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Baseball – MLB

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Toronto Blue Jays

With the 2017 MLB season on the horizon, the Toronto Blue Jays will look to build on their success in 2016 when they finished with an 89-73 record and came within one win of reaching the World Series for the first time since 1993. The Blue Jays have already made a splash in free agency, agreeing to terms with pitchers J.A. Happ, Joe Smith and Francisco Liriano. Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Toronto will be in a very competitive AL East division where it will take more than just a stellar offense led by Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista to reach championship glory. To get an idea of what lies ahead for the boys of summer, here’s what we predict for how the 2017 season will play out for the surging Blue Jays.

Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, that competes in Major League Baseball (MLB). Founded in 1901 as one of the American League’s eight charter franchises, the Red Sox’ home ballpark has been Fenway Park since 1912. The “Red Sox” name was chosen by the team owner, John I. Taylor, around 1908, following the lead of previous teams that had been known as the “Boston Red Stockings”, including the forerunner of the Atlanta Braves.

Chicago White Sox

It’s easy to get discouraged as a White Sox fan.  The team has been mired in mediocrity for over 20 years, bottoming out at an all-time franchise low in “excitement” level during the 90s after winning two World Series in the 80s. The ineptitude of the franchise was so bad that longtime owner Bill Veeck ended up selling off most of the star players from their glory days and sending away his best prospects in exchange for veterans who didn’t live up to their reputations (Carlton Fisk excepted). To make matters worse, their flagship radio station underwent a merger with a different media conglomerate and suspended all Sox games for four whole months, which seemed like forever to a certain ten-year-old Little Leaguer. Now that it’s 2013 and 34 years later, I’m sure there are many younger fans out there who have no recollection of that dark period.

New York Yankees

For 50 years the New York Yankees have been one of the biggest drawing baseball franchises in Major Leagues. This fascination of the New York Yankees has been backed up by triumphs in series history that start with their first championship in 1923 and end with 27 World Series Championships, 40 American League Pennants, and 494 seasons out of the last 50 years at or above .500. From Babe Ruth’s 1920 season which saw him hit 54 home runs and lead the Yankees to a World Series Championship and his 786 career home runs and Lou Gehrig’s ‘Luckiest man on the face of the earth speech’ that made us all believe in fates greater than ourselves, to Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak that came just 8 short of tying Ted Williams’ record. The Yanks are good!

St. Louis Cardinals

Belly up to the bar, boys. It’s time for the story of one of the greatest baseball franchises in history – the St. Louis Cardinals. There were two teams in St. Louis in 1882, the St. Louis Brown Stockings and the St. Louis Red Stockings (of which a certain Cardinal would play over a century later). Homer “Happy” Foutz, who was actually born Nat Sadie Fouts (but went by Happy), captained both teams during their one year of existance. The following year, however, the two teams joined forces to become one team – the St. Louis Browns, a charter member of the American Association league that was formed that season to compete with the National League, which abandoned its status as a minor league and became a major league that year in response to its then-rival league’s formation.

Houston Astros

From 2011–2018, the Houston Astros have had the best record of any MLB franchise at 1,098-759. In that same period, the Astros have enjoyed three 100-win seasons, four postseason berths, and a World Series title during a historic 2017 season. These achievements are not just a testament to big spending and great drafting but also to the innovative management style of baseball operations director and general manager Jeff Luhnow .

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers are one of Major League Baseball’s most successful franchises with 4,000 wins and over 2,500 losses in their history. After the Seattle Pilots relocated to Wisconsin in 1970, the Milwaukee Brewers took the field as a National League expansion team that same year. The first year saw Milwaukee start out slow as they finished 67-95 — ninth in the 10 team NL Eastern Division. In 1972, the Brewers played better but were still outside of the playoffs with a 90-72 record. In 1973, though, a star was born. Hank Aaron started his MVP season on May 17, 1973 when he reached a career milestone: his 715th home run surpassed Babe Ruth’s mark for home runs hit by one player.

Tampa Bay Rays

From the second starting pitcher to the designated hitter, the Tampa Bay Rays have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in all of Major League Baseball. Having experienced their fair share of ups and downs in the standings over their nearly two-decade history, expectations are at an all-time high for a club that has not won a playoff game since 2013. Banking on a rotation that, on paper, is as strong as any in baseball, James Loney Jersey , there is certainly good reason to believe that something is going to give this year.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are an organization that is used to having money to spend. They have remained competitive in a stacked division for years. Looking at their farm system and trade chips, they are poised to go after a top tier free agent like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Their young players like Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo will still be on the team for years to come too which means the current window for the Dodgers to contend is open for a long time.

San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants are an exciting professional baseball team who represent the third oldest franchise in Major League Baseball (MLB). The San Francisco Giants call AT&T Park in San Francisco, California their home field. While they initially played their games at the Seals Stadium, the organization moved to Candlestick Park once the new venue opened its doors in 1960. This was the same year the organization won their first of three World Series titles.

