So It Begins….

Sunday evening is the opening day game for the 2010 season. The New York Yankees visit Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox. There is so much wrong with the opening to this years season, it’s the 30th time these 2 teams have played the opener.

First of all the current reigning World Series champions open the season on the road, it wouldn’t be so bad if it was a team that had little or no fan base, even with the hyped up pricing at Yankee stadium the fans do splurge for special occasions and attend games, so that’s not an excuse, but we have heard Yankee fans whine before and this will just let them whine some more.

The game is in Boston, okay so this is purely an observational comment, that unfortunately I have no substance to back it up with hard facts, I could maybe invent an inside source, but that would just be playing like the media boys and being a politician about it, anyway back on point, during the off-season there appeared to be an inordinate amount of subliminal promotion of the Boston Red Sox.

The teams themselves have what is probably a fan base that consists of arguably the highest percentage of arrogant fans in baseball and probably the world of sports, not only do both sets of fans believe they follow the greatest sports franchise that was ever created on this planet, they also believe that they are the only fans to know the facts, that they are the only ones to see the truth in plays, when the team has a call against them that is seen as an injustice to the whole concept of baseball. They will also feel that anyone who dares to write or speak any kind of non-supportive words or sentences will be a premeditated, merciless intent of attack against them personally and therefore will not find any element of humor of any form in such types of communication, and thus will feel to enter into a communicative exchange or even make comment on such a expression, would be seen to actually accept that there maybe an element of truth in what was communicated or that not everyone believes these 2 teams are the be all end all of sports franchises, thus they stick with communicating among themselves, unless they sense a turncoat that they can easily convert.

So, having said all that, not all fans of these 2 franchises are like this, just enough to warrant the expressive terms used to identify either of these clubs.

Little known things – fact or fiction 

Boston Red Sox was known as the Red Stockings, Stockings was changed to Sox to eliminate the growing belief that many Bostonian fans were cross dressing transvestites.
‘Red Sox Nation’ was originally a derogatory term, inferring the fans were a group with an imaginary history or goal.

Yankees – Yankee was originally used to reference people from the Boston area, descendants of the English.
Yankee or Yank is commonly used to refer to anyone from the United States by other countries, sometimes but not always a derogatory inference.

Evil Empire, derogatory term, now embraced by many Yankee fans, also has been used to describe, USSR, British Empire, Xerox, Kodak, Walmart, Microsoft, all things or companies that either no longer exist or have self destructed from arrogance and are reformed in a smaller dose, or are on the verge of self destruction from internal arrogance with a GOD complex.

Now I have suitable provided sufficient data to ensure zero comments from either sets of fans, for the rest of us mere mortal baseball teams the season really starts on Monday and it will be a beginning of who knows what, it’s the start of a season of unknowns, all we know for sure is that our teams will participate and our support for them will not falter. No matter how good or bad they perform we will continue to publish post that ultimately support them to the end.

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N. L. Central Crystal Ball….

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The National League Central is probably the easiest of the divisions to select a winner, but could also be the one where it all goes wrong. This division could hinge on the performance and health of just 2 players, I will make clear those players when I get to the team they relate too. As always we’ll start with the team I think will end up in a heap of trouble this year.


The Houston Astros fans should consider the latest fashion accessory…

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…these NEW Ray Ban sunglasses will be needed to hide the Phillies glare on the players Ed Wade seems to think will work better in Astros uniforms when they didn’t work in Phillies red pinstripes. Ed Wade can be very good for the Astros, he just has to get over the fact that some players aren’t as good as he thought. It will be a tight race at the bottom of this division, but I think till Ed Wade gets over the fact that the players he really liked when he drafted them into the Phillies aren’t what he needs in Houston then the Astros will struggle to get out of the bottom spot, which is a shame, because the Astros are normally a very tough team especially in the final few weeks of the season.

The Chicago Cubs fans need nothing more than high speed internet and a wonderful download…

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…courtesy of our friends at RSBS they have explained it all for me and made it clear to the rest of the world as to why the Cubs will this year be a below .500 team. It’s true see for yourselves the video doesn’t lie, it’s from a very reliable inside source.

The Pittsburgh Pirates fans will be able to do some serious….

