Throwing Curveballs at Life

My catcher Scott made me a better pitcher.

I was seventeen, I’d been pitching for seven years

I thought I knew what I was doing on the mound

I called every pitch

all my catchers till Scott took their signs from me

then in my first inning with Scott, new league, better, stronger batters

Scott calls for a curveball

my curveball is my worst pitch

I throw it once or twice a game just to keep the batters guessing

but I don’t trust it with runners in scoring position

still, Scott calls for the curveball

I shake him off

Scott again calls for the curve

I again shake him off

fastball, I’m all revved up for the fastball

but Scott doesn’t give up and again flashes two fingers the universal sign of the curveball

I’m starting to think that Scott’s an idiot, cause this is the third time I’ve shaken off the same sign

fastball I’m thinking

and fastball Scott finally flashes, though he gave me the sign using his middle finger

I nod and get into the set position, pitching from the stretch

checking my runners on second and third

then I rear back and throw my best mid-seventies fastball down and away

but the batter reaches down and gets it and slams it deep deep right field

scorching the line and mercifully tailing right and foul instead of left and three run homer.

Scott throws his mask in the dirt and charges the mound

I have been charged a couple times before by batters

but this was the first time my own catcher charged at me

“This guy can hit any fastball for breakfast, but he can’t hit a curve to save his life. Now you throw me a curveball and never shake me off again or I’ll fucking kill you!” Scott spat, slamming a fresh baseball in my glove and stormed off the mound.

You better believe I came back with my weak ass curveball

and wouldn’t you know it

the batter whiffed at it.

Strike two.

Scott flashes another deuce

curveball

there’s Scott going to the well one more time calling curveball

and my curveball never struck anyone out in Tyke

yet, the batter swats at it like it’s a feather in a hurricane

strike three

and that’s when I learned to stop thinking and pitch

after that, whatever Scott flashed was the right pitch

and I stopped thinking and started pitching

cause that’s the crazy thing about life

you are out of rhythm when you are thinking about the action.

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71 thoughts on “Throwing Curveballs at Life

  1. granbee

    Wonderful, wonderful, VERY absorbing (almost hypnotizing) poem here, Peter, that uses your “curveball” and baseball analogies extremely effectively to teach us:”DO NOT OVERTHINK–ACT”. My track coach in junior high used to tell us when training for high hurdles, “The body knows how high, let it lead.” Our hearts know “how high”: let us listen very carefully to them.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Rose! It sounds like your track coach knew the secret of the universe: do, do not act. This might read like the wisdom of Yoda, but, there is great truth to both Yoda and your track coach

      Reply
  2. Steven Myers

    or that bill lee take on pudge fisk.
    “if that fart head catcher comes out to the mound one more time,
    i’m gonna clock him before he opens his big fat new hampshire conservative mouth.”
    and i have to agree because that fisk was a real asshole when i seen him
    in sarasota spring training. catchers think they know everything because they’re the only position that faces the field.
    but despite a catcher’s big ego, they come and go like drummers it’s the pitchers that are gems.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I always enjoy a Bill Lee story. The man is one of the most colorful characters to play the game I love. I had never heard that he had a problem with Carlton Fisk, thank you for the quote. I like how you describe catchers like the drummers in Spinal Tap, but, as a pitcher, I have to say I owe a lot to the catcher that thought our way through the game to the win.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        the spaceman had problems with more than just pudge fisk.
        at some point, a pitcher gets past the nuke laloosh stage in his career,
        he doesn’t really care who the crash davis catcher is because he knows all the batters
        and knows what to do.
        i think batterymate communication is over hyped like
        a lot of things in baseball. i’ve heard it takes pitchers and new catchers three or four days in spring training to get on the same page.Of course, there are exceptions.there are prima donnas like randy wolf who insists that george kotteras be his catcher
        or wakefield with mirabella, but that was more due to the knuckleball.
        what do you want to be when you grow up son?
        i wanna be a part time catcher for a knuckleball pitcher.
        now there’s a kid with direction.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        I laughed at your strike out pitch: “what do you want to be be when you grow up up son?”…
        I agree with you that backup catcher is not the most glamorous job in baseball, but, someone’s gotta do it. And again, as a pitcher I need to defend catchers. Look at Roy Halladay. His two best seasons have been with the Phillies. Could it be that the National League is so much weaker than the American, or, that, Halladay is coming into his strength, or is it that he finally found his catcher, Ruiz?

