All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ground rule trouble

Came across this article the other day. It's quirky high school baseball fields.

While French’s Common can no longer host tournament games under MIAA rules, the first thing to know is there is no outfield fence at the park. Most of the two-story town hall acts as a wall, where the bounce is in play. A hit that lands on the roof is a double but if the ball hits a green pavilion on top, or clears the roof all together, it is a home run. Part of the building is only one-story high, providing an easier target for a short home run.

For easy extra-base hits, balls that roll under the first-floor staircase or down into the basement stairwell are ground-rule doubles.

If a hit kicks around the back of the Town Hall, fielders have to run into a parking lot after it. Stranger still, the visiting bench is situated so it creates a blind spot between part of the backstop and third base.

And the trees at French’s Common add yet another dimension. Each tree, including one behind third base with branches hanging in fair territory, is played like a wall — balls are live when they hit one of the branches. For a center-field home run, batters have to smash hits clear through the towering trees and hope the ball doesn’t get hung up in branches.

I guess that's part of the charm of baseball. Other sports have regulation courts/fields, but every baseball park is different.
posted by BubbaFan, 10:21 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Player of the Game

Well, in my book, anyway. :-)

The headline on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's sports page is Unlikely Hero. With the above photo of Paul Janish.

Crazy roller coaster of a game last night. It looked like a complete blowout. The Braves were down 0-9 after five innings. But they somehow managed to come back. (Poor Stephen Strasburg did not have a happy birthday.) Janish scored the go-ahead run in the ninth, when Tyler Clippard plunked him. He scored on a Michael Bourn triple, sliding in head first around the tag.

Alas, Craig Kimbrel could not hold the one-run lead. He gave up a solo home run, and the game went to extras. Janish stepped up again, getting the winning run in with a bloop hit over the draw-in infield. Braves won it in 11 innings.

Janish's night didn't start off very well. He made some very nice plays on defense, but kept coming to the plate in key situations and falling short. Really, he was more unlucky than anything. He missed a RBI double down the line by a hair when it was ruled foul. He smoked a liner to left center that the left fielder managed to chase down. The Braves announcers felt the need to defend him, saying he was brought in to provide defense, and he was doing just that. And that it was tough coming to a new organization knowing that they traded for you and have certain expectations.

But in the end, Janish was the hero. Attaboy, Soft-J.

This morning, someone posted this comment on Talking Chop:

Impressed by this guy. Like the way he plays. Good baserunner, too. Got a great read on the Bourn triple and needed every step.

To which someone replied:

He’s everything Jack Wilson should have been for this club.

Kinda funny, since earlier in the game, fans were complaining that they wanted Wilson back. All is forgiven if you win. :-)

The Braves have a doubleheader today. Dunno if Janish will play both games, but he's starting the first one.

It's the MLB.TV free game of the day. If it's not blacked out, anyway. (Die, Fox.)


posted by BubbaFan, 11:15 AM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Short Happy Life of a Yankee Nobody

The Wall Street Journal has this article about what it's like to play for the Yankees. It quotes Andy Phillips, Kevin Reese, and Kevin Thompson, among others.

Andy is the hitting coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide, of course. Reese is still a scout for the Yankees (remember, he quit the Yanks' AAA team to become a scout instead). And Kevin Thompson went back to school and got his degree. He hopes to start his own hedge fund.


When you think of the New York Yankees in the Derek Jeter era, you'll picture parades, shiny rings and trophies, piles of cash and Don Zimmer rushing Pedro Martinez. You'll also picture players so famous it's hard to believe they're real even when they're standing a foot away from you. It's what the Yankees are.

For most of their players, though, the Yankees are something else, too—a brief experience that ends as suddenly as it begins. For a player like Adam Warren, who pitched one game this year after four years in the minors, a short run with the Bombers might prove be the highlight of an entire career. It makes you wonder if the true Yankee experience might not be about briefly making it in New York before moving on to something else, memories in tow.

"At my job right now, everybody wants to talk about, 'How was it, how was it?'" says Kevin Thompson, who played 32 games for the Yankees in 2006 and 2007. "It was great, man!"

Former Yankees love being Yankees. They'll talk about personalities: Jeter is probably even more revered by his former teammates than by fans. They'll also talk about moments, like the Yankee Stadium roll call—"the greatest feeling of all time," says Thompson—or having 15 reporters in front of your locker tell you that you've made the starting lineup. What they really like to talk about, though, is the pressure.

"You expect to be the best," says Andy Phillips, a coach with the University of Alabama who had about a season's worth of at-bats with the Yankees from 2004 through 2007. "I think that's what you take from it, more than anything, is a level of expectation that's unmatched anywhere I've ever been."

