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Mapes vs. Jeremy Returns: 2013 Home Run Derby Draft

HR Derby 2013We’re back! And what better way to break back on to the scene than with a joyous barrage of 500-foot home runs? In case you missed our first Home Run Derby Draft last year, check out the teams here. We see a couple familiar names in there, including A.L. captain Robinson Cano. But how will the results turn out in 2013?

Just like last season, this is all based on points. Whoever hits the most home runs accumulates the most points for his team, and determines the winner of this Mapes vs. Jeremy challenge. The draftees are Cano, Yoenis Cespedes, Prince Fielder, and Chris Davis on the A.L. side. The senior circuit rolls with captain David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Bryce Harper, and Pedro Alvarez (who recently replaced Carlos Gonzalez).

The scoring system is simple. For each home run by a player on our team, we get points. In the first round, it’s one point per home run. In the second round it’s two points, and the third round is three. The bonus for drafting the winning slugger is five points, and could make or break this battle.

So check out our draft, and vote in the polls below. Who is going to win the 2013 Home Run Derby, and which of our teams will be crowned 3U3D champions?

*If anyone pulls out of the competition, their replacement will be added to that team’s roster.*
1st pick: Prince Fielder, Tigers (Team Mapes)
I want revenge for losing to you last year and taking the safest pick on the board, two-time Derby champ Prince Fielder.  Only him and Robinson Cano understand the preparation in between rounds to take home the title.  Prince will be launching them over the Pepsi Porch in right field all night.  He’s the clear favorite to become the 2nd three-time Home Run Derby champion, joining Ken Griffey, Jr.  I’ll be in attendance and I’m really hoping to be able to track down a Fielder home run in my glove.
2nd pick: Bryce Harper, Nationals (Team Jeremy)Harper HR Derby
There are many who think Harper doesn’t deserve a spot on the squad this year. Nonsense. Harper was pinging the top of the scoreboard (yes, the one behind the right-field bleachers) at Tropicana Field in HIGH SCHOOL. He’s young, aggressive, and has a powerful home run swing. He’s also aching to win this thing. I’d be shocked if Harper isn’t at least in the second round.
3rd pick: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates (Team Jeremy)
I got my wish. When I found out Carlos Gonzalez hurt his finger, I crossed mine and hoped that “El Toro” would replace him. It may be true that Alvarez isn’t the best all-around hitter, but this is a home run contest, and there are few who can hit a ball harder or further than the Pirates’ third baseman. I have a feeling he’ll rack up a big number, but if not, he will at least put on a good show.
4th pick: Chris Davis, Orioles (Team Mapes)
Harper is going to be boom or bust, but I would’ve taken him if I have picked 2nd/3rd.  That being said I’ll gladly take the current MLB home run king in Chris Davis, who I thought about taking at #1 overall.  Davis has always been a batting practice show since he was a rookie and the home run derby is pretty much glorified batting practice.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Davis hits the longest home run of the night.
Chris Davis HR Derby5th pick: Robinson Cano, Yankees (Team Jeremy)
Cano has been there, done that, with his suave attitude and sweet swing. He’ll be hitting in a mostly friendly atmosphere at Citi Field (because Mets fans don’t actually exist, amirite?), and might find himself repeating his 2011 win. Like everything he does, Cano will calmly sail into the second round and will be the overwhelming favorite to go to the finals. I’ve already seen one pundit (okay, so it was just a dude on Twitter) predict a Fielder vs. Cano final. And yes, I know he hit zero last year. Shut up. He’s due.
6th pick: Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics (Team Mapes)
Speaking of guys that put on shows in batting practice, Cespedes certainly fits that bill.  I’ve never seen a ball be hit into the 3rd deck of left field at Citi Field, but if someone can do it, it’s Cespedes (or Evan Gattis).  I am a little worried that he’ll just let it rip and wear himself down to where he won’t go deep into the competition.
7th pick: David Wright, Mets (Team Jeremy)
There is a reason we saved the three right-handed batters for last. Since 2003, Miguel Tejada (20o4) and Vlad Guerrero (2007 – at AT&T Park vs. Alex Rios…REALLY?? No lefties in the final with McCovey Cove sitting there, hungry? Sigh.) are the only righties to win the Derby. Wright has been golfing low and away pitches out all year, so he won’t have to be picky, and has a familiarity with this stadium. He’s the best bet of the right-handed hitters in my opinion, and we all know he comes up clutch.
8th pick: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies (Team Mapes)The Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Céspedes hits a two-run homer against the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo
Oh come on, you knew from the start Cuddyer was being picked last.  Domonic Brown or Paul Goldschmidt might have been better picks.  But, you have to respect David Wright for sticking to his guns and taking his friend and fellow Virginian in Cuddyer.  Now, we’ll see if Cuddy makes Captain America look smart.
There you have it! Vote in the polls below, and don’t forget to watch the 2013 Home Run Derby on Monday.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

