Results tagged ‘ Baseball ’

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!

Episode 42 – The 15 Day DL Is Getting Crowded

Welcome back! The gang is back this week discussing the many many trips to the 15 Day DL that everyone is taking. Zimmerman, Chacin, Billingsley, etc etc, the list goes on and on. Derek Jeter has also sprung up in conversation as he won’t be back until after the All Star Game.  David Ortiz and Chase Headley return from the DL to help their respective teams, and the Brewers get a little crazy stealing first base and throwing water at other players.  We also give you your hot fantasy pickups and drops to help you win that office league. Take a listen and start winning!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!

or use this link to download on iTunes

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Twitter: @3U3D
Facebook: Three Up, Three Down

Enjoy!

MLB Pop Quiz: Name That Scouting Report!

baseball-hall-of-fameJeff Idelson, the current MLB Hall of Fame President, tweeted out pictures this week of three old scouting reports that will be featured in an upcoming exhibit in Cooperstown.

You could go to his Twitter page and find all the answers easily, but then the “quiz” aspect of this blog is completely ruined. So don’t do that. Don’t be that guy. Let’s do this without cheating, huh?

Let’s just break it down one photo at a time to test your baseball knowledge. I’ll put the three scouting reports below (with names deleted), and give three hints about each.

If you guess the correct player without hints, give yourself 4 points. For each hint you need to use thereafter, take off one point and only reward yourself with points if you guess the player correctly before the end. (Example: If I guess the first player after reading two of the hints, I’m down to two points total for that photo.)

At the bottom, you can see answers to all three and add up your total to determine what level of baseball awesome you really are. If those instructions are too unclear still, there’s nothing I can do to help you. And sorry, no prizes. We don’t make money. So you just get the honor of knowing you are a brilliant human being and baseball fan.

Let’s get this thing started. First, Idelson tweeted this ancient report on a young shortstop who ended up in the Hall of Fame after a long, successful career (4 points):

scouting report1

Hint #1 (3 points): This player was his team’s first black player and formed the first-ever black double play combination in MLB history.

Hint #2 (2 points): He won the NL MVP in 1958 and 1959 and retired with 512 home runs, yet never won a World Series ring.

Hint #3 (1 point): The mystery player above was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1977 and is one of only six players in franchise history to have his number retired (#14).

Did you figure that one out? Let’s skip ahead a few decades to the only current player on this quiz. Like our first player, this guy has played his entire career with the same team and will likely end up in Cooperstown as well. Remember, the team listed on each report isn’t necessarily the team they were drafted to  (4 points):

scouting report2

Hint #1 (3 points): The Houston Astros’ failure to draft him first overall in the 1992 draft (Phil Nevin was their eventual choice) caused one of their best talent evaluators and scouts, Hal Newhouser, to quit his job in protest. This player went later in the first round to the team he still plays for today.

Hint #2 (2 points): Despite numerous top-ten finishes in the MVP voting, this player has never won the hardware. He has, however, won a Rookie of the Year award, All-Star Game MVP, World Series MVP, five Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers and the Hank Aaron Award so far over his career.

Hint #3 (1 point): This player has been his team’s captain since 2003, and holds the franchise record for hits and stolen bases. The five-time World Series winner registered his 3,000th career hit off David Price in 2011 and is commonly known as “Mr. November.”

That one was a bit easier, huh? If you didn’t get the answer right, chances are you’re either a toddler or very, very lost in the blogosphere right now. The last entrant is our only pitcher, who also entered the Hall of Fame after an illustrious career with three teams (4 points):

scouting report3

Hint #1 (3 points): This 1983 Hall of Fame inductee won more games than any other pitcher in the 1960′s, but was often overshadowed by Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson during that time frame. Though the report lists him as “Cuban or Puerto Rican,” he is actually Dominican.

Hint #2 (2 points): Well known for intimidation techniques involving throwing at batters’ heads, this backfired on the pitcher in a 1965 game against a rival club. After he threw at a player early in the game, tensions rose and a brawl ensued, in which this pitcher used a bat to hit the un-helmeted head of the opposing team’s catcher.

Hint #3 (1 point): The ten-time All-Star threw a no-hitter in 1963 and had his number (#27) retired by the team he spent all but two of his professional seasons with. That same team now honors this pitcher with a statue outside its ballpark on the West Coast, depicting his iconic leg kick.

 

There you have it! Add up your points from the three reports and follow this graph below to determine how baseball savvy you really are:

11-12 points: You ARE a demi-god. Like Yoenis Cespedes, but with baseball trivia instead of a bat.

9-10 points: You are Mr. Consistency. Pretty much Todd Helton, minus the DUI (we assume).

7-8 points: You are a scrapper, much like Bryce Harper. Very impressive, but still room to improve.

