Most of you probably know that I love closers. They are players who work under extreme pressure and throw upwards of 100 mph. They are the one and only on their team. They are glorified and vilified in the same week. They are generally the weirdest off the field, as well. What’s not to love?
So here’s my question: why is there no award for closers? We have the Cy Young Award (for starting pitchers), Silver Slugger (for hitters), Golden Glove (for fielders), various awards for relievers… but nothing for closers. (Incidentally- why are the sluggers silver and the gloves gold?) Is that offensive or what? (If you know of an award and I am incorrect, please do tell me.)
Here’s my proposal: The Diamond Girl Award. It would be an annual award to honor the best closer in the game- one in the AL, one in the NL. It could be voted on, the same way as the Cy Young award or maybe it would be fan-voted, like the All-Stars. We can work out the details later.
The big difference between this award and others in baseball is that the announcement would be much more exciting. In every other industry there’s a ceremony with an, “And the ______ goes to…” so why don’t we have that in baseball? I can just picture it. We’d have, say, 10 nominees from each league and it there would be tons of suspense. It would be nationally televised and the ratings would be huge. And I would get to present the awards. At least for the first year.
So who would you nominate to get the award this year? The first commenter to guess who I would give it to wins a virtual hug.
I heard an inside-the-park-homerun for the first time on Sunday. I was in the car coming across the bridge from San Francisco (not from a game, unfortunately) so the reception was bad, but I heard it. And that was the first back-to-back homer and inside-the-park homer for the Giants since 1966, Mays and McCovey. It was a bit of heartbreaker at the end, but who really thought we’d get out of bases loaded, no outs twice? Notwithstanding, the Giants gave a real fight and have taken two out of four from the Brewers so far. So things are looking slightly rosier.
Now for the advice. The Giants pitching has been doing much better lately but this advice is really for any struggling pitching staff and their pitching coach. You know when the coach goes out there to talk? Righetti seems really good at calming pitchers down. I don’t know what he says, but it generally works. So though Righetti may be more qualified to give advice than me, I’m going to take a shot. What if they went out there and told jokes? Example: Lincecum is on the mound, having let in one earned run. It’s the seventh and it’s 2-1 Giants. Lincecum loads the bases with one out. No room for error. Righetti visits the mound.
“Hey, Timmy.” He says. “A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Why the long face?'” Righetti leaves and… bingo. Two backwards K’s. Can’t you just see it happening? The other possibility is hiring a professional joke teller to come out. Or maybe we should have a clown in Death Valley, juggling away. They hardly ever hit it out there, anyway.
It was put out there that theoretically the BrewCrew would want something like J. Sanchez and a top prospect for Prince Fielder (though maybe they changed their minds after seeing him pitch the other day…?), who currently has 17 home runs on the year. So I think we should totally go for something along those lines and then trade a few prospects for Roy Oswalt, who is dying to be traded anyway. I really want Oswalt on the Giants and he could take the empty #4 spot, left by Sanchez. Sounds perfect to me. So, what do you think? Any other trade thoughts (not limited to Giants, all of MLB)?
p.s. Um, did I die and go to heaven? It’s currently 11-1 Giants.
Purple plaid pants and all. So far. I can’t predict what will happen by the end of the season, but Huff is one of the biggest reasons I have faith in the Giants right now. Zito too, but more on that another time. Since joining Twitter, one of my favorite tweets was from the @SFGiants: “Aubrey Huff, ‘This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my career, I feel like a rookie again'” That really shows. Looks can be deceiving but Aubrey seems genuinely happy to be playing in San Francisco and the feeling is mutual. When he came to the Giants, he was coming off only a 15 homerun season but he is already at 13 this year, not even half way through the season. When he hit a homerun in his first at-bat in a Giants uniform at Spring Training, it seemed we had hit gold. Now I know we did.
Huff is also a welcome addition because he can play just about anything. Why not try pitching him, Bochy? Or catching him, to replace Bengie? I bet he has a wicked throwdown. All kidding aside, with so many complications and the overcrowded field, having a top hitter who can play anywhere in the outfield or first base is very good.
I’m still feeling a little bitter about the Bengie trade, but I think it’s important to tip our caps to the Giants organization for signing Huff.
And did I mention that he can sing? Current #1 on Diamond Girl’s playlist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI92Vkc_mNs.
p.s. Oh. The post on baseball player’s lack of fashion sense. It’ll be here soon. Don’t worry, friends.
I was finishing up a post about baseball player’s lack fashion sense and then… this. Bengie was traded to the Rangers. I really try not to get emotional about baseball because it’s just a game, but I’m very sad to see Bengie go. He’s given the Giants several good years and led Tim Lincecum to two Cy Young Awards. Whatever happens with Lincecum in the future, I don’t think anyone would argue that Bengie did not have a lot to do with the Tim we saw in 2008 and 2009. Bengie was a great Giant.
Additionally, I regard Bengie as the team captain of sorts and I wonder what the clubhouse reaction to this will be. Even if Buster is physically ready, is he mentally ready to handle this pitching staff? The other player in the deal is a minor league prospect, but for now we got a reliever out of this. That part really kills me, because as maddening as it is to have a game ruined by our bullpen, you can’t blame our struggles on them. Nor can you blame them on Bengie. Business is business, and if Bengie needed to be traded, so be it, but I am not liking the deal at all.
More than anything, I want to wish Bengie the best of luck in Texas and I really hope to see him in a Giants uniform again someday. Maybe he could coach someday…?
I try to be positive and overall I think the Giants have a chance at the postseason this year, but I really think this deal has a lot of holes. What if in two months Buster is slumping even worse and the pitching is suffering from the loss as well? I believe in Buster, but why not keep Bengie as at least a back-up catcher until his contract expires at the end of the year?
What are your thoughts on the Bengie trade?
For now, I’ll sit back and watch. Extremely curious to see how they play on this road trip. And maybe soon I’ll post about the fashion sense thing.
Check this article out, as well. It’s so true and important to remember every time the players go out on the field: they are trying their hardest and working to make it the best it can be.
Colorado. We may need more good luck. Hopefully MadBum will give us that. (Yes, I’ve cracked. I am calling him MadBum too.)