Posts Tagged ‘Gio Gonzalez’

Eating My Words: It Tastes Like Victory!

July 15, 2012

I must bite my tongue. Hard. I must offer all apologies to the Oakland A’s and Bryce Harper. Separately, of course. Or is it too late to apologize?

Either way, it takes a real man to admit he was wrong. And I think I qualify. *Looks down.* Yup. Let’s go:

A long time ago, I made a couple of not-so-bold proclamations. First, I told the world via podcast that the A’s would lose 100 games. As of today, they sit just a game out of the second Wild Card position, three games over .500.

Luckily, I’m a fair weather A’s fan so the sting is taken out of this admission. But…*shudder*…I was so, so incorrect.

Don’t get me wrong; the Green and Gold are not a 2012 playoff team. But they are certainly going to play spoiler down the stretch. The young pitching has been incredible (cheers to Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin especially – if you’re even old enough to drink).

And the offense has really surprised me. After a decade of Billy Beane trading away top talent for high-potential minor league players and then flipping those players for other prospects of similar rank, we may finally be settled with a lineup he likes.

It became a revolving door in Oakland for a while, but it seems like Beane really struck gold by trading away Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill last season. From the Diamondbacks, the A’s received Parker, outfielder Collin Cowgill, and new All-Star closer Ryan Cook.

And Milone, catcher Derek Norris and two high-level pitching prospects came from the Nationals for Gonzalez. The A’s splurged to get Yoenis Cespedes from Cuba, then went out and snagged power hitters Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes and Josh Reddick through free agency and trades.

Just like that, the formerly punchless A’s had four batters capable of hitting 25 home runs. Add in long-time top prospect Chris Carter (who Beane would not trade away over the years) being recalled from Triple-A and absolutely mashing in his third big league stint, and you have the makings of a pretty solid lineup.

If Jemile Weeks, Coco Crisp and Norris can hit for decent numbers, the A’s actually might contend for a Wild Card spot. It seems that Beane has finally put together a team that could make a deep run into the playoffs again.

So I hereby formally apologize to the Oakland A’s. I know you’re all reading this, so please accept my sincerest mea culpa.

Now to part II of my apology extravaganza. Bryce Harper…I’m sorry. You really are a (very young) man among boys. And I’ve been impressed with your savvy, respectful presence thus far.

Forget the fact that you ripped your own helmet off rounding first base like a 10-year-old at recess. Or that you said your number “isn’t 34 – it’s 3+4=7 like Mickey Mantle.” Or even that you smashed a bat against a wall and injured yourself. 

Because all I was expecting out of your personality was prima donna whiny bull shit. Instead, we’ve gotten an immensely talented player on both sides of the ball who has handled nearly every road block with class. You made Ozzie Guillen look like an absolute fool last night for cussing at you, and you just stood there and took it with a smile.

Harper has continued to prove me wrong this season – not on the field, because I was sure he’d tear it up. But off the field. For example, when asked about which National League candidate he’d vote for in the Final Vote (he was up against Chipper Jones and three others), he told the reporter, “definitely Chipper. He’s a Hall of Famer.”

That poor journalist’s smear campaign story on Harper was probably ruined. Poor guy. And Harper even showed up all other rich athletes by adding a useful, awesome trunk accessory to his car, instead of a TV/xBox/turntable/nightclub-in-a-box get up.

So, Bryce. Keep mashing. Keep proving me wrong. Keep being a class act who is being way too good for his age at life in general. And if you could maybe give me the contact information of whoever installed the bat rack in your trunk? Thanks, buddy.

We are buddies now…right?

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Top Ten Thursday

May 10, 2012

I was laughing at one of Brandon Phillips’ tweets yesterday (if you didn’t know who the Reds 2nd baseman was, get off your electronic device and go take a long walk off a short pier), and it got me to thinkin’…I love the game of baseball. But I also love the players.

At risk of sounding like a ditzy middle school girl who is making a list of cute boys she would kiss, here are my top ten “wanna meet” MLB players.

10. Brandon Phillips – Goofy, fun-loving and a hell of a second baseman, my primary high school position!

9. Andre Ethier – Because he’s gorgeous, obviously. Uhh what? No I’d like to ask him how he swings so sweet though.

8. Eric Chavez – One of my all time favorite players from the early 2000’s Oakland A’s. Seems like a nice dude.

7. Lance Berkman – The Big Puma looks like a huge teddy bear and has been one of the coolest dudes around for years.

6. Orlando Hudson – Does this really need explanation? The most badass guy in baseball.

5. Chipper Jones – One of the first guys I remember watching in the 90’s. Incredible player, class act, future hall of famer.

4. Josh Hamilton – He’s the best hitter in baseball right now and had an unbelievable story.

3. Gio Gonzalez – The former Athletic clinched himself a top-3 spot here with his giddy first career hit celebration this season for the Nats.

2. Derek Jeter/Mariano Rivera – Say what you will about the Yankees, but these two guys are classy and will go down in MLB history as two of the greatest players ever. I’d give a nut to shake their hands.

1. Matt Kemp/Clayton Kershaw – If I would give a nut for DJ and Mo, imagine what I would do to meet my favorite player and favorite pitcher on my favorite team. Hall of Fame talents and great guys. Arguably the best pitcher and hitter in baseball today!