4-6 points: You really let us down. We might as well call you Matt Bush, Jr.

1-3 points: You can’t be serious. You strike out more often than Mark Reynolds blindfolded.

0 points: You need to leave. Exit our blog, right now.

 

Thanks for taking our scouting report pop quiz! We appreciate all feedback, positive or negative, in the comments section below!

 

ANSWERS:

1. Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs)

2. Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)

3. Juan Marichal (San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers)

 

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

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

65-0 High School Baseball Blowout: Bad Sportsmanship?

Licking Heights senior Ronnie Dawson, courtesy: NewarkAdvocate.com

At what point does a team cry for mercy? When does the famed 10-run rule become too lenient? Will the Miami Marlins even score 65 runs this entire year?

I only ask because a high school baseball game in Ohio was called on account of darkness a couple of weeks ago–not so out of the ordinary (wait for it…)–with one team leading 65-0 after three innings. Technically, the 10-run rule kicks in after five innings, which is also an official game minimum in MLB.

Needless to say, the team on the losing end (Harvest Prep) is an annual doormat, according to the article. And the winning team (Licking Heights) is playing its last season in their current league, before moving up to a more competitive group.

For the sake of staying sane, we won’t entertain all the clichés of this sportsmanship route. The coach of the winning team seemed apologetic, and even tried to offer that his players all bunt and then step on the plate to make an automatic out in order to end Harvest Prep’s misery.

People will scream and yell and feign outrage over this blowout, but the fact of the matter is that nobody should ever lose 65-0. Were the Harvest Prep pitchers just soft tossing from next to the plate? Did all the fielders leave their gloves at home? The real injustice here is that a team with so few resources is allowed to participate in such an otherwise-competitive league (other teams have put up as much as 40 runs against Harvest Prep this season, too).

Yours truly has always been an advocate of running up the score in every sport at the high school level and beyond. Losing is something every athlete will experience, whether it’s by one run or 65. Is the winning team really at fault? Is winning by a lot of runs or points a malicious thing to do?

I don’t like when college football coaches get heated about the Oregon Ducks going for two when they are up 48-0 in the fourth quarter. Your team is made of adults. They can handle themselves. Similarly, unless directly taunted by an opponent in the process, I never had a problem with losing by a large score when I played sports. I usually turned the blame to myself and had to make sure to work harder to play better the next time and avoid that embarrassment.

Anyway, that’s my take. Clearly, this is a unique situation and unprecedented margin of victory–but what do you think? Too much of a “licking” by Licking Heights? All a big deal over nothing? Comment below!

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

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

Insanity in San Diego: Greinke Injured in Brawl, Kemp and Quentin Fight After Game

dodgers padres brawl

Update (4/12/13): Greinke is out for approximately eight weeks. Quentin has been suspended for eight games, Hairston, Jr. for one game. Both of those players have appealed.

This blog has already morphed and transformed 100 different times tonight as more and more details are released about the ridiculous brawl at Petco Park. We have embedded videos from sources like MLB and ESPN to give you a clear timeline of what went down. Enjoy the madness, and vote in the polls below!

Bottom of the 6th inning:

Carlos Quentin, leading off the 6th for the Padres (who were down 2-1 at the time), took the count to 3-2 against Zack Greinke. That next pitch got away inside and nailed Quentin on the elbow, at which point he charged the mound. You can see the fight in its entirety here:

As many Tweeters reminded us, Quentin routinely leads the league in hit by pitches:

These things happen when a batter crowds the plate and takes away the pitcher’s inside corner. And it doesn’t help that Quentin clearly has no idea how to get out of the way of an inside pitch (from the first game of the series on Tuesday):

As you see in the video of the brawl, Quentin and Greinke collided shoulder-to-shoulder, and the 50-pound advantage of the batter definitely took its toll on the smaller pitcher. The benches cleared as Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis tackled Quentin to the ground. Many people thought Greinke may have yelled something to Quentin after the beaning, which this ESPN video shows is true (embedding ESPN videos does not work on WordPress):

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:9162952

My expert lip-reading abilities tell me that Greinke said something along the lines of “F— off.” Hardly grounds for a rage-induced attack on Quentin’s part. For all I know, Greinke may just have been tired of Quentin’s act, as a fellow NL West pitcher became last season:

Before we go any farther, let me bring you back a few years…

April 8th, 2009:

Different teams, a different division, in a different league; same matchup. In Greinke’s 2009 Cy Young year with the Kansas City Royals, he beaned then-White Sox Quentin in the 4th inning of an early-season game. Quentin took a step toward Greinke before being cooled off and taking first base.

