Tag Archives: Florida

Mike Piazza’s Five games With The Florida Marlins

Mike Pizza began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a long shot.  The Dodgers drafted him with the 1,390th pick in the 1988 draft.  He was truly a diamond in the rough.  By 1992 he made his Major League debut.  He was named the 1993 rookie of the year.  When his career ended in 2007 he had a lifetime batting average of .308, hit 427 home runs and batted in 1,335 runs.  A 12 time All Star, Mike Piazza was one of the most popular and talented catchers of the 1990s.  One part of his career many people over look or don’t even know about is his time with the Florida Marlins.

On May 15th, 1998 after playing 6 seasons with the Dodgers he was included in a blockbuster trade to the Marlins.  The Marlins still trying to dump players from their World Series team traded 5 players including Gary Sheffield and Bobby Bonilla for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile.  The deal was a strange one that no one saw coming.  Many were excited to see Piazza play for the Marlins.  His addition gave the fans of Florida a chance for hope after almost all of their players had been sent packing in the infamous 1997 fire sale.

Mike Piazza as a Florida Marlin (Getty Images)

Mike Piazza as a Florida Marlin (Getty Images)

Mike Piazza’s Marlins career would be short lived.  Piazza was traded 8 days later to the New York Mets after just 5 games with the Fish.  During this stint Piazza batted .278, scored 1 run, batted in 5 runs and even landed a triple.  Sure it was not the most exciting run but that only because it was so short lived.  While it is just a small part of his baseball career it will remain an unusual situation and always be a cool trivial fact you can stump your friends with.

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The Pursuit Of Baseball In Tampa

The State of Florida has been the home of Spring Training since the early part of the 1900s. Up until 1993 Florida never had a professional baseball team to call their own.  The Florida Marlins who were based in the Miami area were the first.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were soon to follow in 1998.  But Florida has a deep history of pursuing Major League Baseball before they received their teams in the 1990s.
It started in 1983 in the Tampa Bay area when local city officials considered building a baseball stadium to house a pro team.  Construction began in 1986 on what is now known as Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  It was completed in 1990.  At the time there were no expansion franchises being granted for any city.  So they sought a team the best way they could, trying to lure a team from their current city.
Tropicana Filed,  The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

Tropicana Filed, The stadium that would bring baseball to the Tampa Bay area. (Getty Images)

The Chicago White Sox were the first team that Tampa pursued.  In 1989 The White Sox were not happy in the old Comiskey Park and wanted a new stadium.  They flirted with Tampa for a while before ultimately getting their new stadium and staying in Chicago.
The next team that was rumored was the Seattle Mariners.  The talks did not go very far and the Mariners remained in Washington.
Tampa had their hearts broken in 1991 when they were denied an expansion franchise.  The Miami area won out instead of Tampa and the Florida Marlins came into existence.  The Marlins played the first ever regular season game in Florida in April of 1993.
The closest that Tampa ever came to stealing a team away from a city was in 1993.  The San Francisco Giants owners were looking to sell and a group of investors from Tampa were looking to buy them.   The deal was almost done.  The local baseball fans were already celebrating and then the bad news came.  The sale was vetoed by the National League Owners.  The Giants remained in San Francisco and Tampa was still without a team.
That was until in 1995 when they were granted an expansion franchise.  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first regular season game in 1998.
The past does make one wonder how different things would be if the White Sox, Mariners or Giants would have relocated to Tampa.  If the White Sox or Mariners would have moved would there have been a team in Miami in 1993?  Probably not, there more than likely would have been years later though.  The Giants move would have been interesting.  The city of San Francisco would probably have a different team right now.  There is no way that City would be without a team for too long, not with their tradition and history.

It’s really incredible how things turned out for Tampa.  They took a huge risk by building a stadium without having a team for it.  For many years they looked like failures.  Many in the city thought they would never have a team to call their own.  But Tampa proved to be very persistent and got what they wanted in the end.

Top Stories From Week 6 Of College Football

On Saturday we saw a lot of ranked match ups.  As usual this led to much excitement around the nation.  So let’s take a look at 2centsworthofsports.com’s top 3 stories from this week of intriguing games.

NC State Shocks #3 Florida State

The FSU Seminoles have been playing like National Champions in the past 5 weeks.  Something happened on Saturday that might cost them a chance to compete for the National Crown.  The un ranked NC State Wolfpack defeated the mighty Noles in Raleigh by a score of 17-16.  The Noles did however come out very strong in the first half.  The Noles defense stopped the Wolfpack for the first two quarters and went into halftime with a 16-0 lead.  The Wolfpack out scroed the Noles in the third quarter 3-0.  The real action took place in the final quarter when NC State’s QB Mike Glennon threw 2 TD passes to lead his team to victory.  This was an unlikely outcome that will shake up the ACC and the National Championship picture.

