Tagged: Randy Ruiz

Deep Thoughts: How Baseball Compares to the World

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On occasion a ‘deep thought’ enters my brain.  These
thoughts, however, are not unlike the ‘Deep Thoughts’ by Jack Handy skit,
that were famously parodied in the early 90’s on Saturday Night Live.   This doesn’t really make them ‘deep
thoughts’ – just silly ones.

Now that off-season blogging has begun, I feel that I can now delve into a
little more creative writing – the initial goal of this blog.  All the off-season
speculation can get a little over done.  For instance, when you have blog
writers like me posting about topics that he nowhere near qualified to post
about.  I will just sum up my opinions on the Jay’s 2010 off-season in
some brief bullet points:

Alex Gonzolez makes the team better defensively at SS.  I
question Scutaro’s ability to play that position in the future.

– I think the Jays will get a hefty sum for Roy Halladay this off-season,
not unlike the offers we were presented at the deadline last year.

– Working Adam Lind in at first base is a very good idea.  Snider
in the outfield might become an issue.  I’m okay with Randy Ruiz
starting at DH this year, but don’t expect ‘the world’ from him.  Would be
a ‘great story’ if he excelled though after spending the majority of his career
in the minors! 

– We need a catcher!  Barajas likely won’t be back.  I hear talk of Yorvit
Torrealba
?  Almost not significant enough a move to talk about.

– Improved scouting and player development under GM Alex Anthopolous
Very good!  Thumbs up to him.  Hopefully, we will be able to freakin
SIGN some of his picks!!! 

How Baseball Compares to World History

Finding loose, comical
parallels in comparing the history of baseball to significant moments in World
History. 

 

Ancient History 

 

The ancient history
of baseball evolves out of a game played in
England called ‘Rounders.’  Rounders was game that took it’s form from
games such as Cricket and Polo.  In fact,
throughout the early history of baseball the game was constantly evolving and
improving to suit time.  This evolution
has not stopped, as today we see the implementation of instant replay, and
dampened baseballs in
Colorado for instance.  The evolution of
baseball compares to the natural process that is Charles Darwin’s ‘natural
selection’ theory.  We adapt, and improve
to conquer our surroundings.  From
bacteria, to
Australopithecus afarensis, to **** Erectus, to Neanderthal and so on. 
Baseball’s origins came from oddly unfamiliar relatives, just as
humans.  The early years of baseball saw
many different forms and improvements in the equipment, the uniforms, the rules
and the organizational structure. 
Baseball went from unorganized groups where games were played in
backyards with loose rules and little knowledge of what they were actually
participating in, to an international game played in billion dollar stadiums
employing millions of people.  Human kind
came from a group bipedal apes sitting around trying to find a way to keep
warm, crack nuts and keep nourished, to nations, cities, politics, commerce,
the internet, Shamwows and the Snuggies. 
             
       

 

Civilization and Religion

 

June 19, 1846
– Baseball became most similar to the way it is played today.  The innovations made on the Elysian Fields in
Hoboken, New Jersey
would set baseball on a path towards the great game that it is today.    There Henry Chadwick went on to become the
game’s preeminent reporter developing baseball’s statistics and scoring system.
He

elysian-fields-baseball-game.jpg

became known as “The Father of Baseball.”  I don’t want to compare Henry Chadwick, to
you know who, but the religion of baseball, still practiced today, lies in the
constant statistical work and reporting of the game. Whether you deny it or
not, this area is the Mecca of
baseball.  The New England, New York area
is/was home to Cooperstown, the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants, Babe Ruth’s
playing career and Elysian Fields, where many scholars agree is the ‘true’
birthplace of baseball, even though this is a debatable suggestion.  This area has influenced far stretches of the
baseball world, similar to the ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ except
this empire remains in baseball even to this day.  Some compare the United
States to an extension of the Roman
Empire, so I will use that logic for the sake of comparison.  The Roman Empire fell
in a way that compares to the way baseball’s great franchises in New
York lost themselves to expansion.  The Dodgers moved to L.A.
and the Giants moved to San Fran causing a collapse in the mecca of the New
York baseball during the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s.  The destruction of Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn
symbolizes this fall, only to gain strength later in a different form, Pax
Americana.  The in-between time saw
baseball prophets, icons, political leaders, heroines, kings, queens, martyrs
and cultural representations emerge. 

