Wildcard Wednesday: “Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.”

Happy Wednesday! Who’s ready for a bit of this-day-in-history? I know I am.

Historic events of April 27th:

Ulysses S. Grant (1822), Rogers Hornsby (1896) and Casey Kasem (1932) were born.

Ferdinand Magellan (1521) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882) died.

British parliament passed the Tea Act, which eventually led to the Boston Tea Party. (1773)

West Virginia seceded from Virginia after Virginia seceded from the U.S. (1861)

1,450 paroled Union POWs were killed on their way home when the river steamer “Sultana” exploded on the Mississippi River. (1865)

The 4th modern Olympic Games opened in London. (1908)

Himmler ordered the establishment of Auschwitz concentration camp. (1940)

Boston Brave Jim Tobin no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944)

Babe Ruth day was celebrated at Yankee Stadium and throughout the United States. (1947)

Baltimore Oriole Tom Phoebus no-hit Boston. (1968)

Nolan Ryan passed Walter Johnson to become MLB’s strikeout king. (1983)

Over 70 inches of snow fell in Red Lake, Montana. (1984)

Coors Field opened in Denver. The Rockies beat the Mets 11-9 in 14 innings. (1995)

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Finally, I want to get a word in about our old friend Sam Fuld. He seems to be taking the baseball world by storm. Any Cubs fan could have told you how good Sam was in the outfield. His heroics on defense are hardly a surprise. What is ever so pleasant is that he has been hitting like a maniac now, too. He’s batting .346, stealing bases, flirting with cycles… and people are taking notice. As a long time fan of Mr. Fuld, I couldn’t be more pleased. News stories are popping up all over the place. Here are just a few links, for those who may be interested.

Fuld provides nightly defensive heroics

Fuld enjoys the power of statistics

In short time, Fuld a legend

Sam Fuld’s value to the Rays goes beyond the numbers

Tampa Bay’s ‘Superman’ Sam Fuld headlines surprising early stars

Three cheers for The Human Highlight Reel!

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Saying Goodbye: Sam Fuld

You didn’t think I was going to forget, didja?

Others may say what they wish about Sam Fuld. I always liked him. The moment he made that brilliant leaping catch into the ivy, back in ’07 when he was first called up, I said to myself, I said, “I like him.”

I continued to like him for the same reason. That first gem wasn’t just some sort of fluke. It was practically an everyday occurrence when Sam was in the field. His bat may not always have been there, but there is no denying the magicalness of his glove.

Say, are the outfield walls padded in Tampa? Because, if they are, Sam Fuld’s life expectancy just rose by a couple of years.

Here’s wishing you even more abundant web gems and such with your new team, Sammy. I salute you.

UGGHH! (Oh… and welcome to Chicago, Matt Garza.)

So much for my dreams of a Cubs organization based on the development of promising young players from within.

Trading away the farm (and I mean that in a very literal sense) ain’t the prescription for success, in my opinion, and that is what my darling Cubbie bears have just done. The Rays (who are probably laughing liking bandits about now) will send Matt Garza and 2 nameless minor leaguers to Chicago, while the Cubs will send a package of prospects ripe for the plucking to Tampa. The deal includes pitcher Chris Archer (our #1 prospect, according to Baseball America), infielder Hak-Ju Lee (#3 according to BA), Brandon Guyer (#10) and the well-regarded Robinson Chirinos. Not to mention Sam Fuld, who, while obviously not the most important piece of our puzzle, has always held a place in my heart. That strange sound you’re hearing right about now is me gnashing my teeth.

I mean no disrespect to Matt Garza. He is a fine pitcher, and I will almost certainly end up loving him. Heaven knows I can’t resist a baseball player with a muppet face. It is not my intention to deride his merits. I have nothing against Matt. I welcome him to the Windy City. I will cheer for him when he pitches. Etc., etc.,

But I can’t help thoroughly grieved at the loss of these young, promising farmboys. Mr. Archer and Mr. Lee, in particular. I had very high hopes for the both of them. Never got the chance to even do a Farmboy Files write-up for Hak-Ju. *Sniff*
I wish all four the best of everything in the Rays organization. I have no doubt they’ll flourish into well-rounded players who will help their team win ballgames.

2010 MLB Year in Superlatives: Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of the FBB’s year in review! This will be the last installment. As far as I know…

Are you ready for some more bests, worsts, and mosts? Then read on, my fair viewer, read on.

~

Outstanding gloviness: Oddly enough, two of the coolest plays of the year belonged to pitchers. How ’bout three more cheers for Mark Buehrle’s Opening Day gem and Paul Maholm’s equally awesome (in my opinion) play from just a week later.

Greatest Robbery:

My top giggle-inducing moments: I did feel bad for laughing so hard when Miguel Olivo ended up being hurt from this play, but it was one of the funniest “slides” I’ve ever seen.

Also, this:

And THIS:

Minor League call-up to remember: The Pirates Erik Kratz. *Sniff*

Best blog-post incorporating the Cubs and “Lost”: This piece legitimately made me LOL.

Postseason highlight: Roy Halladay’s no-hitter is an easy choice. It gave even Phillies anti-enthusiasts such as myself something to cheer about.

Coolest lady: 18-year-old Japanese knuckle-baller Eri Yoshida, of course.

Random video and audio clips of the year: Timmy the Wizard and Barry Zito: Unicorn Master… On a side note, either one of those could be adapted into a sensational TV series.

