Cleveland’s Corey Kluber earns AL Cy Young

Corey Kluber

It was a tale of two 28-year-olds, but did you know who Corey Kluber was before the 2014 season began? Surely everyone knew his competition in Seattle, but unless you’re an Indians fan or follow baseball closely, perhaps not. Wednesday night the Birmingham native hopefully became a household name after capturing the 2014 American League Cy Young Award.

Predictions for 2014 MLB Postseason Awards

Clayton Kershaw

The end of Daylight Saving Time, frigid weather, and the conclusion of a stellar World Series make November a sad time for many baseball fans. Thankfully the sport gives us one last treat by recognizing the season’s best players during the 11th month.

Announcements run this coming Monday through Thursday, so let’s take time to offer predictions on the winners.

Royals-Orioles 2014 ALCS: Good for baseball, good for fans

Royals Orioles

I am generally a National League guy, as more interesting, strategic baseball is played on the Senior Circuit. But with the NL featuring franchises we’ll see in the World Series for a fourth consecutive October, I’m more excited for the Royals and Orioles to open the ALCS at Camden Yards Friday night.

MLB Managerial Musings

Don Mattingly

Fellow MSF writer Kurt Allen compiled a list of baseball managers on the hot seat earlier this summer. Let’s take another look here in October, as we roll through an epic postseason and toward the League Championship Series.

It’s time for Mike Scioscia to go

mike scioscia

The Minnesota Twins fired manager Ron Gardenhire last week, leaving Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia as not just the longest-serving skipper in Major League Baseball, but by a landslide. After a first-round playoff debacle against the wild card Kansas City Royals — his team scored just eight runs in its last 52 innings — it’s long past time for the Angels to relieve Scioscia of his duties.

Mike Trout: Thrice an AL MVP bridesmaid?

Mike Trout

Mike Trout is the best all-around player in Major League Baseball. There are decent arguments he should have won the American League MVP during his first two full big league seasons, which is remarkable, and he’s probably the front-runner in 2014. But my vote this season goes to Victor Martinez.

Focus on Baseball, Not Identity Politics or Manufactured Issues

Lloyd McClendon

Lloyd McClendon is guiding the Seattle Mariners to their best season since 2007 and perhaps their first playoff visit in 13 years. Yet when Houston’s Bo Porter was fired last week and Texas’ Ron Washington simply quit on his club Friday, ESPN’s Calvin Watkins couldn’t help but distract from Seattle’s success when the Mariners visited Arlington.

After last September’s heroics, where are Cleveland Indians fans?

Progressive Field 1

I wrote a similar piece last year and in 2012, but didn’t think I’d need to opine on the same topic again this season. I was wrong.

Last September, the Cleveland Indians seemingly regained fan confidence when, under the stewardship of veteran skipper Terry Francona, they won their final 10 games to finish 92-70, capturing the top AL Wild Card spot. Not bad for a squad that collapsed the August prior and fell to a 68-94 clip.

Down on the Farm: Battle of the Sioux (at the Falls)

Sioux Falls Stadium 3

With the Independent and Minor League Baseball regular seasons a month from closing, and the Northwoods League schedule roughly a week away from conclusion, we’ve hit the proverbial dog days of baseball across the Heartland. Few locales was this more evident than a steamy night in eastern South Dakota when two last place teams separated by just 85 miles did battle.

Down on the Farm: Montgomery Exudes Southern Charm

Riverwalk Stadium 8

I enjoyed my May visit to Birmingham’s Regions Field so much that upon a July return to Alabama, I headed 90 miles south to check out Southern League rival Montgomery’s yard. Capitalizing on unseasonably pleasant weather with temps in the low 80s didn’t bother this northerner either.

Down on the Farm: The Other Mayo Facility in Rochester

Mayo Field 6

A recent visit to southeast Minnesota wrapped up six days and 3,000 miles on the road during a pleasantly mild late July.

Mayo Field is the fourth and likely final Northwoods League I’ll visit and review this summer, marking six total going back to 2013.

Down on the Farm: A Visit to “MoonDog Country”

Franklin Rogers Park 1

As the baseball world observes Minnesota’s love affair with the sport this week, I continued my trip to amateur yards around the North Star State.

Use Facts, not Emotion, on Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig

Question: Which NL All-Star starter is hitting .253 with just one home run and only 11 RBIs since June 1, seeing his average fall 40 points during that time? He’s also no longer in the MLB Top 10 in any offensive category.

Down on the Farm: Fargo Lives up to Expectations

Newman Outdoor Field

When the Indianapolis Indians marked 15 years of baseball at beautiful Victory Field in 2011, the running local commentary was that few believed the ballpark was that old due to its magnificent condition. While perhaps not as grandiose at the Triple-A stadium in downtown Circle City, Newman Outdoor Field, also in existence since 1996, could boast similar claims.

Tony Gwynn: Great hitter, better person

Ari Tony Gwynn

I was roughly two hours into a 12-hour drive from Minnesota to Oklahoma Monday when I heard the news Tony Gwynn died at age 54 after a courageous multi-year battle with salivary gland cancer. For safety reasons, I pulled off the road to collect myself, confirm it was true and commiserate with friends and family.