For the World Series this year, MLB is partnering with a different charity for each game, and the first game is partnered with Stand Up 2 Cancer. Not as well known in the UK until last Friday, but I wrote a little post on it last year. MLB have invited everyone to fill in this card with the hashtag #IStandUpFor to let everyone know who they stand up for, and everyone in the stadium tonight will hold up their own card in a moving tribute.
Well this post is risky for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve not done a baseball post for a while and I know that a lot of my new followers are probably expecting books, books and more books, so if you don’t have an interest in baseball, this post probably isn’t for you.
Secondly, I think I must post a bit too much about a certain Detroit Tiger whose name may rhyme with Dustin Berlander. A quick look at Google searches that have brought users to my website kind of confirms that:
But I digress. First of all, a quick mention of my beloved White Sox, who were having an unexpectedly awesome season, before fading away down the stretch to let the Tigers clinch the division in the last week. It sucks, but it sure made things exciting. Especially for what was supposed to be a ‘rebuilding’ year after losing Buehrle, Guillen, and many others last offseason.
So it came to the postseason and I had to pick a team to root for, and who better to root for than the underdog. So Nationals and Orioles it was – what a story for both teams this year. But alas it wasn’t meant to be (either that or I’m a huge jinx), and both teams were knocked out in thrilling Game 5 action. Whether the Nationals could have made it with Strasburg is a whole ‘nother blog post. So now I’m of course cheering for the AL which leaves me with either the Yankees or the Tigers – I think we all know this leaves me with really only one choice – GO TIGERS!!
Which is not too bad for me, because my favourite non-Sox player happens to be their star pitcher.
He’s pitched lights-out this season, and I think there’s a very good chance that he’ll be up for Cy Young again, as much I would like Chris Sale to win after his stellar season. Verlander pitched a complete game shutout in his last game against the Oakland A’s – the decisive Game 5 of the ALDS. He also had a 9 – 2 record with a 1.65 ERA for the season at Comerica Park, which put the odds firmly in his favour – especially opposing a Yankees team stripped of their Captain after Jeter suffered a fractured ankle putting him out for the rest of the post season.
So although I can’t stay up to watch this game tomorrow (why do all postseason games start at 8pm ET – 1pm BST?!), I’ll definitely be supporting the Tigers in spirit – at least if I’m not watching I’m not jinxing, right?
It’s been a while since I posted about baseball, so if you’ve started following my blog recently and are expecting back to back book reviews, I’m sorry! It’s not been the best season so far for the White Sox, but we’re slowly climbing our way back up the standings. There are a few bright sparks on our team, like the fact that Paul Konerko is leading the AL in batting average, and Chris Sale and Jake Peavy are both in the top 5 for ERA in the AL.
But back to the reason for my blog post, MLB Europe posed this question on Twitter earlier:
If your favorite #MLB team switched rosters with its biggset rival, which team would you root for? Player love or team pride?!
— MLB Europe (@MLB_Europe) May 24, 2012
(If your favourite MLB team switched rosters with its biggest rival, which team would you root for? Player love or team pride?!)
It’s an interesting question because the players really make a team, so my first instinct was to say that I’d root for the players. But if you think about it more closely, the trade market in baseball is always so active that a team one year will almost certainly be different from the next, and two or three years down the line you might not even recognise it. It’s easy to get attached to the players on your team, but the chances are that unless you have a homegrown talent with a strong desire to play for the team, you’re going to lose him to a different team sooner or later.
There are players like Derek Jeter who are ‘franchise players’ and you know they’ll never leave, but most other players have a price – look at Prince Fielder, and more to the point, Albert Pujols. Both signed for new teams earlier this year and you wouldn’t have expected that to happen. So saying that you’d stick by your players is silly, because you’d eventually end up supporting every team in the league and it’d be a bit hard to keep up.
Another thing that would influence my decision is the fact that our biggest rival is the Detroit Tigers, and there are a lot of players on their team that I wouldn’t mind joining the White Sox; Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to name a few. And who wouldn’t?! Of course, I’d rather have these three alongside my favourites like Konerko, Pierzynski, Floyd and Sale, but we all know that’s probably not going to happen!
So for me, it’s definitely Team Pride all the way. Players are a big part of a team, but there are many other factors too. I love the team, the coaches, the ballpark, the city and the history. It would be hard to give all that up and switch to the team you’ve been programmed to hate.
So I’ll ask you the same question (if you’ve actually managed to read this far). Player love, or team pride? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.
First, the up.
Congratulations to Justin Verlander on being crowned AL MVP 2011. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ll know that I have written a couple of posts about how I wanted him to win, so it’s an understatement to say I’m glad. He deserved it after the phenomenal season he had, and I’m glad that the voters put aside the fact that he is a pitcher, although it was nowhere near as much of a clean sweep as the Cy Young last week. He becomes the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to win the MVP.
