Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Alomar & Blyleven- HOF Class '11


It's official, the writers have decided that Roberto Alomar & Bert Blyleven are going to be inducted into Cooperstown this summer. I must admit, that I am pretty disappointed in the choices this year. Please don't get me wrong, I think that they were both very good at their game, but it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Good ! I know, Alomar is one of the best 2nd basemen to ever play the game, even if we ignore the alleged HIV transmission claims made against him. But really think about it and think about the legends that have preceedingly been inducted into the Hall over the past decades. Do these two REALLY muster up to having their bronze plaques hanging next to the all-time greats???



What about Lee Smith & Barry Larkin? I would have voted for them over Alomar and Blyleven...but what the heck do I know? I'm just a lowly baseball blogger, and not an all-mighty professional baseball writer. Congrats anyway to Alomar & Blyleven for getting in...I ask the question every year...when is it gonna be Pete's turn to get in?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Many Apologies, 2010 WS, HOF, & 40 DAYS...

First off, let me offer many apologies to all of my faithful readers for not updating my blog since my trip to last year's AS Game. I have been super busy with starting my doctoral program at USC last August. Let's just say that it's NO JOKE. Once again, 1,000 pardons my friends. One of my New Year's resolutions is to update this blog much more frequently.

2010 was an amazing season, as you all know that I am a life long Giants fan, I was ecstatic. What a great bunch of guys on that SF squad. The torture is finally over, and it felt great seeing the Giants finally win one. I still am in shock and can't believe it! I even thought of growing a beard in support of the team, but my wife hates facial hair...oh well. Take that Dodger fans!!!

Tomorrow is the 2011 HOF class announcement...should be a good one! Who do you think will be announced???

Yep, only 40 more days until pitchers and catchers report. I'm getting excited already! I am already planning my trip to Arizona to check out the defending champs in Scottsdale this March. I can't wait.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2010 MLB All-Star Game

A-yeah, yeah. I am so stoked...I just bought my tickets for the AS Game and HR Derby!!! I have never been to an AS Game or a WS Game, both of which I have planned to accomplish in my lifetime. Well, at least I can scratch one of those goals off my list. We are going to all of this year's events. The AS Game, HR Derby, Celebrity Softball Game, Futures Game, and Fanfest. Since we aren't traveling to any new ballparks this season, we have been saving up to go to this event of a lifetime! Since the AS Game is at our closest ballpark, we had to go. Stay tuned for my official post AS weekend review. "Today was a good day..."


Ken Griffey Jr.

Talk about a sad day in baseball...Ken Griffey Jr. officially retired and sadly, I feel like a little part of my youth has died. The Kid has always been one of my favorite players of all time. I will miss his positive attitude, his big smiles, his backwards cap, his Nike ads, and his golden glove plays made in CF. I still have my unopened 1989 Upper Deck complete set that I have treasured since a teenager since it has his rookie card in it. This and my autographed Mantle ball are probably my most treasured baseball items. Unfortunately, Griffey Jr. had a bunch of injuries that really slowed down his career. He probably would have broken Aaron's all-time HR record. Nonetheless, Junior should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Junior, you will be missed. Thanks for all of the great memories !!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's All For Charity


Hello friends,
On May8th, I will be doing a 31-mile bicycle ride called the Tour of Long Beach. It is a fundraiser event where all proceeds go to the Long Beach Miller Children's Hospital. It's for such a great cause! My goal is to raise at least $250.00. If you would like to donate money in support of my fundraising event, please visit: www.active.com/donate/millerchildrens10/KAllen277 For more information on the event and charity, visit their website at: http://www.longbeachbikefest.org/index.php?option=com_content&v...
Thank you, Junior

Monday, March 22, 2010

New York- Yankee Stadium Review

























Yankee Stadium
Year Built: 2009
Capacity: 52,325
Surface: Kentucky Blue Grass
Cost to Build:
$1.5 billion
Overall Grade: A
Return Someday: Yes

