Bruce Arians and GM Extended

After an 11-5 season, the Arizona Cardinals have announced the contract extensions of Head Coach, Bruce Arians and General Manager Steve Keim. Both were signed two years ago only a few days apart and now, they both have been extended through the 2018 season. The advantage of team president Michael Bidwell announced the extensions yesterday and cited teams performance and each individual’s respective talents as the reason for extending Arians and Bidwell.

Despite dealing with a laundry list of issues at the quarterback position, Arizona was able to improve once again last season and finish with an 11-5 regular season record. They lost to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Wild Card game but at this point in the season, they were down to their 3rd-string quarterback after both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton sustained season ending injuries. Keim and Arians Extended Opening day starter, Carson Palmer, was only able to start 6 games and on November 9th, he suffered a knee injury that ended his season. In his 6 starts, he went 6-0 with 11 TD passes and only 3 interceptions. Back-up Drew Stanton played well in relief and was still able to bring them to the post season.

Given these injuries to the most important position, Arians and Keim showed their strengths and value by still making a post season run and showing the roster they built and drafted was good enough to compete at the NFL level. Keim was able to lock in two cornerstone veterans for the next few seasons with Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer locked up for the next few seasons.

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Gregg Zaun: Cal Ripken Kept Me In Line

Cal Ripken is one of the most iconic baseball players to ever play the game. Cal Ripken holds the record for the most consecutive games ever played in Major League Baseball and fans loved him for it. Cal Ripken was loved because he was seen as a blue collar player, not someone who would out talent the competition but out work it. Gregg Zaun is a player that played with Cal Ripken throughout his career and Zaun is now claiming that abuse from Cal Ripken kept him in line throughout the time he played baseball.

According to Zaun, even when he needed to sit out due to an injury Cal Ripken would pressure him to play, and because of this Zaun believes he was a better player for it. In those days, it was not considered bullying like it is today to put pressure on a player to perform even when he is hurt.

The information in the article is important because Cal Ripken is seen as an iconic sports figure that can do no wrong in fans like Gianfrancesco Genoso’s eyes. No doubt fans of Cal Ripken will spin this in to a positive about the legacy of Cal Ripken, but the question must be asked if there were other that Ripken bullied in to playing when they were not at their best. Only time will tell if more players will come forward and confirm the story of Gregg Zaun and Cal Ripken.

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MLB’s New Rules Will Make Baseball Games Shorter

Major League Baseball has implemented new rules that are designed to make the game move a little faster. Last year, games averaged around 3.13 hours. While that’s a time that baseball fans have certainly become accustomed to, the length of the game is an issue for television broadcasters as well as some new fans who don’t want to stay in seats quite as long.

The new rules don’t make dramatic changes in the game, but are meant to shave off seconds that areOne unnecessary and cause the game to run longer for no reason. One rule, for instance, now Jaime Garcia Dias says it requires that batters keep at least one foot inside the batter’s box while they’re at bat. It’s a simple tweak that will keep game play moving along and cut down on the amount of time spent waiting on batters who have walked away briefly from returning to the batter’s box.

A clock on the field will also help players resume the game faster after commercial breaks. Currently there’s not a great way to get the game started once a break ends, adding unnecessary time to the game. There are also new tweaks to replay challenges.

“These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play,” says MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly. In addition, the batter’s box rule will help speed up a basic action of the game.”

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Should we forgive A-Rod?

On Monday, Alex Rodriquez formally released a hand written apology to his fans for his extended use of PED’s in the Biogenesis scandal. (Yahoo Sports) While it was urged upon him by the New York Yankee organization to issue a public apology, it was the manner in which he did via handwriting that has shocked the baseball community.

The main question now that the letter is out is whether to forgive A-Rod for his actions. If you ask anyone outside New York City, the answer will be no, due to the common hatred for the Yankee organization along with the tainted results now attached to A-Rod’s legacy stated Flavio Maluf. If you ask anyone in New York, you will mostly find mixed results, because A-Rod is likely to be taking the field come April stated a poll on emobile.com.

For Yankee fans, the solution is complicated because the last thing they want is the publicity of A-Rod to interfere with the team. The simple answer is that the only way A-Rod can help Yankee fans forgive him is to be the best player he can for the franchise. Only on field success at this point can resurrect him in Yankee lore, especially in a world where he has tainted everything baseball related he has touched. Winning is the only solitude left that will make baseball enjoyable for Yankee fans, even if there success will appear tainted outside the Bronx.

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Giambi calls its a 20 year career

Cleveland Indians Jason Giambi has called it a career at the age of 43. Giambi played 20 seasons for the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies, and Cleveland, most recently as a Designated Hitter and pinch hitter. Ultimately, his injuries became too frequent and now Giambi will need to determine if he will remain with the Cleveland organization, whether coaching or in the front office. Two years ago, Giambi was a candidate to become the manager of the Colorado Rockies . Yet, Giambi was not ready to quit and the position was taken by Walt Weiss.