  3. Steven Myers

    his last two seasons with toronto in 2008 and 2009 were as good as first two years in philly, and some argue that his best year was 2003. i don’t think carlos ruiz has anything to do with it.
    i think the national league is definitely weaker than the american league when you consider there’s no dh and there’s no new york yankees and fenway park and no arlington and now it’s added pujols and fielder….ughhh.
    but then again, it’s not like philadelphia is a pitcher’s paradise either.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Gotta disagree with you on Halladay’s best years. A perfect game and no hitter in his first year at Philly, followed by his most consistent year ever? 2003 was a great season, but, he was even better last year. Now, I’m open to argument as to why. Sure, the National League is softer, and half of Halladay’s season doesn’t require facing The American League East and the New York team he takes on now is the Mets not Yankees. Still, he seems to click with Ruiz more than he did with Gregg Zaun or anyone else before.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        comparring halladay’s greatest years is like comparring beethoven’s symphonies. in terms of hits per inning and walks per 9, the years in toronto (2003, 2008, 2009) are similar to the last two in philadelphia.
        also, philadelphia has a much better overall team in terms of defense and bullpen than yesterday’s jays. Those are significant factors when evaluating a pitcher. halladay went to philadelphia to win because the phillies had a reputation of being winners. this makes pitching effectively even more impressive on a team playing below .500.

        no hitters and perfect games don’t seem to suggest “best.” dallas braden immediately comes to mind. even the mediocre mlb pitcher can be great or perfect and if the wind is perfect too and the defense is perfect during one short open window of time, then even dallas braden and len barker can be perfect and the number of no hitters thrown by pitchers no one remembers any more is very long.
        a full season of being consistently great. well, that’s another matter all together.
        in today’s baseball world, money matters. making halladay’s 2003 season for 3.5 million
        a steal. in philly, for 15 and now 20 million, he’s expected to do what he does.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        I’m telling you as a guy who hasn’t missed too many Halladay games since 2003, that the Halladay I’m seeing in Philadelphia is a better Halladay I saw up close and personal in Toronto. Last year he had his lowest ERA, highest strike out total and the best season I’ve ever seen him put together, following a brilliant 2010. I grant you that you don’t judge a career let alone a season by one perfect game, but, the man threw two no hitters to Ruiz in 2010. And defense wise I’d take John MacDonald and Vernon Wells backing you up the middle over Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino any day.

  4. Steven Myers

    If we base player evaluation solely on the naked eye or loyalty, it’s usually not as accurate as raw numbers esepecially over the course of multiple seasons. There’s no denying the excellent glove work, arm, and range of Macdonald and Wells, but Rollins and Victoriano were playing defense on a different level. I set the time parameters for the following graphs between 2006-2009. The first one is for SS and the second on is for CF. I like UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) as a very comprehensive measuring stick for defenders. There’s a nice explanation of UZR in the glossary drop down menu-far right/top of screen)

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=50&type=1&season=2009&month=0&season1=2006&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&players=0

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=cf&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=2000&type=1&season=2009&month=0&season1=2006&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&players=0
    .

