Tag Archives: nelson cruz

’30-YOC Top Ten’ – Top 10 Stars From The 2011 World Series

’30-YOC Top Ten’ – Top 10 Stars From The 2011 World Series

I couldn’t do this list last Sunday because I wanted to get my ‘Pick The Award Winners’ contest up and going.  Lucky for me, the results of the 2011 World Series are entrenched in my brain.

As we all know, David Freese won the World Series MVP award.  I like the pick, but I do think that there were a few players that were more deserving of that honor.

So, here is my ‘Top Ten Stars From The 2011 World Series’ list.  You may or may not agree with my selections, or the order of them, and that is fine.  But years from now when I think back to this amazing 7-game series, these are the guys that I think that I will remember most.

Honorable Mention – Josh Hamilton, Chris Carpenter, Adrian Beltre, Rafael Furcal, Lance Lynn, Alexi Ogando, Jason Motte, and Michael Young.

10 – Ron Washington – I love his animated personality from the dugout.  He would be a fun guy to play for.

9 – Ian Kinsler – I like lead-off hitters and I think he was the best one of the playoffs.  He offers a great blend of contact and power hitting.

8 – Derek Holland – His performance in Game 4 was stellar.  And his impersonation of Harry Caray was pretty good too.

7 – Alan Craig – Great story for such a young player.  He played like a veteran throughout the series and was the best bench player that St. Louis had.

6 – Lance Berkman – It was great to see the old guy get it done so consistently at the plate.  I am older than Berkman, but that beard did not help his cause…

5 – David Freese – He offered us some great heroics – from game-winning home runs to lead saving plays in the field.  It was nice to see a local guy from STL get the home crowd support like he did.

4 – Yadier Molina – I knew that he was good, but few catchers stand out anymore.  He is among the best at his position and I have a new respect for him as a player.  Arguably the best catcher in the game today!!

3 – Albert Pujols – It is a shame that Pujols’ 3-HR game has been overshadowed.  But this is a team sport, and on the night of Game 3, Pujols propelled his team to victory single-handidly.

2 – Mike Napoli – Talk about consistent, he was the team’s best hitter and defender through the entire series.  And that throw to third to nab Holliday was uber-impressive – from his knees!!!

1 – Nelson Cruz – Cruz instantly became a star during the post-season.  And his home run tear puts him in an elite class.  It goes to show that anyone has the chance to shine on this stage, and his home run barrage will live on as one of the greatest offensive World Series performances of  all-time!!!

And there you have it, my recollection of the best World Series match-up that I have seen in a very long time.  Filled with solid pitching, great offense, and drama, 2011’s World Series was an instant classic!!!

If You Are Not Enjoying These Baseball Playoffs, Something Is Definitely Wrong With You….

If You Are Not Enjoying These Baseball Playoffs, Something Is Definitely Wrong With You….

I am a true lover of the sport – from the history to the tradition to the heroics.  I love it all!!!

But the drama that we have experienced as baseball fans over the last two weeks has been unreal – something I could easily classify as the most exciting postseason of my lifetime!!!

The most recent drama – Nelson Cruz’s walk-off Grand Slam giving the Rangers a 7-3 over the Tigers and a 2-0 series lead.

I cannot get enough!!!

‘On The Road With psugator02’ – March 28, 2010

March 28, 2010

White Sox at Rangers
Surprise, Ariz.
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Had heard great things about the Rangers’ facility. But in retrospect, I spent a lot of hours graphing and really didn’t get much. However, every stud Rangers’ minor leaguer walked right by me, including Font, Boscan, Smoak, and many many more. If I had seen Smoak in time I most definitely would’ve gotten him on a SS.

