Reflection

Junior year has been the toughest year of school so far. It met my expectations since I was expecting it to be hard and stressful. My favorites parts of this year were the vacations I was able to take. I would be able to at least not worry about work or anything for a few days which is needed occasionally. The one thing I enjoyed least about this year was taking AP US history. That was probably my biggest mistake so far, since I don’t enjoy history and it took the most time out of all my other classes. I enjoyed having you as a teacher after Catcher in the Rye. In my opinion, there was too much busy work given out for that unit. Especially with the quick transition from Theriault’s style of teaching to yours made it tougher for the class. However, reading Of Mice and Men and The Great Gatsby was more enjoyable. I still had the same level of understanding of the book in Of Mice and Men even though there was less work given out. I liked having you as a teacher even though the teaching style was very different from what we were used to from first semester. Later is second semester though, it was better when new things were implemented such as Family Fridays. Overall, I enjoyed this class because we had multiple group projects and would often work with partners in class. Working with people is important to me since classes can get boring after working alone for long periods of time.

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MLB Response to Baltimore Riots

The Baltimore riots resulted in MLB postponing two games between the Orioles and White Sox. For the first time, they will be playing in an empty ballpark which will be closed to the public. In addition, the next two games will be played on May 28th and the series this weekend with the Rays will be moved to Tropicana Field (Rays’ ballpark) with the Orioles being home team.

This was the right decision for MLB to make, because it protects the safety of the both the fans and the players. Especially since Camden Yards is right in the middle downtown, a baseball game with thousands of people would be a huge opportunity for rioters to take advantage of. Even though these changes will cost the Orioles money from fan attendance, the best thing to do is keep everyone safe.

However, there were still alternative options to try to get the fans into the game such as move to Nationals Park which is less than two hours away. It can also be argued that it isn’t fair for the baseball fans who haven’t done anything wrong. They could try to trust their fans but who knows what will happen. Some rioters could buy tickets at the last minute and bring the dangers into the field.

Overall, I think MLB did the right thing because they put safety over everything else. Of course it will be different for the fans and players but changing one week to ensure everyone’s safety can only result in the best.

Athletics vs Royals Incidents

This past week, the Athletics vs Royals series involved multiple controversies and cleared benches.

April 17:

The first incident was when Brett Lawrie slid into second base with his spikes up. He was ruled out but the question was whether or not he did it on purpose. Afterwards, it was proved that he had no bad intentions towards the shortstop Alcides Escobar. Alcides Escobar was taken out of the game with a knee injury and this ignited the events during the next two games.

April 18:

Josh Reddick hit a 3 run home run against Royals start Yordano Ventura. Next up was Brett Lawrie, who was the center of the trouble in yesterday’s game. Ventura came in and hit Lawrie on the elbow with the first pitch. Lawrie surprisingly didn’t retaliate and even though some were already angered with the situation, no fights occurred. Some players like Reddick knew it was coming, after Ventura’s outing was already over and Lawrie coming up to bat at the right time. Ventura was ejected from the game.

April 19:

Athletics pitches Scott Kazmir hit Lorenzo Cain with a pitch on Sunday, resulting from Royals manager Ned Yost to come out on the field and eventually, him and pitching coach Dave Eiland to be ejected. However, the biggest issue came when Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera threw a pitch behind Brett Lawrie. Herrera was immediately ejected by the home plate umpire and was seen pointing at his head as he was escorted off the field. This assured everyone that he was going for Lawrie’s head even though he claims that the ball slipped. Afterwards, Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu and shortstop Alcides Escobar were ejected even though the benches didn’t clear.

It was later ruled that Kelvin Herrera would be suspended for 5 games and Yordano Ventura would be fined. This could be the beginning of a new rivalry in baseball.

