Rivera Retires

rivera, last game

http://wapc.mlb.com/nyy/play/?tcid=mm_nyy_vid&c_id=nyy&content_id=30965689

It was a touching moment, Rivera’s final game at Yankee Stadium, where he came in and was removed in the 9th by long-time teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettite.  Even though the Yanks had no playoff hopes, Yankee Stadium was packed, and they roared as he tipped his hat.  The opposing team also gave him a standing O.  He grasped both Pettite and Jeter and had a hard time letting go.  After giving everyone in the dugout a hug, he heard the crowd roaring “We Want Mo!”, and he obliged with one last tip of his cap on the field.  What an incredible moment.  The legacy that he built, the number of people he’s loved by.  What a player, what a man.  That was a great moment for baseball.

But he meant more than that to me.  His attitude.  He was never flashy.  No showboating.  He was competitive, but always in control of himself.  It says alot that Boston gave him a standing ovation in his last appearance there as well.  He will be missed.  He is a classic.  Epic.  Legendary.  He always came out of the bullpen to the “Enter Sandman” song by Metallica.
Rivera was a 5 time World Series Champ (’96, 1998-2000, 2009) and a 13 time All-Star.  He had 42 saves and a .70 ERA in the postseason, and finished with the most saves all time with 652 saves, a 2.21 ERA, 1173 K’s in 1283.2 Innings Pitched.

The Yankees missed the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years this year.  They had the highest opening day payroll of $230 million dollars.  With the retiring of Pettite and Mariano, Jeter aged at 39, A-Rod involved in a likely suspension and aged at 38, and Robinson Cano becoming a free-agent next year, I see some tough years ahead for them.  I loved Mariano, but facing him when he was playing your team was like you were already watching a loss.

Thank you Mo, thank you Mo

Advertisements
Posted in Baseball | Leave a comment

Los Angeles Angels 2013 Brief

Wanted to make a few notes about the Angels.  Not much of a rival this year:

  • 2013 Record:  78-84
  • Opening Day Salary:  $127,896,250 (7th in Major Leagues.  Texas is 10th, at $112,939,500)
  • Mike Scioscia has a 10 yr, $50 M contract (2009-2018), which is unusually long and high for a manager contract.
  • Josh Hamilton (32 years old):  5 yrs, $125 M ($25 M/yr, 2013-2017).  2013 Stats:  .250 AVG, .307 OBP, .432 SLG, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 158 SO.
  • Albert Pujols (33 years old):  10 yrs, $240 M ($24 M/yr, 2012-2021).  2013 Stats:  99 GP, .258 AGV, 17 HR, 64 RBI
  • C.J. Wilson in his career versus the Rangers is 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in 5 games, and an OPP BA of .333.
  • Mike Trout is the diamond in the rough.  In his sophomore year, hit .323, OBP of .432, had 110 walks, 27 HR, 97 RBI, and 33 SB.  That’s exceptional.

I expected Pujols to be a force when he signed with the Angels, but he has played bad and he’s been slowed by injuries.  The Angels invested heavily in him, and signed him until he’s 42.  I don’t understand a contract of that length.  Ten years is extremely risky.  Has A-Rod’s been worth it?

Posted in Baseball | Leave a comment

Postseason Scenario

The A’s have clinched the West.
The Rangers have still not won a series since my last post.  They have lost 6 of their last 7 series, and split the other.  Wow.  In September, they are 5-15, have been shutout 3 times (twice in Arlington), and have 6 games where they have only scored 1 or 2 runs.  Yikes.  Run support.  It was pretty cool seeing Kansas City stadium roaring with fan support in this last series.  Unfortunately, had to watch them doing it against the Rangers.

So, there is one week of the regular season left.  Here’s where we stand:
AL
A’s clinched West.
Boston clinched East.
Detroit – Magic Number is 2 to clinch Central.
NL
Atlanta clinched East.
Dodgers clinched West.
The only real race — AL Central, 3 way race between St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.  St. Louis currently has a 2 game lead over the other 2 teams.

