Tag Archives: chris carter

Optimistic For Oakland Part I: Athletics

When MCeezy and I were in China, we were disappointed to see Stomper on a Chinese billboard, because the A's were struggling at the time, but maybe the trip overseas showed him what he was missing!

I’m very excited for all three of the Oakland franchises’ futures, more so than I have been for long while. I feel weird, because I’m not expecting/demanding playoff runs from any of them, but instead am just happy that all three franchises will be worth watching for the next couple of years, which is more than I can say for the last two years. It has been a downtime for all the Oakland sports area the last few years in terms of success, so naturally, there’s really only one way to go, up. So this three part series will be about why the fans of Oakland’s franchises can finally be optimistic about the future! Let’s start with the Oakland A’s, since their season is still going on, and everyone overlooks them outside of the Bay Area, and even in their area they are under covered because of the recent Giants success.

Today it was reported that our highly touted prospect, Chris Carter, is going to be called up to join the Athletics roster in Seattle tonight. I couldn’t be more pumped. Even if they weren’t planning on it, the injuries to Barton and everyone in the outfield made it a necessary move. I thought this would happen sooner in the season, but now is as good of a time as any with the DL getting even more crowded adding Matt Watson yesterday. Although I don’t see this move getting us to the playoffs this year, it will give us a better idea of what we have waiting in the wings for next year, and this is a move that has rejuvenated my enthusiasm that much more for the A’s. If you didn’t know, Chris Carter is the best power hitting prospect we have in our farm system, and we got him as part of the Dan Haren trade to Arizona that keeps on giving (we got Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Gregg Smith, as the major pieces that have made an impact so far). I hope Carter hits a few bombs, and supplants Cust as the DH/Platoon LF for the rest of the year.

Oakland currently sits in 2nd place, 7 ½ games back of Texas in the AL West. They still play seven more games against Texas this season, and have a mild shot at weaseling out an AL West title or maybe a Wild Card spot if Tampa Bay falls apart. Not that I see that happening, but I can always hope that the standings tighten up a little as we get closer to the end of the season. Seriously though, with close to 50 games left, a there is room for movement! Texas is heading to NY, BOS, TB, BAL, and MIN. The A’s meanwhile head to SEA, MIN, TOR, TB, and CLE. I view the Rangers schedule as harder (feel free to disagree I’d like to hear that argument), so we could conceivable be 3-6 games out going into our next series against Texas. If Texas starts faltering, the A’s could sneak up on everyone! Also, this season has made me like our manager, Bob Geren a little bit more. I’ve never been a fan, but seeing how he’s kept this youthful team together through tons of injuries over the last couple years, you have to give him some of the credit no matter how many of his late inning moves I don’t agree with. Continue reading


Let the Chris Carter Era Begin!

I still haven’t given up on the A’s making a run at the AL West, especially when they’re opening up a three game series against a last place team who just fired their manager, and the team they’re chasing is about to run a gauntlet of the top teams in the AL East. But regardless of how that ends up panning out, tonight is an exciting occasion because it will be the major league debut of Chris Carter. You may remember Carter as the player the White Sox traded for Carlos Quentin. Or better yet, you may remember him as one of the 14 players the A’s acquired for Dan Haren. Now that Carlos Gonzalez is lighting up the NL, Carter remains as the most highly touted prospect in that deal. Brett Anderson has already established himself as a legitimate big league starter, but Carter is the one who has the most upside.

It was 339 days ago today that Chris Carter made his AAA debut. Why do I know that? Because I posted about it when it happened, so there’s proof that I was on the bandwagon a long time ago.  There’s a good chance that he’ll go 0-4 with 3 Ks tonight – he’s not exactly a “for average” hitter, but the power is there. Picture a right handed Jack Cust. NO, don’t do that! Let’s let Carter create his own description, because barring any disaster, he’ll be far better than Cust ever was.


Are you Waiting for Your Team’s June Prospect to Get Called Up? The Super-2 Rule is Holding it Up!

