Miguel Cabrera

Top 10 Athletes of 2012

The year 2012 has come and gone and there was some unbelievable athletes that kept us entertained for the year. From Soccer to Tennis, I present the Top 10 Athletes of 2012 – These names are in no particular order, keep that in mind while checking this out!

10. Lindsey Vonn – Skiing

Lindsey Vonn has taken a step away from her sport as of late, but it's no debate that she's at the top of her game. (Photo: RedBullUSA.com)

Lindsey Vonn has taken a step away from her sport as of late, but it’s no debate that she’s at the top of her game. (Photo: RedBullUSA.com)

If I were writing a second edition of the Hottest Women in Sports, Lindsey would be included in that too, but this one is about athletes, and she’s a hell of an athlete. Vonn has dominated Women’s skiing for years, from 2008-2010 she swept all the titles in the World Cup, and continued that dominance in the 2012 World Cup. In 2012 she became the third winningest Female Skier of all time, as well as claimed her 50th World Cup victory in Germany. Vonn fell ill later in the year with an intestinal illness, but was able to come back in late November to run the table on events held in Canada despite not being 100 percent recovered from her illness.

 

9.  Roger Federer – Tennis

Federer held the top position in Tennis for the majority of 2012. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Federer held the top position in Tennis for the majority of 2012. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Roger Federer took his game to a whole new level in 2012, unfortunately just a few weeks ago he was dropped to number two in the ATP’s World Rankings, but he held the top position for the majority of the year. In 2012 he took home a Silver Medal in the London Olympics, as well as won the 2012 Wimbledon. Federer is a guy that his opponents don’t like facing because his game is never the same. He’s the Tom Brady of Tennis, a student of the game who plays with his unique skillset, but also his technique. It changes with every match he goes into and it’s one of the reasons why he’s the best Tennis star in the world, despite his dropping in ranks this December.

 

8. Ryan Lochte – USA – US  Men’s Swimming

Gold and Grills were a big part of Lochte's year, and he was a big winner in the Summer Olympics (Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)

Gold and Grills were a big part of Lochte’s year, and he was a big winner in the Summer Olympics (Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)

Ryan Lochte was one of the highlights of the 2012 London Olympics, and he’s a pretty down-to-earth dude. He beat out Michael Phelps this summer at the games, and while he acknowledged the greatness that is Phelps, he took home the Gold and claimed the top spot of the swimming world with a total of 5 Medals. Shortly after the Olympics he even dueled Prince Harry, fully clothed and whooped him as well! Lochte is also a fun character out of the pool too, as pictured above he’s a grill-rocking funny guy who just likes being himself. He also trademarked the word “Jeah”  this summer as well, his signature way of saying “Yeah”. His year was a great one, and he looks to stay on top of his sport for years to come!

 

7. Mike Trout – MLB – L.A. Angels of Anaheim

Mike Trout dominated in his rookie year winning both Rookie of the Year and the MLB's Player of the Year. (Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE)

Mike Trout dominated in his rookie year winning Rookie of the Year and was runner up for the AL MVP. (Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE)

Mike Trout was one of the best stories in Baseball this year after exploding onto the scene for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He broke records throughout the year, the earliest was his scoring in 14 consecutive games, an Angels record and an MLB Rookie record. In July, Trout scored 34 runs, breaking a rookie record that was held since 1934. He was also the youngest player in league history to hit 20 home runs and steal 40 bases, but that’s not all as he became the first player in MLB History to post 30 home runs, 45 stolen bases and 125 runs in one season. He was rightfully named the MLB’s Rookie of the Year and came second to being named AL MVP for the season. He’s gonna be a fun one to watch for a long time!

 

6. Miguel Cabrera – MLB – Detroit Tigers

Miguel Cabrera was the MLB's first Triple-Crown Winner since 1967. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Miguel Cabrera was the MLB’s first Triple-Crown Winner since 1967. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

This seven time All-Star has been around for some time, but he surged this season for the Detroit Tigers. He’s always been regarded as one of the best in the game, and this year was no different as he claimed the AL MVP after becoming the first player since 1967 to become the Triple-Crown winner. Cabrera also became the first player in Tigers history to have five seasons with 30 or more home runs. He also set a career record, having accounted for 205 hits on the year helping Detroit get to the World Series. His year was a great one and hopefully he can continue into 2013!