In 2009, professional sports most winning franchise got a new home, and they christened it by winning their 27th World Series Championship. The new Yankee Stadium, "the House that Jeter Built", is a very beautiful ballpark. It should be, after all, it is the most expensive stadium ($1.5 billion to build) the majors to build. The seating prices definitely are reflective of the stadium's cost to build...way too pricey! Even with all of the modern amenities and upgrades, I still prefer the old Yankee Stadium.The new stadium is really really nice, but it's just not Yankee Stadium to me. I felt like I was watching the Yankees on the road in a super nice ballpark. I miss the old 1923 stadium a lot. I also liked Citi Field better than the new Yankee Stadium, which is really hard for me to admit to. I'm sure the House that Jeter Built will eventually grow on me, but it will take some time. The new stadium comes complete with the Great Hall, where players of the past are honored. The stadium also has a Hard Rock Cafe, the NYY Steak House, a Lobel's Butcher Shop, Monument Park, a Steiner Sports memorabilia shop, the Yankees Museum, the largest video screen in sports, and Babe Ruth Plaza...just to name a few.


My favorite thing about the new stadium is the Yankees Museum. They display jerseys, autographed baseballs, WS Trophies, bats, etc... from former and current Yankees players. I really enjoyed the Babe Ruth display case. You can see the museum before the game or on the guided stadium tour. Save your money and avoid the Stadium tours. The Stadium tours aren't that great. You got to see a lot more in the old stadium. The only good things are seeing a less crowded Monument Park and the new Yankees Museum. Going into the Yankees dugout was cool too. No stops were made to the visitor's clubhouse or press boxes. It's really not worth the 20 bucks per person.The customer service at the New Stadium is far superior than that of the old Stadium. In addition, the food options are an enormous, much needed improvement from the latter. There are a lot of NYPD staffing the stadium as security, and they are actually really friendly for getting directions. Getting to the stadium is very easy via train. The Stadium is family friendly, and even visiting fan friendly. Just expect to pay an arm and a leg for some decent seats.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New York- Citi Field Review

Citi Field
Year Built: 2009
Capacity: 41,800
Surface: Grass
Cost to Build:
$900 million
Overall Grade: A
Return Someday: Yes

"Meet the Mets, greet the Mets..." The other New York team, the Metropolitans (aka the Mets) opened up a fabulous new stadium in 2009. It is designed as a tribute to Ebbetts Field, former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Mets pay homage to old time NY baseball with their ballpark, not just by the exterior design, but also with the Jaclie Robinson Rotunda. This area is completely dedicated to MLB's first black player, with quote from Jackie on the walls, to pictures and stats of him, and a huge 42 on the floor. The rotunda is definitely a must see. My only issue, is they pay tribute a little too much to the Dodgers and not nearly enough to the Mets, honestly, hardly any at all.

This is by far one of the nicest ballparks in the majors, and Citi Field is definitely a huge improvement over Shea Stadium. Believe it or not, I actually liked Citi Field better than the New Yankee Stadium. The ticket prices are by far more fan friendly than those in the Bronx. The fans were very friendly, as well as the staff of Citi. The ballpark food options are really good. The toppings/ condiment stations are the best that I have ever seen. The have onions, sauerkraut, jalapenos, ketchup, brown mustard, etc... Very cool setup. Another one of Junior's secrets, is to go to the main level up from the escalator and sign up as a designated driver. They will put a wrist band on you to get a free soda. They actually give you a big soda, not a dixie cup full of soda like some other parks do. See my pic below as proof !!!


