National League Mid-Season Report

We’ve saved the worst….for last.

Yesterday, we broke down the good half (American League). Today, we’ll get to the half that still (inexplicably) lets pitchers hit (National League)….

National League

Best Team – Arizona Diamondbacks

pi-mlb-dbacks-pirates-062318_vresize_1200_630_high_55

This was harder than it looks. Figuring out the best team in the National League is like ranking your favorite diseases. At 47-34, the Diamondbacks have the 2nd best record in the National League (Milwaukee Brewers: 47-33). While the Diamondbacks, and Paul Goldschmidt, had a May to forget (Goldschmidt hit .144 in May, and the team went 8-19), they’ve bounced back to the tune of 19-7 in June.

Robbie Ray is back. Zack Godley is pitching to his abilities (again). And the other Zack (Greinke) is 5-1 since May. While the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are nipping at their heels, expect the Diamondbacks to win their 1st NL West Division Title since 2011.

Biggest Surprise – Milwaukee Brewers

Cardinals Brewers Baseball

I knew the Milwaukee Brewers were a good baseball team. I just didn’t know they’d be THIS good. To have the best record in the National League, with THIS pitching staff, is no small feat. If you can name the entire starting rotation for the Brewers, I’ll make your next car payment. I’m serious. GO ahead. I’ll wait….

Even ‘The Google’ doesn’t know.

The Brewers’ roster is filled with a long list of good players. No superstars. No CY Young Award candidates. Just good, do a little bit of everything, players. Only time will tell if they can hold off the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division.

MVP – Freddie Freeman

freddie

Until May 14th (my birthday), A.J. Pollock was running away with the NL MVP Award. And then he got hurt. Now, your guess is as good as mine….

While the aforementioned Paul Goldschmidt has turned his life around, he’s not the MVP. Freddie is. Freddie Freeman is having the best season of his career. He’s on pace for 31 home runs, 111 rbi, and 12 sbs with a .318 batting average.

Oh, and the Atlanta Braves are in 1st place in the NL East (45-34).

CY Young – Max Scherzer

max

As deserving as Jacob deGrom is of a CY Young Award, Max Scherzer is THAT much better than deGrom. If this was the ‘I Feel Really Badly For You Award’, deGrom would be the unanimous victor. However, Max Scherzer is the best pitcher in MLB.

Now, OPEN YOUR EARS AND LISTEN:

Max Scherzer has been the best pitcher in MLB for the past seven years.

Yes, I’m aware Clayton Kershaw has been in MLB for the past seven years as well. But I’m also aware that you can’t win baseball games from the trainer’s room. While Clayton Kershaw’s stuff is unparalleled, Max Scherzer’s durability makes him the best, most consistent pitcher in MLB.

 

Do you think I’m crazy?!?! Explain yourself in the comment section below….

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Hey New York, Get Your S*** Together!!

New York.

It’s literally the greatest place on earth. It’s science. A fact.

Ya know, I suddenly understand why the rest of the world hates us….

Over the past decade, New York’s elite status in the sports world has diminished. The championship drought New York is experiencing is unacceptable:

Jets – 1969

NFL Historical Imagery

Knicks – 1973

knicks

Islanders – 1983

islanders stanley cup

Mets – 1986

mets world series

Rangers – 1994

messier

Yankees – 2009

Giants – 2011

Like you, I’m unimpressed. **Photo Album is for nostalgic purposes only. You don’t need photographs of the 2009 Yankees and 2011 Giants!!

(And no, the Bills, Devils, and Nets don’t count!!)

Now I know Cincinnati (28 years), Minnesota (27 years), and Washington D.C. (27 years) will tell us to cry a river, but this is New York. New York shouldn’t go seven years, and counting, without a championship.

With the Knicks, Islanders, Rangers, Jets, and Giants missing the postseason by wild margins this year, all of New York’s eggs rest in the Yankees’ Easter basket.

new_york_yankees_2018_preview

With World Series or bust expectations for the Yankees, panic started to reverberate throughout the city when they got off to a 5-6 start. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Panic, in April, is as absurd as thinking the Cleveland Browns will win a Super Bowl in your lifetime. Yes, that goes for newborn babies too.  

