‘The Pitcher Is Sick’ | Victor Scott And Chandler Simpson Aren’t Just Stolen Base Competitors and Champions, They’re Also Friends

‘The Pitcher Is Sick’ | Victor Scott And Chandler Simpson Aren’t Just Stolen Base Competitors and Champions, They’re Also Friends

Speedsters Victor Scott ll who’s the St. Louis Cardinals No.4 ranked prospect and Chandler Simpson the Tampa Bay Rays No.20 ranked prospect have much more in common than wreaking havoc on the base paths. The two talented future major league leadoff hitters are similar in more ways than just what they do best on the baseball field.

For starters they’re both 23 years old, and both are natives of Black baseball’s breeding ground of Atlanta, Georgia. All season, the two good friends and bag blazers battled for the minor league base-stealing title.

 

Victor Scott II and Chandler Simpson Both Led MiLB With 94 Steals

 

In the end it looked as if Scott had bested Simpson by one steal with 95. But, when MiLB reversed one of Scott’s base thefts 10 games later, ironically the two finished tied with 94 steals each.

 

“But Sure Enough, They End Up Falling” | St. Louis Cardinals No.4 Prospect Victor Scott II On A Tear Following 16 At-Bat Hitless Streak

 

That was good enough for tops in all of the minors, and the most since Billy Hamilton went for 155 steals in 2012, which bested the previous record of 145 by Vince Coleman. Not to be forgotten the great Delino DeShields Jr. chimed in with 105 steals that same season.

 

Billy Hamilton Is Keepin’ It 100

 

Scott And Simpson Talked Often During Season

 

Even with the two in a tightly contested battle to see who would indeed finish the year at the top, it didn’t affect their communication, in fact Scott told reporters this.

 

“We talked every day or every other day. Just to kind of see how he’s doing. But to also see where he’s at with stolen bases.”

 

Nothing like friendly banter, and these two made sure to keep it going all season with Simpson telling reporters this.

 

“Most definitely I’m looking at his stats. I’m seeing where he is on the leaderboard, and I’m like, OK, maybe I need to get a couple of walks, take a couple of pitches, maybe get some bunts down so I can get on base a couple times more and get some bags.”

 

The two speedsters not only compete on the baseball field, but in and everything possible. Competition is something that’s a huge part of their friendship.

The Dynamic Duo Was Teammates In 2021

 

Although they play for different MLB franchises the two burners played together during the 2021 summer wood bat Northwood Bats League. There they wreaked havoc on opposing teams as members of Fon du Lac Dock Spiders. Simpson says they gave pitchers fits when they got on base.

 

“I was leadoff and he batted second,” Simpson said. “I would bunt, he would bunt. You know, first and second. Steal, steal. Three-hole would hit a single, 2-0 in five minutes. The pitcher is sick.”

 

“He’s Outside Of That Norm” | Tampa Bay Rays 2022 Draft Pick Chandler Simpson Led College Baseball With .433 Batting Average

 

Imagine being a pitcher and catcher and trying to get these two out? As Simpson said, it made pitchers sick to their stomach to have both of these guys on the base paths.

 

Rule Changes Should Only Enhance Stolen Bases

 

In 2023, and for the first time since 2012, MLB witnessed over 3,000 bases stolen. That can be directly attributed to the huge decrease in pickoff attempts and a base size increase from 15 to 18 inches. 

In many ways it’s how the game was once played without all the home runs and swinging for the fences. Instead, manufacturing runs via stolen bases and bunting. It makes the game more exciting for fans and helps creates those electric moments that only seem to occur when some goes yard.

 

Scott and Simpson will likely be in many stolen base crown battles as they make their way up the minor league ranks. Buckle your seatbelt something tells me this is just the beginning.

Matt Kemp Joins Chris Archer As MLBbros With LA Dodgers Front Office | Dynasty Of Diversity In The Making

Matt Kemp Joins Chris Archer As MLBbros With LA Dodgers Front Office | Dynasty Of Diversity In The Making

The LA Dodgers continue to build a dynastic and diverse looking organization from top to bottom.

Four seasons removed from facing MLB pitching, former Dodgers star Matt Kemp is back with the organization that saw him rise to superstardom as a perennial MVP candidate from 2006-2014. The three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove outfielder returned to the Dodgers in 2018 and earned his final All-Star selection, along with high praise from manager Dave Roberts.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Kemp will serve in an advisory role for the Dodgers. The 39-year-old MLBbro is the second former Black star to take a front office job with the Dodgers this offseason.

