Monday, March 25, 2013
Why back in my day…there was nary a peep from Alfalfa Anderson!
Imagine that you’re right-hander Daniel Hudson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in the midst of rehabbing from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, and you take a break. You head over to the drug store where you find a pack of Topps baseball cards, buy them and open them — just like when you were a kid. Except now you’re a major leaguer, and there’s your card! A head shot. And ... the pained expression on your face looks all too familiar. You remember what day this is from: June 26, the day you tore the UCL in your right elbow. No wonder you look like you want to throw up:
Thank @toppscards for using a close up of me right after my elbow blew out! Card will be around forever as areminder!
...I’m not sure Hudson was being grateful when he said thank you to Topps (Twitter should get a universal sarcasm font), but let’s look at it from their viewpoint for a moment. It’s authentic. It’s certainly the most important moment of the season for Hudson, who otherwise is one of the up-and-coming pitchers in the NL. And it’s not that different — obviously — than the photos taken by USA Today at the moment of truth.
But I get what Hudson (might be) saying. Newspapers and websites are one thing; They run upsetting or even disturbing photos all of the time because that’s what happened. Your baseball card is like your school yearbook photo. It’s one thing to have that wacky photo of you making that regrettable face in shop class, but that’s not going to be your class portrait. That’s of you in the sky blue ruffled tux and parted-down-the-middle-and-feathered hair.
Posted: March 25, 2013 at 01:33 PM | 52 comment(s)
Friday, March 22, 2013
Guess he should have stayed retir…oh. #yankeefan
Diamondbacks center fielder Adam Eaton will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a UCL sprain in his left (throwing) elbow, the team announced. He apparently hurt himself sliding into third base on Monday.
Eaton, 24, was slated to take over as Arizona’s leadoff man following an offseason lineup rebuild. He went 23 for 59 (.390) with two homers and three steals in spring training after an impressive 22-game cameo last September (111 OPS+). Baseball America ranked Eaton as the 73rd-best prospect in the game a few weeks ago.
Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:22 PM | 41 comment(s)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Flaring panoramas of kunka-kunka sensations! This could end worse than Gibby Gibson’s final scene!
Basically, the Diamondbacks resemble a team that plays the game as Gibson did: with grit, scrappiness and a dirty uniform.
The one thing people have seemed to overlook during this Arizona overhaul is that Gibson was about as talented as anyone in the game when he was at his best. Gibson was a star. And once he got to Los Angeles and helped the Dodgers win their last World Series in 1988, he was a superstar, the kind of marketable player who help franchises sell season-ticket packages.
Towers ignored that when he got rid of players who seemed to be his most talented.
... But this team isn’t built to win three years from now. Maybe prospects like Gregorius and pitcher Tyler Skaggs will have developed into productive major leaguers in the next few seasons, but projected starters like Prado (29 years old), Ross (32), second baseman Aaron Hill (31 this week), catcher Miguel Montero (30 in July) and outfielder Jason Kubel (31 in May) are here to win now.
And none of them has anything close to the raw talent of Upton (26 in August), Young (29) or Bauer (22). None of them has the talent Gibson had.
“I think that’s what people don’t realize,” a National League scout said during spring training last week. “Gibby was as talented as any player on the field when he was in his prime. That could have been Upton. That could have been Bauer. When guys have the chance to be that kind of player, you deal with whatever else you don’t like about them as people, especially when they are still under team control.”
Posted: March 20, 2013 at 05:19 AM | 43 comment(s)
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Dutch courage is Grace under pressure.
“In this world of blame game, it’s like Democrats and Republicans blame each other, countries blame each other … (but) I did this,” Grace said Monday after throwing batting practice to Diamondback minor leaguers. “The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything wrong. The cop didn’t screw me. The judge didn’t screw me. The prosecutor didn’t screw me. It’s a lesson learned, and especially out here. These laws out here, they don’t mess around. I knew that.
