MLB

Couch Side Podcast Episode 44: NFL Awards


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BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Couch Side co-hosts Craig Paul, left, and Wade McMillin show off Craigs latest horn-hunting find.

Couch Side co-hosts Craig Paul, left, and Wade McMillin show off Craigs latest horn-hunting find.

In this week’s episode, co-hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul unveil Couch Side’s official Super Bowl preview, dish out NFL postseason awards, and discuss Tiger Woods’ early season dominance and the latest baseball blockbuster trade. Also, Keith Van Horn is recognized as part of our new mini segment, honoring athletes who correspond with our episode number,

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 44: NFL Awards, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 44: NFL Awards, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 44: NFL Awards, via iTunes


Justin Upton trade raises questions about Dbacks’ future


Third baseman Martin Prado was the centerpiece in a seven-player deal between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta. Photo by: Cristine Maybourne / Flickr

Third baseman Martin Prado was the centerpiece in a seven-player deal between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta. Photo by: Cristine Maybourne / Flickr

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com blogger

The biggest takeaway I’m getting from the Justin Upton trade is this: If you don’t project enough outward and possibly a superficial appearance of playing hard and gritty, you aren’t qualified to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s examine the trade at hand. Arizona dealt 25-year Justin Upton (career .278/.357./475 hitter) and 3B Chris Johnson (.276/.315/.430) for a year of useful utility player Martin Prado (.295/.345/.435), pitcher Randall Delgado (3.95 ERA), and minor leaguers Nick Ahmed SS, Brandon Drury 3B, Zeke Spruill P.

This appears to be the final straw in the Kevin Towers path of roster destruction. Three important players from the recent 2011 NL West winning squad (Upton, Chris Young, Ryan Roberts) have since been traded for what some would say is 50 cents on the dollar. Young was used to get shortstop Cliff Pennington, but then Towers decided he needed roughly 50 more of those, so he used their 2011 #1 pick Trevor Bauer to land Didi Gregorious from Cincinnati in a three-way deal. Veteran grit machines Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald are under contract for 2013, so you have a logjam of light hitting, good defending middle infielders.

So what is the ultimate endgame here? Their star power-hitting right fielder is gone, which would suggest that catcher Miguel Montero and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielders Jason Kubel and Cody Ross will now received the brunt of the pressure in the middle of the lineup. That’s fine I guess, but they aren’t perennial MVP candidates.

Fox sports insider Ken Rosenthal offered some insight on the motivation for this trade.

“The problem is that he didn’t play with a high level of energy,” said the former teammate, who spoke on the condition that he would not be identified. “What I think they want is guys who play with the speed, energy and intensity of the Oregon football team — all out, all the time. (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 43: All-Star Roundtable


Couch Side hosts Craig Paul, left, and Wade McMillin pay hommage to NBC legends Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

Couch Side hosts Craig Paul, left, and Wade McMillin pay hommage to NBC legends Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

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BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Couch Side’s usual trio of Wade McMillin Craig, Paul and Sean Schoonover take on sports topics including, the AFC and NFC Championship,  the best All-Star festivities in sports and MLK Day in this week’s show. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 43: All-Star Roundtable, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 43: All-Star Roundtable, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 43: All-Star Roundtable via iTunes


What would it take for the Braves to land Justin Upton?


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Arizona Diamondbacks Justin Upton could be on his way out fo town before opening day. Photo by: Paul Martinez / Flickr

Arizona Diamondbacks Justin Upton could be on his way out fo town before opening day. Photo by: Paul Martinez / Flickr

With the Major League Baseball offseason almost drawing to a close, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton is once again drawing a lot of interest.

As teams scramble for that last addition to feel comfortable with their opening day rosters, Upton seems to be quite the commodity. We’ve already seen what was pretty much a done deal between the Seattle Mariners and D-Backs to send Upton to the Northwest, but the budding superstar invoked his no-trade clause. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers is obviously willing to trade his prized bat and to his credit, he almost got a deal done that would’ve solidified his pitching staff with young arms for years to come.

