I have to cram the past week’s worth of thoughts into this one post, so that’s why it’s long. Thanks for reading, anyway.
First off, many of you who read a previous post know how badly I wanted Al
Leiter to retire. Well,
he did. And that makes me happy. The guy stayed in the game just long
enough to realize that he’s done everything he can. I know people are
gonna say, ‘well, without Leiter, Chacon, Small, and Wang we don’t make
the playoffs last year.’ I mean, did Leiter’s 4-5 record with a 5.49
ERA in 16 appearances – 10 starts – really get us to the playoffs? I
know Cashman literally didn’t have anyone to start that July 17th game
against the Red Sox until he picked up Leiter, but still – I don’t
think he was what pushed us into the playoffs, and I think we could’ve
done it without him. But this begs the question – how insane would it
be if both Leiter and The Rocket made their last professional
appearances in the World Baseball Classic? And how messed up is it that
The Rocket is still so good?
World Baseball Classic
Next, the World Baseball Classic. I only had a chance over break to
catch the March 13th, 2nd Round matchup between Cuba and Team Dominicana,
and part of the March 16th Mexico v. USA game. First, the Cuba and
Dominicana game was one of the best games I saw. I only watched till
about the 7th inning, but it had everything. Seriously, we had the
Cuban’s weird style of play, and mix that with the David Ortiz v. Cuba
matchup, (which I believe was actually a separate game.) I’m gonna
leave the WBC for a second and talk about the Perez’s.
Alright, we also had Odalis Perez
going 4.2 innings and only allowing 3 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 3
– and you have to think the Dodgers are delighted to see that out of
him. Odalis has been one of the most up and down players these last few
years, but he turns only 29 in June, and so maybe it’s his year.
Remember, in 2002, Perez put up 222.1 IP, with 38 BB, 155 K’s, 21HR,
and an ERA of 3.00. You can look at the stats for the other years
yourself by clicking on the link above, but the bottom line is that
he’s gone on to pitch less innings while giving up the same amount of
hits and HR, a little more runs, and less K’s. We’ve been waiting for
him to bounce back and maybe it’s time. Be careful not to confuse
Odalis, who plays for the Dodgers, with Oliver Perez,
who plays for the Pirates. Oliver has had two years that couldn’t have
been more different. In 2004, he finally pulled it together and went
about 200 IP with 239 K’s and ERA of 2.98. He followed that up with
an injury-ridden 2005 where he went 103 IP – none of them really
healthy, I’ll grant him – and had an ERA of 5.85 with 87 K’s and 70
BB’s – about the same walks in half as many innings. Just more
So, back to Cuba v. Dominicana. My favorite part of this game was,
without a doubt, watching
David Ortiz jerk Cuba’s Jonder Martinez out
of the yard in the 5th inning. There is no way to describe this if you
haven’t seen it, but basically Jonder left one over the plate, and it
was gone before the bat was off Ortiz’s shoulder, I mean I was watching
at home and I still knew this blast was coming. Ortiz launched it over
everything in Right Field, and you could even see the fans leaning out
of the park trying to find where it landed. Anyway, instead of watching
the Home Run, Ortiz tosses his bat about 20 feet, turns around, glares at the catcher for about a
second, and then goes on his way. Priceless. Ariel Pestano, who was
basically sick of dealing with the pitcher’s inability to pitch, gets
up and starts hollering down Jonder. Where do you ever see a catcher
run down, scream at, and try to coach his pitcher after he gives up the
biggest shot in the world? As if this isn’t enough, the announcers
decided to add the ESPN Deportes call. And here we go again – "No no no
no no no no no!!!!" The whole call translates into something like,
‘that ball ain’t comin back, no no no no…’ Priceless. If anyone knows
where I can find this, please tell me.
As if this isn’t enough, earlier in the game we got to see Albert
Pujols score from first base. On a double through the gap? No. A ball
off the wall? No. A throwing error, from third to first. Talk
about sailing away. There was some additional technicality on the play
too, I have no idea really, but anytime I get to see a guy who plays
1st base score from first base on a ball fielded by the 3rd baseman,
that’s just incredible. Albert Pujols is a big dude, and he just sprinted 270 feet. Alright. Does everyone remember Ken Griffey Jr’s Winning Run?
It was the fifth game of the 1995 American League Wild Card
Playoffs. Down by one run in the bottom of the eleventh inning, the
Seattle Mariners, with Ken Griffey Jr. up to bat, were setting the
stage for the most exciting finish in a divisional series. Ken Griffey
Jr. smacked a single to center field to advance a runner to third base.
Then the American League batting champ stepped into the batter’s box
and drove a pitch deep to left field; one run scored easily to tie the
game. But wait! Here comes Ken Griffey Jr. rounding third. He’s going to try the impossible, scoring from first base. the throw to the plate is on its way. Ken Griffey Jr. hits the dirt. The throw is not in time! The Seattle Mariners advance to the American League Championship Series, thanks in part to Ken Griffey Jr.’s winning run!
