By Aaron Hutchins - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 0 Comments
Aaron Hutchins on a big day in Major League Baseball
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Monday, April 18, 2011 at 9:20 AM - 1 Comment
He won the National League’s MVP and led the Cincinnati Reds to the playoffs. Still, he’s working even harder on his game.
There’s an etiquette about batting practice in the big leagues. It’s fine to goof around outside the cage, talking to teammates, opponents, or the various hangers-on, as you wait your turn. But once you’re standing at the plate, it’s all business—take your hacks and make way for the next guy.
Then there’s Joey Votto. It’s not that the Toronto-born first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds violates the convention—far from it. He just makes it seem like an extra commandment. The preceding hitter has barely cleared the box before the 27-year-old is in his crouch, bat at the ready. He slashes the first pitch down the left-field line, then works his way right across the diamond—tock, tock, tock. The next five balls get launched into or over the high netting that tops the outfield walls at the Reds’ spring training complex in Goodyear, Ariz.—three in a row to right, then two to left. It’s all so workaday that Votto doesn’t even bother to watch them go, he’s already waiting for the next pitch. Focused is a term that hardly does him justice.
So when the reigning National League MVP, coming off a season where he hit .324, smashed 37 homers, and batted in 113 runs and led the Reds to their first playoff berth in 15 years, proclaims that he can get better still, who’s to argue? “I want to be great at what I do. I take a lot of pride in it,” says Votto. “And I try not to sell myself short in my work and preparation.” Between awards ceremonies this past winter (Votto also collected the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete, and the Hank Aaron Award as the NL’s top hitter), he worked out five hours a day, six times a week at his Florida home. The guy who had the best on-base percentage in baseball, and went an entire season without an infield pop-out, talks about how he hopes to be a more efficient hitter, stronger defensively, and a better teammate. He speaks earnestly about proving himself all over again, and how he really measures himself against the man who finished a distant second in the league’s MVP voting, Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals, “the best player in baseball.”
By Charlie Gillis - Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 1:03 PM - 0 Comments
Lot’s of scorn for MLB and Bud Selig this morning for allowing Game 5…
Lot’s of scorn for MLB and Bud Selig this morning for allowing Game 5 to drag on til the middle of the sixth before bowing to apocalyptic conditions. Not surprisingly, much of the anger originates in Philly, where fans may be sensitive to the fact the authorities waited just long enough for the Phils to squander a two-run lead before calling in the tarps. According to local polls, only town drunks and people who don’t know which end of the bat to hold believe Buddy Boy should have dithered so long.
But here’s a better question: what the hell kind of meteorological advice were they getting? The rain was only starting to come down when Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe assured me that the forecast called for nothing worse than what we were seeing. Then someone cued the sleet.
Now I read that snow is in the Citizen’s Park forecast for tonight. I say play ‘em. It’ll probably be the best weather Philadelphia has ever had in late October. Which is not admittedly a time they’re accustomed to playing.
By Charlie Gillis - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 12:24 PM - 0 Comments
La première étoile:… All my wife ever does is lounge around on our four-poster
La première étoile: All my wife ever does is lounge around on our four-poster saying, “Why can’t you be a real man, like Josh Hamilton?” Okay, I get it. It’s a great story. He’s a great hitter. But what about the guy who actually won Tater-fest? Justin Morneau bats .323, he has 68 RBIs, he was the winning run in last night’s All-Star marathon and he survived New Westminster, B.C., which in its hey-day was worse than injuries or addiction. A little respect, please.
Two minutes for … leaving a paper trail. Guess that shipment of HGH was for your wife, eh Rog?
Who’s got tickets? Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 2:40 PM - 0 Comments
Steve Goodman was one of the best country songwriters of his era, a funny…
Steve Goodman was one of the best country songwriters of his era, a funny little guy with a great knack for a tune (he wrote that Arlo Guthrie classic, City of New Orleans). He was also a diehard Cubs fan, and recorded this song shortly before his death of leukemia in 1984.
