Monthly Archives: June, 2014

Are the Blue Jays ready to become AL East champs?

Toronto

Take a look at the MLB standings this morning and you see a lot of familiar faces at the top of the heap. Atlanta, Detroit and Oakland each won division titles last season, while San Francisco won the NL West in 2012 and the Brewers took the NL Central in 2011. It’s the team that sits in first place in the AL East that probably surprises a lot of baseball experts: the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays have not won a division title since 1993, and they have finished second in a division race only once since then (that was in 2006 when they were division runner-ups).

Toronto doe not, however, hold the mark for the longest wait for a division championship. In fact, two of the NL franchises have never won a division crown: Miami and Colorado. Of those teams that have won a divisional title, the Kansas City Royals have the longest drought; they have not won a division championship since 1985.

Following is a look at the last time each of the current 30 MLB franchises won a divisional title.

Never: Colorado, Miami

1985: Kansas City

1992: Pittsburgh

1993: Toronto

1997: Baltimore

2001: Houston, Seattle

2006: NY Mets, San Diego

2007: Cleveland

2008: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox

2009: L.A. Angels

2010: Minnesota, Tampa Bay

2011: Arizona, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Texas

2012: Cincinnati, NY Yankees, San Francisco, Washington

2013: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, LA Dodgers, Oakland, St. Louis

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Brewers winning with multiple run producers

Brewers5

With their win last night, the Milwaukee Brewers finished the first half of the 2014 season with a 49-32 record. Looking at some of the stats for the team, there are five players who are on pace to finish the season with 80 of more RBIs: Khris Davis (42), Ryan Braun (41), Carlos Gomez (41), Jonathan Lucroy (40) and Aramis Ramirez (40). If each of them should finish the year with 80 or more RBIs, it would be only the fourth time in team history that five players had 80 or more RBIs in the season.

Here’s a look at the three Brewers teams that had five players with 80 or more RBIs.

1982: Cecil Cooper (121), Robin Yount (114), Gorman Thomas (112), Ben Oglivie (102), Ted Simmons (97)

1996: John Jaha (118), Greg Vaughn (95), Jose Valentin (95), Dave Nilsson (84), Jeff Cirillio (83)

2010: Casey McGehee (104), Ryan Braun (103), Corey Hart (102), Prince Fielder (83), Rickie Weeks (83)

The Brewers have a sixth player, Mark Reynolds, who starts the second half of the season with 31 RBIs. If Reynolds could drive in 44 or more runs in the second half and join the five teammates on pace to finish over 80, that would give the Brewers six players with 75 or more RBIs. That would be only the second time in club history where six players ended the season with 75 or more RBI. The only season with six Brewers with 75 or more RBIs was in 1987: Robin Yount (103), Dale Sveum (95), Greg Brock (85), Rob Deer (80), Glenn Braggs (77), Paul Molitor (75).

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The overall #1 pick in the NBA draft: Will he stay… or will he eventually go?

nba-draft

Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker? Will the Cavs hold on to the number one pick or will they make a trade?

Those two questions will be answered Thursday night when the NBA holds its annual draft. It will be interesting to see which team gets the number one pick (will the Cavs trade it or hold on to it?) and who they will take. In either case, that team is hoping whichever player they take will be the cornerstone of great success in the coming seasons.

Overall number one picks, however, don’t always turn out to the “saviors” that teams that select them hope they will be. Some get career-ending injuries, some just have crappy careers and end up out of the league earlier than expected. Others play a few years for the team that drafted them and then they leave via free agency or get traded. Consider this: Of the 53 players who were the overall number one pick in the NBA draft from 1947 to 1999, only eight of those players stayed with the team that drafted them for their entire career.

Following are the players drafted as the overall number one selection in the NBA draft that stayed their entire career with that team.

