Pirate will “Let it Go” at the plate this season

Frozen continues it grip on pop culture by now getting involved in baseball

Frozen continues it grip on pop culture by now getting involved in baseball

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past three months you’ve had to have heard the song “Let it Go” performed by the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem, I mean Idina Menzel. If people thought Frozen’s popularity would fade as winter began to thaw into spring, you’d be wrong. In Pittsburgh, catcher Tony Sanchez has announced that the smash hit “Let it Go” will be his walk up song when he comes to bat in 2014. Talk about an unusual choice. It may have won an oscar, but Let it Go is a rapid departure from the usual hard rock and hip hop walk up songs the big leaguers usually use. Who knows? If Sanchez helps the Pirates win and makes an all star team, maybe will be hearing more of the Walt Disney soundtrack throughout major league ball parks. Sorry Pirates parents, looks like your not escaping Frozen just yet! For the full music video check out the link here (Frozen “Let it Go”). Comment and follow below!

Call to Arms! Why Rafael Montero should be Mets fifth starter

Montero should be in the Mets rotation

Montero should be in the Mets rotation

The New York Mets already have their fifth starter, an his name is not Noah Syndergaard. As much as my fellow Mets fans would like to see Syndergaard at Citi Field in April, he will not be there until at least june. It will be the same song and dance that Harvey and Wheeler went through where the Mets will have him pitch in the minors, get ready, and ultimately come up by midseason. However, the Mets do have a young arm that is ready to make an impact in the rotation by April, Rafael Montero.

Enough with the competition! If Daisuke Matsuzaka or John Lannan are the fifth starter by opening day the Mets are making a huge mistake. They are both done. Instead, the Metropolitans should develop one of their top prospects who has been great this spring. While some may argue the Jenrry Mejia is a better option, and while I really like Mejia, he is coming off a major injury last year and its better if the Mets just take it slow. Mejia needs to build up his arm again and making a few Triple A starts to regain his confidence and stamina would be ideal before heading north with the big club.

As for Montero, he is ready. While he may not have the top of the line stuff compared to Syndergaard, Montero has the potential to be a great middle of the rotation starter. While his fastball sits in the low 90s, it has very good life and he locates it very well. His off speed arsenal is above average and he can mix and locate all of his pitches extremely well. However, the reason I really love Montero as a player is that he just has a good feel for pitching.

He may not be an ace, but Montero reminds me of Pedro Martinez

He may not be an ace, but Montero reminds me of Pedro Martinez

Watching Montero in the Futures game at Citi Field game last year, he reminded me of another pitcher the Mets once had, Pedro Martinez. When he was a Met, Martinez did not have the overpowering fastball he once did, but was effective because of location and mixing his pitching well. With his small frame and ability to mix, Montero reminds me of Pedro Martinez later in his career. He might not blow it by hitters, but he can fool batters by keeping them off-balance by mixing his pitches in all counts.

With his impressive spring so far, the Mets should look at Montero’s 2013 campaign and realize he is ready for the majors. In 2013 between Double A and Triple A Montero had a 12-7 record, 1.10 WHIP, 2.78 ERA, and 150 strikeouts in 27 games. He might not be the top of rotation prospect the Mets have grown accustomed to in the past three seasons, but Montero is a work horse that would solidify the back end of the rotation. If he continues to pitch well in Port St. Lucie, there is no reason why Rafael Montero shouldn’t be in Queens coming opening day.

Who do you think should be the Mets fifth starter? Take our poll 

O My! Johan Santana Signs One Year Deal with Orioles

Can Santana make the Orioles roster?

Can Santana make the Orioles roster?