"Everything is expected to be done top notch," says Kevin Reese, who grew up a Yankee hater, hit .385 over a dozen games in 2005 and 2006, and now works for the team as a scout. "We're always expected to win."

Maybe this matters and maybe it doesn't, but takes of Yankeedom make life in the organization sound a lot like prep school, with someone always there to remind you that how you dress, walk and talk represents where you come from, and tells people whether you want to succeed.

"We all strive to be part of something special," says Phillips. "Yes, there is an expectation to win. Yes, there is an expectation of success. But there's also an enjoyment in that. And it's still baseball."

The whole thing, players agree, is surreal. A breakfast invitation from Jeter, or a front row seat from which to enjoy the walking circus that is Alex Rodriguez, does not make it less so.

As a Yankee, you might think about a player like Mitch Jones, who hit 39 home runs for Trenton and never made it to the Stadium, and realize how much success has to do with chance, and having the right opportunity at the right time. Or you might find yourself swelling with the confidence that comes with Jeter and Rodriguez pretending that you are just as dangerous as the star with the eight-figure salary whom you are temporarily replacing. Either way, you will probably end up comparing the Yankees to everywhere else you've ever been.

"When I went over to the Oakland A's," says Thompson, "it was night and day. There were no reporters in there. No one cared. When I went to the Pirates, no one cared. Not that the players didn't care, but the markets really don't care. It's like, 'OK, you lose, you win, but it's just a game.'"

Think of the Yankees, and you might not picture Warren, or Reese, a successful pro scout, or Phillips, who's helping to build the baseball program at a great sports school, or Thompson, who after he got tired of standing around in the sun on hot fields went back to school to finish his bachelor's, and now hopes to start his own hedge fund.

For all the piles of money, demonstrative gestures toward internationalism and pennants waving above the field, though, this is mostly who the Yankees are, and have been: Basically normal people, as amazed by their surroundings as you would be, who try to enjoy everything while they have the chance, and do their part to show they belong. There are a lot of myths in baseball. The idea that pinstripes carry a certain weight isn't one of them.

And as players like Warren, David Phelps and Dewayne Wise do their bit to kick in toward another slightly improbable run, this is probably worth keeping in mind: Yankees fans may, from time to time, get cynical. Their proxies on the major league roster mostly don't.

"Years later, you look back," says Phillips. "And just kind of shake your head, that you were part of that."

A version of this article appeared July 20, 2012, on page A22 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Short Happy Life of a Yankee Nobody.

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posted by BubbaFan, 9:59 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Janish will be everyday shortstop with Simmons out

Kinda weird to see Janish in a Braves uni

Nice post here, with a sort of mini-interview with Janish. Odd that his dad drove with him from Louisville. Houston is not exactly along the way. Did he just happen to be visiting? If so, strange coincidence. As Red Reporter pointed out in their farewell retrospective, when Janish was first called up by the Reds, his mom happened to be visiting and came with him.

Anyway, it sounds like Janish knows his role and is content to be a bench player. But for now at least, he's the starter.

He's in the lineup again tonight, playing SS, batting 8th.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:42 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, July 15, 2012

In the starting lineup

Paul Janish is starting at shortstop for the Braves today. He's batting 8th, wearing #4.

It will be Santana on the mound. Figures. Well, at least he's a lefty.

The game is the MLB.TV free game of the day. Also, this is an Extra Innings free preview week.


posted by BubbaFan, 1:14 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back to the big leagues

The Photoshop elves have been busy. Paul Janish has already been put into a Braves uniform. Looks like he'll be wearing #4.

And it's official: he's on the Braves 25-man roster. He is expected to be in the starting lineup tomorrow. Just in time for Extra Innings free preview week!

I was surprised that Tyler Pastornicky was on the Braves roster today, since he was playing in AAA just yesterday. I guess he was an emergency call up, and might be sent down to make room for Janish.

Gonzalez indicated that Pastornicky might not stay long in the majors. The Braves want to groom him into a utility man. Pastornicky has started nine games at second base for Gwinnett and made no errors. He also has been practicing in the outfield.

“We were forced to bring him up,” Gonzalez said.

The Braves' starting SS, Andrelton Simmons, is out 4-6 weeks with a broken finger. Pastornicky was a stopgap, then Jack Wilson was injured yesterday (dislocated finger). They aren't DLing him, at least not yet, but they needed a shortstop. They were already trying to trade for one, and Wilson's injury made it more urgent.

Looks like there was something of a bidding war for Janish. The Braves got him, and say he was their first choice.

