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Jul 13 – National Moment: NL Wins for First time Since 1996 with 3-1 Triumph over AL Squad


NL will Have World Series Home Field Advantage

Anaheim, CA) – Well all good things must come to an end.  And for Derek Jeter another first.  First time in his 11 times as an All-Star he was on the losing side.  A bases-clearing double by Atlanta’s Brian McCann in the 7th inning off of Chicago’s Matt Thornton provided all the runs the NL would need in a 3-1 win.  Our own Phil Hughes took the loss after giving up two singles in facing 3 batters.  For the AL they struggled against the strong NL pitching and could only muster one run on a sac fly by Robinson Cano.  Swisher was 0-1 with a strikeout and A-Rod did not even get in the game!.  Andy Pettitte pitched well with 2 K’s in one inning of work while Jeter was 1-2 with a walk.

Many pitchers clocked 99 and 100 mph fastballs and there were 18 strikeouts across both teams.  Broxton got the save and Matt Capps got the win for the Nationals League.  It was not a terribly exciting game but did have some good defensive plays with the force out of David Ortiz by Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the 9th the most critical for the AL.

See All-Star game box score here.

Notes: There was a moment of silence before the game for George Steinbrenner. The Yankees wore a black armband to commemorate his passing.

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Jul 13 – Mid-Point: Ortiz Wins HR Derby, Yanks Rest Up


Big Papi Defeats Hanley Ramirez in 2010 Derby

(Anaheim, CA) – Hometown Favorite Nick Swisher did not get out of the first round with his 4 homers but still did NY proud with his effort.  In the end one of the ‘old timers’ won it as Boston’s David Ortiz paced himself well and took advantage of the shorter right field dimensions at Angels Stadium to defeat right-handed Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins by a 11-5 total in the final round.  Both hit 21 combined in the first 2 rounds to advance to the finals.  State Farm donated $573,000 to charity based ont he amount of homers hit in the contest.

The starting pitchers for the 2010 mid-summer classic will be Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez (15-1) against Tampa’s David Price (12-4).  The AL has won or is unbeaten since 1996.

The Yanks meanwhile will hopefully take advantage of the break to rest up for the 2nd half.  Looking at 2008 and 2009 only 3 Yankees made the All-Star Squad in each of those years but in 2010 a total of 8 were named and 6 will actually suit up for the game, an impressive showing.  Also the Yanks enter the break with a 56-32 record versus 51-37 last year so a 5-game improvement.  And as we all know  the Yanks played their best ball last year after the break so here’s hoping the rest makes a difference.

Big Papi Led the Way in this year's HR Derby

Apr 7 – One for the Thumb: North Carolina Overpowers MSU 89-72


Take 5th National Title in Front of Largest Crowd Ever

ncaa-final-four-2009(Detroit, MI) – The North Carolina Tar Heels worked their strategy to perfection:  take the Michigan-partisan crowd out of the game early.  With only 6 minutes into the game the Tar Heels had a 20-point lead over the stunned MSU Spartans and the crowd was silent.   For the next 34 minutes the lead never really changed that much and North Carolina had it’s 5th national championship.

The Spartans, meanwhile, were having trouble simply getting the ball in after Tar Heel buckets, turning it over that way twice in the first 6 minutes, part of a depressing day that didn’t do justice to the effort they put in to get here.

“I think if we played as well as we did the last couple games, at least it’s a game,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “The only thing I feel bad for is that it was the biggest crowd to ever see a college basketball game and it wasn’t much of a game.”

The crowd of 72,922 at Ford Field, most wearing Michigan State colors, watched the Tar Heels (34-4) go up 55-34 at halftime, breaking a 42-year-old title-game record for biggest lead at the break and setting the mark for most points at the half.

Tyler and Ty Were Just Too Much for MSU

Tyler and Ty Were Just Too Much for MSU

It was, almost literally, over before it began.   Izzo tried to call a timeout to stop the onslaught with 6:45 left in the first half.    His team came out and promptly turned it over—one of 14 in the first half, compared to only 12 baskets.

Michigan State pulled within 13 a couple times late in the second half, and the crowd tried to make some noise.

NC Coach Roy Williams joined Jim Calhoun, Billy Donovan and Mike Krzyzewski as the fourth active coach (13th overall) to win multiple titles.

This title came four years after his first championship—and for the first time, with a roster full of his own recruits.

“Roy Williams is not that good,” Williams said. “But boy, ol’ Roy’s got some big-time players. That’s what it takes.”

Overall, North Carolina dominated every matchup on the floor in pretty much every way.   The Tar Heels were a unanimous No. 1 in the preseason and became the first UNC team to start and finish at No. 1 since 1982.

This is the best way to go out. I couldn’t picture it any other way,” Hansbrough said, choking up, a few minutes after he rushed to grab that first hot-off-the-iron T-shirt.

He scored 18 points, Wayne Ellington had 19 and Ty Lawson finished with 21 points and a record eight steals. Now, they and Danny Green can all head to the NBA feeling good about their decision to return to school.

