Are the Mets being too careful with Matt Harvey? (Wed. column)


Brad Penner/USATODAY Sports

Brad Penner/USATODAY Sports

New York Mets’ ace Matt Harvey wants to pitch. He’ll tell anyone who listen and well, he pretty much has. As someone whose written more than one story on Harvey and his desire to pitch in 2014, regardless of what Mets’ general manager Terry Collins says, sometimes I actually think he might.

Harvey is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. It’s been less than a year since he underwent the procedure on October 22, 2013 and the recovery period for Tommy John surgery is usually 12-18 months. So Harvey pitching this season really should not be an option.

Or should it? Are the Mets being too cautious with Harvey? Can they really even control him? Harvey is nothing if not determined.

Harvey has been eyeing a return to baseball in 2014 from the get-go. After his surgery he fought with Mets’ executives who wanted him to do his rehab in at their facility in Florida but that wasn’t ok with Harvey who wanted to rehab in New York to be around his teammates.

The two parties eventually came to a compromise where Harvey would rehab in Florida while the team was travelling but he could be with them in New York during homestands. It seems however that the Mets are not willing to accommodate Harvey’s wishes anymore.

Thursday Collins put his foot down and told Harvey to “back off.” 

Should Matt Harvey be allowed to pitch in 2014? Or is it better to slow his recovery so there is less chance of re-injury? There Harvey on one side saying he’s fine and the Mets’ executives on the otherside trying to protect their investment. 

Harvey has star power no doubt. He’s determined. He loves the game. He’s got swagger, charm, personality. Most of all he loves the fans and his teammates and they love him back. So what should the Mets do? I had my own ideas and after researching to write this piece I changed my mind …. what do you think? Read my article by clicking the link below and decide for yourself!

MLB: Are the Mets being too careful with Matt Harvey?

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For all the A’s fans who miss Cespedes ….

Getty Images

Getty Images

Honestly, I still completely back Billy on this trade. The A’s were beginning to slump before he left and he wasn’t leading the team in any offensive category. He was not my favorite player and no I did not cry about it (a lot of people did). I took it for what it was – business – we didn’t need Cespedes on our payroll when he’d be gone after 2015. We needed someone like Jon Lester to lead the team to the World Series ….

Just because we are in THE FIRST AND ONLY SLUMP OF THE SEASON – doesn’t mean it will last! It won’t. We have 10 games left against the Angels that will decided the division champion. So I’m not gonna worry ever unless the Angels are like 10 games ahead with five left to play … that’s when things are dire … and even then we’d still make the postseason but that’s not exactly the ideal situation. What I am saying is DONT PANIC!!! There is PLENTY (a month and a half) of baseball left to play. 

All that said, I loved Cespy. I was a fan. But it is a business and ESPECIALLY if you are an A’s fan and have been for years you know this … players leave. That’s just how it is …. Anyway, my whole point in this post was this … Cespedes gets it and is a mature and really great person …. when asked about the A’s he said this,

“I don’t hold any hard feelings or resentment toward them,” Cespedes said. “Apart from the game being fun, it’s also a business, and I understand that side of it, so I don’t harbor any negative feelings toward them. On the contrary, I wish them nothing but the best. I hope that they keep fighting, and I hope they win the World Series.”

So I hope we do right by Yoenis …. that the boys get it together (like we know they can) and we win that World Series! And I wish him all the best as a member of the Boston Red Sox!!

Let’s Go Oakland!!!!!

Michael Ivins/Getty Images

Michael Ivins/Getty Images


Mo’ne Davis to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated


Gene J. Puskar/AP

Gene J. Puskar/AP

Yep! A 13-year old girl is going to grace the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated! Crazy isn’t it? Hell yeah, it’s crazy awesome! 

Mo’ne Davis, only the 18th girl in history to play in the Little League World Series (Canada’s Emma Marsh also made the tournament this year), threw back to back shutouts.

The first one got her team into the LLWS as the Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons defeated Delware in a 8-0 rout. In her next start she threw another shutout going back to back, making her the first girl to record a shutout in the LLWS’s 75-year history.

Her second shutout was a 2-hitter. She fanned eight batters as the Dragons defeated Nashville 4-0 on Friday. Her fastball is reportedly 70 mph.


