Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
So, I checked in on the Charlotte Knights game just now, to see how Andy Phillips was doing. The good news is that he went 2 for 2, and is once again leading the team in batting average. But...only two at-bats? What happened? Was he injured?
Nope. He was ejected in the fifth inning.
After Andy Marte walked, Clippers newcomer Nuiman Romero blooped a double down the left field line plating Gimenez and Marte. Charlotte Manager Chris Chambliss was ejected after arguing that Romero was tagged out at second. Michael Brantley then stroked a two run homer tying the score 4-4. Knights second baseman Andy Phillips was tossed after Brantley's homer, still disputing the previous play.
Labels: Andy Phillips
Brett Gardner has been playing better lately, and he may have gotten an opportunity to win back the center field job last night, when Melky Cabrera ran into the wall and jammed his shoulder. Gardner took over center field, and went 3 for 5 with a run scored and three stolen bases.
While watching the speedy Gardner steal 3B, I started wondering how fast he was, compared to other players.
The speed number usually thrown out for baseball players is the number of seconds it takes them to get from the batter's box to first base, as measured from the time they make contact with the ball to the time they touch the base. Obviously, this is not a perfect measure. Left-handed batters have an advantage, since they bat from the side closer to 1B. Some players just don't get out of the box well, and might be faster in a straight race. The time is likely to be faster on a bunt than on a hit, since there's less follow-through after contact. And of course, everyone has their good and bad days: their fastest time is usually not the time they can put up regularly. So you may see a lot of different numbers for the same player, and right-handed batters are at a definite disadvantage.
So with those caveats in mind, a few numbers...
According to this article, Carlos Gomez is the fastest man in baseball. The record for running from home to 1B is 3.3 seconds - by a lefty batter. Gomez was clocked at 3.4 seconds, from the right-handed batter's box. That is serious speed (though it was on a bunt).
This article says the average major leaguer's speed is 4.3 seconds.
So how does Brett Gardner measure up? He has been clocked at 3.5 seconds on a bunt, and makes it in 3.9 or 4.0 seconds on hits.
For comparison, Ichiro has been clocked as fast as 3.4, but "sits" at 3.7 seconds.
According to scouting reports, Bubba Crosby could regularly make it to first base in 4.0 seconds. Which is about the same as Gardner. However, it's possible that Bubba was not quite that fast by the time he made the big leagues. At least one scouting report thought that he'd lost a step, due to repeated hamstring injuries.
And Manny Ramirez got a lot of criticism for taking more than 5 seconds to get to first base. He obviously wasn't running very hard.
So is Gardner fast? Yup. Not quite Ichiro or Gomez fast, but fast.
Former Yankee Nick Green has had a great year so far with the Red Sox. He's mostly on the bench now that Lugo's back, but racked up an impressive .302 average and .368 OBP while he was the Red Sox shortstop.
Came across this story about Nick Green's first (and only) time playing first base. It was with the Yankees...and he borrowed Andy Phillips' glove to do it.
I gather from Dirk Hayhurst's blog that lending their gloves is not something players like to do. He said when examining another player's glove, it's okay to put your fingers in, but not your whole hand. But I guess needs must. Poor Craig Wilson had to lend his glove to Gary Sheffield, when Sheff tried to play 1B.
Labels: Andy Phillips
Rice U. freshman Anthony Rendon is Conference USA player of the year.
Rendon makes C-USA history
The standout from Lamar has played well all season for the No. 11 Owls. He leads the conference in slugging percentage (.701) and ranks second in batting average (.383), while also placing second in the league with 17 home runs, a Rice freshman record.
Aaron Luna (2006) previously held the school’s freshman home run record with 16. Jose Cruz Jr. (1993) is third with 13, and Bubba Crosby (1996) fourth with 12.
“I feel honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as them,” Rendon said. “I didn’t think I’d hit as many home runs as I have."
Yup, Chien-Ming Wang pitched this game. I didn't realize he would be there on rehab assignment until I saw him on the mound warming up.
Because Wang was starting, the ballpark was more crowded than usual. However, there were still plenty of seats in the lower deck available, including behind home plate. (Last year, there were never any lower deck seats available for walkups.)
I'm going to be really busy for the next couple of weeks. I don't have time to write a proper game report, but I wanted to at least post a few photos.
