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Called Up: 10 MLB September Call Ups That Will Most Impact Pennant Races

A pennant race in the MLB can be affected by guys you have never even heard of. We’ve seen it happen before, and I’m sure it will happen again this season.

Starting on September 1, teams all around the league will reward minor leaguers with the opportunity to help the team out on the big league level. The list may include young phenoms, former stars, and underdogs who never were supposed to make it. Any of these players can impact an entire pennant race.

Think back to 2002. In the thick of the Wild Card race, a fire-balling reliever and slap-hitting speedster by the names of Francisco Rodriguez and Chone Figgins helped the then-Anaheim Angels reach the Playoffs and, evidently, win the World Series in seven games.

Or in 2008, when Tampa Bay called up David Price, who became a lights-out reliever en route to the Rays reaching the World Series.

Players with even minimal roles can impact the league in September. Who will be this year’s unlikely heroes, helping teams win pennants and improving records? Let’s find out.

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Sausages, Slides, and Scores: The 10 Greatest Things About Miller Park

It has been a rough season for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The team entered with a new starting rotation and high expectations of making the playoffs, but none of that has gone as planned. The team currently sits at 59-65 and may be the most consistently inconsistent team in 2010.

But with just over a month left in the season, let’s take a look at some of the good things that make up the Brewers. They have a great young core in Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, John Axford, Casey McGehee, Alcides Escobar, Jonathan Lucroy, Corey Hart, and Lorenzo Cain. The team also plays at one of the most unique ballparks in the MLB.

Miller Park is famous for its food, fans, and events. Everyone loves both the bratwurst and Bernie Brewer’s home run slide, but there is more to the stadium.

Here are the ten greatest things that make up Miller Park.

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NL Triple Crown Race: Handicapping Gonzalez, Votto, and Pujols

Winning a Triple Crown is one of the rarest feats in all of baseball. Very rarely do we even see one player contending for the average, home run, and RBI titles.

And you’re telling me that there are three contenders in the National League this year?

Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, and St. Louis’s Albert Pujols are all in the hunt for the Triple Crown. And if none of them wins the honor, it will be one of them that keeps another from winning.

All season long, these three have been hitting absurdly for average and power.

Do they even have a chance? Can it really happen for the first time since 1967?

Here is a look at each contender’s chances at the Crown.

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Spoiler Alert!: Five MLB Teams Set to Ruin Contenders’ Playoff Runs

“Frustrating” is the perfect word to describe many MLB teams’ seasons.

High expectations have, in many cases, not been met. Injuries have been part of the reason, but much of it is lack of quality play.

But just because certain teams such as the Cubs, Nationals, and Indians have been virtually knocked out of the playoff picture doesn’t mean they can’t fight to do the same to teams that are in the race.

The reality is that someone is going to get hurt by a team playing spoiler down the road. Here are the five teams with the best chances at hurting someone and giving their fans a reason to end the year on a high note.

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Too Manny Chances: When Do Brewers Finally Cut Ties With Parra?

There comes a time in a parent’s life when they have to let go of a child who has had thrust upon them the high expectations of a family. There is a time when that child has to leave the only city he has ever known and begin a new life elsewhere.

There comes a time when the Milwaukee Brewers and Manny Parra look each other in the eye and say things never worked out, and let Parra find another city to call home.

Same story, different scenario.

Parra, along with Yovani Gallardo, was once the crowned gem of the Brewers organization. Ever since he threw a perfect game in the minors, it seemed like he would join the ranks of Sheets and Gallardo as top pitchers from the farm system.

He was a special lefty with a hard fastball and nasty splitter to go along with a changeup. It was deemed a repertoire that made batters cringe. He could go late into games and didn’t allow free passes very often.

Then he arrived to town.

The Manny Parra of the scouting reports has not been very evident in a Brewers uniform, outside of the few good outings he has amounted.

His rookie season of 2008 did not immediately pour out stress on Brewers faithful. He had a stretch of eight consecutive wins that stretched his record to 9-2 with a 3.68 era as late as July. But as the summer emerged, Parra lost his command and touch, finishing the season in the bullpen with a 4.39 era, 1.54 WHIP, and 10-8 record as the team made the Playoffs.

The outlook was still bright for Parra. He mixed both bad outings (4 IP, 6 ER vs. Cincinnati) with the good outings (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R vs. Minnesota) to combine for a respectable campaign.

Then 2009 came around, and Parra, with his jersey number switched from 43 to 26, couldn’t find the strike zone and gave up more runs than I would like to mention.

For some reason, manager Ken Macha kept him in the starting rotation all season long, even though Parra never quite found a groove. You could look at the 10 run outing in pitcher-friendly Sun Life Stadium (then Land Shark Stadium) or the 1.2 inning start against the White Sox that turned ugly very fast.