Former Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer has a flexible role in the Dodgers front office to explore a wide range of interests.

Chris Archer Is Now Part of LA Dodgers Front Office and He’s Seeing The Fruits Of MLB Black Baseball Initiatives

 

Matt Kemp Bobblehead Night Planned For August 11

 

The Dodgers already had a Matt Kemp bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium planned for Aug. 11, so bringing him into the fold is the icing on the cake. He will probably help former Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier aid in Miguel Vargas’ adjustment to left field, along with helping the group of outfielders who have to roam without Gold Glover Mookie Betts holding down the corner.

Betts is on his way to trying to become the first player to ever win Gold Gloves in both the outfield and an infield position other than first base. The 2024 Los Angeles Dodgers promotional and giveaway schedule includes 18 bobblehead dates, headlined by two for Shohei Ohtani.

 

Freddie Freeman will kick it off on Saturday, March 30. The first Ohtani bobblehead is scheduled for Thursday, May 16. The design has been revealed to have the two-way star in a batting pose while wearing the home Dodgers uniform. The second Ohtani bobblehead is being given away on Wednesday, August 28.

 

Matt Kemp Should Have Won 2011 NL MVP: Had 287 Career Homers, 184 Steals 

 

Over a 15-year career, Kemp hit 287 career homers with 1031 RBI and 184 steals. His MLB buzz during his time with the Dodgers. In his 10 seasons there, Kemp hit .292/.348/.494 with 240 doubles, 203 home runs and 733 RBI, won two Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Sluggers, made three All-Star Games and should have won the 2011 MVP, but lost in a controversial decision to Ryan Braun for 2011 NL MVP. Kemp had a heavily-brocentric season.

Kemp led the NL in runs (115), homers (39) and RBI (126). He had 40 stolen bases, falling just one-homer short of the exclusive 40-40 club. He also had more walks, hits and games played than Braun, who had a higher slugging percentage and OPS.

Ryan Braun Had PED Drama But Beat 50-Game Suspension On Technicality

 

It’s truly one of the worst robberies of all time considering Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone, and ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” revealed the positive test in December.

Braun was able to skate on the 50-game suspension, by exploiting a loophole. Multiple sources said the sample was not shipped for testing as soon as possible, as required by the drug testing policy, and instead was kept in a cool place in the sample collector’s home.

Sources told ESPN at the time that the collector left Braun’s sample on a desk in a Tupperware container and left it there for two days. Braun didn’t argue the legitimacy of the science, but the mishandling of his sample, which negates the test results. Braun is still considered a player who failed a PED test in the court of public opinion and is further proof that the award should have just gone to Kemp.

It’s not the last time you can say he was snubbed.

But now he’s back home and, in any event, what Magic Johnson and Dave Roberts and the Dodgers are building is a baseball paradise. An all-inclusive resort where players from all over the world, old and new, can become a part of Dodgers Nation as they become the “it” MLB franchise as move towards the 2030s.

 

HBCU’s & The Negro Leagues: A Long Standing Kinship

HBCU’s & The Negro Leagues: A Long Standing Kinship

You pitched in high school with the idea of moving up to either college or the Negro Leagues. I went the college route and pitched with the idea of moving up to the Negro Leagues. It was my dream, just like a white teen’s dream would have been to move up to the Dodgers or Red Sox”— Garnett Blair, Homestead Grays pitcher.

 

While the opening of camps throughout Florida and Arizona signals the beginning of MLB’s Spring Training, this weekend also signals the beginning of the 2024 college baseball season.

 

Most importantly, the beginning of the HBCU baseball campaign is here as well.

HBCU Swingman Classic Comes To Texas | Ken Griffey Jr’s Star Shines Light On Black College Baseball’s Brightest

Several schools within the SWAC, CIAA, MEAC, and SIAC are giving many of us who are digging out snow or turning up the thermostat another reason to look forward to warmer weather.

HBCU Baseball and The Negro Leagues

It also allowed me to think about how HBCU’s were a true focal part to the beginning of Negro League baseball. In the formative years of the Negro Leagues, the talent pool of players stretched out from the local sandlots to the college ranks.

 

Most importantly, players like the aforementioned Garnett Blair, a standout for Virginia Union of the CIAA, began their baseball careers on black college campuses.

Schools like Morris Brown, Howard, Tuskegee, Clark Atlanta, Wilberforce, and others were the training grounds for some of the elite players in Negro League history.