The old Big Apple from Shea is on display in the stadium's public areas, and there is a new Big Apple beyond centerfield. Citi offers a lot of retail shopping options. Check out the Nike store before you buy anything in the main shops, they seemed to have nicer shirts and hats. Even though the Mets are always considered NY's "other team," kinda like the Clippers and Lakers relationship, the Mets definitely have a nicer place to call home. If you are in NYC, do yourself a favor, head over to Queens and hit a Mets game, you'll totally love the new ballpark and the fan atmosphere.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Los Angeles- Dodger Stadium Review

Dodger Stadium
Year Built: 1962
Capacity: 56,000
Surface: Grass
Cost to Build:
$23 million
Overall Grade: C+
Return Someday: Yes

Dodger Stadium, baseball's largest seating capacity stadium and third oldest ballpark, is located in Chavez Ravine in the heart of Los Angeles. Let's face the facts...the Dodgers are and always have been LA's true team. Growing up in LA, this is where I attended my first ballgame as a kid, where I saw the Houston Astros against the Dodgers in 1985. I remember seeing the blue and orange seats, and thinking that the Dodger fans sat in the blue seats and only Astro fans sat in the orange seats. I remember as a kid, stopping the LAPD patrol cars that would drive down our street to get LAPD Dodger baseball cards from them. I love listening to Vin Scully on the radio or on TV. It's really cool that he has been the voice of the Dodgers since the 1950's. Vin is by far the best baseball broadcaster in the majors. His voice can be heard echoing throughout the stadium during a game, due to many fans traditionally bringing their am transistor radios to the game. "It's time for Dodger baseball..." It will be hard to imagine watching or listening to a Dodger game without him. The Dodgers have honored Vin by naming the Press Box after him. If you get to the stadium early, you can catch Fernando Valenzuela for an easy autograph outside of the Vin Scully Press Box, before he begins his Spanish radio broadcast of the game. The Dodgers have a lot of tradition. They have the history from their Brooklyn days with Jackie Robinson, to playing at the LA Coliseum, to Tommy Lasorda, to Koufax, to world famous Dodger Dogs, to Fernando-mania, to beachballs, to Kirk Gibson, and four WS championships...just to name a few.

With that said, this is a stadium review, not my walk down memory lane!!! So, putting aside my fond childhood memories, I am going to do my best to give Dodger Stadium an impartial review. Depending on what day of the week, your experience of the stadium can vary greatly. If you want the best overall experience, go to a weekday daytime game, if possible. It doesn't get very crowded, but most importantly, the typical Dodger fan knuckleheads aren't there. If you don't know what I am talking about, think of typical Raider fans, and bingo, there you have it. This is a must if you are looking to bring the kids or are trying to root for the visiting team. I strongly recommend NOT wearing any visiting team gear at all, unless you don't mind get messed with, and possibly assaulted. You can avoid the profanity, fights, and potential physical harm. I have seen fans get in fights and there was even a fellow Giants fan that got shot while I was at Dodger Stadium. At all costs, avoid the outfield pavilion seating, as this is where the trouble makers like to sit. If you must go to a weekend or weekday evening game, remember, the lower & pricier the seats are, the safer you will be. If you are looking for a good family weekend outing, either shell out the bucks for lower section seating or drive down the I-5 to Angel Stadium. As far as the stadium staff, they aren't very fan friendly at all. The could really use some customer service training, especially if you are sitting in the top deck section. The food has gotten much better over the years, but still has a ways to go. Try a world-famous Dodger Dog at the game. Make sure that you get a grilled Dodger Dog, they are much tastier, than the regular ones. The grilled dogs aren't sold everywhere, so you will have to hunt a little for them...trust me, they are worth it. One of Dodger Stadium's best kept secrets is the Stadium Club. This is a bar and restaurant that is open to the public before and after the game. It overlooks right field. If you want to eat there during the game time, you will need a special pass and reservations to get in. Season ticket holders are given a couple of these passes, so thanks to my buddies, Eddie & Robert, I have had the privilege to watch a game while dining in the Stadium Club. It is a really cool, high end type experience.


I would have rated Dodger Stadium a little higher if the fan factor wasn't such an issue, but at least you know what to expect, when you go to watch one of baseball's historic teams in Chavez Ravine.

