At the beginning of the season, who would have thought that the Giants and Royals would actually make the Fall Classic? I definitely did not. I predicted a Nats-Tigers World Series, and both teams were eliminated in the Division Series!
The Series starts tonight in Kansas City at 8:07 PM ET. The pitching matchup is James Shields vs. Madison Bumgarner. You can watch it on FOX.
Now that we know the two contenders, here is my prediction:
The Royals were the “Cinderella” team in baseball this year. It seems right for a scrappy team like that to finally make the World Series after 29 years. That means there are lots of adults walking around Kansas City who have never seen their team in the World Series. Since the Giants beat the Nats in the NLDS, I’m definitely rooting for Kansas City.
But being a realist, I think that San Francisco will take the Commissioner’s Trophy home back to San Francisco. I think San Fran will win because of their ability to get the right hits at the right time and their World Series experience (3rd appearance in 5 years). Kansas City has not yet lost a playoff game and has all the support of its hometown fans and new fans around the world rooting for the underdog. They play small ball and run a lot, but I think the lack of power in their lineup versus San Francisco’s will be too much for them to win. My prediction is that the Giants will win in 6.
In 2006, my family was struck by the terrible news that my grandfather had the deadly disease known as lung cancer. He was a man who never smoked cigarettes, which shows that anyone who has lungs can get lung cancer. I was 4 years old when he died from lung cancer in March 2008. It was a very tragic loss in my family, and that is why we walk to raise money and awareness in his memory.
On November 2nd, a lung cancer support and research foundation named LUNGevity will hold its 5th annual “Breathe Deep DC” to support lung cancer treatment. Please think about making a donation or joining “Team Matt’s Bats” at the walk on the National Mall. It’s coming up very soon!
Last year, I wrote about the reason I support this charity and I asked people to come walk with my family and asked people if they would donate. I ended up raising a stunning amount: $11,259! Please read my post from last year about why this is such an important charity.
I was rewarded at the event last year with a bat autographed by Jayson Werth, given to me by NBC 4’s Doug Kammerer. This was a huge surprise. Dozens of people, some I have never met, read about my fundraiser and donated. Please read my review post from 2013 Breathe Deep DC. I thank everyone that donated last year. Here are 2 pictures of some of my supporters from last year.
I am raising money again this year. Please visit this link to donate. With about 2 weeks to go before the event, I have reached more than 30% of my goal of $5,000. That is the same goal I set last year, but last year Matt’s Bats readers more than doubled it! I would like to pass that goal this year, too.
Again, the event will be held on the Mall in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, November 2nd at the Sylvan Theater right near the Washington Monument. You can sign up to join my team and attend the event and walk the 5K course or donate here. I want to honor my grandpa, who was a great man, by collecting donations for the disease. My grandfather was a great man who showed loving kindness to me, my brother, dad, mom, and wife. When he was healthy, he was a doctor who helped other people get better, and he when he got lung cancer he also helped other cancer patients.
Each year lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney, and melanoma cancers combined. More than 50% of people diagnosed with lung cancer have quit smoking, or, like my grandfather, never smoked at all. I hope one day this terrible disease is cured, and the first step is to donate. You can help stop lung cancer, with a generous donation on this page:
Thank you for helping me end this horrid disease.
Jeter Publishing and Simon and Schuster sent me several copies to give away to Matt’s Bats readers. I ended up holding a contest to give away copies of the book to baseball-loving kids.
Here are the winners:
If you didn’t win, you can still buy a copy of this excellent book for only $10 through this link.
The baseball Division Series are over and the Championship Series will begin soon. In the American League, the Royals and Orioles took their respective games in sweep style against the Angels and Tigers. In the National League, the Giants and Cardinals will square off in the NLCS, both Division games ending on Tuesday with 3-2 wins. This was the first time since 2009 that none of the Division Series featured a decisive Game 5.
To recap last night’s decisive Game 4 between the Giants and Nationals: It was a disappointing end to the season for Washington Nationals fans, who came into the series as the favorite, after having a NL-best 96 wins during the regular season, the NL East crown, and the privilege to play the #4 seed. Sadly, no one in San Francisco not named Bryce could figure out Ryan Vogelsong, who was on his game last night. It isn’t a surprise he was- he is career 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in the postseason and helped the Giants win the World Series in 2012.
