Posts Tagged ‘Buster Posey’

Case for A.J. Ellis

May 20, 2012

I’ll admit it (raises hand shamefully). I was NOT on the A.J. Ellis bandwagon when the season started. I figured he was the ultimate, lifetime backup catcher and that his pleas for playing time was a bunch of malarkey (I actually used to know someone with the last name Mularkey, so that word always weirds me out).

Watching Spring Training, I’d rue the day we ever set Russell Martin free to the Yankees. And then the 2012 regular season rolled around.

Did anyone in their right minds have A.J. Ellis as one of the best all-around catchers in baseball? If you said “Yes” just now, you are an evil and a heathen and you shall burn in Hellllllllsinki.

Yikes, that was harsh. I hear it’s cold there.

Anyway, as of the day this post is published (I say it that way, because technically I’m FINISHING it on Tuesday, May 22nd. Shhhhhh. But it’s posted as May 20th. Shut up.), Ellis is hitting .321 with a .446 on-base percentage.

Those numbers are good for third and first, respectively, among a loaded class of National League catchers. And the OBP isn’t even remotely close. We Dodger fans have gotten used to Ellis getting on base, one way or another. And he’s a major reason why we are holding the best record in baseball.

Having your number seven hitter getting on base nearly half the time he comes to the plate is an invaluable tool to a successful lineup. It’s a luxury most teams can’t claim, and never will. And despite the gaudy offensive numbers, and the fact that he has almost flawlessly handled the second-best pitching staff in the Majors…nobody knows who the hell A.J. is.

And we’ve all seen it a million times; that’s going to extend to the All-Star voting. With names like Yadier Molina, Brian McCann and Buster Posey, along with breakout seasons from Carlos Ruiz and Jonathan Lucroy, finding a spot on the National League team would be tough for Ellis.

But he absolutely deserves to go. And not in the “please let him in, he’s such a nice guy and he really wants it” type of way. He has played his way into a backup role on that team, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better role player to have on a squad that determines home-field advantage for the World Series.

I’ll tell you what – as a Dodger fan, with my team now a legitimate postseason threat, I feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with Ellis pinch-hitting in the eighth inning of a tie game in the All-Star Game with that home-field advantage on the line than McCann of the Braves and his .254 average.

But history and popularity says, McCann will be in Kansas City in July. Ellis will be at home, enjoying his days off.

Here’s my take on it:

Based on all-around game, Molina is the hands-down starter for the National League. He’s a four-time Gold Glover and now the best hitting catcher in the league (apologies to Ruiz, who is having a great season, but everyone outside of Philly knows this won’t last). McCann and Posey are the big names who should be left out because, though they are having solid seasons, have not been as good all-around as the other four. If three catchers go to the All-Star Game on the N.L. roster, I’m left with Molina, backed up by Ruiz, then Ellis.

If it’s two, I’m torn. Props to Lucroy for stepping up this season, but your 7-RBI game skews the power stats a bit. And you can’t handle the glove as well as my man A.J. While I’d love to see Ruiz earn that All-Star bid, how are you going to ignore a guy who has such a high OBP?

While it’s an unloved stat still, getting on base is the most important part of an offense. Here’s a simple formula for all you math duds out there like me: get on base, move to the next base, score more runs than the other team. That’s the basic idea behind baseball, and nobody is doing it better this year than Ellis.

I know this is a big ol’ waste of time, considering it’s going to be Molina, McCann and Posey in the All-Star Game. But these things must be blogged about, even if just so my poor little head doesn’t explode all over my laptop’s screen.

Just keep the numbers in mind when voting, and cast your vote for the Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis for the 2012 All-Star Game! Our team’s World Series home field depends on it!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman

First LIVE baseball game!

April 3, 2012

It’s officially back for me, folks. Last night, I went to AT&T Park to watch the Oakland A’s play the San Francisco Giants in an exhibition game. A final tune-up for the regular season. Except for the A’s, who already played two real games in Japan. Rage. Don’t ask me about that.

Anyway, the Giants pulled out a 4-2 victory behind timely hitting from Brandon Belt and Melky Cabrera. Brian Wilson got an enormous ovation when he trotted in from the bullpen for the save attempt. I hate him with all my might, so needless to say, I stayed in my seat looking at my phone.

But the biggest ovation of the night came for San Francisco’s pride and joy, Buster Posey. He’s back from a horrific leg injury suffered at the beginning of the 2011 season, and while I love his game, I hate his team. So I wasn’t too happy about that.

But enough about my gripes (PSYCHE! Those are just getting started…). Here are some other observations from game one of my soon-to-be epic season of fandom:

– Cliff Pennington is going to have a better season than a lot of people realize. By no means does that make the A’s a contender, but he’s a sleeper. Take him late in your fantasy drafts.

– Giants fans continue to amaze me. And not in a good way. There was a group of sober, jersey-wearing Giants fans within ear shot who didn’t even know who most of their team’s players were. This isn’t a statement on their fan base in general, as I have many good friends who are solid, die-hard Giants fans.

– Eric Sogard turned on a Madison Bumgarner (who looked slightly shaky for once) pitch and pulled it down the line for a two-run homer to start the scoring. Boom!