So, the AL Wild Card:

Team W L WCGB Games Left Opponents Left
Tampa Bay 86 69 +.5 7 1 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ TOR
Cleveland 86 70 0 6 2 vs CHW, 4 @ MIN
Texas 84 71 1.5 7 3 vs. HOU, 4 vs. LAA

Well, for a Ranger’s fan, playing Houston at home is a plus.  With all respect to the Astros, if we don’t win that series, we don’t deserve to be in the postseason.  Then again, Houston and LA would like nothing more than to come to our house and bust up our hopes of making the playoffs.

All coming down to the wire.  Only one more week of baseball, and we’ll finally have the postseason picture.

Posted in Baseball, Texas Rangers | Leave a comment

Lumia 925, Windows 8 Phone Review

Lumia 925:
lumia 925

Specs:

  • Retail (T-Mobile):  $529.99
  • 8.7 MP Carl Zeiss Pureview Camera
  • 4.5″ AMOLED Screen (768 x 1280 px)
  • 16 GB Storage, 1.5 GHz CPU Speed, 1 GB RAM
  • NFC Capable

I bought the Lumia 925 a few days ago so I thought I’d share my thoughts so far on the phone as well as having a Windows 8 phone for the first time.

I’ll start by saying what I look for in a phone.  Honestly, I like it to be simple.  I don’t get on social networks much, and I don’t like my phone to be loaded with too many apps either.  I need it to make calls, text, have a good battery life, be able to use GPS for directions, use an Alarm Clock, and check on the Weather.  Everything else is secondary.  Now, most smart phones on the market will have those things.  But, for this phone, I wanted to go top of the line for the camera.  That is ultimately what sold me on the Lumia 925.  I’m with T-Mobile (b/c their plans are much cheaper than competitors), so the Lumia 1020 (41 MP Camera) was not an option (Exclusive to AT&T).  If I’m honest, I also wanted a smaller phone, didn’t really need a 4.5″ screen with HD, but for the best cameras you’re required to get a larger phone.  There’s an Galaxy S4 Mini, but unfortunately it’s not available in the US, and only in the UK for T-Mobile.

Second, I’ll tell you what I’m coming from–definitely no top of the line phone that I’m switching from.  It was a Samsung Exhibit ($350 retail).  It was Android, and had the basics mentioned above (texting, calls, GPS, good battery life, alarm clock, weather).  It was lacking the camera though–had 3 MP camera, which is very poor compared to the higher end phone cameras today.  I purchased it a little over 2 years ago.

Besides switching to this phone for the camera, my brother has a Window’s phone and loves it, so I wanted to give a Windows Phone a try for something different.  The Galaxy S4 has a 13 MP Camera and seems to have excellent reviews, but I stuck with the Lumia.

So what are my thoughts so far?

The camera is awesome.  Several customizations and features, including a Panorama shot and a SmartCam shot which takes several pictures consecutively.  It also seems great for low-light pictures.

Battery Life was another high priority.   What’s the point of having a phone if it’s dead all the time? If a phone needs to be used in an emergency, it’s useless if it’s dead.  My last phone would get through an entire day (16 hours) w/out needing a charge, usually longer, even 48 hours.  I was looking to get a minimum of this with the new phone.  I tested it out today with limited action and all the apps I think I want, and I think I’m getting similar results, probably could go a full 2 days without charging.  It’s those times where you’re using GPS to get somewhere and also taking pictures where your phone can drain in a hurry, so I’ll have to see how it holds up in a more strenuous situation.

I also haven’t used the GPS yet, so I can’t vouch for that either.  It uses “Here Drive+” and “Here Maps”, both by Nokia, rather than the Google Navigation I was accustomed to before with my Android Phone.  I’ve played around with it (not going anywhere), and it seemed solid.

Few other notes:

