Puig: Astounding to date, but not a Hall of Famer just yet

Eric Young & Mike Piazza

Two future major leaguers, Eric Young and Mike Piazza, as Albuquerque Dukes in 1993.

Twenty years ago I had the good fortune of working in the front office of the old Albuquerque Dukes as Mike Piazza blazed his way through town on his way to the Dodgers and, I expect (steroid rumors aside), ultimately the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a classic phenom – a late round draft pick taken primarily as a favor to Tommy Lasorda who blossomed into maybe the best-hitting catcher in baseball history.

However, I also remember Raul Mondesi, who had almost as meteoric a rise through the system and to the majors. He was yet another Dodgers product who became a Rookie of the Year, and yet another phenom. He had some very good years, but he never reached the greatness predicted for him when he arrived in the big leagues., and instead of a storied Dodgers career he ultimately wore the uniforms of seven different franchises. Continue reading

World Series 2012: So much for the pundits’ picks

The Detroit Tigers, at 88-74, had the fewest wins of any division champion in 2012. They were tied with the National League Wild Card St. Louis Cardinals for the fewest wins of any playoff team period. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants were 94-68.

In 2012 the Tigers’ run differential on the season was +56, 13 runs fewer than that of the Giants.

Pablo Sandoval

The dominant player on the field in Game One was a Giant: Pablo Sandoval

Yet a stunning 23 of 28 ESPN “experts” picked Detroit to win the World Series, many of them in six games or less. Several based their picks on the Tigers’ “dominant starting pitching.”

Eight of 11 MLB.com pundits chose the Tigers.

At FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal also picked the Tigers. Continue reading

Mitch Williams, another bad example of jock-turned-broadcaster

It was painful listening to the decidedly Phillies-flavored telecast on FOX today of the Giants-Phillies game.  It’s not that I mind watching the opposing team’s telecast.  I do that often, and enjoy learning about the other team that way.  After all, I watched countless Braves games games back in the TBS Superstation days in the ’80s, and a lot of Cubs games on WGN too.

MLB on FOXWhat got to me was that this was a Saturday afternoon national broadcast, one in which the broadcasters supposedly are neutral and unbiased.  Yet in an exciting game filled with big moments for both teams (a 6-5, 10-inning Giants win after two lead changes), broadcasters Tom McCarthy and Mitch Williams made it sound like a bad version of a Phillies broadcast, without the local flavor such a broadcast would have if it was the real thing. Continue reading