“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): A Lost Year for Atlanta

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, the Atlanta Braves.

Yesterday, it was announced that the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins would play a regular season game at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. In most years, one would think this would mean the Marlins were giving up a home game. However, it’s the Braves who are.

And that seems fitting for Atlanta, a team that will be going nowhere this season as they turn their eyes almost entirely to the future. Defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons is gone. All-Star pitcher Shelby Miller is gone. Guys like Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel are now distant memories. The acquisitions by the Braves this off-season have either been entirely aimed at the future (former Number 1 pick Dansby Swanson, for example) or meant to fill a spot and keep the team from being a complete joke. Oh, Freddie Freeman is still there… although you can bet there will be talk of him possibly being traded, even if it could end up as just that: speculation.

The plan is clear: After this season, the Braves will move to the wealthier suburbs up in Cobb County, playing in a new stadium called SunTrust Park. The first year or two there, the thought is, will be a honeymoon, as people will go there just because it’s new.

The Braves hope that by the time the honeymoon ends, the team will be good enough to get people to come to games to see a winning team.

Only time will tell if they are right. But I don’t think it will take much time for the 2016 Braves to stink up the joint. It could get ugly really fast.

 

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): The Future of Cespedes in 2016 Mets Camp

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, I go over other ways that Yoenis Cespedes can arrive at Mets camp.

The big story this year in Mets’ camp hasn’t been the pitchers, or the fact they are coming in as defending National League champions. No, it’s been Yoenis Cespedes. He’s arrived in crazy cars and on a horse, when he hasn’t been buying pigs for $7,000 just to eat them.

So, I have used a crystal ball to stare into the future and see what the future holds for Yoenis Cespedes in Mets camp:

  • On March 4, Cespedes will arrive in a Aston Martin DB5, like James Bond drove.
  • On March 7, Cespedes and his entourage will go to an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet in Port St. Lucie. They will proceed to eat it out of business.
  • On March 9, Cespedes will fly an autogyro to Tampa, where he will play against the Yankees. He will hit a home run and unleash a massive bat-flip. Certain Yankee columnists will take this the wrong way. It will be glorious.
  • On March 12, Cespedes will arrive at Mets camp driving a go-kart.
  • On March 13, Cespedes will skip the game at the Marlins and instead take a helicopter to Disney World, where he will have a blast.
  • Aware that you should “Beware the Ides of March”, Cespedes will stay inside in his room all day and play video games.
  • From March 17 to 19, Cespedes will disappear to go undercover and takes part in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando. He will be leading when the Mets find him and haul him back to camp.
  • On March 21, he will arrive at the Mets facility in a DeLorean with Christopher Lloyd, who he has paid to reprise his role of Dr. Emmett Brown.
  • On March 23, he will arrive on a hovercraft.
  • March 25 will see him arrive at the facility in a Harrier jump-jet.
  • March 30 will see Cespedes arrive riding an elephant.
  • On March 31 and April 1, Cespedes will accompany the Mets to Vegas to play the Cubs. He will proceed to break the bank at the Luxor, and then leave Vegas flying a UFO from Area 51.

 

What’s scary is… some of these might actually come true!

 

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): A running commentary on the first Spring Training Game of the Year

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, I watch the Phillies play their first Spring Training game of the year because I’m a glutton for punishment.

1:07- Severino Gonzalez is pitching for the Phillies. He had a 7.92 ERA last year. Even going with the fact that it was only in 30 innings, that is what is known as “not good”.

1:08- The first pitch in the Philadelphia Phillies march to the World Series is a ball inside and BWAHAAHAHA I actually implied they might make the World Series, my bad.

1:11- Gonzalez walks Dalton Pompey. ONWARD TO VICTORY, CITIZENS OF THE THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE!

1:12- Ryan Howard shows that defense and throws Pompey out at second. Because, y’know, Spring Training. Who cares.

1:13-

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1:15- Chris Colabello is up. Meanwhile, at Twins’ camp, this is happening.

1:16- Chris Colabello hits a infield single that dies in just the right place. Phillies announcers already considering that Gonzalez won’t go his two assigned innings. Phillies Phever: Catch It!

1:18- As the Phillies announcers mention that this could be their opening day outfield, MLB Network’s volume inexplicably increases, as if screaming in terror. Although, to be fair, it does look like a good OF defensively.

1:19- Severino Gonzalez hits a guy. Bases loaded. Darwin Barney is up. So that’s where he ended up.

1:21- Darwin Barney has a 2-RBI double. I’m really regretting doing this with the Phillies.

1:23- The inning is over and I’m making myself lunch.

1:24- Oh dear god, it’s back and I haven’t had an opportunity to eat lunch.

1:29- Marcus Stroman 1-2-3s the Phillies and strikes out one. There was a discussion on how to pronounce the “Franco” in Maikel Franco. Help.

1:33- The required run-down of coaching changes. It happens every spring.

1:36- Gonzalez sends the Blue Jays down 1-2-3. What does this mean? Who the hell knows!

1:38- They just showed the Phanatic welcoming Phillies fans at the airport. I wish the Phanatic welcomed me at airports.