However, Upton struck the deal down, leaving Towers looking for a new direction. Perhaps the Atlanta Braves? Earlier this offseason, Towers proposed a deal to Braves General Manager Frank Wren that would’ve sent Upton to Atlanta for defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons and maybe a pitching prospect. The price was too high for the Braves as they see Simmons’ glove as the next big thing in baseball. Rightfully so, Wren turned down the deal, yet recent trade talks between Atlanta and Arizona have heated up.  (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 42: College Hoops Hoopla


Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., could have the Wolverines playing for the NCAA championship. Photo by: Adam Glanzman / Flickr

Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., could have the Wolverines playing for the NCAA championship. Photo by: Adam Glanzman / Flickr

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BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Regular Co-Host Craig Paul is back this week as he and Wade McMillin discuss the NFL playoffs, shakeups in the Top 25 of the men’s NCAA basketball poll, Lance Armstrong’s confession, the Sacramento Kings possibly moving to Seattle and giant opening-day payrolls in baseball. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast!

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 42: College Hoops Hoopla, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 42: College Hoops Hoopla, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 42: College Hoops Hoopla via iTunes


Steroid era shows its muscle over Hall of Fame voters


No player will live forever behind the walls of baseball's Hall of Fame. At least not this year. Photo by: Ken Curtis / Flickr

No player will live forever behind the walls of baseball’s Hall of Fame. At least not this year. Photo by: Ken Curtis / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN & BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com bloggers

When the Baseball Writer’s Association received a chance to throw a shutout against this year’s Hall of Fame candidates, the pencil pushers couldn’t pass up the chance.

For just the second time in the past 40 years, a player won’t be enshrined at Cooperstown. At first reaction, Major League Baseball fans probably scratched their heads at the rare occasion. After all, many of them probably don’t remember the last time the MLB didn’t have an annual Hall of Fame Induction. It’s been more than a decade since Hall of Fame voters didn’t grant a player’s golden ticket to walk through the pearly gates of Cooperstown. So why this year? Why now? Well it seems like the baseball’s steroid era is carrying some serious weight on the prestine voters of the MLB’s highest honer.

Instead of thinking that a guy just deserves his day in the sun, voters now have to second guess themselves about whether or not that particular player used performance enhancing drugs. It looks like there won’t be any free passes or thoughts that a player’s stats and skills are simply good enough. Instead, the foreseeable future of MLB Hall of Fame voting will have a dark cloud lingering, filled with creams, needles and lies. However, there’s no doubt that some players deserving of the honor, never once though about gaining that edge. Those are the baseball players who should get their shot. It’s sad to think that some won’t just because their name is listed alongside the likes of Barry Bonds, Rodger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.

As disheartening and backwards as the situation seems, it will most likely be the way Hall of Fame voters look at each player new to the ballot. Plenty of players deserved their shot this year, but were denied the chance undoubtedly because of some of the other tarnished names on the ballot. This is just the beginning baseball fans. In the future, expect crowded ballots and these old, tired voters to leave your guy off their list. Here’s a look at some of this year’s snubs and a clear case of why they either should’ve made it into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday or why they should soon.

Pre-steroid era (Brandon J. Smith)

• Jack Morris, Detroit Tigers: I’m not a Jack Morris supporter, and it has nothing to do with feelings or emotions concerning his candidacy, but rather the factual results that don’t put him in an elite category of pitching. No matter how you slice it, a 3.90 ERA with a 1.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio just doesn’t do it for me. If he gets elected however it won’t bother me personally, just the writers who have to twist and bend history to make a case for him will. That being said, where does Morris go from here? He up from 66% to 67% of the vote this year and has one chance left before he’s off the ballot. Will there be a final surge from the voters to get a sympathy vote when Maddux, Glavine, and Frank Thomas join the fray next year, or will he get pushed back with all the others? I think he’ll get pushed back, although it would be hilarious to have him inducted on the same day as Greg freaking Maddux. (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 41: NFL Coaching Carousel (with video)


