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Friday, November 01, 2019

‘I Want Bourbon!’: Nationals Let Loose After Improbable World Series Run

HOUSTON — The ball would be a seventh-inning, game-winning, championship-clinching, franchise-defining home run. It would bring Washington, D.C. its first World Series in nearly a century; it would cap one of the most unlikely postseason runs in baseball history; it would suddenly and irrevocably shift the energy in a stadium of more than 40,000. It would be not just a home run. It would be the home run. The one that gave the Nationals the lead in Game 7 of their eventual 6-2 win over the Astros Wednesday night in Houston.

But Howie Kendrick didn’t know any of that when he hit it. This was hardly a no-doubter. This was opposite field, way opposite field, toward the foul pole, perhaps all the way into foul territory. This may not have been any good at all. When Kendrick connected with the cutter from Astros reliever Will Harris—91 mph, expertly placed on the corner of the strike zone, with one out and one on in the seventh, Nationals down by one run—he did not think that he had just won the game. Kendrick thought only one thing: “Stay fair.”

As he burst out of the box toward first base, he couldn’t tell if it would or wouldn’t. Kendrick didn’t stop to look, and he didn’t wave it over, but he let the words echo inside his head with the fervor of a prayer and the rhythm of a chant: Stay fair. Stay fair. Stay fair.

It did.

So, what will you all be having?

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:50 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: booze, celebrations, howie kendrick, nationals

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   1. caspian88 Posted: November 01, 2019 at 01:43 AM (#5897646)
Howie Kendrick has apparently announced that he only intends to play one more season.

He was one of the first prospects I ever followed, 2002-2004. He looked like he was going to be a monster - hitting .368, .363, and .367 over three seasons in the Angels system, with a little power and speed, and then .369 in half a season at AAA and .380 in the AFL. He developed into a pretty good major league hitter, but he always felt like a disappointment to me because he didn't turn into Rod Carew, even if I was dreading him reaching those heights, rather than hoping for them.

But he has nothing left to accomplish that could possibly top that home run.

Thinking about Kendrick in those Baseball America Prospect Handbooks reminds me of Casey Kotchman, too. I suppose he was a disappointment too, but the Angels did manage to trade him for Mark Teixeira, who was a beast for two months, plus the ALDS, and then left for New York to give the Angels a first-round draft pick that went to... Mike Trout. I don't know if the Angels are disappointed in that chain of events.
   2. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: November 01, 2019 at 03:43 AM (#5897655)
I'm here for you boys!
   3. spycake Posted: November 01, 2019 at 07:31 AM (#5897663)
Julio Borbón is available too.
   4. Bote Man Posted: November 01, 2019 at 08:57 AM (#5897667)
Rendon yawns in the general direction of your World Series parade.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 01, 2019 at 09:04 AM (#5897668)
When did ‘slow heartbeat’ or ‘slow pulse’ (Mike Rizzo’s description of Rendon) become a baseball cliche? I’ve heard it a ton in the last couple years. It’s pretty bad.
   6. cookiedabookie Posted: November 01, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5897692)
@1: Not sure if he can be seen as a disappointment. Since his debut, minimum 6000 PA, he has the 11th-highest batting average in the majors, which is what he was known for and what was going to be his strength.
   7. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: November 01, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5897717)
But he has nothing left to accomplish that could possibly top that home run.

True, but everyone probably thought that after his grand slam in game 5 against the Dodgers.
   8. pikepredator Posted: November 01, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5897737)
When did ‘slow heartbeat’ or ‘slow pulse’ (Mike Rizzo’s description of Rendon) become a baseball cliche? I’ve heard it a ton in the last couple years. It’s pretty bad.


better or worse than Calm Eyes?
   9. Blastin Posted: November 01, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5897741)
minimum 6000 PA, he has the 11th-highest batting average


This is very good, but how many people are on this list? That's a full, healthy ten seasons.
   10. spycake Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:36 PM (#5897772)
This is very good, but how many people are on this list? That's a full, healthy ten seasons.


51 guys have 6000 PA since 2006:

Fangraphs link
   11. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5897786)
If you start in 2000 instead of 2006, Kendrick is 23rd of 107. (Mark Reynolds is last in both instances.)

By BBRef WAA (11.1) and WAR (32.9) Kendrick is very close to Shin-Soo Choo (11.0/34.7) and Justin Upton (11.6/34.2). The Choo comparison especially is exhibit #54253 of the idea that there are many ways to skin the MLB cat.
   12. caspian88 Posted: November 01, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5897807)
Kendrick really isn't a disappointment, but he's always felt like one to me (and I had forgotten he was even still playing), because teenage-me remembered him as the .360 hitting prospect that he never really turned into (even though I know now that those averages were virtually impossible to replicate at the MLB level). It's really just a combination of factors that put Kendrick into this psychological spot in my mind, unfair as it is.
   13. Blastin Posted: November 01, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5897828)
Some Yankee fans have been saying, "oh he always killed us in the playoffs," but I think they're misremembering the years, because... the Angels never beat the Yankees in the playoffs in his career. He's old but he wasn't on the 2005 team.


