Tag:George Brett
Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Gordon's last shot?

Alex Gordon
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Remember when Alex Gordon was the next George Brett? Royals fans sure do.

Now, though, the former second-overall pick in the draft, is an afterthought in the deep, talented Royals system.

Taken ahead of the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, Gordon has a career line of .244/.315/.355 in 1,641 plate appearances in the big leagues and has since been moved from third base to the outfield.

While no longer one of the core building-blocks of the Royals rebuilding job, Gordon still has some talent (and a little trade value). He's also starting to get hot in the Cactus League, going 8 for 12 in his last five games. He's also shown good plate discipline, drawing 11 walks.

"The timing was off. I was seeing the pitches good, I was just late and not making solid contact," Gordon told MLB.com. "Lately, I've been getting easy earlier and seeing pitches better and making good contact, and that's what it's all about. So definitely a big change in the last week."

Gordon, 27, spent his offseason working with Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, someone who knows a little bit about living in the shadow of the Royals' lone Hall of Fame player. Seitzer's emergence at third base moved Brett from third base to first in 1987 and even made the All-Star team as a rookie. Seitzer has been the team's hitting coach since 2009.

"I think I've pulled my hands back so I'm loaded instead of trying to find the load during the swing. I'm ready to go right off the bat," Gordon said. "I think that's helped, and I'm not late on pitches anymore, and I'm being aggressive."

With the Royals throwing out a placeholder roster for 2011 before the prospects begin to trickle in later this summer, Gordon may be getting his last chance to prove he's more than a Four-A player. Soon, that Royals influx of talent could make him the next Clint Hurdle in Royals history.

SILVA ON THE BLOCK: Three Nationals scouts, among others, watched the Cubs' Carlos Silva in his latest spring training start, ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine writes.

According to Levine, the Nationals and Yankees have had scouts at each of Silva's outings. Both teams are looking to fill their rotation and could afford Silva's $12 million salary.

Chicago has had good spring showings from Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, making Silva expendable.

Dave MartinezHAIR CLUB FOR MEN: With Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez now Rays, manager Joe Maddon wants his team to follow the example of his newest stars.

"I encourage the growth of follicles," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "I want them all to go nuts with their hair this year."

Although Ramirez is known for his long dreadlocks and Damon is now sporting a fauxhawk, the inspiration for his goal of being "the hirsute club" was bench coach Dave Martinez's bushy beard (pictured).

"Sometimes I just go with my instincts, and I just think it could turn into a lot of fun for the group," Maddon said, noting he'll let his hair grow out as much as possible. "So whatever keeps you focused on the field and having fun off it, I'm all for it."

FORMER CUBS OK: The Chicago Tribune caught up with former Cub Micah Hoffpauir, who is now playing in Japan.

"My first earthquake," Hoffpauir told the Trib. "And good Lord willing, it will be my last."

Hoffpauir, now a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, was in his room on the 26th floor of his hotel in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, approximately 250 miles to the north.

"It felt like someone started shaking the whole country of Japan," Hoffpauir said. "At one point I thought, this building is going to fall down. But I was assured later that [swaying] is what the building was supposed to do."

He said he was evacuated from his hotel and was able to contact his wife in Texas to let her know he was OK. He said he has also been in touch with former Cub teammate Matt Murton, who was training further south in Osaka, and he was OK.

GARFOOSE FUNDRAISER: Author and Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst will call you up and thank you personally if you donate $50 or more to Mercy Corp Fundraising for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (DirkHayhurst.com)

HIDDEN TREASURE: Investigators found a jackpot of 1986 Mets memorabilia in a  Port St. Lucie storage facility following their case of former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels.

Samuels is accused of theft and illegal gambling.

Among the treasure found in the storage facility was signed uniforms from the 1986 Mets team that defeated the Red Sox in the World Series. The collection is reportedly worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." (New York Daily News)

SIZEMORE GETTING CLOSER: Indians manager Manny Acta said he thinks center fielder Grady Sizemore is scheduled to start running bases today and could be cleared to play in games sometime in the last 10 days of spring training. (MLB.com)

D-TRAIN OFF THE RAILS: Dontrelle Willis left Saturday's game with a sprained ankle, tripping on a bat after backing up the plate on Bobby Scales' two-run single. Willis had a rough outing, allowing two hits and two walks while recording just a single out. (MLB.com)

THANK YOU, COME AGAIN: Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday that the stake in the Diamondbacks once owned by Padres chief executive Jeff Moorad has been sold. Current Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick absorbed the eight percent of the Diamondbacks  for $21 million. Moorad's group owns 49 percent of the Padres. (MLB.com)

