Tagged: Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau Team Canada … World Baseball Classic … Can You Dig IT???!!!!

Today, Justin Morneau was the first official name added to Team Canada’s World Baseball Classic roster.  I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty excited for the event that will partially take place in Toronto (i.e. first round games).  With Morneau on the _41397418_baseball_416.jpgteam, ‘Big Ern’ former Blue Jay catcher and current Blue Jay bench coach Ernie Whitt coaching the team and Jason Bay likely to follow, Team Canada looks to be strong going into the tournament.

In the last World Baseball Classic, it was incredibly obvious that only a few teams were taking the tournament seriously, notably Cuba and Japan.  Team U.S.A better have gotten a wake up call with their poor performance in the prior event.  Their lack of enthusiasm, however, created a touching Canadian patriotic moment for me in the last WBC. Canada was actually able to beat Team U.S.A on the arm of the once promising Baltimore Oriole prospect Adam Loewen.  He pitched shutout baseball against the likes of Vernon Wells and Mark Teixeira, to name but a few.  It was a monumental victory for baseball in Canada.  I thought that it would take at least 10 more games before Canada would beat the U.S., but it didn’t, it happened so quick.  Adam Loewen will never be forgotten as the man that made it happen. 

Where is Adam Loewen now you might ask?  Well, he has given up on pitching altogether.  He is now in the process of converting into an outfielder in the Blue Jays farm system – a la Rick Ankiel.  He wasn’t exactly the likeliest of players that would achieve this; however, no matter what becomes of him, he is a legend in my mind for winning that game.

Hopefully, this year Canada will have a pitching core that will feature Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, Erik Bedard, Jeff Francis, Scott Richmond and Eric Gagne to go along with the runner-up MVP (seems like he is always in the running for it, if not winning it) Justin Morneau.  That may be hoping a little too much.

March 7th, mark it on your calendar, if you already haven’t.  This will be the next meeting of Canada versus the U.S.A. in the WBC.  Hopefully I can go, and hopefully Canada will put up a good showing.  Team U.S.A has to be the odds on favorite to win every time, every game practically.  This time around, I would like to see them playing with as much pride, and passion for the game as the Japanese and Cubans did last time around.

I agree with many that argue the WBC is a suspect indicator of a nation’s talent in baseball.  Their reasons are valid.  They include:  1. Baseball is a marathon that cannot be determined by single games (i.e. series of games are needed) 2. The fact that the tournament is situated in March, when most MLB players are cold and not in ‘prime’ playing form 3. Some nation’s pro leagues do situate themselves to be in ‘prime’ playing form by the time of the event and that gives them an unfair advantage 4. This is one I hate personally!!  Motivations are suspect because players are concerned with their contracts, team loyalities and risking injury.

Number four is valid.  It is just a shame that money can have so much power over things that are great.  With all that being said, it is still a tournament, there are teams taking it seriously and there are still bragging rights for the victor.  As a fan, I make it my duty to throw all those negatives away, and give credit, where credit is due.  The Japanese unloaded their best on the baseball world three years ago.  They had great pitching and played scrappy, disciplined baseball.  You can’t understate the way they played.  You just can’t!  They gave great regard to the tournament, they love and play the game passionately, they played hard, they won and they deserved it!  They also deserve to be called the ‘world’s greatest nation at playing the game of baseball.’  Can a team deny them of that this year?  I think they can, but will they?  I can’t wait to see. 

                                     

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This is How We Chill! From 2003 Till ….

Too much school right now!  I’ve been writing essays about boring stuff, instead of blogging lately!  It is actually hard for me to determine what is more productive?  If I write this essay, I can get a degree?  If I post on this blog, I will be happy?  I wish baseball blogging, or writing, was a University program, lol!!  Here is a taste of what I’ve been doing.  CAUTION:  You might burst into a deep sleep upon reading!

This paper will examine the explanations put forth for the overall lack of unionism and lack of workplace human rights in East Asia.  The lack of unionism in the region, with regard to degradation of human rights in the workplace, draws on one distinct explanation.  This explanation focuses on the organized tactics of spatial labour control that seeks to manipulate organizing threats of migrant workers in East Asia.  The topics that will be studied, pertaining to this explanation, include migration, labour’s lack of political inclusion, the structural spatial control of labour, and the physical space that is manipulated by East Asian corporate elites.  The idea of organized spatial control presented by Philip Kelly includes the following to explain crucial labour topics that contribute to the overall manipulation of human security in the workforce: 

constructing the individual as an autonomous unit of negotiation; constructing the workplace as a container for dispute resolution; establishing the industrial estate as a denationalized and desocialized space; constructing spaces of national sovereignty and imagined national/ethnic community; and, the distancing of homeplace from workplace through the use of migrant workforces.[1]

Enough of that!!!!  Back to baseball!!

