Monthly Archives: February 2011

Stephen Strasburg, Randy Johnson and Loek van Mil….?

Loek van Mil

You’re probably wondering what these guys have in common.   I read an interesting article the other day about a 26 year old pitcher who’s been working out in spring training with the Anaheim Angels (oops, sorry,  NKA Los Angeles Angels)   His name’s Loek van Mil and he was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 2005  to a 7 year contract.  There was a minor setback in spring training, as it took the Twins some time to find pants for the  taller than tall,  7 ‘1″ ballplayer.   Reminds me when my middle son, Dave, had to wear his tennis shoes in U. S. Army Basic Training while he waited for his special-order Size 16 boots to come in.  I mean, wouldn’t you think that’s something they would have thought about when they signed him up?   Anyhow, Loek pitched for the Dutch National Team in 2007  at the Baseball World Cup.  He then became a member of the Dutch Team for the 2008 Olympics, but was injured before the games began and started the 2009 season in rehab.  He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for Brian Fuentes in 2010 and has struggled with several health issues, mainly shoulder tendinitis.   So here’s a pitcher who has potential, but for some reason has never really been able to capitalize on his physical abilities.  His incredible height, which should be considered a real advantage for a pitcher (I mean, the ball’s half way to the plate before he ever lets go of it!) has not appeared to to be an advantage at all.   Contrast this with Stephen Strasburg, the rookie pitching phenom for the Washington Nationals, who, at age 22, capitalized on his tremendous potential beginning in June, 2010, by being the starting  pitcher in 12 games, for 68 innings, 92 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.91.  Amazing statistics.  But it doesn’t end well.   Young Strasburg ended up with an inflamed shoulder in July,  and then a torn ligament in August requiring surgery  and 12-18 months rehab.   Strasburg is rumored to be returning to play in September, 2011.     And then there’s Randy Johnson who retired from baseball in 2009 at the age of 46.   He was a five-time Cy Young Award winner and a 10-time

Randy Johnson

All-Star and won a World Series ring.   But like van Mil and Strasburg, Johnson’s  road to success wasn’t easy.  ESPN reported that Johnson ” looked so awkward on the mound, early in his career, that …..he fired a blazing fastball in every direction but the strike zone”.   And, like van Mil and Strasburg, he was plagued with injuries throughout his career.   That’s what they have in common.  When I first read about Loek van Mil and the troubles he’s already having, before even being considered an actual Major Leaguer, and the problems that Stephen Strasburg encountered from the very beginning in his young Major League career, I tried to parallel it with what I knew about Randy Johnson’s career.   I really like the idea of a 7′ 1″ pitcher having a successful pitching career.  It would be great for baseball!   And I really like the idea of young Strasburg coming back and legitimately challenging every batter he encounters to the point of it being ridiculous.   It would be great for baseball!   (Not to mention how great it would be for the Washington Nationals) !   Okay, I admit it.  I guess what I’m really hoping for is another Randy Johnson.  Now that would be really great for baseball!

An Overdose of “Philly-Itis”…….

Hank Aaron, Wikipedia Image

Philly Schmilly …….Don’t you just love it when someone in the know has the guts to speak what’s on his mind instead of jumping on the eternal pundit bandwagon?   That’s just exactly what Hank Aaron did yesterday.   Hank’s predicting a 2011 World Series between the Giants and Red Sox.   Whew ~ where did that come from?  Hasn’t he been listening to the pundits and bloggers and baseball experts? Could it be that Henry knows something the rest of the baseball world doesn’t?   Could it be these so-called experts have fallen into the same trap they did last year and have totally overlooked the obvious?  In other words, they didn’t learn a thing.  I’m not talking about the regular season.   I mean, for pete’s sake, I’m a Giant’s fan and there’s no way I would have imagined, say, in August,  the Giants would end up taking their Division.  So what do you think Hank Aaron might possibly be thinking?  

