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!!

 

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What Do You Mean ‘Double Check’ My Sources?!

jay bruce 2

The world has been waiting….

Waiting for the dominoes to start falling in Major League Baseball. Who knew that first domino would be a fake report?! Wednesday morning, multiple sources reported Gerrit Cole had been traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Houston Astros. By Wednesday afternoon, we had learned this report was as make believe as the Easter Bunny. Sorry parents. Apparently, some journalists prefer being 1st and wrong over being 2nd and right.

See, this is a fun time for MLB; the offseason. The time when rumors fly, money gets tossed around, and players potentially relocate. Until Wednesday, this offseason had been notoriously slow. Just 30 of the 160 potential free agents had signed with their respective teams. Over the past 2 days, free agency has built up speed. It turns out, all it needed was a little nudge from a fake report.

These new deals are 1-year contracts in order to avoid arbitration:

  • Cody Allen – $10.575 Million (Indians)
  • Khris Davis – $10.5 Million (Athletics)
  • Patrick Corbin – $7.5 Million (Diamondbacks)
  • Miguel Gonzalez – $4.75 Million (White Sox)
  • Mike Zunino – $2.975 Million (Mariners)
  • Randal Grichuk – $2.6 Million (Cardinals)
  • Zach McAllister – $2.45 Million (Indians)
  • Jake Marisnick – $1.9 Million (Astros)
  • Tommy Kahnle – $1.3125 Million (Yankees)

Arbitration is a legal process used when a player (prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent) and team can’t come to terms on a 1-year contract. Both the player and team submit their proposed salary contracts to a 3rd-party, neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator then determines a fair salary based on the player’s statistics. Despite retaining the rights to said player, arbitration isn’t generally the 1st step in a long-term, healthy relationship.

While everyone’s attention turned to 1-year contracts, and a fake report, the New York Mets swooped in and ACTUALLY signed a contract paying out more than $12 per year. On Wednesday, the Mets came to terms with Jay Bruce on a 3-year, $39 million contract. While Bruce isn’t a hop on my back and ride to the playoffs type of guy, he’s a solid offensive outfielder. On a team (as cheap as the Mets) lacking offense, I like this deal for the Mets.

Only 2 bigger contracts have been signed, so far, than Bruce; Carlos Santana and Wade Davis. Santana signed a 3-year, $60 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on December 20th. This makes the Bruce deal look even better. As for Davis, his 3-year, $52 million contract with the Colorado Rockies makes him the highest paid relief pitcher (per year) of all-time. We’ll see how he enjoys the “comfort” of pitching in Coors Field.

With just over a month until pitchers and catchers report, expect an avalanche of dominoes to fall in the near future. Here are the biggest, unsigned names:

J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Yu Darvish.

MLB Free Agency, a time when wildly overpaying players has become America’s new pastime.

 

What do you think of the Jay Bruce contract?? Does Wade Davis deserve to be the highest paid reliever of all-time?? Post your thoughts 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!!

 

Greatness Isn’t Given, It’s Earned

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

20 Years Of Greatness

10. Kobe Bryant will become the 10th player in NBA history to have his number(s) retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. Magic, Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Baylor, West, Worthy, Goodrich, and Wilkes. That’s what we call, good company. In a special, halftime ceremony, Kobe had both #8 and #24 immortalized. The ceremony included a tribute video, the jersey reveal, and a speech from Kobe.

Kobe’s speech was heartfelt and eloquent. He gave credit to the all-time greats who paved the way for his career. He thanked the fans and media for being there every step of the way. And he thanked his wife and children for their motivation and inspiration. Kobe closed with one last parting shot before dropping the mic:

“Mamba Out.”

ESPN President Resigns

ESPN President, John Skipper, is resigning after 20 years with the company. Skipper cited a substance abuse problem as his reason for leaving. George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s Executive Chairman, will act as President for a period of 90 days.

Skipper was extremely influential in his time at ESPN. He helped launch ESPN The Magazine in 1998, and 2 years later was promoted to oversee ESPN.com and all internet properties of ESPN. Skipper’s departure comes at an odd time. His trajectory within the company was headed in the right direction, Disney recently acquired 21st Century Fox (Fox carries 22 regional sports networks), and today….is his birthday.

Many ESPN employees were shocked by this development. Skipper had a profound impact on numerous on-air personalities. On his radio show, Dan Le Batard fought through tears to say this, “This person has created everything that exists here at ESPN for us.”

While this announcement comes as a surprise to many, Skipper must face his problem head on. He is taking personal responsibility for his actions and is owning his decision. Skipper said at a press conference Monday, “I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided the most important thing I can do right now is take care of my problem.”

Holiday Spirit

Cole and Heidi Hamels embody the Holiday spirit. The spirit of generosity. Hamels and his wife recently donated their $9.4 million mansion to charity. Hamels, the longtime Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher, now pitches for the Texas Rangers. In 2013, Hamels signed a 6-year, $144 million contract. He and his wife’s way of giving back is by leaving their mansion to the Barnabas Charity. The Barnabas Charity helps children in need all around the world. The Hamels’ family mansion, including 100 acres of land, will be used as a camp for children with special needs and chronic illnesses. The mansion is located in southwest Missouri.

