30 June 2005

All Star Stuff...



I was thinking today, and it occurred to me that the HR Derby list never really materializes in definite until like a day before it's to take place- mostly because there's a lot of bowing out and last minute injuries to contend with. Anyway, seeing as they usually don't adhere to any specific criteria (save for having a hometown guy in the mix) when picking contestants, I thought I'd pick my "Dream HR Derby Contest" from the current crop of MLers, and no, I'm not going to include a Detroit Tiger. Sorry.

I will keep it to one per-team, and I'm focusing really more on HR hitting ability more than I am pure hitting ability, hence David Ortiz over Manny Ramirez, for instance. I want bombs, yo.

So we'll do five guys from each league.

AL

  1. David Ortiz, Bos.

  2. Travis Hafner, Cle.

  3. Vladimir Guerrero, LAA

  4. Richie Sexson, Sea.

  5. Alfonso Soriano, Tex.


NL

  1. Albert Pujols, Stl.

  2. Carlos Lee, Mil.

  3. Adam Dunn, Cin.

  4. Carlos Delgado, Fla.

  5. Andruw Jones, Atl.


But that's just me. I'm sure Derrek Lee, Mark Teixeira, Cliff Floyd, Alex Rodriguez, and Miguel Tejada will all be in the mix too when the time comes, but I went with this ten. I was going to go with Tejada in fact for the AL, but I thought, as well as he did in Houston, I figured it'd be cool to see what Soriano could do with a bunch of BP fastballs down the middle in the prime of his power years.

Similarly with Andruw, normally I'd have never picked him, but at the moment, he's hitting the ball so fucking far so fucking often, I think it'd be silly not to want to see what he could do.

I'm nearly certain Papi will get invited to do it, and I really feel like he has a great shot to win it. He had his first season jitters last year in Houston, and anyone who's seen him take batting practice knows he could easily dominate. So he was an easy call. Also, in similar BP fashion, I couldn't witness Travis Hanfer's BP heroics at Fenway this week and NOT pick him.










I actually don't really care who makes the All Star Game- starter or otherwise- mostly because I've never thought of it as some award for merit so much as it is a reward for "stardom." A popularity contest. And that's fine, because it's a fan exhibition (even if it counts).

What I do like are some guys that SHOULD be stars getting noticed- like Bobby Abreu leading NL outfielders in votes, or Johnny Damon being on the verge of his first starting nod in an All Star Game.

I mean, I'll be honest- I don't want to see David Dellucci start because he's had a great start to his season (and he certainly has), I want to see Vladimir Guerrero, despite his limited time due to injury, because he's Vladimir Guerrero. The All Star Game is for "stars." Maybe that's not fair. Oh well.

I really hope there are some guys that have never made it to the All Star Game make it as reserves- ones having careers on the cusp of All Star level play, but that have never gotten voted in. Someone like Trot Nixon, though he likely won't make it this year.

The most interesting part of the All Star break may end up being the MLB Futures Game, which will feature, this year, Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez on it's roster.






Michael Silverman- who always had a great relationship with him- has a nice article on Pedro and Boston. The more I listen to him talk, the more I realize that he loved his time here, but wanted a new scenario, and is enjoying New York. Doesn't mean I don't miss him on the Sox any less.

Pedro misses Sox but moves on

``No, I'm over it, without a doubt. I'm over it,'' Martinez said before the Mets' game against the Phillies on Tuesday. ``I have room in my heart for the good things that happened. I appreciate so much being a Boston Red Sox for seven years. I established, I think, a small legacy when I was there. You know, there's more good than bad. There's nothing I can say - you know how I look at all this that happened this winter? Business. I'm mature enough to understand that that was business, regardless of what happened or how I was treated, it was just business.''


Pedro always seemed like an emotional guy- though incredibly intelligent- and the more distance he gets from the circumstances, the more he seems to temper it with understanding. That said, I still don't think he's sending Lucchino Christmas cards.

``No regrets, none at all,'' Martinez said. ``I miss my (Red Sox) teammates - a whole bunch of crazy dudes, the `Idiots' that I had behind me. I miss the fans, I miss the atmosphere and not really that much (else), because New York really takes you when it comes to being in an atmosphere.

``Fenway is different, without a doubt, it is different. Tradition, the history of the team, it's different. And I miss a lot of that but I don't miss the media - at all; don't miss the talk (radio) programs that they have on WEEI. Don't miss any of the negativity that was around there. Pretty much all the negatives that everybody sees, I don't miss. Everything else, you can say I miss. (But) I don't miss management over there. I miss all the trainers, I miss all the working staff on the field and in the clubhouse and on the field. Hard-working people. I miss Pookie (Jackson, the assistant equipment manager), I miss (equipment manager) Joe Cochran, I miss Kerri (Moore, the media relations manager), P.R. That's it. Without a doubt, the fans, the K-Crew, all the traditions they had, around me, around the team, those are things I miss.''


Can't say that I blame him there. I don't think there are too many "pundits" in New York openly rooting for, say, the Red Sox or, say, the Braves.

``I don't know what happened,'' Martinez said, looking back at his 2004 struggles. ``I can't really explain it but I'm glad it's over. It was a good year still, even if it wasn't the year I accustomed everyone to seeing, it was a good year. And I thank God, in the worst year I had in Boston, I ended up winning a championship, thanks to the help of a lot of grinders I had behind me.''

Two baseball cards - one a World Series MVP card of Manny Ramirez [stats, news], the other an ALCS MVP card of David Ortiz [stats, news] - sit atop Martinez' locker in Shea Stadium, where his starts have steadily grown into the events they became throughout nearly all seven of his seasons with the Red Sox [stats, schedule] from 1998-2004.

...He still talks with Ortiz, Ramirez, Jason Varitek [stats, news] and trainer Chris Correnti, with whom Martinez rehabbed his shoulder in the wake of his 2001 bout with a torn rotator cuff. The former Sox ace said he has also had some advice for closer Keith Foulke [stats, news] to help with his changeup.


The article goes on to talk about Pedro being a great influence in the clubhouse and how much life he's brought to the Mets. Nice article for those of us still holding a candle for Pedro.

...AND- he got his 9th win today over Philadelphia

I was actually watching a Mets game recently, just as the Sox were about to start a series in Philadelphia and the Mets were wrapping their's up. Anyway, the Met announcers were talking about seeing Joe Castiglione around the park, and one of them said that in all Joe's years in baseball, in all his years with the Red Sox- his favorite Sox of all time was... Pedro Martinez.

In fact, Pedro wrote the foreword for Joe's most recent book. I knew I loved Joe.




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