Tag:Mike Quade
Posted on: August 13, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Source: Soriano confronted Zambrano

Alfonso SorianoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

After Carlos Zambrano was ejected from Friday's game, Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano went into the team's clubhouse and "went off" on Zambrano, a source told CBSSports.com.

Zambrano was very quiet and didn't really say much after being ejected. Then, as soon as Soriano stopped yelling at him in Spanish, Zambrano packed his bag, took the nameplate from his locker and left, the source said.

Soriano, like Zambrano, is signed to a big-money, long-term deal by the Cubs. However, he's been criticized for not showing emotions at time, in stark contrast to Zambrano who has often let his emotions get the best of him. Soriano is known to be easy-going and generally well-liked. The fact that it was Soriano that had a problem with Zambrano showed just how fed up Zambrano's teammates are with the pitcher.

Following Friday's game, manager Mike Quade told reporters he hadn't talked to Zambrano, but didn't sound too worried about the pitcher's next step.

"I have too much respect for the rest of the guys in this room to worry," Quade said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Aramis Ramirez told the Tribune that he'd never seen anything like what Zambrano did, while Marlon Byrd told the paper he hadn't talked to Zambrano but was planning on calling him. 

"If he doesn't show up [Saturday], we might not see him again," Byrd told the Tribune.

Players usually start showing up four hours or so before the game and the press is allowed in three-and-a-half hours before the game, so expect to hear more soon.

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Cubs GM ready to call Zambrano's retirement bluff

Carlos ZambranoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Zambrano is again threatening retirement, and apparently the Cubs hope he follows through.

"We will respect his wishes and honor them and move forward," general manager Jim Hendry told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

It's a wonder he could get that out with a straight face and without giggling -- Zambrano leaving under his own accord could allow Hendry to have done what he couldn't do himself, get rid of the albatross in his clubhouse and on his payroll.

The Cubs have been in contact with Zambrano's agent, Barry Praver, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Sullivan reports Zambrano has not yet filed retirement papers, but if the matter isn't resolved by this afternoon, the team will place Zambrano on the restricted list. 

Manager Mike Quade was also unhappy with Zambrano, who cleaned out his locker and talked about retirement after being ejected in the fifth inning of Friday's loss to the Braves for throwing at Chipper Jones.

By the time the media was allowed in the clubhouse, not only was Zambrano and his stuff gone, so too was even the nameplate on his locker.

"He walked out on 24 guys that are battling their ass off for him," Quade told reporters after the game, including Wittenmyer. "I don't know where he's gone or what he's doing. I heard he's talking about retiring. I can't have a guy walking out on 24 guys, that's for damn sure."

Zambrano has one year worth $18 million left on his contract and a no-trade clause.

Last year the Cubs stood by Zambrano (in no small part because of the amount of money left on his contract) after he started a fight in the dugout with Derrek Lee and was sent to anger-management counseling and even welcomed back. This season he'd pitched better, but still grumbled about the team this year, calling it a "Triple-A team," but at least including himself in that rant.

On Friday, though, he may have burned his last bridge. Or, with the thought of giving up more than $20 million left for this season and next, he'll come back and the Cubs will accept him because they have very little choice not to. Either way, it's going to be interesting this afternoon when Cubs players start filing into the clubhouse at Turner Field for the 7:10 p.m. game against the Braves. There will certainly be a few people hoping Zambrano doesn't walk through the door and isn't in the dugout come gametime.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 2:10 pm
 

Pepper: Cubs stumble with Colvin benching

Colvin
By Evan Brunell

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY: OK, let me get this straight.

First, GM Jim Hendry somehow avoids making any trade of significance to help the Cubs moving forward in a futile attempt to keep the team relevant. Now, he and manager Mike Quade are not even playing one such person that could have a big impact next season?

