(Video) Milestone: Jim Thome’s 600th Career Home Run

Congratulations to Jim Thome on becoming the 8th major league baseball player in history to hit 600 career home runs. Jim Thome hit his 600th home run an inning after he hit No. 599 to help the Minnesota Twins outslug the Detroit Tigers 9-6. Both home runs were no-doubters. No. 599 was hit off of Rick Porcello and the historic No. 600 was hit off of Daniel Schlereth.

 

*Source: YouTube / Vs2nice

*Source: Associated Press

MLB > The Trade Deadline Winners

~ The excitement of the lockout finally coming to an end in the NFL has been distracting to say the least.The baseball season is still very much in full swing and teams are getting in position for their playoff runs. The trade deadline has passed and here is a quick look at some key moves that were made for fans to keep an eye on.

 Hunter Pence To The Phillies

 Pence provides the Phillies with the pop they were looking for to balance out their lineup. They already have their pitching rotation that teams are not looking forward to facing in a potential playoff series. Pence is young (28) and brings a .308 batting average and 62 RBI to the team. The Phillies gave up a lot to Houston just to get Pence. However, it was looking clear that this move was needed for the post-season.

Carlos Beltran to San Francisco

Beltran was the next one to go on the New York Mets firesale of 2011. The Phillies, Braves, and Rangers were all interested in the right fielder who is having a bounce back season with the bat. However, it was the defending champion Giants who were able to land Beltran for their stretch run. Much like Pence in Philadelphia, Beltran gives the Giants a much needed bat in a lineup that had a major hole in it.

 Derrick Lee & Ryan Ludwick To The Pirates

Pence and Beltran were obvious moves and everyone knew they were going to happen. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates were not expected to be in a position to be buyers instead of sellers at the trade deadline. The Pirates have been the talk of baseball in 2011 and could have went all out to get Beltran or Pence. It would have meant for them to give up key members of their team though and perhaps a top prospect. For the Pirates to be able to get Lee and Ludwick without mortaging the young talent they currently have is a big win for them and their fans. What the Pirates have done this season so far has been one of my more favorite storylines to follow as the season continues.

Michael Bourn to Atlanta and Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland were solid moves andTexas strengthened their bullpen with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.

 The Yankees shocked everyone by not making any moves. It’s not because of lack of prospects, the Yanks have a high abundance of them. Apparently they are comfortable with where their pitching staff is at. As long as Bartolo Colon, Phil Hughes, and Freddie Garcia can remain consistent behind CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, the Yankees should be able to keep pace with the Red Sox down the stretch.

Baseball > Mets Trade Francisco Rodriguez To Milwaukee, Could Beltran Be Next?

~ Francisco Rodriguez had to see the writing on the wall when he reported to camp this year. He had to know that he might be changing addresses sometime around the All-Star break. It’s the All-Star break, and Rodriguez is headed to a new city. The New York Mets have traded Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers along with cash for two players to be named later.

 Make no mistake about it, this was a cash move for the Mets. The possibility of having to pay Rodriguez $17.5 million in 2012 was just too much for the cash-strapped Mets to handle. The longer they kept him on the team and letting him close games, the greater the chances would have become for that $17.5 million option to kick in. This would have put a major dent in the payroll for them and further reduced their chances of re-signing Jose Reyes in the off season.

 Rodriguez saved 23 games in 26 opportunities this season for the Mets and has had a bounce back year compared to the off the field issues he encountered in 2011. The Brewers clearly are looking to make a strong playoff push and now have an even deeper bullpen. They came out of this looking like winners. Milwaukee gets a top notch closer to pair with their other closer John Axford and the deal does not cost them much either.

 At 29 years old, Rodriguez is looking to pitch himself into another big money contract. He recently hired big time agent Scott Boras which may have added to the urgency for the Mets to move him out of town.

 Look for the Mets to begin to develop Bobby Parnell into their closer of the future. Parnell is young, has a strong arm and has shown flashes. He deserves to get a long look.

 The questions will now continue to circle the Mets as it involves Carlos Beltran. Beltran made the All-Star team and leads the team in home runs. If they decide to move him, it almost assures their fans that they have decided to mail in the rest of the season. New York currently is 11 games out of first place and 7.5 games out of the NL wild card spot.

