Results tagged ‘ Giants ’

Catcher injuries top the rest

“Chin music” has long been the appropriate term for a high and inside fastball running in on a batter.

In 1989, Don Slaught heard it loud and clear.

A fastball from Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd drilled Slaught in the face causing a rush of blood and resulted in several broken facial bones. Within a few weeks he was back in the Yankees lineup. For other players, gruesome injuries take a bit longer to heel. Now, there have been many worse injuries to have occurred over just a split second in a big league game. In 1976, Phillies left fielder Todd Stamps ran into the outfield bullpen, ran into a metal pipe and ruptured brain cells. Jermaine Dye splattered his shin after fouling off a pitch in 2004.

While the aforementioned ailments are indeed troubling, they were a matter of timing and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. More often than not, its a catcher that sees the most live action in a ball game with a heightened risk or traumatic problems. I bring this up because it stung to see Giants catcher, Buster Posey go down against the Marlins on Wednesday. A catcher is an unsung hero on a team. They are the protectors of home plate, the pitcher and runs against. That barrier needs to be strong, and it is. Injuries to the catcher have always been difficult to watch. These three, including Posey’s, have given a greater appreciation to old position number two.

Scott Cousins was only trying to give his team the lead. The last thing he wanted to do was send the reigning Rookie of the Year to the hospital.

As you can see from the above pictured, Posey’s legs buckled and he laid motionless on the ground for a good 20 minutes. Reports say he will likely miss the rest of the season as a result from the horrific snap play. There is no way that Cousins tried to make the play dirty. If no injury took place, he would be heralded for his hustle and toughness on such a difficult play, tagging up on a shallow fly ball to center field.

Hustle was the name of the game for Pete Rose.

Ray Fosse found that out firsthand.

In an eerily similar play to the Posey-Cousins showdown, Rose was attempting to score the winning run for his team—in an All-Star game. He’s received a bulk of criticism for the over-aggressive lunge. It was a de-facto exhibition game, but there were no fake games in Rose’s eyes. Fosse didn’t let this set him back, though. He was back in late August of 1970, the collision happened in July of that year, and performed well. He would make another All Star game in his career while earning a Gold Glove award and winning a pair of World Series titles.

Posey has an accomplished list of accolades already in his young career. Fosse is a perfect example of success following a detrimental injury.

Jason Kendall is not.

After twisting his ankle in highly unorthodox fashion on July 4, 1999, he was out for the rest of the season. Kendall was always an overrated player, but he was reliable. Behind the plate, he was a force. Kendall holds the record for most games caught in a Pirate uniform.  His notorious injury is not exactly like the previous two, as you can see. However, it did hamper a solid career. He went on to have the lowest slugging percentage in the majors for three years with no further All-Star selections since 2000. Nagging injuries would continue to plaque his run as a major leaguer.

Celebrities in the wake of greatness

Giants1.JPG
The Giants are taking the world by storm.

After the remarkable World Series win, San Francisco seems to be the mecca of baseball these days.

Rightfully so.

giants.jpgThese guys sure know how to party.

A reported 1.5 million were on hand last week for the parade celebration. Talk about coming in with style. Keeping with the famed cable car tradition of the beautiful city the team rode in on cable cars among ticker tape flowing by the thousands. Without a doubt a lovely display of black and orange.

The honor didn’t stop there.

Probably the most recognizable of all the champions is “The Beard” Brian Wilson.

brian_wilson_fear_the_beard_black_tshirt.jpgAlways notorious for his outlandish behavior, the playoffs gave him an outlet to let loose and get recognition. Described as a “real life Kenny Powers” by the good folks at TMZ, Wilson found his way into the mainstream after the World Series.

brian wilson.jpegWilson has helped bring in a new wave of baseball fans to the sport, in my opinion. His mentality and persona is unlike that of any player in the game today, really. It is refreshing to see a Rick Vaughn type “Wild Thing” take the mound to close out a game.  Let’s just hope he doesn’t flame out or end up in the California Penal League.

Another hero made his way to late night, my man Freddy Sanchez.
freddy.jpgI honestly got chills as I sat watching him take shots of Jameson on Lopez Tonight, with George Lopez. Aside from a cheap latino joke, Sanchez handled himself very well and looked like he embraced the limelight. In nearly every interview I have seen with him he always speaks at length about his time in Pittsburgh. He talked about how much he enjoyed being a Pirate after Lopez took a shot at the club. Lopez’s main objective was to divert attention away from Pittsburgh to talk about Sanchez being a Los Angeles native. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant five minutes and hopefully people begin to relaize once again that a Freddy Sanchez type human being are a dime a dozen.

