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Posts Tagged ‘Barry Bonds’

Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan has covered this maple bat controversy from the very beginning. Last May he wrote an article about the introduction, cause, and increase in the maple bat crazy. Barry Bonds initiated the maple frenzy when he juiced 73 homers over the outfield walls in his memorable, yet highly controversial 2001 season. Since that remarkable season for Mr. Bonds, over 50% of players are now using this soft wood (truly).334-spt_p0513_13c2bondsbatembeddedprod_affiliate113

For all you carpenters out there, this sounds elementary. However, for all of us that are lost around a hardware shop this should clear up a bit of the confusion. Each wood has a specific level of hardness (called Janka Hardness Scale), typically the harder the wood the more expensive the cost. Thus, no major league batter is going to use a wood that has potential to break and pay for an uncontrollable amount (there has been no specific wood denied until now). Generally, the players have used an ash bat. They break less causing their wallets to remain bulky from game checks. Ash has a 1320 Janka ranking, while maple has a 950 Janka ranking. There is a legit reason why there are more bats shattering with Mariano Rivera’s hard cutter and leaving batters with only a few fingers on the handle.

2443989902_c1e1db808b So why switch from ash to maple? Well, superstitions of course! Every player has their superstitions, whether that is wearing the same undershirt, sniff their bat (Carlos Gomez), adjust their batting gloves after every pitch (cough *Nomar *cough). Then again, Bonds did hit 73 home runs with maple. Mmmmm, maple syrup and pancakes. Sorry, my inner mind went irrational on me. Speaking of irrational, did I mention that superstitions are all irrational and non-scientifically proven?

The safety hazard that a shattering bat, which some players can swing up to 65 MPH, put bluntly is jeopardizing all players, fans, and coaches safety. A splintered bat barrel, or even the smaller shards, could potentially cause physical harm. It is surprising that a player has not been extremely injured by a bat. We have had coaches (Pittsburg), and fans (stray flying bats), but nothing like when the Columbus Blue Jackets (hockey) had a fan die.

This new rule enacted by Bud Selig should be praised, not scorned. Players should prevent injuries that can derail entire team’s seasons. As it is, unexpected fluke injuries devastate teams year in and year out. A ball that can be thrown 100 mph is dangerous and a bat being swung at such said pitch is just as dangerous. The MLB is saving itself of many lawsuits, and preventing the health of their players (something that cannot always be said; cough * NFL * cough).

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On a day when Barry Bond’s 756th home run finally made it to the Hall of Fame (steroids and all), the next big media obsession, Joba Chamberlain took the mound against the Rangers. Lasting a disappointing 4 innings because he lacked control walking 4 (49 of 91 pitches were for strikes). However, he did only allow 5 hits while striking out 6. He left the game in the fifth in line for the loss, but the Yanks bailed him out of the loss in the bottom of the 6th on Wilson Betemit single. Mariano Rivera went on to lose the game in the top of the 9th in a non-save, but a tie game instead.

Since joining the rotation Joba has walked 17 batters in 29 innings. His control has been an issue all season, even in the minors he showed better control than this (27 walks in 88 innings, the majority of those as a starter). Maybe the media hype, and the fact that he was praised as the savior to the Yankees rotation problem might be getting to his head a bit. He should start showing better control of his pitches in the second half. however, he will only have about 100 more innings due to the total innings limit (his range being limited to less than 150 innings).

Due to extended period of time exposed to the sun (aka sunburn and heat exhaustion), todays post will not dive to deep into baseballs unheralded players.

Chipper Jones- How did I miss this: Chipper likely heading to the DL? That is according to several sites, but then again this should sound normal.  Yet he still went 1/3 last night.

Troy Percival- Was placed on the DL with a strained left hammy. What else did you expect from a 39 year old reliever who was retired?

Brett Myers- Once their ace, once their closer, more than twice wronged by the Phillies management. What an awful way to yank around such quality talent (though you wouldn’t know it by the way he has pitched this season). In a deseprate move to get Brett his command and dominating stuff back the Phillies sent him down to AAA. What a Debbie-Downer for Myers, and a sign that the Phillies have screwed up their once promising ace (and I know Cole Hamels is now considered their ace, but a long time ago in a not so distant past Myers was that ace in a box).

Joe Borowski- Joe blow was at it again, coughing up his fourth blown save of the season. Rafael Betancourt lost his touch this season, and Masa Kobayashi proved in Japan that he could hand the 9th, but the Majors weren’t so peachy for him either. If Borowski can’t get it together and only allow his ERA to rise in non-save situations, then the Indians can just write off the rest of their season.

Aaron Cook- Pitched a 79 pitch complete game shutout master piece against the Padres(5 hits, and 4 strikeouts 0 walks). That’s right he only needed less than 9 pitches per inning of work. Most impressive was that he was pitching at home.

Miguel Cabrera- Left in the 5th during Monday nights game, and pinch-hit in last nights game. What ever happened to the Tigers raking all year long, and having the most dominating top through bottom lineup? When everyone was talking about Miguel producing prodigious numbers, we all forgot that switching leagues can hinder and humble any caliber of hitter. Not saying Cabrera is having an awful year, just an awful year for his standards.

Hanley Ramirez- I know I said I wouldn’t talk about big names all the time, but tonight I think some of them need some noticing more than normal. With a 5 rbi night, and another homer. Ramirez has quietly hit 20 homers, plus 20 steals. He has already reached the 20/20 plateau in a little over half way through the season. A 40/40 season might not be reached because he wont hit 40 homers this season.

Dioner Navarro- Went 2/4 driving 2 runs, both on singles. He continues to be clutch (hitting .317 RISP) for the Rays. Not many catcher are going to provide you with a good average.

Alexei Ramirez- Need a second baseman? Don’t want to trade for Cano’s second half explosion. Grab this fleeing Cuban. Hitting in the sandbox on the South-side of Chicago. He offers dual positions while providing good run, rbi production along with a sustainable .295 average.

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