For one thing, Aaron’s predicting 2011’s going to be  a hitters year, unlike the pitcher’s year of 2010.   Well if that’s true  it sure takes the wind out of the sails for that $120 Million contract the Phillies signed Clifton Phifer “Cliff” Lee to in the off-season.   I’ve never understood the reasoning that  the Phillies are now unbeatable, invincible, the next undisputable World Champions, just by virtue  of having Cliff Lee on their roster.    Uhhh, seems to me the unbeaten Cliff Lee was beaten TWICE by the Giants in this year’s World Series.   So please tell me what Cliff Lee has done recently that would make him now “unbeatable”?   It just doesn’t make sense.     He was unbeatable last season and the Giants whooped the stuffing out of him, not once, but twice,and now he’s wearing a Phillies uniform, and he’s once again unbeatable?  

Is it possible the Phillies might be able to pull it off and win the Division?  Oh sure.  Is it possible they might go on and win the World Series?  Maybe.  But it’s not a foregone conclusion.  Thank you,   Hank Aaron,  for bringing some good old fashioned  common sense to the subject.   It’s a lot more fun letting the teams play out the season instead of  letting the self-proclaimed pundits and experts crown the Philadelphia Phillies  the anointed ones in February.   It’s obvious the only reason Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies is he sees it as his only chance to vindicate himself from the embarrassment he obviously felt (or should have felt) of not only being outpitched in the World Series, but of being so “mouthy” about it before hand.  

Philly Phanatic

 To say the Phillies might be my least favorite team is probably a huge understatement.  Go ahead, ask the teams and  players who’ve had to endure the wrath, anger and profanity of the Phillie phanatics on and off the field.  I’m just saying, when it comes to baseball, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely NOT the city of brotherly love. 

Ronni Redmond

Ronni Redmond.

Much ado about nothing ……. Popular Baseball Quotes!

Here’s some fun quotes courtesy of  Baseball Almanac  that haven’t made it to the GFBB sidebar yet !  Just trying to kill time till baseball season folks!

  •  “All I remember about my wedding day in 1967 is that the Cubs lost a double-header.” George Will Source: USA Weekend (04/01/1990)
  • “Aw, how could he (Jorge Orta) lose the ball in the sun, he’s from Mexico.” Harry Caray
  • I would always sing it (Take Me Out To The Ball Game), because I think it’s the only song I knew the words to!” Harry Caray.
  • “They (Expos fans) discovered ‘boo’ is pronounced the same in French as it is in English.” Harry Caray
  • “He (Darryl Strawberry) is not a dog; a dog is loyal and runs after balls.” Tommy Lasorda
  • “He (Fernando Valenzuela) wants Texas back (in respect to his contract demands).  Tommy Lasorda “Source: Sports Illustrated (December 28, 1961)   Continue reading

Seattle Mariner Fans ….. This One’s for You!

In Memory of  Dave Niehaus 

 Everytime I hear Dave’s voice I tear up. I get chills until no end. Not so much because I miss Dave the person, but Dave the spirit. I grew up watching baseball, knowing every night when I turned on the television I could hear Dave. I knew that when no one was positive about the Mariner’s chances, Dave would always have a hopeful attitude. I am going to miss the “My Oh My‘s” and the “Grand Salami‘s”. Even the simple hello, welcome to beautiful Safeco Field, with his signature grin. FLY FLY AWAY! ”   Taken from Comments on YouTube

Dave Niehaus, Throwing out the First Pitch

To be honest, I didn’t know much about Dave Niehaus except that he was a former announcer for the Mariners.  When I was researching about who he was Continue reading

Baseball, A Spectator Sport ……. Tired of Watching Alone?

http://www.LiveBaseballChat.com  is a free site that allows you to chat real time with other baseball fans live during any of the 2453 MLB games.   A dedicated chat room is started for each MLB game, 30 minutes before each game, and then closes 30 minutes after the game is finished.

When I first heard about “Live Chat” I thought it was just another yuppie tool to play with.   And I was right, it is.   But I decided to take  a closer look, and after I figured out what was going on it sounded Continue reading