Archive for the ‘Getting Blanked Special’ Category

Twins' Mauer reacts to striking out against the  Blue Jays during their MLB baseball game in Toronto

Joe Mauer is one of the best players in Minnesota Twins’ history. By Wins Above Replacement, he is either in the top six now or will be by the end of an average Joe Mauer season.

He won the American League MVP in 2009, claimed the AL batting crown three times, and led the Twins to the playoffs in three of his 11 big league seasons.

And Twins fans seem to hate him. Maybe not hate, but they expect more of Mauer. They constantly express disappointment in Mauer. Blame his contract or his move to first base or the sudden downturn in Twinkie fortunes but there is a growing tide of resentment against Joe Mauer in the Twin Cities. Blame the local media or blame Mauer’s particular shortcomings as a player but, right now, it is getting tense for Mauer in Minnesota.

This isn’t fair, not to the rebuilding Twins or the face of their franchise. With the Twins window for contention not likely to crack within the next two years (at which point Mauer will be 33), the time is now to deal. Get his huge contract off the books and the weight of the world off his shoulders. It’s win/win.

But where will Joe Mauer land? Here are seven suitable landing spots for the former catcher and former MVP and future franchise cornerstone.

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

MLB.tv is in its 12th season of existence, a wonderful service and piece of technology that allows fans to watch their favorite team no matter their geographic location.

That is what and how MLB.tv should primarily be used – to follow your favorite team. So do that, watch them with hope in your heart.

But it also enables hardcore baseball fans to watch all the other, out-of-market games. They can track their fantasy players or watch their second favorite team, provided their parents did a poor enough job raising them to allow for such trite weakness.

While MLB.tv allows for a mosaic mode to watch multiple games at once, this is for degenerates or crazy people only.

Most people want to pick one game and watch it. Enjoy it. Get into it. But which game?

That’s a matter of personal preference. If you need some guidance, allow this list to determine the ten teams you most want to AVOID on your MLB.tv surfing, starting with the least desirable option in baseball right now.

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres

No matter how hard Major League Baseball tries to cheapen and devalue Opening Day, it can’t do it. For a sport/industry so adept at making money, its continued effort to turn the annual baseball holiday into a made-for-TV event has mostly failed.

Because despite MLB’s push for growth into foreign shores, Opening Day is today. Not last week in Sydney or last night in San Diego. Those games count in the standings but only today counts in the hearts and minds of baseball fans the world over.

It isn’t really a holiday and it will never receive official designation as such. It’s the business-as-usual aspect that makes Opening Day so appealing. No other sport asks more of its supporters and fans. No other sport demands attention for longer and with more regularity. Other major sports play their games on weekends and in prime time. Baseball combines tradition and utility to play games during the day, during the week. It fights for your love and affection.

On Opening Day, every single year, baseball goes undefeated.

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MLB: Spring Training-Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels

Whether you’re ready or utterly unprepared, the 2014 baseball season is effectively upon us. Transport trucks are pointed north, loaded down with equipment and no small amount of hope for the upcoming season. Some teams approach the upcoming campaign ready for a six month assault on the playoffs, confident in their assembled talent. Others look up and down their roster and see potential, if not this season than perhaps in the future. The Astros players also look forward to many nights spent in expensive hotels.

There is no predicting baseball or anything else that involves round balls striking round bats. The good teams will win more games than the bad teams. Predictions are for suckers and you won’t get one out of me. Despite the uncertainty (YCPB!) there are some things I believe to be true. Truer than most, anyway. These Things I Believe about the 2014 baseball season.

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New York Yankees CC  Sabathia reacts after Tampa Bay Rays Wil  Myershit grand slam home run in MLB game in New York

Home runs are visceral. Home run to bring ‘em out of the seats. Home runs spark a reaction.

Batters experience the happy side of home runs – the glory and the accomplishment. The current style (going on 20 years or so) for home run celebration is the bat flip. Toss your bat aside with maximum flair or “pimp” your home run. Opposing team doesn’t like it? Get me out.

Here Wil Myers displays some bat flip technique belying his youth and inexperience. This is an elite bat flip.

The other side of the coin is the defense. The pitcher and catcher, scheming together to concoct a plan of attack, only to see the batter go deep. The anguish of a mistake or a bad pitch call.

In the GIF above, we see two pretty typical reaction from both parts of the battery. Both turn to watch the flight of the ball, hoping for the best. As confident as Myers in this shot, the battery holds out hope that the ballpark might keep it. (Video)

Sometimes, after a ball leaves the bat, the outcome is not in doubt. It is here we see the greatest variety in reaction – not unlike the grieving process. The type of reaction often relates directly to the potential distance a home run will travel and/or the significance of the moment.

Scouring the archives, researchers for theScore discovered six stages of home run acceptance. Here are the six stages of home run acceptance.

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MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Miami Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton is one of the most fearsome sluggers in baseball. He hurts baseballs in a profound way. Just this week he did this to a baseball in Port St. Lucie, Spring Training home of the New York Mets.

For further reference, here is a photo of just how far beyond the left field fence that black screen really is. It’s really, really far from home plate. Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs dug in and tried to estimate the actual distance. His final result? Really far.

Because it is just Spring Training, this shot is only good for tenth on the top Stanton bomb list.

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MLB: Spring Training-Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Dodgers

Spring Training is the opposite of memorable. It happens and then the real games begin. Hopefully nobody gets hurt. That’s the ultimate goal for most players and fans – keep everybody on the field. As such, it makes very few spring moments unforgettable.

Spring Training lolls like a ship in a gentle current, listing side to side until the season begins and real excitement spills over for most fans. It takes a lot for spring memories to persevere.

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