Manny Ramirez joins Cubs AAA affiliate as player/coach

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Manny Ramirez has made his imprint with many Major League Baseball organizations: the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, L.A. Dodgers, even the Chicago White Sox toward the tail end of his career. Now he can include the Chicago Cubs on that list. Here’s an excerpt from a statement sent out by the Chicago Cubs just minutes ago: [Read more…]

Will Ozzie Guillen Manage The Florida Marlins? Kenny Williams be fired?

ozzie-guillen

As the Chicago White Sox continue to let the AL Central slip away, White Sox fans are beginning to demand changes. Both General Manager Kenny Williams and Manager Ozzie Guillen are drawing the angst of White Sox Fans. With the Florida Marlins getting set to open a new stadium next season, Ozzie living in Florida in the off-season and his ties to the Marlin’s organization, could Guillen be the fighting fish’s new skipper in 2012? As GM Kenny Williams “All In” plan is obviously failing, will his firing be imminent?

The Sportsbank has an inside look at those questions.

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Ramirez Retirement: Final Instance of Manny Being Manny

 

manny

In a shocking story, Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement from the great game of baseball after he was reportedly involved in an issue with the MLB drug policy.

It’s not clear if Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance, but if he did, he would then have to serve a 100-game suspension. Rather than face the prospects of sitting out for a good portion of the year, Ramirez informed Major League Baseball that he would retire.

Manny is an interesting character and deciding if he should get the call to the Hall of Fame depends on how you viewed him as a player and person.

By Zach Wadley

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Chicago White Sox: Offseason Additions and Subtractions

Going after pitcher Jake Peavy in 2009 proved that the White Sox are serious about getting their ace in what has become an ace-happy league. This is something that their rivals, cough, cough – the Minnesota Twins, have refused to do. No, Minnesota, it’s been four years, Francisco Liriano is not an ace.

Of course, the deal has been a major bust so far, as Peavy cannot stay healthy to save his life. The White Sox have the best rotation in the division with Peavy (if he recovers from his detached lat), Mark Buerhle and John Danks leading the way. But the question with the White Sox is whether or not their bullpen and lineup can keep up with the pitching.

Let’s take a look.

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Patriots Loss is Vikings Gain: Systems Do Not Trump Talent

roger-goodell

Sometimes celebrities get caught up in their own press and are surrounded by “yes men.” In the sports world, the NFL is the king of television and ancillary revenue. Men like Roger Goodell and Bill Belichick are at the top of the spectrum in terms of power and public perception.

No coach in the league has more of a mandate to give his input to ownership and management than the alleged cheater in the Providence-Boston area. In this instance, this ability has hurt the organization and Belichick’s credibility.

The trade of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a third round draft pick and a future seventh rounder is ludicrous and laughable.

As a lifelong Viking fan, I am elated to see the big play threat return to Mall of America Field for the first time since Sidney Rice played on that turf.

By Patrick Herbert

For a Patriots fan view of the trade go here

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Minnesota Twins Must Remain Aggressive

Carl Pavano

The Minnesota Twins recently swept the Chicago White Sox in a series that was viewed as imperative for the South Siders. Every sports fan has been caught biting his or her nails at the conclusion of a football game when their coordinator makes the decision to go into a prevent defense.

It usually end up in their opponent gaining enormous chunks of yards in short periods of time. Then a quirky play-by-play man from Syracuse will mention that the only thing that formation succeeded in was preventing the defense from stopping the offense.

By Patrick Herbert

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5 Reasons Why the White Sox Should Resign Paul Konerko

The 2010 baseball season is not even over and the Chicago White Sox are still in the race for the American League Central crown. So why should any White Sox fan start thinking about 2011? Team captain and offensive leader Paul Konerko will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season that’s why. While some may argue that it is time to turn the page on the Sox slugger and usher in the Dayan Vaciedo era, we offer five reasons the White Sox need to re-sign him without even thinking twice about it.

By: Soxman

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Ozzie, Kenny, Konerko Comment on Manny Ramirez Rumors

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If you follow baseball at all, and you’ve been paying attention today, then you’ve heard the rumors that the Chicago White Sox are interested in signing MLB superstar Manny Ramirez from the Los Angeles Dodgers. No news on this deal is even close to official yet, but here’s what the respective leaders (General Manager, Field Manager, and Team Captain) of the White Sox had to say about it.

One factor you should consider if you believe the rumors are true: Sox leadoff hitter Juan Pierre, Manny has followed Pierre to a couple of ballclubs lately.

By Paul M. Banks

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MLB Championship Series showcase East/West Coast battles

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By Jake McCormick

The MLB is resurrecting their own versions of the 90s rap battles between the East and West Coast. Both the National League and American League Championship Series feature matchups between teams roughly 3,000 miles away from each other. And from the storylines and talent on each team, the rest of the postseason will give similar career/entertainment boosts as a result.

