Thursday, May 30, 2013

Randy Choate must have been thinking: Why can't I make a decision? No, the St. Louis Cardinals reliever was not struggling to get on the same page as his catcher, Yadier Molina. Instead, the lefty specialist has not been able to make a decision in his last 103 appearances. Confused? Maybe it would help if I said that Choate has not recorded a decision since July 24, 2011. Until last night's victory, Choate had nearly gone two years without getting credit for a win or a loss. While it's hard to imagine anyone topping Choate's non-decisive streak, it's been done by two players: Bobby Seay (116 appearances) and Trever Miller (121 appearances). In fact, Bobby Seay went six seasons without recording a decision (2001-2007). At long last, Choate is no longer an enigmatic part of the box score. After seeing a W inserted next to his name, Choate can call himself a winner for the first time in 675 days. 
The previously indecisive Cardinals' reliever, Randy Chaote

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Seattle Mariners
Cleveland Indians
Cincinnati Reds
What happens when a player faces his former team for the first time? Sometimes, he is cheered. Other times, he is booed. For instance, take Jonathan Papelbon. Currently with the Philadelphia Phillies, Papelbon first appeared on the baseball scene with the Boston Red Sox in 2005. While with the BoSox, he became the franchise's all-time saves leader and recorded the final out of the 2007 World Series. When he pitched in Fenway Park for the first time since signing with the Phillies, he was showered with a roar of boos. Go figure? More times than not, the crowd forgets the past once they see a former player in an opposing team's uniform. Then, there's Cincinnati Red's outfielder,  Shin-Soo Choo. How could anyone dislike a guy with that kind of name? If you live in Cleveland or Seattle, you probably stopped liking him after his first at-bat against your hometown team. On Monday, Choo became the first player in MLB history to hit a homerun against each of his former teams (Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners) in his first at-bat. While many players have hit homers in their first at-bats against their former teams, no one has done it multiple times. Unlike Papelbon, Choo received a nice round of applause when he walked into the batter's box to lead-off Monday night's game. By his second at-bat however, he was greeted with the droning sound of boos and jeers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

L.A. Angels Outfielder and the Future of Baseball, Mike Trout

If you read one of my posts from a few days ago, you may remember that I all but labeled Bryce Harper and Mike Trout as being "over-hyped". While trying to make a case for Manny Machado and Jean Segura, I unintentionally neglected to give Harper and Trout their much deserved praise. Mike Trout left me no choice after he became the youngest American League player to hit for the cycle Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. He is also the third youngest batter to hit for the cycle since 1930. For those of you who are unaware, a cycle occurs when a player hits a homerun, triple, double, and single throughout the course of a single game. Essentially, a batter achieves all four of the possible types of hits. By leading the Angels to a 12-0 victory, Mike Trout hit for the 294th cycle since 1882. Last year's American League Rookie of the Year and A.L. MVP runner-up is the real deal. It's hard to believe that Trout is dominating the sport at the age of 21. Less than a decade ago, Trout was playing on a 250 ft. little league field. As is baseball tradition, it's time for the Angels to uncork the bubbly on Mike Trout's career. Unlike last year, Trout is now legally old enough to drink some champagne. Take notes Nationals, you should be treating Bryce Harper the same way.