After that outing (the Royals won 2-0), Greinke said it was an accident, and even mentioned that he was “scared” for Quentin at first, thinking it might hit his head:

“He had a reason for [being upset],” said Greinke of Quentin. “Any time you throw it that high, it’s justified. You’ve got to be better than that and not pitch like that. You’re going to make mistakes, but the last thing you want to do is hit someone where it could seriously hurt them. As soon as I let go of it, I was scared for him.”

So there was history. Whether or not it was intentional then, or intentional this year, is a matter we can likely never pinpoint. But in both instances, Greinke held a slim lead–hardly a situation in which you want to put anyone on base purposely.

Unless Quentin slapped Greinke’s mother years ago for some unknown reason, there is no motive for Greinke to throw at Quentin in the first place. Not to mention, that little dust-up was four years ago now. That’s a long, long time for someone to hold a grudge in sports.

Okay, memory lane was fun. Let’s bring it back to present day…

Halfway through the brawl:

In the video of the fight, you can see Matt Kemp going absolutely bonkers in the scrum (kerfuffle, if you will). At one point, he had multiple teammates restraining him after getting in a face-to-face shouting match with Padres manager Bud Black.

After it looked like the dust had settled, Dodgers utility man Jerry Hairston, Jr. took off toward the Padres dugout with his finger pointed at someone. If Don Mattingly’s postgame comments are any indication, the Padre in question was backup catcher John Baker, who was raised in my hometown of Walnut Creek, CA and does not seem the type to be involved.

But as Hairston, Jr. tweeted later, he was going at the Padres because he saw a player making fun of Greinke:

Finally, the skirmish ended and Greinke was walked off the field by head trainer Sue Falsone. The umpires eventually ejected the pitcher, along with Quentin, Kemp, and Hairston, Jr. Shortly thereafter, Chris Capuano relieved Greinke on the bump for Los Angeles, and promptly allowed a game-tying single.

Though the unlikeliest of heroes, Juan Uribe, went deep later to help seal a 3-2 victory for the Dodgers, nothing could take the sting out of the news that broke after the game.

Postgame press conferences:

As soon as the game ended, fans demanded answers. Mattingly was happy to give them his, with multiple microphones stuck in his face. But first, the Dodgers got awful news regarding their $147 million pitcher:

According to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, who is by no means a medical expert but does his research very thoroughly, the Dodgers can expect to miss Greinke for at least six weeks:

So needless to say, Mattingly was upset with the result of everything except the win. When pressed about the incident, Mattingly referred to Quentin as an “idiot” who has “zero understanding of the game of baseball,” given the situation in which he charged the mound.

Most shockingly, the skipper also declared that Quentin deserved to be suspended for as long as Greinke was on the shelf. Many writers on Twitter agreed with this sentiment, and yours truly can’t argue the idea. Of course, Quentin won’t get a lengthy suspension. Chances are, he’ll be looking at a four or five game suspension at the most. But we will have to wait and see what kind of action the league decides to take, and also to see if they discipline Kemp for his actions.

As if Quentin needed anyone else against him, A.J. Ellis told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that a few Padres apologized to him on their teammate’s behalf:

We also have the video of Quentin’s postgame chat with reporters here, which is full of blame deflections and question avoidance. Black, Quentin’s manager, said the history between the two players did play a part in the brawl. Greinke responded with some comments of his own, insisting he didn’t mean to hit Quentin and never has in the past. Plus, additional notes from Mattingly on the injury at the beginning of the video:

After cooling off, you’d think the situation would be put to rest. Alas, this night got crazier…

In the clubhouse tunnel:

Kemp couldn’t let the issue go, and stayed extremely fired up at Quentin for injuring Greinke. He went after Quentin by the player’s exit, reportedly asking why he charged the mound and ended up injuring Kemp’s teammate:

The Associated Press was able to snag a picture of the two players arguing (see below) before they were separated. The scene could have gotten much uglier, but it was luckily diffused in time. On one hand, you have to admire Kemp’s willingness to defend his pitcher and not back down from what he considered a threat. Leadership like that can pull a team closer together.Matt Kemp, Carlos Quentin

But on the other hand, the last person the Dodgers need getting suspended or playing upset is Kemp. The star center fielder is already struggling with the bat so far in 2013, and needs to recognize the difference between playing hard and playing pissed.

At the end of the night, Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (who was injured in the World Baseball Classic and has been on the DL all season) tweeted a slight silver lining, apparently in an attempt to calm the angry hordes:

So the Dodgers won the game, the series, and a bit of hope from Ramirez. But losing Greinke is a huge blow for the Dodgers pitching staff, who will likely replace him with either Ted Lilly or Chris Capuano–both massive downgrades. San Diego and Los Angeles reconvene at Dodger Stadium for a three-game set on Monday, prompting the Dodgers official Twitter account to put out this gem after the game:

At the very least, that series will be under an intense microscope by fans, players and journalists everywhere. For the Padres, a chance to be relevant. For the Dodgers, a chance to prove that they are more than a rich all-star team–that they can win with talent and heart and team chemistry.