The 2013 MLB All-Bloodline Prospect Team

2013 draftFor those of you living under a rock, or maybe hiding behind Scott Van Slyke’s mustache, the MLB amateur draft starts tomorrow. While it lacks the glitz and glam of the NFL draft (thank god), and bust potential is very high with so many picks (where ARE you Tim Beckham?), it’s still an exciting event for baseball nerds like us.

The stars of tomorrow (if you’re Bryce Harper…but more likely the stars of 2016) are all waiting in the wings of this draft. Follow along on MLB Network or MLB.com tomorrow, starting at 6 p.m. EST, to see which young player you need to know as he tears up your farm system over the next couple seasons.

So what is this nonsense we are spamming your timeline with tonight? Oh, just the dream team of MLB family genes! Using this article as a reference, we’re picking the all-bloodline team of the prospects who could get drafted this week, purely based on how said family member performed in his career. We probably won’t find the next Barry and Bobby Bonds or either of the Griffey’s, or any of the Boone’s, but it will be fun either way.

Enjoy:

Catcher: Kean Wong (brother of Cardinals #3 prospect Kolten Wong)

As much as this Warriors/Dodgers fan wanted to pick Ryan McCarvel (nephew of former NBA first-round pick Chris Mills) or Chad Wallach (son of current Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach), you can’t deny the exceptional talent that is evident in the Wong family. Kolten is one of the best prospects in baseball, and that alone made this an easy choice. We’ll see if Kean (I’ll give you a bag of corn nuts and a fist bump if you can tell me how to pronounce this name) lives up to his brother’s reputation.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Lidge (brother of former reliever Brad Lidge)

First base: Cameron Berra (“relative” of Yankees legend Yogi Berra)

I almost went with Manny Ramirez (yes, it’s the dreaded one’s son) here, but word on the street is that he’s joining pops in  Taiwan to ensure that the family dominance continues there. That’s a completely made up rumor. But how can you pass on the relative–even if the connection looks sketchy–to one of the greatest personalities and players in baseball history? I mean, the man has a World Series ring for each finger. And, yes, he has all 10 fingers. If Cameron is even one-fifth as successful, somebody made a good draft selection.

Honorable Mention: Preston Palmeiro (son of former slugger Rafael Palmeiro)

Second base: Cavan Biggio (son of snubbed Hall of Famer and lifelong Astro Craig Biggio)

Dad joined the 3,000 hit club, retired, and was immediately left out of the Hall of Fame this year. I’m over that. Totally. Can’t you tell? Anyway, I’m less concerned about why Craig named his son “Cavan,” than I am about the offspring actually matching Dad’s success. It’s a tall order, but even if he plays good defense and is a HBP magnet, we’ll be saying “like father, like son.” Too bad the ‘Stros already have a franchise second baseman. It would have been nice to see that name on the back of an Astros uni again.

