Friday, February 8, 2013
The Cuban baseball team has named it's final roster for the World Baseball Classic. The Cuban national team starts the tournament March 2-6 in a pool with Japan, China and Brazil. The Cuban team brings with them two veterans, infielder Yulieski Gourriel and outfielder Frederich Cepeda. These two make up a pretty good line-up despite losing two good players, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman, who are now playing in the U.S.
The player to watch on the Cuban team is Alfredo Despaigne, who is a 5'9", 176 pound power hitter. Despaigne is an outfielder for Granma of the Cuban Serie Nacional. Another power hitter is Cienfuegos' 6'3" 240 pound first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu. He was the league MVP in 2010-11.
Cuba has a young 22 year old shortstop, Barbaro Arrebarruena, who is a great defender (MLB take note). The Cubans have a 23 year old hard throwing right-hander, Freddy Alvarez, compliments 32 year old Yulieski Gonzalez to form a decent one-two punch in the pitching. Pitching has been Cuba's weak point in past international play.
Cuba has not fared well in recent international play but they seem to have a real good team for this World Baseball Classic.
The highlight of this team has to be the Cuban manager, Victor Mesa. He is worth the price of admission. He can make Billy Martin, Earl Weaver and Lou Piniella blush with some of his arguments and antics with the umpires. During the Havana-Mantanza's play-off game that we attended, Mesa got so aggravated with his pitcher, he came bolting out of the Matanza's dugout and basically yanked the ball from the pitcher and screamed at him to be gone. Besides his animation as a manager, Mesa is a baseball icon in Cuba.
I was impressed with the talent of the players in the playoff game that we attended and I am looking forward to seeing the talent for the national team.
The Cubans are such a passionate people, watch when one of the Havana Industriales' gets plunked in the back. The shenanigans go on for a while.
Monday, February 4, 2013
Mike Rupp was a fan favorite at the Garden but he has become the first casualty in the first shake-up of the season for the Rangers.
The Rangers traded Rupp to the Minnesota Wild for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri.
The Rangers needed another forward and Powe fits the bill. With Callahan out with a dislocated shoulder, the Rangers needed more help than Rupp was able to give. Palmieri will be assigned to Connecticut in the AHL.
On Tuesday, we get to see the first game between the Rangers and the Devils. Always fun and excitement when they meet.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Travis Hafner signed a one year deal with the Yankees on Friday. He is basically the new Ibanez except he can't play the outfield. He has had a good number of injuries over the last five years so I do believe we will not be seeing too much of him this year. His only saving grace is the fact that he will only be used against right handers.
Juan Rivera has signed a minor league deal. We might see him on opening day due to the unpredictable state of the roster.
The Yankees signed a young Dominican catcher, Gary Sanchez, who will be in the minors for a couple of years. He looks like he can hit and he has a real good arm behind the plate. If Austin Romine doesn't ever pan out then the next look has got to go to Sanchez.
Michael Pineda is throwing from a short mound right now but I think Pineda will not be seen until late this season, if at all. Big question for him is how his shoulder will fair after the surgery. If he has lost his speed on his fastball then Pineda is not the number 2 starter that the Yankees traded for. Right now anything you get from Pineda is a plus.
The WBC starts in March. I am looking forward to watching the Cuban baseball team play. Their first game is March 4 against China.
Friday, February 1, 2013
I have been waiting to comment on the state of the Jets and after some moves that the team has made, I am going to weigh in.
First of all, we have to start with the team as a whole and basically they are awful. From top to bottom they are a terrible team. We can sit and delve into the reasons on why they are a terrible team and how the development of their young players has stalled but the bottom line is that the Jets need to move forward. They have become another of many teams that has to rebuild.
The Jets are in a position to trade some of their individual stars like Revis. As much as I like Revis, the Jets need to get some high level picks for the talented Revis. One Revis will not turn this team around but numerous picks can start the rebuilding process. Just look at what Dallas did when it got rid of Herchel Walker and got a landslide of young talent.
Sounds like a decent start but this takes us to management and the so-called player personnel. The Jets are completely awful there too. Yes, even after they have hired a new GM, a new Offensive Coordinator and a new QB coach. The Jets franchise being who they are and who they have hired and by retaining Ryan gives me a semblance of absolute no confidence.
How do you fire your GM because of his incompetence in evaluating football talent but you keep your head coach? The Jets threw away one of their smelly shoes but not the pair which basically means that the room is still going to be smelly.
It will be a while before the Jets are relevant and I expect the season ahead to be more of the same.