In this post, I wanted to dissect every MLB teams ‘staples,’ briefly since 2003.  A ‘staple’, as known by many who take global political economy, is a single product that defines the economic standing of a region/country of the world.  For instance, the ‘old south’ of the United States had ‘cotton’ as their staple, the Maritimes of Canada has ‘fish’, and Japan has ‘electronics’.  I compare this to players on current MLB teams.

Many teams have the same type of ‘staples,’ as players in their organzation.  Although in past years, these players might not be the best players on their teams.  In my opinion, many of them can be percieved to be accountable for a club’s success or failure.

So lets take it back, and look at the players that have stuck with their clubs since 2003 until recently!

Starting with … surprise! surprise!

Toronto Blue Jays 2003 – Roy Halladay, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells

Almost no other team is as relevant to the 2003 ‘staple’ theory than the Blue Jays.  The success of the Jays hinges on these players.  The BIG word regarding them however is …  INJURIES!!!  It is hard to argue that these three players are NOT a strong nucleus to build a team around.  Many will argee that these past years have seen the Jays go through a lot of bad luck with injuries, specifically regarding these staples!  In 2005, Halladay was anchoring the Jays to a serious wild card run when Kevin (flippin) Mench smacked a ball of Halladay’s ankle ruining that year.  Halladay has also had some arm trouble in past years.  As far as Vernon Wells, I ask what year hasn’t he cause instability in the Jays lineup because of injury?  He simply is our only legitimate threat in the lineup, and he is often either on the DL, or playing not because of injury.  The Alex Rios project has seen it’s share of inconsistancies.  The talent is there, but for some reason, you get the feeling we haven’t seen fully what he can do in a year.  He can look like he is going to hit 40 HR’s then not hit one for 2 months?  So case and point, the Jays have gone as these staples have gone.  Very inconsistant, because of injury and what have you.  Characteristics of a slightly better than mediocre team, which is what they have shown since 2003.  Too much rambling on the Jays, sorry I couldn’t help it they are my team. 

Boston Red Sox 2003 – Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez and Tim Wakefield

Ortiz did not start the 2003 season with Boston, but he was definately an early turning point for the team that won in 2004.  Manny and Ortiz are what made Boston so strong!  They are staples in themselves, instilling fear in the middle of that order.  Without them, no 2 World Series would have been won.  I would argue that life without Manny will be different for Boston, however, they are in the process creating their own ‘staples’ now with Pedoria and Youkilus.  Varitek and Wakefield have been steady contributors.  They give the team an identity.  Varitek has arguably been the best catcher in baseball from a leadership perspective, and Wakefield might not get amazing numbers, but having him in the rotation is always something that teams and hitters have to prepare for.  These staples have made Boston achieve great success since 2003.  Tek and Wakefield will continue to do this, as Boston transitions out of the Manny/Ortiz (might be showing decline with injury) years.

Chicago White Sox 2003 – Paul Konerko, Joe Crede and Mark Buehrle

I’ll try to make this shorter.  CWS won the World Series in 2005.  They did it with great pitching that year (particularly from Buehrle).  They also did it with hitting the long ball!  Konerko and Crede definately exemplify that philosophy!  Those players produced a ‘staple’ of success for Chicago in that year, and also last year making the playoffs.  The AL Central is a tightly competitive division, so it is hard for any team to see constant prolonged success in that race.

Cleveland Indians 2003 – C.C. Sabathia, Travis Hafner and Cliff Lee

2003 was the year that these young players in Cleveland started to develop, and they did develop to guide the Indians into a 2007 playoff run (stopped by the Red Sox).  Hafner has been hurt and inconsistant replacing Ellis Burks (old name) as the cleanup hitter in 2003, and Lee wasn’t that great until this year.  These were strong and young ‘staples’ that helped Cleveland to a lot of success in 2007, and 2006 when they came close the playoffs.  Losing Sabathia will hurt, however!

Detroit Tigers 2003 – Fernando Rodney, Brandon Inge and Nate Robertson

All these players were backups, or in the bullpen in 2003.  Detroit had to reinvent themselves, and that led them to the World Series in 2006.  Like I said before, in many cases these ‘staples’ may not be a team’s ‘best players’.  These players all had ‘career years’ in 2006, and were great for Detroit in the playoffs.  Proving my point once again, as the ‘staples’ go, so does the success of the team.

New York Yankees 2003 – Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina

A lot of them, huh.  Arguably, what has made the Yankees so successful over these years is the fact that they have these steady guys (staples) on the club!  Before this season, 13 straight playoff appearances, but have fallen victim to other hot American League/National League clubs.  However they do it, in 2003 they did it with Robin Ventura, Raul Mondesi and Nick Johnson also in the lineup, they do it!  The look of the Yankees become quite different without the presence of many of these players. 