Sports Illustrated

Since then she’s taken not just the sports world but the entire nation by storm. She’s been tweeted about by, the very likley American League MVP of 2014, Mike Trout and NBA star Kevin Durant. Dodgers’ superstar Clayton Kershaw, Davis’ idol, accepted her challenge of a “pitch-off” somewhere down the line and David Ortiz told ESPN’s Joe McDonald

“She throws serious cheese. She can pitch.”

She isn’t just a pitcher. She can field and hit  (she became the 6th girl to collect a hit in the LLWS Friday) and play any position according to Taney manager Alex Rice,

“She didn’t just make the team,” he told The Patriot-News. “At times, she’ll carry the team.”

And everyone’s heard her most famous quote – if you haven’t by now you may have to make sure you are not living under a rock (seriously),

“I throw my curveball like Clayton Kershaw and my fastball like Mo’ne Davis.”




Whether you’ve heard it or not you have to admit that it is bad ass! However, most reports have her described as quiet, mature and almost business-like, not at all cocky. She admitted to being nervous before her Friday score and when asked by ESPN post game about all the national media attention she said she didn’t mind and that she “could always say no.


Wow. Talk about a being a cool kid.


And get this, 5’4″, 111-pound baseball phenom doesn’t even want to play baseball long term – she wants to play NCAA basketball at UConn and eventually in the WNBA. What?! Now she’s a two-sport athlete! Amazing! 

The Dragons take on Las Vegas Wednesday – and don’t worry, if you haven’t see her play yet – you will. It will be on national television.


Detroit’s Jim Johnson experiment is already failing


Rick Osentoski/USATODAY Sports

Rick Osentoski/USATODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers picked up Jim Johnson just 5 days after the Oakland Athletics released him August 1. The Tigers could stand to take the risk on the former closer, turned hardly used reliever with Oakland paying the rest of his $10 million salary. Detroit signed him to a minor league contract and after bringing him up they just had to pay him a pro-rated amount of the league minimum so yes, they could take the chance.

However, should they have taken that chance is the real question. Johnson, who had two 50 save seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, was traded to Oakland in the off season. A week into the season he was removed from the closer role and things continued to go downhill for Johnson from there.

While in Oakland Johnson pitched just 40 innings, giving up 60 hits and 32 earned runs leaving him with a 7.14 ERA.  As previously noted he was finally released by the team in early August and was soon picked up by Detroit.

Detroit has had some bullpen issues this season. They had recently picked up Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers but Soria almost immediately ended up on the disabled list after a couple rough outings. Saturday, after pitching just 4.2 innings in the minor leagues and allowing two runs, Johnson was called up from Triple-A Toledo.

To find out what happened when JJ was called into the sixth inning of the Tigers’ game on Saturday use the link below:

Tigers’ Jim Johnson experiment already failing

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Top MLB Performances of the Week

Top Performances of the Week is my latest project on It will come out on the site EVERY Monday during the season! Up this week we have Jason Vargas and David Ortiz leading the way in pitching and hitting! CHECK IT OUT! Thanks! 


Frank Victores/USATODAY Sports

Frank Victores/USATODAY Sports

Also in this week’s top performances: Josh Donaldson, Chris Sale, Brandon Moss, Chris Carter and Max Scherzer … find out what they did to make this week’s list! 

MLB: Jason Vargas, David Ortiz and the performances of the week

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Tribute to Roberto Clemente on his 80th birthday

download (2)Roberto Clemente is a Hall of Famer but he was an even better person off the field than on.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1934, Clemente was one of the first Latin-American players in the league. Signed in 1954 by the Brooklyn Dodgers he was drafted in the under the Rule 5 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates later that year.

Clemente spent his entire 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and led them to World Series victory in 1960 and again in 1971 where he was named the series MVP.

He was one of the greatest of the greats. He could field winning 12 straight Gold Gloves from 1961-1972. He could hit. In the final game of his career Clemente collected his 3,000th career hit. He was named MVP of the National League in 1966.

Off the field Clemente was a humanitarian. He collected food, baseball equipment or whatever was needed and personally delivered most of the supplies himself to other, usually suffering, countries.

