Posts Tagged ‘Mike Cameron’

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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Retire in Peace, Mike Cameron

February 19, 2012

First of all, let me just say Rest in Peace Gary Carter. The reason for me not blogging about that tragedy and enormous loss for the baseball world, is two-fold. First, I don’t have the stones to properly celebrate such an individual. Second, I am a little too young to really have experienced the impact Carter had on the game first-hand.

So, I’m going to do a remembrance of someone I did grow up watching. The one and only, Mike Cameron. He played for eight different teams in almost 2,000 big league games. And he’s one of the most underappreciated players of our era.

The reason I say that is because his 162-game average includes 88 runs, 23 home runs, 80 RBI and 25 stolen bases. That’s not just good…it’s exceptional. To maintain that much production over 17 seasons is no small task. I’m not saying he’s a Hall-of-Famer or anything, but to put up those numbers so consistently, while also playing great defense in center field is absolutely worthy of being a People’s HOF’er. I’m not exactly sure what the People’s HOF is, but let’s just consider it my list of players who won’t be in, but deserve recognition (for example, Tim Wakefield).

Cameron is also on the very short list of players who have hit four home runs in a game. And if I remember correctly, he nearly hit a fifth that game, but came up short on a fly ball. I’ll never forget watching Cameron mash with the Mariners, or chase down gappers in New York.

He was one of those rare players who any baseball fan from the 90’s and 2000’s can identify with immediately. And I doubt you’ll find a fan who disliked the guy. I just want to thank Mike for the memories, and for playing baseball the way it’s supposed to be played for all these years.

I leave you with one RIDICULOUS stat I came across on Twitter. For his career, Cameron’s WAR (which essentially tallies how many wins a player is worth over an average replacement) was 46.7. Hall-of-Famer Kirby Puckett’s was 44.8. That’s the definition of underrated. That’s the definition of valuable. And that’s the defining legacy Cameron will leave behind for any and all diehard baseball fans: A winner.

Retire in peace, Mike. The baseball world will miss you out there.

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