Buck O’Neil, Frank Leland and Rube Foster 

Longtime Negro League icon Buck O’Neill attended Edward Waters College in Florida before beginning his career with the Miami Giants in 1934. One of the early pioneers of Negro League baseball, Frank Leland attended Fisk University in Tennessee.

 

Leland would later help form the Chicago Leland Giants in 1909. One of the pitchers for Leland in those formative years was a fellow by the name of Andrew “Rube” Foster, the father of Negro League baseball.

 

Even Foster’s brother, William had HBCU ties before beginning his Negro League career. The younger Foster attended Alcorn State before going to the Windy City to play with his older brother for the Chicago American Giants in 1923.

Impact Of HBCU On Negro Leagues

The impact of black college players are a huge part of Negro League baseball. From player-manager Dick Lundy (Bethune-Cookman) to future Brooklyn Dodger Joe Black (Morgan State), the HBCU influence was felt throughout the entire existence of the Negro Leagues.


While a comprehensive list of players would be too long to mention, what follows is a brief summary of some players that made a significant impact on their schools and their professional teams.

 

PITCHERS LAYMON YOKELY AND BUN HAYES

 

These two rivals from the CIAA were a big part of a pitching staff that helped lead the Baltimore Black Sox to the Negro American League pennant in 1929. A 6-foot-2 righty from Livingstone College, Yokely led Baltimore starters with a 19-11 mark that season.

 

The Winston-Salem, N.C. native threw six career no-hitters during his eight-year run (1926-33) with Baltimore. While hurling for LC, Yokley had several duels with his future teammate Hayes, who hurled for Johnson C. Smith and briefly for N.C. Central.

Hayes’ best season also came in 1929 when he finished 4-0 for the Black Sox.



THE 1946 NEWARK EAGLES


The Negro League champs (56-24-3) of that season had several players that attended HBCU schools including third baseman Andrew “Pat” Patterson (Wiley College) and outfielder Bob Harvey (Bowie State University).

A four sport athlete for the Bulldogs, Harvey would eventually be inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame for his prowess on the gridiron and the hardcourt.

However, it was the contributions of future Hall of Famers Larry Doby (Virginia Union) and Monte Irvin (Lincoln, Pa.) that helped put Newark over the top. While they were outfielders for the majority of MLB careers, the pair served as Newark’s keystone combination (Irvin at second, Doby at shortstop) during the championship season

A year before he became the American League’s first black ballplayer, Doby hit a blistering .360 to lead the Eagles in batting. Irvin, who hit .349 during the regular season, was Newark’s catalyst in their World Series triumph over the Kansas City Monarchs.

His .462 average with three homers and eight RBI led all starters in the 7-game series.


OTHER PLAYERS OF NOTE:


Catcher Joshua Johnson

A power-hitting standout who also played football at Cheyney State University, Johnson might have developed into an all-time great if given the chance to play more.

 

His greatest misfortune was that he spent most of his career as a backup to future Hall of Famer Josh Gibson while toiling for the Homestead Grays. When Gibson opted to play in Mexico in 1940, Johnson hit a whopping .429 as the Grays won their fourth straight pennant.

Outfielder John “Sparkplug” Reese

A speedy, defensive standout for several teams including the Hillsdale Daisies and Chicago American Giants title teams of the early 20’s. This Morris Brown product and Florida native would later manage the St. Louis Stars to the Negro National League pennant in 1931.

Pitcher George Jefferson

In 1945, this product of Langston University helped lead the upstart Cleveland Buckeyes to a four-game sweep of the Homestead Grays in the Negro League World Series.

In a season where the 6-foot-2 Oklahoma native finished the regular season with an 11-1 mark, his highlight came when he tossed a three-hit shutout against the Grays in Game Three of the Series.

Catcher Nish Williams

Another power-hitting catcher who was a standout for Morehouse College before toiling for several Negro League squads including the Nashville Elite Giants, Birmingham Black Barons, and Atlanta Black Crackers.

His baseball legacy was continued at Morehouse by his son, Donn Clendenon. A three-time All-NAIA standout for the Tigers, Clendenon was the World Series MVP for the “Amazin” Mets in 1969.




NOTE:
The Biographical Encyclopedia of The Negro Baseball Leagues, When The Game Was Black And White, The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues, and The Black College Sports Encyclopedia all contributed to this story.