Mar 24 – Rising Sun: Japan Wins WBC Title for 2nd Time


Ichiro Knocks in Game Winner in the 10th as Japan Defeats Korea 5-3

world-baseball-class-logo

(Los Angeles, CA) – The 2009 World baseball Classic ended with the same results as the 2006:  Japanese Champions.  MLB.Com carried a great report on the game.

This time Japan can thank old faithful Ichiro Suzuki for the victory. The 35-year-old Mariners right fielder snapped a 3-3 tie with a two-run single on an eight-pitch at-bat against right-handed reliever Chang Yong Lim with runners on second and third and two outs in the 10th.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was named MVP for the second consecutive Classic. He was 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA

Japan Takes 2nd WBC Title

Japan Takes 2nd WBC Title

in this year’s tournament, and he’s 6-0 with a 1.95 ERA overall. In three years, Matsuzaka has won the Classic twice, the Classic MVP twice and the 2007 World Series as a member of the Red Sox. Try putting that all into perspective. “It’s not something that everybody can experience, and it’s not something that everybody can earn,” said Matsuzaka, who defeated Team USA on Sunday night to put his country into the final game. “So I feel that I’m very lucky. I’m really thankful about the MVP. I didn’t think that it was going to be me at all.”

The Japanese figured that the victory was secured in the eighth inning, when Akinori Iwamura gave them a 3-1 lead with a sacrifice fly, coming after Seiichi Uchikawa was moved to third on Atsunori Inaba’s double. But the Koreans tied the score, 3-3, in the bottom of the ninth inning against hard-throwing 22-year-old Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, who was brought in at the start of the inning to try and preserve Japan’s one-run lead and the victory.

The game was played in front of a raucous crowd of 54,846, which set an all-time single-game Classic attendance record in the 78th game over the course of the first two tournaments.   For the three games at Dodger Stadium, the crowds totaled 141,834 and the overall attendance for the tournament for 39 games was 801,408. Both were also new Classic records.   The fans, banging dueling orange and blue Thunderstix all night long, reacted to the ebb and flow of the game with incredible thunder and enthusiasm as the 48-year-old facility literally shook up and down when Korea scored that ninth-inning run.

Mar 23 – News Roundup


baseball-png-png(Tampa, FL) – In matching steps the Yanks lost and Team USA lost on a busy Sunday, especially with the NCAA Sweet 16 reaching its final members.   A recap of various team and player related news follows:

———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

  • The Yanks 9-game winning streak ended Sunday when they lost to the Tampa Rays 5-0 behind some strong pitching by the Ray’s David Price.  Aceves took the loss for the Bombers who only got 6 hits on the day.  See boxscore here.
  • Team USA exited the WBC with a 9-4 loss to Japan.  Dice-K pitched very well for the Japanese and has setup an all-Asian final vs. Korea.   See final boxscore here.
  • The Yanks got more good news on the surgically repaired throwing shoulder of catcher Jorge Posada Sunday, when the veteran catcher threw out three of four base-stealers in a minor league game.
  • Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is making progress in his rehab program after right hip surgery, but is unlikely to rejoin the team before New York breaks spring training camp on April 1.
  • In other news, Girardi said if the regular season were under way that Xavier Nady would be the starting right fielder over Nick Swisher.

Mar 17 – Drama in Miami: Team USA Comes From Behind to Advance


Three Runs in the Bottom of the Ninth Finishes Puerto Rico 6-5

world-baseball-class-logo(Miami, FL) – Team USA pulled out all the stops.  Trailing by 2 in the bottom of the 9th they loaded the bases and got a walk to Kevin Youklis to make it 5-4 and then David Wright took a low fastball

Team USA celebrates the big win

Team USA celebrates the big win

to right field for a walk-off two-run single to allow the US to advance to the semi-finals.

It was a fairly dramatic game.  The US led 3-1 early behind a Youklis homer but Puerto Rico chipped away and scored the go-ahead in the 6th and added an insurance run in the top of the ninth.  The US used 7 different pitchers who limited P.R. to only 5 hits but they maximized them.

See USA vs. Puerto Rico boxscore here.

Mar 15 – Team USA Fights Back, Tops Dutch 9-3


Facing Elimination, Americans Build an 8-0 Lead en Route to Win

ball-glove-png(New York, NY) – Team USA did what it had to do.  Jimmy Rollins led the way with

Roy Oswalt Made Sure the US got another chance

Roy Oswalt Made Sure the US got another chance

a homer, triple and sac fly for a 2-4 night with 4 RBI’s as the USA knocked out the pesty Netherlands team.   Roy Oswalt gained the win with 4 innings of scoreless ball and scattered 5 hits.

Both teams had 12 hits each in the game but the US made theirs count early and often, scoring in 4 of the first 5 innings.   Brian Roberts also hit a triple while Adam Dunn added a solo dinger for the Americans. 6 other pitches tossed for the US in relief of Oswalt.

See boxscore of USA vs.Netherlands here for details.