Category - MLB

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2014 MLB League Championship Preview
2
Top Moments from Derek Jeter’s Illustrious Career
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Yasiel Puig Joins Fanatics Authentic’s Roster of Exclusive Athletes
4
The 2014 MLB Postseason Race is Heating Up
5
2014 Hall of Fame Weekend to Commemorate Six MLB Icons

2014 MLB League Championship Preview

Fanatics_BusterPoseyOctober is here and the competition in the MLB is seriously heating up with just four teams remaining in the running for the 2014 World Series title. The League Championship Series kicks off on Friday with an American League battle between the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals, while a heated National League rematch between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants begins on Saturday. With these two match-ups, the League Championship Series caters to every baseball fan’s desires with the ALCS featuring a tale of two small market franchises that look to take home their first title in around 30 years and the NLCS boasting a longtime rivalry between two teams that have completely dominated the National League for the last 5 years.

Neither competitor in the National League Championship Series is a stranger to this round of October play, considering the Cardinals prepare to compete in the NLCS for their fourth straight year with the Giants making their third appearance in five years. A rivalry has developed between these two MLB teams that have consistently fought for the past five seasons, as the 2014 World Series marks the fifth consecutive years that either San Francisco or St. Louis will represent the National League in the championship. After winning their division with a 90-72 record and eliminating Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers from the playoffs, the St. Louis Cardinals prepare to seek retribution for a loss at last year’s World Series and look to claim their ninth NL pennant since 2000. Led by pitching ace Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals have depth on the pitching mound, reliable sluggers in Matt Holliday, Jhonny Peralta, and Matt Carpenter, and home field advantage for a slight upper hand in this series. As for the Cardinals opponent, it’s been a slightly magical journey to the NLCS for the San Francisco team that finished second in their division with an 88-74 record. After a dominating 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Giants then eliminated the Washington Nationals from the postseason in just four games. Buster Posey as a threat at the plate coupled with Pablo Sandoval’s notorious postseason heroics, the San Francisco Giants have the offensive power to shut down the Cardinal’s robust pitching staff, as well as a key playmaker in pitcher Tim Lincecum that could lead the team to its third World Series in the last five years. Considering both the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have a similar playing style with a history of recurrent success in the playoffs, the NLCS couldn’t be more evenly matched and this match-up will definitely be long, low-scoring, and quite exciting.

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Meanwhile, for the American League Championship Series, both the Royals and the Orioles shocked baseball by remaining in the postseason through October. In addition to being two underdog teams, both Kansas City and Baltimore are yearning for their first championship since the 1980’s as teams that recorded the first and second most losses in the American League since 2000. Although these two teams have different strengths, each also has opposite weaknesses, that will provide for an interesting ALCS. While the Royals led the majors in stolen bases, the Orioles had the fewest, whereas Baltimore topped the league in home runs and Kansas City hit fewest. As the MLB’s biggest threat at bat, the Orioles have significant strength behind the plate with MLB home run leader Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones who is just getting on a roll, coupled with a strong defensive game. On the other hand, the Royals also have a solid game on both sides of the ball with an aggressive base running scheme and an outfield that has a knack for impressive catches, but a slightly stronger pitching rotation. Both National League contenders also swept their division series on their journey to the League Championship, but with home field advantage, the Baltimore Orioles have the huge benefit of kicking off the series at Camden Yards. Similar to their National League counterparts, the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals match-up should provide a long and interesting series, but instead, throughout this series MLB fans will be rooting for both teams to win.

Considering the League Championship Series offers two entirely different match-ups, one between a storied rivalry and another that pits two underdog teams against each other, this round of play is just a preview to what will set up for one of the most exciting World Series Championships in recent baseball history. Baseball fans, gear up for two exciting series between the four remaining postseason contenders because the road to the 2014 World Series is long and trying.

Top Moments from Derek Jeter’s Illustrious Career

JeterTunnelBabe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jo DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle. These are just several players from the incredible dynasty of legendary baseball players to write their name in MLB history while donning the famous pinstripes as members of the New York Yankees. If there’s any player who deserves to have their name added to this list, it’s the longtime Yankee great known as “The Captain”, Derek Jeter. After 20 seasons of ball in the Bronx, Jeter begins his final stretch of games as a New York Yankee this week and will make his last MLB appearance on Sunday, September 28, 2014. In honor of the upcoming retirement of this future Hall of Famer, Fanatics Authentic recaps some of the greatest moments in The Captain’s illustrious career.

