Buzhardt's BellaOnline Baseball Blast 06/17/10
Speaking of tagging up, if you watched the Phillies-Yankees game Wednesday evening on ESPN, you heard a lot of criticism directed at Shane Victorino, the Phils’ Gold Glove Centerfielder. On a deep-enough fly ball to RF hit by Placido Polanco, Shane seemingly forgot to tag up and move to 3B, whence he could have scored easily when Chase Utley hit an infield single. He didn’t do it, and didn’t score, and luckily for the Phillies it didn’t matter as Jamie Moyer gained his 265th career win and became the oldest pitcher to ever beat the Bronx Bombers. Homers by Robinson Cano, an early AL MVP candidate and evergreen receiver Jorge Posada boosted The Ageless Wonder to within one of Robin Roberts’ all-time record of 505 HRs allowed. When Moyer faced Alex Rodriguez in the 2nd inning, it became only the second time in history a 500+ HR hitter has faced a 500+ HR pitcher, the previous time it was Roberts vs. Willie Mays in 1966. When/if Moyer faces the Dodgers and Manny Ramirez, it will be the 3rd time it happens. The Phillies will play the Twins at home this weekend but Moyer won’t get to face the Twins’ Jim Thome, also a member of the 500+HR club.
I am happy to report that every division in MLB has good pennant races shaping up. No team has run away with anything. The AL East has the 2009 World Champion Yankees and 2008 AL Champions Tampa Bay Rays in a flat-footed tie, with the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox three games back. The AL Central has the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers once again battling it out, and it may well be 2010 will be another season where the ALC needs 163 games to determine its champion. In the AL West, it will be interesting to see if the Texas Rangers can withstand the withering heat of summer and hold off the LA Angels, who probably think they get the deed to the division in April at this point.
In the National League, the Atlanta Braves are intent on sending future Hall of Fame Manager Bobby Cox and maybe even future HoFer Chipper Jones into retirement with a return to the post-season, and the Mets are playing like a house of fire. Neither of them will give an inch to the suddenly-vulnerable Phillies. In the NL Central the Cincinnati Reds are looking strong and will give the Cardinals all they can handle, and the NL West is heading into a terrific three-team race between the upstart San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers and their perennial foes, the pitching-rich San Francisco Giants.
MLB announced the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Kansas City, as a “reward” to the voters who approved $250M in sales tax increases to fund renovations and improvements at Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums. While I am no fan of corporate-badged ballparks, the Chiefs and Royals should explore finding sponsors to help shoulder the load of overburdened taxpayers. Commissioner Bud Selig was so impressed by this shower of public largesse he passed over Boston’s Fenway Park which will celebrate its centennial in 2012.
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