My All-MLB Team

I am a sports fan and, like many other sports fans, I like to imagine super teams. Not Warriors super teams, but like “what if Steph, Klay, KD, LeBron, and Anthony Davis were all on the same team?” super teams. I feel like we all have a lot fun envisioning these kind of unbeatable All-Star squads. So I am releasing my All-MLB team, because some of these players are already on their way out or will be shortly.

This team is not the nine best players of all-time or the nine players I like the most. This is my dream team. The players I have seen in my life, several live (thanks Dad), that were just better than everyone else around them. I’ll share each player by numerical placement on the field and give a little explanation.

1. Pitcher – Clayton Kershaw
This one is easy. It does not matter what you say about his postseason record — he’s only had three bad series, if we are being fair — and he’s unworldly in the regular season. Give me Clayton Kershaw. He’s the best pitcher in the bigs, period. Madison Bumgarner, the next most accomplished pitcher under 30 in the MLB, has a career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) slightly over 20. That is impressive in its own right, but Kershaw has a career WAR of 47, in just one more season of service time. There is no comparison you can make to Kershaw from his generation. He is baseball LeBron. So now to who he is throwing to… Read More

Your Team Won the Trade Deadline… Maybe 

There were a lot of moves, as always, leading up to the MLB’s trade deadline. Every trade can be viewed as a win if you look through the lens of that teams fan base, but when you look objectively, sometimes it just ain’t so. While I understand the need for GM’s to make moves to appeal to rabid fan bases, most of time these moves are meaningless.

Charlie Clarke — who has now been contributing quality MLB related content to this blog for about a month now and knows just as much baseball as anyone — and I will be grading just how well your team actually did for itself. Read More

MLB First Half Wrap-up

Hey readers, my name is Charlie Clarke. I’ll introduce myself a bit before I delve into this piece. I’ve been writing for just under two years now. Starting with my high school paper, I’ve edited for FanSided, written with SB Nation, and interned with WGN Radio in Chicago, where I reside. Currently, I write with Baseball Prospectus, 247Sports, and the Chicago Tribune Media Group.

There are a couple of reasons I decided to contribute to Charles’ 1st and Inches blog. We met last year as roommates and became good friends, feeding off of each other’s sports knowledge. I can say confidently say that not many people heading into sophomore year in college know as much and/or are as smart about sports as Charles. Hopefully he has similar praise for me.

While I have opportunities to cover many of the teams I’ve grown up rooting for, I chose to write here because it’s a place with much more freedom as far as topics and ideas go…also because he offered. I’ve covered the Rangers twice in Chicago (which you can read here and here) and that’s just about my only experience with Texas, where I’d assume most of this readership calls home.

Anyway, I look forward to whatever my future is with this site, and hopefully y’all read my stuff.

Seeing as last night was the conclusion of the ‘first half’ of the 2016 MLB season, I examined each club’s record and pretended as if it were Opening Day. Much to my surprise, there weren’t too many surprises. The Cubs and Giants are really good. The Braves and Reds are really bad. Like any year, some teams have overachieved, some have underachieved. Bartolo Colon continues to be Bartolo Colon, with one extra homer. Here’s my summation of 2016’s MLB script, enjoy. Read More

Breaking Up is Hard, Especially in Sports

Yesterday Kevin Durant made one of the biggest decisions of, not only his life, but NBA history. While no championship is guaranteed, Durant has made it extremely favorable for himself and the Golden State Warriors.

Not since Moses Malone became a 76er in 1982, has a league MVP-candidate left their own team to join a proven title-contender. With all the excitement and assumed success Durant is bringing to Oakland, he is also taking all of his talent and fame away from Oklahoma City, which has expectantly left many Oklahoma City fans upset. Read More

Alex Rodriguez: The Unloved Superstar

At one point, early in his career with the Seattle Mariners, Alex Rodriguez was the golden child of the MLB. He was playing alongside Ken Griffey Jr., one of the most beloved athletes in sports history. Rodriguez was just a kid playing with “The Kid” and they were both so special, but by 2000 they were both on different teams and our feelings for A-Rod began to change.  Read More

Why The 2015 Texas Rangers are the Most Surprising Story in Baseball

The 2015 Texas Rangers and their fans had very little hope this season. Coming off a 67-win season with no blockbuster free agent deals, there was not a lot of reason for optimism. Then Yu Darvish went down for the year in spring training and pretty much every one around the MLB agreed that the Rangers ship had sailed. They would have to start rebuilding with a new manager and the Championship aspirations spawned from success from 2010-2012  were over. It would not have been unreasonable for the front office to have called it quits and hit the reboot button on the franchise. They had enough young talent like Joey Gallo that they could begin building for later and tell the fans to exhibit the toughest trait in sports, patience. Honestly, after an 8-16 start headed into a series against the up and coming Houston Astros, it felt like that is what was happening. Then Jeff Banister happened. Read More