In a news release, Hamels said, “Seeing the faces, hearing the laughter, reading the stories of the kids they serve; there is truly nothing like it,” he said in the statement. “Barnabas makes dreams come true, and we felt called to help them in a big way.”

During this Holiday season, think of stories like this. Not all people are bad. Not all people are greedy. Some simply want to help others. Allow this story to inspire you to help those in need.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

 

If you have a feel good story, please post it in the comment section below. Thank you.

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!!

 

Roy Halladay, Gone Too Soon

roy-halladay

It is a sad day in the sports community. Harry Leroy Halladay III, aka Roy “Doc” Halladay, passed away Tuesday afternoon, at the age of 40, in a plane crash. It’s being reported he was the lone passenger on his single-engine, two-seater plane that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico at approximately noon on Tuesday. As a child, Halladay dreamed of flying a plane because his father was a corporate pilot. Halladay’s dream came true upon retiring from Major League Baseball, as his contract prohibited piloting a plane.

The outpouring of love has been tremendous from countless people from many walks of life. The baseball community recognizes Halladay as one of the best pitchers of his generation. His personal community acknowledges the work he did with those in need through his foundation and charity work. And his family mourns the loss of a loving husband and father of two.

On the field, Halladay’s work ethic was 2nd to none. Former Philadelphia Phillies’ teammate, Chase Utley, shared the recollection of the day he met Halladay:

“It was 5:45 a.m. on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said, “No I just finished my workout”.”

Halladay was a consummate professional. And it showed on the mound….

Halladay’s Career (16 Seasons):

203 wins

3.38 era

1.18 whip

2,117 strikeouts 

2 Cy Young Awards, 8 All-Star Selections, 1 Perfect Game, and 1 Postseason No-Hitter

Halladay is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Halladay’s influence reached farther than the 60 feet, 6 inches of real estate he worked in for 16 years. He was an active member of his community, donating time, money, and energy to the betterment of society. He and his wife would invite children and their families from the Hospital for Sick Children to his personal suite at Rogers Centre to enjoy Toronto Blue Jays’ games. This wasn’t done for notoriety, as press was not allowed in the suite. He also had an annual donation of $100,000 to the Jays Care Foundation written into his contract.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, which had a personal relationship with Halladay, reported the crash. Halladay donated a police dog to the Sheriff’s Office, which they appropriately named “Doc”. You can’t sum up a man in 1 or 2 sentences, but Sheriff, Chris Nocco, did his best:

“You wouldn’t know what Roy did because Roy wouldn’t tell you what he did,” Nocco said. “And that’s the legacy of a great man.”

Halladay is survived by his wife Brandy, and their two sons, Ryan and Braden.

 

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!!

SPORTS — The Gift That Keeps On Giving

tom-brady-happy-face

Don’t be a sheep. Sheep blend in with the herd and follow what everyone else is doing. I will never be a sheep. I will always be a fox. A leader, who walks his own path. A path covered in clean, white snow, sans footprints. See, I keep hearing the same thing from seemingly everyone, “It’s August. We have nothing to talk about!!” Yes, you do, you’re just lazy. There’s always something to talk about it in the world of sports. Now use that real estate between your ears to find the gifts August 3rd has brought us this year.

Tom Brady

What do you get the man who has everything?? I have no clue!! But according to Rob Gronkowski, you get him ‘Touchdowns’. Tom Brady’s 40th birthday is today. And “The Gronk” said, “I’m going to catch that man some touchdowns.” Wow. So profound Gronk. Thank you so much!!

Tom Brady continues to play at an extremely high level. For now, Father Time has taken a back seat in Tom Brady’s SUV. I’m sure Brady wouldn’t mind the fountain of youth for his birthday though, for Father Time is undefeated for a reason. Today is going to be SUPER annoying. Sports networks are going to jam Tom Brady’s accomplishments down our throats. Enjoy throwing up everybody!!

Wladimir Klitschko 

His name may start with an inexplicable W, but his career did not end with a W. After an 11th round knockout by Anthony Joshua back in April, Klitcschko has decided to hang up his boxing gloves for good. While his last fight was competitive, it ultimately led to the decision for the 41 year old to retire. Klitschko enjoyed a very successful career, going 64-5 and in his 69 professional fights. This news leaves the heavyweight division even thinner than it already was. Good luck boxing….

Neymar Jr.

Hey, you got $222 Million Euro ($262 Million Dollars) sittin’ around?? You do?? Oh great! Let’s spend that on Neymar Jr. I can’t actually think of a better way to spend money. This is the current state of affairs in soccer. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will pay the largest transfer fee EVER to Barcelona to attain the rights to Neymar Jr. This is insane!!

Shutout City

Yesterday was an odd day in Major League Baseball. Of the 14 games that were played, 6 were shutouts. This is the 2nd most shutouts in one day in the past 11 years. The even crazier part is 4 of the 6 starting pitchers have E.R.A.s of 5.00 or more. And the CRAZIEST part is the teams these crappy pitchers blanked:

  • Washington Nationals
  • Houston Astros
  • New York Yankees
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Philadelphia Phillies

Outside of the Phillies, those are REALLY GOOD hitting teams. For all of them to put up goose eggs on the same day, there must be some weird, cosmic energy floating around the universe.

 

What was the most exciting part of Wednesday for you?? Tell me all about it 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!!

 

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

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!