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…partying this year, no they’re not going to win the division or the ‘Wild Card’, but they will be a .500 or better team this season. They have everything going for them, a double McCutchen and believe it or not Milledge will be the player the Nats hoped he would be, just in a Pirates uniform.


The Milwaukee Brewers fans need a trip to Europe to visit….

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…my Brewers, okay so it’s not the same type of brewers, but still a worthwhile event especially in October, they have tours of this Kölsch brewery in Köln. It’s still a family run brewery, or it was when I was there last which is a few years ago now. Why this one because it’s got my name, it’s not actually my brewery. If you go around October time you’ll be able to hop a brief train ride to München and enjoy the Oktoberfest celebrations, as there will be no reason to celebrate for Brewers fans here in October.

The Cincinnati Reds fans may already have just the thing to help their season…

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…their very own easy button. No not because your going to walk away with the division, but because it’s going to be such hard work to stay up with the leading team, you’ll need something to make the occasional day seem easy.

The St. Louis Cardinals fans are going to enjoy another runaway year, the biggest problem for the STL fans is their unfortunate grasp on reality, so for that you will need your very own…

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St. Louis Cardinals ‘Virtual Reality’ machine, because of the delusions of a World Series you will need this machine to fulfill that fantasy, otherwise there may be suicidal tendencies, when a team from the East crushes your dreams as they move into the World Series. Now obviously this is all predicated on the fact that the player known as ‘Poo-hole’ doesn’t end up on the DL with back problems and of course that the now highest paid ‘butterfingers’ can actually catch a fly ball to left field.

any sarcasm is not meant to offend,
unless it does, then consider the possibilities of more during the
season.

trademarks,

trade names,
copyrights and patents are the property of their respective owners.

 


MLB Clubs, Liars, Cheats and Thieves…

Since yesterday was a day off for the Phillies, I decided to do a little research on various aspects of going to a ball game. At times this may get complex and hard to follow, but I will try and make as easy as I can, hopefully, and as short as I can, which maybe a problem.

Some of the comments from different team websites, indicated that fans were un-happy with what the club has been doing by way of trades etc., in most cases the clubs are promoting the fact that they have to run the club like a business, so money is a deciding factor and a large contributor to that is the volume of fans visiting the ballpark. Obviously there are a number of other factors that allow clubs to generate income, but it seems a number of fans saying ‘if it was cheaper to go to the game then we would’.

Personally I think a number of clubs are pricing themselves to high, considering the city they represent, especially during this economic environment. I believe a lot has to do with the way a club is marketed, and the way the clubs evaluate the methods of income. 

The safe, comfort zone type income to assessed gross required, has been and still is, done by looking at how much income the club needs to generate from seating, looking at the history for the quantity of fans that come to games during a season, the different seats that are purchased, then from this they calculate the amount they need to generate from that specific seat. This is obviously a simplified methodology for, what I call ‘comfort zone marketing’.

It is my belief that it is time for some clubs to look at new (to them) innovative methods, to get fans to visit the ball games, and go for lower seat prices and work off generating a higher volume of visitors. I tried to see what different clubs were doing to encourage fans to the ball park and it seems, some of the struggling clubs use high dollar incentives on a less than regular basis, instead of lower cost incentives on a regular basis.

In doing this research I also ran into some other questionable information, with regard to the claimed numbers of attendees at ball games, this to say the least seemed to be very creative by some ball clubs, of which I will highlight later on in this post.

Below is the information I was able to gather, I can only assume the information is accurate with regard to attendances, the seat prices were taken from each clubs online website, some were easy to obtain others made it a lot more difficult to determine how much you would pay if you came on game day to buy a ticket. The low prices reflect, the cheapest seat or standing ticket I could find and the high price reflects being able to sit as close to the end of the dug out as possible. All prices are US Dollars.

The attendance numbers are through the first 50 home games of 2009, where a team hasn’t played 50 home games they had played sufficient to estimate to that number. All attendance numbers are in millions.

