Podcast #42 – Chris Archer Dazzles on Opening Day

Chris Archer

(Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

I want to say right up front that Chris Archer rubs me the wrong way, but there is no denying the talent that the 27-year-old possesses. He exhibited electric stuff on Sunday, striking out 12 in just five innings of work. In fact, if not for some opening-inning jitters, which saw him throw 31 pitches, he might have gone deeper and given his team a chance to win.

What impressed me the most was that he came back out for the fifth inning trailing 3-1 and having already thrown 93 pitches. He came out for the fifth and struck out Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, and Chris Colabello on 14 pitches. Hell, I half expected him to come out for the fifth.

So why does Chris Archer bug me? I think he shows far too much cockiness for someone who has barely three years in the bigs. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was thi spring when he berated a Rays rookie for showing up “only” 30 minutes early for a meeting? How about he just worries about himself instead of trying to be a big man on campus?

I honestly think he has the ability to be a Cy Young Award winner one day. His fastball has a lot of late movement and his slider looks near impossible to hit at times. The only thing standing in his way is him. He needs to focus on his game and not worry about his desire to be a team leader, or team “spokesman” when he decides to tell veteran players how they should play the game. (Ask a few of the Red Sox vets about that – and I’ll bet they are one in a long line.)

But I love to watch him pitch.

Also in this Episode:

I appreciate you listening and following me every week. You can listen to the latest podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions here or at ggumbs@sbcglobal.net. Please let me know what you think!

No Winners in White Sox Fiasco

Adam LaRoche Chicago White Sox

Adam LaRoche (photo by By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Adam LaRoche”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons}

When the whole mess with Adam LaRoche and the Chicago White Sox started last week, I only felt bad for one person – LaRoche’s son, Drake. That 14-year-old kid has had a hell of a lot put on him simply because his father wanted to teach the White Sox a “lesson” and walk away from the game on principle.

So before we nominate LaRoche for Father of the Year, think about that. Let’s also remember that, while $13 million is a lot of money, LaRoche is also a multimillionaire. It’s not like you and me walking away from a $50,000 job and having to worry about not being able to feed our families. It’s far from that.

And what about the young man going to school? I know LaRoche once gave an interview where he said “We’re not big on school,” but wouldn’t the Father of the Year make sure his kid was prepared for his future?

Look, I get it’s cool for a boy to be able to hang out with pro baseball players. Kids love that stuff. I worked in Division I college athletics for years. I sometimes took my kids to games or on road trips, but I never took them into a locker room. That is not where they belong.

The White Sox and LaRoche could have reached some middle ground. The White Sox totally mishandled the situation and LaRoche overreacted, in my opinion.

Perhaps LaRoche saw the end of his career was near and this was an easy way out. I don’t know. All I know is that Drake LaRoche has to take on part of a burden he didn’t ask for and doesn’t deserve.

In Podcast #41, host Gene Gumbs talks about that and a number of other things happening in Major League Baseball spring training camps.

Also in this Episode:

  • Jim Kaat presented an interesting idea on how to make MLB less “tired”
  • The injuries in LA continue to mount with Andre Ethier now out 3-4 months
  • Travis Shaw is making things difficult in Red Sox camp
  • A look at the NCAA Tournament
  • Steve Pikiell lands men’s basketball job at Rutgers after reach NCAAs with Stony Brook
  • My pick for team of the week

I appreciate you listening and following me every week. You can listen to the latest podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions here or at ggumbs@sbcglobal.net. Please let me know what you think!

NL West Title Path Now Easier for Giants

Brett Anderson's injury will make it tougher for the Dodgers to win the NL West.  (photo by Arturo Pardavila III [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Brett Anderson’s injury will make it tougher for the Dodgers to win the NL West. (photo by Arturo Pardavila III [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

In episode 39 of the Sports Microscope Podcast, host Gene Gumbs discusses why the path to the NL West crown just got a little easier for the San Francisco Giants. With the announcement that Brett Anderson is out for 3-5 months, and the continued injury issues for Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder) and Brandon McCarthy (elbow), the Dodger rotation becomes a little thinner behind ace Clayton Kershaw.

To have a shot at the NL West, the Dodgers have to hope they are getting the Scott Kazmir that pitched in Oakland last year, not the one that pitched to a four ERA and 1.4 WHIP in Houston. They’ll also need rookie Kenta Maeda to live up to the hype he created in the Japanese League. Of course he signed an eight-year contract, so they must really believe in him. They also have Alex Wood, who is serviceable but allows way too many men to get on base.

I am sure the Giants aren’t shedding any tears, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are probably licking their chops, thinking that this might be the thing they need to stay relevant and remain in the NL West race all season. I’ll match their top three of Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin against the top three the Dodgers have right now.

