Looks like Thursday is becoming notes day…
For the third straight year, the two best players in the American League–and the two best candidates for AL MVP–are the same guys: Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. They lead the league in RARP and VORP, and it's not all that close.
Off the top of my head, I can't remember a three-year period in which the MVP argument–the real one, not the media-looking-for-the-best-story one–came down to the same two players each time. I'm leaning toward Rodriguez, the best player in the league, right now, but I don't think it's a lock just yet. The respective positions of the Yankees and Rangers are not a factor in my decision-making.
Terrence Long made an amazing catch last night to end the A's 3-2 over the Red Sox. He reached into the Red Sox bullpen to pull back what would have been a Manny Ramirez game-winning three-run home run.
We kicked this around a little on the BP list, and I wanted to share Jeff Hildebrand's comment, because I thought it summed my feelings up very well:
I was actually on the phone talking with a friend with the game on in the background. I had just finished saying that there were times when I'm so fed up and disgusted with Selig and his corrupt band of goons that I'm tempted to just say "To hell with all of it, it's not worth it" when Long made that catch. After I got past the "He caught that?!?" response I made some comment to the effect of "Oh, right, that's why I care."
Contraction is dead for 2003. With luck, it'll be dead forever.
Or until Shyam Das is found, whichever comes first.
It's not often a meaningless game between cellar-dwellars is worth mentioning, but the Tigers and Rangers played a good one in Detroit last night. I mention it only because the Rangers got some hope for the future in Joaquin Benoit, who threw 7 1/3 good innings. It was a real ballsy performance for the rookie, who will be an important part of the Rangers' rotation next year.
Pet peeve time: watch any game–OK, it helps to watch the Devil Rays or Brewers or something–and wait for an infield pop-up to the right side with no one on base. The batter puts his head down and starts running without paying any attention to the ball. Almost all the time, you'll see the ball be caught when the player is about five steps towards second base, a position in which, were the ball to be dropped, he'd be a dead duck.
It's false hustle. The player is generally just moving so that no one gets on him for not running out the play. Movement isn't hustle; hustle is mental, it's paying attention to the game situation and knowing what to do to maximize your team's chance of winning. Running past the bag into no-man's-land is a stupid play, and one of those goofy things that is eventually going to cost a team a out and a baserunner in a pennant race or a playoff game.
Are there any two players hitting back-to-back who are slower than Fred McGriff and Moises Alou? Alou's had a ton of leg injuries over the years; I think if he can get to the AL, he might actually be a quality DH for the two years left on his contract. If he stays in the NL as a left fielder, he's unlikely to be an asset.
- Man, I missed Extra Innings.
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