Cuba's Jose Abreu might be the best hitter in this year's World Baseball Classic.
The 2013 World Baseball Classic starts March 2, with round robin pool play getting the party started for the 16-team international tournament won by Japan in both 2006 and ’09. The championship round runs from March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Until then, many of the world’s top players will be going head-to-head from Tokyo to Miami.
Here’s a rundown of the top 20 MLB prospects playing in the WBC this time around.
Steroids are now just as synonymous with baseball as hot dogs or cold beer. It is an unfortunate era of the game that fans of all ages must accept. Are the use of performance-enhancing drugs terrible for the body and a form of cheating? Yes, and this country should work diligently to combat their growth. But steroids are a part of why the game of baseball returned to the nation’s heart after a work stoppage and no World Series in 1994.
2013 Spring Training camps are open and many players will compete against teammates for jobs before taking on other baseball teams in April. Here are some position battles to keep an eye on this spring.
An Orlando basketball organization combed through nearly 5,000 fan-submitted nicknames in a 1986 naming process. The group went with Magic over other options like the "Heat," "Tropics and the "Juice." Maybe it's because the team's superstars always want to play elsewhere or the extensive number of stars in the logo, but this nickname conjures up more images of Doug Henning than NBA Championships. That is what happens when you let the fans decide anything.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
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If it weren't for such a storied history, generally awesome uniforms (especially, the blue ones) and a killer mascot, the Phillies might be the lamest sports nickname of all-time. Phillies is short for, you guessed it, the Philadelphia Philadelphias. Yes, this franchise is the oldest unchanged nickname in all of pro sports (1890), but it doesn't scream intimidating by any stretch.
8. Music Genres
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I love nasty blues guitar riffs and chaotic jazz brass bands, but I like them on my turntable not in the Stanley Cup Finals or the NBA Championship. The "Jazz" at least made sense in New Orleans but couldn't be further from relevant in the state of Utah. Additionally, the blues are inherently depressing (much like the hockey team) and musical notes certainly do not instill fear into the opponent's heart.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
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It rolls off the tongue, the blue and white color scheme is classy and very cool and the Maple Leaf is front and center on the Canadian flag. But could anything be less scary than something that dies every year and ends up in the neighborhood garbage can? All of this from a franchise that hasn't even played for a Stanley Cup since 1966-67. At least, they didn't go with The Wanderers.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
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This team has a rich history of success and a storied tradition of some of the game's greatest names. But what exactly is a Dodger? The name stems from the busy Brooklyn city streets and the common phrase "trolley-dodgers" given to those literally dodging trolleys in the New York borough. To quote Patches O'Houlihan, "if you can dodge a wrench... you can hit a baseball?" Well, I am paraphrasing.
5. Cleveland Browns
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The Browns are the biggest draw in a city that has been without a championship of any kind for over sixty years. Maybe if they went with a more inspiring nickname like a terrifying jungle cat (they were actually named the Panthers for two months) or at least an ornery bird instead of... a color? Yes, the name comes from legendary football pioneer Paul Brown but the logo is essentially a brown sheet of paper? Even Paul Brown himself didn't want the nickname. Enough said.
4. Brooklyn Nets
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It's not a person, an animal, a historic idea, symbol or logo. It's simply an inanimate object that hangs on both ends of the court. Does Brooklyn Backboards sound any better because that is essentially what the New Jersey-turned-Brookyn franchise is nicknamed. There is a reason this team's mascots include Duncan The Dragon, Sly the Silver Fox and now BrooklyKnight — who is one letter away from being a porn star (do your web searching at home, please).
3. Denver Nuggets
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The Denver basketball franchise was originally named the Larks after the Colorado state bird and the Rockets after original owner Bill Ringsby's trucking company. When the ABA team moved to the NBA it obviously had to rename itself. The fans picked Nuggets as the team name after the long history of gold prospecting in the state. So a small rock (okay, a gold rock) is what fans in the Mile High city root for each night. Considering the state's and NBA's reputation for recreational marijuana use, it's apropos that their team is named the Nuggets.
2. Any type of sock
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The Chicago White Sox. The Boston Red Sox. The Cincinnati Red Stockings. Winter jackets, work boots and Under Armour might be the toughest articles of clothing and even they sound super lame. But a mispelled sweaty glove made for your feet? Really? It's about as intimidating as a mitten or a diaper. The Red Stockings were smart enough to drop the stockings early in the going and have excelled as the Reds for decades. But the Chicago White Sox — formerly the White Stockings — take the cake. Not only are they named after one of the nastiest pieces of clothing, but the baseball team that hails from the South Side of the Windy City doesn't even wear white socks. They are black.
1. Anaheim Ducks
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Executives at Walt Disney would call it "synergy." Sports fans call it garbage. And it's why the Anahiem Mighty Ducks had to eventually drop the "mighty" from their name. Yes, the powers that be at Disney founded the Ducks franchise in 1993 and named it after their successful hockey movie about a rag-tag youth hockey club led by coach Emilio Estevez. The duck goalie mask may have looked mean, however, this team was anything but until a shocking Stanley Cup run in 2006-07.
It's never too early to look ahead to the next MLB season.
Just as I did a few weeks ago, I once again examine the pennant races as they’re shaping up for 2013. Sure, it’s early, but what else are you going to read about? Bowl games between a bunch of non-BCS .500 teams? Now that some major free agent dominoes have fallen, and some major trades have changed the MLB landscape, here are my early 2013 MLB picks.
It’s never too early to start thinking about 2013. At least now that the World Series is over. I mean, what else is there to think about? Pitchers and catchers report in a little more than 100 days. Certainly, key trades and free agent signings will tweak these predictions as we get deeper into the offseason. But for now, here’s an early, early look at how the standings might appear next October.
Scoundrels, cheapskates and spoiled brats who ripped defeat from the jaws of victory.
As long as sports have been played in organized leagues, there have been team owners who have disgraced their respective games. Scoundrels, cheapskates and spoiled brats have always found a way to rip defeat from the jaws of victory — none worse than these 10 worst owners in sports history.
These MLB players are making way more than their production.
Fans love it when their team signs a big-name free agent or locks up a current star, but too many times organizations pay for past accomplishment instead of future production. There are obviously some baseball superstars on this list, but unfortunately much is expected from those who have been compensated at the highest level. Here’s our look at the 10 worst contracts in major league baseball.
The tumultuous one-year tenure of Bobby Valentine in Boston is over. The Red Sox were awful under the polarizing manager, and the 2012 season was the first time the franchise had lost 90 or more games since 1966. There was constant turmoil between players and Valentine in the Boston clubhouse, as well as bickering between both parties in the media. The 69-93 campaign saw general manager Ben Cherington change the club’s philosophical direction by trading away veterans Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.
Trading baseball players between teams has been part of the charm of the game since the 1800s. Ornery players traded after disputes with managers, struggling players traded for one another in hopes that a change of scenery will bring life back to their game, aging stars traded for young prospects, pitching traded for hitting, difficult contract negotiations avoided by trades, financially embarrassed teams trading players for cash — the game has seen all kinds of reasons for swapping players.