#10 UF Gators Defeat #4 LSU Tigers

Florida’s defense was the key for their victory on Saturday.  The Gators grinded out the entire game against the LSU Tigers and won the game 14-6.  The Gators went into half time however trailing 6-0 but turned things around in the second half.  The offensive star of the game was Gators running back Mike Gillislee.  Gillislee ran for a 12 yard TD in the third quarter and also in the fourth quarter.  This win was a big statement for the Gators to make.  They might just be a better team than everyone thought.

#6 South Carolina Pummels #5 Georgia

The South Carolina Gamecocks came out strong jumping to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.  The Georgia Bulldogs never had a chance in this game.  The Game Cocks looked really good in this one.  The final score was South Carolina 35, UGA 7.  South Carolina QB Connor Shaw was the star in this game.  Shaw was 6 for 10 passing with 162 yards and 2 TD passes, Shaw also had a rushing TD.  This was not expected to be a one sided game but it was reality on Saturday Night.

 

Jose Reyes Extends His Hitting Streak To 24 Games

Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 24 games today.  The hit came in the top of the 4th inning against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.  Reyes now has the record this season for most consecutive games with a hit.  He has been on fire since July 13th and shows no sign of slowing down.  The Marlins have been having a terrible season and Reyes is the only thing that the fans can be proud of.  We could be witnessing history in the Making.

Jose Reyes
(Getty Images)

The Marlins will have a day off on Monday before taking on the Met in New York City.  This is exciting for the fact that Reyes used to play for the Mets and has a chance to continue his streak in a familiar place.  The sports world will more than likely be paying a lot more attention to this streak now that it is the record for this season.  I can’t wait to see how long this ride can go.

Andrew McCutchen, Best Bet For N.L. MVP

The Pirates have been changing the perception of their team this year.  After years of dwelling in the cellar of the National Leagues Central Division they seem to have turned things around.  The team currently holds a record of 51 wins and 40 loses and are tied for first in the division with the Cincinnati Reds.  Both teams hold a 5 game advantage over the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.  Superb pitching has a lot to do with their success but beyond the pitching is the incredible play of Andrew McCutchen.

The Pirates Andrew McCutchen is having an MVP caliber season heading into August.
(Getty Images)

McCutchen is having a great year and has shown himself to be the team leader.  He has the best batting average in both leagues batting .369 after 87 games played.  He also has 22 home runs, 65 RBI’s, 65 runs and 14 stolen bases.  Producing many walk off game winners and with the lowly Pirates not looking so low combined with his stats shows that he is in the running and possibly the lead to win the National League MVP trophy this year.

McCutchen was drafted by the Pirate in the 1st round of the 2005 draft with the 11th overall pick.  He is in prime position to turn this franchise around for good and be recognized as one of the best baseball players around.  He has added excitement to a team that had nothing to get excited about since Barry Bonds left after the 1992 season.  He has had a few good seasons already but none as dominant as he has been this season.  The fact that the Pirates are in 1st place in late July is amazing in its own right.  The city of Pittsburgh could be transferred from a football city into to a baseball city in just a matter of a couple more years.

The Pirates have a lot to prove still.  Can they make the playoffs for the first time since the early 90’s?  Can they advance in the playoffs?  Can they continue to be a good team year in and year out?  All of those questions ride on the play of McCutchen.  If McCutchen continues this run he will be the N.L. batting champion and should be the N.L. MVP.  Recognition of that level would be incredible for the Pirates franchise.   So if you have not been following this player or this team its time to open your eyes and believe what you are seeing,  its true the Pirates are for real and they have one of baseballs best rising stars.

A College Football Playoff Is No Longer A Dream

One of the biggest sports stories of the year and possibly the last decade happened today.  The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Presidential Oversight Commitee signed the documents that will remove the BCS System and put a 4 team tournament in its place.  It was the most hotly debated and demanded topic in the history of college football.  Even the President of the United States weighed in with his opinion on the subject.