Ozzie Guillen: 1/1 (B+W 5×7 sketch card)….gave him blue Sharpie but he signed it in black and it came out so well that the graph actually looks like it’s part of the sketch
Ian Kinsler: 1/1 (8×10)….one of the prettiest graphs I’ve gotten in a long time
Josh Hamilton: 1/1 (’09 Ginter)…got the last Hamilton item I own signed. I think I’m gonna read his autobiography and get that signed….every time he signs for me it seems I have a story. This time, he was inscribing Psalm 62. He did it on a lot of items but not mine. I asked him why I didn’t get the inscription. He looked at me and asked, “Do you remember it?” I said that I did and Hamilton smiled. GREAT GREAT dude
Gordon Beckham: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…I was on the other side of the stadium and saw him signing. I rushed over to where he was and got lucky. Funny thing is that a young girl standing in front of me asked for the SS and he refused. Then when it was my turn I asked for the SS and he did it. It may have had something to do with me telling Beckham that I had flown in from Florida. I wished him luck this season and he thanked me. A real GREAT dude
Ron Washington: 2/2 (cards)…guy was a common in the 1980s so I have a ton of his cards. I didn’t bring all of them with me. Maybe I should have because now I have nothing left for him. A great guy and a great signer
Nelson Cruz: 1/1 (’09 Ginter)…went down the line on the backfields, signing for everyone. a GREAT GREAT dude
Michael Young: 0/1…this guy has proven to be hard. he actually signed for three people standing next to me, including a little boy, but he wouldn’t sign for me
Elvis Andrus: 0/1
Nolan Ryan: 0/1..I finished my pregame graphing and knew that Ryan was probably in attendance so I talked to an unsher who worked the area behind home plate. He pointed to Ryan’s seat (he sits in the same seat every game). He said Ryan hadn’t yet arrived. Oddly enough, five minutes after speaking to this usher I turned around and saw Ryan standing five feet from me. I was the only one to recognize him. I asked him to sign and he wouldn’t do it. I walked with him a few feet, trying to make small talk and butter him up for later. He ended up leaving the game in the bottom of the 8th, but this time went out through the field exit, which was inacessible to me. On a side note, between half innings ushers would guard Ryan on all sides, preventing people from scooting over near him. However, if you happened to be a good-looking woman, Ryan would motion you over and allow you to sit next to him. I saw a hot blonde point at Ryan and he invited her over. She sat next to Ryan for 15-20 minutes and when the two of them were done talking Ryan signed for her.
Alex Rios: 0/1
Paul Konerko: 0/1
Juan Pierre: 0/1

Once I saw Ryan leave I knew that the stadium’s logistics would limit further postgame graphing opportunities so I high-tailed it back to Phoenix.

Indians at Angels
Phoenix, Ariz.
4-4:45 p.m.

Huge crowd of people stood outside the fence waiting for Angels’ graphs. I knew the chances of anyone stopping were slim so I thought of something creative. A 6-foot wall surrounds the player parking lot, which is also where the visitors’ bus parks. I’m 6’5, so it was easy for me to look over the wall at the Angels’ players exiting the clubhouse, in addition to those Indians boarding the bus. The wall is only a few feet from the entrance to the visitors’ bus so the players had to acknowledge me as they boarded. After a few minutes I looked down and saw three boulders, which I piled on top of one another. I stood on the three boulders and was even taller, leaning over the wall with my items in hand.

While standing on the boulders

Tori Hunter: 0/1 …I was only two feet from him as he exited the clubhouse yet he wouldn’t do it
Chris Perez: 4/4 (cards for deejayshane)….I saw him so many times in Jupiter last year that I recognized him immediately, which is the only reason I was able to get him. If I had waited to see the name on his back then I most definitely wouldn’t have gotten him. I gave him the four cards I had and he asked why I needed so many. I told him that they were set cards for a friend whom I trade with. He then said he was just messing with me. We talked about the University of Miami and I wished him luck. One of my favorite players in MLB. GREAT GREAT dude
Sandy Alomar: probably could’ve gotten him but I didn’t realize it was him until he had already passed me

As soon as I got Perez a security guard stationed inside the clubhouse walked over to me and told me that I had to get down off the wall.

Back behind the barricades

Hideki Matsui: 0/1 …wouldn’t stop his car

If you would like to contact Mark, he can be reached at psugator02@yahoo.com.

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – March 24 & 25, 2010

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – March 24 & 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24

L.A. Dodgers at Oakland A’s
Phoenix, AZ

After some problems with the rental car I was forced to take the city bus from the airport so I didn’t make it to the game until 7:30 p.m. Met up with angelsfan, who has to be the prettiest grapher on this board, and a friend from South Florida. The Dodgers brought the entire starting lineup, which was a shock to me considering that’s not something that usually happens in the Grapefruit League. Most of the Dodgers’ starters were pulled halfway through the game, which is when we decided to leave our seats for the bus. Shocked at how accommodating the players were:

