Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bob Digital

Had I been forced to put down money on the outcome of last night's derby, Bobby Abreu would not have been my horse.

Despite being the game's Most Underrated Player for, oh, the last five years or so, his career high for HR in a season is a relatively modest 31 in 2001. If the derby gave credit for doubles, of which he's good for about 40 to 50 per annum, maybe, but that would first require the event to undergo a cumbersome name change (the 2006 Right Guard X-treme Xtra Base Challenge? Boo).

Plus Mark Teixeira, besides leading the AL in home runs with 25 at this point, has the combination of bulk and a certain vacant, manchildish look about him that, to me, practically screams "derby winner."

So I was one of the many surprised that it was Abreu who turned Comerica Park into his personal driving range, shattering Miguel Tejada's not-exactly-legendary-but-c'mon record of 15 home runs in a HRD round.

Joe Morgan, who can usually be counted on to say something offensive to reason, made the startling point that this display (Bobby was at around 18 at the time, working up a pretty good lather) was evidence not of his power but of his ability to hit for contact.

Joe, come back to us, buddy. Can you see how far away the upper deck is in right field? Could contact hitter par excellence Ichiro! put one there if his life and the lives of his whole family depended on it? That was power. Especially the 517-footer (#2 tape-measure shot behind Sosa).

Then Jason Bay strode to the plate, and I swear to God I saw it coming.

I'm a Jason Bay Fan, mind you, owning him on my fantasy team and enjoying his .299/.384/.546 production. But following Abreu he just looked real skinny, young, and pale up there. To say nothing of scared. And sure enough, he didn't come all that close to hitting one out, producing mostly scorching grounders down the third base line. I felt pretty bad for him. That's got to be crushing, millionaire ballplayer or no.

Tonight we get the actual game, started by Chris Carpenter of the 13 wins and Mark Buehrle of the preposterous control. I guess we should root pretty hard for the boys in day-glo (i.e. NL. I don't know who comes up w/ the unis), so the Mets will have home field in the Series.



I was very much in favor of the idea of trading for Gary Sheffield, but that doesn't preclude me from being laugh-out-loud appalled at some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth.

The day after I wrote my - I suppose "slavering" isn't too strong a word - post on the subject, Sheffield basically threatened not to play (hard) if he was traded across town. That's pretty unprofessional.

Now, on the subject of the World Baseball Classic, he's opined: "My season is when I get paid..." and "I'm not sacrificing my body or taking a chance on an injury for something that's made up."

I'll grant that calling a newly organized event a "Classic" is a little ridiculous, but international competition is more the rule in professional sports (esp. soccer, basketball) than it is the exception.

You have to respect the straightforwardness, I suppose (Scott McCleland he ain't), but damn, Sheff, Why you so mad?

No comments: