BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com blogger
As of this writing, Derek Jeter is only 6 hits away from tying Cal Ripken Jr. at 3,184 for 14th on the all time hits list.
It’s a bit surprising that this story hasn’t been bigger in terms of the ESPN media conglomerate, or elsewhere, everyone is too busy dissecting the NBA Finals to fully appreciate great contextual moments in baseball history no doubt. In fact, Jeter hasn’t been that a big story since his 3000th hit last July, so maybe the shock and awe of reaching 3K hasn’t carried over to passing up these hall of fame players this season:
Dave Winfield- 3,110
Tony Gwynn- 3,141
Robin Yount- 3,142
Paul Waner- 3,152
George Brett- 3,154
Three of the most successful hitters in baseball history in Gwynn, Yount, and Brett and Jeter speed past them without looking back. Once Cal is passed, Jeter’s next big hurdle will be Willie Mays at 3,283 (of which I suspect will be a big deal coverage wise) and Carl Yastrzemski at 3,419, much to the chagrin of Red Sox fans. (more…)
Every year a few Major League Baseball teams never cease to amaze me.
I’m not talking about clubs that are filled with stars on their rosters or even automatic playoff contenders. The thing I love most about baseball is the small market teams that somehow make noise at the beginning of every year. Some fans will call them “Cinderella Stories.” Some analysts will break them down as contenders or pretenders — not understanding the real story behind their rises to the top.
A perfect example of this type of team with more believers on it than star athletes that a lot of people would know was the Oakland Athletics of the early 2000s. However, even those clubs, which had extremely low payrolls, still had big bats and names that made them competitive.
When I look at this year’s group of teams that might fit into that category, three stick out like sore thumbs and are right in the mix to win their respective divisions. We often write these sorts of teams off and don’t believe in them down the stretch, but hey, they sure make the game exciting. So here’s a look at three clubs that are in second place and leaving baseball fans scratching their heads:
For the second year in a row, the Tribe is earning pre All-Star Game hype and should perhaps challenge the Chicago Whitesox for an AL Central crown if all goes well. Last season Cleveland flopped after starting the 2011 campaign with a stellar 30-15 record in its first 45 games. Injuries ended up throwing the Indians out of contention, but now they have came roaring back. And when any fan examines the roster, the first question they would have to ask is, ‘how?’ (more…)
BY ZAC CORDOVA AND JUSTIN MILLAR, Feedcrossing.com syndication
• LA Dodgers: Pretender. Matt Kemp should change his nickname to “Mr. April” because he gets everyone thinking he is the best player in baseball the first month of every season. He is great no doubt, but has little help outside of Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier. AJ Ellis will cool off a bit, but they are too top heavy to be considered consistent enough to be a contender.