I've been waiting for this piece on Jose Bautista for a while, and Joe Posnanski doesn't disappoint. Pos is one of my favorite writers around right now and this is an enjoyable read. He writes about Bautista's rise to success while giving us short clips of other 'Amazing True Sports Stories'.
Do you believe in miracles? Can you?
We live in a time of mirage, of Photoshop and special effects and undetectable designer drugs. We live in a time when truth and illusion tango unhappily, when reality television seems more unreal than cartoons, when identities are stolen and online personalities invented, when the President must show his birth certificate to an unbelieving portion of the nation, when baseball's record books have become choked by men who are admitted—or outed as—steroid users.
Can you believe in miracles? That's the question Pos asks the readers.
"You know what you should do," Wells said. "Think about starting as early as you can possibly imagine, so early that it seems ridiculous. And then start even earlier than that. What do you have to lose? If you look like a fool, you look like a fool. It's just one game."
It was just one game. Bautista stepped in against Scott Baker in the bottom of the second inning. O.K., he would remember thinking, I'm going to start so early it will be ridiculous. Baker pitched, and Bautista felt as if he started his swing before Baker even let go of the ball—"I thought, You want early, I'll show you early." He expected to miss everything, but he felt his bat hit ball. It was more than that, though, because the feeling of hitting a baseball hard, really hard, doesn't feel like anything else in the world.
The ball smashed against the leftfield wall so hard, Bautista thought he could hear the impact over the sounds of the cheers.
Holy s---, Bautista remembered thinking as he stood at second base. What was that?
I liked this part of the article and I don't remember hearing Vernon Wells' quote before (although there's a good chance I just missed it). Cito Gaston and Dwayne Murphy had been trying to get Jose to start his swing earlier and he was struggling with it, and this is when it clicked.
Do you believe in miracles? Can you? Or maybe those are the wrong questions. Maybe the real question is: Do you believe that people who never stop trying or believing are capable of doing amazing true things? And if not: What's the point of watching?
And Pos ends the piece with that great line. If you can't accept stories like Bautista's; stories like Dazzy Vance and Hank Sauer; stories like Kurt Warner's and Priest Holmes of the NFL, then what is the point of watching? Because those are the guys that really make sports fun and exciting. Anything can happen and anything will happen.
And, the rest are after the jump.
Ricky Ro: Both right and wrong
The Southpaw thinks that Romero's comments were on the mark (especially as of late), but points out the Jays hitters, simply are not that good.
Lawrie resumes activities, but not swinging bat
And at the bottom of the article, apparently the neurologist is optimistic that Snider will be back on the field soon.
Braves writer wants to make it very, very clear that everyone really, really hated Yunel Escobar
Aaron Gleeman at NBC Sports touches on an article in an Atlanta newspaper about Yunel. For more on this, check out Getting Blanked.
Around the League
Hanley Ramirez now batting cleanup for Marlins
I know that lineup construction ultimately doesn't make a great difference. But is it a good idea for the guy that is 9th on the team in slugging (behind notable sluggers, Chris Coghlan, Omar Infante and Emilio Bonifacio), and 8th on the team in wOBA to be hitting clean-up?
Models of Efficiency
Drew Fairservice looks at pitchers with a K/9 higher than 8 and a ground ball rate greater than 50%. There's not a whole lot of them.
Yankees Might Soon Have Seven Good Starting Pitchers
Rob Neyer talks about the Yanks rotation - what happened to having a terrible starting rotation?
Q&A: Ryne Sandberg
FanGraphs has an interesting Q&A with Sandberg where he discusses his approach against certain pitchers.
What David Roth did was risky, even reckless — depending on many unknown (to us) financial factors for the Roths. But even the gesture — "I have quit my job to watch my son pitch in the College World Series" — it boggles the mind. It's awesome.
The NL East and Realignment
Reed MacPhail at FanGraphs tells us that realignment might be just as important for the NL East as it is for the AL East.