  • The graphics look crisp and amazing on this phone.  Like I said, I didn’t really want a phone this big, but it does make viewing pictures, playing games, etc. more of an enjoyable experience.  The display is much different, which is part of what I wanted.  Many people refer to it as “simplified”, but it also looks pretty slick to me.  The larger headers/folder names have grown on me.
  • The main screen is filled with a group of customizable “tiles” rather than a background with smaller icons in Android.  I like it.  I like being able to set the colors on the tiles as well as their size.  I’ve provided a screenshot of my phone below.
  • Has customizable feature of automatically disabling Wi-Fi when locked.  Really like this feature to save your battery.
  • It has a predictive texting line above where you enter text, it’s easy to use, and very efficient.  I didn’t ever really catch on with Swype on the other phone, so this works well for me.
  • SkyDrive is pretty cool and convenient for sharing media between your phone and your computer.  As easy as going to a website and downloading it from there.  (7 GB Available)
  • OneNote is a nice looking little app for notes and checklists.
  • The volume is set across the board (calling, texting, media, alarm), which was customizable on my last phone.  However, I actually like a consistent volume for everything.  By pressing a volume button, you can pause, or go previous/next track, from any screen.  You can change from vibrate to vibrate and ring by pressing a volume button, then touching an icon on the upper corner.  You can’t change to completely silent unless going into settings, but that doesn’t bother me b/c I never go to completely silent, and the vibrate isn’t overwhelming on this phone either.
  • If you go to mywindowsphone.com, you can locate your phone, make it ring, and/or lock it, even if it’s powered off.  Wow, crazy how far technology has come!

However, there are a few negatives:

  • I have one major beef about this phone; the SMS delivery confirmation.  As I said before, texting is a major priority for me; that’s what I use the phone for the majority of the time.  With the Android, when I sent a text, on the bottom right within the text message, you’d get a tiny message, “sending”, then the time would show after it was sent.  If for some reason it didn’t send, you’d get a “Failed” message, in which case you could hold your finger down on the button, and either tap “Resend” or you could choose to just delete the message entirely.  No such luck with the Windows 8! There is a whole separate thread you must use for confirmation.  Because I don’t want to receive and additional text every time I send one, I turned it off.  If the text doesn’t go through, you will automatically get a message from “Mobile operator”, but it only says the number, not the contact name.  This is quite a difference in capability, maybe even a deal-breaker for someone who texts frequently.  Windows 8 failed me on this, quite a frustrating disappointment! Windows, if anything, update this!
  • Apps are somewhat limited.  I.E., I use Independent Bank, it has an app available on IPhone and Android, but not Windows.  I think this is probably the case in several situations.
  • Can’t dictate how much interval between snoozes for alarm clock.

That’s about all I’ve got so far.  I may do another post after a few weeks after I’ve used it more and become more familiar with it.  So far I love it!! Here’s a screen shot of my main screen:

WP_20130922 1

Posted in Other | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rangers’ Slide

On August 29th, the Rangers had a 3 game lead on the A’s in the AL West.  Now, 17 days later, on September 16th, the A’s have a 6 1/2 game lead on the Rangers.  That’s a 9 1/2 game slide in a little over 2 weeks.  Wow.

The Rangers just set a franchise record by losing 6 straight on the most recent homestand, and they also didn’t hit a home run.  The Rangers have lost 5 straight series, being swept in the last 2, and they are 3-12 in their last 15 games.  The A’s, on the other hand, have won their last 6 straight series.

Tough to swallow for a Ranger’s fan, especially after Oakland beat the Rangers out of the West last year as well, when the Rangers just needed one win against them in the final series at their house, but could not come through with it.

It’s particularly tough to watch the offense.  Time after time, RISP do not score.  I’m starting to cringe when they have a runner on 3rd, but there’s 2 outs.

One thing that really stands out–not getting wins behind Darvish.  Darvish has an ERA under 3 (2.79), but his record shows a lack of run support.  His record only shows 12-9.  Darvish has become only the 3rd American League pitcher ever to lose four 1-0 games in a season.   If you include no-decisions, the Rangers have lost more games than won with Darvish on the hill — they are 14-15.  That is an incredible loss of opportunity! The ace is putting up ace numbers, but still not getting wins..

The next 2 weeks are crucial.  They start a series tonight with the Rays, who share the lead at the top of the Wild Card race. 

I was watching the game on Saturday, and the commentator Eric Karros brought up a good point — if you’ve lost as much as the Rangers have lately, do you deserve to be in the postseason? I agree.  If the Rangers continue to play at this rate, quite frankly, they don’t deserve to be there.  As a Ranger’s fan, let’s hope we see some solid wins.  We know it’s an uphill battle.

