Well the Twins game sucked last night. Might as well put the whole team in the Sucked category and just pack it for the season. At least there's outdoor ball next year.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Ian Kinsler. Tough to keep a guy who hit for the cycle out of here, which Kinsler did last night against Baltimore, overall going 6-6 with five runs scored, four RBI, and a steal. Yeah, that's a pretty good night. Kinsler, who finished fourth in average last year at .319, is now hitting .474/.524/.947 and now leads the league in both doubles and RBI. He's basically Albert Pujols so far, but only if Pujols played a position that is usually a black hole for offense. Obviously he won't stay at those lofty numbers all year, but even a slight increase from last year's .319/.375/.517 and 18 HRs and 71 rbi puts him in the MVP discussion, since those are virtually identical to Pedoria's numbers last year.
2. Clayton Kershaw. Oh Clayton, I love you so. I've mentioned him on here before, calling multiple Cy Youngs and describing him as having "a Barry Zito curveball (when he was good), Randy Johnson fastball, and Johan Santana changeup", so you could probably say I'm a bit high on him. He's living up to it this year though, after a mediocre half a season in the bigs last year. Yesterday he completely destroyed the Giants, giving up just 1 hit and 1 run in seven innings while striking out 13 and walking just one. Total domination. Of course, the Dodgers refused to score enough runs to get him the win, deciding instead to win in the last innings, giving Kershaw his second no decision of the year. Instead of 2-0, Kershaw is at 0-0, but with an ERA of 1.50, WHIP of 0.67, OBA of .081, and 19 strikeouts in 12 innings. I'm not guaranteeing a Cy Young this year, but it wouldn't surprise me.
3. Jason Marquis. It's hard for me to say anything nice about this guy, because I remember in 2006 the Cubs gave him a 3 year/$21 million deal despite him having led the league in losses and home runs and earned runs allowed the previous year, one of the stupidest contracts ever offered. However, when readers talk, I listen, and our friend out in Denver pointed out that he's pitching very well for the Rockies this year, and he's right. Yesterday Marquis shut down the Cubs, going seven innings and allowing just five hits and one run, bringing him to 2-0 and sporting an ERA of 1.93 on the year. Not to mention knocking in two of the Rockies' five runs with a single in second - he's a very good hitter, actually, with a career average of .211 and he won the silver slugger in 2005. Perhaps most impressive is the zero home runs allowed in two starts, especially since they've been at Coors and Wrigley. I also want to mention here that Todd Helton was 2-5 yesterday. Man is that guy good. One of the best hitters in the history of baseball for sure.
1. Alex Gordon. Fine, I'll ask. Is Gordon the next Andy Marte? (note that article is a year old, but this year Marte is in AAA this year the point stands). Well, Gordon isn't to that level and actually had a pretty decent season last year, so he's not actually close at all, but I had to ask the question because dude sucks so far this year. He opened the season well enough with a two-run homer in the opener, but has been on a steady slide since and is still looking for that elusive second extra-base hit on the year and racked up another 0-3 with a strikeout day bringing his season totals to 2-21, a nice, robust .095 batting average. When your team hits a career backup catcher like John Buck fourth and you seventh, you really probably need to get something figured out.
2. Adam Morrison. The NBA season ended yesterday, mercifully, and we can really get a true idea of how big a bust Morrison was by looking at some numbers. He averaged just four points and 1.5 rebounds per game in about 15 minutes per game, which, when extrapolated to 40 minutes, still only gives you twelve points and less than five rebounds. He also couldn't shoot, hitting just 36% of his shots and 33% from three. What do you get when a one-dimensional player can't do his one dimension? One of the worst players in the league.
There's a nerd stat for basketball called PER, which assigns a value to everything that can be quantified and spits out a number representing a Player's Efficiency Rating (PER). I don't know the whole formula, and it's a little different in basketball since it's a team sport, but it can give a pretty good idea of how good a player has been. For example, the top five in the NBA this season were Lebron, Wade, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Tim Duncan. Well, poor mister Morrison ranked 327th, ahead of only Matt Caroll, Bruce Bowen, and Donte Green (nice job leaving college early, ass) amongst players who qualify. He was worse than guys like Brian Cardinal, Marko Jaric, Ricky Davis, Sean Marks, and Aaron Afflalo. Perhaps it's best to leave with this little tidbit from the ESPN.com scouting report on Morrison, ".....has a long, long, long way to go to be a quality player."
3. MLB and the Media. Is it just me, or is this Jackie Robinson thing kind of getting out of hand? I mean, I get it. I understand both baseball history and the history of the United States, so I realize what an incredible impact he had. He's probably one of the five most influential sports figures in US history, but there seems to be a movement amongst the talking heads that he is the only one who could have done it, highlighted by Dick Bremer's, "If Jackie Robinson doesn't break the color barrier, just think about all the great players we would have missed out on."
Look, I have an idea of what he must have faced, and he was obviously an incredibly strong person mentally as well as being a pretty good ball player, but at the same time he had incredible teammates (look up the Pee Wee Reese story) and a GM in Branch Rickey who made the move in the first place. And if not Jackie, it would have been someone else, which is what makes Dick's comment and others like it so stupid. I'm not really taking anything away from Jackie, more pointing out the stupidity of journalism in their deification here.
Everyone wearing number 42 last night wasn't just confusing, it was ridiculously unnecessary. I think every team retiring number 42 a few years ago was the right move. It honored an incredible man in a fitting way. This business last night was overkill, particularly because it was the 62nd anniversary of his breaking the color barrier, not a nice round number. I can see trying to pull this off on the 25th, or the 50th, or even the 42nd, but the 62nd? What's next year, everyone has to play in blackface?
I love the Jackie Robinson story, and he's unquestionably one of the most important figures in sports history, maybe even US history overall. The way the media and the league are handling his legacy, however, is causing me to write things like this, and that's what pisses me off most of all.