Kansas City- Kauffman Stadium Review

Kauffman Stadium
Year Built: 1973
Capacity: 39,000
Surface: Grass
Cost to Build:
$70 million
Overall Grade: A
Return Someday: Yes

Kauffman Stadium is now MLB's 6th oldest stadium, built in 1973 and received a $150 million renovation in 2009. It is located in the Truman Sports Complex, which also has the Kansas City Chiefs stadium adjacent to Kauffman. It is named after the Royals original owner, Ewin Kauffman. Kauffman Stadium has had it's historical moments over the years. It's first began on 5/15/1973, as only one month old, hosted Nolan Ryan's first of seven no-hitters. Kauffman also hosted it's only All-Star game during the inaugural season. Kauffman Stadium has hosted two World Series in 1980 & 1985.

I really enjoyed my 2006 trip to Kauffman, and I would like to take the opportunity to share with you a story about how I have received the "Royal treatment" by the Royal's organization. The Royals staff are truly a class act. We brought my parents on this road trip to see Johan's Twins against the Royals, and I had bought some nose bleed seats directly behind home plate. The height of the seating area above the field became too much for my lifetime Twins fan mother, due to her uneasiness with heights and we went to speak to the Royals customer service reps. They gladly swapped our tickets to bottom level seats right behind homeplate for no extra charge. This was a big-time upgrade. I have a lot of respect and gratitude of the Royals' staff for doing that for us. This wasn't the first time that I was given the "Royal treatment" by the Royals staff. When I was about 14 years old, I wrote to practically every baseball organization requesting my favorite players' autographs. The only team to respond back was the Royals. They sent me autographed pictures of George Brett, Bo Jackson, and Kevin Seitzer. I actually still have them. The stadium staff were the friendliest in MLB that we have encountered so far. The food options were pretty standard ballpark fare, the ballpark seating was very comfortable and the stadium's ambience was very pleasant. The fans were just as friendly as the Royals staff, even if you are sporting a visiting team's gear. A special THANK-YOU to the Royals organization. The other MLB organizations can definitely learn a thing or two of what I have dubbed as the "Royal treatment." I tip my Yankees cap to you and look forward to returning someday in the future.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

All that and a bag of chips???

What's the deal with Torii Hunter and his alleged racist remarks? Hunter was quoted by USA Today's Bob Nightengale (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/angels/2010-03-10-torii-hunter-comments_N.htm) making questionable remarks towards Latin ballplayers which stirred up a frenzy among the media and public. According to USA Today's website:

"Hunter, in discussing the dearth of African-American players in baseball, referred to Latin players as "imposters." He was trying to make the distinction between Latin players and American-born black players with the seven other members of the roundtable. After reading reactions to the story, Hunter looked up the definition of imposter in a dictionary.

"I'm not going to apologize," Hunter said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. "I told the truth. I'm sorry if I used the wrong choice of words.

"It wasn't a racist word. I can't believe people take that as racism. Maybe it was the wrong word, but I do too much in the community to make this one word ruin anything."In Hunter's original comments, he said that people he knows "come up and say, 'Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?' I say, 'Come on, he's Dominican. He's not black.'"

He also said baseball prefers scouting and signing Latin players because they are willing to sign "for a bag of chips.""As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It's like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It's like, 'Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips? I'm telling you, it's sad.""

I used to be a pretty big Torii fan from his MN days, but come on Torii, that was weak !!! You are better than that. You can't justify those comments, so just apologize for offending some people and let's move on from this circus. With Chapman's recent salary, you can buy a whole lot of Frito Lay!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

PLAY BALL !!!