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

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After a nice Christmas/New Year’s break, the Couch Side Podcast crew is back! Tune in to this week’s episode for the common fan’s opinion of the NFL playoffs and NFL coaching searches. In Quick Snippets, co-hosts Wade McMillin and Sean Schoonover discuss the end of the NHL lockout and Javier Vazquez’s possible return to Major League Baseball. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 41: NFL Coaching Carousel, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 41: NFL Coaching Carousel, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 41: NFL Coaching Carousel via iTunes


Couch Side Podcast Episode 40: Over the Hill


The L.A. Kings' 2012 run to a Stanley Cup title made the list of Couch Side top moments in sports for 2012. Photo by: underactive / Flickr

The L.A. Kings’ 2012 run to a Stanley Cup title made the list of Couch Side top moments in sports for 2012. Photo by: underactive / Flickr

BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Couch Side is jacked to bring you the 40th episode of our show. Join hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul for dicussions about a couple of very tight divisions, the best sports moments of 2012, the R.A. Dickey trade, Duke taking over the No. 1 spot in the AP college men’s basketball poll and the return of Steve Nash. Join us for this very special holiday episode by clicking below:
• Click here to download Couch Side Podcast Episode 40: Over the Hill … via Talkshoe

Nick Swisher: An overlooked commodity


BY JUSTIN MILLAR, Feedcrossing.com syndication

Free agent outfielder Nick Swisher may just land the next big deal. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Free agent outfielder Nick Swisher may just land the next big deal. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

While we are all sitting here absorbing the shock of Josh Hamilton’s new enormous contract with the Angels, a fellow free agent outfielder is making his 2013 plans, albeit at a much lower pricetag.

Since becoming a full time regular in 2005, Nick Swisher has been a model of consistency. Aside from his 35 home run outburst in 2006, he has hit between 21 and 29 home runs in every full season in his big league career. He has hit 30+ doubles each of the past 4 years, and has scored between 75 and 106 runs in 7 straight seasons. Swisher’s OPS+ has also been 120+ in 6 of the past 7 years. And since 2006, his walk rate has only dipped below 12% once (2010). Since 2005, he has accumulated a 26.3 WAR (via Fangraphs), averaging 3.3 wins above replacement per season.
The fact is, Swisher excels at parts of the game that traditionalists overlook, such as getting on base and position versatility. Swisher can play all 3 outfield positions as well as first base. And he can play all but center field at an adequate level. These factors alone make Swisher an extremely valuable player, and an underrated one as well.
With Josh Hamilton off the board, Swisher is now the top free agent bat on the market, and he could be in line for a nice payday. Most estimate Swisher to be getting a contract around 4 years with an average annual value in the $12-$15 million range. It definitely would not surprise me if he ended up getting a contract worth 4/$60. There are a number of teams rumored to be interested in his services including the Rangers (who are looking for an outfielder now that they lost Hamilton and Justin Upton), Mariners, and Indians. (more…)

Couch Side Podcast 39: Winter Meeting Mojo


The Couch Side gang dives into the MLB Winter Meetings in this week's episode. Photo by: Steve Dean / Flickr

The Couch Side gang dives into the MLB Winter Meetings in this week’s episode. Photo by: Steve Dean / Flickr

BY Couchsideshow.com staff
Couch Side keeps rolling this week with headlines around the NFL taking center stage. Join hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul and special guest Sean Schoonover is sports discussions that include the NFL playoff picture after Week 14, a review of the MLB Winter Meeting and NFL coaches who may be on the Hot Seat. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Show podcast:

• Click here to stream Couch Side Podcast Episode 39: Winter Meeting Mojo … via Talkshoe


Braves first to pull the Free Agent trigger with Upton signing


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

The Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton to a five-year, $75 million deal Wednesday afternoon. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

The MLB hot stove has heaten up early this offseason.