With the A’s sputtering over the last couple weeks, I’ve wondered why they haven’t called up their big hitting prospects Michael Taylor and Chris Carter to inject some power and life into the lineup, alas, I keep hearing wait until June. Same goes for fantasy enthusiasts wondering why the hell Strasburg isn’t called up to the MLB yet, since he’s been dominating the lower levels, and has looked ready since the first pitch he threw in AA ball. Maybe you’re wondering when your Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez is getting called to the show. The answer keeps being June. Why June? Simply put, money. I’m not buying the argument that the Nats are bringing Strasburg along slowly; it’s a big load of BS. What teams are truly concerned about, is their bottom line, and if these players make an impact and never go back down to the minors they will have to pay them. Teams don’t want their “top prospects” being good enough to earn the “Super 2” status. What is the difference between being a super 2 and a normal player you may wonder? The ESPN’s and MLBTV’s of the world have failed to clarify it for me, so I had to do a little research to find what it truly means, and now that we have a blog I figured I should clear it up for our readers as well. Continue reading


NFL HOF Induction is a Joke… For Some of the Players At least…

The day before the Super Bowl we were made aware of the players that were going to be enshrined into Football’s Hall of Fame. Obviously there were two of the best offensive players of all-time in Emmit and Jerry that were a lock to get in. It was pretty cool to see how choked up they got when they were named to the HOF! You could truly tell that they were genuinely honored by the induction from their interviews, and the anti-Jordan speech will surely come at the ceremony. I’m a huge fan of the professionalism that Emmit and Jerry showed on and off the field, getting it done without being pre-madonnas. I have to admit I didn’t like Jerry for much of his hayday in a Niners uniform. Mostly because I was surrounded by Niners fans, and was constantly reminded of how good he was. Not to say that I liked the Cowboys or Emmit, but since they did shut up the Niners fans up here and there, I didn’t mind them nearly as much! All that changed when Rice went to the Raiders and helped us get to the playoffs. Too bad his work ethic and love for the game didn’t rub of our young guys like Jerry Porter, but oh well.

The thing that gets me about the Football Hall of Fame, is the voting. I’m not sure exactly what the selection process is, but I feel like there’s a ton of guys on the ballot that are as deserved as the guys that got in. I understand if you don’t let a guy like Tim Brown in, because it’s his first year of eligibility, but if he doesn’t make it next year that’s NOT cool. If for some reason Chris Carter and Tim Brown don’t get in, I won’t feel the HOF is a valid achievement. They were easily top 10 recievers of all time, and if they didn’t play in the same era as Rice, they would be close to the top all time receiver. So here’s my list of guys that should have gotten in over Rickey Jackson who wasn’t even the best linebacker on those late 80’s Saints teams; Tim Brown, Chris Carter, Charles Haley, Eddie George, Shannon Sharpe, and Kevin Greene. I’d say one of the biggest snubs was Haley, since they seemed to pick out of a hat on who to let in. The guy was flat out dominant for the Niners and Cowboys and has five rings!?! He was an integral part of the defenses that won those Super Bowl’s, and I feel that he was better than John Randle that DID make it in. I’d say that Dick Labeau and Floyd Little shouldn’t have made it in, but I never really saw them play since their careers ended before I was born. Based solely on their numbers I wouldn’t have voted for them, if I had actually had a vote. I guess you could give Labeau some credit for his coaching career after playing, and built up the Steelers defense to the way it is today. I think the NFL needs to make an eligibility length like there is with baseball’s HOF, because if these guys haven’t made it in on their first 20 tries, they shouldn’t be elected in. Seems like a fair rule to me, especially because I made it up. Another thing that bugs me about the NFL enshrinement, is that they are required to elect 5-7 guys each year. Instead of just picking out of a hat, they should consider just allowing the best to get in no matter how few or many guys it happens to be. I feel like some of these inductions are rendered meaningless, since they weren’t even the cream of the crop in their era!


Optimism For Athletics Fans, Once Again: A Rebuilding Process in Review

Even Stomper's excited!

Even Stomper's excited!

The A’s had their fans hopes sky high going into this season after making many moves and signings to acquire talent, instead of their normal MO of trading away talent. One thing led to another, and we found that the guys we signed either weren’t that good in an A’s uniform, or were just plain old. This season has been a disappointment to say the least especially with some of the experts picking them to win the AL West at the beginning of the year. Those dreams were quickly dashed as we saw Matt Holliday consistently getting fooled by pitches, and taking the crown for most fly ball outs since Eric Chavez was healthy and playing. Once his trade to the Cardinals went through Oakland once again had hope for the future.Rivercats Brett Wallace 3-Run Home Run At the time of the trade all A’s fans wanted was a bag of peanuts for Holliday, but instead we got what looks like a great hitter in the near future with Brett Wallace, and a possible good end of the rotation pitcher in Mortensen.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying that much attention to them since they dipped below the 20 games out of first. Alas, they have been playing very good as of late, which has inspired me to pay attention to them again. Maybe it’s because the games don’t matter, or maybe it’s because they have finally adopted a new style of play since their most recent rebuilding began. Since being swept by Seattle on August 26th, they’ve won or tied every series since, going 16-6, and are currently on a seven game win streak. Once again, A’s fans will be able to go into the off-season hoping that a fresh start will rid us of our recent losing ways.