In 27 starts, he reached the seventh inning only four times, getting through the inning only three times. He relied on five runs of run support per game from his team, which saved him from losing even more games.

Don’t let the 11-11 record throw you off guard. Look at the 6.36 era, the 19 home runs, and the 116/77 K to BB ratio. Those numbers definitely don’t back up the record.

He deservedly began 2010 in the bullpen, where he probably should still be. He exited April with a 0.77 era in nine appearances. But this success, along with an injury to the equally ineffective Doug Davis prompted a promotion to the starting rotation.

Brewers fans cringed.

In July Parra had a 10-run outing, a five-run outing, and two four-run outings. He made it through the fifth only once.

Just Wednesday, he was cruising along against the Chicago Cubs, allowing only a solo home run to Tyler Colvin. He had six punchouts through five innings. His splitter was being located well to go along with a strong fastball.

Then it turned south, allowing five runs in the innings to blow a 3-1 lead and allow the Cubbies to break away. He couldn’t even minimize the damage.

Looking at Parra’s outings, it doesn’t seem that the first few innings give him trouble. He can work out of jams and give up minimal damage, if any, and keep the team in the game. But anyone can do that.

It usually is the second and third times through the order that make Bob Uecker tell us that “Manny Pair-uh has given up four this inning and the Brewers trail, 5-2.”

His “stuff” just doesn’t seem to be effective for a length. Unlike the Roy Halladays, Cliff Lees or even guys like Carl Pavano, Parra doesn’t have the ability to control every pitch and doesn’t have the nasty breaking ball to rely on late in games.

He’s forced to use every pitch he has early on. Hitters recognize this and have seen everything he has to give by the sixth inning. That would explain all of the 5.0, 5.1, and 5.2 inning appearances over his career.

Basically, he has good bullpen stuff.

The problem is that Macha and GM Doug Melvin seem to has endless trust in Parra. They see the potential—a word only used with underachieving players—and keep sending him out to the hill every fifth day.

You can’t tell me that there isn’t someone else that can do better than the California native. While Gallardo has succeeded expectations becoming a 2010 All-Star, Parra has had a few starts that show what he can accomplish.

But how much time can the Brewers afford to waste trying to allow him to finally blossom. They gave Rickie Weeks time, but he was decimated with injuries and now is a big run producer and superb leadoff hitter.

At $440k, at least Parra isn’t making Jeff Suppan figures just to lose games. He becomes arbitration-eligible in 2011, but it is doubted that he will be given more money considering his performance.

The consequences aren’t as severe for releasing him, or designating Parra to the bullpen. Either one would make plenty of Brewer fans give a sigh of relief not having to see Parra implode in the sixth again.

You’ve had your chance to impress, Manny. Now it’s time for someone else to do the job.

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Keeping the Hart at Home: Milwaukee Brewers Extend Corey Hart’s Contract

They say “Home is where the heart is,” and that saying is truer now than it has been all season in Milwaukee.

Except now the saying goes, “Home is where the Hart is.”’s Adam McCalvy has reported that Corey Hart, 28, has signed a contract extension with the Brewers to continue his memorable season.

As recently as May, a contract of this manner would never have been fathomable. Hart, coming off the team’s first arbitration hearing since 1998, was not making regular appearances in the lineup.

Fans and media alike, as in 2009, were on Hart’s case after he won a $4.8 million salary and was not producing. Then a walk-off home run against New York, followed by a grand slam the next night out, jolted a season that has led to an All-Star appearance.

Just call it a story we never expected.

“I’m anxious to go out there and prove to everybody that I’m worth it,” he said in spring training. “I told [GM] Doug [Melvin] and [assistant GM] Gord [Ash] that I want to go out and prove to them that I’m a guy who could get a long-term deal.

“I love Milwaukee, my family loves it, and we want to stay. The fanbase has been really good to me, and the ones who are mad, hopefully I can win them back over.”

Corey will bring to Chicago, along with his new contract, a .288 average, 23 home runs, 72 RBI, and a .910 OPS.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Hart will bring in $26.5 million during the three-year deal.

The deal covers 2011-2013, which would have been Corey’s final year of arbitration and first two free agency seasons.

Just days ago a subject of trade rumors, including the Giants making a serious late push, Hart now is locked up until age 31 with the Brewers.

The signing may reveal that Melvin is open to trading Prince Fielder this winter for pitching. Rickie Weeks may also re-sign along with Hart.

Hart was the first young star to crack through to the big leagues, making his debut with the Brewers in 2004. He was followed by Weeks, Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, and Yovani Gallardo.

He said all along he would like to stay in Brew Town.

“I would be disappointed to be traded away from the Brewers, because this is the only team I know,” he said last month. “I would like to stick it out here and help to turn things around.”