The Toronto Blue Jays started the late-fall flames with their blockbuster deal that picked up any sort of talent the Miami Marlins still had. Then Toronto struck again, signing 2012 MLB All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, who will be fresh off a 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. The rest of the young offseason has already seen a plethora of re-signings and small-end swaps to keep fans interested enough to care.

Just two months into this uncharacteristic MLB offseason things have been exciting without a top name free agent finding a new home. With names like Josh Hamilton, and Zack Greinke on the market, it’s unusual Free Agency hasn’t been the talk of this early offseason buzz. But all of that may have ended Wednesday afternoon when the Atlanta Braves struck a deal with B.J. Upton, who is considered the top free agent center fielder.  (more…)


Josh Hamilton’s life to be turned into a movie


BY JOHN BOARMAN, Feedcrossing.com syndication   

Josh Hamilton’s rise to the big leagues will be on the silver screen within the next few year. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

It was only a matter of time. Josh Hamilton’s journey to the major leagues will be detailed in an upcoming movie from Relativity Media.

Relativity has a deal with Hamilton, along with a deal for Casey Affleck to write and direct the picture, according to Deadline.

Thunder Road Pictures’ Basil Iwanyk will produce along with The Walsh Company’s Kevin Walsh. Thunder Road’s Kent Kubena will executive produce and Hamilton and his wife Katie will co-produce along with Hamilton’s business manager Steve Reed. 

Relativity has also closed a deal for rights to the book that Hamilton co-authored according to Deadline. The book titled ‘Beyond Belief: Finding The Strength To Come Back’ was published in 2010.

The story of Hamilton will likely center around his struggle with drugs and his eventual return to baseball after being kicked out for three full  years. (more…)


Miami Marlins are back to their old ways after latest “fire sale”


BY STAYSON ISOBE, Couchsideshow.com blogger

After playing just one season with the Miami Marlins, shortstop Jose Reyes was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by: Paul Hadsall / Flickr

A year and two days ago, the team formerly known as the Florida Marlins officially began the rebranding of itself by formally changing its name to the Miami Marlins. Out were the old colors of teal, silver and white and in came flashy new uniforms doused in orange with yellow and blue. They left their digs at Sun Life Stadium or as I knew it, Pro Player Stadium, to the Dolphins and they moved into the new Marlins Park, equipped with an aquarium, nightclub and an interesting home run sculpture in left center.

The rebranded Miami Marlins were supposed to be more conducive to the South Beach lifestyle and the hope was they could finally establish themselves as a bonafide Major League Baseball team.

The fact that they still needed to establish themselves as a bonafide professional baseball franchise is a problem in itself. There’s no reason that a franchise that has won two World Series titles in the last 16 years should even be in this situation. The Marlins’ two championships are only rivaled by the Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants – each of whom have won two titles each in the same span – and the Yankees, who have won four. And nobody is questioning the legitimacy of those four franchises.

Ok maybe the Red Sox at the moment, but they have Bobby V to blame.

Yet despite the championship success, let’s just say the Marlins weren’t a star attraction. Prior to moving to Marlins Park, the previous Florida Marlins ranked dead-last among all National League teams in home attendance every year from 2006-2011. Even in 2003, the year they won their most recent World Series title, they were 15th out of 16 NL teams.

Hence, all of this led to the rebranding – the Miami Marlins era. Along with the new stadium, the frugal ownership made a splash at the Winter Meetings just week after they unveiled their new home. In came Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and Heath Bell all for a total price tag of $193 million. Reyes received the longest and most lucrative contract in franchise history. Ozzie Guillen was brought in to manage a ball club with high expectations all of a sudden. (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 36: A New Sheriff in Town


Newly appointed Los Angles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni was the main focus on this weeks episode of the Couch Side Podcast. Photo by: Bryan Horowitz / Flickr

BY Couchsideshow.com staff

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The Couch Side team is back in the same studio this week as hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul record the podcast face to face for the first time in five weeks. The hosts review Week 10 of the NFL, preview Week 11’s games and share some Fantasy Football tips. Special guest Chuck Constantino also joined the conversation, sharing his opinion on the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching change. Cloick below to start streaming downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:

Click here to stream, download or subscribe Couch Side Podcast Episode 35: And the award goes too … Review via iTunes 

Click here to stream Couch Side Podcast Episode 35: And the award goes to … via Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Podcast Episode 35: And the award goes to … via Talkshoe


Braves need an active offseason to avoid irrelevancy


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Outfielder Cody Ross would be a good fit for the Atlanta Braves next year. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Its been 19 years since the Atlanta Braves have entered the offseason without Chipper Jones on their roster.

