Results tagged ‘ Randy Johnson ’

Just In Case…

Royals_Twins_Baseball_sff_175619_game.jpgTonight, the Twins figured out Zack Grienke and got a superb outing from Kevin Slowey en route to a 7-3 victory over the still-hapless (especially on the road) KC Royals.

However, the entire baseball universe was ecplised today by the debut of young pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals:

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Just in case he turns out to be the next Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, or Randy Johnson, I would be remiss not to mention this spectacular debut, so future generations (when they dig out my computer from all the rubble and power up MLBlogs!) could be privvy to his initial greatness.

Against the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight, Strasburg struck out 14 batters in seven innings, whiffing the last seven men he faced in the contest.  He gave up a two-run that only left the park because the velocity on the pitch was so nasty, but teammates Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham also homered to get the young kid a victory.

I’ve been watching baseball for quite awhile now, but I’ve never seen anything like this: a youngster so thoroughly dominant at this (the infant) stage of his career.  Sure, it was only Pittsburgh, arguably the worst team in the majors this season, but he had them completely flummoxed.  It should be even more fun to watch him terrorize good hitters as his innaugural season progresses.

Notes:

-It was nice to hear from Joe Nathan (in the broadcast booth) tonight, as I really miss him and wish him all the best in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery.  He seems like a class act and all-around nice guy.

-The only bad news of the night: Orlando Hudson was put on the 15-day DL from lingering wrist soreness after last week’s collision with Denard Span.  Doesn’t sound like anything too serious, so hopefully some rest will allow it to clear itself up and not linger all season long.

Preview (34-24, 1st, 3.5 GA DET): Kyle Davies (4-4, 5.49) vs. Carl Pavano (5-6, 4.11)

Hall of Fame: 2010

Well, it was announced the other day that Andre Dawson…

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…was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Dawson was a bit before my time as a baseball fan, thus I never remember seeing him play, but the stats (2,774 hits, 438 HR, .279 BA) seem to indicated that he is sort of a “fringe” pick. However, I did see that he won numerous Gold Glove awards and was once Rookie of the Year (1977) and MVP (1987). I’d like to hear what people have to say about his induction.

Of course, as usual, this clown (!)…
BertBlylevenHOF.jpg…is left on the doorstep.  This year, he missed by just .08 of the vote (garnering a 74.2% vote total), boding well for his chances next year.

Finally, it was almost fitting that, the day before the balloting was released, Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson announced his retirement…

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He is about as sure a first-ballot HOFer as can ever exist, and I will miss his dominance out there on the mound. 

Goliath vs. Goliath

It’s been way too long since I updated this blog, but in part it is because of exactly what I am about to say.  Last week, the New York Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, and I’ll admit that I hardly watched any of it.  Was it because my beloved Twins were knocked off by the hated Yanks?  Partially, I will admit.  But I think the real reason is just because of how depressing it was to see the “haves” of baseball continue to lay the unrequited smackdown on the “have nots”.  This line of thinking was epitomized by the Game One starting pitching matchup:

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The Yankees opened the Series with burly lefthander C.C. Sabathia, who had pretty much dominated any opponent sent to face him all season long.  Just two seasons previous (2007), though, old cap-tipping C.C. (the Yanks must have straightened that out along with Jason Giambi’s mustache, Randy Johnson’s dangly hair, and Johnny Damon’s Jesus-mane) had been the star of Cleveland, winning the AL Cy Young award.

Sabathia’s mound opponent in Game One was Cliff Lee:

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Much like C.C., Lee had lead his Phillies with dominating performance after dominating performance down the stretch the throughout the playoffs. But, again like Sabathia, just one year previous Lee won the AL Cy Young while in Cleveland.

So, while most baseball fans may have just seen a great pitching matchup, I saw what is wrong with the very fabric of what was once America’s Pastime (much more on that topic in my next post).  Instead of a level playing field, some teams are given advantages (based no more than upon the geographic territory they happen to inhabit) that allow them to dominate the lesser opponents.  I mean, just imagine how Cleveland fans must have been feeling while watching that Game One?  It would probably be like how you and I (Twins fans) would feel should the Mets ever stop sucking and Johan Santana gets the chance to shine in the postseason.  It is a very helpless feeling, and one that completely turned me off to the rest of the Series.

