Ah, the dog days of summer… the crackling of the grass underneath our feet, the stampede in the school supplies section at Wal Mart and the first whistles of the high school football season have come and gone. All around baseball teams nestle into one of two categories as distinct as oil and water: the cellar dwellers awaiting Labor Day weekend and their anticipated September call-ups and the winning teams nudging in line for a playoff berth like parents looking for that overhyped kids’ toy on Black Friday.
Here are a few news and notes as we descend from the apex of August:
• The Brian Bannister era in Kansas City may have ended Tuesday night as the veteran right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list. His struggles, nagging pains, combined with the fast start of former number one pick Bryan Bullington will lead to Bannister wearing a new jersey next season.
• Speaking of Bullington, his recent win over the Yankees was the first of his major league career. Previous to Sunday, Bullington was 0-5 in 13 big league starts for Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Toronto.
• Known best for his “shot heard round the world”, iconic New York Giants three-time all-star Bobby Thomson passed away Tuesday at the age of 86. Though only amassing 264 home runs throughout his career, Thomson’s blast not only lifted the Giants to the pennant in 1951, but also became one of the most legendary stories in baseball history. The “shot” stands in company with Babe Ruth’s called shot and Kirk Gibson’s one-legged liftoff as arguably the three most memorable home runs in baseball history.
• Jose Guillen hit his first home run for San Francisco on Tuesday night. He started the game in right field and batted sixth for the Giants who lost to Philadelphia 9-3.
• Local product and current Royals minor leaguer Tim Mehlville continues to struggle at the Class A level. The 20 year-old has made 18 starts for Wilmington and compiled a 2-10 record wth a 5.54 ERA. He continues to struggle with control walking over a batter every two innings on average.
• I am considering sending a “Thank You” card to Pedro Martinez. Although I appreciate Pedro’s pitching prowess and candidness to the media, I am even happier that he does not become baseball’s version of Brett Favre. As GM’s look for that one starter to catapult them into the playoffs, Martinez denied reports he may be interested in returning to baseball this season. He had every right to squeeze every ounce of publicity out of the situation like our southern drama baby who looks to be donning the Viking horns once again this season; but he chose not to.