Archives for: 2008, week 24

06/22/08

Permalink 12:01:00 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

Baseball fans are busy voting for their favorite players for this years' MLB All Star Game. Historic Yankee Stadium is in its' final season and will host the festivities in grand style.

All World All Sports presents our first annual All Star Game selections position by position. We're selecting our American League starters based on actual performance (fans select favorites). National League starters will be featured tomorrow.

All World All Sports American League All Star Starting Selections: (click on player names for stats)
Manager: Terry Francona, Boston
1st Base: Kevin Youkilis, Boston
2nd Base: Ian Kinsler, Texas
3rd Base: Alex Rodriguez, New York
Short Stop: Michael Young, Texas
Left Field: Manny Ramirez, Boston
Center Fld: Josh Hamilton, Texas
Right Fld: J.D. Drew, Boston
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota
Designated Hitter: Milton Bradley, Texas
Starting Pitcher-R: Ervin Santana, Boston
Starting Pitcher-L: Cliff Lee, Cleveland
Setup Reliever: Scott Linebrink, Chicago
Closer: Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles

All World All Sports Starting Lineup:
SS- Young
2B- Kinsler
3B- Rodriguez
LF- Ramirez
CF- Hamilton
DH- Bradley
RF- Drew
1B- Youkilis
C- Mauer
Starting Pitcher: Cliff Lee
(*Note- these selections are not official. Actual MLB results/starters will differ based on fan voting*).

Our All World All Sports American League lineup packs power and a couple of good second chance story lines.
-- Josh Hamilton has survived his battle with drug addiction transforming what was a life threatening situation into baseball stardom. Batting .315, 19 HR's, 74 RBI in less than a half season.
-- Milton Bradley had earned a hot head reputation for on and off field antics. He's found a home in Texas and put up monster first half numbers hitting .329, 20 2B's, 15 HR's.
-- Cliff Lee's 2007 season was a disaster (6.29 ERA). He's been golden this year when team officials originally thought this pitcher might not make the major league club in '08. 10-1, 2.45

It will be interesting to see how New York fans greet arch rival Boston Red Sox All Stars. Will World Champion players be greeted with louder than life boo's or polite cheers? Hey, it's Yankee Stadium at all times so no one should be surprised to hear plenty of Bronx jeers on game day.

06/21/08

Permalink 04:01:01 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

New York Mets fans had been speculating when Willie Randolph's contract would finally be terminated. After his dismal managing job vs Texas this past Sunday (first game of DH), it was very evident New York's manager was soon to be dismissed. Mets GM Omar Minaya had faced a barrage of questions on Randolph's status nearly every day for a month before finally firing his friend and team manager after Monday nights game in Anaheim.

Randolph's Mets never seemed to recover after setting a record for losing during 2007's September pennant drive. NY flat out choked. Once again, this season had many experts predicting great things for the Amazin's. Unfortunately, many of Willie's moves didn't pan out as NY struggled to find consistency from day one. Randoph's strategies had come under fire often. I went to Sunday's game and was surprised Randolph wasn't fired after the Mets terribly managed 8-7 loss to Texas. Jose Reyes had reached base safely in his first two at bats and Willie never once attempted to get him into scoring position. Bunter extraodinaire Luis Castillo never laid one down, nor did Jose attempt a steal. The over used bullpen was summoned to thwart a Rangers rally and failed miserably as had been the case heading into the game. One of the biggest blunders occurred on the basepaths when the Mets were staging a dramatic comeback after trailing 8-2. In the 8th inning with the bases loaded and catcher Brian Schneider on 2nd base, pinch hitter Easley lined a single up the middle. Instead of sending Schneider home with 1 out... and with Texas conceding the runner... third base coach Alomar held him up at third. Next up was Reyes who hit a soft shallow fly to RF and Schneider was gunned down by 3 steps for an inning ending rally killing double play. NY scored 2 in the bottom of 9 before finally falling by one run.

This was typical of Willie's team. Soft fielding, less than aggressive baserunning and bad decision making by all coaches. Randolph can't take all of the blame as many players have underperformed. Beltran, Delgado, Oliver Perez have been shaky. Injuries to Pedro, Alou and Church have taken it's toll. Bullpen inconsistency cost games too. Willie proved to be a very poor motivator & mentor. A change was needed. Willie has been bellyaching over how he was fired. Interim manager Jerry Manuel is at the helm and NY has responded winning 3 of 4. Good riddance Randolph.

Soon to follow suit were the Seattle Mariners. First to go was GM Bill Bavasi who was the architect of Seattle's last place ballclub. Next up, Manager John McLaren (25-47). His team was expected to contend this season after picking up a few key players. Things couldn't have gone much worse for this team. Fielding, pitching and hitting have all been suspect. Even hit machine Ichiro had struggled. Sluggers Sexson and Beltre haven't come thru when needed. Starting pitching has been inept. A complete team meltdown. Players have come out to stick up for their fired skipper by placing blame on themselves. This is a talented squad on paper who never found a grove. Replacing McLaren is former skipper Jim Riggleman who promptly won his first game Friday night. Do not expect a change of managers to improve Seattle's chances this season.

Baseball's third manager to get axed this week was Toronto Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons (35-39). Gibby was often controversial. He came to near blows with two former players... once challenging Shea Hillenbrand to a brawl and then exchanging blows in the tunnel with pitcher Ted Lilly after arguing with him on the mound. It's somewhat amazing Gibbons was still at the helm heading into this season. Former Toronto skipper who led this club to back to back World Series Championships, Cito Gaston, was rehired to help turn this club around. Toronto is in baseball's best division. A tough task for Gaston with Boston, Tampa, Yanks and Orioles playing solid ball.

Can these three teams turn it around? Odds are on the Mets to improve. Seattle may have a fire sale. Toronto has talent but not enough to climb the ladder.

Who will be baseball's next manager to be fired?

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