Archive for the 'United States' Category

Illinois Dream Team

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The state of Illinois has an impressive Dream team. Below is the roster that could be created for those players born in Illinois who played in the major leagues.

Starting Lineup

Rickey Henderson LF
Kirby Puckett CF
Fred Lynn RF
Jim Thome 1B
Greg Luzinski DH
Robin Yount SS
Gary Gaetti 3B
Jim Sundberg C
Red Schoendienst 2B

Bench

Tom Haller (C), Lou Boudreau (Utl), Ben Zobrist (Utl), Ted Kluszewski (1B), Shawn Green (OF), Wally Berger (OF)

Starting Pitcher

Robin Roberts, Red Ruffing, Bret Saberhagen, Denny McClain, Rick Reuschel

Bullpen

Jason Isringhausen, Scott Garrelts, Jason Frasor, John Wyatt, Dan Stanhouse, Dutch Leonard

Ben Zobrist would probably start at second base for the most part, but we put him at utility to add flexibility to the lineup. Phil Masi seemed to have better numbers as a catcher, but we were more comfortable with Tom Haller for the bench role. The starting staff is strong though it really lacks an ace from a dream team perspective. Denny McClain had two amazing years, which was enough to get him in the rotation. The bullpen really lacks a shutdown closer. This might be a middle of the pack kind of dream team if it had to play games with the other dream teams.

Dream Team Maryland/Virginia/DC

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Originally, myworld looked at a dream team for Maryland because we knew one of the greatest players of all time was born in Maryland. The roster was a bit short so we opened it up to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Most who live here think of it as one metropolitan community anyway. So below is the Dream Team for the Maryland/Virginia and D.C. area.

Starting lineup

Brady Anderson CF
David Wright 3B
Babe Ruth LF
Al Kaline RF
Jimmie Fox DH
Cal Ripken SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Gene Alley 2B
Brandon Inge C

Bench

Todd Hundley (C), Don Money (Utl), Maury Wills (Utl), Harold Baines (OF), Juston Upton (OF), Brian Jordan (OF)

Starting Pitching

Lefty Grove, Justin Verlander, Vic Willis, Bobby Witt, Danny Neagle

Bullpen

Josh Hader, Billy Wagner, Steve Farr, Mike Williams, Jeremy Jeffress, Johnny Klippstein

The lineup is very strong one through seven. The catching is weak and I might want to switch Wills to second base. It is hard to put him there now because he was primarily a shortstop. I could move Ripken to third but that would force Wright from the lineup. Putting Wills in the lineup would allow Brady to bat second and would really lengthen the power in the lineup. Alley would probably make a better utility player than Wills. The bench is not strong. After the first two starters the rotation takes a big dip in talent. The bullpen has a couple good lefty closers, but then it takes a big hit after that. So this team will need to score a lot of runs with its starting lineup to win and hope the pitching staff pitches just good enough to support the lineup.

New York Dream Team

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

The state of New York has produced a number of Hall of Fame baseball players. A vast majority of them played prior to 1920. Myworld was forced to eliminate them when considering the Dream team for New York. The type of ball that was played during that time was quite a bit different than it is today. The eligibility rules are that the player must have been born in New York, played major league baseball and played during the modern baseball era, i.e. after 1920. Despite the elimination of these players this team from New York would be one of the stronger Dream teams. Below is the Dream team for New York.

Starting Lineup

Eddie Collins 2B
Frankie Frisch 3B
Alex Rodriguez SS
Lou Gehrig 1B
Rocky Calavito RF
Carl Yastrzemski LF
Edgar Martinez DH
Craig Biggio CF
Joe Torre C

Bench

A.J. Pierzynski (C), Lou Whitaker (Inf), Bobby Bonilla (Inf/OF), Phil Rizzuto (Inf), Hank Greenberg (OF), Raul Ibanez (OF)

Starting Pitchers

Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Jim Palmer, Orel Hershiser

Bullpen

John Franco, Roy Face, Don McMahon, Dave Giusti, Johnny Podres, Frank Viola

The greatest thing about this team is the flexibility. You have a number of players that played multiple positions during their careers. Biggio played CF, 2B and caught, so he could be a third catcher. A-Rod could play 3B or SS. Frankie Frisch played both 3B and 2B. Bonilla could also fill in at third and Rizzuto could probably play anywhere. The starting rotation is impressive. The hardest pick was settling on a fifth starter. The bullpen was tough to pick. We settled on having Frank Viola as a long man and possible starter when the bullpen options got a bit limited.

