After last night’s 14-5 massacre at the hands of Brad Penny and Nomar Garciaparra (above, HR, double, 6 RBI’s), the Rockies find themselves trailing first place L.A. by 11 games, Wild Card leaders San Diego by 7. The Denver Post’s Troy Renck suggests Clint Hurdle is going to war with a BB gun.
A major leaguer can fill out a uniform and put up statistics that command the attention of a fantasy league owner. A winning player delivers when it matters most – knocking in a critical run or firing a double-play grounder when the alarms are blaring. The Rockies have a lot of good guys. But in case you haven’t noticed, these good guys are likely to finish last again.
Professional sports aren’t Boy Scout troops. Character is admirable, but ability is imperative. This isn’t to suggest they open the checkbook for Milton Bradley in the offseason. But when the clubhouse has a strong fiber, a few loose cannons and effervescent personalities wouldn’t hurt. Those guys eventually fall in line. Remember, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a noted distraction, has been to the playoffs with two teams and owns a World Series ring.
Right now, the Rockies are merely losing too many games. But they need to spend money or be willing to sacrifice a top prospect to address the center-field vacancy. Multiple Rockies sources have said they won’t spend big on the position, ruling out guys like Torii Hunter. And they won’t trade one of their top three starting pitchers.
OK, fine. Then ownership has to be willing to part with a top minor leaguer to go after Coco Crisp or Eric Byrnes. Or they have to aggressively pursue Dave Roberts, which they plan to do, as a short-term fix if he hits the open market. That makes more sense than signing Juan Pierre or Gary Matthews to the four-year deals they likely will command in a ridiculously thin free-agent market.
And keep in mind, now that Pete Coors Responsible Drinking Field has been restablished as a pitcher’s park, it might be time for the Rockies to splash out again on a frontline starter. Maybe Mike Hampton can vouch for the quality of the public schools when they’re recruiting Barry Zito?
While trying to read between the lines with staying-or-going skipper Felipe Alou (who had an unpleasant exchange with Armando Benitez yesterday), the SF Chronicle’s Henry Schulman provides us with something we’ve waited far too long to see : an update on Rod Beck.
Rod Beck, who saved 199 games for the Giants in seven seasons (1991-97), threw the ceremonial first pitch and conducted “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch. He left the Giants to sign with Chicago and saved a career-high 51 games for the Cubs in 1998, including the wild-card play-in game against the Giants.
Now 38 and retired since 2004, Beck said he is doing “a whole lot of nothing” at home in Arizona, but his schedule is about to get busier. Beck said he will start shooting an independent film, created by the cousin of a friend, called “Work Week,” in which Beck will portray a mob hit man so nasty he does the dirty work the other killers will not do.
Asked if he ever acted before, Beck said, “Sure, every time I went out to the mound. It was all an act. If I had pitched with my real stuff, I would have gotten killed.”