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MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Trades the AL Central Should Consider

The American League Central is the tighest division in baseball. The White Sox, Twins, and Tigers are all withing 3.5 games of each other and none of the teams look to fade away.

However, all teams could use a midseason pickup or two to bolster their roster and create seperation in the division. We have seen players like Cliff Lee and Manny Ramirez push their teams to the next level after a July trade.

Who will be this year’s players that will make a difference? Here are 10 trades that could shape the AL Central run.

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Honoring the Pastime: A Look at Baseball’s Inaugural 1903 World Series

Background Info

Prior to the 1903 season, the National League held its own championship series, as did the “junior circuits”―one of which was the supposedly subpar American League.

The common domestic thought across America was that any champion of the American League was inferior to that of the National League.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates, the National League champs, challenged the Boston Americans of the American League to a series to determine who the best team was in the newly founded Major League Baseball, Boston accepted, and the modern World Series was born.

Pittsburgh, though heavily favored to win, was plagued by a series of injuries to ace Sam Leever, who claimed the league’s highest win percentage (.781) and best earned run average (2.06), and the fourth-most wins (25), pitcher Ed Doheny, and shortstop Honus Wagner. Though Wagner and Leever made appearances, neither of the two stars made large contributions to the Pirates due to their injuries.

The Americans seemed to have the advantage in the rubber match for the inaugural World Series. Workhorse Cy Young led the American League with 28 wins, 341.2 innings pitched, and 34 complete games. Backing up the future all-time wins leader in the rotation were 20-game winners Bill Dinneen and Tom Hughes. The Americans featured at least one player in all major hitting categories except for two-baggers.



Starting Lineup


Beaumont CF         Dougherty LF

Clarke LF               Collins 3B

Leach 3B               Stahl CF

Wagner SS             Freeman RF

Bransfield 1B         Parent SS

Ritchey 2B             LaChance 1B

Sebring RF             Ferris 2B

Phelps C                Criger C


Series Summary

Game One

Game One of the eight-game series was held in Boston at Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, but the visitors from Pittsburgh started off the game with a bang. The Pirates hitters went raking in the first, scratching Young up for four runs. Outfielder Jimmy Sebring hit an inside-the-park homer off Young in the seventh to seal the deal as Pittsburgh went on to win 7-3.

Team                               R H E

Pittsburgh     4 01   100  100       7 12 2

Boston              000   000  201        3  6  4 


WP: Deacon Phillippe (1-0)      LP: Cy Young (0-1)

HRs: Jimmy Sebring (1)



Game Two

Game Two featured pitchers Sam Leever and Bill Dinneen for Pittsburgh and Boston, respectively. Dinneen only allowed three hits in a shutout effort as Patsy Dougherty, the 1903 American League hits and runs leader, homered twice, with one of the two dingers leaving the park. Dinneen faced only two over the minimum as 9,415 watched on, nearly 7,000 less than Game One.

Team                                  R H E 

Pittsburgh        000  000   000       0  3  2                                                   

Boston              200  001   00x        3  9  0


WP: Bill Dinneen (1-0)    LP: Sam Leever (0-1)

 HRs: Phil Dougherty 2(2)



Game Three

Pittsburgh sent out Deacon Phillippe once again, this time on one day’s rest, to face the Americans, and he continued to dominate Boston hitters, winning for the second time in the series by going the distance and only allowing four hits and two runs. Phillippe would go on to make five starts for Pittsburgh in the series.

The breaking point in the low-scoring game may have been when Cy Young came on to relieve Tom Hughes for the Americans with no outs and runners on the corners and the Pirates leading 2-0.

After hitting Honus Wagner and loading the bases, Young retired the next two hitters and appeared to get out of the inning by inducing Sebring into a ground ball to shortstop Freddy Parent, but he missed the ball and allowed another run to score, snapping any aspiration Boston had at a possible comeback in the game.


Team                                           R H  E       

Pittsburgh        012  000  010        4  7  0                               

Boston                  000  100  010        2  4  2                                                


WP: Deacon Phillippe   (2-0)   LP: Tom Hughes (0-1)



Game Four

After a travel day to Pittsburgh and a rain-delayed game, Phillippe started against Dinneen, a matchup of two pitchers that had dominated the series. Tommy Leach led the slugging attack for Pittsburgh by being involved in all of the Pirates’ runs, going 2-for-4 with one run scored, three RBI, and a triple.

Leading 5-1 entering the top of the ninth, Phillippe surrendered three runs but stranded the go-ahead run on first as Pittsburgh ended up as the victors, 5-4, and needed only one more win in order to clinch the first World Series title.

Team                                  R H  E       

Boston               000  010  003        4  9  1

Pittsburgh       100  010  30x        5 12 1       


WP: Deacon Phillippe   (3-0)   LP: Bill Dinneen (1-1)  



Game Five

Down three games to one in the series, the Americans started Cy Young against Brickyard Kennedy, a 5’11”, 160-lb. pitcher who only appeared in 24 games over the two prior campaigns with the New York Giants and the Pirates.