Fresh off a series win (three of four) against the Toronto Blue Jays, have the Yankees turned a corner??

They closed out their four-game series with a 5-1 victory over former Yankee, Jaime Garcia and now stand at 11-9. Luis Severino was fantastic — again. And Yankees’ top-prospect, Gleyber Torres, made his Major League debut.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

They’ll look to carry this momentum into a four-game series (at home) against the Minnesota Twins. Another series win would be optimal, as their next 13 come against the Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, and Boston Red Sox. Yikes.

Speaking of the Red Sox, the only time you’ll find them in the loss column is via a no-hitter.

Warning: Objective Yankee fan moment coming….

The Red Sox got robbed during Sean Manaea’s no-hitter Saturday. Andrew Benintendi avoided a tag while running to first base, but was called out for being out of the base path (despite being originally called safe). Watch the play, courtesy of Baseball Rules Academy, here. Technically, a base runner can’t go three feet or more outside the base path, but technically, you can’t jaywalk….

Anyway, the moral of the story is, baseball is an incredibly long season. The Yankees dug themselves a nice size hole, but they have 142 more games to dig themselves out.

Everyone relax. Except Boston. You people panic. All day. Every day.

 

Have the Yankees turned a corner?? Or is this fools gold?? Tell me in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:10 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

MLB Hall Of Fame Grows By 4

It’s the highest honor a professional athlete can receive. It’s the culmination of a life’s work. It’s validation.

The greatness of 4 individuals was recognized Wednesday evening, as they were elected to the MLB Hall of Fame:

Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman.

This Hall of Fame class is strong, with 4 players being elected for just the 4th time (1947, 1955, 2015).

Chipper Jones, 3B/OF, Atlanta Braves (1993-2012 – 97.2%)

Chipper Jones played his entire 19-year career with the Atlanta Braves. As a switch-hitting third baseman and outfielder, Jones was part of the Braves’ dynasty that won 14 consecutive NL East Division Titles. Mets fans know what I’m talking about.

Jones’ career was filled with numerous accolades, including 8 All-Star Game appearances, 1 MVP, and 1 World Series. Jones ranks 3rd all-time in home runs by a switch hitter. As the #1 overall pick in the 1990 draft, Jones lived up to expectations, finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting in 1995 (Hideo Nomo). Consistency and longevity could have been his nicknames, as he drove in at least 100 runs 9 times and hit at least 20 homes runs 14 times.

Check out his stats here.

Few are more deserving than Chipper Jones, and he can now smile knowing he’s been immortalized amongst the greatest to ever play the game.

Vladimir Guerrero, OF/DH, Montreal Expos/Los Angeles Angels (1996-2011 – 92.9%)

Has there ever been a scarier hitter?? No, he’s not the best hitter of all-time, but his ability to hit ANY pitch made him one of the toughest outs in MLB history. I once saw Vlad hit a homerun off of 1 knee. Vlad possessed a rare power, batting average combination. He hit over .300 in 14 of his 16 seasons, hit 25 home runs 12 times, and drove in 100 runs 10 times. I’m still trying to figure out how he didn’t make it in on his 1st ballot….

Check out his stats here.

Vlad also had the best arm I’ve ever seen. When you can throw the ball from the right field wall to home plate, on a fly, off your back foot, you have a GREAT arm!!

Jim Thome, 1B/3B/DH, Cleveland Indians (1991-2012 – 89.8%)

Jim Thome had 1 job, and he did it VERY well. His job was to hit the ball over the wall. He did that 612 times (8th all-time). That’s a lot of times!!

Allow me to put that into perspective. Thome hit at least 40 homes runs 6 times. Only 8 players have hit 40 home runs more times than Thome. And his slugging percentage (.554) ranks 23rd all-time.

Check out his stats here.

Oddly, Thome wore 6 different jerseys throughout his 22-year career. Thome, along with Jones, became a 1st ballot Hall of Famer Wednesday evening.