Weeks after a workout that seemed to derail his attempt at a comeback, Johan Santana is back on a major league team. ESPN has reported that if Santana makes the 40 man roster he would get a 3 million dollar deal with upwards of 2.1 million dollars in bonuses. The 34-year-old was released by the Mets earlier this offseason after Santana after he missed the 2013 season with his second shoulder surgery. Through 12 seasons Santana has posted a 139-78 record with a 3.20 era. Despite his dominant run from 2004-2010, The last few years for Santana have been filled with injury issues that have cost him more than two full seasons. The main question is will he be able to pitch again? Earlier this spring he could barely crack 80 miles per hour in a workout. While some guys can get away with fading velocity, Santana’s whole game is based on mixing speeds. With the lack of velocity and mounting injuries, it is hard to imagine the 34-year-old Santana making the Orioles, let alone returning to his previous form. Only time will tell if the Orioles have made a good investment in the former Cy Young Award winner.

Let Him In! Why Mike Piazza deserves to be in the Hall of Fame

Mike Piazza's 9/11 home run was one of the most memorable homers in baseball history

Mike Piazza’s 9/11 home run was one of the most memorable homers in baseball history

How is it that the best hitter at his position is not in the Hall of Fame? The fact that Mike Piazza is not in Cooperstown just proves how much of a mess the baseball world really is. By playing in the “steroid era”, Piazza has been placed in baseball’s rogues gallery under the premise that he could have used steroids. While no hard evidence has come out on Piazza, despite having seven years to find evidence, the Hall of Fame continues to let other players in. How about Frank Thomas? He played under the same circumstances as Piazza but hasn’t been marred by the steroids acquisitions? What happened America? I thought this was the land where you were innocent until proven guilty? Mike Piazza is a Hall of Famer, and here is why.

While Frank Thomas was a first round pick in the MLB Draft, most people forget about Piazza’s long and hard road to the top. Piazza was selected in

Piazza had to overcome the odds just to make it to the show

Piazza had to overcome the odds just to make it to the show

62nd round, and he was drafted by Tommy Lasorda because he was doing a favor for Piazza’s father. In the minors, he had to learn to play a new position, catcher, and prove that he could make it to the majors. In 1993 Piazza erupted on the Major League scene where he won the National League rookie of the year by hitting .315 with 35 homers and 112 runs batted in. With the Dodgers Piazza became one of the most feared hitters in baseball and changed the way we looked at catchers.

Most major league catchers don’t get remembered for their bats. They play a physically grueling position that takes a toll on their bodies. If a catcher can start 140 games for a team, it is considered a good season. Most teams would be happy with a good defensive catcher who could call a game. Then they’d stick that catcher at the bottom of the order and hope they could scrape out a few hits here and there.

Piazza was a hitter first, catcher second which broke the catcher stereotype

Piazza was a hitter first, catcher second which broke the catcher stereotype

This changed with Piazza who was the polar opposite. He became a slugging catcher with a lethal bat. He broke the stereotype of defense first, offense second for the catching position. If anything he was one of the worst defensive catchers in history. Piazza was a trend setter, he changed the game. Now we look at catchers to not only catch well, but also to be competent hitters. Look at Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, and Matt Wieters to name a few. While Piazza’s prime was in Dodgers’ blue, his greatest impact was in Queens where he became an icon of the Big Apple.

On May 22, 1999, New York baseball changed forever. The New York Mets traded for Mike Piazza and brought his big bat to the big apple. For a franchise that had been terrible in the early 90s, and were fresh off a season where they missed the playoffs, the Mets needed a savior. With Piazza’s help the Mets became a contender by making the playoffs in 1999, and then the World Series in 2000. Most importantly he gave the Mets a superstar. In a time where it seemed like all Mets fans were bring drowned by the constant snickering and boasting of Yankees’ fans during their dynasty, Piazza gave the Mets a voice in New York. While the next few seasons would be tough, Piazza continued to produce at a high level and eventually Piazza passed Carlton Fisk’s record on May 5, 2004 for the most home runs hit by a catcher. That day he belted number 352, a number that no catcher is close to catching.

