Results tagged ‘ Kansas City Royals ’

Big Game James Adorns the Big Stage Again

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I swear I wish I could have been a bug in Kansas City Royals P James Shields ear when he was handed the American League Trophy tonight because I would have had him scream, “Hello Gorgeous, Did you miss me?  I sure missed you?”

images (8)Has it really been 6 years since Shields last grasped this golden lady as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.  It seems like oh so long ago that Shields and one of his team again ventured into the Fall Classic.

But this is one of the reasons Shields plays this game. To be a part of the team that elevates their game to the highest level of style and play to showcase their young and veteran talents on the World Series stage.

Sure this time around Shields might have a few more miles on his arm, but with his added bonus of being on this stage before, he can inspire and show some of his younger teammates how to harness the energy and bottle it up for game time.

download (1)For a long time some within the Rays Republic knew Shields would get back to the World Series and were truly stunned when the Rays traded him and RP Wade Davis to their small market brethren.

Some have even wondered recently which team got the better end of that deal, and at this moment if you ask anyone….You might imagine the scale is tipped in the Royals favor. How ironic was it that the main player in that Rays and Royals deal was one of the first people to take to Twitter and show his enthusiasm and joy for the Royals team that drafted him not so long ago.

Wil Myers ‏@wilmyers  2h2 hours ago

“Congrats to the #Royals! Happy for everyone in that organization.”

images (7)I am so happy for Shields. He is one of the former Rays players I hoped would again grace the biggest stage in baseball. I wanted see “Big Game” again get a chance at collecting another bit of baseball immortality by winning a World Series.

I know his 2008 Tampa Bay Rays teammate Jonny Gomes got his piece of bling first, but you know Shields will cherish it, caress it, possibly design some sort of epic new fashion statement around it. (I’m wearing his 1st Rays T-shirt creation as I write this post).

download (2)Seriously, how awesome is it that Big Game James get to once again toe the rubber in Game 1 of a World Series and possibly set an early tone in who could possibly be the last team standing in 2014.

images (3)I can see it now with my 162 stitch crystal baseball as Royals ace Big Game James taking the hill on 3 days rest in Game 7, all tied at 3, winner takes all.

And you know who I want to win….and thrust skyward the World Series MVP Trophy.

Now it’s up to Shields and the Royals to finish the season on a grand scale on a year that can never be tarnished.  

 

I Love That Guthrie Ruffled a Few O’s Feathers

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Come on Orioles faithful, I always thought you had a thicker skin.

I mean seriously, you are going to get all hot and bothered about a T-shirt won by a starter that beat you in a competitive fight for who gets to host the first 2014 World Series game? 

downloadAre these the same O’s squad that thumped their chest mightily upon the Camden Yard grass after sweeping the mighty, mighty Tigers and proclaiming the “ best was yet to come”.

Doesn’t sound like the same team, or the same confident fan base right now. I should not matter one iota if the O’s are not royalty outside the friendly confines of the Charm City, you knew there were  going to be peril ahead, but letting a cotton blend T-shirt be your albatross……Did not see that coming.

I mean this is a city that boasts such nicknames as Mobtown, Monument City, The City of Firsts and my personal favorite, The Land of Pleasant Living.  Hate to say it, but being down 0-3 in a 7 game series doesn’t project pleasant images or optimism to me at this critical juncture.

imagesSeriously, you got to give it to the imagination of your mid-West foes to come up with something like this that got so deep under your fan base’s feathers that it bothers you to this extent. I always thought the Balti crew had thick feathers, but now maybe we have seen someone show a crack in your 2014 armor.

Just chalk this one episode up to the creative juices possibly flowing from the fountains of Kauffman Stadium and hope your team doesn’t see a raven, but an oriole perched upon their visiting dugout during your 4th chance at trying to break the Royal’s ever tightening grip and choke out your 2014 black and orange hopes and dreams of getting to the World Series.

I actually applaud wearing the T-shirt to a winning post-game presser. I was not done to directly humiliate the Baltimore team, your squad has humiliated themselves quite nicely being down 3-0 and currently losing Game 4, which would be a bit Poe-etic.

2663963Heck, I would have made a celebratory Royals tongue-in-cheek T-shirt for your possible elimination featuring a Royal with a mason’s trowel in hand placing bricks with a bound and sweating Oriole within the wall……My own twisted ALCS head tilt to your homegrown macabre master Edgar Allan Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”.

Jeremy Guthrie was just having fun in the moment. Chill out, or this series will be quickly over and we might not be able to “Quote the Oriole…nevermore…nevermore!”

