Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Way to go Bud Selig

Let me begin by stating that I am not a fan of Bud Selig.  But, when given an opportunity to change a call made in a game, I feel that he chose correctly.

I spent my time last week talking about Griffey.  I see that Armando Galarraga will pitch tonight, first time since the almost perfect game, which is why I am doing this today. 

The day after the event, I had a lunch with a coworker who was passionate about having Selig reverse the call because “it was the right thing to do”.  I disagreed.  Where do you draw the line?  That blown call affected history (still a big deal), and not the outcome of the game.  About 5 hours later, a blown call has the Mariners beating the Twins in 10 innings rather than having the Twins bat at the top of the 11th.  That blown call actually affected an outcome of a game.  When you start to reverse calls, you start down a path that is very slippery slope.  The manner in which Jim Joyce, Armando, Jim Leyland and Tiger fans reacted the following day was extremely respectful.  Also, keep in mind, Joyce immediately apologized to Armando in person after watching the replay.  They gave a standing ovation to the umpires as they entered the field the following day.  They also gave Armando a standing ovation with he delivered the lineup card. 

What started me thinking about this again, happened today on Sports radio.  A radio host had his 40th birthday party over the past weekend.  He was addressed by someone that said “I know you don’t want to talk shop, but your viewpoint on Selig was dead wrong.  You have never been more wrong.”  (FYI, I share the same viewpoint as the radio host).  The individual used examples of how Selig could sent an example for kids, yadda, yadda, yadda.  The real example for kids is how everyone reacted.  Joyce immediately recognized his fault and apologized for it.  I would much rather have my child learn a lesson of telling someone that you were wrong, rather than some Pollyanna viewpoint on life. 

For those of you that have not seen what occurred during the game following, here you go.

Is Stephen Strasburg the next Ben McDonald?

I have my concerns.  Sure, the Nationals have done a great job of limiting his innings, but will that be enough? MLB.com is littered with Stephen Strasburg advertising, they are cashing in on this as much as the Nationals.  It is my hope that his arm is able to withstand the hype. 

I recall similar hype (in a non-internet era) surrounding LSU graduate Ben McDonald.  Ben McDonald won the 1990 Rookie of the year award for the AL by going 8-5.  He would not finish above .500 again until 1994 when he would have his best season (record wise) at 14-7.  All-in-all, he had a 9 year career between the Orioles and Brewers ending his career with a 78-70 mark and a 3.91 ERA.  Not horrible numbers, but the hype and hysteria surrounding him in 1989 put him in the hall of fame before he began. 

I followed Tim Lincecum as he worked his way through the Giants org.  He entered with little fanfare, and had a mediocre rookie season, statistically speaking.  After capturing two Cy Young awards, I would think it is safe to say that he has arrived.

Is Stephen Cooperstown bound?  We won’t know for hopefully a very long time as he is only 21 years old.  If his minor league numbers transition over to the majors, the NL has a lot to worry about.  He is leaving behind a 7-2 mark with a 1.30 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 11 games. 

Good luck tonight Stephen, it would be cool to be there!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thank you number 24

With some surprise, Griffey decided to hang them up for good yesterday afternoon.  I do not agree with the timing of this move, but apparently it does seem to be for the best.  Was it planned to call is quits 23 years to the day he was drafted into the Mariner organization?  It seems that way, but I am not sure we will ever know the answer.

He will be a first ballot hall of famer.  Apparently, a journey to Cooperstown in five years might be in order for my family.  Yesterday was a different feeling for me.  It seemed that when Griffey retired, so did my childhood.  He was the last of my 3 idols to still be playing the game he loved.  Largent ended his hall of fame career in an injury plagued 1989 season.  Once the X-man departed Seattle, my interest faded as his career ended with a 7 year journey to 4 different teams.  But Griffey, he was always there.  Even if he did play for the Reds and half a season with the White Sox.  His charisma was part of it, but he was also so damn good in his first run in Seattle.  Safeco will always be the house that Griffey built.  For those of that don’t know the whole story, he (rather the 1995 team) is responsible for saving baseball in Seattle.

I think some people wonder why Seattle has such a love affair with him, and 1995 in particular.  My brother was in Tampa Bay in the mid-90’s.  Sporting good stores were selling shirts that said “Tampa Bay Mariners”.  The Mariners were going nowhere fast.  In fact, he brought one back to me.  Then 1995 hit.  They were 13 games out of first in early August.  They fought for two solid months to have a playoff game against Anaheim (then called the California Angels).  This was the first year of the wild card and the Mariners were lucky enough to face a 5 game set against the Yankees.  It was a format of 2-3, not sure why the Mariners got 3 straight at home, but who really cares.  After falling 0-2, the M’s came back to defeat the evil empire on what is by far the greatest play in Seattle sports history

Griffey’s legacy is more than just the 1995 season.  He was the first Mariner MVP in 1997, as well leading the AL in home runs for 4 seasons.  And how can we forget his countless amazing plays in centerfield.  All in all, he was, and continues to be, the face of this franchise.  He is the greatest player to ever wear a Mariner uniform.

As Griffey flies off into the Floridian sunset, it is time for this region to put the 1995 season behind us.  We can always look back on what was the best season ever with fond memories, but it’s time to make some new ones.  We have since tried in 1997 and most notably in 2001.  However, the magic that was the 1995 season can only be replaced with a World Series crown. 

In honor of his retirement, I am wearing my Cooperstown Collection Griffey jersey with my hat on backwards.  Cheers to a great career.