James Loney: 1/2 (Ginter)…said he didn’t have time to sign the second
Casey Blake: 1/1 (Ginter), 1/1 with help (Ginter)..signed but didn’t seem too happy about it
Matt Kemp: 1/1 (Ginter)….wanted to ask him about Rhiana but I didn’t LOL
Hiroki Kuroda: Actually jogged around the fans waiting by the bus so he wouldn’t have to sign
Andre Ethier: 1/1 (Ginter)
Rafael Furcal: 1/1 (Ginter)
Joe Torre: 0/1…said there were too many people even though I only counted six. seemed to be in a bad mood

Other: Mattingly and the entire coaching staff wouldn’t even acknowledge fans

and the surprise of the night:

Tommy Lasorda: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…he only signed three. was with a handler who kept saying that “Tommy can’t sign anymore. Get him tomorrow at Camelback.” Well once the handler got in the car to pick up Tommy I shouted, “Hey Tommy, would you mind signing?” And he motioned for a friend and I to come over. I”ll just say this: Lasorda looked like death and I mean that in the nicest way. He had trouble walking and appeared to be out of it at least in the 5 minutes I interacted with him. Whatever is wrong, I wish him the best.

Next up on Thursday: Rangers at Angels (day) and A’s at Giants (night)

____________________________________________

Thursday, March 25

Texas Rangers at LA Angels
10:15-4:30

Got there at about 10:15 and Weaver, Wood and Santana were already on the backfields and the Rangers’ team bus had already arrived. Had to graph the stadium before the game started and I’m never a big fan of that. But all in all I did pretty well.

Josh Hamilton: 1/1 (11×14 in blue Sharpie) on the LF berm, 1/1 (8×10 in black Sharpie) on the berm, 2/2 (Ginters) after the game….also took a pic with…this dude is awesome. he actually parked in the public lot if you can believe that…..you can really see that after all he’s been through he really understand what’s important and that’s being cool to the fans
Nelson Cruz: 2/2 (8x10s) in public lot after game, 2/2 (Ginters) in public lot after game
Ron Washington: 1/1 (Senior League Baseball card)….We reminisced about the Senior Baseball League, which had a team only a few minutes from where I live. Wished him luck in 2010 and he said,”Thanks, babe.”
Chris Davis: 2/2 (Ginters) before game, 1/1 (Ginter) after game in public lot
Hideki Matsui: 0/1 just missed him as he signed about 20 in the sixth inning while leaving the field for the clubhouse
Tori Hunter: 1/1 (Ginter) in the boldest black Sharpie I have ever seen, 1/1 (’08 Ginter state card)…this dude is great..always smiling, chatting with fans and taking pictures
David Murphy: 2/2 (Ginters)

and the surprise of the day…………

Vlad Guerrero: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)…I purposely left my SI at home because I’ve never seen or heard of him signing. And then when I saw him doing SPs all I had left was the Ginter. But no regrets as I need him to complete the set. I told him that I don’t know anyone who can sport a goatee the way he does, but I’m not sure he understood me. I was finally at the right place at the right time

Oakland A’s at San Francisco Giants
5:30-11 p.m.

Mike Gallego: 2/2 (cards) before the game by the dugout….reminisced about the days the Yankees used to train in Fort Lauderdale. a GREAT dude…didn’t realize how short he is LOL
Travis Buck: 1/1 (Turkey Red) before the game by the dugout…..I don’t even collect Turkey Reds but this card looks great
Kevin Kouzmanoff: 1/1 (Ginter)…..he explained why players aren’t allowed to sign once the National Anthem begins….neat guy
Mark Gardner: 0/1..he would’ve done it but I didn’t recognize him until it was too late
Jonathan Sanchez: 2/2 (8x10s), 1/1 (8×10) with help….refused to inscribe his no-hitter, though he did for someone else…you should’ve seen the woman he was with..WOW
Bruce Bochy: 1/1 (card)…he stopped his car to sign for the dozen or so graphers left
Shawon Dunston: 1/1 (card)…he didn’t want to sign, saying, “It’s no longer my time.”
Mark DeRosa: 1/1 (card)
Roberto Kelly: 1/1 (card)
Bengie Molina: 1/1 (Ginter)…last player to leave the stadium
Buster Posey: 0/1 …didn’t think he was worth a ball so I gave him a whitesheet, which he refused to sign
Pablo Sandoval: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)….asked him for the “Kung Fu Panda” inscription but he refused
Tim Flannery: 0/1 …wouldn’t even stop

and the biggest disappointment of the night ….

Dave Righetti: 0/1 ….last person to leave the stadium and the only reason I even attended the game. Asked him as he exited the clubhouse if he could sign and he said, “No” and then put his head down. Walked over to his car but he just drove past me