4 Former Rays in the Fight for a A L C S Ring

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This weekend  as teams in the American League made their final pushed to secure a American League Divisional Series crown, several former Tampa Bay Rays had their own imprints on who and how these ALDS series would end.

By966ImCYAAkoPbWith regards to hurlers, we saw 2 American League Central division rivals who on Sunday took to their pitching mounds on opposite sides of our nation’s shores battle it out to either extinguish or extend their team’s post season dream.

We all sat and witnessed early on Sunday as Detroit Tigers southpaw David Price provided his team an ample chance to extend their A L D S series, their once potent bats went suddenly silent and with it the Tigers were swept by the Baltimore Orioles.

images (5)Price only made one untimely judgment during his 8 inning, 5-hit, 2-run appearance on a lone pitch that Baltimore DH Nelson Cruz sent to right field for a 2-run Home Run that also secured all the runs the Orioles would need to sweep their A L D S series against the Tigers in away confines of Comerica Field.

And as Price and his team gathered their packed their gear for the last time in 2014 , another former Rays pitcher was to write himself into the M L B history books.  

Just a time zone away as the Orioles celebrated their A L D S conclusion with their home fans, James Shields and his Royals teammates were in the midst of securing their own ticket to the ALCS and provided yet another unique story line to the Royals ever-expanding Cinderella storybook postseason.

download (1)Shields might have given up an early Home Run to Mike Trout to spot the Angels a 1-0 lead, but his teammates had his back on this day.  The Royals provided their own 3-run barrage in the bottom of the 1st to give Shields some much needed run support and with additional 2-run bursts in the bottom of the 3rd and 4th innings, provided all the offensive firepower needed for the Royals.

The Royals did not only defeat the heavily favored Angels on Sunday, but finished off their A L D S sweep of the Angels in front of their home fans.

Shields provided an adequate 6 inning,  6-hit, 2-run outing that were only tarnished by Home Runs by Trout and Albert Pujols. The Angels 2 most powerful hitters could of changed the series landscape , but their solo HRs were the only runs given up by Shields.

Interesting side note, the only other Angels run was given up by former Rays RP Wade Davis who came on in the top of the 8th inning when former Rays farm hand Josh Hamilton scored Howie Kendrick from Third Base to plate the last run of the contest for the visiting Angels.

images (1)The Orioles also boast two other former Rays in INF Kelly Johnson and DH/OF Delmon Young. Now I’m really happy to see Johnson get a chance at the post season and especially as he has been on the roster of almost everyone in the American League East at some point in the last 2 seasons.

Johnson deserves this kind of celebratory goodness as the guy is a team player who just enjoys the game and still gets excited when he sees his name on the line-up card.  

My personal feelings aside about Delmon Young, I’m glad he got to see his former team, the Tigers, leave the field as he enjoyed celebrating a A L D S title with his new O’s squad.

Johnson was an intricate pick-up for the O’s near the end of the season bringing in the versatile Johnson to play wherever needed, and providing a stop-gap at Third Base that was left vulnerable by Manny Machado’s late season ending injury.

Johnson’s only appearance in the A L D S was as a pinch-hitter for Caleb Joseph in Game 2 in the 8th inning and he flied out to center field. 

downloadYoung however did not only get a chance to shine in Game 2 himself, but his pinch-hit 3-RBI double into deep left field for Ryan Flaherty  plated the games winning run in the Orioles 7-6 victory.

Young’s heroic pinch hit during game 2 got him a start in left field for Game 3, but he was lifted for David Lough in the top of the 9th inning after going 0-3 on the day.

Still, Young and Johnson should be on the Baltimore A L D S roster when the A L C S contests begin Friday, October 10th in Camden Yards with the Royals sending Shields to the hill to try and give the Orioles their first defeat of the 2014 post seeason.

Going to be interesting to see if Shields or Davis get a chance (or two) to face their former teammate Young, or Johnson during the A L C S.

By9r9YVCcAAYjttNo matter who’s squad ends up winning the 2013 American League crown,  I am proud as heck of Shields, Davis, Johnson and even Young for being parts of their team want and hope to raise not only banners, but champagne on their quest for a World Series journey.  

And lest we forget, because the American League defeated the National League in the 2014 All-Star Game, the World Series will ultimately begin soon enough in either Baltimore or Kansas City.