Without Jones, the Braves have lost a little spunk on paper. Sure, he didn’t hit 40 homers or rack up 130 RBIs in a single season, but now that Jones is gone, Atlanta lacks that superstar image. Brian McCann seems as if he is out the door and Braves fans are still waiting to see a breakout year from Jason Heyward. Yes, Freddie Freeman is on the rise and the club’s pitching is as strong as it was in the days of Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine, but Atlanta can’t have its usual sleep offseason this year.

The Braves clearly have some holes in their lineup. Martin Prado will likely move to third base to fill some enormous shows, leaving a vacancy in left field. It’s also almost certain that Atlanta — given Fran Wren’s previous offseasons — won’t resign center fielder Michael Bourn, which seriously hinders the Braves’ playoff chances for next year. It’s clear that Atlanta has some areas to adress this winter. Fans just have to pray that Wren is a little more active than he has been in years past.

This year’s free agent class, headlined by Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, is a bit weak this year, but there’s still some very attractive options the Braves should consider. As an Atlanta fan, here are some viable courses of action the Braves could try to reach the Fall Classic next year:

Corner Outfielder

• Free Agent options: There are two guys I believe the Braves will take a serious look at this winter. I have been a huge proponent for the Braves to sign Nick Swisher and this is finally the year that they can do it. Given, Swisher has never played for a National League team, the change of scenery could perhaps put some new life into the veteran’s bat. Swisher is starting to hit for more contact and the power is definitely  still there. Atlanta has been hungry for a power hitter for years. Swisher would be a perfect fit, if he is willing to play left field. The other obvious outfielder Atlanta should think hard about is Cody Ross. Since shining for the San Francisco Giants in their World Series run a few years back, Ross has seem to come into his own. The 31-year-old stuggles a bit as a contact hitter, but like Swisher, he can hit for power, too. I believe Ross’ power numbers will only climb as it seems he is beginning to enter his prime. If Atlanta can sign him, Ross could adress a big area of need right away. (more…)


Walt Weiss takes over as Colorado Rockies manager


BY IAN PALMER, Feedcrossing.com syndication

Former major league shortstop Walt Weiss was named the manager of the Colorado Rockies this week. Photo by: Social Responsibility / Flickr

The Colorado Rockies have hired former shortstop Walt Weiss as the Major League ball club’s new manager. The National League team announced the signing on Nov. 7 and he replaces Jim Tracy, who resigned from the position following the regular season on Oct. 7. Tracy still had a year to go on his contract at a salary of $1.4 million.

Weiss broke into the Majors with the Oakland A’s back in 1988 when he was awarded the Rookie of the Year award in the American League. He played with Colorado between 1994 and 1997 and between 2002 and 2008 he was a special assistant to Dan O’Dowd, the club’s general manager.

Weiss left the team to enjoy more family time and was the coach of Regis Jesuit High School’s baseball team last season. He led the school to a record of 20-6 and made the semifinals in its division of the state championship.

