Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Things We'd Like to See

Waiting for the season to end and for the Phillies to scatter to the four corners of the Republic we note the following:

Make that twelve straight losses to teams playing .500 or better as the Phillies, forever desultory, lose to Atlanta 3-1 on Labor Day.

In that game, despite all our admonitions, Larry Bowa handed the ball to Roberto Hernandez, who immediately proceeded to walk the first two batters he faced; and lo and behold, Bowa promptly went right back out there and took the ball away from him before things got completely out of hand. Hernandez came into the game with a 5.53 ERA. Opponents are hitting .305 against him. Now, even Bowa may finally have seen enough of Hernandez.

Speaking of things we’d like to see. . .

MLB should do us all a favor and schedule a few Mariners broadcasts as the season winds down; failing that, the least they could to is cut away to some of their games when Ichiro comes to the plate. I’d love to see more of Seattle’s right fielder, arguably the most exciting ballplayer in the game today other than Barry Bonds.

Ichiro’s pursuit of George Sisler’s single-season hits record (257) is exciting in its own right but the way the Mariner’s right fielder goes about it is the real wonder to behold. No one in the game today combines his extraordinary bat control and overall speed. He is just as likely to beat out an infield hit or drop a bunt as he is to hit a line drive single or double. Whenever he comes up to bat the defense tenses. He is a disruptive force who single-handedly changes the complexion of a game. Anything can happen. The atmosphere is electric.

Moreover, Ichiro is just as likely to affect a game with his defense. Few players run on him; even fewer third base coaches are inclined to take a chance on a ball hit to him. And his range and ability to go back on a ball are comparable to those of most center fielders currently playing.

Difficult as it is to believe, there are still those who denigrate Ichiro’s accomplishments noting that his OBP is not among the league leaders due to his low bases-on-balls total. Poor Ichiro. He simply puts the ball in play. Still others point to his 54 rbi’s and 8 home runs and insist these totals are too low for a position where power production is expected.

I’d like to saddle the Phillies with such “feeble” numbers and effort.

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