Never would have envisioned these two teams fighting for the right to represent their league in the World Series. Proves once again there is no such thing as a “sure thing” in regards to baseball, and I would not have it any other way.P

 

 

 

With Possible M L B Realignment on the Horizon…..Some Renegade Thoughts

There has been more than a few whispers and discussion lately about the possibility of forming a “mega- payroll” division staking the big money payroll of mega competitors’ Boston and New York and maybe infuse them with 3 other high threshold salary ceiling squads to form a prestigious “diamond” division.

Sure putting the high dollar darlings in a central division will make it more difficult for them to realistically step over the carcasses of low payroll squads, or teams that rely on their farm systems instead of the Free Agent market. But that also opens a second concern. Could such a maneuver bring about a reversal of the recent parity within the M L B and again pay homage to the league’s “elite”.

We all know that within the upcoming MLB/MLBPA Labor Pow Wow there will be chatter about expanding the post season, but there will be more heated discussion about a more balanced schedule and a possible realignment of the whole enchilada.

Football fans were enraged and bewildered the N F L decided to conjure up another division situated almost exclusively within the Southeastern region of the country. From the moment this region was considered for realignment, people began to refer to it as the “NASCAR Division“.

Some might think with my high Southern posturing I might take offense to this connotation, but I really do not have a problem with it at all. Even though that statement was further stereotyping this region, NASCAR is a symbol of the South.

So it was a bit of a backhanded compliment to Southerner’s like myself. And, yes, I have been known to attend the Daytona or even Talladega NASCAR races, and I do glance at the television sometimes on Sunday to glance at the boys going around with constant left turns.

The formation of this Southeastern division helped the NFL get closer to a level of league-wide parity, which baseball will need to comprehend and address if it expects every M L B team to flourish and grow fiscally as well as physically. This action by another of America’s premier sports might be the successful course of action if MLB brass do not want to see a revolving door of top money payroll teams sprinting towards the Playoffs finish line every October in the near future.

Sure there have been odd twist of fate in the last few years, including the match-up of the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants making it to the World Series after eliminating 2 of those payroll bastions (Philly/NY) . The usual M L B pattern has been that spent dollars have bought more Championships instead of heart, homegrown talent and determination.

Maybe a fourth division in the American or National League would seem to throw the whole globe off its axis and we go wobbling through our orbits tumbling like a deflated ball among the Milk Way. I think we have already started that dizzying journey and have not recognized it yet.

So what did I have in mind to maybe change this?

First off, I would like to introduce the idea of taking one team from every division in both the AL and NL, excluding the AL West, which is already lopsided with 4 teams. You might ask why I would want to dissect a team from each division? To be completely honest, it would then make most of the other divisions a four-team division, with the NL Central lowered to five teams.

You had to already gandered that I would like the Tampa Bay Rays to be included in this new division, and with this new collection in the AL, we hold on tightly to the Designated Hitter rule. The Rays are prefect for this new division because the new division will be rooted in the SE, and only the new abode to open in 2012 in Miami,Florida is further South than St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Rays are already well versed in the ways and means of being a small market team, this division’s formulation can effectively give them the payroll flexibility of knowing that they will not have to adjust and implode their own cash box every year to keep up with the Epstein’s and Cashman’s upgrades via the money pot to survive.

The second team in this division would come out of the National League East and could instantly establish a great Southern rivalry like the annual Florida-Georgia Football game in Jacksonville. I would enjoy seeing the famous Atlanta Brave’s Tomahawk Chop going on right next to the deafening sound of the Rays Republic’s Cowbells.

This expected rivalry could replace some of the expected lost revenues of Boston or New York based on previous sell out crowds during the last time these 2 teams faced off in InterLeague at Tropicana Field. Flights are affordable between the 2 cities, and could muster up a second caravan of road trips for Rays fans to see away games. The Braveswould be the perfect new nemesis of the Rays.

You might question why I did not take the Florida (Miami) Marlins place them in this division instead of Atlanta. I consider the Fish to be perfect InterLeague foes for the Rays, and did not want to split up a AL and NL presence in the state of Florida. I think this state is better for a presence in both the A L and N L , and want to preserve that Citrus Series relationship as it is right now.

Third squad to be added would come out of the AL Central. I did not have to take long to think about this because it came to me the moment I looked at the division. The Kansas City Royals would be my choice based on the simple fact they are a small market squad and would benefit extremely by being in the same division as the Rays.

The relationship between these two AL teams is already formed, and the cities are close enough within the geographical region of the Southern part of the country to make same day flights and televised games a viable options for both teams.

Fourth team to be added would come out of the NL Central division and take their division down to four teams. I thought long and hard as to if I wanted to realign the entire MLB a bit, or just select this one team and end the debate fast and furious on which Texas teams would get an invite to the NASCAR division.

