  He really does have a strong point that I agree with concerning the type of play here and in Japan.  The talent is simply better here and they are completely different leagues.  There’s reason tons of Japan players dreams are to play in the MLB.   Only MLB stats should be in consideration when talking about MLB records.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Ichiro deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and should be considered to be one of the greatest hitters the world has ever seen.  Not only has he been one of the greatest, but Ichiro is an international icon.  Many around the world will recognize the name Ichiro.   He plays with all his heart and has made great contributions to the MLB.  I am not trying to take anything away from his stellar career, but unfortunately, the one and only Charlie Hustle deserves the title, “Hit King,” not Ichiro.

Let’s all enjoy the major milestones of future Hall of Famer:

 

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The Revelation of Jonathan Villar


-David Strobach-

Brewers shortstop, Jonathan Villar, has been nothing short of a revelation.   He was supposed to be just a gap shortstop until top prospect, SS Orlando Arcia, made his way up.  He was acquired this past off-season from the Astros in exchange for minor league RHP Cy Sneed.  Jonathan Villar has been a stud for the Brew Crew this year. Why is no one talking about him?  Let’s see just how good Villar has been.

Source: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America

Villar, only 25 years old, is slashing .296/.387/.426 with an OPS of .813, 5 home runs, and a league leading 23 stolen bases.  Jonathan has exceptional on-base skills with his .387 OBP.  As soon as he gets on first, it’s almost a sure bet he’ll be swiping second.  Villar has been hitting around .300 all year and it is far enough into the season to say he is no fluke.  He’s challenging pitchers with every aspect of his game.  His most underrated tool is his defense.  Defensively, Villar makes the plays and is always smooth at short.

FanGraphs states in their post on Villar: “Villar is on pace to hit 13 home runs, steal 60 bases, and bat .292. That’s 2014 Jose Altuve, but more power and less batting average.” That’s a pretty darn good way to look at how well he has been performing.  Mentioning Jose Altuve‘s name in the same sentence as Villar’s shows what kind of player he has been.  If you would like a more advanced breakdown on his success, I encourage you to read FanGraphs work.

From a fantasy perspective, ESPN fantasy baseball has him ranked as the seventh player in all!  Pretty amazing for a huy that was only supposed to be “gap player.”

Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

What makes Villar even more valuable is that not only is he playing All-Star caliber baseball, he’s young (25) and controllable (Brewers control through 2020).  David Stearns, Brewers GM, has said time and time again how his main goal is to find young controllable talent and he has found quite a hidden gem in Jonathan.  Villar should be a valuable core in the Brewers rebuild by moving positions (probably 3rd) when Arcia comes to take his spot. Let’s all applaud David Stearns for this fantastic find.

 

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Snoop Dogg Shows That Weed, Gin N’ Juice Don’t Work As PEDs


-David Strobach-

Rapper Snoop Dogg recently threw out the first pitch at the San Diego Padre’s game.  He reminded us all that smoking weed and drinking gin and juice do not work as PEDs. :)  Check out his first pitch below:

 

 

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Run or Slide to 1st? The Science Behind It


-David Strobach-

In many games this year, runners have been sliding to first on very close plays.  Every time the announcer is heard stating that it’s actually faster to not slide.  This sliding/diving into first has been occurring noticeably more to me this year, so I decided to research it.  Let’s see what the truth is in this scientific breakdown done by ESPN’s Sport Science to see if sliding or running is faster.

Moral of the story after watching the science, always make sure to run through first!

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