Greatest Quotes : Jamie Moyer, on being informed that he had just become the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a shutout:

Really? Cool.

And a gem from lovable Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld:

102 years is not that long.

Goodbyes: Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre (?), Ken Griffey Jr… I mean, the list just goes on and on.

And finally…

Thing of the Year: To me, the most memorable and outstanding  thing/event/game of 2010 was the Armando Galarraga- Jim Joyce game. It provided as potent a fodder for the waxings of baseball sentimentalists (like me) as ever there was. I’ll remember this game longer than I will remember that the Giants won the World Series, or that Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jiminez and whoever else threw no-hitters. The behavior of both men was exemplary. The class of Mr. Galarraga and Mr. Joyce will stand out in my mind far longer than the perfect game would have.


 

 

 

The FBB’s Year In Review: The (Unconventional) Bests, Worsts & Mosts of 2009

Well, dear reader, 2009 is drawing to a close. In a few days a new year will dawn, bringing new hopes and dreams with it. Before we embark on that new 365-day journey, let us take a moment to reflect on the many unique events that filled the last one…


BEST broadcasting moment: This remarkable call comes from the Seattle Mariners radio announcer Mike Blowers. If you haven’t seen/heard this yet, you must. (Honorable Mention: Ron Santo singing “Kumbaya” on air)

BEST catch: OK, so this is a conventional category. The “catch,” though, is anything but. It involves some ballet-like teamwork and two Pittsburgh Pirates you’ve probably never heard of. I’m probably the only person stiffing the Dewayne Wise catch in this category. Speaking of which…

BEST pitching performance: Everyone automatically thinks, Mark Buehrle’s perfect-o. That’s probably what everyone should think of, as a perfect game is a very rare and special accomplishment. No disrespect to Mr. Buehrle, but I’m gonna give this one to the San Francisco Giants’ Jonathan Sanchez. Because the Wise catch would have been a home-run 99 times out of 100. Because the only thing that kept Mr. Sanchez’s no-hitter from being a perfect game was a fielding error. And because I just want to be different. So there.

BEST line uttered: Courtesy Tim Lincecum, who was describing his panda bear-ish teammate Pablo Sandoval:  “His hair’s pretty fuzzy looking. He’s got a cute little smile and he gives really good hugs.” (Honorable mention: from Greg Maddux’s number retirement speech at Wrigley Field, “Let’s beat the Marlins today!”)

BEST worst headline: From ESPN’s website, “Texas Rangers Quietly Make Noise At Winter Meetings”

WORST headline: Sports Illustrated’s big headline for its World Series preview article read, “BIG SEXY SERIES.” Really, SI? Really?

MOST weepy events: The death of Nick Adenhart and Ernie Harwell’s farewell speech to Tigers fans.

BEST “news” article: The Phillies should have done a little research, because Roy Halladay doesn’t actually exist.

MOST exciting/improbable play-off series: I gotta give a shout-out to the hometown boys. Our Rebels, with a line-up depleted by injuries, defeated the bitter rival Luray Wranglers in the first round of Valley League play-offs. N’er have I been so proud!

BEST name: My second favorite part of the MLB draft (behind hearing a familiar name called) is some of the truly odd monikers of the selected players. This year’s greatest name was Seth Schwindenhammer. That’s a 15-letter surname (look out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia!) Runner up: Dexter Bobo.

MOST laughable PED accusation: Ryan Theriot… some journalists clearly had too much time on their hands.

WORST gameday weather: Will anyone who was there ever forget the crazy New Market hailstorm of ’09?

MOST readable preseason coverage: Walkoff Walk’s “BONILLA Projections” were the only ones worth reading, in my opinion, and are worth a looksy even now.

BEST musical performance: Mr. T’s rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame trumps all. Sorry, Alicia Keyes.

BEST baserunner: This guy.

WORST celebration: Some people thought this was fun and innocent. I thought it was garbage. (Honorable mention: I heard that when the Dodgers beat St. Louis in the NLDS, they used up all their victory champagne and beer and eventually started pouring water and milk on each other.)

MOST heartwarming first pitch: At least the Brewers are capable of doing something classy.

MOST gutsy glovework: I just wanted to slip this Sam Fuld catch in somewhere…

“Click Click Click Click Click. It’s real easy, man.”

Monday is link day here at The Fair Base Ballist. Here shall you find links to other articles/stuff that I saw I deemed to be worth spreading.

Bullpen Gospels: Prayers are answered in unusual ways

If this lovely little bit (written by delightful Toronto relief pitcher Dirk Hayhurst) doesn’t poke at your heart then you probably don’t have a heart. Seriously. You might want to consult a physician.

Baseball Prospectus Q&A with Sam Fuld

Interesting interview with Cubs outfielder/super-smart Stanford grad Sam Fuld.

Hall of Fame Futures

Joe Posnanski speculates about which current players under age 30 might wind up in the Hall of Fame.

Answer Man: Ryan Dempster talks dogs, newspapers, Canada

Dave Brown’s Answer Man interviews are my favorite favorite. This one is from back in 2008, but still good for some giggles. Questions include, “Did you bawl your eyes out during My Dog Skip?” and “How much of the Rich Harden acquisition was Hendry adding a power arm and how much of it was the Cubs getting another Canadian so you’d have someone from the Motherland on the team?”

Hire Tony LaRussa!

This piece, from the blog Hire Jim Essian, is a bit dated (September.) Oh well. It’s entertaining. (It does contain a few choice four-letter words. You’ve been warned!)