Arizona Diamondbacks’ third-base coach Matt Williams was also a top candidate for the position which became vacant when Tracy left the club after its worst ever season. It was reported that Colorado first baseman Jason Giambi and bench coach Tom Runnells were also interviewed for the job.  (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 35: And the award goes to …


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

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Baseball season may be over, but the postseason awards are just days away and in this week’s show, the Couch Side gives its predictions for the MLB’s top individual awards. The hosts also review Week Nine of the NFL and preview Week 10. Couch Side then wraps up with even more Fantasy Football advice. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Show podcast:

Click here to stream, download or subscribe Couch Side Podcast Episode 35: And the award goes too … Review via iTunes 

Click here to stream Couch Side Podcast Episode 35: And the award goes to … via Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Podcast Episode 35: And the award goes to … via Talkshoe


Couch Side Podcast — Episode 34: MLB Season Review


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Fireworks from the San Francisco Giants home stadium ignite after the team won Game one of the 2012 World Series. Photo by: David Yu / Flickr

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Couch Side pays its homage to the World Champion San Francisco Giants in this week’s episode with hosts Wade McMillin ans Craig Paul and special guest Sean Schoonover. Our panel also looks at the highlights of Week 8 of the NFL and gives out some Fantasy Football advice. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Show podcast:

Click here to stream, download or subscribe Couch Side Podcast Episode 34: MLB Season Review via iTunes 

Click here to stream Couch Side Podcast Episode 34: MLB Season Review, via Talkshoe

Click here to download Couch Side Podcast Episode 34: MLB Season Review, via Talkshoe


2499 games later: A tribute to Chipper Jones


Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones retired after 19 seasons in the MLB this year. Photo by: Steve Paluch / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

As a hardcore Atlanta Braves fan, I would truly be remiss if I didn’t write a tribute blog to Chipper Jones one day after the 2012 season ended.

The 19-year-pro may have hung up his cleats earlier than he wanted to as his beloved Braves were ousted of the playoffs in the inaugural Wild Card round of the MLB playoffs, but I bet this season was everything he wanted it to be. Although it must’ve been a saddening experience, every single MLB ballpark that Jones played in during this final run bid him their own farewell in some very unique ways. Every club gave the 40-year old their park’s third base while others threw promotional nights for baseball fans to say their goodbyes to one of the best players who has ever graced the diamond.

In times of darkness with things like performance enhancing drugs and “chicken and beer” incidents, Jones’ final season showed us all how classy baseball can be. Jones won’t go down as the best third baseman who ever walked or perhaps even a top 50 player, but he was treated like a true titan of the game in each contest he played this season. I even made a trip from Northwest, Wyoming to Coors Field in Denver just to see No. 10 one last time and I made that very special trip my bachelor party, two months before my wedding.

Jones has clearly earned his respect. He may not have done it with his numbers, but rather his heart. I truly believe he was so well respected for more than his talent. And although he could certainly be recognized on talent alone, there was just something different about Chipper. Maybe it’s because he spent his entire 19-year-career in the same uniform. Maybe he is so highly regarded because he was never within a 10 foot pole’s reach of any sort of steroid conversation. Above all, I believe most baseball fans honored Chipper because he is that sort of “Mr. Baseball” kind of guy.

He has the neat nickname. Chipper plays the hot corner and did it despite bad knees. He was a World Series champ and the poster boy of Bobby Cox’s run at 19-consecutive N.L. East division titles. While some just watched the Braves for their pitching, they always knew No. 10 was the one hitter you always had to watch out for. While some players will earn their honors in the stat sheets, Chipper took the hearts of MLB fans by being himself — a grown man that played the game for the simple joys of it and the people who looked up to him.

So thanks for 19 years Chipper. I hope retirement is all that you want it to be. Although I will be looking for your name in next year’s starting lineup, I’m truly proud to have been a baseball fan during your career.


Couch Side’s official 2012 World Series Preview


BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Defense wins championships, still.

The first thing that came to mind when assessing these teams was not the stellar starting pitching on either sides, or the high end offensive quality, but the defense.

If you watched the NLCS, you could tell which team was more fundamentally sound, or at the very least executed better with the glove. The Cardinals repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in games 6 and 7, while the play of the Giants only seemed to get better with each opportunity. Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco are fantastic outfielders who have shown off great range; Brandon Crawford is one of the best defensive shortstops in the league (lead the NL in range factor), Marco Scutaro has shown off some nifty glove work, and Pablo Sandoval is not a complete liability at third. Contrast this with the Tigers defense and we get an entirely different story.

