Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Closely Reading Ruben Amaro’s Statements

It seemed like Philles GM Ruben Amaro might have finally gotten a clue, but those thoughts were erased after comments to CSN Philly

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, who took over the team from Pat Gillick following their World Series win in 2008, has made the rebuild slow and painful (Getty Images)

Written by Jake Elman

Because Memorial Day unofficially marks the completion of the first third of the baseball season — something I pointed out on SportsBlog — now is when we start hearing from team executives and higher ups about topics such as top prospects, aging veterans, and job security. Most of the time, we’ll hear from the general manager or team president, who will also touch base on how the first part of the season has gone and what’s next.

Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro, apparently aware of this ‘baseball tradition’, stepped up to the plate and spoke with CSN Philly’s Jim Sailsbury about several things relating to the rebuilding Phillies, most notably the trade market and prospects. If you’re a fan of the Phillies or you want to hear about what’s going on with the organization, I definitely would reccomend checking out the interview, because it’s an interesting look at a rebuilding team.

As with any rebuilding teams that has prospects on the horizon, it’s almost a requirement to inquire about those in an interview with the general manager or another higher up. Normally, we’ll get some kind of answer about how the prospects are making strides and the team wants to not rush them and it’ll be left at that; Amaro, however, took it one step further, as Sailsbury reports:

‘When asked about the timetable for pitching prospects Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin to make it to the bigs, Amaro said the plan was to be conservative. When it was pointed out that fans of losing teams tend not to like it when told that they need to be patient, Amaro had this to say:

“They don’t understand the game. They don’t understand the process. There’s a process. And then they bitch and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That’s the truth.”’

In the few hours since this article was posted on CSN Philly’s website, many have been quick to call Amaro out and say that he’s why the Phillies are in the situation they are now or that the organization should just cut him loose. But, as a way of being fair, let’s closely read this statement and not only see what Amaro really meant, but also if he’s right or not.

“They don’t understand the game.”

Ah, the good old ‘you don’t understand what’s going on’ cliche. That’s always a nice way to start talking about the fans that are stuck putting up with your incompetence, Ruben.

“They don’t understand the process. There’s a process.”

That’s a very valid point and, believe it or not, I actually do agree with it becuase there are plenty of fans that think that just adding a top prospect into the mix will immediately solve things. A few years ago, every Mets fan in sight wanted the team to just promote Fernando Martinez already because they thought he’d save the day, but Martinez would only hit .180/.250/.290 in three seasons with the Mets.

“And then they bitch and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on.”

The fans bitch and moan because the Phillies don’t have a plan? Damn, that’s rough, Ruben. I though they bitch and moaned because you took a perfectly built roster by Pat Gillick and the previous regime and turned into a win-now roster that made one World Series in your six plus years as general manager.

Not only did you give Ryan Howard a massive contract that became nearly untradeable in the final years of it, but you also got not even a full season from Hunter Pence (the Phillies acquired him in July 2011 and then dealt him in July 2012; he played a total of 155 games for them) in exchange for starter Jarred Cosart, reliever Josh Zeid, first baseman/outfielder Jonathan Singleton, and outfielder Domingo Santana. I’m still not entirely sure why the Phillies made that move, especially when you remember they just could have benched the struggling Raul Ibanez (more on him in a second).

Then, when Amaro decided to trade Pence to San Francisco in 2012, it’s not like the Phillies got back a massive haul featuring some of the team’s best prospects, including infielder Joe Panik who would have been a fine fit as a long-term replacement for Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins. Instead, all they received was Nate Schierholtz, Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph, and they non-tendered Schierholtz following the season. Yes, they cut loose a player that hit .273/.319/.379 and would have been a fine fourth outfielder for the future.

What exactly does that mean? It means that for a player that’s become an essential part of two World Series runs for the Giants and was actually pretty solid with the Phillies, all Ruben Amaro was able to get back was a veteran outfielder that he non-tendered, a starter that became an ineffective reliever, and a top catching prospect that has suffered from concussion issues and may not be a long-term catcher. Nice haul, Ruben.