Oakland Athletics 2003 – Mark Ellis and Eric Chavez

Hard to have a staple on a team that reinvents itself that much!  In 2003, Mulder, Hudson and Zito were the strength of that team!  Mark Ellis is a steady player at second base, but Chavez has been a big dissappointment for the A’s.  They signed him, which is amazing for the A’s just in that fact, but it backfired as injuries have plagued him.  I thought Chavez was going to be a very promising player for years to come, it looked that way.  He fell off, the A’s fell off!  Maybe Beane will never sign anyone to a big deal ever again!

Seattle Mariners 2003 – Ichiro Suzuki

A great ‘staple’ to begin with, although he hasn’t been as amazing as he was in some years,  Ichiro is the face of the Mariners.  The point here is that it is only Ichiro!  He needs the support of other ‘staple’ players, to help.  Edgar Martinez was there in 2003, but he was far too old already.  Brett Boone looked promising, but that was all drug induced.  They haven’t had solid players that they could fill positions with and call ‘staples’ in years!  ‘Staples’ are what characterize the Mariners lack of success in this case.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2003 – Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli

They were the Devil Rays in 2003, so I can call them that.  Crawford is an absolutely electric player on the field!  Signing him to a big deal was definately the right call, and as soon as the Rays got a better supporting cast around him, they succeed.  Baldelli’s injury plagued career has set the Rays back in past years.  The Rays drafting with the 1st pick, has made them able to develop new ‘staples’ that they NEED to hold onto in order to succeed further.  Crawford was, by far, a standout player for years before 2009. 

Texas Rangers 2003 – Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Joaquin Benoit

Pretty difficult when the only solid staple on your pitching staff, is not solid or a staple at all.  The Rangers can always hit and score runs, Michael Young has definately been a big part of that, but the pitching is terrible.  Chan Ho Park was their ACE in 2003.  Blalock looked promising, but injuries have kept him from doing anything great.  The Rangers were very troubled in the years leading up to now, their ‘staples’ were not sufficent and lacking in talent, especially in the pitching staff. 

Minnesota Twins 2003 – Justin Morneau

2003 was Morneau’s first year, and while he, Tori Hunter and Johan Santana were the ‘staples’ of some Twins’ playoff teams, they find themselves in the situation of having to be more cost efficient.  Morneau will keep the Twins competitive in the AL Central, as they have been, but the Central is usually a toss up every year, as to who will win?  Can’t argue with the Twins, they usually play great baseball every year and are in the hunt, too bad the playoffs haven’t been kind to them!  “At least they make the playoffs,” says a disgruntled Blue Jay fan!

Kansas City Royals 2003 – Absolutely Nobody!

I really feel for the Royals, always having to reinvent themselves.  In 2003, the Royals had Carlos Beltran, key word HAD.  But even if they resigned him to be a staple, would they be any good?  Probably not, is the sad answer.   This is their rotation in 2003! 

1. Runelvys Hernandez 2. Darrell May 3. Miguel Ascencio 4. Shawn Sedlacek 5. Chris George

Haven’t even heard, or remember, the last two guys.  Sadly, those type of players have become their ‘staples’. 

Baltimore Orioles 2003 – Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora and Daniel Cabrera

All these players were not in the O’s starting lineup/rotation in 2003, they were just developing.  Roberts is a fine player, but the others are simply mediocre.  Again, their problem exist with the pitching staff, which is very inconsistant and does not have a significant ‘staple’.  They’ve been a very mediocre club and so have their ‘staples’.  You can’t tell too much looking into their ‘staples’. Sidenote:  ex-Blue Jays Cy Young Pat Hentgen was on the Orioles in 2003, along with other ex-Jays David Segui and Tony Batista. 

Anaheim Angels 2003 – Garret Anderson, Scott Shields, Francisco Rodriguez and John Lackey

After the year the Angels won the World Series, they only have four players remaining from that era today.  An excellent vetern hitter, two guys that have anchored what is arguably the best bullpen in baseball year in and year out and a very solid starting pitcher.  Since 2003, the Angels have done a lot of tinkering around these guys, like adding Vlad and getting rid of Eckstien, Glaus and Erstad.  However, the strength of the Angels has always been their bullpen, and you can’t think of a more solid hitter for the team, than Garret Anderson!  All these guys were staples of some very good Angel clubs, that often were featured in the playoffs.

 

Agree?  Disagree with the 2003 staple theory?  The NL next post!        

       

                     

 

        

  


[1] Phillip Kelly, “Spaces of Labour Control:  Comparative Perspectives from Southeast Asia,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 27 no. 4 (2002): 398.

My Fantasy Baseball Team

I wanted to do an entry about my team because they have been a big part of my baseball experience this season.  There is nothing like Fantasy Baseball to give you the motivation to keep ‘up to date’ on all the stats, scores, prospects and player movement in MLB. 

