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Brandon Phillips Cardinals: Why Reds vs. Cardinals Brawl Is Good For MLB

Brandon Phillips is a great man and just made baseball really interesting. Unless you’re a St. Louis Cardinals fan, or don’t like the Reds, you should agree with that statement.

Phillips recently had some very colorful things to say about St. Louis that a ballplayer usually would say about their rival, comparing them to little female dogs.

With the Reds and Cardinals facing off this week in a showdown for first place in the National League Central division, Phillips, who suffered a leg injury over the weekend, made sure he would not miss this important series. After dropping the first game to St. Louis, the Reds were on the edge and, quite frankly, so was St. Louis after Phillips’ comments.

During tonight’s game (August 10th, 2010) while Phillips was in the batter’s box moving his bat around, St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina proceeded to move Phillips’ bat with his leg causing the two to go face-to-face. Exchanging words and letting each other know they don’t like them or their family, the benches soon cleared.

How is any of this good for baseball? A brawl started, people were thrown around and mean things were said among players. The reason being this brawl is one that can make us smile because it’s all for a fight for first place.

The Reds are clearly one of the best feel-good “Cinderella” stories in baseball this year, while the Cardinals are still the dominating force that they have been for the past five years and even longer. 

Phillips mouthing off about the Cardinals is exactly what baseball needed. The brawl can be a franchise symbol for the Reds, with Phillips stepping up for his team as they face the biggest challenge of their season. While none of the experts could have predicted the Reds to be in a tie for first in early August, every Reds player believed they could be. 

The Cardinals have been in first place during early August for many years and have no soft spot for the Reds. The fact that the Reds have sent a message to Major League Baseball that they will not back down should make fans proud.

While commissioner Bud Selig might soon be sending a suspension message to both teams, he really shouldn’t. It’s like when a bully gets beaten up in school you never want to punish the underdog (or nerd as they have been called).

The Reds and Cardinals will be fighting for first not only this season, but for many years to come, if both teams can keep their players together, which would be scary for the rest of the division. The other feel-good team in the National League, the San Diego Padres, should take notice. 

Get a little mean, talk some trash and fight for first and that’s how all eyes turn on baseball. Reds and Cardinals both bleed red, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a little blood shed by the end of the year.

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Matt Garza Throws Fifth MLB No-Hitter, Rays’ First Ever

Tampa Bay Rays’ Pitcher Matt Garza now joins Edwin Jackson, Dallas Braden, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Roy Halladay as MLB’s pitchers to throw no hitters or perfect games in this amazing 2010 baseball season.

So really, what is it? It’s gotta be something. First off, this is the third time the Rays have been involved in a no hitter (Braden threw a perfect against them and Jackson threw a no hitter against them) three times in one year. The last time that’s happened was 1917. 

And the last time a Tampa Bay Rays pitcher threw a no hitter? Never. Matt Garza is just another piece to the Cinderella story that the Rays have become.

Making a World Series appearance in 2008 is where it all began. 

This year has been nothing more but a crazy ride for Rays fans and followers, being victim of a perfect game and no hitter. They have surpassed the Red Sox due to many injuries in Boston and with each day come a little closer to catching the New York Yankees atop the standings.

What about Garza? He had his highest pitch count of the season tonight with 120 and he faced one of the best hitting teams in baseball, the Detroit Tigers led by Triple Crown contender Miguel Cabrera. He shut them down. Garza walked one batter but still faced the minimum of 27 batters thanks to a beautifully turned double play by Evan Longoria.

Garza is 11-5 this year with an ERA of 4.06 and the most amazing thing about his no hitter is the way he bounced back from a horrible start in his last outing. Against the Baltimore Orioles, he gave up 10 hits, allowed seven earned runs and four home runs. It was a horrific outing against one of baseball’s worst teams and he turned it around by throwing a no hitter against one of baseball’s best teams. In doing so, 101 of his 120 pitches were fastballs.

He throws fast, and changes things around fast. Rays fans have to hope he doesn’t change the things that brought him this stellar performance. MLB’s “Year of the pitcher” continues. 

