It’s October and I can’t resist writing about one of my true loves – not politics – baseball.
It’s been another remarkable regular season. Baltimore and Washington make the playoffs. The Orioles and Yankees stay within a game of each other for the last two months of the season. Washington benches their stud pitcher Steven Strasburg for the last month and the playoffs because they believe a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery should not pitch more than 160 innings. Amazing stuff.
Here’s another shocking story, courtesy of Hanan Fishman of Partmaker. Tsuyoshi Nishioka signed a $9.5 million dollar contract with the Twins after winning the 2010 batting average title in Japan. He broke his leg in the first week of 2011 and never could pull his game together. He spent 2012 in the Minors, batting .258. Minnesota owed him $3,250,000 for his last year on the deal, but he declined the payment.
“I take full responsibility for my performance, which was below my own expectations,” he said. “At this time I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger,” he said in a statement. Never heard that from Kevin Brown.
R.A. Dickey, knuckleball pitcher of the New York Mets, has had a Cy Young worthy season at the age of 37. He went 20-6 with a 2.73 Earned Run Average, five complete games and three shutouts. He also wrote Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, a fascinating autobiography–and he really wrote it himself. The guy is an accomplished writer of prose and poetry. He is one of only two National Leaguers to win 20 this year and he did it for a mediocre Mets team.
I love R.A. Dickey, but there is one pitcher in baseball who truly dominates and is worth the price of admission – Justin Verlander of the Tigers. Not only is he the best in the game, but he does it with a joy and passion that is truly a delight for anybody who loves the game.
Miguel Cabrera of Detroit and Josh Hamilton of Texas have had amazing hitting seasons with Cabrera winning the Triple Crown, the first time anybody has accomplished the feat since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Both guys had major substance abuse issues – Cabrera with alcohol, Hamilton with drugs. Both guys possess fabulous talent, had wrecked their careers, and found their way back. Hamilton is a free agent after this year. May these great players hold their lives together.
The Chicago Cubs, after 104 years of futility, have suffered probably their worst season ever. Theo Epstein took over and got rid of the team’s best players under the theory that he would rather start over from the bottom than just be mediocre for years. The Cubs will rebuild from the Minors following the approach of Washington and Oakland. Sign as many power arms as you can and develop the kids into pitchers. Trade for hitters or sign them out of Cuba. There is a lot of wonderful baseball talent in Cuba waiting to sneak out. Post Fidel, we will see more of it.
Question: Is there a remarkable season for your favorite sports team you love to reminisce about?