Victor Martinez

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Posted by bender 03/04/2009 @ 00:12

Tags : victor martinez, baseball players, baseball, sports

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Cleveland 11, Tampa Bay 7 - USA Today
Runner on first with one out and Victor Martinez due up. Single: Victor Martinez singled to short. Runners on first and third with one out and Shin-Soo Choo due up. Out: Shin-Soo Choo struck out swinging. Runners on first and third with two outs and...
Play by play - USA Today
Runner on first with one out and Victor Martinez due up. Out: Victor Martinez lined out to left. Runner on first with two outs and Shin-Soo Choo due up. Out: Shin-Soo Choo grounded out short to first to end the inning. Stolen-base: BJ Upton stole...
Cleveland Indians lose a wild one, 7-5, to Tampa Bay in hot ... - The Plain Dealer - cleveland.com
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon came on the field to protest and catcher Victor Martinez started yelling at him and the rest of the Rays. JP Howell threw a pitch over Martinez's head on Friday night, touching off a shouting match between the two....
Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians grow testy over unwritten rules - Tampabay.com
"They've got to show respect to get respect," Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez said Sunday. "You don't see nobody (expletive) stealing 9-0 in the sixth or seventh inning." The problem is baseball's unwritten rules do not take into account smaller...
Hijinks extend beyond lineup gaffe - MLB.com
No doubt in a less verbose manner, Maddon shared these feelings with Indians catcher Victor Martinez from the dugout. Martinez let Maddon know his feelings, as well. Next thing you knew, everybody was on the field barking at each other....
On baseball Papi's power struggle - Boston Globe
There has been talk among scouts that the Indians might be willing to deal 29-year-old catcher/first baseman/DH Victor Martinez for young pitching. Martinez, who earns $5.7 million this season and $7 million in his option season next year,...
Keeping Victor Martinez? - Let's Go Tribe
by Deep South Ken on May 15, 2009 10:49 AM EDT 0 comments Last year, when Martinez was injured, Shoppach was hitting, and the Indians had just snagged Carlos Santana, I figured that the Tribe planned to let Victor play out his contract and move on....
Victor Martinez - Camarillo Acorn
Victor Martinez won the award for top listing agent from Prudential California Realty's Oxnard/Channel Islands office for January 2009. A lifelong resident of Ventura County, Martinez has a wealth of experience from the education, agriculture and...
Update on the latest in sports: | kxnet.com North Dakota News - KXMC
Victor Martinez continues to terrorize American League pitchers. The Indians catcher had four more hits and drove in four runs in an 11-7 win over Tampa Bay. Martinez is hitting a major league-best .400 with 56 hits, the most in the majors....
Play by play - USA Today
Runner on first with one out and Victor Martinez due up. Out: Victor Martinez grounded out second to pitcher. Runner on second with two outs and Shin-Soo Choo due up. Walk: Shin-Soo Choo walked. Runners on first and second with two outs and Mark DeRosa...

Víctor Martínez (bodybuilder)

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Victor Martinez (born San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic July 29, 1973), is an International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) professional bodybuilder, the second Dominican bodybuilder to turn professional. The first being Tony Domenench from Puerto Plata, who turned pro in 1995. His career highlights has been winning the Arnold Classic in 2007 and finishing runner-up at the 2007 Mr. Olympia.

His career was launched when he competed in the 1997 National Physique Committee (NPC) New York Metro Championships as a light heavyweight, where he placed first. He continued competing in NPC tournaments until 2001, where he competed in his first IFBB tournament, the Night of Champions, where he placed 8th. The following year, in 2002, he competed in his first Arnold Classic, and placed 13th. He also competed in his first Ironman Pro Invitational the same year, placing 9th.

His first Mr. Olympia came in 2004, where he placed 9th, but he advanced to 5th place in 2005, 3rd place in 2006 , and 2nd place in 2007. In 2005 Ronnie Coleman predicted that Martinez would be his successor as Mr. Olympia, although this position is held by the 2008 Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson.

In 2007, Martinez took first at the Arnold Classic. Martinez later finished second to Jay Cutler at the 2007 Mr. Olympia contest.

Height: 5'9" / 175 cm.

Contest weight: 250 lbs / 113 kg.

Off-season weight: 275 lbs / 125 kg.

Arms: 21" / 56 cm.

Chest: 58" / 147.5 cm.

Waist: 32" / 81.5 cm.

Thighs: 30" / 76.5 cm.

