Tag:Prince Fielder
Posted on: June 15, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:02 am
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Love Letters: The Asinine Edition

As I periodically do, a reminder: The term "Love Letters" is simply a tribute to a column in one of the newspapers I read as a young boy in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press. So if you're looking for something steamier, well, go to your local Congressman's office or something. ...

FROM: Karl T.
Re: Weekend Buzz: Gonzalez, Fielder, Kemp packing heat

Asinine ... what a magnificent word!

And it can be used for sooo many occasions.

FROM: Jeff A.

I'm shocked that you didn't mention Jose Reyes. He may be the best player in baseball at this time. Give the man his props. He is doing more than any of the guys you mentioned. Those guys don't glove as well as he does. The man has what, 33 multiple hit games. Other ball players are awed by him.

But Mets owner Fred Wilpon says it's asinine (or something to that effect) for him to expect Carl Crawford money, so how good can he be?

FROM: Rich B.

Scott,

As a Red Sox fan, I was torn when they made the Adrian Gonzalez trade. I mean, I knew we were getting a great power hitter, but I had my reservations about the trade for two reasons: 1. I didn't want to give up Casey Kelly, and, 2. I didn't like that the Sox were blocking Lars Anderson's path to the majors. So ... now I'm not sure if I was right for the wrong reasons, or what!

Listen, Anthony Rizzo is going to be a good player. But few are ever going to be Adrian Gonzalez. So stop beating yourself up and put your mind to use on the next big dilemma of our time: Five Guys Burgers and Fries or In-N-Out?

FROM: David R.
Re. Weekend Buzz: Indians' losses are rival Tigers gain

Scott,

Should we really be all that surprised about the Indians collapse? Let's be honest, they were a nice feel-good story to start the year, but now their lack of talent is finally catching up. There is no one in the rotation that is any more than a 3 starter, Shin-Soo Choo isn't hitting, Travis Hafner is hurt, and outside of Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana, I don't see much else talent-wise. The Indians have been overachieving all season.

But here's the thing: Choo should be hitting far better, and Carmona at times looks like a top-of-the-rotation starter. That said, the overachieving looks like ancient history.

FROM: Jason
Re.: Arsenal of young studs has Royals set for serious rise

This sounds all good and I do agree but ... what about their true natural hitter, Clint Robinson? Why is he overlooked? His numbers are sick, and I believe he is their best hitter -- he has batted over .300s consistently. I would like to know where he fits in, as he is the oldest, I believe.

You're right, the guy is unbelievable. He's hitting .372 in June alone at Triple-A Omaha. But he's a first baseman and Hosmer is at first. The Royals have too many good young players, and when was the last time you heard that?

FROM: Jason
Re.: Griffey Sr. taking long road back to bigs

I liked your article on Ken Griffey Sr. I'd like to see him get his chance to manage in MLB, but not sure if he will ever get the chance.

I don't think so, not being that he's already 61. He's still got fire, though: I heard a rumor that he was recently suspended for three games for bumping an umpire during an argument.

FROM: Mike B.

Scott,

I'm sure I'm not the only one to point this out to you, but just in case -- you do know that greater Bakersfield has a population of over 600,000 people, don't you? The only thing bush league about Bakersfield is Sam Lynn Ballpark. And the only thing preventing a new ball park is that little thing called the economy. To be honest, I haven't seen a tumbleweed around here for years.

I'll tell you this: There's nothing bush league about the Moo Creamery. That place can bring it. The Toasted Almond ice cream is incredible.

FROM: Barry W.
Re.: Killebrew was no killer, except when it came to slugging

Nicely done. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a cocktail party where Mr. Killebrew was as well. I spoke with him for a few minutes and he couldn't have been nicer and seemed just so happy to be there. Later, as we all grabbed some dinner, he walked over with his tray and stood at our table and asked if we minded him sitting in the empty chair at our table. Can you imagine that? He joined us that night, casually, and I peppered him with questions about who was the toughest pitcher on him, etc. We had more than a few laughs. And then, at the end of the night, a friend of mine and I were walking down the path towards the exit, when suddenly I felt someone literally jump on my back. It was Mr. Killebrew. Walking between me and my friend, he throw his arms over our shoulders and with a giant smile said, 'Where are we going now?!'