First Week Impressions (Top 10 Teams)

After opening week of baseball, here are my first impressions and where each top team stands:

1. Detroit Tigers (6-0)

Through the first week, the Tigers have a .355 team average and 2.00 ERA. Even after losing some key players from last year and having some questionable returning players, they are still proving that they’re the best team in the AL Central.

2. Kansas City Royals (6-0)

They have the second best average in the majors with .327 and their bullpen has only allowed 6 hits over 6 games. Their star player has been Salvador Perez who had 3 home runs and 8 RBI’s.

3. Atlanta Braves (5-1)

The Braves looked to be in full rebuilding mode after trading away Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Craig Kimbrel but with their 5-1 record, they’re doing even better than before. They will have to rely on their pitching to do well, proved by Jason Grilli converting all three of his save opportunities.

4. Boston Red Sox (4-2)

Hanley Ramirez has already homered twice along with Dustin Pedroia which propelled them to four wins. Joe Kelly had a great pitching performance although Clay Buchholz was hit hard. Hopefully they will be able to bounce back from their terrible 2014 season.

5. Toronto Blue Jays (4-2)

The Blue Jays are already off to a fast start offensively, as expected, but their biggest question is their pitching. They had a good outing from Mark Buehrle but the other have been questionable. However their great offense should be able to squeeze out wins for them while the pitching issue is being dealt with.

6. Colorado Rockies (4-2)

Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado are both off to hot starts to begin the season, in addition to DJ LeMahieu who is surprisingly putting up great numbers after a few sub-par hitting years. They have also had great starting pitching. Their only downside is LaTroy Hawkins already blowing two leads.

7. Cincinnati Reds (4-2)

Joey Votto seems to have finally found his power stroke back, along with Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce. While their pitching doesn’t seem to be outstanding, a strong offense will be able to power them through for wins.

8. San Diego Padres (4-3)

The new additions of the Padres have already made the team much better. With their .280 average, they have already improved from their .267 average from last year. Two strong performances by James Shields and Justin Upton (two new additions) have helped them ascend to the top of the NL West.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (3-2)

The Cardinals have been able to thrive on pitching in years past and have continued to do so during the first week of the new year. Strong pitching performances by Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha have put them at the top of the NL Central.

10. Chicago Cubs (3-2)

They have had a great bullpen through the first week of the season with a 2.04 ERA. They were able to bounce back after a disappointing loss on opening day with Jon Lester but took a win on the last day of the week with Dexter Fowler’s home run.

Final Week of Spring Training

With the season starting next week, we will look at what surprises came up during Spring Training, the disappointments, and beginning-of-the season favorites to win the World Series.

First off I will talk about the top 5 teams:

1. Nationals: Their lineup AND rotation is full of stars and really have no holes to fill. Anthony Rendon will be back soon which will make their lineup even more powerful.

2. Dodgers: Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw will carry this team, along with its great supporting cast. Their only downside is having closer Kenley Jansen beginning the season on the DL.

3. Angels: They were the best team in the majors last year, and they still have MIke Trout. Garrett Richards will come back early in the season and their only loss was Josh Hamilton.

4. Mariners: Another AL West team, with Felix Hernandez and possible breakouts from James Paxton and Taijuan Walker. They could have the best rotation at the end of the season, along with Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager leading the offense.

5. Cardinals: They always find a way to contend. They really don’t have any bad players and have a solid all-around team. Expect another solid year from veterans Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina along with an even better season from Kolten Wong.

Other contenders: Tigers, Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Giants, A’s, Padres

One of the most controversial decision this spring was the Cubs sending Kris Bryant back down to Triple-A to being the season. While he is still a prospect, he hit .425 with 9 home runs during Spring Training. The Cubs claim that they did this so he can work on the defense but others think it’s so the Cubs can delay his free agency to 2021 if they keep him in Triple-A for 12 more days. This caused some stirring in the Major League Baseball Players Association, so I will be sure to include any decisions made on this situation.

American League Predictions

Just like the National League, the American League had some major roster moves and additions as well.