AL ————–Attd.——-Low——-High———NL ————Attd——-Low——-High

NYY               2.27           14             375             PHL              2.20          18             60

BOS              1.89           12             325             FLO              0.90          14            100

TB                 1.20           10              85               ATL              1.47           6               40

TOR*            1.18            9               62               NYM             1.96          23           450

BAL               1.20           8               55              WSH              1.19           5              75

DET              1.50           5                52               STL              2.03          21            115

CWS             1.37          23              57               CHC             2.01          20             230

MIN               1.42          10              52               HOU             1.49           7              39

CLE               1.13          9                70               MIL                1.99          8               48

KC                 1.20           7               43                CIN               1.23          5               72

LAA               2.02          21             200              PIT                 0.98          9               35

TEX              1.39           11             115              LAD              2.22          11            285

SEA              1.39           8                65               COL              1.62          15            100

OAK              0.89          9                 95               SF                 1.74          25            110

                                                                               ARI                1.28           5             145

                                                                               SD                 1.22          10             55

 

*Toronto prices are Canadian Dollars.

I reviewed a number of playback footage from different games to try and evaluate the accuracy of attendance numbers at different games, tried to get a feel for visiting fans and home fans, so the following is probably going to be the mother of all assumptions, but I am going to lay it out anyway.

 

Liars and Cheats:

They are so easy to pick on, and I probably shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself.

Yankees- I tried to be fair about this, but having reviewed a number of games it is clear that the attendance numbers are somewhat generous. Where they show near sell out crowds it is clear on the replays that there is an abundance of empty seats especially in the high dollar sections and yes at a number of games believe it or not the visiting fans seemed to out number the home fans. The other noticeable thing at the Yankees new stadium was the visiting fans seemed to occupy the majority of the high dollar sections. Especially for the games they played against the Phillies and Red Sox. So are they cheating the visiting fans, we know it’s a ball park visitors would attend, the city has other attractions plus the city is one of the easiest, if not easiest to visit, so why not cheat the visiting fans.

Mets- Although in some respects they appeared to portray much the same results as the Yankees they were not quite as bad, but then the overall attendance at the Mets games were lower than the Yankees, even for visiting fans.

Braves- You will also find them under thieves, simply because i don’t believe all the field seats by the visiting dugout are sold out for the season. They are cheating the fan base here because of what they were and not what they are now.

 

Thieves:

This one was kind of a tough one to ascertain, but I have to say those that I placed in this category it is basically for the same reasons.

Indians- They have the most expensive ball park to visit within the central division, the city does not have huge alternative attractions and the ball park is not that easy to get to by any mode of transport. The Cleveland airport sucks, directions from major highways/interstates suck, local signage to get to the ball park sucks, and parking is expensive for the area. Does not encourage or attract many visiting fans and there is not much in the way of encouragement for local fans to attend games. This is bad especially as it’s a NFL town 1st and an NBA town 2nd, leaving the Indians in a weak 3rd spot.

Marlins- Yes the club is doing well, but attendance is very weak, the low priced entry is reasonable, but the higher priced seats are to much for the stadium, it’s hot there, the concessions seem high in price, again not so easy to get too, its more expensive to get to since its vacation season most of the time, so area prices are geared to tourists. The club should have better incentives to attract more home and visiting fans, the visitor fans normally out number the home fans.

Cubs- Lots of visiting fans, although home fans do out number the visiting ones, the problem here is Wrigley is a well known ball park and they play on that, high prices for the name.

Braves- This one was had me concerned, for one I couldn’t get close to the seating area I wanted unless I was a season ticket holder, which confused me since the attendance there sucks. That or there driving visiting fans as far away from the field as possible so as too encourage home fans to buy the more expensive boxes.

 

Fair and Reasonable:

Well everyone will accuse me of being biased, so we’ll get this out of the way first.

Phillies- Seat prices all around are reasonable, home fans definitely out number visiting fans, the ball park is easy to get to, parking is easy, food and concessions are quality and reasonably priced.

Rays- Easy to get to via car or air, lots of parking around the stadium, nice enclosed stadium, considering they are reigning AL champions, pricing is fair, even high value seats put you right where you expect, concessions are reasonable. It is somewhat of a confusion as to why they don’t draw more attendance, some visiting teams will out number the home fans, but that depends on the team.