My team is called the Homer City Hawks, (its my last name followed by the City and the Hawks was the name of team that owned my team prior to me getting in this pool).  I thought it was a pretty good name with a nice ring to it.

Anyway, Im in a 16 team keeper league that has been going on since the early 90’s. At that
baseball_free.jpg time Fantasy Baseball wasn’t even on the internet and it was in its infancy.  The league originated in London, Ontario (great baseball town, former home of the London Tigers and close to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Thomas, Ontario).  The league is called the Sherwood Forest Baseball League and we play on CBSsportline.com.  It is highly competitve, guys fly from B.C. and Manitoba down to Ontario to participate in the one day draft event. 

The format is weekly and yearly.  It is points based, so 1 to 16 in the categories of (K’s, WHIP, Saves, SBs, HRs, AVG, RBIs, Wins, Runs.  Pretty standard.  

My dilemma, right now, is the keeper part.  We have to select 8 keepers at the beginning of next season and I’m indecisive on who I should keep?  I can only lose a certain amount of guys, depending on how I finish.  I took over a team with many holes and various problems.  I’ve tried to rebuild them into a winner, but right now, I’m in 8th place in the 16 team league.  Anyway, this is the 2008 Homer City Hawks.  Who do you think I should keep?  What are my strengths/weaknesses??  if you are reading? 

Starting Lineup September 11, 2008

C Josh Bard SD, Salary 3

C Taylor Teagarden TEX, 1  (i’m very thin at Catcher something I have to address Teagarden is a good prospect though)

1B Justin Morneau MIN, 17

Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins

2B Rickie Weeks MIL, 9 (don’t know if I should keep him.  He has been pretty bad, a lot of potenial though)

3B Mark Reynolds ARI, 22 (low AVG, but a lot of homers)

MI Christian Guzman WAS, 1 (don’t know???)

SS Alexei Ramirez, CWS, 1 (this guy is on the verge of doing some special things)

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, left, welcomes Alexei Ramirez, and Jim Thome to the dugout after the pair scored on a double by A.J. Pierzynski during the sixth inning of their baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Chicago, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008.

CI Mark DeRosa, CHC, 14 (gotta keep him, he can play every position)

Mark DeRosa - Chicago Cubs

OF Bobby Abreu, NYY, 37 (decline??)

OF Vladimir Guerrero, ANA, 45 (decline??)

OF Marlon Byrd, TEX, 1 (solid season thus far, don’t know if he is in their future plans?)

OF Ryan Church, NYM, 3 (He might be special next year, if he can stay healthy)

Ryan Church - New York Mets

OF Brian Giles, SD, 11

DH Daniel Murphy, NYM, 1

PITCHERS

SP Colin Balester, WAS, 1

SP Dave Bush, MIL, 9

SP John Lackey, ANA, (Is this guy on the decline???  Some bad starts recently) 

SP Ricky Nolasco, FLA, 1 (didn’t think I would keep him, but might have to now.  He has been outstanding)

Florida Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco throws in the eighth inning of a baseball game with the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Sept. 10,  2008, in Philadelphia. Nolasco struck out eight in 7  2-3 innings as the Marlins went on to win 7-3, taking two of the three games in the series.

SP Ubaldo Jimenez, COL, 10 (rocky year in Colorado, still young and gets high K’s, don’t know?) 

SP Oliver Perez, NYM, 19 (man, is this guy up and down)

SP Chris Young, SD, 9

SP Zach Jackson, CLE, 1

RP Bobby Jenks, CWS, 5 (he is shut down)

Bobby Jenks - Chicago White Sox

BENCH RESERVES

OF Milton Bradley, TEX, 13 (Was this year a fluke?  He was very good though, injured now however.)

C Michael Barrett, SD, 13

C Matt Treanor, FLA, 1

1B Chris Carter, BOS, 1

3B Mike Lamb, MIL, 1

OF Jody Gerut, SD, 1

1B Randy Ruiz, MIN, 1

BENCH PITCHERS

SP Kevin Millwood, TEX, 15

SP Kenny Rogers, DET, 19

SP Jarrod Washburn, SEA, 1

RP C.J. Wilson, TEX, 1

RP Rafeal Perez, CLE, 1

SP Micah Owings, ARI, 5

MINORS

C Brett Anderson, STL

SP Brett Cecil, TOR

SP Kevin Pucetas, SF

Active: 23, Reserve: 13, Injured: 1, Minors: 3, Active Salary: 230, Total Salary: 307 of a possible 360

My goal is to keep ‘value guys’ with low salary.  Are Abreu or Vlad on the decline???  Things I have to think about.  The guys that I’m going to keep, as it stands currently, are in bold.  I should be looking for pitching in the draft, so I’m going to hang onto a lot of my hitters.  Church or Bradley is a tough call for me??