To learn more about the life and career of the great Roberto Clemente use the link below:

Happy 80th Birthday Roberto Clemente, You’ll never be forgotten

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10 best MLB pitchers when you need a win (Sunday column)


Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday! It’s that time again, time for my column and today we are talking pitchers – who’d you start in a “win or go home” situation?

Say it’s game 7 of the World Series and it’s your favorite team’s championship on the line. What current MLB pitcher would you want starting that game for your team? Would it be the guy with the best ERA? Best playoff record? Most wins?

It’s a tough call, for sure. There are all kinds of variables in reality such as what team you are playing against, righty or lefty, the ballpark you are playing at, you name it, any given circumstance can give any team an advantage at anytime. So look at this list this way, if you closed your eyes and thought, “One game, it’s do or die,” what current pitcher would you see in your head? Who would you feel most comfortable with on the mound?

That’s the way I looked at this list. No scenarios, no ifs, ands, or buts, just a pitcher on the mound who would give your team the best chance to win.

Personally I did take a couple things into account such as playoff experience, demeanor and this year’s statistics after my initial first and second picks for the list. A player can be having a good year but have a terrible playoff history or no experience in high pressure situations at all. I went with my gut.

Here are the top 10 pitchers I would want on the mound for my team when you absolutely have to get that one win. Don’t like my choices? Join the conversation. Leave a comment and suggest your own!

I will give you my first five pitchers – so technically numbers 10-6 but no explanations. So to hear my reasoning and find out who I put in my top five you have to read the rest of my column by clicking the link below:

MLB: 10 best pitchers when you need a win

Brought to you by the FanSided Network

Numbers 10 through 6 are as follows: 10. Sonny Gray, Oakland A’s 9. David Price, Detroit Tigers 8. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox 7. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers 6. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers … to find out the rest you gotta click on the link!

**FYI: I will be writing a staple piece for FanSided every Monday for the rest of the season on the week’s best pitching and hitting performances so be sure to look here for the link or check it out on! Thanks! Remember every click on the link really helps me out! And my stuff can’t be all that bad to read! lol!**

Miss Texas makes me look like a professional pitcher! (video)

This chick is OMFG hysterical!! This is Miss Texas at the Rangers game ladies and gentleman, talk about pathetic! LMAO!


This is worse than 50 cent throwing out the first pitch … and it certainly makes my first pitch look good! Although I wish it could make what I was wearing look better and not just the pitch! LOL! (they wouldn’t let me wear jeans, jean shorts or a skirt! But they wanted my socks visible! I couldn’t wear contacts because I had an ulcer on my eye that was healing and it was windy so my hair is up! I look 12! It was awful but I am glad I got to experience it.)

It is certainly something I never thought I would  do … throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the A’s at the Coliseum! Definitely a once in a lifetime experience to have the A’s contact you and ask you to do it … All I gotta say is I was freaking out the whole time! this girl doesn’t look like she was nervous … she just sucked! LOL!

A’s to wear 1914 throwback jerseys Saturday (and a brief Athletics history lesson)

athletics-throwback-jerseysAccording to the A’s Twitter account the A’s will be wearing 1914 throwback jerseys Saturday when they play the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field to commemorate the 1914 World Series in which the “Miracle Braves” (they were the Boston Braves at the time, moved to Milwaukee in the early 50’s and to Atlanta in the 60’s) swept the thought to be unbeatable Philadelphia Athletics. Personally, I love the old uni’s. Sure they are a bit bland but the classic stirrup socks always get me! I am the socks girl after all! Plus, the history of the A’s back in Philly around that time was interesting and rich.

Back in 1914, actually since 1901, the A’s played in Shibe Park in Philadelphia. At one point the Phillies also played there and it was later renamed Connie Mack Stadium after the man who owned and managed the Athletics for literally half a decade! The A’s won the AL Pennant in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914 – they won three of the four World Series. Their infield was called the “$100,000 infield” and it was also the era that the Elephant became the Athletics’ mascot. The owner of the Giants called the A’s the “white elephants” and Mack embraced it instead of rejecting the idea which I love because today we have Stomper! :-)


Shibe Park

1914 was the year Connie Mack decided to sell off his great players and the A’s didn’t win another World Series until 1929 and again in 1930 – on those Championship teams were Hall of Famers like Frank “Home Run ” Baker who played third in the “$100,000 infield,” Chief Bender and in the later years Lefty Grove and Jimmie Foxx. The 1929-1930 A’s have been said to have been as good as the 1927 Yankees with their Murderers Row who are considered by most to be the best team of all time.