 The spotlight is going to be on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and what he does or does not do with the remaining big name players on his ballclub.

Derek Jeter, The Greatest Team Captain Of This Lifetime

 ~  Derek Jeter’s chase for his 3,000th career hit is now over. Jeter reached the magical number in his usual dramatic fashion when he launched a David Price pitch over the left field fence at Yankee Stadium that sent the crowd into a frenzy. It was another moment to add to the history of the Yankees. It was another Derek Jeter moment that adds to his resume as arguably the greatest team captain of this lifetime.

 As far as I’m concerned, it’s not much of an argument. I’ve watched 25 years worth of sports and counting. When it comes to leadership, poise and pride in professional sports, Derek Jeter’s image should always come up.

 Jeter won’t go down as the greatest baseball player of all time. The only reason he will never go down as the greatest Yankee of all time is because Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, and Mantle would all present great statistical cases to that claim. However when it comes to pure leadership and the ability to inspire, no one in recent history has done it quite with the style of Jeter.

 I can already hear the long time Yankee fans saying to me now, What about Mattingly? What about Munson?

 To be a team captain, requires you to be the face of the team through good times and especially bad times. The team follows the pace that you set on and off the field of play. It calls for you to be vocal and when to just quietly lead by example.

 If you put Mattingly and Munson together, you get the modern day team captain Derek Jeter. He makes moments happen which is what professional sports is all about. To take the moment and make it your own and to have your teammates look on in admiration and awe. Jeter’s 3,000th career hit provides solid confirmation of this …

 The epic 8-pitch battle between Jeter and Price was captivating. The hard throwing young All-Star pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays did not back down from the moment, he went right after Jeter with his best stuff. The capacity crowd at the stadium were on their feet and the De-Rek Je-Ter chants were growing with every pitch. It was a moment where both teams appeared to be wrapped up into the suspense.

 It was only fitting that Jeter hit a home run to get that hit. He didn’t hit a weak groundball up the middle. He didn’t have to beat out a infield hit. He smacked it over the fence for a home run and finished the day going 5 for 5. Jeter didn’t stagger into 3,000 hits, he smashed his way through by having his biggest game of the season.

 Team captains are given the stage to perform when needed most. Mark Messier was as good at this as any team captain ever. He wasn’t the all around best on the ice, however his leadership took the Rangers to the Stanley Cup. Derek Jeter is that to the Yankees. You have to be able to step onto the big stage at any given time and produce. It’s not for everybody.

 Throughout Jeter’s career as a Yankee, he has owned the grand stage. The home run he hit in the 2000 World Series at Shea Stadium against the Mets.

 The magical flip play against Oakland. The game winning home run in the 2001 World Series against Arizona that earned him the title of Mr. November. 4 championships in 5 years, 5 championships in 17 years. Jeter is all bout winning.

 The class that he carries himself with on and off the field has not only earned the respect of Yankee fans, it commands the respect of fans throughout baseball. Hate or love the Yankees, you must respect Jeter.

 Very few players in professional sports inspire you to not just play alongside them, you also could play for them as well. I got that feeling watching the Yankees run out on the field to congratulate Jeter, that most if not all of them would have ran through a wall to help Jeter if they could. That’s the one you want to be your team captain.

 It’s clear that he isn’t the same player he was 10 years ago. He may not even be the same player he was 5 years ago. At 37 years old, Derek Sanderson Jeter is the gold standard of what it means to be a team leader in professional sports. He earned the right to hold firm with his contract demands before this season. In this era of steroids, big money contracts, and even bigger ego’s, Jeter found a way with that 3,000th hit to remind us why he is the heart and soul of the Yankees.

MLB > Could Carlos Beltran Be On The Move?

~ As the baseball season gets closer to the trade deadline, the New York Mets will have the spotlight on them for who’s going to be leaving them instead of who would be joining them. Carlos Beltran is a strong canidate to be playing for another team after the All-Star Break. The Met’s right fielder could possibly be headed to San Francisco, at least that’s the latest rumor being passed around.

 Beltran has a no trade clause in his contract. He’s willing to waive  that clause … only if it involves a team that is in contention for the playoffs. The Mets definitely have some big decisions to make. Beltran and their closer Francisco Rodriguez are in the center of those discussions to be had.