The A’s main failings over the past couple season’s have all pointed to their incompetence on offense, and since getting rid of Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera they’ve surprisingly done much better in that department. Post All-Star break, the A’s have led the league in stolen bases, doubles, and are third in runs scored. For a team that never used to steals bases, and isn’t known for manufacturing runs, it’s refreshing to see them make a change for what suits their players. The always referenced “Moneyball” will finally be an afterthought, as they seem to be turning to a new page. I haven’t read anywhere that they’ve had a change in philosophy, but it’s pretty obvious if you ever pay attention to them. Even Rajai Davis, a guy I never thought I’d like, is tearing it up. He stole his 40th bag of the season last night against Cleveland, and is the first big threat on the base-paths since Rickey Henderson was around. Rex Hudler, the Angels announcer, whom I completely despise, actually made a good point about the A’s and how they have adapted to so called “Angel way” of manufacturing runs. He likes how they are putting pressure on opposing defenses to worry about runners taking off at any given moment, which opens holes in the infield for more of those dribblers to get through. In a post steroid era the A’s can’t rely on power as much as they once did as we all know it was rampant in the Bay Area. So the shift to stealing bases and manufacturing runs has looked like the a good change in their philosophy, and is starting to pay dividends in the win column late in the season.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

The greatest part about these late season stats is the fact that this isn’t even the reason I’m optimistic for next season. I’m excited about the guys going to be in our offense of the future. Sure guys like Kurt Suzuki are going to be mainstays in the lineup for awhile, but since everybody digs the long ball, A’s fans should be very excited about the two power hitters coming to Oakland sooner rather than later. 3rd baseman, Brett Wallace (#2 in Baseball Prospectus) and 1st baseman, Chris Carter (#4 in Baseball Prospectus) are the new reasons there is optimism in Oakland. They’ve already contributed to the Sacramento Rivercats (AAA) team during their playoff run for a PCL championship. Carter had three home runs in one game since being called up from AA about a month ago, and he is the closest to Ryan Howard type hitter the A’s have in their farm system.  Many point to Carlos Gonzalez as the biggest position player gained in the Dan Haren deal, but Chris Carter has the potential to have much more power than C-Gon. It also looks as though we kept the best pitcher from the Haren deal as well in Brett Anderson, who has had a rocky season, but has shown that he has ace type stuff. Brett Wallace should be on the other corner for the A’s infield solidifying a position that’s been a problem since Chavez went on the DL, about three seasons ago. Personally Wallace reminds me of Troy Glaus, and if we got that I’d be pretty happy. If the A’s can continue to steal bases and hit doubles the way they have been at the end of this season, and add the power of Wallace and Carter to the lineup they will undoubtedly have a chance to challenge the Angels for years to come.

Brett Anderson has won two straight decisions for the first time in his career over his last two starts.

Rookie, Brett Anderson, has won two straight starts for the first time in his career.

Their pitching has been shaky at times this year, and may continue to stay that way as their under 25 year old rotation learns the ropes. Between Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Gio Gonzalez, and maybe Justin Duchscherer (if he snaps out of his depressed mental state) we should have a solid rotation come next season. The young guys have taken their lumps this season, but they have also shown that they can shut teams and shown glimmers of domination. This year should have taught them the ropes as they find out what types of adjustments they need to make going into the off-season to prevent those crooked numbers from going up on the score board. Michael Inoa is a long way from being called up, but he’s another young guy I will be keeping my eye on, especially since we gave him a Strausberg like contract for a 16-year-old, which I still feel is kind of ridiculous. All in all I couldn’t ask for much more from our management on a tight budget. You just have to hope it all pans out!


NFL Hall of Fame Nominees are Out!!

We are the best aren't we hahaha!

We are the best aren't we hahaha!

