Home Run Derby gets a Makeover

Home Run Derby Gets a Makeover

Here’s a look at the new Home Run Derby format that will be unveiled at next month’s MLB All-Star game. I think it will make things more exciting and I can’t wait to see it in action.

Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies were named captains of the AL and NL, respectively, on Monday. They will each determine the other four participants on their teams.


Round 1

  • Ten participants total; five participants representing each league.
  • Batting order will be determined prior to the event. Hitter No. 1 for the NL will hit first followed by Hitter No. 1 for the AL (home team). This order will continue for hitters Nos. 2-5 for each league, with the NL going first followed by the AL.
  • Each participant will receive seven outs.
  • The player from each league who hits the most home runs (AL 1; NL 1) will automatically advance to round three (semifinals).
  • The next two participants with the most home runs from each league (AL 2; AL 3 / NL 2; NL 3) advance to Round 2.

Round 2

  • The two participants advancing from Round 1 for each league will compete against each other (AL 2 vs. AL 3 / NL 2 vs. NL 3).
  • The NL matchup will occur first, followed by the AL matchup, with NL 2 and AL 2 choosing if they want to hit first or second.
  • Each participant will receive seven outs.
  • The winners from the Round 2 matchups (one from each league) will advance to Round 3 (semifinals).

Round 3 (Semifinals)

  • The top seed from each league (AL 1; NL 1) will face the winner from his league’s Round 2 matchup.
  • The NL matchup will occur first, followed by the AL matchup, with NL 1 and AL 1 choosing if they want to hit first or second.
  • Each participant will receive seven outs.
  • The participant from each league with the most home runs will advance to the Finals.

Round 4 (Finals)

  • The semifinal winners (one player from each league) will compete for the crown of Home Run Derby champion.
  • The batting order will be determined by a coin flip, which will be held at a meeting at home plate between the two finalists and their league captains (note that a finalist and team captain could be the same participant).
  • Each finalist will receive seven outs.


  • If two or more players are tied for advancement into the next round or for the championship, each player will receive three swings to hit as many home runs as possible. If they are still tied after threeswings, they will each take one swing. This process is repeated if necessary until one player wins the swing-off.
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Ted Leonsis Needs to Keep this Wizards Team Together

Wizards Take Game 1, 102-93

Wizards Take Game 1, 102-93

The Washington Wizards showed tremendous heart by battling through some tough adversity to win Game 1 over the Chicago Bulls tonight! They appeared to be teetering on the brink of disaster when the Bulls went up by 13 points in the third quarter and the United Center crowd was rocking, but they refused to fold under the pressure!

This was the most impressive win by a Wizards team in many years and I couldn’t be happier. Nobody outside of D.C. gave this team a chance against the playoff tested Bulls and many were predicting the Wiz to get swept. Those people can put away their brooms now.

Nene set the tone early and played a great game, but this was really a total team effort with six players scoring in double digits. This was a great win, but now we’ve got a golden opportunity to come back home with a commanding 2-0 series lead if we take care of business Tuesday night in Game 2.

I really hope owner Ted Leonsis will keep this group together for at least the next couple of years because the foundation of a championship team is in place. We’ve got a great mix of young players and solid veterans that are showing great chemistry together. It’s great to see how guys are pulling for each other and that hasn’t always been the case here in the nation’s capital.

The mental toughness the team has started to develop this season is something I’ve waited many years to see and one of the factors that make me think we’re on the right track. It’s not easy to win on the road in the NBA and to be able to do it in the playoffs is huge.

Both Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza are going to be free agents this summer. Somehow Mr. Leonsis needs to find a way to keep them both here and it would be nice to see Drew Gooden re-signed as well. I almost forgot about Al Harrington and would like to see him stick around as well. All of us long-suffering Bullets/Wizards fans deserve nothing less in my opinion.

I didn’t include Andre Miller in my wishlist of re-signings because he’s already under contract for next season. He’s been huge down the stretch since coming over at the trade deadline.

This team could grow into something special if given the opportunity!





Nationals Must Solve Braves Riddle to Win the N.L. East in 2014

nats - bravesThe Atlanta Braves own the Washington Nationals and it was never more apparent than this past weekend in Atlanta with the Braves sweeping the Nats. Since the start of the 2013 season the Braves have won 18 of the last 25 head-to-head meetings between the two N.L. East rivals.

This rivalry is starting to feel like the Cowboys and Redskins with the Braves always seeming to get that lucky bounce or close call to fall their way.

The 2014 season has just started and we’ve got a lot of baseball left to play, but one thing has been made crystal clear, the Nats must find a way to get things turned around against the Braves if they’re going to reclaim the division title.

