I know we’ve come so far, but we’ve got so far to go. I know the road seems long, but it won’t be long ’till it’s time to go. So, most days we’ll take it fast, and some nights lets we’ll take it slow. I know we’ve come so far, but baby, baby, we’ve got so far to go. -Hairspray
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s too early for this. Like Sean Penn and Chaz Palmenteri, too Hurly Burly for this. Don’t call me Shirley for this. That’s what you’re thinking. It’s not what I’m thinking. I’m thinking what Yogi Berra is thinking. I’m thinking, “It gets late awfully early around here.” Heck, we’re already 36 games into the season. That’s 2/9 of all games. That’s 22%. 22% mental. The other half physical. Let’s get physical, physical. I wanna get physical. Let’s get physical and see what’s what. Like Stan the Man Musial always says: “I never realized that batting a little ball around could cause so much commotion.” These cats are causing a commotion. A loco-motion. My little baby sister can do it with ease. It’s easier than learning your a b c’s. So come on, come on, do the loco-motion with me. Come on with me and let’s take a peak at the All So Far Team, shall we? Sure we shall!
Catcher: Alex Avila
The other day, Justin Verlander became just the 29th pitcher in major-league history to throw multiple no-hitters in regular-season play. Hooray Justin Verlander! But on that same day, something else happened too. On that same day, Alex Avila belted a two-run bomb in the fourth inning. For those of you keeping score at home, that marked his sixth bomb of the season. Avila now has 23 RBIs and a .282 average to go along with his six homers. How about that? After a slow start to the season, folks were questioning Avila’s mechanics. They wondered if he’d ever become a capable major league hitter. Well, no one’s questi0ning nothin’ no more. Since that tough opening series in New York, this kid has become a regular hit machine. Get upah, get on up. Get upah, get on up. Stay on the scene, like a hit machine. Staying on the scene with the sweetest swing from a Tiger lefty since Mickey Cochrane.
First Base: Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko is the Rodney Dangerfield of first basemen. No respect. No respect at all. What a childhood he had, why, when he took his first step, his old man tripped him! When he played in the sandbox, the cat kept covering him up. No respect I tell ya. But that changes. That changes here. That changes now. Konerko has been named to four AL All-Star teams. He’s won the ALCS MVP. He will forever be beloved by south-siders for his clutcher than clutch grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005. Thing is, after 14 seasons in the bigs, he’s still getting it done. So far this season, he has more home runs than Ryan Howard. So far this season, he has more RBIs than Joey Votto. He has a higher batting average than Miguel Cabrera and a higher OBP than Albert Pujols. So far this season, Paul Konerko is the best first baseman in baseball.
Second Base: Robinson Cano
I hate do this one. I guess it shows my maturity. I guess it proves I can be unbiased. Hooray me! There was a time where in this space I would proudly feature Dustin Pedroia. Like the Who, anyhow, anyway I would put my favorite baseball player in this spot. Anyway, anyhow, anywhere I choose. But alas, today I cannot. Today I must give respect where respect is due. Today, respect is due to Robinson Cano. Every day, my boy, the Half Bald Prince, sends me a text. Every day. Said text goes a little something like this: Cano is a beast! Every day. He’s right. Robby Cano, doncha know! Believe it or not, last week marked the sixth anniversary of Cano’s major league debut. Why it seems like only yesterday Cano was being compared to a young Rod Carew. Today, he is living up to those expectations. Cano ranks among the American League leaders in almost every major offensive category, and he’s doing it against lefties and righties, fastballs, curves and everything in between. He’s like Paulie Cicero: Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you, pay me. It’s time for me to pay the piper. It’s time for me to pay Robinson Cano.
Third Base: Adrian Beltre
Just so you know, the first post I ever wrote was on Adrian Beltre. It was short. It wasn’t so sweet. It went a little something like this: “Ok, here we go! 1st blog ever. I hope it doesn’t suck. This is just a test to see if I know what I’m doing. If I did this right, you will see a picture of Adrian Beltre, who definitely does suck. I should know. I drafted him way too high on my fantasy team.” Now to be fair, that was the year after his monster with the Dodgers. You know, his infamous $64 million contract year? And to be honest, I thought this this year would be somewhat similar. I thought wrong. Last year, Beltre, in a contract year, put up spectacular numbers for my beloved Red Sox. Then, during the offseason, the Texas Rangers took most of the money Cliff Lee turned down and gave it to Adrian Beltre. They have not regretted it.
Shortstop: Jose Reyes
What? You thought this was going to be all American Leaguers? You thought I said are you were alright Spider? Think again. Can we say it now? Huh, can we? Can we say Jose Reyes is now the best shortstop in New York City. I got a hundred guns, a hundred clips, I’m from New York, New York. I got a semi-automatic that spits next time if you talk, you talk. Jose Reyes is from New York, New York. Jose Reyes got a hundred clips in his semi-automatic. Firing at will. Firing when ready grizzly. He fired on Friday night alright. On Friday night, Jose Reyes made Mets fans remember how exciting baseball can be when he is around. On Friday night, Jose Reyes tripled twice and added a double and a steal just for good measure. And know this sports fans, Reyes has been doing this kind of thing all season long. He could very well drive in one-hundred runs. He could very well score 130 runs and steal seventy bases. He could very well win a Gold Glove. He could very well be the best player in beisbol.