I thought the team that would get the most out of the move would be the Houston Astros. Not only would they be able to convert to the D H system easily, they have the talent in-house already to pop a great DH in the line-up as early as 2012.

I think that the teams on this division “wish list” have great stadiums with a awesome home team presence, and would be totally conducive to building a rivalry and expanding their team concepts without minimal changes.

Realignment is on the horizon. It will be talked, debated, then instituted. This is just my idea of what could effectively comprise a movement towards giving the high dollar and low budget teams a breather and a chance to compete yearly in the post season.

I like the concept and potential of this NASCAR division. It will have great speed, solid defense and a ton of raw young talent circulating throughout the years. Several of the teams that would comprise this division have been hotbeds of minor league talent. That new talent would bring excitement along with value to these teams.

It is a division I not only would pay money to see at Tropicana Field, but would definitely travel to other cities to see play against our Rays. In turn, that would help these small market teams keep their coffers filled to pay their young players to stay with their teams past their arbitration years….It is a “win-win” proposition.

“Guess-timations for Jason Grilli for 2010

 


@Grillcheese49/Twitter.com


I am not a true fan of crossword puzzles or games like Chess. But I got to tell you, I am so psyched right now to try and figure out this word puzzle/mystery. You see, Jason Grilli aka Grillcheese49 on Twitter has been leaving small clues and a few hints recently about his pitching destination for 2010.  And I have to admit it here, but trolling the web looking for answers can get my endorphines  kicking it at about 120 mph right now. I forgot how much fun it used to be following a lead, or just a simple photo and finding an aswer within it all.

I have a lot of respect for the insider job that ESPN’s Buster Onley does every day right now during the Hot Stove season. I honestly have not worked this hard to nail down a team or a possible player’s new location since college. And I am not working with a safety net right now, and could basically get it all wrong with a flick of the fingers upon this keyboard. 

I do not possess the savvy insider sources that people like Peter Gammons or Onley have at their disposal daily. I do most of my work down here in the darkest recesses of light, and ever so often a beam shines down and I grab ahold of it tightly. Right now I am going by what Grilli has tweeted to all of us over the last week and using them as definite clues to piece this puzzle with more clarity. But the reality of this dark situation is that this new form of social interweaving like Twitter and Facebook can also work in deflecting people and organizations far away from the truth.

 @Grillcheese49:There were 8 teams interested. One clear choice. Details coming soon. Hope to share by Monday. ( 4:57 PM Nov 27,2009 from UberTwitter)

Well Jason, it is now early Monday, and only a few hours before you “officially” tell the cyber-world of your playing intentions for 2010. I am going to try and piece together some of the previous information given out by you,and try and make an educated guess on where you are going to be playing in 2010. Hope you do not mind, but I might have a lead on your future employer by reading through the lines a bit, and hope

I am at least within the ballpark when you announce it sometime during today. I may end up being totally wrong, and that is okay too because I am a blogger with no real connections who is just using his mind for more than a hatrack right now.

@Grillcheese49: The answer is coming people this week. I promise. Let’s play the Feud. There are 30 teams in MLB. The top 5 answers are on the board.
(9:27 AM Nov 27,2009 from UberTwitter)

I have to admit, I did not take all 30  MLB teams when I was trying to figure out which team you might have scooped you up come Monday. I  did however remove your prior teams like the Colorado Rockies,Texas Rangers,Chicago White Sox,Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers. It was a bit hard to rule out the Marlins completely at first because you still have a home in Florida. But,I figure that  for the most part, when a player leaves the Marlins, they are not too anxious to get back into the aqua blue uniforms.

@Grillcheese49: Longest drum roll ever…..I know. If it were up to me I would tell ya. Don’t want to be banned from Twitter like the NFL players do. Haha
( 3 hours ago from UberTwitter)


Do not worry Grilli, I am pretty sure there is nothing within the MLBPA union contract about social networks  yet, but they probably will add it into the talks in 2011 when the MLBPA  Union contract is up for renewal. I really wish I did have someone within a the MLB front offices that I could bounce this  guess-timate off of at 1 AM on a Monday morning…..But I do not.

So I am out here in “Blog-ville” after 1 AM trying to piece the puzzle together considering you gave me an awesome clue with the Twitpic posted late on Sunday. And the wildest part of it all is going to be my  own personal opinion on if you are seeking to play for a potential playoff team,or just a great opportunity to stay with a team’s Bullpen for a few years. That at first almost lead me to make the mistake of thinking you might be wearing a Tampa Bay Rays jersey in 2010, but something on your Twitpic tonight led me away from that conclusion quickly.

