Berkman Speaks Out

Today Berkman issued a statement which made it very clear he wants to stay a St.Louis Cardinal. He told Cardinals GM John Mozeliak that if he is traded by the Aug. 31 waiver deadline he will not resign with the Cards at the end of the year.

Berkman cleared waivers earlier this month, meaning he could be dealt to any team. The Texas Rangers expressed interest in him after Nelson Cruz injured his hamstring recently, but a deal has yet to materialize.
And Berkman doesn’t expect a deal to get done, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “that ship has sailed.”
And it appears it has.
“We did have some teams inquire in the past week,” Mozeliak told the newspaper. “I met with Lance and we talked about the situation. Ultimately, our goal is to have him back with us next year. Unless something comes along that absolutely blows us out of the water, I don’t see him going anywhere.”
Berkman says he doesn’t want to serve as a rental player, as he did last season when he was traded from the Houston Astros to New York.

A strong candidate for comeback player of the year, Berkman is batting .286 with 30 homers and 81 RBIs this season.

Sporting News

Vin Scully Coming Back as Announcer

When it comes to announcers there is no one better than Vin Scully. With all the drama in regards to the state of the Dodgers team plus the sinking of the Dodger ship, Vin decides to come back. Here is the story:

The Dodgers could be even worse next season. Their ownership situation could remain unresolved and their stadium could remain half-empty.But fans can take solace in at least this: Vin Scully will return for his 63rd season as the team’s broadcaster. On a Friday night when Matt Kemp became the second player in franchise history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season, Scully shared his future plans with the Prime Ticket audience watching the Dodgers’ 6-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

“God’s been awfully good to me, allowing me to do the things I love to do,” Scully said on the telecast. “I asked him one more year, at least, and he said OK.”

The Dodgers issued a news release soon after, confirming the 83-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster would be back. The team said Scully would again call all home and select road games.

Scully said he made the announcement on the air to avoid the kind of news conference he held the previous year to declare his intentions to return for the 2011 season.

“I hate to make a big deal out of it,” he said. “I’m not trying to be a Brett Favre or whoever else.”

Scully said he was lured back in part by the familiar faces at the ballpark.

“I enjoy the people,” he said. “I really like newspapermen. I enjoy talking and visiting. The winning and losing doesn’t bother me. I think it’s just the love of people. I just don’t know what I would do without it.”

Scully handles the play-by-play for all nine innings of his Prime Ticket and KCAL telecasts. The first three innings of the games are simulcast on KABC 790 AM. His 62 years with the Dodgers is said to be the longest tenure of any broadcaster in American sports history.

“He’s the face of the Dodgers,” Kemp said. “If he was to leave, I think everyone would miss that voice.”

Scully’s announcement came on the week that Times columnist T.J. Simers reported that the Dodgers asked their season-ticket holders to evaluate the Hall of Fame broadcaster.

The ensuing uproar resulted in Current TV political analyst Keith Olbermann showcasing Dodgers owner Frank McCourt on his “Worst Person in the World” segment.

Scully revealed his decision in the sixth inning, when the Dodgers were trailing, 1-0. The Dodgers scored six runs an inning later.

“Can he announce it again tomorrow?” Manager Don Mattingly asked.

The Dodgers’ six-run inning included a bases-loaded balk by Rockies starter Esmil Rogers, a two-run single by Justin Sellers and a two-run home run by James Loney.

Kemp capped the surge with his 30th home run.

With 33 steals, Kemp joined Raul Mondesi as the only Dodgers in the 30/30 club. Mondesi accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1999.

“I’m pretty happy at the moment,” Kemp said. “It’s something I worked hard for in the off-season, trained for. To do it at home is even more special.”

