George Steinbrenner Did it Right

Man, did I hate George Steinbrenner. I mean I really, really hated the guy. Today, I can safely say that if it weren’t for the fact that he was as good at his job as any owner in the history of professional sports, I probably couldn’t have cared less.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died Tuesday morning at the age of 80 after suffering a massive heart attack. Steinbrenner had been in charge in the Bronx since 1973. During that 37-year span, he brought seven World Series titles and 11 American League pennants to New York. He oversaw one of the most dominating franchises in Major League Baseball history and was one of the most feared figures in all of sports.

Growing up in the Boston-area, George Steinbrenner emerges as one of your first enemies. If your family was passionate about sports and wanted to teach you who you should love and who you should loathe, the hatred started right there. If you hated America, you probably hated the U.S. president. If you hated the Yankees, you certainly hated the man who became known most commonly as “The Boss.”

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Bobby Valentine Called It…Jose Ortiz Wins Home Run Derby

I’m glad Bobby Valentine reiterated the fact that we weren’t taking a shot at the Home Run Derby when we gave you a recommendation for making it interesting on Monday.  Maybe Bobby should have taken my advice and bet on it. He’d probably have a better grasp of the contestants names if he had. The Home Run Derby is just tough to get amped up for, and that becomes evident when one of the three commentators for the event picks a former Rockies second baseman — who had 14 home runs in his three year career — to win the event. Or could he have meant the former center fielder and pinch runner for the White Sox 30 years ago — who hit zero homers in his three year career — was going to take home the crown? Check out the video of Bobby Valentine picking Jose Ortiz to win the Home Run Derby:

Of course, Valentine meant to pick David Ortiz.  I’d even give him a little credit for an accurate prediction if he didn’t forget the name of one of the most well-known figures in the history of Major League Baseball.  When all else fails, just call him Big Papi.   I’m sure Bobby will remember that in 2011.

Video Credit: YouTube user stella5378

AL Mid-Season Baseball Awards

With baseball at the All-Star break, we assembled the staff here at LBS to select our mid-season baseball awards. Up first, the AL Awards. Tomorrow, the NL Awards.


Alan Hull says Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers: While Robinson Cano, Justin Morneau and Josh Hamilton are all in the mix, the MVP Award should probably be called the Triple Crown Category Leader on a Winning Team Award. Cabrera isn’t very good defensively, doesn’t play a difficult position, but with Albert Pujols having a down year, he has sneaked into the conversation for the best hitter in baseball. I could see Cano winding up winning it in the end.

Steve DelVecchio says Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees: Cano has been the best hitter on the best team in the majors, and on top of that he’s only made one fielding error so he has second base locked down defensively. With a line of 16 HR 67 RBI and a .337, he doesn’t necessarily have the best stats in the AL, but you have to give weight to the Yankees position and also what he’s done on defense.

Larry Brown says Miguel Cabrera: From the beginning of the season all the way to the All-Star break, Miggy has been the most consistent hitter in baseball. He sobered up in the offseason and that seems to have taken his already ridiculous offensive game to an Albert Pujols-level. He’s heading for his best season ever.

Jake Walker says Miguel Cabrera: He’s leading the AL in batting average, RBIs, and he’s second in home runs. He has a legitimate shot at winning the Triple Crown in the AL. How can you not say he’s MVP? In another year Cano might get it, but not with the year Cabrera’s having.

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Does Girardi Have it Out for the Red Sox?

Yankee fans should be proud of their skipper. While it could certainly be a coincidence, it’s starting to look like Joe Girardi is doing everything in his power to keep Red Sox players out of the 2010 MLB All-Star Game. Does the rivalry have anything to do with it? We’ll never know, but let’s speculate a little for fun.