There you have it. Let me know who you would want to meet! But I don’t need to know which body parts you’d sacrifice so skip that part. Until tomorrow, thanks for reading Jam Shots! Tune back in tomorrow.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

National Treasure

March 1, 2012

I hate myself for that title. Cool movie, but anything with Nicolas Cage in it is going to piss me off. Anyway, it has nothing to do with the actual film. This is more a matter of sports, as a post of mine should be. If you missed it, I’ve already locked in my predictions for the 2012 Major League Baseball season. This isn’t what I think will happen, this IS what will happen. Wait and see.

My boldest prediction is that the annual N.L. East doormats in D.C. are going to win the division this year, after getting healthy and stacking their rotation with the likes of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson this winter. Call me crazy, but they are the overall most talented team in the division. Yes, better than the new-look Miami Marlins, the powerhouse Phillies and the consistent Atlanta Braves.

You’ve got to love this offense – young guys at shortstop, second base and catcher that can absolutely rake. They’ve got Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman to beef up the middle of the order, and potential game-changing guys in AAA in Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. And if Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche or Rick Ankiel put it together for a full season…watch out.

So the news today is this: Nationals manager Davey Johnson says ‘Fire me’ if Washington misses the playoffs. And I love it.

Swag is a good thing. You want your players to have confidence on the diamond, why not the guy directing them? And why not say it? First of all, Davey Johnson isn’t getting fired no matter what happens. So it’s an empty offer. But secondly, this team has a legitimate chance to contend.

The fact that these young Nationals are so set on making the playoffs and their manager is so confident in their abilities is setting the table for a special season in the nation’s capital, methinks. Looking at the National League, I see nine serious contenders: Arizona, San Francisco, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Philly, Miami, Atlanta and Washington.

By a mile, the Nats would be the biggest surprise team out of those nine to make the playoffs. But beating four of them should be very do-able for such a talented roster. Their pitching is as good or better than the D’Backs, Reds and Marlins. And their offense definitely matches up or dominates teams like the Giants, Phillies and Brewers.

All I’m saying is this team has the makings of something special in 2012. I think people underestimate how good their rotation will be with Stephen Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jackson, Jordan Zimmerman and John Lannan. It’s going to be young and they will have their struggles, but if the Nats aren’t at LEAST in Wild Card contention in the last week of the season, I will be shocked.

And apparently, so will Davey Johnson. Long live the dark horse!

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.

Three Strikes and You’re Out

February 14, 2012

That title is not my cleverly worded get-back at an ex on Valentine’s Day. I’m no Taylor Swift. But it is also somewhat misleading. It really has nothing to do with baseball. I just wanted to express something before the real fun starts. Nicki Minaj had a big ol’ swing-and-a-miss at the Grammy’s. It was creepy, annoying, painful and hardly music. That was strike one. This morning, she checked her swing with her new single Starships. Heard it on the radio. Almost cried. Isn’t she a rapper? Isn’t that why I enjoyed her stuff in the first place? Listen to it if you enjoy the sound of excruciating disappointment. Nicki is down 0-2. Time to choke up and make some contact, girl.

Okay so back to sports. I have one HUGE story to chat about, then we return to the Fan Cave saga! My boy Billy Beane did it again in Oakland. He made an absolutely baffling move to cap a frustratingly confusing off-season. I can understand adding Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes – he’s got power to all fields, he’s a plus defender and has good speed. It’s a great gamble. But why get him in the same winter that you trade away back-to-back 15-win seasons in Gio Gonzalez?

I realize Beane got about 46 of the top prospects in baseball for his dealings over the last few months, but to me, signing Cespedes says “We want to be competitive.” And in a division that absolutely loaded itself full of talent, by a team with no money and very few big-league ready players, this is a bold risk. I like the risk overall, because Cespedes will be fun to watch and will put butts in the seat, no matter what Chris Townsend says on the radio (don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about a few extra fans per game over the course of a season, so they might get like, a million total this year).

But as much fun as Cespedes should be to watch in 2012, the A’s need more than one potentially good bat in their lineup. I truly believe 100 losses is still a possibility in Oakland with the team they will be trotting out there, but adding Cespedes at least gives us hope. Time will tell. Again. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have a monster first half and then gets traded off to New York for 18 draft picks and a AAA pitcher.

Back to the Fan Cave, Batman! Just like I promised. First of all, it is a Hallmark holiday all about love today. So what I need you to do is toss the roses you bought me, give the chocolate to the annoying dog next door and log on to http://atmlb.com/yU5WYF to continue voting for me! The more you vote, the more I know you love me. And my mom really loves me, so she’s probably already voted 100 times today. There’s your competition. So get to lovin’ and clickin’!

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for what I find to be a hilarious, self-created PROMO VIDEO for the Fan Cave being posted on the Facebook group page (http://www.facebook.com/JamCave) and my Twitter (@jamblinman) tomorrow. If I think it’s funny, then it must…well….it probably won’t be. But I embarrass the hell out of myself so that alone is worth watching and tossing a few thousand votes my way.

This is the internet, so I’m allowed to choose my own Valentine today. If you’ve followed this blog in the past, you should have an idea of who it’s gonna be. Surprise! Just kidding. Good luck and good night, lovers.

 


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