I didn’t see it, but many have told me that during last night’s Red Sox-Yankees game ESPN put up a graphic that showed the all-time hits leaders. On that list, right behind Derek Jeter, was Honus Wagner. Many people also told me that, when the graphic was displayed, ESPN color man John Kruk said something along the lines of “Not bad for a shortstop . . . He may have the most hits for a shortstop, are any of those guys on that list shortstops?”
Jeter does have the most hits for a shortstop, but how one can look at a list with Honus Wagner’s name on it and not know he too was a shortstop is pretty mind blowing. I mean, he’s only one of the inner-circle all-time greats. Perhaps the best shortstop in baseball history.
I realize that Kruk’s appeal is not based on his encyclopedic knowledge of the game. But given that we’ve pretty much ruled out charisma, strategic insight and general listenability, we’re running out of options here.
In other news, Jim Bowden is still alive and tweeting and posting columns over at The Worldwide Leader as if nothing pretty crazy and normally termination-worthy happened last week.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.