HARDEN OUT OF ROTATION MIX: Rich Harden is officially out of the race for the Athletics' fifth-starter sport. Harden could still find a spot in the bullpen, but it's getting crowded too. Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer are still competing for the fifth starter spot, with the losers then looking to make the bullpen. (San Francisco Chronicle)

STATS FOR DUMMIES: The great Joe Posnanski gives you a primer on advanced offensive statistics. (JoePosnanski.com)

LINEUP CONSTRUCTION: Little has more breath and keystrokes wasted on it more than lineup construction. It's a fan's favorite nitpick to show why their manager is an idiot, yet it doesn't really matter that much in the long term. (Although, it makes the most sense to get your better hitters at the the top of the order, because they get the most at-bats). But anyway, Astros manager Brad Mills discusses his philosophy for filling out his lineup card. (Houston Chronicle)

RAYS RESURRECTION: Former top pick Matt Bush is making a comeback in Tampa's training camp. (Tampa Tribune)

BASEBALL PROJECT: If you missed our Ear on Baseball podcast with the Baseball Project, what's wrong with you? Seriously?

Anyway, you can catch up with Scott McCaughey, who says despite touring the world with various rock bands, he's always kept up with baseball because it's a "a sort of zen thing for me" and reading boxscores is "like meditation" -- I think we can all understand that. (Athens Music Junkie)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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Posted on: March 3, 2011 9:39 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 9:47 pm
 

Getting to know the Royals

EscobarBy Evan Brunell

MVP

There's not a lot to get excited about in regards to the Royals. All they're doing is just biding time for the influx of top prospects. But one player who is important to K.C.'s future is Alcides Escobar, expected to open the season at short.

Escobar was part of the return for Zack Greinke and is hoping to deliver on the promise that once made him a top prospect himself before falling flat on his face in his first full major league season. With a minor league reputation as being a good fielder and someone who can hit for average and get on base, the Royals need Escobar to show something this coming season. They do have Christian Colon, who was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft, in the minors, but he's not expected to remain at short long-term. Escobar probably will get one more year after 2011 to prove himself should he fail, but it would do wonders for the team's developmental and mental needs if he can deliver on his promise.

PLAYER ORACLE: Lou Piniella to ... uhh ... Billy Butler:

  • Lou Piniella played with Otis Nixon for the 1983 New York Yankees
  • Otis Nixon played with Hideo Nomo for the 1997 Los Angeles Dodgers  
  • Hideo Nomo played with Billy Butler for the 2008 Kansas City Royals

POP CULTURE

George Brett, along with a host of other players, appeared in an episode of Fantasy Island in the tenth episode of the first season.

In the episode, Brett dropped a routine infield ball and struck out against a person on the island fulfilling his fantasy. (That person? Gary Burghoff, otherwise known as 'Radar' from M*A*S*H.) Brett later said that his brother Ken said George would be the perfect "fool" for those embarrassing moments.

But as the below teaser for the episode reveals, Brett faced pretty stiff competition from Radar, who unveiled a wicked pitch that defies all conventional pitch names, so let's just call it the mythical gyroball.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:48 am
 

Pepper: Alligator fighting, Lasorda swearing

Pujols

MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO 'ROUND: White Sox GM Kenny Williams is defending his comments that a $30-million man would be bad for the game.

"All I'm interested in is the game," Williams told MLB.com. "We're just caretakers of this game, all of us: you guys, me, the players. We're caretakers of this game to the next generation. And then the next generation after that."

With Albert Pujols poised to enter free agency after the season, possibly commanding up to $30 million annually, Williams had ruled out the possibility of the White Sox going after the star, noting that he felt it was more appropriate to spread out dollars than to tie it up in one person. There's some sentiment for that given tying up massive dollars in one person is risky. All it takes is one injury to derail the season. Take the news that Adam Wainwright may need Tommy John surgery, for example. That's a massive blow to the Cardinals, who essentially rely on Chris Carpenter, Wainwright, Pujols and Matt Holliday to drive the team.

However, the flip side is the value Pujols gives in that one spot, freeing up chances to get league-average or better players at other spots. These type of players are far easier to get than the superstar. There's no right answer here, but it's obvious which side of the fence Williams falls on.

Williams used the opportunity to speak about parity in the game and how high-salaried superstars are essentially limited to a small pool of teams, which he is not a fan of.