    Reply
    1. Steven Myers

      You gotta figure that Halladay was happy about going to Philadelphia knowing Rollns and Victorino would be behind him-up the middle, but this takes nothing away from MacDonald and Wells on defense. And it actually adds to your point about the two no hitters, since elite defense can make a difference between a no hitter and a one hitter. Defense here meaning range. I feel like Dave Stieb is with us in this conversation.
      I wonder how many one hitters or two hitters Halladay threw in Toronto.
      Either way, your point about Ruiz is interesting and according to baseball reference, it’s accurate. Under Halladay’s career split stats, Barajas is closer to Ruiz in terms of k/bb with Halladay, but Zaun is significantly lower.
      Your first point about Halladay coming into his strength plus Ruiz plus a better defense plus pitching in the national league plus not having to face the AL East….plus a few more factors equals Halladay being even better which is hard to imagine, as you know from watching him in person as a Jay.

      Reply
      1. cottonbombs Post author

        Bringing Stieb into the conversation is fair game. I remember Sept 2, 1990, listening on the radio as he finally nailed down the no hitter that had been an out away so many times before. Stieb had flirted so much with the no hitter (3 one hitters in four games in 87/ 88), but, was Pat Borders the ultimate difference? We can only speculate.

    2. cottonbombs Post author

      My friend, we seem to agree on so much, but, have you seen John MacDonald play short stop? It’s not loyalty that brings me to this conclusion, it is having watched all these players play many games and seeing who is doing what. The naked eye is what scouts use, not papery stats. And if you are going by gold gloves, Victorino and Wells are a wash at 3 apiece. And sure, Rollins trumps MacDonald in hardware, but, gold gloves are the Golden Globes of baseball prizes. John MacDonald is the most underrated glove in the game. But if you wanna talk stats, the bottom line for pitching is ERA and Halladay’s seasons in Philadelphia are his best ERAs. Back to my original point: I think Ruiz has made Halladay a better pitcher because he calls a better game. Halladay never shakes off a catcher. Zaun didn’t call the game Ruiz does.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        Yes, I have seen John Macdonald play shortstop. Praising Rollins does not undermine or underestimate Macdonald sliding on one knee into short left field and throwing a bullet to first base.I have also seen Rollins and his instinct off the bat coupled with his quick hands was even better than Macdonald.

        It’s interesting that you are willing to use ERA as a “bottom line” and at the same time refer to the naked eye as more conclusive than “papery stats.”
        I understand what you are saying. Once upon time ERA was viewed as the printing press, but it is limited for the simple fact that team defense is not factored into the equation.
        There is a fear amongst baseball fans towards the metrics craze, but it’s not going anywhere and is already making its way into broadcaster booths. The long reign of era as the ultimate indicator served as fodder for breakthroughs.
        Nowadays, kids talk about WHIP and K/BB or even better, they do a little math and settle arguments with WAR. It is the pursuit of a better evaluation and it already factors in arbitration cases. The impact of sabermetrics could very well be felt in all industries one day where employees are paid in proportion to their production.

        Gold Gloves are determined by a vote. They factor errors and chances. They don’t consider range or instinct off the bat and this is important because a player who reaches more balls typically gets more chances and as a result makes more errors. The way we watch and evaluate baseball has changed. We have to be open to mathmatical innovation, especially since the language of batting average and era was our mother tongue for so long.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        I agree. I’ll refer back to my last comment. I’ll add that stats, like the law itself, need to be understood in their proper context. I don’t judge a fielder on how many errors he makes. I need to see how he makes them. Not all assault cases are the same, not all balls are dropped or misthrown the same way. Like when I saw Chone Figgins playing second base, go up the middle, make a nice play stopping the ball, then toss the ball over his shoulder, a no look pass to the short stop covering the bag, missing him by a good twenty feet. It was the dumbest fielding play I have ever seen, totally unnecessary seeing as he had time to make a proper play. Figgins should have been given two errors for that play.

