The Platinum Era
Growing up, depending on our age bracket, we idolized the likes of George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Bo Jackson, Ricky Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr and the list goes on…
Now as adults, far removed from our childhood short-comings as wanna-be pro athletes, we are relegated to being office-chair-managers of fantasy teams and Little League coaches hoping our son chooses sport as a pastime as opposed to video gaming or dance theater(if you have a son between the age of 5 and 12 you know what I mean).
I point this childhood period out in this edition of the Roundup simply because we may currently be witnessing one of the greatest eras in all of baseball. With the major sporting media focusing on the “sexy” sports like Basketball or Football and marketing of the “Social-media lifestyle,” I fear that America’s Game has taken a back seat and those missing it are missing something very special. On a nightly basis we get to see dominant pitching from the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and rising pitching stars like Matt Harvey and Shelby Miller. While I’m at it, let’s not leave out the best closer of all time Mariano Rivera and his Hall of Fame bound agelessness.
If its offense you have a passion for we have no shortage of historical significance day in and day out. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter of our generation hands down. Last season, Miggy won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski completed the herculean feat in 1967; he also did so with better numbers than Yaz. What could he possibly do for an encore of such a historical performance? Thru 45 games thus far in 2013 Cabrera has made the Major Leagues look like an inferior platform with his ludicrous .391 batting average. Miggy has homered now in four straight games amassing 14 homers and a Major League leading 55 runs batted in. Chris Davis leads the homer category with 15 after Thursday’s games but the Triple Crown watch is certainly in full force for Cabrera. Whether you are a Tigers fan or not you have to appreciate the shear dominance and consistency with which the 30-year-old Cabrera plays the game we love.
As for youth with talent, we have a cornucopia of fast-rising stars such as the reigning Rookies of the Year; 20-year-old Bryce Harper of the Nationals and 21-year-old Mike Trout of the Angels. Their expedient ascent to the Majors and subsequent success has created a buzz once again in the youths and upcoming ballplayers. The historical significance of this current crop of professional ball-players is already one for the ages and the record books. I feel it is our duty as aficionados of the game to deliver the awesomeness to our children and friends. They may not see the beauty of the game of baseball. Its a thinking man's game, a game of patience, a game where every pitch, every sacrifice-fly, every diving grab and every stolen base can be the difference. Whether it's a co-worker or your own family member or neighbor, point out the intricate and seemingly meaningless plays to the untrained eye. It only takes one day at the ball park to get hooked and become a fan. Take me out to the ballgame is in our blood, we don't stretch without thinking about the 7th inning, so do your peers a favor; buy yourself some peanuts and Cracker Jack, take a friend to a game and they will undoubtedly come back and root-root-root for the home team. Missing out on this era of baseball would be a shame.
NL Hot Shots:
- Andrew McCutchen filled up the score sheet with a 3-for-4 day, driving in two runs and swiping a pair in a rain lengthened Pirates win. He’s heating up and could be one of the best fantasy producers from here on out. Starling Marte continued to produce with a 2 hit game, he added a SB and 2 runs scored.
- Jason Grilli got his Major League leading 19th save and now owns a 1.25 ERA with a 0.74 WHIP and 34 Ks.
AL Hot Shots:
- The Orioles and Blue Jays slugged it out at the Rogers Centre on Thursday. Rookie pitcher Kevin Gausman made his Major League debut for the O's and the results were decent but the long ball did him in. Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia landed early body shots with an RBI double in the 4th and a 2-run homer for the finishing blow to Gausman in the 5th. Arencibia would also add an RBI groundout in the 8th for his 4th RBI of the night. The slug-fest included homers from Chris Davis(15), Nick Markakis (5), Adam Jones (7) and Edwin Encarnacion (13). The Jays went on to win 12-6 behind Brandon Morrow who allowed all six Orioles runs.
- Joe Blanton finally earned win number one on the year defeating former Angels starter Ervin Santana and his Royals. Mighty-Mike Trout hit an absolute blast 463 ft to straight away center field for his 10th on the season. Albert Pujols (8), Chris Iannetta (4) and Mark Trumbo (11) also went deep in the win.
- Josh Willingham hit two homers (7,8) in a losing effort to Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers in Detroit. The Twins have lost 9 straight and Miguel Cabrera is just ridiculous. “Papa Grande” secured save number 5 for the Tigers.
- Zach McAllister was good again as he held the Red Sox to three runs as the high powered Indians put up a 12 spot without the aid of the long ball. Ryan Dempster fell to 2-5 on the season. David Ortiz added his 8th homer in the loss. Mark Reynolds drove in 3 Indians runs on a 3-for-4 night. Yan Gomes continues to produce when in the Tribe’s lineup as he drove in 2 runs with an RBI double.
Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter @CasKnowsRoto