The Todfather Says Goodbye: Everyone is in a furor over Mariano Rivera's retirement, but there's another great player retiring after the end of the season, Colorado's long time first baseman Todd Helton. Helton's career will be dissected about whether or not he's a hall of fame player. Jack Moore says don't bring that argument to him because Helton is definitely not a hall of fame player. Jonah Keri is on the fence. For me personally looking at Helton's numbers and the ballpark he played in, he's a fringe hall of fame player.
To Planet Hoagie!: Mike Stanton crushes home runs. I mean he flat out crushes them. He crushed one on Wednesday night in Philadelphia to a eating stand called "Planet Hoagie". So Stanton's home runs really do leave the Earth.
Worst Final Seasons: Paul Swydan of Fangraphs takes a look at the worst final seasons in the history of baseball. And yep good ole Todd Helton's name is on that list. Read the whole post though because I'm sure you'll be surprised at some of the other names on the list including Carlton Fisk.
The Wild Card Is Making Baseball Exciting: Wednesday night was one of those special nights. Three teams (Tampa Bay, Texas, Baltimore) fighting for a wild card spot needed extra innings to keep their season alive. The Sweet Spot argues that this is making baseball better and I attend to agree. There are six teams within 2.5 games of each other fighting for two spots in the playoff. It's baseball's version of Thunderdome.
Merchandise in Japan: Baseball Prospectus has a great post about merchandise in Japan and it all started because the Japanese are selling a Willy Mo Pena tumbler. Some of the items that are sold in Japan are freaking incredible. My favorite is this all denim look. And I mean ALL DENIM.
Michael Keaton, yeah this Michael Keaton, is a long suffering Pirates fan. His fandom started with Maz in the 1960's and he's been suffering ever since then. Keaton actually does tell a pretty good story about his brother and how he became a Pirates fan.
Why So Many Bunts?: Rob Neyer asks why are teams still bunting? Well the answer is that the bunt is still a successful tool when used in right situations and not all that often. Not surprisingly Dusty Baker's Reds lead the league in sac bunts.
The Best Players Not in the HOF?: Fangraphs asked a whole lot of baseball writers who are their 3 best players who are not in the HOF? A lot of them answer Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell. And those two guys would be on my list along with Craig Biggio. I'm leaving off Piazza and Schilling out of sheer spite.
Greatest Photobomb Ever?: What's a great way to photobomb three tools (Rex Hudler, Kevin Millar, Chris Rose) talking with each other? Well photobomb them on a segway like Salvador Perez did on Wednesday.
Friday, San Francisco Giants at New York Yankees, Lincecum vs. Sabathia: Two former Cy Young winners who look like the shell of themselves now. Amazing thing is Lincecum is younger than Sabathia. I hope the Giants win this game to make Orioles fans happy. The Giants are all about pleasing the Orioles.
Saturday, Texas at Kansas City, Garza vs. Guthrie: The Royals are just hanging on by a thread. The Rangers got a much needed series split with the Rays. Hot headed Matt Garza who hasn't looked good in a Rangers uniform takes on the Royals to crush their dreams. Jeremy Guthrie will try to keep the Royals season alive.
Sunday, Baltimore at Tampa Bay, Feldman vs. Hellickson: Might as well call the Baltimore-Tampa Bay series what it is, a playoff series. Baltimore needs to win at least two games in this series and a sweep would be nice. I wish I was more confident in the Orioles but I'm not. Tampa Bay is a tough place to play in and Hellickson appears to have found his stuff again.