"It's important that the people and the [small-market] cities ... and many more have just as much chance to hope and dream about their team winning a World Series as anybody else," Williams added. "Right now, that's not happening." (MLB.com)

I'M A CREEP, I'M A WEIRDO: Carl Crawford was "creeped out" when he found out that as part of due diligence, the Red Sox had a scout following him off the field. Obviously, it didn't stop Crawford from signing with Boston once GM Theo Epstein told him, but he admitted he was not comfortable with the idea of someone following him, although it's standard practice for Boston to monitor every major free-agent's off-the-field activities. Hey, can't blame Crawford. To learn someone's been tracking your movements over the last few months away from the ballpark is creepy. (ESPN Boston)

I'M TIRED AND I'M HUNGRY AND MY TAIL'S FROZE: Mike Stanton can sure pack away the food as roommate Gaby Sanchez says. The two, who are rooming together in spring training, recently went grocery shopping and Sanchez experienced sticker shock at the total price: over $300. "When we finished, I said, 'You got to be kidding me that we spent that much money," Sanchez said. "[The shopping cart] was completely full. We had to take three trips to get [the groceries] from the car into the house, and it was me and him carrying stuff too." Sanchez also adds he is likely to be the chef, but is willing to let Stanton take a crack at cooking. But Stanton only gets "one chance" to make good food. (Miami Herald)

THE NEXT STEVE IRWIN?: J.D. Drew isn't exactly the type of guy to make one say "That dude would totally wrestle an alligator bare-handed." Except that wouldn't be too far off the mark. Drew recounted a story Tuesday night in which he was fishing with his son and hooked a gator with a fishing lure. Drew was readying to jump on the alligator and take care of business (with a knife in tow), but the lure snapped just in the nick of time for the alligator. So next time you call J.D. Drew "Nancy Drew," you may want to rethink that. (Boston Globe)

I SPY TOMMY LASORDA SWEARING: When Google Books indexed Spy Magazine, it opened up a treasure trove of baseball facts. Such as an expletive-filled rant Tommy Lasorda had with Doug Rau, the starting pitcher in Game 4 of the 1977 World Series. You'll have to head on over to read the conversation, but it's fascinating -- but not for those who don't like strong language. Also in the article is far too much information one could ever want to know about George Brett's hemorrhoids and sex life. (Spy Magazine, Google Books)

WAINO'S NOT THE ONLY ONE: Vincente Padilla's no Adam Wainwright, but the Dodgers are hurting with the news Padilla needs surgery to release a nerve that is trapped by a muscle in his forearm. Sounds painful. There's no timetable for the No. 6 starter/reliever's return. (Los Angeles Times)

GRIFFEY, JR. ATTEMPTED SUICIDE: OK, this article is from 1992 so it's not exactly timely, but I've never heard of this before. Apparently, at age 17, Ken Griffey, Jr. attempted suicide by taking approximately 277 aspirin. "It seemed like everyone was yelling at me in baseball, then I came home and everyone was yelling at me there," Griffey said way back when. "I got depressed. I got angry. I didn't want to live." Obviously, the attempt did not work and baseball is far better off for it. (New York Times)

GUILLEN READYING FOR RETIREMENT: If Jose Guillen doesn't get a contract offer within the next week, he will retire. Hard to imagine there's much demand for a first-baseman/outfielder/DH with a bad attitude who struggled through injuries before being busted amid HGH allegations. (MLB Trade Rumors translation of ESPNDeportes)

HATERS GONNA HATE: When Astros GM Ed Wade signed reliever Brandon Lyon last season to a three-year, $15 million deal, he was exoriciated for giving so much money to a middling middle reliever. But now that the relief market has exploded, Wade's looking pretty good, as this article details. But has anyone considered that Lyon was the reason the relief market has exploded and become wildly overpaid? (Houston Chronicle)

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:47 pm
 

Cabrera becomes third AL player with 30 IBB

The designated hitter changes many things -- but no record seems to have a bigger split among leads than the one for intentional walks.

The Major League and National League record is 120 -- set by Barry Bonds in 2004. The American League record is nearly a fourth of that -- 33, done twice -- by John Olerud in 1993 and Ted Williams in 1957. It should be noted, of course, that this statistic wasn't kept until 1955, so Babe Ruth isn't on it (but he had some pretty decent protection in the Yankees lineup).

Miguel Cabrera On Friday, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera became just the fourth American League player to ever receive 30 intentional walks in a season. In addition to Olerud and Williams, George Brett was intentionally walked 30 times in 1985.

It's a different story in the National League, where Barry Bonds had nine different season with 30 or more free passes, and Pujols has three.

MLB.com's  Jason Beck had a good article on this today, with this great statistic -- entering Friday's game, one in every 14 intentional walks in the American League have been to Cabrera.