Let’s see what else Amaro has done that would make fans want to bitch and moan…hmmm…oh, Amaro gave up a draft pick that would later become catcher Steven Baron to sign the aged outfielder Raul Ibanez to a three year deal; while Ibanez was quite good in his first year with the Phillies, hitting .272 and smacking 34 balls out of the park in his first National League season, the veteran outfielder, brought in for power, dropped down to 16 and 20 home runs in the next two seasons. It’s easy to say that Ibanez was instrumental in getting the Phillies to the playoffs in all three of his seasons there, but Ibanez only had two postseason series under Charlie Manuel where he hit over .250, and both of those came in 2009.

Part of why I’m so critical on the Ibanez move, even though I admit to being a huge fan of the All-Star, is because it was a three year deal that hurt the development of top prospect Dominic Brown and came back to bite the Phillies badly. Why would you give a three year deal to an older hitter that would have been a perfect designated hitter? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to either see if he’d take a one year deal or go after another outfielder in the market, like Eric Hinske or Bobby Abreu?

Now, do I think that Ruben Amaro is making the right choice by giving his top prospects time to develop in the minor leagues without throwing them into the fire just yet? Yes, I do, but attacking your fanbase and calling them out for bitching and moaning is uncalled for. What they’re really bitching about, to tell you the truth, is that you going into win now mode has left the team in a rebuild that I don’t see them getting out of until 2018 at the earliest and the reminders of the win now era (Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Paplebon, and Cliff Lee) are all either injured or taking up space on the roster.

Look, Ruben, I get that you really want to make this team into a contender again and I respect that, but it’s not worth it to attack the fans that are sticking by you and the Phillies throughout the rebuild; it’s also not fair, and that’s the truth.

Do you think Ruben Amaro’s comments attacking the fans were out of line? Make sure to chime in on the conversation by tweeting me at @JakeElman

The Best and Worst of John Sterling

Yankees radio play by play man John Sterling has had some interesting home run calls over the years, but which stand out the most?

Sterling, 76, has been the Yankees’ radio announcer since 1989 and has never missed a game (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Written by Jake Elman

Well, we’re ten games into the Major League Baseball season, and the New York Yankees are 4-6. To some, it’s not a surprise, and to some, the team is actually overachieving. I don’t know if I’d go that far, because I thought the Yankees were better than people were giving them credit for, but it’s definitely been an interesting start to the season so far.

To start (no pun intended), Alex Rodriguez has been the team’s best hitter. Look, we all knew that expectations for Alex Rodriguez entering this season were lower than the approval rating of The Phantom Menace, and for good reason: Rodriguez missed all of last season due to suspension, and he hasn’t been a truly solid player since 2011 or even 2010. Yet, Rodriguez is off to a .344/.432/.781 start with four home runs and eleven runs batted in…not bad, old man.

One of the best parts about Rodriguez’s hot start isn’t just the fact that every baseball fan that doesn’t root for the New York Yankees is losing, but also that we get to hear John Sterling’s home run call for A-Rod again. Sterling, who has been the Yankees’ radio announcer since 1989, ends every Rodriguez home run with a call of “It’s an A-Bomb…from A-Rod” and I like to mimic it on my Twitter, in large part because it seems to annoy the A-Rod hating baseball fan.

There’s a lot of people out there that seem not to like Sterling, and I honestly can see why. He makes plenty of mistakes behind the mic, and some of his home run calls are…less than stellar. But, that’s a large part of why so many people do enjoy Sterling’s work: his signature home run calls for every player. It doesn’t matter if you’re Curtis Granderson or Colin Curtis — Sterling will find a way to make a home run call for you, and it adds a certain…uniqueness to the game.

But, which are the best and worst home run calls from John Sterling? Keep in mind, I’ve left off many calls, but this isn’t an all-time list of every call that Sterling has done (if you are interested in something like that, though, there’s a Yankee blog that’s been collecting as many of John Sterling’s home run calls as humanly possible. How could we forget Nick Green’s home run call?) and this list is not in order. I may put player A’s call above player B, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy the call more. Think of this as a non-ordered list, but it’s only ordered in terms of sub-headings.