The game was close until the top half of the sixth inning, when the Americans scored six runs off Kennedy to put the game out of reach for Pittsburgh. Young helped his cause greatly with a two-run triple as part of the sixth-inning massacre that included three costly errors.

**The Boston Americans hit five ground-rule triples into an overflow crowd in Game Five.


Team                                 R H  E       

Boston               000  006 410        11  14 2

Pittsburgh      000  000  320        2 6 4       


WP: Cy Young   (1-1)   LP: Brickyard Kennedy (0-1)  



Game Six

Dinneen once again bested Leever, holding Pittsburgh scoreless through six-and-a-third frames and held the Pirates to eight scoreless innings as the Americans rolled to a 6-3 victory to even up the series at three games apiece.



Team                                   R H E

Boston               003  020  100        6 10 1

Pittsburgh        000  000  300        3 10 3


WP: Bill Dinneen (2-1)  LP: Sam Leever (0-2)



Game Seven

In a Game Seven that was pivotal to either team’s chances at winning the first World Series, 17,038 spectators crammed into Exposition Park in Pittsburgh to watch seemingly unstoppable Deacon Phillippe and red-hot outfielder Ginger Beaumont take on the all-time wins leader (he broke the previous record earlier in the season) Cy Young.

Once again, the hits were nearly even, but the Americans only stranded four runners to the Pirates’ nine. Young threw another complete game, allowing three runs as Boston finally defeated Phillippe to take a four-to-three series lead.


Team                                  R H E        

Boston             200  202  010        7 11 4

Pittsburgh        000  101  001        3 10 3

WP: Cy Young (2-1)    LP: Deacon Phillippe (3-1)


Game Eight

Facing elimination, Deacon Phillippe once again took the ball and threw well, only allowing three runs on eight hits in eight innings, but the series hero for Boston, Bill Dinneen, shut out the Pirates for the second time in the series as the Americans brought the first ever World Series title to Boston and the “inferior” American League.

Hobe Ferris provided the offensive pyrotechnics, going 2-for-4 and driving in all three Boston runs.


Team                                 R H E        

Pittsburgh       000  000  000        0 4 3

Boston             000  201  00x        3 8 0         

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George Steinbrenner Dies: The 10 Most Controversial Owners of All Time

We have all heard the news.

Former New York Yankees owner George “The Boss” Steinbrenner has passed away at the age of 80 on the day of the MLB All-Star Game.

His wallet without a bottom and his desire to win made the Yankees the face of winning throughout all of sports. The Bronx Bombers were perennial powers under his reign.

Steinbrenner may top the list of most controversial owners in sports history. He was a hands-on owner, often times clashing with players and managers.
What was always true, however, was that The Boss would win.

Controversial owners don’t always win. Whether successful or not, here are the ten most controversial owners in sports history.

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Hart Monitor: Corey Hart Named Home Run Derby Participant

On Monday night the sluggers of the MLB will be swinging for the rocks in Anaheim during the 2010 Home Run Derby.

As of Wednesday afternoon, six out of eight slots have been filled. The list filled with household names such as David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Holliday, and Corey Hart.


That’s no typo; Brewers outfielder Corey Hart is adding to his renaissance season by accepting an invite to slug away in Anaheim.

Coming into the season, Hart was flooded with criticizism by fans and media alike for his lackluster play in 2008. The words grew even harsher when he won arbitration and his contract grew.

The frustration mounted even further when he played beyond poorly in spring training and  earned himself a spot on the bench on Opening Day. Hart plattooned with veteran Jim Edmonds in right field for the first month of the season, then in mid May he picked it up.

Currently sitting with a team high 19 home runs and 61 RBI, Hart was selected to his second All Star Game as a reserve outfielder. His first selection came in 2008 as the Final Vote winner.

Going into the Derby, he is an underdog. But then again, teammate Prince Fielder was a 3:1 underdog last year when he took home the title in St. Louis.

As for the Brewers, they hope the popular event doesn’t ruin his swing.

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi said, “Physically, I think it is somewhat of a grind,”. The Bombers’ hitting coach said that he would rather Robinson Cano not do it.

This is the fourth consecutive season a Brewer has been selected, joining Fielder in 2007, Ryan Braun in New York, and Fielder again last season.

Corey Hart’s season just continues to get better after his dismal in 2009 performance. 

If you had told me that in 2010 he’d be hitting .288 with 19 homers, be an All Star, and participate in the Home Run Derby, I would have thought you insane.

But now, all is good in Milwaukee with Corey Hart as the city will root him on in Anaheim on both Monday and Tuesday.

Don’t hit too many rocks, Corey.

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