Calves: 20" / 51 cm.

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Iván Rodríguez

Iván Rodríguez (baseball).jpg

Iván Rodríguez Torres (born November 30, 1971 in Manatí, Puerto Rico), commonly nicknamed "Pudge" and "I-Rod", is a Major League Baseball catcher who is currently a free agent. In his career, he has played for the Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, and New York Yankees. He is ranked as one of the greatest defensive catchers in the history of the major leagues. Rodríguez was awarded the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player Award in 1999.

Rodríguez won the World Series with the Marlins in 2003, and also played in the 2006 World Series while with the Tigers.

Iván Rodríguez was born in Manatí, Puerto Rico, and raised in Vega Baja. His father, Juan, worked for a U.S.-based construction company, and his mother, Eva Torres, was an elementary school teacher. Iván's first job involved delivering flyers in the shopping malls in Puerto Rico. He learned baseball at an early age, his biggest rival being Juan González, who he often played against in his youth. As a Little League player, he moved from pitcher to catcher because his father, who was also his coach, thought he was throwing too hard and scaring opposing players with his pitches. Rodríguez attended Lino Padron Rivera High School, where he was discovered by scout Luis Rosa. Rosa reported that "he showed leadership at 16 that I’d seen in few kids. He knew where he was going." Rodríguez signed a contract with the Texas Rangers in July 1988, at the age of 16, and began his professional baseball career.

Rodríguez made his professional debut in 1989 at the age of 17 as catcher for the Gastonia Rangers of the South Atlantic League. In his first game, Rodríguez had three hits in three at bats (3-for-3) against Spartanburg. Playing in the Florida State League in 1990, Rodríguez was selected the best catcher in the league and named to the all-star team. He placed 15th in the league in batting at .287, and led his team in runs batted in, with 55. He also played in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League (LBPPR) over the offseason.

When Rodríguez made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers on June 20, 1991, he became the youngest person to catch in a major league game that season. He immediately established himself as an excellent hitter who was also proficient in throwing out would-be base-stealers. In fact, no other catcher in the past 35 years of the League has been as successful at this aspect of the game, with Rodríguez throwing out 48% of attempted basestealers through May 2006. This was far more than the runner-up during this period, the late Thurman Munson. He started many of the Rangers games at the end of the season, including 81 of the last 102. Rodríguez became the youngest player in the history of the Texas Rangers to hit a home run, on August 30, 1991 in a game facing the Kansas City Royals. Rodríguez hit the home run off right-hander Storm Davis. He was named to the Major League Baseball (MLB) Rookie all-star team by both Topps and Baseball America and finished in fourth place in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He also placed first in throwing out runners, catching 48.6 percent of runners attempting to steal.

In 1992, Rodríguez started 112 games behind the plate and was the youngest player in the major leagues for the second year in a row. Playing in the Puerto Rico Winter League, he had a .262 batting average playing in 17 games for Mayaguez. In the 1993 season, Rodríguez batted .273, had 66 runs batted in and hit 10 home runs, ranking fourth, fifth, and fifth on his team respectively. He had a stretch of eight straight hits over two games facing the Kansas City Royals on July 26 and July 28. He played the final month of the regular season in the Puerto Rican Winter league, where he had a .425 batting average and 14 runs batted in for Mayaguez. Rodríguez was named to the Puerto Rican Winter League all-star team and was also the league Most Valuable Player (MVP).

In 1994, Rodríguez led the American League in batting average among catchers, at .298. He placed high on his team in many statistics, placing second in batting average (.298), tied for third in doubles (19), and fourth in hits, total bases, runs, home runs, walks, games, and at bats. He also caught Kenny Rogers' perfect game on 1994-07-28. Rodríguez played in the Puerto Rican Winter League over the winter, but he suffered a severe knee injury which kept him from playing for the rest of the season.

Playing for the Rangers during the 1995 season, Rodríguez led his team in batting, total bases, and doubles, at .303, 221, and 32 respectively. He was named the Texas Rangers' player of the year. Rodríguez also had his first multi-home run game while playing the Boston Red Sox on July 13, hitting both off all-star pitcher Roger Clemens. He also played for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League during the offseason.