So, without further waiting, let’s get right into the best and worst of John Sterling.

The Best:

3B/DH Alex Rodriguez — “It’s an A-Bomb…from A-Rod! Alexander the Great conquers again!”

Well, we may as well start off with the one that helped inspire the creation of this article. You know, despite all of his flaws, I still remain and will always be a huge fan of Alex Rodriguez, and this home run call was one of the things that helped endear me to him. We have two instances of history (the Atomic Bomb and Alexander the Great) being used in conjunction with a baseball hitter in a way that, actually, makes sense. Nice one, John.

OF/DH Shane Spencer — “Shane Spencer, the Home Run Dispenser!”

This was a call I didn’t get to hear too much, seeing as Spencer played for the Yankees when I was a small child, but I’ve always had a thing for this call. There’s just something about the execution of this call, and the rhyme with Spencer and dispenser, that makes this one of Sterling’s best calls over the years.

OF Bernie Williams — “Bernie goes boom! Bern baby, Bern!”

This one’s easy. Not only is it a pun on the song ‘Disco Inferno‘, but there’s some great alliteration here and it’s just an overall fun call. Plus, the ‘bern, baby, Bern’ part is pretty catchy, and I enjoy it a lot.

3B Chase Headley — “You can bank on Chase! Headley is deadly!”

I love this home run call, even if we haven’t even heard it for a full year. When the Yankees acquired Chase Headley last season from the San Diego Padres, I had a feeling that Sterling would go for a Headley is deadly pun, but the bank on Chase part is an excellent addition. As you’ll see below, some of Sterling’s more recent calls haven’t been anywhere close to good, but this one is great.

1B/OF Eric Hinske — “Hinske with your best shot!”

There’s not much to say here, other than I love the Pat Benatar pun; the call, of course, is a reference to Benatar’s hit “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” from 1980. Again, not bad, John.

The Worst:

1B Lance Berkman — “Sir Lancelot rides to the rescue!  C’est lui!  C’est lui!”

What. I’m linking this just so you can see how ridiculous this is.

2B/SS Stephen Drew — “Stephen Drew! How do you do? He sends a Drewskie to the fans!”

What a terrible call. A Drewskie? That may be one of the worst calls I’ve ever heard, and this is coming from someone who loves John Sterling. I was joking about it on Twitter this week, but Sterling’s call really should have been something along the lines of, “Stephen Drew that one up perfectly!” or something with a play on words with Drew. But Drewskie? What?

OF Chris Young — “Chris Young, younger than springtime! Chris Young, forever young!”

No. No. No. No! No. What kind of call is this?

3B Yangervis Solarte — “Never Nervous Yangervis! Solarte, woh woh…Solarte, woh woh woh.”

Please make this stop. Please. Then, you realize that Sterling sings part of that call. Please, I can’t take any more of these awful calls.

Honestly, some of the more recent Yankees have had the really bad calls, because I can live with some of Sterling’s older calls. Let’s be real for a second…I would much rather have Sterling’s call for Gary Sheffield (The Master Sheff! A Sheff Special!) than Stephen Drew’s call, and I loathed Sheffield’s call.

The eh:

LF/DH Hideki Matsui — “It’s a thrilla by Godzilla! The Sayonara Kid does it again!”

As a kid, I flat out loved this call. Some years later, and after having heard it so many times, this falls under the eh section because of the second part. The Sayanora Kid? I would have preferred Sterling just stick with the thrilla by Godzilla part, but it’s not an awful call. I get that Matsui is Japanese, and Sterling likes to show where players come from, but this is too much.

C Russell Martin — “Russell shows muscle.  Monsieur Martin est la.”

Again, this is another call that isn’t bad, but would have been perfectly fine if Sterling cut it off after the first sentenced. I like the Russell shows muscle part, but then Sterling has to add the French…we get it, Martin is from Canada and can speak French.

 

The Greatest:

1B Mark Teixeira — “Mark sends a Teix message! You’re on the Mark, Teixeira!”