 

Branch Rickey …
Abraham Lincoln (freed baseball … freed
America)

 

Ty Cobb … Ivan the
Terrible

 

John McGraw (little
Napolean) … Napolean (both were truly great strategists)

 

Jackie Robinson …
Nelson Mandela

 

Dottie Hinson (A
League of Their Own character loosely based on Dottie Green of the Rockford
Peaches 1943 to 1947) … Cleopatra

 

Yogi Berra … Winston
Churchill

 

Pete Rose … Harry
Truman (great president … one big mistake. 
Great player … one big mistake)

 

Barry Bonds …
Machiavelli (use whatever means as long as you get the end result:  Steroids)

             

Rafeal Palmerio …
Richard Nixon (just despicable)  

That is all I got right now! 
Anymore?

 

Reform

 

Free agency, no-trade clauses, agents and big money have
made the game what it is today.  These implementations
have also expanded the game further than any thought it would have
internationally.  The gospel of baseball
took a dramatic turn with the advent of these measures.  The Protestant Reformation conducted by
Martin Luther in 1517, coinciding with the creation of the printing press allowed
for religion to be spread and interpreted all over the world on levels that it
had never seen before.  Baseball as an
institution could now be influenced by the players that play the game.  This is similar to the Protestant
Reformation, where people began to influence religion more than they had been
able to before in the era of the ‘Holy Roman Empire.’

 

Today

 

Baseball, along with life on this planet is moving now in
rapid speed.  The internet has created a
world where baseball can be covered, analyzed, broken down into a mirco-science
like never before.  Improvements to
scouting, statistics (with sabermetrics), reporting and promotion have
propelled baseball into the technological age. 
Teams know now to jump on the next best thing coming out of Cuba,
Venezuela, or Timbuktu
that throw 100 MPH.  We live in a smaller
world, and globalization has taken hold of baseball as well.  The World Baseball Classic is in its infancy,
but baseball is also expanding into unimaginable countries now.  Yet, the peace on a baseball field remains
untarnished despite the new world order. 
That is the beauty of it all.    

 

What is next?

 

I envision a game where humans
take on robots that can statically
compute information before every pitch. 
No, no really. 

 

Better yet, baseball games used to decide conflict, or
war?  If only we could get the Taliban to
agree to that??  It would be a whole lot
more fun than the alternative, I’m sure most would agree.          

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September Mountain Men

Taking time off blogging about the Jays, I recently came across a very good old film that put the 2009 Blue Jays season into perspective for me.   That film was ‘Jeremiah Johnson‘ starring Robert Redford and Will Greer.  Shot in 1972, Jeremiah Johnson, played by Robert Redford, isolates himself from civilization looking to find peace amid the harsh wilderness of the Rocky Mountain in the late 1800’s.  Johnson becomes a ledgend of the mountains!!  He singlehandedly takes on a pack of wolves, a bear and countless natives looking for the honour of taking the ledgend’s sclap.  To say the least, the heroine, Jeremiah Johnson, kicks some serious butt.  I won’t go on and ruin the movie for you, if you haven’t already seen it.

nh01sl.jpg

(Movie cover)

DSC01007.JPG

(My Interpretation of Jeremiah Johnson at a Jays/Tigers game in September … sadly the beard is gone too itchy)

