MLB

Kluber 18

Corey Kluber finished the 2014 season as the American League Cy Young winner but in 2015 he has started the season 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA. He finally got his first win of the season in a dominant historical fashion. 

Kluber struck out 18 batters in the Indians 2-0 victory over the Cardinals, who currently holds the leagues best record. Kluber only allowed one hit in 8 innings of work (113 pitches), a grounder single in the 7th inning to Jhonny Peralta. Ironically, Matt Holiday was the only batter who didn't strike out but he had to leave the game left after being hit by the first pitch he saw. Everyone else felt Kluber wrath. 

It was only a matter of time before Kluber ended his slumped and I can't think of a better way to end it than with 18 stikeouts on the best team in the majors. In the process, he tied Cleveland legend, Bob Feller for most K's in a 9-inning game in Indains' franchise history. Even more Ironic, Feller was being honored than night with the opening of his exhibit, here is what Kluber had to say about tying the hall of famer, 

Any time that you throw your name in there with Bob Feller, that’s obviously very humbling and a great accomplishment, moreso important is obviously getting the win.
— via ESPN.com

Re-Opening Day

The last time the Orioles played in front of a home crowd was April 26th. The last time they played at Camden Yards was April 29th before having to move their home series against the Rays to Tampa because of the unrest in Baltimore. Even though it has only been 2 weeks, it seem like forever since the Orioles has played at home in Camden Yards. I decided to attend “Re-Opening Day” and I can say that seeing the O's take the field gave me a sense of normalcy, which I think this entire city needed. 

Ironically, the Orioles home opener this season was against the Blue Jays, Toronto winning 12-5, but tonight in “Re-Opening Day” the O's defeated the Blue Jays 5-2 for their 14th win of the season. Orioles currently sit 4th place in the AL East, 5.5 games behind the 1st place Yankees. 

20,000 fans showed up to welcome the O's. Even though The Yard was less than 50% filled, it had the atmosphere of a sold out crowd. Everyone wanted to show their pride for the city of Baltimore. The players wore jerseys with "Baltimore" on the front and fans wore their "Baltimore" shirts. It was a beautiful sight at the yard tonight. (Kendall Hilton/ Fan-i Sports)

20,000 fans showed up to welcome the O's. Even though The Yard was less than 50% filled, it had the atmosphere of a sold out crowd. Everyone wanted to show their pride for the city of Baltimore. The players wore jerseys with "Baltimore" on the front and fans wore their "Baltimore" shirts. It was a beautiful sight at the yard tonight. (Kendall Hilton/ Fan-i Sports)

O's got off to a fast start thanks to Ubaldo Jimenez 1-2-3 inning, striking out the Blue Jays first three batters on 17 pitches. Jimenez was awarded the win and MVP honors for his performance, striking out 9 batters, and only allowing 2 earned runs in 7 innings of work. This was probably one of Ubaldo's best games as an Oriole, along with his performance in the “No Fans Game”. So far this season, Ubaldo 3-0 at Camden Yards with a sub-2.50 ERA, and 23 strikeouts in 21 innings. He hasn't lost at Camden Yards since June 13th 2014 against the Blue Jays. 

The momentum continued into the bottom of the first, Orioles scoring 3 runs off of 2 long-balls. Manny Machado hit a leadoff home run (6th) to the bleachers and Chris Davis hit a 2-run bomb (8th) to the exact same area Manny hit his.

Adam Jones also hit a home run in the 7th inning, giving him 6 for the season. Jones is batting a .360, leading the MLB with 41 hits and 23 RBIs, both top ten in the MLB. I really think AJ has a great opportunity to capture the AL MVP crown but the O's will have to either win the division or make the playoffs for him to be a realistic candidate. Individually, I think he will do his part because I don't see him slowing down. (AP PHOTO) 

Adam Jones also hit a home run in the 7th inning, giving him 6 for the season. Jones is batting a .360, leading the MLB with 41 hits and 23 RBIs, both top ten in the MLB. I really think AJ has a great opportunity to capture the AL MVP crown but the O's will have to either win the division or make the playoffs for him to be a realistic candidate. Individually, I think he will do his part because I don't see him slowing down. (AP PHOTO) 

The Blue Jays would get on the board in the 6th and 7th inning, Ezequiel Carrera knocking in both RBIs off his 2 doubles. Baltimore enemy #1 Jose Bautista wasn't in the lineup tonight but he did pinch hit in the 9th inning but grounded out to end the game, Zach Britton claiming his 7 save of the season. 

This was a necessary win for the O's, who are still sitting under .500 ball, not only because of their slow start but to give the fans of Baltimore some much needed positivity. Last time I attended an O's game, I sat in the press box but today I bought a ticket and it felt good to sit and watch the ballgame as a fan and native of Baltimore. Joining in on chants, cheering during full counts, just being an Orioles fan, something you can't really do sitting in the press box. It is a great luxury being in there and an honor that I will never take for granted if given another opportunity but it's nothing like sitting in the bleachers or standing above the bullpens. 