The Red Sox will try to turn their team into a contender again, and the additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval should definitely help their case. They were able to win the World Series the year after a horrendous season, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they can do it again. The Mariners had an 87 win season in 2014, but still missed the playoffs due to the very competitive AL West. This year with the addition of power hitter Nelson Cruz, they should be able to at least make the wild card, with both the A’s and Royals losing some key aspects of their playoff run.

Two teams to look out for are the Tigers and Blue Jays. As the Tiger’s roster gets older, production will drop off and with the majority of their players over 30, other teams in the division will have a good chance at catching them. While they should still contend with all stars like Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Justin Verlander, it might not be able to hold back newer stars in the division such as Cy-Young winner Corey Kluber from the Indians and Jose Abreu and Chris Sale from the White Sox. As for the Blue Jays, they added Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson, and Melky Cabrera. While they aren’t any major moves like the Red Sox had, it gives them a better chance for at least a wild card spot since the three other teams in the AL East have regressed from their offseason moves.

As for individual awards, the obvious candidates for MVP will be Mike Trout, Robinson Cano, and Jose Abreu. Miguel Cabrera should also be in the mix as well as Felix Hernandez, Josh Donaldson and maybe even Victor Martinez. I feel that the 3 top candidates for Cy-Young will be Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. With Max Scherzer and Jon Lester traded to the National League, it should be a three-way race for Cy-Young.

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National League Predictions

With major changes to many rosters, some teams that were previously in contention are now in rebuilding and others seem ready to win it all this year.

This week I will talk about the National League and what teams will improved or decline:

The Padres had a 77-85 record in 2014 and the Cubs had a 73-89 record. However major signings and trades have quickly brought them into contention. The Padres were able to change their entire outfield for all-stars Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, and rookie of the year Wil Myers. They also recently signed starter James Shields and Will Middlebrooks to fill the opening at third base after trading Chase Headley to the Yankees. The only issue the Padres may run into is just making the playoffs. The NL West is one of the toughest divisions with the Giants and Dodgers always doing well.

The Cubs will also be looking to propel themselves into the playoffs after multiple losing seasons. The biggest acquisitions are all star pitcher Jon Lester and all star manager Joe Maddon. They are also expecting prospect Kris Bryant to have a breakout season, and certainly has the talent to at least win the rookie of the year award.

Two teams that have fallen off considerably are the Phillies and Braves. They were both recently contenders but are now in full rebuilding mode. The Phillies are willing to trade some of their best players for younger prospects, while the Braves have already done so by trading Justin Upton and Evan Gattis.

The two teams that will remain in the playoff race without doubt is the Nationals and Dodgers. With only minor changes to their rosters, they both have the talent to make it to the NLCS.

Two questionable teams are the Giants and Pirates. The Giants are coming off winning the World Series, but with the loss of Pablo Sandoval, they may of a slight drop-off in production. The Pirates have been improving every year and are looking to make it deeper into the playoffs after being knocked out in the Wild Card game last year by the Giants.

Spring Training

Spring Training has begun and teams are finally able to take a look at their newly acquired players. Pitchers will compete for the last rotation spot and position players will look to take the last spot on the MLB roster. Some people will argue that spring stats mean nothing, but for others it will determine where they play for the rest of the year. Some teams don’t have much to look at, but others will be using Spring Training to see if their star player has the ability to bounce back or if their long awaited prospect is ready for the majors.

Here are some of the biggest questions teams are looking to be answered this spring:

New York Yankees: The major focus will be on Alex Rodriguez and whether he can play third base or even be the designated hitter, but the other big issue will be their rotation. Masahiro Tanaka is coming off an elbow injury and CC Sabathia is hoping to return to his former all star form. If they don’t hold up, the Yankees may have to look other ways to fill up their rotation.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers both added to their team and lost, but they will definitely be contender again. They still have the pieces in Yoenis Cespedes, David Price and Victor Martinez, but they need all of them to produce at a high level if they want to win like they have been for the past few years.