And for now, I promise to stop writing blog posts about Justin Verlander (until next season at least).
Then the down.
MLB is reporting the terrible news that Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death at home in the Netherlands earlier this morning, and his brother has allegedly been arrested as a suspect. He was only 24, and had just finished playing 35 games for the Mariners as a rookie this season. It’s always sad to hear the death of someone so young, but even worse that it may have been caused by his brother. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as they try to deal with this tragic news.
Congratulations to Justin Verlander, who was unanimously awarded the AL Cy Young Award after winning the three triple crown categories this season with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts. The MVP award is announced next Tuesday. There is a lot of discussion over whether a pitcher should be awarded the MVP, and if so, if Verlander is deserving of the honour. I for one believe that he should get it, but we’ll have to wait and see.
There’s been a lot of debate over the last month or so about whether Justin Verlander should be AL MVP this season. I think most of the debate is really whether any pitcher should be MVP when there is already the Cy Young award which is awarded exclusively to pitchers.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter that there is another award that he can (and most probably will) win. The award is simply Most Valuable Player of the American league. With 24 wins already and another start left of the regular season, there’s a good chance he will be the first pitcher since Bob Welch in 1990 to win 25 games in a season. He has a 2.29 ERA and has gone at least 7 innings and given up three earned runs or less in 24 of his 33 games. He’s had 244 strikeouts in the same amount of innings, and has also given up less than one walk or hit per inning pitched.
These are all pretty good stats, but I think the one statistic that shows he truly is the most valuable player on his team is that when he pitches, the team is a fantastic 25-8 , but they are only a fairly average 65-57 when he’s not. Clearly, he is a major factor why the Tigers have claimed the central division title, but does that make him the MVP of the league?
In my opinion, there’s no doubt that he should be MVP this year, we’ll just have to wait and see what the BBWAA will decide. Let me know what you think below!
Last night was one of the rare occurences where a White Sox game starts early enough for me to watch all of it. Although now I kind of wish I didn’t! It was looking so promising, a 3 run homer by Alexei, then back to back jacks by De Aza and Morel. But typical of this year’s White Sox season, we still managed to give up an 8-1 lead and lose 9-8 on a walk off home run by Miguel Cabrera.
It had to be against the Tigers too, moving us to 7.5 games back, and 1 game back of the Indians. It’s gonna be a struggle to make anything of this season I think, but at least we have now seen some promising young talent coming up from Charlotte and proving themselves better (at least for now) than some of the multi-million dollar contracts on the team. That said, I’m not giving up hope until that ‘E’ appears on the standings.
There was also a 36 minute rain delay in the game last night – although how it went from 98° to torrential rain, I have no idea. Seeing fans scurrying from their seats to run for cover while the umpires let the game carry on was pretty amusing – although I can’t imagine it’s much fun for the players when they are getting absolutely soaked.
Congratulations to Justin Verlander on his no-hitter tonight, a fantastic game! I tuned in during the eighth inning, when he was still on track for a perfect game. That was broken up by a walk, but a no-hitter is a fantastic achievement! The excitement in the ballpark was amazing, but I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for the players. I’m sure Verlander was about 50/50 excitement and nervousness. I’m equally sure he’s enjoying the celebrations now!
I was watching the Brewers/Cardinals game tonight. Yovani Gallardo was coming close to a no-hitter too, but not quite close enough. He gave up a hit in the 8th, and by that time, his pitch count was getting quite high, so there was not much chance of him coming out for the complete game either.
It’s been a week of strong pitching performances, and the trend in general seems to be leaning away from power hitting and back towards the pitcher. First of all there was Liriano’s no-hitter. I don’t really want to dwell on that because it was against my White Sox, so we’ll move on quickly. There was also Cliff Lee’s game with 16 strike outs. Unfortunately, he still took the loss in that game, which just goes to show that no matter how good you are as a pitcher, you need the offense behind you to back you up (just ask Danks, Buerhle, Floyd, Jackson or Humber).
I much prefer to watch a good pitchers duel rather than seeing home run after home run. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fireworks, but I prefer the continuing anticipation of a good pitching battle than the momentary excitement of a big hit.
Saying that, the story of Andre Ethier’s hitting streak is keeping my interest. Currently at 30 games, he is only one game away from tying the Dodgers record, and more than half way to Joe DiMaggio. Still a long way to go though!
The White Sox are on a west coast trip at the moment, meaning they don’t play until 2am UK time, so I won’t get to watch the game. I’ll just leave this out there: wouldn’t it be nice for Floyd to get the second no-hitter of the night?
Scratch that – I’d just like the Sox to win, please. Pretty please?