September 10, 2005
From The What Were They Thinking Dept.
I have always found it compelling whenever I catch Vladimir Guerrero's act at the ballpark or on television. He will swing at anything because only he believes that a pitcher's pitch is his for the hitting. Over the course of a season, he will make a number of ill-advised throws from the outfield because he has a great arm and he thinks he can throw anybody out. And then there are those moments on the basepaths, like last night, that are the baseball equivalent of the backup shooting guard hoisting up a 30-foot shot with plenty of time left on the 24-second clock, one of those "No, no, no! What's he doing?!" moments that rarely work out for the better.
In case you missed it, after crushing a pitch from Dustin Hermanson of the White Sox for what looked like a go-ahead home run in the top of the 12th inning, Guerrero had to shift gears from his Cadillac trot to beat the throw to second base when the ball stayed in the yard. On the next pitch, Benjie Molina laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that was fielded by the third baseman, who threw on to first base, while Guerrero ran through 3rd base coach Ron Roenicke's stop sign, rounded third and barreled for home. He was going to be out, as the throw home by second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, who was covering first on the bunt, reached catcher A.J. Pierzynski in time. But Guerrero never left his feet to slide, and he was able to sidestep Pierzynski's swipe tag and touch the plate with the tie-breaking run.
It was lunacy, the type of play that should not have met with success but could be remembered as the play that shakes the Angels out of the sleepwalking state they've been in since just before the All-Star break. Most accounts of the game are making reference to a similar play that takes place in the movie Major League. Leave it to Guerrero to come up with a Hollywood ending.
Was he trying to make up for almost getting thrown out at second on the previous play? Only Vladimir knows the answer to that. His crazy gallop home brought the following praise from the White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "This kid is the best player in baseball, to me. He's always going to be running and he's always going to make something happen. That's why he gets paid a lot of money."
I don't know if he is the best player in baseball, but it is fun to watch Guerrero play the game in a style that reminds me of Labor Day barbecues at my uncle's house and the family softball game wherein my cousin Freddy was always trying to take the extra base when he had no business even thinking about it. Oakland can load up on all the on-base-percentage machines they want. I'll pick Big Daddy Vladdy over any of 'em any day.
Posted by Andrew Torres at 8:10 AM
Thanks for your post where you state that I called my shot too early regarding the Angels losing not only the AL West but also the Wildcard. However, I'm going to stick by my prediction that the A's will win the West, the Indians will win the Wildcard and the Angels will spend the post season thinking about next year. Also, don't put too much into the Halos recent winning streak as that Whitesox team isn't very good and won't be around to long when the playoffs start. Kevin
Posted by: Kevin J. O'Leary on September 13, 2005 9:03 PM