Seattle Mariners: They look to finally have the right team to break their decade long postseason drought with the signing of Nelson Cruz. Robinson Cano should still be great and Felix Hernandez is as good as he has ever been, so there’s no reason they won’t be able to at least make wild card this year.

San Diego Padres: Almost half of their starters are new, so they are hoping nobody regresses after their trades. The Padres are also looking to choose whether they will use Carlos Quentin or Yonder Alonso at first base before a trade. Completely remaking their outfield with Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton, and the addition of James Shields to the rotation will finally put the Padres back into contention.

The Biggest Steroid Scandal

For almost two years, Alex Rodriguez continuous said that he had never taken Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). He even stated that he believed the MLB had no business investigating so deeply and he would fight until he name was clean. However, in January 2014 he admitted to everything he was accused of.

It turns out that he bought PEDs from Biogensis of America and paid a fake doctor, Anthony Bosch, $12,000 a month. Bosch would give Rodriguez syringes to inject himself with and even took blood in the bathroom of a night club. Rodriguez’s cousin Yuri Sucart was also involved for bringing the steroids from Bosch to Rodriguez.

He was originally given a 211 game suspension, but even after it was reduced to 162 games by MLB, he declared that he was clean and would take to fight to court. Later, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s results were that Rodriguez took PEDs between 2010 and 2012. Rodriguez admitted to taking these, but said that his fake doctor Bosch told him it would help with sleep, hair and muscle regeneration only. Rodriguez also admitted that his cousin Sucart was the one that introduced him to Bosch and was the one that discussed prices and delivered money.

Bosch was sentenced to jail but Rodriguez is now working his way back to take his starting job at third base. Many people doubt his ability to play anymore without steroids and because of his age.

Being caught taking steroids will forever put an asterisk next to his name in the record books, along with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, who will probably never make it in to the Hall of Fame because of PEDs.

Other notable players specifically caught during the Biogenesis scandal were:

  • Ryan Braun (65 days, 2011 MVP)
  • Nelson Cruz (50 days, 2013 All Star)
  • Evereth Cabrera (50 days, 2013 All Star)
  • Johnny Peralta (50 days, 2013 All Star)

The Biggest Steriod Scandal

For almost two years, Alex Rodriguez continuous said that he had never taken Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). He even stated that he believed the MLB had no business investigating so deeply and he would fight until he name was clean. However, in January 2014 he admitted to everything he was accused of.

It turns out that he bought PEDs from Biogensis of America and paid a fake doctor, Anthony Bosch, $12,000 a month. Bosch would give Rodriguez syringes to inject himself with and even took blood in the bathroom of a night club. Rodriguez’s cousin Yuri Sucart was also involved for bringing the steroids from Bosch to Rodriguez.

He was originally given a 211 game suspension, but even after it was reduced to 162 games by MLB, he declared that he was clean and would take to fight to court. Later, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s results were that Rodriguez took PEDs between 2010 and 2012. Rodriguez admitted to taking these, but said that his fake doctor Bosch told him it would help with sleep, hair and muscle regeneration only. Rodriguez also admitted that his cousin Sucart was the one that introduced him to Bosch and was the one that discussed prices and delivered money.

Bosch was sentenced to jail but Rodriguez is now working his way back to take his starting job at third base. Many people doubt his ability to play anymore without steroids and because of his age.

Being caught taking steroids will forever put an asterisk next to his name in the record books, along with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, who will probably never make it in to the Hall of Fame because of PEDs.

Other notable players specifically caught during the Biogenesis scandal were:

  • Ryan Braun (65 days, 2011 MVP)
  • Nelson Cruz (50 days, 2013 All Star)
  • Evereth Cabrera (50 days, 2013 All Star)
  • Johnny Peralta (50 days, 2013 All Star)