  5. Steven Myers

    Regarding Stieb and Borders, it doesn’t have to be stricltly speculation. Scouts no longer rely solely on the naked eye. The peaceful civil war between “traditionalists” and “sabr stat geeks” is unnecessary in my estimation. It is like creationists and evolutionists. The two are woven strands that together make a more comprehensive and diverse argument.
    Your theory that Ruiz and Halladay are more on the same page is proven to some degree by periphery stats like K/BB, BA and OB% against them as batterymates.
    With Stieb, the numbers are very similar with Borders, Buck Martinez, and Ernie Whitt behind the plate. But with Geno Petralli as catcher, Stieb’s numbers get Bob Gibson-ish, but that’s only 20 innnings so that argument we can call speculation or let Mr. Petralli tell it to his grand children as a heroic tale by a campfire.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Hey, I’m a guy who believes in the God and The Big Bang, so, I have no problem with stats, I’m a big stats man, especially when they are on my side. Halladay is putting up better games more consistently because he is putting up better stats consistently, the most important being ERA. But, if you wanna throw in strike outs, sure, his last two seasons trump anything he did in Toronto, so does his WHIP. But some stats just don’t apply, like hits per inning for Halladay. It’s ridiculous, cause, he’s always around the strike zone, he gives up hits. He just rarely gives up the big hit. Look at his numbers with hits with runners in scoring position, it goes way down, one of the lowest in the game. Though he had glitzier games in 2010, 2011 was his best year yet, and I suspect part of the reason is that Halladay is learning how to pitch in Philadelphia, and Ruiz knows him better and calling better pitches for him.

      Reply
  6. Steven Myers

    And as i’m writing this, the first pitch is scheduled to be thrown in japan. Here’s to a great season…
    for the Jays, May our preseason warm up discussion carry into the long season.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Absolutely, cheers to a new season! People ask me why I love the game so much. I always say there are a million reasons, but one of them is the poetry of starting in the Spring. Baseball truly brings the arrival of Spring. Some people count Spring by the calendar, some by their first robin. For me, it’s opening day of a new season of baseball.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        opening day 2012- in japan and not on tv. yeh, i love this opening morning glued to game day espn at 6:30 am, but it was kind of a good day, so maybe there is some poetry and spring to it all. i’m counting on your optimism my friend.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        You’ve got my optimisim. Ichiro leads off the season with 4 hits. It’s a great sign. Like the first robin of spring landing on your shoulder and telling you, “This is going to be one hell of a year.”

  7. Steven Myers

    All i’m saying or suggesting is to check out the stats that some fellow baseball fans have come up with for all of us over the past 10-15 years.
    They’re kind of interesting and more telling than ERA or BA,
    but anyway the Mariners won today and Ackley hit a home run and apprently the weather was nice this morning in Japan.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      You can throw all the stats you want, but, the bottom line to pitching is not letting them score, and the stat that represents best is ERA. All the K/BBs or WHIPs or WKRPs can go fly a kite. Nothing affects a box score more than a run.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        i hear you brother and i’m right there with you.
        i spent many hours on website threads and watched as my old road rapidly eroded
        and a new one was paved. It was like being in a bob dylan song.
        Eventually i surrendered to the new and in my opinion, more inclusive evaluations.
        But I should add that most of them remain over my head. I am simply too old or too ignorant to understand them, but to be honest, i prefer it that way because there’s nothing better than a charlbroiled cow burger, some AM radio and a couple of friends to listen to the ball game and i hope to have that experience with you later this summer.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        You can’t teach an old dog new stastics. That’s how it goes. How many intentionally walked first base paths must a man walk down until he is a man? Ask Jose Bautista. It would be great to share a game with you some time this summer. But, you gotta come to Toronto. Last time I checked, there was no team in Montreal.

  8. Steven Myers

    i’ve only gone knee deep into the newer stats, but what i like most about them is their recognition of so many more variables.
    the new formulas compliment the existing ones as the animal sacrificesbecome prayers.
    It brings the detective pursuit of player evaluation into the microscopic days.
    The formulas are completely over my head, but i do trust their intent
    like OPS is maybe a more a comprehensive evaluator than BA since a walk is useful
    and since a double and triple and homerun is more than a single.
    It would be just as easy to say Reid Nichols hit .321 with 3 homeruns, 23 doubles, 3 triples, and 45 walks……but that’s a lot of numbers…..Isn’t easier to say, his OPS was .873?