 

 

Former Diamond Dasher Michael Bourn Says He’ll ‘Definitely’ Steal 100 Bases In Today’s MLB | Baseball Saw Highest Total Since 1987 

Former Diamond Dasher Michael Bourn Says He’ll ‘Definitely’ Steal 100 Bases In Today’s MLB | Baseball Saw Highest Total Since 1987 

Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. led the MLB with a franchise-record 73 stolen bases last season in the first year of baseball’s new rules designed to increase stolen bases and make them easier to achieve.
Former base-bagger Michael Bourn thinks he could top that in today’s game.

With the addition of the pitch clock, Bourn told MLB.com that he could steal 100 bases if he played with the current era’s rules.

“I would definitely do it,” Bourn said. “With five seconds on the pitch clock, I’ve never seen pitchers throw over.” 

Michael Bourn Stole 361 Bases In MLB Career 

Bourn’s career saw him play for six teams in 11 seasons, where he stole a total of 361 bases. The most he stole in a season though, 61 bases — a mark that he reached in 2009 and 2011 with the Astros and Braves.

Pitch Clock Makes Stealing Bases Easier

In light of new rules, prior to last season one player donned the 2023 campaign “Year of the Stolen Base,” according to CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder.

The addition of the pitch clock is part of it, allowing runners to know when the pitcher will likely throw over — if at all — giving them an advantage in terms of timing.

To the pitcher’s advantage, they are allowed to reset the clock by attempting a pick-off, but they are only allowed two per plate appearances unless a runner advances.

Base Size Increased From 15 to 18 Inches

Outside of the pitch clock, another rule implemented in 2023 was the change of the size of bases. Bases went from 15 inches squared to 18 inches squared — giving runners a shorter distance to travel.

Stolen Base % At All-Time High: Most Steals Since 1987 

With that, the stolen base success-rate reached an all-time best in 2023 with 80.2%, a mark well above 2022’s 75.4%. That netted the MLB a total of 3,503 total stolen bases, the most in a season since 1987.

Bourn Could Steal 100 Bases Today 

The centerfielder out of Houston led the league in stolen bases from 2009-11, with 61, 52 and 61, respectively. In those seasons, Bourn peaked with an 83.5% stolen base success rate, a mark just below Acuña’s 83.9%.

With Acuña’s season coming in the first year of the new rules, it’s expected that his numbers will only increase.

Still, the 100-base mark hasn’t been reached since the aforementioned 1987 season, with MLBbro Vince Coleman stealing 109 bags. If under the current production, the closest players have gotten is Acuña’s 73, there’s no guarantee base-stealing specialists like Bourn can do the same.

 

Who else could hit the century mark?

In Bourne’s era of baseball, there’s only one player who has surpassed 73 stolen bases: long-time Met José Reyes.

Reyes stole 78-of-91 bases in the 2009 season — an 85.7% success rate. In the current MLB, Reyes would likely further his heavy workload and attempt to take over 120 bases. At his 2009 pace, he would have stolen at least 102 bases.

Outside of Reyes, famous speedsters such as Carl Crawford and Dee Strange-Gordon could have easily achieved 100 steals. St. Louis Cardinals speedster Victor Scott is just getting started and could swipe 100 someday. If Billy “The Slid” Hamilton gets another crack at the league, he could do it with his eyes closed.

In 2023, between Double A and A ball, Scott swiped 94 bases in 132 games. Then swiped another 18 in 23 fall league games.

Any player in today’s game capable of stealing 60 or more bases without the new rules could swipe 100 bases with enough opportunities under these current rules. The century mark will likely be hit by the best of the best bag swipers, which Bourn was. He would be licking his chops if he still played today.

For now, Bourn will continue giving his honest analysis in his job as an announcer.

 

The Baseball World Unites, Raising Almost $200,000 To Replace Stolen and Damaged Jackie Robinson Statue

The Baseball World Unites, Raising Almost $200,000 To Replace Stolen and Damaged Jackie Robinson Statue

Major League Baseball and its 30 member clubs will work together to replace a statue of Jackie Robinson that was stolen from a youth baseball park in Kansas last week. Donations have also poured in from around the globe as Jackie Robinson’s 105th birthday was all the inspiration needed for this terrible situation to transform into an example of people’s true humanity.

 

Major League Baseball pledged support. And the total raised just through one online fundraiser surpassed $145,000, which is far in excess of the estimated $75,000 value of the bronze statue that was cut from its base last week.

 

Jackie Robinson Statue Stolen: $150,000 In Donations

The statue, which stood outside of McAdams Park in Wichita, was stolen last week and found on fire at a nearby park on Tuesday “dismantled and burned,” with damages in the ballpark of $75K. The Wichita Fire Department responded to the report of a trash can fire and discovered the statue ablaze.

