There are a lot of reasons why I love baseball, but moments like these are high on the list. Basketball players don’t care much about their first basket, and I’m guessing that even quarterbacks forget their first touchdowns, but there seems to be something magical about a player’s first hit. Every once in a while, like Tuesday night in Arizona, we get to share in that moment.
Chad Jennings has more, including some audio from Curtis.
We also neglected to mention Joba Chamberlain's stellar inning last night but Mike from River Ave. Blues picks up that slack. We've seen these standout, stand-alone innings from Joba a few times this year and the hopeful reactions to them but remember that he was pitching with a seven run lead, in unusually warm weather against a team that's prone to striking out. A good inning is a good inning, but Joba has to rip off a bunch of them in a row before we have a legitimate reason to get excited.
Katie Sharp at ESPN's "TMI" Blog (still hate that name) looks a little deeper into Robinson Cano's improvements this year (subs. req'd), confirming what you probably have noticed about his approach at the plate:
One key change for Cano is that he’s finally learned to be patient and swing at more hittable pitches. Last year, he swung at 54% of all pitches and chased 35% of pitches out the zone with runners in scoring position – both of which were well above the major league averages of 46% and 24%, respectively. This year, he’s lowered his overall swing rate to 47.1% and his chase percentage has fallen to 29.1%.
Pending Pinstripes asks whether or not the Yanks should DFA Chan Ho Park. Judging by Joe Girardi's comments, it looks like the Yanks are going to stick with him for the time being. I certainly don't feel comfortable when he enters the game in a high leverage situations but his ability to throw multiple innings means he can still be useful on the roster.
The Yankees are playing better against bad teams than good ones? You've gotta be shitting me!
I don't have anything to link to just yet, but how about that USA soccer victory?!!
A Mickey Mouse sculpture adorned with Red Sox logos prepared for the All-Star Game was vandalized out in LA. Some may assume it was a group of Yankee fans who did it, but my money is on the Crips. Those folks don't take to kindly to people who wear red and display body language which seems to pose the question "What, bitch?"
The Sports Hernia inarguably has the greatest headlines.
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs argues that the only way to shorten the length of the games is to enlarge the strikezone. That or trim down the commercial breaks, but we all know that's not going to happen.
Over at U.S.S. Mariner, Cameron checks on with Lou Pinella's record seven years after he was traded to Tampa Bay along with Antonio Perez for Randy Winn, and hits on what I think is a fundamental truth in baseball:
Here's a cool interview with the founder of Baseball-Reference, Sean Foreman. It's on the Bleacher Report, but don't worry, it's not stolen from somewhere else or ridden with grammatical errors.
The fact of the matter is that Piniella, like pretty much every other manager on earth, wins with teams that have talent and loses with teams that don’t. He doesn’t get more out of his players than anyone else. He doesn’t inspire his men to greatness. He doesn’t make brilliant tactical decisions or teach bad players how to become good ones. Right now, in fact, he’s making a debacle of the Cubs catching situation by benching Geovany Soto (who is really good) in favor of Koyie Hill (who is really bad).
A site called Snippets used Google Maps to look at every baseball field in the MLB. They came up with some interesting facts that you may or may not be aware of and created some sweet graphics. It's a bit like the one Craig Robinson did for his site (Flip Flop Fly Ball) but with way more words.
Speaking of Mr. Robinson, the fine gentlemen of Pitchers & Poets did an excellent podcast with him a while back that I've been meaning to link to. For those familiar with Craig's work, you'll be unsurprised to find that he's an illustrator by trade. The interview runs about a half hour and I assure that it will hold your attention for that whole time.
Mark Teixeira's mom told the world that he started referring to himself as "Kurt Teixeira" after the lead singer of Nirvana killed himself back in 1994. Yeah, that's kind of embarrassing, but on the bright side, maybe he can pick a song other than Twisted Sister now that the cat's out of the bag.
I don't mean to end on a sad note, but death seems to churn up some decidedly poignant writing. First, J.C. Bradbury wrote about what will likely be the last Father's Day he spent with his dad. And secondly, during Monday night's blowout, from over the loudspeakers in Chase Field, Marc Carig was reminded of his sister, six years after the unthinkable happened. Both of those will choke you up a bit, but are well worth reading.