Pirates – Royals – Astros – All these clubs exhibited the same elements and have to be the best 3 clubs for visiting fans to attend. These have to be the cheapest ball parks to visit, they appear to be fan friendly for both home and visiting fans. These 3 clubs definitely get 5 stars as value for money ball clubs.

All other clubs- Seemed to be fair to both home and visiting fans, with no major distinguishing benefits that would make them great or make them a part of the Liars, Cheats and Thieves lists.

If you managed to read all this and follow it all, you probably have more patience than most.

~peter~

If you think that any numbers I have displayed here are grossly inaccurate let me know and I will do my best to verify the findings and correct any errors which may or may not be present. I will not however change my assessment of the way I  see the ball clubs, this is purely my opinion of how I see the club representing itself to home and visiting fans.


Phillies take series from Reds, set new club record

Jayson Werth went deep to record his 20th home run of the season making him the 4th player to be on 20 home runs or more before the All Star Break, a first for the Phillies franchise and only the second MLB team to accomplish this feat. Werth has put up impressive numbers in the first half of this season and has more than proved that he can be an everyday player, I personally thought he would struggle as an everday outfielder, so well done Jayson, you are on a season setting personal best. Jayson’s name has been thrown in the mix for the All Star Game, since Beltran is injured, is Werth worthy of an All Star pick, well he has certainly put up the numbers, however I believe there are others who are a little more deserving, if it’s an outfielder they need then I would have to go with Kemp, he has better numbers this year, if it’s just any position player then there are a number to choose from and everyone will have there own personal favorite.

Chase Utley, in a ball park that is suposed to allow almost anyone to go deep, showed everyone last night that you dont need to hit the ball over the fence to get a home run, his second inside the park home run against the reds. This one came in the 3rd inning and it was Utley’s 20th homer of the year, although there wasn’t a play at the plate this time, he needed some recovery time to catch his breath, who wouldn’t.

Jamie Moyer pitched through 5 innings giving up 6 runs on 8 hits, since the offence took the lead in the bottom of the 5th Jamie was the pitcher of record giving him, his 254th career win. Jamie gave up two home runs, not unusual for Jamie, all in all a good outing for him.

Chan Ho Park gave another stellar performance from the bullpen, 3 scoreless innings, giving up 1 walk, with 4 strike outs.

Brad Lidge continues to make everyone nervous in the 9th inning, after getting the 1st two batters he gave up a walk, but came back nicely to close out the game with a scoreless inning.

Even though the Phillies have taken six of seven in this home stand, they still have a below .500 record at home this season, a sweep of the Pirates would put them still 1 game shy of the .500 mark. We all know that sweeping the Pirates is a huge task, they have played well against NL East teams this year, I for one am glad we have Blanton, Hamels and Happ to face them this weekend.

Victorino won the vote for the final spot on the All Star team, he is more than deserving of his place, he again last night picked up a couple of walks, a hit and a couple of RBI’s and continues to play gold glove quality defense in the outfield. Well Done Shane!!

To the Pirates, welcome to Philadelphia, the in state rivalry isn’t quite as intense as some would think, but still it will make for a good weekend, especially if the Phillies keep up this excellent home stand performance.

RAUL IBANEZ will he return today or will they wait till tomorrow, I think he will probably be here today, but my gut tells me they should probably wait till tomorrow.


Victorino gives, NOW give back to Victorino

The headlines around MLB say it all, the race for the #33 All Star pick is a tight one, since Victorino and Sandoval are playing cat and mouse in the NL ballot, the campaigning is reaching new heights never before seen in an All Star ballot.

Victorino added to his case last night with a walk off RBI to give the Phillies a 3-2 win over the Reds, this was definately the highlight of the game.

Lopez, had another good start, although he only went 5 innings, due to a sore shoulder (last reports), his pitch count was low and he held the Reds to just  2 runs on 5 hits. Rest up Lopez your fast becoming an asset in the starting rotation.

BullPen was again outstanding last night, Madson’s speed was up, location was good, both Durbin and Romero also had good outings. Although for me the best activity from the bullpen was without a doubt Chan Ho Park, the sandwich boards campaigning for Victorino votes, was terrific, I wonder if he lost a bet or won a draw to do that, hopefully we’ll find out on The Pen on MLB Network, whenever that returns.

