Tagged: Torii Hunter

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

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Stars Shine Bright Part 1

St. Louis 1.jpg

Now, seriously, tell me that is not one of the best backdrops to a stadium in all of the MLB stadiums.  You’ve got a beautful stadium already and then you’ve got a nice calm, city outside the stadium and the famous St. Louis arch.  It’s just a great sight and I think it is this picture is one of the best of any other MLB related picture.

So the guys that outperformed the rest of the MLB are going to be playing in one of the best stadiums around the MLB to try and secure their respective leagues a home field advantage for the 2009 World Series.  Now, the past twelve years, the AL has won.  No doubt, domination.  The AL has just produced more top players than the NL and they have outperformed the NL the past decade + some.  The pitching has been better the hitting has been better and the coaching has been better.  Everything that makes up a team has been better on the AL side than the NL side.

In the 2003 All Star Game, Texas Rangers 3B Hank Blalock hit a pinch-hit two run home run in the eighth inning off, then, one of the best closers in the game, Eric Gagne.  The shot was a no doubter and it put the AL on top and would be the game winning shot.  That was the closest the NL has come to winning an All Star Game in the past twelve years other than the 2002 All Star game that ended in a tie.

This year, the NL may have a little better of a lineup but the AL counters it with a pretty good lineup itself and maybe some better pitching.  The starters in the game are both very deserving of their spots: Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum.

In my opinion, the NL has a better offensive lineup having a ton of power hitters , all capable of going yard at any moment.  The AL has their offensive up sides as well, very little seperating the talent of the two lineups, but the AL may have a little more all around good play.  They have more guys that can do the little things to win and the NL doesn’t necessarily have that.

On defense, the lineups are stacked with gold glovers or close to gold glovers.  Solid defensive players all around and it will be interesting to see how the defense affects the game.  As most of you know, defense is a huge part of the game.  It may not seem so but it is.  There have been some big defensive plays that have changed parts of the games in the past.  You all remember Torii Hunter’s rob of Barry Bonds’ homer in the 2002 All Star Game, the one that ended in a tie because of the lack of pitchers.  Yeah, if that ball had gone out, the game may not have ended in a tie.  In fact the NL would have finally won an All Star Game.

The MLB stars that have been voted into this game have earned their spot and deserve their chance to represent their respective leagues.  The game will hopefully be an intersting one.  It is usually a great time, the All Star Game.  And I don’t think there is a better place to have it than in Busch Stadium with the St. Louis arch in the backround and the fans pouring into the stands to watch the best of the best play America’s pastime.  The stars will shine bright into the St. Louis night.

-Dillon