Trevor Hoffman, RP, San Diego Padres (1993-2010 – 79.9%)

Trevor Hoffman is in elite company. He’s just the 6th reliever to be elected to the Hall of Fame. While he ranks 2nd all-time in saves (behind the almighty Mariano Rivera), he is a controversial selection for Cooperstown. Hoffman was known for 2 things: his strikeout ability, and his propensity to blow big games.

Check out his stats here.

Hoffman’s shortcomings won’t show up all over a stat sheet, but I don’t think he’s worthy of the Hall of Fame. It should be the Hall of Great, not the Hall of Very Good.

 

Do you agree with the Hall of Fame selections?? Is Trevor Hoffman a Hall of Famer?? Tell me everything you think in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

I Don’t Do Deadlines

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers

Deadline – the latest time or date by which something should be completed.

Can someone please pass this definition along to Major League Baseball?? While it is exciting to see trades happen on August 31st, it is confusing. Remember seeing Trade Deadline specials on ESPN and other programs on July 31st?? Yeah, me too. So, why are trades still happening a month later??

MLB has 2 different trade deadlines. Until July 31st at 4 P.M. EST, any player can be traded at any time. After this deadline, if a player is to be traded, they must ‘clear waivers’. This means, the given player must be offered to every team in reverse order. If any team decides to claim the player, they must take on the player’s current contract. Before the ‘claiming’ team officially acquires the player, the original team has the right to revoke the waiver, and retain the rights to that player (this is often the case). Once a player clears this waiver process, they can be traded to any team. August 31st is the ACTUAL TRADE DEADLINE, sort of. Players can still be traded, but any newly acquired player would not be eligible for the postseason.

Now that we got that out of the way, jeez, we can discuss the trades that happened on August 31st (yesterday):

  • Justin Verlander (SP) was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the Houston Astros
  • Justin Upton (LF) was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the Los Angeles Angels
  • Brandon Phillips (2B) was traded from the Atlanta Braves to the Los Angeles Angels

 

And one player, Cameron Maybin, was actually claimed on waivers (which is rare). Maybin was on the Angels, but will now add depth to the Astros’ outfield. The Astros will pay the $1.5 million Maybin is owed for the rest of the season.

Justin Verlander

Verlander, 34, is still one of the better pitchers in MLB. After a slow start to the season, Verlander has returned to form since the All-Star Break. Over his last 6 starts he is 4-1 with a 2.36 e.r.a. With Lance McCullers Jr. still on the DL, and the Astros struggling, adding Verlander could be just what the Dr. ordered.

Verlander was acquired for 3 prospects.

Justin Upton

Also departing the Tigers, Upton will bring a solid, veteran bat to a struggling Angels lineup.

Upton’s season so far: .279, 28 home runs, 94 r.b.i.’s. Decceenntt.

Angels’ left-fielders so far: .244 with 7 home runs. Yikes.

Upton was acquired for a pitching-prospect and a player to be named later.

Brandon Phillips

The Angels didn’t stop there. After acquiring Upton, they gave the Atlanta Braves a call. And just 1-hour prior to the deadline, the Angels acquired Brandon Phillips.

Phillips’ season so far: .291, 11 homes runs, and 52 r.b.i.’s. Not bad for a 36-year old. 

Angels’ second-baseman so far: .196….need I say more??

Phillips was acquired for Tony Sanchez (Triple-A catcher).

 

All of these trades are bad for the Yankees. So I don’t like them. The Yankees won the 1st of a 4-game series last night against the Boston Red Sox. 1 down and 3 to go. Let’s Go Yankees!!

Who did the best at THIS trade deadline?? Post your reaction in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel called DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

 

2017 MLB Hall of Fame Inductees

hall of fame

A small class of distinguished gentlemen will take their place amongst the all-time greats. The 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Inductees represent the wealth of talent that rounded the bases in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This year’s Inductees include:

  • Ivan Rodriguez (1st Ballot)
  • Jeff Bagwell (7th Ballot)
  • Tim Raines (10th Ballot)

Let’s start with “Pudge”. Ivan Rodriguez is regarded as one of the best defensive catchers of all-time. He was an absolute wizard behind the plate, winning 13 Gold Gloves over a 21-year playing career. Playing the majority of his career for the Texas Rangers, he also made stops with the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, and Nationals. “Pudge” was voted in on his 1st ballot (76%), becoming just the 2nd catcher to share that honor (Johnny Bench). I was a fan of “Pudge”, especially when he jumped on the special sauce and decided to hit 35 Home Runs with 113 RBI’s and 25 SB’s in 1999. Oh, he also hit .332 while winning his only MVP. And now, his nickname makes more sense than ever. Anyway..Congratulations!!