Stay tuned to Three Up, Three Down for more coverage as the news continues to roll in. Please vote in the polls below, and feel free to share your comments with us, too.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook at Three Up, Three Down for all your breaking MLB news!

The Top Five Hip-Hop Baseball References

MLB Network’s Bob Costas quoting Ludacris got me thinking, how connected are hip-hop music and the game of baseball.  Rappers are always wearing baseball jerseys and hats when they make appearances.  We’ve even seen many hip-hip artists like Common, Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Big Sean, and Snoop Dogg throw out first pitches at games.

What are the top baseball references in hip-hop songs?  Let’s take a look!

5) Lil’ Wayne-”Swag Surf”

Lil’ Wayne dropping a line to the former Red Sox all-star is all sorts of awesome.  I wonder if he’s been kickin’ it with Garciaparra’s wife Mia Hamm lately.

Lyrics: I ain’t promise tomorrow, Now women kick it with me like Nomar Garciaparra

Plus, who can forget Lil’ Wayne singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at AT&T Park.

4) Game (feat. Chris Brown)- “Pot of Gold”

It’s safe to say Game loves sports. In this song alone he makes references to LeBron James, the New Orleans Saints, and baseball MVP and current Angels slugger Albert Pujols

Lyrics:

As I sit back and watch

The ashes on my cigar fall

Wayne just came home and

Tip back on the yard dawg

Guess Pujols ain’t the only one playing hard ball

3) Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz- Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)

There’s no actual baseball lyrics in the song, but the entire video was shot in the former home of the Mets, Shea Stadium.  They do get deductions for trying to pass it off as Yankee Stadium in the beginning of because both of them are from the Bronx.

2) Nelly and St. Lunatics-”Batter Up” and Nelly (feat. Diddy & Murphy Lee) “Shake Ya Tailfeather”

It’s fair to say Nelly loves baseball.  He’s always inserting references into songs and loves his St. Louis Cardinals.  “Batter Up” is the most baseball-dedicated song in hip-hop complete with a music video that doubles as a baseball game.  While Nelly’s “Shake Ya Tailfeather” from the Bad Boys 2 soundtrack samples the Atlanta Braves chop song.

1) Jay-Z and the New York Yankees

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.43.37 PM

There’s not a hip-hop artist more synonymous with a baseball team as the Jigga Man and the Yankees.  He always is wearing a Yankees hat and even made Bronx Bombers superstar Robinson Cano his first client of the new Roc Nation agency this week.  You can check out the top five Jay-Z Yankees references here.  I’m going with the lyrics from mega-hit “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys.

Lyrics:

Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game

I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can

What are your favorite baseball references in hip-hop?  Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Top 5 Moments of Opening Day

Opening DayThis is no April Fools prank: Baseball. Is. Back!

After the Houston Astros dis–hey…stop laughing…it really happened–dismantled the Texas Rangers last night at Minute Maid Park, we had our first full day of baseball today.

Naturally, ESPN kicked it off with proof that they are extremely stubborn as a network, pitting C.C. Sabathia and the hobbled Yankees versus Jon Lester and the completely average Red Sox.

There were so many amazing moments in a long day of ball that it was hard to narrow down to just five. But here is our best shot at it. This is what we do at Three Up, Three Down. We write stuff on baseball-related activities for your enjoyment. So, enjoy!

5. Justin Jacks One

Welcome to Atlanta, where the playa’s play and Upton hits bombs like every day. No disrespect to Freddie Freeman, who also went mammo today, but this Justin Upton blast was put in orbit. And it’s not just a top moment because of the distance–the Braves outfield is the most freakish in baseball, and this is just the first sampling. The Braves faithful have been waiting for this moment since the original trade was made, and the little bro definitely didn’t disappoint.

4. Brewers Bailed Out

One of KP’s least favorite memories of the 2012 season was any blown save by John Axford and Co. If you see our tallest group member, give him a hug. Because Axford was at it again on Opening Day, giving up a no-doubter with two outs in the ninth to the Rockies’ Dexter Fowler, which tied the game. Fortunately for Milwaukee and the home fans, the Rockies pitching staff is deplorable and Jonathan Lucroy was able to score a walk-off sac fly and bail the bullpen out.

3. Bryce Decides Twice is Nice

If there was any debate that last year’s NL Rookie of the Year would suffer from a sophomore slump, he killed it quick. In his first two at-bats of the 2013 season, Bryce Harper absolutely crushed two Ricky Nolasco pitches and put them in the right field bleachers. I’m not buying that his second one has landed yet. In fact, it might currently be traveling over the Atlantic Ocean. Keep an eye out for it. The 20-year-old phenom is on pace for 324 jacks this year. 

