(Warning-this post has been in my head all day, but by the time I sat down to type it, well I should have been getting ready for work. This is very rushed, not well thought out and not proofread at all. I am sorry for that, sorry for the lack of scans, too-On to the story...)
Today was a crappy day, literally. I was late for class and rushing to try and make it, while having no idea what time it was because there is no clock in the car, I don’t own a watch and the stupid phone is broken, and when I finally found a parking spot and started to race toward the building, I stepped in a huge pile of poop with both feet. I have never done this before, not to this extreme. I don’t know if it was horse, human or rhinoceros feces, but there was a lot of it and it smelled horrible. It got onto my pants and coated my boots. I went to the restroom and attempted to clean up, but it was a lost cause. Nothing like showing up to class 15 minutes late and stinking of poop! Class was awful, the assignments that I struggled with for the last three days aren’t due till next week and when I showed the instructor my essay for her input, she did say it was great, but she also didn’t believe that I wrote it and she warned me that plagiarism will result in a failing grade. I guess I could take that as a compliment, I guess. So, since getting home I have been scanning cards like a madman in plans for an epic trade bait post tomorrow. I am not going to spend any more money on wax (other than a group break maybe) till 2010 Heritage or 2009 Heritage Update Highs (are they doing that this year?) and in the meantime I want to try and finish up my in progress sets and build up my player collections. I have a few autographs, but a BUNCH of relics that I am going to put on the block, so stay tuned!
For now I am going to talk about the stolen base. To me, this is huge; this is how games get won. It has always been, to me at least, more prominent in the National League, but the Rays and The Angels have really brought it back in the AL this year as a team. A stolen base instantly puts a guy who walked or singled in scoring position, it distracts the pitcher and the catcher, it just helps win games. Most of this year Carl Crawford was pacing the league in steals, he set a record for steals in one game, consecutive steals and he rode the stolen base all the way to the All Star game and then snagged MVP honors there. Now it is a well known fact that I despise the Red Sox, but they have a couple players that I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Rays jersey. The first is Jason Bay. He rules and has a shot at the RBI and homerun titles this year and I would much rather see him do it than that guy on the Yankees, but anyway… The other Red Sox outfielder who has earned my respect this year is Jacoby Ellsbury.
JE has moved past CC in the stolen base chase and moved ahead of everyone in baseball. With 63 steals he already has more stolen bases than anyone in the American League since Rickey swiped 66 in 1998. He will also be the first AL player to lead the majors since Chone Figgins in 2005. His other numbers aren’t too bad either, with a line of .302/8/57, a good glove in the outfield and 63 steals at an 86% success rate, he will deservedly get some MVP attention, at least he should. Carl Crawford does have a chance to catch him, though. Craw is sitting with 59 steals as of last night, just 4 behind Ellsbury. Crawford has also been caught more often-15 times this year. His success rate is now just 80%. You can blame a few of those on bad calls and Crawford does, but he been thrown without question more than half of those times. Crawford’s three key stat line is more impressive though-.307/14/66 and an All Star MVP and a few records doesn’t hurt when it comes to MVP voting. He has also gotten more hits and scored more than Ellsbury. So what are they doing in the NL this year? Well, Michael Bourn of the Astros is pacing the League. He has 58 steals, so he too can catch Crawford and Ellsbury; nothing is set in stone yet. I wouldn’t call Bourn an MVP candidate just yet, but he is having a breakout year and he, along with Ellsbury and Crawford all have more steals themselves than 3, yes three different National League TEAMS! This blows my mind that one person can out run an entire team in a running league. It is happening and I don’t think anyone of these teams catch any of those 3 guys. The closest team is the Milwaukee Brewers, led by the speedster (sarcasm) Ryan Braun. RB has 15 steals this year, which is pretty impressive for a slugger of his stature, but the rest of the team combines for just 39 steals. That gives the Brew Crew 54 total for the year, while being caught 34 times! That is a success rate of 61%. They’ve been caught more than 3 times more often than Ellsbury with 9 less steals total and they aren’t the only ones. The Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves both have just 52 steals from their entire teams. The Cubs, led by Ryan Theriot with 20, have been caught 32 times, a success rate of 62.6%. The Braves, led by Nate McClough with 11 have been tried to run less than any other team in baseball. Their success rate is higher (69%), but they are still tied for the fewest in baseball. Those things absolutely blow my mind. I will leave you all with one more tidbit and also tease that those aren’t the only stats where one player outguns an entire team. We are back on Michael Bourn of the Astros who is tied for the League lead in triples with Shane Victorino, both of them having 11. This also happens to be 2 more than the entire Toronto Blue Jays roster. I should note that the team has had as many as Victorino and Bourn, but 2 came from Alex Rios. Since I am deleting his stats from the team, take away his 20 steals for the Jays this year and they have just 52 steals, same boat as Atlanta and the Cubbies. Now, granted, I grew up in the era of Rickey and Vincent Van Go Go, but to me a team should never have less steals than anyone not named Rickey Henderson. I know it’s of no coincidence that the Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs and Braves will all have to buy tickets to the Playoffs this year. That said, I have to go to work if I want to be able to watch the playoffs on TV, light bill is due, eek! Go Rays! Troll out.