“You can sit here and make all the excuses you want. But at the end of the day, it’s my fault. I did it, and I’m going to pay my debt to the state of Arizona and be done with it. And it will never happen again. I can promise you it will never happen again, because if it happens again I’m going to prison for like two years, and my children deserve better than that. My friends deserve better than that.
“I’m going to be better for it. It sucks. I’m not going to kid you. But you know what? I’m a big boy, and I always try to teach my kids accountability, so I have to be accountable, too, and accept the fact I made a bad decision and I’m paying the price for it.”
...Grace isn’t sure if he’ll get another broadcasting job but said he enjoys working with young players who need coaching. The hardest part so far has been missing his sons, Preston and 12-year-old Jackson, playing against each other in a youth baseball league game.
Both of the youngsters understand he’s paying a big price for his mistake.
“They know it, they get it and they understand it,” he said. “I’m setting a bad, yet good example for them. If you break the law, you pay the price. ‘Don’t do what Dad did.’”
Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:13 AM | 329 comment(s)
Start with the strut — this is what Brett Butler remembers about the first time he saw Spanky, in all his Spankiness, in camp last spring. “So here’s this 5’9’’ kid,” says Butler, “walking around with the major leaguers with this cockiness that said, ‘Here I am, man. Nobody here is faster than me. Nobody here is going to outplay me.’ I kind of smirked, and was like, ‘Who is this punk?’”
So, who, exactly, is Spanky?
He is the new face of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is the mid-round sleeper pick in your fantasy baseball league. He is the trendy pick to win this year’s National League Rookie of the Year award, a player who is about to become one of the breakout stars of 2013. He is lefthanded and he is short—- “5-9, and a half, with spikes,” he says—- and while he might remind you of a certain undersized Dodgers All-Star centerfielder from ‘90s, he is not the second coming of Brett Butler, at least according to Brett Butler.
“He’s got more pop than me, he’s got a better arm—- he’s going to be better than me,” says Butler. The better comparison? “I’ve gone as far as to say this: he’s Mike Trout, without the pop.”
Jeff Trout could not be reached for comment.
Eaton still has much to learn—- “he’s as raw as raw can be,” says Butler. “He needs to learn his routes. He needs to learn to lay down a bunt. But his upside? Substantial. I’ve never had a player who’s played with a chip on his shoulder and been more determined to prove a point.”
And there are still many baseball fans who don’t know this Adam Eaton from the Adam Eaton who pitched 10 years in the majors. Just the other day, Eaton says, “a fan on Twitter told me to give back my World Series ring that I won with the Phillies, because I’m a bum and I’m pathetic.”
Then there was the woman who showed up at Diamondbacks camp a few days ago with a sheet of cards for him to sign.
“I saw you in Seattle two or three years ago,” she said.
Eaton looked down at the cards. “Sorry, you have the wrong guy,” he said. “I’m the short one.’”
Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:22 AM | 4 comment(s)
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Arizona’s Kirk Gibson offered his hand to shake, and Cincinnati’s Dusty Baker kept his to himself, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert wrote Monday. The managers had what was described as a “testy” meeting at home plate over whether to use the DH in the Diamondbacks-Reds’ Cactus League game.
As the home team, the D-backs had the privilege of choosing. That’s the rule for spring training, even in a game with two NL teams that don’t usually use the DH during the regular season. Arizona wanted right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who has spent his entire career in the AL where pitchers don’t usually hit, to get some batting experience during a game. Fair enough. The Reds wanted to use the DH so Shin-Soo Choo could get some plate appearances without having to play the outfield. He’s nursing a sore quad. Sounds right.
Gibson wouldn’t budge. The DH was not used. Choo didn’t start as a precaution. Baker didn’t shake hands.
Here’s Gibson’s take, via Gilbert:
“It was a good locker room talk. Read between the lines.”
And Baker’s, via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:
“We didn’t have a very pleasant encounter at home plate,” Baker said. “That’s how it goes. It’s over.”
This is why the DH needs to be universal. No more arguments ever!
Thanks to Drew.