2. Stan the Man MUSIAL PATCH

The late Cardinals legend and Hall of Famer Stan Musial is being honored by the team with a cool, classy patch (pictured to the right) on their left sleeves in 2013. But the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hosted the Cards on Opening Day, pulled off a fantastic move by paying homage with a video tribute to Musial between innings. Unfortunately, I don’t have video for you, but the gesture itself was a true act of sportsmanship and remembrance of one of the greatest hitters and humans the world has ever seen.

1. Kershaw Goes Krazy

Let me set the stage: The defending champions travel to their heated rival’s new stadium and face their fancy new team in a battle between two of the best pitchers in the league. A pitcher’s duel turns into a one-man show as Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw not only throws a complete game, four-hit shutout, but hits a go-ahead home run that breaks a scoreless tie in the eighth inning. Unbelievable. And in a game that began with a well-choreographed first pitch skit from Dodgers heroes Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser. I have to take a second to brag, as humbly as possible. I tweeted THIS about five minutes before magic occurred. Of course it was a coincidence  but it makes me believe in fairy tale endings, and reinforces our love of this magical sport.

Buckle up, baseball fans. This was just day one. Only 161 more regular season games to go! Vote below on which one of these moments should have been in the top five, or comment about any moments we missed!

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook! The best baseball coverage, coming at you from five different states and five different fan bases.

Episode 39 – Season 2 – Over/Under: Battle For The Golden Jock

Three Up, Three Down is back at it for the Season 2 premiere, and what a better way to kick off the new season than with the 2nd Annual Battle for the Golden Jock.  We’ll pick our Over/Under winners for the year and see if KP can defend his title.
Feel free to play along and let us know how you did!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks because we’ll be back in the swing of things with more podcasts and blog posts all season long.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!

or use this link to download on iTunes

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=508049520

Twitter: @3U3D
Facebook: Three Up, Three Down

Enjoy!

World Baseball Classic Fantasy: The Finals!

It’s time for the San Francisco treat, the World Baseball Classic finals! We have two teams that everyone expected to be there in Japan and the Dominican Republic, plus two upstarts that have surprised everyone along the way in the Netherlands and Puerto Rico. The latter two knocking out two of the big favorites in the tournament in Cuba and the United States. Mapes is just excited he gets to yell HONKBAL for at least one more game!

It’s time though for the final WBC Fantasy draft on Three Up, Three down between Mapes and Jeremy. Jeremy dominated “Round Two Pool One” 161-121 after Mapes took the USA side “Pool C/D Round One” draft 124-121. Mapes came back to crush Jeremy in “Round Two Pool Two” 115-63 on the strong backs of Gio Gonzalez and Fernando Rodney and the bad back of “Captain America” David Wright for Jeremy. Mapes now leads the overall score 360-345.

For the final with only three games, we’re going to draft the same nine offensive positions, but only one SP and one RP each. Again, we must have at least two from each country and no more than four from any country. Jeremy had first pick last time, so Mapes starts us off for the finals!

 

Maeda

Pick #1 – Team Mapes: Kenta Maeda, SP (Japan)

If I had just picked Maeda in the last draft with the Japanese teams, I’d be coasting to victory. Maeda is rested and ready to go, he gets to face a Puerto Rican team who just had to travel from Miami to San Francisco with no rest day. Maeda’s been the best pitcher in this tournament and is the clear #1 pick to get a win and advance to the finals.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 12.44.12 PM
Pick #2 – Team Jeremy: Fernando Rodney, RP (Dominican Republic)

I’m snagging the guy that killed me last round, and it’s not just for revenge. Out of the four teams left, I think Rodney is the closest thing to a guarantee to get me some save points, as he’s been automatic since…well, since Opening Day of the 2012 season. If the Dominican Republic somehow doesn’t advance, I’ll be shocked. But we’ve seen crazier things happen.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 12.29.05 PM
Pick #3 – Team Jeremy: Robinson Cano, 2B (Dominican Republic)

Not picking the best hitter in the tournament would just be plain silly. Cano is going to rip up the Netherlands’ pitching, and likely have a second game in the tournament to do more damage. I expect to see at least one ball clearing the outfield fence when he’s hitting at AT&T this week. Watch out, McCovey Cove!

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.17.59 AM
Pick #4 – Team Mapes: Shinnosuke Abe, C (Japan)

You said Abe was the Japanese Buster Posey. The finals are in AT&T Park in San Francisco. I like that symmetry there and I’m not letting him have a multi-homer game on your team again. Yes, I know this lets you take your boy Yadier Molina later and stay in your girlfriend’s good graces.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 12.15.22 PM
Pick #5 – Team Jeremy: Carlos Beltran, OF (Puerto Rico)

I know this is the third straight time I’ve taken Beltran, and he hasn’t exactly produced. But the guy has given me no reason to doubt him over a clutch postseason career, and he’s still one of the most productive hitters in the history of the World Baseball Classic. Plus, he kind of likes hitting in AT&T Park (.328 there over the last three years).