Honorable Mention: JJ Franco (son of former reliever John Franco)

Third base: Luke Borders (son of former catcher Pat Borders)

To be honest, I was never a huge follower of Pat Borders’ career. I knew who he was and it seemed like he was around forever. So at the very least, if Luke can give that longevity, he’s worthy of this spot. His dad was extremely average, but enjoyed two rings and some good years defensively in Toronto. And with all apologies to Ruben Amaro and his hot-corner-handling nephew, I had to give the ‘stache potential points to the Jones family in the honorable mention category.

Honorable Mention: Alex Jones (son of former reliever Todd Jones)

Shortstop: Dillon Moyer (son of MLB’s father time Jamie Moyer)

Imagine my disappointment when I found out Jay Buhner’s son Gunnar qualified here but was not the kid on the epic SI cover shot. He gets the axe. We already gave JJ Franco, who can play both middle infield positions, an honorable mention elsewhere. And as much as I like BJ Surhoff (nephew Colin Moran is the #6 prospect in the draft and has an outside chance to go first overall), the rest of the group is better. Carl Crawford’s cousin J.P. is hanging around, but won’t quite make the cut. And because Walt Weiss has too many w’s in his name, his son Brodie is out (sorry not sorry). It’s simple subtraction, people. Plus, Jamie Moyer rules.

Honorable Mention: Ali Rodriguez (nephew of A-Roid A-Rod)

Left Field: Jacob Heyward (brother of talented Braves outfield Jason Heyward)

Topping his older brother’s first at-bat heroics is not going to happen, but Jacob could eventually become an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, too. Maybe the Braves can just move Jason to centerfield and replace another member of a brotherly duo in B.J. Upton, with the younger J-Hey. But if Braves GM Frank Wren has his choice between another Heyward and either of his sons, will he really slap family in the face like that? Spoiler: he definitely should.

Honorable Mention: Kyle and Jordan Wren (sons of Frank)

Center Field: Torii Hunter, Jr. (son of Tigers outfielder and notorious badass Torii Hunter)

Anyone else not realize until now that Torii Hunter was Torii Hunter, Sr.? The only reason I chose baby Torii over the bloodline of a Hall of Famer (see: Yount, Robin) is because there is a more direct DNA track between the two. If Hunter, Jr. is even a shell of his father, the team that drafts him is not going to be sorry. Hunter, Sr. has been one of the elite outfielders in baseball for almost two decades, and has been a helluva hitter as well.

Honorable Mention: Cody Yount (nephew of Robin)

Right Field: Mike Yastrzemski (grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski)

Please don’t tell Paul O’Neill that his nephew is merely an honorable mention for this position. But…really? What do you want me to do? NOT start a relative of the great 19-time All-Star? I don’t care how good this Mike kid is — if the Red Sox draft him, people are going to go absolutely nuts in Boston. But now that I jinxed him, the Yaz of the younger variety is probably going to get picked up by the Yanks. Uh-oh.

Honorable Mention: Mike O’Neill (nephew of hot-headed Yankee Paul O’Neill)

Starting Rotation:

1. Kacy Clemens, RHP (son of genetically-enhanced strikeout machine Roger Clemens)

2. Dalton Saberhagen, LHP (son of two-time Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen)

3. D.J. Sylve, RHP (grandson of Bay Area and MLB legend Willie Stargell)

4. Ben Verlander, RHP (brother of best-pitcher-in-baseball Justin Verlander)

5. Chad Hockin, RHP (grandson of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew)

There were plenty of good options for the rotation, and you can see how clotted the bloodlines are (I should really work on that word choice) if the Leiter and Pettitte families get snubbed. Despite any steroid allegations, you can’t ignore the Clemens family dominance at the top of the rotation, followed by the studly southpaw in Saberhagen (really the only lefty worthy of consideration). Even though Killebrew and Stargell were hitters–very, very good hitters–it made sense to include their relatives here, as both are in the Hall of Fame. And naturally, even if he can never live up to big brother’s successes, leaving the name “Verlander” out of the starting rotation would be blasphemous.