Although it ended in such disappointment, what an amazing season the Nats had. Bryce’s performance in the post-season was very special. He hit 3 monster home runs (including a splashdown in McCovey Cove) and played excellent defense. Anthony Rendon also continued his hitting dominance. Most of the Nats pitching–especially Jordan Zimmermann– was unhittable. Unforturnately, the rest of the line up forgot to pack their bats for the postseason.
There was a lot of sloppy defense yesterday. Gio Gonzalez allowed 2 unearned runs in the second inning off some fielding errors that allowed the Giants to get on the scoreboard early. Most surprising was Aaron Barret walking in a run with bases loaded, then trying to intentionally walk a batter but threw a wild pitch. It ended in a play at the plate and an out, but it was very ugly. The Giants took the win with 3 runs that the Nationals basically handed to them based on bad defense.
There will be more to say about this game and the season later. This is just my morning post the day after the season ended. I feel disappointed that the rest of the country saw Nats play some of their worst hitting baseball of the season these past 4 games. I am looking forward to 2015 though. So now the Nats are out I’m rooting for the underdog Royals to win the World Series. National League fans are tired of season the same 2 or 3 teams in the World Series every year, and with none of the usual AL teams there (like the Tigers or Red Sox or Yankees), there is a good chance to root for a team like the Royals who haven’t been there in 30 years.
Keep reading my blog and following me on Twitter. I already have some great posts planned for the off-season, including some things in October and November.
After losing Games 1 and 2 in DC to the Giants, the Nationals are in San Francisco for today’s Game 3 at 5:07 pm ET. The Nationals are not in very good position to win the National League Division Series. If they lose one more game, they are eliminated from the post-season.
However, the Giants came back from 0-2 at home in the NLDS in 2012 to win the World Series, so advancing is definitely possible.
On the other hand, the Tigers and the Angels, got swept by the Orioles and Royals in the American League Division Series. The Angels had the best record in all of baseball this year, and they couldn’t get past the wild card Royals.
The Nationals are sending up their ace, Stephen Strasburg, to make his post-season debut. The Giants will be starting their #2 pitcher Jake Peavy.
The Nationals faced the Giants 7 times during the regular season and won 5 of those games. Can they beat them in the post-season, where the Giants have won 2 of the last 4 World Series championships?
My morning will begin with a live interview about this on Fox 5 DC. You can watch one of my previous interviews from the start of the 2013 season HERE.
Also be sure to check out one of my all-time favorite posts about the behind the scenes of this interview, and some of the advice that F.P. Santangelo and Ian Desmond gave me about making my live TV debut.
Check out my website MattsBats.com, which is one of the Top 100 Pro Blogs on MLB.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @MattsBats. Sporting News just put me on their Must Follow Twitter List for the 2014 MLB Playoffs!
The summer baseball season has ended, and soon it is going to be very, very cold for a very long time. When the weather is too cold for kids to go out and play, some of my favorite baseball books to read are from the Ballpark Mysteries series written by David A. Kelly. I like them so much I put them on last year’s gift guide for kids.
The books are about two kids that travel around the country for baseball, and help solve problems in the parks. The most recent one is called The Philly Fake. The 10th and 11th books in the series, The Rookie Blue Jay and The Tiger Troubles, will be released next year.
I recently had the chance to do a Matt’s Bats Chat with the author of the Ballpark Mysteries books, David A. Kelly:
Matt’s Bats: What inspired you to be an author?
David A. Kelly: I became inspired to write a children’s book back in 2005 when I was spending a lot of time reading early chapter books to my sons, who were in elementary school. It certainly helped that I’d always loved reading and was looking for an alternative to the business, technology, and travel writing that I did for my job. I spent a lot of time analyzing successful children’s books—looking at how the chapters were put together, how the sentences were written, and the mechanics of the chapters. Overall, it’s been a fair amount of work, but it’s really fun to be working on something creative. In one sense, writing a children’s book turned out to be the easy part. Getting a children’s book published is harder. It takes dedication, good writing, and lots of patience and persistence. It’s not something that happened quickly for me, but with luck and hard work, it did.