About the only excitement I got out of it was watching old Pedro Martinez turn back the clock one more (last?) time against the team he will be forever paired with:

pedro-martinez-phillies.jpg Other than that, I don’t have much interest in watching teams steal young talent from around the league and then calling it “high drama” when they invetabily meet in the biggest of games.  I can’t begrudge the fans of either team, as I guess I can’t blame them for their economic advantages, but I personally find it very disheartening.

Coming up next: Why football is quickly approaching my beloved baseball in terms of “favorite sport”.

A Schilling For Your Thoughts?!

curt-schilling.jpgWith the recent retirement of Curt Schilling, there inevitably comes the question of whether or not he is Hall of Fame worthy.  To me, Schilling is one of those guys knocking on the door, but not quite good enough to get in.  I was watching Baseball Tonight the other day and they listed some pitchers (Bert Blyleven, for example) that have good stats but aren’t in the Hall.  However, the name that most intrigued me was Jack Morris, whom I feel had a career very similar to Schilling.  Both won three World Championships, both were great pitchers, but neither really dominated their respective eras or put up really gaudy numbers.  The stat lines for both guys read as follows:

Schilling: 216-146, 83 CG, 20 SO, 3,116 K, three times second in Cy Young voting

Morris: 254-186, 175 CG, 28 SO, 2,478 K, twice was third in Cy Young voting

Though I will always have fond memories of Morris (Game Seven, 1991) and was enraptured by Schilling’s incredible pitching performances in 2001 (World Series Co-MVP with Randy Johnson) and 2004 (bloody sock), I don’t think either of those two are Hall worthy.  Actually, I think that Morris probably has a better case, though Schilling may get many votes right off the bat for playing out East.

So, like I said, I truly believe that Curt Schilling was a great pitcher (at times unhittable), but I don’t think he had the sort of career that gets one into Cooperstown.  His Co-MVP trophy and bloody sock should have their own display, though!

I Think I’m Gettin’ Old

Two hot topics circulating the baseball newswires (especially Baseball Tonight!) right now are really making me feel old…

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First is the notion that no team will sign Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez because he is too old and his skills are declining.  I remember that during Pudge’s prime, he was so good defensively that teams just stopped running against him altogether.  Plus, at least while in Texas, he was ALWAYS good for a .300 average (if not much higher) and 30 home runs.  All told, he could probably challenge the old notion of Johnny Bench being the greatest backstop of all time.  Now no teams want him?!  Heck, if Joe Mauer ever got hurt for an extended period of time, I would take Rodriguez in a heartbeat.

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Secondly, can you believe that Pedro Martinez is not on a major league baseball team right now?!  I know that his “heater” only tops out around 90 mph (if that) these days and his chances of making it through an entire season are slim, but c’mon…it’s Pedro!  An interesting conversation-starter that I like to pose to fellow baseball fans around my age (23) is this: If your team needed to win one game, which pitcher (in his prime) would you want on the mound: Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, or Pedro Martinez?  For me, the answer was always Pedro, as his late 1990s seasons were the stuff of legends.  As long as I live, I will never forget watching Pedro strike out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire in the 1999 All-Star Game in his Carl Hubbell impersonation.

I guess what this means is that, if I were a GM, I would be the type that allows the old guys to hang on a bit too far past their prime.  But seriously…let’s say for a second that the Twins picked up Martinez on a whim.  In Game Seven of the hypothetical World Series, who would you want on the mound…him or Scott Baker (no disrespect to Scotty)?  I thought so.

The Big Unit Moves West

rjohnson.jpgWith the Minnesota Vikings making a playoff run, I have spent most of my blogging efforts covering them.  However, I did want to keep things at least somewhat up to date with a relatively big free-agent signing.

About a week ago, Randy “Big Unit” Johnson signed a 1-year, $8 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.  Johnson is approaching 300 wins (he has 296) and 5,000 strikeouts (he has 4,789), and those milestones are likely one of the reasons he is hanging around.

Johnson, predictably due to his large stature, has struggled with various back injuries in recent years, but when he is on his game he can still be dominant and very entertaining to watch.

The Giants aren’t expected to compete in the NL West this season, so Johnson was likely brought in to mentor young pitchers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who are promising young stars in Frisco.

I’m glad that the Big Unit is still hanging around…he’s fun to watch!

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