Not only is Jesus Montero one of the slowest runners in baseball, he runs … well, let’s say oddly. Jeff Sullivan of the Mariners blog Lookout Landing once described Montero’s running style as like “stepping on creaky floorboards and you’re trying not to wake up a baby.”
And as Greg Johns of MLB.com reports, Montero spent the offseason trying not to run so slowly and oddly:
“I spent a lot of time running and working on my techniques about running,” he said. “That’s what I did. I ran a lot and I learned how to run. Because last year … you know I’m slow, but I want to run a little better and gain a little more speed and all that. So that’s what I did, just run.”
Montero said he worked with a running specialist from Venezuela, as well as an instructor the Mariners sent to help him after observing his upright, awkward style in his first year in Seattle.
So does he feel faster now? “I feel good,” Montero said with a smile. “I’m learning how to run a little more beautiful, a little better, you know?”
I was going to make a joke about the absurdity of a 23-year-old professional athlete not knowing how to run, but then I remembered I’m a 30-year-old man who never learned how to shave with a non-electric razor and has instead spent the past decade with a constant five o’clock shadow like some sort of Jewish Don Johnson. Maybe I should go to Venezuela in search of a shaving expert, is the moral of this post basically.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
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.