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Before I Forget: 2014 MLB Predictions

Realized I never posted any predictions, so here they are now

American League

East: Rays, Yankees*, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays

Central: Tigers, Royals*, Indians, White Sox, Twins

West: Athletics, Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Astros

Wild Card Game: Royals over Yankees

Division Series: Athletics over Royals, Rays over Tigers

Championship Series: Rays over Athletics

 

National League

East: Braves, Nationals* Mets, Marlins, Phillies

Central: Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Brewers, Cubs

West: Dodgers, Giants*, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres

Wild Card Game: Giants over Nationals

Division Series: Braves over Cardinals, Dodgers over Giants

Championship Series: Dodgers over Braves

World Series: Rays over Dodgers (someone’s gotta do it)

MVP: Mike Trout and Freddie Freeman

Cy Young: David Price and Clayton Kershaw

Rookie of the Year: Xander Bogaerts and Billy Hamilton

All picks guaranteed to be right or you get next years picks for free.

-Bryan Mapes

2014 MLB Bobblehead Battle: AL East

Time to finish up the American League with the American League East where the Red Sox finally bring back bobblehead giveaways in 2014.  While you’re here check out the AL Central and AL West bobblehead battles.  As a reminder, each bobblehead will be rated 1-5 stars based on quality of subject, originality, number available, and overall awesomeness.  Teams will be ranked by total stars, so the more giveaways (especially quality ones) the better.

Boston Red Sox (all fans in attendance)

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Monday, April 7th, David Ortiz: You couldn’t ask for a better Red Sox player to start the bobblehead giveaways with.  This would’ve been a perfect ***** if it had been of Ortiz raising his fist telling Boston to stay strong.  Red Sox are going to rate highly giving these away to every fan. ****

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Wednesday, April 30th, Dustin Pedroia: And if you were going to pick a 2nd player on the current Red Sox to immortalize on a bobblehead, it would be former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.  Better have real dirt stains! ***1/2

Tuesday, September 9th, Pedro Martinez: Come on Red Sox!  No bobbling goodness in May, June, July, or August?  For shame!  You get some redemption with the best pitcher in Red Sox history and the man who asks “Who is Karim Garcia?” ***1/2

Total: 11 stars

New York Yankees (18,000 fans)

Thursday, June 19th, Mark Teixeira: Yankees bobbleheads in 2013 were a murderer’s row (unfortunately not the actual Murderer’s Row) with Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, Yogi Berra, and Mariano Rivera.  This years crop?  Not so much, starting off with the oft-injured Yankees first baseman. **

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Wednesday, July 2nd, Lou Gehrig: I love this bobblehead and is by far the best one in the Yankees crop.  It celebrates the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech, it’s a must have, especially if you can get the Twins one to pair with it.  ****1/2

Sunday, July 27th, Paul O’Neill: A solid Yankees player that has found a home in the YES broadcasts with the team, so he’ll be in attendance for this one.  Don’t think there will be as much excitement for this one than Matsui last year. ** 1/2

Wednesday, August 20th, Joe Girardi: Has Yankees World Series rings as a player and as a manager and is worthy of a bobblehead, but I can’t get too excited for it.  **

Total: 11 stars

Tampa Bay Rays (20,000 fans)

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Saturday, April 5th, Wil Myers Rookie of the Year: I just like the way that this bobblehead looks.  Props to the AL East for having larger giveaway numbers.  ***

Friday, May 23rd, Alex Cobb Military Themed: I’m interested to see how this one ends up looking, but it sounds pretty solid.  For now, though. ** 1/2

Saturday, September 6th, Evan Longoria 80′s Hair Band: Another Rays bobblehead that I need to see to believe.  I want to have faith that this is going to be spectacular though.  *** 1/2

Total: 9 stars

Toronto Blue Jays (20,000 fans)

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Sunday, April 27th, R.A. Dickey: This Dickey bobblehead would’ve meant more if he had repeated his 2012 performance north of the border, but it’s a good effort and he deserves it.  ** 1/2

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Sunday, June 8th, Jose Reyes: I can basically say the same thing for Reyes that I said for Dickey, right? ** 1/2

Sunday, August 24th, Mark Buerhle: Let the 2013 Blue Jays disappointment bobblehead train continue! **

Total: 8 stars

Baltimore Orioles (Promotion schedule not posted as of 3/7)

What do you think is the best bobblehead collection in the AL East?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

2014 MLB Bobblehead Battle: AL Central

Time for more bobblehead madness.  In case you missed part one on the AL West, check it out here. Again, each bobblehead will be rated 1-5 stars based on quality of subject, originality, number available, and overall awesomeness.  Teams will be ranked by total stars, so the more giveaways (especially quality ones) the better.   Which bobbleheads in the AL Central will be crowned the king?  Let’s find out!

