First, a little rant regarding real baseball: I'm planning on giving up cable, but New Haven apparently counts as NYC's media market, so the Yankees are blacked out on the MLB TV online streaming dealie. What a crock. I guess it could be worse. I've heard that Iowa has like 6 teams that are considered its "local team," and are therefore blacked out. Anyway...
That rumbling you east coast people felt yesterday? That was the shockwave from a blockbuster trade:
Arizona traded the struggling Kelly Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, picking up second baseman Aaron Hill and infielder John McDonald in return.
"He's struggled to put together a year like he had last year," said Manager Kirk Gibson, who apparently took classes at Tim McCarver's school of baseball observation. Who knows, maybe a change of scenery will help both of these guys. I had Hill on my sleeper list in this year's draft, though thankfully I didn't end up with any shares. It seemed like he was bound to rebound at least somewhat after his historically bad BABIP last year, but I guess he's just bad.
The great Jeff Weaver's baby brother, who apparently is something of a ballplayer himself, got paid, having signed an extension a year before hitting the open market. He undoubtedly left money on the table, and he had a pretty refreshing take on his new contract.
If $85 (million) is not enough to take care of my family and other generations of families then I'm pretty stupid, but how much money do you really need in life?" Weaver said Tuesday. "I've never played this game for the money. I played it for the love and the competitive part of it. It just so happens that baseball's going to be taking care of me for the rest of my life.
Somewhere, Latrell Sprewell is confused while struggling to pay for his Baby's milk. (NOTE -- 'Baby' is the name of his albino ocelot.)
Congratulations to one of the most consistently underrated players of this generation on his 2000th hit:
"When you get a hit like that, the first thing you think of is how the hell did Pete Rose get 4,000 hits?" Konerko said. "That's the first thing, or (Derek) Jeter (getting 3,000). You do this from the time you're a kid, you have a wife and kids, it just seems like you do it your whole life, and for someone to have 1,000 more hits or 2,000 more, it just seems like those guys are good, good."
Konerko's only 7 HR away from 400, too. He's not done yet, it seems like he has a crack at 500, or at least a good chance to pass The Big Hurt at 448 as the all time White Sox leader. So, if he gets to 500, is he in the HOF?
Happy Birthday to:
Brett Gardner: I've been a big Gardner fan since he put on a speed clinic in Spring Training a few years ago. But after the first month of this season, I really and truly thought he was done as a Major League ballplayer. He looked terrible at the plate, afraid to swing the bat, and making bad contact on the few cuts he did take. On the few occasions he got on base, it was a mess. Gardner's always been one of those frustrating players who's fast as a rocket but has the running instincts of a nubile teenager in a bad horror film. Anyway, he really turned it around, and his numbers this year are going to look similar to his numbers in his breakout last year (when, thanks in no small part to his fine fielding, he was 10th in overall WAR). Shows how much I know. He still takes way too many called strike 3s, and he'll never have a monster power breakout like Tacoby Bellsbury this year, but I'll take him.
Also, when I was at a game earlier this year, I swear the Yankees PA announcer bungled his name and called him Bort Gittner. True story.
Tim Salmon: Before Mike Trout takes over as the Angels' designated superstar named after a large freshwater fish, let's talk about the original. Salmon had himself some huge years during the era of huge years. That was a weird time -- in 1997 he hit .296 with 33 HR and 129 RBI, and finished 7th in MVP voting for his trouble. (Of course that was the season that Junior Griffey was in spitting distance of Maris most of the year, and Constantino Martinez had 140 RBI of his own.) When I think of the Anaheim Angels I think of Tim Salmon. Note that I'm talking about neither the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with whom I primarily associate Handsome Mike Scioscia ; nor The Disney Corporation Presents the California Angels LLC, with whom I primarily associate Christopher Lloyd and Tony Danza. Salmon's also one of those semi-retired numbers - it's not official but nobody's used it since he retired.
Calvin Edwin Ripken, Jr.: The legend. I met him outside of Yankee Stadium when I was a young'un. This was back in the day when they set up barricades outside the players' exit and you could wait and see if anybody would sign for you. The Yankees rarely did (Joe Girardi and Darryl Strawberry are the two exceptions that come to mind), but I got several visiting players' sigs that way. When Cal came out after the game one night, he waved at the fans cheering for him and said he'd be back later. I don't think anybody believed him, but sure enough, 45 minutes later he drives up in his SUV, gets out and signs for every single kid waiting there. So he'd basically need to bite the head off of several kittens on live television for me to dislike him. I don't care that Chan Ho Park served him up a meatball in the 2001 All Star Game. (As an aside -- Chan Ho Park was in an All Star Game? LOL wut?)
Awesomely named old-timey birthday boy: Shorty Des Jardien, who managed to throw a whopping 1 inning in his major league career. 2 earned on a hit and a walk. Apparently he's in the College Football Hall of Fame, though. For the record, his Baseball Reference page is available for sponsorship.
Cool beans, everybody. Good to be back. Play nice.