We Got Game: The MLB All-35+ Draft

If you’re anything like me, I hate it when my favorite team signs an aging veteran free agent. I’ve uttered the phrase, “Please God don’t let them sign that crusty old vet,” too many times to count.

But those “crusty old vets” hold a ton of importance to a team’s success, especially in baseball where World Series-winning rosters usually have a mixture of both youth and veteran experience. Take the World Champion Giants for example. They won because of their young pitching, but it wasn’t Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner who wound up holding the World Series MVP Trophy at the end. It was 35-year-old Edgar Renteria, who was cursed by the SF faithful for being yet another horrible Brian Sabean signing, but wound up being a Fall Classic hero.

Today’s media doesn’t pay enough homage to the older MLB players. In fact, when fellow TSR contributor David Medsker and I were brainstorming ideas for a new feature, the first thing I brought up was that we should do an all 24-and-younger MLB team comprised of…well the idea is pretty self explanatory.

It wasn’t until David and I exhausted that idea before he sent me an e-mail that simply read: “Has anyone done an all 35-and-over team?”

Perfect. The moment I read it I burst into laughter. Could you imagine compiling a team of players that were only 35 years or older when present day teams usually build around youth? I love it.

Unfortunately, the guys over at Off Base Percentage beat us to the punch by compiling their own 35-plus year old team, so David and I decided to actually hold a live draft in order to make two teams. (Take that OBP.)

Below is a round-by-round breakdown of our all 35-and-older MLB draft. We selected a player for every infield position, plus three outfield positions, four starting pitchers (we only had eight to choose from), three relievers, one DH and two bench spots. Once the draft started, David and I quickly developed different strategies for building our rosters, so it was interesting to see how the draft played out. Take a look and let us know if you would have gone a different route.

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A-Rod not happy about popcorn shot

Per the Chicago Sun-Times

A few Fox honchos’ ears were burning Sunday night in Dallas — and it had nothing to do with the action on the Cowboys Stadium field. Turns out Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez wanted to slug a few folks after he spotted himself and his girlfriend Cameron Diaz being shown to the 111 million people watching the game.

America saw the actress lovingly feeding popcorn into A-Rod’s mouth.

“He really went ballistic — thinking the cameraman was out to get them in a paparazzi-like shot. … That’s so crazy,” said my source. “Anyone who knows anything about producing a live sports event — especially something as huge as the Super Bowl — would know that those celebrity shots are purely random.

“A-Rod, of all people, should know that.”

After that one shot — which frankly was totally innocent and kind of sweet — Rodriguez got a guarantee that he and Diaz would not be televised any further.

Here’s an idea — if you don’t want the camera to catch your girlfriend feeding you popcorn, THEN DON’T LET HER FEED YOU POPCORN AT THE F#$%!NG SUPER BOWL!

This is it — this is where ego and idiocy converge.

Just because he complained to Fox, I’m going to post the video here, in case you missed it:

Colby Lewis, MVP Josh Hamilton lift Rangers to first ever World Series

Texas Rangers players celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees to win their Major League Baseball's ALCS playoff series in Arlington, Texas October 22, 2010.  REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

With a dominating effort over the Yankees in the ACLS, the Texas Rangers have punched their first ticket to the World Series in club history.

Colby Lewis allowed just one run over eight innings in the Rangers’ 6-1 win in Game 6 Friday night. The only run he allowed shouldn’t even have counted, as A-Rod scored on what was deemed a wild pitch, but replays showed that the ball actually hit Nick Swisher’s leg.

No matter. Lewis yielded just three hits and struck out seven while frustrating Yankee hitters with his outstanding command of the strike zone. He won both of his ALCS starts, posting a 1.98 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with 13 Ks over 13 2/3 innings.

Josh Hamilton was named series MVP, as he reached base in all four plate appearances on Friday and batted .350 with four long balls in six games. Considering his long personal battle with drugs, alcohol and immense ups and downs, it’s amazing how far he’s come. He’s an easy guy to root for if you know his background and he’s a true comeback tale.

As for the Yankees, they can only blame themselves. They hit just .201 to the Rangers’ .304, while driving in 19 runs to Texas’ 38 RBI. They were also bested in home runs (9 to 6) and ERA (6.58 to 3.06).

This is yet another example of how baseball is won on the field – not in the offseason. The Bombers could have spent triple what they did this year to field a team and they still would have had to execute on the field. But they didn’t and now they’ll be at home come November.

Comment Starter: The Rangers now await the winner of the NCLS between the Phillies and Giants, as San Fran currently holds a 3-2 lead. What matchup would you most like to see? The two underdogs or a powerhouse Phillies-Rangers matchup?

A-Rod finally overcomes a nasty case of unclutchitis to hit No. 600

Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit 600 home runs when he launched a Shaun Marcum 2-0 pitch over the centerfield wall during the Yankees’ game with the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon.

Excuse me while I wet myself.

The blast broke a string of 12 games in which A-Rod was so overcome with pressure that he managed to hit only .177 with no home runs. While I can’t prove that pressure was the thing that was holding him back, rumor has it he hasn’t slept in nearly 10 nights and has often been seen shaking uncontrollably at the mere mention that he has to perform. (All right, so I can’t prove that either.)

A-Rod now joins an elite club that includes Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630) and Sammy Sosa (609) to have accomplished the feat.

Too bad only four of those seven players didn’t need to enlist the help of performance-enhancing drugs in order to reach the milestone.

So way to go, A-HoleRod. Congratulations, or something.

Top 10 active base hits leaders

I read yesterday that one of Pete Rose’s bats was being auctioned off, the one he used for his last hit, number 4256. And it made me wonder if that will ever be topped. I can’t imagine it will be, but stranger things have happened. Of course, the Baseball Hall of Fame still fails to recognize what Rose did on the field because of what he did as a manager off the field. But that’s for another post. Here is a look at the Top 10 active leaders in base hits:

1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (2824)—The classiest player by far in the big leagues today, and the epitome of someone who plays the game right and just gets it. I look forward to Jeter notching his 3000th hit, which will likely be next season.

2. Ivan Rodriguez, Washington Nationals (2781)—In his twentieth season this year, I-Rod is batting .331. No loss of bat speed with this guy, that’s for sure.

3. Omar Vizquel, Chicago White Sox (2724)—Amazingly, Vizquel is in his 22nd season and still looks like he’s 28 years old. I got to see him play in his prime in Cleveland, and he was/is the best defensive shortstop I’ve ever seen. But he has clearly racked up hits too.

4. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (2596)—Well, duh. The question is, though, will he eventually be the all-time home run king?

5. Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers (2530)—Yeah, he juiced, and so did A-Rod. But these two guys still have to be incredibly talented ball players to rack up this many hits.

6. Garret Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers (2515)—Steady and classy as well, but it’s just hard to believe Garret Anderson is 38 years old. Didn’t he just break into the bigs?

7. Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (2482)—Scrappy, solid player, and he just keeps on grinding. But do any of you remember Damon’s days with the Royals? I sure don’t.

8. Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (2444)—Another guy who defines playing the game the way it was meant to be played, and he just keeps on hitting well into his thirties.

9. Vladimir Guerrero, Texas Rangers (2326)—He’s hitting .339 with 53 RBI on June 11. Vlad is another ageless wonder.

10. Edgar Renteria, San Francisco Giants (2213)—It’s kind of amazing that Renteria is on this list, even though he’s never had a 200-hit season. But he’s been reliable and consistent all these years.

Source: Baseball Reference

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