Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beating the Bushes from Birmingham

A moment of silence for the victims of yesterday's storms before the Barons/Baybears game in Birmingham April 28, 2011.

While some might think that we go too far with the fantasy game, is that possible? We have added the keepers concept. What about a farm system? It would be a travesty to grant points and scoring based in minor league performance. But what about selecting future keepers or a rookie for next year selected from one's farm system. Where would it stop?

Some owners scout spring training. Some even scout AAA. Today I hit AA. Who's been to a college baseball game this year?

Silliness aside, I did locate some nice baseball history here. Rickwood Field is said to be the oldest professional baseball stadium in the land and turned 100 years old last year.

Many stars have played for Birmingham including Willie Mays, Rollie Fingers, Satchel Paige, Robin Ventura (only batter to get 3 hits off Nolan Ryan in one inning), Big Hurt, and in 1967 a skinny guy that I saw playing center field up in KC that same year - Reggie Jackson.

Oh, and the Barons prevailed 5-3 on this pleasant evening.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Problem With Catchers

Catcher. The most important defensive position excluding the pitcher. Heck, even good pitchers can look great with a good catcher. No one on the field knows the opposing offense better and no one else controls the tempo of the game like a catcher. Good catchers are invaluable and great catchers are priceless... Except in Fantasy Baseball...

Why you might ask? Let me answer that question with a question, or rather a statement followed quickly by a question.

Name today's great catchers. Go ahead, just do it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Problem With Blackouts

MLB currently has a policy that each major league team gets to select what areas are considered their home market. For the most part this isn't a problem, it allows those teams games to be played on the various networks (Comcast, FSN, etc.) in those areas. The problem with this setup is that games in that local area are blacked out if they are on say Wednesday night baseball on ESPN or MLB.TV.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ode to Cheap Tacos

♫ Buy me some peanuts and cheap tacos... ♫

That, my friends, is what I ate for dinner last night. Oh yes, it was the Rockies cheap tacos special. For years, Taco Bell has offered a promotion that if the Rockies score 7 runs or more, the next day between 4pm and 6pm, you can buy four regular tacos for a dollar with the purchase of a drink. So far in this young season, there have been four cheap taco opportunities...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stacks of Cash & Standings

It's often talked about here in KC during baseball season... Money, Payroll, Small Market, Large Market, the Yankees!! Isn't it amazing that one Álex Rodriguez makes almost as much as the entire roster of Royals? Isn't it more amazing that we are currently sporting a similar record (10-5 vs 9-5)?

Because of this, I thought it would be interesting to see who's "Payroll" was the highest in our fantasy league and if it had any correlation to the standings.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Blown Save Quandry

Wednesdays White Sox game got me thinking about something that I hadn't really thought of before but I find rather interesting. As they have all season the White Sox were yet again unable to close out a save situation. As Matt Thornton's parting gift to One Bad Pitch he added yet another blown save to his previous three. What made this blown save different and what I found intriguing was how it unfolded.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Card Collecting--A Fan Duty

Hello fellow owners and growing readership! This blog will be dedicated to the time honored tradition
of collecting baseball cards. In the photo above you will see one of my prized cards, former KC Royals outfielder, Bo Jackson's autographed Sweet Spot Signature card by Upper Deck. The center of the card features Bo's autograph on actual baseball leather complete with red stitches and as you can see the Kaufman stadium backdrop is pictured on either side of the card, awesome!

Another card that was long on my list, and purchased a few years ago was the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. I opted to buy this card in a graded condition. When buying pricier cards online this is the way to go. A third party company such as Professional Sports Authenticator or PSA receives the card from a seller and judges the cards condition. Once that is done, it is slabbed in plastic with a label and a condition rating never to be touched again. In the case of my particular Griffey card it is a PSA 9, Mint Condition. The grading scale goes from 1, being poor-fair, to 10, a gem mint and most valuable. The price difference between a Griffey in PSA 9 vs PSA 10 is substantial. A psa 9 will fetch around $40-50 on Ebay, whereas the psa 10 version will command at least $200, if not a tad more.

A card which has long been on my wish list is the 1975 Topps George Brett rookie card.
Well, chime in and tell me about your favorite cards you own or are on your wish list.
And remember to keep collecting!
It's a fan duty.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Buying or Selling?

As I sit here writing this, my boys in powder blue have just gone in to extra innings for the 4th time in 10 games. Over that span they are 6-3 with this game yet to be decided. Win or lose tonight, one thing I'll say, is they have been in every game but one and it was only a 3 run loss. So, I'm struggling here; I know I'm biased, I WANT this to be real, but I've been burned before.

I guess the real question is, are you Buying or Selling the Royals in this very young season?

How NOT to hit for average

Brought to you by Adrián Beltré.

More baseball talk after the jump...
(hint: click on the "Read more >>" link below)

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Apple a Day Keeps the DL Away?

If it were only that simple...

