It’s a beautiful day…let’s play two
“Mr. Cub”, “Mr.Sunshine”, passed away Friday at the age of 83. The enthusiastic ambassador for a city and a franchise was more than just an All-Century Shortstop; he was a man that had a love for the community, rivaled only by his love of baseball. Ernie Banks played 19 seasons, (all for Chicago) with only one winning season in his first 14 years. Ernie never made it to the postseason and his playoff exile is still the longest in baseball history at 2,528 consecutive games without. In 1954 Ernie Banks and Gene Baker became the first all-black-double-play combo in MLB history. Ernie played his first 8 seasons at SS before being moved to 1B in 1961, after starting 23 games in LF.
Ernie Banks was the smile that all fans of the Cubs clung to for hope. He was one of their own and he was a special ballplayer that played the game with effervescence. He was an 11 time all star who hit 512 HR’s, had 5 Grand Slams in 1955, led the league twice in HR’s and RBI, the most HR’s in a season by a NL Shortstop with 47, and by the time Cal came around, had the fewest errors in a season by a shortstop (12) and the best fielding percentage by a shortstop in a season (.985 in 1959).
Ernie Banks shared the Shortstop position on the All-Century Team with Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken jr, but compare him to the modern player and he still is good. For an example, Cal Ripken jr and Omar Vizquel now own the fewest errors in a season by a shortstop with 3. Cal Ripken has the highest fielding percentage in a season by a shortstop (min 150 games) with .996. Troy Tulowitzki currently has the highest career fielding percentage of all shortstops with .986.
Speaking of Troy Tulowitzki, who is the best Shortstop in the game, and most likely gives us an idea of what it must have been like to watch Ernie play, compares as follows:
Those numbers are based on the 9yrs Troy has played at shortstop, against Ernie’s 8yrs at the position. As much as Troy is beloved in Denver, think how much Rockies fans would love Ernie Banks if he played right now in Coors Field. Now I love Troy Tulowitzki, and watching him play is one of the few joys you have as a Rockies Fan, but hopefully this helps put things in perspective for an all timer like Ernie Banks and for most of us who never saw him play. In the Great Ballpark in the sky, they might have to adjust their schedule for double headers, now that Mr.Cub has joined the team.
I went to Rockies-Fest again this past Saturday and as usual you get a bad case of spring fever, the thoughts of seeing the field of green, the dirt in the infield, blue skies, sunshine, over-priced beer, meat tubes snuggled in bread pillows, etc..Crazier thoughts that sprout from the what if game: what if Tulo actually plays 150 games with CarGo, or what if the young arms actually have talent to go with Diva-Rosa and Jhoulys – what if Rex Brothers had a bad dream and awoke…It all felt so good, walking around the ballpark, listening to guys spit out cliche after cliche, having fun interacting with the slovenly peasants, watching peasants whore themselves with platitudes towards every ballplayer seen in the hallway – it gets you excited if you love the game and I do. But then there’s this guy…Bridich…the new GM of the Rockies that was the Director of player development, who earned the job after O’Dwod quit/resigned…Well maybe not earned, the Rockies never conducted a search for a replacement – they kinda got the formal resignation and within hours of the announcement, announced the new GM.
We were there for the first event of the day where Justin Morneau, Walt Weiss, CarGo and that guy were there to talk about the outlook of the Rockies. Justin responded well to the event, answering questions, Walt provided every cliche we have ever heard about the Rockies (see what if game), CarGo was intense but excited for the season – you could sense that he is burning up inside to prove he can still be elite.
When Bridich spoke it was in one tone – saying nothing. He never answered the question asked of him and seemed more like we all were beneath him and this was a waste of his time. You would think that the new GM of a baseball team, at the age of 37, would be so excited to speak to season ticket holders and be enthusiastic for his chance to show us he’s the man. He was the opposite of that. The guy reaches a pinnacle of management after being 3rd banana and he reacts like a deer in headlights that just saw his dog get run-over. One of the questions he was asked was how do you know when a young arm is ready for the majors – mumbly-joe just started droning on and on about how hard the majors are and that evaluations and timing and weather reports and crop circles and tidal charts of the moon’s orbit, blah blah blah – to the point you saw CarGo just look down to avoid eye contact. My son even asked me what he is saying – i had no idea – but I can tell you how you answer that question in front of season ticket holders, who generally want to know when some of the talent we have is ready to contribute and does he have a clue when that would be – that was not the time to be cryptic Jeff.
You might say something like: it all depends on the prospects’ ability to master HIS pitches and when to throw the right pitch, does he understand situational baseball and does he have the maturity to handle all the noise inside and outside of the ballpark – does he want to succeed and does he trust his defense to make a play…That was just 30 seconds of “who’s line is it anyway” – Jeff had weeks to prepare a proper response that gives you an idea that he cares, or has a clue, or is enthusiastic about running a baseball team. I guess we’re stuck with the GM we got, just not the one we deserve.
So last night was the Miss Universe whoop-ditty and my $2 Trifecta Box did not merit much in terms of financial gain. Hell, I only had Netherlands left in the top 5 and I have no idea where the rest fell out – but it was interesting that I had said two of the top 6 that had outside chances were USA and Colombia and they ended up finishing nos.1&2 – but you said they weren’t gonna win because… – Like I said, nailed it – besides I blame Manny Pacquiao for blowing up my box.
things also not worth watching…
anyone know who won, any of the football extravaganzas that occurred? I’ve got a feeling that a good friend of mine took the over in the Senior Bowl and Team Carter + the points…I know it sounds weird, but this same guy bets pre-season NFL games – His is the picture in the dictionary next to the word degenerate.