Another classy Giant has to be MVP Edgar Renteria.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for er.jpgRenteria turned down an offer from his native Columbia. His country had asked to throw a parade for him honoring his MLB achievements. He respectfully turned it down and asked the money, time and effort be put towards that of helping flood victims in the area.

The Giants may not be where they were this year, next year. It will be hard to forget the memories and characters from the improbable victory, though.

photo credits: sacbee.com, yahoo.com

Messin with Texas

 

bumgarner2.jpgI spent my Sunday night on my couch, eating popcorn, drinking chocolate milk and eatching TV.

Fellow 21 year old, Madison Bumgarner took his evening to the mound of Rangers Stadium and made it his own.

Bumgarner coasted through the Rangers’ lineup in game 4 en route to a 4-0 blanking thanks to his offense. Hs three hits over eight innings drew the nation’s attention as Bumgarner may have found his spot in the record books as one of the most dominant, youngest pitchers in any postseason.

Hard to believe we are the same age.

Although the Giants lost game 3 on Saturday, they were competitive.

Losing just 4-2 I still feel somewhat responsible because I did not watch the game due to Halloween festivities. I saw many clever costumes out and about, but this little guy in Texas may have taken the cake.

lilron.jpgLil Wash has taken the internet by storm and got his spot in the limelight Sunday with the play ball announcement. Camera crews surrounded him but I was totally impressed by the 7 year olds demeaner. He was enjoying it all.

Great attire and perfect humor. In a series that has drawn some of the lowest ratings in postseason history he provided a dash of entertainment.

Although I strongly disagree with the people who aren’t tuning in.

Developing right in front of us we are seeing a dynasty take place. Buster Posey joins Bumgarner as two of the most talented younger players in the game. Juan Uribe has revived himself and the outfield core is combining speed, power and chemistry.

The most exciting player of the series is non other than Freddy Sanchez.

 

 

freddyyyyy.jpgSanchez has been getting his uniform dirty, climbing the ladder and making plays. His inspired defense has been a sorce of energy for San Francisco.

His bat has been thunderous as well providing key hits out of the two-hole.

Game 5 takes place Tuesday night.

Eric Karros said whoever won Sunday will win it all.

Looks like the trophy is coming to the Bay Area

photocredits:athbaseball.com, deadspin.com, wltx.com

2 out lightning

 

 

caint.jpgPitching was going to be the dominant force in this series.

That was well documented.

Matt Cain breezed through the Rangers en route to a 9-0 beatdown.

It was Game 1 that was pictured as a pitches duel but when Cain faced off with C.J. Wilson. Both pitchers looke dominant until WIlson suffered a finger bruise and was forced to sit for the remainder of the contest.

That’s when it went downhill.

The heralded bullpen of Texas went haywire and surrendered seven runs. The wheels successfully fell off.

The left side of the infield was the saving grace for the Giants. Juan Uribe was the hero in game 1 and shorstop Edgar Renteria followed in game 2 with a solo shot to get San Francisco on the board in the fifth inning.

edgarsi.jpgHe’s been in this position before.

In 1997 he downed the Indians in Game 7 of the World Series with a sharp line drive that brought in Craig Counsel for the winning run.

I love a good walk-off and they just seem more special in the Series.

Renteria finished the game 2-for-4 with 3 RBI.

Nealry every Giant reached base and hero awards could be given to many players.

Aaron Rowand delievered a key, pinch-hit triple that brought in a pair of runs.

Uriber continued to contribute with a double that brought in two as well.

 

There is no doubt the game ball goes to Cain. He really is in line for playoff MVP after scorching through round by round. He has yet to give up a run.

That’s history book material.

Now not every event that occured by the bay tonight was good.

Freddy Sanchez laid an egg going 0-for-5. A horrific display after garnering four hits and three doubles the night before.

Despite the struggles he was featured in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette column by Ron Cook.

 

freddyhappy.jpgTranscribing the tribulations throughout his life Sanchez said playing major league baseball was a miracle. He was born with a foot deficiency and overcame the inability to walk, to play professional baseball. Cook concluded the article with a quote from Sanchez that brought tears to my eyes.  

“I just hope Pittsburgh gets to experience this one day.”

He hasn’t forgotten the little people!

photo credits: espn.com, mccoveychronicles.com, getty images

 

 

Happy Halladays to start the postseason

In a somewhat sarcastic way I proclaimed on October 5th that the Reds would not get a hit throughthe NLDS against the Philies.

 

halladay.jpgSo far so good huh.

There was not a better way to script the opening day of the postseason than the first playoff no hitter since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1962.

So close to a perfect game too. Unbelievable. And to do it twice in one year simply baffles me. Just imagine if Roy Halladay happened to be out of Toronto for more of his career. He could possibly be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history. He still has a lot of gas in the tank and judging by this season alone he has punched his ticket to Cooperstown. A first ballot hall of famer in my book.