Yes, this may shock some people, but this is probably my favorite John Sterling home run call. Everything that you want from a Sterling call is here; you have the pun, the play on words, and it’s said in such a fluid way time after time that you can’t help but repeat it when you hear it. This used to be tied with Alex Rodriguez’s home run call, but this call has just grown on me so much over the past few years that I can’t help but put it there.

So, is John Sterling an amazing radio play-by-play man? Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I will say that it’s always a pleasure to listen to him and his…unique home run calls. Hopefully, Sterling can get back to making some better calls, because some of the recent ones have been pretty bad…I need to go get the Chris Young and Stephen Drew ones out of my head soon.

But hey, I can’t hate too much on someone that has called every New York Yankees game since 1989, meaning he never missed one of Derek Jeter’s hits or Mariano Rivera’s saves. If that’s not dedication to your trade, then I don’t know what is. I guess you can’t predict baseball sometimes…

What are some of your favorite John Sterling home run calls? Make sure to chime in on the conversation by tweeting me at @JakeElman.

 

No Love In L.A.

After an arbitrator ruled that Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton would not be suspended for a relapse, Hamilton’s employer had some choice words for the former MVP

Hamilton, 33, will not be suspended by Major League Baseball for his recent relapse (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Hamilton, 33, will not be suspended by Major League Baseball for his recent relapse (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Written by Jake Elman

Sometimes, with a television show, you’ll have what’s called a ‘wham episode.’ With a wham episode, something, or some things, happen that will make your jaw drop in shock, your fists clench in nervousness, and your brain start going crazy at things that could occur in the near future due to events in the wham episode. The recent season finale for AMC’s The Walking Dead, for example, could be considered a wham episode, what with the return of a certain character and what they see upon their reunion with character B; if you were a fan of Breaking Bad, also on AMC, one of my favorite wham episodes from the entire series was the episode ‘Blood Money’…yeah, you know what episode that is!

Anyways, my love of AMC shows aside, Friday was as close to a wham episode as we’ve had in Major League Baseball that we’ve had in a long time. Not only was Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana suspended 80 games for testing positive for steroids, but it was announced that Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, a six-time All-Star and the 2010 American League MVP, would not be suspended for a recent relapse; Hamilton, of course, struggled with a drug addiction for several years and was once baseball’s poster boy for clean living.

The initial concern was that Hamilton, in his relapse, had violated the league’s drug agreement, but that’s apparently not the case. According to an arbitrator, Hamilton would not be suspended because the Joint Drug Agreement only calls for discipline if the player (a) refuses to submit to evaluations and followup tests; (b) “consistently fails to participate in mandatory sessions with his assigned health care professional”; (c) his health care professional tells Major League Baseball that the player is not cooperating; or (d) the player tests positive for a drug of abuse. So, by turning himself in, Hamilton was able to avoid any of these, and now he’s going to work on atoning for his mistake.

That sounds all good and fine, right? Well, not quite. Hamilton’s employer, the Los Angeles Angels, seemed to be expecting an incoming suspension, or at least some type of discipline, as evidenced by statements put out by the front office on Friday.

“The Angels have serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans. We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family,” Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto said in a statement on Friday morning. Some have taken issue with that statement, but I don’t think it’s as bad as people are making it out to be.

DiPoto is disappointed that Hamilton relapsed, and I am as well. Could he have maybe said it in a somewhat kinder way? Sure, but when it comes to people relapsing on drugs or alcohol, disappointment is often a very common feeling, and he even said that the Angels are going to help and support Hamilton despite his relapse. With that being the case, I can’t say DiPoto said anything that bad. But, the same doesn’t go for Angels president John Carpino, who said the following:

“It defies logic that Josh’s reported behavior is not a violation of his current program.”

You know, John, I’m glad that’s your concern when one of your players just relapsed after years of being clean. I get that baseball is a business, but the fact you’d talk like that about one of your players — and to the press, no less — is appalling. If Carpino wanted to say it behind closed doors, fine, I can’t control that or be upset at what happens there. But to the press? This makes all of the Yankee officials bashing Alex Rodriguez look like the Joe Torre-Derek Jeter relationship in comparison.