Andy Phillips was batting fourth, playing 1B. He gave away a lot of baseballs to the fans. I wonder if it's a veteran's privilege, because the other players and the batgirls didn't give away many balls, if any.
Shelley Duncan serving as first base coach:
(The SWB Yankees often use starting pitchers on their off days and players on the DL as first base coaches.)
Andy gives pitcher Derek Rodriguez a hug after the game. (Apparently, he hugs the pitcher after every game the Knights win.)
Charlotte won, 1-0. The once fearsome SWB Yankees have been decimated by callups and injuries, and after this game, had not scored a run in 35 innings or so.
Meant to post this earlier, but I forgot. (Life's been rather hectic lately.) This news (h/t: Charkat) probably surprises no one. Scott Proctor will be having Tommy John surgery, and is out for the season.
Proctor was the player who came to the Yanks with Bubba, in return for Robin Ventura. Everyone thought Cashman was a genius, getting both Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor for Ventura. The scouts thought Ventura was worth either Proctor or Crosby, but not both.
As it turns out, they were probably right. Though neither player stuck with the Yankees for more than a few years, the Yanks got their money's worth. While Ventura was not the player the Dodgers had hoped for, age and injury taking their toll.
Best wishes to Scott Proctor. Hopefully he'll be back in the saddle next year.
Well, the Yankees have changed the batting practice rules for fans. Fans with cheap tickets will now be allowed in the pricey lower level to seek autographs and photos before the game. Only in the outfield sections (the light blue sections in the chart), though. The players will be encouraged to go out there to sign and chat with fans.
I guess that's better than nothing. Though I can't help but think they're only doing it because they're having trouble selling tickets and are being forced to be more accommodating to the fans because of the economy. And really, would it have killed them to open up the entire lower section during BP? Fans without tickets in the field level section will be forced to leave 1 hour and 45 minutes after the gates open - 1 hour and 15 minutes before the game starts. Are there really going to be many people in the Legends seats that early? They aren't there even during the game. And if there are, would it kill them to share the section with the peons?
I think they should allow all ticket-holding fans everywhere during BP. Let security keep people moving if there are too many or they're too rambunctious. ("Okay, son, you've had your chance. Time to go back to your seat.") They've got more than enough security for that.
Marlins rookie Chris Coghlan sounds like a spoiled brat. He's whining because the fan who caught his first home run ball asked for too much. When I read the first paragraph, I thought it was going to be like the guy who caught that milestone ball of Posada's. He asked for $20,000 - which seemed a bit much, considering that it wouldn't be worth much to anyone else. It was just a personal milestone for Jorgie. Still, Jorgie didn't whine. He just said, "Forget it."
And as it turns out, the fan who caught Coghlan's ball didn't ask for all that much. Even if Coghlan's version of events is right, the guy asked for tickets to a future game, and a signed bat and jersey from a more famous teammate (Hanley Ramirez). The fan says he didn't ask for all that, but even if he did...so what? It's not a lot. Coghlan can probably get the tickets free. And Ramirez wouldn't help out his teammate by signing a jersey and a bat?
Jeez, kid. You're making more money than the average fan can even dream of. Be a little more generous of spirit. If you thought he was asking for too much, fine, but no need to whine about it. It makes you look bad, not him.
Now here's a guy with serious problems. Jim Leyritz was hospitalized, reportedly due to suicide concerns. He was upset because of his upcoming trial on manslaughter charges, and because the Breathalyzer in his car wouldn't let him start it.
Brett Gardner, oft criticized for being unable to hit even a fastball down the middle, wasn't even supposed to be in the lineup tonight. But Damon was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the 3rd, and Gardner took his spot. The kid went 3 for 3, including an inside-the-park homerun and a triple off the Twins' closer, Joe Nathan.
I really think Gardner deserves more of a chance than he's gotten. But I'm also not surprised that the Yankees gave him only 18 games before replacing him with Melky Cabrera. The Yankees have notoriously little patience with young players.
Andy Phillips had reason to smile tonight. He made three amazing defensive plays that helped keep the hapless SWB Yankees scoreless (now 44 innings without a run scored). And was 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Yes, I've been going to the Scranton-Charlotte games this week. Which is why I haven't had much time to blog. Game reports and photos later...maybe this weekend.
Labels: Andy Phillips
Andy Phillips' favorite TV show is The Andy Griffith Show, set in fictional Mayberry, North Carolina. I hope that means he likes the Tarheel State, because it appears that's where he's staying. The White Sox have activated Jayson Nix and called up Scott Podsednik, but Andy remains with the Charlotte Knights.