Now I'm Hot, They all on me

A year ago at this time, Alex Rodriguez was MLB enemy #1. He lied about his steroid use and was serving a 162 game suspension but like the great J. Cole said, “....your life can change in one year, even when its dark out the sun is shining somewhere”. Well I think the Sun is shining on A-Rod. 

Alex Rodriguez hit home run 661 Thursday night, passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list, in the Yankees 4-5 win over the Orioles. A-Rod sent a Chris Tillman changeup over the wall in left center field in the third inning, giving the Yanks 3-2 lead. After he rounded the bases and entered the dugout, manager Joe Giradi gave him the nod to step out and accept his curtain call. It was definite an historical moment for A-Rod but what made it special was the humility he expressed after the game. 

Nobody will ever pass Willie Mays. I’ve talked about him being my father’s favorite player. There’s only one Willie Mays; not only what he did on the field, but what he meant off the field. He’s a legend. He’s also a role model for all of us.
— via ESPN.com

Homer 661 would have came in the 1st inning but O's right fielder, Delmon Young, robbed A-rod, snagging the ball on top of the wall in right field. Next for A-Rod to catch is “The Great Bambino” Babe Ruth, who is third with 714 bombs. 

A-Rod has been a big reason why the Yankees are leading the AL East with an 18-12 record. At DH A-Rod has hit 7 home runs and 18 RBIs with a .231 batting average.  

The New York fans has been very hospitable towards A-Rod which is somewhat surprising to me. A part of me is surprised because of the fact that he did lie and is costing the Yankees millions of dollars but then again, he is playing well and the Yankees are winning which makes the forgiving process much easier. A-Rod hasn't been voted to an All-Star game since 2011 and if he can stay at this pace, I think he will be voted in which will be a true sign that all has been forgiven. 

The No Fans Game

(Baltimore) 2015 has been a memorable year for me, especially the month of April, even more so this past week. I wrote about the turmoil that happened on April 25th, which I had to witness via Television. Monday, April 27th, I took a break from all sports and focused on helping create a better image of our city after one of our worst moments. 

The MLB was forced to postpone the Orioles game with the White Sox. A game in which I acquired media credentials, my first professional game as a media member. A game that was slated to be a regular O's  vs. Sox game, turned out to be a once in a lifetime moment. 

I can tell my grand kids I attended a game where there were ZERO fans in attendance, and honestly, it may have been the best game I ever experienced. Media members who were over the age 50 were marveled by the historical moment, still being able to witness something they have never seen before despite years of experience.

Prior to the game, I didn't know what to expect, which made me feel very indifferent. Fan's bring excitement to the game and  help generate momentum. I thought it would be a drag to watch a "lifeless" game  but once the first pitch was thrown, it turned out to be one of the best moments of my life. 

In the 1st inning, the O's got off to a fast start. Ubaldo Jimenez sat down the first three batters to open the game, striking out both Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu. Ubaldo had himself a good day, going 7 innings, only allowing 3 hits and 2 earned runs. I would say Ubaldo set the tone for the team and killed my curiosity about how the momentum would build. Fans outside the gate helped also. 

The game was pretty much over after the first inning. The entire Orioles' lineup got the opportunity to face White Sox's starter, Jeff Samardzija, who had a very rough day in a quiet stadium. Samardzija went 5 innings, giving up 7 earned runs, 6 of which came in the 1st.

Chris Davis hit a 3-run bomb onto to Eutaw Street, giving the O's an early 6-0 lead. 

Manny Machado also hit a home run in the 4th inning, jogging the bases in an empty stadium. It was a surreal feeling being a part of history. Oriole fans showed much support cheering from outside of the stadium, making sure you heard them loud and clear. 

Sitting in a pressbox with some well respected baseball writers was a great experience. Being from Baltimore,  it was an honor to be one of few that was able to witness "The No Fan Game" from inside the gates. (Kendall Hilton/Fan-i Sports) 

Sitting in a pressbox with some well respected baseball writers was a great experience. Being from Baltimore,  it was an honor to be one of few that was able to witness "The No Fan Game" from inside the gates. (Kendall Hilton/Fan-i Sports) 

As the game went on, I started to fall in love with the beauty of the game. No fans meant no show. I was blessed with the opportunity to watch baseball at it's purest form. You could hear the players call out fly balls in the outfield. Without the fans, there were no distractions from the game. You had to sit and actually watch the ballgame, which for me, was very refreshing and ironic, being that our brand is based solely on being a fan. 

The game only took 2 hours and 3 minutes to complete. An average MLB game is at least 3 hours in duration, but things seemed to have went quickly with no one in attendance. 

At the 1:51 mark, you'll hear me ask O's manager, Buck Showalter, a question that has made a few headlines across the country. I would like to thank Buck for answering my question and giving me an honest and genuine answer. 

Baltimore is going through a crisis right now which is the reason why this historical game happened. People seem to be uncomfortable talking about why the game was fanless. I noticed a lot of the media coverage for this game choose not to speak on what was going on outside of the stadium. I understand why one would want to speak only on Baseball but when you have historical moments, you have to examine the good, the bad, and the ugly of the situation. I'm not telling other media outlets to speak on the crisis in Baltimore but I will assure you that Fan-I Sports will bring that conversation to the public.