Talk to Me at 45 Games: Andre Ethier Now 41% to DiMaggio’s Record

Andre Ethier hit safely again last night, stretching the Dodgers right-fielder’s hitting streak to 23 games.  He also set a new record for a hit streak in the month of April.  Ethier is now 33 games away from tying Yankee great Joe DiMaggio’s legendary 56-game hitting streak.

Highlighting Ethier’s batting average during this season is legitimate.  It is baseball and we live for statistics.  He is hitting .369 this year.  Ethier is a solid .294 career hitter so a streak like this wasn’t out of realm of possibility, especially in his sabermetric prime.  Naturally, I take issue with covering such a streak when his team is under .500 and in the bottom third in run differential.  However, the Dodgers couldn’t have asked for a better time considering the McCourt garbage that forced the MLB takeover.  Don’t mention the streak but respect the season he’s having.  He just happens to be in the midst of a 23-game hitting streak.

Talk to Me When A Streak Reaches 45 Games

Covering Ethier’s hitting streak at this point is pure ridiculousness.  It always becomes sports sensationalism run amok when guys hit in as many games as Ethier.  At this point, Ethier remains less than half way to DiMaggio.  41 percent of the way there to be exact.  Andre is also approaching the point usually when the ground falls out from underneath your feet.

Since DiMaggio hitting streak ended on 17 July 1941, no one has hit in 50 games in row.  Only one player, Pete Rose, managed to threaten the record, only to crap out at 44 in 1978.  Paul Molitor nearly reached 40, hitting in 39-straight in 1987.  In the past twenty years, thirteen players have hit between 30 and 38 games in a row.  None reached 40.  If someone ever passes Rose’s 44-game hit streak, I’ll start paying close attention.

And before we believe Ethier, or a player of Ethier’s caliber, will break DiMaggio’s record, please keep in mind the type of player Joe DiMaggio was and whom he is usually mentioned in company with.  If anyone sniffs a 50-game hit streak or eventually passes him, it will be done by a future Hall of Famer.  This record is so difficult to eclipse, that even my HOF-only theory has a tremendous hole.  Only four (including Rose) of the 26 men who have challenged (30+ game streaks) DiMaggio’s record are Hall of Famers (or should be).  Three HOFers, Ty Cobb, Sam Rice and George Sisler, are the only men to have multiple 30-plus game hitting streaks.  Only one active player who has hit in 30-plus games is a slam-dunk HOFer.  That’s Albert Pujols.

A 23-game hitting streak is a great accomplishment for a career.  Most players would kill for just one streak of equal magnitude.  Joe DiMaggio was once recognized as baseball’s greatest living players.  I’m convinced that the extinction of baseball will occur before this record is ever extinguished.  DiMaggio, but for his wartime service during the prime of his career, probably would’ve had nearly 500 HRs and accumulated nearly 3,000 hits.  This is a no-brainer.  No one will ever break this record.  If Pete Rose couldn’t do it, then no one can.

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Past Their Prime – Episode 5

We managed to make it through five episodes. Cause for celebration.

This week, Lee and Jesse talk about the most unrealistic finish to a Butler season since Benson became governor. Look it up.

Also, we give our MLB predictions, try to talk Red Sox fans off the ledge and debate which is easier – getting 76ers playoff tickets or hating Spike Lee.

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Want to win a $25 gift certificate? Send your sports-related question to us at PastTheirPrime@gmail.com and following us on Twitter @_PastTheirPrime.The prizes are in the mail – we promise.

Clueless Cashman: I Shall Explain the GM’s Role

Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently stated that the Mets were “abusive” in their usage of Pedro Feliciano during his three years in Queens.  In the off-season, Feliciano signed a two-year, $8 million agreement to join the Bombers.  Now the Yankees have amazingly discovered that Feliciano might not have the goods that warranted the contract.  Feliciano was placed on the 15-day DL by the Yanks, retroactive to March 22, for a strained left rotator cuff.  The Yankees say they are optimistic that Feliciano will return as good as before and contribute as they anticipated but that didn’t stop Cashman from making statements about the Mets.

Brian, we all know how incredibly easy it is to pile on the Mets right now.  As a lifelong Mets fan, I’ve done my level-best to destroy the Mets in my columns any chance I get (if it’s rightfully warranted).  I have serious problems with their front-office management and reservations about recently hired coaches and those retained after Minaya’s departure.  Most Mets fans see our owners as nothing more than incompetent and out-of-touch rich people crying about how they were used during the Madoff scandal.  Given all the misfortune and ineptitude that is pervasive in Flushing, your assessment regarding Feliciano may be accurate but it shows a dereliction of your duty as Yankees general manager.

It was well-know to most savvy Mets fans that Feliciano was being over-worked.  266 appearances in three straight seasons will certainly put a strain on even the strongest arms.  SNY TV broadcaster Gary Cohen even nicknamed him “Perpetual Pedro.”  After his three years with the Mets were up, there was no serious talk in bringing Pedro back in spite of anything leaked for public consumption about a return.  He declined arbitration and the Mets knew he would.  I can’t imagine why the Mets were willing to part ways in that respect?  Could it be that the Mets were actually making the correct decision regarding Feliciano’s arm?  A miracle… They did!