Cleveland Indians (amount of giveaway varies)

Saturday, May 3rd, Orel Hershiser: Interesting choice for a throwback bobblehead as Hershiser had a 4.21 ERA in his three seasons with the Tribe.  He is a big name though.  This giveaway is for 10,000 fans.  ** 1/2

Saturday, May 31st, BrOhio: I have no idea where this is going, but it has potential to be the most creative bobblehead in Cleveland’s crop.  They also up the giveaway to 12,500 for this one.  *** 1/2

Tuesday, June 3rd, Michael Bourn: Pretty standard stuff here.  Back down to 10,000 fans on this giveaway **

Tuesday, July 8th, Jason Kipnis: See, Michael Bourn.  But a slightly better player and 12,500 fans get this one. ** 1/2

Monday, September 1st, Michael Brantley: Another average to slightly above average player getting his bobble on.  Still 12,500 fans for this one, but still a low number compared to other teams.  A lot of quantity, but not much quality from the Indians in 2014.  **

Total: 12 1/2 stars

Minnesota Twins (10,000 fans)

Friday, June 20th, Harmon Killebrew 1965 All-Star Game: I had a feeling the Twins would go the route the Mets did in 2013 and honor players that appeared in All-Star Games with the team.  The Twins are hosting the 2014 All-Star Game.  This would be a huge boost if the Twins also featured the three Minneapolis stadiums to host the All-Star Game as well.  Killebrew is one of my favorite players of all-time.  ****

Friday, July 4th, Lou Gehrig: This giveaway is with the Yankees in town and corresponds with the 75th anniversary of Gehrig’s farewell speech.  Great tip of the cap to history by the Twins.  ****

Saturday, July 5th, Tom Brunansky 1985 All-Star Game: Brunansky picked a great year to be the only Twins All-Star and make his only appearance in the Midsummer Classic.  The career .245 hitter does have a sweet mustache, but it’s not enough to probably be the worst bobblehead of 2014. *

Saturday, September 6th, TBD 2014 All-Star Game:  Fake Vegas odds on who this bobblehead will be.  Joe Mauer -2000, Glen Perkins +500, anyone else +1500.  If it’s Mauer…….. ***

Total: 12 stars

Kansas City Royals (10,000 fans)

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Saturday, June 28th, James Shields: This is going to be tough to dole out stars with a measly 10,000 fans getting each bobblehead.  Shields is a solid pitcher, but not a big star.  **

Saturday, July 12th, Salvador Perez:  Perez isn’t even on Shields’ level, yuck. * 1/2

Sunday, August 10th, Alex Gordon:  Gordon is the “star” of the team.  We’ll see if they make it with a Gold Glove variation, that’d be a nice addition. ** 1/2

Saturday, August 30th, Mr. Royal: This one could actually be fun!  This throwback mascot will get a bobblehead on retro night.  I’m in. *** 1/2

Total: 9 1/2 stars

Detroit Tigers (amount of giveaway varies)

Thursday, June 5th, Max Scherzer 2013 Cy Young Award: No picture yet of the the bobblehead, but I’d suspect it’ll be him holding the Cy Young award.  Maybe they’ll throw in the WWE Title belt that Scherzer was given for winning Cy Young.  This giveaway is for 15,000 fans. ***

Thursday, August 14th, Justin Verlander Mini-Bobblehead: Mini-bobblehead?  Can’t give him a normal sized one?  I’ll only accept this if there’s a mini-Kate Upton on it too.  This giveaway is for just 10,000 fans.  Dislike. * 1/2

Friday, August 15th, Miguel Cabrera 2-Time MVP: Apparently to get a normal-size bobblehead you have to win an award the previous season.  I want Cabrera to be wearing his Triple Crown crown while holding two MVP’s in his arms.  I’d bet it won’t look like that.  This giveaway is also for 10,000 fans. ****

Total: 8.5 stars

Chicago White Sox (20,000 fans)

Saturday, May 24th, Chris Sale: Sale is the current and future ace of the White Sox.  The extra 5,000 fans that get to take this home compared to the Yu Darvish bobblehead in part one, gives this an extra 1/2 star.  ***

Saturday, August 30th, Tony LaRussa: Many people forget that LaRussa started his managing career on the Southside.  In his Hall of Fame induction year, I like that they’re giving him a bobblehead.  I hope it’s in this classic throwback uniform. *** 1/2