Piazza deserves a place in Cooperstown because of his production and impact on the game

Piazza deserves a place in Cooperstown because of his production and impact on the game

In most cases, this would have been Piazza’s shining moment, the one everybody remembers, but it isn’t. He’s known for an event bigger then baseball.

On September 11th, 2001, a horrific and unspeakable attack happened to our country. 10 days later, the Mets played the first game since the terrorist attacks that rocked this country. There was an uneasiness that hung in the air. Is this what we should be doing? Is it too soon? Is it safe? It was hard to cheer through the tears and fear. That night, the Mets were losing 2-1 in the eighth to their arch rivals the Braves. Then a crack rang throughout Shea Stadium breaking the silence. Piazza had smashed a fastball over the centerfield fence to give the Mets the lead, 3-2, and gave the crowd something to finally cheer about. Piazza did something that became more than a baseball highlight, he gave a city devastated by disaster hope and helped to begin the healing process.

After a second straight snub from the Hall of Fame, it is clear that Piazza is being cheated out of Cooperstown. While playing the most physically grueling position in the sport, a position that beats players up and wears them down, Piazza still was an offensive force. Despite his decline in his last few seasons, Piazza finished with a career .308 average, 427 home runs, and 1,335 runs batted in. He was a 12 time all-star, 10 time silver slugger, and rookie of the year in 1993. With all these statistics, the way he dominated when he played, and by being the best offensive player at his position in history, Piazza being snub just proves the bureaucracy of baseball writers. Just because they think someone did something, without any proof, gives them the right to deny a player’s shrine in Cooperstown that they deserve? While this is certainly not the last Hall of Fame controversy, especially with more of the so-called steroid era candidates coming up, this is just another sad commentary on the mess in baseball. Mike Piazza rightfully deserves his place and Cooperstown, and the longer they keep him out will just continue to compound the mess when it comes to judging this era of the game. Mike Piazza has to be in   on the next Hall of Fame ballot, or else the writers of baseball will be cheating one of the greatest hitters of all time.

Boston Strong! How the Red Sox victory goes beyond the trophy

 

Boston strong! The Red Sox helped a city overcome horror

Boston strong! The Red Sox helped a city overcome horror

The Boston Red Sox are World Champions! With their third World Series title in a decade the Boston Red Sox have established themselves as the latest dynasty is baseball. Since the exorcism of “The curse of the Bambino” most Red Sox fans would have told you that there 2004 Championship was their greatest triumph. 86 years of heartbreak and frustration were finally over after the Red Sox stunned the Yankees coming back from 3-0 to win the ALCS. Then April 15th, 2013 happened. The Boston Marathon became ground zero in a terrorist attack that would kill three and injured hundreds.  A manhunt, bombing suspects, a city-wide shut down, Boston was crippled. Then there were the Red Sox the heart and soul of Boston. The team that was the city’s emotional outlet. Like their city, the Red Sox knew that there was only one thing to do after getting knocked down, keep fighting. For the 2013 season the Red Sox hung a 617 Boston strong jersey in their dugout for every game to remind them they

The Red Sox reminded themselves that they had something bigger to play for

The Red Sox reminded themselves that they had something bigger to play for

were playing for something much bigger then themselves. They had a calling. The Red Sox welcomed survivors and there families with open arms this entire season. They  handled this emotional situation just proves that they are one of the classier organizations in professional sports. Despite being picked by most experts to finish at the bottom of the AL East, the Red Sox dominated 2013. With there Duck Dynasty beards in tow, the Red Sox would win the East with a 97-65 record. After beating the Rays in the ALDS, it looked like the magic carpet ride was over. The Detroit Tigers, up 1-0 in the series were just six outs away with a 5-1 lead from going back to Detroit with a 2-0 lead. Then, they’re leader David Ortiz blasted a grand slam in the eighth to tie the game and allow the Red Sox to even the series. We all know what happened next. Boston would win the ALCS 4-2. In the World Series, Ortiz was unstoppable. Arguably one of the greatest postseason hitters, and without a doubt one of the greatest Red Sox, Ortiz’s performance would help the Red Sox overcome a controversial game 3 to head back to Boston up 3 games to 2. Behind John Lackey’s stellar performance game 6 belonged to the Red Sox. With a 6-1 victory, the Red Sox were World Champions once again.