One final note…Nelson Cruz.  If the Ranger’s did make the playoffs, would he play? From what I’ve seen lately, I’d love to see him back in the lineup.  I know, he screwed up.  It certainly hurt my perception of him, b/c I loved watching him, I loved his smile, his enthusiasm, and just as much watching his talent.  His cannon from right field, and his monster shots.  Of course, he had the blunder of not catching the ball in right field in the 2011 WS that could have closed the deal.  That’s an easy one play to point to and highlight for finding the scapegoat of the game and series loss.  But would the Rangers have made it TO the WS without him? He was the ALCS MVP, he did break the record for most home runs in a postseason series with 6, and 2 of those 6 came in extra innings.

My favorite moment in Rangers’ history is watching him smash a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 5th off David Robertson of the Yankees in game 6 of the 2010 ALCS.  The Ballpark in Arlington roared like I’ve never seent it.

Whether you like it or not, Cruz is a major part of Rangers’ postseason history.  He has been clutch.  In my opinion, if the Rangers make the playoffs–he needs to be in the lineup for your best chance to win.  He took his suspension, he didn’t argue, and if his teammates are willing to accept him back, he should play.  True, he’s going to hear some serious booing from opposing fans, as well as some of our own (which may sometimes be drowned by the Cruuuuuuz chant, depending on how well he would perform).  But, what are you going to do in his shoes? Be one of the best, and then just hang it up? No, I think not.  He’s not my favorite Ranger anymore, but I’ll also cheer for him if he’s with us again.  He’s been a major part of the organization, and I’m not giving up on him.

As a side note, Bartolo Colon was also suspended for 50 games for PED use at the end of the 2012 season with the A’s.  Colon came back this year with the A’s again, and is now their ace, having a 16-6 record and a 2.73 ERA.  Where would the A’s be without him this year?

Posted in Baseball, Texas Rangers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2012 AL Wild Card, Baltimore 5, Texas 1

It’s still sinking in that Texas is out of the postseason already.  It’s still sinking in they didn’t take the West.  It was a mixture of being shocked and stunned.  The Rangers led the AL West alone since April 9 and had the lead for 178 days.  Including regular and postseason play, they were 4-10 in their last 14 games and lost their last 4 consecutive games.  They lost a series to Seattle, split a series with Oakland, lost a series to the Angels, and got swept in their final series of the season against Oakland.  They needed one of 3 in Oakland to get the division – couldn’t get that one.  Their starters there were Perez, Harrison, and Dempster.  The only shaky one of those 3 was Perez, and in his game there were only 4 total runs for the A’s.

It was frustrating watching the Seattle series that was lost b/c they were low scoring games but the Rangers had some many blown opportunities with runners in scoring position, and especially when there were less than 2 outs, and time after time after time the man on 3rd was left stranded.  There was a stat of them being 0 for 25 or something with RISP.

What can you say? The A’s earned it.  They were hot, the Rangers were not.

It’s only fair that I put this graphic up b/c I did it in 2010 when the Rangers were ridiculously outspent by the Yankees but still beat them in the ALCS

 

                                     2012  Team Payroll
Oakland $49,137,500
Texas $120,510,975

 

That’s insane.

Rangers have star power, practically the entire lineup, and much hype with Yu.  A’s biggest name? Cespedes?

What killed the Rangers?

  • 5th starter was a problem when Feliz and Colby went out for the season earlier in the season.  Oswalt, Perez, and Feldman all had their shot and all performed poorly.
  • Felt like Hamilton didn’t have as much as a all-star season.  He started out extremely hot but cooled down considerably in the second half.
  • Rangers could not come up with hits in scoring position, particularly the last month of the season and against Seattle.

It will be very interesting to see what happens in the offseason.  Where will Hamilton go? He was so hot at the beginning of the season, but the second half it was frustrating his over-aggressiveness at the plate kill him so consistently.  You could bet that the opposing pitcher would throw him an offspeed pitch a foot out of the zone on the first pitch, and you could bet that Josh would swing and miss at it.  I don’t think the Rangers will re-sign Hamilton, but regardless of who gets him I think his contract will be overpriced.

I hope Feliz and Colby will come back strong.  Time will tell..

In the meantime, postseason play goes on, and I think I may be rooting for Oakland a bit, considering they are the underdog – 5 rookie starting pitchers, the team payroll mentioned above which is last in the MLB, and they’re representing the West.  But, they’re down 0-2 to the Tigers right now and the next 3 would be in Detroit so not looking good there either..