Pudge’s Stats: 2,844 Hits, 311 Home Runs, 1,332 RBI’s, 127 SB’s, .296 AVG.

Jeff Bagwell made a name for himself in the 1990’s, as the most powerful member of the “Killer B’s”. Bagwell now joins his former teammate, Craig Biggio, in the Hall of Fame. Bagwell graced the staged at Cooperstown on his 7th Ballot, garnering 86.2% of the vote. Bagwell’s career is absolutely Hall of Fame worthy. He won Rookie of the Year in 1991, MVP in 1994, and played all 15 of his MLB seasons with the Houston Astros. It’s a shame he had to wait 7 years to get in, but good things come to those who wait, right?? We can ask our next guest about that….

Bagwell’s Stats: 2,314 Hits, 449 Home Runs, 1529 RBI’s, 202 SB’s, and .297 AVG.

And then there’s Tim Raines. The man who waited 10 whole years to receive his invitation to Cooperstown. After playing 23 years in MLB, what’s another 10 right?? Raines received 86.0% of the votes required to get in. While I’m happy for Raines, I’m not sold on his Hall of Fame status. I believe it is the Hall of Greatness, not the Hall of Very Good. Raines was a phenomenal base stealer, who hit for average, but is the perfect example of a player who didn’t know when to ‘hang ’em up’. While there is something to be said for longevity, he stuck around for 3/4 years too many.

Raines’ Stats: 2,605 Hits, 170 Home Runs, 980 RBI’s, 808 SB’s, .294 AVG.

MLB inducted 2 other individuals into the Hall of Fame on Sunday:

  • Bud Selig
  • John Schuerholz

Bud Selig was the Commissioner of MLB for 22 years. Over that span, he oversaw many changes to the game. He was vital in implementing the separation of each league into 3 divisions, interleague play, and revenue sharing. Despite heading up the league during the “Steroid Era”, Selig left MLB in better shape than he found it.

And last but not least, John Schuerholz. Schuerholz is regarded as one of the top General Manger’s baseball has ever seen. He spent 26 years working for the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. His resume speaks for itself: 16 Division Titles, 6 Pennants, and 2 World Series. Case closed.

And what’s a Hall of Fame Induction ceremony without a little Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds conversation?! As I’ve stated many times before, they should absolutely be voted into the Hall of Fame. Well, each year, both Clemens and Bonds’ votes continue to rise. This year, they each received approximately 54.0% of the vote (with 75% required to get in). This is up nearly 10% from last year. It is inevitable, so what are we waiting for?? Let them in, let them all in.

 

What do you think of the 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Class?? Are they all deserving??

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel called DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

So Many Sports, So Little Time

gausman

Wednesday was a busy day in the sports world. Too much for one person to handle some might say. But I’m here, so I may as well give it a shot….

NBA

Wednesday night showcased two NBA playoff matchups. Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers steamrolled the Toronto Raptors (125-103), taking a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Lebron did what he does, scoring 39 points while adding 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Just another day at the office huh?? Lebron’s 39 points were special because he passed Kareem-Abdul Jabbar for 2nd all-time on the playoff scoring list. Bad became worse for the Raptors as Kyle Lowry went down in the 3rd quarter with a left ankle injury. Lowry would return to the game, but with a noticeable limp, so I’d call Lowry questionable at best for Game 3.

