Tag Archives: national league

1957 Brooklyn Dodgers: The Last Season

In 1957, ten years after the Brooklyn Dodgers helped Jackie Robinson break the color barrier in the Major Leagues, they had their 67th and final season in New York.  The Dodgers,  just two years removed from their first World Series Championship, were seeking another title.   Meanwhile, their team President, Walter O’Malley, was seeking a new stadium in the same borough the team had occupied since the last part of the 19th Century.

Ebbets Filed in Brooklyn, NY (Getty Images)

Ebbets Filed in Brooklyn, NY (Getty Images)

The once great Ebbets Field, which the team had called home since 1913, was not a suitable ballpark anymore.  The stadium did not have enough seating to produce the amount of revenue a Major League team needed.  There was also little to no vehicle parking around the stadium.  This frustrated O’Malley, who was seeking a new privately funded stadium in the Atlantic Yards section of Brooklyn.  This plan was shot down by New York City Building Commissioner Robert Moses.  Instead, Moses proposed a new stadium in Flushing Meadows, which is in the borough of Queens.  That site would later be home to Shea Stadium and currently, Citi Field.  O’Malley refused the offer from Moses and sought another location for his team.

Former Dodgers Owner Walter O'Malley. (Getty Images)

Former Dodgers President Walter O’Malley. (Getty Images)

While O’Malley was battling Moses over stadium plans, the season continued.  The Dodgers finished their final season with a record of 84 wins and 70 losses.  The team finished in third place in the National League.  Centerfielder Duke Snider was the bright spot for the Dodgers in the 1957 season.  Snider batted .274 with 40 home runs and 92 RBIs.  He also hit his 300th career home run on July 20th.

While the city of New York was not willing to accommodate the Dodgers, the city of Los Angeles was more than willing to be their new home.  Los Angeles was offering O’Malley everything he wanted,  a new Stadium with ample seating and more parking space than the Dodgers would ever need.  The most important part of the offer was a city with leaders who were willing to work with the franchise to make them happy.   Before the season was complete, it was official; the Dodgers were moving to California.

The Dodgers won their final game at Ebbets Field on September 24th.  The Dodgers had many seasons where they did not enter the postseason.  This season was different,  and the fans could no longer look forward to next season.  It was over and the city’s beloved team in blue was history.  The loss of the Dodgers crushed Brooklyn’s heart when they left for Los Angeles and the city has never been the same since.

Brooklyn baseball fans vilified O’Malley for moving the team.  Many of those fans did not know the politics of the move.  Many years later, it became more clear that the city of New York did not help O’Malley keep the team in Brooklyn.  O’Malley tried his hardest but it just was not enough, and he had to do what was best for the franchise.  It has been 65 years since the Dodgers called Brooklyn home, but all of the old fans that grew up with them still consider the Dodgers their home team.

The MLB Playoffs Are Quickly Approaching

The long baseball season is nearing its end.  The summer is coming to an end and the Fall season is about to start.  With it will come the Major League Baseball Playoffs.  The first games of the playoffs start next weekend.  So let’s take a look at what teams are approaching the playoffs in this final week of the season.

The American League

The interesting note of the week is that no A.L. teams have clinched a playoff spot yet.  It has been a tight race for all of the divisional spots and especially for the two Wild Card spots.

East

In the East there is great competition between the division leading New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Yankees only lead that division by one game with the Rays in third place by only 5 games.

Central

The Central division has seen the Chicago White Sox fall quite a bit in the past week.  The White Sox are trailing the Detroit Tigers in the division by one game.  The third place team in the division is held by the Kansas City Royals who are fourteen games behind and have no hope for the playoffs.

West

The Western division has just as tight of a race as the Eastern division.  The Texas Rangers hold the top position with a record of 92-65.  The Oakland A’s have been surging ahead in the final month of the season and are only three games behind the Rangers.  In third place five games behind the Rangers are the Anaheim Angels. The Angels got off to a bad start at the beginning of the season but were able to turn their season around in the summer months.

Wild Card

Only six games separate the top five teams in the Wild Card race.  The Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A’s are in the top spots.  The Angels are two games back.  The Rays are three games back, while the White Sox are six games back and will likely only be able to enter the playoffs with winning the Central division.

The National League

The almost half of the playoff spots in the N.L. have been claimed.  All but one of the divisions have champions already, which takes some of the excitement away.

