Thursday, April 07, 2011

This baseball season

Jerry Crasnick reports at ESPN of several milestones to look forward to during the 2011 season. Not included on that list are the 0-6 start for the Boston Red Sox or two appendectomies.

The list:
1. Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit
2. Jim Thome's 600th home run
3. Ichiro Suzuki's annual 200-hit odyssey
4. Mariano Rivera's 600th save
5. The Albert Pujols grab bag
Pujols, who turned 31 in January, needs 41 homers and 96 hits to become the 32nd player in history to reach 450 and 2,000 for his career. A-Rod was six days short of his 31st birthday when he surpassed both barriers with a single swing five years ago.

The problem in getting too worked up over Pujols' short-term milestones is that they're just pit stops on the way to more glorious achievements. Bill James gives him a 51 percent chance to collect 3,000 hits, so it's tough to get too amped over Pujols joining Lee May, Jack Glasscock, Mark Grudzielanek and 257 others in the 2,000-hit club.
6. The South Side tag team
7. Tim Wakefield's 200th win
8. The Juan Pierre double feature
9. Vladimir Guerrero, 2,007 games without a sacrifice bunt

Here is another one of note:
Johnny Damon can join Rose, Aaron and Brooks Robinson as the fourth player to appear in 140 or more games in 16 straight seasons. "He might be an idiot, but he likes to play," one scout said. As Chuck duly notes, Damon also can join Ty Cobb, Paul Molitor and Tris Speaker as one of four players with 500 doubles, 100 triples, 400 stolen bases and 1,600 runs scored.

• Chipper Jones needs two hits and six RBIs to join Eddie Murray as the second switch-hitter with 2,500 hits and 1,500 RBIs. Is there really any debate whether this guy belongs in the Hall of Fame?
Impressive. Most impressive.

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