Back in 2001, the city of Seattle hosted the MLB All-Star Game at two-year-old Safeco Field. The starting pitchers that day were Randy Johnson for the National League and Roger Clemens for the American League. The game also marked the final All-Star appearances for future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn.
The AL would ultimately win the contest by a score of 4-1, but it was really the collection of story lines that made this game a memorable one. There was Ripken’s home run and MVP selection, Tommy Lasorda’s comedic flop in the third base coach’s box, and the presence of eight Seattle Mariners on the American League roster, just to name three.
But only 20 miles away, a different story line was taking shape.
It’s nearly July, which means there’s a great chance that you’ve left your fantasy baseball team behind and are now focused solely on your pending football draft. That’s okay, it happens to the best of us, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up all hope just yet.
Whether you’ve been a neglectful owner over the past few weeks, or you’ve been trying your hardest to remain in contention despite the fact that your best outfielder was suspended for steroid use (ahem, Manny), we have a few tips to help carry your made-up ballclub until the end of the season. And hey, you might even manage to win the league in the process.
Players You Need To Have (Hint: If you don’t have these players right now, and they’re on your waiver wire, you need to ADD THEM!)
Cody Ross, OF, Florida Marlins. Ross isn’t a big name, but for whatever odd reason the guy absolutely kills the ball in the second half of every season. A bonus for fantasy owners is that he decided to turn on the production once the calendar hit June, so if you’ve had him for the past few weeks, you’ve already benefited from the Marlins outfielder.
Have I ever mentioned how great Harold Reynolds is? He’s great. He really is.
Reflecting on my earliest memories of the Seattle Mariners, two lasting images come to mind: Alvin Davis’ moustache, and Harold Reynolds’ afro-jheri curl. You can’t deny that the man had style.
Once you factor in his termination from ESPN for giving hugs, as well as his penchant for providing commentary at the Little League World Series back in the day, you end up with an all-around good guy who is tough to dislike. That’s basically Harold Reynolds in a nutshell.
Now, however, there is a new reason to love Harold: He speaks honestly and truthfully about his disdain for sabermetrics. Particularly, the infamous OPS (on base + slugging percentage) stat.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto started the year as the savior of many a fantasy baseball team. Hitting for power and average, Votto was a pleasant surprise for the owners who took a chance on this talented second-year player.
Since then, however, things have gone tremendously downhill.
Despite all his natural ability, Votto has spent considerable time on the disabled list over the past few weeks with a laundry list of questionable ailments.
Blessed with a rare callup to the big leagues, minor league umpire Frank Drebin Todd Tichenor did what any other good, recently-promoted authority figure would do: He showcased his power by sacrificing four minions in a matter of minutes.
A lineup card blunder by Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon forced the team to insert starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine into the third slot in the batting order during Sunday’s game against Cleveland.
Maddon composed a lineup featuring two third basemen and no designated hitter. The original plan was to have regular third baseman Evan Longoria as the DH, with utility man Ben Zobrist getting the start at third.
The goof created a pregame delay, with umpires deliberating over the correct ruling on the error.
“Hope you speak Japanese! The flame-throwing Hideki Irabu will take the mound for the Armada in 2009. With a pitching staff that already includes Jose Lima, this is sure [to] be a great season.”
Personally, I don’t know what’s worse. The fact that the Armada hope you speak Japanese, the fact that they are trying to get people this excited about ex-Yankee Hideki Irabu, or the fact that they threw Jose Lima into the same sentence for no apparent reason (is it Lima Time already?).
As a chubby, half-Japanese seventh grader who happened to play baseball during Irabu’s rookie season in 1997, my bastard friends in middle school made the inevitable comparisons between myself and the former pitching great (I say this in jest). After enduring an entire year of being called “Hideki” (including having some folks pen the name into my seventh grade yearbook), I have to imagine that the only thing worse than being labeled Hideki is actually being Hideki.
God save the Long Beach Armada.
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