The Red Sox became more then a team, they became a symbol of strength

The Red Sox became more than a team, they became a symbol of strength

This World Series went beyond baseball. For a city that had to endure so much, the Red Sox became more than a baseball team, they became a rallying cry. The symbol of Boston’s unity became a blue shield, with the Red Sox “B” with two words, Boston Strong! The Red Sox were more than just another baseball team, they were a source of hope. Throughout this run they proved that Boston might get knocked down, but they always get up. There is no telling how long it will take for Boston to heal from the wounds of that faithful April day, but baseball has been a start. A team that used to be notorious from taking hope from their fan base gave it back in an immeasurable way this season. Instead of trying to make a city forget what happened, they took it as a rallying cry and reminded a city to not forget and continue to fight forward. This season wasn’t about number 34 or any other player. It was 617. While this World Series will without question solidify the Red Sox as the premier team in baseball for the last decade they’ve given something more precious to Boston then rings or trophies. They brought back hope and joy to a city that needed. In Boston’s darkest hour, the Red Sox were the light that brought a proud city back! Boston Strong 617!

 

Why me? Steve Bartman 10 years later

Steve Bartman went to support his Cubs, afterward he would feel the wrath of a city

Steve Bartman went to support his Cubs, afterward he would feel the wrath of a frustrated city.

We’ve all been there. Sitting in the crowd, hoping that a foul ball will come our way. A physical memory from our favorite pastime. However, for one fan he din’t catch a memory, he caught  hell. Being a Cubs fan is about dreaming. Dreaming that your team, a ball club that hasn’t won a championship since 1908 will win the World Series. Then you wake up. Your team is not in the playoffs, they’re still cursed by a billy-goat, and all you can think is “maybe next year”. Steve Bartman was one of those fans. A lifetime Cubs fan who thought he had bought a ticket to the long awaited exorcism of the Cubs’ curse. Finally the Cubs would go from the Lovable Losers to champions. He had a front row view, aisle 4, row 8, seat 113. Little did he know, this would be the spot where his life would change forever.

In 2003, the Cubs were on the verge of history. That year they dominated baseball with an 88-74 record and looked like they would finally overcome their franchise’s demons. After losing game 5 to the Marlins, The Cubs returned home to Wrigley Field with a 3-2 series lead. Cubs fans packed the friendly confines and the streets around the ballpark realizing that their salvation was 9 innings away. They had Mark Prior, the leading candidate for the CY Young Award on the hill, they were at home, it all appeared to be destiny. After jumping out to a 3-0, Cubs fans were still filled with an anxious excitement. They were six outs from glory, then five. Then, it happened. Luis Castillo fouled off a pitch that headed toward the left field foul line. A lazy pop up that was begging to be caught. Moises Alou drifted over, leaping into the air glove outstretched and then, confusion. The ball bouncing into the stands, Alou throwing his glove, screaming at the top of his long, and a fan slumped over. Then the air was filled with silence. No one knew what happened, it all happened so fast.

Bartman wasn't the only fan going for the ball

Bartman wasn’t the only fan going for the ball

In a sea of outstretched arms Bartman’s were  the ones that hit the baseball. At the time it didn’t seem like a big deal. Alou couldn’t make a difficult catch, it was a foul ball. But for some reason, Cubs fans thought that this was the end. Reaffirmation that they were cursed. On the field, the Cubs were coming apart. After walking Castillo, Prior induced a perfect double play ball to Alex Gonzalez, the best fielding shortstop in baseball, who closed his glove and dropped the ball right in front of him, error. Why doesn’t anyone remember this? How was Gonzalez not the scapegoat when he cost the Cubs the chance to get out of the inning with the lead? Then, the Marlins erupted. With there new life the Marlins just keep hitting and hitting and hitting. When the dust finally settled after the barrage of hits the Marlins were winning 8-3. Eight runs, one inning, game over. The attention though wasn’t focused on how one of the best teams in baseball gave up eight runs in an inning, but with the fan with the headphones. The image of the young man wearing the glasses, black sweatshirt, green turtle neck, headphones, and Cubs hat was the picture that Cubs’ fan would vent their frustration on.