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 3.22.52 PM
Pick #6 – Team Mapes: Andrelton Simmons, SS (Netherlands)

You’d think you’d learn by now that I’m not going to take Beltran, ever. My crush on Andrelton Simmons is tremendous right now. It’s to the point that I’ve made a custom Netherlands shirsey for him, but not sure to pull the trigger on ordering it. If the honkballers win the title, I will for sure.

Itoi

Pick #7 – Team Jeremy: Yoshio Itoi, OF (Japan)

This guy has been absolutely crushing the ball lately, driving in 7 runs in his 6 games. If he’s good for a couple hits, a run and an RBI in Japan’s first game, I’m happy. That being said, Japan should get two games. Double the pleasure, double the fun for me!

Ibaza

Pick #8 – Team Mapes: Hirokazu Ibata, Util (Japan)

He’s been DHing a lot for Japan, but I have no qualms with just putting him in my utility spot. He’s 8 for 14 for the Japanese and hits in the middle of that lineup. I’ll pair him with Abe and hope for the best. I think you can tell by now, I believe Japan make the finals for the 3rd straight time.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 12.38.09 PM
Pick #9 – Team Jeremy: Hanley Ramirez, Util (Dominican Republic)

I thought about waiting a little longer to snag my boy here, but didn’t want to risk you finding a way to sneak him on as a third baseman or something. It hasn’t just been the WBC — Ramirez has been hitting the ball hard all spring. He’s going to get me some points hitting in that lineup, especially in two games, hopefully.

Cruz WBC

Pick #10 – Team Mapes: Nelson Cruz, OF (Dominican Republic)

We’ve strangely never drafted the “Lord of the Boomstick”, but he’s been one of the Dominican’s top hitters and way better than Hanley’s pitiful .176 average in the WBC.

Aviles PR

Pick #11 – Team Jeremy: Mike Aviles, SS (Puerto Rico)

We don’t get points for batting average. So you can keep your Cruz, I’ll take my Hanley, who has the same amount of runs scored and homers in this tournament, even with the big gap in average! That being said, Aviles is hitting around .300 in the tournament and has been the only RBI threat on the team thus far. His 8 RBI are five more than the next closest in that lineup.

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Pick #12 – Team Mapes: Edwin Encarnacion, 1B (Dominican Republic)

Might as well load up on the middle of the Dominican lineup after you’ve made the terrible mistake of not taking Jose Reyes at shortstop with your utility already filled. I’m ready for Encarnacion to put out a bomb like he did 42 times in 2012.

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Pick #13 – Team Jeremy: Curt Smith, 1B (Netherlands)

Oh, you mean the Reyes who has 2 RBI and 0 stolen bases in this tournament? That Reyes? No thanks. I’ll stick with Aviles, who has been far more productive. I love Smith, too, and I’m not sure why. But he seems to be the most consistent threat in that Honkbal lineup behind Simmons, and I don’t want to miss this chance.

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Pick #14 – Team Mapes: Angel Pagan, OF (Puerto Rico)

I’ll finally cave and take a Puerto Rican, not that I’m bitter for them knocking out the United States. We should make them the 51st state just so these shenanigans don’t happen again. Pagan leads Puerto Rico in total bases and picks up an occasional steal. If they’re going to have a chance against Japan, Pagan needs to play like he did at AT&T Park last season.

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Pick #15 – Team Jeremy: Andruw Jones, OF (Netherlands)

Now why do you have to bring up Pagan at AT&T Park last season? That’s a low blow! But I’ll snag your boy Andruw here, who is Team Honkbal’s third most consistently dangerous hitter. You can have Simmons, I’ll take the talents of their other two offensive stars to South Beach (seriously, there’s an area in San Francisco called South Beach…don’t laugh at this, I don’t deserve it).

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Pick #16 – Team Mapes: Alex Rios, OF (Puerto Rico)

Please just stop being terrible for one game Rios. It’s all I ask.

Matsuda

Pick #17 – Team Jeremy: Nobuhiro Matsuda, 3B (Japan)

I can’t believe I’m only going to take two Japanese players in this draft, but it’s equally shocking that I get Matsuda this close to the end of the draft. All he’s done at the hot corner for Team Japan thus far is hit .389 with a homer, 5 RBI and 5 runs scored.

Schoop

Pick #18- Team Mapes: Jonathan Schoop, 2B (Netherlands)

I need a second baseman AND another Honkballer so I’m going with the Orioles prospect that I know has some pop.