Alabama Dream Team

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Alabama is an interesting state, harboring a number of Hall of Famers. Mobile, Alabama is known as the city that has given birth to the greatest number of homeruns in the major leagues. On this team players from Mobile, Alabama have hit 1,410 homeruns. Only five players from this roster are born in Mobile - Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Ozzie Smith, Frank Bolling and Jim Davenport. Below is the Alabama Dream Team. To make this team you have to have been born in Alabama and have played in the major leagues.

Starting Lineup

Joe Sewell 3B
Billy Williams LF
Hank Aaron RF
Willie Mays CF
Willie McCovey 1B
Lee May DH
Frank Bolling 2B
Rudy York C
Ozzie Smith SS

Bench

Spud Davis (C), Jim Davenport (Utl), George Foster (OF), Oscar Gamble (OF), Henie Manush (OF), Monte Irvin (OF)

Starting Pitching

Early Wynn, Don Sutton, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Key, Corey Kluber

Bullpen

Craig Kimbrel, Jeff Brantley, Clay Carroll, David Robertson, Virgil Trucks, Guy Morton

This is a team that is short of infielders. There is a huge depth of outfielders to choose from, so we hope Jim Davenport and Joe Sewell can play enough different positions around the infield to fill in when needed. We are also relying on a couple of old timers who did not reach the Hall of Fame, but put up good major league numbers to qualify for this team. In the starting rotation, the major league numbers for Satchel Paige are not great, but he was over 40 years of age when the show finally allowed him to play. We’re assuming he would have been one of the better pitchers in the majors if he was allowed to start during his prime. The bullpen has a couple old timers in Guy Morton and Virgil Trucks that can be used as long men or spot starters.

Youth Sports an Economic Engine That Helps Drive America

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Myworld is a volleyball coach for young kids, but youth sports also involve baseball, Little League to travel league, basketball and soccer. With the corona virus slicing through America many of these youth sports have been cancelled. The spring/summer sports have almost reached their expiration dates for a season that was only halfway played. For the volleyball we have yet to see the cancellation of the season, but there are not a lot of tournament opportunities available.

What happens when youth sports are cancelled? I know from a volleyball perspective the hotel, airline and restaurant industries are severely impacted. We generally have one to two tournaments each month where we travel to a particular city for a weekend. The typical season lasts up to four to six months depending on how long you want your season to last.

The tournaments can be small (up to 100 teams) to large (1,500 teams). If you figure there are 11 players per team you are talking about accommodating 1100 to 9000 players, plus the one or two parents that may accompany the players. Just think of how many hotel rooms can be filled and restaurants that will be packed for a tournament weekend. Those places are empty now and the rooms are not being filled. They won’t be filled until the powers to be figure out how to reactivate those sports in a safe environment.

Schools, whether it is high school or college also have tournaments or away games where overnight travel is required. In college there are a number of fans that travel overnight to see their teams play. I know I have. The spring and summer sports of high school and college were cancelled. The fall sports will begin soon. If they are played there will probably be minimal travel. Schools are being impacted by the shutdowns and their budgets are being cut. That means travel to play school sports is being reduced.

Sports is the reason I travel, usually to watch baseball games or coach and watch volleyball. The professional ranks involve a minimum number of teams that occupy hotel rooms, but they do bring a large volume of fans that travel to watch those teams play. And youth sports, whether it is baseball, volleyball, basketball or soccer involve convention centers that bring over 10,000 people into an area. Until you get youth sports started again it will be hard to fully start that economic engine of the United States.

Staying at home myworld is not spending money. There are no sports to travel to see. My gas tank now takes one trip to the gas station every month when it used to visit once every week. Until sports return, I don’t see the economy fully recovering.

Florida Dream Team

Sunday, May 10th, 2020

It was surprising to find this team lacking the strength of California. It is mostly modern day players that dominant this lineup. To summarize, in order to qualify for the Florida Dream team the player has to have been born in Florida and played in the major leagues.

Starting Lineup

Tim Raines LF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Manny Machado SS
Fred McGriff 1B
Chipper Jones 3B
Gary Sheffield DH
Andre Dawson RF
Davey Johnson 2B
Charles Johnson C

Bench

Jonathan Lucroy (C), Jay Bell (UTL), Boog Powell (1B), Josh Donaldson (3B), J.D. Martinez (OF), Luis Gonzalez (OF)

Starting Pitching

Steve Carlton, Zack Greinke, Dwight Gooden, Chris Sale, Jacob deGrom

Bullpen

Bobby Thigpen, Tom Gordon, Wade Davis, Rob Murphy, Darren O’Day, Tim Wakefield

We were surprised with the lack of Hall of Famers on this team. There were not a lot of great players born in Florida in the early days of baseball. We were tempted to place Pete Alonso on the team, but he has just had one year. We also thought about Steve Garvey, but that would make too many first baseman on this team. The bullpen appears thin. We chose Tim Wakefield as a long man/spot starter because I could not find that many relief pieces that stood out.

