Posts Tagged ‘Matt Kemp’

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The Wrong Way To Play Baseball

April 30, 2010

Prince Fielder hits a homerun to win a game for some of his best friends while 25 thousand people cheer for him. But then he ruins it by untucking his shirt as he rounds third base. What do you do?

Kill Him.

Well maybe not. It seems like some people wanted to, though. Last year Torii Hunter decided it was his place to flip his lid about the Brewers celebrating a victory in a game that took place in a different stadium, timezone, and league than Hunter and his Angels (in the process undoing all of the good will I had towards him for the combination of his robbing Barry Bonds’ all star game homerun and making this commercial). It was a rant of bitterness, misplaced nostalgia and absurdity matched only by Torii Hunter’s rant for the current season about the plight of the black baseball player, which he seemed to think is caused in part by the lowball offers received by “imposter” blacks, namely Dominicans and other Caribbean islanders. I seem to have drifted off of my intentioned path on to a Torii Hunter rant, so just one more Torii Fact™ before I continue: when Torii’s children have fun at school he tells them “School isn’t supposed to be fun,” and then hits them with a baseball between the shoulder blades.

The main issue with “unwritten rules” is that they vary from person to person. Why do some celebrations rub people the wrong way, while others are okay? Why is it bad to talk trash but fine to hit someone in the wrist with a fastball? It seems very hypocritical for people to think they can determine how others will express their personality on (or off) the field. J.D. Drew quiet off of the field, and is a smooth fielder who takes good routes to the ball and doesn’t have to dive very often. Therefore, he is a loafer who doesn’t care. Jacobi Ellsbury runs around like a lunatic because he doesn’t know where the ball is, and has a pretty face. That makes him scrappy and clutch. Robinson Cano used to have occasional mental lapses in the field, which seemed to give an impression of him being lazy or not caring. Kevin Youkilis is a total dick, but that gets read as passion and fire.

I think what I am trying to get at is that you can’t judge someone’s personality because of what they do on a baseball field. Getting back to the Brewers antics of last season, why did so many people jump all over them for their various homerun celebrations?

This rules, don't argue

Why is is such a big deal to have fun on the field? I guess the obvious answer is that it can be construed as “showing up your opponent.” Well you know what was way more embarrassing than Prince Fielder pretending to be a bowling ball? Prince Fielder hitting a game winning homerun off of one of the Giants pitchers. If you don’t want someone to celebrate, don’t give them a reason to. This isn’t Prince Fielder hitting a homerun off of a little leaguer, then taking a dump on the mound after touching home. For one at bat he dominated a major league pitcher and he should get to do all of the celebrating he wants after the game.

You don’t have to like it when someone celebrates, but it doesn’t hurt you when they do. It doesn’t hurt J.D. Drew to have as much personality as a sack of potatoes, he’s a fantastic ballplayer either way. Matt Kemp isn’t a prima donna loafer because he is off to a slow start. Plus I already told you, he is awesome.

Baseball is a game. Games are fun. Everyone has their own way of playing, and bitching about creativity in a game that has hardly changed in 100 years is inane.

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My Favorite Players for 2010

March 10, 2010

Am I the only person who finds themselves randomly attached to players and teams that have nothing to do with your own fan base? I don’t mean rooting for guys who have moved on from your own team, like Chien-Ming Wang and Jason Giambi. Just players who seem genuinely likable for one reason or the other; they’re exciting players, they seem underrated, or they just plain seem like nice guys. Every year there’s a couple of players and teams I find it hard to root against, even if the Yankees are involved. Last year for me was the Upton brothers. This year there are a bunch more, but the three in particular that I plan on watching religiously are Brett Anderson, Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Kemp.

As you may or may not be aware of depending on your level of reading comprehension and attention to my blog, I have been spending the better part of my time in northern California. Between that and my fiance being a A’s fan the team has begun to grow on me (the same could be said for the Giants, and who could resist Tim Lincecum and his luscious hair). I watched a lot of Brett Anderson last year. I heard a lot about him in the minors, both before and after he was traded for Dan Haren from Arizona. I’m sure a lot of you know him, but you really need to watch him pitch. Just look at his stat line, it is a thing of beauty: A 4.06 ERA, a 3.69 FIP, 7.70 k/9 against 2.31 bb/9, all as a TWENTY-ONE YEAR OLD ROOKIE. Absurd. Oh yeah, and he’s a lefty. Bold Prediction: Brett Anderson will start the all star game this year.

Troy Tulowitzki is a bit more seasoned than Brett Anderson, and probably much more widely recognized. Appearing in a World Series as a rookie will do that for you. I have liked Tulo’s game since he came up, and even my A’s loving lady has had an obsession with him since his rookie year, one matched only by Tulowitzki’s own obsession with Derek Jeter (by the way, since I have mentioned her twice, her list of favorite non players would probably be topped by Tulowitzki and Nick Swisher). Jeter and Tulowitzki make for a fun comparison. Discounting Tulo’s injury plagued off-year of 2008, the two match spot on in wOBA, and the small difference in OBP is made up for by an inverse difference in slugging and speed.

Tulowitzki’s defense was vastly superior to Jeter’s early career, but Jeter’s immense improvement has closed that gap and each can now be considered a good defender.

My explanation for Matt Kemp is a lot simpler. He has a cool twitter page. He is dating Rihanna. And this picture is awesome:

I'd wear my jersey EVERYWHERE if I were in the big leagues.

For an almost creepy amount of Matt Kemp photos check this out.