In 1996, Rodríguez set an MLB record for most doubles by a catcher, amassing 44 doubles over the course of the season. This broke the previous mark of 42, set by Mickey Cochrane in 1930. He also set the major league record for at-bats by a catcher in a single season, with 639, which surpassed Johnny Bench's record of 621 in 1970. He led the Texas Rangers in doubles, at bats, hits, and runs scored. He was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star team that played a series in Japan against the Japanese all-stars after the season was over. He again played in the Puerto Rican Winter League this season. In the 1997 season, Rodríguez also placed first among catchers in many categories in Major League Baseball. These categories were hits, runs, runs batted in, and doubles. He placed second in home runs among catchers, below only Sandy Alomar, Jr. of the Cleveland Indians, who had 20 home runs. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on the week of August 4. This marked the fourth time a player from the Texas Rangers had been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Rodríguez played in the Puerto Rican Winter League yet again, where he had a .285 batting average, 4 home runs, and 18 runs batted in over the course of 32 games playing for Caguas.

In the 1998 season, Rodríguez led the Texas Rangers in batting average at .325, which placed eighth in the American League. He also had 75 multi-hit games and 186 hits, finishing seventh and ninth in MLB respectively. He finished second on the Rangers in hits, total bases, triples, total bases, and slugging percentage. Rodríguez was third on the team in doubles, home runs, and stolen bases, and fourth in runs batted in. He had his 1000th in a game facing the Cleveland Indians on May 10 of that season. Rodríguez also became the first catcher in the history of Major League Baseball to have two or more seasons with 40 or more doubles. He was selected to the American League All-Star Team again, and he was also named to all-star teams by the Associated Press, The Sporting News, and Baseball America.

In 1999, Rodríguez was selected American League MVP by Major League Baseball. That season, he set a new record for home runs in a single season among catchers, with 35. This record was later broken by Javy López of the Atlanta Braves in 2003, who hit 42. Rodríguez was also the first catcher to have more than 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and 100 runs scored in the history of Major League Baseball. In addition, he holds the distinction of being the first catcher in the history of the league to amass more than 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. From May 8, 1999 to June 1, 1999, Rodríguez had a career high 20 game hitting streak. He had 25 stolen bases, which was fifth most among catchers in the history of the league. He led the league in times grounded into a double play, with 31. Rodríguez was only the ninth catcher in the history of Major League Baseball to win the Most Valuable Player award, and he was the first to win it since Thurman Munson in 1976. He was named on all of the ballots, getting seven first place votes and six second place votes. Rodríguez was the sixth Puerto Rican to win the award, and the fourth player from the Texas Rangers to win it. He also won the Silver Slugger Award for the sixth time in a row and was selected Most Valuable Player by Baseball Digest. He was again named to all-star teams by the Associated Press, The Sporting News, and Baseball America.

In 2000, Rodríguez appeared in just 91 games, which was the fewest that he appeared in since his first season in the league, 1991. On July 24, Rodríguez suffered a season-ending injury in a game against the Anaheim Angels. While trying to make a throw to second base, his thumb made contact with the swing of Mo Vaughn's bat. He fractured his right thumb and underwent surgery the next day. This injury caused him to miss the rest of the season. Even though he was injured, he was still named to the second-team of the Baseball America Major League Baseball All-Star Team. Rodríguez returned to full action in 2001 and had another all-star season. He was selected to his ninth straight MLB All-Star Game in a row, which tied the all time record set by Johnny Bench. He also tied Bench's record of ten straight Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in a row. He batted .308, making 2001 his seventh straight season with a batting average of over .300. He had 25 home runs, 136 hits, and 65 runs batted in. Rodríguez's final year with the Texas Rangers came in 2002. His .314 batting average was seventh best among American League players. This was his eighth season in a row with batting average of .300 or above. He also had 32 doubles, 2 triples, and 60 runs batted in while playing in 108 games for the Rangers. Rodríguez was placed on the disabled list on April 23 after suffering a herniated disk on April 15. The injury did not require surgery, and he rehabilitated while playing for class A Charlotte. He later returned to the Rangers and played there for the remainder of the season. After the 2002 season his contract with Texas ran out and he became a free agent.

