Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Rally Monkey: IT'S RALLY TIME!!! 12/14/14

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Monkey Day! Look it up, it's real. In honor of this "widely-celebrated" day, I'm going to talk about the rally monkey, the unofficial mascot of the LA Angels.

The rally monkey debuted on June 6, 2000 in Los Angeles' Edison International Field of Anaheim. LA was trailing the San Francisco Giants 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, when two video board operators, Dean Fraulino and Jaysen Humes, hatched a comical yet helpful idea. On the scoreboard, the two put a clip from the 1994 movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective of a monkey jumping up and down. On the scoreboard, it read "RALLY MONKEY!!!" in huge letters. The Angels proceeded to score two more runs and thus, won the game.

Since then, the rally monkey, a white-haired capuchin monkey who is trained by the Angels organization, has been the staple for all Angels comebacks. In Game Six of the 2002 World Series (coincidentally against the Giants), LA trailed 5-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but then, the rally monkey appeared on the scoreboard. Immediately, Edison International Field of Anaheim turned into a frenzy! The stadium was electric, the monkey was bouncing, and the Angels scored six unanswered runs that won them the game (here's the video link). The Angels went on to win the Series the very next day, but they would not have that championship, the franchise's only one, without the rally monkey.

Today, the rally monkey appears on the scoreboard every time the Angels are losing by a relatively close margin at home in the late innings. On the jumbotron, the monkey jumps around to the House of Pain song, "Jump Around," and even sometimes holds up a sign that says "RALLY TIME!"

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Make sure to not only buy as many pieces of rally monkey merchandise as you can if you are an Angels fan, but also to check back here on Baseball with Matt very soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An Interview with Sports Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. James Andrews! 12/10/14

Hey baseball fans!

I recently had the chance to speak over the phone with acclaimed sports orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews! The interview is posted on my YouTube channel, but before I give you the link, here is a quick bio on Dr. Andrews.

Andrews grew up in rural Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State University and Tulane Medical School to complete his residency. He is known for his treatments on knee, shoulder and elbow-related injuries, and he has treated many famous athletes in a variety of sports. Dr. Andrews is a founding partner and medical director at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Florida. He has written numerous books on orthopaedics, his most recent one being "Any Given Monday," a book about sports injuries and how athletes in any sport can prevent them. Previously, Dr. Andrews was part of the Sports Medicine Committee for the United States Olympic Committee and is currently the Tampa Bay Rays' Orthopaedic Medical Director.

Now that you know a little bit about him, please click here to listen to my interview with Dr. James Andrews. You can also learn more about Dr. Andrews here and the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine here. Anyway, thanks for listening to the interview and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Big Unit to Washington State: Smart Move by the Expos? 12/7/14

Hey baseball fans!

In the spirit of Hall of Fame voting season almost arriving, let's talk about yet another lopsided trade that affected both teams involved very much. I'm talking about the Big Unit going from the Expos to the Mariners.

Trade: Randy Johnson, Brian Holman, and Gene Harris of the Expos for Mark Langston and Mike Campbell of the Mariners
When? 1989
Who was Who? Johnson, Holman, and Harris were all rookie or sophomore pitchers for Montreal who didn't have much experience. Mark Langston had just come off a 15-11 pitching season for Seattle in 1988 and Mike Campbell was a young pitcher in his third year in the league who had just come off a 6-10 1988 season for the Mariners.
Immediate Impact: The pitchers traded to Seattle went a combined 16-23 and the Mariners won just 73 games, finishing the 1989 season 26 games back of the first place Athletics in the AL West. The Expos, meanwhile finished at a respectable 81-81 record. Campbell didn't pitch a single game for them, but Langston strung together a decent 12-9 record with a 2.39 ERA.
What Happened Next? Brain Holman, Gene Harris, and Mike Campbell were all retired by 1996. Mark Langston continued pitching in the MLB until 1999. He finished his career with a record of 179-158, but Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson would go on to have one of the best careers for a lefty pitcher in baseball history. The five-time Cy Young Award winner won 303 games with an ERA of 3.29 in his 22-year career. He won the 2001 World Series co-MVP (along with Curt Schilling) with the Diamondbacks and struck out 4,875 batters, second on the all-time list for career strikeouts.
Who Won? The Mariners, but only because of Johnson.