Also attending that dinner was Steve Carlton, and I just remember thinking what a huge difference there was between the two men not only in attitude but just the ability to be themselves around other people. I can tell you that it is a story I tell over and over, and it is one of my nicer memories. Our time here is short and the majority of us do not leave much behind, but a form of immortality can be living forever in someone else's stories and memories. Hopefully I am able to do justice to his memory each and every time I do tell that story. I can tell you that each and every time I tell the story, I do so with a genuine smile on my face. Thanks for the column.

That is a fabulous story. And thanks for telling it now.

FROM: Jay D.

I remember meeting Mr. Killebrew as a youngster before a Cleveland Indians' game, and even though I wore the hat of the opposing team, he was SO nice, SO gracious! I have tried to keep the exactly same smile and the exact same attitude toward kids that he did. He may have been small, but, the sporting world lost a true GIANT.

With sadness,
Jay D.
NE Ohio

FROM: Brian

"Listed at 6-feet, 190 pounds, until cancer slipped a final fastball by him Tuesday. ..." Really? A man loses his life to cancer, and you're making baseball metaphors? I typically enjoy your columns but this line is unprofessional, disrespectful and a literary stretch I'd more likely expect to find in a high school publication.

The man spent his entire life playing baseball, involved in baseball, and is a Hall of Famer. What should I be doing, making roller derby metaphors?

FROM: Bill H.

Scott,

Great piece on one of my first baseball heroes. I watched him play for the old Senators and blossom into a tremendous slugger. Even when the Nats became the Twins and I couldn't stand them, I still rooted for Killebrew and followed his career closely. This is a genuinely sad day for baseball, one many modern fans may not understand.

Our responsibility is to help make them understand, my friend. Thanks.

Likes: Praise be for day baseball, the MLB Extra Innings television package and XM/Sirius radio broadcasting all those days. Because when I landed flat on my back, ill, Wednesday, with a fairly significant fever for the first frickin' time in 11 years, it sure was nice to have baseball on the telly. ... Pittsburgh -- the Pirates! -- at .500 on Wednesday, the latest point in the season they have not had a losing record since 1999. ... Midnight in Paris, the new Woody Allen movie. Not great, but entertaining. ... The slice of "royal wedding cake" I had in Kansas City last week in the hotel restaurant. There was some celebration going on downtown honoring the late Princess Diana and, in relation to that, the pastry chef at the hotel "recreated" the actual cake served at Diana and Charles' wedding back in 1984. It was sort of like carrot cake -- had that consistency -- only it was cinnamon-y. And the frosting was thick as bathtub caulk. It was delicious -- and the most expensive darned piece of cake I think I've eaten in my life ($8.75 a slice!).

Dislikes: Clarence Clemons, stroke victim. Many prayers for Bruce Springsteen's Big Man, who is fighting the battle of his life. Here's to the man who brought so much joy, soul and music to so many others.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When the change was made uptown
"And the Big Man joined the band
"From the coastline to the city
"All the little pretties raise their hands
"I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
"When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half
"With a Tenth Avenue freeze-out"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Tenth Ave. Freeze-Out



Posted on: May 25, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 6:15 pm
 

The power of Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke, slugger?

You bet.

When Greinke smashed the go-ahead home run in white-hot Milwaukee's 6-4 win over Washington on Wednesday, here's guessing that one of the least surprised folks in Miller Park was the guy the Brewers are used to seeing jack baseballs over distant fences.

Prince Fielder.

See, Fielder and Greinke were summer teammates for a spell in their high school days during a handful of All-Star Showcase Games in Florida. Greinke graduated from Apopka High School near Orlando, Fielder from Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Fla.

"He played third base and hit in front of me," Fielder was saying of those summer games during a conversation last week. "He was good."

So good, in fact, that Fielder thought Greinke's main talent was with the bat.

"I didn't know he was a pitcher until senior year of high school," Fielder said. "I thought he was a third baseman. That's what he played in those Showcase games.

"He was always a top player as a third baseman. It was in my senior year that I saw him pitching one day on the news in Florida and I thought, 'Wow.'"

Who was the more prodigious slugger in those Showcase games, Fielder or Greinke?

"I know he raked," Fielder said. "But I don't remember him hitting any home runs."

Fielder then grinned, devilishly.

"No home runs," he said. "Tell him I told you that. No pop. Just a gap-to-gap hitter."

Alas, when I went looking for Greinke to do just that last Thursday in San Diego, he wasn't around. Because it was a night game on the West Coast and because Greinke was slated to start the next night as the Brewers opened their current homestand, he and Shaun Marcum had flown back to Milwaukee earlier that day so they could get a bit of extra rest.

