The Big Five with … Giants 1B Aubrey Huff

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SAN FRANCISCO — Parade around the clubhouse in a victory thong, and the fact that you led the National League champions in homers, RBI, runs, slugging percentage and OPS can get lost in the shuffle. That’s Aubrey Huff’s fate these days, and he couldn’t be happier. He answers The Big 5 here:

So if Giants fans wear fake beards for Brian Wilson, long-haired wigs for Tim Lincecum and panda hats for Pablo Sandoval, what’s the  fitting tribute for you?

Through a slightly embarrassed smirk: “Wilson has been here his whole career, and he’s such a warrior out there; fans have grown to him. Timmy is the face of the franchise. This is my first year here; I’m just trying to fit in with these morons. I had to go over the top. I’m pretty tame compared to these guys. We’ve got a lot of characters. It’s strange to say, but the weirder you are, it seems the more you win.”

On playing in the post-season, and the pressure involved: “I’ve always been a guy who’s played the game kinda loose, not a lot of nerves. But I gotta tell you, there have been some nerves. Especially in Game 6 in Philly. That was probably the most-nervous I’ve been playing a baseball game.”

On growing up in Fort Worth as a Texas Rangers fan, and his favorite player: “I was at the final game at the old park, watched the ceremony when they moved (home) plate over to the new one. The next year, I went to the new park, and thought that was the most-unbelievable park I had ever seen. I remember $1 hot dog nights; 12-14 years old, sitting in the upper deck, eating $1 hot dogs all day. Now the World Series is coming up there, so it’s pretty cool.

“Nolan Ryan. I’m a hitter, but I grew up wanting to pitch. I had tickets to his sixth no-hitter (May 1, 1991 against Toronto), and my Mom was too tired from work that day to take us. He threw a no-hitter, and I was so upset.”

On the likely possibility of designated hitting in Games 3-5: “That’s up to Boch (Giants manager Bruce Bochy). He’s nailed the lineups all postseason. Obviously, I’m comfortable DH-ing. I’ve done it a lot. At this point, I don’t care where I am. If I’m hitting (in the) eight-hole, I’m fine with it. I’ve hit six-hole the last two nights, and it’s working. I’ll hit behind the pitcher; I don’t care right now.”

On postseason hitting hero Juan Uribe: “He’s so strong, and he swings so hard. He runs into so many balls late in games. It’s gotta be 8-9-10 homers late in games that have tied it or put us ahead. He’s really, really clutch. We love him as a teammate. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s a fun guy – if you can understand him.”

Editor’s note: Tony DeMarco is a contributor to NBCSports.com who has been covering the big leagues since 1987. He’ll interview a guest during each day of the World Series for HardballTalk.com.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.