Tagged: Aaron Rowand

Will Strasburg Sign?; The Art of the Catch at the  Wall

The San Diego State phenom that has taken the baseball world by storm has until tonight to sign a contract with the team that drafted him.  The Washington Nationals, the worst team in the MLB for the past two years were lucky enough to have the chance to pick Strasburg in the draft but if they can’t sign him, they can just say good bye to their hopes and dreams of having any chance next year.

The situation with Strasburg is a big one.  Pretty much a do or die for the Nats.  Sort of…  If the Nats can’t sign him, they will not have the star pitcher they were hoping to have next year, since it is thought that Strasburg would glide through the minors and join the team next season.  Strasburg could be the start of a new and reformed Washington Nationals club.

The Nats do have a few guys that are pretty talented on offense.  The pitching isn’t that great but they get through the season.  Strasburg could take that pitching staff to a whole new level and put them back among the “not the worst” staffs in the league.  But the thing is, he has to sign to be able to play with them.

My dad and I were having a conversation about this topic yesterday and we both agreed (this rarely happens when talking about sports) that Strasburg should just sign with the team that drafted him if he really wants to play baseball.  He got drafted by the worst team in the league because he was the best player in the draft.  The worst team has the first pick and that’s just how it works.  Some players don’t sign with the teams that draft them just because they are not one of the better teams in the league.  But the thing is, if you want to play, you have to sign.  You may never get picked by the team you want to play for but that’s not your decision.

A bad team is bad for a while because they do not have the talentto keep up with the rest of the teams and their minor league teams aren’t producing the good young talent that will make them good in the future.  After a while, the farm systems start shaping up with some of the better players since they get a lot of high draft picks.  Strasburg is one of them that the Nationals, a bad team, has drafted.  He should just sign if he gets a good enough deal to compensate for his draft place.  JUST SIGN THE FRIGGEN DEAL!

Tony Gwynn, Strasburg’s manager at San Diego State, keeps saying that Strasburg just wants to play and that he is a baseball player.  If he wants to play so badly, then just give him a deal that he is worthy of and he will most likely sign it.

I hate how draftees take so long to sign contracts.  Especially the high draft picks.  They think just because they are the highest of the draft picks that they deserve a contract that some veterans aren’t getting.  They aren’t even rookies in the league yet.  When you get drafted, you sign with the team that took you in the draft, play in the minors for a while, then get your chance in the Majors.  Some get a chance quicker than others but most guys eventually get their chance.  When you get to the Majors, you play for the team that picked you for so many years until your contract runs out.  Strasburg should play with the Nats until his contract runs out (assuming he signs one).  Then when it runs out, you should consider signing a new one or maybe signing one with a different team.  That’s how the MLB works.  It’s always changing.  Some teams are good for a while, then they go bad because they lose their talent and the talent in the farm systems.

I know that if I was in the baseball draft and I got picked anywhere, I would be ecstatic and would sign right away.  I mean seriously.  The money a lot of baseball players get is more than an average person gets doing some non-athletic job.

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Now to another topic.  The art of catching a ball at the wall.  Now, it happens a lot in baseball.  But only so many guys can pull it off.  It requires concentration, talent, and ability to actually catch the ball while hitting the wall.  My favorite player, Curtis Granderson, happens to be an expert at it.

Now, this catch is probably the craziest catch I’ve ever seen.  He’s practically falling over the wall.  It was an amazing catch and I think some of you may be able to see why I like him so much.

Granderson made another great catch yesterday as he snagged a ball while hitting the wall in the Tigers’ game against the Kansas City Royals.  He robbed a Royals’ batter who ripped a ball to straight away center.  He hit the wall hard after making the catch but was able to hold on and was able to run off the field.  Thank goodness I would hate to see him get hurt.

Aaron Rowand is another of the great “at the wall defenders.”  That’s what I call them at least.  He has made many great and spectacular catches at the wall, including robbing a few home runs in his time.  This year, Rowand made a game saving rob at the wall to save a no hitter for the Giants’ Jonathon Sanchez.  It was a key catch and he made it.  He has been considered one of the best center fielders in the MLB for the past many years.  I forget what year it was but when he was with the Phillies he made a nasty catch while running into the wall and banged up his nose and all that.  It must have hurt a ton but he did make the catch.  That just shows you his will to make the play.

Torii Hunter is another one of those great center fielders that has made a few amazing catches in his time.  Currently with the Angels, he has already made many amazing catches since coming from the Minnesota Twins where he made even more spectacular, top ten worthy catchs.  One of his most famous was in an All Star Game in which he robbed Barry Bonds of a home run.  That was great.

There are so many great “at the wall defenders” that I can’t name them all, but these three are tops on my list and I wouldn’t change it at all for another few years before some new faces come into my perspective.  But this is my favorite baseball moment.  When an outfielder makes a rob at the wall.  Whether it is a home run rob or just an extra base hit rob.  It’s all great in my mind.