Also in this NL West Themed Episode:

  • Injuries already becoming a factor for season’s start
  • Enough of the Yoenis Cespedes three-ring circus already!
  • Could the Minnesota Twins be the Astros of 2016?
  • Doc Emrick makes cool appearance in Pirate radio booth
  • Anyone else wonder how Ian Desmond is getting along with his agent?
  • My pick for team of the week

I appreciate you listening and following me every week. You can listen to the latest podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions here or at ggumbs@sbcglobal.net. Please let me know what you think!

 

Spring Training Press Conferences Entertaining

Grapefruit league logoIt’s snowing here in New England, but it’s spring in my mind. Baseball spring training has begun! In podcast #38, host Gene Gumbs bounces around the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues to talk about some of the happenings.and comments made in the pre-season player press conferences, which are always entertaining.

Leading the list is Washington’s Bryce Harper, who has already floated the idea of a $400 million contract when he becomes a free agent in a few years. In this age of Monopoly money, is anyone surprised? And considering what the top pitchers are getting now, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Harper gets 40 mil for 10 years when he becomes a free agent in 2019.

Anyone want to start a pool on how fast the Red Sox start offering Pablo Sandoval to anyone who will take him in exchange for a bag of balls? The Jenny Craig soap opera began right at the start of spring training. After manager John Farrell and others said that they expected Sandoval to show up slimmed down and ready to go, Sandoval appeared looking just like the Michelin Man again, saying that no one in the organization ever asked him to lose weight. First off, I call BS. Second, even if they didn’t, should they have to?

In the same vain, how long do you think it will be before Dan Duquette gets fired in Baltimore. He was a horrible GM in Boston, and proving to be the same in Baltimore. This is the guy who said Roger Clemens was washed up. The same Clemens who went out and won four more Cy Youngs elsewhere. He’s completely botched this off season, leaving the O’s to take the bottom of the barrel of the remaining free agents. Buck Showalter can only overcome so much.

Also in this Spring Training Episode:

I appreciate you listening and following me every week. You can listen to the latest podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions here or at ggumbs@sbcglobal.net. Please let me know what you think!

Gumbs Fires Up Baseball Hot Stove After End of WS

David Price

David Price leads the list of off-season pitching free agents. (photo by Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr (Original version)UCinternational (Crop) – Originally posted to Flickr as “Blue Jays vs. Yankees: 8/8/2015″Cropped by UCinternational. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org)

In this week’s podcast, prior to lighting up the baseball hot stove, host Gene Gumbs puts a bow on the World Series and breaks down the decisions made in the dugouts and on the field in game five. In addition, the broadcast includes talk of the Fox coverage and the outlook for the two teams as they head into 2016.

It also talks about the beginning of the dark days – no baseball until March. God forbid the MLB Network actually show some live winter league baseball from somewhere in South or Central America! They’ll be too busy showing Mr. Baseball reruns with Tom Selleck for the 927th time.

The good news is that I’ve laid in a bunch of wood for the baseball hot stove! There’s quite a crop of free agents heading to the market this year, and the conjecture and rumors are always good to chew on. The list of pitchers is led by Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman, and David Price. The hitter brigade includes Chris Davis, Alex Gordon, and Yoenis Cespedes.

Here’s hoping the Red Sox are able to land a starting arm or two…

Also in this episode:

  • NASCAR must suspend Matt Kenseth for his despicable behavior on Sunday.
  • Fox Sports coverage of World Series less than stellar.
  • The Nationals hire Bud Black as manager – until they don’t.
  • Which unbeaten NFL team has the best chance to stay that way?
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Enjoy, and thanks for continuing to listen every week!

Baseball Playoffs the Topic of Podcast #27

Dallas Keuchel delivers a pitch. (photo by Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr - Originally posted to Flickr as "Astros vs. Yankees: 8/25/2015". Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Dallas Keuchel delivers a pitch. (photo by Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr – Originally posted to Flickr as “Astros vs. Yankees: 8/25/2015”. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org)

The wild card baseball playoffs begin tonight, and podcast host Gene Gumbs breaks down both games. Will Dallas Keuchel be overwhelmed by his first playoff appearance, or will the likely American League Cy Young winner keep his cool and bounce the New York Yankees from the playoffs? Gumbs is betting on the latter and sees the Astros squeaking by.

In the National League, it should be another pitcher’s duel in Pittsburgh as NL Cy Young contender Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs takes on Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs are the trendy (and sentimental) favorites in the NL, but a team full of youngsters that have never been to the playoffs have a tough hill to climb. While Arietta owned the Pirates this year, Gumbs believes the Pirate bullpen could be the difference maker.