Kemp said he thinks the 40-40 plateau is within reach. “We’ll see,” he said. “I can hit 10 home runs in a month. I think I can do it. Nothing is impossible.”

story by Dylan Hernandez

Baseball In Brazil

A few years ago I ran a article on my blog about the Tampa Bay Rays setting up a baseball academy in a small town of Ibiuna thats right outside of Sao Paulo. Back in Feburary of the this year Major League Baseball hosted an one week elite camp in Brazil to find fifty of Brazil’s best baseball players. Among the exMLB players that where to help coach included:

• Elias Sosa – Pitching Coach

He played in MLB from 1972 to 1983 with San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego

• Barry Larkin – Infield Coach

He played in MLB from 1986 to 2004 with Cincinnati

• Bob Didier – Catchers Coach

He played in MLB from 1969 to 1974 with Atlanta, Detroit and Boston

• Bruce Hurst – Pitching Coach

He played in MLB from 1980 to 1994 with Boston and San Diego.

• Wally Joyner – Batting Coach

He played in MLB from 1986 to 2001 with California, Kansas City, San Diego and Atlanta.

Just recently The 3rd Annual Brazilian University Baseball and Softball Championships got underway this past weekend in Ibiúna, São Paulo, at the Yakult baseball facility. 25 baseball teams and 7 softball teams are participating in this year’s championships, which has definitely grown in size and reach, given a number of teams are now coming from of areas outside of São Paulo state, including from such states as Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso do Sul.

The championships are played in 4 rounds over the following 3 months, so the next round is Sept. 17-18 in Ibiúna, then Oct. 22-23 in Ibiúna, and the finals being in Mie Nishe Stadium in São Paulo Nov. 5-6.

The championships are organized by the Confederação Brasileira de Beisebol e Softbol Universitário, or CBBSU, which is a bit of an offshoot from the Brazilian Olympic Committee-sanctioned Confederação Brasileira de Beisebol e Softbol, or CBBS. More information and results of the championships can be found on the CBBSU and CBBS websites.

I am hoping one day that a brazillian player will become a major league player. The only brazillian that came close is Anderson Gomes that played in the minor leagues for the Whitesox. He played from 2006-08. He played the outfield.

Brazil has an untapped resource of athletes that any MLB team can benefit from especially the Cardinals.

Berkman To be Traded?

I had that this was going to happen. With the Cards out of contention to make any advancement, word has it that the front office is already looking at who they want to bring back in 2012. Berkman has already been verbal about wanting to stay a Cardinal. Well some news about Lance possibly being picked up by the Rangers. Here is the rest of the story………

Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson would like to have Lance Berkman on the team if a deal can be worked out by Thursday.

Wilson made the comments on the Ben & Skin Show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Monday. A source told Ben Rogers, one of the show’s hosts, that the Rangers were interested in Berkman, who reportedly has cleared waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.

“You have to think about the needs of the team and the needs of the other teams that would potentially (be) going after him as well,” Wilson said Monday. “It’d be great for us to get him because the Angels could use him a lot. … Lance Berkman is a good player. He can play first base. He can play the outfield.”

The Ben & Skin Show
C.J. Wilson calls in to talk about the AL West race and the possibility of bringing Lance Berkman to Texas.

With Nelson Cruz expected to miss three weeks with a strained left hamstring, the Rangers could be in the market for an additional outfielder. In order for any player to be eligible for the postseason, they must be on the team by September 1.

The Rangers were interested in Berkman over the offseason, but the veteran signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals. He has played well, hitting .289 with 30 homers and 81 RBIs. The Rangers have the prospects to deal for Berkman and if he doesn’t re-sign in Texas, the Rangers would receive two draft picks in 2012.

“More than likely, if we make any moves, they’ll be from inside the organization,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan, however, told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Galloway and Company on Monday that the team is examining all possibilities, including Berkman.

“Obviously with Nellie going out like he is, not knowing when he’s going to be back and we got a tough schedule ahead of us, anything we can do to help the ballclub, we’re certainly going to look at it,” Ryan said. “Lance is having an outstanding year with the Cardinals. So is that a possibility? I guess you could say it’s remote, but … with a player of Lance’s caliber, if that’s a possibility, you certainly have to give it consideration.”