Before the 2003 season Rodríguez signed with the Florida Marlins for one year. By then a major-league veteran of over a decade, he helped lead the young team to victory in the World Series. Rodríguez's played his first and only season with the Florida Marlins in 2003. Over the off-season, he was signed to a one year deal with the Marlins after his contract expired with the Texas Rangers, and he opted out of the contract for free agency. During the 2003 regular season, he set many Marlins single season records for a catcher, such as batting average, at .297, and runs batted in, at 85. On March 31, Rodríguez became the tenth Marlins player ever to hit a home run on the team's first game of the season. On April 8, he set a Marlins single game record by drawing five walks in a game against the New York Mets. He had a career high nine game hitting streak from June 24 to July 2, during which he batted .500 with seven doubles, two triples, and four home runs. From June 24 to July 1, he drove in a run for eight consecutive games, another single season record for the Florida Marlins. In the post-season, he played with Marlins during their second World Series run and was named National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player for the first time in his career. He also closed out the National League Division Series by holding onto the ball during a dramatic game-ending collision at the plate with J.T. Snow in Game Four. He chose not to return to the Marlins the following the 2003 season.

Before the 2004 season Rodríguez signed with the Detroit Tigers. In 2004, he was selected to the MLB All-Star Game for the 11th time in his career and for his 10th time as a starting player, joining Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza as the only Major League Baseball catchers to start an All-Star game 10 times or more in their career. He also won his 11th consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award, making him the first player on the Detroit Tigers to win the award since Gary Pettis won it in 1989. He won his seventh career Silver Slugger Award, tied with Víctor Martínez of the Cleveland Indians. He was fourth in the American League in batting average and fourth among all Major League Baseball catchers. On October 1, he recorded his 1,000th career RBI in a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The 2005 season was another all-star year for Rodríguez. He was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game for the twelfth time in his career, and he participated in the Century 21 Home Run Derby on the day before the all-star game. In the home run derby, he finished second to Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies. By the end of the season, he batted .276 with 14 home runs and 50 runs batted in. On October 26, 2005, Major League Baseball named him the catcher on their Latino Legends Team.

In 2006, Rodríguez returned to throwing out runners attempting to steal a base at a very high percentage, as he did in his earlier career; he was first in the league in this category, throwing out 45.7 percent of all runners attempting to steal a base. On May 9, 2006, Rodríguez played first base for the Tigers. That game, a 7–6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, was the first time that he played a position other than catcher in his 1,914 Major League games. On August 15, 2006, he also made his first Major League appearance at second base after regular second baseman Plácido Polanco was injured in a game in Boston. On April 16, 2007, he batted in 6 runs on the way to a 12–5 victory over the Kansas City Royals. He caught Justin Verlander's no-hitter, the second no-hitter he's caught in his career, on June 12 of that year. In 2007, Rodríguez walked only 1.8 percent of his plate appearances, the lowest percentage in the major leagues. On October 9, the Tigers announced that they were picking up the fifth-year, 13-million-dollar option on Rodríguez's contract, keeping him on the Tigers team through at least the 2008 season. The team could have bought out the option for three million dollars and allowed him to become a free agent.

In spring training in 2008 he led the major leagues, with 8 home runs. He recently got his 2,500th hit. Manager Jim Leyland had said that he would rotate Rodríguez and Brandon Inge at catcher every other day.

On July 30, 2008, Rodríguez was traded to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth. He started most of Yankees games for the remainder of the 2008 season, because the Yankees' former starting catcher, Jorge Posada, was injured. With his customary number 7–which he wore throughout his career up to that point–retired for Mickey Mantle, Rodríguez changed his jersey number to 12.

In preparation for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Rodríguez returned to the Puerto Rico Baseball League (formerly LBPPR) during the offseason, following ten years of absence. Playing for the Criollos de Caguas, he gathered a batting average of .370 with three runs batted in and one home run in six games during the regular season. Upon leaving the team on vacation, Rodríguez noted that his intention was to return to action if the Criollos advanced to the playoffs. He returned to action in a "sudden death" game for the final postseason space, but the team lost and was eliminated. On January 8, 2008, the Leones de Ponce reclaimed Rodríguez in the last turn of an special post-season draft, where players from eliminated teams were selected to reinforce those that qualified.

Rodríguez represented Puerto Rico in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He was part of a team that was mostly consisted of Major League Baseball players, among whom were Carlos Beltrán, Javier Vázquez, Bernie Williams and Carlos Delgado. Rodríguez was one of several Major League Baseball players that announced commitment to represent their birthplaces before the organization of the tournament.

Rodríguez married Maribel Rivera on June 20, 1991. That same night, having been called up from Triple A by the Texas Rangers, he made his major league debut, in which he threw out two White Sox would-be base stealers, and got his first major-league hit, a two-run single that capped off a five-run game-winning rally.