I'm sure everyone remembers the scene from the movie Major League where Manager Lou Brown is arguing with Owner Rachel Phelps about the clubhouse equipment (or lack thereof). For those of you who didn't have the movie lines instantly pop into your head, here's a little refresher:

Lou Brown: How am I supposed to take care of my players with no hot water and no therapy equipment?
Rachel Phelps: Your players have to get a little tougher. What are they a bunch of pansies?
Lou Brown: Over 162 games and even tough guys get strained, a soar arm or a muscle pull.

We have just barely begun the 162-game journey and many of us fantasy baseball owners are already finding ourselves struggling to keep guys off the Disabled List. I'm sure every fantasy owner would gladly pay Edible Arrangements to deliver an apple a day to their fantasy standouts, if it only meant keeping them off the DL. In the 10-team Percell Fantasy Baseball League, each team is allotted 2 DL spots. Of the 20 spots across the league, 14 are currently filled, with 4-5 injured players occupying active roster spots either due to already full infirmaries or lackadaisical owners.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Most Valuable Mom

April 9th has been synonymous with baseball around my house.  It usually finds our family at a Rockies game, in many cases the home opener.  Being my mother’s birthday, April 9th holds even greater significance, as mom took a leading role supporting and nurturing our collective love of baseball.

When I played the game, I played it hard – always giving 100%, and sometimes toeing the lines of legality.  I was first ejected from a game in 8th grade for colliding with the catcher at home plate.  Right or wrong, mom was always there to support me and encouraged me to play the game as it was meant to be.

This particular memory of my mother, however, finds me at my most apprehensive spot on the baseball field – in the stands, seated next to her, watching my brother pitch (I was always a nervous wreck whenever he pitched).  

With men on base, Jeff raced to cover home plate on a passed ball.  He received the ball from the backstop, applied the tag, and absorbed a colliding blow from the runner attempting to score.  Jeff came away shaken, favoring his wrist, and the runner was called out, but not ejected. 
Mom went ballistic.
She stormed out of the stands to the backstop berating the umpire – demanding that he eject the runner.  Having seen me ejected for similar offenses, she sought justice now that her other son was on the receiving end, and she was not going to stop until she got it. After several attempts to appease my mother, the umpire realized that she would not relent, and finally gave mom the old heave-ho.  She would wait out the rest of the game from the parking lot, and in years to come I would tell others with a small glow of pride that of all of my family members to never get ejected from a baseball game, my mother is not one of them.

Mom’s support for our baseball efforts never waivered.  Whether playing, or coaching, she was always there to support us.  And now that her son’s playing days are over, she still supports our baseball efforts, taking an active role in readership and commenting on this blog, and staying up to date with our Fantasy League and Major League Baseball in general (as always).

Thanks, mom, for all of your support throughout the years.  You have been an integral cog in our collective baseball consciousness.  Even more, nearly ¼ of this league would not exist without you.  So thank you.
And Happy Birthday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Birthday Present for the A-Gordo Lovers

B brought up Gordo and the state where N stands for knowledge in the last post. Here's a shot of him in Nebraska last year, the final season for Rosenblatt. Here's hoping for the KC faithful that he shows a better side this season. Go Royals!

Now which assets were so endearing? On second thought, I don't want to know.

Bonus points to anyone who can name the other two players in the picture.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love blooms in the Spring

My first contribution to Out Standing in the Field was intended to balance out some of the Rockies love fest, but the date (tomorrow specifically) changed my focus to another love fest or two. You see, tomorrow (April 8th) is my lovely wife's birthday and my love for her has led me to post about her love for Alex Gordon. You know the one; he of the striking smile, boyish good looks, sweet swing, and high expectations of many Royals fans. I guess Alex is something of a 'pretty' boy; I know my wife thinks so anyway. What hasn't been pretty for Alex is his transition from 2nd overall pick in the 2005 draft to big league mainstay.

Alex garnered a ton of attention his Junior year at the hated University of Nebraska, sweeping the collegiate baseball awards. According to Wikipedia, he won the Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award, the Brooks Wallace Award and the ABCA Rawlings Player of the Year. He was an ESPY Award Finalist for the best Male College Athlete and earned 1st team All-American honors for the 2nd straight season. Talk about a can't miss draft prospect.

Most baseball fans can attest to the fact that Kansas City IS a baseball town without much hope (lately) for a REAL baseball team. Whether right or wrong, we poor, baseball starved, Royals fans placed super high expectations on Alex. He, along with Billy Butler, were to be the core of our future return to good baseball. Not only was 2007 the arrival of Alex, but the purse strings were loosened to the tune of $67 million. Maybe the tides were changing and KC would return to the promised land. Alex mustered a respectable (for a rookie) .247 BA and 15 HR and showed real promise. The expectations only increased when the Royals posted a great 69-93 record.

WHAT!?! 69-93 is a great record!?! Only for a Royals fan, who had suffered through 3 straight 100 loss seasons.

Alex posted similar numbers his sophomore year (.260/16), but 2009 brought an injury plague and Alex only played 49 games in the bigs. 2010 wasn't much better as Alex started the season on the DL and was later demoted to Triple AAA. Through it all, Heather has remained true.