In a ballpark known as “the friendly confines”, nothing was friendly about game 6. Instead of rallying behind their Cubs, the fans instead vented almost a hundred years of frustration on one of their own. They didn’t even pause for a second to think, “hey that could have been me”. Fans began to hurl obscenities, food, and beer at their fellow Cubs’ fan until he was escorted from his seat. When his identity was finally revealed Bartman received thousands of death threats and had to go into hiding. The next day was filled with Bartman death threats, and disgusting internet jokes about how fans wanted to kill him. However, there was still a game seven left to be played. Cubs fans went from being ecstatic that the team could clinch at home to there might as well not be a game 7. Despite another opportunity, the Cubs would fall the Marlins in game 7, blowing a 3-1 series lead and the opportunity to play in the World Series. With the Cubs finished fans decided that the blame rested with an innocent fan, rather than a team that choked away three opportunities to go to the World Series. Much like Bill Buckner in Boston, both of these men were given all of the blame for losses that weren’t solely their fault, or not their fault at all. Unlike Bartman, Buckner’s demons were exorcised in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series. As long as the World Series drought continues, fans will blame Bartman because he reminds them of the “curse” on the Cubs that has plagued the team since 1908.

It's not what Bartman did to the Cubs, it's what Chicago did to him and the people of Chicago that owe Bartman an apology

It’s not what Bartman did to the Cubs, it’s what Chicago did to him and the people of Chicago that owe Bartman an apology

10 years later the biggest question surrounding the Bartman game to me isn’t if the Cubs would have won, but what happened to Steve Bartman? In an age with technology and media where  if we sneeze people know about it, how has Steve disappeared?Like many great conspiracies there are a number of theories. Some say he moved, some say he changed his name, but none knows for sure. Despite being offered thousands of dollars to appear at shows or in commercials, Bartman has declined to show his face. Meanwhile, the man who got the “Bartman ball” sold it for 100,000 dollars. Think about that. For all of Bartman’s suffering some other Cubs fan made 100,000 dollars. One thing that is certain, the event cost Bartman the chance for a normal life. Today, he still lives in hiding because a whole fan base is against him. While ten years have passed and most have probably forgiven Bartman, he probably realizes that if he reveals himself that some nut might take a swing at him because he’s Steve Bartman. I personally feel terrible for Steve Bartman. He went to a game as a fan, he made a mistake, and asked for forgiveness. Usually, I’m the first to point out the positives that sports provides individuals in their lives, but this is not one of these cases. This is the unfortunate incident where a sporting event hurt an innocent person and their life. For all the negativity and chaos surrounding him, Steve Bartman is one of the bravest men I can think of. While most people would use this fame for material benefits or as a chance to get back at the Cubs fan base, Bartman has instead decided to move on. While we may not know where he is today, Bartman is continuing with his life as best he can despite having to live in secrecy.  It’s unfortunate but until the Cubs win a World Series, Bartman will still be the unfortunate scapegoat. This fan base has associated Bartman with the team’s World Series drought, which until it’s over means that the Cubs fans will never fully forgive Steve. However, they should be the ones apologizing. I  hope that somewhere out there that Steve Bartman is living a happy life, because if anyone deserves it, it is him. Maybe Steve Bartman might even read this article one day and I hope he does. He is one of us, a legion of loyal sports fans who could have been in that seat. 10 years later, Steve Bartman has become the most famous fan in sports history. Hopefully, this will never happen to another fan again.