Total: 6.5 stars

That’ll do it for the AL Central.  I’m quite disappointed that there were no pictures of any 2014 bobbleheads in this division.  The Indians win on quantity, but the Twins win on quality.  Unless, it’s Tom Brunansky of course.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

2014 MLB Bobblehead Battle: AL West

Is there any better ballpark promotion than the bobblehead?  The answer is no. This is part one of a six-part series, giving you the breakdown of what bobbling wonders will be at the stadium this spring and summer.  Each bobblehead will be rated 1-5 stars based on quality of subject, originality, number available, and overall awesomeness.  Teams will be ranked by total stars, so the more giveaways (especially quality ones) the better.  Let’s start it off with the AL West!

Seattle Mariners (Each giveaway is 20,000 fans)

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Saturday, May 31st, Robinson Cano: You knew the Mariners had to give a bobblehead to their new superstar player.  This is (surprisingly) the first bobblehead giveaway for Cano in MLB. ***

Thursday, June 12th, Macklemore: I’m not a huge Macklemore fan, but I love the Mariners creativity for the local musical star.  I’m not sure what it looks like yet, but at least they have Macklemore in a M’s jersey to go off of. **** 1/2

Saturday, July 12th, Hisashi Iwakuma: I’m a sucker for Iwakuma and would rate this higher for my collection.  In the overall scheme, nothing too spectacular.  **

Saturday, August 9th, Lou Pinella Mariners Hall of Fame: Lou Pinella is one of my favorite managers of all-time and I’m glad they’re comboing up a bobblehead with his induction day.  Should be a fun day in Seattle.  I truly hope it involves him kicking his cap. *** 1/2

Saturday, August 30th, Felix Hernandez: Another year, another Felix Hernandez bobblehead from the Mariners.  Wish they had made a Jesus Montero bobble belly instead. **1/2

Total: 15 1/2 stars

Texas Rangers (Each giveaway is for 15,000 fans)

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Saturday, April 19th, Yu Darvish Strikeout King: Standard fare, the teams best player in a standard pitching bobblehead.  Would’ve been fun if they had the “strikeout king” have a crown with a K on it.  **1/2

Sunday, May 18th, Prince Fielder: Another pretty standard bobblehead, but with the team’s best and newest hitter. **1/2

Saturday, July 12th, Eric Nadel: Now we’re having some fun!  Nadel has been with the Rangers since 1979 as their broadcaster and is the winner of the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award.  And now, his own bobblehead too.  Love it!  ****

Tuesday, August 12th, Pudge Rodriguez Gold Glove: I’ve got nothing against this one honoring one of the best players in Rangers history.  I also like that they’re honoring his defense.  There isn’t a picture of it yet, but it get a bonus 1/2 star if his glove is actually gold.  ***

Thursday, September 4th,  Shin Soo-Choo: Choo is also a new Rangers acquisition, but he’s not quite on Darvish or Fielder’s level.  It’s going to be tough for the Rangers to top the greatest Shin Soo-Choo bobblehead of all-time. **

Total: 14 stars

Houston Astros (10,000 fans each giveaway)

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Saturday, April 26th, Jason Castro All-Star: A nice honor to add on to Jason Castro’s all-star to give him his own bobblehead.  He’s not a major star though, yet.  **

Friday, August 1st, Lance Berkman: A great player in Astros history gets honored, because there aren’t many players on this current roster to give a bobblehead to. ** 1/2

Sunday, August 3rd, Roy Oswalt: See, Lance Berkman.  I do like that they made these the same weekend for fans. ** 1/2

Saturday, August 30th, Nolan and Reid Ryan: Not many executives get bobbleheads and I would go out on a limb to say that this is the first double executive bobblehead in MLB history.  I want to rate it higher, but only 10,000?  Then again, the Astros attendance isn’t the strongest.  ****

Total: 11 stars

Oakland Athletics (various amounts of fans)

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Saturday, April 19th, Josh Donaldson Diorama: First off, kudos to the Athletics for increasing their giveaways from 10,000 to 20,000 for Donaldson and 15,000 for the Catfish Hunter one.  Donaldson was the breakout star for the A’s in 2013 and the diorama is a nice little bonus.  ***

Saturday, May 31st-Catfish Hunter: Athletics have had a Hunter bobblehead before, but that was in 2002.  Here’s to hoping that they’ll add an Eric Sogard bobblehead giveaway if he wins the #FaceOfMLB contest.  A’s fans love that guy. ** 1/2