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Fairwell Sweet Lou Piniella: Cubs Skipper To Call It Quits After Season

One of baseball’s best managers is leaving the game. Like Bobby Cox, another respected manager, Lou Piniella has decided that after this season he will retire. 

Some might say it’s because of the Cubs, but while they gave Lou his fair share of aches and pains, he’s also shared laughter and joy while managing the Chicago Cubs. In his career, he was a two time American League Manager of the year and one time National League Manager of the year

Sweet Lou played 20 years of professional baseball, making stops to play for the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Pilots (yes, they were a team), the Kansas City Royals, and an eleven year stint with the New York Yankees.

When George Steinbrenner passed away, Lou called him “a father figure”, which speaks volumes about Lou Piniella. Sure, we all get a kick out of sweet ol’ Lou charging out of the dugout to start arguing balls and strikes or arguing when one of his players was wrongly called out.

We need to realize that Lou was more than a funny old man who made us enjoy baseball. Lou Piniella was a symbol of what baseball was and should ever be.

When Lou came out to argue, whether it was when he managed the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays, or Cubs, Lou was out there to defend his players.

In life, the ability to defend is a valuable trait.

His press conferences were sometimes filled with emotion, from anger to sorrow to joy.

He was someone who made baseball what it is today. He was fan friendly for everyone from infants to 99-year-old men and women. While he never lead the Cubs to a World Series title, he did bring joy back to the north side of Chicago. He made the fans say “Go Cubs Go, Hey Chicago what do you say, the Cubs are gonna win today.”

Sure, they haven’t won a lot lately, but the fans care about Lou. I work at a sports store right outside Chicago, and when I heard Lou was retiring, a middle aged customer at the store became very upset.

Lou meant so much to the Cubs and after all, he wasn’t a bad manager. Throughout his career, he was able to get one World Series ring and six divisional titles. This shows that he was able to stick with it, through good and bad.

So we bid farewell to Lou Piniella, one of baseball’s greatest managers. The man who provided us with laughter, joy, and sometimes anger because he didn’t make the right decisions will always be remembered for what he brought to the team.

Hey Lou, during the Cubs final home game of the year, can we persuade you to get into an argument? It only seems like the right way to go, not by ejection, but just a little argument. The umpires will miss him too, because his arguments were sometimes followed by a good laugh. 

Lou’s outta here! This time, it’s his call. 

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Baseball Hit Hard; George Steinbrenner Passes Away at 80.

The New York Yankees sent seven players to Angel Stadium for the All-Star game. This past week they’ve sent two legends to Angel heaven. Baseball lost a legend today and he’s looking down on us now.

The problem is, most people looked down on him during his ownership career that began in 1973. What a career it was. As a young Yankees fan I sit here and try to write this but something doesn’t feel right. As I watch current players Andy Pettite and Alex Rodriguez along with current coach Joe Girardi speak about Mr. Steinbrenner’s passing one thing stands out to me.

Where is Derek Jeter?

Derek Jeter is not with those three Yankees, but I have a feeling that Jeter’s actions in the All-Star game tonight will speak volumes as to how he feels about the man who brought him to the organization. Steinbrenner made the 36 year old man who was once a 21 year old prospect stud.

Despite the controversial moments throughout his career, whether you hated or loved George, you have to tip your hat to him.

The Yankees introduced a new stadium last season in 2009 and it was a sight to behold. I was able to see it once and was taken aback by it. When you walk through those gates, you see the field, you look up to the box, and you know this billion dollar stadium resembled the man who spent billions of dollars to bring in the best players.

Despite the Dave Winfield controversy in which he paid $40,000 to a small time gambler named Howie Spira to get inside dirt on Dave Winfield after Winfield failed to pay $300,000 to Steinbrenner’s foundation, Steinbrenner will be known as the face of the Yankees.

He may have been the man who caused a lot of baseball fans to hate the Yankees, but he was fine with that.

Steinbrenner said two things that I will never forget. “I will never have a heart attack, I give them.”  Steinbrenner also said, “winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.”

The irony that Steinbrenner passed away due to a massive heart attack at age 80 even though he said he never would echoes of the same irony that occurs when you remember he said he wasn’t a fan of free agency. So much for that.