    Toronto is the destination. I’m looking forward to it.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I can`t argue against the intent of OPS. For me the 3 stats that show truly great hitting: Batting Average, On Base Percentage, and Slugging. Only three hitters have retired with career: .330, .400, and .600 respectively. They are: Lou Gerhig, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. Can you argue there were better hitters in the game. And right now Albert Pujols is knocking at the door of these stats. It will be fun negotiate these stats further when you make your trip.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        it is amazing what pujols is doing
        and easy to forget that it’s happening right now.
        somehow, the black and white reels make people think
        an old timer was somehow better.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        It takes years before something is considered a classic. Pujols is hitting at the level of our greatest black and white heroes. Let’s celebrate the man in techicolor.

      3. Steven Myers

        it is wonderful how similar the
        BA/OB/SLG numbers of
        Williams—.340/482/634
        Gehrig—340/447/632
        Ruth—342/474/690

        but only next to Ruth’s name does it say “outfielder and pitcher”

      4. cottonbombs Post author

        Are you implying Ruth is the greatest player ever? You wouldn’t be the first. It’s a ridiculous question, but, I’ll ask it anyway: who is the greatest all time player? Willie Mays. Ridiculous cause I never saw him play, but, that’s my answer. On the short list: Ruth, Ken Griffy Jr., Mickey Mantle. Who am I missing?

      5. Steven Myers

        in terms of Legend, Stats, and Personality all wrapped together yeh, babe ruth gets the cake in my opinion, but willie mays for sure and maybe throw in ty cobb, ted williams, hank aaron, and stan musial.
        greatest player i got to watch on a regular basis was ryan braun last year.

      6. cottonbombs Post author

        It’s still ridiculous to talk about players I know only from highlight reels and stats on a page, but I would say Ted Williams is the all time greatest hitter. Guy bats .406 in 1941, follows it up with the Triple Crown in 1942. Spends the next three years in active combat. Comes back and is runner up in all triple crown categories 1946. Wins triple crown in 1947, making him the only player to win it twice. Ever heard the story of Ted taking batting practice with baseballs dipped in paint? After each hit, Ted would say how many seams had hit the bat. “One seam” “Two seams” “No seams” he’d say after every swat. They picked up the balls and saw that there was a mark on them at each spot Ted had said. The average eye can read a record spinning at 33 revolutions a minute. Ted Williams could read one at 78. It’s the same eyesight that made him a great pilot. He was John Glenn’s wing man during the Korean War.
        And of course you’d say Braun. He’s a great player and he’s the photo you use for your site. But, my vote for player of the year last year goes to Bautista.

  9. Steven Myers

    the robins of optimism…..may they be blue jays!
    i can’t settle on being a neutral baseball fan. It doesn satisfy that ancient tribal feeling.
    i sure hope brandon morrow limits his waks, stays ahead in the count, serves up fewer homeruns and compliments romero as the best righty lefty combination in either league.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I saw Morrow open the first inning of a game last year by walking the first three batters then strike out the next three, leaving the bases full and no runs on the board. If he learns to use the other guys on the field to help him, he could be one hell of a pitcher. He has got better stuff than Romero, but, Romero has the control. It is a bit like watching A.J. Burnett come after Halladay. Burnett has the better arm, but Halladay gets the results.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        that kinda sums up morrow
        and that’s a good comparrison,
        especially since toronto will be facing philly in the series
        and if the pitching rotations allign,
        romero will face halladay.
        if we think it, it will come,
        but first april and then may and then…
        gonna be a great summer.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        Right, positive thinking will make it happen. I am a sarcastic optimist, but, I will push all sarcasm aside to hope for a summer filled with the best of baseball.