One game that may hold him out could very well be May 18, 2010.

He lost to the Pirates.

Zach Duke went toe-to-toe with the Philadelphia ace in a 2-1 ballgame where both pitchers
halladay1.jpg went the complete game. It was one of the most precise games the Pirates put together in 2010 and the best contest of Duke’s wretched year.

As I type this the game in Minnesota is going swimmingly well for the Twins. Something to say that I am pleased to see. Francisco Liriano is pitching masterfully.

Pitching has been a common theme when discussing the highs of the 2010 MLB season. So far it looks like the playoffs are going to be no exception. Cliff Lee shut down the Rays this afternoon. Halladay had a freaking no hitter. Liriano is coasting right now.

Tomorrow presents a new day with two similiar teams pinned against each other. It is sure to be anothers pitchers duel as Tim Lincecum faces Derek Lowe.

When it comes to picking a team to root for in the postseason, it hasn’t been the easiest thing. Last year I chose the Dodgers because of my good blogging friends Emma and Cat were so very kind to me. This season is a bit trickier, but not really. I am sticking with the NL West theme and will be adorning the orange and black.

 

sf.jpgI’ve always liked the logo and color scheme. The city is one of a kind. The ballpark blew me away. Besides those intangibles the Giants also offer something special for the playoff run, one of my favorite players of all time.

FREDDY.jpgFreddy Sanchez.

His time in Pittsburgh was headlined by a batting title in 2006 but what may have been overshadowed was his hospitality. Sanchez is a class act and was always a fan favorite. His work ethic and gritty glove work is topped only by his consistent bat. He is finally overcoming injuries that have haunted his whole career and he is showing he belongs in an everday lineup, especially on a contending team.

Nobody deserves the honor of winning games in the post season than Freddy Sanchez.

Go Giants!

photos: ap, yahoo.com

Trade Deadline Wrap Up

 

tradedeadline.jpg

Not quite Nomar, that title belongs to April and Opening Day. However, come July 31st I think it is safe to say it may be the most exciting.

Another Trade Deadline has come and gone. Heading into August I have a new feeling for the moves made by the Pirates. Joy.

Uncharacteristically the Pirates were not sellers at this trade deadline. But they were the farthest thing from being buyers as the team stands 20.5 games out of first place.

The moves the Pirates made were designed to swap talented players for relatively players of equal skill level.

The first move of the day sent bench players Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby and reliever D.J. Carrasco to the Diamondbacks in exchange for catcher Chris Snyder.

chris_snyder_200707_ap.jpgSnyder doesn’t bring much to the table offensively. His .230 batting average is about 20 points lower than normal starting catcher for the Bucs Ryan Doumit. However, Snyder does have more pop with 10 HRs this season. He also has something Doumit infamously lacks, a glove. Snyder has a .career .998 fielding percenatge. That is the most welcomed aspect from the deal. Doumit is widely regarded as “No-Mitt” a clever play on his last name and it surely is true. Pittsburgh has tried to position Doumit at first base on occasions just to take back some of the grunt work of being a major league catcher. That was an experiment gone wrong as Doumit was just as grim at first as he is behind the plate. Doumit is currently on the Disabled List. I anticipate Snyder will get the starting nod and will remain in that capacity even when Doumit returns to the clubhouse.

pedroc.jpgPittsburgh also landed minor leaguer Pedro Ciriaco. Look into those eyes, this shortstop looks intimidating and I think I’m going to like it. Ciriaco is probably light years away from the big leagues but he is servicable at the position. He has a respectable average hitting right around the .270 mark. He could make a run at shortstop in a few years. The organization is relatively weak at short in terms of future talent.

Deal two came a few hours later and probably made the biggest splash among fans of both organizations.

The Pirates recieved relief pitcher James McDonald an 21-year old minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo. In order to recieve this pair the Pirates surrendered Octavio Dotel.

I was a big fan of Dotels and will be sad to see him go. He was rented out just for this season and probably was not going to be a Bucco in 2011. I guess it is the best thing to give him up and still get a solid return.

jamesmac.jpgMcDonald is long and lanky, much like myself. I don’t want to say I have followed his whole career, that would be a lie. However I have paid attention to what he has done throughout his relative short emergence out in LA. He is just 25 and still has plenty of time to develop into a solid big league player. He has shown flashes of excellence out of the bullpen but still has yet to be even the least bit respectable. I’m glad he is now in Pittsburgh, this will be a great chance for him to revive.

This Lambo guy may be the most intriguing of the bunch.

lambo.jpgI trolled the Dodger’s Message Boards to see reactions from their fans on the deal. Many were cintent with seeing McDonald go but the cost of trading Lambo seemed way too high for them.

I can see why they were disapointed.