Austin Jackson aside, the Tigers defense is and has been sorely lacking all season. Miguel Cabrera is not an adequate third basemen, he’s actually better at first, but Prince Fielder is over there and he should be a DH. However, the Tigers have to play games in the NL Park where there are no designated hitters, which means the god emperor of outfield suck Delmon Young has to play Left, which he hasn’t done in a while. Remember Vladimir Guerrero in the 2010 World Series? We could see gaffes of epic proportions.


The ALCS MVP had a few good games against the Yankees, but the former #1 draft pick has no skills other than popping a few home runs, and maybe a few cheeseburgers. He’s a big guy, and I don’t see the move to the outfield as a positive. But of course, Jim Leyland has to play him because it’s what he’s doing throughout the season, but I can’t help but wonder if old Jim will replace him for an Andy Dirks or Don Kelly late in games against a Santiago Cassia or Sergio Romo.

Defense Edge: Giants (more…)


Kevin Towers throws D-Backs fans a curveball again with Heath Bell trade


BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers. Photo by: Mark Sobba / Flickr

I don’t know what’s it like to be an Oakland Athletics fan, but I can imagine it would be full of guessing and second guessing every decision general manager Billy Beane makes. The best part is that you can never get comfortable and settle down with the roster because he’s always making a deal with someone somewhere for unknown utility infielders, undervalued relief pitchers, and Manny Ramirez.

Beane gets a lot of criticism for the way he’s always changing the look of his team, but it’s the hand he’s been dealt with since day one i.e. a small market team trying to compete with the big boys. I don’t need to rehash Moneyball or anything, but his forward thinking has helped further statistical analysis of the game and I like GMs who never settle for what they have and always tweak with their team’s roster.

Of course it’s easy to praise Beane from afar which might be because I’m not a casualty of his wheelings and dealings, and other fans might feel the same way about Kenny Williams (who I love) and Kevin Towers.

Towers is a hard one for me to fairly judge because he is after all the GM of my Arizona Diamondbacks, and fans scrutinize their own harder than others do. One of the first things he did when he took over in 2011 was sign a veteran group of players like Willie Bloomquist, Geoff Blum, J.J. Putz, and Russell Branyan, with only Putz being a worthwhile investment. Right away that told the fan base that he wasn’t F-in around and wasn’t afraid to make a polarizing moves. (more…)


Five things Yankee fans have to look forward to


Yankee fans should not be too disappointed about the 2012 season. After all, shortstop Derek Jeter did lead the MLB in hits. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchsideshow.com blogger

The New York Yankees season ended, but they came away from the postseason different than other years. The Bronx Bombers looked old, slow and flat-out bad. Derek Jeter was injured, and surgery will sideline for several months. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano seemed impatient at the plate. And it is safe to say plenty of players on the postseason roster will not be apart of the team come spring training. While most of the sports world is laughing at Yankee fans and the pain they currently feel, because they’re the Yankees, they’ll most likely have the last laugh. Lets not forget, it could be worse, I’m sure Boston Red Sox fans will agree. Here are five things Yankee fans can look forward to in the next couple of months.

1. The possible dismissal of A-Rod: Just so I can get this out of the way, Alex Rodriguez has probably seen his last days wearing pinstripes. Well, in a Yankee uniform at least, who knows what that dude will wear. A-Rod has looked pathetic this season. Since coming back from injury Sept. 3, Rodriguez ranks 170 of 173 in OPS vs. right-handers. The guy cannot hit a low-ball fastball pitcher. Check that, A-Roid can’t hit the fastball, or righties. But, the Yankees could be saved. The Miami Marlins, a team looking for anything and anyone to help the organization in some way, may want Rodriguez. A-Rod, a native of Miami, has a full no-trade clause and would have to waive it for a trade to any team. After hearing A-Rod in his closing interviews of the season, it sounds like he wants to stay in New York. He could just be saying that for PR reasons, but there is no way he wants to be somewhere he is no wanted any longer. Here’s a guy who is signed through 2017 and is still owed over $100 million and it is safe to say he probably won’t hit more than 20 home runs in a season for the remainder of his career. If the Yankees are able to dump him off to a team wanting to make a splash (if not Marlins, perhaps the Diamondbacks, Dodgers or Angels) then it’s a huge victory, no matter how much money the Yankees wind up paying. While there are plenty of obstacles for an A-Rod deal, the Yankees can get it done. (more…)