I mean, we’re talking about a player that failed six drug tests in a three year span and has seen so many lows and highs the past decade and a half, and your priority is the lack of logic in Hamilton’s non-suspension? Way to tell Josh that you care about your player’s health, John.

Of course, Hamilton has been a disappointment in his first two seasons in Los Angeles, only hitting .255/.316/.426 with 31 homers and 123 RBI since the start of 2013. Factor that in with his relapse, and the Angels would love to see him suspended so that he’s off the hook for some money he’s owed. I get it, but they do realize that this is still a human being, right? This isn’t even tough love; this is an organization prioritizing money and contracts over the health of an employee, one who is still battling a deadly disease.

When was the last time you saw a team be this frustrated that a player wasn’t suspended? You would think that a team like the Angels, one that could realistically be World Series contenders in 2015, would be happy that Hamilton isn’t suspended and would then turn their attention to getting him healthy, right? Instead, we have an organization that is seemingly appalled at Major League Baseball’s decision not to suspend their slugging outfielder.

Should Josh Hamilton have been suspended? No, because a better punishment for him is Hamilton living with the fact that he relapsed. Now, you may be saying that me saying that is just as harsh, if not harsher, than the comments made by the Angels’ front office, but the difference is that I have no affiliation with Hamilton and I didn’t want to see him suspended. All I want from Josh Hamilton, truth be told, is for him to stay clean — I don’t care if he retires tomorrow as long as he manages to stay clean and serene.

But, it’s hard to stay clean and serene when you have people close to you doubting your ability to be healthy and wanting you to fail. Hopefully, Josh Hamilton can get clean again, and if he can’t get it done in Los Angeles, then I’m sure there are plenty of other teams that would want Josh Hamilton, the baseball player, and Josh Hamilton, the person.

Do you think that the comments made by the Angels’ front office were out of line? Make sure to chime in on the conversation by tweeting me at @JakeElman.

MLB All-Time Broadcasting Team

There have been plenty of great MLB announcers over the years, but which are the absolute best?

vin-scully-mlb-los-angeles-dodgers-season-preview-850x560

Vin Scully, who is still going strong at age 87, is entering his 66th season broadcasting games for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (Getty Images)

Written by Jake Elman

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’re less than a week away from the official return of Major League Baseball for the 2015 season. Teams are deciding who they want starting on Opening Day, minor leaguers and players on the bubble are doing their best to show why they should be taking place in the Opening Day ceremonies, and baseball is almost back.

With the start of the baseball season comes the return of some of our favorite broadcasters, everyone from the living legends (Vin Scully and Jon Miller) to the young guys (Ryan Ruocco). As a New Yorker, I’m a bit spoiled because I’ve gotten to listen to both the YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network) and SportsNet New York (who broadcasts the New York Mets) over the years, and both networks have excellent crews. There are plenty of broadcasters that have been fantastic over the years, but if I were to make an all-time broadcasting team, who would be on that list?

So, what goes into a broadcaster making this list? Well, it’s part longevity, but it’s also just personal taste about five broadcasters who I’d pick as the guys to broadcast anything from a World Series game 7 to an exhibition game in Toyko, Japan. There are two teams, so to speak, the TV and Radio team. All broadcasters on this list worked in both TV and radio, so I split them up as just an easy way of having my five broadcasters not crowded in one booth. I’ve definitely left off a lot of deserving people, so make sure to send me your all-time broadcasting team. Without further waiting, let’s head to the booth.

TV:

Vin Scully:

It’d be so wrong to make a list like this and not have Vin Scully on it, even if you’re someone who hates the Dodgers with everything in your body. There’s a term known as ‘GOAT’ which stands for Greatest of All Time, and Scully is the epitome of a GOAT. I’ve always joked that the only time I sleep without waking up at least once is when I hear Vin Scully broadcasting a Dodgers game, mainly because the way Scully commentates is so calm and relaxing. As much as I honestly enjoy listening to guys like Duane Kuiper (San Francisco) and Ken Harrelson (Chicago White Sox) who put a lot of emotion and emphasis in their calls, Scully is one of the few broadcasters out there who excels with a, for lack of a better term, quiet way of commentating.