The Phillies have teamed up with the Detroit Tigers to try and double the voting capacity for each of our respective players, wow, politics in baseball, colaborations between parties, who’d have thought it would come to this, who knows next year they may have to call in the people from American Idol to get telephone voting too.

The only soar note on last nights game was the strike zone, seemed to be a little too flexible when the chance of a called third strike loomed, maybe the home plate umpire was auditioning for an upcoming movie, or maybe a chance to grab a headline and get himself noticed.

All that really matters is that Victorino gave to us last night with the walk off RBI, now it’s our turn to give back and vote him in the All Star game. Voting ends at 4pm EST today, hopefully we will be celebrating during tonights game and Detroit will be celebrating too, which will just go to show the NL and AL can work together for the good of the fans.


Phillies give it up in the Ninth

It was the inevitable anti-climax, a roller coaster coming off it’s tracks at the high point, and then there’s the ‘what if’s’, like they had got the Mayberry call right.

So I watched the game last night with the Reds TV or FSN Ohio or FSOH, something like thatit’s one of those low budget Fox Sports things, here’s hoping noone gets offended, cause lets face it, the Reds don’t have the market other teams do, and that’s why it’s a lower budget station. I am going to be brutally honest here, it was somewhat dificult to follow and I don’t remember the commentators names, so I cheated and looked them up, George Grande and Chris Welsh and I can tell you the pre game show was done by Jeff Piecord. I am not going into the blow by blow of how they did it, and these events may not be in order.

As a general rule they were very complimentary of the Philly players and staff, and the pre game show did part of an historical tour of Philadelphia and a spot remembering HK. They were amused that we refer to the Mets as the Muts even in the press.

1st Inning, Taveras on first, they comment on Taveras being so fast he can leave with the pitch and never get caught, – what happened thrown out, I simpathise since the consistant replay showed him safe, they did make comment about the umpire and connected him to the umpires in the Yankees game and reference Foster telling Jeter, you don’t have to be tagged if the ball beats you to the bag, or something like that –

Top 1st, Utley gets caught stealing, no replay, no analyse to see if he was safe or not straight to commercial.

They were surprised at how good Happ pitched, and they were saying Harang was the Reds ace and he needed to do this and this with the ball, then Phillies went back to back and they analysed, did freeze frames of the ball hitting the bat that is, just to show that Harang didn’t hit his spot with the pitches.

I did notice what seemed to be an air of resentment that Chase Utley had been selected to go to the All Star Game, the inference was that since he played infront of 40,000 fans every night it was easier than for say, Phillips who only gets and audience of say 20,000, it’s a popularity contest. They also complained that he didn’t make the top 4 player voting to go, you just have to look at what he has done is about what they said, then there seemed to be a sequence of events where Utley made some gold glove plays, then Utley hit a ball hard straight at Phillips and it hit off his glove, did he chase it down, no he let it trickle into the outfield, consequence, Utley’s on second, I thought that’s why Utley’s an All Star and Phillips isn’t.

Like I said I found it pretty hard to follow with these guys, and I think that is nothing more than familiarity, they had inside jokes and such like, if I watched them everyday I would understand and be able to follow along better.

Then we had the Mayberry out at home, they were so joyous they showed the replays to see how the great a defensive play it was and then you saw it the catchers tag was kind of late, Mayberry’s hand was in and on the plate, Mayberry was safe, silence fell on the commentators and then commercial break, after the break the only that was said I think the Reds got away with one then.

So thats about it really, yes I know they were over joyed that they scored a run off Lidge and won. The almost refused to mention the 22-1 the night before.

You’ll never guess what the Aflac Trivia Question was: okay here goes:

What is the largest margin of victory the Reds have had in the franchise history?

Well I didn’t see that coming.

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The game, was without adoubt a game of missed chances, too many missed opportunities with runners in scoring position and less than 2 outs, we cant blame the loss on the umpires for a couple of bad calls just because we couldn’t deliver.

Yes we got a couple of homers and we got at least one run home from third, but it doesn’t excuse the 1 for 12 with RISP

Happ had another outstanding start, Madson delivered in the 8th and somehow Lidge had a location problem in the 9th.