And now that Greinke has some real, live street cred (not to mention bragging rights) as a bona fide slugger, Fielder is going to have to dig into his bag of tricks for another way to tease the 2009 AL Cy Young winner.

Greinke's blast against Jason Marquis on Wednesday was only his second homer in the majors. His other came for the Royals in Arizona against Russ Ortiz on June 10, 2005.

But given that Greinke, whose first seven seasons of pitching came in Kansas City, has a total of 32 career at-bats, one homer per 16 ABs is pretty impressive.

That career homers-to-at-bats ratio, incidentally, is the exact same as another Milwaukee icon.

Hank Aaron.

The Brewers now have won 13 of their past 16 games, and nine in a row at home -- their longest streak in the 11-year history of Miller Park.

 


Posted on: August 20, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2010 3:57 pm
 

Short Hops: QB Locker bypasses Angels this summer

Short hops, quick pops and backhand stops:

 In a summer during which former two-sport star Bo Jackson's signature home run was celebrated when the All-Star Game was played in Anaheim, the Angels' chances for reaping the benefits from another two-sport star have diminished.

Jake Locker, University of Washington quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate this fall, neglected to play baseball this summer as scheduled for one of the Angels' rookie league teams, throwing his baseball future in doubt.

Not that the Angels were banking on him -- they essentially took a flier on his athletic ability, selecting him in the 10th round of last summer's draft and signing him for $250,000.

"We haven't seen him on the baseball field, but I've got nothing but great things to say about him and his family," Eddie Bane, the Angels' director of scouting, says. "He's as talented an athlete as I've seen."

Bane compares Locker's athletic gifts to those of Mike Trout, the 18-year-old outfielder who starred at the Futures Game during All-Star weekend and was listed as the third-best prospect in the Angels' farm system by Baseball America entering 2010.

"Jake never played much baseball, but he's just so loaded with tools that you just dream," Bane says.

Locker hasn’t played baseball since the spring of 2006 at Ferndale (Wash.) High School, other than a brief appearance in 2008 for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League. In 10 games there, he hit .273 with one homer while playing center field.

The Angels knew his baseball abilities were crude when they signed him last Aug. 15, and they knew there was a good chance he would wind up playing only football. But they liked his athleticism, liked the idea of positioning themselves as a landing spot if football didn't work out and, by signing him, could control his baseball rights for six years.

"It was a reach by me to see whether something happened [with football], whether he'd play baseball," Bane says. "But the guy is shaping up to be a No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the [NFL] draft if he stays healthy."

When the Angels picked Locker, he was coming off of a freshman season in which a broken thumb sidelined him for a significant time. But last year, Locker threw for 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Locker spent a couple of days with the Angels during spring training this year, more of a get-acquainted session for both sides than anything else. There were a couple of reporting dates set this summer for Locker, who would have played for the Angels' short-season, rookie-level team in either Orem, Utah, or in Arizona.

Losing more baseball time this summer puts Locker even further behind, though it's pretty clear that another big year on the football field will end any notion of him playing baseball for good.

As for the money -- the Angels are paying his scholarship to Washington in addition to the $250,000 -- Angels general manager Tony Reagins declines to discuss specifics. The Angels could seek to recoup some of the money or simply retain his rights.

"He has an option to play football and an option to play baseball," Reagins says. "At some point in the next calendar year, we'll make a call or he'll make a call. The NFL draft is probably real important."

 Can a team be sparked by a brawl? The Reds are answering in the affirmative: They're 6-0 since getting swept by St. Louis in last week's emotional series and have opened up a 3 1/2-game lead in the NL Central. But a stern test is ahead: The Reds, 0-12 in Dodger Stadium since 2006, will spend the weekend there. Homer Bailey starts the opener Friday night against the Dodgers' Carlos Monasterios.

 Expect to see Aroldis Chapman working out of Cincinnati's bullpen, an inning or two at a clip, after rosters expand Sept. 1.

 Wrong place, wrong time: Boston is third in the AL East, but the Red Sox entering the weekend would be first in the AL West and second in the AL Central, just 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota.

 When Ryan Kalish slugged a grand slam this week against the Angels, he joined Daniel Nava as Red Sox rookies this year who have done it. Last time Boston had two rookies crack grand slams in the same season? John Valentin and Bob Zupcic in 1992. Kalish also became the second-youngest major leaguer to belt a slam this season, after Florida's Mike Stanton.

