2011 Home Run Derby: Bautista, Ortiz, Fielder

The 2011 Home Run Derby is set to take place tonight at 8 pm ET from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. This year the Derby is set up differently with 2 captains being appointed to pick the players they want to participate in the contest. Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is representing the American League, while over in the National League Milwaukee Brewer first baseman Prince Fielder is the captain.

The American League line up features New York Yankee Robinson Cano, Toronto Blue Jay and home run leader Jose Bautista, Boston Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez along with Ortiz. While the National League line up has Milwaukee Brewer Rickie Weeks, St. Louis Cardinal Matt Holliday, L.A. Dodger Matt Kemp along with Fielder. The 2011 Home Run Derby oddsmakers have Jose Bautista favored to win the title.

There are a few surprising names missing from this years derby. Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira both have 25 homers this season putting them in a tie for second among all batters, and neither of them are in the contest. Also St. Louis Cardinals Lance Berkman was overlooked for his teammate Matt Holliday. Even though those guys are not in the 2011 Home Run Derby the players we will see tonight should make for a fun night!

Kristen Lee: Cliff Lee’s Wife

The New York Yankees general handle themselves with class. That’s not to say they aren’t against a bench brawl every now and again but generally speaking, they do their name proud. However, various reports indicate that the fans at Yankee Stadium were not very nice to the opposing teams guests. Kristen Lee, wife of Texas Ranger Cliff Lee, was reportedly subjected to insults, thrown beer and even fans spitting in her direction.

ESPN was the first source to mention this horrible behavior. The analyst wonder if that might not be just enough to keep the Yankees from getting Cliff in their house next year. It seems obvious that the Yankees will go after him but if his wife was treated so terrible, why would he bother to accept even the invitation to discuss a contract. Only time will tell if Kristen Lee can come away from those horrors and if money can do the talking.

Cliff Lee’s agent is trying his best to make this seem like a non-issue but Cliff’s wife wasn’t voicing the same message. Cliff’s agent says that the incident doesn’t matter at all and she says that opinion is blatantly influenced by the behavior of the Yankee fans. This could be the best move the Yankees ever made for Seattle because chances are, if the Yankees don’t get Cliff Lee and his wife Kristen to come to the big apple, the Seattle Mariners might just get their hands on the whole Lee family.

MLB Trades: Blake DeWitt, Kerry Wood, Ryan Theriot

Unless you are more than vaguely familiar with the way the MLB trades work, you are most likely shaking your head in pure confusion right now. When the trade deadline arrives, someone can compile a complete list of all the players and organizations that made moves in the final hours. When the moves are put to a halt, then that long list of farm league players and big league guys can be assembled. As for Blake DeWitt, Kerry Wood and Ryan Theriot, just know that there names are on that trade list alongside hundreds of others.

The Dodgers gave their second basement his notice today when they removed him from the field during batting practice. In exchange for sending him out, the Dodgers get a guy from the Cubs who will most likely split playing time at second base. The Yankees who already look really good heading into the final stretch have added another reliever to their roster. When the dust settles on these three guys, Blake DeWitt is headed to the Cubs, Kerry Wood gets the best deal of the three as he joins the Yankees and Ryan Theriot will be making the move from the Cubs to the Dodgers as well.

Analyst, coaches, general managers and players have all chimed in on the number of moves taking place right now. Just as the Dodgers pulled their guy out of the batting cage to deliver the news of the move, other players are finding the trades equally as surprising. The big leagues have rarely ever offered up anything that resembles stability and the proof is right here. Veteran players, Blake DeWitt, Kerry Wood and Ryan Theriot may have been surprised by the move but most likely aren’t bothered by the moves especially considering all the other folks getting shuffled around.

Bob Sheppard: Derek Jeter’s Special Connection

The Yankees’ history runs deep. It’s not just the players or the coaches, the retired jerseys or the awesome pitchers, the Yankees are simply but “The Yankees”. The Yankees unfortunately lost the man who is known as the voice of the Yankees in 2007 to illness and he lost his life this morning at the sprite age of 99. Derek Jeter was so attached to this great announcer. Bob Sheppard was a simple speech teacher but he stole the hearts of many, including Derek Jeter.

Reggie Jackson quickly named him The Voice of God. Once Sheppard left the Yankees, Derek Jeter requested that a recording of his voice be used to announce him when he went to bat at home. Jeter is probably among one of the least famous players to get attached to this announcer. Bob Sheppard was the rock for many Yankees stars before Jeter.

As far as announcers go, the methodology differs from team to team and from announcer to announcer. Some teams like the loud, excited and anxiousness of their hometown guys. Others believe in the Yankees announcer and feel most comfortable when they heard his calm, soothing voice. The fact that Bob Sheppard’s voice was that special is evident by the fact that a youthful player like Jeter wants to hear his voice before he goes to bat at every home game.

Jose Montero: Young and Mighty

The Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees are discussing a trade deal. For that matter, New York has made an offer for Cliff Lee but nothing has been completed yet. The Mariners are looking for someone with some pop on the bat. If all goes according to planned, Jose Montero, a sprite twenty year old will be wearing a Mariners uniform sooner than later.

Just in case the Mariners get their hands on this gem, fans are going to want to know more about him before they jump in and start cheering for him. The young guy is 6’4″ and about 225 pounds.  He has played catcher up until this point but according to management, he is mostly likely going to make a move to first base. Just for the record, Jose Montero was rated the fourth best prospect in baseball at the beginning of this season by Baseball America.

That puts him along side the likes of Jason Heyward, Steven Strasburg and Mike Stanton. Those three guys are already in the big leagues. He manage to be a Yankees via a trade in 2006 and now he is probably heading cross-country to lend a helping hand to the Mariners line up. Sadly, Jose Montero and his future rest in the hands of other players and managers and he can’t do much right now to change that.

Cliff Lee: Will New York Land This One

Indeed, fans in various cities are mourning the fact that Lebron didn’t choose to head their way. But, the Yankees could have what’s being deemed as a consolation prize. Several teams are interested in one player, but just like with Lebron, his options are endless. The decision remains in the hands of Cliff Lee and hopefully New York gets an answer before the All-Star game.

For now, the Yankees are set to face their hot new prospect tonight. The Yankees have a lot of options since they already have six starter in their rotation. They could obviously trade someone to make room for the new guy. The bottom line right now is that there New York has made an offer regarding Cliff Lee so the waiting game begins.

New York fans have to be wondering if the Yankees will be able to lure the big guy to their city. Indeed, Lebron went south to Miami but that doesn’t mean that New York and the Yankee’s need to give up. Playing baseball for the New York Yankees has to rank at the top of every baseball players big dreams. Before you turn around good, Cliff Lee could be the one holding an hour long special on ESPN to tell the world where he will be throwing the ball after the All-Star break.