Two things are for sure when the Los Angeles Angels take on the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers face Philadelphia Phillies: Both series will go more than four games and both will feature some instant classic playoff moments. Although it would be hard to top Jonathan Papelbon’s implosion over the last two innings of the Red Sox-Angels series. There’s not much that pleases me more as a baseball fan than watching cocky closers get worked like a new army recruit.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
dodgers1This matchup screams Rocky II, and for once not in the way that benefits Philadelphia. Both teams played at this stage a year ago, only Philadelphia had the home field advantage. The Dodgers have come back a year stronger and more hungry, whereas the Phillies look just as good, but have lost a few key steps along the way.

The Phillies and Dodgers have strong rotations, but each has one cold spot that could easily be exploited if either team gets on a roll. Cliff Lee has so far looked like CC Sabathia was supposed to for the Brewers last year, giving up two earned runs in 16.1 innings. Game 1 starter Cole Hamels is supposed to be the team’s ace, but he struggled in his NLDS start and will be facing a right-handed heavy Dodger lineup.

philliesThe Dodgers somehow stopped the Philadelphia hit parade during the regular season, as the team only hit .214 in seven games. The Phillie left handers will need to find a way to get past Dodger south paws Clayton Kershaw and Randy Wolf, who both rank tops in the league in opponent OPS. They also have the best bullpen in the National League, including lefty late-inning specialist George Sherrill.

The key to this series will be the back end of both teams’ bullpens. Brad Lidge has a stat line that only Eric Gagne would’ve been able to rival, had he stayed the Brewers’ closer throughout all of 2008. Both of these teams can hit late in games, so the matchup between Lidge vs. Mr. Clutch Andre Ethier or Jonathan Broxton vs. Ryan Howard will show its face at least one time apiece. Consider this a grudge match of the best of the NL, and the Dodgers will take the series in the same number of games they played against the Phillies in 2009.

Verdict: Dodgers in seven

Los Angeles Angels vs. New York Yankees
YankeesThe regular season 5-5 split record between these two teams sums up how evenly matched the ALCS will be. The Angels and Yankees finished one and two, respectively, during the regular season in runs scored, and played as well as any team in baseball over the last month of the season. There’s no doubt this is the Tupac vs. Notorious B.I.G. of the East/West MLB feud, minus the ending, of course.

The Yankees have decided to go with CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte for the rest of the series. Instead of performing like an overused 30 GB iPod, Sabathia is a refurbished 80 GB in his first playoff bid as a Yankee. The regular late season use will come in handy considering he was 0-2 with above a 6.00 ERA against Los Angeles. Do I even need to mention Mariano Rivera, considering he is the Delivery Man of the Year?

AngelsThe Angels have also set their rotation with John Lackey, Joe Saunders, Jerad Weaver, and Scott Kazmir. Lackey has the most playoff experience, and he and Weaver pulled 7.1 innings against an always tough Red Sox team. Closer Brian Fuentes was a question mark heading into the postseason, but he seemed to have found a groove against Boston, allowing no hits and only one baserunner on a walk in two saves.

Both of these teams convincingly swept their opponents in the divisional series, and are as ready as ever to face off for the American League pennant. Bobby Abreu and Mark Teixeira get their chances, in a way, to Brett Favre their former teams in at least four games. Alex Rodriguez suddenly has the playoff confidence of David Eckstein, Aaron Boone, and Craig Counsell all wrapped into one. The series will be close any way you slice it, but in the end New York will find itself in the World Series for the first time since 2001.

Verdict: Yankees in six.

If my predictions prove correct, it would be a Dodger-Yankee World Series; the best of each league. That would pit Joe Torre against his former team, which would be the ultimate Brett Favre moment of the MLB season, except the revenge game would mean a little more in the long run.

The Father, The Son, Aramis Ramirez, Amen.

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By Paul Schmidt

The moment that the Cubs and their fans have waited for is finally here. The second coming of Jesus Christ himself, Aramis Ramirez, has returned to the Cubs lineup. Now they will start hitting!
He’ll fix the budget crisis too!  And heal all the election tension in Iran!  I also heard he knows where Osama bin Laden is hiding and is, on his next off day, leading a team of Special Forces soldiers to bring him to justice!

I love Aramis, and I think that he is probably the most underrated superstar in the National League – At least, outside the city of Chicago.  For those on the North Side, at least during his injury, you would think that he is Babe Ruth, Ichiro and Brooks Robinson all rolled into one.

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They won their first game back with Rami, but he went 0-for-4.  His mere presence in the lineup must have frightened my favorite Dutch pitcher, Jair Jurrjens, right?

I can’t stand idly by and listen any longer about how, with Ramirez back in the lineup, suddenly the Cubs will hit again.

For the first time since early 2007, the Cubs posting a losing record for a calendar month of the season by going 12-16.  They managed to do this while posting the best ERA for starting pitching in all of baseball.  Think about that for a moment.

Their starters, in June, were the best in all of baseball.  And yet, they lost 4 more games than they won.

Obviously, the offense is a big problem.

Injuries, however, were not the biggest issue.