I’ve heard some people saying the Nats can still win the N.L. East without solving this Braves riddle, but I don’t agree with that line of thinking because we play them 13 more times this season. Wake up people, if you can’t beat the Braves you won’t win the division, period!

I still think we’ve got the better team from top to bottom, but for whatever reason we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with mental mistakes and the Braves make us pay for just about every one of them.

The one area where the Braves are clearly head and shoulders better than the Nats is in the bullpen and it’s not even close in my opinion.

New manager Matt Williams has his work cut out for him and I’m curious to see if he can get his team to overcome this Braves obstacle standing in their way? Stay tuned.



Orioles Improve Depth with Trade for Lombardozzi

Steve Lombardozzi

Steve Lombardozzi

The Baltimore Orioles made a very good trade by acquiring Steve Lombardozzi from the Detroit Tigers for veteran Alex Gonzalez. This is a huge move for the Orioles because Lombo’s a very solid player that can play almost any position on the field and plays the game the right way. This kid will become a fan favorite very quickly in Baltimore.

This is a steal of a deal for the Orioles front office in my opinion because they gave up essentially nothing to dramatically upgrade their bench. Gonzalez is a 37 year old player that really had no future with the Orioles once Manny Machado returns and that could be soon according to various reports. So flipping him for a 25 year old player like Lombo is a great move.

The Tigers are in a tight spot and in need of a Shortstop, but I don’t think Alex Gonzalez is the right answer to their problem. He last played the position at the big league level back in 2011.

I know it may look like I’m bashing Gonzalez, but I’m not trying too. I’m looking at this deal from both sides and I understand why the Tigers made the move, but I think they made a bad trade.




The NFL’s Annual Free Agent Signing Frenzy Begins Today and the Redskins are Back in the Hunt

Redskins One

Redskins One

The NFL free agent signing period is already cranked up into overdrive and it doesn’t officially start until this afternoon at 4 p.m.!

It’s nice to see the salary cap handcuffs taken off the Washington Redskins after a two-year penalty imposed by the league office. Now I’m hearing the team linked to many of the big name players on the market, but that was always the case before the team was exiled unjustly by the a-holes in New York. Most of those rumors are nothing more than B.$. being floated by agents trying to drive up the price tag of signing their clients.

I’d really like to see the team sign CB Aqib Talib and I have a strong feeling they will get a deal done soon. Pairing Talib up with the recently re-signed DeAngelo Hall would give the team one of the top CB duos in the league. I almost forgot about youngster David Amerson who showed flashes of being a playmaker during his rookie season last year. That would give the team the ability to match up with just about any offense in the NFL.

So far this offseason the new front office has re-signed Hall, LB Brian Orakpo, NT Chris Baker, and it was just announced they have reached a deal with LB Perry Riley.

I was surprised to hear the Buccaneers are parting ways with CB Darrelle Revis after only one season, but I’d still prefer to sign Talib. I’m sure some people will disagree with me, but I want Talib, period!

There’s also speculation the ‘Skins are very interested in scooping up RB Darren Sproles and I think he’d be a perfect fit here in D.C.! Sproles would form a great one-two punch with Alfred Morris out of the backfield and his versatility makes it a no-brainer. Plus he can return kicks which is another area we’ve struggled in.

My other big free agent wish is to have a safety signed with Jairus Byrd being my top target, but I wouldn’t grossly overpay for his services. His price tag may be a little too high and in that case I’d look at Donte Whitner who may actually be a better fit.

I hope the pilot for Redskins One has gotten plenty of rest over the last two years because something tells me the old boy’s going to be quite busy over the next few weeks!


Fantasy Basketball Season Update Heading into Week 20

fantasy basketball picHere’s a quick update on how my second season of Fantasy Basketball is going as we enter Week 20 and the stretch run to the playoffs. I’ve got to say things have went a lot better than my disastrous rookie season last year. My team is 16-3 and looks strong.

Coming into this 2014 season I had a goal of making the playoffs and would have been happy with that progress after last season’s nightmare. But now I’ll be disappointed with anything less than winning the league championship. My team has already clinched a division title and is close to wrapping up the #1 seed going into the playoffs.

I’ve been fortunate on the injury front this season and have my fingers crossed that my main horses will remain healthy all the way through. You can click on my team’s name in the standings box below and that will let you see what my current roster looks like.


