Rarer than Rare

Saturday, July 21st, the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies took to the field for the second game in a three game series. Matt Cain was on the mound for the Giants and Cole Hamels for the Phillies. What started as just another baseball game took a turn for true rarity in the third inning. It started with Cain’s at bat in the top of the third, where he took Hamels’ 88mph off-speed pitch yard to left field. The pitcher’s homer alone is something that is rarely seen in the MLB. What makes this game rarer than rare occurs in the bottom of the third when Hamels does the same to Matt Cain. In true payback fashion, Cole Hamels unloads on Cain’s first fastball and sends it over the wall in right center. Not only do two pitchers have home runs in this game, but they did it off one another in the same inning. This is something that has not been done for over 20 years. The last time it happened was in 1990 when Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers and Kevin Gross of the Expos put on the show.

To keep the theme of rarity going, I decided to give the TicketCity Play of the Week a double dose of features. The second play this week comes from the NBA summer league. With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter of the Memphis Washington game, the Grizzlies point guard Jeremy Pargo displays some incredible ball handling and passing skills. After splitting the defense with a few crossover dribbles, Pargo makes a sly no look pass to Mitchell Watt for the two point bucket. In all, the point guard shakes off three defenders and leaves the other two staring in awe as they try to comprehend what they just witnessed. The Gonzaga point guard went undrafted in 2009, spending two years in various summer league programs and playing ball in the Israeli Basketball Super League. It wasn’t until December of last year that the Memphis Grizzlies extended a two year contract to Pargo.

To see the rare double pitcher home run video click here.

Here is the Jeremy Pargo show.

New Players Abound In 2011 MLB Season

With the shortest offseason in major sports, a lot can happen in around baseball during the winter, and this year was no different. There were a number of high quality free agents available for the taking, and as a result a lot of teams will have a new look come opening day. 

Few teams did more to improve their stock than the Boston Red Sox. In early December, the Sox landed the coveted first basemen Adrian Gonzalez in a trade with the San Diego Padres. Not only will this provide Boston with a big left-handed bat in the middle of its lineup, but also strengthens their defense. Several days later, Boston signed free agent left fielder Carl Crawford, a player that will be a spark at the top of the batting order throughout the season. Boston also bolstered its bullpen by signing Bobby Jenks as a setup man.

Cliff Lee, who brought the Texas Rangers to the World Series last season, was also up for grabs this offseason. After an intense bidding war, the Phillies beat out the Yankees and acquired the talented southpaw. Lee took less money to accept the Phillies offer, a team he took to the Fall Classic in 2009, and joins Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels as arguably the best rotation in the majors.

Another coveted pitcher, Zach Grienke, also changed hands. The subdued right hander had long been the lone bright spot for the Kansas City Royals over the years, but was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers during the offseason in an effort to keep up with a loaded NL Central.  

There are a number of new players in Tampa Bay as well. Just one season after winning the AL East for the second time in three years, the Rays have a virtually new team. Crawford is gone along with Matt Garza (Cubs), Carlos Pena (Cubs) and Jason Bartlett (Padres). To help fill the void, the Rays brought in some very familiar faces – Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon – hoping for some veteran production out of the two former Sox.

Staying in the East, the Baltimore Orioles have long been in the basement, but they took steps to compete with the Sox, Yankees, Rays and even Jays this offseason. The Orioles acquired a few big bats in shortstop J.J. Hardy, first baseman Derek Lee and slugger Mark Reynolds. Add that to a bolstered pitching staff, highlighted by Justin Duchscherer, and teams should watch out for Baltimore.

2009 World Series Set

After Saturday’s rain cancellation, ALCS Game 6 moved to Sunday and the Yankees subsequently moved into the World Series after ending the Angels’ run. They will meet returning champs the Phillies, who took out the Dodgers in the NLCS. The prospect of a “freeway series” out in LA was not to be.

There’s less than 100 miles between Philly and New York, though, so the freeway ride may be longer, but it’s possible for enterprising fans to see all the games in both Yankee Stadium and Citizens Bank Park.

2009 World Series Schedule:

Game 1New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phillies Yankee Stadium October 28 Buy Tickets
Game 2 -New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phillies Yankee Stadium October 29 Buy Tickets
Game 3 - Philadelphia Phillies vs New York Yankees Citizens Bank Park October 31 Buy Tickets
Game 4 - Philadelphia Phillies vs New York Yankees Citizens Bank Park November 1 Buy Tickets
Game 5*Philadelphia Phillies vs New York Yankees Citizens Bank Park November 2 Buy Tickets
Game 6* -New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phillies Yankee Stadium November 4 Buy Tickets
Game 7* -New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phillies Yankee Stadium November 5 Buy Tickets

*If necessary. Full refund on games not played.

There’s 2 days before the opener, so get your tickets today!

2009 World Series schedule

The Philadelphia Phillies have clinched a spot in the 2009 World Series and the New York Yankees are up 3-2 on the Los Angeles Angels for the AL spot.  So it’s time to set the schedule for the ’09 Fall Classic.

2009 World Series schedule:
Game 1 – Phillies at Yankees/Angels – Wed, Oct 28th
Game 2 – Phillies at Yankees/Angels – Thur, Oct 29th
Game 3 – Yankees/Angels at Phillies – Sat, Oct 31
Game 4 – Yankees/Angels at Phillies – Sun, Nov 1
Game 5 – Yankees/Angels at Phillies – Mon, Nov 2
Game 6 – Phillies at Yankees/Angels – Wed, Nov 4
Game 7 – Phillies at Yankees/Angels – Thu, Nov 5

The World Series is best 4 out of 7 series, the team with 4 wins is declared the champion.  The 2-3-2 series starts in the American League city, because the AL won the 2009 MLB All-Star Game, then moves to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary).

Buy Phillies World Series tickets.
Buy Yankees World Series tickets.
Buy Angels World Series tickets.

World Series Tickets for Rays, Phillies at TicketCity.com!

It has been another amazing season for Major League Baseball, filled with individual player milestones and team accomplishments.  Now that we are gearing up for the World Series, let’s look at the accomplishments of players around the League:  Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks recorded his 4,673rd strikeout to place him at 2nd on the All-Time Career Strikeout Leaders list; Kenny Rogers of the Detroit Tigers became the all-time career pickoff leader with 92, Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 610th career homerun to pass Sammy Sosa and place fifth all-time for career home runs; Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays stole his 300th base on July 7th to become only the ninth player in history to have stolen that many bases before the age of 27. 

This year, we welcome the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Raysto the Fall Classic.  Both teams have dazzled their audiences, outperformed their opponents and captivated the nation.  The Phillies, for the first time since 1900, posted two 20+ run games this year.  The Rays had their best start in franchise history, and are the first team since 1900 to achieve the best record in the League by July 4th after posting the worst record in the League the previous season.  This is also the first time in franchise history that the Rays have reached the postseason – do you believe it?!

We have watched these two teams emerge from the pack, hungry for a National Championship.  And the best part:  They are not the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox.  No, this year we will watch the Tampa Bay Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies square-off for the League’s biggest trophy and all the marbles.  The Tampa Bay Rays have stepped up to the plate to bring their franchise just four games away from the National Championship, a season after they were “nobodys.”  Get ready for one heck of a World Series – The Phillies haven’t won a title in 28 years, and the Rays had never won a postseason game until this season.  For once in recent World Series history, baseball fans will have a chance to watch true underdog teams play solid, American baseball.  Here’s to our favorite pastime.