We have two main cogs in the lineup – Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano – who are apparently statistically punting the 2009 season.  We have a second baseman in Mike Fontenot who should either be a platoon player or a sub off the bench – and is playing like it by only hitting .220.  We have a right fielder in Milton Bradley who has been on a pretty big offensive tear as of late – to bring his average all the way into the .240s.

Setting aside Fontenot (who, honestly has no business starting), if Soto, Soriano and Bradley were all putting up the seasons they had last year, prorated, as of right now, you’d be looking at a first place ball club.  And yes, I mean that, even with Aramis Ramirez, he who stands in the white robes and blesses us all, on the disabled list.

For anyone who thinks you can’t lose your best player and still win games, well, all you need to do is look at the team that eliminated us in the playoffs last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers.  They’ve been missing some Manny guy for the last 50 games.  While he was suspended, the Dodgers went 29-21, good for a .580 winning percentage.  Now, granted, that was far less than the nearly .700 clip they were winning at prior to his suspension, but it does prove that a team doesn’t need to fold up shop when their best player disappears from the lineup card.

In earlier times, Ramirez tamed Falcor and saved the Princess from The Nothing.

In earlier times, Ramirez tamed Falcor and saved the Princess from The Nothing.

Which is, essentially, what happened with the Cubs. They just let the snowball start rolling down the hill, gathering speed and momentum, and once it had they couldn’t stop the slump – or the excuses.

Now, with Rami the Great and Benevolent back, the excuses have all run out.

It’s time to prove to your fans and the city what you’re made of, gentlemen. Because if you aren’t good enough, come this winter, we’ll be looking for real answers.

And, just so we’re clear, ‘Aramis Ramirez was hurt’ won’t be good enough.

Manny’s Ban Redefines Good Wood.

By Soxman

Baseball is Life.  While extreme, this statement pretty much defines my passion for the game, my appreciation for anyone who can be successful at it, and for the rich historical tradition which has labeled it America’s Pastime.  Well, if baseball is life I guess you could say that I’m feeling a lot like the biblical character Job right about now.

Big Mac, Clemens, Barry, Raffy, A-Roid, and baseball’s latest boil, Manny.  Or is it?
That was my first reaction to learning that Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball today for testing positive for a banned performance enhancing substance.

Short of insider leaks or Manny giving MLB permission to disclose exactly what he tested positive for, the cloud of suspicion in the court of public opinion in what I believe to be baseball’s darkest era says one word: guilty.

Refusing to play because he’s unhappy with his contract, lackluster effort, promising to be good if he’s let out of his contract were all ignored by me in the past.  Having an agent who drove up ticket prices by redefining the market time and again, never bothered me.  Why?  At least he was clean. Manny said he did not take steroids and was prescribed medication by a doctor that contained a banned substance.  Really?

Now I believe in privacy, HIPPA, and who takes what (as long as it’s legal) is no one’s business.  However, when America’s pastime- the game that made you a millionaire, takes another right hook across the chin, Manny being Manny just won’t cut it.

“Recently, I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me,” Ramirez said in a statement issued by the players’ union.
“Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.”

Of course you have.  But who in the name of Shoeless Joe and Babe Ruth advised you not to say anything else right now?  Scott Boras?

Think about this.   Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark McGwire head a long list of stars that have been implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, right?

The difference?  You are arguably one of the greatest hitters of all-time and the first superstar to be suspended under the drug policy players and owners put in place seven years ago.  As performance-enhancing drugs=steroids to most of America, you should be the ambassador to the game explaining the difference.

Internet rumors have swirled that the drug prescribed by the physician was for sexual performance.  If true, let the jokes about Manny being Manny and not always having good wood begin.  It’s a lot better than being branded a cheater.

As someone created by the dollars of fans who will never see 1/125th of his annual income, Manny needs to go against the advice of those who told him to keep quiet and tell us what he took.  It’s beyond Manny Ramirez, it’s about the integrity of the game.

Manny, as we all know who your agent is, let’s give you some incentive in a language you can easily understand, money.  If it was a banned drug for sexual performance, think of the untapped market potential and thus $$$ this admission could rake in!

“The best player wearing Dodger blue, relies on this little blue pill when he can’t get good wood.”  You can pay me later Pfizer.

I would imagine it would also go a long way in helping the common man feel better about “equipment failures” as well.  You could be their hero.  This could be a marketing boom for you Manny.
Ironically, Los Angeles even renamed a section of seats in left field at Dodger Stadium “Mannywood” last year.  Are you listening to the business opportunities Scott Boras?

Honestly, at this point, if you were banned for taking a banned substance other than steroids, what’s the harm in disclosing it?  Your seat in the Hall of Fame is all you have to lose. My eyes start to water intensely as we peel back the layers on the onion that is the steroid era.  Innocent or guilty, the ball of proof is in Manny’s court to disclose.

If he refuses, I’m pulling out a statement I made once before to all records of this era:  “Kiss My Asterisk.”   It’s like being in school where the whole class is punished because the kids who stole the milk refuse to come forward.  The punishment fits the crime.