Posts Tagged ‘Josh Reddick’

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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There’s So Much Wrong with the MLB All-Star Game

July 1, 2012

20120702-121714.jpgI hate the All-Star Game. I really do. It’s stupid and contradictory and responsible for one of the worst moments in recent baseball history. The new format demands that the best respective rosters from each league be assembled, so as to assure a fair fight in the battle for home field advantage in the World Series.

Yet, as if these grown men need coddling that a Little League parent would be proud of, each team better have one representative, or the Padres might cry! Puh-lease.

Further, let’s make this game about the fans and allow them to vote in the starters even though a large majority of fans doesn’t actually know anything about the sport and spend hours voting for each player at each position on their favorite team (I’m looking at you, Giants fans…this is how Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford end up in the top five at their positions).

I have no beef with putting home field advantage on the line. It gives exponentially more meaning and intensity to the contest. And it keeps the baseball version of All-Star festivities much more entertaining than the NFL’s Pro Bowl, albeit more boring than the NBA’s.

But you damn well better let the players and coaches, who actually know what they are doing, determine the All-Star rosters in this case. And require that players who were voted in by trigger happy, stat-ignorant fans who probably won’t even WATCH the game, yet enjoy being part of the process…actually play. No “fatigue,” Derek Jeter. Come on.

Now I make very public my devotion to the Dodgers. So 99 percent of people who read this will probably brush off the rest of this blog as a biased, spiteful rant. But just because the Giants will be the subject of my fury for the next few paragraphs, I promise it has nothing to do with rivalry.

How can I prove it? Simple. When it comes to the All-Star Game, now that home field advantage IS on the line, the National League needs to act as one cohesive unit. Trust me, I love nothing more than to hate the Giants. But I will root for any players in a Giants hat in Kansas City, as long as he helps get my LEAGUE a win.

And it baffles me that Giants fans don’t feel the same way – well, no it doesn’t. I know a lot of awesome, smart Giants fans. But the ridiculous voting campaign I saw put on at AT&T Park last week was overstepping the boundaries. And now that the results are in, I’m convinced that if the PR Department for the Giants told its fans to swim to Alcatraz and back naked, they would oblige.

There is no other reasonable explanation for Freddy Sanchez (he of ZERO games played this season) earning 2.2 million votes. No other fan bases voted for him. That shows me that Giants fans were instructed to find anyone with “San Francisco Giants” under their names on the ballot at each position, and vote for them no matter what.

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People. We were 300,000 votes away from Brandon Crawford starting for the National League at shortstop. And if you don’t understand why that’s a big deal, my point has been proven. Because nobody cares to know who Crawford, the .220-hitting, probably-worst-player-on-the-team even is.

It’s all fine and good to vote for your players. Do it 25 times. That’s the maximum. But when I go to a game in the city, and I see a reporter on the Jumbotron in front of a room in some top-secret part of the ball park where fans are being given free food to sit in there and vote for Giants players all day…I’m going to be upset about it.

This has nothing to do with fairness and equality. There were three Dodgers worthy of All-Star consideration. Two of them made it, one won’t play because he’s injured. That’s great. I don’t mind. There were six Giants who deserved to make it. Four did, including Pablo Sandoval.

Kung-Fu Panda earned a spot, despite being injured for part of the season. But getting over 1 million votes the day before the results are announced to unseat David Wright, far and away the best third baseman in baseball, as the starter? That’s not even annoying, it’s just irresponsible.

And Giants fans, you have to not be sheep just following what the voice on the screen says. If you truly love baseball – hell, if you truly love your TEAM, you’d vote for the guys that deserve it. We know you love your team. Passion is excellent. But you’ll be kicking yourselves if Sandoval goes 0-2 in the All-Star Game and fails to get runners in a scoring situation. That could have been David Wright, a much better hitter, up in that spot.

And what if the National League goes on to lose? What if that happens and then the Giants make a run to the World Series? Are you going to enjoy playing IN Arlington? IN Los Angeles? IN New York? When all that needed to happen is filling in a little circle next to your guys the allotted 25 times: Sandoval, 3B. Posey, C. Cabrera, OF.

Obviously that’s an extreme situation, but part of me wishes Crawford had been voted in. Because I really think that would have made for an all-out remodeling of the process.

Anyway, let me re-state again. I’m not picking on Giants fans because I hate their team. I’m picking on Giants fans because they were the worst (by a mile) offenders of borderline illegal ballot stuffing for this thing. You can argue with me and say the Rangers have too many players in, and I’d probably agree. But Rangers fans didn’t get anyone who didn’t deserve consideration within striking distance of a starting spot. Just remember that.

Brandon Belt may some day be an All-Star. Freddy Sanchez will return to stardom if he gets healthy. And even Crawford may visit the Midsummer Classic some year. You never know.

But no matter how much you love them and the jerseys on their back, there is much more at stake than bragging rights for which team sends the most All-Stars to K.C.

There is the matter of the National League having to join forces, fans and all, to put the best possible team out on the field. Then once home field advantage has been earned, you can go back to quarreling intra-division and fighting for the right to actually use that home field advantage in October.

Obviously, many changes need to be made to the All-Star Game. Fans can’t be voting with so much at stake, and the stakes shouldn’t even be so high. I can understand where MLB is coming from, but when your slogan is “This One Counts,” fans have to be encouraged to remember that.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game…but if Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval are responsible for a National League loss in the All-Star Game, feel free to tell your nearest Giants fan to change his or her evil ways.