East Division
Team W L T PCT GB Streak Div Wks PF Back PA
BeltwayBoySports.com 16 3 0 0.842 0 W2 7-2-0 11 5649.8 0.0 5010.0
thelandsharks 12 7 0 0.632 4 W2 4-5-0 1 5064.5 585.3 4743.7
nate1 11 8 0 0.579 5 L1 4-5-0 0 5100.8 549.0 5022.6
Inman Nuggets 9 10 0 0.474 7 W1 3-6-0 0 4859.9 789.8 4522.2
Central Division
Team W L T PCT GB Streak Div Wks PF Back PA
POWER* 14 5 0 0.737 0 W2 6-3-0 2 5294.5 355.3 4283.9
COWBOYS 13 9 10 0 0.474 5 L1 6-3-0 1 5104.9 544.9 4582.6
well balanced 8 11 0 0.421 6 W1 5-4-0 2 4765.4 884.4 4276.7
kuda 3 16 0 0.158 11 L11 1-8-0 0 1263.9 4385.9 4964.7
West Division
Team W L T PCT GB Streak Div Wks PF Back PA
Last Second Shot 11 8 0 0.579 0 W8 6-3-0 0 4773.2 876.6 4202.6
Gamers 9 10 0 0.474 2 L2 5-4-0 1 5115.6 534.2 4660.1
The TX WASABI 7 12 0 0.368 4 L3 6-3-0 0 4838.8 811.0 4788.7
willy 5 14 0 0.263 6 L10 1-8-0 1 4118.8 1531.0 4892.3
Last Updated: 03/10/14 12:54 pm ET

Bringing Brian Orakpo Back Was a Smart Move by the Redskins

Brian Orakpo

Brian Orakpo

The Washington Redskins did the right thing by using the franchise tag on LB Brian Orakpo in my opinion. I admit to being against the team bringing him back on a huge multi-year deal because I don’t think he’s produced enough and has been injury prone.

But after hearing that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett plans on letting Orakpo pin his ears back and rush the passer more I think using the franchise tag on him was the right thing to do. This is nothing more than a one-year deal and it’s worth the gamble.

I know the team says they’re working on a multi-year deal with his agents, but I wouldn’t give him anything more until I see him producing on the field this fall. That way if anything goes wrong we’re not eating another bad contract.

I think he’s been misused from day one and should have been used as a pass rusher from the get-go.

It would suck to see him go to another team that uses him the right way and watch him have a monster 18-sack season. Remember Carlos Rogers, Ryan Clark, and Antonio Pierce all left here and blossomed elsewhere.

Who knows how things will turn out, but I think the team did the right thing here. What’s your opinion?



Can the Wizards Stay in the Playoff Race Without Nene?

neneThe Washington Wizards were dealt a serious blow with Nene going down for six weeks with a sprained MCL in yesterday’s win in Cleveland. The road to their first postseason berth in five years has just gotten a little tougher.

There’s no doubt that this is a huge loss for the Wizards, but they can remain in the hunt without him in the lineup. I can’t believe so many people are acting like this season has just went down the toilet and the team will fall out of the Eastern Conference playoff race without Nene on the court.

I know his absence will hurt, but I believe the team can overcome this and remain in the playoff hunt as long as they don’t suffer anymore serious injuries. The recent trade for Andre Miller and the return to health by Al Harrington have come at the perfect time because they will help to fill the void.

I think Kevin Seraphin’s been playing well and will step into a bigger role along with Trevor Booker until Nene can return to the court. The good news is that Nene will be able to return before the end of the season and be able to contribute in the postseason.

The Wizards are 28-28 with 26 games remaining in the regular season and currently sitting in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a five and a half game lead on the ninth seeded Detroit Pistons, but only a game and a half up on the eighth seeded Atlanta Hawks.

John Wall has shown tremendous growth this season as a floor leader and I can’t say enough about how important Trevor Ariza has been this season scoring the basketball and playing some great defense. Bradley Beal’s game has improved as well and I think they have enough to nail down a playoff berth without the big man playing right now.

Another factor to look at is the Wizards have a favorable schedule the rest of the way.


2014 Fantasy Baseball Head-to-Head Scoring Projections

Here’s an early look at some player projections for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball season. This is a chart that I came across on CBS Sports and is based off  using a Head-to-Head scoring format.

I’m going to be releasing my own player rankings over the coming weeks as we get closer to draft time. I don’t agree with all of the scoring projections below, but I do think pitcher Clayton Kershaw will be the highest scoring player again this season if he stays healthy.

Now that football has entered the offseason I can’t stop thinking about the upcoming baseball season. I’ve been putting the final touches on my draft preparations.

I’m going to have more fantasy sports coverage on the site starting with this baseball season and here’s a brief listing of what you can expect to see:

  • Player Rankings
  • Sits/Starts Lists
  • Waiver Wire Pickups
  • Sleepers and Busts
  • Strategy and More

I’m also going to delve into the world of the daily fantasy cash leagues. Can you really make money playing fantasy sports? I’ve never played in any of the daily leagues, yet. But I’m on my way and I’m going to chronicle the journey on here for anyone who wants to follow along to see how things turn out.



