Texting with my buddy M.J. Lloyd before tonight’s ballgame, he brought up a good point. In today’s sport world, everyone is always searching for the ‘next Trout’ or ‘next Kershaw’. It leads to diminished returns and not really appreciating what is in front of us. As M.J. (wise man in the ways of the Trout) pointed out, he’s essentially ruined being a prospect for the next 20 years. There won’t be another Trout in our lifetime. Just like there’s only been one Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and the Darryl Strawberry’s who came along after them did not reach the lofty expectations set by the legend.
Tonight, the legend of Mike Trout grows.
So Mike Trout’s 100th career home run will go into the record books, a textbook Trout blast into the Crawford Boxes in Houston off Roberto Hernandez (he’ll always be Fausto Carmona to us). It of course comes in an Angels win, because that’s what big games from Mike Trout usually result in for his franchise. Mike Trout is now the youngest member of the 100 home run/100 stolen base club in baseball history.
Feather in his cap of all the other insane things he’s done. I am sitting here currently debating whether or not he’s the best talent that I’ve ever seen. Some would want to bring Bonds into the conversation; for me in terms of the eye test and pound for pound clean talent; it’s between him and Junior Griffey. That’s the only thing I can relate what I’m seeing from Trout to.
Finally, M.J. added: “The worst thing a prospect could be called now is the next Mike Trout”. Yes. Yes Mr. Lloyd you are correct.
It was if this moment was meant to be part of both time and reality all along and every day that Albert Pujols played and lived were all just unfolding until he got to this moment. When I heard that Pujols had homered three times in Arlington last night to give the Cardinals a 2 to 1 lead in the World Series I started to think about this player’s destiny and the Cardinals unlikely run and where this will place him in history. I also started thinking about all the unlikely events that took place in the Cardinals making this run and getting to this spot so that Pujols had the chance to do this in the first place.
The performance says so much about this player. It was the Picasso that he’s been slaving over his entire life to paint. He re-instills my belief that all players have a destiny in their life to fulfill and they rightfully reach it be it good, bad, insignificant or legendary. Anyone who has watched The Great Pujols over the course of his transcendent career has to admit that of of course he found a way to etch this feat on his tombstone epitaph of what was already one of the most historic careers of all time.
This act also got me thinking that the Cardinals are going to do this. They’re going to win the World Series and this is going to be one of those years where I didn’t catch greatness or destiny as it was taking place. I turned my head and missed one of the most magical runs in recent history–a run that started when the summer was waning and the days were still longer.
Sometimes in sports it’s easy to miss something like this because we don’t believe in every player following a path he was meant to follow when he was created. I believe that this performance was coded into Pujols’ DNA and was meant to be one more glimpse into what is one of the most incredible careers we have witnessed across any sport.
And we have a slight connection to this bomb. It came off Chris Capuano who went to Duke, and Capuano’s pitching coach at Duke was also the pitching coach of our college staff. We spent an entire 3 hour flight one time talking about Chris Capuano and picking the brain of our poor former coach.
100 home runs at age 24 is no small feat. He hit 72 off righties and 28 off lefties. 61 long balls were at Great American Ball Park. You know what’s funny? I remember the first one off Manny Acosta like it was yesterday. I remember all of them, in fact. I remember where I was for each one–whether I was listening on the radio or watching on television. It’s been an incredible run already and it’s been fun to watch.
It’s been a challenging season for young Bruce in some respects, but rewarding in others. This is one of those moments. He’s going to end on 100 home runs and near 100 RBI. Next year, we wait for him to put it all together and become the complete ballplayer we all have seen flashes of and know he’s capable of. For the most part, he’s came real close to delivering as the type of talent we thought he would. No Cincinnati Red aside from Frank Robinson or Adam Dunn ever hit more long ones at a younger age.
Here’s to the first 100, and here’s to 400 or 500 more in a Reds uniform. Salute!
I got a text today asking me if I thought that Jim Thome was a Hall of Famer.
Are you kidding me? Of course he is. First ballot. He was a Hall of Famer 100 home runs ago. He’s dropped 600 bombs over the course of 20 years. His first homer came over 20 years ago, off Steve Farr at old Yankee Stadium.
His career has stretched across time. Across the first baseball work stoppage in 1994. Across the ’95 Indians. Across rebuilds, managers, and GM’s. Most importantly, he’s kept on homering throughout the steroid era and from one clean era of baseball (Early 90’s) into the next (the present).
The guy is an anomaly. I remember seeing him hit a couple of bombs in the summer of 2001 back at Jacobs Field. That was his team. He left Cleveland–and we’ve since learned that it was to appease the player’s union–he never wanted to leave. He meant it, unlike LeBron James. He wanted to be in Cleveland for life. They were going to build a statue of the guy. Hell, they still might.
Last night he found a way to give he Indians a gift from afar, going deep twice in a crucial game against the team who holds the lead in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers. The Twins won the game 9-6.
I don’t know if this is the last year that Jim Thome is a big leaguer. I would say it’s likely. But if it isn’t, how about one more ride in Cleveland to call it a career? I know that the town would welcome him back, and he could add to his budding legend with a few more blasts into the picnic area in center at Progressive Field.
Jim Thome has had a wonderful career. Last night was one of the last chapters, I’m just glad that I got to see this bunyan-esque figure play live a few times and say that I was a Jim Thome fan.
That’s what Ben Zobrist had to say yesterday after his 8 RBI ballgame via text message to our buddy Dave at Next Level Ballplayer. Oh, and then he took a 10 minute power nap, had a cup of coffee, played a game of spades in the clubhouse with teammates and went out and drove in 2 more runs and homered again in the nightcap of the doubleheader.