But, that’s always been the case with Scully, who is entering his 66th season broadcasting games for the Los Angeles (formerly Brooklyn) Dodgers. To give you an idea of how long Scully has been broadcasting, he’s had a longer career than fourteen of the league’s thirty teams have even been around, and if you want to count teams that at some point have moved cities and made ‘new franchises’ (not counting a team like the Oakland Athletics that only changed cities), that number shoots up to sixteen. Scully’s called everything from perfect games to four home runs in a row, and it only makes sense to put the GOAT on our list, right?

Jack Buck:

We go from a broadcaster still going strong to one that actually replaced Vin Scully on the World Series radio broadcasts, that being former St. Louis Cardinals play-by-play man, Jack Buck. Father of the somewhat loved, somewhat hated, Joe Buck, Jack Buck was the broadcaster you wanted announcing your wedding, your graduation, and your funeral; Buck was able to mix excitement with a love for the game, something we often criticize his son, Joe, for not doing. Some of the most notable calls in recent baseball memory — Kirk Gibson’s home run in 1988, Ozzie Smith’s walk off in 1985, Kirby Puckett letting fans know that he’d see you tomorrow night in 1991 — were all called by Buck, and all had a level of excitement that can send chills down one’s back.

Also, as a native New Yorker, maybe I’m a little partial to putting Buck on this list because of his beautiful poem that followed the September 11th, 2001 attacks.

Phil Rizzuto:

Unfortunately, I missed out on hearing Rizzuto call games, as he retired following the 1996 season and I was born in June 1997, but the late, great, Scooter’s legacy lives on nearly two decades after he hung up the microphone. What I’ve always loved and respected about the way that Rizzuto called games was his creativity and humor, something that helped make the slow game of baseball more enjoyable; from wishing listeners happy birthday to eating a canoli in between innings, Rizzuto was a colorful character that broadcast Yankee games for 40 years.

What was great about Rizzuto’s commentary was that he could make a boring game one worth watching, instead of flipping the channel to watch a re-run of some sitcom. So often, we talk about how baseball is boring and we want to find ways to keep watching the game, but Rizzuto was a reason in itself for Yankee fans to keep listening, even during the dark years of 1982-1994. With my TV crew, we have a poetic broadcaster in Scully, an excited one with Buck, and a humorous, creative one with Rizzuto. That, friends, is a pretty good crew in my eyes.

Radio:

Ernie Harwell:

Another broadcaster I unfortunately didn’t get to hear much before his death in 2010, Harwell was to Detroit what Buck was to St. Louis: when you listened to Harwell, you weren’t listening to baseball, but life itself. From Norm Cash to Mike Maroth, Harwell broadcasted parts of five decades for the Detroit Tigers, trading a normal play-by-play style for a more conversational one, not unlike Phil Rizzuto. To be blunt, Detroit baseball was not as good as they are now for the majority of Harwell’s tenure, only recording four playoff appearances — and only two after 1972 — across those five decades, but fans still tuned in daily to hear Harwell’s thoughts on a batter “who stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched it go by,” or about a young fan from Kalamazoo that caught a foul ball.

Alas, Harwell seems to have been somewhat forgotten in recent years, but there’s no denying what a fantastic broadcaster he was. It’s a shame that the Tigers were so bad in his final years broadcasting, because this is a guy that deserved to call at least one more playoff game in Detroit. Rest in peace, Ernie.

Jon Miller:

I end this list with the former host of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and the Major League Baseball 2K series, Jon Miller. Before Sunday Night Baseball became Dan Shulman’s gig (and Dan is an extremely underrated announcer, for what it’s worth), Sunday nights belonged to Jon Miller, a poetic, easy going San Franciscoan with a love for Shakespeare and homers. Regardless if it was a Yankees-Red Sox thriller or a matchup between the Cubs and Brewers that was over relatively quickly, Miller made Sunday nights baseball nights with flawless broadcasting, emphatic calls, and witty banter with former Reds second baseman Joe Morgan that kept our eyes glued to the screen and our remote on the counter.

