The Trade Deadline approaches in the ULB, and several big names are potentially on the move.
Portland continues to shop SP Roy Halladay, and have had discussions with at least one team has proposed a deal that Portland is considering.
Phoenix has not had any bites on either 1B/SH Kenneth Payne who has recently returned from the Disabled List, or for CL Brad Lidge who has 17 Saves and a 1.66 ERA.
The St. Paul Saints have been very active in Ace Cooan’s early days as General Manager. They are shopping SS Abraham Nunez and have reportedly proposed a swap of home town prospect C Joe Busch Jr for a home town star in New Mexico’s C Joe Mauer.
When asked about it, Busch was non committal, saying “”I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The Saints also reportedly covet Buffalo prospect SS Tim Beckham and have made inquires about his availability.
New Orleans’ C Tom Brady also remains on the block, but teams are concerned about his lack of production this season, despite his making the FL All Star Team.
Teams have until Midnight EST on Sunday, August 9th, 2009 to make non waiver trades. (Wendesday September 17th, 7:30PM EST)
The 2006 ULB Divisional Cup is now finished, and the ULB League Championship Cup match ups are now set. Four teams remain to challenge for the right to hold the Union Cup high.
The Portland Mavericks swept the San Juan Storm in 4 games, sending one former champion packing. The Mavericks weathered the Storm easily, but Portland remains concerned about the poor performance of Ace pitcher Roy Halladay, who allowed 11 hits and 6 runs in 6 innings of work in Game 1 of the Division Cup. Thankfully for the Mavs, the offense picked up the slack and was able to help Portland squeak out a 7-6 victory. Game 2 went 11 innings, with Portland coming out on top thanks to a Mark Teahen walk out solo home run.
The Boston Colonials defeated the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 4 games to 1, and were the only Wild Card to advance to the League Championship Cup. Oklahoma City took Game 1 by a score of 6-5, but the Colonials then dominated the rest of the series. Kevin Forbes and Dernell Stenson both homered in Game 2 and led the way to a 7-5 victory. Dan Mozingo gave up just 1 run in 6.2 innings of work in Game 3 to help the Colonials to a 4-1 win in Boston. Ben Sheets went 8 innings and allowed just 3 hits in Game 5 as Boston won the series in 5 games with a score of 5-2.
The Columbus Crickets put out the Phoenix Fire in 5 games to eliminate another former Union Cup Champion. The Fire won game one by a score of 5-4 behind Tim Lemon. The rest of the series was not as kind to the fire. A.J. Pierzynski provided a home run to tie Game 2 in the 3rd inning, and Jeff Baker scored on a Pat Osborn double to give the Crickets all the lead they would need in a 2-1 victory in Game 2. Matt White kept the Fire at bay in Game 3, allowing just 2 runs and 4 hits in 8 innings of work in a 5-2 victory for the Crickets. Kerry Wood went 7 innings and allowed just 2 runs in an 8-4 victory in Game 4. The final nail in the Fire’s coffin was Dan Denham who allowed just 2 unearned runs in Game 5. Eric Junge would allow a Jody Gerut solo homer in the 9th to briefly bolster the Fire’s hopes, but he then got Tagg Bozied to ground out and struck out Michael Sirois to send the Crickets to the League Championship Cup with a 4-3 victory.
The defending Union Cup Champion Buffalo Blizzard survived the hardest fought series as they sent the New Orleans/Kansas City Gold Sox back to their adopted home for the rest of the playoffs. Buffalo won Game 1 on a 3 run walkoff home run by Corey Smith in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Blizzard an 11-10 victory. The Gold Sox won Game 2 in the 10th inning on a Tom Brady RBI single in a 4-3 Gold Sox victory. The Gold Sox took a 2-1 lead in the series behind Gen Sueyoshi’s 8 inning, 2 run masterpiece in a 5-2 loss for Buffalo. The Blizzard tied the series in a 15-11 scorefest in which every starter for both teams had a hit. Darren Holt had 5 hits in 5 at bats, with 3 runs scored to lead Buffalo to a hard fought victory. Jeff Flaig added 4 hits and 2 home runs and 4 RBIs as well. Lloyd Peever went the complete game in Game 5 and allowed just 1 run, while Roy Oswalt fell apart early and lasted just 1 inning and allowed 5 runs. The Gold Sox would win 11-1 and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Antonio McDowell, Bryan Bass and Gene Smith all homered for the Gold Sox. With the series on the line, Gerik Baxter turned in a dominant performance and held the Gold Sox to 2 runs on 6 hits in 8 innings of work. Corey Smith and Brent Abernathy both homered for the Blizzard as they went on to win 6-2 and send the series to a decisive Game 7. Kris Benson went 7.1 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits. But Gen Sueyoshi lasted just 1.2 innings and allowed 5 runs, 2 of them unearned. Bryan Bass had the unfortunately costly error in the second which led to the unearned runs by Ben Cordova and Brent Abernathy and ultimately drove Sueyoshi from the game. Bass was also caught stealing in the top of the 2nd to end the inning. Darren Holt added another 3 hits to bring his Division Cup average to .433 with 13 hits, as well as 11 RBI’s. The Blizzard would secure a 8-4 victory, with Stan Green striking out Auturo McDowell to end the game and send the Blizzard to the League Championship Cup as they continue to attempt to become 3 team to win back to back Union Cups.