-Dillon

I Am In Desperate Need For a Yankee Victory Over The BoSox

Being a Yankee fan, or even for those Red Sox fans on this MLBlogosphere, these next four days should present nothing else but Red Sox-Yankees analysis on any Yankee fan’s or Red Sox fan’s blog.  That’s so simple.  The best rivalry in baseball is nothing short of what it is put up to be.  It is the single best part of the MLB.  It is my favorite part of the year when the Yankees and Red Sox face off and everyone else’s involved in this rivalry.  And basically, it is the only thing that should be talked about by any Red Sox or Yankee fan during the 18 games they play each other every year.  It is just STELLAR.

So, everyone knows that the Yankees have been unsuccessful against the Red Sox thus far this season.  They have been unable to win at home or on the road; extremely disappointing to Yankee fans.  Now, with first place in our posession (meaning the Yankees), the Bronx Bombers have a certain upside to things now, now that they have succeeded past the Sox without actually beating them.  But these next few games they play against the Red Sox will be played with a bigger sense of importance.  The Yankees can really pull away from the Red Sox, and push their already solid 2.5 game lead to maybe a 5 game lead or a 6 game lead at best.  A sweep would be phenominal seeing that we haven’t beaten them once this season.  Four straight wins would be STELLAR.

The Yankees and Red Sox play a total of ten games to finish off the season series.  Three of those are in Boston and the rest of them are in New York.  This is a huge advantage for the Yankees and they need to take advantage of it.  I can’t think of any better way to say it than that.  If you can’t win at home, you don’t have as good a chance to win on the road.

Victor Martinez… just aquired in a blockbuster deal from the Cleveland Indians.  A catcher/first baseman that has helped the Red Sox immensely in their current infield situation.  They have Mike Lowell who hasn’t been to the top of his health.  Since this has been the case, he has not started at third in the recent past and has forced Kevin Youkilis to shift over to third, the position he came to the Red Sox to play.  Victor Martinez has fit into the first base position and has let Jason Varitek remain behind the plate.  Late in the games, Mike Lowell has appeared to pinch hit giving the Red Sox much needed depth.  Martinez will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox action and will be a huge part in it.  Martinez is the offensive bat that has fit into an already loaded lineup for the Red Sox that has its fair share of power and just general good hitting.  It will be interesting to watch how he performs.

Now, going sort of off topic.  How about that Kung Fu Panda?

No not that one… this one.

Pablo Sandoval has been a huge part of bringing the San Francisco Giants back into the playoff race.  They are currently first in the wild card race in the NL, only a half game ahead of their closest competitors in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies.  The Giants aren’t going to get to the top of the division, with the Dodgers easily pulling away from day one, but with Sandoval leading the way offensively, the Giants could be the underdog that gets into the playoffs.  They have the pitching; Lincecum and Cain.  They have the defense; Rowand and Molina among them.  They have the offense; Sandoval and Sanchez.  What else is their that they need.  Obviously they don’t have an overly great team, but they have what it takes to perform to a high standard and they could surely make it to the playoffs.  Now, how far will they go in the playoffs?  I’m not so sure.  They do have to face off against the best of the best in the NL; the Dodgers, the Phils, most likely, and possibly the Cards, the Cubbies, or even the Brew Crew.  All tough teams, but they should have enough to get into the playoffs in the first place.  Sandoval leads the way offensively and all I can say to the Giants is this:

THE KUNG FU PANDA WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.

-Dillon

An No-Hitter For the Books

Last night, Jonathon Sanchez put in the best performance from any pitcher in the Major Leagues all season, and boy was it a show!  And yeah, I’m talking about the Jonathon Sanchez that was 2-8 going into the game, had been demoted to the bullpen, and had a 5.30 ERA.  Yeah.  He that’s the guy that just no-hit the San Diego Padres.  Now, the Padres aren’t what you would consider a good team, not that they are all that bad though.  The way they have played in stretches this season would back that up.  But they weren’t good enough to be a team that would be considered unno-hittable.  Now, you have to give props to Sanchez who has had an extremely tough season for doing what no one has done yet this year.  Great job man.

In most no-hitter scenarios, the pitcher generally dominates, making few mistakes that he is fortunate enough not to have ruined their no-hitter.  In the game last night, there were a few balls that just missed leaving the ballpark.  If the batter had hit it just a little farther, this story would be nowhere.  It wouldn’t even be in anyone’s head.  “Jonathon Sanchez throwing a no-hitter… not with the stats he has.”

