Albert Pujols enters spring training with no hard feelings that a contract didnt come to terms with the Cardinals. Although, some major speculation that the Cubs would be highly interested in the Redbird slugger in the 2012 season. Rumors being highly hypothetical about the Washington Nationals signing Pujols have actually gained some momentum, and might actually turn into a reality in 2012. But regardless. If both clubs want AP, they will undoubtedly have to start saving money NOW. Pujols was initially offered an 8-year $200 million dollar contract which he respectfully declined. He countered that offer with a 10-year $300 million dollar offer to include part ownership of the St Louis Cardinals. None of this should come as a surprise as Albert Pujols is arguabley the best baseball player in the Major Leagues as of right now. Pujols has stood firm on his self-imposed deadline to cease talks about contract terms once he arrived at Spring Training. Well, he’s arrived. Talks are off. To include myself. Just kidding baseball fans! As I find out more on this SO WILL YOU.
Another legendary slugger makes headlines as well this week. Ken Griffey Jr is back in Seattle. No, he wont be starting in the outfield or filling a DH spot. Griffey will be working as a “special consultant” for the Mariners during Spring Training, and most likely throughout the regular season. Will he be at Safeco on opening day? Sources say he has some conflicts that require resolution prior to coming to Safeco, and no details were provided on what those conflicts are, so the answer is no. Griffey will not be at opening day on April 8th. Edgar Martinez, Dan Wilson, Jay Buhner, and John Olerud are also expected to help out during spring training. The reason for all these former Mariners showing up to help? New skipper Eric Wedge wants to signify just how important being a Mariner is.
Manny Ramirez wants to show the Tampa Bay Rays what hes really made of. “I just have a chip on my shoulder,” Ramirez said. ” I want to get here and get my stuff right and show people I can play.” A properly motivated Ramirez can be a very productive Ramirez. Boston Redsox fans can agree to that. Ramirez signed a one year deal with the Rays on the first of February, and the 37 year old seems pretty happy about his situation. Teaming up with a former teammate from Boston, Johnny Damon, Ramirez has big plans for this season but was very nonchalant about the fact that he is only 45 home runs away from the 600 home run milestone. ” I havent thought about it,” Ramirez said. “It doesnt matter, man. –600, 500, 800..because, you know, when you die, none of this matters. They could build you a statue or whatever, but it doesnt matter when you die.” Ramirez said. Well, if Manny Ramirez ever gets to 800 home runs Im sure they will build him a statue.
Stephen Strasburg returned to the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium earlier today. Although, he isnt scheduled to start in a Major League game until much later in the season, he was still able to throw with the pitchers and catchers today. ” It was just another day. It felt good.” Strasburg said. Strasburg is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery from last season, and he isnt quite able to throw off the mound yet but he has been able to throw from flat ground since January. Today he felt comfortable, and hes on track to make his full recovery.
So I spent my first game of the season at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Ive always loved going to this stadium and I will probably to continue to love it as long as the Royals continue to play baseball like a bunch of college students. The ticket prices are fairly reasonable ( Unlike Wrigley Field or Busch Stadium ) and the fan base is calm, and few. On average the stadium fills to about 10,000 to 18,000 depending on weather, the day of the week, and of course the time of the game. I think the Royals just had Zack Greinke BobbleHead night so that may have been their biggest fan turn-out since the season started. ( Above you will find Johnny Damon, and teammates standing on the third base line getting ready for the Nations Anthem to be sang )
I was of course the first person inside the stadium to start my ballhawking experience. Last year I didnt focus too much on collecting MLB baseballs. I focused on autographs. Which I will say I was very successful. I came away with 65 autographs last year. I also left 2009 season with 13 game balls. Not bad for someone that wasnt focusing on that. This year is a brand new year with brand new intentions.
I entered the stadium on the first base side and immediatly chased down to the field where Joakim Soria and Kyle Farnsworth were warming up. I am kicking myself for not asking Farnsworth for the ball after he was done with it. But like I said. This is a brand new year, and I’m pretty new to all of this. As the season progresses I will build more confidence where I will learn that calling out to players for balls wont hurt me or kill me. The worst thing that can happen is I will get ignored. So after the warm up tosses were completed by the Royals batting practice ensued. The Royals were actually launching quite a bit of balls into the seats out in right field. I was pretty comfortable waiting for a foul ball my way. After standing there for 30 minutes, and realizing the Tigers were about to come out on to the field, I made my way to their side.
Sitting on the third base foul line was my potential first gem of the season. I didnt have to wait but ten minutes before Joel Zumaya came over to scoop it up, and toss it in. I asked for it respectively and he tossed it my way. BING! Respect goes along way when asking players for balls. Use your P’s, and Q’s. The Tigers were launching quite a few baseballs into the left field corner, and the players were giving the fans a lot of attention as well. So I figured I may have a chance to get number two. When I got over there Fu-Te Ni, Ryan Perry, Rick Porcello, and Zach Miner were all tossing baseballs to kids. I was lucky enough to recognize Ryan Perry with his designer sunglasses on. I asked him for a ball twice. No dice. On the third attempt, he tossed the ball up but a few feet to my left. I got a finger on itbut I ended up actually blocked it from another fan. It landed back onto the field where the ball was then sent back into the infield.
I headed back to my seats after BP was completed and I waited for the Tigers starting pitcher to come out where he would warm up on the infield. As he did Carlos Guillen came over to signed some autographs. I opted out of having him sign anything I had available. But after the warm up was complete, Carlos Guillen ended up with the ball so I stood up calling to him. He threw it to me but another fan was standing in front of me trying to intercept my ball. I leaned forward to snagged it. Bing! Knowing players names, and identifying them pays off…sometimes. Unfortunalty, no foul balls were hit my way during the game.
Game; April 8th 2010 Kansas City Royals Vs. Detroit Tigers.
Game Balls; Two