League Leaders by Position



2014 Season
Joe Mauer, MIN 0.311 13 84 486
Carlos Santana, CLE 0.262 23 78 442
Buster Posey, SF 0.304 19 84 425
Jonathan Lucroy, MIL 0.291 20 79 412
Matt Wieters, BAL 0.254 24 85 383
Evan Gattis, ATL 0.253 27 89 371



First Basemen

2014 Season
Paul Goldschmidt, ARI 0.310 33 118 601
Joey Votto, CIN 0.316 27 85 554
Prince Fielder, TEX 0.289 31 110 531
Edwin Encarnacion, TOR 0.273 34 97 513
Freddie Freeman, ATL 0.287 25 101 477
Chris Davis, BAL 0.269 43 103 477



Second Basemen

2014 Season
Robinson Cano, SEA 0.307 29 105 539
Dustin Pedroia, BOS 0.291 11 78 493
Matt Carpenter, STL 0.298 12 66 489
Ian Kinsler, DET 0.264 18 68 481
Jason Kipnis, CLE 0.263 18 79 460
Martin Prado, ARI 0.297 14 79 452



Third Basemen

2014 Season
Miguel Cabrera, DET 0.326 41 126 614
Evan Longoria, TB 0.281 33 101 512
Adrian Beltre, TEX 0.307 30 95 493
Matt Carpenter, STL 0.298 12 66 489
David Wright, NYM 0.298 22 84 484
Josh Donaldson, OAK 0.281 22 86 455




2014 Season
Troy Tulowitzki, COL 0.301 30 98 484
Hanley Ramirez, LAD 0.298 26 88 476
Jose Reyes, TOR 0.293 14 54 475
Elvis Andrus, TEX 0.277 5 61 463
Ben Zobrist, TB 0.273 15 73 434
Jean Segura, MIL 0.281 8 43 433




2014 Season
Mike Trout, LAA 0.307 32 101 622
Andrew McCutchen, PIT 0.313 24 92 549
Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY 0.294 12 57 521
Ryan Braun, MIL 0.296 28 96 499
Carlos Gonzalez, COL 0.293 30 91 493
Adam Jones, BAL 0.280 31 91 489



Starting Pitchers

2014 Season
Player W K ERA PTS
Clayton Kershaw, LAD 20 240 2.49 708
Justin Verlander, DET 19 238 2.95 635
Adam Wainwright, STL 19 210 3.01 635
Cliff Lee, PHI 15 213 2.95 599
Max Scherzer, DET 18 229 3.04 592
Felix Hernandez, SEA 15 222 2.97 589



Relief Pitchers

2014 Season
Player S K ERA PTS
Craig Kimbrel, ATL 47 97 1.46 525
Greg Holland, KC 44 99 1.61 500
Kenley Jansen, LAD 40 104 1.95 489
Trevor Rosenthal, STL 43 98 2.25 488
Aroldis Chapman, CIN 42 109 2.05 483
Koji Uehara, BOS 37 87 1.85 445


Michael Sam’s Announcement Will Hurt His NFL Draft Stock, But It Shouldn’t

michael samI don’t care what people around the NFL say leading up to this year’s draft about Michael Sam coming out of the closet and announcing to the world he’s gay. People will all try to say the politically correct stuff, but this announcement will hurt his draft stock and there’s no way in this world will I change my perception until proven wrong.

His sexual orientation is his business as far as I’m concerned, but I don’t think he should have come out before the NFL Draft because it’s going to cost him a lot of money. He’s already starting to slide down some predraft boards. He’s fallen from #90 to #110 on NFL Draft Scout’s rankings.

NFL teams don’t like to have distractions and anyone who takes a chance on this kid will be bringing a media circus to town with him. There’s no way of getting around it now that the cat’s out of the bag.

I give the kid credit for having the balls to make this announcement to the world, but must question the timing and what the fallout will be for him.

The good thing for him is that he’s got enough talent to play in the NFL and to help a team win football games. That is the bottom line, winning football games. But this announcement does throw a huge wrinkle into the equation that will make this a fascinating story to follow over the next few months.

We all knew that an active player would come out of the closet one day, but this is more than that because this guy isn’t even in the league yet.

Just in case you’re wondering, I’d have no problem with the Washington Redskins being the team that picks this kid. He’s a defensive playmaker and would help them to win football games, period!

Check out his college highlights below and let me know what you think about his announcement and NFL future. Would you want your favorite team to draft him?