Feliciano starts the season on the disabled list.  A surprise to no one, including the Yankees.  Cashman now goes on a diatribe about the Mets terrible coaches and training staff.  He rants about Pedro’s consistent use as evidence of abuse by the Mets.  He chastises the Mets for poor bullpen management.  It’s all a set-up, ironically, in case Feliciano’s arm does fall off.  Well, don’t blame me Yankee fans, I may have signed him but it was those evil Mets who shot his arm to hell.  Blame the Mets.

Due diligence, Mr. Cashman.  You are responsible for Pedro Feliciano now.  You were aware of his appearances and despite whether the Mets handled him wrong or not, it is you who gave him a contract.  If the Mets abused Feliciano, then shame on them.  It is irrelevant to you.  I will not stand by while you abrogate your duties.  The Mets may be inept and stupid but we fans are not.  We know what you’re doing and it’s typical Yankee arrogance.  It’s easy to pick on the little kid with all the problems when you’re the behemoth bully.  If Feliciano’s arm is a persistent pain to Cashman’s organization, we all know who he’ll blame and it’ll be the easiest excuse he will ever make.

PLAY BALL!

The Great Hambino, Hamilton Porter, starts the season…

2011 Pre-Season All I-95 Teams

The start of a new season brings excitement, unlimited possibilities, and the opportunity to make some wild predictions with minimal accountability. In the spirit of the new season, I present the Inaugural Pre-Season All I-95 Team:

Position American League National League
Catcher Matt Weiters – BAL Brian McCann – ATL
First Base Adrian Gonzalez – BOS Ryan Howard – PHI
Second Base Robinson Cano – NYY Dan Uggla – ATL
Third Base Evan Longoria – TAM David Wright – NYM
Shortstop Derek Jeter – NYY Hanley Ramirez -FLA
Left Field Carl Crawford – BOS Jason Bay – NYM
Center Field BJ Upton – TAM Shane Victorino – PHI
Right Field Jose Bautista – TOR Jason Werth – WAS
Designated Hitter David Ortiz – BOS n/a
Starting Pitcher Jon Lester – BOS Roy Halladay – PHI
Relief Pitcher Mariano Rivera – NYY Francisco Rodriguez – NYM

Red Sox Reign: 2011 MLB Predictions SUPERList

It’s been four years since the Red Sox added a world championship banner along Yawkey Way.  Well, they will not need to wait any longer.  I predict that the Boston Red Sox will win their eighth World Series title in 2011, honoring the 100th season of baseball at Fenway Park.

2011 MLB Regular Season Division Predictions

NL East: Atlanta and Philadelphia will battle it out for a majority of the season.  The crucial series between these two clubs will be the last series in Atlanta.  It may well decide the East.  I anticipate a decent showing from Florida Marlins.  I fully expect the Nationals to raise their stature but fall short of .500.  The Mets: don’t trust them.  The Braves take the Wild Card because Philly wins the season series.

NL Central: The Reds will be the class of this division.  St. Louis and Milwaukee will keep Cincinnati honest but won’t play a factor late in the season.  The Cubs and improved Astros will win around 75 games.  Meanwhile, the lowly Pirates will lose 100 games… again.

NL West: The World Champion Giants will fend off Colorado, who will fall a game short of the postseason.  The Giants and Rockies will pull away late, leaving the Dodgers behind.  San Diego and Arizona will bring up the rear.

AL East: The Red Sox will prevail over the Yankees, taking two of three at the Stadium in late September.  The Orioles will surprise everyone by posting a winning record – barely.  The Rays and Jays will take a huge steps backward as intradivision games against Baltimore, Boston and New York will not go there way.  The Bombers will get the wild card berth.

AL Central: Chicago will have one autumn success as the White Sox win the Central Division.  Minnesota and Detroit will both hold first place at points in the season while the Sox explode after the All-Star Break.  Everything settles down, the Tigers fade and the Twins can’t quite win enough.  Cleveland and Kansas City are the cellar-dwellers.  The Royals lose 100 games.

AL West: The team’s in this division will beat the hell out of one another.  Texas, Oakland and Los Angeles Anaheim will end up in a virtual tie toward the end of September.  The Rangers will eek out a division title with a mere 86 wins.  Seattle will enjoy the pain of 100 loses.