The late game Wednesday night was Game 2 of the Houston Rockets vs. the San Antonio Spurs. The storyline here was simple: after a lopsided Game 1 win by the Rockets, how would the Spurs respond? And they responded exactly as I expected, with a 121-96 victory. Kawhi Leonard showed the world why he is an MVP candidate. Leonard dominated the offensive side of things with 34 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. Tony Parker also had a good game, however, he had to be carried off the court during the 4th quarter when his left knee buckled. The real story of Game 2 was Leonard’s defense, as he showed why he is the 2-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year. He locked up James Harden for the majority of the game, holding Harden to 13 points on 3 of 17 shooting. I guess Leonard doesn’t fear the beard.

NHL

The NHL also put forth two playoff games on Wednesday night. The Anaheim Ducks won an overtime thriller over the Edmonton Oilers (5-4). After an awful giveaway in his own zone by Adam Larsson of the Oilers, Ryan Getzlaf fed a wide-open Jakob Silfverberg right in front of the net.  Silfverberg drove home the one-time winner just 45 seconds into overtime, and this series is now tied at two games a piece.

Earlier in the evening, the Sydney Crosbyless Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Washington Capitals in Game 4. Crosby is still out after leaving Game 3 with a concussion. I guess the Capitals felt bad for the Penguins, so they decided to score for them. Oh yeah, you heard that right. In the 2nd period, Pittsburghs’ Jake Guentzel sent the puck in front of Washington’s net and defenseman Dmitry Orlov thought it would be a good idea to kick that puck into his own net. Nice work! The Penguins went on to win 3-2, and now hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

MLB

There was a full slate of MLB games on Wednesday night, but there was one game that dominated the headlines. The Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles have an on going feud that began on April 11th. It all started with a hard slide from Manny Machado into 2nd base that took out Dustin Pedroia’s legs. Since then, the Red Sox threw at Machado’s head, the Orioles plunked Mookie Betts, and Machado was thrown at again (this time going behind him). These actions resulted in a conference call between the Red Sox and Orioles organizations, the MLB Commisioner, and the MLB Players Association calling for the feud to be put to rest. Well you guessed it, the feud was not put to rest. Wednesday night, Kevin Gausman hit Xander Bogaerts, albeit with a curveball, as some form of sneaky retribution. Gausman was immediately ejected. I view Gausman and the Orioles as the immature person who must get the last word in no matter how wrong they know they are. But at the same time, can we not throw baseballs at people’s heads at 100 miles per hour? Okay cool, thanks. Good Talk.

In New York baseball news, the New York Mets continued their roller coaster season, beating the Atlanta Braves 16-5. As for the Yankees, they continued their winning ways, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 8-6. Aaron Judge smashed his MLB leading 13th home run of the season, and I’m quite certain he grew a foot taller last night as well.

BOXING

I’m assuming you haven’t watched a boxing match since Evander Holyfield was in the ring, but let’s talk about it anyway. This Saturday, May 6th, Canelo Alzarez (48-1-1, 34 KO’s) will take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KO’s) in an All-Mexican Showdown in Las Vegas. Coincidentally, this match will take place just one day after Cinco de Mayo. Canelo, the Junior Middleweight Title Holder, will move up a weight class to fight Chavez Jr. at a catch weight of 164.5 pounds. Canelo’s only loss to date remains a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. Canelo is the odds on favorite to win this match and for good reason. I see Canelo winning fairly easily in a unanimous decision.

SOCCER

Juventus is very good.

 

What did you watch on Wednesday night? Let me know all about it in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

 

Big Unit Headlines 2015 Hall of Fame Class

big unit

They are part of forever.  Despite all the controversy, and all the rhetoric, and the convoluted voting process, their individual accomplishments can never be second guessed again.  Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio were voted in to the MLB Hall of Fame on Tuesday, and they will be officially inducted on July 26th in Cooperstown, NY.  These inductions mark only the third time at least four players have been voted in to the Hall of Fame in one year (the last was 1955).  Also, for the first time, three first-ballot candidates were voted in in consecutive years.