 When the season started, Jose Reyes and David Wright were also in the mix to possibly be moved. Wright is currently hurt and has missed a large part of the season. Reyes is also currently injured, however the case can still be made the Mets may try to still move him because of his pending contract status.

 Hard to believe that with so much trade talk surrounding the Mets this season, they are actually in contention for a playoff spot. A great deal of credit has to be given to their manager, Terry Collins.

NY Mets-Blog > It’s Time To Show Jose Reyes The Money

~ It has to feel pretty good to be #7 for the New York Mets right now. Jose Reyes is approaching a crossroads.

The 28-year old shortstop is currently playing the best baseball of his career. Reyes has given the Mets organization everything they could possibly want from him in 2011. He is also up for a new contract at the end of the season. It’s now time for the Mets to give their fanbase what it wants … a new contract for Jose Reyes.


This wouldn’t be any ordinary new contract. Professional athletes get new contracts all the time. In most cases, the contract scale normally works this way if an athlete becomes a big time player:

  • The Rookie Contract: The 1st contract a.k.a the rookie contract let’s an athlete know that they have arrived to the party. The fans are excited because their team has a player that’s developed into a buzz.


  • The All-Star Contract: In the event that athlete lives up to the potential and buzz that got them their rookie contract, there is this contract. The athlete has become a branding weapon for their team and it’s marketing strategy. Fans come to the ballpark to see them play.


  • The Franchise Contract: Every athlete that becomes an All-Star in their career won’t receive this contract. The athlete is now at it’s highest prestige level. Their overall talent and game-changing skills has not only been recognized, it has turned that into athlete into a made man. This is the contract that opens the door to an exclusive membership. Cuba Gooding Jr. said it best as Rod Tidwell in the 1996 film Jerry MaguireRead more of this post

The TFB Week In Review … June 5th-11th, 2011 Part Two

The NBA FINALS: Will The Real LeBron Please Stand Up?

 

 ~ The NBA Finals is about to reach it’s grand finale and it’s been a great ride so far. The storyline should be how great these games have been between Miami and Dallas. However, a storyline that’s been 12 months in the making has taken centerstage, the mystery of what happened to LeBron James: The Basketball Player.

 

He didn’t show in game 4, by far the worst we have ever seen him play on the big stage. He was nowhere to be found in the fourth quarter and Miami lost that game. In game 5 James at least showed up long enough to post a triple double. However, those numbers had no impact when it mattered most … the 4th quarter. Miami lost that game as well.

 

He hasn’t exactly been “King James” in this series. The man who is supposed to be nearly unstoppable on the court has been nothing close to that. Now the series heads back to South Beach with Dallas 1 win away from a championship and James possibly headed for the longest summer of his professional career.

 

No one really knows why James has not been the dominant player everyone knows he’s capable of being. It’s possible he could be trying to fit in too much onto Dywane Wade’s team instead of just playing his game. What is certain though is that James is in danger of damaging his reputation on the court. The doubters and the critics have had a field day with his free fall to this point. Miami can still come back and win the championship, however James has to get back to being himself. Anything less and the question will continue to linger, championship or not … When will we see the real LeBron James?

 

RED SOX-YANKEES: Does Boston Have The Yanks Number?

 

 

Another Red Sox-Yankees series at Yankee Stadium this season ended with another Red Sox Sweep. It’s only June and the baseball season has a long way to go. However, Boston is clearly comfortable playing in the Bronx this season. Proof of that was David Ortiz launching home runs off of Yankee pitching throughout the series. The Red Sox appear to be primed for a big summer and the Yankees may have to make sure they at least lock up the wild card instead of going after the division.

 

A lot of the Yankees summer plans determine on the state of their now very fragile pitching. The starting rotation is full of question marks after CC Sabathia. The bullpen was projected to have a big season for the Yankees, instead they have become walking M.A.S.H unit. Pedro Feliciano, Rafael Soriano, and not Joba Chamberlain have all gone down. Chamberlain’s loss was a surprise and a major blow. He’s facing Tommy John surgery which could put him out 12-14 months.

 

 

The next time these two teams meet will be in August. The Yanks are going to have to make a statement in that series that will set a tone for the stretch run in September. The American League East is going to come down to who’s the healthiest at the end of the season. The anticipation will now pick up to see who the Yankees will go after at the trade deadline, that’s if Boston doesn’t beat them to the punch.

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