Ivan and Maribel have three children: Ivan Derrek (b. 06-05-1992, Amanda Christine (b. 06-21-1995) and Ivanna Sofia (b. 01-12-2000). The family divides their time between Colleyville, Texas, Miami, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In 1993, Iván and Maribel founded the Ivan "Pudge" Rodríguez Foundation whose purpose is to help families in Puerto Rico, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. Rodríguez has also stated that the Make-a-Wish Foundation is one of his charities of choice.

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2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

2007 MLB All-Star Game Logo.svg

The 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 78th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 2007, at AT&T Park, the home of the NL's San Francisco Giants. It marked the third game held in San Francisco, California (but the fourth overall in the Bay Area, with Oakland hosting once) and the second straight held in an NL ballpark.

The American League defeated the National League by a score of 5-4. Ichiro Suzuki won the MVP award for the game. As per the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the American League champion (which eventually came to be the Boston Red Sox) received home field advantage in the 2007 World Series. The victory was the 10th consecutive (excluding the 2002 tie) for the AL, and their 11-game unbeaten streak is only beaten by the NL's 11-game winning streak from 1972 to 1982 in All-Star history.

As with each All-Star Game since 1970, the eight starting position players (with no designated hitter due to playing in an NL stadium) of each league were elected by fan balloting. The remaining players were selected by a players' vote, each league's team manager, and a second fan balloting to add one more player to each roster. In all, 32 players were selected to each league's team, not including players who decline to play due to injuries or personal reasons.

The Giants were awarded the game on February 9, 2005. The game marked the first time since 1953 that one league hosted consecutive All-Star Games, after Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hosted the game in 2006.

The game was the fifth straight All-Star Game to decide home-field advantage in the World Series. The AL entered the game on a ten-game unbeaten streak (nine wins, with one tie in 2002). The NL was looking for their first win since the 1996 game in Philadelphia.

Balloting for the 2007 All-Star Game starters (excluding pitchers) began on April 27 and continued through June 28. The top vote-getters at each position and the top three among outfielders, are named the starters for their respective leagues. The results were announced on July 1. About 18.5 million votes were cast by close to twelve million fans. Alex Rodriguez was the leading vote-getter with 3,890,515 votes, easily outpacing his Yankees teammate Derek Jeter by over 700,000 votes. Ken Griffey, Jr. was the top vote-getter in the National League, with 2,986,818 votes.

After the rosters were announced, a second round of fan voting, the Monster All-Star Final Vote, was commenced to determine the occupant of the final roster spot for each team. This round lasted until July 5. Chris Young and Hideki Okajima were elected to represent the National League and American League, respectively, in the All-Star Game as first time All-Stars. All ten players included in the balloting were pitchers, a first for the event.

O Canada was played by members of the San Francisco Symphony. The Star-Spangled Banner was sung by Chris Isaak. Before the game, there was a tribute to former San Francisco Giants slugger Willie Mays. Mays threw the ceremonial first pitch to New York Mets shortstop José Reyes. Paula Cole sang God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch. The first pitch was thrown by the National League's starter, Jake Peavy at 8:54 EDT The game was completed in 3 hours, 6 minutes under an overcast sky and a gametime temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Umpires for the game were announced on June 14. Bruce Froemming, the most tenured current umpire in Major League Baseball, was named crew chief for the game. It was also revealed that day that Froemming would retire following the 2007 season.

The National League got things started in the bottom of the first when José Reyes led off with a base hit off American League starter Dan Haren and proceeded to steal second. He scored on an RBI single by Ken Griffey, Jr. to give the NL a 1-0 lead. Barry Bonds nearly gave his hometown fans something to cheer for in the bottom of the third when, with Reyes on second, he lofted a high fly ball to left field, but it was snared at the warning track by Magglio Ordóñez. The AL nearly tied the game in the fourth when Alex Rodriguez attempted to score on a two-out single by Iván Rodríguez. However, the throw to home plate by Griffey allowed Russell Martin to tag Rodriguez out at the plate to end the inning. The AL would score one inning later when, after Chris Young issued a leadoff walk to Brian Roberts, Ichiro Suzuki hit a long fly ball off the right field wall. Instead of caroming straight to Griffey, the ball took an unusual bounce off a sign and ricocheted to Griffey's right. This allowed Ichiro to score on what became the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history. The homer gave the AL a 2-1 lead.

