Monday, 25 February 2008

Preach On Brother.

During a discussion over at the PSD boards I casually mentioned in a thread how the Jays had acquired a "potential Hall of Fame" 3B and one of my friends there took considerable issue with me. I won't bore you with the whole conversation but I was left with the impression that my fellow boardie didn't fully appreciate how much stock HoF voters put in being considered among the very best defenders at your position.

I had heard before that Mike Schmidt - widely considered among the very best ever - had said, "He's better than I was", so it was not a surprise to me, though it was very exciting, to read this comment from Hal McRae in Saturday's Sun:

"I saw Brooks Robinson, I saw Mike Schmidt and I played with George Brett. Rolen is the best third baseman I've ever seen. With us he'd make one play a year where you'd say: 'That's the best play at third I've ever seen.' The next year he'd give you one better."

Pay close attention Blue Jays fans, you're gonna get a chance to see the guy who may be the best fielder who's ever played the position at the third sack this year, and yes, most definitely a potential Hall of Famer. If you want something to whet your appetite you can watch a great video which includes some of his defensive gems in a Cards uniform here (props to The Mockingbird for the hard to find link). Ignore the first 1:30 - it's mostly just hitting (why anyone makes a Rolen video and includes so many shots of him hitting the ball is a mystery to me, a lot of guys can hit a baseball, but very few ever got close to what he can do with the leather), but starting at 1:30 you start seeing some real defensive gems including one at about 1:45 that will make you jump out of your seat. If I knew how to add that one small portion of that video permanently to our sidebar (or at least, until he makes one like that in a Jays uni) I would do it.

Yes, in case you are wondering, I'm gonna gush like a schoolgirl over Rolen all season so deal with it.

In an unrelated note, I notice in Wilner's latest blog that's he's unable to resist the oft-repeated (in the last couple of days) nonsense that Shannon Stewart can "flat out hit" - unless that remark is taken out of context and the rest of the sentence is "my grandmother" then it's foolishness. all the more frustrating for how often it's said by people who should know better. Stewart's bat would only be mediocre if he were a short stop or a catcher (he had the same OPS as Eckstien in 2007), for a LF, it's among the very worst in baseball. People who know my writings know I'm no JP basher, and more bodies for depth is always fine during spring training - and I have no problem with Stewart being in camp any more than I have with, well, Camp being in camp. Just as long as we are being bullshitted with the nonsensical song and dance about him being some kind of great hitter. He's not even a mediocre hitter.


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