Happy Birthday Willie Mays
Happy Birthday to the Say Hey Kid Willie Mays. One of my biggest regrets is that I was not old enough to see the great Willie Mays play with my own eyes. He was the most legit 5-tool player ever. He could hit like Ted Williams, hit for power like Mickey Mantle, he could throw like Bo Jackson, he could run like Ricky Henderson, and cover ground like Mike Trout. He was the best of best and all parts of the game. For my money today the closest we have in the game is Mike Trout of the Angels. He can do it all, not Willie Mays quite yet, if ever, that is how great Mays was. As fantastic as Trout is, will there ever be another Say Hey Kid.
If you ever get lucky enough to see the great Willie Mays on old grainy film against the great pitchers of his time. You will often see him get knocked on her rear end by the likes of Josh Gibson and such. In his day all the great hitters got chin music on a regular basis. Guess what Willie Mays would do after getting dusted. Would he charge the mound, would he glare, would he curse and yell at the pitcher. Nope he would get back in the box and knock the next pitch in to the bleachers.
Happy B day Willie and God bless you.
Many people are still buzzing about the power outage and what happened after the lights came back on and the O’s won the game. For me the biggest moment of the game was the very first at bat of the game between Chris Archer and Nick Markakis.
Archer went just 5 innings and left after 100 pitches. His last start against Boston he want 4 2/3 innings with 84 pitches and the start before that he went 6 innings and 101 pitches. That’s why my curiosity was high on the first AB of the game. How efficient can he be with his pitches?
Like Crash Davis said strikeouts are fascist. Worst than that they run up your darn pitch count. For every 3-2 count with three pitches fouled off before called strike three. That was 9 pitches, so for every 9 pitch strike out you have to have 2 or 3 one pitch at bats with the hitter grounding or popping up to an outfielder.
Take a look at the battle between Archer and Markakis. Archer jumped ahead of Markakis 0-2 with a 94 MPH heater, and then Markakis fouled off a slider. With Archer up 0-2 in the count it’s time to put in the books. Hitters are at such a disadvantage they have to expand their zone and chase anything close. Mitch Williams said he made a living in the big leagues never throwing a strike once he was ahead in the count he never gave anything to any hitter on the white.
With the 0-2 advantages Archer missed with missed with a fastball, then the hitter fouled off a fastball at 94mph. Archer came back with slider that Markakis fouled off. Next he came back with another heater for ball three. He then threw a changeup that Markakis lined into Right field for a base hit. After being up 0-2 he gave a line drive in a 7 pitch at bat. At bats like that run up pitch counts which cost pitchers chances to work into the 6th 7th and 8th inning.
All young pitchers learn to be pitch efficient the longer they are in the big leagues we saw with David Price with a live arm learned how to let the guys behind you help, get your punch outs while making sure they don’t over taxing your pitch counts.
I was surprised last night at the tweets I got back after the power outage on 19 minutes. There are many times a season that there are lightning strikes at the Trop. It doesn’t have to be a direct hit at the stadium. Many strikes to the power lines will cause the lights to flicker in a power surge. The problem is not the lights going off its trying to turn them back on. The light bulbs at the Trop are high efficiency eco friendly. These types of lights have to cool off before being relighted. It takes about 15 minutes for the lights to cool before anyone can turn them back on. So while we wait the fans get to watch the best baseball cartoon ever Bugs Bunny versus the Gashouse Gorillas.
Follow Rich Herrera on Twitter: @RBIrich