Only 28 players in over a century of Major League Baseball have tallied 3,000 or more hits during their career and Derek Jeter ranks sixth among those 28 Hall of Fame inductees. After surpassing Lou Gehrig to become the New York Yankees all-time hits leader, Jeter racked up his 3,000th career hit by homering to left field in a 2011 home match-up against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was only fitting that a Yankee as memorable as Jeter joined the 3,000 hit club with a home run in front of a nearly sold out Yankee Stadium.

dj3kIn the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, the city of New York was looking for a sign of hope in trying times. The people of the Big Apple would look no further than The Captain himself. The 2011 World Series games were delayed until November and the Yankees were in a heated series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Just after the clock struck midnight in Game 4, Derek Jeter hit a walk-off home run to earn the legendary nickname Mr. November and keep the faith alive in New York.

Arguably the greatest moment in Derek Jeter’s career wasn’t achieving one of his dozens of milestones or winning any of his five World Series rings. Instead, it came in a 2001 ALDS game against the Oakland A’s. Down two games in a must-win match-up in Northern California, the Yankees were holding on to a slim 1-0 lead late in the night. When Oakland’s Terrence Long slapped a Mike Mussina pitch in to the outfield, it was almost certain that Jeremy Giambi would score the game-tying run, putting all the pressure back on the Yankees to win this game and stay alive in the postseason. Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer threw the ball from the outfield over the cutoff mans head, but Derek Jeter appeared seemingly out of nowhere to scoop up the throw and flip it to Jorge Posada to tag out Oakland’s Giambi at home. This play saved the New York Yankees season and will forever be known as “The Flip.”

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Celebrate the storied career of The Captain by taking home a piece signed by Derek Jeter from our New York Yankees memorabilia collection. Authentic autographed Derek Jeter memorabilia is the ideal way to commemorate the 14-time MLB All-Star and five-time World Series winner that is credited with changing the game forever. Jeter will certainly go down as one of the most talented and well-respected athletes of all-time, leaving the value of his autographed MLB merchandise inevitably valuable for years to come.

Yasiel Puig Joins Fanatics Authentic’s Roster of Exclusive Athletes

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Fanatics Authentic is proud to announce that Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, Yasiel Puig, is officially a Fanatics Authentic Exclusive Athlete. Joining a roster of over 50 Fanatics Authentic Exclusive Athletes, Yasiel Puig will bring fans and collectors truly genuine and unique autographed sports memorabilia. Courtesy of Fanatics Authentic’s exclusive relationship with Puig, customers will not only have access to premier sports collectibles featuring the upcoming All-Star, fans will potentially have the opportunity to attend official signings with the Dodgers outfielder and see behind-the-scenes autograph sessions.

Recently, Yasiel Puig emerged seemingly out of nowhere to instantly become one of the most effective and popular players in Major League Baseball. Immediately upon defecting from Cuba, Puig signed a $42 million deal with the Dodgers that spans for seven years. After making his Major League debut in June of 2013, Puig Mania hit Los Angeles, as the rookie recorded 27 hits in his first 15 games while leading the Dodgers to an NL West division title. Yasiel Puig has not slowed down since tearing up the majors and as of the midway mark of the 2014 season, the two-time NL Player of the Month has hit over .300 with 50 RBIs and earned his first of what will be many MLB All-Star Game appearances.

As Yasiel Puig continues to write his name in MLB history, Fanatics Authentic is thrilled to be along for the ride. With a bright future ahead, make a smart investment for your sports room or collection with autographed Yasiel Puig memorabilia. Take home a piece of the action with a Yasiel Puig autographed baseball or show your Dodgers pride with a signed Yasiel Puig jersey, by shopping the full product offering, here.

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The 2014 MLB Postseason Race is Heating Up

fielder_atbatAs the dog days of summer are upon us, it looks like the MLB postseason race is heating up quickly. A number of familiar names are once again atop the standings, but 2014 could certainly shape up to be the year an unexpected team takes home the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy in October.