The only Cubs deal at the deadline saw outfielder Kosuke Fukudome head to the Indians, freeing up right field for Tyler Colvin. Colvin hasn't impressed in the majors this season, but has been coming off the bench for the most part, also struggling in Triple-A. Still, he's a year removed from 20 home runs.

"The most important thing was that Tyler had to play," Hendry said of the Fukudome trade. "We saw the Tyler last year, and the Tyler this year wasn't quite the same. He went down to Iowa and worked hard, and it looks like he's made some progress and he deserves to play the rest of the way.

"And we need to find out whether he's an everyday guy or not by the end of this year. No matter how you slice it, the outfield situation, just like a few other (positions) will have to be addressed in the offseason."

Great. Except Colvin hasn't been in the lineup for two straight games. Quade seems to believe Colvin will get plenty of playing time the rest of the way, but if he's benching the 25-year-old to get Reed Johnson -- an aging, backup player -- more at-bats, Quade has the wrong idea here. (Chicago Tribune)

STAYING IN SAN DIEGO: Heath Bell says that he will take an offer of arbitration if the Padres offer it after the season, as that's how important it is to him to stay in town. This could complicate things for San Diego, who didn't deal the closer at the deadline for two reasons -- the possibility of signing Bell to a hometown-discount extension, as well as the chance to get two compensatory picks should the two sides be unable to agree on a new contract. Now, it seems San Diego may have erred in keeping Bell if they will have no choice but to retain him. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

SPELLING BEE CHAMPIONS: The Giants definitely are not spelling bee champions, even if they remain the reigning World Series champions. Check out this amusing photo snapped that shows the spelling prowess of those on the team. (BayBridgeBaseball.com)

NEW AGENT: When Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma was posted last offseason, the A's won the bidding but talks quickly broke down when Iwakuma's agent asked for an exorbitant amount to sign and accused the A's of not showing any respect. Well, Iwakuma's taking no chances this time around and has hired Paul Cobbe of Sosnick-Cobbe Sports to be his new agent. Expect him stateside in 2012. (ESPN)

KEMP DOMINATION: How amazing has Matt Kemp been this year? How important is he to the Dodgers? Let Anthony Jackson tell you: "Kemp has hit 36 percent of Dodgers HRs, has 22 percent of their RBIs and 35 percent of their stolen bases. Only other player in past 100 years to have 30/20/30 percent of his team's total in those three categories over a full season was Hank Aaron, '63 Braves." Lofty company. (ESPN Los Angeles on Twitter)

COWBOYS FAN: When Mike Adams was traded to the Rangers, everyone knew that he was a Texas homeboy. But what people didn't know is he had a Cowboys jersey ready to go in the Padres clubhouse as he had worn it earlier in the week. Miles Austin, the player's jersey that Adams is wearing, said he will go out and purchase an Adams jersey. "It's a great feeling when anyone from any profession, especially baseball, [wears your jersey]," Austin said. "That's America's pastime. I used to play baseball, but I ended up not being able to hit the curveball when I hit the eighth grade." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

STEWART ALMOST DEALT: The Rockies thought they had a deal for third baseman Ian Stewart with another National League team (the Pirates, I'm guessing) but talks fell apart with a half-hour to go. (Denver Post)

INJURIES ON THE RISE: Major League Baseball injuries are on the rise, the American Journal of Sports Medicine details in its latest study. You would think this is odd given how treatment of injuries and physical conditioning have improved over the years. Is there a concerning trend? Maybe, but you can't draw conclusions from this as Hardball Talk notes. After all, these days players aren't asked to, for the most part, play through their injuries. Plus, the advent of technology has improved diagnosing injuries. (Hardball Talk)

DONUT: Hey Hunter, you're supposed to take the donut off the bat before you step to the plate. (Mocksession GIF)

SMALL STEPS: Former Red Sox top prospect Ryan Westmoreland is gearing up to face live pitching for the first time since his brain surgery over a year ago. It's a major step forward, and Westmoreland doesn't care how he performs. Just that he's finally facing a pitcher. (Providence Journal)

