Friday, June 11, 2010

Where's Puljos been hiding?

As interleague play begins this weekend, Major League Baseball is forcing my attention to be brought upon the National League, I ponder about, the league as whole, best player Albert Puljos. In turn I realize that I haven’t heard too much noise involving Albert Puljos. Why is that and what is the answer?

Albert Puljos is the type of player that is so good; you sometimes forget how good he is, if that makes any sense at all. It does to me so just roll with it. This season, with the exception of the first week and a half of April, when Puljos came exploding out of the gate like we all expected him to, we haven’t really heard too much about him. Hitting two homeruns on opening day. It’s been quiet for him thus far so naturally he must be sucking it up, right? Wrong, because if any person playing on my team(s) (the Red Sox and Mariners) got their stuff together and put up AP numbers, I’d be doing the Ronaldinho celebration Kobe style. Click here to see what I’m talking about, it is my favorite commercial right now. But that just goes to show you how consistently fantastic Puljos has been because we are bored when he gives us great production. Numbers for Puljos as of today:

BA HR RBI OPS
.306 14 44 .978

In the National League that ranks him 2nd in homeruns, 4th runs batted in, 2nd with OPS and 8th respectively with his batting average, and even still I ask myself what could be wrong or what he tweak to return to his usual form. Bottom line is that we have been spoiled by Albert Puljos for nine straight years and we gripe if he isn’t batting at least .330 and hitting a jack every three games. How dare he let his OPS slip under 1.000, the insanity of it all, absolutely unbelievable, I’ll never forgive him! So what seems to be his deal? Why is his batting average so ugly to look at? These are questions that I ask myself and I can’t seem to snap out of it. Those are good numbers. Hell, those are great numbers. I’ve become the pampered little fan because of Daddy Puljos and now can no longer identify with my old, orphan Annie self. I hate it and I am ashamed. You know how they say people have gone Hollywood, well, I’ve gone Puljos. I have no sense of reality. You know, if he continues to play the way he does he’ll end up with a .318 average on the season, he’ll have gone yard 36 times and driven in 115. Super year for every other player in the bigs, but since it is Albert, I’m acting like he just kicked my dog and I’m screaming, “what the ---- is your problem man?”

The only problem that Albert Puljos has is being awesome. And the ability for playing the game of baseball tremendously. And being overshadowed like every other hitter in the game because of this year’s caliber of pitching. There have been 21 perfect games (and yes I’m counting Galarraga’s perfect game, unlike crappy Bug Selig who I haven’t liked since he called the All-star game in a tie in ’02) ever thrown in MLB history and three of them have happened this year! Knowing this helps take the sting away of such sub-par play from a guy who will hit more than 800 homeruns when all is said and done. And yet I digress…

Moving on, the games I look forward to during interleague play.

June 13th
Washington Nationals at Cleveland Indians

The two teams going head to head here: not much history. The real draw for this game is the second start for rookie Steven Strasburg after going 7 innings, 14K’s and 0 BB in his opening start. His curve in that game was re-dic-uh-lous. I was reading Bill Simmons’s running diary of game 3 and they did a poll for what his nickname should be. The majority was “Commander and Chief”, which is kind of clever given the city he plays in and the team name, but saying the name outloud is too dorky if you ask me, which is why I am unveiling Strasburg’s new nickname that I have so cleverly come up with.

Albastras.

It’s perfect. Paying homage to the Albatross, it embraces everything Steven Strasburg is. He is and is going to continue to be, a big deal. Albatross = big. There are not very many guys with as good as stuff that he has. His fastball sits in the 98-100 range, has nasty biting curve, and a real good change up on that he throws with good arm speed. Albatross = rare. And of course the ‘tross’ and ‘Stras’ part of their names rhyme. A trifecta. Plus, anytime I hear the word ‘Albatross’ I am instantaneously reminded of two movies I used to watch over and over on VHS. First movie was Jurassic Park and the correlation is the conversation between John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough) and Jeff Goldblum (played by Jeff Goldblum) about recreating a species. Second, is The Rescuers: Down Under, when the kangaroo mouse with the Austrailian accent working at the airport for birds, is shocked that a bird as big as an Albatross is going to try and land on his runway. I distinctly remember the emphasis he puts on the ‘al’ sound while proclaiming, “An Albatross?!” For no reason at all, that line is burned into my mind forever.

Remember, you read it here first: The Albastras.

June 16th
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees

Of course this is game two in this three game set, but we get to see two teams that are projected to see each other in the World Series square off with two of their best pitchers in Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett. Both will be bringing their extra ‘A’ game and it should be a great duel.

June 18th
Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox

Manny Ramirez will be playing his first game in Boston since being traded in 2008. I cannot wait! My only wish is that he was playing better than he is, so the chances of him going big over The Monster could throw me back to ’04. If only he could be playing at a crappy Albert Puljos level, ya know? But still it will be nice to see him back in Fenway and expect the fans to give him a standing ovation. Add the drama between these two cities that’s been going back and forth during these NBA Finals and we’ll have a hot one for sure.

As far as the interleague games going this weekend, I don’t have the slightest clue of the marquee matchups or even care for that matter. All I know is that Albert Puljos better hit 20 home runs this weekend so on Monday I can finally find some peace and stop begrudging him. The World Cup will be dominating my life this weekend and with the big game less than 24 hours away I will not be noticing much else. Right now my biggest concern is when I will be going to Old Navy to buy a t-shirt with an American flag on it. It’s funny, every time the World Cup rolls around I seem to notice my serious lack of America-themed clothing and then there is the pressing reminder that I don’t own an American flag to wear as a cape during games. This has bothered me for almost a decade. I can’t be the only one that feels this way.

Anyhow… I’ll leave you with this: USA! USA! USA!

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