We are down to about 10 days before the Major League Baseball season officially begins. I have been elated at how well the Arizona Diamondbacks have been doing in spring training, almost to a fault. Why am I complaining? Because at 19-4 they are ripping the Cactus League apart and their record is so amazing that it is almost skewed. Right now the Diamondbacks are leading baseball in batting average (.317), Runs batted in (173), stolen bases (31), and runs scored (183). There are position battles going on at second base, shortstop, third base, and left field. Every player on the team is ripping the hide off of the ball. Hopefully this hitting will carry over to be regular season.
One of the players battling for a position in the outfield is Peter O’Brien, who came to the Diamondbacks via a trade with the NY Yankees four years ago. Check out this home run that Peter hit yesterday to tie the game with the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the eighth inning. StatCast measured the home run as coming off of O’Brien’s bat at 119.7 MPH, making it the hardest hit home run that they have ever measured. The home run traveled 461.7 feet. It was not hit, it was launched. Here’s the hard part for the Diamondbacks. It looks like O’Brien will start the year in the minor leagues, as he is not in their top five outfielders yet.
Speaking of amazing feats, here is one that Randy Johnson pulled off exactly 15 years ago. It is one hell of a way to suspend the flight of a bird that is flapping its wings. I wonder what got hit harder, the baseball that O’Brien hit or the dove.
Joe Garagiola passed away yesterday at the age of 90. It is amazing the careers that he and childhood buddy Yogi Berra had. Both became major league baseball players. Yogi was inducted into Cooperstown as one of the greatest catchers of all-time. Joe’s career was not as spectacular, but when he retired he went into broadcasting. He and Vin Scully did the Game of the Week for seven years. Then Joe became a regular on the Today Show for a decade. He also had game shows on NBC and even substituted for Johnny Carson numerous times. Then Joe was also inducted into Cooperstown as an announcer. Joe was a great color man in broadcasting baseball, doing many games for the Diamondbacks over the years. He and Yogi grew up in St. Louis in houses directly across the street from each other. Joe liked to joke that he was not even the best catcher on his block. Joe said he knew because Yogi always was picked first in pickup games.
I made two bets in Las Vegas a couple of days ago. I put $50 on the Diamondbacks to win the NL Pennant at 14-1 odds. If they go to the World Series, I get $750. I also bet $50 on them to win the World Series at 28-1 odds. If they win that one, I get an additional $1450 dollars. I feel like I got great odds because I know that, at the least, they are going to win the National League West Division. I thank my roommate Diesel’s brother Alan for placing the bets for me.
I am in two fantasy Baseball Leagues. My teams are both called the Phoenix Fire. I picked seventh in one league and eighth in the other. I had no chance to draft Paul Goldschmidt, who went 3rd and first in the two drafts. So here is what I did to get a first baseman. I drafted Buster Posey as a catcher in the third round and he also plays first base. Then in the later rounds I drafted Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castile, who hit 17 home runs for the Diamondbacks in only half a season last year. So my catcher/first base problems are solved.
I have only three predictions for the upcoming season. Here they are:
1. The Arizona Diamondbacks will win the NL West Division.
2. The Boston Red Sox will win the AL East Division.
3. Chicago Cubs fans will be disappointed.
Thanks for reading my blog. If you leave a comment on the way out, I will respond.