With Andrelton Simmons expected to miss at least six weeks with a fractured right pinky finger, the Braves have spent the past week attempting to land a shortstop. Janish provides them a solid defender who has showed some flashes of offensive potential.

"In evaluating after Simmons was hurt, and talking with our scouts, we thought Janish was the best defensive shortstop out there that we could acquire," said general manager Frank Wren, who added that the Braves were one of three teams in the bidding for the 29-year-old. "He was the No. 1 guy on our list. He did a great job for Cincinnati last year in 80 games at short and 20-something games the year before. He's a proven defensive talent, and we felt like for our club that was the most important aspect of the acquisition."

According to this post, the Yankees' Ramiro Pena was another player they were interested in.

Wren said the Braves were looking at “three or four” shortstops. He did not name other players the team pursued but Yankees minor-leaguer Ramiro Pena is believed to be one.

Wren said that the Braves had been in talks with several teams since early in the week, even before Wilson was hurt, but circumstances made Janish, who is a three-year player, their top priority.

"We were the pursuers, so you can't necessarily dictate the timetable. They had other clubs," Wren said. "We had a list of like three or four guys that we were inquiring about, but he was our No. 1 guy for sure. He was the guy our Major League scouts and the defensive matrix, every aspect of it, showed he was the best guy."

Matt Andrews, the Bats radio announcer, said he first got wind of the trade when he saw Todd Redmond shake hands with his teammates, leave the bullpen, and fire up his cell phone. He thought Redmond had been called up. But no, he just switched dugouts. (He's on the 40-man, but assigned to the Bats.) It was Janish who was headed to the big leagues. He told Matt before he left that he was headed for Atlanta.

I'm a little sorry to see Janish leave, but this is a great opportunity for him. The Reds are so deep at SS right now that Janish probably was not getting called up unless someone was injured. Looks like he has a very good chance of sticking in the big leagues for the rest of this year with the Braves. Simmons is out for six weeks, maybe longer. By the time he gets back, they'll have expanded rosters.

Hal McCoy predicted this. He said he thought the Reds would trade Janish to a team that would put him on their big league roster, "out of respect for him."


posted by BubbaFan, 8:53 PM | link | 0 comments |

Janish traded

Mark Bowman is reporting the Reds have traded Paul Janish to the Braves.

Not sure if he'll be added to the big league roster, or just switch dugouts during tonight's Bats/G-Braves game.

Hopefully this will be an opportunity for him, but it must be kind of a shock. He's been in the Reds system since he was drafted out of Rice.

UPDATE: It sounds like Janish will be added to the Braves 25-man roster.

“Redmond will provide us with starting pitching depth in the minor leagues,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said. “It’s also a great opportunity for Paul to get back to the Major Leagues.”

Fox reported that the trade was initiated by the Braves. They've suffered some injuries, and need a backup SS.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:11 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, July 12, 2012

And it's official...

Kris Negron was put on the DL, and Didi Gregorius is now a Louisville Bat. That means he's the starting SS, and Janish is a utility infielder. He's starting at 2B tonight. had this to say about Janish:

Paul Janish is one of the Bats who has been blatantly plagued by the injury bug this season. After hitting .315 with seven doubles, one triple, two homers, and four RBIs in 23 April games, Janish suffered a broken wrist and spent the entire month of May on the disabled list. Since being activated June 14 (43 days on DL), Janish is hitting just .170 (15-for-88) with five doubles, two homers, and five RBIs. Janish enters the break with an overall batting average of .236 with just nine total RBIs. Hopefully, Janish can get back to his April form in the second half.

I wonder if the wrist injury is the reason for his struggles. Not sure what was broken, but some wrist injuries are known to sap hitters' power.

Though from what I've seen, he's been pretty unlucky lately. Balls that were falling in before are just caught, or just foul. Hopefully that will change.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:03 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

After the Break

Paul Janish's role with the Louisville Bats is likely to change after the break. Kris Negron suffered what's rumored to be a season-ending injury last week. Didi Gregorius will be promoted from AA to take his spot. He's likely to get the majority of starts at SS.

I'd guess Janish will play other positions: 3B, 2B, perhaps even some OF. The Reds seem to see him as a utility guy now, and he seems willing to accept that role. Getting some actual practice in other positions would be a good thing. Due to injuries and such, he's had to play mainly SS this year, but Didi's promotion will likely change that.

Also, the Bats are auctioning off the Redbirds jerseys worn last Saturday, including Janish's. Minimum bid is $100. Auction runs 10 days.

Might be a bit of a tough sell for Reds fans, though. I mean, those are Cardinals uniforms!


posted by BubbaFan, 9:05 PM | link | 0 comments |