Wilson said he and Berkman talked and moved on this summer after Berkman had said during the offseason that the Rangers were essentially a one-team wonder.

“I felt like if they didn’t re-sign Cliff Lee that they were going to be an average team, and I feel that’s probably what’s going to end up happening,” Berkman said on a Houston radio station in the offseason. “It’s all about your pitching. I feel like last year was one of those special years where you kind of catch lightning in a bottle and they got hot and they had some guys that I felt like were pitching better than their talent level and consequently they had a great year.”

Richard Durrett

Cubs Manager Jim Hendry Fired!

Time finally ran out for Jim Hendry, who was fired as general manager of the Chicago Cubs after too many questionable decisions and too few victories.

“It’s professional baseball … if you don’t win enough games over a couple of years, you can’t fight change,” Hendry said Friday in an emotional news conference atWrigley Field.

Assistant GM Randy Bush will take over the job on an interim basis while the Cubs search for a permanent replacement, the team said.

Hendry, 56, said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts notified him July 22 that he wouldn’t be retained. He indicated that was one factor in deciding not to trade away veteran players at the deadline, figuring he should leave those decisions to his successor.

“We’re here to win games, and in the last couple of years, we didn’t win enough,” Hendry said. “I will leave here with nothing but gratefulness for being part of this organization for 17 years. Not many people get a chance to do that.”

Hendry called Ricketts “a fine man” and said he expected to retain a close relationship with the team’s chairman.

Rickett said the “culture of accountability” in the organization led to the decision and they need “different perspectives.”

“We just didn’t win enough games,” Ricketts said, echoing Hendry. “Nothing should diminish Jim’s tenure here. We won three division titles while he was here. … Jim is truly a first-class individual and we’ll all miss seeing him here in the office.”

Ricketts said the search for a new GM “effectively begins today” and that Bush would not be a candidate. He said there was no timeline or deadline for naming a successor. Ricketts said he would consult “industry veterans” in his search and that the new general manager would report directly to him, not team president Crane Kenney.

“We’re going to keep it as a very private process,” said Ricketts, adding that he would not be addressing any rumors that might arise along the way.

Ricketts said the decision was made in consultation with his siblings, who make up the board. Why did he let Hendry continue after being fired?

“At the moment I decided we had to make a change, I just thought the right thing to do, particularly given how much I respect Jim, was to just let him know,” he said. “In the conversation, i said ‘Look, we have work to do still. We had a good draft- a great draft- and we need someone to focus on making sure that those players get from that draftboard to our organization, and we have a trade deadline coming up.

“So I asked Jim if he would be able to keep executing his job for the next few weeks while we get through those hurdles, and he agreed to. He’s been terrific. He’s worked hard the last couple of weeks. I think it’s really a credit to his character that we were able to operate under that awkward situation and do as well as we have done.”

As for what qualities he will seek in the new GM, Ricketts listed player-development skills and a strong baseball analytical background. Hendry was not a proponent of sabermetrics.

Ricketts said that during the middle of July, he just felt “it was time to move on.” He said the right thing to do was to inform Hendry immediately, but the two men agreed that he should stay on through the trade deadline and the signing of the team’s draft choices.

“He never missed a beat; it’s a credit to his character that we were able to operate the way we did and get the job done,” Ricketts said. “We had the trade deadline coming up and I didn’t think it made any sense to change horses in mid-stream.”

Ricketts indicated that the new general manager would determine the fate of first-year manager Mike Quade, who has a year remaining on his contract. He also said he would like player-development executives Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilkin to stay on.

Quade said he received no advance notice of the change and said of Hendry, “I’ll miss him a lot.”

Asked about his own job status, Quade said, “This is not a day for me. I have no time to concern myself with me on a day like this. … My future is the furthest thing from my mind on a day like this.

article by Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune

Shelby Miller Suspended!!

