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Fan Stories: 10 Questions for Baseball Washington Nationals Uber-Fan Bruno Caretti (a.k.a. The Rally Mullet)

For the next few weeks, FoulBallz.com will include a series of short interviews with ballhawks and uber-fans of baseball. These fans all agreed to answer 10 simple questions, no pressure, and very little editing. It’s been a wonderful experience for me to get to know these individuals in some capacity through Twitter. I hope you enjoy reading the answers as much as I have.

Next up is Bruno Caretti. He’s best known at “The Rally Mullet-super fan of Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals.” You can follow him on Twitter at @TheRallyMullet or visit his blog at therallymulletblog.wordpress.com.

  1. When did you snag your first ball?

I have gotten a couple batting practice balls but that’s wasn’t my goal. getting a live ball during a game by a batter was my goal. and it was June 18, 2014. Nats vs Astros. I was sitting first row 3rd base line, and low and behold Anthony Rendon was up. He hit a ground ball down the 3rd base foul territory line at Nats Park and I scooped it up off the ground with my glove. It felt he did it on purpose.

  1. What do you think about the extended netting issue?

As much as I think this happens way to often [fans getting hit by foul balls] because fans aren’t paying attention, I do think having extra netting in the ball park is a good idea. Honestly though, if you aren’t paying attention and a ball hits you square in the face then I don’t know what to tell you. Don’t go to games I guess?

 

READ THE REST AT FoulBallz.com

 

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

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Seeing the Seawolves: About Jerry Uht Park and Meeting Eric Brookhouser

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We started our family vacation in early July by going to the Erie Seawolves game on July 2. The game, against the Akron Rubberducks, was a night game with fireworks.

I was excited to see the Seawolves. As a devout and lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, my goal in life is to see every team in the Tigers system at least once, and at their home park. Erie was on our way to Toronto for the July 7 game with the Tigers, so we popped in to Jerry Uht Park.

I’d mentioned on Twitter that I’d been attending and I discovered how absolutely phenomenal the Seawolves’ social media machine is. The person managing the team’s Twitter account “liked” and “retweeted” tweets within a few hours.

It was an amazing act that few Major League Baseball teams do. It set the tenor for what would turn out to be one of my best experiences at a Minor League or Major League baseball game.

The park is simple. It’s what one expects from a AA affiliate. No frills and every seat is a great one. But what I did notice was how prominent their signage is regarding the dangers of foul balls. Good for them!

As I usually do, I sit my family in the outfield box seats, some of the safest and closest seats to the field. Those who follow me on Twitter and read my work here are all very much aware of my 20160702_183656feelings regarding these “hero” parents who sit with their kids in the most dangerous areas and snag a foul ball while holding their kid. I practice what I preach.
I’d bought first row seats a bit closer than usual, but still in an area we could easily manage any fouls that came our way.

Once the game started, I began coaching my 9-year-old daughter on the probable locations of foul balls. One can never be too young to understand the dangers of these souvenirs. It is especially fitting since dad runs the only site dedicated to studying and discussing them.

 

Meeting Seawolves Superfan Eric Brookhouser

 

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Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

How Josh Tomlin Dominated the Blue Jays in Gm 2 of ALCS

JAYS FROM THE COUCH LOOKS AT HOW CLEVELAND STARTER, JOSH TOMLIN WAS ABLE TO DOMINATE THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS IN GAME 2 OF ALCS

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If you were like me, you were probably looking forward to watching the Toronto Blue Jays take the mound against Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin in Game 2 of the ALCS. After all, in Game 1, Corey Kluber was frustrating because he would allow some hits and chances for the Blue Jays to score, but, he managed to shut them down repeatedly. He bent, but did not break. He pitched like an ace. That’s why we were licking our chops at a chance to face a guy who was decidedly not an ace.

 

Entering the postseason, Tomlin posted a 13-9 record with 4.40 ERA, a 4.88 FIP, and most enticing of all, a HR rate of 1.86/9 innings. He looked to be the kind of guy that the Blue Jays could light up. Home runs have been a problem for Tomlin in 2016- he gave up 36 of them in the regular season. The Toronto Blue Jays live by the home run- hitting 221 of them in 2016. In the ALDS, we saw just how much they relied on it.

 

READ FULL POST AT JAYS FROM THE COUCH

 

 

Report: Toronto Blue Jays Look to Bring Slugging Duo Back

According to a recent report, the Toronto Blue Jays will make efforts to retain the services of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista.

 

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If the Toronto Blue Jays were not comfortable with extending Edwin Encarnacion before the season started, perhaps they would be now that he’s put up some impressive MVP type numbers. Or, perhaps his clutch postseason hitting has tipped the scales in his favor. Whichever it is, the club certainly has to be thinking long and hard about ponying up the dough for Edwin.

 

Jon Heyman says that the club plans on making qualifying offers to both Edwin and Jose Bautista (more on him in a bit), assuming the new collective bargaining agreement allows for one. That is not much of a surprise. The team would certainly offer up the one year deal in the hopes of retaining the players or them rejecting the nearly $17M in favor of free agency, which would net the club two picks in the next draft. So, the QO is not such a difficult decision.

 

READ FULL POST AT JAYS FROM THE COUCH

 

 

Is Adam Eaton Underrated or Just a “Good” Ballplayer?

The following post was written by Sean Morash of Off the Bench Baseball. Check out their website and be sure to follow them on Twitter, along with Sean.

