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  • Published: May 30th, 2012
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The Year of the Injured or Ineffective Closer

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Mariano RiveraSome baseball fans and so-called experts discount the importance of closers, insisting that what they do is just one inning of a game, and act like they are no more important than any other pitcher in the game. However, other fans and fantasy baseball team owners may disagree with that assessment. Not only do saves matter when it comes to fantasy baseball, but what a closer does can help protect starters’ wins.

At any rate, what has happened so far in 2012 has shown just how volatile the position is. As of press time, 14 of the 30 Major League Baseball closers at the start of the season have been replaced in the first five weeks of the season. Injury and ineffectiveness are the two culprits.

Closers Lost to Injury

The injury bug has decimated a slew of closers this season, with some of the biggest names in baseball – Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, and Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants – getting hurt. The 42-year-old Rivera, considered to be the greatest closer of all time and a big reason for the Yankees’ success over the past fifteen years, tore his ACL and meniscus while shagging flies in the outfield, and will be out for the season, with his career in jeopardy. Wilson, who was one of the top players – and one of the most memorable personalities – of the 2010 World Champion Giants, went through Tommy John surgery this April for the second time and is out for the season.

A total of nine closers have had to be replaced due to injury, like Kansas City Royals’ pitcher Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson of the Cincinnati Reds, who also have undergone Tommy John surgery this year.

Other closers injured this season include the Boston Red Sox’s Andrew Bailey, who had to undergo surgery on his thumb before the former Oakland closer got to throw an in-season pitch for his new team, Kyle Farnsworth of the Tampa Bay Rays, who is out until June with a strained elbow (and has likely lost his job for good to Fernando Rodney), and Sergio Santos of the Toronto Blue Jays, who has been out due to shoulder inflammation. That means that four out of the five closers in the American League East has been beset by injury, and the fifth, Jim Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles, missed some time recently, being hospitalized due to food poisoning.

Closers Lost to Ineffectiveness

Then there are the closers who have lost their jobs due to ineffectiveness. Heath Bell may have just gotten a $27 million, three-year contract from the Miami Marlins, but he still has, at least temporarily, lost his spot as a closer to Steve Cishek. Some of the other closers who have been demoted include Carlos Marmol of the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Jordan Walden.

What Does This Mean for Fantasy Baseball?

So what does all this year of the injured or ineffective closer mean from a fantasy baseball perspective? It means several things – that unless you have one of the few top closers in the game still standing, like Jonathan Papelbon of the Philadelphia Phillies or Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves, you might have problems getting much value in the category. It also means that if you are playing in a daily or weekly fantasy baseball league, you ought to pick a fantasy closer before drafting some of your other positions, due to the scarcity of great players in the spot right now.

FantasyGuru is a weekly contributor to fantasy sports blogs, like DraftStreet.

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5 Reasons Why Everyone Hates the Yankees

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Derek Jeter

Image via Wikipedia

Do you hate the Yankees? If you’re not a Yankees fan, then the answer is “yes.” Let’s take a look at five reasons why most people hate the Yankees.

Reason #5 – New Yorkers

People hate New Yorkers. If you’re not sure why people hate New Yorkers, it has everything to do with arrogance. Then again, perhaps it can be called overconfidence. Have you ever been to New York – The Empire State? Everyone has their head held high – too high. New York City might be the greatest city to visit, but this goes to New Yorker’s heads a little bit too much, especially Yankees fans, who have enjoyed more World Series titles than any other team.

Reason #4 – Legacy

Baseball fans might not want to admit it, but there is no chance that any other team will ever catch the Yankees in terms of success. That particular team would need to go on an incomparable run without the Yankees doing anything during that timeframe. This is highly unlikely considering the Yankees often have the most talented players in the league.

Reason #3 – Money

Whatever happened to winning fair and square? Okay, so the Yankees might play fair on the field, but do they really play fair when it comes to management? They will go out of their way to use their power in order to land the best players – year after year. This makes it close to impossible for other teams to compete on a consistent basis. Have you realized that the Yankees are in the playoffs every single year?

