A look at the past week in baseball, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.
Kudos to ...
- Red Sox Fans: You guys don't want to hear it, I'm sure, but with the way they have treated David Ortiz Red Sox fans have given an absolute clinic on how to treat a fading super star. There is no booing, there is a lot of hopeful cheering, and adulation when he does do something positive. Those who boo A-Rod, and who have booed Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter in the past, could learn a few things.
- Mark Teixeira: The new Yankee first baseman is an amazing player, way better than I ever thought he was. He is on pace to hit close to 50 home runs and drive in nearly 150 runs, and he is a terrific fielder. It's not just that, though. Look at the play he made Friday night, scoring the game-winning run from first base on what should have been a game-ending pop-up to second base. i shouldn't compare, but the guy seems Jeter-esque in the way he conducts himself both on and off the field. If you consider Teixeira a do-over for the Yanks after the failed Jason Giambi era, it looks like this time the Yankees got it right.
- Justin Verlander: The Detroit right-hander has gone 7-0 with a 1.10 ERA over his last nine starts. He has surrendered just eight runs over 65.1 innings in that stretch. Move over, Zach Grienke, there is a new guy at the top of the list of baseball's hottest pitchers. You know, earlier this season I was wondering what had happened to Verlander. Now I know. he's back to being dominant again.
- Joe Mauer: The Minnesota catcher is still hitting above .400. He has 13 home runs, an amazing total in 39 games for a guy whit just 9 all of last season.
- Raul Ibanez: Bloggers can debate whether Ibanez should be tested for PEDs all they want. All I know is that at the age of 37, the Philliies slugger is having an amazing season, with 21 home runs already. He hit 23 last season, and has hit more than 30 just once. I know guys don't usually have career years at 37, but I am not going to paint Ibanez with the steroid brush unless someone proves it. I am, however, going to admire the season he is having.
Wet Willies to ...
- David Ortiz: Hey, Papi, the fans are handling your slump better than you are. You can stop with all the pained facial expressions. And you can try actually running out groundballs and pop-ups and jogging back to the dugout instead of slowly shuffling part way down the line, then walking off the field with your head down. Act like a pro, dude!
- Chien-Ming Wang: I don't care what the reason is any more, you have to do better than a 14.34 ERA. You are embarrassing yourself. and if you get buried as a mop-up guy you have no complaint at this point.
- Selena Roberts: Her controversial tell-all book about Alex Rodriguez is bombing at the bookstore. Gotta be glad no one is buying the crud Roberts is trying to sell as investigative journalism.
- Nick Swisher: His indefensible play might have cost the Yankees two games in Fenway Park. Two horrible base-running mistakes, killing scoring opportunities by getting double off both times. Then there was his inexplicable whiff on a fly ball Wednesday, which helped doom the struggling Wang.
- Andy Pettitte: Saturday's 5-inning, 12-hit, 5-run performance was the third time in his last four starts Pettitte has not reached the sixth inning. Andy, I love ya, but you have to do better than that. If you're hurt, admit it. If you're not, you need to give the Yankees more than that.
- Interleague play: I hate, hate, hate, hate it. By the way, did I say I hate it? How about, I can't friggin' stand it? I can't tell you how tired I am of these yearly 'mini-World Series' epics the Yankees and Mets supposedly have. It's two separate league playing by two separate sets of rules, and that screws up both teams right from the start. It cheapens the World Series, and it screws up the pennant races in both leagues. Since teams don't play identical schedules, the strength of each team's Interleague opponents can affect which teams make the playoffs. I hate, hate, hate that. I would rather see the Yanks play extra games against the AL's Central or Western Division squads than go through this Interleague nonsense. Oh, and did I mention that Chien-Ming Wang never would have gotten hurt -- and would likely still be pitching at an elite level -- without stupid Interleague play?