Honorable Mentions: Mark Leiter, Jr. (nephew of Al Leiter), Josh Pettitte (son of Andy Pettitte), 

Closer: Jordan Sheffield, RHP (nephew of free-swinging hero Gary Sheffield)

As far as I know, all the pitchers on the list are starters anyhow, but I had to find a way to get Gary Sheffield’s DNA into this group. I’m just imagining his nephew Jordan having a violent arm waggle when he’s in the stretch before a pitch. With the violence that uncle Gary played with, I expect Jordan to at LEAST touch 123 MPH on average with his fastball. Really, Quantrill or Hunter Brothers (Rockies’ reliever Rex’s little bro) would have been the more sensible choice, but it’s GARY SHEFFIELD, people!

Honorable Mention: Cal Quantrill (son of former reliever Paul Quantrill)

What do you think? Will any or all of these guys get drafted today? Who would YOU include on your all-bloodlines team for this year’s draft? Did I include too many mustache pics in this blog? Follow along with Three Up, Three Down on Facebook or tweet us @3u3d with input.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

The MLB Fan Cave Dwellers Are Having Too Much Fun

(Warning: Some images may have been digitally altered…)

MLB FAN CAVE PARTY!

Yes, Marcus and Danny are playing catch with a baby pig wearing rain boots. What of it?

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

Umpire Suspended for the Botched Call Nobody Cares About

No, not that botched call. It seems no matter how poorly Angel Hernandez umpires a game, he will forever go unpunished (unless the court of public opinion counts, which sentenced him to life without parole about 15 years ago).

On the other hand, according to MLB’s official Twitter, Fieldin Culbreth was fined and suspended two games for screwing up a rule in yesterday’s Angels-Astros game:

Culbreth–and his whole crew–definitely made the wrong call in that game, but it didn’t end up costing the Angels, who came back to win the game anyway. Hernandez, on the other hand, blew a home run call that would have tied the game in the ninth inning for the A’s in Cleveland earlier this week.

But, wait. He even blew the call again after consulting instant reply, deciding there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the initial ruling. You can see that play here:

Not enough evidence, huh? Did Hernandez stop to think maybe that was enough evidence? That just maybe, he is one of the worst judges of “evidence” the world has ever seen? At least he had the gall to admit his mistake to reporters after the game. Oh, wait.

Man, that guy really sucks. Why is he still employed again?

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

Money Reigns Supreme…Even on Mother’s Day

According to CSNBaltimore.com Orioles insider Rich Dubroff, MLB is not allowing Nick Markakis and Trevor Plouffe to use specialized bats with pink labels this Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day and symbolize the fight against cancer. Check out the tweet here:

Before we get all up in arms and send a screaming, pitchfork-wielding mob to the Commissioner’s office, there may be a reason that the idea was rejected:

I’m not one to go back on my word or break off a contract, but this seems to fall under the category of “special exemption,” especially given that both players’ mothers have survived cancer. To me, it looks like a very cool, coordinated effort by Markakis and Plouffe to make MLB Mother’s Day even more unique and intimate.

The money and the media attention should focus on Louisville Slugger per the terms of the agreement, but it would be very nice to see a one-time exception made for Markakis and Plouffe. Can those two not at least use the same bats as other players and write their own message on to the wood?

As politically correct as the rules are, this sucks. Thoughts?

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

All Hail the Kiss Cam Breakup!

UPDATE: I’ve been duped! This was all set up by the team, and both parties actually work for the Fresno Grizzlies. That being said, it is still funny, and you should still never kiss a Giants fan. Enjoy!

