Sunday Notes- Rays Red Sox Reds Indians

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Sunday Notes- Rays Red Sox Reds Indians

PostPostao/la jackky » pet lis 13, 2017 8:33 am

Grant Balfour plays baseball just like a rugby player for any reason. He was once one. The demonstrative Tampa Bay Rays closer grew up with the game in New South Wales Australia. His yelling sometimes profanity-laced comes from a scrum mentality he inherited from his father.
I played rugby for my school, said Balfour. Its the game my dad played. He played some rugby league matches at the first-grade level, which is equal to the NFL here. He played for that Balmain Tigers, who are the Wests Tigers. I didnt pursue a career in rugby baseball has always been my priority but I played becoming an adult but still love the game.
Most Americans arent well-informed on the sport, so I asked Balfour to provide a brief primer.
There is rugby and there's also rugby league, explained Balfour. Theyre two different games in Australia, but theyre fairly similar. In rugby league you can be tackled and held. Rugby is more of a continuous game. You form rucks and mauls, and continuously slowly move the ball. You will find differences like line outs rather than scrums, but to somebody who doesnt be aware of games they look a great deal exactly the same.
There are strategies to both. You need to be tough, but also smart. I think if you can be intense and in control if you're able to have controlled intensity you can take it outrageous. You cant lose the mind and become crazy. Intensity is something you have to harne s.
Controlled intensity is a great description of Balfours demeanor. The 36-year-old righthander isn't any shrinking violet with a baseball in his hand.
Im a guy who doesnt leave anything on the table, said Balfour. I show my pa sion and my fight, and if my the degree of intensity expires there, same with my focus. I zone in on what Im doing and get intense about my company. My father was a pretty tough guy and always had the Bruce Smith Jersey mentality to be some underdog and a fighter. That mentality belongs to being an Australian.
I asked Balfour if hes channeling his inner rugby player when hes firing fastballs and yelling at himself around the mound.
I think maybe I am, said Balfour. The toughne s [rugby players] have is the same as the thing is in the NFL. It requires one type of man to experience an activity like this. Theres some yelling going on in rugby. Like I said, Im getting myself fired up on the mound. Sometimes I have to move back from that, but in other cases I need to yell.

Koji Uehara isnt as demonstrative as Grant Balfour. The Red Sox closer quietly and methodically mows down hitters with impeccable command along with a devastating splitter. That wasnt forever the situation.
Uehara would be a different pitcher when he burst to the scene in Japan. Playing for the Yomiuri Giants, he went 20-4 with a 2.09 ERA in his 1999 rookie season. He was a starter who didnt throw a split-finger fastball.
I was throwing lots of sliders then, Uehara said through a translator. I threw fastballs and sliders.
Uehara twice won the Sawamura Award Japans equivalent of the Cy Young Award in the early years in Nippon Profe sional Baseball [NPB]. How might he have done pitching in MLB at the time? The righthander was unwilling to say.
I dont consider it that way, said Uehara. I dont like to think back at if and what kind of things. The one thing I know is that I am able to play at the level I'm now because I played in the Japanese profe sional league.
His response was similar when I asked if he could have succeeded in MLB without a splitter.
Ive never really considered it that way, answered Uehara. [But] as soon as I started throwing the split, I forgot how you can throw the slider.
Strikeout rates are lower in Japan compared to what they are here. Did the difference in fashion of play impact his pitching approach?
As far as aggre sivene s, I dont think there is a difference between here and Japan, said Uehara. The hitters here have more power, so I did have to adjust to that. I attack them aggre sively and never much differently.
MLB baseballs arent identical to the ones utilized in Japan. Does which make a difference?
Theyre more slippery here, so I have to adapt to that, said Uehara. What I use to get a better grip changed. More pine tar.
More pine tar?
Im joking, laughed Uehara.
NPBs posting system isnt a laughing matter. Uehara was 24 years old as he graduated from the Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences. He could have come to the United States. Instead he signed with Yomiuri, who subsequently held his rights for nine years.
There werent as numerous Japanese major league players over here [in 1999], explained Uehara. So there were some non-baseball-related things I wasnt quite sure about. I also wasnt really confident I would do well here. However i definitely wanted to come here earlier than I did. Unfortunately, I had been with a team, the Giants, that didnt allow players to make use of the posting system. It's Jordan Poyer Jersey what it is.

