I try to ac-cent-u-ate the positive and e-lim-i-nate the negative as much as possible, but it’s a long baseball season so it’s easy to get negative.
I tend to get the most negative about my own team when they’re not playing well. Oh, if you could take a man’s life for the thoughts that’s in his head I’d have been on that execution line many a times over the past 25 years. Between Robert Fick and Lonnie Smith I’m surprised I’m still living.
Jim Moore over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer goes through the exercise with respect to the Mariners today, trying to figure out who the most hated Mariner of all time is. He settles on Bobby Ayala but thinks that Chone Figgins is closing fast. Only Mariners fans can judge, though, because such assessments are inherently subjective. Only fans of a given team can speak to who that team’s most hated player is. Those on the outside just can’t understand.
I don’t know who the Braves’ most hated player is. Robert Fick was only there a year, but I truly hated him. It’s not Lonnie Smith. He was actually the only good player they had for a while there and I think people forgive him for his World Series (and other) transgressions. It might be John Rocker, but I bet that’s more because he embarrassed Braves fans more than he was actually hated, because he pitched pretty well while with the Braves. I have to give it some thought.
In the meantime, what say you? Who is the most hated player in your team’s history? Or at least recent history. Show your work, please.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: