Friday, November 30, 2007

Base Hits: 11/30/2007

I guess I need to applaud the organization when they do something right, like invest in a baseball complex in the Dominican Republic. This will help the Orioles increase their scouting presence in Latin America (which was pratically nil) and is a good step in the right direction. It's stating the obvious but the farm system really needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. This should be the first step in a long process.


There had been talk (to my shock and horror) that the Orioles might sign SS Cesar Izturis instead of letting Luis Hernandez learn on the job next season. It's a great relief to know that the Cardinals signed him to replace David Eckstein at short. Why?

"We definitely value his defense," general manager John Mozeliak said on Friday afternoon. "We also think that offensively there could be more in there. Speaking with our staff, we felt that we could probably tap into a little bit more there, as well."

Let's make one thing clear. Izturis is no longer even an above average defensive shortstop and hasn't been since 2005. This is the same kind of crap you heard from Oriole brass about Paul Bako even though his defensive skills had long since eroded. These guys get a rep and they never seem to lose it. Eckstein's range was actually better than Izturis the last two seasons and Izturis fielding percentage is only marginally better. I don't get these GM's sometimes.

OK, now I'll say something nice about Izturis. He signed a baseball for my son at Dodgertown a couple of years ago. There.


A sculptor named Bill Rains is sculpting a statue of Dave McNally for a new ballpark in Billings, Montana.

I will now tell the story of the time my father faced Dave McNally. Gather round children.

My father was a pretty good ballplayer and his team faced McNally's team for the Montana state championship. Dad was pretty good and played with boys a couple years older than he was so he was only 13 when he faced off against the 18 year old McNally. Dad went in to pinch hit at some point and said the first pitch was a sweeping curveball that looked like it was heading for his head so he bailed out only to have the ball break sharply back over the plate for strike one.

My father thought to himself that he was ready for that pitch and he would hang in there and wait for the break this time. This time however, the pitch didn't break and drilled Dad right between the shoulder blades. He caught his breath, tried not to cry and trotted down to first.

After the game (which McNally won), McNally walked off the field and met with the Oriole scout and signed his first professional contract.

(Paul Harvey voice) And now you know....the rest of the story.

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