Randy Johnson, regarded by many as the best left-handed pitcher of all-time, garnered 97.3% of the votes (the 8th highest percentage of all-time).  The “Big Unit” is one of only two pitchers to win four consecutive CY Young Awards, the other being Greg Maddux.  Johnson was a strikeout machine, as he is still the all-time leader in K’s per nine innings (10.6).  Standing 6’10” tall, Johnson was an intimidating force, playing on six different teams during his 22 year career.  Most impressively, Johnson is a member of the 300-Win Club (303).  Pedro Martinez, a three time CY Young Award winner, received 91.1% of the votes.  Martinez had one of the most dominant stretches of any pitcher during his prime, finishing in the top four of the CY Young Award in seven out of eight years.  He also helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004.  John Smoltz had a unique, 21 year career.  He is the only pitcher ever to record 200 wins and 150 saves.  Playing almost his entire career with the Atlanta Braves, he was a staple in their pitching staff, along side fellow Hall of Famers, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.  That Braves dynasty won a record 14 straight National League East titles.  And last but not least, Craig Biggio will enter the Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility.  Biggio is a member of the 3,000 hit club, playing multiple defensive positions over his 20 year career.  While playing second base, outfield, and catcher he won four gold gloves.  He is the only player in Major League history to have 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 250 home runs, and 400 stolen bases.

It is wonderful to see these great players honored for their achievements, but a dark cloud still remains, constantly hovering over Major League Baseball. No, that cloud isn’t filled with water vapor, it’s filled with steroids. And every time we have this conversation, it serves as an annual reminder of all the cheating and accusations that surround baseball’s best players. My opinion of these players is simple. It is impossible to know who did or did not take steroids. Therefore, in order not to falsely accuse innocent players or unknowingly allow cheaters into the Hall of Fame, we must view everyone on an even playing field. Barry Bonds existed. Barry Bonds broke numerous records and is one of the greatest baseball players that ever lived. Personal opinions aside (I for one can’t stand the guy), baseball is doing itself a disservice by not allowing Bonds in to the Hall of Fame. As for Mike Piazza, here is a guy to feel bad for. While he will most likely get in to the Hall of Fame next year, it is absurd that solely rumors are keeping him on the outside looking in. He is the best offensive catcher of all-time. The voting system is not a fair system at all. Instead, it is a group of ego maniacal sports writers, who think this process is a platform for settling personal vendettas. Yeah, not so much. The writers need to stop pretending an entire era didn’t exist, and they need to put em’ all in!!

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

How do you feel about this years Hall of Fame inductees? Did the committee get it right? Should accused steroid users be allowed in to the Hall of Fame?

Let me know how you feel in the comment section below.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

National League East Predictions

Over the next month I will be writing previews for every team and division in Major League Baseball.  I will break down each team and predict the winner of each division.  Today I will start with the National League East.  Here is a look at how each team finished last season:

2012 National League East Final Standings:

W  L

Washington Nationals: 98-64

Atlanta Braves:              94-68

Philadelphia Philles:     81-81

New York Mets:             74-88

Miami Marlins:               69-93

The Miami Marlins had very high expectations last season.  Everyone crowned them NL East Champions before the season even started.  However, the Marlins greatly underacheived.  They took their projected record and flipped it upside down.  So what did the Marlins owner do?  Exactly what we all would have done (haha).  Can anyone say FIRE SALE?!?!  Everyone is criticising the Marlins owner for dumping his entire roster just one year after building a brand new stadium in Miami.  I say to those people, wake up and smell the coffee!!  This is the third time in Marlins franchise history that they’ve done this.  I don’t know why anyone is surprised.  Anyway, outside of Giancarlo Stanton this team is pretty much awful.  I do like Justin Ruggiano’s potential, but he needs to get out of town before it is too late.  I see the Marlins having a long frustrating season, finishing with a putrid record of 65-97.  Sorry Miami.  Hang tough though, in 5 years you’ll probably win another World Series.

What can I say about the New York Mets that hasn’t been said already?  I love New York, and I try to root for every New York team even if they’re not my favorite team.  But it is hard to root for the Mets.  How long can they be downright awful for?  It’s almost like being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, you just know they are going to be bad every year.  I hope they turn it around in the near future, but the near future is not going to be 2013.  The Mets, like the Marlins, have a couple of nice players and the rest are essentially Triple-A ballplayers.  I like David Wright and uh yeah only David Wright.  Anyone else on the roster with potential to be great is injury prone.  It would be a miracle if Shawn Marcum, Daniel Murphy, and Johan Santana last the entire season.  I do actually like Jonathon Niese to be their best pitcher this season, but unfortunately they don’t have enough to compete in this division.  The Mets will be slightly worse than last season, finishing with a record of 71-91.