 

Wichita police spokesperson Andrew Ford said the statue was “not salvageable.” The callous and destructive act ignited a firestorm of support for League 42 from fans, baseball clubs and concerned citizens who respect the legacy of Jackie Robinson and what he meant to this country.

 

Bob Lutz, the executive director of the League 42 youth baseball league, announced on Tuesday that Major League Baseball and its clubs would replace the statue.

 

“It will be a joyous occasion – unlike today, unlike the past five days,” Lutz said.

 

Lutz’s friend, the late John Parsons, crafted the statue.

 

“Fortunately, the mold from his work is still viable, and the statue that reappears at McAdams Park will be the work of John Parsons,” he said. “In a matter of months, that will be erected at McAdams Park, and we’re looking forward to that day … It’ll be a joyous occasion, unlike today, unlike the past five days. We’re ready for some joy, you know. We’re ready for some happiness, and we’re going to pursue that in the best way we can.”

 

There were people throughout the baseball community that felt the police weren’t acting quick enough to find the statue and the perpetrators, but Lutz commended the police for the resources they have put into investigating the crime.

 

“It’s a sad thing that this happened in our community, but I think the way our community is reacting to it could not be better, so we’re going to move forward here and not look back,” he said.

What Is League 42?

League 42 was founded in 2013 and is a league for baseball players ages 5-14 from urban areas around Wichita, according to MLB.com. The league serves nearly 600 youth players on 46 different teams.

 

The statue outside of McAdams Park will be present once again in the near future and will stand as a reference to young players of the impact that Robinson made on and off the field.

 

Police are still investigating the theft, the arson and looking for the culprits.
After 15 Seasons MLBbro Michael Brantley Calls It A Career | The .298 Career Hitter Was Traded To Cleveland In 2008 CC Sabathia Deal

After 15 Seasons MLBbro Michael Brantley Calls It A Career | The .298 Career Hitter Was Traded To Cleveland In 2008 CC Sabathia Deal

MLBbro Michael Brantley announced his retirement from MLB on Friday bringing an end to a storied 15-year career.

A second-generation baseball player, Brantley was drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers straight out of High School after dominating in his senior season at Fort Pierce Central High School with a .595 batting average and 32 stolen bases.

The Brewers would trade Brantley to the Cleveland Indians in 2008 as part of a CC Sabathia trade as the “player to be named”, a stipulation that Cleveland was given if the Brewers made the playoffs that year after the deal.

He would make his debut for the Indians in 2009 where this MLBbro will be remembered for being one of the best contact hitters in baseball earning him the nickname “Dr. Smooth”.

He would produce a slash line of .295/.351/.430 with an OPS of .781 during his 10 years in a Cleveland Indians uniform, making three all-star appearances helping turn Cleveland into a perennial AL Central contender and playoff team from 2013-2018.

In 2014, Brantley would sign a four-year, $25 million extension prior to the season. The former player to be named would reward Cleveland by having a breakout season that saw him slash for .327/ .385/ .506 with 20 home runs and 23 stolen bases, finishing third in AL MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Victor Martinez.

Of course, Brantley will be remembered for his growth in production, but Brantley will also be recognized for being a consummate professional, and a leader of men.

 

 

In 2018 after being bounced by the Astros in the postseason, The writing was on the wall that the team were looking to go in a different direction. Pitcher Francisco Lindor credited Brantley for teaching how to be a professional. Cleveland Manager Terry Francona described Brantley as a reliable presence who could fall out of bed and collect a couple of hits.

Brantley was so influential that during his exit everyone cried in the room. His road in Cleveland had come to an end but the journey would not be finished.

 

Brantley would sign with the Houston Astros after the 2018 season where he would make two more All-Star Appearances and capture a World Series Championship in 2022.

He would face an injury preventing him from playing in that World Series, but his leadership would shine through when he led a team meeting where catcher Martin Maldonaldo told The Athletic “He’s the reason we won the World Series. He led the best team meeting I ever heard. When he was hurt, he was always helping other in the dugout.”

 

Brantley would finish his career with an amazing 10.7% strikeout percentage, 1,656 hits, 730 RBI, 129 HR, and a batting average just shy of .300. We congratulate MLBbro Michael “Dr. Smooth” Brantley on a great career and look forward to what he will accomplish in his second act.

 

Get to know more about Michael Brantley here