He did not play today, but I assume it was just a day off. He's played every day since he was traded to Charlotte, and managers often like to rest their veterans on Sundays.
Andy's still hitting well. He's playing 1B and 2B, with a little left field thrown in. Hopefully he'll get his opportunity eventually.
Ah, well. It looks like I'll get my chance to see him play this week. The Knights will be in Scranton to play a series Tuesday through Friday nights. I plan to attend at least one of those games - maybe all of them, if I'm feeling ambitious.
Labels: Andy Phillips
As you might expect, Paul Janish had a sore shoulder the day after his major league pitching debut. Dusty Baker wanted to give him a day off yesterday, but with Alex Gonzalez injured and Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips sick, he had no choice but to start Janish at SS. Janish stepped up, going 2 for 3 with a walk, including a nine-pitch at-bat that ended in a double. He started again tonight, and was 1 for 4 with a double. The guy is starting to win over the Cincinnati fans.
Janish said that Rice recruited him as a pitcher, but moved him to SS because they had a bunch of superstar pitchers. One of them started for the Rays against the Yanks last night: Jeff Niemann. He was drafted in the first round, the same year Janish was drafted in the fifth round. Niemann is probably the most successful of the crop of pitchers that displaced Janish. Phil Humber hasn't been able to stick in the big leagues, and Wade Townsend never got past AA. (He's sitting out this year after surgery to repair a torn labrum.) It's possible Janish could turn out to be a better pick than any of them.
Labels: Paul Janish
When we last heard about Lenny Dykstra, he was trying to start an investment fund for baseball players. He lost a lot of money in the dot-com crash, and decided to learn about investing and take control of his own finances. He seemed to be creating a new career for himself in investing.
How did it all go so wrong? It sounds like his life is a mess, and his finances are worse.
Is he just irresponsible with money? It's hard to believe he could have been as successful as he was if that was the case. (He made a lot of money in business, after his baseball career was over.) I suspect the financial crisis has something to do with it. The real estate he expected to profit from flipping is likely underwater now. Credit is tightening, investments are taking. He hasn't adjusted to the new reality.
I am not a financial adviser. Everyone's situation is different, the following should not be taken as investment advice, etc. But...I think the economic world is changing. The stock market is no longer a sure thing, even over the long term. Buy and hold no longer works. Traders can still make money, but ordinary people are being fleeced.
More and more people seem inclined to put their money in the Bank of Serta. Or if not under the mattress, at least in safe, liquid investments like savings accounts. The idea is to avoid risk, and to keep the money under your control as much as possible. Some people have found themselves unable to withdraw their money. Their fund managers, reluctant to sell low, won't allow anyone to cash out. Which means people don't have access to their own money. There's also been some talk of the government "borrowing" from IRAs and 401(k)s, and while that's a long shot now, in the future, our cash-strapped politicians may not be able to resist.
And cash may not be a bad place to be. Inflation may not be a problem, despite Bernanke running the printing presses full-bore. As Japan found out, you can print all the money you want, but if people don't spend it, it might as well not exist. IOW...increasing the money supply isn't going to increase prices unless wages increase. And I don't see wages increasing any time soon.
If we get deflation - another Great Depression scenario - then cash will be king. It's not glamorous, and is probably way too boring to interest high rollers like Lenny Dykstra. But it's the place to be for those who like to sleep at night.
The Reds started today with the best team ERA in major league baseball. I haven't checked, but I suspect that isn't the case now. Bronson Arroyo had nothing, giving up 9 runs without recording a single out in the second inning. The game was a 10-3 blowout by the ninth, when manager Dusty Baker, trying to spare his bullpen, looked around for a position player to take the mound. Janish had revealed previously that he had been recruited as a pitcher in college, and was a closer there before being converted to SS because Rice had so much pitching talent.
Janish has a good arm. He was throwing over 90 mph according to the stadium gun. (Swisher's "fastball" was 75 mph, with one pitch touching 80 mph.) Soft-J got two strikeouts, but ended up giving up 5 hits and five runs, including a home run. He now has a 45 ERA, but Dusty was just happy he got out of the inning.
Janish walks off the field after the pitching the ninth:
Looks like the fans appreciate him for giving it the good old college try, at least.
Labels: Paul Janish
Labels: Paul Janish