The lead would be augmented in the sixth when Carl Crawford hit a line drive that just cleared the right field wall for a home run. Though it appeared a fan may have reached over the wall to catch it, NL manager Tony La Russa did not challenge the umpires' call. The NL got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Carlos Beltrán led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Griffey. The AL added some insurance runs in the eighth when Víctor Martínez hit a two-run home run just inside the left field foul pole to give the AL a 5-2 lead.

The American League's closers then entered the game, with Jonathan Papelbon pitching a scoreless bottom of the eighth. In the ninth, J. J. Putz tried to earn the save and began by inducing a weak pop-up and striking out Brian McCann. Pinch-hitter Dmitri Young rolled a ground ball deep in the hole to Brian Roberts, but he could not come up with it. Alfonso Soriano followed with a two-run home run to right field to cut the NL's deficit to one. After Putz walked J. J. Hardy, AL manager Jim Leyland replaced him with Francisco Rodríguez. However, Rodriguez had trouble consistently locating his pitches and walked Derrek Lee on a check-swing 3-2 pitch and then Orlando Hudson to load the bases. In a move that drew criticism, La Russa elected not to pinch-hit his last player on the bench, Albert Pujols, and instead let Aaron Rowand hit. Rowand lofted a fly ball to right field that was caught by Alex Ríos to close the game, earning the American League their tenth consecutive victory.

The State Farm Home Run Derby was held the night before the All-Star Game, July 9, and broadcast on ESPN. Four players from each league competed to hit as many home runs as they could in each round to advance and eventually win the contest. This year, a five-swing swing-off would be used to break ties occurring in any round. This became necessary when Albert Pujols and Justin Morneau tied for fourth in the first round. The champion of last year's Derby, Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, competed even though he was not named to the NL All-Star roster.

In the finals, Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeated Alex Ríos of the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 3-2. Guerrero hit 17 home runs in all, second only to Ríos' 19. Guerrero also hit the longest blast of the competition, a 503-foot (153 m) drive to left field that just missed hitting a giant replica glove and baseball set up on the concourse beyond the left field bleachers.

AT&T Park is distinguished by having the San Francisco Bay beyond its right field bleachers. The body of water located adjacent to the ballpark is known as McCovey Cove, named for legendary Giants slugger Willie McCovey. McCovey Cove is known for having many fans sitting in the water in kayaks and boats hoping to retrieve a long home run ball hit there. Though dozens of fans waited in the cove during the Derby, no home runs were actually hit into the water, either on the fly or off the promenade next to the right field seats, though, one foul ball hit by Prince Fielder did reach the water. This was largely due to the three left-handed competitors all exiting in the first round, as well as wind currents blowing toward left field. Prior to the All-Star break, a total of 58 home runs were hit into the cove on the fly during the park's history.

Gold balls were utilized whenever any player had one out remaining during his round. Any home runs hit with the balls meant Major League Baseball and State Farm would pledge to donate money to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Due to the change in sponsors from Century 21 to State Farm, each ball's value was reduced to US$17,000 to reflect the 17,000 State Farm agents in the United States and Canada. In all, twelve gold ball home runs were hit, which, along with a $50,000 "bonus" constituted $254,000 raised for charity.

The 2007 XM All-Star Futures Game took place on July 8, showcasing the top minor league prospects from all thirty teams' farm systems. The contest is seven innings regardless of the score with pitchers limited to no more than one inning of work. The World team defeated the United States by a score of 7-2. Chin-Lung Hu of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization won the Larry Doby MVP award after driving in two runs on a single and double, plus a stolen base and a run.

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2008 Cleveland Indians season

The 2008 Cleveland Indians season marked the 108th season for the franchise, as the Indians attempted to defend their American League Central division title. The team played all of its home games at Progressive Field (formerly known as Jacobs Field).

2008 was the final year that the Indians held Spring Training in Winter Haven, Florida, at Chain of Lakes Park. In 2009 the Indians will train in Goodyear, Arizona for the first time in 15 years.

The Indians approached the winter of 2007-2008 with the idea that tinkering at the edges was what was primarily needed to build on the previous year. Acquired in the offseason were utility infielder Jamey Carroll, Japanese League reliever Masahide Kobayashi and reliever Jorge Julio.

The Indians ended spring training in March with only one surprise, cutting veteran reliever Aaron Fultz in favor of pick up Craig Breslow (who was cut by the Boston Red Sox). Notable contributors from 2007 to start the year in Buffalo instead of Cleveland were Aaron Laffey, Ben Francisco, Josh Barfield, and Tom Mastny. The Indians opened the regular season with a 10-8 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The victory in the home opener came with a price: an injury to catcher Victor Martinez. While the offense played well enough to win the opening series, Martinez's missing bat did not help the Indians on their west coast road trip, where they lost series with both the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Martinez returned to play for the Angels series. The Indians offense continued to struggle as the team failed to win their next four series. Near the end of the month, the Indians swept the Kansas City Royals split a four game series against the New York Yankees and appeared to be coming out of their slump. Starting pitcher Cliff Lee was named American League Pitcher of the Month for April, as he finished the month 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA.

The sub par offense became such a concern that on May 5, in an attempt to spark more offense, Jason Michaels was designated for assignment and Ben Francisco, the 2007 International League batting champion was called up to play outfield. For the first half of the month, the starting pitching was outstanding, resulting in a 43 1/3 scoreless innings streak But the hitting still hadn't turned a corner and by the end of the month the Indians were still sub .500. Making his Indians debut was highly touted but often injured first baseman Michael Aubrey. The Indians swapped injured starting pitchers as Jake Westbrook came off the disabled list from an intercostal muscle injury just after Fausto Carmona went on it with a hip injury. And to end the month, Travis Hafner was also placed on the disabled list with shoulder soreness.

Westbrook's return was brief, returning to the disabled list with season ending Tommy John surgery. Victor Martinez also went on the disabled list with elbow problems. And Josh Barfield, called up to replace the slumping Asdrubal Cabrera, also went on the disabled list. The Indians were one of the few AL clubs not to take great advantage of interleague play, going only 6-12 against the National League.

After plummeting to last place to start the month, the Indians threw in the towel on the season, trading CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Matt LaPorta, pitchers Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson and a player to be named later. They also parted ways with Joe Borowski, first designating him for assignment then releasing him. Although the Indians continued to struggle, pitcher Cliff Lee and center fielder Grady Sizemore were recognized for their individual accomplishments by being named to the American League All Star team. Lee was named the starting pitcher for the American League squad, where he pitched two shutout innings. Sizemore also participated in the Home Run Derby; he hit six home runs in the opening round, but it was not enough for him to advance to the second round. The Indians swept a series against the league leading Tampa Bay Rays right before the All-Star break, but continued their relatively uneven play, even with the return of Fausto Carmona in late July. Another victim of the Indians mediocre performance was Casey Blake, who was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jon Meloan and baseball player Carlos Santana.

The Indians continued to struggle through the first week of August. On a road trip to start the month, the team began 2-4 before sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre to finish the road trip 5-4 – the team's first winning road trip since May. The sweep of Toronto began a streak in which the Indians won 16 of 19 games, including 10 in a row to climb into third place in the division. The team clinched its first winning month of the season on August 24. Despite the turnaround, the Indians continued to trade players in order to add depth to their farm system. On August 12, they traded veteran pitcher Paul Byrd to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. Again, one of the Indians bright spots was the play of Cliff Lee, who was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for August.

The Indians had a significant impact on the division championship this month, in as much as they both slowed the Minnesota Twins from catching the Chicago White Sox and then gave the Twins a chance to win the division outright by beating the Sox two games out of three in the final series. The Twins' losses to Kansas City at the same time, however, forced the White Sox to make up a game against the Detroit Tigers to help decide the division winner. Cliff Lee's spectacular season ended with him having the American League lead in wins and ERA. This effort earned Lee the American League Comeback Player of the Year award and the American League Cy Young Award. Shin-Soo Choo's great September numbers earned him the American League Player of the Month.

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Víctor Martínez (baseball)

Víctor Jesús Martínez (born December 23, 1978 in Ciudad Bolívar, Bolívar, Venezuela) is a switch-hitting catcher and first baseman for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball. He was signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1996 and after a pair of minor league MVP awards and batting titles in 2001 and 2002, he made his debut with Cleveland as a September call-up on September 10, 2002.

In 2003, Martínez was busy between Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and the Indians. He finished with a combined .315 batting average, hitting at a .349 clip in August and September with the big club. Exhibiting knowledge of the strike zone and an ability to make contact, he reduced his strikeout totals and produced a combined .376 on base percentage. He also drove in 63 runs, hitting .323 with runners in scoring position, and was selected to participate in the All-Star Futures Game played at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field. From 2001–03, the Venezuelan slugger batted a combined .330 with 40 home runs and 194 RBI.

