MLB All-25 and Younger Team

There’s a different feel to baseball again – a good feeling.

Yeah, I know – there are probably still plenty of players who are cheating. But at least the league is (finally) making somewhat of an effort to clean up its image and for that, we as fans have hope that maybe someday the game will be juice-free again.

Those who have watched their fair share of baseball this season should be reveling in how the game is getting younger again. Instead of teams waiting for dingers in order to score runs, clubs are bunting, stealing and manufacturing scoring opportunities – the way the game is supposed to be played.

After watching how the Rays won last season, more and more teams are building their rosters by developing home grown talent rather than signing big-name free agents (save for the Yankees, of course) and it’s making the game exciting again. An onus has been made on youth and speed and for the first time in quite a while, baseball is once again a young man’s game.

That said, I’ve decided to have a little fun by constructing an entire 25-man baseball roster (I’ve named the team “Team Youthful Exuberance”) by using only players who are 25 years of age and younger. Rules and guidelines for the roster are below so enjoy and as always, feel free to make an argument for any players that I might have missed.

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MLB Daily Six Pack 4/8

1. Nice start for Josh Beckett
This season hasn’t gone the way of the ace so far, with CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum all struggling for their respective teams. But one No. 1 that didn’t struggle in his ’09 debut was Boston’s Josh Beckett, who fanned 10 in the BoSox’s 5-3 victory over the Rays on Tuesday. You hate to make claims that a pitcher is already in midseason form after only one outing, but Beckett’s two-hit, one-run effort against Tampa was impressive.

2. Speaking of Tim Lincecum…
Boy did he struggle yesterday for the Giants. But the good news for San Fran and the reining NL Cy Young winner is that his velocity wasn’t down, it just looked like he had a major case of the yips in his Opening Day debut. He looked too pumped up from the start and just never settled down. Fortunately, Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina, Travis Ishikawa and the rest of the G-Men offense helped Lincecum out as SF romped the Brewers 10-6. Huh, what a concept – the Giants offense bailing out the pitching for once…who would have thought?

3. Dombrowski better be taking heat today in Detroit
In the offseason, Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski’s answer to solving the bullpen issues in Detroit was signing former Arizona closer Brandon Lyon instead of pursuing other avenues like J.J. Putz (who is now a setup man for the Mets). At least for one day, the decision backfired as Lyon blew Edwin Jackson’s (7.1, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 K) gem in Toronto by giving up three runs on three hits as the Jays knocked off the Tigers 5-4. Granted, Lyon has plenty of time to bounce back but if he doesn’t, the Tigers will be left with mental midget Fernando Rodney to close games, who didn’t necessarily earn the role this spring with a 7.00 ERA. Considering Joel Zumaya may never pitch again due to freak injuries and Nate Robertson (who Dombrowski just gave a 3-year, $21 million deal in January of ’08) is pissed about being taken out of the starting rotation, Dombrowski has quite a mess brewing in Detroit.

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Top 10 Dumbest Self-Inflicted Injuries

In the wake of Plaxico Burress accidentally shooting himself in the leg, ranks the top 10 dumbest self-inflicted injuries.

Glenallen Hill#4 Glenallen Hill
Glenallen Hill is nicknamed “Spiderman” but not because he swings through the air or is a fan of the comic. The outfielder — who has coincidentally played for eight different teams — got his nickname from an incident spurred on by his significant arachnophobia. Early in his career while with the Blue Jays Hill was having a violent nightmare about spiders. Hill, while still asleep tried to escape from the phantom nightmare spiders fell into a glass table. This nightmare gave Hill cuts on his toes and elbows, carpet burns on his knees, landed him on the 15-day DL and gave him his nickname.

#3 Joel Zumaya
Detroit Tigers fireballer Joel Zumaya was unavailable for the 2006 ALCS due to a sore wrist, not an uncommon injury for a pitcher. But Zumaya wouldn’t be on this list if he suffered the injury in anything but a bizarre way.

Zumaya’s sore wrist was the result of playing too much Guitar Hero, the popular music-based video game on his Playstation 2. In fact, the Tigers were so concerned about his obsession that, to ensure that he would be ready for the World Series, they explicitly required him to stop playing.

#2 Bill Gramatica
Bill Gramatica’s injury was a perfect storm of egregiousness. An early field goal. The first points of the game. It wasn’t a turning point. There was no tackle. No cheap shot. No flag. Just a dumb exuberant little kicker and a torn ACL.

After putting the Cardinals up 3-0 in the first quarter in a 2001 game against the Giants, Gramatica jumped wildly into the air only to end his season upon returning to the ground.
Apparently, the Giants momentarily forgot about the scene that became a instant favorite on Sports Center — or perhaps they confused Bill with his older brother Martin. In 2004, they signed Bill Gramatica in the pre-season contract only to cut him a few weeks later.

Plax took the number one spot for those wondering.

I hate to say an injury was well-deserved, but something had to stop the elf-like Gramatica brothers from celebrating 25-yard field goals like they just won the Super Bowl.

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