Home MLB'Weekly' Hit Ground Ball 2007 – Week 12

2007 – Week 12

by Matt Smith

Week twelve brought more inter-league play. Many people knock it, but at the very least it gave a great player the chance to make an emotional return to his old stomping ground this week. Sentimentality abounds in this edition of “Weekly” hit ground ball.

Home is where the heart is – The best story of the week was the return of Ken Griffey Junior to Seattle. The sure-fire future Hall-of-Famer had eleven phenomenal seasons in Seattle before departing for Cincinnati on account of family reasons. Things haven’t gone as well as he would have liked since that point, with injuries taking their toll; however there are still few better sights in baseball than seeing Junior’s home run swing and so far in 2007 we have been able to witness it on nineteen occasions. An emotional ceremony was held before the game on Friday, his first visit back to Safeco, and it was great to see the welcome he received.

“Can we play you every week?” – So, Griffey and the Mariners have a reason to like inter-league play and the Colorado Rockies are likely to join them on that list. The Yankees rolled into town this week for a three-game series that saw just over 145,000 fans stream through the turnstiles. Then the Rockies went and swept the most storied franchise in sports, in theory sending the fans home happy although no doubt a good proportion were wearing caps adorned with the interlocking NY. Still, it was an extremely successful series all around for the Rockies organization.

Underdogs bite back – Wednesday was a day for the underdogs, a day when the persecuted were able to stand proud and tall in front of the many naysayers, such as myself. Jeff Weaver logged his first win of the season and it was no ordinary performance. From terrible struggles to a complete game shutout: it’s the Weaver way. Okay, he was facing the Buccos. You’ve got to start somewhere though. On the same night, Kip Wells finally had something to smile about as well. In last week’s WHGB I raised the question of whether Wells would be on the Cardinals’ roster for much longer. Ultimately he received a stay of execution, but he was demoted to the bullpen. Wells got over the disappointment by pitching two innings and being credited with the win. Okay, it was against the Royals. You’ve got to start somewhere though.

Maybe Weaver and Wells are starting to see their luck turn?!

Streak over – The one thing you can be certain of with streaks is that they will come to an end. Miguel Tejada’s run of 1,152 consecutive games was snapped by a fractured wrist, leaving Miggy with the fifth longest total in Major League history. It says a lot about Tejada that he suffered the injury on Wednesday and yet he still took the field on Thursday. He didn’t last long (one at-bat) and ultimately had to accept the inevitable trip to the DL.

Season over? – At least Tejada’s streak took the focus away from the general mess that is the rest of the Orioles organization. Manager Sam Perlozzo was sacked on Monday, a move that was met with little surprise. Losing thirteen of fifteen games isn’t the greatest demonstration of managerial skill. How much of the O’s failings can be placed at Perlozzo’s door is debatable though. Once again, the Orioles spent money during the off-season in a way that was confusing at best, misguided at worst. What must frustrate O’s fans the most is that they have a number of talented players around which a competitive team could be built. Sadly for them, the Front Office is struggling to fill in the blanks with useful players. Perlozzo is the fall-guy really. That there are underlying problems in Baltimore was emphasised when their number one candidate to replace Perlozzo, Joe Giradi, turned them down. In fairness to Giradi, having spent his first managerial stint working for Jeffrey Loria, moving on to Peter Angelos would have left many doubting his sanity.

Nice work if you can get it – Failure can be rewarded though. The Texas Rangers are having a dreadful season and the likes of Gagne, Teixeira, Otsuka and Sosa are all being mentioned as possible trading deadline movers as the Rangers look set to pull the plug early on 2007. That hasn’t stopped GM Jon Daniels from getting a contract extension. Rafa Benitez will be looking on and hoping for similar charity when it comes to Tom Hicks providing some transfer funds for Liverpool FC this summer.

Strength through adversity – Hicks will be hoping that his faith at a time of crisis will help to turn things around in Texas. The Brewers have showed that sometimes you can go through a bad moment and come out the other side in great shape. The Brewers came flying out of the traps this season, only to hit a brick wall which climaxed in Justin Verlander throwing a no-hitter against them. Since then, the offense has picked up and the Brew Crew have gone 9-1.

History beckons – We’ve been tracking Bobby Cox’s march towards the all-time record for managerial ejections this season. Last night, Cox made history by being thrown out of a game for the 131st time in his career. That ties him with John McGraw for the most ever. It’s only a matter of time before he stands alone as the undisputed ejection king. By the sounds of it, Cox is unlikely to celebrate this impending record-breaking feat. Naturally, he is much prouder of being fourth on the all-time win list. Both records are reason to admire him greatly in my book.

Zim the sorcerer – There aren’t many reasons to watch the Nats right now, but Ryan Zimmerman is certainly one player to keep an eye on. He proved this again on Friday night with an entertaining “now you see it, now you don’t” play at third base. A sharp grounder to the hot corner bounced up, somehow missed his glove and ended up squeezing through the buttons of his shirt. Everyone’s initial bemusement turned to laughter as they realised what had happened. Zimmerman wasn’t laughing much at the time, but fortunately for him the base hit didn’t lead to any runs being scored.

Don’t be late – Finally, whether attending the game at Cellular Field or just settling down in front of a TV or a monitor, everyone will make sure they are ready for the first pitch in today’s game between the Cubbies and the White Sox (19.05 BST). Alfonso Soriano hit a lead-off homer on Friday night and then did it again yesterday. Will it happen three days in a row? The odds are heavily stacked against it, but you never know. It will be worth tuning in to find out.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.