Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Farewell to the Big Unit (A baseball Sports Report)

Randy Johnson retired from MLB today after a brilliant career. Hands down he's one of the best lefty pitchers ever and I know that in the 90's and early 00's, few pitchers were more feared on the mound.

Imagine stepping in the batter's box and facing a 6-10, ornery throwing machine who reaches 100 mph with a fastball and slider. Yeah, if I batted lefty, I'd cry or just give up and take my three pitches. But I respected the Unit because in the early days of me watching baseball, I watched Seattle a lot because of Ken Griffey so I got an appreciation for his skill, his heat and when I played Ken Griffey baseball on Game Boy, I couldn't wait to use him and throw that heater.

Here's my favorite Big Unit memories
1. 2001 World Series - 3 wins. His Game 7 performance in relief of one of the greatest World Series ever reminded me of what I read Grover Cleveland Alexander did in Game 7 of the 1926 WS (came in with bases loaded, pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief that ended with Babe Ruth caught stealing.) Epic.
2. 1995 Mariners run. He won the one-game playoff to get them in the postseason, won Game 5 of the ALCS (along with Junior's epic score from 2nd).
3. Defeathering that bird in spring training: still one of the freakiest things you'll ever see.
4. Nearly killing JT Snow in 1997 with a fastball to the head
5. Watching him live pitch for Arizona in 2006, a sight to behold.
6. The perfect game at 40
7. Getting traded to Houston in 1998 and going 10-1 to win the Cy Young and put them in the postseason.

He's arguably the greatest lefty ever and he's a first ballot HOF. As far as power and intimidation and control later in his career, he was a great one and he'll be the LAST 300-game winner we see for a while...

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, congrats to Andre "The Hawk" Dawson for getting elected. He was a player who did it the right way and did it to the tune of over 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, eight Gold Gloves and All-Star Games, an MVP on a la
st place team. No hate for that.

But I am mad that Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin did
n't get in. Two of the greatest players of the 1990's and two of the greatest at their position didn't get in on the first ballot? That's a sham and a half.

Alomar at least got 73.7 percent of the vote so he's a shoo-in next year, along with Bert Blyleven (287 wins, 60 shutouts and a staggering curveball). Larkin barely got over 50% (51.6) so it may take him some time - inexcusable. Blame it on these guys playing a bit too long but I remember hearing them as shoo-in HOF candidates all during the late 90's.

Both of them made over 10 All-Star Games. Both of them very popular. They shouldn't have to wait to go in. But respect to the Hawk - I remember Ryne Sandberg shouting him out during his HOF speech and now he'll be there to welcome him in.

Is it just me or is it a bit sad that the biggest Dodgers news this offseason is Matt Kemp dating Rihanna and already going on trips with her to the Caribbean?

We desperately need a 4th starter. We desperately need a 2B. We need to make a play on some of the guys still out there. But this stupid McCourt divorce has the organization's hands tied and because our GM answers to the CFO, baseball moves won't be made for the sake of $$$

I knew it was gonna be a long offseason after that NLCS loss but who know it'd literally be long and dull except for the off-field stories. I sure didn't but I have a feeling 2010 could be an interesting season when spring training starts.

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