Tucker Barnhart almost got the best of Koji Uehara night. The Cincinnati Reds catcher hit a long, towering fly ball in the ninth inning of a tie game at Fenway Park. Shane Victorino caught it in front of the 380-foot marker in right-center field.
Barnarts blast will be a home run in 29 of 30 big-league ballparks. Not that one. If this fell just short, the 22-year-old rookie cradled his head in his hands in disbelief along the first base line.
I crushed it I hit it as good when i can hit a ball it just didnt venture out, Barnhart explained the following day. The pitch was a fastball middle-in. If I could draw up a homer pitch, thats about where it was. After i hit it, I immediately started talking to it like a golf shot, like Go! Go!
Yesterday was the very first time Ive ever been at Fenway. Im a switch-hitter and we were facing a lefty starter, so I took most of my swings in batting practice righthanded. I only took one round lefthanded, so coming into the at bat I didnt really know what it took to get the ball out to right field. I hit it truly well, but it just kind of hung up there and Victorino ran it down.
Barnhart has one home run in 19 big-league at bats. He hit it at Great American Ballpark on May 1 versus the Brewers. The one at Fenway traveled a greater distance.
It was definitely farther than the one I hit at home, said Barnhart. Its 380 to the spot I hit the ball yesterday, and its about 325 or 330 in Cincinnati. That one was probably about 45-50 feet farther. But it comes with the territory. Things even out within the long term.
I asked Barnhart if he was familiar with Fenways red seat. Found in the right field bleachers, it commemorates a home run hit by Ted Williams, in Andre Holmes Jersey 1946.
A not many of us who had never been here before arrived early for any tour plus they were referring to the red seat, answered Barnhart. I believe i was told that its 502 feet at home plate. I understand I dont have that within the tank. I saw it out there and its not at all where I had been aiming.

Tucker Barnhart was at the Reds lineup because Devon Mesoraco is on the disabled list. Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Tony Cingrani and Mat Latos will also be on the DL. Billy Hamilton wasnt within the starting lineup in Boston as a result of sore wrist.
Do the Reds have sufficient depth to withstand the injuries, or even the talent to earn a playoff spot once everyone is healthy? They has received lots of criticism for his or her insufficient moves during the offseason. Shin-Soo Choo departed like a free agent there weren't any notable acquisitions.
Given the inflated demands of the free agents on the market, its understandable why Walt Jocketty stood pat. Thats not saying he couldnt have found creative methods to upgrade a talented-yet-flawed team. The Reds gm feels he did what's right.
There werent lots of moves to make, said Jocketty. We like we and weve liked our team all along. Unfortunately, weve had a number of injuries so people arent getting an opportunity to observe how good our team is.
Jockettys point is valid. It doesn't matter what he may have done within the offseason, his squad has been competing without several key pieces. But could he should he have made moves?
Ive learned to become patient, said Jocketty. The worst reaction you can have is keep making changes all the time. Then theres no continuity together with your club. You must have faith in your players and also you need to have faith in your manager and staff. I actually do. Its only a matter of time until we obtain all of our guys back, after which well see where we're.
I asked Jocketty if overpaying earlier this offseason might have negatively impacted future opportunities to enhance the team.
It wasnt just [will we've money later], it had been also Do we've enough money now?, responded Jocketty Wed have loved to have Choo back, but we couldnt afford him. And there really wasnt anything else we felt we're able to do that we felt we're able to financially do. Once your club is set, its pretty hard to make changes.