Yanks would be smart to end the A-Rod ERA


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez may be traded this offseason after one of his worst years at the plate in 2012. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

When Alex Rodriguez was traded by the Texas Rangers about eight years ago, I wasn’t surprised one bit that the New York Yankees were the team to pick up the most expensive price tag in baseball history.

The Yankees are known for spending big cash for premiere players. It’s no secret. However, usually those high-dollar investments yield tons in return. Players know they must earn their paycheck, especially when it has so many zeros in it. So did A-Rod live up to the hype when he put on the pinstripes? Did the Yankees actually get $112 million back in terms of production from the guy who many of us thought would end up as the best baseball player who ever walked?

Rodriguez did earn two MVP awards and helped New York win a World Series ring during his time in pinstripes, which one could argue is worth such a financial gamble. But there’s no doubt A-Rod came with some headaches, too. There was the opt out controversy of 2007, several injuries, unwanted off field publicity, and of course, steroids. While Rodriguez has always played a major part in the Yankees success since he was traded to New York in 2004, like any other “superstar” athlete, his baggage was heavy.

So the end of the A-Rod era may be coming to a close, especially since Rodriguez has been benched and had many fingers pointed at him this offseason. It seems the 12-time All-Star’s skills are depleting and New York isn’t even sure if they would like him in pinstripes next year. And before the playoffs have even ended, trade rumors are starting to come up about how he could be dealt to the Miami Marlins. Yanks General Manager Brian Cashman has written such claims off, but team President Randy Levine has been quoted telling Marlins President Jeffrey Loria that “you can have him.” 

Loria has more or less let it be known that he has high interest in Rodriguez coming to Miami. After all, it’s the city where super-hyped athletes go to prove something like LeBron James did when he joined the Miami Heat. However, Rodriguez has said he would to end his career as a Yankee. The question now is, do the Yankees want him to?

New York would be crazy not to go in another direction. It’s obvious Rodriguez is somewhat washed up. Yes, he can still produce, but that production is not even close to what it used to be. And yes, I might be being hard on a player who is well past his prime at the veteran’s age of 37, yet that should be just another reason why the Yankees need to give Rodriguez the boot. And to think the Marlins would actually be able to get a lot out of a 37-year-old third baseman is just plain whacky.

I honestly think the Marlins are crazy enough to pull off some sort of deal to land Rodriguez. But it would make more sense for A-Rod to go to a team that can actually use him. New York may just use him as a Designated Hitter next year and that will be that. Who knows when it comes to such a overly hyped player? The facts are right there in front of everyone’s eyes, though. A-Rod isn’t a feared hitter anymore; his stats have plummeted; and the only thing he is good for is grabbing a headline from time to time.

The Yankees need to forget about the A-Rod era. It’s seriously time to move on and it’s time to forget about what once was. The Yankees don’t owe Rodriguez anything. And if they think they do, they’re just as bonkers as whatever team ends up with this fading star.


Couch Side Podcast Episode 32: The great MVP debate


Couch Side has a plethora of opinions in this episode with Sean Schoonover, left, and Craig Paul, middle, calling host Wade McMillin in the studio this week.

BY Couchsideshow.com staff

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After one week off, the Couch Side gang is back. This week host Wade McMillin is on the phone with usual co-host Craig Paul and good friend Sean Schoonover joined the show for this week’s Head to Head Honchos. This week’s topics include: a review of Week 6 of the NFL, a look at Week 7, the MLB playoffs and even more Fantasy Football advice. Click below to get started!

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