Left Field: Ryan Braun
You gotta have one Jewish guy in here, dontcha? Sure you do. Well, here he is. Here’s the Hebrew Hammer. Ex-Milwaukee Brewers manager Dave Bristol once said: “There’ll be two buses leaving the hotel for the park tomorrow. The two o’clock bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will leave at five o’clock.” These days, that five o’clock bus should have at least one more passenger. These days, that five o’clock bus should have at least Ryan Braun. Braun has just been named the National League Player of the Month for April. Through the first month of the 2011 season (including one game played on March 31st), Braun batted .367 (36-for-98) and was tied for the National League lead in both home runs (10) and runs scored (24). His 36 hits and .724 slugging percentage ranked second in the N.L. while his 23 RBI were good for third. He also added a .457 on-base percentage with three doubles, a triple and three stolen bases. Yowza!
Center Field: Matt Kemp
Ahhh, center field. Once, the most glamorous position in all of baseball. Once. You shouldn’t grab me, Johnny. My mother grabbed me once…Once! There was Ty Cobb. A man so good that Joe DiMaggio once said, “Every time I hear of this guy again, I wonder how he was possible.” There was Joltin’ Joe hisself. The Yankee Clipper covered so much ground in center field that the only way to get a hit against the Bombers was to hit ‘em where Joe wasn’t. There was Willie Mays. Say hey! The best centerfielder who has ever been borned. Where triples went to die. There was the Mick and the Duke. Jimmy Wynn and Freddy Lynn. Cool Papa Bell, so fast he could turn off the light and be in bed before the room got dark. More recently, we’ve had Kirby, Junior and Ichiro. It used to mean something to be the best center fielder in baseball. Like it used to mean something to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Like it used to mean something to be the Fastest Man Alive. I still think it means something, dammit. I’m Gumby dammit.
Last year, Matt Kemp had a very forgettable season. Last year, it seemed he could do nothing right. This year ain’t last year. This year it looks like he’s found all five of his tools in his old toolbox. He is hitting over .336 and is among the NL leaders in home runs, RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and stolen bases. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, haven’t wee seen this before? You’re thinking, didn’t he get off this kind of start last year too? You’re thinking is correct. However, this is the All So Far Team. So far, in center field, no one has been better than Matt Kemp.
Right Field: Lance Berkman
This was a tough one. A rough one. No Marshmallow Fluff one. It was between Jose Bautista and Lance Berkman. Sorry Jose, but I had to go with the Puma. April doesn’t fool the Puma, the Puma fools April. The Puma once won a game of Connect Four in 3 moves. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for the Puma. The Puma: “I know the fickle nature of hitting. You can be as hot as a pistol one day, and the next thing you know you can’t figure out where to put your feet.” This day, Berkman is hot as a pistol. This day, Berkman knows where to put his feet. So far, Lance already has two National League Player of the Week awards added to his trophy case. So far, Lance knocking the ball all around while becoming one of baseball’s greatest comeback stories. Knock knock. Who’s there? Lance Berkman, bitch!
Starting Pitcher: Jered Weaver
Don’t belive me? Would you believe the baseball man that’s ever benn borned? Huh? Would ya? Would you believe Peter Gammons?
Weaver is sometimes lost in the storm front known as East Coast Bias, more than half his games starting after 10 p.m. ET. He is in the shadow of King Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia…Don’t let the hair and the surfer look fool you. Weaver led the American League in strikeouts last season, and for 2010-11, he leads the AL in innings pitched, quality starts and strikeouts. He and Justin Verlander are tied for the league lead in strikeouts this season. Does a 288-67 strikeout-to-walk ratio work for you?
It works pretty good for me, Peter.
Closer: Mariano Rivera
Well clearly I have lost my godammed mind. Two Yankess and nary one gaddong Red Sox. Buster Olney says, ”No other player can instill calm in his team’s fans as reliably as Mariano Rivera, the game’s dominant closer and arguably the best relief pitcher of all time .” Joe Torre says, “He’s the best I’ve ever been around. Not only the ability to pitch and perform under pressure, but the calm he puts over the clubhouse.” Trevor Hoffman, the only closer with more saves than Rivera, says, “He will go down as the best reliever in the game in history.” Even my boy, Dennis Eckersley, says, “He is the best ever, no doubt.” Who am I to argue with those guys. I can’t. Not with what this guy is done doing. This guy leads all closers in saves. He leads all closers in saves while sporting a 1.62 ERA and a .84 WHIP. My goodness! My greatness.
Peace out homies. Six two and even!
Need More? Adrian Beltre,Alex Avila,Chicago White Sox,Detroit Tigers,Jered Weaver,Jose Reyes,Lance Berkman,Los Angeles Angels,Los Angeles Dodgers,Mariano Rivera,Matt Kemp,Milwaukee Brewers,MLB,New York Mets,New York Yankees,Paul Konerko,Robinson Cano,Ryan Braun,St. Louis Cardinals,Texas Rangers