Interleague Play: AL 130NL 122

All-Star Game: AL 4NL 1

Awards:

Award National League American League
MVP Albert Pujols, STL Josh Hamilton, TEX
Cy Young Tim Lincecum, SF C.C. Sabathia, NYY
Rookie of the Year Craig Kimbrel, ATL Jeremy Hellickson, TB
Manager of the Year Fredi Gonzalez, ATL Buck Showalter, BAL

2011 MLB Postseason Predictions

ALDS: Red Sox over Rangers; Yankees over White Sox

NLDS: Giants over Braves; Phillies over Reds

ALCS: Red Sox over Yankees

NLCS: Phillies over Giants

World Series: Red Sox over Phillies in 7 at Fenway Park. MVP – SP Jon Lester, BOS

2011 Major League Baseball Predicted Standings:

National League 122-130 IL
American League 130-122 IL
East W – L East W – L
Phillies 93 – 69 Red Sox 100 – 62
Braves* 93 – 69 Yankees* 97 – 65
Marlins 83 – 79 Orioles 82 – 80
Nationals 76 – 86 Rays 79 – 83
Mets 74 – 88 Blue Jays 72 – 90
Central W – L Central W – L
Reds 90 – 72 White Sox 91 – 71
Cardinals 83 – 79 Twins 89 – 73
Brewers 82 – 80 Tigers 84 – 78
Cubs 78 – 84 Indians 67 – 95
Astros 73 – 89 Royals 62 – 100
Pirates 59 – 103
West W – L West W – L
Giants 95 – 67 Rangers 86 – 76
Rockies 92 – 70 Athletics 85 – 77
Dodgers 83 – 79 Angels 83 – 79
Padres 72 – 90 Mariners 61 – 101
Diamondbacks 66 – 96

Past Their Prime – Episode 4

This week Jesse and Lee discuss the Final Four that only an Uncool Dad from New Jersey saw coming and college basketball coaching jobs for those of us under 35.

We also get an East Coast baseball preview, Lee tips his hand about parenting and Jesse comes clean about his addiction to the Grandaddy of Them All – Wrestlemania!

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You too can win fabulous theoretical prizes by emailing us at PastTheirPrime@gmail.com or following us on Twitter at@_PastTheirPrime .

The Buck Stops Here!

Kudos to Orioles Manager Buck Showalter for taking shots (albeit cheap shots) at division rivals Yankees and Red Sox. Buck was brought into to change the culture of an organization that hasn’t been competitive in over a decade, often finding themselves in last place, well behind the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and even Blue Jays. Buck wants his team to know, to believe, that they not only can compete with these teams, but that they also can win. In a locker room filled with young and promising players, instilling confidence is a managers top priority.

Buck didn’t back down when asked about the Red Sox and their huge splash in the off-season, signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez: “You got Carl Crawford ’cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, ‘How the hell are they beating us?’ “. Read between the lines and this is the message he is sending to his team: “I don’t care who we are playing, what their payroll may be, or the players on their team….I expect to win”.

Teams often talk of “bulletin board material” and how it motivates them to perform at an even higher level. I can understand this concept in a physical game, such as football, but I don’t put much stock in it for baseball. Will Jon Lester be able to throw any harder against the O’s to show up Showalter? Will A-Rod hit a longer homerun against them because Buck’s comments about Jeter (“Well, he’s always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets — and yes, he pisses me off.”)? The short answer is no. Bucks comments will do more good for his young team than it will do harm, so a week before opening day, I applaud him for lighting that fire.

I wonder if this line will make it into another speech of his this summer:

Introducing the Past Their Prime podcast

Some of you loyal readers may remember Half Jewish Sports, a 2 hour weekly sports talk show on WRGW. Well, at least those of you that knew me and were within 20 feet of the radio station.

Now, from the creators of Half Jewish Sports, I give you Past Their Prime – a semi-regular 45 minute podcast on sports from two guys who are . . . well you get the idea. With the principals of the show living in New York and Philly, but hailing from New England, the I95 Guys site seemed like a fit. So here’s hoping you find it mildly amusing and here’s also hoping we manage to get more than one episode recorded.

Give us a listen, tell us what you think, and email us at PastTheirPrime@gmail.com. Who knows, your question might be featured as the “Email of the Week.”

Thanks for listening.

Mets Win Media Battle, Lose War

As I sit aboard multiple Amtrak trains over the next few days, making my way along large stretches of the I-95 corridor, I see the people around me reading everything from the WSJ to Newsday, The Boston Globe to Washington Post. While the back pages of the Boston and DC papers are focused on local sports, the back page of the NY papers, even the International Editions, all share one common theme: The New York Mets.

For years, the Mets talked about gaining respectability, about finding ways to take over the back pages from  “big-brother” New York Yankees. The Mets wanted to be a relevant team in the New York baseball circle, so I guess congratulations are in order. The Mets now dominate the headlines, they are the top story on the local news broadcasts, and they even get an ESPN “Outside The Lines” show dedicated to them. This organization has finally struck media gold- for all the wrong reasons.

The start of Spring Training only begs more questions about the future of this franchise. Comments from Bernie Madoff, trying to absolve the Wilpon family, only add more lighter fluid to an already out-of-control blaze. Adding Donald Trump to the mix, someone who already has a roller coaster relationship with the media, is just another log on this fire.

The Mets and the Wilpons finally got what they had been after for the last decade. They are the most talked about baseball franchise in America, they receive more media coverage than any other team, and they are pushing the Yankees off the back pages. As my parents often told me, “be careful what you wish for.”

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