2011 finds the second time that Alex has been rostered on my fantasy baseball team after the draft. Is it my love for her that makes me draft him, or the dopey hope that he finally lives up to his promise. I can say that Gordon brought me a nice piece in trade (Ethier) from another dopey hoped owner and the ire of my wife the first time around. Here's to the hope that his 6 extra-base hits in the first 6 games lead to a full season of them.

If that happens, my budding Spring-time love may bloom to full blown, Heather level, love fest.

How to hit for average

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Time at the Rockies - Opening Day 2011

Opening Day in Colorado finds 40 percent of our team owners at the Rox/Dbacks game enjoying the partly cloudy 70 degree day. Given the highly competitive, if not sometimes cut-throat nature of our league, we had to spread across 2 sections. There were other fans to consider!

If you have very sharp eyes, you may spot two of our owners in this picture. Hint they are both right next to the field.

As one blogger has already breached the subject of fan etiquette, which is more objectionable - rooting for your fantasy player at the expense of the home team or showing more interest in getting enough runs for cheap tacos no matter who wins. Well, the former is a long recognized negative for the fantasy game and prevented some from participation for years (see Fantasyland, 2006 by Sam Walker). Considering the taco factor could launch us down the slippery slope of decrying the commercialization of the game.

But while we are at that precipice, can we call for the return of the full time scoreboard at the stadiums? Even the simple line score board has been replaced with the over glitzed, Las Vegas shaming, super hi-def video panels. Now I am not complaining about the great wealth of information these modern marvels can display (though at least get the stats correct, Rockies - Way off on the hits/AB for many of the players during much of the opener). But as soon as there is a break in the action and the true fan would like to see the score board - forget it - its replaced with some awful advertising. Or just when the game is getting interesting, its blasting some fan- offending command such as MAKE SOME NOISE! This isn't a pinball arcade. By the way, have they sold naming rights to the WAVE? (See the Buffs Tuba Cheer now sponsored by Crocs)

I know this is "professional sports", but lets keep the essential elements proven through the decades.

For the new season, Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain becomes ROOT SPORTS. Well, in game two at the seventh inning stretch with Rox announcer, Drew, loudly stating the score of Rockies 3 Diamondbacks 0, their graphic shows Arizona 6 Colorado 3. Not very close. Not a good start for the new brand. This is the major leagues people.

Most importantly, the opener was a great day, good company, excellent weather, interesting game going back and forth, and bonus frames. The down sides of a loss for the home team, horrible calls by the boys in blue (as validated by video replay and the visitors broadcaster), and some bad defense by both teams could not offset the good news that baseball's back and the grass is green. Always love the flyover.

PS. Definition of Springtime at the Rockies-

  • game one April 1st 70 degrees and sunny,

  • game two April 2nd 84 degrees and sunny,

  • game three April 3rd postponed due to rain and snow and temps in the 30's.

A brick in the Wynkoop walk.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Of Rox and Men

Baseball fans!
Baseball fans!
Attention please.
I know it can be difficult,
I understand the challenge,
but when you attend a Major League Baseball game please, oh please, make an attempt...just please be good enough to take a shot at wearing garments bearing the name and logo of one team or the other that is presently occupying the field before you.
I don't care if it is that evil division rival's jersey, indeed i would expect no less.
To me the biggest offense at a game is attending...oh, let's say a Diamondbacks vs Rockies ball game and sporting a Derrek Lee Chicago Cubs jersey.
I don't care to get involved in the Rockies v. Cubs debate that rages in our fantasy league, I leave that to other Cubs and Cardinals fans that are owners in our dear league. However, it just so happens that I observed a fine young American cavorting about in a Derrek Lee Cubs jersey at Coors Field. I'm sorry, but when did Derrek Lee even last play for the Cubs???
Well folks, I looked it up in case you were as curious as I, according to Mr. Lee's Wikipedia entry, on August 18th of last year Lee was traded to the Atlanta Braves (only to sign with a dismal American League Baltimore Orioles squad in December) so the answer is approximately 8 months ago...alas, I digress.
I'm trying to make a point here, and the point is that when attending a D-Backs vs Rockies game, I merely implore you to at least have the decency to don the appropriate teams colors of either said baseball club. Even the hideous aqua and purple retro D-Backs combo gets my nod of approval.
This can be done. I know it will be hard to accept at first. But here is basically how it goes:
At Coors Field you may wear Black, Purple, Silver and White colors to represent the home team.
You may not wear:
a Derrek Lee baseball jersey, unless an interleague matchup between the Rockies and Orioles was taking place.
You may not wear a Yankees jersey into the hallowed confines unless the Yanks are in town.
Sorry, but you're going to have to leave the Red Sox hoody in your closet on your hanger, at your home.
I know you may be somewhat interested in representing New York City by wearing a Mets cap to Coors Field, but really that just won't fly, take it to Queens. Mr. Met and that lowly outfit need all your support at Citi Field.
Alright, alright. Maybe all this pent up aggression, regarding the appropriate team gear to wear at the stadium, is due to the fact that I saw something yesterday that I was not expecting, to see.
I can't believe a team with a lead-off hitter by the name of Willie Bloomquist (pictured below), defeated my beloved Rockies...