 Someone trying to piece together puzzles like this need to have a keen eye for unobvious observations to sometimes notice things other leave behind as clues or even honest mistakes in their posts or comments. When you posted the picture tonight of your signature already on your 2010 contract, you left the biggest clue of them all. As most people can see now, the MLB authorized Club Representative signature might be the key to this entire puzzle.

                     
                     
Grillcheese49/Twitpic


So if I take that position of “Director of Baseball Administration” as a clue under the Club Reps signature, then I can quickly narrow it down to  a total of six teams that have that position currently listed within their MLB front office. We have 3 clubs each in both the American League and the National League that employ a person in that present job title. But then again,it could just be an ambiguous  job title that is printed on a standardized MLB/MLBPA contract for all I know. But  a gut reaction has me really doubting that.

I could be wrong even about the title of the Club Representative, but I am going to roll the dice here on this one and hope Lady Luck is in my corner tonight/today.  And for that simple reason, I  am putting the following six MLB clubs could be your final destination for the 2010  MLB season:

Oakland Athletics:  The A’s currently have Pam Pitts as the Director of Baseball administration for their club. I think you have more of a inclination right now to be looking for a team that is going to be fighting for a potential playoff spot in 2010. For that reason, I am eliminating the A’s from contention for your services. (75-1 chance)

Kansas City Royals: Jin Wong is posted as the active Director of Baseball Administration for the Royals on their MLB website. This is a team that I feel is more in the rebuilding stage than ready to take center stage right now. They could probably make some no
ise,but might not have the overall staying power in 2010 to get you closer towards a playoff chance. (50-1 chance)


Cleveland Indians:
The Director of Baseball Administration for the Indians is Wendy Hoppel. For some reason I think this is the AL club that might make you salivate the most right now. With the young talent they have accumulated the last two seasons with trades involving CC Sabathia,Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, the Indians could be a nice dark horse contender in the AL Central as early as 2010. (4-3 chance)


Out of the National League, I am considering these three clubs as your possible destination for the 2010 season:

Chicago Cubs:  The Cubs, even if they are going through a ownership transition,still currently list Scott Nelson as their Director of Baseball Administration. But even with the dust settling in the front office after the final sale approval by MLB owners just recently, this club is a bit more fragile within their 25-man roster. Might not be a great fit, but could be a  dark horse player for your services. (12-1 chance)


Atlanta Braves:
  This is the closest MLB team to your home now in Florida that has a person with the title of Director of Baseball Administration in their club’s front office. John Coppolella currently holds that post. Might be a location favorite, but also has a division you have pitched in before with the Marlins. ( 15-1 chance)

Philadelphia Phillies: This club is the last one to have a club representative with the title of Director of Baseball Administration  in the MLB. With Susan Ingersoll Papaneri at the controls. I am going to go with a wild hunch  that you are seeking a solid position on a team that could grow into an extended contract. With the Phillies, you  may have a spot in their Bullpen renovation. If you do seek a good chance for a possible 2010 playoff scenario, then this just might be a great destination on a possible playoff team. ( 5-1 chance)

This is where the whole shebang of guessing can get a little more difficult for me. I think you can strive for more in both Cleveland and Philly without a major problem. And even if your 2009 salary was only $ 800,000, I can see you going maybe over $1 million with incentives without a real contract problem. Put that all together with the photo above and look at the possible first name lower loop in the signature, and I have to say the name seems to point towards Cleveland (Wendy Hoppel).

But that is the fun with guessing right? I think the perfect 2010 scenario might be with the Phillies to expand your career and get into a possible playoff situation in 2010. But it might also  could be beneficial as a veteran on a young club to be with a team like Cleveland who could shock the AL like the Rays did in 2008 with their developing players leading the way coupled with experienced pitching behind them.

So I am going to guess that the Chief Wahoo will be proud you are with the Cleveland Indians in 2010.  And even if I am wrong about all of this, I think it has been a great chance for me to practice some skills I have not used in a long, long time. It has been  a lot of fun Jason.

I truly wish you the best of luck and hope you stay injury free in 2010. If you play for a team that does head into Tropicana Field, I will look for number 49 and introduce myself to you. And if you do become an Indian on Monday, get your player uniform number negotiation skills ready, because leftie pitcher Tony Sipp currently hold your number 49 on the Indians active roster. But then again, no one on the Phillies 40-man roster currently sports a “49” on their back.

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