Wrapping things up by running down the National League's best candidates to benefit from hot spring starts.
Picking up where we left off on Tuesday, let’s complete our circuit of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues by identifying some less established NL players who may have put themselves in stronger consideration for roster spots this season on the basis of small-sample spring performances thus far.
One of the greatest hitters of a generation belatedly hangs up his spikes.
Gary Sheffield officially announced his retirement on Thursday, not that it was a huge surprise. The 42-year-old slugger did not play in 2010, though he probably still had something to offer, coming off a .276/.372/.451 season in a part-time role with the Mets in 2009. In the same breath with which he made the announcement, Sheffield made his case for Cooperstown. "I am sure it will be mentioned and debated, but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame," he said. "A lot of them don't belong in the Hall of Fame. If someone wants to debate me, check the stats."
Some players end up waiting what seems to be an eternity before finally playing a meaningful game in October.
When you’re a ballplayer you don’t control your own destiny. There are 24 other guys, a manager, and a general manager who all have to do their job in order for you to be “a winner.” If they do, you don’t necessarily have to be good yourself; you can just go along for the ride, and many do—Enrique Wilson played in five postseasons, Ernie Banks none. It’s an unjust universe. Or is it? In honor of World Series combatants Aubrey Huff and Michael Young, both of whom are enjoying their first postseason in their 10th full season in the majors, a non-inclusive All-Star team of players who more than paid their dues before finally getting to the postseason, with a couple who didn’t quite pay theirs mixed in.
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With the Fall Classic now upon us, the staff at Baseball Prospectus shares their most memorable World Series moments.
Every baseball fan has a special World Series memory, whether it's Willie Mays' catch, Bill Mazeroski's home run, Brooks Robinson's defense, Kirk Gibson's limp around the bases, or Derek Jeter becoming the first-ever Mr. November. With the World Series opening tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco with the Giants facing the Texas Rangers, many of our writers, editors, and interns share their favorite memories of the Fall Classic.
The Twins and Yankees meet yet again in the first round of the postseason but Minnesota has home field advantage this time.
As they did last year as well as 2003 and 2004, the Twins run squarely into the Yankee juggernaut in the first round. Unlike those other three meetings, they have home field advantage this time around, as they won the AL Central going away thanks to a league-best 48-26 second-half record. The defending world champion Yankees, who held the majors' best record for most of the season, were forced to settle for the wild card due to a sluggish 13-17 showing against a very tough schedule in September and October. Despite the relative temperatures of the two clubs, it's important to remember that late-season records aren't predictive of October success—or failure.
Digging deeper into some good and bad of the American League East's power trio.
When the pitching matchup for Sunday night's Yankees-Red Sox game was initially announced, I joked that I would fake my own death to avoid watching the potentially plodding affair of New York's Dustin Moseley facing off against Daisuke Matsuzaka. As it turns out, the joke was on me, because even having attended three games at Yankee Stadium over the past week (two in the press box, one in the cheap seats) while watching the Yankees duke it out with the American League East's other two heavyweights, I somehow managed to miss out on the best one. With the Yankees riding their second four-game losing streak in a two-week span coming into Sunday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went to the whip and started Phil Hughes—who was set to be skipped in accordance with efforts to manage his innings total—in Moseley's place. Hughes gave the Yankees his best outing in more than a month, and the same can be said for Matsuzaka. The result was a taut 10-inning thriller worthy of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball hype.