MAJOR-LEAGUE EXPERIENCE: The Nationals have the right idea, promoting Ross Detwiler to the rotation on Thursday. The club wants to give all their young starting pitchers as much experience as possible. Brad Peacock and Tom Milone will also get long looks. Some room in the rotation will be made by the exiting Jordan Zimmermann, who has about four starts left before he reaches his innings limit. (Washington Post)

HITS PER NINE INNINGS: Here's an interesting look in the leaders in hits per nine innings. Obviously, the leaders in this category are all solid pitchers, anchored by Nolan Ryan in the top spot. (Beyond the Boxscore)

TORN: Freddy Sanchez will have surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. You won't see him again this season. (Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area)

KISS CAM: At the Reds game, a fan got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend on the kiss cam. Problem: he fished the ring out from his fanny pack. So many comments to make... (MLB.com)

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 1:39 pm
 

Quade says he's managing for his job

Mike QuadeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cubs are 42-65 and aren't looking like they're getting better anytime soon. That has first-year manager Mike Quade looking over his shoulder -- which is probably a good idea.

Asked by reporters before Sunday's game in St. Louis if he was managing for his job, Quade replied in the affirmative. From CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney:

“I feel like that every day,” Quade said before the game. “You come here to solve problems, to teach, to make the best decisions you can make. (I’ve) come from a long line of one-year contracts and the idea of people being day-to-day when they’re hurt – I’ve always thought that was the case.

“I don’t feel any more or less like that. I come here to try and do the best I can every day.”

Much of the Cubs' struggles aren't Quade's fault -- the front office shoulders much of the blame. But the manager certainly isn't blameless. As Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted after Saturday's 13-5 pounding at the hands of the Cardinals, the Cubs have suffered, quoting Miklasz: "a remarkable collection of physical errors, brain freezes, indifference, feral pitching, the obligatory managerial meltdown and other acts of baseball malfeasance."

Miklasz highlighted Saturday's bottom of the fifth inning as what plagued the Cubs. In that fifth inning, St. Louis' Matt Holliday -- who was on first after being walked with the bases loaded -- took out shortstop Starlin Castro with a slide on a double-play ball. As Castro dusted himself off, another run came into score. The Cubs complained about the play, but never fought back. Outfielder Alfonso Soriano loafed after a double in the corner, allowing another run to score and then had a lazy and inaccurate throw allow another run to score and the runner to advance to third. In all, it added up to an eight-run inning and the team's 65th loss of the season.

So, yeah, it's not surprising Quade feels the heat in Chicago. He should. But he shouldn't be alone.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:18 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:33 am
 

Pepper: Matsui hits No. 500

Hideki Matsui

By C. Trent Rosecrans


You may have missed it last night, but Hideki Matsui hit his 168th home run of his Major League Baseball career. Why's that meaningful? Well, in addition to his 332 homers for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, he has 500 in his professional career.

Sure, 500 combined isn't the same as 500 in MLB, but it's still a cool accomplishment. Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 home runs, was impressed by the accomplishment.

"To keep hitting home runs during a tough schedule while maintaining your conditioning is not easy," Oh told the Associated Press.

Matsui was less impressed. "It isn't like I've been aiming for this, because I don't really combine numbers from Japan and here. To me, they are two separate leagues," he told the AP.

And he's right, there are differences. The ballparks in Japan are smaller, the ball is slightly different, the pitchers are different and the season is shorter. But still, 500 is a lot of home runs, even if you're in Little League. He was never quite the same feared power hitter here that he was in Japan, but he did produce for many years and has been a good big leaguer, adjusting his game to his new surroundings. 

I lived in Japan when he first came up, and the hype he received is like nothing I've seen in the United States -- I'd say it's more like if Bryce Harper were a Yankee. That's how famous he was even in high school in Japan, where the high school baseball tournament is covered like the NCAA basketball tournament here. 