Last night, two of those hits came from Adrian Gonzalez, the slugging first baseman that will be competing in this year’s home run derby.  He hit two to left field that forced the left fielder to the warning track.  A little more on each of those hits and he would have had two more homers added on to his impressive home run total for 2009.  The other one that was probably the most important of the game was the one that was off the bat of… some guy that batted in the eighth that I don’t know the name of.  It went deep to straight away centerfield.  With some centerfielders, it would have hit the wall and bounced off for a double, possibly a triple, ultimately ruining the no-no.  But who better to have in center than Aaron Rowand.  The wall-crashing-into-specialist.  He jumped to catch the ball and robbed the batter of extra bases- saved Sanchez’s place in history.  My dad and I both watched the recap video of the game on MLB.com and we both said the same thing when Rowand snagged the ball… “Oh wow!”  Now, imagine if the ball would have been a homer and Rowand robbed that… think about that for a minute…

To further appreciate his dominance in this game and just his totally STELLAR pitching, Sanchez’s no-hitter would have been a perfect game if not for an error by the one and only Juan Uribe.  I don’t know about any of you, but Uribe has always struck me as that guy that would ruin something great and just didn’t have it as a professional.  Not that he’s a bad player… he’s a lot better than me… but he just isn’t that reliable. 

Sanchez’s season and even his career has changed dramatically with this no-hitter.  It was a tremendous performance and his perseverance just makes it all the better for this guy.  He’s a young pitcher and to have thrown a no-no will boost his confidence a mile high… figuratively speeking.

Congrats to Jonathon Sanchez!

-Dillon

The Riley Pooles of Baseball

For any of you who don’t know Riley Poole, he is one of the main characters in the National Treasure movies.  Acting alongside Nicholas Cage and Diane Kruger (Ben Gates and Abigale Chase), Justin Bartha (Riley Poole) makes the wise cracks that make the movie great.  Amidst the action and adventure, Bartha’s wise cracks keep the movie going.  To me, he is the funniest character in the movie and a very important one in that.

Now, there is a reason I am talking about Mr. Riley Poole on this MLBlog.  It is because there is a strong comparison between Riley and many of the MLB players out there who don’t get a ton of credit for what they do on a daily basis.  The guys who put up good, consistent numbers to keep the team in it to win it.  Those are what I am calling the Riley Pooles of Baseball.  I mean, how would Ben Gates have stolen the Declaration of Independance without Riley at his side talking him through it?  How would they have survived the constant threats from Ian Howe and his men?  How would they have gotten to the treasure?  Riley was a very important character in this movie and there are many of them around the MLB.

  1. Riley Poole of Baseball #1: Jacoby Ellsbury- Now, I’m not saying that nobody knows about this kid or doesn’t appreciate him.  Because I know first hand how much he is loved around here in Boston.  He is one of the favorites among every single fan.  But his job with the Boston Red Sox is extremely important and it hasn’t been recognized that much (at least I haven’t heard any talk about him).  Ellsbury is currently second to Carl Crawford with 30 steals on the season.  He is on a phenominal pace and will easily end the season with over 40 stolen bases.  He gets on base to produce runs and to score them himself.  He has already stolen home this season in one of the biggest moments for the Red Sox all season- in a game against the Yankees.  Ellsbury is also a great defender.  He plays a STELLAR center field.  He makes diving catches all the time.  Despite not having a great arm, he has a respectable one and makes up for it with his amazing diving catches.  With all the talent surrounding him, this kid is doing as well as anyone.  All in all, this kid has a great amount of talent and is not getting recognized for it. 
  • Riley Poole of Baseball #2: Brad Hawpe- Now this guy is definitely not getting enough respect for what he has done this season in Colorado.  He is one of the biggest reasons for the Rockies’ recent success.  He is currently batting .333, has a .604 slugging percentage, has 11 homers, 53 RBI, and 136 total bases.  He is tearing it up.  Now I’m not saying he is having an MVP worthy season, because he has a lot to compete with (Pujols, Wright, Fielder).  He has earned an All Star vote from me though.  He is doing everything right in Colorado and I don’t think he is getting even close to the amound of appreciation he deserves.  Even I am appreciating him and I’m not even a Rockies fan.
  • 3.  Riley Poole of Baseball #3: Pablo Sandoval- The reason I chose this guy as #3 is because he is having a STELLAR season in a place where so many people go unrecognized.  Sandoval is one of them.  Now, you’ve got Tim Lincecum and Bengie Molina, but what about those other guys that contribute so much to the team and don’t get the respect and appreciation they deserve.  Sandoval, Randy Winn, Aaron Rowand, and Edgar Renteria (sort of) are all playing well but don’t get back what they give.  Well, Sandoval is playing the best out of these guys so I chose him,  He is batting .336, has a .544 slugging percentage, has hit eight homers (respectable), has driven in 34 runs, and has 131 total bases.  He is having a good season and no one is giving him credit.  Well I am.  Now, I don’t really care at all about what is going on in Frisco but this guy deserves the credit and I am giving it to him.  Congrats man.

    So I hope all of you get what I am trying to say here.  Professional baseball would be going no where without the Riley Pooles of Baseball. 

    -Dillon