Thanks to Reddit, where I first saw the hilarious kiss cam failure video embedded below, I will make sure to never be on the phone when I’m at a game with my girlfriend during that part of the game. Although, it stands to reason that nobody should ever want to kiss a Giants fan anyway. They have diseases. Go Dodgers.

Anyway, check out this video and enjoy way-too-busy guy getting dumped at a minor league game for failing not once, not twice, but three times to give his girl a smooch during the kiss cam:

I love that the whole crowd gets involved and the mascot applauds the girl for soaking the boyfriend ex-boyfriend with her drink afterwards. As if we needed any more reason to feel awkward when the kiss cam pops up, we now have this jerk to thank for shining an even brighter spotlight on us if the time comes.

Though he did set the bar insanely low. That’s a plus. And nevermind-I’m-bailing guy from Houston must feel great getting off the hook!

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

Did Mickey Mantle Cork His Bat?

deadspin mantle batThanks to the good people over at Deadspin.com, we may have shed some light on the unsavory tactics of one of baseball’s greatest heroes. X-Rays from the same expert who found cork in a game-used Pete Rose bat a few years ago confirmed that there was cork in a Mantle bat that was going up for auction.

With all the PED allegations swirling around modern superstars like Ryan Braun and Robinson Cano, spitball accusations flung at the AL’s best pitcher, and the general degradation of the sport’s reputation over the last 15 years of steroid use, this is a frustrating, hard-to-ignore development.

We may brush this aside because it’s from half a century ago, and we couldn’t possibly tarnish the great Yankee’s legacy, but it really shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Rose is banned from baseball forever for betting on the game, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and more are pseudo-banned from Cooperstown for their involvement (allegedly, in many cases…but let’s be real) with PED’s in the late 90′s and early 2000′s, and multiple other players have been blacklisted by MLB for other significant scandals.

I’m not calling for action against the deceased Mantle or any alteration to his Hall of Fame plaque, but we must wonder at what point we accept all forms of cheating as part of the sport, and at which point we go 100 percent intolerant of it.

However, according to a Redditor who commented on this post on r/baseball and quoted an episode of Mythbusters, corking a bat may not actually benefit a hitter in any way. In fact, it might do just the opposite:

According to the MythBusters August 8, 2007 baseball special, the ball hit by a corked bat travels at only half the speed of a ball hit by an unmodified bat, causing it to go a shorter distance. The cork inside the bat actually absorbs the kinetic energy like a sponge, hindering the batter’s performance. In addition, because corked bats are lighter, they have less momentum to transfer to the ball, bringing them to the conclusion that the use of a corked bat had fewer benefits over a regular bat. The show also notes that while filling a bat with cork makes it lighter, there is nothing in the rule book that prevents a player from simply using a lighter, uncorked bat.[5] However, contrary to the last note in the episode, the reason players “cork” a bat is to keep it as long as a heavier bat, but make it lighter; which cannot be done without some kind of non-wood filler in the sweet spot of the bat.

Does that mean it’s forgivable? Not necessarily. But it certainly seems to be one of the most tame forms of cheating.

Share your thoughts below by voting in the poll or posting a comment.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

Colorado Rockies Sign Roy Oswalt

HELLO! Who else forgot Oswalt was still a functioning member of the MLB society? This move–signing the veteran to a minor league deal and sending him to extended spring training–came out of nowhere. Here’s the tweet that made it official, as far as we know:

So what does this mean for the Rockies and the rest of the NL West? Not much…yet.

Our own Brian Boynton can attest to Oswalt’s crapiness in his last stint, which was with the Texas Rangers in 2012. Oswalt posted a 5.80 ERA in that time, but still had pretty good splits otherwise.

For a team that has relied on its destructive offense and had a surprisingly competent rotation thus far, the Rockies may have scored with this move. Chances are their current, inexperienced rotation will be looking a lot more like the bruised and battered 2012 unit (last in the NL in team ERA, by a mile) after a couple more rounds.

