Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Long Season: Random Thoughts On The Season Thus Far

APR 26th, 2012-With just one month into the ML season (and a little less in the minors), here's just a few scattered thoughts on what I've seen, to this point. Couldn't think of a more poetic way to say it; my apologies to all you literary aficionados.

First of all, a big Bravo Zulu is due to Chicago White Sox 1B Paul Konerko, who hit his 400th career homer yesterday against the Oakland A's. Characteristically, Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson lost his ever-loving mind over it. The solo shot, his 4th on the year, came off Oakland reliever Grant Balfour and sent the game into extra innings, but CF Yoenis Cespedes added a two-run shot of his own against a screwball from Chicago reliever Hector Santiago and former Kansas City power prospect Kila Ka'aihue finished off the Sox with an RBI single (also off Santiago; a 93 MPH fastball) to end it. Konerko seems to labor in relative obscurity, given his outstanding career numbers and consistently top-shelf play, but nevertheless he's been the heart and soul of this White Sox team for the last decade or so. Always been a big fan of players who go about their jobs quietly and without fanfare; it's refreshing to see in this era of overblown egos and hundred million dollar shoe contracts. The White Sox seem to be a blue-collar type of team anyway, reflective of their work-a-day, Midwestern fan base, so he fits right in with that mentality. My kind of player.

Speaking of the White Sox, a Major League shout-out to righty reliever Nate Jones, a 5th round pick of the Sox in 2007, as well as a Northern KY University alum (Go Norsemen!) and a native of Covington, KY, who made his debut with Chicago on April 8th this year. A lanky 6'5", this kid throws some serious heat. Example is his performance in yesterday's game vs. the A's, which saw him hitting 96-97 with his four-seamer. I saw him pitch last week and Lord Almighty, he BRINGS IT. Maybe I'm just big on this kid because he hails from around my old stomping grounds (if you count the first 3 years of my life as "stomping"), but he's legit and then some. Hoping to see big things from him, and I'm thinking I won't be disappointed.

Moving on.

Picture this but, you
know...with a Halo.
I rather enjoyed the LA Angels/TB Rays game, yesterday. Most of the talk, of course, revolved around the Pujols Homer Watch, which entered the 90-AB range. Seems like 50% of all that was discussed during this game had to do with "when will Albert hit his first homer as an Angel?", and all the fear and anxiety that goes with that. Good God, people! This is ALBERT FREAKIN' PUJOLS we're talking about! Do you really think we need to worry about this? He'll hit a few homers this year, I'm pretty sure of that. It was hilarious, though, to watch Pujols walk up to Angels coach Mickey Hatcher and get his take on whether or not his bat is cursed. Hatcher, as befitting his well-known reputation as a jokester and clubhouse funny man, gave the bat a quick Sign of the Cross and the whole "in Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti" bit, so we'll see if that helps to break the homerless drought.

Angels fans reacting (appropriately) to Pujols' homerless drought with a small, tasteful shrine built in his honor. 

Over in the minors, the South Atlantic League has proven to be well-stocked with the talented heirs to MLB's colorful and storied legacy. And on that line of thinking, we have some Legends of our own here in Lexington. This year's roster is certainly not short of intriguing talent, both well-known and otherwise, and the great thing about talent is, eventually everyone knows you've got it. Doesn't matter if Baseball America wrote a blurb on you or not. I'll be posting on our boys here in Lexington over at Nothing But Baseball and Apple Pie later tonight, so tune in for that.

I need to wrap this thing up eventually, so more to come.

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