Total: 5 1/2 stars

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (amount of giveaway, not available)

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Tuesday, April 1st, Mike Trout: One of the games brightest stars gets his second bobblehead in two years.  This one doesn’t top last year’s edition, though.  Why is he not wearing a cap? *** 1/2

Friday, May 2nd, Josh Hamilton: If I’m an Angels fan and Hamilton’s 2014 starts off like his 2013, am I really going to want this bobblehead? **

Total: 5 1/2 stars

What’s your favorite bobblehead set in the AL West?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Braves Should’ve Thought This Through Better

This is a picture of the Atlanta Braves official 2013 calendar.  The current month’s picture has Martin Prado, Tim Hudson, and Brian McCann.  All of them no longer play for the Braves after Prado was traded before the 2013 season, Hudson signed with the Giants, and McCann signed with the Yankees (coincidentally the latter two IN November 2013).  Oops.

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-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Rasmus vs. Rasmus

It was a great night for the Rasmus family as older son Colby’s Blue Jays took on younger son Cory’s Atlanta Braves.  Cory Rasmus had just been called up from AAA Gwinnett last week, when Eric O’ Flaherty went to the disabled list.  It just lucked out that the Braves were making a trip north of the border right after the call-up.  Which Rasmus won the battle?  Let’s take a look!

On top of the double, Colby’s team won 9-3. It was just the third time since 1974 that brothers squared off on the mound and in the batter’s box joining Ken and George Brett in the 1970′s and Ruddy and Julio Lugo in 2007.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Yankee Stadium, The House That Lundqvist Built?

Today, the NHL officially announced that Yankee Stadium will become the first stadium to host not one, but TWO hockey games during the 2013-14 season.  The New York Rangers will host both of their cross-bridge rivals as part of the 2014 NHL Stadium Series.

The first game will come Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 12:30 eastern against the New Jersey Devils.  Game two will be Wednesday, January 29th at 7:30 eastern against the New York Islanders.

The Phillies Citizens Bank Park was the last MLB stadium to host an NHL game for the NHL Winter Classic where the New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2.

Yankee Stadium isn’t the only ballpark to be featured in the NHL Stadium Series as Dodger Stadium will host the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings on January 25th.  Good luck with the potential melting ice!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Andrelton Simmons is Ridiculous

In a short time, Andrelton Simmons has become the best defensive shortstop in baseball and maybe even better than that, at least according to former teammate Chipper Jones.

 

That was after this incredible tag on a pick-off of Reds Shin-Soo Choo.

Seriously, he tagged him between the legs!

This caused me to realize we need a definitive blog with all of Simmons’ defensive exploits so far.

From Tuesday, May 7th’s game against the Reds, including a great barehand play that went off of Eric O’ Flaherty.

It can go off Paul Maholm’s glove, it’s alright, Simmons is there.

He has the best arm in the Majors, he can even show it off from the seat of his pants.

Here he shows off the range going deep into foul territory at PNC Park for an amazing grab.

This play is not as easy as he makes it look on Royals Lorenzo Cain.

No prejudice against great plays even in Spring Training.

My favorite play from the 2013 World Baseball Classic, honkbal!

That’s not the only time he’ll go into center field for a diving catch.

There were numerous plays of Simmons charging a slow roller and getting the out, but getting the speedy Juan Pierre is the most impressive.

And from the same game, the diving stop, up the middle.

Simmons makes this short hop look too easy.

Even when Simba makes a mistake and overruns a ball, he’s just doing it to make the play look that much more spectacular.

The play that really started it all against the Orioles all-star Adam Jones.

He can even turn an amazing double play with Dan Uggla.

It hasn’t even been a full season in the Majors and you can put Andrelton Simmons’ highlight reel against anyone in the league. What’s your favorite play? Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Metallica Night in San Francisco

It was “Metallica Night” at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The band was on hand and even performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the pre-game ceremonies.

Even better, the Giants players on the Jumbotron have been “Metallica-ized”.

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Dont’t forget tonight’s starter Barry Zito getting to have a jam session with the metal legends.

Things could get awkward though if “Enter Sandman” is played and Mariano Rivera doesn’t appear.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Julio Borbon Won’t Be Winning an Oscar Anytime Soon

Cubs outfielder Julio Borbon will do anything to get on base it seems.  Even try and make it look like he got hit on the foot even though the ball hit the dirt a good foot away.  Can’t fault a guy for trying, but that’s the worst acting I’ve seen since Gigli.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

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