During a Monday afternoon press conference, the American League All-Star manager announced that Rangers third baseman Michael Young would replace Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre on the AL roster. The only problem with that is Beltre — who tweaked his hamstring in a game against Toronto on Sunday — never said he wasn’t going to play. Players are allowed to wait until very close to the actual game to make a decision, which is probably what Beltre plans on doing. Even MLB spokesperson Phyllis Merhige couldn’t provide a clear answer as to how Girardi thought Beltre backed out:

Clearly it was a communication misunderstanding. Michael Young is the next guy on the player voting, so if Adrian Beltre can’t play it’s Michael Young. But Adrian had said all along he was going to make a decision about how he felt. I don’t know where Joe got it from. Maybe I miscommunicated it.”

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Your Guide To Excitement for the 2010 Home Run Derby

It’s no long basketball or hockey season. NFL training camp has yet to begin. The World Cup has ended. If you don’t get excited for the All-Star break, that three-day span where you have nothing to watch has arrived. What’s the best way to make the Home Run Derby somewhat intriguing? Gamble.

I’m not here to encourage people to blow their bank account on a meaningless event. If you’re against gambling, that’s your prerogative. If you’ve already watched this week’s Entourage and don’t feel like watching it On Demand four or five more times, you can always bet on the 2010 Home Run Derby.  Of course it’s nearly impossible to predict the winner, but that’s part of what makes it so fun to act on. For that reason, the payout for choosing any hitter to win is pretty decent. Here’s each hitter’s odds of winning the event from one sports betting site:

David Ortiz +250 ………………….. Nick Swisher +500
Miguel Cabrera +250 …………….. Vernon Wells +650
Corey Hart +500 …………………… Chris Young +800
Matt Holliday +500 ……………….. Hanley Ramirez +1000

Any of these eight sluggers — none of which is afraid to mess up his swing — could win the event. Why can’t Hanley Ramirez hit the most homers in a glorified batting practice session? Why not take a chance to spice things up a bit? If you ask me it’s worth at least $10 to have something exciting to watch, especially when you can potentially turn it into $100.  Sports Interaction also carries odds for each individual round for those of who who’d like to take it one step further. So give it a go. You might even thank me later.

Sports Interaction

MLB’s New Strasburg Ad Is Just Stupid

Oh, MLB. You never cease to amaze me. And you didn’t disappoint with your new ad featuring Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The new ad shows clips of MLB greats Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan. You know, three pitching legends. Then after we are graced with a glimpse into history, we see Strasburg standing on the mound. Um, what?

Check out the video of MLB’s Stephen Strasburg commercial courtesy of Capital City Goofballs via Deadspin:

The kid is a phenomenon. I’m not denying that. He is extremely talented and I’m not saying that he won’t, with time, rank among the big three. But he has only pitched seven games at the major league level. Are you telling me that he already a first ballot Hall of Fame candidate?  I told you a couple weeks ago why I didn’t think he deserved to make the All-Star Game (which thank goodness he didn’t), and I can tell you right now that he does not deserve this commercial.

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Why LeBron Is No Longer “The King”

For most of his career, LeBron James has been referred to as “King James.” Well, I don’t want to hear that anymore. I’m not bitter about the fact that he won’t be wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey — it was a far-fetched dream anyways. But I’ll give you some reasons why he is no longer basketball royalty in my books:

1. Head Games: Granted, LeBron isn’t the only one who played head games with everyone during this free agency period, (Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are just as guilty) but it was all completely ridiculous. I mean seriously, what a crappy way to announce your decision. LeBron set things up in Greenwich, Connecticut about 10 minutes away from the New York Knicks training facilities. He also requested an address change for a branch of his company from Cleveland to Chicago, and I’m sure there’s more but my head still hurts with anger. If you’re leaving, fine. Leave. Don’t be such a diva about it.

2. The “Decision”: Again, I was stricken with anger when I heard about this hour long special that ESPN hosted for LeBron. Please tell me why that was necessary? Everyone was already hanging on your every word to begin with. And don’t give me the whole “it was for charity” crap because he’s so rich he could have given them just as much money while avoiding the spectacle and it wouldn’t have impacted his bank accounts at all.

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