– Josh Donaldson plays a mean third base. Two very nice running, over the shoulder catches in foul territory. His throwing error was Jemile Weeks’ fault at first base. You don’t stretch with your throwing hand, bro.

– I hate to admit it, but damn it if AT&T  Park isn’t pretty. The view of the Bay is so freakin’ awesome.

– That is, until the seagulls started a coordinated flight pattern over the stadium with intent to poop. No joke, the game was forgotten for at least three innings while people dodged flying gull feces. Props to the…rather large woman three rows ahead of me for laying out like Coco Crisp for a fly ball in order to get away from a white and brown bomb flying at her head. Underrated mobility from that lady.

– My goodness, Aubrey Huff is slow. He failed to cut off a ball that was headed for the corner even though it passed him on its way to the wall about eight feet from where he was originally positioned.

– The aforementioned trailer truck (Huff) didn’t help his case, getting gunned at home on a play at the plate early in the game. But a very nice throw from Josh Reddick in right field!

– Santiago Casilla made a relief appearance for the Giants. And I had his jersey on! From when he played on the A’s. Hashtag, awkward. Good thing I had a jacket on to cover the name so I didn’t look like a complete dweeb. Hey, we all make mistakes.

– My buddy, who later fell asleep in his seat (wtf?!) caught a Yoenis Cespedes homer in batting practice. Does this make him the first person to ever catch a BP home run by Cespedes in an American Major League park?! Hang on to that sucker, dude. Might be worth a few bucks in like 30 years.

– Lastly, the Giants did throw up a pretty sweet montage of the city, complete with the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, and other recognizable monuments. I giggled to myself in my seat, wondering what an A’s version of that would be. Five minutes of a camera circling Jack London Square?

That’s all I have. It was a great time, despite the flying crap and the final score. Can’t wait until next week when I get to see the A’s for the first time in a game that COUNTS in 2012! Until tomorrow, bring an umbrella to San Francisco. ‘Cause that shit cray. Literally.

Taylor Tebow?

February 29, 2012

I was fully prepared to flood your blogosphere this morning with a piece dedicated to the ridiculous fantasy baseball team I assembled through a draft last night. I mean, this team is straight loaded. And I kept running over the format in my head on the way to work, excitedly planning how best to brag about my fantasy baseball super skills. And then I heard something on the radio that changed everything.

On 99.7 FM, there is a morning show called “Fernando and Greg” that is absolutely hilarious. And in their “celebrity scoop” section this morning, the shocking news broke: Tim Tebow and Taylor Swift went out to dinner together. Oh, no. Oh my God Tebow’s father. If these two get together, it’s all over.

Now, I’m not one to normally care about celebrity relationships. For instance, I don’t care that J. Lo’s new boyfriend had an awkward encounter with her former man, P. Diddy. That situation is awkward no matter how much money you have. I don’t care that Chris Brown and Rihanna found love (again) in a swollen face…er, can of mace? Ah, hopeless place. Right.

But this has different meaning for me. Partly because I have a burning desire to punch Tebow right in that crooked nose of his, while also begging for his autograph. And partly because my relentless pursuit of marrying Taylor Swift has one obstacle – Tim Tebow. I can take John Mayer and Joe Jonas, but Tebow? The dude can walk on water. Even more impressive, he can be a winning quarterback with possibly the worst actual arm in the NFL.

So yes, I’m invested in this round of celebrity gossip. I’m also curious. As Fernando and Greg asked on the radio, isn’t it going to hurt when Swift births their first child? I’d imagine child-birth is painful enough for a woman, but having to squeeze out a baby complete with angel wings and a halo? That’s gonna tear her up. No doubt she’ll make a number one record out of the experience though.

We don’t even know if this rumor has any validity to it. There’s what I heard on the radio, this article, and the fact that they ate a meal together. As much as I constantly shun the media for making something out of nothing in these situations, they are always right.

If Snooki (who is apparently pregnant, by the way…the Tebow/Swift angel baby will have quite a nemesis in whatever gargoyle-ish, fist-pumping spawn of Satan pops out of Snooki’s cooter) so much as looks in the general direction of John McCain, the media will make it a love story. And then two days later, they are married. I don’t get it.

For that reason alone, I will accept that two of the world’s most famous Jesus Camp alums ate dinner and are officially a couple, is fact. And I hope it’s true. Even if just so there’s one celebrity couple aspiring divas and pimps can look up to. Because you know as soon as these two tie the knot, there’s no going back. God wouldn’t allow it.

But as myself, my boy Travis Miller, and countless other men now realize, the chase for Tay is on. And it’s harder than ever.

Almost as hard as beating a fantasy baseball team with Buster Posey, Robinson Cano, Aramis Ramirez, Billy Butler, Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Dan Haren, Cole Hamels, Adam Wainwright, Gio Gonzalez, Madison Bumgarner, Jair Jurrjens, Heath Bell, Joakim Soria and Andrew Bailey on it.

Okay, yes. That’s my team. I had to get it in here somewhere.

Until tomorrow, may the Tebow’s bless you with pop-country-music, fullback-playing-quarterback, if-you’re-scared-go-to-church-ful days.


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