A complete turnaround job has been done in the span of a year in the American League East. Former division champ Boston Red Sox and wild card winner Tampa Bay Rays are now sitting at the bottom of the standings with virtually no shot at making repeat appearances in the postseason after shipping off their respected aces Jon Lester and David Price. On the other hand, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays have put together some of the more impressive seasons in 2014 and both look like they have a shot to bring home the division title almost always held by the Yankees or Red Sox. At the trade deadline, New York invested in a bit of infield help by acquiring Chase Headley and Martin Prado in attempts to give Derek Jeter a farewell tour topped off with yet another World Series victory.

With the late-July acquisition of former Cy Young Award winner David Price from Tampa Bay, the Detroit Tigers appear to be in the driver’s seat of the American League Central. With Price on a staff featuring two more Cy Young pitchers in Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, Detroit is very well positioned to win their first World Series championship in 30 years. However, don’t count out Kansas City and Cleveland in the AL Central race. Sitting only several spots back are these two dark horse candidates looking to play spoiler to Detroit’s big deadline pickup.

Chrisdavis_HRrecordIt’s not unreasonable to say that the American League West is one of the most talented divisions that Major League Baseball has seen in years. The Oakland A’s may be straying away from their “Beane Ball” strategy in which they’re known for signing on low-price small name players. Oakland has shown the baseball world that they’re all in on making a World Series run, as they inked two dominant pitchers to add to their already talented staff with Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester. The Los Angeles Angels got hot at the right time and became one of the most winning teams in the league since the month of June. MVP candidate Mike Trout is putting together yet another legendary season in Southern California while future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols is bouncing back nicely from an off-year in 2013. Both the Angels and A’s are nearly guaranteed spots in the MLB postseason in 2014 while Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners are keeping their wild card hopes alive in the American League.

The dominant days of the Phillies and Mets seem to be over with in the National League East. Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals are looking to take home their second division crown in three years as they seek to stay atop the standings. The Atlanta Braves is right on the tail of Washington, sitting only several games out of first place and right in the thick of the wild card race. A surprising Miami Marlins team also finds themselves with a shot at a first playoff appearance, as a late-season surge could get them to their first postseason appearance in over a decade.

starlingmarteA four-team battle for first place in the National League Central will certainly make for an entertaining seasons end of baseball. The surprise of the 2014 MLB season has unquestionably been the Milwaukee Brewers. Sitting dead last in the division a year ago, Milwaukee has emerged as a legitimate World Series contender behind the all-star play of catcher Jonathan Lucroy and infielder Scooter Gennett. Last year’s NL pennant winning St. Louis Cardinals are in second place and looking to overtake Milwaukee with the acquisition of pitchers Justin Masterson and John Lackey at the trade deadline. Not far out of first come 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as a Cincinnati Reds team that both find themselves within reach of a wild card berth.

A two-team fight out west will give baseball fan’s some of the most anticipated pitching duels of the year. The Los Angeles Dodgers and their all-around loaded roster look to finally take home a World Series victory after years of falling short in the postseason. The Cy Young caliber play of pitcher Clayton Kershaw and second-to-none plate presence of all-star Yasiel Puig give Los Angeles fans reason to believe that the Dodgers could be the World Series champs in 2014. But to get to the promise land the Dodgers have to shake off their always powerful rivals, the San Francisco Giants. The Bay Area team has taken home two of the last four World Series victories and is certainly in the mix for winning yet another. A cast of scrappy field players and a pitching staff featuring superstars like Tim Hudson and Madison Bumgarner will take on the Dodgers in attempts to be named the National League West Division champions in 2014.

Whether your team is atop the standings or a bottom feeder this season, baseball fans everywhere are in for an interesting ride in the coming months. As All-Stars strive to keep their team in the running and solid contenders fight to pull away as a top runner for the crown, the competition couldn’t be better. Catch the heat of the MLB postseason race and don’t miss a minute of the action before just ten teams remain in the competition.