Welcome to Baseballville!!! Yep, it's that time again my friends. It's Spring Training and I am pumped. I ordered MLB.TV to watch the games on my computer, and I even got the MLB At-Bat 2010 app for my iPhone to listen to the games when I am away from my computer. A special thanks to my awesome wifey for getting my those for my B-Day, so I can help feed my lifelong addiction. I have been watching the Spring Training games and I am so excited to see how this year will unfold. So far, I am very impressed with Stasburg and Chapman's Spring Training pitching performances. They are living up to their reps so far. I know it's early, and even some of you discount Spring Training performances labeling the games as "meaningless." But I love this game so much, that I appreciate all of the efforts from the WBC, Caribbean Series, and Spring Training.
With this posting, I am going to give my faithful readers my bold predictions, and highlight some of my plans for the season. First with my baseball plans. We will be going to AZ in a couple of weeks to check out two Cactus League games. Friars vs. Cubbies and Pads vs. Giants. Should be fun, just like every year that we've gone out there. If you've never been to a Spring Training game, do yourself a favor and go. Get the lawn seats and enjoy the warm sunshine watching some much needed hardball, after a cold baseball-less winter. I promise you that you will have a blast.

My good friend Rob, has season tix at Chavez Ravine, and he has offered an open ended invite for me to go to some games this season, as he generously always done so every year. I already told him that when the Reds or Nats are in town and either Chapman or Stasburg are on the mound, count me in. I saw Chapman pitch in San Diego last year for Team Cuba in the WBC, but he didn't pitch very well against the two-time WBC Champs, Team Japan. I predict that he will do pretty well this season. Time to enjoy a world famous Dodger Dog.

Since the 2010 All-Star Game is at the Big A, this summer, I am going to try to go, as long as the tix aren't outrageously expensive. I will at least try to go to the HR Derby, if anything else. I've never been to an All-Star game, nor a World Series game, both of which I hope to do sometime in my lifetime. We aren't really going on any baseball related vacations this summer, like we have the past 4 years, so I will definitely be using my online subscription to get my fix this year.

As far as my predictions go for the upcoming season, here's what I have come up with:

NL East- Phillies
NL Central- Cubs
NL West- Giants
NL Wild Card- Marlins

AL East- Yankees (of course !!!)
AL Central- Twins
AL West- Mariners
AL Wild Card- Tampa Bay

Initially I was leaning towards the Cardinals and Twins winning their respective divisions, but I'm not too sure with the Cards and Twinkies anymore, because of Pujols and Nathan having arm issues. If they miss the season from having surgery, their teams might not do too well, since they are crucial parts of their respective teams' overall success.

My friends, please keep in mind that historically, I have not been very successful with making pre-season predictions...so don't go running off to Vegas with them! Speaking of Vegas, while I was there a few weeks ago for my buddy's bachelor party, I made a couple of sports book bets on the AL and NL winners. Since I have never bet on sports in Vegas, I thought that I'd give it a shot for fun. I picked the Mariners and the Giants...we'll see what happens.

Last, I am even excited that I will be playing in my usual Fantasy Baseball League- I hope to repeat my success from last year, as Junior's Dynasty looks to actually win it all this year!

Regardless of how my predictions turn out, or how my Fantasy Team does, I am happy that baseball season is finally back. As I look onward to the 2010 season, as with every MLB fan, we all have one thing in common...HOPE for our team to win it all this year- as for me... # 28 here we come!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2010 Caribbean Series Starts TODAY!!!

Yes, it's finally that time...time for the Serie del Caribe (Caribbean Series). Bring the heat, latino baseball style! I have been a fan of this championship tournament since 2005. I watch it religiously every year on TV, and this year it is being broadcasted once again on the MLB Network in English and also on ESPN Deportes in Spanish. If you've never watched it, give it a chance. The level of play is very exciting and the fans are extremely passionate. The series began in the 1940s and involves the champions from each of the Latin American winter leagues. The teams involved are Mexico, Puerto rico, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. They rotate the location among the four countries every year. This year's contest is taking place in Venezuela. Next year will be in Puerto Rico- I hope to go to next year's tournament, as I have always wanted to go visit Puerto Rico, and mixing beisbol (baseball) while on vacation, would make it perfect. Check it out, I promise that you won't be disappointed !