Shelby Miller has been suspended indefinitely by Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak for a violation of team policy ( No specifics were given as to what the Cardinals’ top prospect did, but there was reportedly an incident last week that brought about this decision.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there was an incident in Miller’s apartment complex involving alcohol and it was the second such alcohol-related offense. The problem: Miller is 20, not 21. Strauss also took to Twitter to say he’s hearing that the Cardinals are having “entitlement issues” with several prospects.

Miller is a starting pitcher who has been with Double-A Springfield for his past 13 starts after beginning the season with High-A Palm Beach. He was the Cardinals first-round pick out of high school in 2009 and has quickly established himself as one of the top prospects in baseball. He was ranked as the No. 13 prospect heading into this season by Baseball America.

At Double-A this year, Miller is 7-3 with a 2.97 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings. In 230 career minor-league innings, Miller has struck out 294 batters while having allowed just 11 home runs.

story by Matt Snyder

Zambrano Retiring?

The Chicago Cubs are in discussions with the agents for Carlos Zambrano about the righthander’s retirement threats, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The newspaper reports Zambrano has yet to file any retirement papers. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry and Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, have yet to comment.

A frustrated Zambrano was ejected from Friday night’s loss to the Atlanta Braves after he threw inside twice to third baseman Chipper Jones. The Braves’ previous two hitters had homered. In all, Zambrano allowed five homers before being tossed.
Following his ejection, Zambrano cleaned out his locker, left the stadium and said he planned to retire. The Cubs aren’t sure whether Zambrano was acting and speaking out of frustration or if his intentions were sincere.
“He didn’t have it tonight,” manager Mike Quade told reporters following the game. “I’m really disappointed. His locker is empty. I don’t know where he’s at. He walked out on 24 guys that are battling their (butts) off for him. I don’t know where he’s gone or what he’s doing. I heard he has retired, or talking about retiring. I can’t have a guy walking out on 24 guys, that’s for damn sure.”
Barring a resolution Saturday afternoon, the Chicago Tribune speculates the Cubs will place Zambrano on the restricted list, as they did last season following his altercation with then-Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee in the dugout.
Zambrano, whose 11 seasons with the Cubs have included numerous outbursts, altercations and dramatic incidents, is 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 24 starts this season
Zambrano is due $18 million in 2012 and has a vesting option for $19.25 million in 2013.

The Sporting News

Cards Sign Arthur Rhodes

Well the Cardinals finally got their second left-handed middle relief pitcher………..

Left-handed relief specialist Arthur Rhodes has been signed by the Cardinals, the club announced Thursday. Rhodes is expected to join them Friday. He started the season with the Rangers but was released when they traded for Mike Adams and no other team picked him up off waivers. Rhodes became a free agent Wednesday after clearing waivers and being granted his release.

Rhodes, 41, was an All-Star for Cincinnati last season with a 2.29 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 69 appearances. Right handers crushed him this season, but Rhodes still held lefties to a .216/.310/.405 line. A switch back to the NL should benefit him, and you can bet new manager Tony La Russa will only be using him one left-handed hitter at a time.

Source: Matt Snyder

Molina Suspended

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has been suspended for five games by Major League Baseball, which determined he made contact with umpire Rob Drake and “sprayed him with spittle twice” during a confrontation in a game at Milwaukee on Monday.Molina, expressing his displeasure at a called third strike in the top of the 10th inning, was ejected after the exchange and later said he “would never spit on any face of a man. That’s not me. I was so sweaty, my face was so sweaty and I was yelling, yelling at him. I would never spit on anybody’s face.”
The Cardinals ultimately won that hotly contested game in 11 innings, but now trail the Brewers by 3 1/2 games in the NL Central.
Molina’s suspension would begin with tonight’s game against the Florida Marlins unless he appeals, which is likely.

source: Gabe Lacques