I also have to give Miller credit for something that not many people think about when his name is mentioned. Since the late 90s, Jon Miller has done broadcasting work for the San Francisco Giants, a team that employed the controversial outfielder, Barry Bonds, for fifteen seasons. In 2007, Bonds’ final big league season, the slugger hit his 756th career home run, taking hold of the record previously owned by former Atlanta Braves star Hank Aaron. At the time, there were a lot of people upset with Bonds because of his past mistakes when it came to performance-enhancing drugs, but Miller, a self-described puritan, still called the home run as if Bonds had done no wrong. Sure, Miller was employed by the team that Bonds played for, but the Hall of Fame announcer could have acted nonchalant about it because of the player’s history.

Is it the excitement that, say, John Sterling shows when a member of the New York Yankees hits a home run. No, but just the fact that Miller would show the level of excitement that he did — for a puritan — is partly why I remain a big fan of his despite only hearing him when I listen to a stream of a Giants game.

Finally, though he wasn’t on this list, I’d like to give a special mention to the late, great, Bobby Murcer. Growing up in suburban New York, watching Yankee games on the YES Network became a hobby of mine that soon turned into a requirement, in part because of how much I loved listening to Bobby Murcer. There’s an honest part of me that is studying communications at Florida Atlantic University starting in the fall of 2015 because when I was much younger, I wanted to follow in Bobby Murcer’s footsteps.

Though I never met Bobby Murcer, I’ll always remember the late Oklahoman that inspired me to go down the path that I have. Rest in peace, Bobby.

What MLB broadcasters are on your all-time broadcasting team? Make sure to chime in on the conversation by tweeting me at @JakeElman.

Roy Halladay, Perfect In Retirement

Former Blue Jays and Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, who retired after the 2013 season, showed why he’s so adored by baseball fans everywhere on Monday

Philadelphia Phillies v San Diego Padres

Roy Halladay, who turns 38 in May, won 203 games and 2 Cy Young Awards from 1998-2013 (Getty Images)

Written by Jake Elman

After having watched the good doctor for so many years, especially when he pitched in Toronto as the ace of the Blue Jays, it’s still odd to think about the fact that two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay is in the midst of his second year of retirement.

Halladay, who retired in December 2013 due to back issues, has remained quiet and out of the public eye since ending his career, but that was to be expected; after all, this is the same pitcher who would go into complete isolation mode when he’d be pitching. Sure, Halladay is learning how to fly and working as a guest instructor with both the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, but we haven’t heard his name much since he called it quits.

But, Halladay, whether he intended to or not, made a slight appearance back in the limelight on Monday with this tweet on his verified Twitter account.

WeeBey

DAMN1

DAMN2

VCBeLike

Alex, do you need some ice for that burn? Let’s see the reaction from Mr. Rodriguez, all the way from Yankees camp.

DarylCry

I know I’ve been somewhat outspoken about people just letting Alex Rodriguez play and all, but I’m also someone that can acknowledge a good joke when I see one. This had perfect execution — like a Roy Halladay pitch, I might add — and wasn’t too far over the line for it not to be funny.

Besides, Rodriguez was actually pretty solid against Halladay, hitting .299/.349/.429 in 77 at-bats against the Doc. Now, Halladay, who has over 43,000 followers, actually made light of this fact in a follow up tweet.

Now, I’m actually somewhat interested to see if more athletes, especially baseball players, follow in Halladay’s footsteps when it comes to making Alex Rodriguez jokes. They’re overdone, yes, but in this day and age with social media, I can’t say I’d be too surprised if another baseball player or two made an A-Rod joke on Twitter. At this point, it’s become almost second nature to mock the almost 40 year old Yankees slugger.

Knowing that, Halladay, who pitched both a perfect game and a no-hitter in 2010, took advantage and made it work. Now, because Halladay’s retired (most likely for good, seeing as he’s having so much fun in retirement), some have already begun discussing his Hall of Fame credentials and if he’ll end up in Cooperstown. Personally, I’m unsure at this moment about him being a Hall of Famer, but he’s earned a spot in the Joke Hall of Fame for 2015 with this tweet.