Whew. Okay. I feel better. Now don’t even get me started on snubs like Josh Reddick…

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Tickets to the Gun Show

April 17, 2012

Yes I have worked out lately, thanks for noticing! I’m also writing this from 30,ooo feet above the ground. But the title has absolutely nothing to do with my body and the plane I’m in is NOT equipped with guns (as far as I know…hmm).

But technology is a beautiful thing ain’t it? I can get Internet access from a cross-country flight and it’s only a tad bit sketchier than my old college house’s connection. “Yumrocket,” we affectionately named that connection. Sigh. Good times. But I digress.

Not only does this miraculous Internet connection from Southwest give me the opportunity to talk smack on Twitter, it allowed me to follow along with tonight’s Dodgers vs. Brewers broadcast. Yes, I know what happened. No, I don’t want to talk about it.

UPDATE: As I get further into this blog, the true colors of the WiFi begin to show. If I have to change the auto-corrected “LPGA” back to “blog” one more time, I’m gonna rage harder than Bobby Valentine at an all-umpire convention. Why would it auto-correct to LPGA anyway? There is absolutely no way I have blogged about Michelle Wie and friends..

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled blog already in progress:

The best part of  watching baseball from a bird’s eye view (see what I did there? *bows*) was seeing replays of two RIDICULOUS outfield throws.

Is there anything sweeter than a perfectly thrown bullet from deep in the outfield to cut down an  unexpecting runner? Methinks not. Check out the arm on Josh Reddick of the Oakland A’s!

And you have all met Mr. Rick Ankiel by now, right? Wowzers…thanks to Kevin Klinck for that link. Surname rhyme for the win!

Well the final descent is about to happen here on lovely flight #505. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman. Tune back daily for more Jam Shots.

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.

BASEBALL IS BACK!!!

March 28, 2012

I’ve never been so excited to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for anything in my life. Opening Day is upon us and it’s like Christmas, New Year’s, Fourth of July and Cesar Chavez Day (very underrated) all wrapped into one! The A’s and Mariners squared off in Tokyo this morning and if you haven’t already seen or heard…spoiler alert: Mariners 3, A’s 1 in 11 innings.

I root for the A’s, so the result was too bad. But I’m just happy to have baseball back. It just feels right to watch Brandon McCarthy’s dirty curveballs and Felix Hernandez freezing batters on pinpoint pitches. Or Jemile Weeks lacing singles up the middle, Ichiro beating out infield hits. This is what I live for.

Some observations from the first four innings (I had to go to work after that and have the final seven innings recorded!):

First pitch of 2012 – Strike! Brandon McCarthy to Chone Figgins.

First hit of 2012 – Naturally, Ichiro gets an infield single up the middle. He ended up 4-5 with an RBI for the game.

First K of 2012 – McCarthy gets Justin Smoak check-swinging at a curveball in the dirt.

First A’s hit of 2012 – Jemile Weeks leads off the bottom of the 1st with a good at-bat that results in a solid single up the middle. Big things comin’ for him this season!

First bad managerial non-call of 2012 – Weeks on 1st after the single, why not steal or bunt? Oh that’s right. The A’s don’t bunt. -_-

First stolen base of 2012 – As if A’s manager Bob Melvin could read my mind, Weeks takes off with one out and swipes 2nd base.

First bad stadium song of 2012 After the steal, Lenny Kravitz started blaring over the loudspeakers. Ew.

First strange observation of 2012 – My goodness, do the A’s have any right-handed hitters? Kurt Suzuki and Yoenis Cespedes hit from that side, but it looked like everyone else in the lineup was a lefty…

First Cespedes sighting of 2012 – Oh boy…not quite as awesome as his first Spring Training at-bat. Cespedes K’s on an ugly swing.

First derppppp move of 2012 – Michael Saunders makes an inexplicable mistake after singling and stealing 2nd base. Little Leaguers could have told Saunders not to try to go to third when the ball was in front of him. He’s tossed at third easily by Cliff Pennington. #BaseballBasics

First runner caught stealing of 2012 – Brendan Ryan makes the foolish decision to challenge Kurt Suzuki’s arm and is gunned down at second base. The M’s are not running the bases very well!

SECOND random observation of 2012 – Jemile Weeks lines out to center, but hit that ball very solidly. He’s swingin’ the bat WELL early on…only good news for A’s fans!

THIRD random observation of 2012 – Mike Cameron is throwing out the first pitch on April 13 at the Mariners’ home opener! Hot damn I hope my road trip brings me through Seattle that day.

First home run of 2012 – Boom goes the Dustin Ackley! An absolute BOMB to straight away center, and now we have our first big bap and first run AND first extra-base hit of the season in the top of the 4th! 1-0 Mariners. And Ackley is just getting warmed up.

First hit and run – In the top of the 4th inning, Ichiro takes off for second base and Mike Carp pulls a grounder to the right side. Or was it Justin Smoak? Hell if I know, they look exactly the same.

First impressively athletic play – New A’s outfielder Josh Reddick makes a very nice running catch and nearly gets his quick throw back in time to double off Ichiro at second.

First double of 2012 – After 3 and a half innings of official baseball, Pennington gives us a double to left-center in the bottom of the 4th. He later comes around to score on a double by Kurt Suzuki. I leave for work with the game tied 1-1.

Here’s to baseball being back and more to come! And don’t fret – I’ve written plenty on my Dodgers agreeing to a new ownership deal with Magic Johnson’s bidding group. You can find a write-up HERE and HERE. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jambliman!

Also…breaking news – GO NINERS! They signed Super Bowl-winning, monster running back Brandon Jacobs to a deal, shoring up some necessary depth at that position. Super Bowl or bust!


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