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is it baseball season yet???

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring".
-Roger Hornsby

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My trip to the ALCS game #4


The Big A, a sea of red, rally monkey dolls, thundersticks, a monument to Nick Adenhart, bad umpiring calls, footlong italian sausages, Sabathia's strong 8 innings on 3 days rest, and more. We went to last night's ALCS game and it totally rocked! There were so many NY fans throughout the stadium, cheering on Jeter and the boys. The best was seeing most of the depressed Anaheim fans with their annoying thundersticks leave in the 7th inning when the score was 5-1. No rally monkey sightings at all last night. Tomorrow's game is now just a formality...To quote Ice Cube..."today was a good day."

Too bad Torre couldn't pull it off. It's kinda boring with the Phils in the WS again. Plus I was really hoping to go see the Yankees in a WS game at Dodger Stadium, since I've never been to a WS ever...stupid Dodgers!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't Follow Me to Vegas...

Once again, please keep in mind that I have a really bad track record when it comes to making my predictions...so, please don't take my predictions to Vegas, because I know I certainly wouldn't. I just take my most educated guesses. I give that old college try...community college that is!!! But hey, like college football, it's October baseball, anything can happen! Just sit back and enjoy my friends! Happy Columbus Day everyone!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Post Season Predictions

Here are my MLB post season predictions:

NLDS
Phillies beat the Rockies in 4 games
Cardinals beat the Dodgers in 5 games

ALDS
Yankees sweep the Twins
Angels beat the Red Sox in 4 games

NLCS
Cardinals beat the Phillies in 6 games

ALCS
Yankees beat the Angels in 5 games

WORLD SERIES
Yankees beat the Cardinals in 6 games to capture their 27th World Series Championship



Monday, September 14, 2009

Cleveland- Jacobs Field Review


Jacobs Field
Year Built: 1994
Capacity: 43, 515
Surface: Grass
Cost to Build:
$175 million
Overall Grade: B-
Return Someday: Yes

Cleveland ROCKS!!! We went to the Jake in 2007, now called Progressive Field. It was one of the best family atmosphere's that we have seen in a ballpark. Jacobs Field was pretty cool to see. The franchise is one of the older teams in MLB and the fans show their constant devotion for this team. I actually have a lot of respect for this franchise and their devoted fans. The fans were friendly, the stadium workers were friendly, and the food options were good. The stadium is kinda bland looking. The seats were comfortable. The national anthem was sung by the Bare Naked Ladies rock group. Heritage Park was neat to see, as the Tribe honored their historical past. You could hear the drum beating in the crowd. It was a great midwest summer afternoon and the Indians won. I recommend checking out the Jake, if you've never been, and bring the kids!

Chicago- Wrigley Field Review

Wrigley Field
Year Built: 1914
Capacity: 41, 118
Surface: Grass
Cost to Build:
$250,000
Overall Grade: A+
Return Someday: Yes

Go Cubs go...What can I say about Wrigley Field? Being in this ballpark actually brought a grown man to tears. I got really choked up in disbelief that I was actually in Wrigley Field. I am not ashamed of telling my readers that I got teary eyed. This is the 2nd oldest ballpark in the majors and I was actually there staring at the ivy covered outfield walls that I had only seen on WGN throughout my lifetime. Wow, what an experience.

Right before we walked into the ballpark, there was a statue of the late great broadcaster Harry Caray. There was a barber shop quartet singing and you could smell the Italian sausage and peppers being grilled up. Wrigleyville is the surrounding area and it is like a party atmosphere everywhere inside the stadium and outside. not to mention the cool rooftop bleachers on the houses across Addison Avenue.

The original wooden seats were really neat to see and pretty comfortable to sit in. The food was good. The stadium staff were very friendly, the ballpark had a nice family atmosphere. In addition, there were a lot of college aged kids just chillin' and looking to hook up with potential dates. This is history. If you've never been...GO!