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Pick #19 – Team Jeremy: Yadier Molina, C (Puerto Rico)

You said earlier that this was to stay in Kelsey’s good graces. Is it any coincidence that I’ll be telling her about this draft later today? Yes, believe it or not. I actually had my eye on Carlos Santana of the Dominican Republic, just because they should have two games, as opposed to Molina’s one. But I won’t complain about getting Yadi again. He’s been good for me so far.

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Pick #20 – Team Mapes: Xander Bogaerts, 3B (Netherlands)

HONK IF YOU LOVE HONKBAL!!!

Volquez WBC

Pick #21 – Team Jeremy: Edinson Volquez, SP (Dominican Republic)

Your first overall pick of Maeda did end up putting me in a bind. We don’t even know who is going to start for the Netherlands, and Puerto Rico’s pitcher will get rocked. Volquez is a guy I rarely trust, but with that lineup behind him, he could have a mediocre start and still pick up 10 points for me. I’m just glad he’s not facing his own team.

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Pick #22 – Team Mapes: Kazuhisa Makita, RP (Japan)

Still can’t resist a submarine-throwing closer. Just can’t do it.

Can Jeremy mount a comeback in the finals? Or is the 15 point lead going to hold up for Mapes? Should Jeremy have take Jose Reyes? Let us know in the comments or tweet usand thank for enjoying WBC Fantasy, we’ve had a lot of fun doing it!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) & Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

World Baseball Classic Fantasy Baseball: Pool A/B Round Two

We couldn’t just stop with the opening round of pools C and D!  Jeremy and Mapes of course had to delve into the 2nd round of pools A and B.  It will give Mapes something more to root for than just saying the word “honkbal” over and over and over.  The first WBC fantasy draft and rules can be found here.

There are only four teams in this round two so the rules change to where we need at least two players from every team and a maximum of four from each team.  The same positions and point scoring system applies!  We’re choosing from Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands.  Jeremy had the first pick in the pools C and D draft so, Mapes will take the opening pick in this draft Let’s roll!

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 10.59.27 PMPick #1 – Team Mapes: Jose Abreu, 1B (Cuba)

Cuban.  Barry.  Bonds.  Let’s just move on.

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Pick #2 – Team Jeremy: Shinnosuke Abe, C (Japan)

Did you really have to go the “Barry Bonds” route? Why not the Cuban Babe Ruth? In any case, this guy is the Japanese Buster Posey. No, seriously. He won MVP on the champion team, named the Giants. And he’s just as good with the bat, better with the glove.

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Pick #3 – Team Jeremy: Alfredo Despaigne, OF (Cuba)

What more do you want? This guy has a 1.636 OPS in the World Baseball Classic so far, which was capped off by an absolute monster three-run homer against Japan in the opening round. Despaigne is en FUEGO right now.

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Pick #4 – Team Mapes: Chien-Ming Wang, SP (Chinese Taipei)

I really loved what I saw from Wang in his first start of the WBC.  His sinker ball was really working and I expect him to go for a full six innings and contend for a win in this round.

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Pick #5 – Team Jeremy: Danny Betancourt, SP (Cuba)

My team will be stocked full of Cubans. There’s good reason. Yes, these guys can mash on offense, but if you watched Danny Betancourt’s first round performance (eight strikeouts, by the way), you know this dude is straight filth.

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Pick #6 – Team Mapes: Andrelton Simmons, SS (Netherlands)

Homer pick!  I wasn’t letting Simba get away from me with my love of the Braves.  He hit over .300 in the first round, plus gets plenty of at-bats atop the Dutch lineup.

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Pick #7 – Team Jeremy: Diegomar Markwell, SP (Netherlands)

Depending on Markwell’s matchup in the quarterfinals, this could come back to haunt me. But he was downright nasty in the first game of the tournament against a powerful Korea team, so I’m hopeful he’ll score me some big points.

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Pick #8 – Team Mapes: Jose Fernandez, 2B (Cuba)

I wanted to ensure that I was strong up the middle and also take as much of Cuba’s powerhouse lineup.  I’m doubling down on those with Fernandez, who led Pool A and B in the first round with a .625 batting average.  I hope it carries over to round two.

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Pick #9 – Team Jeremy: Yoshio Itoi, OF (Japan)

Itoi had a big first round, hitting .300 with four RBI and two stolen bases. He has a unique blend of speed, power and contact hitting abilities, which I hope he will continue to ride into round two for my team.

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.36.44 AMPick #10 – Team Mapes: Dai-Kang Yang, OF (Chinese Taipei)

I thought about going symmetry and taking the other “Ching-Ming” on Chinese Taipei, but instead I’ll go with Dai-Kang Yang who played in all three games for Chinese Taipei.  He led the team in total bases in round one, which is what I need to rack up points!