So when Oswalt is ready, if he can pitch even half as well as he used to before going to Texas, he could conceivably be their number two starter. And if one or two of the young guns continues to produce this year, the Rockies are no longer a laughing stock; rather, a team to be reckoned with.

Luckily for Oswalt, pitching expectations in Colorado are generally low, so he won’t be as subjected to scrutiny as he was in Texas. And while I highly doubt we will see a Clemens or Pettitte-esque return for Oswalt, you can never have enough pitching.

Then again, Oswalt could be worse than the starter the Rockies already passed on once. And being worse than Aaron Harang is usually a sign to hang up the cleats for good.

What do you think about the move? Tweet us @3u3d to discuss!

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

This Blog Will Really Quack You Up

Forgive my giggles. But when I see a gigantic, inflatable rubber ducky sitting in a harbor in Hong Kong, I laugh uncontrollably. There is something innocent, hilarious and charming about a rubber ducky of any size, but this Godzilla-sized specimen is special.

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman displays his creation in major waterfronts in major cities in order to “revolutionize the way people view public spaces.” For my money, the giant rubber ducky does a great job of accomplishing that goal.

And while I wanted to be selfish and capture it for my backyard, I will share this with the rest of the baseball-loving world: My personal renderings of the three best MLB locations for Mr. Quackenbush (I know, I know…I shouldn’t name him, I’ll become attached.)

1. McCovey Cove at AT&T Park in San Francisco

Dodger Ducky in SF

Those kayakers out there are going to have some stiff competition for any splash hits. Unfortunately, the Giants were still able to charge $50 a pop for floating room only tickets. And yes, I had to add that little touch on top…

2. PNC Park in Pittsburgh

DUCKY AT PNC

That bridge sure is pretty, especially when half of it is obstructed by our giant rubber ducky floating on the Allegheny River behind the right-centerfield bleachers. Chances are, the duck is going to have a field day snatching popcorn from fans in the back row.

3. Kauffman Stadium Fountains in Kansas City

GIANT DUCKY AT KAUFMAN

 

I can’t think of a better place to chill in the summer heat and watch a game than in a constant stream of nice, cool water. The Royals are finally relevant, so the ducky would have something to quack for! Heads up when the water cannons go off, though.

Do you think the artist, again of Dutch origin, would adorn the duck with a #Honkbal cap if it was sitting outside a MLB stadium? I really, really hope so. Because this whole #DuckyInfiltratesMLB thing must happen, and happen soon!

Tweet us @3u3d with your suggestions of other MLB-related places for the ducky to squat. Make sure to hashtag #DuckyInfiltratesMLB and we will retweet the best ones! There are plenty of water features among MLB stadiums to choose from, but don’t limit your selections to that. And are they all going to be in right-centerfield??

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

 

Another Entry for Best Baseball Picture of the Year!

A couple weeks ago, we presented you with an early favorite for MLB picture of the year. And even though the one we are presenting this time around isn’t an awesome action shot worthy of a segment on Time Warp, it’s a whole new level of absurdity.

The only baseball-related activity in this picture, besides it taking place at Dodger Stadium, is that Tommy Lasorda is involved. It hails from Hyun-Jin Ryu’s last start for the Dodgers (he struck out 12 Rockies that night…coincidence?) at which Korean sensation “Psy” showed up for the game and went all Gangnam Style on the big crowd.

Personally, I thought that song was uncool about 398 parodies ago, but I’ve gotta give mad props to the stank face and those hip glasses Psy is rocking. And the fact that Lasorda is the only person not standing–in fact, he looks downright terrified–just reinforces the theory that he is every person’s angry grandfather.

Psy Tommy

The Dodgers took this game against Colorado, the only one they’d win in the three-game series. Maybe Psy is good luck and should return more often!

“Oh, hell no!” – Tommy Lasorda

“Oh, hell yes! Give me more, give me more!” – Guy to Tommy’s right

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

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