 

5.  Lionel Messi – La Liga – FC Barcelona

Messi scored an incredible 91 goals in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

Messi scored an incredible 91 goals in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

Lionel Messi was an absolute monster in 2012 setting World Records in the year. His 91 total goals in a season broke a 40 year old record for most goals set in a calendar year, and he made it look easy while doing it. He scored five goals in one match this year, setting the new record in the UEFA Champions League for goals scored in a match. His 2012 year was capped with a second consecutive top goalscorer award, and the fourth award of the same honors in the UEFA Champions League. He’s widely regarded as the best footballer in the world, and his numbers don’t lie. His athleticism is outstanding and at 25 years old I don’t see him slowing down any at all for a long time!

 

4. Kevin Durant – NBA – Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant helped get his team to the NBA Finals in 2012 while claiming his third straight scoring title. (AP Photo)

Kevin Durant helped get his team to the NBA Finals in 2012 while claiming his third straight scoring title. (AP Photo)

Kevin Durant has been fun to watch since joining the NBA in 2007. He’s insanely gifted and is arguably one of the best players in the league. He doesn’t stop, and rarely has a bad game. In 2o12 he claimed his third consecutive NBA Scoring title while leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a trip to the NBA Finals. He averaged 28 points per game in 2012, bringing his career average to 26, averaging two more than the NBA’s All-Time leader in scoring, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In 2012 he set career numbers, including a 51 point performance against the Denver Nuggets. He was named the All-Star game MVP, and came second in the NBA’s MVP award. In the NBA Finals Durant averaged 30.6 points per game. Although the Thunder fell to the Miami Heat, Durant put up numbers to remember in the five-game series. He looks as if he’ll continue what he’s always done going into 2013.

 

3. Adrian Peterson – NFL -Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson had a remarkable comeback season, just months after he suffered a potential career-ending knee injury (AP Photo)

Adrian Peterson had a remarkable comeback season, just months after he suffered a potential career-ending knee injury (AP Photo)

The story surrounding Adrian Peterson in 2012 was awesome. In the 2011 NFL Season, Peterson suffered an injury to his knee that could have very well ended his career. He missed one game going into the offseason and many questioned if he’d be ready to play in the 2012 season. He shocked the world by his rehabilitation, and he suited up for the Minnesota Vikings opening game. That alone was a story in itself, and miraculous. What he did after returning to the field, however, was even better. Heading into the season Peterson said his goal would be to reach 2,500 yards, the goal he sets for himself every season. But coming off a complete rebuild of the knee, nobody thought it would happen. He didn’t quite reach his goal, but he did do outstanding work while coming up nine yards short of the NFL’s single season rushing yardage record. Peterson finished the season with 2,097 rushing yards, putting him in second place all-time for yardage in a season. For a guy that wasn’t expected to do much in 2012, he sure took the bull by the horns and did things his way. An awesome year for Peterson.

 

2. Calvin Johnson – NFL – Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson dominated 2012 while breaking Jerry Rice's single-season receiving record (US PRESSWIRE)

Calvin Johnson dominated 2012 while breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record (US PRESSWIRE)

