July 15, 2008

Morneau the Champ; Hamilton the Myth, the Legend

What a show last night! I couldn't be happier for my man Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP, making the most of his late invite. Humble in his winner's acceptance, he admitted to rooting for Josh Hamilton to knock three more out of the park to add another exclamation point to his fairy tale night. Because there were at least 7 or 8 exclamations for the Comeback Kid, enough to make Elaine Benes jealous. (I can't resist a reference to a top 10 episode with Jake Jarmel and his lack of exclamatory emphasis).

So most people will cry that the true winner wasn't awarded last night. Wah wah all you want. You can't take anything away from his performance. He played by the established rules and outhit Hamilton in the final round 5-3. What does the winner get anyway? A donation check in their name? Big deal.

Nobody's gonna argue that Hamilton won the hearts of America with his performance. For years to come, everyone will fondly recall the magical 1st round where a recovering drug addict made hitting 490 ft. look like child's play. He wrote his own Bill Brasky punchline with his record-setting 28 homers in one round. The whole thing played out like a Greek drama, from his 71-year old American Legion coach grooving balls over the plate to the multiple interruptions during his hot streak, which didn't bother him one iota as he just stepped in and cranked the next pitch he saw. My favorite part came early, right after he stroked his 1st homer. He turned to the catcher, professing what became quite apparent, "This is awesome!" Yes, it was awesome. The only thing he didn't do was blast one out of Yankee Stadium, though he came close. His Bible thumping may seem over the top, but how can you not root for this kid to keep his demons at bay and become the star he was destined to be. I'm sure Disney has already bid on his life story. I'm excited to see what else is in store as his legend grows.

To Josh Hamilton!

1 comment:

Doug said...

Jimbo, good stuff. Morneau is the champ, but Hamilton put on a show like I've never seen. I've heard about his incredible batting practice exploits for the last couple years at GABP and in Texas, and he lived up to the hype the other night.

I'm happy for Hamilton but admittedly a little remorseful that he's not doing it in a Reds uniform. I was a supporter of "The Trade" and still am, but Hamilton looks like the kind of player who could be the best all-around player in the game for years to come. I hope the same future lies ahead for Jay Bruce someday, but we probably won't know for a few years.

As for Volquez, I hope the homer he gave up last night in the All Star Game doesn't damage his psyche at all. He's had an incredible first half, and it would be great to see him finish strong and establish himself as one of the elite starters in the National League.

It also will be VERY interesting to see what the pitch/innings counts look like for Cueto and Volquez as the year goes along. I'm very concerned about Dusty abusing these young pitchers in some sort of ill-fated attempt to get to .500. I would rather shut these guys down in September and save their arms for 2009. No need to push it with either of them.