In the League Championship Cup it will be the Boston Colonials hosting the Columbus Crickets and the Portland Mavericks hosting the defending champs in the Buffalo Blizzard.
Saying that young people look up to professional athletes, members of a House committee investigating steroid use said today that Major League Baseball and Union League Baseball have failed in their responsibility to stop the use of performance enhancing drugs and was encouraging their use among young athletes.
“Kids aren’t just talking about their favorite teams’ chances in the pennant race,” said Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the committee. “They are talking about which pro players are on the juice.”
In opening remarks for hearings that are scheduled to feature several stars and former stars of baseball, including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Tom Brady, and Jose Canseco, several lawmakers talked about the spreading use of steroids among young people. Several pointed to a report by the Centers for Disease Control that said 500,000 American teens take steroids, partly in an effort emulate their sports heroes.
Henry Waxman, a Democrat and the ranking minority member of the committee, said baseball wasn’t doing enough to curtail their use.
“We’re long past the point where we can count on both leagues to fix its own problems,” he said.
“I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Catcher Tom Brady responded to questions from the commitee. “I have never used any illegal substances during my professional career. I never have, and never will.” he said. “I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Two other players ordered to testify, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas, both issued statements denying steroid use.
“I have never used steroids. Period,” Mr. Palmeiro said. “I dont know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
Frank Thomas also issued a statement saying that he had not used steroids.
The committee also heard by noon today from parents of two young athletes who committed suicide after using steroids for several years. One father called the players “cowards” for being “afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.” Mr. Waxman said that if pro ball players are allowed to use steroids, it was no surprise that younger athletes want to use them too.
“There is an absolute correlation between the culture of steroids in high schools and the culture of steroids in major league clubhouses,” he said. “Kids get the message when it appears that it’s okay for professional athletes to use steroids. If the pros do it, college athletes will, too. And if it’s an edge in college, high school students will want the edge, too.
“There is a pyramid of steroid use in society and today our investigation starts where it should – with the owners and players at the top of that pyramid,” Mr. Waxman said.
As the spoke, Major League Baseball commissioner George W. Bush, who was to testify later, sat with his arms crossed and lips pursed.
Sitting near him was the Fay Vincent, Commissioner of Union League Baseball.
The hearing came a day after lawmakers chided Major League Baseball, Union League Baseball, and both players unions, accusing them of misleading Congress and the public about the new steroids testing policy. The members of Congress were reacting angrily to the disclosure of the policy’s details, which they contended were not as stringent or wide-ranging as baseball executives and union officials have said they were.
Mr. Davis and Mr. Waxman sent a 10-page letter to Mr. Selig and Mr. Vincent to express their disappointment and frustration with the new policy.
Both MLB and ULB instituted a steroids policy in 2002 and agreed last year to toughen it. The details of the new policy have not yet been finalized.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and another member of the committee, said: “Baseball’s policy needs to be one of zero tolerance and it needs to have teeth.”Other players expected to be called to testify are Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas.
Several aides to congressmen said that the call for hearings on steroid use came about partly because of the publication of Mr. Canseco’s book “Juiced,” in which he admitted using steroids and said Mr. McGwire and Mr. Palmeiro had also used them.
The players, who will appear in a panel format, will most likely be asked, under oath during the nationally televised hearings, whether they have used illegal steroids.
Immunity is not expected to be offered, and some of the players may invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Davis said the players will have “an opportunity today to either clear their name or take public responsibility for their action, and perhaps offer cautionary tales to our youth.”