The rest us Oakland fans know. The A’s had a drought for 40 years and moved to Kansas City in 1955 and to Oakland in 1968. In Oakland the A’s went on to win three straight World Series in 1972, 1973, 1974. These teams included Hall of Famers such as Rollie Fingers, Catfish and Reggie Jackson.
bbThey appeared in three more between 1988-1990 but only one once, sweeping the Giants in the famous “Battle of the Bay,” when the series was rocked by an earthquake so large that is suspended play for 11 days. Those clubs too had Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Rickey Henderson

What more there is to tell is relatively recent. The A’s have been to the playoffs in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013. The only time they made it past the American League Division Series was in 2006. They then lost the AL Championship Series to the Detroit Tigers and have lost their other two most recent playoff appearances to the Tigers as well.

The A’s are hoping to make a run for the World Series this year under general manager Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin. They have had the best record in baseball since June 18 but the Los Angeles Angels are creeping on them … the A’s need to step it up. It would be complete destiny for them to bring home a championship exactly 25 years since their last one.

*Here is a little more in-depth A’s history if you are interested:

The Athletics: Baseball’s Best Forgotten Franchise

History of Shibe Park

*New, Improved* ICYMI: MLB Updates with Oakland A’s Socks Girl 8/16

1937873_10154372807300026_269571575_nWelcome to ICYMI: MLB Updates with Oakland A’s Socks Girl! Here at Bullpen, Baseball & Sock Talk I’ve tried to keep my readers updated on what’s new in Major League Baseball in a couple of different ways, though mainly through daily updates that included highlights from my blog (here!, the newest articles from the FanSided Network’s flagship MLB site and the day’s scores. However, with the editions my position as Editor at Call to the Pen and as a Featured Columnist on FanSided Network’s main page, it has become increasingly difficult to keep you updated on a daily basis and continue to include all the new articles plus the scores from every single game.

So what I am now proposing is this: every week on Saturday!!! I will bring you a approximately a week’s worth of new articles from Call to the Pen, highlights of some of my favorite blog posts from the week here on Bullpen, Baseball & Sock Talk, any important/relevant posts from other MLBlogs or FanSided sites I may have noticed, plus the team standings in each MLB Division and the Wild Card.

If you like the new format or don’t like it, please leave a comment below! Constructive criticism is always welcome as I strive to continue to improve my blog with each post! It seems my readership has diminished a bit lately and any suggestions on whatever I can do to keep you coming back is appreciated! So hopefully you will enjoy the *New, (hopefully) Improved* edition of ICYMI: MLB Updates with Oakalnd A’s Socks Girl!

Highlights from Bullpen, Baseball & Sock Talk: as of 8/16/14

My Wednesday and Sunday August Columns from as of 8/16/14

This week’s latest news from Call to the Pen: as of 8/16/14

Links to help panicking A’s fans calm the f*** down!


MLB Division and Wild Card Standings as of 8/16/14:


  1. Orioles 69-51
  2. Blue Jays 63-60
  3. Yankees 61-59
  4. Rays 61-61
  5. Red Sox 55-66


  1. Royals 67-54
  2. Tigers 65-55
  3. Indians 61-60
  4. White Sox 58-64
  5. Twins 54-66


  1. Athletics 73-49
  2. Angels 71-49
  3. Mariners 66-55
  4. Astros 51-72
  5. Rangers 47-75


  1. Nationals 67-53
  2. Braves 62-60
  3. Marlins 60-62
  4. Mets 58-65
  5. Phillies 54-68


  1. Brewers 68-55
  2. Cardinals 65-56
  3. Pirates 64-58
  4. Reds 61-61
  5. Cubs 52-69


  1. Dodgers 70-54
  2. Giants 63-58
  3. Padres 57-64
  4. Diamondbacks 53-69
  5. Rockies 47-75


A.L. Top 5 teams:

  1. Angels
  2. Mariners
  3. Tigers
  4. Blue Jays 
  5. Yankees

NL Top 5 Teams:

  1. Cardinals
  2. Pirates
  3. Giants
  4. Braves
  5. Reds




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