The BCS is soon to be gone, good riddance.
(Photo by: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The BCS lasted for 14 years and was created to settle the controversy created by the bowl system that was formerly in place.  The previous system would have team play their final games of the season in bowl games that a lot of the times did not help their case for being #1 and National Champions.  The BCS was supposed to bring order by having the top 2 ranked teams battle it out to crown a National Champion.  It however created a lot of controversy instead.  There have been many teams over the years that have gone undefeated and still were out of the championship game.  There was also a lot of corruption with the BCS Executives taking advantage of the system and wrongly using money to fund parties and put in their wallets.  So the BCS can die a horrible death and rot as far as most football fans are concerned.

Up until now football was the only NCAA sport that did not have a tournament to crown it champion.  In fact the NCAA has not endorsed one single BCS champion as being their champion.

The 4 team tournament system will start in 2014.  That means that we will have two more BCS years but essentially the BCS is dead after that.  The fans of college football all breathed a sigh of relief today knowing that the end of a horrible system is soon to be gone.

The new tournament will be a breath of fresh air for college football.  I do however feel that the tournament should expand to at least 8 teams but hey you have to crawl before you walk.  At least they are giving it a go.  The tournament will mean more excitement and drama not only during the final games but during the season when teams will be fighting to get in.  Sure, there will still be some controversy about some teams not getting in but at least you will have a semifinal and a final to let the teams battle it out.  The way college football is set up with so many teams and many great ones will mean that only the best teams will play for the National Championship.

For decades the college football scene has needed a tournament and the fans have been demanding it.  For a very long time it appeared that we would never see a tournament in college football.  Now everyone can sleep easy knowing that the light is at the end of the tunnel.

The Miami Marlins After 2 Months Of Baseball

It has been an interesting season for the Miami Marlins so far.  This team had a very new feel to it going into the season.  A new name came first, no longer are they the Florida Marlins they are to be know now as the Miami Marlins.  The new retractable roof stadium located in downtown Miami known as Marlins Park.  The new manager Ozzie Guillen, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the off season.  Also new were big time free agents in Short Stop Jose Reyes, Starter Mark Buehrle and Closer Heath Bell.  The team had not acquired free agents of this caliber since the 1997 season.  But the newest thing for the Marlins was hope of contending in the N.L. East and winning their first ever division title.

The Marlins new home, Marlins Park
(Getty Images)

The Marlins finished April with just 8 wins and 14 loses.  Many of those loses were to N.L. East foes the Phillies, Nationals and Mets. The Fish ended April at the bottom of the division.  Not much seemed to go right for the Fish in April.  Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended by the team for a few games due to some ridiculous comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.  The team also was not preforming well on the field.  Their production on the offensive side of the ball was horrendous.  Stars such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez not playing very well consistently.  Their young power hitter Giancarlo Stanton had no power to speak of.  The guy that was supposed to be saving games for the team Heath Bell was blowing leads and games left and right.  The team was in need of a restart when April ended.

They got their fresh start in May and boy did they take advantage of it.  The Marlins went on a road trip where they swept the Giants, Padres and took 2 out of 3 games against the Astros.  The fielding got better, the pitching was awesome and the bats came alive in May.  Giancarlo Stanton had an incredible month of May where he hit 12 home runs and had 30 RBI’s.  Stanton even had a walk off grand slam in a home game against the Mets.  Pitcher Ricky Nolasco got his 5th win of the season. Carlos Zambrano the loose cannon from the Chicago Cubs has pitched well and not lost his mind yet.  The Marlins also played a lot better against division rivals.  They took 2 out of 3 games against the Phillies, split a 2 game series with the Braves.  The Marlins finished the final series of May by sweeping the 1st place Nationals in a 3 game series.  The Fish had a record of 21 wins and just 8 losses for the month of May.

Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton
(photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Marlins begin the month of June with a 29-22 record.  It took the Marlins 2 month to make it to first place but they did it.  They hold a tie with the Nationals for 1st place in the N.L. East.  June is not going to be an easy month schedule wise.  They will play 5 games total against the Phillies and 3 games against the Braves.  The biggest challenge could be when they play a total of 6 games against their inter state rival Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays are also tied for 1st place in their division and have played really well as a team this year.  So that series could be a tough one for the Fish.  The Marlins are hoping to finish June the way they are coming into it, very hot.

The rest of the season is going to be the real test of course.  The Marlins were looking bad in April but impressed in May.  The Fish play in the toughest division in baseball but have held their own so far.  I believe the Fish have a very good chance of taking their first division title.  This is a really good ball club that is finally playing as a team and are clicking on all cylinders.  The prospects look very good for the rest of the summer but we will know for sure what this team is made of by September.