Good morning, Nation. We’re back with our weekly installment of “This Week in Baseball”, where Taylor, Matt, and Jeff will highlight interesting and/or important stories happening throughout baseball. As always, hope you enjoy – and let us know what you’ve been reading by posting in the comment section below.

Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira top list of April surprises by David Schoenfield, ESPN

Although still young, there have been a number of surprises so far in the 2015 Major League Baseball season. Some of these surprises include the productivity of aging stars on the Yankees roster, the Cubs actually winning baseball games, and the struggles of the Washington Nationals loaded rotation. David Schoenfield points out April’s biggest surprises and examines which of them are for real and which are just an outlier in a long season. (Gangloff)

Just a couple of baseball card stores remain in KC area, and they play a new game by Donald Bradley, Kansas City Star

The baseball card business has gone from a thriving, money fueled hobby in the 90’s to an after thought in recent memory. There are a lot of things to blame for the downfall, but one card store in Kansas City isn’t letting the recent card slump strike them out of business. Their new approach on dealing baseball cards may be unconventional,  but it sure isn’t impractical. (Gangloff)

The State of the Shift: Why Won’t More Teams Move Their Infielders? by Jonah Keri, Grantland

This year, the Astros are on pace to employ the defensive shift about 1,600 times – roughly 10 times per game. Last year, they saved 27 runs with their shift – which is an addition of about 3 wins to their total. So why haven’t all teams adopted the practice? Keri assumes teams will continue to employ the shift in greater numbers, but also that teams will become more adept at beating the shift. (Ballinger)

8 Weirdest GIFs from the Weirdest Baseball Game Ever by K.M. McFarland, Wired

My heart breaks for Baltimore, and I thought canceling games was the right call. Some things in life are more important than sports, and I was surprised they chose to play their game on Wednesday. However, I couldn’t turn away from the game. I kept wishing they would turn the mics on the field way up for viewers/listeners to really get a sense of the sounds of a typical baseball game. The FCC may have had a problem with it (assuming there’s some strong language among players), but I would have loved it. (Ballinger)

Edinson Volquez Could Be Steal of MLB Offseason in Replacing James Shields by Anthony Retrado, Bleacher Report

If there are any Reds fans out there like me, one of my favorite things to do is torture myself with the “coulda, woulda, shouldas” of baseball scenarios as it relates to players who used to be on our roster.  And man oh man…I can believe I am saying this, but how good would Edinson Volquez look in a Reds jersey right now?  Probably better than Jason Marquis…How many of use out there could have predicted a scenario where Volquez, over his last 21 starts would have posted an ERA of 1.86!  It’s just too bad he had never played for the Cardinals…he could have been a staple in the rotation for us for years to come.  Volquez is currently signed to the Royals for what is now looking like a bargain deal of 2 years and $20 million.  Oh, what could have been. (Korte)

Nine of the Worst Baseball Hall of Fame Selections Ever by Ryan Fagan, Sporting News

Rabbit Maranville. Lloyd Waner.  Ever heard of these guys?  Yeah, neither have I.  As much as I like to consider myself a student of history, especially when it comes to our national past time, I have no clue who these guys are…nor did I know before looking at this article that they were in the Hall of Fame.  This article highlights one player per position who is currently in the Hall of Fame…why they are there…and then gives an example of a player who played the same position who should be in the Hall in their place.  Debating who should and shouldn’t be in the Hall is a great way to waste a few hours…so let this article do the work for you…the next time you are in a bar debating with your buddies who shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, you can add some ammunition to your repertoire of knowledge with these nine less-than-deserving members of the Hall. (Korte)

8 Responses

    • Jeff Gangloff

      Saw that article and read it this week as well. Very informative.

  1. Steve Mancuso

    The article on the baseball card shops in Kansas City caused me to pull out my old, ungraded collection. I bet I have cards that are worth something, but not sure how to go about figuring that out.

    • jdx19

      Let me know what you’ve got! I’m into the hobby.

      Having cards graded (unless you are a business) is an expensive process. Usually will cost you $6-$7 per card, even in bulk.

    • cfd3000

      Steve – same here. I’ve got some forty year old Topps sets that I think are priceless and I’m sure are closer to worthless, but I’m guessing there are a few nuggets in there…

    • Jeff Gangloff

      Does Beckett still exist? You can buy this months copy and use it to look up a cards value. I believe they list the value by grade and even if its ungraded.

  2. redsfan06

    Why am I not surprised that 8 of the 9 worst HOF selections were made by the Veterans Committee.

  3. cfd3000

    Love the old nicknames. My new favorite old time Red “High Pockets” Kelly, “Little Poison” who wouldn’t have had a nickname if it weren’t for his big brother “Big Poison” and “Rabbit” Maranville who in his picture looks the exact opposite of cute and fluffy and fleet. Let’s move these guys from the real HoF and into the new nickname HoF next to the better known “Splendid Splinter” and the “Say Hey Kid”. I love that about baseball. Nearly lost my lunch when someone referred to Rose as “Peter Hustle” and I had to explain that it’s actually “Charlie”. Where have the great nicknames gone?