“When you put a lot of hard work into one goal and achieve it; it’s a really good feeling.”
Derek Jeter has been elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Derek Jeter played in the Major Leagues for almost 20 years, all with the New York Yankees. Jeter has a lifetime batting average of .310 with 3,465 hits, which is sixth on the all-time list. Derek was a 14-time All-Star who played on five World Championship teams with the Yankees. Jeter was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996 and was the Most Valuable Player in the 2000 World Series.
Derek Jeter was extremely consistent and that was a big part of his greatness! Baseball is a very hard game to play; it’s a game of failure, and Derek Jeter succeeded year after year. Jeter rapped out 200 or more hits eight times; 20 or more homers three times; 20 or more steals eight times and he won five Gold Gloves for fielding excellence. Derek Jeter was terrific when it mattered the most – in the Post Season! Jeter also possessed great leadership skills and was Captain of the Yankees for 12 seasons. You can make the case that Derek Jeter was the sixth best Yankee of all-time; behind Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra. Derek Jeter never won an MVP but he was a terrific player who held those Yankee teams together with his consistency and leadership skills. Derek Jeter was a true winner and the consummate professional!
On Monday night, Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning’s all-time record by throwing his 540th career touchdown pass. Drew Brees is in his 19th year as an NFL quarterback. He set several Purdue and Big 10 records as a Boilermaker. The San Diego Chargers selected him in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Brees played for the Chargers for five years then tore both his labrum and rotator cuff. He then signed with New Orleans and is still leading the Saints to victories! In fact, New Orleans already has clinched the NFC South Division title. Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl victory in 2009 and was the game’s Most Valuable Player. Drew Brees has been selected 12 times to the Pro Bowl, and he is a two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
Drew Brees is absolutely incredible! Brees is 6′ tall; the overwhelming majority of NFL quarterbacks are several inches taller. However, Brees is very mobile in the pocket; he has quick feet and a very accurate throwing arm! Brees also is very intelligent and he possesses a great work ethic! For a quarterback, it’s all about decision making. Brees decision making is excellent; he will audibilize, and on top of all that, he has terrific leadership skills! Drew Brees has compiled incredible statistics over the years and of most significance. Drew Brees has the heart of a champion!
“We were 19-31; we didn’t quit then and we weren’t going to quit now.”
Dave Martinez, Washington Nationals Manager
The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros 6-2 last Wednesday evening to capture the Franchise’s first even World Championship. The Team moved from Montreal to Washington prior to the 2005 season. The only other World Series winner in the Nation’s Capital, was in 1924 when Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators defeated the New York Giants 4 games to 3. The Nationals victory marked the first time in World Series History that the visiting team had won all seven games.
If you are a Houston Astros fan, you are mighty disappointed that the Nationals defeated the Astros in the Series. Houston was up 3 games to 2 and was going back home for game 6, and the Astros have much more talent than the Nationals. What separates baseball from the other sports is its unpredictability. The Nationals can very well be called, “The Comeback Team” because of the way they won so many deciding games in the Post Season, including the 7th game of the World Series. The Nationals did not win the National League East so they had to win a Wild Card game. They trailed the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th and scored 3 runs to win 4-3. Then in the Division Series, against a terrific Dodger team, they got two in the 8th to tie and 4 in the 10th to win the 5th and deciding game of that Series. As if that was not enough, the Nationals were trailing 2-0 in the 7th inning of the 7th game of the World Series and they scored 3 runs! And they then added to that lead to win 6-2! When a team believes in itself collectively like the Nationals do, late inning comebacks can become part of its lore. And, let’s remember, the Nationals accomplished all of this after losing Bryce Harper to free agency! In an era when many scouts are losing their jobs, the Nationals became a favorite of “old school” baseball people because of all the veteran scouts who work for them!
“When I came into baseball, I had one goal. The Hall of Fame.”
Justin Verlander was the Detroit Tigers first round pick (second overall) in Baseball’s 2004 Amateur Draft. Verlander was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2006, and he pitched for the Tigers for 12 seasons before being traded to the Houston Astros in 2017. In 2011, Justin Verlander accomplished the rare feat of winning both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards. Justin Verlander is a six-time All-Star who has led the American League in strikeouts on five occasions. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 American League Championship Series.
Justin Verlander is going to achieve his goal! He is a future Hall of Famer! He helped the Detroit Tigers win two American League Pennants, and he helped lead the Houston Astros to a World Championship in 2017! Verlander is a great competitor who effectively changes speeds on his fastball. Verlander put himself in very elite company when he threw his third career no-hitter on September 1st. Several years ago, Verlander battled some injuries and lost several miles per hour off his fastball. He got healthy, regained his velocity and has cemented his place in Baseball History! Verlander took his game to another level when he was traded to the Astros. This year, he is a very impressive 18-6 with a 2.58 ERA and is in a battle for the American League Cy Young Award with teammate Gerrit Cole. Justin Verlander is 36 years old and is showing no signs of slowing down!
“I didn’t want last year’s season to define me as a player.”
Josh Bell was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round of Baseball’s Amateur Draft in 2011. His plan was to go to the University of Texas. He changed his mind and received $5,000,000 signing bonus from the Pirates. Bell is 26 years old and in his fourth Major League season. In 2017, his first full season in the Big Leagues, Bell hit 26 home runs and drove in 90 runs. Last year, his numbers dropped to 12 homers and 62 RBI’s. Josh Bell has bounced back with an incredible first two months of this 2019 season. He is hitting .338 with 18 homers and 52 RBI’s.
Josh Bell has a very good chance to become the first Pittsburgh Pirate player to hit 40 home runs in a season since Willie Stargell did it in 1973. Bell is on his way to becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career and so far, he is having an MVP caliber season!
Bell went to California this off-season and worked extremely hard on his conditioning and his swing. He is standing taller in the batter’s box and that has helped his bat path to the ball. Last season, when his confidence was not as good, he kept changing his stance. When Josh Bell played for the Indianapolis Indians, there were times when he could be “tied up” with hard stuff up and in. He has made the adjustment!
It was a joy to be around Josh Bell when he played in Indianapolis. He is a very kind, considerate and thoughtful person and all of us who know him are delighted about his success!
“I’ve got to keep on working, keep on grinding & keep going out there to get better.”
Rob Gronkowski played tight end for the New England Patriots for nine years. Gronkowski was a four-time first team All-Pro; a remarkable achievement. Gronkowski is a three-time Super Bowl Champion. Gronk was taken by the Patriots out of the University of Arizona in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Rob Gronkowski has 23 receptions in Super Bowl play; the most by any tight end in Super Bowl History! Rob Gronowski announced his retirement from Pro Football not too long after the Patriots won another Super Bowl.
I have seen a number of great tight ends over the years. Hall of Famers. I feel that Rob Gronkowski is the greatest tight end in NFL History! He is an extremely skilled receiver and a very talented blocker. Gronkowski was great in the regular season and terrific in the Post Season, too! Gronk had four seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving; the most by any tight end in NFL History. Let’s not forget that Rob Gronkowski was on the receiving end of 12 touchdown passes in the Post Season; the most of any tight end in NFL History!
Gronk has an exuberant personality; he loves to have fun and has said that, “partying gets me refreshed and makes me want to work hard.”
Rob Gronkowski has had his share of injuries over the years and that may have been a factor in him announcing his retirement at age 29. Gronk was fabulous and one of a kind! He will really be missed!