Tag: Baseball

Alex Gordon Signs 4-Year Deal With Kansas City Royals

Good news for Kansas City Royals fans: Alex Gordon is coming back!

After many speculated that Gordon would be leaving, he and the Royals struck a 4-year deal worth $72 million on Wednesday. Gordon will be getting the following deal:

  • $12 million for 2016,
  • $16 million for 2017,
  • $20 million for 2018,
  • $20 million for 2019, and
  • $23 million mutual option for 2020, with a $4 million buyout.

Gordon’s deal is the richest in franchise history, knocking down the five-year, $55 million deal the Royals gave to Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney. Not bad, right?

During a news conference at Kauffman Stadium, Gordon and Royals general manager, Dayton Moore shared their feelings on the deal.

“I just want to say my family and I are very happy to be back in Kansas City,” Gordon said. “We were very appreciative of the other teams that showed interest but at the end of the day, my heart will be, and always has been, in Kansas City. “

“Mr. [David] Glass has always been very supportive and [club president] Dan [Glass] was really pushing us to get this done as well,” Moore said. “We had an absolute commitment from ownership.

“Once it looked like we were going to get a deal I was very, very happy. I didn’t know what other uniform he could have possibly worn. It just wouldn’t have looked right or seemed right.”

Gordon may have missed two months in 2015 due to injury, but that didn’t stop him from achieving .271/.377/.432 for the season, as well as 13 home-runs, and 48 RBIs in 104 games.

Gordon rejected a player option on his contract at the end of this season for slightly more than $14 million as well as the club’s qualifying offer of $15.8 million before entering free agency. But staying in Kansas City was important to Gordon, not only so he could be close to his home in Lincoln, Neb., but also to stay with Moore. The two have become very close friends over the years.

“He’s always honest with you,” Gordon said of Moore. “He always lets you know what’s going on. I will say there’s a lot of respect in that clubhouse for that man. He’s always pulling for you. It’s not just me, it’s everyone in that clubhouse.”

During the 2017 season, Alex Gordon will also pass the ten year mark in service time, which means he’ll have the ability to block any trade should he find it undesirable. (Players with ten years of service time and at least five years with the same club have the ability to block trades.) That power will also be a pretty great perk for Gordon in the coming seasons.

While he and his teammates are obviously happy about the deal, his fans, like me, are even more thrilled.

Shane Stirling of Cairns, Queensland is an HR Manager and long-time baseball fan . To learn more about his life and career, please visit his professional website.

Baseball Might Return to the Olympics

Great news for baseball fans around the world: baseball and softball might be returning to the Olympics. Both were ousted from the London 2012 Games by the International Olympic Committee, but thanks to a proposal from Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizers, it may return in time for the 2020 games.

Five sports were included on a list released by the Tokyo Organizing Committee on Monday thanks to a new Olympics process that allows hosting countries to propose sports that reflect their own culture. Baseball/softball, skateboarding (street and park), surfing (shortboard), and sports climbing (bouldering, lead and speed combined), and Karate (Kata and Kumite) were all included.

Karate surprised some, since it seems odd that organizers would chose a Japanese martial art over a Chinese one (wushu) that had been on the committee’s short list earlier this summer. Others to make the short list included bowling and squash, but none made it to Monday’s proposal.

Together, the five sports would bring an additional 474 athletes to Tokyo, with a mostly even split of male and female athletes, except for baseball, which would have 144 participants to softball’s 90.

In a statement, organizers said, “Tokyo 2020 believes the proposed additional events will inspire young athletes involved in these events around the world to strive to achieve their cherished dream of competing in the world’s greatest sporting spectacle.”

The final decision however, will be up to the International Olympic Committee. They will announce their decision at next summer’s Rio 2016 Olympics.

The move to cut baseball and softball was controversial, particularly in the U.S. Organizers claimed baseball wasn’t bringing the sport’s stars to the Olympics, and softball was said to have too low participation rates worldwide.

While baseball fans are excited at the prospect, we’ve been burned before. Baseball nearly made it back into the Olympics back in 2013, but IOC members chose to reinstate wrestling instead just months after cutting it, even though the sport has been part of the international games for more than 100 years. It made since to reinstate wrestling. Let’s just hope baseball doesn’t get benched a second time.

Shane Stirling of Cairns, Queensland is an HR Manager and long-time baseball fan . To learn more about his life and career, please visit his professional website.

MLB All-Star Balloting

With the midsummer classic approaching the race to earn an all-star bid is beginning to take shape in both leagues. With many teams being represented, some teams fans are doing their jobs to make sure their hometown boys are heading to The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 10.14.48 AM

The American League has been dominated thus far by the Kansas City Royals, their fans are voting, and voting often. The position players from Kansas City are currently leading 7 of 8 positions. Leading all positions in the AL in votes is catcher Salvador Perez of the Royals with over 7 million votes.  The only non-Royal to lead a position is outfielder Mike Trout of the Lost Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The rest of the Royals which rounded out the AL: Alex Gordon (OF), Lorenzo Cain (OF), Mike Moustakas (3B), Alcides Escobar (SS), Omar Infante (2B), and Eric Hosmer (1B). While the American League starters populated by primarily Royals, the National League has a bit more of a spread of teams represented in the starting lineups.