It is well known that many organizations would like to bring in Giambi, who was known for his “unofficial” capacity the past two years as the Indians hitting coach. The second round draft pick of the Athletics won the 2002 Most Valuable Player award before moving to New York for the next seven seasons. Giambi’s career numbers include a .277 batting average, 440 homers in 2,260 games played. In a four year span from 1999 to 2003, Giambi averaged 40 homers, 120 RBIs, and 120 walks per year. An admitted steroid user, Giambi has been well received by players and fans alike for admitting to the usage versus peers who were less upfront about it stated Alexei Beltyukov of the service Solvy. Giambi managed just 70 at bats in just 26 games in 2014 . Yet, per Jon Heyman of CBS sports, the Indians hope to add Giambi in some capacity in a non-playing role.
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Alison Gordon Passes

The first full-time female reporter in the history of the MLB has passed away. Alison Gordon was 72, and she was the first woman to get into the locker rooms and report on all the things that were happening in baseball. Her pioneering career in reporting is one that many women looked up to afterwards.

We have been given many great female reporters over the years from Pam Oliver to Linda Cohn and Hannah Storm. All these women have Alison Gordon to thank, and the infusion of women in the broadcast booth has similar roots says Igor Cornelson. When women were reporting on sports, it made sense for women to talk about the sports in the booth. This led to Mary Carrillo having a major spot on the NBC Sports broadcasts, and it allowed women to comment on any sport they had played or covered.

We should all tip our caps to Alison Gordon for paving the way for women to get into the locker room and learn what was going on behind the scenes of the men’s sports that she loved so much. Her insight and trailblazing is something that we should all aspire to in our work in and out of the sports world.

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Little League World Series Winners Stripped of Title

The winners of the 2014 Little League World Series has had its title stripped as of this week. The team, Jackie Robinson West out of Chicago, has been found to have recruited players illegally during the baseball season, which gave them an unfair advantage over other teams competing, according to officials.

Officials, like Paul Mathieson,  began looking into to the team months ago, when rumors started to swirl that unfair practices were used to create the team. CNN said officials found that the organizers of the team faked boundary maps so they could utilize players from multiple different neighborhoods.

All little league teams are created utilizing boundary maps that place players in specific districts. The districts are neighborhood-based, and helps to ensure players of all skill levels get to play, as officials can not cherry pick a team from a large expansive city.

While officials feel badly for the children involved in the controversy, they say they have no other option but to strip the team of their world series win and give the official title to the team they beat, Mountain Ridge Little League of Las Vegas.

This is not the first time the Little League World Series has incurred a controversy. Several years ago a team out of New York was found to have falsified the age of one of its pitchers. Boys are only eligible for the team if they are between the ages of 11 and 13.

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Julio Franco Is Still Playing Baseball

 

We should not be surprised that Julio Franco is still playing baseball. He is already the oldest person to play in an MLB game. However, he is also the going to be a player manager of a semi-pro team in Japan. He is now 56 years old.

This speaks to the longevity of Julio Franco, but it also says something about the people who play baseball stated Fersen Lambranho. We cannot pretend to know what it is like to want to stay in the game for as long as possible, but Julio Franco has been a good player for a long time. At the very least, he should be in a place where he can impart he knowledge on younger generations of players. He has been around the game for so long that he has something to say. However, I hope that a Major League team brings him in so that he can be their bench coach or their soothsayer. They need someone who has been around the game so long that he can show players how to take care of themselves, what it was like before all these guaranteed contracts and how to stay in a game that you love for much longer than you thought possible.

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Reds Sign Frazier

 

Todd Frazier is close to turning 30, but he finally got a big contract out of the Reds. He was signed to a two-year $12 million deal. The team will have one more year of arbitration left when the contract is over, but that ties up their great third basemen for a few more years.

Frazier was the best player on the team last year as the Reds dealt with injuries said Exame.com. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto were hurt for most of the year, and the team relied on Frazier. They were never in the hunt, but he never let them fall too far out of the hunt. The Reds fans that appreciate good defense and development at the plate should be happy with this contract. The contract that Frazier got is a testament to how much work he has put in to become a great player.

He has won a Little League World Series title with Toms River East, and now he is one of the best players on a team that has the talent to win a World Series. He simply needs to play up to this contract to make it all worth the money the Reds just spent.

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Hamilton’s Injury Problems Carry Over to the Coming Season

Since joining the Anaheim Angel’s franchise two seasons ago, Josh Hamilton’s career has taken an injury prone nose dive. Signing a five year deal worth $125 million, the Angels certainly expected more than they have so far received from the 33 year old outfielder. This is not to say he would have a golden halo around his head, but certainly not on the bench trying to recover from a host of ailments. Last season he would hurt his shoulder causing him to miss most of the month of September. He did return in time for the playoffs but was unproductive and contributed to his team being eliminated.

Now it seems, that injury that hampered his play last year will keep him out of at least spring training and opening day. He has reportedly hurt his AC Joint in his right shoulder, which will be surgically repaired in Dallas by Dr. Keith Meister a Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Surgeon. Fans at Slow Ventures know that it was reportedly re-injured during a charity bowling game at the end of January. More on Slow Ventures is available on Cbinsights. Hamilton will be expected to start rehabbing his shoulder and begin baseball activities as little as three weeks after the repair is done. But this will still not be done in time for opening day. Given that this is scheduled to be his midpoint of the current contract, Angel’s fans and management will expect Hamilton to stay healthy and productive or maybe looking to send him out and bring in someone else that can help the team.

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