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Pick #11 – Team Jeremy: Frederich Cepeda, OF (Cuba)

My outfield is just unfair. Itoi, Despaigne, and now the latter’s Cuban teammate, Cepeda. He tied for the team lead with 9 total bases in their first three games, including two doubles and a triple. The .500 batting average and .615 on-base percentage sealed the deal for me, though.

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Pick #12 – Team Mapes: Kazuhisa Makita, RP (Japan)

Can’t resist a submarine-throwing closer.  Just can’t do it.

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Pick #13 – Team Jeremy: Loek Van Mil, RP (Netherlands)

This picture is not photoshopped. Van Mil is 7’1″ and comes at the hitters from seemingly inches away. He got the job done for the Netherlands in the first round, and I expect him to close out any games that they lead in round two.

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Pick #14 – Team Mapes: Hung-Wen Chen, RP (Chinese Taipei)

I needed to grab another reliever, with Van Mil gone and my strategy of only grabbing Cuban offensive players, that leaves me with Hung-Wen Chen who picked up a save in round one.

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Pick #15 – Team Jeremy: Curt Smith, 1B (Netherlands)

I think this is a big sleeper pick. I love this guy filling in at first base. If there’s one player who was unknown among other big names on this team’s roster, it was Smith. He only had seven at-bats in the first three games (thanks to four walks), but hit .286 in that span.

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Pick #16 – Team Mapes: Yulieski Gourriel, 3B (Cuba)

I know, I know.  Gourriel went 1 for 13 in round one, but he still hits in the heart of the Cuban lineup.  I’ll gladly take his upside, when I need a third baseman anyway this late!

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Pick #17 – Team Jeremy: Xander Bogaerts, 3B (Netherlands)

You can have your Cuban missile launcher, I’ll take my all-around stud in Red Sox top prospect Bogaerts. If defense counted, he’d be even more valuable. But so far with the bat, Bogaerts has been relatively quiet. That won’t last long for the career .296 minor league hitter. I hope he breaks out when he’s on my team.

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Pick #18- Team Mapes: Hisayoshi Chono, OF (Japan)

This is where I panicked, but I like Chono’s upside.  I think he bounces back after hitting .200 in round one, but will get all the time in left field for team Japan.

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Pick #19 – Team Jeremy: Chih-Sheng Lin, SS (Chinese Taipei)

At this point, I’m still in need of two Chinese Taipei representatives. With middle infield to fill, I looked at Lin to provide some offensive pop for my team. He hit .300 in the first round, and also got on base quite frequently (.417 OBP).

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Pick #20 – Team Mapes: Andruw Jones, OF (Netherlands)

My other Braves homer pick!  I love that Netherlands has control of Curacao so they can use Simmons and Jones in the WBC.  I can’t resist not having a player I grew up watching in Atlanta on my team and he was even pretty good in round one.

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Pick #21 – Team Jeremy: Alexei Bell, OF/Util (Cuba)

With my utility pick, I had to go back to the bats of Cuba. I could have closed my eyes and picked any of the hitters, but I settled with Bell because I still can’t get his ridiculous homer the other night out of my memory. Hopefully there’s more where that came from.

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Pick #22 – Team Mapes: Erisbel Arruebarruena, SS/Util (Cuba)

The guy can hit and I really just took him so I would have more reason to learn how to pronounce his last name.

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Pick #23 – Team Jeremy: Tadashi Settsu, RP (Japan)

I ruled out the Cuban closer by selecting Bell with my previous pick, but that’s all fine and dandy. I don’t know if Settsu will get me any saves, but he did lock down one of Japan’s two wins in round one. He’s unhittable and could score me a few sneaky points.

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Pick #24 – Team Mapes: Dashenko Ricardo, C (Netherlands)

Well I have to take a catcher and Ricardo hit .400 in round one.  Honk if you love honkbal!

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Pick #25 – Team Jeremy: Yen-Wen Kuo, 2B (Chinese Taipei)

Well, I wasn’t going to leave his double play partner alone on my roster! I fill out the team with a necessary pick of the Taipei second baseman, and can’t complain about his .333 average in round one!

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Pick #26 – Team Mapes: Masahiro Tanaka, SP (Japan)

With Jeremy taking his starting pitchers super early it let me take my choice of Japanese starters to round out my team.  I like Tanaka’s upside, even though Kenta Maeda had the better numbers for Japan in round one.  Plus, this opens me up to plenty of “you have no marbles” jokes like Tanaka from Major League 2.

Now all four pools are represented, even if we showed up a bit late to the party (Can you blame us? We’re still waiting for Jose Abreu’s home run ball to land, okay?). We have our teams and will let fate dictate this the rest of the way. Follow along with us on Twitter at the tags below, and don’t forget to vote for who you think has the best team below!

- Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) & Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

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