 One scout's reaction to watching a Kirk Gibson-managed Arizona team: "I was there a couple of weeks ago and I saw Justin Upton for the first time hit behind a runner. That has to be Gibson."

 Lots of industry types think the Brewers already have decided to trade Prince Fielder this winter before the final season of his contract. And more than one scout has mentioned that Fielder's weight combined with his age (26) make a long-term deal a risky proposition. The thinking being, once a guy hits 30, his weight issues will only exacerbate. I'm sure Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, will have plenty of ammunition against that when Prince hits the free agent market two winters from now.

 How about the attendant in the Cubs players' parking lot giving Derrek Lee the business when Lee went to park Friday before his debut for the Braves? Guy told him he couldn't park there, it was only for Cubs players. After Lee was momentarily flustered, the attendant told him he was kidding. What a weird debut, Lee for Atlanta in Wrigley Field. And class move by Cubs' starter Ryan Dempster to go stand behind the mound for several extra seconds before Lee's first at-bat in a Braves' uniform to give the Wrigley Field crowd a chance to cheer him -- and say farewell -- longer.

 Whaaaat, Zagat's 2010 survey ranks Five Guys Burger and Fries ahead of In-N-Out? Hey, I love both, but you've gotta go with In-N-Out, don’t you?

 

Posted on: March 29, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2010 6:22 pm
 

Sabbatical over, Edmonds zeroes in on Brewers job

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Is it actually possible to get younger by taking a year off?

Jim Edmonds, 39, sure looks it. He's about to complete one of the spring's most impressive comebacks, winning a spot on the Milwaukee Brewers' opening day roster after taking the entire 2009 season off.

Mexico? Margaritaville?

"Kids and golf," he says. "Spent some time on the beach with my kids.

"I haven't gotten a chance to do that in 15 years."

He's leaner than when we last saw him in 2008, fading away with San Diego and the Cubs. He's toned. He's hitting .293 with a .383 on-base percentage in the Cactus League with two homers and 12 RBI in 16 games.

"I think the year off not only helped me get healthy, but it gave me a fresher mind and body," says Edmonds, a four-time All Star who has eight career Gold Gloves. "I was able to get all the negativity out of my mind.

"Now, I'm not worrying about whether it's a lefty or righty pitching, matchups, anything."

When we last saw him, he had a strained calf, suffered a concussion, got into it with Tony La Russa, his former manager in St. Louis. He was flat-out worn out.

"Trying to keep up with all the doubters and the negativity, it was tough to hit," he says.

Now, he's been one of the most pleasant surprises in the Brewers' camp. He's not going to win a starting job, not with slugger Ryan Braun in left, Corey Hart in right and speedy Carlos Gomez in center. But in a right-handed-heavy lineup, Edmonds' lefty bat will find plenty of playing time the way things stand now.

"I can see him getting 250 at-bats," Brewers manager Ken Macha says. "I don't think that will be a problem. If he plays two or three times a week against right-handed pitching, that's 75 games right there, times four at-bats ... 250 at-bats, I can see that happening easily.

"His defense has been terrific. I'm good with him in left field, center field or right field. His arm is still very good, and accurate."

Macha already is envisioning Edmonds hitting second in the lineup when he's in there.

"I just want guys who will get on base for Braun and Prince Fielder," the manager says.

Besides, there's precedent for this sort of thing in Milwaukee. Outfielder Gabe Kapler did the same thing as Edmonds in 2008, winning a job after not playing in '07, and hit .301 with eight homers and 38 RBI. Kapler wound up parlaying that into two more one-year, $1 million-plus contracts in Tampa Bay.

Sunblock Day: Oh man, temperatures in the 80s. Are we sure spring training is wrapping up this week? It's just starting to heat up. Only problem is, so are the allergies.

Likes: Ricky Weeks, healthy. ... Milwaukee starter David Bush getting past the arm fatigue issues that plagued him in 2009 as he was coming back from a micro tear of his right triceps muscle that sidelined him from June through August. Bush right now probably slots in as the Brewers' fourth starter behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis. Fifth starter? Brewers manager Ken Macha still has a lot of ifs, but it's between Manny Parra and Chris Narveson after Jeff Suppan was put on the disabled list with a sore neck. ... Prince Fielder going over his iPod with Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins and recommending tunes early Monday morning. ... Brandon Morrow feeling great after throwing the simulated game for Toronto the other day. Would love to see him take advantage of his new gig in Toronto after pitching out of Seattle's bullpen the past few years. ... Livan Hernandez in the Nationals rotation? Love to see old people still productive. ... Colorado is looking for a middle reliever, ala what Oakland will get with Chad Gaudin. ... Can't wait for the Butler-Michigan State Final Four game Saturday. ... Ya know, if you get your spinach sautéed with olive oil and garlic, it's not bad.