When Josh Tomlin was drafted in 2005, his scouting report said he'd good range with quick reactions and also the hands to experience shortstop. His bat was quick. San Diegos 11th-round pick hit .351 at Angelina Junior College.
Tomlins scouting report also said his arm was his best tool, that is a big reason he bypa sed signing with the Padres and transferred to Texas Tech. The decision didnt positively impact his draft status he was Clevelands 19th-round pick in 2006 however it was the catalyst to a big-league career.
In junior college, I would enter into games from shortstop to pitch the later innings, said Tomlin. I were built with a sense of pitching, but wasnt prepared to make that move yet. When I went to Texas Tech, Id pitch on Friday night and play short, second, or third on Saturday and Sunday. I noticed at that time I had an improved Tanner Vallejo Jersey chance like a pitcher than Used to do playing the area.
The Indians realized it too. A year earlier the Padres werent quite so sure.
San Diego drafted me as kind of a I wouldnt say a two-way player, however it was a situation where I po sibly could have played infield within the Padres organization, said Tomlin. The transition to pitcher probably would have happened eventually, but Id have gotten a go at short had I signed with them.
When I was drafted through the Indians in 2006, it had been We would like you like a pitcher; youre likely to be a pitcher. It was clearly the best decision. I po sibly could swing the bat a little, however i wasnt likely to hit for power. I had been going to be a slap guy, and that i wasnt extremely fast either. From talking to those who have existed the game for some time, I knew I had a better chance to really make it like a pitcher.
The right-hander clearly went the best route. That doesnt mean he doesnt mi s playing the field.
I have the mentality of the infielder, admitted Tomlin. I still love taking ground balls within the infield during BP. Its probably my favorite part of the world to complete. But knowing how I hit I swing a wet newspaper. I dont think I really were built with a opportunity to reach the big leagues as a position player.

Twenty-five years ago the Oakland As swept the Bay area Giants in the Earthquake Series. Mike Gallego remembers rid of it. An As infielder at that time, Gallego was in the game when the Loma Prieta earthquake shook Candlestick Park, and also the entire San francisco bay area, before Game 3. The 1989 World Series was put on hold for Ten days.
In the interim, Jose Canseco caused a disruption of their own. Gallego now Oaklands third base coach told me the storyline once the As visited Boston last weekend.
After the earthquake hit we were kind of in limbo, said Gallego We were wondering if they would continue the planet Series or otherwise. Tony LaRu sa came up with the concept of sending us back to our spring training site in Arizona. That will get us out of the area and keep our minds centered on winning the World Series if it restarted.
The first day we got to Arizona he explained we were likely to have closed practices and inter-squad games. He wanted the intensity to become there. He wanted us to take our at bats seriously and play hard. Split up a double play as needed. All of us agreed.
Im playing shortstop. Dennis Eckersley is around the mound and Jose Canseco is at home plate. Most people are taking it seriously aside from one guy. Thats Jose Canseco. Hes thinking, What shall we be doing practicing?
Jose gets within the box and kind of digs in. He really takes his time. Eckersley is getting prepared to throw the pitch and you can see hes getting a little perturbed waiting. Eck steps from the mound and Canseco is looking out at him, kind of laughing. Then Canseco points out to center field like Babe Ruth. Eck just type of stood there like, Oh, really?
Ron Ha sey is catching and gives a Eck a sign for fastball away. Eck shakes. Slider, shakes again. Fastball in, yes. Eckersley rears back and drills Canseco in the actual back. Canseco cant believe it. I cant accept is as true. No-one can accept is as true. Canseco Cedric O'Neal Jersey charges the mound.
We didnt brawl, but everyone was yelling and screaming at each other. It was at our spring training site with nobody in the stands and no media. It was just us within an empty stadium. Tony loved it. It had been just the kind of intensity he wanted. I figured to myself, If we obtain to the World Series, were definitely winning it.
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