Joe Posnanski, who just may be in the top five of sportswriters today, admitted the other day that his favorite player is Mike Jacobs, the former Marlins first baseman, now with Kansas City. In another recent post, Posnanski reminisced about his dilemma of being a writer who was still a fan and the advice he was given was to not publicly root for a team but root for the players. That makes sense. In the FanDome, the player most rooted for is Micah Owings of the Cincinnati Reds.
Owings is a pitcher who can hit, or a hitter who can pitch. Both descriptions fit. In a world where one league has a DH and one league has the pitchers hit, it's fun when the pitchers can actually do some damage. Owings hits on a regular basis. He isn't just a decent hitter like Zambrano of the Cubs. He is a threat every time he gets up to bat. And, it still can't be proven that he can't pitch either.
Against the Braves yesterday, Owings pitched seven innings, only gave up one run and struck out six. He also went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double and a run scored. He's now batting .400 for the year. The Fan can't resist. It's just too much fun to keep track of what he does and the Fan is hoping he has a good pitching year just to see how he hits for the rest of the year.
The Fan has a lot of favorite players and it's time to admit it. Perhaps the FanDome will have to resurrect the Box Score Favorites feature of a couple of years ago. Still mulling that one over. But for now, in a confessional of sorts, here is a list of players the Fan looks for intently over every box score scan:
- Zack Greinke: You just have to root for a guy who had a messed up head, worked through it with the strong help of the Royals and is now thriving and one of the best pitchers in the game.
- Derek Jeter: Can't help it. He handles himself the way that the Fan would want a ballplayer to handle himself. Been a major Fan of his since 1996.
- Mariano Rivera: Another class act who has done the impossible, carve out a Hall of Fame career with basically one pitch. Oh, as for his blown save the other day? The Fan blames the catcher for calling an outside pitch on Jason Bay. One more pitch inside and the game would have been over. Just like last night when Posada called an outside pitch on David Ortiz who has shown no ability to handle inside pitches this year. One more inside pitch and Pettitte would have been out of that jam last night with the game tied 1-1.
- Josh Hamilton: Another underdog story of a major drug addict who found God, found sobriety and re-found his extensive baseball skill.
- Mike Hampton: Another hitting pitcher, or pitching hitter. His comeback looks good so far.
- Mike Lowell: The guy looks like he is fifty years old, but he is a winner. Just seems to deliver when he is healthy despite looking like a chugger in a over-the-hill softball game.
- Lance Berkman: He is like the Phil Mikelson of baseball. He has the big frame, the tendency to man boobs, and yet has this sweet left-handed swing that is so good you have to admire the skill and talent.
- Ken Griffey Jr.: A major Fan of this Hall of Famer who always had big talent, big beautiful swing and yet smiled through his entire career.
- Alfonso Soriano: This one is despite the Fan's best interest. One of the biggest risk/reward players in all of baseball, it's hard not to root for a guy who is either amazingly good or amazingly awful and can show both in every game he plays.
- Curtis Granderson: His blog, which is sad that it can no longer be found, showed a talented player who was so down to earth and so respectful of the game and the African-American players that came before him, made him a Fan favorite for life. Of course it doesn't hurt that the guy can fly.
- Manny Ramirez: God love him, he is unique and polarizing. You either hate him or you love him. The Fan just thinks he's amazingly fun to watch to see what he'll do next.
- Evan Longoria: A new favorite. He just seems to play the right way and say the right things and is very magnetic to the average Fan.
- Nick Johnson: The brittle first baseman for the Nationals is the little engine that could...when he is not on the disabled list. Just like the guy.
- The entire Pittsburgh Pirate pitching staff: Because the Fan wants to see a miracle. Doesn't everyone?