As the Brooklyn Dodgers used to say, “Wait ’till next year!”

Posted in Baseball | Leave a comment

2012 AL Postseason Scenario

With only 3 games left in the regular season, here are the scenarios for what must happen for each team to get to the postseason that can:

  • Central – Tigers, leading central by 3 gms, White Sox, E#1, White Sox must (a) sweep Cleveland in Cleveland and (b) Detroit must be swept by Kansas City in Kansas City, otherwise Tigers take the Central Division, will not take best record.
  • East – Yankees, Athletics tied for AL East and 1 gm behind Texas for best record in AL.  Both have at least clinched Wild Card spot. 
    • Yankees, 3 games at home vs. Boston, sweep is likely, but it is NY vs. Boston, anything could happen.  Pitching matchups:
      • Mon., Bucholz – Sabathia
      • Tues., Lester – Nova
      • Wed., Matsuzaka – Kuroda
    • Baltimore, 3 games @ Tampa Bay, series could go either way.
      • Mon., Chen – Cobb
      • Tues., TBA – Shields
      • Wed., TBA – Hellickson
  • West – Texas, 2 gm lead over Oakland in West, 1 gm advantage for best record, have clinched wild card spot.  3 games at Oakland.  Texas wins 1 of 3, they clinch division.  Oakland sweeps, they clinch division.  Series could go either way.  Pitching matchups:
    • Mon., Perez – Parker, Oak certainly has adv here, don’t know what to expect w/ rookie Perez
    • Tues., Harrison – Blackley
    • Wed., Dempster  – Griffin
  • AL Wild Card (2nd Spot) – Will play either New York or Baltimore
    • Oakland, favorite – 3 games up on Tampa Bay and LA Angels  (WC Elimination # is 1) If Oakland wins 1 game versus TX, they clinch Wild Card spot.
    • Los Angeles – must (a) sweep Seattle in Seattle and (b) Oakland must sweep Texas.  Tough matchup vs. Seattle b/c Seattle starters going are solid.  Pitching matchups:
      • Mon., Wilson – Hernandez (adv King Felix)
      • Tues., Haren – Hiwakuma
      • Wed., Weaver – Beavan
    • Tampa Bay – must (a) sweep Baltimore at home and (b) Oakland must sweep Texas.

    National League is much more simple.  San Francisco and Cincinnati have clinched.  Washington will likely clinch East and Braves take a Wild Card spot since Braves are 3 behind Washington with 3 games remaining.  The big race is St. Louis and L.A. Dodgers for the other Wild Card spot – the Cards have a 2 game lead.

Posted in Baseball | Leave a comment

Excessive NCAA Time Outs

How many timeouts are in a televised NCAA basketball game? Possibly 28! Twenty-eight!

Each team gets 5 during each half, four 30 seconds timeouts and one 60 second timeout.  On top of that there are 4 TV timeouts each half at 4 minutes intervals ( at the 16, 12, 8, and 4 minute marks in the half).  This is a grand total of 28 time outs in a game (with the half-time break).  I know, basketball is a physically demanding sport, but man, that is too many commercials for me.

No timeouts in soccer!

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment

CJ Throws 4th Complete Game

CJ Wilson went the full 9 tonight versus the Mariners, while giving up only 1 earned run and fanning 12.  The Rangers won 5-2.  The defensive woes continued for the team and for Andrus, who committed his 8th error of the season.

Neftali Feliz and Tommy Hunter both pitched for AA Frisco.  Feliz went one inning and Ked 3.  Hunter went 4  and gave up 2 earned runs.

Nelson Cruz is still out with a strained quad, and Josh Hamilton is still out after recovering from a broken bone below his right shoulder.

Posted in Baseball, Texas Rangers | Leave a comment

April Summary

April of the 2011 MLB season is done, 1/6th of the season, 5 more months to go.  Division leaders at the end of April are:
AL East:  Yankees (15-9), .625
AL Central:  Cleveland (18-8), .692
AL West:  Texas (16-11), .593
NL East:  Philadelphia (18-8), .692
NL Central:  St. Louis (16-11), .593
NL West:  Colorado (17-8), .680

The Rangers started out 8-0,  but have cooled down considerably since then, going 8-11.  The Angels are only 1 game back at 15-12.

Posted in Baseball | Leave a comment