Here is the thing, you drive in 10 RBI in a day, and you’re going to make Diamond Hoggers every single time. We don’t care how we have to fit it in. Then you start texting a buddy of ours with a humble mentality about it and you’re a real lock for the site. Honestly, I went home and decided I’m trading for him in MLB the Show 11 in every single franchise. What a precious player Ben Zobrist is. And yes, I was lucky enough to have him in the lineup for one of my fantasy teams yesterday.
What a day for Ben Zobrist. Diamond Hoggers salutes you–and you’re going to make us look like geniuses when you win comeback player of the year in the AL!
Only significant because the media wants you to believe 3,000 is coming: “Robinson Cano smacked a ground-rule double in the eighth inning yesterday afternoon for his 1,000th career hit, which is a pretty remarkable total for a second baseman in the middle of his age-27 season.”[Hardball Talk]
Derek Jeter has always struck me as a guy who was annoying because he was so perfect. He’s been remarkably consistent. He’s played his entire career not only in one uniform, but as the prince of baseball’s kingdom in New York. He’s dated one beautiful dame after another. He’s won until the point where you wonder if the guy will ever stop winning. But at age 35 and in the twilight of his career, I have a newfound respect for Derek Jeter as a ballplayer and I’m proud to say that I’ve gotten to grow up watching him become one of the greatest Yankees legends.
In an era where Alex Rodriguez pretty much represents everything slimy and false in the game of baseball; and all the shame he’s came out in the open with, Derek Jeter is the truth and as pure as he’s always appeared to be. After all, he never caved in and married any of those money grubbers he was dating. And he’s really been a class act all the way through, despite what Derek Jeter stories you’ve heard. He’s shown why the Yankees are a class organization.
Yankees fans are elated about Jeter getting this record on a rain soaked Friday night in the Bronx. I got a text just before midnight last night saying “Jeter is Golden” from Editor George. Jeter is indeed golden. And forever in history he’ll be remembered. He’s not done yet. Even as a guy who was never a Jeter fan I can appreciate his place in Yankees and baseball history very easily.
We have always seen Dunn as a guy who is going to end up with 500 and 600 home runs, and with him being only 29 years of age; it is looking more and more like a probably possibility. In this day in age, hitting 300 clean home runs says a hell of a lot about a power hitter.
But it’s bittersweet. We saw a high percentage of Adam Dunn’s homers when he was making his stake in this league as a young player. We thought he’d chase down these types of milestones with the Cincinnati Reds. Things didn’t work out that way. It’s hard to see him do this in another city, but that is the way sports go. We still keep an eye on him in the box scores and admire his Ruthian blasts from afar on the nightly highlight shows.
So Adam, congratulations. We miss you buddy. Here’s to 300 more–we know you have it in you.
Tim Kurkjian wrote great article which is currently on the front of ESPN.com’s MLB page about facing the Big Unit and what hitters are saying that have stepped in the box in front of this imposing figure.
Former infielder Jeff Huson might have put it best when talking about the intimidation factor:
“What was the worst thing that Michael Jordan could do to you?” Huson said. “He can go dunk on you. He could embarrass you. What’s the worst thing Randy Johnson can do to you? He can kill you.”
There’s so many dominating starts we remember in terms of Randy Johnson. We remember when he struck out an entire lineup of Cincinnati Reds (who lined up a thin squad that night in Arizona to begin with. We remember a 20 K performance against the Chicago White Sox in the old Kingdome in Seattle. We remember the Opening Day start which was the first ever game at Jacob’s Field. We’ve never gotten to see Johnson throw live, which we regret. To see this in his heyday would have really been something to talk about right now. The guy is a legend who has defied the usual aging process of the typical ballplayer, let alone pitcher. His place in the game is immortalized forever. He is the greatest power pitcher of our era.
Diamond Hoggers has reached 100,000 hits. And while we don’t want to rest on the laurels of our accomplishments, we’d like to thank every reader who has ever made their way to the site. We hope at the very least we’ve created a place where you can know you’re going to get baseball information with an appreciation of the game’s history, present, and a little humor mixed in. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. We can guaruntee we’ll hold ourselves to the same standards for as long as the internet exists and we’re fit to type on a keyboard.
We’ll guess that this is the first official blog post detailing Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th home run of his career. We’re proud to be it.
Griffey hit a hanging breaking ball of Mark Hendrickson of the Florida Marlins down the right field line at Pro Player Stadium in the first inning tonight. This home run was very similar to the one that Junior hit out for his 500th home run in St. Louis and was pretty much a taylor-made Griffey home run like he’s done so many times in his illustrious career.
There’s been high marks and low marks in Griffey’s time in Cincinnati. There’s been times I enjoyed having him and times I wanted him to move on. I can honestly say after my initial love-fest with Darryl Strawberry when I first discovered baseball (and I never saw Strawberry on TV), a 5 to 8 year lovefest with Griffey really took off. I remember where I was for Junior’s 300th, 400th, 500th, and now tonight 600th home run.
Griffey has been good to me at times, and good to members of my family. I’ve heard all the reports about the guy. Bottom line, and he will not be without some controversy; but he has been the greatest power hitter of our lifetime if you’re 30 and under–and he isn’t a bad guy all the time. Not McGwire and not Sosa, or anyone else up or down the career home run ladder. We all know about ‘if it weren’t for injuries’ in regards to Griffey. That said it’s still been great watching Griffey through his prime and up to this moment in which we think it will be his final major culmination as a player (we do not think he can get to 700).