The most important thing to Steinbrenner was winning. ESPN’s Buster Olney called him the greatest sports owner of all time. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said Steinbrenner was “irreplaceable.” He leaves the baseball world with his organization defending a World Series title.

There’s a reason he was able to return to baseball. There’s a reason the Yankees are one of the most hated and loved teams in sports. There’s a reason the Yankees can own a billion dollar stadium, a reason they can pay the top free agents to come play for them. That reason is because Steinbrenner was a winner, he leaves us all with his love/hate legacy but we all will miss him.

There’s a reason Derek Jeter is not only the player, but the man he is today. In his conference on Steinbrenner’s passing Jeter said “he wasn’t just an owner, he was a good friend of mine.” An owner, as a friend? That speaks volumes.

George said he wanted on his tombstone that “he never stopped trying.” Well, he never stopped trying and neither have the Yankees.

R.I.P. George Steinbrenner, your legacy will live on, not only through the Yankees, but through Major League Baseball.

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MLB’s Year of The Pitcher, Led By Once in a Lifetime Rookie Stephen Strasburg

With 32 strikeouts in 3 games certain words like: best ever, historic, dominant, and once in a lifetime are heard. All these can be used to describe the beginning of young phenomenon Stephen Strasburg. While some fans in Washington and across the MLB said that he should have been the Opening Day Starter for the Nationals (who are getting alot more air time with Strasburg pitching)  the Washington Nationals organization seems to have done everything right. The high speed (he’s been clocked at 100 mph more then once) high profiled rookie out of San Diego St has been nothing but humble during this historic beginning when asked how he reacts to all the television media he joked “I don’t watch that, I still watch TV, just not those stations) So the kid even has a good sense of humor!

Those that might read this will say “he’s pitched against weak teams” which might be true, his first three starts have come against the Pittsburgh Pirates (7 IP, 4 Hits, 2 Earned Runs 0 Walks and 14 K’s) the Cleveland Indians in which was his “worst start” (5 1/3 IP 2 Hits 1 Earned Run 5 Walks and 8 K’s) and on June 17th with President Barack Obama in attendance Stephen pitched 7 innings, allowing 4 hits, giving up 2 Earned runs and striking out 10. Whether or not this kid can keep this up all year is yet to be known but one thing is for sure, everyone in the league is taking notice.

In a season that has not been over shadowed by steroids, and has seen 1 no hitter, and 2 perfect games (ironic the more difficult task has been done more) Ubaldo Jimenez and Stephen Strasburg might be the Topic of the Day when these two pitchers step onto the mound.  Bud Selig, your prayers to the baseball gods have been answered, your league has everyone buzzing, turning their TVs on to see this kid from San Diego St. pitching for the formerly joked about Natinals, and the pitcher from Colorado that no hit the Atlanta Braves and leads the leagues in wins.

One thing that is also for sure revenue is sky high especially if your a member of the Strasburg Stable (i tried purchasing a Strasburg shirt it was on backorder for 2-4 weeks). The kid is a workhorse that’s for sure the only question is, how long will Washington limit him and when will they let him pitch until he HAS to be pulled?

Like all sports there are remaining questions and questions to be answered. How long can he keep this up? How will teams adjust? Is he the best we’ve seen in a long time? Stop asking questions and just watch. It’s like a movie, the movie you want to watch over and over and while he can only pitch once every 5 days (unless they move him on short rest which isn’t likely) Until he comes down to earth, every start Stephen Strasburg makes will be high profiled, highly talked about, highly recognized and highly praised. This kid has the most strikeouts in his first 3 starts then any other pitcher since 1952 for a reason. For some the Majors league is known as “The Show” Stephen Strasburg is not in a show, hes starring, in his own feature film and tickets? They’re selling fast, find a way to watch this kid, he’s turning around the game of baseball. Move over Ben Roethlisberger and the Roethlisburger, I want a Strasburger as long as its not as hot as his 101 MPH fast ball. 

I host a sports talk show on Tuesday and Thursday nights 8-10 PM central, show is called Mike’d Up come check it out sometime I hope to be on Bleacher Report for a while. 

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