Dislikes: All these ads I keep seeing about the World Cup this summer on ESPN, the only thing that makes them tolerable is the music, U2's City of Blinding Lights. That's as much attention as I will be paying to soccer for the summer, thank you very much. ... Spring is almost over and I have not even been to Waffle House once.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Just 'cuz I don't run my mouth
"Don't mean I got nothing to say"

-- Drive-By Truckers, Marry Me

Posted on: March 16, 2008 7:25 pm
 

Bonjour, Mr. Gagne

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Brewers manager Ned Yost has learned to say "good morning" in French to Quebec native Eric Gagne, but other than that, Yost mostly is hands-off. And truth be told, is paying closer attention to folks other than his new closer.

Mostly, Gagne has been honing his skills on the back fields while preparing for the season. He's worked in only two "A" games so far, and three "B" games.

"He's a different animal," Yost says. "He's been in the game for quite awhile. He knows what it takes to be successful. The main thing that kicks in with guys like him is adrenalin, and you're not going to see that with Gagne until the season starts."

Yost is completely dismissing Gagne's struggles in Boston last summer when he went 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA and practically was booed out of town.

Instead, he points to the 16 saves and 2.16 ERA earlier in the year in Texas.

"Two different jobs," Yost says.

Gagne also is a different animal in that he essentially missed two seasons, 2005 and 2006, with injuries, then did well in Texas for part of last season and then was terrible in Boston. Plus, he was named in the Mitchell Report as a suspected steroids user.

So how can a manager be completely confident that Gagne will become Mr. Dependable Closer? Blind faith?

"Absolutely he's ready to go, and it's not even blind faith," Yost says. "It's solid faith."

Gagne says he is throwing "awesome. I'm feeling good. No pain. No stiffness. I'm throwing free and easy."

He's got no restrictions physically, and he's thrown all of his pitches -- including his nasty change-up -- in each of his past two outings. Before that, he says, he only threw his fastball while working on arm strength and location.

"That's why I like 'B' games," he says.

Meantime, the man who signed a one-year, $10 million deal is very happy in his new home.

"They're young here," Gagne says. "They've got a lot of energy.

"It's pretty cool."

Likes: Prince Fielder mimicking batting stances from other players -- both Brewers and non-Brewers -- in the Milwaukee clubhouse, and outfielder Mike Cameron nearly doubled over in laughter. ... Justin Upton ready to start in right field for Arizona at 20. ... Barry Zito winning a Cactus League game despite surrendering seven runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. The ball flies in the thin desert air. ... Monti's Steakhouse in Tempe. ... Chatting with former Oakland skipper Ken Macha in Tempe the other day. Macha, entering his second season after being fired by Oakland, is itching to get back into uniform. ... Butler in the NCAA tournament, but not playing South Alabama in Alabama. Come on, the Bulldogs deserve better.

Dislikes: The Mets' Carlos Delgado needing stitches after getting speared by a broken bat. Forget, for a minute, base coaches now being forced to wear helmets. Talk to anybody in uniform over the past few years, and one of the greatest fears is a jagged, broken bat doing some serious damage, and possibly killing someone. Thank goodness Delgado got out of it with only four stitches. ... Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur getting beaned in the lip by St. Louis pitcher Todd Wellemeyer. If the situation was reversed, why do I have the feeling that Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa would be starting World War III, and going on about how it's never an accident when a pitch sails near somebody's head? ... Arizona coach Kirk Gibson turns 51 in May? When did he turn 50?

Sunblock day? We avoided the predicted thunderstorms -- at least, in the Phoenix area -- and got a mix of sun and clouds. But the temperature dropped toward the 50s. More long pants and jacket day than sunblock day.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"This old heart of mine been broke a thousand times
"Each time you break away I feel you're gone to stay
"Lonely nights that come, memories that flow
"Bringin' ya back again, hurting me more and more"

-- The Isley Brothers, This Old Heart of Mine

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com