Calvin “Megatron” Johnson has a supreme year in 2011, catapulting him to the top of the NFL World as a receiver. After his breakout season, Megatron was put on the cover of the Madden Video game, setting him up for the so-called “Madden Curse”. That alone wasn’t looking good going into 2012, but the Lions added yet another curse, by signing him to a monstrous eight year, $132 million dollar deal making him the highest paid receiver in the league. Past history shows that the Madden Curse sets a player up for failure, and a lot of times after signing a big deal, players hit a slump that takes a year to dig out of. For Megatron in 2012, nothing got in his way. He didn’t have the double-digit touchdown stat he enjoyed the year before, but not at fault of his own – as Johnson was brought down inside the opponents three yard line six times, taking away from his touchdown total. But Johnson did enjoy the season he had before setting him up to surpass Jerry Rice’s single-season yardage record. He had himself in prime position to become the first receiver in NFL history with 2,000 yards receiving, but fell just 36 yards shy of the goal. His 1,964 receiving yards are the most in league history, and it might take a while for someone to even sniff that, let alone pass it. Megatron is one of the most gifted weapons in the league, and he’s not going anywhere any time soon.

 

1. LeBron James – NBA – Miami Heat

King James finally got his ring in 2012 after an impressive showing in the NBA Finals (AP Photo)

King James finally got his ring in 2012 after an impressive showing in the NBA Finals (AP Photo)

LeBron James had a 2012 to remember. He won yet another NBA MVP award, his first NBA Championship, a Finals MVP award and a Gold Medal in the Summer Olympic Games. One of the more memorable performances of his 2012 season was the game six performance vs the Celtics where he went crazy on the court , scoring 45 points and grabbing 15 boards on the way to helping the Heat force a game seven in the series. LeBron was also named the Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. In the Summer Olympics, LeBron became the first player in Olympic history to complete a triple-double when he registered 11 points, 12 assists and 14 rebounds against the Australia Men’s team. He also became the USA’s leading scorer in the Olympics where he finished with 273 points all-time. LeBron took a step forward in 2012, and with the ring on his finger he should have proven to everyone that he is one of the best NBA players of all time.

 

Bonus: Chrissie Wellington – Triathlon

Chrissie Wellington crosses the finish line as she claims her fourth Triathlon World Title. (Bruce Omori/EPA)

Chrissie Wellington crosses the finish line as she claims her fourth Triathlon World Title. (Bruce Omori/EPA)

You’re probably wondering who Chrissie is, but let me tell you – she is one freakish athlete. Not only should she be included on this list for the top athletes of the year, but probably one of the greatest of all time, and most people have never heard of her. Have you ever heard of a Triathlon? Insanely gifted athletes train year-round to compete in one of these things, and most never come close to winning the race. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bicycle ride, topped off with a full 26.2 mile marathon – without a break – and usually has a time limit of 17 hours. Non. Stop. Yeah, gifted, right? Well Chrissie has not only won one of these events, she’s won four World Titles! In 2012 she retired after winning her fourth Title with an amazing time of  8 hours and 55 minutes. She’s definitely deserving of being listed here, and we wish her the best in her retirement!

 

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Top 9 MLB Players That Have a Legitimate Shot at 500 Home Runs

Believe it or not, Major League Baseball has two active players that are members of the 500 home run club. In fact, both Alex Rodriguez (640) and Jim Thome (608) are members of the 600 home run club. With the new drug testing policy in MLB, you will no longer see power hitters continue to put up inflated numbers . With a level playing field it will be difficult for upcoming ball players to reach the magical 500 number. However, there are still big league players with a chance at joining the elite club. Here is my list of nine players that have a shot at 500 home runs.

Honorable Mentions

Chipper Jones is 40 years old with 459 round trippers and has announced that this will be his last year.  Chipper is going out with class and knows when to hang them up.  Vladimir Guerrero 37 years old with 449 HRs, oh so close, not with a team right now.  If he gets pick up by another MLB team it will be painful to watch!  Jason Giambi is 41 years old with 429 HRs and playing for Colorado Rockies.  Jason is no longer an everyday player and only has one HR this season… Can we say father time?  Lance Berkman is 36 years old, fighting a mcl tear and has 359 HR.  He has pop in his bat but with injury issues he probably won’t make it.  Todd Helton will be 39 this year with 354 HR.  He has had a wonderful career, and can rival Peyton Manning as the richest quarterback ever to come out of Tennessee, but he is too far away from the elite club.  Alfonso Soriano (354 HRs) & Carlos Lee’s (353 HRs) are both 36 years old and might be too far out of reach.  Two more that may fall just short of the 500 home run club maybe Aramis Ramirez who is 34 years old with 324 HRs and Carlos Beltran, who is 35 with 322 HRs.

Now to the list:

9.Detroit Tigers 1B Prince Fielder

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Top 5: Best Players in Baseball

Over the past decade it was pretty easy to say either Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez were the best players in baseball. But, as we approach another era in baseball history there is a change in the elitists of the game. Pujols put up a 9.0 and 7.5 WAR in 2010 and 2011, respectively. However, he dropped off to 5.1 last season. Which is still great production, but there’s a regression pattern in his numbers. Do the math, he’s basically dropped 4.0 WAR in two seasons. Now that he’s on the Angels, Pujols hasn’t helped out the team very much. In fact, he’s hurt them. He has a -0.2 WAR in 35 plate appearances (8 games.) It’s small sample size, and I wouldn’t expect him to stay around there all year. He’s Albert Pujols. He’s going to produce big numbers, but it’s his time to pass the baton to the young guys.

*All stats are from the 2010-Present Continue reading

Top 5 MLB Players Currently

Every season there are players who breakout and have themselves a season of a lifetime. They’ll be mentioned for either MVP or Cy Young. Though year in and year out you have the elite players who put up incredible numbers year in and out for their teams. So I figured I would look at the top 5 players in baseball in the last three seasons. These players are very commonly known. You won’t find any surprises here, but I thought you should know.

5. Miguel Cabrera  

He put up the fifth highest WAR as a hitter in the past three seasons. Miggy can hit for average and power. In one of the games top pitchers park’s Cabrera can hit 30 home runs a season. He has 102 home runs since 2009  with 334 RBI’s. What’s surprising about that is his batting average was .332 during that time. He’s a one of the most complete hitters. It’s rare to see someone swing for the fences and have such a high average. He makes guys like Adam Dunn look bad.

4. Troy Tulowitzki  

He has the sixth highest WAR as a position player since 2009. The reason the sixth guy on the list is higher than the fifth is that Tulo is such a rare player. For one he’s the best shortstop in the game and plays incredible defense. We all thought Hanley Ramirez would take the reigns from Derek Jeter, but it turns out it’s Tulo. He’s hit 89 home runs in the past three years. You just don’t see that kind of power from a shortstop, even in Coors Field. Tulowitzki would of had more if not for missing some games in the 2010 season. He went on a tear in September of the year.

3. Albert Pujols  

In years past his name would be number one on all these lists. Now it’s time that his career is going in the other direction. Of course he’s still good enough for 3rd on this list. It just goes to show how good Pujols has really been when we consider 37 home runs and 105 RBI’s a “regression”. We’re spoiled sorry to upset you Machine. Please don’t vaporize us. In all seriousness he’s first in WAR since 2009 by a small margin. He’s one of the top defensive first basemen in baseball and can hit the ball to all sides of the field on his command. Pujols will go down as one of the top 20 players in baseball history when it’s all said and done.

2. Evan Longoria 

I’m really high on Longoria. If not for injuries he could very well be owning this league. Longoria is second in WAR since 2009. His defense plays a large role in where he ranks, similarly to Tulowitzki. Longoria plays the best hot corner in baseball. I’d say he’s the absolute all-around best third basemen in the game currently. He hit 86 home runs in the past three years and has carried the Rays to a division title and a Wild Card spot. Longoria and Tulowitzki should be the best positional players in baseball over the next decade.

1. Roy “Doc” Halladay 

I couldn’t leave off the most consistent pitcher in the past five years off the list. Halladay eats up innings. His 723.1 is the most IP by pitcher in the last three years. Since 2009 Halladay leads pitchers in WAR.  He can either strike you out or he can get you to hit a weak ground ball. There’s a reason he pitched two no-hitters in 2010. He strands 79.9 % of his base runners. That’s the highest % of any pitcher with 600 innings pitched in the last three seasons. He’s a horse that the Phillies will ride until he has no more fuel left in him.