Leading the National League voting is not much of a surprise with over 3.6 million votes is outfielder for the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper. The leading positions to date: Yadier Molina (C, St. Louis Cardinals), Paul Goldschmidt (1B, Ari D-Backs), Dee Gordon (2B, Mia Marlins), Matt Carpenter (3B, St. Louis Cardinals), Jhonny Peralta (SS, St. Louis Cardinals), Matt Holiday (OF, St. Louis Cardinals), and Giancarlo Stanton (OF, Mia Marlins). Although 4 of the 8 starters are playing for the Cardinals, there is clearly a greater number of teams represented in the National League. Will voting ending shortly, many teams are encouraging fans to vote daily, and as often as possible to represent their favorite team. The Royals and Cardinal fans are doing their part to get their teams in the All-Star game.

Shane Stirling of Cairns, Queensland is an HR Manager and long-time baseball fan . To learn more about his life and career, please visit his professional website.

Breakdown of the American League by Division

AL East: With increased offensive production from First Baseman Chris Davis, and the defensive wizard Manny Machado, who is coming back

The defensively gifted 3B could help lead the Orioles to a division title in 2015

The defensively gifted 3B could help lead the Orioles to a division title in 2015

from injury, the Orioles should be the best team in the AL East. Look for them to have around 90 wins this year. The Redsox will also be in play, but will be a more complete team if they acquire another elite starting pitcher via trade, say Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto. The Blue Jays, with the oldest roster in the American League, will likely finish third behind the Red Sox and Orioles. The Blue Jays certainly have some pop with the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, and Josh Donaldson. However, their pitching, led by aging stars R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle is lackluster. The front office is hoping that this group of veterans prove wily enough to make a run for the division or one of the two wildcard spots.

AL Central: Baseball analysts have a diverse set of options on who is the best team in this division. While no one seems great, the Twins, under the new leadership of Paul Molitor, are probably the only team without a realistic chance to compete. The Indians with two of the best starters in the game, Corey Kluber Carlos Carrasco are quite intriguing, especially come playoff time. Detroit could be good, but there are a lot of unknowns such as the status and ability of  David Price, and Justin Verlander.  The WhiteSox also have a cast of great players with the indomitable Chris Sale,  the newly acquired Jeff Samardzija, and Jose Abreu.

AL West: Look for the Seattle Mariners or Oakland Athletics to sit atop this division come October. The Mariners have a very solid staff led by the dominant Felix Hernandez, but had the sixth lowest OPS as a team in 2014. Only time will tell if the additions of Justin Ruggiano, Rickie Weeks, and Nelson Cruz prove to be the boost Seattle needs to make the playoffs. The A’s traded away some of their stars from last year, Jeff Samardzija, Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson. However, they did acquire a slate of talented players and should remain competitive in 2015.

Shane Stirling of Cairns, Queensland is an HR Manager and long-time baseball fan . To learn more about his life and career, please visit his professional website.

Shane Stirling’s Baseball Story

I started my baseball journey when I was 13 years of age. This is a journey which continues to this day.

I recall my first day of baseball practice in Cairns at the old Martyn Street baseball grounds (now the current Cairns softball headquarters).

By that age, I had been a keen cricketer but playing baseball with a stump and tennis ball in the front yard of our house with the neighborhood kids piqued my interest in baseball. I had heard whispers through cricket circles that baseball was quite popular or the cricketers as it was played in their off season (Cairns winter) and ensured that the hand eye skills required for cricket were maintained all year round.

So there I was, first day, no idea what to wear, what to do and with a borrowed glove. There were other newbies also there and we all quickly realized that perhaps this would be harder than we first thought.

One of the newbies there for his first day was Cameron Cairncross. My memories of Cameron at the time was this chubby kid with a fair bit of larrikin in him. He and I started throwing together and I still remember the thud into my glove when he wound it up; he had amazing velocity for a guy that age.

Cameron later became the 10th Australian to play Major League baseball Cameron_Cairncross_(2000_Indians)_3in the US; an achievement that is probably misunderstood by many Australians.

Our coach was John Morris a local high school teacher and also a native of Canada. John had married an Australian and even with his slow drawl accent now saw himself as a bit of an aussie. I have fond memories of John and to this day was the best coach I have ever had in any sport.

As to be expected, it did not take John long to see the promise in Cameron, and I still remember him trying to hide his excitement for the diamond in the rough that had been presented to him. Given Cameron’s obvious talent, he was selected as our main pitcher. I put my hand up for catching, as after wicket keeping in cricket, I assumed the transition would be easy. For this I was sadly mistaken.

I now know why most people avoid the thought of wanting to catch. It is uncomfortable, you are wearing a lot of (necessary) protective equipment, you can and will receive many body blows from a baseball and sometimes base runners… But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I simply love the sport, and I love the position of catcher. For me, I get the best view of the game, and you feel as though you are a part of it with the game being centered around your calls.

Now working for The Breakthrough Group, I still play with many guys I grew up playing with, and we also sponsor our team the Breakthrough Bandits. Runners up the last 2 years, we hope this will finally be our year.

Shane Stirling of Cairns, Queensland is an HR Manager and long-time baseball fan . To learn more about his life and career, please visit his professional website.