Posted: March 05, 2013 at 12:16 AM | 25 comment(s)
Monday, February 25, 2013
Ted Nugent is a friend of mine
His killings have no purpose
No reason, or rhyme
Ted Nugent is a friend of mine
He is one of the most interesting managers in baseball. When you think about the fact that Kirk Gibson holds an aviation record, he’s constantly looking for new ways to inspire his team.
Gibson is an avid outdoorsman and hunter.
Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:49 PM | 396 comment(s)
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I guess having the most Schlitz in the 90’s doesn’t leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
“I love it,” said manager Kirk Gibson when asked about the addition of Grace to the coaching staff. “I called [general manager Kevin Towers] one day and said I’d like to invite Gracie to spring training. Obviously teammates need teammates sometimes and it’s just how I felt about it.”
After Grace’s second DUI arrest became public last August, the team relieved him of his broadcasting duties, and when the season wrapped up they decided not to renew his contract.
“We continued to talk as an organization what would be best for him and with his situation,” Gibson said Tuesday at Salt River Fields. “You know he has a lot of knowledge and wisdom. He’s been in the game a long time and he’s got a great sense of humor so we felt he had something to add.”
...A lot of organizations invite former players back to help out as assistant coaches or minor league coaches, but this case is a little different. Gibson had no problem acknowledging that this is also about helping out a friend in need.
“His friends are there for him, that’s the way I look at it,” he said. “It’s not like he doesn’t have ability or doesn’t have anything to add. So with those two things together it was a no-brainer.”
Posted: February 13, 2013 at 07:12 PM | 21 comment(s)
Monday, January 28, 2013
I’d have to check with the Boone and Crockett Wow Factor Record book…but I think a trophy bull elk has more abnormal points than Bloomquist has normal taters.
Bloomquist, who has been Arizona’s starting shortstop for most of the past two seasons — a lower back injury did cost him the last month and a half of the 2012 season — is also representing Team Weatherby. Weatherby, a gun manufacturer, even offers a rifle with a custom signature series “Willie Bloomquist” floor plate. The avid hunter and outdoorsman bagged a trophy bull elk in New Mexico during the offseason.
Q: After basically serving as the Diamondbacks’ everyday shortstop and leadoff hitter most of the last two seasons, the club still went out and acquired Didi Gregorious from Cleveland and signed free-agent Cliff Pennington to a two-year deal. What goes through your mind when you see those moves?
A: If I were GM, I’d do the same thing, but it doesn’t make it any easier for me to swallow. I’m sitting here thinking I can do the job. From their point of view, I broke down and got hurt last year. They need some depth there. The whole offseason, it’s been, ‘We need a shortstop, we need a shortstop.’ For me I use it as fuel to the fire. OK, they’re obviously not thrilled with me getting hurt and not thrilled with what I did. The approach and mindset I’m taking is bring in whoever you want. It won’t change the way I play. Either my game will be good enough or not. The past couple of years they’ve wanted me in there when push comes to shove.
Q: Gibson has a reputation for filling his roster with hard-nosed players, so-called throwbacks like yourself. What’s he meant for your career?
A: I owe a lot to him. He trusted me enough to continue giving me at-bats. You’d have to ask him what he sees in me that he likes or doesn’t like. I’m just grateful to play for a manager that kind of gets my personality and gets how I play the game. ... Last year I started slow. I was hitting a buck something in May. He stuck with me. He kept running me out there. Before I got hurt I was hitting over .300. Obviously, he liked having the .300 part in the lineup, but he appreciates what I do and what I bring to table more than other managers who just look at stats and the ‘wow factor’ I guess. I don’t have the wow factor, but I do know how to play this game pretty well. I put together good solid at-bats, I move runners, I think he appreciates that.
Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:24 AM | 13 comment(s)
Monday, January 14, 2013
But he has the most DUI’s in the decade!
Stating “I have nobody to blame but myself,” Mark Grace said Monday he understands why the Diamondbacks fired him from the broadcast booth last season.
The former Diamondbacks and Cubs first baseman faces a March 19 trial on aggravated DUI following an August arrest in Scottsdale.