The committee’s hearings will come in four different panel sessions. In the first one, they heard from United States Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a major league player for 17 years and a member of Hall of Fame.
“Baseball needs to know we are watching,” he said. “They owe it to all of us to prove they are fixing this terrible problem. If not, we will have to do it for them.”
Like many of the other committee members who spoke, Mr. Bunning spoke of his love of the game, and of the place baseball has in American history and culture. Mr. Bunning talked about how steroid use had tainted the game for many people, and made them question the accomplishments of many great record-breaking plays.
“What is happening in baseball now is not natural and it is not right,” he said.
“The last thing I want for America’s pastime is to make it be the subject of a witch hunt,” he said. But, congress had to take action because the owners and players themselves were not, he said.
“It’s not their game,” he said. “It’s ours. They’re just enjoying the privilege of playing it for a short time. What I think many of the players do not understand is that many players came before them, and many will come after them. They all need to protect the integrity of the greatest game ever.”
The committee also heard from the parents of Rob Taylor, a baseball player from Southern California who used steroids and committed suicide.
“There’s no doubt in our minds that steriods killed our son,” Rob’s mother, Dr. Denise Garibaldi, told the committee. “In his mind he did what baseball heroes like Canseco had done.”
Dr. Garibaldi and her husband, Raymond Garibaldi, said that unbeknownst to them, their son had been encouraged to take drugs to bulk up by scouts and trainers and coaches since he was in high school. They noticed changes in his demeanor and his behavior, but he denied to them he used them, Dr. Garibaldi said.
“He told us, I don’t do drugs. I’m a ball player,” she said.
“Baseball is not life,” she said. “Baseball is a game.”
Another parent, Donald Hooton Sr., lashed out angrily at the players, saying that their use of steroids had been emulated by his son, Taylor, a high school football player who also committed suicide.
“You are role models.”
“You are cheaters, you are cowards,” he said. “You’re afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.”
He said the players who will testify “should be man enough to face the authorities, admit the truth and face the consequences,” instead of “hiding behind the skirts of your union.”
He also said, “I’m sick and tired of having you tell us you don’t want to be considered role models. You are role models.”
The New Orleans Gold Sox are your 2002 Union Cup Champions, as they defeated the Columbus Crickets 4-2 today at Wendy’s Field. Lloyd Peever went 7 and 1/3rd innings and gave up 6 hits and 2 runs to lead the Gold Sox to their second Union Cup Championship in as many years.
Wilfredo Quintana gave the Gold Sox the lead in the 5th inning after he singled to start the inning, and moved to 3rd base on a Evert-Jean ‘t Hoen double. Warren Morris walked to load the bases, and a wild pitch by Geoff Goetz allowed Quintana to score.
With the score 1-0 in the 7th, the Gold Sox’s Joe Hamilton tripled to lead off the inning off Goetz. He would then be replaced by Luis Hernandez, who struck out Quintana and then intentionally walked Arturo McDowell to set up a potential inning ending double play. Hoen singled to drive in Hamilton and moved to 2nd on a Warren Morris ground out. Tom Brady then drove in McDowell with a single, and Hoen took off for home as the Crickets tried to get Brady at 1st. The throw by Rich Carroll was off target, and Brady moved to 2nd base on the throw. The Crickets avoided any more damage in the inning, but went into the late innings trailing 4-0.
The Crickets did manage to score 2 runs in the 8th inning, finally running Peever out of the game, but it was too little too late, and the Gold Sox’s 1-2 punch of Troy Percival and Hal Garrett was too much to overcome for the Crickets, who lose their second Union Cup to the Gold Sox.
The Crickets could only watch as A.J. Pierzynski made the final out, grounding into a fielders choice that sent the Crickets heading for the clubhouse with their heads hung low and the Gold Sox celebrating on the field as the stunned and dejected crowd headed for the exits.
The Gold Sox took a 2-1 lead in the Union Cup as they defeated the Crickets by a score of 8 to 5. The Crickets took an early, but short lived 4-2 lead, but the Gold Sox offense continued to grind away after their starter, Tommy Marx, was knocked out early. Marx lasted just 2 and 2/3rds innings and gave up 4 runs, 6 hits and 3 walks. He was replaced by Hoshi Ichihara who went 3 and 1/3rds innings and gave up 4 hits, 1 walk and most imporantly, no runs to keep the Gold Sox in the game.