The NFL released a list of the Hall of Fame nominees for the class of 2010. The list of 131 is highlighted by Jerry Rice, Emmit Smith, and my favorite Raider outside of Bo Jackson growing up Tim Brown. Although the NFL won’t be releasing who is going to be inducted this year until February 6th, the day before the Super Bowl, there are some great names that I’m sure I’ll revisit with some memories of them as it gets closer.

I hope the Raiders entire reciever core can catch as many passes as one of Tim Brown's seasons.

I hope the Raiders entire reciever core can catch as many passes as one of Tim Brown's seasons.

Chris Carter, Herschel Walker, Eddie George, Sterling Sharpe, John Randle, and Andre Reed are also nominated. There are a lot of good players on this list, but how many do you want to induct with possibly the two best at their positions of all-time? Rice and Smith are a class of their own as they hold firm leads in career yardage, and both won numerous super bowls playing key roles on those teams.

One time Emmit Smith was golfing in a celebrity event at Pebble Beach when I was working there. He was playing chess with someone in the lobby of The Inn at Spanish Bay, and a waiter dropped a trey full of plates and glasses. Emmit didn’t flinch as he was thinking out his next turn, and made it just seconds after the trey fiasco. (I’m not a stalker, I just had a drink at the lobby bar while waiting for a friend to get off from work, and happened to observe this.) It was like that Seinfeld episode where Kramer hit the table to try to distract DiMaggio from dunking his doughnut. Just shows you how focused the best are. Anyways, I’m sure we’ll put up more memories of our childhood favorites when they announce who will be inducted. Until then, I’ll spare you the stats, because you can just look at them here for Emmit and here for Jerry.


A’s/Giants Minor League Tidbits

I caught a few innings of the Sacramento River Cats vs. the Fresno Grizzlies last night – I can only take so much since I spend my entire day here as well.  Here’s a few things I noticed….

Chris Carter, who was the main reason for my attending the game, did not disappoint.  I missed his first at-bat, where he flew out to right field.  In his second at-bat, however, he came to the plate with the bases loaded, after a Matt Carson single, and back to back walks to Brett Wallace and Aaron Cunningham.  Perhaps the most important note is Carter’s music.  He walked to the plate to the tune of E-40 and Keak the Sneak.  Gotta love that!  Anyway, with the River Cats holding a 1-0 lead, he pulled a Ryan Sadowski fastball down the left field line for a bases-clearing, 3 run double that rolled all the way to the fence.  In his next AB, he roped a broken bat RBI single to left for his 4th RBI of the night.  I made my departure before his next plate appearance, but he finished the night 3-5 with 4 RBI.  Not bad at all for his AAA debut.  Let’s just hope he finishes out the year here, as opposed to being rushed to the majors for the pointless final month of the season. 

On the Giants’ side, Buster Posey looked TERRIBLE.  In the only AB I remember, he hit a very weak grounder up the middle, but he did manage to beat it out for an infield single. Behind the plate, there were three plays that stood out to me.  First, he caught a Sadowski fastball, with his facemask.  The batter didn’t even swing, so he must’ve been expecting a breaking ball.  Either way, it was NOT pretty.  Next, he tried to gun down Eric Patterson stealing second.  No catcher will have much chance catching him, but Posey bounced one in front of the bag that rolled into center field, allowing Patterson to advance to third, and a run to score.  The next inning, Posey did it again.  With Carson on the move – not exactly Usain Bolt on the basepaths – Posey rushed the throw and sailed it into center field, again allowing the runner to take third as well.

Lastly, Ryan Sadowski, who impressed earlier this year with the Giants, was tagged for 9 runs, but on the bright side, only 6 of them were earned!

With the win, the River Cats can clinch yet another division title tonight, either by getting a victory, or a Reno Aces loss to the Las Vegas 51s.


Chris Carter Has Arrived!

After being named Texas League Player of the Week for three of the last four weeks, IF Chris Carter finally has been bumped up to AAA-Sacramento.  You may remember Carter from the Carlos Quentin deal, where he was swapped straight up by Chicago.  Then, Arizona flipped him to Oakland in the Dan Haren deal.  Carter has been most impressive this year, hitting 24 HR and 101 RBI.  Perhaps most impressive, though, is his .337 batting average. 

No word yet if Carter is in the lineup, but if he is, I’ll have a full report on his AAA debut later tonight.