MB: When did you get interested in sports?
DK: I played baseball when I was younger, but didn’t follow on to play it high school or college. When I was younger, my friends and I spent more time playing pickup games of baseball, basketball, hockey, kickball and more. Not many of my friends played organized sports, the way that many kids do today.
MB: What is your favorite sport? Do you have a favorite team or player?
DK: I’d have to say my favorite sport is baseball, because I like watching it as well as writing about it and sharing it with other people.
My favorite athlete is probably David Ortiz, since I live near Boston. But watching Mo’ne Davis pitch in the Little League World Series definitely impressed me.
MB: Why did you decide to write the Ballpark Mysteries series?
DK: When my two sons were younger, I was spending a lot of time reading to them. I was also looking for something creative to do. They were hooked baseball books and mystery books, but when I went to look for baseball mystery books, I didn’t find any, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to write one! I worked pretty hard on developing the first book, and although it took a lot of rewrites, it was finally published by Random House as The Fenway Foul-Up.
MB: Which book was the most fun to write?
DK: It’s hard to say. I really have enjoyed writing them all. Some of the books were harder than the others. For example, I struggled with book number 3, The L.A. Dodger, because I couldn’t figure out the right mystery. As for which one was most fun to write, I think that The San Francisco Splash might be it. I had a really great time working in all the sights around San Francisco, and getting Mike and Kate to Alcatraz to capture a criminal.
[The San Francisco Splash is also my favorite one!]
MB: How many ballparks have you visited? What is your favorite ballpark?
DK: I haven’t visited all the 30 ballparks yet, but I hope to. I visited around 14 of them so far. My favorite ballpark is always the one I’m currently writing about, which in this case is the Detroit Tigers’ stadium (that will be Ballpark Mysteries #11). It’s a great stadium and setting for a story because there are tigers all over the ballpark—from tiger heads on the walls outside, to massive tiger sculptures on the scoreboard.
MB: So you are planing more Ballpark Mysteries books?
DK: Yes, definitely. There will be at least 4 more Ballpark Mysteries after book #9, The Philly Fake. Two more are coming out next year, and two more in 2016. Hopefully we’ll have more after that. The next two (in 2015) will be mysteries set in the Toronto Blue Jays stadium and the Detroit Tigers stadium.
MB: How do you come up with the ideas for the books? How long does it take to write one?
DK: This is a great question. I come up with the mysteries for each book by visiting each stadium that I write about. I take a lot of notes and pictures on my phone, and then I go home and do some research on the team. To create the mystery, I try to come up with something that’s related to the ballparks or the team’s history (for example in the The L.A. Dodger, I have the mystery be related to the team’s move from New York City to Los Angeles in the 1950s).
I usually takes about 3 months to write a Ballpark Mysteries book (but during that time I’m also usually working on other projects as well). It takes me about a week to do the research, and then about 3 weeks to create an outline and plot out the book. Another month to write the book, once I have the outline worked out, and then another few weeks to do revisions. They’re usually written about 18-24 months in advance of the publication date, so that the artist has time to create the artwork.
MB: Do you plan on writing any other books about other sports?
DK: Yes! I have a possible set of Football Mysteries in development and I’m also already working on a series of books about a group of elementary school children who form a club and play all different types of sports.
MB: Last question. Since you write all about different baseball stadiums, what’s your favorite thing to eat at a baseball game?
DK: I always start off the standard—a basic hot dog with relish and mustard. Then, I’ll look around for other interesting foods that might be on sale at the stadium. Although I didn’t try it, the Texas Rangers park had the biggest hot dog (or maybe it was a sausage) that I’ve ever seen. I usually try a pretzel, too, and perhaps some ice cream.
Thanks to David A. Kelly for taking the time to talk about his Ballpark Mysteries series of baseball books for kids. You can order all of them from Amazon.com or buy them at any bookstore. They are really fun books for kids from age 6 to about 13. Most of them only cost about $5.00 or less on Amazon, so they are definitely a good deal too!