The Philadelphia Phillies are no longer a great team.  They proved that by finishing a pedestrian 81-81 last season.  The majority of the problems are a result of injuries and aging players.  Roy Halladay should bounce back from last season’s poor performance, but at 35 years old he doesn’t have any CY Young Awards coming his way.  The additions of Michael Young, Delmon Young, and Ben Revere are all solid moves, but I don’t think it’s going to land them in the playoffs this season.  They still have a very good pitching staff in Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Doc Halladay, but they like the Mets are also injury prone.  I see a slight improvement from last season to the tune of an 87-75 record.  This will leave them just outside the playoffs.

The Atlanta Braves were the first wild card in the National League last season.  In the new playoff format that was put in place in 2012, they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in a one game playoff.  With the addition of the Upton brothers, the Braves have certainly improved their outfield and added some power to their lineup.  The upton’s can both run also, so while Michael Bourn will be missed, they might actually steal more bases than they did in 2012.  Without question the Braves have the best closer in baseball; Craig Kimbrel.  As long as their starters can carry a lead through the 8th inning, the Braves will win A LOT of games.  The Atlanta Braves have a decent pitching rotation that is headed up by old-timer Tim Hudson.  Tim has remained very good even as he enters his late 30’s, and he will need to continue to pitch like a #1 starter if the Braves are going to make the playoffs this season.  The rest of their pitching rotation is filled with younger guys with plenty of potential.  These young guys bring about plenty of questions.  Is Kris Medlen as good as the pitcher we saw last season, or will he regress?  Is Paul Maholm the pitcher we’ve watched struggle for years in Pittsburgh, or is he the consistent pitcher we saw last year?  What can we expect to see from Mike Minor and Julio Teheran?  These questions make the Braves rotation a wildcard.  Their success will be predicated on the rotation and will be the reason the Braves either return to the playoffs or falter and miss out on the party in October.  I believe they will regress slightly from last year and finish with a record of 86-76.

Last season the Washington Nationals finished with the best record in the National League.  They had a very successful season which was highlighted by their phenomenal pitching staff.  Unfortunately, the Nationals weren’t able to win a playoff series and lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 5 games in the Divison Series.  This season the Nationals are primed and ready to make a deeper run into the playoffs.  The silly innings limit has been officially lifted from Stephen Strasburg, and I believe he will be the best pitcher in baseball this season.  The advantage gained by being able to pitch Gio Gonzalez against #2 starters from other teams can’t be overstated.  Jordan Zimmerman is also looking to build on a solid 2012 season.  The addition of Dan Haren to the rotation should help bolster the back end of their rotation.  It should also be a nice change of scenery for Haren, as he looks to get back to winning ways after a poor 2012 season.  You’d be hard pressed to find a better pitching rotation in all of baseball than the Washington Nationals.  They also added Rafael Soriano to an already impressive bullpen.  Handing the ball to Soriano, Tyler Clippard, or Drew Storen (if he can stay healthy) is a nice luxury to have and should help shorten games.  They also brought in Denard Span who is a nice baserunner and fielder when healthy.  Oh yeah, they also have this rising star you may have heard of named Bryce Harper.  He is the youngest player in the Major Leagues and is only going to improve.  The Nationals are a very good team who from top to bottom have the potential to be the best team in all of baseball.  I see them finishing with a very similar record as last year, only this season they will get over the hump and win at least one playoff series.  The Washington Nationals 2013 Regular Season Record will be 99-63 and they will win the National League East.

2013 National League East Projected Final Standings:

W  L

Washington Nationals: 99-63

Philadelphia Phillies:     87-75

Atlanta Braves:               86-76

New York Mets:              71-91

Miami Marlins:               65-97

2013 National League East Projected Winner: Washington Nationals

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