“I did this,” he said. “The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything. I think it’s important to own this. I own this.”
...Grace pleaded not guilty in October following his August arrest in Scottsdale on suspicion of driving under the influence. It was his second DUI arrest in 15 months.
He was initially pulled over for driving a car with expired registration tags. He also was found to be driving on a suspended license and without a court-ordered ignition interlock device.
It is possible he won’t go to trial if a plea is offered and a settlement is reached.
The support he has received since his arrest has been “humbling,” Grace said.
“There’s been so many warm wishes, text, phone calls from these guys, the campers I’ve spent eight years with,” he said. “And from former teammates, fans. My goodness, it’s been awesome.”
Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM | 15 comment(s)
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
DL: Do park factors play a role in your personnel decisions?
KT: Yes. That’s something that was brought to me by Theo Epstein, years ago, when we were in San Diego. I never used to look at park factors. Back in the mid-90s, when I looked at the Atlanta Braves short-season-A club, they all had ERAs under 2.00. I remember Theo saying, “Don’t get deceived by that; that’s one of the best pitchers’ parks in baseball.” The parks they pitched in made those prospects look even better. That weighs heavily with position players as well.
Chris Young was pitching in Arlington Stadium when I acquired him in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. I looked at his FB/GB rate and he was more of a fly-ball pitcher. Coming to us, that would play better in Petco than it did in Texas. Conversely, here in Arizona, ground-ball pitchers are probably more effective. That played a lot into the Trevor Cahill acquisition.
Between LA, San Francisco and San Diego… all three are pretty good pitchers ballparks, but we play 81 in Chase. We probably lean more toward an offensive player, but we also wanted to build this team around bullpen, defense and pitching. When you look at the NL West — and I’ve spent almost my entire career in this division — it’s usually won with arms. It hasn’t been won as much with offense, unless you go back to 1995-1996 Colorado Blake Street Bombers. It’s usually won with pitching, so to win in the west, you have to pitch in the west.
...DL; If a Gregorius, or a Jose Iglesias, provides the same level of defensive value as a Brendan Ryan, do they need to hit?
KT: I think it just depends on the makeup of your club. If you’ve got an offense like Texas, you can live with an Elvis Andrus who doesn’t hit for power, or even a huge average, but has ability to get on base. He can obviously play quality defense, For a club that lacks offense in your outfield, or your corners, then maybe it becomes a little more difficult.
I think there’s always a place for those guys. In a perfect world, you’d like to have a team where you don’t have to worry about getting a lot of offense from your shortstop. You just want somebody to save runs for you. You want them to save outs, as well as pitches for your pitcher out there on the mound.
Thanks to Los.
Posted: December 26, 2012 at 09:26 AM | 15 comment(s)
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Faulty Towers…as his Wiki page goes Sybil!
As noted earlier in this very space, I’m not a fan of the recent three-way Indians-Reds-Diamondbacks swap from the Arizona perspective. Of course, I am but a dispassionate observer whose sensible remove provides him with a breathtaking view, which is why my distaste for Arizona’s haul has not moved me to vandalize the Wikipedia page of D-backs GM Kevin Towers. Others, though, were so inspired. Let us admire their handiwork before those humorless slaves to truth do away with it:
To hear this saboteur tell it, Towers, a Padre down to the marrow, is conducting these moves with malice aforethought. Hmmm. ...
Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM | 9 comment(s)
Friday, December 07, 2012
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman confirms that the Diamondbacks and right-hander Brandon McCarthy have agreed to terms. Heyman also reports that a two-year contract is in place.
In 2013 McCarthy will be coming back from a scary skully fracture—one that endangered his life, and he also has a history of shoulder problems. However, he’s a near-ace when not battling injuries: a 3.29 ERA across two seasons in Oakland. At age 29, McCarthy should be quite a nifty addition, so long as he avoids the disabled list.
Thanks to Chet.
Posted: December 07, 2012 at 06:34 PM | 13 comment(s)
for his generous support.
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