  10. Steven Myers

    i’m entertained in a cynical way by naysayers who say new york is a cement dungeon
    and nothing like it’s burial mound of polo grounds and coogan’s bluff when kids lived outside,
    and at the same time, i’m entertained by the david and goliath “hate the yankees” tribal affiliations that still flow through baseball bloods. Steinbrenner added a wonderful depth to the rivalries…the haves and have nots and the blue jays contributed an entirely new dimension, the non american entity as challenger and oh , how it pissed off america when the blue jays arrived with cash in the 1993 gold rush, buying up players left and right and winning not one, but two and in consecutive fashion. America’s world series gulp.
    Yeh, the lion tends to lie down with the lamb more these days as players are union-ified and share the same zip codes in glitter hill, but team GNP’s have also never been more far apart…..

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Cheering for the Yankees is like cheering for Walmart. Still, I have great respect for the history of the Yankees, so much so that entering Yankee stadium for the first time, Sept 25, 1996, brought tears to my eyes.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        i don’t mean to take anything away from yankee stadium,
        but did you get a chance to see blue jays up close?
        the segment with romero and bautista fishing with buck martinez?
        if you can endure buck’s laugh, there’s some interesting praise bestowed
        on joey bats.
        and seeing romero is always a good time..great pitcher-great dude.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        I have seen Blue Jays up close, I go to about 20 home games a year. But, if this is the name of documentary on Blues Jays baseball, then, no, I haven’t. Sure, I am a Romero fan. He’s a smart pitcher that plays with heart.

      3. Steven Myers

        yeh, it’s a series rogers has been running. it’s an honest look at the blue jays. nothing too fancy, but we get a look at different personalities and how they interact in potentially awkward social situations. Martinez put bautista in the company of cepeda, yount, and molitor in terms of his ability to explain the process of hitting. he’s a rarity in that he comes from a middle class dominican family-both parents with master’s degree, no rags to riches story there and probably plenty of resentment that he had to endure.

      4. cottonbombs Post author

        Bautista’s a fire ball. Both in his play and his gaze at the pitcher and his explosions at umpires that get calls wrong. I wouldn’t say he plays with a chip on his shoulder, but, he definitely plays like he’s got something to prove.

  11. Steven Myers

    yeh, it’s a toss up between ruth and williams. they both carry colorful legends from a-z.
    the overriding factor for me is ruth’s success as a pitcher. his dual abilities seem to defy all other feats and there’s his orphanage existance and calling homerun legend and john kruk diet and general warmth.
    what sticks out even more to me in terms of greatest players of all time is the contrasting path of say ruth and williams or mantle and williams. where ruth and mantle followed a happy go lucky beer and hot dog regimen and williams was tinkering away in the sober laboratory of splendid splinters. neither path was a buddha middle road path…they were both blake extremes, but one north pole and the other south pole.
    maybe it’s my lack of understandig geometry that makes me bias towards ruth, but as you say, we never saw any of these guys play anyway. if i could make a composite player of players i saw up close on a regualr basis, he would have the arm of rob deer, the base running brains of paul molitor, the range of robin yount, the power of russel branyon, the plate discipline of prince fielder, the bunting of craig counsell, and the personality of pete vukovich/nyjer morgan. all brewers because that’s who i watched up close. the thing about braun last year was his adjustments. i watched him transition from a guy who took a big swing on 2 strikes to a guy who shortened his swing and lined outside pitches into right field.
    vukovich played in the very first blue jays game 1977 at exhibition stadium and i think he earned the save, a long save…the old fashioned way-3 innings. I’m looking forward to watching the jays on a regular basis this year and adding to the list of greatness. bautusta’s plate discipline and if we move into all time great pitchers, romero’s change up–well not all time, but a joy to watch as the opposition pops up fooled.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Paul Molitor had one of the sweetest swings I’ve ever seen. Blue Jay fans were spoiled in 93 when Olerud, Molitor, Alomar finished 1-2-3 in Batting Average for the American League. Two Hall of Famers and a guy who flirted with .400 till August, quite a year.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        holy mackeral. i had no idea the three finished 1-2-3 in the batting title race.
        that’s gotta be one of the only times that’s ever happened.
        this year’s team is stacked, but it would have been something to have fielder
        batting behind bautista.
        the blue jay broadcaster brass all seem concerned about protection behind joey bats
        and mention lind as the key to success this year…offensively anyway.
        maybe encarnacion can take away some of the burden.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        I think that 93 was the only season where the top three hitters all came from the same team. Alomar snuck in there on the last game of the season.
        And dreaming of Fielder behind Bautista is fools gold. The Jays haven`t been buyers at that level since Pat Gillick left. See what is left: good teams, waiting to be great.