1:45- I get back from lunch just in time to see Carlos Ruiz hit a game-tying 2-run single. Clearly, the Phillies are in good shape this year if I’m eating lunch most of the time.

1:47- Bob McClure, Phillies pitching coach, likens Spring Training to a auto race. Weird. Gregory Infante pitching now for Philly.

1:55- Two-run double again from Darwin Barney. Darwin Barney MVP. Mark it down.

1:57-

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1:58- For those of you scoring at home… don’t.

2:02- Another Spring Training tradition is hawking the future promotions. Like a hat that gives you Phanatic hair. I want one.

2:06- Full disclosure: I’m ending this live-blog at 2:30 because I have other stuff to do.

2:08- HAHA, Freddy Galvis’ car got hit by a BP homer by Maikel Franco.

2:12- Another Spring Training position- gratuitous shots of beaches.

2:16- “The Darwin Barney Show”. Words actually just said.

2:17- Andy McPhail is on TV now, and has a hat that looks more suited to touring Jurassic Park.

2:18- J.P. Arencibia, who apparently is a Phillie now, goes deep to make it 4-3. Our first dinger of Spring Training on TV.

2:30- Well, it’s 2:30 and nothing interesting is happening. So I’m out. Later, everyone.

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): The Giants Will Win Because It’s An Even Year

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Last year’s installments can be found here. Today, we get the easy part out of the way, with the sure-to-be-2016 champion San Francisco Giants.

The San Francisco Giants have won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

They did not win the World Series in 2009, 2011, 2013 or 2015. In fact, they didn’t even make the playoffs.

So, clearly, history tells us that there is no way that the Giants don’t win the World Series this year. It is inevitable, like the sun rising in the east or a spring training report that somebody is in the best shape of their lives.

Why have the Giants done so well in even years? Maybe it’s just random circumstance. Maybe it’s some strange effect related to President Obama being in office, and it will end once his second term is up. Maybe the Giants like Olympic years.

But for whatever reason, every even years has ended with Buster Posey giving a big hug to somebody. That will, clearly, happen again this year. The only question is who he will be hugging and what team they will be beating.

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): The Cubs won’t be boring

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, the Cubs.

There is a saying that a work of fiction can be good or bad, but the worst thing it can be is be boring. The same could be said for baseball teams. And, well, the Cubs may be many things this season, but they will not be boring.

After all, this is a team with Joe Maddon as manager. He’s never boring. He’s always doing crazy shifts, having his team do themed road-trips where they dress up as 1890s gentlemen or Hawaiian beach bums or whatever.

They have wonder-prospect Kris Bryant. Or, at least, they will. It’s complicated, but basically they’ll call him up within a few weeks, when they’ll be able to start his service clock late enough where they’ll be able to keep him from free agency for an extra year.

They have Wrigley Field still under heavy renovation. The bleachers won’t be done for at least two months. What the heck! How does this happen? Still, not boring.

And, of course, they have their endless quest to finally win their first World Series since 1908, and, perhaps more importantly, the quest to prove Back To The Future II correct.

So, yes… the Cubs are not going to be boring this year. That is for sure.

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): The Padres do exist! Let’s remember when we thought otherwise!

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, the Padres.

It’s nice to see that San Diego, one of the most beautiful cities in America, has finally gotten a MLB team again. I mean, maybe they’ve had one the last few years, but I honestly can’t remember. After all, the Padres were like extras in a movie: there, but unnoticed.

So, let’s remember the years where San Diego only technically had a Major League team, because we all forgot they existed:

2007: The last year I can truly remember the Padres existing before this year. They got into a tie-breaker playoff against the Rockies and lost in 13 innings. The age of darkness began.

2008: 63-99 and last place. America only recognized their existence when Jake Peavy or late-career Greg Maddux pitched, along with the occasional Trevor Hoffman milestone.

2009: 75-87, 4th place. The most notable thing listed about them on their Wikipedia page is that Jody Gerut became the first player in history to have a lead-off home run in a new stadium when he led off the first game at CitiField with a homer off of Mike Pelfrey. Jake Peavy was traded this year and Trevor Hoffman had gone to the Brewers. The sinkage into obscurity seemed to be in full swing.

2010: Actually a pretty good year, as they went 90-72 and finished in second place, a beacon of relevance in a ocean of meh. Oh, but they blew a 6.5 game lead late in the season and lost the division to the Giants, and then Adrian Gonzalez was traded after the season. And then they returned to obscuresville.

2011: 71-91, last place. I cannot remember a thing about this team.

2012: 76-86, 4th place. This was Chase Headley’s breakout year, if I remember correctly. Other than that, I can’t think of anything special about the Padres in 2012.

2013: 76-86, 3rd place. Was this the year they had the fight with the Dodgers? I think this was the year they had a fight with the Dodgers. Otherwise, I can’t remember a thing about them.

2014: 77-85, 3rd place. Tony Gwynn died and everything was terrible. Otherwise, I can’t remember much about them.

…And then there is 2015. I guess we’ll see how that turns out, huh?

Next time: The Cubs.

