After writing that Milton Bradley post, this writer needs to have a little more fun and look on the brighter side of life. After all it is Monday and more cheer is needed to get the week started. This post will center on what has been fun to watch this year. The list below will be things that made the Fan happy during this baseball season. After all, this blog is about being a Fan. And from the Fan's perspective, the best thing about being one of those is having players to root for and follow. It's the fun side of baseball and why we keep coming back year after year.
So here goes:
Zack Greinke: Sure, Greinke is the standard bearer for mental struggles. But his problems of the past and the way the Royals responded to those problems make you root for a guy like that and a team that worked so hard to help him. His season has been tremendous fun and a big smile will occur when he is voted the American League Cy Young.
Scott Feldman: Thanks to Josh Borenstein, the Fan has latched onto Feldman and rooted for him every time he went to the mound. Watching him win 17 games (with an outside shot at 20) has been a really fun ride. Feldman is a bit of an everyman that we can all root for.
Derek Jeter: All of you know that Jeter is the Fan's favorite player. You can't hide from the truth. To see Jeter, at age 35, enjoy one of his finest seasons and have a great year in the field to boot (bad unintended pun there) has been gratifying. The Fan looks forward to that 3000th hit.
Mark Reynolds: To see a guy whiff over 200 times and still put up a .924 OPS has been a lot of fun. Never before has there been such a win/lose type of player. His 42 homers and .360 OBP sure are a mystery for a guy who strikes out 38% of his at bats.
Adam Dunn: Now here is a classy guy. He went to a basement-dwelling team but has had dignity in the situation and needs three more dingers to hit 40 for the seventh straight season. His .406 On Base Percentage and .957 OPS are among the league leaders. Dunn is a guy to root for and not just for the mammoth homers he hits.
Ryan Zimmerman: Dunn's teammate is having his third straight season where he has improved his batting average, OBP and OPS. His 64 extra base hits show that he has really arrived as a player. The Fan hopes he can get the four more ribbies to put 100 on his resume.
Joe Torre: This Fan feels that Torre has never gotten the respect he deserves for his time in New York. To see him succeed in Los Angeles has been very gratifying. Last year, the Dodgers weren't even supposed to compete and Torre led them to a first place finish. Torre was always given the rap that he doesn't like inexperienced players. That's all he's had in LA and has watched many of them blossom.
Ken Griffey, Jr.: Yeah, he's batting .219. But who cares. It was still fun to watch that picture perfect swing connect sixteen more times before he closes out his HOF career. Thanks, Griff. It's been great.
Chris Carpenter: Carpenter threw all of five games the last two years. Hurt all that time, we all forgot about him. But he is 16-4 with a 2.34 ERA. Who of us ever saw that coming? Every time he starts now is an event and that's what being a Fan is all about.
Adam Lind: It's always great to see a new star blossom and Lind has certainly blossomed in an otherwise desert that has been the Toronto Blue Jays. His season has to give his fans up in Toronto some measure of hope for the future. The guy is a stud.
Neftali Feliz: All of 21 years old. Fifteen games and 26.2 innings of relief have yielded only 11 hits and five walks while he has struck out 34 batters. What fun!
Daniel Bard: Admittedly, it's hard to root for anyone on the Red Sox, but this kid caught the Fan's attention in Spring Training and he hasn't disappointed. Yeah, he walks too many guys, but he's pitched 45.2 innings and has struck out 61. He throws 100 without even looking like he is trying. How fun is that?
Hanley Ramirez: Dan Uggla be darned, Hanley Ramirez has become the best all around player in the National League and the Fan got to watch him for three straight weeks while in Florida this summer. The guy is amazing and so much fun to watch.
Wandy Rodriguez: Anybody who follows the Daily Picks knows that the Fan has really latched onto this guy. He's short and he's skinny, but dang, he has been the Astros' best pitcher and he'll go toe to toe with any pitching stud in baseball.
Mariano Rivera: The Fan lives and dies by every Rivera cutter. It's hard to fathom that he never throws any other pitch and yet has converted 40 out of 42 save opportunities. At the age of 39 too. He has more class oozing out of his pores than any other player in baseball. Here's hoping that his mojo can deliver during the post season. The Fan would hate it if the Yankees were to lose because of a Rivera blown save. That would suck.
Evan Longoria: This guy captured our imagination the first time he got his Bay Rays' uniform last year. No sophomore swoon for this guy, not after 75 extra base hits and a .283/.363/.537 line.
Prince Fielder: 40 bombs, 130 ribbies, 100 walks, Fielder chalks one up for the big guys. The guy has fun and it shows. Heck, the big guy even has three triples. How much fun did those triples have to be to watch! All the while, he has improved his defense, making only seven errors after making seventeen last year. And of course, that walk off homer with that amusing scene at home plate just topped the whole thing off.