Roy Halladay is Jeremiah Johnson

Before Halladay departs from the Jays.  Mark my words, I am going make a ledgend out of him in Toronto before he can do it somewhere else!  I’ve already compared him to Seabiscuit, but I think this comparison is more accurate.  Now, I don’t know how Halladay‘s record is against the Indians or the Braves, but Roy definately reminds me of a ‘renegade mountain man ledgend‘ pitching for the Jays this season.  Roy is kinda like a warrior far from a war.  He plays for a team far from the limelight (if you’ve seen the Jays crowds lately).  He is alone among pitchers of his era, completing games like no other and compiling stats hardly comparable to his peers.  Halladay extremely well-spoken with the media, but you can tell that he doesn’t care about that and all he wants to do is pitch, and win!  Playing in a ‘not-so-great’ baseball market, like Toronto, Halladay’s win total has suffered.  His greatness, as a pitcher, is not what it might be in a bigger market some would argue.  But the truly great thing about Roy, is that he doesn’t he care about that?  Not a bit.  All he wants to do is win.  He is a ‘renegade mountain man’ sporting a beard and born in Colorado to make things even more comparable.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he knew how to ‘SKIN GRIZZ,’ as Will Greer puts it in the the film.

The Blue Jays are Mountain Men

Every September the Blue Jays become an isolate, renegade team.  Being forgotten by most, but sneaking up on the Red Sox, Angels, Yankees and Twins/Tigers to do some damage to their confidence (lol?) going into the playoffs.

Currently, the Jays have a bunch of ‘mountain men’ fighting to survive on the mountain.  Jose Bautista, Randy Ruiz, Travis Snider, Marc Rzyp…, Brian Tallet, Rod Barajas and Edwin Encarnacion are showing their stuff off to Jays execs.  Two or three, if not all of these guys might get a starting job next season.  A prerequisite for making the team must be ‘skinning grizz.’ 

10 Games this Year  

10 is most games I’ve gotten out to in one season.  The Halladay vs. Burnett game, Opening Day, the Jays 92/93 reunioun game and my annual trip to Detroit were just too much for me to sit at home and watch on TV.  Seeing that I’m nowhere able afford season tickets, or flex-packs or what-have-you I think that this is a pretty good number.  It was even fun last week where I attended a game, with such a sparse crowd, that I could people hecking from the 200 level on the other side of the stadium.  The Halladay versus Burnett battle was probably my favorite game, of the ones I attended.  The crowd was just awesome that night.  It felt like a playoff game.  A close second was the 92/93 reunion game.  He are some pictures from that night.

DSC00982.JPG                         

(The team … the trophies)

DSC00984.JPG

(Together again.  Pep talk.)

DSC00977.JPG

(‘Headed for a Third’ (World Series) shirt I got shortly after the Jays won their first two World Series.  Sadly, I am ‘out-growing’ this shirt and we have yet to get to third.  Not even a wild card spot in the playoffs for 16 years.)

My Fantasy Baseball Team

I wanted to do an entry about my team because they have been a big part of my baseball experience this season.  There is nothing like Fantasy Baseball to give you the motivation to keep ‘up to date’ on all the stats, scores, prospects and player movement in MLB. 

My team is called the Homer City Hawks, (its my last name followed by the City and the Hawks was the name of team that owned my team prior to me getting in this pool).  I thought it was a pretty good name with a nice ring to it.

Anyway, Im in a 16 team keeper league that has been going on since the early 90’s. At that
baseball_free.jpg time Fantasy Baseball wasn’t even on the internet and it was in its infancy.  The league originated in London, Ontario (great baseball town, former home of the London Tigers and close to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Thomas, Ontario).  The league is called the Sherwood Forest Baseball League and we play on CBSsportline.com.  It is highly competitve, guys fly from B.C. and Manitoba down to Ontario to participate in the one day draft event. 

The format is weekly and yearly.  It is points based, so 1 to 16 in the categories of (K’s, WHIP, Saves, SBs, HRs, AVG, RBIs, Wins, Runs.  Pretty standard.  