Lambo is a highly regarded prospect coming out of the 4th round of the 2007 draft. This year in AA he has a solid .270 batting average and maintains a career average of .286. He draws comparrisons by some Pirate bloggers to current rightfielder Jose Tabata. Both players will hit for a high average and provided a spark at the top of the lineup. Tabata is currently riding a ten game hitting streak into tonight’s game at St. Louis.

The Pirates completed the day shipping another relief pitcher to the state of California.

Javier Lopez went to the Giants in exchange for pitcher Joe Martinez and outfielder John Bowker.

JoeMartinez.jpgThere is not much information out on Martinez. He is a career minor league pitcher and does have a shot at landing a major league position at some point. Any pitching is good pitching in my eyes.

bowker.jpgBowker may have the best shot of any player in the whole trade deadline package to make a legitimate impact. He can probably make the team right away but will have to earn a starting spot in the outfield. He has been milling around in the minors recently but does have experience in the majors. I like what he offers. He will push an already talented Bucco outfield for playing time.

There you have the new faces of the freshest crop of players in the Pirates organizaton. Last year the influx of trades made left fans with a wait and see attitude. This year we have a lot of the pieces needed for success and we can watch them develop keenly.

In years past the masses of Pittsburgh have bellyached about the trades made by the Pirates. This year should please everybody. Much of the bullpen was traded away and it was the Buc’s strongest suit. All players from the pen will be replaced and replaced fairly easily. I’m proud of Neil Huntington for making these level headed moves.

Phot Credits: boston.com, beat.bodoglife.com, sbnation.com, latimes.com, baseballbeginnings.com, leftysportsacademy.com, espn.com

 

Sanchez? Who is Sanchez?

If you are one of my good buddies reading this you will know where I am coming from with that title. If you are not, I will briefly explain.

The year was 2006 and my family and I were on a trip to Washington, D.C. On this one specific day we visited the U.S. Mint. Now I can’t say I remember too much about our tour of the mint but one moment will surely stick out for many years, and it has.

sanchez.jpgI was wearing my Freddy Sanchez All-Star T-Shirt. No big deal right?

But to Julio Martinez, the Mint security guard, it was.

“Sanchez!?! Who is Sanchez?” he excalims to me.

After I explain who the Pittsburgh second baseman was he showed a slight grin and hinted that he hopes to hear more about the solid player. Some four years later I hope he has had his fill of Freddy.

Now that wasn;t the best story in world but shoot it is in my circle of family and friends, we always get a laugh out of it.

While Sanchez’s career in Pittsburgh is over, he has began to make his mark in San Francisco. After battling through injuries at the end of last season after being traded to beginning this season on the disabled list Sanchez has started to turn things around.

After going 3-for-4 against the Pirates Friday night he continued to have a big series and drove in the winning run on Sunday, a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning.

Sanchez is now batting .371 although he has appeared in just 17 games. He was said to have started to wind down in his carrer but still has that knack at the plate. I feel he will be swinging strongly for quite sometime.

 

sanchez1.jpgThere may not be a classier ballplayer than Freddy Sanchez. In interviews after the trade that send him to San Francisco in exchange for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson, Sanchez has been nothing but respectful of his former city and club.

. The way the fans treated me was just awesome,” Sanchez told Post Gazette reporter Dejan Kovacevic, “I can’t wait to be back there and play in that stadium again.”

He recieved loud ovation this weekend and rightfully so, he earned it. While it may have been dissapointing, yet fitting, that he drove in the winning run to break open a 5-5 tie on Sunday what he did the day before is entirely admirable.

After donating much more $50,000 dollars to Western Pennsylvania Charities and other outlets to build baseball fields for special needs children, Sanchez and his family showed up at one of those fields to play ball with those kids. The Post-Gazette and USA Today have picked up on this story and I am sure we will be hearing more of it. Sanchez the humanitarian is a fitting nickname that will stick because of his strong willed attributes. 

How many players, scratch that, how many visiting team players would do that the afternoon before a game, let alone the day after playing a game that did not start until ten o’clock and probably did not finsih until almost 1 a.m.

Sanchez enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh. He was a loser only because of his team’s win-loss
Thumbnail image for 21.jpg record but still through all of it remianed a good sport and wanted to be in the Steel City. He has taken the high road by only talking about the good of Pittsburgh and wanting to come back. Players such as Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Eric Hinske, Sean Burnett and other who have recently been traded have come right out and said they were happy to move on. To quote Frank Sinatra, Sanchez’s vagabond shoes were longing to stray, just not in New York City, but in Pittsburgh, Pa. He now reps the number 21. A shoutout to Clemente and Pittsburgh? Maybe.

photo credits: fansedge.com, postgazette.com, bayareasportsguy.com  

 

 

 

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