I'm happy for him, though. Seems like a fun guy.
   14. cookiedabookie Posted: November 01, 2019 at 03:54 PM (#5897880)
@11 - either way, he's in the top 21.5% of eligible hitters
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 01, 2019 at 04:39 PM (#5897897)
The Choo comparison especially is exhibit #54253 of the idea that there are many ways to skin the MLB cat.
The notion that Koreans skin cats is a vile stereotype.
   16. JAHV Posted: November 01, 2019 at 05:28 PM (#5897922)
Howie was always one of my favorites on the Angels. Solid defender, solid baserunner, and a great line drive hitter. I think a lot of hardcore Angels fans felt the same way Caspian did: Howie was a disappointment because he never quite reached the lofty expectations. No one expected Tony Gwynn, but I think a lot expected him to be what Jose Altuve is only without the speed. But while I think he could always drive fastballs, he couldn't quite master major league breaking stuff, and the average dropped a decent amount. He was still very good, but not the elite hitter he was in the minors. His swing was very level so he very, very rarely popped up. I think there was one season where he didn't hit his first infield pop fly until August. But that meant when he wasn't hitting line drives, he hit groundballs, and he wasn't fast, so he hit into quite a few double plays.

He also got a reputation among the fanbase (unfairly, in my opinion) of being unclutch. Which makes this postseason really awesome (and a little bittersweet) for me as an Angels fan. I loved watching him succeed in those big moments while at the same time wishing he could have gotten those moments with the Angels.
   17. Bote Man Posted: November 01, 2019 at 05:50 PM (#5897933)
I think it was during the Nats' post-game show after Game 7 that Phil Wood(?) revealed that Howie credited his resurgent batting prowess to hitting coach Kevin Long telling him, "Don't change a thing, just step toward the pitching mound instead of home plate." I guess it worked?
   18. Walt Davis Posted: November 01, 2019 at 06:59 PM (#5897955)
As I mentioned after the Dodgers' HR, I always like to see guys like Kendrick -- good not great players -- who manage to adapt to declining skills and have a solid bench career. Then for him to have this playoff run is doubly cool. After his 2016 (87 OPS+, 0.3 WAR, defensive value pretty much gone), he looked done. The Dodgers traded him for Darin Ruf (who they let go to Korea) and a former farmhand who was a 26-year-old AAA utility guy. The Phils then traded him and cash for an A-ball non-prospect and international bonus slot money.

But after that 87 OPS+, the bat has bounced back (125 OPS+, 325 BA). The defensive value is still nil and he was below replacement last year but he's shown himself capable of his current role which is to hit some. I'm not sure he can get another 2-year contract (apparently doesn't want one) but 1/$4-5 should be no problem.
   19. JAHV Posted: November 01, 2019 at 07:46 PM (#5897965)
I would take him back on the Angels in a heartbeat if they didn't already have three all-hit/no glove guys for 1B, 2B, and DH (Pujols, La Stella, and Ohtani). Aw heck, I'd still love to have him back, even if he just rotates with those guys in those spots. His line drives into the right-center gap make me so happy.
   20. JAHV Posted: November 01, 2019 at 07:55 PM (#5897967)
I'm also curious as to Rendon's bourbon. Certainly he can afford much better than I can, so it's probably something I can only dream of (although Rendon doesn't strike me as a snobbish fellow). Bulleit is my go to for cocktails, but I like Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace as relatively affordable options for drinking straight. Blanton's is also nice but I haven't had that in quite a while.
   21. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: November 01, 2019 at 11:08 PM (#5897995)
Drinking nice whiskey =/= snobbery. Drinking trendy whiskey might, but there's nothing objectionable about appreciating the good stuff.

Also, this thread gets a sad emoji because no Primer discussion of whiskey is complete without Harveys. Heck, I think I'll have a snifter of Kopper Kettle (sure, it's not bourbon, but it's what I've got) in his memory.
   22. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 01, 2019 at 11:40 PM (#5898003)
"I want Bourbon" certainly beats "I'm going to Disney World."
   23. Bote Man Posted: November 02, 2019 at 09:33 AM (#5898068)
Also, this thread gets a sad emoji because no Primer discussion of whiskey is complete without Harveys.

Speaking of Harvey's Wallbangers, when the Brewers made it to the post-season last year I honored him by having my very first martini at a classy bar near me. I remembered he favored Hendrick's so that's what I ordered. MAN! I can't believe I waited so long to appreciate that whole experience. That stuff aint cheap, but it's worth every penny so I have a tankard of it here at home on cold standby. So kudos to Harvey's for putting me on the right path.

There's nothing snobby about enjoying good drink, good food, good anything. It's just like Jon Cleese said in his little wine tasting documentary: find what you like and enjoy it, to h3ll with what others think.
   24. Omineca Greg Posted: November 02, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5898079)
For the most part, connoisseurs of fine spirits avoid falling into the classic archetypes of snobbery.

I think it has a lot to do with the cost of entry. Not that good spirits are off the charts expensive, certainly most people here can afford to drink whatever their liver desires, assuming they aren't alcoholics. But drinkers who are chasing the perfect bottle of scotch or Armagnac, instinctively know that paying, say $200, for something that you can get for $60 or $70 that's almost as good, is a very specific field of both interest and opportunity.

Music, books, films...all those things cost the same to partake in, whether they're a masterpiece for the ages, or disposable trash. Those are the fields that elitism can run rampant in. Every once in awhile you'll run across a spirits snob, they do exist, but usually they run to that type of personality already, and spending money on booze is another dimension of an already toxic ego.

But then again, fashion is a counterexample; let's face it, one tie is essentially just like another. So spending big dosh on them is a luxury that should be seen as a complete indulgence. Lots of times, it doesn't go down like that though.

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