The California Dream Team

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Myworld was going to do a Dream Team for each country with significant baseball participation (or continent if that country was short on players). The one requirement was to play for a country you had to be born there and you had to have played in the major leagues. The United States had too many quality players so we broke it down into a few states. If you compare this California team to the teams from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, they would be very competitive. Myworld would be surprised to find a team with a better outfield mix or depth.

Starting Lineup

Alan Trammell SS
Joe Dimaggio CF
Barry Bonds RF
Ted Williams LF
Mark McGwire DH
Eddie Murray 1B
Graig Nettles 3B
Gary Carter C
Jeff Kent 2B

Bench

Del Crandall (C), Darrell Evans (3B), Joe Gordon (2B), Duke Snider (OF), Tony Gwynn (OF), Harry Heilmann (OF)

Starting Pitching

Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Don Drysdale, Bob Lemon, C.C. Sabathia

Bullpen

Dennis Eckersly, Trevor Hoffman, Troy Percival, John Wettland, Dan Quisenberry, Lefty Gomez

For the pitching you could switch C.C. for Lefty, but the team lacks a lefthander in the bullpen. There were a number of decent players for second base. Chase Utley and Tony Lazzeri were left off the list, but it is a coin toss when you look at their numbers and compare them with Gordon. Troy Tulowitski is just too injury prone to trust at shortstop and Nomar Garciaparra just did not have the numbers. Giancarlo Stanton was left off the team because of his injury history, but I don’t know who he would replace on the bench and he would not start on this team. Dan Quisenberry was selected over Dave Righetti because we like his submarine style of pitching, adding diversity to a pen lacking a lefthander. The only real weakness on this team would be the lack of a lefty in the pen and the back up catcher.

World Baseball Classic Officially Announces Qualifiers

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic has officially announced their qualifiers, both to be played in Tucson in March. The games will be played at the Kino Sports Complex.

Pool 1 (March 12-17) - Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa

Pool II (March 20-25) - Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the World Baseball Classic that will be held March 2021. All 16 teams who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic have qualified for the 2021 event. Those countries include the defending champion United States, Australia, Canada, Cuba, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela

Japan is Number one in Both Men’s and Women’s Baseball

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Japan has achieved the top rating in both men’s and women’s baseball. The United States is second in men and fifth in women. For men the United States team bypasses a number of tournaments such as the World Cup Under 23, and play amateurs in the Premier 12, which prevents them from accumulating the points that Japan earns. The United States women are hampered by the culture of forcing talented players to pursue softball, where it is a high school recognized sport, abandoning baseball. This eliminates talented female baseball players from continuing with the sport.

Below is the Top 12 Ranking for each gender.

Men’s Top 12

1. Japan (6,127 points)
2. United States (4,676)
3. Korea (4,622)
4. Taiwan (4,352)
5. Mexico (3,375)
6. Australia (3,249)
7. Netherlands (2,690)
8. Cuba (2,641)
9. Venezuela (2,624)
10. Dominican Republic (2,512)
11. Puerto Rico (2,013)
12. Canada (1,873)

The top 12 is significant since a team qualifies for the Premier 12 by being ranked in the top 12 for baseball.

The women’s top 12.

1. Japan (2,505 points)
2. Canada (1,947)
3. Taiwan (1,852)
4. Venezuela (1,736)
5. United States (1,524)
6. Australia (1,182)
7. Korea (955)
8. Cuba (947)
9. Dominican Republic (717)
10. Hong Kong (520)
11. Netherlands (500)
12. Puerto Rico (371)

In women’s softball the United States is ranked number one with Japan at number two. For the men in softball Japan is ranked number one. The United States is sixth, behind Argentina, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

WBSC America’s Qualifier Pool

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

The United States failed to qualify for the Olympics in the Premier 12. Their Southern neighbor Mexico qualified, as well as Korea. This leaves four of six countries qualified for the Olympics, Japan (host), Israel (European/Africa qualifier), Korea and Mexico (both from Premier 12). The Americas qualifier is the next to last opportunity countries have to qualify for the Olympics. The second and third place finishers become eligible for the final qualifier in Taiwan, to be held in April..

Below are the pools:

Pool A

United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Pool B

Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia

The United States has been fielding a team of minor league prospects. While these players have been competitive they have yet to qualify the United States team for the Olympics. The same prospect heave team is expected for the Americas qualifying round to be held from March 22-26.

The final qualifier will be held in Taiwan from April 1-5.