  12. Steven Myers

    that’s a darn good description of bautista
    and i guess that’s why they refer to him as the quiet leader
    with jp arencibia as the more vocal and playful leader.
    by the way, what’s your take on travis snider being sent down again?
    is it to give thames the first shot at sticking in left?
    when i’ve watched snider, he seems to be a better overall player,
    better baserunner, better arm, and capable of playing center field too.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I keep waiting for Travis Snider to pop. He’s like a bag of instant pop corn you keep sticking in the microwave and it looks, smells and cooks like pop corn, but when you open the bag, it’s still mostly unpopped. All the kernels are there. Maybe he needs what Adam Lind needed in 2008 when Cito Gaston brought him up from the minors with the promise that he would keep his job all year. He followed it up with his career year. Where`s Adam Lind now, like Snider, your guess is as good as mine.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        Snider kind of proved his value at AAA….nothing spectacular in terms of power, but the more at bats, the better he got in terms of OB%..
        As a blue Jay, he’s come to bat 276, 319, and 202 times the last three years.
        Is that enough to decide? He has no more minor league options after his demotion this year.
        At some point, management has to give a guy more at bats to see what’s there or else run the risk of never beig able to trade him and that seems like a waste.
        I think if they aren’t interested in his services, they should at least showcase him and try to raise his stock and then trade him for an inning seater come July.
        He may have flubbed as a bluejay, but he can still play cf and lf and run the bases well.
        Some team will be willing to take a risk on him, but not if he’s stuck in the minors.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        I think Travis Snider has all the tools to really break out as a great player. He just needs plate discipline and he’s ready for prime time.

  13. Steven Myers

    Yeh, it’s not the motivation of AA to spend big. He’s tuned in to the long term and prefers to lock up players a ways away from free agency with the exception of bautista.

    Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        you’re right. it’s kind of mind screwy how one guy or one gm or one manager does something and everyone follows like obedient sheep.
        tony larussa brings in a left handed pitcher to face a lefty batter and
        the network calls larussa a genius so then teams start using left handed reliver specialists….it’s all too logical for me….oh shit, i’m being cynical an opening day.
        but here’s a hopeful thought. Maybe Antholopos thinks for himself.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        Baseball loves stats, yet, it is not a science. One of my all time favorite managers was Gene Mauch. I remember watching him call for bunts with two strikes, bringing in lefties to face lefties, and a whole whack of non-traditional moves that often paid off for the Angels. Mauch went by observation and guts. I hope Anthopoulos reads similar tea leaves.

  14. Steven Myers

    Mauch was probably old school in that he had a head of stone,
    not easy to sway no matter what and he’s loved for awhile or in montreal for a long while..I think the first 5 or 6 years of the team’s existence and then people say “oh he overmanages and we’re heading in a new direction”
    and then mauch goes somewhere else and does the same thing. was that the angles in 1982 with reggie and brian downing and fred lynn and decinces and grich? How much bunting could they do?
    i think Anthopoulos and jays manager are “reading similar tea leaves”..i like that expression!