The Chicago White Sox posted a 78-84 record and really lost pace after the All-Star break, finishing 16 games behind the division-winning Cleveland Indians. This was a poorly constructed team that had serious flaws on the roster.

They addressed exactly one of the five needs I outlined last December by shifting Adam Eaton to right field. However, that effectively shifted their problem over to center field.

Chicago’s logic for doing this was nuanced in the belief they’d extract more value by pairing Eaton with a replacement-level center fielder instead of the other way around. Fair enough, but what did it do to Eaton as a player?

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OTBB: 10 MLB Teams With a Very Important Offseason Ahead of Them

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on On The Bench Baseball.

The 2017 MLB regular season is the furthest thing from our minds right now with the postseason in full swing, but not for the majority of the league.

Most are at home watching the playoffs, trying to figure out how they could be playing baseball next October instead of sitting on their respective couches. The winter months don’t include any on-field action, but the Hot Stove does plenty to keep us warm and occupied until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

Before the slate officially gets wiped clean for the coming year, front offices around baseball put in a lot of hours to decide what pieces could make their team a playoff contender. Here are 10 MLB teams who have a very important few months ahead:

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Toronto Blue Jays Do it All & Keep Rolling

Firing on all cylinders, the Toronto Blue Jays are rolling through the postseason thanks to hitting, hurling and hustle.

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The Toronto Blue Jays just swept the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. They won 3 games in a row against the team with the highest win total in the American League. They swept Rougned Odor. Revenge has been exacted and it is sweet. The high road travelers will tell you that beating the Rangers in this manner is the best kind of payback. Watching the look on Odor’s face as the Blue Jays were celebrating proves that point correct.

So, here we have a Blue Jays squad that has demonstrated everything you need to be successful in the postseason. They’ve seen their bats come to life, scoring 22 runs in 3 games. They’ve seen their starting pitching keep them in games at the bare minimum, with some dominance mixed in. They’ve also seen their club scratch and claw to manufacture a run form sheer hustle. It is this combination that has the team riding some serious momentum at exactly the right time of year.

 

READ FULL POST AT JAYS FROM THE COUCH

 

On Toronto Blue Jays & MLB Postseason Momentum

JAYS FROM THE COUCH LOOKS AT THE IMPACT MOMENTUM MIGHT HAVE ON THE POSTSEASON HOPES OF THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS

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It started when the calendar changed to October. The Toronto Blue Jays started winning. At that point, there was legitimate concern that their season would end before they could fulfill the lofty expectations heaped on them. We expected that they would again appear in the postseason, but it was starting to look like they would disappoint. September was a struggle for the boys in blue. They went 11-15 and fell in the standings. We worried, we panicked, we stressed.

But, a funny thing happened. They started October with a win against the Boston Red Sox. They won again on the final day of the season to clinch their postseason spot. They won the Wild Card game in dramatic fashion. In fact, all they’ve done in October is win. They are now 5-0 and find themselves one win away from heading to the ALCS. It has been quite the shift in fortunes. Many would call it “a roll”. Some would call it “momentum”; that the club got hot at the right time. I wanted to look into this idea of momentum.

 

READ FULL POST AT JAYS FROM THE COUCH

 

 

These 5 Young MLB Players Took a Huge Step Forward in 2016

There’s still another month of baseball to be played before 2016 is officially put in the books, but the cold winter months are feeling closer than ever. The mornings feel brisk, leaves are falling from trees and 20 of MLB’s 30 teams will soon be forced to watch the postseason from their respective couches.

Instead of focusing more on young players who took a huge step back this season, we’ll shift to those who used 2016 to show the tremendous progress in their development. The following five ballplayers put together the type of performance that will make their respective teams depend on them heavily to either repeat or continue growing in 2017.

DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Colorado Rockies

It’s been amazing to watch this transformation over the past three seasons. In 2014, LeMahieu won a Gold Glove award, but his offense mostly revolved around hitting singles. His average jumped in 2015 along with a slight bump in power, but he’s come into his own as a 27-year-old this season.

Now, he’s in command of the National League batting race with a few games to go and is slugging nearly .500. Check out the three-year progression in his triple slash:

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Freddie Freeman Found His Power in 2016, But Did it in a Unique Way

As the Atlanta Braves continued selling off MLB talent to rebuild for the future last winter, general manager John Coppolella was adamant about one thing: first baseman Freddie Freeman wasn’t going anywhere.

Fast-forward to a few months later as the left-handed hitter wraps up a career year and everyone can see why he’s worth every penny of that $135 million contract. Enjoying such a performance was probably the furthest thing from Freeman’s mind after a rough first two months, though.

By the end of May, he was just hoping to get hot and dig himself out of a slow start. While Atlanta’s offense as a whole was historically bad, Freeman also struggled to a .251/.338/.419 triple slash with eight home runs and 15 RBI.

Then, the first baseman caught fire – he’s hitting .335/.435/.654 with 25 homers and 73 RBI since June 1, including a ridiculous 1.249 OPS through 82 at-bats in September.

The biggest sign of growth in Freeman’s game has been his power. His 33 homers and .980 OPS are currently career highs, while his 43 doubles are tied for a career high. This has produced a 6.2 fWAR, which ranks within the top 10 in all of baseball.

So, how did he do it? Not exactly the same way as most young sluggers tap into their power potential.

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