The Winners:

Would you have gone through with this trade if you knew how good Randy Johnson was going to be? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below. Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Andersen-Bagwell Trade: Who Got the Best Deal? 12/4/14

Hey baseball fans!

Big moves are being made all across baseball! Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are heading to Boston, while the Jays just signed Russell Martin and traded for Josh Donaldson. However, I'm not going to talk about those transactions. Instead, let's discuss one of the the most lopsided trades in baseball history.

Trade: Jeff Bagwell of the Red Sox for Larry Andersen of the Astros
When? 1990
What Happened? Andersen was a decent right-handed veteran relief pitcher for the Houston Astros. Bagwell was a star on the rise in Boston who was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 1989 draft. The Red Sox needed a relief pitcher down the stretch, so they got Larry in exchange for Jeff.
Immediate Impact: Andersen would go on to pitch for the Sox for one month down the stretch in 1990, recording a 1.35 ERA in 15 games. The Sox won the AL East on the last day of the season, but got swept in the ALCS by the Athletics. Meanwhile, Bagwell was playing in the minors and didn't move up into the Major Leagues until 1991.
What Happened Next: Andersen actually left the Red Sox after the 1990 season due to free agency and was signed by the Padres. He played two years in San Diego, then two more years with the Phillies before retiring in 1994. He actually recorded some nice stats in his last five years of his career with the Red Sox, Padres, and Phils, but it was nothing compared to what Jeff Bagwell did for the Astros. He hit over 400 home runs and drove in 1,529 RBIs in his should-be Hall of Fame career from 1991 to 2005. The 1994 MVP batted .297 lifetime and the first baseman's number five has been retired by the Astros organization.
Who Won? The Astros, hands down.

The Winner 

I  hope you liked this new kind of post. Thanks for reading it. Do you agree that the Astros came up on top? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Top Five Favorite World Series MVP Performances 11/29/14

Hey baseball fans!

Madison Bumgarner had an amazing World Series for the San Francisco Giants in 2014 and he just so happens to come in at number five on my list of my top five favorite World Series MVP performances. If you want to know who's 1-4, continue reading. (Note: The World Series MVP Award was first given out in 1955.)

Number Five: Madison Bumgarner, Pitcher, San Francisco Giants
Year: 2014
Why? Mad Bum appeared in three games and recorded two wins, one of them being a shutout, and a save, which is unbelievable. But he also pitched 21 innings and allowed just a single earned run! That's an ERA of 0.43!

Number Four: Reggie Jackson, Right Fielder, New York Yankees
Year: 1977
Why? Jackson's '77 Fall Classic was probably his best World Series performance. He batted .450 with five home runs and eight RBIs. Oh yeah, and four of those five home runs came on consecutive swings. That's why he's called "Mr. October."

Number Three: Roberto Clemente, Right Fielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
Year: 1971
Why? Clemente shined all over the field; he made numerous great catches and throws out in right field and batted .414 at the dish. His two home runs and four RBIs helped the Buccos pull off a stunning upset against the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles.

Number Two: Paul Molitor, DH and Third Baseman, Toronto Blue Jays
Year: 1993
Why? Statistically, Molitor's '93 World Series is one of the best World Series MVP performances ever. He collected 12 base hits, scored ten runs (the most ever in a World Series) and batted .500. He also drove in eight runs and was on base when Joe Carter hit his walk-off World Series-winning home run.