Stan Musial

Stan Musial played professional baseball for 22 years. He spent the first 19 of those years with the St. Louis Cardinals, and the last three with the Los Angeles Angels. During that time, he accumulated 3,630 hits, 725 doubles, 475 home runs, 1,833 RBIs and a .331 batting average. He won seven National League batting titles and was a 24-time All Star selection. In 1967, he became the first player to be named National League MVP four times in five years. The National League has retired his uniform number —

Walter Johnson

It’s a beautiful day for this Boston native; the weather was perfect for a pitcher’s duel, the sound of the crowd chanting my name echoed through the stadium. I knew today was going to be a special day for Walter Johnson. I must have thrown 10 fastballs that froze Bill James, first baseman of the New York Giants, and put him into a state of awe. Maybe if he had worn a batting helmet give supporters some peace of mind that he would come off the field alive. But then again, maybe not. “The quicker you throw your fastball,” Ty Cobb used to tell me back in my early days with Detroit, “the longer your career will be.”

Barry Bonds

The world of baseball had perhaps never seen a force as ferocious as Barry Bonds. The man was unrivaled and his talent was incredible. He broke not only records around the league, but almost breaking records within individual games, it seemed. Bonds eclipsed the Babe’s seemingly untouchable 714 by hitting 73 HRs in 2001 — his last year pitching.

Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle made the most of his short career in baseball, and through hard work, dedication, and an incredible ability to compete and win, he became one the greatest baseball players in history — a status he still holds today. He was accused of not being able to hit lefties or pitchers that were tough to strikeout — now these seem like laughable statements at best. He’s been accused of taking steroids in his later career — making him an unfair example for young kids growing up with idolizing Mickey Mantle. But when you look back at what he’s done in his career, it takes your breath away a little.

Lou Gehrig

When you think about baseball, athletes like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron probably come to mind. But one man that was ahead of the curve from both a skill standpoint and a humanitarian standpoint is Lou Gehrig. Gehrig was born on June 19th, 1903 in New York. He was a large man, who, by his senior year of high school was six foot one and weighed 220 pounds. He went on to attend Columbia University, where he played both football and baseball. He also took classes with President Dwight Eisenhower, seemingly before he became president! In 1925, Gehrig began his pro baseball career with the minor league team Hartford Senators. He played well enough that the following year he made it up to the New York Yankees major league club. It would be there that his greatness would be known around the world.

Ted Williams

Ted Williams was a man of many talents. He could hit a baseball like no one the world has ever seen — and talk like no other. It is this ability to speak that we remember him best for. Ted was born with a speech impediment, a condition which his doctors feared might rob him of the very thing that made him famous: his voice. But the world would get to hear Ted’s golden words. And the way he spoke would become part of baseball legend.

Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb is perhaps the most controversial baseball player of all time. Although he was a great player, his name is marred by two incidents that occurred on and off the baseball diamond. On August 18, 1912, in Detroit, at the local park known as Bennett Park, Ty Cobb attacked a fan who jumped onto the field during a game. When the Detroit Tigers outfielder came off the field later that same day he was met in the clubhouse by a young boy who was handing out autographs. The young boy was wearing Clem McCarthy’s famous No. 4 Tigers uniform while holding a baseball with which to write Cobb’s name (Cobb had not removed his uniform yet when he entered the clubhouse).

Hank Aaron

There have been numerous baseball Greats but perhaps, Hank Aaron was the best. Some people even call him the greatest baseball player of all time, not just in the history of the MLB. He’d been nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank” and also known as “Alabama Hammer” because he’s such a great hitter! But not just because he had a good baseball career. No. When you think Hugh Aaron you likely think of his contributions off the field too, like being one of the founding fathers of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America .

Willie Mays

Beyond the statistics and scope of his life’s achievements, Willie Mays embodied the spirit of New York City in the mid-twentieth century. Mays was a bridge between two great eras of baseball, a link between Cleveland, where he learned hard work and how to handle people by pushing trolleys and vending peanuts as a boy, to San Francisco, where as a star player he helped bring a struggling franchise into its first dynasty, and then with the Mets to New York, where he made himself at home with his country-gentle soul.

Babe Ruth

George Herman Babe Ruth Jr. was an American baseball player, who became one of the greatest sports legends of all time. His career in Major League Baseball (MLB) began in 1914 when the then known as Baltimore Orioles signed him at a tryout. A standout player, Ruth eventually earned himself the nickname “The Bambino” which was also shared with a popular york sandwich, and through his numerous records as well as his path to stardom, he secured his title as not just one of baseball’s best players but among the finest athletes to have played any sport.

Final Thoughts

Baseball is a sport that combines the American pastime of sports and the iconic American tradition of Sunday softball games. Baseball is one of the most popular sports in America and in the world, and its participants are looked upon with great reverence among the crowd. There is something about baseball that brings people together, regardless of race or socioeconomic class. For many people, it is their first introduction to team sports. The image of a group sitting around a ball field cheering on their favorite player as he or she kicks back a ball has become a corner stone of American culture. Baseball reflects traditional values while also showing off home runs, strikeouts, and diving catches. Not only do you learn about teamwork and competition from baseball, but also how to act like a gentleman or lady when in public as well.