Omar Vizquel: the all time Venezuelan hits leader

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In last night’s Rangers-Astros game, Pudge Rodriguez broke the all-time
record for games caught. But that wasn’t the only notable achievement: Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for most hits by a native of Venezuela.

While most would agree that Pudge’s record was a tougher nut to crack,
being the Venezuelan hits leader is not nearly as narrow a feat as some
may suspect. Indeed, Vizquel has outhit a pretty impressive group of
people in outhitting his fellow countrymen. In addition to Aparicio,
Vizquel has Andres Galarraga (2333 hits), Dave Concepcion (2326), Bobby
Abreu (2011), Magglio Ordonez (1889), Ozzie Guillen (1764) and Tony
Armas (1302) in his rear-view mirror, among others.

There’s a debate out there about whether Vizquel is a legitimate
Hall of Fame candidate, and I suspect that he’ll get a lot more support
from writers than he otherwise might have due to the perception that he
was a little guy who made it in a steroid-fueled world. And that will
hold true regardless of there likely being no way of knowing if he ever
took steroids in his long career. Personally, I don’t think he’s a Hall
of Famer, and I’ll no doubt argue that he doesn’t belong at some point.

But when I and others do, don’t you dare mistake such arguments as disparagement of Omar Vizquel. He’s been really really good for a really really long time, and this record is just further evidence of that.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.