 

 

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): Reds October? Unlikely.

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, the Reds.

There is a lot of parity in baseball these days. Few teams can truly be said to be totally out of it. However, when you look at the NL Central, you can’t help but feel like the Cincinnati Reds have missed their chance, at least for this year:

  • They are in a deep division with four teams that could conceivably win the division, and are certainly in better shape to do so than the Reds are.
  • They did nothing to significantly improve over the winter.
  • While the lineup is great, the starting rotation is very iffy, especially if Homer Bailey has more health issues. They don’t have Mat Latos anymore.
  • Oh, and Johnny Cueto is headed to free agency soon, so it’s likely the Reds are going to have even more pitching depth issues in the future.
  • Some members of the line-up are coming off of off-years (or, at least, what the Reds hope were just off-years and not starts of a trend) or, in some cases, just getting old. They’ve added Marlon Byrd as their big off-season addition, and he’s 37, for pete’s sake!
  • With the ticket sales and excitement that come with hosting the All-Star game this season, it’s less likely that Reds brass feel the need to add anybody during the year to spice things up and get more butts in the stands in the short-term.

So… sorry, Reds fans, but you won’t be seeing a Reds October this year.

Next Time: Padres.

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): The ABCs of the Colorado Rockies

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, the Colorado Rockies.

 

A is for Altitude, of which Denver is quite high.

B is for Blackmon, who had six hits in a game, oh my!

C is for CarGo, coming off a down year.

D is for Dickerson, CarGo’s outfield peer.

E is for Eddie Butler, of whom I know little, see?

F is for Fourth, in the NL West they will be.

G is for Galarragga, who had quite the hitting niche.

H is for Hawkins, one final year to pitch.

I is for Isotopes, home of their AAA players.

J is for Justin, of the Canadian Eh-ers?

K is for Kendrick, formerly of the Phillies.

L is for Low April temperatures, which can give you the willies.

M is for the Mahieu, that comes after Le.

N is for Nolan the Arenado, not Ryan the P.

O is for Ottavino‘s beginning and end.

P is for Power-hitting, which the humidor tries to mend.

Q is for Questions, of which the Rockies might have many.

R is for Rex Brothers, not as tall as Brad Penny.

S is for Stubbs, who was not a Sooner.

T is for Tulo, who’s trade is ever rumor.

U is for Uniforms, occasionally purple.

V is for Vinny Castilla, because nothing rhymes with purple.

W is for Weiss, the Rockies’ skipper.

X is for Xylophone, there are instruments that are hipper.

Y is for Ynoa, Rafael to be exact.

Z is for Zobrist, an A just to keep the alphabet intact.

Tomorrow: Texas Rangers.

 

 

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): For the Dodgers, there is no kill like overkill

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, the Dodgers.

Today, the Dodgers reportedly signed Cuban 3B defector Hector Olivera for six years and 62.5 million dollars. Now, they have a 3B currently in Juan Uribe, and his secondary position of 2B has Howie Kendrick there, but this is the Dodgers, and for them, there is no kill like overkill.

Flush with cable cash (despite the fact that, ironically, most of LA’s population is unable to watch due to carriage issues) and the fact they are in Los Angeles, and with star power on the field, in the stands and in the owner’s box (when Magic Johnson calls to see if you are interested in playing for the Dodgers, you listen), the Dodgers have, in some ways, taken over for the Yankees as the team for which money is no object.

For example, the Dodgers certainly could have been fine if their rotation was Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu (who is currently hurt) and then two other guys, but, nope, they go ahead and give Brandon McCarthy 48 million dollars, despite the fact he struggled with the Diamondbacks last year, only to inexplicably turn it around after going to the American League with the Yankees. Because they are the Dodgers, and if they want the best Twitter-user in baseball to be their number four starter, they will do it. It wouldn’t be shocking at all if they add somebody else, like Cole Hamels, sometime during the season, thus pushing McCarthy to fifth on the depth chart, should Ryu be healthy by that point. Oh, and they also have Brett Anderson and Brandon Beachy (who should have recovered from Tommy John surgery by mid-season), too. And, while I’m no expert on the Dodgers’ farm system, I’m sure they have somebody at AAA who is willing to step up if anybody gets hurt or underperforms.

And then, of course, there is the lineup. Here’s what the opening-day lineup for the Dodgers will likely be:

1. Jimmy Rollins

2. Carl Crawford

3. Yasiel Puig

4. Adrian Gonzalez

5. Yasmani Grandal

6. Howie Kendrick

7. Joc Pederson

8. Juan Uribe

9. Pitcher

That’s a good lineup. But, don’t worry, if that lineup doesn’t work, it’s nothing that money won’t fix. Because there’s no amount to high, and no kill like overkill.

Tomorrow: The Rockies

 

 

 

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): A gratuitous post on Hank the Dog

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, a cute dog.

I could write about the Brewers, but why do that when I now have a perfect excuse to have pictures of Hank, the cute little stray pup who was adopted as a unofficial mascot by the Brewers last season and found it’s way into America’s heart?

I mean, look at this fella:

D’aww.

(Go below the jump for more, since this is image heavy.)

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