I almost forgot in all the excitment, Howard broke his homerless streak, way to go Ryan.

So today is another day.

VOTE VICTORINO

 


Phillies make Reds History

You must have been on another planet or at best somewhere remote outside of the baseball world if you haven’t already heard of the 22-1 win the Phillies posted against The Reds last night. History in the making, the Phillies gave The Reds the largest deficit loss in their club history, it wasn’t just that they sent their ace starter to the dug out in two thirds of an inning, nor was it the fact that the Phillies were well on their way to batting around twice in the first, it is the things that in a different game would have been the headlines.

Cole Hamels went seven innings giving up 3 hits and 1 run throwing just 92 pitches with 61 of them for strikes. He must of been feeling good, at the plate he had a double, a single, 2 RBI’s and scored 2 runs, a week ago Jimmy Rollins would have killed for those in game stats. – Well Done Cole.

The Reds pitching staff threw more pitches in the first 3 inning than Hamels threw for seven, in total The Reds pitching staff threw over 200 pitches combined, with only about 60% of them for strikes. You know a pitching staff is having a tough night when they throw **** into pitch the 8th inning.

Jayson Werth hit a grand slam, okay so it was off the SS pitching, but even so it’s still a stat and would have been a headline in any other game.

Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 with 2 walks, with Jimmy’s first half slump, I think worthy of a headline.

Ryan Howard homerless again, it’s nice that he is in the Home Run Derby, but I would much prefer him to hit homers in games that count, maybe the possible return of Raul Ibanez this week will inspire Ryan to go long.

Phillies BullPen threw 2 scorless innings to close out the game, again with their performance over recent weeks this would have been a headline in a diferent game.

With all this in the first of 4 games against The Reds you have wonder if they can keep it up, I am sure The Reds are wondering what they can do tonight, they face the 5-0 Happ with a 2.96 ERA, I am not sure there is light at the end of the tunnel for The Reds at CBP.

For a diferent point of view I have decided to watch tonights game with The Reds commentary, just to see how they feel about a Phillies team that really showed no mercy last night. Lets hope the Phillies didn’t blow a weeks worth of offense in one night.

Almost Finally, in case you hadn’t noticed I added the word Phillies to my Blog name just so those who haven’t read it know it’s about the Phillies.

And Finally VOTE VICTORINO


BLANTASTIC, Phillies SWEEP Mets

Blanton surpassed all the hopes and expectations of the Philly fans just dreaming of a sweep, he pitched a good seven and a third shut-out innings, having good command of his fast ball and change-up, he kept the Mets of balance and guessing wrong, he gave up just 4 hits and walked 3 and set the phillies bullpen up nicely to clinch the win and the sweep.

The bullpen was again outstanding, not body likes to see a player get hurt and nobody wants to see an extra guy on base, but admit it, when Romero hit Cora I am sure there were a few fans thinking, ‘wish I could have done that’, so that set up Park to come in and get a double play, which just left the ninth. The commenators seemed confused as to if Lidge would pitch or not, then it was confirmed he was stretching in the pen, just 14 pitches today to go 1, 2, 3 in the ninth, was definately scenes from Lidge of ’08.

Rollins has surely quietened down the sceptics just a little, a lead off homer gave the Phillies an early lead, having another multi hit game Rollins is either back or just really likes to stick it to the Mets.

Utley, Mr. Second-Base God, hits another long ball to give Phillies a two zip lead and that’s all they would need, the defense was outstanding, turning double-plays when they were needed, Howard showed his fielding skills and that all the extra pre-season in-field training has paid-off.

With a home stand start like this I find myself looking forward to the next game, in anticipation of what extraordinary feats the team will show off next, bring on the Reds.

Congratulations go to Utley and Ibanez for making the All Star starting line-up and congrats to Howard for making the All Star team.

I realise it is fan based voting, but why wasn’t it a closer race between Feliz and Wright, Feliz is a better defensive third-baseman than Wright and has been above average with offence this year, just a thought.

Don’t forget send Victorino to the All Star Game as the 33rd man voting is open so get to it he deserves to be there: VOTE NOW