Sunday, April 12, 2009

Great Plays

Just saw Cubs Outfielder Reed Johnson rob Prince Fielder of a Home Run and was yelling in excitement about a game with relatively little impact on me (though I wouldn't have been able to tie in Wins in one of the 3 fantasy leagues I'm in). Very classy of Prince Fielder to tip his cap to the great play instead of doing something else or nothing at all.

It got me to thinking about the most exciting and somewhat rare plays in baseball.

I'm not going to rank them right now, but here are some of the cooler things I've seen and would like to one day witness in person.

First, the Reds hit into a triple play today. I'm always interested in them and always calling for them at inappropriate times (2 outs already, no one on base, etc.). I would settle for seeing any variety of triple play in person, but would love to see someone turn an unassisted triple play, like so.

I've seen several grand slams in my lifetime, so they don't seem all that rare to me. However, I will make note that the last ballgame I went to with my grandfather (Reds at Devil Rays in interleague play) marked the first slam I saw in person as well as the first time for my grandfather, despite his 60+ years of additional viewing experience.

I always like seeing plays that involve extreme amounts of speed, especially legged out triples with no errors and any variety of inside the park homer.

Someday it would be great to witness a real sloppy no-hitter (errors and walks all over the place, but still technically a pitching gem). Certainly, seeing anyone pitch a perfect game would be outstanding, but I doubt I make it to one in my lifetime (or after my lifetime for that matter, in fact after my lifetime I may have a slightly lower chance of seeing a perfect game).

Anyone else witnessed something weird or really want to see something on the diamond before they go?

In the things I never thought I'd see category, I saw Oliver Perez and Jamie Moyer throw a pitchers duel last summer at Shea. Not sure it fits the things I'd want to see, but certainly makes the list of things I never thought I would see.

More Predictions (probably last of the new season)

Time for some final predictions.

First, I'm thinking Angels over Diamondbacks in the World Series.  A West coast finale is Bud Seligs nightmare, so I think its a go.

AL  Evan Longoria
There's so much hype about him as an uberplayer, so I think he makes the transition from touted prospect to top end producer.  His name and story, combined with another playoff appearance (or at least a run) are enough to put him over the edge.
Honorable mentions: I don't think any one Yankee gets enough support to win it this year, but based on the writer love shoved towards Texeiria in the pre-season, he'll get some votes if he has a decent season.  Josh Hamilton has a shot if the Rangers win some games.  Dark Horse candidates are the Orioles outfielders, at least Adam Jones or Markakis.

Favorites are the fantasy favorites Han-Ram or Pujols, but I don't think either of their team wins enough games for them to get a fair shot at the trophy.  I think it comes down to either Manny or David Wright, with the writers liking Wright's style more than Manny.
Honorable mentions: I wouldn't be surprised if K-Rod gets some attention if he keeps the Mets in the division lead down the stretch.  I'm sure some Phillies will get some votes here too.  Dark horse candidate is Adam Dunn if the Nationals win anything and he doesn't get traded to the AL.

Cy Young

Not CC, and not Cliff Lee.  I'm going out on a limb to say that Felix Hernandez is healthly all season and leads the league in K's and is top 10 in ERA.  Only thing haunting his canidacy is a lack of wins, but I think around 18 is enough.  Other strong canidate is Halladay, who is the fall back when all other pitchers aren't outstanding.

Lots of options here really.  No reason to think that Lincecum, Brandon Webb, or Santana can't repeat here, but I'm more interested to see whether Carpenter can come back into it.  If it's not Carpenter, I'm thinking that Dan Haren will finally put everything and lock this down.

Rookie of the Year and more madness to follow.