- By Lead Columnist Joe F  

 

Top 5 Current Hitting Duos in Baseball

Writer:  JOE F.

Free agency can potentially ruined a couple of these duo’s, but for now I’ll use last years lineups to get into this. There are many nice duos in the meat of the order for teams. These teams usually lead the league in home runs and RBI’s because the middle of the order is producing with runners on. These guys are going to get the job done in the middle of the order. Top 5 current hitting duos in baseball.

5. Robinson Cano – Alex Rodriguez

Cano is in the middle of him prime. He’s a powerful hitter with a sweet swing. In the past three years Cano has been on the edge of getting 30 home runs in a season. Cano is apart of the new breed of powerful second basemen. The thing is he’s probably the best hitting second basemen in the game. As for Alex Rodriguez he’s on his last leg if he gets hurt again. With a giant contract still intact for about five more seasons Alex still have two good years left in him. When he’s not hurting Alex can still be as dangerous as he was in his early days. Maybe not home run wise, but earlier in the 2011 season Rodriguez was hitting a bunch of line drives into the gaps for doubles. For the first three months his LD% was around 16%, but then the injury hit and it went down to 4%. This is the 3-4 combo the Yankees used in the post-season and I expect to see more of it now that Cano is the lineup’s best hitter.

4. Adrian Gonzalez – Kevin Youkilis

Despite missing the playoffs these two had excellent years. Even with the Youkilis injury this was one of the better hitting duo’s in baseball. Gonzalez had a great first couple months of the season, but like most of the Red Sox slowed down in September. That’s okay though. He’s still one of the elite hitters in baseball and is the most complete first basemen in the game. He can hit for average, power, and he can field. He won the gold glove in the American League this year beating out Teixeira. His average raised .40 points in Boston going from a .298 to a .338. Injuries has been hurting Youkilis over the past few years, but he still puts up great numbers. He has great power and with the position change is one of the best hitting third basemen in the game.

3. Ryan Braun – Prince Fielder

Braun has hit 30 home runs in five of his four seasons. He’s one of the best young hitters in the game and put him next to Prince Fielder and you have a scary 3-4 combination. Fielder is likely to leave the Brewers during this winter. This would definitely put a hurting on Braun and Fielder moving up on this list. Which we all know that is their reason to work so hard in the off-season right?

2. Miguel Cabrera – Victor Martinez

Martinez provided a ton of protection for Miguel Cabrera this past season. Miggy and V-Mart led the Tigers to the ALCS series and they just fell up short vs. the Texas Rangers. In his four seasons as a Tiger, Cabrera has hit at least 30 home runs in each of those season. A tough feat being in Comerica Park. One of the biggest baseball fields in the game. His power is incredible and to do it year in and year out in such a big ballpark makes it even more amazing. Imagine him playing in Yankee Stadium? Plus hitting home runs isn’t all he does. Cabrera batted .344 last year. As for Martinez he helped Cabrera have such a great year. Opposing teams didn’t want to get behind to Miguel and have Martinez up with a runner on base so better pitches were made to Cabrera.

1. Albert Pujols – Matt Holliday

The Pujols and Holliday duo is the best in the game. I expect Albert Pujols to be back in a Cardinals uniform next season. Pujols is the greatest hitter of this generation. He automatically can pull along anyone to make a solid combination on this list. Yet he still has some good help from Matt Holliday who will hit 28-30 home runs if he plays a full season without injury. They combined for 59 home runs in 2011 and they both helped the Cardinals win their 11th World Series in franchise history. This is the best hitting duo in baseball.

NL pitching shines; National squad claims 5-1 win in 2011 Midsummer Classic.

By Jim Racalto, writer/editor:

PHOENIX, AZ - Even with recent inductee into the 3,000 hit club Derek Jeter opting to not attend or play in the game, his absence did not take away from the star power and magic that comes with having the best baseball players in the world gracing one diamond. Adding to the greatness of the game is that the winner claims home-field advantage in the World Series, making it more of a competitive game than a show, a la the NBA All-Star Game. The Americans had won 12 of the last 15 All-Star games, but the Nationals had different ideas on Tuesday night, as they were able to claim a 5-1 victory.

