New Feature on The First Pitch – MLB History

Being a fan of Major League Baseball since an early age, I understand what it means to look back on MLB history. You need to know about the past and players like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente to understand what current stars like Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Bryce Harper are doing. To be able to truly see how good players from today are, you need to know how good players of yesterday were.

That is why I’m announcing today that starting July 9, we will be posting articles titled “The Best Hall of Famers from (Each Team)” each day. This way, as the season really starts to get interesting and fans get chance to see guys like Cabrera and even Chris Davis chasing the elusive Triple Crown, you’ll have a place to go back and see who came before them.

Week 13 MLB Power Rankings – Cardinals at the Top

061001_st_louis_cardinalsWith the All Star Break getting closer, we are getting closer to the midway point in the season. At this point in the season, one team stands out as the best in the league, but the top five is essentially a crap shoot. Who are the top five teams in the league right now and what team is trying to fight their way back to the top?

1. St. Louis Cardinals — 48-29

Overall, the Cardinals are one of the best all-around teams in the sport. They are second in the league in runs scored with 85 and batting average with .276, while also producing the third best on base percentage at .336. Offensively, they are led by Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday. The pitching staff is led by Adam Wainwright in the rotation and the ninth inning is controlled by the surprising Edward Mujica and his 2.20 ERA.

2. Detroit Tigers — 42-33

With a run differential of +76, the Tigers offense and pitching staff have worked well all season at getting big leads and holding onto them. With perennial Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera beating up on pitchers all year and Justin Verlander doing what he does best, the Tigers are a team that nobody in the American League will want to face in October.

3. Cincinnati Reds — 45-33

The Reds sit 3.5 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central but have all the makings of a championship contender. Offensively, first basemen Joey Votto leads the way along with help from Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, while Mike Leake has been unstoppable thus far. Leake leads the team in wins (7) and ERA (2.61) and is well on his way to the best season of his career.

4. Boston Red Sox — 46-33

The AL East leaders are tied with the Tigers for the AL lead in run differential at +76. As a team, they have scored the most runs in the league with 406, are second in OBP (.348), second in slugging percentage (.445) and third in batting average (.273). Offensively, the Red Sox are getting a lot of support from the ageless David Ortiz who leads the team in average, home runs, RBIs and OPS.

5. Atlanta Braves — 45-33

If you would have told me that the Braves would be this far ahead in the NL East and all three of their outfielders, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann were all batting less than .250, I would have called you crazy. All five of them are struggling, but they have been able to hold their league in the division despite poor play in the past two months. This is because of timely hits from Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson, Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis and great pitching from Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran and Paul Maholm in the rotation and Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.

On their way up: Pittsburgh Pirates

2013 Demarini White Steel Review

2013 Demarini SteelOn the benches of slowpitch softball leagues around the country, one of the most popular bat manufacturers commonly seen is Demarini. Each year, Demarini puts out affordable bats ranging from the F5 to the White Steel to appeal to the millions of players competing in these leagues. The company puts out bats for use in most popular softball leagues sanctioned by ASA, USSSA and others. When it comes to the 2013 Demarini White Steel, how is this bat constructed and is it worth your money to get for your bag?

Material

This bat is eligible for use in ASA, USSSA, NSA and ISA sanctioned leagues. It has the traditional 2 ¼” barrel diameter and 13″ barrel length. The bat is constructed complete out of aluminum and provides its users with long-lasting durability and great performance hot out of the wrapper. The barrels is made to allow for the utmost power with every swing you take and while many other bats have a “sweet spot,” the entire barrel can be considered a sweet spot those who swing it properly.

The handle of the bat is made of composite material exclusive to Demarini. The C6 composite material is made to flex with your swing and makes you feel as though you are swinging a single-piece bat. The end cap on the 2013 Demarini Steel is N2M which helps you get the most distance behind every swing and even decreases the vibration normally felt with a swing by transferring all the energy to the ball.

Performance

When bat manufacturers say that a bat is “hot out of the wrapper,” you usually can’t trust them at their word. With some bats, it takes anywhere from 50 to 100 swings to really get the most power from your bat. With the 2013 Demarini Steel, you can get the package with your bat delivered in the afternoon, peel the plastic wrapper off at the field and still have the ability to hit absolute bombs. With this bat, there is truly no break-in period and would be a great addition to your bag.

Rating

On a scale of one to five, this bat is a 4.5. With the ability to hit home runs directly out of the wrapper, this bat is one of the top models from the 2013 line. While there have been complaints about it breaking within a couple weeks, with the Demarini one-year warranty, you are covered.

From my experience, one of the best websites to use for purchasing slowpitch softball bats is CheapBats.com.