1958: Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis Lakers (846 games with Lakers)
1972: LaRue Martin, Portland (271 games with the Trailblazers)
1973: Doug Collins, Philadelphia (415 games with the 76ers)
1979: Magic Johnson, LA Lakers (763 games with the Lakers)
1982: James Worthy, LA Lakers (926 games with the Lakers)
1986: Brad Daugherty, Cleveland (548 games with the Cavs)
1987: David Robinson, San Antonio (987 games with the Spurs)
2002: Yao Ming, Houston (486 games with the Rockets)

There are currently seven active players who were the overall number one pick in the draft that are still playing with the team that drafted them. Topping this list is San Antonio’s Tim Duncan who was the overall number one pick in 1997 by the Spurs. He just completed his 17th season with the team that drafted him.

Following are the active players drafted as the overall number one selection in the NBA draft that have played their entire career with that team.

1997: Tim Duncan, San Antonio (1254 games with the Spurs)
2008: Derrick Rose, Chicago (289 games with the Bulls)
2009: Blake Griffin, LA Clippers (308 games with the Clippers)
2010: John Wall, Washington (266 games with the Wizards)
2011: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland (181 games with the Cavs)
2012: Anthony Davis, New Orleans (131 games with the Pelicans)
2013: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland (52 games with the Cavs)

How many of the above seven players will play their entire career with the team that drafted them?

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TRIPLE PLAY: Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn

(One subject… three questions… Can you answer the three questions correctly and complete the TRIPLE PLAY?)

1. Tony Gwynn won eight National League batting titles in his 20-year career. In those 12 seasons where he did not win a batting crown, in how many of those seasons did Gwynn finish in the Top 5 in N.L. batting?

2. Gwynn was drafted in the third round of the 1981 baseball amateur draft. He was also drafted in the 10th round of the 1981 NBA draft. What NBA team drafted Gwynn in 1981?

3. Gwynn collected 3,141 hits in his career. He had 30 or more hits against five different pitchers in his career. Two of those five pitchers were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Name the two pitchers voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame that Gwynn had 30 or more hits against in his career.

ANSWERS

1. Gwynn won eight batting titles and finished in the Top 5 in five other seasons. He was the batting crown runner-up in 1993, finished third in the batting title twice (1986 and 1991), was fourth in 1985, and finished fifth in the N.L. batting race in 1992.

2. Tony was drafted in the 10th round of the 1981 NBA draft by the San Diego Clippers.

3. Of Gwynn’s 3,141 career hits, he had 39 hits versus Greg Maddux, 33 against Rick Mahler, 32 against John Smoltz, 31 against Tom Browning, and 30 against Tom Glavine. Maddux and Glavine were both voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 and will be inducted in a ceremony this summer.

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Germany looks to extend World Cup semifinals domination

2014 World Cup

The 20th FIFA World Cup is in full swing. Less than one week into this year’s event, we know that we will not have a repeat champion as Spain has lost two matches and will not advance in the tournament this year.

Of the previous 19 World Cups, the German team has had the most appearances in the semifinals with 12; they have won only three titles. The Brazil team has the second most semifinal appearances with 10 and the most World Cup championships with five. The German and Brazil teams tie for the most title match appearances with seven.

In the history of the World Cup (which began in 1930), eight different countries have won a World Cup (Spain became the eighth country with their win in the 2010 World Cup).

Following are the countries that have had at least two semifinal appearances in the 19 previous World Cups.

Country, Semifinals appearances (title game appearances), titles

German… 12 (7) three titles
Brazil… 10 (7) five titles
Italy… 8 (6) four titles
France… 5 (2) one title
Uruguay… 5 (2) two titles
Argentina… 4 (4) two titles
Sweden… 4 (1) no titles
Netherlands… 4 (3) no titles
England… 2 (1) one title
Czechoslovakia… 2 (2) no titles
Hungary… 2 (2) no title
Yugoslavia… 2 (0) no title
Austria… 2 (0) no title
Portugal… 2 (0) no title
Poland… 2 (0) no title
Spain… 2 (1) one title

Note: Nine countries have made one appearance in the World Cup semifinals. The only semifinals appearance by the U.S. team was in 1930; the Americans took third place.

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