Number One: Sandy Koufax, Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
Year: 1965
Why? Bob Gibson had an ERA of 1.00 in the 1967 World Series and Madison Bumgarner had an ERA of 0.43 in the 2014 World Series, but Koufax had an ERA even smaller than both of them in the 1965 Fall Classic against the Twins: 0.38! The Left Arm of God also started three games for LA and won two of them... both with complete game shutouts! He also struck out 29 over 24 innings pitched. He was easily the number one pitcher on that Dodgers team in that Series and he is also the number one World Series MVP on my list.

Honorable Mentions: 
Bob Gibson-1967
Brooks Robinson-1970
Lew Burdette-1957

Do you agree with my list? Write your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Duck had all the Luck 11/24/14

Hey baseball fans!

Today is Hall of Famer Joe Medwick's birthday! To celebrate, I'm going to blog about him.

Joe "Ducky" Medwick played for the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, and Braves from 1932-1948. One of the most potent National League hitters of the thirties, Medwick dominated hitting statistics. In his career, he batted .324 (43rd all time) with 2,471 hits. Undoubtedly, his best year was 1937, when he led the league in homers (31), RBIs (154), and batting average (.374), making him the eighth Triple Crown winner in the World Series era. He also led the league that year in runs, hits, at bats, total bases, slugging percentage and doubles! The ten-time All Star only has a single World Series ring, but boy did he do well in the '34 Fall Classic with the Cards. In seven games against the Tigers, Ducky batted .379 and drove in five runs en route to the Cardinals' third championship. The excellent outfielder batted over .300 15 times during his career and never struck out more than 100 times a season. He was eventually voted into the Hall of Fame in 1968, receiving 84.8% of the vote.

Here's a fun fact about Medwick: he is one of three New Jersey-born Hall of Famers and one of five HoFers who went to high school in the state. When Derek Jeter gets into the HOF, that'll make it four Jersey guys in the Hall.  Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Godzilla: Japanese Star in the Movies and on the Baseball Field 11/20/14

Hey baseball fans!

Being a Yankees fan, I loved the 2009 World Series-winning Yanks. They had some great hitters, like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Nick Swisher. But perhaps my favorite hitter on that team was the one who contributed the most for New York in that '09 Fall Classic: Hideki Matsui.

Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui was born in Ishikawa, Japan and started his baseball career in Nippon Professional Baseball. He was drafted by the Yomiuri Giants in the first round of the 1992 Draft and appeared for the Giants the next season. His ten-year career in Japanese baseball was amazing: he went to nine All Star Games, won the league MVP three times, was a member of a Japan Series-winning team three times (the Japan Series is the World Series but in NPB), and won the Best Nine Award eight times (it's basically the award given to the best player at each position in each league). His stats with Yomiuri are also astounding, hitting 332 home runs and driving in 889 runs. After the 2002 NPB season, Matsui signed with the MLB's New York Yankees and he ended up having a great career in pinstripes.

In his rookie season in American baseball in 2003, Matsui made the All Star Game and came in second for Rookie of the Year voting. In 2004, he again made the All Star Game and for the second straight year, played in all 162 games of the season. One of his best years was 2007 with New York, when he hit 25 home runs, collected 103 RBIs, and batted .285, but his best year in the MLB was 2009. In the Yankees championship season, Godzilla smashed out 28 dingers and drove in 90 runs, but his best work in '09 was yet to come. The Yankees eventually made it to the World Series to face the defending champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Bronx Bombers ended up winning the Series in six and it was mostly because of Matsui. He recorded eight hits, three home runs, eight RBIs, and a batting average of .615! He got six of his eight RBIs in a Game Six performance that tied the World Series single-game record for runs batted in with fellow former Yankee Bobby Richardson, who drove in six runs of his own in Game Three of the 1960 World Series. Matsui's amazing Fall Classic spectacular earned him 2009 World Series MVP honors, becoming the first Japanese player to ever do so.

Matsui ended up playing three more years in baseball after 2009 with the Angels, A's, and Rays. In his entire MLB career, he cracked 175 home runs and drove in 760 RBIs. He was such a fan favorite in Yankee Stadium that I will never forget his great hitting. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."