This is from the inside cover of the Super Nintendo game, you guessed
it, "Ken Griffey Jr.’s Winning Run." So what if the account of the play
which is the game’s namesake reads like… it’s
really boring. These
people made one of the greatest baseball games out of one play. There
are no other major leaguers featured in the game. All the names are
made up, except for Ken’s. It’s like, Ken Griffey Jr. Fantasy World.
Ken’s trade value is like, 130, and everyone else’s hovers around 70.
If you haven’t played this game, buy a Super Nintendo and then buy the
game. It’s 10 years old but… it isn’t going out of date.
Now, just a few words about the Mexico v. US game. I didn’t see much
of the game, only a few innings really, but I did see that Home Run,
errr Double. Anyone else who watched that part of the game live
probably sided with the announcers, as I did. Because they absolutely
tore up the umpires. Really, its sad. Say you saw nothing of the actual
play. All you saw was a ball in right field, about 20 feet away from
the wall. How, you ask, did it get there? It didn’t just land there.
And if it did, it wouldn’t be rolling towards the infield. Ok,
so it could’ve hit the wall. The wall in Angel Stadium is about 10 feet
tall. So, unless the wall is sloped upwards, there’s no way that ball
comes that far back. There, problem solved. And here’s another thing,
because I’ll grant that the umpires didn’t see exactly where the ball
landed, because they certainly didn’t see the ball anywhere else. If
Mexico is yelling at you that it was a Home Run, which would eliminate
them from the tournament, and the US is standing around watching…
then it’s a Home Run. Just like Barry Bonds, if I’m Roger Clemens and I
know Mario Valenzuela is trying to take credit for going deep on me
when he actually came up about 20 feet short, I’m gonna be pissed and
screaming at the top of my lungs. In any case, you only overturn a call
if you’re absolutely sure that you saw something that no one else did,
positive about it – 110%. I’m not gonna sit here and rip on
Davidson because it’s been done, and frankly, I’m sure the guy wasn’t
trying to incite something. My beef is with Selig, a man I usually
respect. If you’re all about this World Baseball Classic, why don’t you
go ahead and book the MLB Umpires? Apparently, he tried to do this but
these umps said they didn’t believe they would be getting paid enough
to do the games, so they declined the offer. Now, Selig has an issue
with the Umpire’s Union, not the individual crews, but in any case if
you’re Selig you make them ump the game. You pay them more
money, you do whatever you need, but you make it happen. The difference
between an MLB and Minor League Umpire isn’t huge, and maybe Selig
could’ve gotten away with it, but you don’t take that chance on your
first attempt. It’s also interesting to note that Davidson was a former
MLB Umpire. And he’ll stay that way now, because there’s no way he’s
gonna be allowed back after nearly starting WWIII.
Now I’m just gonna talk about a few things that happened on my
forced vacation in the last week. I’ll outline them all now: Dwight Gooden and Denny McLain,
Roy Halladay, Mark Mulder, Mark Prior, and A.J. Burnett.
Dwight Gooden and Denny McLain
probation, which was the result of his
DUI in August of 2005. Well, Gooden had a meeting with his parole
officer where he admitted to using the nose candy – that’s right, Gooden
is back on the blow. Rick James once said, "Cocaine… is a **** of a drug."
It appears he was right. The Super Freak himself was done in by
Cocaine, contrary to the initial reports that he ‘died of natural
causes’, because there’s no way someone like that just shuffles off
quietly in the middle of the night. In any case, most of that Mets team
is having trouble with Coke. It’s really too bad. I’m going to stay
away from Kevin Mitchell and Strawberry because I don’t want to be
typing all night, but I couldn’t help being reminded of Denny McLain
when I heard about Gooden. And when I’m reminded of Denny McLain, I
only think of two things: the ‘Beyond the Glory’ episode on him, and
the fact that he now works at a 7-11. This may seem insignificant at
first, but think carefully. McLain just finished serving his second
stint in the slam, this time for stealing from a meat-packing pension
fund. Remember that, when McLain won 31 games in 1968, he was draining an entire case of
Pepsi every day… How do you put the fox in charge of the hens like
that? No doubt McLain has a hose hooked up to the Big Gulp machine.
Roy Halladay and Mark Mulder
got extended through 2010, which is good news. He’s amazing. Next,
Mulder is gonna be a free agent next year. The Cardinals need to lock
him up for seven years. I am pretty sure Mulder is baseball’s
winningest pitcher over the last five years. I’ve heard Colon, but I
think Colon only has 84 wins to Mulder’s 88. Again, I have to cite MVP
Baseball 2004 and say that Mulder is amazing for my team. I like the
Cardinals and I like Mulder, a lot. Imagine if Mulder is let loose and
signs with the Red Sox or something? How can you like a pitcher that
plays for the enemy?