The Phillies’ Roy Halladay started the game for the National League, and recorded six straight outs in his two innings of work before calling it a night. Jered Weaver also had an easy first three outs as he started for the AL, but in a turn of events the Yankees’ David Robertson replaced Boston’s Josh Beckett in the second inning after Beckett felt something wrong in his knee. Jose Bautista made a sliding highlight reel grab on a foul ball to the right field corner off the bat of the first guy Robertson faced, Atlanta’s Brian McCann, garnering an appreciative applause from the the audience in Phoenix.Pitching continued to dominate through the third, with only one hit between the two teams and the Mariners’ Michael Pineda striking out the final two batters of the inning.

Fireworks started in the top of the 4th frame. After Cliff Lee retired the first two batters he faced, Adrian Gonzalez sent a cutter over the right field fence, giving the AL a 1-0 lead and arousing a thunderous ovation. Following the homerun, back-to-back base hits by Jose Bautista and Josh Hamilton ended Lee’s night, as he gave way to Tyler Clippard of the Nationals. The ensuing batter, Adrian Beltre, ripped a base-hit line drive to left field, but any ideas of scoring were erased by Hunter Pence, as he gunned down Bautista at the plate for the final out.

The NL got things rolling in the bottom half with back-to-back singles by Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp. That set the stage for the tattooed Prince Fielder to stroll to the plate and cream one to left-center, giving his team a 3-1 cushion.

The top of the 5th marked a few changes in the lineup for both teams, and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw took the mound for the National squad and immediately sat David Ortiz down on strikes. Jordan Walden took the circle for the Americans in the bottom of the frame and gave up a single to Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was inserted as a pinch-runner, quickly stole second, then claimed third on a wild pitch. This was all for not, as Walden threw Castro out at the plate on a dribbler back to the mound. Andre Ethier drove in Rickie Weeks on a base-hit to extend the NL lead to 4-1, but Ethier was caught in a rundown for the final out of the inning.

A comedic moment came during an interview with superstar singer/actor Justin Timberlake, where he said beer is his favorite ball-park food and repeatedly told Joe Buck and Tim McCarver they’re classy guys and call a great game. Just another element of a game of this stature, as the stars aren’t only on the field. A touching scene occured before the start of the 7th, with a tribute to MLB legend Harmon Killebrew and the fight against cancer, reminding us all of the importance of little things in life we should not take for granted, regardless of social status.

The NL poured it on in the bottom of the 7th, as first-time all-star catcher, the Orioles’ Matt Wieters, let a pitch get away from him, and Hunter Pence was able to get all the way to third base after singling. He was driven in on a ground-rule double by Pablo Sandoval, increasing the lead to 5-1 and putting the game out of reach. The most exciting part of the top of the 8th had nothing to do with the American League’s at-bats, but rather Padres reliever Heath Bell sprinting to the mound and then sliding as he reached it.

The AL squad went down fighting in the top of the 9th, as expected. The Pirates’ Joel Hanrahan retired the first batter he faced, followed by an error on a routine grounder by Castro. Matt Joyce singled to right, followed by a wild throw that put runners on second and third with one out. Enter the Giants’ Brian Wilson and his 364 day-old beard, who came in and retired two straight batters to close it out as usual.

Prince Fielder was named the game MVP.

The absence of hurlers CC Sabathia and Jon Lester was apparent for the American team, as the National League performed top-notch on the offensive end while their pitching staff consistently retired batter after batter, rarely even letting up a scary inning.

Regarldess of the outcome, every player that took the field should be proud to call themselves All-Stars, as the Midsummer Classic epitomizes why baseball is America’s pastime and grandest sport. 16 teams in the MLB are within 5 games of a playoff spot, so fans should gear up for what should be a thrilling second-half of an already historical season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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