We all love our team and fan gear seems to fill our closets and dressers with team colors, ready and waiting for “the big game.” Well for the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies, the big game is every game as they continue to fight through the post-season chasing after the elusive World Series Championship ring that so few players ever get a chance to wear.
If you’re one of those people headed to the game or your local eatery to support your team, and are looking for a way to stand out amongst a sea of team jerseys, then the timing couldn’t be better for the arrival of these Three60 Gear Major League Baseball photo t-shirts. You can take your pick of Tim Lincecum, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, just in time for the final games of the League Championship Series.
If you’re team already took an early summer break, check out the other players available now: Three60 Gear Photo Image T-Shirts
Just like when he reached number 500, Alex Rodriguez left baseball fans hanging like a curve ball waiting for number 600 to be hit. It may have taken 46 at-bats for A-Rod to hit 600, but on the anniversary of number 500 in 2007, Rodriguez couldn’t have picked a better time or place.
It seems appropriate that Rodriguez, who just turned 35 on July 27th, would pass New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth, who was the previous youngest to reach the 600 home run milestone at home in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium. Rodriguez hit 500 in the old Yankee Stadium, so it seemed like destiny for 600 to come in the new Yankee Stadium.
Number 600 came with two outs on a 2-0 pitch from Shaun Marcum of the Toronto Blue Jays. A-Rod blasted it into center field, driving in superstar teammate Derek Jeter, who was on first base, to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The home run also ended a 17 at-bat hitless streak for Rodriguez.
At 35, Rodriguez adds his name to the list of baseball elite that have shared the milestone. Only six other players have accomplished the milestone: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa. Rodriguez will only climb the list, and many anticipate he will break Bonds’ all-time record of 762 in the next four or five seasons.
Alex Rodriguez watches home run number 600 fly over the center field fence at Yankee Stadium.
Pitching, that is what will define the 2010 Major League Baseball season. Whether it is the amount of no-hitters we’ve seen thus far, or the perfect game that deserves an asterisk, this year has been loaded with low scoring games and great pitching. Ironically, it is those two things that are often criticized for making the game boring.
However, as a fan of both close games and pitching, I thought it might be good to look at what the two things actually have done for the game this year.
First up, we have to talk about the no-hitters. This year, the game has seen five pitchers throw no-hitters, two of which were perfect games. Three, if you include Armando Galarraga’s incredible outing that slipped out of the record books due to a clearly questionable call.
We almost had three perfect games this year. Before this season we’ve never had two in the same season during the modern era but Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden decided to make May the month of the pitcher, until Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies decided he would like June to be as well. Jimenez ran off 33 scoreless innings into the beginning of June. Apparently he decided that his 25+ scoreless inning streak in April, which included a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves, was just not good enough.
Then there is Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals’ rookie has brought an unbelievable excitement to baseball in the Nation’s Capital. After 9 starts he has a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts to only 15 walks, that kind of control should have politicians taking notes on how to run things.
Yeah all the pitching statistics are impressive, but what if you are not into that kind of thing? What if you’re bored with pitching, is there anything exciting about this season for you?
Let’s take a look at the competitiveness of the division races.
This year as of August 1st, of the top two teams in each division only one was separated by more than 2.5 games that’s the American League West. In 2009 at the same point, half of the division leaders were separated by four or more games. Through this point of the year this season there are 20 teams playing at .500 or better, and at the same time last year, only 16 teams were playing at the same level, and only 15 the year before that.
The pitching may be getting all the attention this year due to the no-hitters, but it has made the Major League Baseball more competitive as a whole.
As far as the game goes, I guess that depends on how you look at it, but it seems that when a majority of the games are more competitive, that same majority is also more fun to watch. Or at least more fun to watch than A-Rod still attempting to hit home run number 600 weeks later, right?
Baseball’s home run records have been a thing of much controversy in the last decade. Currently at seventh on the all-time home run list behind Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds, A-Rod will undoubtedly add his name to the elusive 600 home run club any day now.
At just 34 years of age, Rodriguez has the best shot of current players to catch all-time home run leader, and good friend, Barry Bonds. Bonds finished his career with 762 after 22 seasons in the league. If Rodriguez continues to play another six years, which would match the 22 years that Bonds played, he’d need to average about 30 home runs a season to catch Bonds. Thursday’s blast was his 16th of the season, and A-Rod seems to be more patient at the plate this year than ever before.
With the Yankees just three full games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, New York will need A-Rod to contribute in more ways than just hitting home runs, and with his new found patience, his home run production may take a back seat in order to win back-to-back World Series titles. Rodriguez was met with mixed reactions from fans last night in his final at bat, of course the fans were hoping for 600, but A-Rod’s RBI double added some extra insurance for the Yankees. It seems fans were just reminiscing of Alex’s last monumental home run achievement. When A-Rod found himself looking for number 500 he went into a terrible 10 game hitting slump.
This year is different though, A-Rod won’t keep the fans waiting long. He’s picked up the pace in the second half of July, and has always fared well against the Kansas City Royals. In fact, against tonight’s starting pitcher Brian Bannister, Rodriguez has 3 home runs in only 7 at bats.
image via yahoo
With the second half of the Major League Baseball season under way, it’s the time of year that superstars step up for their team. In the American League, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has stepped up, batting .375 over the last week compared to his season average of .275, A-Rod is also dealing with a minor thumb injury.
In the National League, the San Francisco Giants are the hottest team. They’ve run off a string of wins since the All Star Game, wining 5 out of 6 games, and moving into second place in the National League West behind pitching, and rookie of the year candidate Buster Posey. Posey is near the top of the league in the month of July in Batting Average, Home Runs, Runs Batted In, and slugging percentage.
Check out some of the photos from around the league below and find Eastbay Baseball on Facebook.
Nick Swisher wearing the Nike Air Max MVP.
Alex Rodriguez wearing the Nike Shox Fuse 2 and Nike Fuse batting gloves.
Albert Pujols in the Nike Air Max MVP cleats.
Brendan Ryan of the Cardinals wearing Nike Air Show Elite MVP.
Chris Carpenter pitches wearing Rawlings Heart of the Hide glove.
David Wright pre-game wearing the Nike Air Max 2009.
Eric Patterson wearing the Nike Air Huarache LWP90.
Hideki Matsui in Mizuno Pro Batting Gloves and Mizuno Pro PE.
Brian Wilson of the Giants wearing the Wilson A2000.
Buster Posey of the Giants, wearing Under Armour cleats and Under Armour Metal batting gloves.
images via yahoo