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Mauch was special. He may have been stubborn, but, watching him coax the ’82 and ’86 Angels to the West divisional crown was watching a gambler with a couple aces up his sleeve win the night. He lead the ’86 Angels to one strike away from the World Series before a Donnie Moore changeup sailed over the left field fence to suck the air out of their dream. Of course, this set up the Red Sox-Mets World Series that made Bill Buckner infamous. Like last year with the Cardinals, some years the baseball gods pick their team, and good luck be damned.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        that was dave henderson, wasn’t it?
        i can still see him dancing sideways at home plate
        and then finding out much later what became of donnie moore.
        very sad and tragic.
        you’re right about some teams like last year’s cardinals.
        it is fascinating to watch them go and go and go
        relentless like water. they just don’t stop.
        it was frustrating last year as a brewers fan,
        but slipped into a comedy when all the screws came loose in game 6 NLCS.
        the brewers dropping balls and making throwing errors.
        the dream was over and it was time to watch the cardinals and be in awe.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        In ’86 it was Dave Henderson. Knocked it right over Brian Downing’s head. And Donnie Moore became one of the game’s great tragedies a few years later.
        But last year’s Cardinals makes me believe in some kind of fate. You see it from a Brewers’ fan, I see Halladay give up two hits in the first inning and lose 1-0 in the final game to a team that just can’t be beat. Sometimes some team has to win. Last year that team was St. Louis. Why? Ask the baseball gods.

  15. Steven Myers

    the storylines that make up spring training read like
    blueprints before creation, the connecting what if dots and
    dreaming in day glow and yet, it all seems predetermined
    where, as you say, some team has to win,
    but a sad pirate fan’s feeling wears colors a yankee can never know
    and this i love like a zuni fetish has integrity and a fanatic for his team has his team.

    Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I try not to get too caught up in the predetermination of the game. I love the stat that proves Major League Baseball has more upset wins than any other professional sport. When people say, ‘anything can happen’ they mean baseball. Still, from Babe Ruth to Bobby Thompson to last years Cardinals, sure, anything can happen, but, who’s calling the shots? And Pirates fans will always have ’79 and Willie Stargell. I feel sorrier for Expos fans.

      Reply
    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Pirates fans have been witness of over 30 years of futility. But, there are fans suffering worse. Cubs, both Texas teams, Seattle, San Diego, these fans have had nothing to really cheer for in our life time. But, that’s the beauty of April. Hope Springs Eternal is the motto of all fans. Did you see Darvish tonight? I watched and saw a guy nervous in the first settle down by the third. Obviously too early to judge.

      Reply
      1. Steven Myers

        i’ll take a seat in arlington the last 2 years
        with 2 world serious trips,
        but as a brewer fan,
        taking whatever we can get.
        you jays fans and 2 consecutive world series triumphs…
        but it’s understandable and admirable,
        striving for the top..
        and darvish wins tonight
        backed by11 runs.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        You’re a good fan to ‘take whatever [you] can get’. I need to learn such respect and be a beggar not a chooser, cause, I taste a loss, especially in the post season as a sip of poison. It makes the wins that much sweeter, but I haven’t seen my team drink champagne in a long time.

  16. Steven Myers

    achhh. it’s all a clock melting diversion. i’m just kidding.
    no, but seriously, i shouldn’t speak on behalf of brewer’s fans because
    they suffer over still iced champagne…a same suffering like any other.
    but the mariners and blue jays being parallel universes–coming into the league
    at the same time in 1977, that kind of information keeps me going. oh, santos….espiritus santos.
    makes AA look really damn together…got three shooter cordero as a side show. freaking long season…but it’ll be august one of these days,

    Reply
      1. cottonbombs Post author

        At my best I tap into Buddha. At my worst I have the patience of Kali. When it comes to the first week of baseball, it’s easy to be Buddha. If Santos pulls that shit in September, I want to cut off his head.

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