Do you think Roy Halladay is a Hall of Famer? How funny did you find his joke? If you want to chime in on the conversation further, you can tweet me at @JakeElman.

MLB Introduces ‘Sudden Death Day’

After exciting playoff races on the season’s final day in years past, Major League Baseball is capitalizing on the idea

With Major League Baseball's decision to make all games on the season's final day the same time, playoff races similar to the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals' will be much more interesting (Getty Images)

With Major League Baseball’s decision to make all games on the season’s final day the same time, playoff races similar to the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals’ will be much more interesting (Getty Images)

Written by Jake Elman

Rob Manfred has only officially held the commissioner’s title for about two months, but the New York native just keeps coming up with ways to improve the game. First, Manfred added the pace of play rules, and now, Manfred is adding some excitement to September baseball.

As first reported by Bill Shakin of the Los Angeles Times, Major League Baseball has decided to schedule all of the games on October 4th, the season’s final day, at the same exact time: 3 P.M. Eastern. This idea, according to Major League Baseball, will add excitement and intensity on a day that was otherwise normally forgettable:

“If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result,” said Tony Pettiti, first year MLB chief operating officer and former head of MLB Network. “If we do have games coming down to the wire, we want to make sure we maximize that day.”

This is an excellent idea, and as a big fan of the baseball playoff race, I’m excited to see how it works out. I’ve been wanting a concept like this for a few years now, probably since we saw the excitement of the final day of the 2011 season, and to see it become a reality is something that I think all baseball fans will appreciate.

As I’ve pointed out in the past, Major League Baseball has needed to hype some of the game’s bigger events, whether it be the season’s final day or the World Series. Putting all of the games at the same time is a way to get people excited about not just the playoff races, but also the postseason as a whole. You have this day, followed by the Wild Card games, and then the division series starting all in the same week? That’s as exciting as it gets in the world of baseball.

With all games starting at the same time on the last day, this increases pressure and also factors into how a team might approach the postseason. In previous years, a team who had a 4:15 start compared to a team that started play at 1:30 might have changed around the lineup or scratched the starter because of how the early game turned out, but having them all at the same time means that the star player who you really wanted to rest might need to be in that starting lineup; the pitcher who might have opened up the postseason for you is instead starting for you in game 162, with that prospect who was originally your starter hanging out in the bullpen.

That same situation is what happened to the St. Louis Cardinals a year ago; when the Pittsburgh Pirates lost on the season’s final day last year, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny rested several players, including starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, who would then start the first game of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. If both teams had played at the same time last year, Matheny likely would have started Wainwright instead of midseason trade acquisition Justin Masterson.

Also, think of how this helps with ratings. As it stands right now, the only game we know that is going to be played in NFL week four, which is October 4th, is Jets-Dolphins in London, and that’s at 9:30 AM ET in the morning. By scheduling all of these games at 3 PM ET, Major League Baseball is going to have legitimate contention with the NFL on a weekend that, most likely knowing the NFL, will feature some damn good games.

Now, all Major League Baseball needs is a creative name for the season’s final day. Now, because I’m not creative, I like the name of ‘Sudden Death Day’ as the title; it’s short, to the point, and there’s a slight alliteration in it. I’m interested in hearing other names for this, so make sure to either leave them in a comment or send them to me on Twitter.

If you’re interested in seeing what games will take place on the season’s final day, take a look below.

FinalBaseballDay2015

Out of fifteen games on the final day, twelve of them are divisional games, which only helps to make ‘Sudden Death Day’ more exciting. Of those games, I’d have to think that Yankees-Orioles, Tigers-White Sox, Athletics-Mariners, Padres-Dodgers, and Reds-Pirates could all be games that help factor into their respective divisions, while Red Sox-Indians and Cardinals-Braves immediately stand out as interesting games on paper.

How excited are you for ‘Sudden Death Day’? What name would you even call the season’s final day if you don’t like my suggestion of ‘Sudden Death Day’? Make sure to chime in on the conversation by tweeting me at @JakeElman