Today, with the Cubbies sitting atop the NL Central heading into the all-star break, everyone’s excited in Chi-town, and it seems like a good time to dust this beauty off. It’s got everything we love about baseball Continue…
By Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze - Friday, June 20, 2008 at 1:39 PM - 0 Comments
Just a little primer to this story which appeared on ESPN.com earlier this week…
Just a little primer to this story which appeared on ESPN.com earlier this week and has become a YouTube favourite for conspiracy theorists. It’s the Georgia high school Class AAA championship game. Stephens County is getting pummelled 9-1 to Cartersville, largely due to the fact that the umpire apparently has a rather large strike zone when batters from Stephens County enter the box. On the mound is Cody Martin, behind the plate is Matt Hill. At shortstop is Cody’s brother Ethan, the team’s superstar who was recently selected 15th overall by the L.A. Dodgers in the MLB entry draft. Ethan and his brother have reportedly been complaining about the umpire’s less-than-stellar performance. What follows is either a stroke of absolute luck, or a daring little plot of revenge…
By Charlie Gillis - Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 12:41 PM - 0 Comments
La première étoile: Marcus Thames. The Detroit Tigers slugger hit a monster, ninth-inning homerun …
La première étoile: Marcus Thames. The Detroit Tigers slugger hit a monster, ninth-inning homerun against the San Francisco Giants last night-his fifth consecutive game with a dinger. Not impressed? Try this: his last eight hits have all landed on the other side of the fence. Thames is so hot these days that a bunt attempt would probably clear the wall. And in case you haven’t noticed, folks, his once-foundering team is riding his hot bat up the A.L. Central standings. The underachieving Tigers have won seven of eight, and now sit just 6.5 back with plenty more to play.
Two minutes for … poor judgment. To me, for allowing Frisco to write the previous item. “A bunt attempt would probably clear the wall”?? Jesus, Mike. The Tigers PR department just called, and even they’re embarrassed. Honourable mention to all those who attacked my post on Glenn Healy. Your problem is that Heals speaks the truth. And you can’t handle the truth (let me try that again … ahem … ) YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!
Who’s got tickets? Lemme see, I’m just going over the agate page of my morning paper, and there doesn’t seem to be … oh look! Sweden and Russia are going to have it out over who the real Group D underdog is at Euro2008! Play starts at 2 bells ET, on Sportsnet. Screw work. This is critical!
Fun police: No more wanking over Tiger Woods folks. He’s bunching it up for the year, according to breaking news on the Golf Channel (there’s a phrase you don’t see often). Seems TiWo needs season-ending surgery, a concept normally associated with Peter Forsberg. He’s gotta stop going into the corners with players named Rocco.
Extra bases: I think the Leafs should serve this beer, as they too are a “fossil brand” … in the coverged media world, guess a reporter has to do a video standup as well as a game story at the NBA final—even if the reporter happens to be a florid Irishman … seems being a football player named “Paris” is like being a boy named “Sue.”
By Charlie Gillis - Friday, June 6, 2008 at 1:10 PM - 0 Comments
La première étoile:… Paul Pierce. The Celtics dynamo comes back from a third-quarter knee
La première étoile: Paul Pierce. The Celtics dynamo comes back from a third-quarter knee injury to drain 15 points, including a couple of three-pointers, to pace Boston to a 77-73 win over the Lakers in the NBA final. Pierce was also part of a thorough defensive effort on the Celtics’ part. And anyone who keeps Creepy Bryant at bay is a friend of ours.
Two minutes for … intercenine squabbling. Never one to take his grievances to the press, Manny decides instead to lay a whupping on fellow Red Sock Kevin Youkilis. Or maybe it was vice versa. Who knows. Anyway, Terry Francona says everything’s all right between them—and the Sox had enough team spirit to duke it out with the Rays. But when’s the last time Ramirez got that stoked about anything? An example, you might say, of Manny not being Manny.
Who’s got tickets? Roland Garros, France. Dinara Safina v. Ana Ivanovic in the women’s final at the French Open. This showdown on Saturday pits true Russian grit in Safina against second-seeded Ivanovic of Serbia. Safina has been dubbed the comeback queen of the tournament for twice coming back from a set and 2-5 deficits, and twice saving a match point. Ivanovic is hot—in every sense of the word.
Fun police: We enjoy beating on the CBC as much as the next blog, but exactly what does Aunt Dolores think the theme to Hockey Night in Canada is worth without, um, Hockey Night in Canada? It’s not like TSN is going to snap it up for their Wednesday night broadcast. And $2.5 million for ring tones seems a stretch. So let’s be clear: a deal will get done. Right, CBC? Right Dolores?
Extra bases: Yowza. Rumours of a steroid-related drug hit in the NFL … you’ll want your ticket money back when you read this: turns out Detroit’s core of Cup-winning stars was available to every other GM in the NHL … another Leafs prospect lost to retirement.