Archive for March 12th, 2013

Japan v Netherlands - World Baseball Classic Second Round Pool 1

It would seem as though the hype behind Andrelton Simmons is not without merit. The 23-year old Braves shortstop has become the breakout star of the World Baseball Classic, leading his Dutch team all the way to the semi finals, hitting for surprising power in addition to his normally superb defense.

This isn’t the first time Andrelton Simmons turned heads during the month of March. He a big splash last season after he nearly won the Braves starting shortstop job out of Spring Training, only to take over the role full time after his service time was safely within Super Two range at the beginning of June.

Simmons turned heads during the Braves spring campaign, despite never playing above A ball. After posting strong numbers in his first trip through Double-A, Simmons more than held his own at the big league level. Before a hand injury knocked him out for two months in July, Simmons hit .296/.336/.452 while playing superlative defense at shortstop during his first month at the big league level.

The early returns were good but it was just a short exposure to big league pitching. After returning from injury in September, Simmons numbers were a little more pedestrian, posting just a .297 wOBA in a near-meaningless 57 plate appearances. Braves fans could be hopeful for Simmons future while tempering their expectations.

Until the World Baseball Classic started. Simmons’ incredible performance vaulted the Netherlands into the semifinals and Simmons back in the conversation as the future of the Braves franchise.

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New York Mets v Florida Marlins

The Florida newspaper that broke the Anthony Bosch/Biogenesis scandal will not be handing over files to Major League Baseball after all. The Miami New Times cited several reasons for this decision, including journalistic ethics, history, a previously unreported criminal probe into Bosch, and… Jeffrey Loria.

In a scolding piece of sorts, the Miami New Times blasted commissioner Bud Selig and name dropped just about every baseball scandal from the last 100 years as reasoning for abstaining from cooperating with MLB. The kicker, though, are the shots fired toward Loria.

“One of our most significant motivations for denying baseball is right here in the tropics. His name is Jeffrey Loria, and he owns the Miami Marlins, who start regular-season play in just a few weeks. A March 1 story in the Atlantic called the pudgy art collector’s stewardship of our baseball team, which has twice won the World Series, “the biggest ongoing scam in professional sports.” The magazine’s article describes, as New Times has in the past, how Loria hornswoggled $515 million in public backing for the stadium and parking facilities, then delivered a losing season and sold off all his best players.”

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Maybe “immensely” popular is misleading. Any MLB Network program that raties higher than “the friends and family of Chris Rose” makes for a banner day. But this is at least a good place to start for the viewer-bereft network.

Consider it “misson accomplished” for MLB and the network – moving all the games to MLBN buoyed the numbers. No word of ratings in Canada, where viewers were to watch on Sportsnet (without the benefit of an online option), but needless to say the Sunday afternoon time slot for the Canada/USA game on the heels of the big brawl was good for business.

Valid as the complaints about the format and timing of the event might be, nobody can resist a good show.

RyanBraun

Video game publishers and the World Baseball Classic have yet to come together with a playable game mode of the international tournament. If taking your country, or any country, to world baseball supremacy on the video game circuit is something you desire, well, there’s a way. All you need is a PC and a copy of EA Sports’ MVP Baseball 2005.

MVP Caribe, a modding community similar to that of MVP Mods, has put together a World Baseball Classic total conversion mod that features 28 national teams, complete with accurate rosters and uniforms. The World Baseball Classic is playable as a 30-game dynasty. You take what you can get, I guess.

All the player model restructuring and graphic enhancements that MVP Baseball 2005 allows can’t propel the game to look as sharp as MLB 13: The Show, but neither Sony or 2K Sports appear to be interested in delivering a WBC mode to gamers at this point. So, if gaming the WBC sounds like your bag, then you best scare up a copy of the cult classic baseball title.

Via Kotaku, Image via MVP Mods

Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

2012 Record: 64-98, 5th NL West
2012 Pythagorean Record: 69-93
Impact Player: SS Troy Tulowitzki
Impact Pitcher: LHP Jorge De La Rosa
Top Prospect: 3B Nolan Arenado

Significant Acquisitions: RHP Wilton Lopez, UT Reid Brignac, 3B Ryan Wheeler, LHP Daniel Rosenbaum, RHP Manny Corpas, RHP Chris Volstad

Significant Departures: 1B/PH Jason Giambi, RHP Alex White, RHP Josh Roenicke, LHP Matt Reynolds

The tenure of former Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who took over part way through 2009 and managed the maligned club through the end of last season, the Rockies win total fell steadily every year. From 92 wins to 83 to 73 all the way down to 64 last season — the fewest in franchise history. Entering their 20th year of existence, the Rockies are yet to figure out exactly how to build a suitable pitching staff for the high altitude of Coors Field. Last year, amidst their worst season ever, they went a little bonkers trying.

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It got late early in the final Pool 1 game as the Netherlands and Japan played to determine the top seed heading into the World Baseball Classic. The Abesed God Shinnosuke Abe hit two home runs in the second inning alone – a frame in which the Japanese pounded out eight runs to put this game out of reach early. Despite chipping away late in the game, Japan held on to win 10-6, heading to San Francisco as the top seed from the Far East pool.

Nobody likes to lose but the Dutch are still crashing the WBC semifinal party. Honkbal rolls on unbowed!

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Kansas City Royals v Seattle Mariners

Good news for people who love good news about exciting young pitchers currently rehabbing from labrum surgery: Michael Pineda threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session this morning, including sliders. Chad Jennings of The LoHud Yankees Blog reports that the 24-year old right hander completed his longest bullpen session since undergoing surgery last spring to repair a torn labrum.

The Tuesday bullpen session marked the first time in the rehab process that Pineda thew sliders off the mound, although he had previously thrown the pitch from flat ground. The Yankees acquired Pineda and Jose Campos in a deal with the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. Pineda was shutdown early last spring with right rotator cuff tendinitis, he would eventually suffer a tear during his rehab. Jesus Montero, on the other hand, was healthy for the Mariners last season, but he appeared to play the game in the absence of working legs and any semblance of hitting ability.

While Pineda did not throw baseballs last season, he did engage in the ol’ 12 oz. curl on at least one occasion. The 6’5″ inch pitcher was arrested and charged with DUI in Tampa last August, to which he pleaded no contest last month.

Pineda is currently on schedule to return to baseball game action in June.