2014 Hall of Fame Weekend to Commemorate Six MLB Icons

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The 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction class is arguably one of the greatest of all-time, as the MLB plans to enshrine six legendary players and managers to grace the game. With unparalleled talent that dominated all aspects of the field, the class of 2014 has left a legacy on Major League Baseball history that will be forever enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame as of Sunday, July 27th 2014.

Despite being known as the leader in ejections within the MLB, former Atlanta Braves manager, Bobby Cox, ranks fourth on the all-time wins list among managers. Due to Cox’s strong leadership, the Braves created a baseball dynasty during the 1990’s and 2000’s. Atlanta won their division for an astounding 15 consecutive seasons and took home the 1995 World Series championship, all while under Bobby Cox’s management. After etching his name in baseball history, Bobby Cox’s jersey number 6 was retired by the Atlanta Braves and he was a unanimous selection for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Joining the storied manager, Bobby Cox, in Cooperstown this year is another unforgettable member of the Atlanta Braves; Tom Glavine. The former Braves pitcher consistently dominated the mound during his 22-season Major League career. Despite his short stint with the New York Mets, Glavine is best remembered for his 17 years in Atlanta. The 300 game-winner put up numbers like no other, and Glavine finished his illustrious career with ten MLB All-Star Game selections, two National League Cy Young Awards, and a World Series MVP title. Deservedly so, Tom Glavine was a first ballot Hall of Fame selection in just his first year of eligibility.

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No major league player was more talked about during the 1990’s than Greg Maddux. Pitching megastar, also known as “Mad Dog” Maddox, spent the majority of the career playing for the Chicago Cubs and, ironically, the Atlanta Braves where his play was nothing short of extraordinary. In addition to earning eight MLB All-Star selections, Maddux’s name was solidified in baseball history upon recording the unbelievable feat of winning four consecutive NL Cy Young Awards from 1992 through 1995. He was also a three-time NL wins leader, four-time NL ERA leader, and an 18-time Gold Glove winner. Maddux is one of the few players in Major League history to have their number retired by two different teams and will join the likes of the greatest baseball players ever in the Hall of Fame.

Few managers in baseball history are as talented as Tony La Russa was during his three full decades holding a leadership position in the MLB. No matter what jersey the once remarkable infielder played for, La Russa brought an unmatched level of success to his team. La Russa went on to be named the MLB Manager of the Year title on four different occasions. He also won the award at least once with each of the three different teams he managed for, which includes the White Sox, Athletics, and Cardinals, in addition to winning a World Series in three different decades. La Russa led the dominant Oakland Athletics teams of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, in addition to the St. Louis Cardinals dynasty that made three World Series appearances and took home two title. After a renowned career as both a player and manager, it goes without saying that Tony La Russa was a unanimous selection to the 2014 Hall of Fame class.

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There are few nicknames in baseball history that have been more appropriate than the “Big Hurt”, a title that was given to legendary White Sox slugger, Frank Thomas. Thomas was known for his natural ability to knock a ball out of the park and finished his career with over 520 home runs and 1,700 RBIs. Often regarded as the greatest designated hitter of all-time , Frank Thomas was the 2000 AL Comeback Player of the Year and was a to five-time MLB All-Star selection. Additionally, Thomas earned two consecutive American League MVP honors in 1993 and 1994, which deservedly resulted in his number 35 jersey being retired by the White Sox upon his retirement and his induction in the Hall of Fame.

Although the 2014 class is already manager-focused, the Baseball Hall of Fame will enshrine the fifth most winning leader of all-time with Joe Torre. Torre is credited with recording one of the most eminent careers in MLB history as both a player on the diamond and manager in the dugout. As a catcher for the Braves and Cardinals, Torre was a nine-time All-Star. He then went on to become one of the most successful managers of ever to command the dugout. Torre became an icon in New York as he managed the Yankees to win four World Series championships during their extraordinary dynasty of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Twice designated as the American League Manager of the Year, Joe Torre was deservedly a unanimous selection for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction class.

These six baseball heroes are set to join the greatest ever to grace the game with likes of the many legends that came before them. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has never before has a class so diverse and talented on so many different levels. Cooperstown will have the pleasure of hosting one of the most well-rounded and memorable enshrinement ceremonies with the class of 2014.

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