On Tuesday, January 25th, Rob Parker will be joining some of the best baseball minds in the game during MLB Network’s exclusive coverage of the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame four-hour announcement show.
Rob, who started covering baseball for the Daily News in 1986, is also a Hall of Fame voter. The announcement show beings at 4pm ET and leads into the live election results at 6 PM ET and the panel reactions.
When paint instructor Bob Ross said, “we don’t make mistakes; we have happy accidents,” he was referencing Darrett Pullins, who won the $200,000 grand prize during the Opening Day Pick’ Em contest by Loan Depot as he predicted every opening day game correctly.
Pullins, a 58-year-old Professor from Michigan, was on the verge of submitting his picks, but his computer malfunctioned, erasing his original choices.
With some last-second changes, he maneuvered two of his hometown selections with his second opportunity. He ended up going perfect from the field of play as he predicted all 13 games correctly.
He told the cast of MLB Central, “It’s funny because my original picks on the computer, I lost them, and then I had to go back and re-pick everything as I originally had the New York Yankees to win and the Detroit Tigers to lose.” He added, “I went back and changed that, and the rest is history.”
Pullins grew up a Reggie Jackson fan. Due to close proximity to the old Yankee Stadium, he could always tell before the television broadcast when a hard-hit ball landed in the stands due to the crowd’s roar like it did in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series when Mr. October went yard three times.
“Born & raised in The Bronx, I am always going to be a Yankee person,” Pullins said. ” I’m in Detroit now, but when the Yankees are in town, it’s New York all the way, but it was one of those things at the last moment something told me to switch my pick, so I switched it.”
It had to be difficult to pick against your childhood team, especially after looking at a potentially dangerous Yankees lineup that features Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Still, he didn’t gamble with his heart as most risk takers do. He bet with his head, and it paid off.
After picking all 13 slated games correctly, the tiebreaker question asked all contestants to guess the number of home runs for that specific day as other participants finished perfectly as well. Pullins in Price Is Right-like fashion came closest to the numerical digit and was considered the winner.
When asked how he came up with the unspecified number, Pullins said, “A little birdie told me to pick this number. There was no strategy. There was no logic to it. I wish I could say it was a strategy, but I just got lucky.”
Pullins said he hadn’t spent any of his earnings yet. He is still deciding on how to pay off some debts he accumulated throughout the years while also searching to give back to students with some sort of scholarship in his name at the local college he currently teaches.
Harold Reynolds was an incredible baseball player and since retirement he’s become one of the faces of MLB and the voice of Black baseball. Reynolds needs to get his props for his contributions to the game.
MLBbro.com reporter Jones Whitner’s Ode To Harold Reynolds explains it all
Byron Buxton has stamped his name as an early MVP candidate in 2021 and by doing so has shown he is one of the best players in Major League Baseball.
The MLB Network crew were raving about him and metrics master Brian Kenny named Buxton a late bloomer who’s finally escalating towards superstar status.
With the first few weeks of the season behind us, Buxton has flexed the multiplicity of skills that led to him being rated one of the top prospects in baseball since Appling County High School in Baxley, Georgia. Legendary baseball reporter Joel Sherman insisted that even if Buxton didn’t hit, his athleticism, premium defense and speed make him an impactful player.
Now entering his 7th major league season, the former 2012, No. 2 overall pick has shown an impressive display of hitting and power early this season. It’s all coming together.
Let’s call it Buxton in Beast Mode.
His .469 Batting Average is good for 2nd in the major leagues. He has a hit in all 10 games he’s played in this season, including a pinch-hit game-tying home run against the Tigers and a two-hit performance while in a winter wonderland of snow against the Red Sox.
He also leads the league in OPS which is your on-base and slugging percentage combined.
We have seen signs of potential superstardom from Buxton in the past. He’s a human highlight film with the web, putting in serious work with spectacular catches at the wall. Don’t forget, he has a cannon that would make Dave Winfield applaud. There’s nobody really messing with him from first to third.
Injuries have played a major part in Buxton not being able to reach his full potential. Since 2015, he has suffered a list of injuries and missed extensive time, including a 2015 thumb sprain in his rookie year, knee contusion and back spasms in 2016, a groin strain and migraine in 2017, migraines, a fractured toe and sprained wrist in 2018 as well as a concussion and labrum surgery in 2019.
He played in 46, 92, 140, 28 and 87 games in those seasons respectively.
So what changed for Buxton this season? It seemed he figured out some things at the plate in the Covid-shortened 2020 season as he hit .254 with 27 RBI’s and 13 Home Runs and finished with a career-high in slugging percentage. The most home runs he’d ever hit in a full season was 16.
Buck refined his power swing in the off-season and added nearly 15 pounds of muscle by lifting weights multiple times every day. Buxton also made sure that the addition of weight would not take away from his elite speed as he also ran nightly with his high school track coach.
It is good for baseball that Buxton is finally busting out as the definition of a 5 tool player. If he can stay healthy, the rest of the game will come. The potential is limitless whether it be a 40 steals 40 home run season or a somewhat surprising MVP award.