The 500 mark has been achieved by 25 in MLB and eight in Japan -- and just one, Matsui, has done it combined between the two.

KOTCHMAN QUALIFIED: It's been easy to miss, but Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman is having a heck of a season. He needed four plate appearances Wednesday to qualify for the batting title. Kotchman not only got his four appearances, he picked up three hits, raising his batting average to .337, which is second in the American League to Boston's Adrian Gonzalez (.343). [Tampa Tribune]

UNHAPPY DAYS IN CHICAGO: It's been a severely disappointing season in Chicago, and both managers are none too happy with their teams. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had some choice words for his team after a loss to Bruce Chen and the Royals [Chicago Tribune]; Cubs manager Mike Quade targeted his ire on two young players, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. [Chicago Sun-Times]. 

STRONG COFFEY: Nats reliever Todd Coffey wasn't too happy about allowing a run in Tuesday night's game and reacted by throwing a water cooler -- nearly drenching Jerry Hairston. Let that be a lesson kids, another reason to wear high socks -- your pants don't get wet if Coffey spills on you. [Washington Post]

SWEET MUSIC: The New York Times music critic writes about the beautiful sounds of a ballpark. Listen to the sweet sound of summer. Maybe they should make it a MP3 so I can listen to it when there's snow on the ground.

JETER FATIGUE: Sick of hearing about Derek Jeter? Well, there's a browser tool for that. If you're using Google's Chrome, you can download the Jeter Filter to avoid all those pesky references to the Captain. Too bad this wasn't around a week or so ago (I kid, I kid). [Big League Stew]

CHAVEZ REVINE IS SAFE: The group that owns the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles says that it is not interested in building a downtown baseball stadium, contrary to earlier reports. "It's not even an idea. It simply doesn't work," AEG president Tim Leiweke told ESPNLosAngeles.com.

CLOSER IN WAITING?: If Florida trades Leo Nunez, it's like Edward Mujica will get the nod as the team's closer. You fantasy baseball folk may want to remember that and get in on him early. [Miami Herald]

SORIANO CLOSE: Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano made his first rehab appearance Tuesday, allowing two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings at Class A Tampa. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn't know yet how he'd use Soriano upon his return. [New York Daily News]

DARVISH WATCH: One of the big names we'll be sick of hearing come January or so is Japanese import Yu Darvish. The Angels, Yankees and Mets were among the teams that watched his last start. [YakyuBaka.com]

NO MO NO-NO: Monday the Royals' Luis Mendoza of the Royals' Triple-A team in Omaha threw a no-hitter and the next night the Double-A squad in Northwest Arkansas threw a combined no-hitter. Well, Wednesday the Royals not only didn't have a no-hitter, but they had another taken away when the Pacific Coast League stripped Mendoza of his no-hitter, changing an error call to a hit -- again. Monday night outfielder David Lough of the Storm Chasers was charged with an error. Then just minutes after Mendoza celebrated his no-hitter, it was changed to a hit. And then an hour later, it was changed back to an error. And now Wednesday it was changed back to a hit. Mendoza threw a no-hitter for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2009. [Kansas City Star]

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Marmol's job in jeopardy after another bad outing

By Matt Snyder

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol had one of the worst imaginable outings Thursday night, as he blew his seventh save in 26 opportunities. He faced five batters, walked four and allowed a bases-loaded double. He ended up being charged with five earned runs while having recorded zero outs.

His ERA jumped more than a run, from 2.57 to 3.64. He's now blown three of his last six save chances, and his inability to command the strike zone is a constant problem.

Still, Cubs manager Mike Quade said after the game the job was still Marmol's.

“Marm’s the guy, and has been the guy and needs to be the guy. He’ll be better,” Quade said Thursday night (MLB.com).