Reason #2 – White Collar Team

The Yankees are all about the bright lights and the big city. Once a player arrives, he’s likely to hit the best restaurants and hottest nightclubs. While the same might be true for Red Sox players, they are perceived as a blue collar team from a blue collar city. That being the case, perception can be misleading, but it’s still a reason people hate the Yankees.

Reason #1 – Derek Jeter

You hate him or you love him. Most females love him. Most guys who aren’t Yankees fans hate him. It’s certain that he has burned their team on more than one occasion. He also has a certain swagger that can irritate any man. The debate rages on whether he is overrated or underrated. A lot depends on which team you’re rooting for. Nevertheless, Derek Jeter is the face of the Yankees and most people hate the Yankees.

Amber Tate was born in New York so naturally, she’s a Yankees fan. She loves the sport but she loves saving money more. Having an extra $300 per year in her pocket due to her affordable health insurance quote she received from Kanetix, an online insurance comparison website.

Baseball Stadium Vacations in the Northeast

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Baltimore Oroles in a May 8, 2005 photo agains...

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Plan on packing up the car when the weather turns warm. Head down the east coast on a baseball stadium vacation using Interstate 95 as a major throughway. Don’t worry about accommodations, as budget-minded hotels can be found along the way. Before departing, grab as many free vacation guides of each city as possible to help with navigation.

During the summer it is safe to begin the journey in Boston, Massachusetts to enjoy more consistent warm weather. Consult a travel guide or city map to find famous Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. Along with game schedules, tourism brochures can be found at most tourism stops and rest areas. Eat lunch at the stadium or plan on grabbing something light at one of many fast food restaurants near the ballpark. After the game, drive or take the subway to the New England Aquarium for the family to experience a centrally placed, 4 story giant ocean tank.

Consult a vacation guide or map for the easiest way to get back on the interstate the next day. Drive about 4 hours into New York City for an experience at Yankee Stadium. Located just outside the city, vacation guides will indicate the exact exit. Luckily, in addition to Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, home of the Mets is also in the general vicinity. Depending on game schedules, it’s not impossible to see just one. An inexpensive hotel near Yankee Stadium is the newly constructed, Days Inn, Bronx. Only a few miles from Manhattan, find plenty of evening entertainment by taking a carriage ride through Central Park. Along the way, the driver will point out famous landmarks and celebrity homes.

Hop back on I-95 toward Philadelphia for approximately 3 hours to land at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, home of the Phillies. Once here, take in historic sights either before or after a game. Enjoy a traditional hot dog or try a famous Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. Free vacation guides can help with pursuing lodging for the night.

Just a few hours on the road will bring cyclists to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, located in downtown Baltimore. Tourism brochures will indicate Metro stations to bring parties into the city to enjoy visiting the nation’s capital of Washington, DC. Almost all museums are free to enter.

Try to allow at least a day between stadiums for the family to take advantage of the many attractions offered there.


Adam is an experienced traveler and an avid baseball fan. You can catch him as a vacation guide during the summers in Utah, or in New York during baseball season.

Top 5 Reasons to Hate A-Rod

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Alex Rodriguez sharing his thoughts on a calle...

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Seeing how the media was treating A-Rod in his entrance to Spring Training inspired me to write about him.  The fact that there is no drama for him entering this season was a headline story on ESPN earlier this week, and that just goes to show you what type of person he is.  There is always something going on with him, whether he’s injured, complaining about his contract, or linked to performance enhancing drugs.  Here are my top 5 reasons to hate him, and I would love to hear what you think!

5.  Yelling “Got it” when running past the Toronto third baseman is Busch League.
4.  One word:  A-ROID! (It’s amazing how fast the media forgets)
3.  I would have probably loved you if you came to the Red Sox, but you didn’t.
2.  Slapping the ball out of Bronson Aaroyo’s glove and whining about being called out shows that you’d cheat to win.
1.  Announcing that you are declaring for free agency in the 9th inning of the Red Sox World Series game shows us how much you crave the attention.

Written by Steve Dade, author of Steve’s Boston Sports Blog http://stevesbostonsports.blogspot.com

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