Showing defensive improvement, Martínez displayed an ability to call games at the major league level and began 2004 as the Indians' No. 1 catcher. In his first full-season, he did a fine job defensively, hit .283 with 23 home runs, set a new record for Indians catchers with 108 RBI, earned his first All-Star selection, and shared the Silver Slugger honor as the top-hitting American League catcher with Iván Rodríguez. For the first time since the awards began in 1980, there was a tie at one position. On July 16, Martínez also had the best offensive night by a Tribe catcher in franchise history, when he hit three home runs, singled twice, drew a walk, and drove in a career-high seven runs in a perfect 5-for-5 game.

In June 2005, Martínez was batting .207, but he came into the season's final weekend batting .382 (96-for-251) after the All-Star break, the most for any ML player. He finished the season with a .305 average, 20 home runs and 80 RBI.

Since 2006, the Indians started using Martinez occasionally at first base. In the field in 2006, he allowed 100 stolen bases, more than any other catcher in Major League Baseball.

In 2007, he hit 25 home runs, had 114 RBI, more than any other catcher, and finished 7th in American League MVP voting.

In his career, Martínez has posted a .298 average with 86 home runs and 437 RBI in 703 games played.

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Project Serpo

Project Serpo is the name given to what is said to have been a top-secret exchange between the United States government and an alien planet nicknamed Serpo. Details of the exchange and what it was supposed to have entailed have appeared in several UFO conspiracy stories over the last 30 years, including one incident in 1983 in which a man identifying himself as USAF Sergeant Richard C. Doty contacted investigative journalist Linda Moulton Howe claiming to be able to supply her Air Force records of the exchange for her HBO documentary "The ET Factor"; only to pull out without providing any evidence to substantiate his story, and one incident in 2005 when a series of emails were sent to a UFO discussion group run by Victor Martinez claiming that the project was real.

Some variations on the conspiracy story state that the name Serpo is the nickname of the extrasolar planet. Other versions state that it is a mispronunciation of either Serponia or Seinu by US authorities involved in the project.

The first mention of a 'Project Serpo' was in a UFO email list maintained by enthusiast Victor Martinez www.realityuncovered.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=316. Various versions of the conspiracy theory circulated, and were later detailed on www.serpo.info.

According to the most common version of the story, an alien survived a crash near Roswell in the later 1940s (see Roswell UFO incident). This alien was detained but treated well by American military forces, contacted its home planet and eventually repatriated. The story continues by claiming that this led to the establishment of some sort of relationship between the American government and the people of its home world – said to be a planet of the binary star system Zeta Reticuli. Zeta Reticuli has a history in ufology, having been claimed as the home system of an alien race called the Greys. The story finally claims that twelve American military personnel visited the planet between 1965 and 1978 and that all of the party have since died, from 'after effects of high radiation levels from the two suns'.

One criticism of Project Serpo stems from the lack of veracity of one of its alleged witnesses, Sergeant Richard Doty. Doty has been involved in other alleged UFO-related activities (see Majestic 12 and Paul Bennewitz), and this makes the Project Serpo allegations automatically suspect. Additionally, there is no physical evidence supporting the project's existence.. According to Tim Swartz of Mysteries Magazine, Doty, who promised evidence to Moulton Howe before backing out, has been involved in circulating several other UFO conspiracy stories. Swartz also expressed that the details of Project Serpo have varied considerably with different accounts.

Further criticisms of the story include the usual arguments against conspiracy theories, UFOs, and faster-than-light travel, as well as astronomical knowledge of the Zeta Reticuli system. There is currently no evidence of technological life in the system and also no evidence of planets. Because the stars are widely separated (several thousand astronomical units), claims of excess radiation as a result of the presence of a second star are nonsensical.

On a more fundamental level, it is entirely possible that the messages originating the story were deliberate hoaxes. The postings were to Internet forums that cover conspiracy theories and UFOs, and a cursory examination of such forums shows that hoaxes are not uncommon. Some ufologists have even claimed that the messages were a hoax perpetrated by the American military and intelligence communities to protect real, related, activities.

Bill Ryan, a chief proponent of publicizing the Project Serpo claims, announced on March 5th, 2007 that he was stepping down from his role as webmaster for the Serpo material. Ryan nevertheless maintains his belief that an extraterrestrial exchange program did occur - although he states that the Serpo releases definitely contained disinformation.

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Source : Wikipedia