Friday, however, gave Quade second thoughts. The Cubs went to Marmol, again, with a 2-0 lead in the ninth. He nearly coughed up the game and didn't finish the inning. Quade summoned Sean Marshall, who struck out Mike Stanton with the tying run on base. Marmol's outing began with a four-pitch walk and he would have blown the save had Hanley Ramirez not committed a baserunning gaffe. With one out and a man on, Ramirez hit a ball into the gap, but loafed out of the batter's box and was thrown out at second base. Had he made it, Marmol was looking at runners on second and third with one out. Marmol then gave up another single and was pulled for Marshall.

One or two more bad outings and it could mean the end for Marmol permanently, but for the time being, Quade said he's going with Marshall and Kerry Wood to close out games (MLB.com via Twitter). Quade reportedly said he'll let Marmol work on things for a few days and there's no set timetable for the switch. So it sounds temporary.

 I don't think there's any other option than to remove Marmol from closing duties immediately. In addition to the control woes, something seems wrong with Marmol's arm. Friday, he was throwing fastballs about 90 m.p.h. and his slider was in the mid-80s. He used to throw at least mid-90s fastball and worked up in the high-90s at times. His slider doesn't seem to have near as much bite as it used to, either.

Regardless of the reason, though, Marmol is simply not getting the job done and needs a lesser role. It's a good decision by Quade.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: July 15, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Pepper: About those wins, losses



By Matt Snyder


One of the things I find most lame in the world of baseball writing is how there's a huge fight between those who love sabermetrics and those who oppose it as if it's the worst thing in the history of mankind. Accusations are hurled in each direction, whether it's a "mother's basement" insult or an insinuation that the other party is a moron. I try to not get involved, as I believe there's merit to different things on both sides, but one area where I feel strongly is that using wins and losses to judge pitchers is stupid.

Example number infinity happened last night during the Cubs-Marlins game. Matt Garza threw seven shutout innings, but Carlos Marmol was deplorable in the ninth (zero IP, five earned runs). The Cubs lost. So Garza didn't get the win.

I just have a question for the people who like to puff their chests out and use the "mother's basement" term on people who don't like using wins and losses: Where does Bob Brenly live? The Cubs' color man, who was an All-Star catcher and has a World Series ring from a managerial stint, said, "win-loss record is not a good way to judge a pitcher" once Marmol blew the game.

FIGHTING DEPRESSION: Mets reliever Taylor Buchholz is suffering from what seems like a very serious case of depression. He's likely to miss the entire season and things do not sound good (Springfield Patch).

EXPENSIVE MIDDLE RELIEVER: The Yankees spent a pretty penny ($35 million over three years) this offseason to bring Rafael Soriano in as their eighth-inning man. What they've gotten in return is a 5.40 ERA, an attitude the New York media has questioned and a long stint on the DL. In the meantime, David Robertson has excelled, even making the All-Star team. Soriano is close to coming back now, but what will his role be? We don't know, because Yankees' skipper Joe Girardi wouldn't say. It does feel unlikely the Yankees immediately promote him past Robertson, though. (NJ.com)

DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Cubs manager Mike Quade had to fly commercially after the All-Star Game and he must have looked suspicious. He was retained for 40 minutes by TSA and given a full-fledged pat-down. Quade said he didn't tell the officials who he was, but hoped they would ask. (Chicago Tribune)

WORKING IT: Royals first round pick Bubba Starling is committed to playing football for Nebraska and the negotiations with the Royals are ongoing. Reportedly, Starling is likely to sign with the Royals eventually, but he's really working his bluff, as he's attending voluntary workouts with Nebraska. For what it's worth, the Royals don't seem bothered by it. (Fox Sports KC)

15 MINUTES: Apparently all you have to do to get a short run at quasi-fame these days is be an idiot. (Arizona Republic)

NO MO WILY MO? One of the more entertaining players in the majors has to be Wily Mo Pena. He's hit five home runs in just 46 at-bats, but he also has 19 strikeouts with nary a walk. But he's about to be designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks, who will activate Geoff Blum from the DL. Brandon Allen will also be added to the roster while Juan Miranda is demoted to Triple-A. What about prospect Paul Goldschmidt? Nick Piecoro examines the issue (Arizona Republic).

THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Rays pitcher David Price was initially upset about giving up Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit -- which was also a home run, as we all know. Evidently, Price is over it, as he's now agreed to a deal to autograph items, such as baseballs, "I gave up DJ's 3K." (Tampabay.com)

BACK ON HIS FEET: Just a few weeks from walking away from the Nationals' managing gig, Jim Riggleman now has a job with the Giants as a special assignment scout. (Extra Baggs)

THERE SHE BLOWS: A minor-league game was postponed when heavy winds blew the outfield wall down at Lake Olmstead Stadium, home of the Augusta GreenJackets. It was reportedly a 50-foot section of an 18-foot high wall. (Augusta Chronicle)

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: There were tons of scouts in the building to watch Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez Thursday. Upwards of 17 teams, that is (Fox Sports). And he's not going anywhere. The Rockies will have to be absolutely bowled over to cough him up, especially since he's relatively cheap for the next few years.

MORNEAU, ROBERTS PROGRESSING: Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been cleared to resume baseball activities (MLB.com). Meanwhile, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has been allowed to increase his workload as he attempts to return from a concussion (MLB.com).

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:11 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Ramirez with bookend RBI



By Matt Snyder


Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. The Cuban Missile got the White Sox started and then finished the game off Saturday. In the first inning, Ramirez homered to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. When he came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, the White Sox were tied 3-3. A loss would have been their 10th straight against the Twins. But instead, Ramirez singled home A.J. Pierzynski to win it.

Torii Hunter, Angels. The veteran right fielder pretty much took care of the Mariners himself in the Angels' 9-3 win Saturday. Hunter clubbed two home runs and drove home five. It helped the Angels stay just one game behind the surging Rangers in the AL West.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies. The Rockies have been one of the bigger first-half disappointments in baseball, as many expected them to compete for both the NL Wild Card and the NL West title. Instead they're sitting a handful of games below .500. One of the reasons has been the underperformance of ace Jimenez. He came into his Saturday start with a 3-8 record, 4.39 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Maybe his outing against the Nats Saturday will get things going. Jimenez went eight strong, allowing only five hits, one walk, one run and striking out eight. The Rockies have now won two straight after a five-game losing streak.

Special mention: It's not rare to see Jose Bautista hit home runs (anymore), but two Saturday gave him 31 before the All-Star break. What is this, 2001?



Mike Quade, Cubs manager. Quade pulled Ryan Dempster after five innings and 87 pitches. That's not exactly egregious, though it does feel early for a guy who wasn't getting knocked around in a major way. Yet it worked. The Cubs won as the bullpen threw four scoreless innings. But Dempster and Quade got into a pretty decent argument when Quade told his pitcher he was taking him out of the game. Again, if this was a stand-alone issue, it's basically a non-issue. But Quade's Cubs are 17 games under .500, he constantly makes questionable decisions -- take bunting with Marlon Byrd when light-hitting Tony Campana was on deck earlier this week -- and now he's arguing with a player. And Quade's big selling point was supposedly that he's a player's manager. Instead, he appears to be in over his head.

Brewers' bullpen. The Brewers found a way to get to extra innings against the Reds Saturday, but allowing five runs in the 10th inning is pretty tough to overcome, and now the Brewers are back tied with the Cardinals atop the NL Comedy Central. This one was noteworthy because it was the 20th loss this season for the Brewers, tops in all of MLB.

People complaining about Derek Jeter. Sorry, 3,000 hits is a huge milestone. Of all the players who have ever played baseball, only 28 have gotten there. It's a big deal. And it was pretty awesome that he hit a now-rare home run in getting there. If you feel the need to be negative instead of just enjoying the moment, maybe you shouldn't be a baseball fan. The whole reason we watch the game is to enjoy it, so let's enjoy the achievement.

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