Also in this episode:

  • Breaking down the monster mash between Toronto and Texas
  • An in-depth look at the Houston Astros lineup
  • Can anyone beat the Cardinals
  • More drama in New York with Matt Harvey
  • The resurgence of Kendrys Morales in KC
  • A rather dubious achievement for the National Football League
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions, and I want to thank some of my loyal listeners – like Dennis Schimmel and Joe Rollar – for their encouragement and ideas.

Enjoy, and thanks for continuing to listen every week!

Yogi Berra Remembered in Podcast #25

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra (photo by Googie man at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Yogi Berra was a New York Yankee, but he belonged to all of us. His passing Tuesday night at the age of 90 is as sad a time for baseball fans in general as it is for fans of the team he played for for 18 years. The legacy of this great baseball player, and perhaps an even better human being, leads off episode 25 of the Sports Microscope podcast this week.

Perhaps the greatest ambassador for the game of baseball in the last fifty years, Yogi Berra played for the Yankees, managed the Yankees and the Mets, and coached for the Houston Astros. He retired when I was a toddler, so I never had the chance to see him play. However, as a student of the game’s history, I feel like I did (if that makes any sense).

A look at a few of his accomplishments:
  • A 15-time all star
  • A three-time MVP
  • Finished second in MVP voting twice (lost to Al Rosen and Mickey Mantle)
  • .285 career batting average
  • 2,150 career hits
  • 358 career home runs
  • Played in 14 World Series (winning 10)
  • His 71 World Series hits is an all-time best
  • Took the Yankees and Mets to World Series as manager

Think about these two facts. In his career, he caught both ends of a doubleheader 117 times! His top salary? $60,000 in 1958.

A navy veteran, Berra joined the service at the age of 18 and was a machine gunner on a ship during the D-Day invasion in 1944. Despite not going past the eighth grade, education was also important to Berra, and he established a scholarship at Columbia University while still a player. He was also involved in the development of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University.

The younger generations probably best remember him for his beer commercials and appearances on television talk shows and sitcoms, and the number of “Yogi-isms” that have become part of the American lexicon is amazing. The best way to end this tribute to Yogi Berra might be with something he once said to his beloved wife, Carmen (who died a year ago). She asked him where he wanted to be buried when he past away. His answer? “Surprise me.”

Priceless.

Also in this episode:

  • Can the Cardinals hang on without Yadier Molina?
  • The Houston Astro nose dive
  • Saturday nights Tim HudsonBarry Zito matchup.
  • Tom Brady sticking it to the haters
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for continuing to listen every week!

Red Hot Toronto Blue Jays Topic of Podcast #19

Sports Microscope PodcastThe Toronto Blue Jays are the hottest team in baseball right now and they naturally lead off in episode 19 of the Sports Microscope podcast this week. After winning their ninth straight last night, they are breathing down the necks of the New York Yankees in the American League East.

The addition of Troy Tulowitzki was nice, but he’s been quiet for the last week or so, and it’s the pitching that is leading the way. David Price has been as advertised, and former Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey has been solid of late.

Toronto hosts New York for a big three-game series later this week, and it could be the thing that helps the Jays put those Damn Yankees in the rearview mirror.

Host Gene Gumbs talks about some of the other hot teams and races around Major League Baseball, laments the continued squalor that is the Red Sox season, and then opens up the sports grab bag for some quick hits about other things in the world of sports.

Also in this episode:

  • The New York Mets show no sign of slowing
  • The future of the Chicago Cubs
  • The Chargers seem like sure locks to bolt for Los Angeles
  • The final golf major of the year tees off this week
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy and thanks for listening!

Did You Know A Woman Played in the Negro Leagues?

Indianapolis Clowns logoI’ve been following baseball for most of my 55 years and love researching and talking about the “old days.” An outstanding piece in The Baseball Attic blog details the career of Toni Stone, a woman who played in the Negro Leagues with the Indianapolis Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs in the 1950s. In fact, she is one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues.

Have to admit I’d never heard of her. It’s definitely worth a read! Check it out here.

Sports Microscope Podcast #7 is Up

podcastsEpisode seven of the Sports Microscope podcast is ready! This week, host Gene Gumbs talks about the latest firing in Major League Baseball, the ongoing Deflategate debacle, who’s hot in MLB, and the curious decision by MSG to bring Isaiah Thomas back to the company to run the New York Liberty.

The file is available on this website, or you can go to iTunes to have a subscription automatically downloaded to your iOS devices each week. Feel free to send feedback and suggestions for further episodes. I hope you enjoy!