Manno Wickey led off the bottom of the 4th with a Home Run off Crickets starter Ramiro Mendoza to cut the Crickets lead to 4-3. Then in the 5th, Joe Hamilton got a single and stole 2nd. Warren Morris then singled to drive in Hamilton to tie the game. Evert-Jean’t Hoen then ground off, putting Morris on 2nd base. Tom Brady then hit a 2-2 fastball to drive in Morris and give the Gold Sox a 5-4 lead. Manno Wickey then doubled off new pitcher Luis Hernandez to put runners on 2nd and 3rd for Nomar Garciaparra, who singled to drive in both to increase the lead to 7-4.
The Crickets added a run in the 7th inning when Alejandro Ahumada hit a solo homer off Sun-Woo Kim. But it would not be enough as Troy Percival tossed a perfect 8th inning, and Hal Garrett survived two early walks in the 9th to save the game for the Gold Sox and send them heading into Game 4 riding high.
The Columbus Crickets took game 2 in epic fashion as Jason Harrison sent a 3 run Home Run over the fences to give the Crickets a 16-13 Victory over the New Orleans Gold Sox. Things didn’t look good in the opening as Geoff Goetz lasted just an inning and 2/3rds and allowed 5 runs including homers to Tom Brady and Warren Morris.
Yfrain Linares held together better for the Gold Sox, last over over 5 innings and allowing 4 runs. He left after giving up back to back homers to J.D. Drew and Manny Ramirez. Doug Webb came in to relief him, and failed to retire a batter, allowing 5 runs, including a bases loaded double by Jun Yamada.
The Crickets would have the lead 12-10 to enter the 9th inning. Scott Ryder allowed a single to Nomar Garciaparra and a double to Bill Mueller to score Garciaparra on a bang bang play. Replays show that Garciaparra may have been out at the plate. With two outs, Ryder walked Arturo McDowell and Evert-Jean ‘t Hoen to load the bases. Jeff Baker then booted a groundball, allowing bith Mueller and McDowell to score, giving the Gold Sox the lead at 13-12. Luis Hernandez replaced Ryder, and struck out Tom Brady to end the inning.
The Gold Sox sent Hal Garrett to the mound to start the bottom of the 9th. He walked Felix Maldonado to start the game, then struck out Alejandro Ahumada. Jun Yamada missed a bunt attempt on a 0-1 count, then down to his last strike lined single. A throwing error allowed both to advance on the play. A.J. Pierzynski lined a single to score Maldonado, but Yamada was gunned down at the plate to keep the game tied. Pierzynski advanced to 2nd on the throw, and the Gold Sox proceeded to give J.D. Drew an intentional walk. Jason Harrison came to the plate. Garrett missed the plate with his first two pitches, then Harrison connected on a golf ball shot to deep left field. The ball cleared the fences, and all the Gold Sox could do was watch as the Crickets took Game 2 of the Union Cup to even things up at 1 game a piece.
The Cup now moves to New Orleans for Game 3. te Gold Sox will start Tommy Marx and the Crickets will send Ramiro Mendoza to the mound in that game.
The San Antonio DireWolves are tied up at 1 game a piece heading into Game 3 against the defending Union Cup Champions, the New Orleans Gold Sox. Here’s what happened in games 1 and 2.
Game 1 saw the Gold Sox once again exploding early as they took an early 6 run lead. Tom Brady went deep for a 2 run Home Run in the 1st inning against DireWolves starter Omal Daal. In the 2nd inning, it was Arturo McDowell who hit another 2 run dinger to run the score to 4-0. The Direwolves got on the board when Albenis Machado drove in Gus Harrison in the 3rd against 2001 Nolan Ryan Award winner Gen Sueyoshi. Wilfredo Quintana put the Gold Sox up 6-1 with the Sox 3rd 2 run Home Run of the game in the 4th. The DireWolves didn’t quit, and attempted a comeback in the 9th against Kevin Walker, who gave up a 3 run Home Run to Gus Harrison. Hal Garrett came in to get the final out with a resoungding K to Aron Weston.
Game 2 was all about DireWolves starter Dan Chergey. He spread out 6 hits over 8 innings with 7 strikes outs, and didn’t allow any walks. The Gold Sox seemed off balance against Chergey all night. Meanwhile Yfrain Linares, who missed 4 months of the season with a torn back muscle, allowed 3 runs, including a solo Home Run to Eric Chavez. Chavez would later turn himself making a throw. The DireWolves take the game 3 to 1 and head to New Orleans with a split.