"Believe me, I don't care who hits behind Cabrera," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said told Beck. "I will walk him. We did it three times in Chicago [in mid-August]. We did it [Wednesday] night. We only failed once."

The fact the Tigers have had injuries and nobody near as fearsome as Cabrera in their lineup has led to the free passes. And that's why it worked for the Orioles on Friday.

After Austin Jackson tripled to lead off the seventh ina tie game, David Hernandez struck out Will Rhymes and got Johnny Damon to pop up before giving the free pass to Cabrera. Ryan Raburn then struck out to end the inning before the Orioles scored two in the eighth to take a lead.

"I try to impress upon him to just take it as the highest compliment you can get," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

So far this season, only one National League player, Albert Pujols, has more than 30 intentional walks. He's been given 34 free passes. Adrian Gonzalez is the only other NL player with more than 12, with 26. In the AL, Ichiro Suzuki and Joe Mauer are tied for second with 13 intentional passes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Posted on: July 8, 2010 4:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:58 am
 

1999: the Kid steals the show

In anticipation of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim on Tuesday, July 13, the CBS Sports MLB Facts and Rumors blog looks back at some of the more memorable editions of the All-Star Game. Today looks at the 1999 All-Star Game.

I sat slack-jawed with a tape recorder rolling and no questions in my head, just a desire for the answers to never stop coming.

It was a hotel ballroom in Boston, and Warren Spahn and I were among four or five stragglers in there. He was telling the story of his epic 16-inning, complete-game performance against Juan Marichal and the Giants at Candlestick Park in 1963. It was at least the second time Spahn had told it that day and likely the 10th, and I'd even heard it once before, but I listened again. Just as he mentioned Willie Mays' homer, someone walked into the room and said it was time for Spahn to go.

He apologized, said he could go on for hours and I told him I could listen for more. An hour before, the room had been full of the greatest major-league players in history. Mays was there, so was Marichal, not to mention Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson -- pretty much everywhere I turned, I bumped into a Hall of Famer.

While All-Star Games are naturally filled with All-Stars, the 1999 game was different. It was filled with bigger stars than just the usual names, even in this, the summer following the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa slugfest before it lost its luster. They were there, as was Ken Griffey Jr. at the height of his popularity. Pedro Martinez was making hometown fans think the curse may be bunk. But still, among all the All-Star Games in the history of the exhibition, this was less about the game and the current players than any other.

The 1999 game was not only at one of the country's most historic ballparks, Fenway Park, it was also coming at the time of an endless stream of best-of-the-century lists. But baseball's list, its Team of the Century, was kicked off in a different fashion than any other.

While other places talked of history, it was on display in Boston. Most people didn't see this part, because it was before MLB had 24 hours a day to fill with TV programming, but baseball announced its 100 greatest players of the 20th century in a news conference with the vast majority of the living members of that club in attendance in a hotel ballroom in Boston.

It was an amazing display of the game's greats, and after an entertaining hour-or-so, the players were brought into another room for one-on-one interviews. It was an hour of baseball geek bliss. At 23, I was slightly intimidated and more than happy to listen in on the conversations of the likes of Willie McCovey, Robin Yount, Mike Schmidt and Yogi Berra, among others.

Ted Williams, Pete Rose and Sandy Koufax weren't there, but it was hard to complain about their absence -- or the two from the dais that skipped the one-on-ones, Stan Musial and George Brett, although with Missouri roots, those were the two I'd hoped to interview more than the others.

Ted Williams By the time the all-time greats were introduced on the field the night of the game, I thought I was goose-bumped out. Until, right in front of my seat in the right field auxiliary press box, came Williams in on a golf cart. He did a lap and ultimately was the center of attention as he prepared to throw the first pitch.

It was a moment. A moment for baseball, a moment for baseball fans across the country to share their memories with another generation of fans -- to share their own stories of seeing Mays or Mantle play. In short, it was the rare moment when the ceremonial first pitch outshines the real first pitch. Even future Hall of Famers like Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn seemed to grasp the special nature of the moment. We all did -- those at Fenway and even those watching at home.

Martinez went on to become the first All-Star pitcher to strike out the side in the first inning, fanning Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sosa to start the game. He then struck out McGwire to lead off the second, bringing to mind Carl Hubbell's 1934 feat of getting Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin consecutively. It was an impressive display, even after Matt Williams broke Martinez's strikeout streak, reaching on an error. Martinez would win the game and the MVP, but even before he faced Larkin, the game had earned its spot in history.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

More All-Star memories -- 2002: The Tie ; 1949: First integrated edition ; 1941: Teddy Ballagame's walk-off homer

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com