Mark Prior and A.J. Burnett
A.J. Burnett, like Dontrelle Willis,
has never been ‘ok’ in my book. Not sure why, I just get the feeling
he’s not a good guy. Mark Prior, on the other hand, I like a lot.
Anyway, Prior pitches for the poor, sorry Cubs who aren’t going
anywhere this year. As long as Dusty Baker lets them cry, they’re
stuck. Again, I could get really sidetracked here so I’m going to stop.
But my point is that Prior is a
great pitcher, when he’s healthy. I’ll
always be a fan. Collisions with players and balls don’t make someone
injury prone, but having your manager throw you out there for over 200
innings in your 2nd year in the majors, after throwing only 100 innings
your first year and despite the fact that you’re only 22, is a problem.
And it looks like he’s starting another season on the DL. Here’s the deal with Prior, when he’s healthy he’s on. It’s not like he’s ever had a really bad stretch, or one nagging injury that sidelines him five times a season, like… a blister. Kerry Wood has the same problem, except his is nagging, and you have to wonder if Baker is the cause. Zambrano is a flat-out freak, so he isn’t
going to hit that wall. Next, A.J. Burnett. Toronto’s hopes nearly got
torn apart when they saw Burnett go down the other day. In any case, he appears to be fine. But doesn’t that scare you to death, when your $11 million a year man goes down like that? At least they didn’t sign Blister Beckett.
That’s all for now. Thanks for waiting a whole week between posts. Recently this blog has gotten pretty popular – we’ve gotten people from Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Croatia, UK, Canada, Israel, Honduras, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Venezuela and some others I’m probably forgetting. The main point is that people are reading, which is important. I mentioned earlier that Kevin and I bought a website – http://www.baseballradioshow.com – that should be up in about a month, hopefully. The website will feature this blog as well as the radio show, which will likely be in a podcast form. We also hope to both contribute articles to the site, along with pictures and more. As I said earlier, if anyone is interested in contributing in any way, please contact me. Thanks again for reading, and leave comments and emails.
First, my apologies for not posting recently. I’ve been really sick the last couple days and have a pile of midterms to take care of before spring break. I haven’t been able to follow/watch much baseball. I want to draw everyone’s attention to one of the typelists on the left hand side, specifically the Buck 65 one. Everyone should listen to Buck 65, he’s one of the greatest musicians ever. He loves baseball. After all, anyone with a chorus like this –
4-6-3 an x an o and I can’t think of a better way to end the day
4-6-3 a punch a kick and I can’t think of a better way to end the day
4-6-3 a yes a no and I can’t think of a better way to end the day
4-6-3 it’s life, death and I can’t think of a better way to end the day
-is awesome. That was from "463". So listen to some Buck 65… my favorite albums are "This Right Here is Buck 65," and "Secret House Against the World." You can read the typelist descriptions for more info…
Also, I talked about the Jays in a previous post and I mentioned Roy Halladay, but I wanted to reiterate the fact that Halladay is the best pitcher in the American League. Halladay started 19 games last year. Of those 19, 12 were wins, 5 were complete games, and 2 were shutouts. (Also had 4 loses and 3 no decisions). If I remember correctly, (because I can’t seem to find a full game log,) he went 10 innings twice, and one time didn’t even get the win. Left handers hit .217 off Halladay; righties hit .235. In the 10 games (May 21 – July 8) before he went down for the season, the result of a freak strike to his leg, Hallladay had an ERA of 1.73. Through the year, in 141.2 IP, (yes, that’s an average of 7.1 innings per game,) he allowed 118 hits and 18 walks. That’s a WHIP of .96, for the first half of a season. Johan Santana – and I recognize these numbers are for his whole season – went 231.2 IP, 180 hits, and 45 walks, for a .97 WHIP. Identical! Johan’s ERA was 2.87, but who really cares. My point is, Halladay is at least as good as Johan.
What throws him over the top? If you’re still playing MVP Baseball 2004 (like I am,) you need to acquire Halladay. I pretty much throw him up on the mound every 5 days and pitch a CG shutout everytime. Its nuts, you can’t understand his level of dominance. I won 30 games with him one time. Yeah, I know. My rotation is Halladay, Mulder, Hudson, Zito, and Mussina. The Moose has got some miles on him, (I think its 2008 now,) but I had held on to him for that 300th win and its really hard to let go. Really, it’s great. But who wants to hear about a video game when real baseball is being played? I’m sorry I can’t talk more about that, I haven’t been able to follow much Spring Training and as I’ve said before, I don’t think the games should be analyzed at all really.
Finally, I was shocked to hear of Kirby Puckett’s passing. He was my first favorite ballplayer – I had a poster of him hanging up in my room in the (very) early 90’s. I have great respect for how Kirby played the game, and the fact that so many have taken time out to honor him upon his passing emphasizes his importance the game. Many talk about how Kirby let himself slip after he left the game; few talk about the effect that being forced out had on him.