Omar Vizquel may have hit himself into the Hall of Fame last night

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Omar Vizquel headshot.jpgAs I mentioned in the recaps, Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for the second most hits by a shortstop last night, notching his 2,674th career safety.* Unless
there’s either an unfortunate bus accident or a fortunate Fountain of Youth accident he won’t catch Jeter, who is 108 hits ahead at the moment and will quite obviously be playing this game after Vizquel retires. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, but Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken got a ton of their hits while playing other positions, so they don’t count for this particular record.

First off, congratulations to Vizquel, who is by all accounts a nice guy that many, many people like an awful lot. Especially in Cleveland where, between his brilliance at short and the fact that he angered Jose Mesa all those years ago means that Omar will never have to buy himself a beer when he’s in town, and that counts for something.

Second of all, I can’t help but wonder if this little accomplishment won’t be enough to get Vizquel into the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying he
necessarily deserves it. I’m wary in fact, and think that, despite all the leather and the longevity he’s simply a member of the Hall of Really Good.

But I do think that between him being a glove guy in a hitter’s era and the Luis Aparicio synchronicities — sharing the homeland, the number and now the hits — the voters will look kindly on him one
day. Maybe too kindly. Kind of an anti-steroids protest vote and a nostalgic vote all wrapped up into one.  I think they’ve been talking themselves into it for a couple of years now, and having a milestone like this — even if he ends up being only second place on that particular list — may be tangible enough foothold with which the writers can gain purchase on this particular quest.

Which wouldn’t be the largest injustice on the planet or anything — I’m not sure where Vizquel stands on the numbers, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t be the worst Hall of Famer if that indeed comes to pass. But he’d be far, far from the best too, and with guys like Alan Trammell on the outside looking in, it would irk me in a non-insignificant way.

*As is the case with “Chisox” and “Bosox,” safety is one of those baseball terms you never see anymore. Used to be on the back of baseball cards all the time, but I can’t recall using “safety” for “hit” in ages.  Let’s all try to bring that one back, shall we?

Odubel Herrera flips his bat on a fly ball, gets benched for lack of hustle

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been a polarizing figure in his young career. He’s talented and at times has shined, inspiring the Phillies to give him a long term contract this past offseason. At other times, however, he’s aggravated the snot out of his manager, his teammates and his team’s fans. Last night, in the Phillies-Astros game, he did the latter and was the subject of mockery of the opposing team to boot.

In the first inning he hit a long fly ball to center. He thought it was going out but . . . it didn’t. When the ball came off of his bat, however, he flipped his bat like he went yard. You know our view about bat flips — who cares? Flip away! — but you flip at your own risk. Just because you’re allowed to flip it whenever you want doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get mocked if you flip prematurely. That’s what Herrera did, and he was mocked for the flip by the Astros from the dugout:

If that was all that happened in the game, life would go on just fine. I mean, it’s just a bat flip. But later in the game he committed a more substantive transgression: he failed to hustle in a hustle situation.

In the sixth inning Herrera struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball. The catcher didn’t hold on to it, though, and the ball went in the dirt. Herrera didn’t bother to run to first base and Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from the game in a double switch right after that. Asked if Herrera was benched for not running that ball out, Mackanin said “It had something to do with it . . . I’m going to talk to him tomorrow.”

If you’re a veteran and you have hamstring issues or something you can take a dropped strike three off and no one is gonna say anything. If you’re hitting like Herrera has been hitting of late (i.e. pretty well) and you otherwise have no issues with your manager along these lines, it’s doubtful anyone will hold that sort of play against you either as long as it’s an isolated incident.

Herrera is not in that position, however. He’s raised Mackanin’s ire in the past for ignoring signs and taking what Mackanin believed to be a lackadaisical approach to the game. Whether that’s a fair assessment of Herrera or not — we can’t fully know everything about their interaction from the outside — is sort of beside the point. He has to know by now that Mackanin is going to get after him for that stuff and he has to know that him not being in the game is neither good for the Phillies or for Herrera.

Are these growing pains or a signs of a growing problem? That, it would seem, is up to Odubel Herrera.

Video: Minor leaguer bounces a home run off of an outfielder’s head

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Jose Canseco hit 462 homers, was the 1986 Rookie of the Year, the 1988 MVP and played for 17 years in the big leagues, winning two World Series rings and making the playoffs five times. Yet he’s not remembered for any of that. At least not very often.

No, he’s remembered for his ignominy. For his role in participating in and, subsequently, exposing baseball’s PED-fueled world of the 1990s. For his continued insistence that he was blackballed by Major League Baseball and his continued attempts to play via the independent league route. For his crazy post-playing career antics in which he spent a few years tweeting about aliens, conspiracy theories and non-sequiturs of every stripe.

Mostly, though, people remember Canseco for one random play: the time he helped the Indians’ Carlos Martinez to a home run when a fly ball bounced off of Canseco’s head and over the wall back in 1993:

 

Well, Canseco now has a friend in infamy. That friend: Zach Borenstein of the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. Yesterday Borenstein pulled a Canseco on what should’ve been an Alex Verdugo F-9:

Borenstein’s glove may have gotten a piece of that — the announcer seemed to think so anyway — and I have a hard time figuring that his head would give it that much bounce. I mean, look how far he was from the wall! He wasn’t even to the warning track. That’s a serious assist.

Still: gonna rule this a Canseco anyway. It’s too good not to.