My dilemma, right now, is the keeper part.  We have to select 8 keepers at the beginning of next season and I’m indecisive on who I should keep?  I can only lose a certain amount of guys, depending on how I finish.  I took over a team with many holes and various problems.  I’ve tried to rebuild them into a winner, but right now, I’m in 8th place in the 16 team league.  Anyway, this is the 2008 Homer City Hawks.  Who do you think I should keep?  What are my strengths/weaknesses??  if you are reading? 

Starting Lineup September 11, 2008

C Josh Bard SD, Salary 3

C Taylor Teagarden TEX, 1  (i’m very thin at Catcher something I have to address Teagarden is a good prospect though)

1B Justin Morneau MIN, 17

Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins

2B Rickie Weeks MIL, 9 (don’t know if I should keep him.  He has been pretty bad, a lot of potenial though)

3B Mark Reynolds ARI, 22 (low AVG, but a lot of homers)

MI Christian Guzman WAS, 1 (don’t know???)

SS Alexei Ramirez, CWS, 1 (this guy is on the verge of doing some special things)

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, left, welcomes Alexei Ramirez, and Jim Thome to the dugout after the pair scored on a double by A.J. Pierzynski during the sixth inning of their baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Chicago, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008.

CI Mark DeRosa, CHC, 14 (gotta keep him, he can play every position)

Mark DeRosa - Chicago Cubs

OF Bobby Abreu, NYY, 37 (decline??)

OF Vladimir Guerrero, ANA, 45 (decline??)

OF Marlon Byrd, TEX, 1 (solid season thus far, don’t know if he is in their future plans?)

OF Ryan Church, NYM, 3 (He might be special next year, if he can stay healthy)

Ryan Church - New York Mets

OF Brian Giles, SD, 11

DH Daniel Murphy, NYM, 1

PITCHERS

SP Colin Balester, WAS, 1

SP Dave Bush, MIL, 9

SP John Lackey, ANA, (Is this guy on the decline???  Some bad starts recently) 

SP Ricky Nolasco, FLA, 1 (didn’t think I would keep him, but might have to now.  He has been outstanding)

Florida Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco throws in the eighth inning of a baseball game with the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Sept. 10,  2008, in Philadelphia. Nolasco struck out eight in 7  2-3 innings as the Marlins went on to win 7-3, taking two of the three games in the series.

SP Ubaldo Jimenez, COL, 10 (rocky year in Colorado, still young and gets high K’s, don’t know?) 

SP Oliver Perez, NYM, 19 (man, is this guy up and down)

SP Chris Young, SD, 9

SP Zach Jackson, CLE, 1

RP Bobby Jenks, CWS, 5 (he is shut down)

Bobby Jenks - Chicago White Sox

BENCH RESERVES

OF Milton Bradley, TEX, 13 (Was this year a fluke?  He was very good though, injured now however.)

C Michael Barrett, SD, 13

C Matt Treanor, FLA, 1

1B Chris Carter, BOS, 1

3B Mike Lamb, MIL, 1

OF Jody Gerut, SD, 1

1B Randy Ruiz, MIN, 1

BENCH PITCHERS

SP Kevin Millwood, TEX, 15

SP Kenny Rogers, DET, 19

SP Jarrod Washburn, SEA, 1

RP C.J. Wilson, TEX, 1

RP Rafeal Perez, CLE, 1

SP Micah Owings, ARI, 5

MINORS

C Brett Anderson, STL

SP Brett Cecil, TOR

SP Kevin Pucetas, SF

Active: 23, Reserve: 13, Injured: 1, Minors: 3, Active Salary: 230, Total Salary: 307 of a possible 360

My goal is to keep ‘value guys’ with low salary.  Are Abreu or Vlad on the decline???  Things I have to think about.  The guys that I’m going to keep, as it stands currently, are in bold.  I should be looking for pitching in the draft, so I’m going to hang onto a lot of my hitters.  Church or Bradley is a tough call for me??