Thursday, June 10, 2010

Maybe It Was The Ballpark

I've been waiting for a while to write this post, and once Adrian Beltre smoked a lined shot into the bleachers off of Kerry Wood, I finally decided it was my opportunity.

(By the way, I was going to write about how maybe I was wrong about the 46 situation as a new fracture was found. Drink some friggin milk, bro. I was also going to mention the fact that World Cup refs are going to yellow card players who swear. Swearing is part of sports. Feel free to talk about this.)

I wrote in February that the Adrian Beltre move, while it certainly wasn't my favorite by any stretch of the imagination, was not a terrible move. It presented a slight upgrade over Mike Lowell, and now that we're a third of the way through the season, it has been evident that it's more than just a slight upgrade. I certainly will continue to contend that he might be the only player on the team dumber than Jonathan Papelbon, but the guy can actually play baseball. Good baseball.

I talked to one of my boys from Seattle in January, and he said that I wouldn't dislike Beltre as much as I anticipated I would. He asked me this week now I'm liking Beltre. What can I say?

We heard Beltre pop his mouth off a little bit in the offseason about how his lack of production as a member of the Mariners was because of the ballpark. And this might actually be true. A lot of the balls he smokes might just kind of stay up there in that dense air in Seattle. A lot of them might also be crushing walls now whereas they won't be in Seattle. He also battled injuries in his last season, but it shouldn't matter: His numbers were terrible last year. And his performance in 2004 screams steroid use.

But the guy has never been implicated. Even I will admit that the guy has been leagues better than Lowell would have been at this position on both sides of the ball. It may have been a comments section or it may have been in a past post, but the power that Adrian Beltre represents what Wily Mo Pena was supposed to be. Bad plate patience, a lot of strikeouts, but can hit the ball a mile and a half when he can get a hold of one. He's actually more refined than Pena, as he can (obviously) hit things other than home runs too. He's certainly not a smart batter. He's not a smart defender. He's not a smart baserunner. And he's as weird as hell (what is up with the "don't touch my head" thing? Makes no sense.

But loss tonight or no loss tonight, Adrian Beltre has been a difference-maker on this team. Perhaps the team's most consistent hitter. And that's because he's got a lot of talent. Guy's oozing with it. There's something that has to be said about a guy who can launch a ball 450 from one knee.

The thing that must be said is that he's worth watching. More so than anyone else on the team. Definitely an upgrade. Definitely a pleasant surprise. And yes, this is the real DV and not someone hijacking my computer: Beltre is absolutely a good scouting job of a major league player by the Red Sox' organization.

5 comments:

The GM said...

I also thought you were gonna ask about how Pete Carroll, despite what we saw with the Jets and Patriots, (and I already texted this to Bandi) apparently DOES know how to coach professional athletes. Only problem was, his professional athletes were playing against college athletes. Good work Pete. I'd also love to hear what Tim C feels about the swearing in the World Cup issue.

the gm at work said...

Pete Abraham: "A 4-3 road trip at Baltimore and Cleveland is not good enough."

Can't agree more. Bard has to concentrate. Enjoy yo day.

Anonymous said...

DV

Aside from the disappointment of dropping the final two games in Cleveland (especially last night--never should have let the five run lead evaporate in the first place), things are pretty good for the Red Sox. They've had injuries (everyone has though) and bouts of ineffectiveness (Beckett, Pedroia, Victor Martinez, JD Drew, and David Ortiz, Jon Lester, and John Lackey have all had absolutely horrendous stretches thus far) and yet they're very much in contention. Considering where they were after the last time they left Baltimore, this is a good thing.

Adrian Beltre has been a big part of that. He has made far too many errors this year. And he really struggles with breaking pitches, especially down and away, but in the aggregate? He's been awesome. He has eight homers and 42 RBI so far in 59 games. He hit eight homers and had 44 RBI all of last season. Offensively, he's been awesome (he's on pace for a 206 hit season) and right there with Youkilis in the discussion for Sox MVP. And I think that we can all agree that he's not going to continue to rack up errors at this rate. The only unfortunate part of this is that it's probably highly unlikely that he'll re-sign with the Sox this winter.

Also, I have no idea what to make of the NBA Finals. Any scenario over these past three games could play out and none of them would surprise me. I just want to go on record as saying this much--there's nothing I like less in the world of baseball than to see the Red Sox lose to the Yankees. And I hate seeing the Celtics lose to the Lakers about 50 times more.

Also, I can't believe how badly ESPN is trying to shove the World Cup down our throats. They're promoting it with the same fervor that the NBA promotes the WNBA. It's embarrassing. You can put a tuxedo on a monkey. You can put lipstick on a pig. And both of them will still be ugly.

--the Gunn

TimC said...

The NBA hands out techs to guys for LESS than swearing. We can also talk about this.

But (pathetic) defensive retorts aside, the real issue with the world cup is the suspension system. We are all familiar with the seven technicals equals a one game suspension rule in the NBA. However, in the world cup, TWO yellow cards accumulated in the group stage equals a one game suspension. At least one team is eliminated as a direct consequence of this rule in each tournament and I am not a fan of it.

The spirit behind the swearing and yellow cards is good. Generally, soccer refs hand out yellow cards to players who are slowing down the flow of the game, for dangerous challenges, for persistent fouling, or for certain special scenarios (like the "open path" foul in basketball). Thus, cards tend to come flying out in the second half. It is not so much the swearing, though, but rather the fact that a player must stand still, stop the flow of the game, and take the time to yell at the referee that results in a card.

Plus, this rule favors America.

Adrian Beltre is ridiculously talented. I am consistently surprised by his athleticism and I suspect that baseball may not be his "best" sport. It seems to me like maybe rugby would suit him more than third base. He has been huge.

Gunn,

No one is forcing anyone to watch the World Cup. If the big-screens at CornerKicks are showing Mexico-South Africa instead of Cold Pizza, you can finish your umbrella drink and leave.

The NBA Finals have been awesome. I think Game 5 decides the series because the Celtics are as likely to win two straight in LA as Tony Allen is to hit two straight right handed layups. The key development in Game 4 was the exposure of the soft underbelly of the Lakers, with Bynum now, if not "out", officially "ineffective", and Gasol officially SOFT.

Gasol's play against the physical action of Garnett, Baby, and even PERK on a couple of first half moves were officially despicable for fans of physical basketball. Every time the Spaniard is bumped, he cedes ground. The key is to keep attacking him so the LA bigs cannot hedge out on Pierce and Ray coming off screens. 'Sheed and Baby must also make sure not to give him the 15-footer.

Anonymous said...

TimC,

I don't think the Gunn goes to Corner Kicks on Friday night. That's more of a Saturday night play for him because that's when dancing is open upstairs. So it shouldn't be a problem.

Gunn,

Last night was awesome. Sheed, Big Baby, and Nate Robinson turned the game into an all out street brawl in the fourth quarter. Totally changed the complexion of the game even though their antics were completely out of control.

The looks on the faces of Kobe, Pau and Phil Jackson was that of, 'wow, what just happened?'

The remaining games are a tossup as you said. It's there for the taking for the Celtics if they can get enough offense consistently.

bandi