East

This is the only division where a champion has not yet been crowned.  With the third place team the Phillies seventeen games back, its between only the Braves and the Nationals for the crown.  The Nationals have shocked the baseball world with an incredible season and they currently hold the top spot.  The braves are trailing by four games and still have a chance at winning the division.  Both the Nationals and Braves have clinched playoff spots.  The only question is which one will be the division champion and which one will be in the wild card position.

Central

The Cincinnati Reds won the division this past week.  They appear to be a team that could contend for the World Series Title in October.

West

The San Fransisco Giants won the division championship just a few days ago.  This team has been a great team built for the playoffs for a few years now.  The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and are looking to win their second in three years.

Wild Card

With the Braves having clinched a playoff birth there is only one wild card spot remaining.  The St Louis Cardinals hold the remaining spot at the moment.  The Dodgers and the Brewers are the only two teams that still have a chance for the remaining wild card.  The Dodgers are three games back while the Brewers are five back.  The Dodgers have been turning downward as September rolls along.  The Brewers have to win their remaining five games to have a chance.  The Cardinals will likely hold their position and go into a wild card playoff game with the Braves.

 

 

 

Two Wild Card Teams, Too Many!

This past off season Major League baseball did something they had not done since 1994. It changed it’s playoff structure by adding a new element.

Prior to 1995 there were just four teams involved in the post season. There was an Eastern and Western Champion in Both leagues who would play each other for the League Championship. Those two winners would go into the World Series and face off against the opposing leagues Champion. This had been the case since 1969.

The new system was enacted in 1994 but due to the strike shortened season it debuted in 1995.  The system worked with each league having three divisions.  Each division winner would go to the playoffs and the team with the best record that did not win a division would also go to the post season.  There have been five wild card teams that have won a World Series since MLB instituted the wild card.

In November the commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig announced that their would be a second wild card team for each league.  The two wild card teams would play each other in a one game playoff.  The winner will advance to the divisional round of the playoffs and face one of the divisional champions.  All that was added was basically one more game to each leagues playoff.  We will see the first wild card playoff game in less than two weeks from now.

The new system obviously adds something to the final month of the season.  More teams will be in the hunt for the post season with the additional wild card.  Those teams games will also be more exciting down the stretch when MLB can be boring at times.  It will also create a new buzz in the playoffs.  However there is a draw back.

The two wild card teams might actually be pretty far apart records wise.  The second wild card team will be given an opportunity for the playoffs they may not deserve. As of right now you have two teams at the top of the National League wild card race.  The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.  The braves lead the Cardinals by 6 games.  If the playoffs were to start today the Cardinals would get a one game playoff opportunity with the Braves they should not have.

This new system seems nice right now but over time it will dilute the MLB post season.  One wild card team per league is just enough.  If you have too many non playoff worthy teams getting a shot in the playoffs it will spell disaster for MLB.  This is just another scheme by Selig to make more money off of the last month of the season and add more money to the post season television deals.  MLB should go back to the four team per league system before the post season become watered down.  As the old adage goes if it is not broke don’t fix it.

Jose Reyes’ Hitting Streak Comes To An End At 26 Games

The longest hitting streak of this season has come to an end today in New York.  Jose Reyes went 0-4 against the New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey.  Reyes is now 2-16 all time against Dickey.  The consecutive game hitting streak was ended at 26 games.  Reyes will likely keep the record through the end of the 2012 season.  Reyes started this streak after the All Star break on July 13th and did not let up until Thursday the 9th of August.  The pitching of R.A. Dickey proved to be too much for Reyes.  If anyone was going to end the streak abruptly it would be the crafty knuckleballer.

Jose Reyes
(Getty Images)

Reyes streak was the last remaining hope that Marlins fans had for any excitement this year.  The team has fallen 17 games back behind the National League East leading Washington Nationals.  The hitting streak was just starting to get major media attention and just as it was it is already over.  It was a fun ride to watch the suspense of Reyes getting hits in many of the games in late innings was energizing.  Reyes is the defending N.L. batting champion.  He is not going to win that title this year but showed that he is still a great hitter and a valuable asset to his team this year.

Where do the Marlins go from here?  Likely straight to the off season with no more major stories for the team this season.  Although there is another potential streak brewing.  The Marlins Carlos Lee has a 14 game hitting streak.  Lee will probably not reach even 20 games given his aging veteran status, but hey you never really know.

Reyes has been a great addition to this Marlins team this year.  Lucky for the fans of South Florida he will be back next season.  With any luck his success will rub off on the rest of the team and the Marlins will be the contenders they were supposed to be this year.

Jose Reyes’ Hitting Streak Is Holding Strong At 22 Games

The Miami Marlins are having a disappointing season, so much so that no one saw this coming. The team headed into the 2012 season with so much hope and excitement for what could be. They have dismantled the team to the point it hardly resembles the team that was supposed to make the playoffs when the year began. As of Saturday the team sits 14.5 games behind the 1st place Washington Nationals and a Wildcard birth looks very unlikely. The only bright spot that can be seen at the point is Jose Reyes and his hot hitting streak.

Jose Reyes
(Photo By Al Bello/Getty Images)

Jose Reyes began this hitting streak on July 13th and is holding strong at 22 games going into Saturday’s game against the Nationals. Reyes went 1-3 in the first game of Friday’s double header with the Nationals and 3-5 in the second game. Reyes has always been a great hitter but has really improved his hitting and it shows with this current streak. He broke his previous streak of 19 games this past week.

Luis Castillo holds the team record for most consecutive games with a hit with 35 games in 2002. That is a mark that Reyes has a strong chance of beating. The have been 55 players in the history of Major League Baseball to have at least 30 consecutive games with a hit. Reyes is the caliber of hitter and streaky enough to become number 56. The question the will be asked if he can make it past 30 will be how far can he go?

Everyone knows that Joe DiMaggio holds the record at 56 games in 1941 and that mark is very unlikely to be broken soon if ever. The closest anyone has come in the last 20 years was the Phillies Jimmy Rollins in the 2005 and 2006 seasons with 38 games. If anyone was going to make a good run and come close to DiMaggio in this era of baseball it would be Joe Reyes. Reyes is still very young and has a lot of potential as a hitter even though he is already one of the best in baseball. Reyes is the defending National League batting champion and this will not be his last claim to that title.

As this season grows older and the Marlins fall deeper in the standings the Marlins might have something to get excited about. That rests solely in the hands of Jose Reyes and his bat. Could we be watching history right now? It is too early to tell but we are seeing an amazing streak and its time for the sports world to pay attention to Reyes. If they don’t start now they may be missing history in the making.

The Marlins Part Ways With Hanley Ramirez

This season has been very disappointing for the Miami Marlins.  They showed that they are essentially giving up on hopes for the playoffs this season by trading some of their top stars.  Rebuilding mode has already started when this team was supposed to be ready to contend this year.  They have a strong focus on pitching in their trades this week, that is a spot they definitely need help in.

The first trade came on Tuesday when the Marlins sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers.  Infante has had a decent season thus far and had led the team to numerous victories.  Sanchez has been with the club for a few years and been a reliable starter at times. Sanchez had a rough start to the season but leveled out towards the summer.  The Marlins received top-rated pitching prospect Jacob Turner from the Tigers in the deal.

Hanley Ramirez
(Getty Images)

On Wednesday the Marlins traded away a star they coveted very heavily just a couple of years ago.  Going into this season no one suspected that the Marlins would not finish the season with Hanley Ramirez.  The rumors started floating around last week that the team was looking at offers for the former N.L. batting champion and multiple time All Star.  The Marlins made a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to send Ramirez and pitcher Randy Choate to California.  The Marlins received pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and a minor leaguer in the deal.

Hanley Ramirez will never be forgotten by the franchise.  He was acquired from the Boston Redsox in the 2005 trade that sent Josh Beckett to Boston.  The Marlins had coveted and groomed Ramirez as their big star of the future.  He had a few season where he played really well and even one a batting title.  But the last couple of years has seen Ramirez numbers drop significantly.  The Marlins owe a lot of credit to Ramirez for helping them get a new stadium built in Miami for the club.  The team signed Ramirez to a 6 year deal a few years ago to show the city of Miami tax payers that they were committed to building a contender.  A lot has changed in the last few years and Ramirez is no longer a Miami Marlin.

The Marlins have got to start building a team built for the future.  The team has been out of contention for too long.  A lot of the blame falls on pitching but really its everything.  The Marlins franchise should have been contenders this year but have shown themselves not to be a team that can contend.  The decision to trade some of their top talent is questionable
but at least they are receiving top young pitching talent for the future.  The city of Miami will lose their patience with the team really quickly if they don’t get a team on the field that not only looks like contenders but play like contenders.

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.