Amid the trade rumors, and the slumps, and the hot streaks; Jay Bruce is carved in Cincinnati baseball history books now with an elite number next to his name. He’s ninth all-time on the Reds career home runs list, and last night off of Adam Kennedy he lined a line drive out of Petco Park to reach the feat. It was not a majestic tape measure blast; although he did hit the piss out of it.
The home run of course snapped one of those typical 1 for 21 Jay Bruce disappearance act slumps. If he could just eliminate those he would be a star. He would probably have the contract Joey Votto has and go on to continue to climb the all-time list. He’ll soon pass Eric Davis (203) and Ken Griffey Jr. (210) if he can get hot. There’s a good chance Bruce is dealt this offseason for no good reason other than the Reds want to trim payroll and ‘want more consistent production’ out of their right fielder.
It was the only game that the Reds scored in a 2-1 loss. Against Adam Friggin’ Kennedy. This has really been a tough year, I can’t say it enough. There has been little to no magic after that abbreviated hot start that saw them jump out to 4-0.
Last night I gave pause and thanks that Jay Bruce somewhat etched his name in stone as one of the best Reds ever; in the same way I feel that Adam Dunn was one of the best Reds ever. Of all the players who have crossed the white lines and worn the Reds uniform, the guy has hit more home runs than most of them. That’s to be commended.
One of our favorite warriors across baseball has reached a milestone, a night after Adrian Beltre reached the same. He’s 32 years old, and he’s at 400 career big flies.
We’ve always loved the way he’s seemingly quietly gone about his business, overcame the same issues that we all as humans face, played hurt, and just generally went out and mashed.
We’ve all heard the stories of 17-year old Miguel Cabrera down in Venezuela, hitting bombs off big leaguers who were throwing inside on him to intimidate the young man, only to offer him something soft and away that he yanked out of the park.
He’s cut from a different cloth, you see. Miguel Cabrera’s come along once every 30 or 40 years. Or maybe once in a lifetime.
Sometimes a guy like Cabrera gets overlooked because of the Harper’s, or Trout’s, or Bryant’s. It shouldn’t be that way.
When it comes to yoking a baseball – the one he hit today was a blast to dead center in the heart of baseball country, St. Louis; in the rain – there isn’t a man alive who has a more sound fundamental stroke.
And good for the Tigers on beating those rotten, luck-box Redbirds 4-3 in ten innings for the second straight day.
Beltre has a lifetime 78.8 bWAR for you Sabermetrics folks. He absolutely has put up the numbers with his bat to be a likely Hall of Famer.
Texas as a team is in a weird limbo with their roster. They’re definitely not good and have all kinds of problems with pitching, yet the roster is littered with aging veterans just forced to play out the string.
In what is certain to be a season of struggle, Beltre provided the home fans with a big moment. And everyone got to touch the head!
Let it be written that Alex Rodriguez hit home run number 661 to pass Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time milestone list last night to dead center field at (New) Yankee Stadium in the Bronx off Chris Tillman.
And it’s weird; he’s what, 53 home runs from Babe Ruth now? And then next up is Hank Aaron. Last night when he was rounding the bases – in my mind I am thinking ‘that guy has hit more home runs now in the game outside of two men’. But how oddly I didn’t remember atop the mountain is Barry Bonds at 762.
It’s like Bonds record didn’t even count in my mind. It was nothing intentional. I just wonder how we disparage Rodriguez’s accomplishment. I don’t really know that either. I just know this guy has been putting balls over the fence for most of my lifetime now.
We were telling a friend at work on Friday afternoon that this was going to be the weekend that Alex Rodriguez met Willie Mays at that legendary, iconic number of 660 career home runs.
It was always meant to go down at Fenway Park, since the day Alex Rodriguez was born.
When it happened last night, there was no ESPN Alert text (come to think of it, I don’t get those anymore); there was hardly the tweets or notifications or headline news alerts to my phone.
It was just another quiet event that seemed largely passed over in baseball. We won’t be in silence about it here. It’s a milestone.
What Rodriguez has done this season has been nothing short of impressive. He’s hit six home runs. It was a pinch-hit home run off Junichi Tazawa; typically a pretty tough righty to go yard off of. It tied the game the Yankees eventually won 3-2.
Maybe the bigger milestone is A-Rod actually passing Mays. Maybe that will bring about more raucous and noise.
We’re not sure exactly how to feel about Rodriguez. How many of those home runs were steroid-aided and how does it all compare and matter? We’ll never have the right answer. But he still reached a number that sticks in your mind forever, and that’s a lot of trips around the bases no matter how you arrive at it.
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]