Posted on: March 7, 2012 9:02 pm
TEMPE, Ariz. -- He's just a glove machine.
Which isn't exactly what you would expect for a guy whose bat did all the talking last summer.
But once the Angels signed Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo went from AL Rookie of the Year runner-up to Man Without a Position.
The plan is to employ Trumbo at third base, but that's contingent on him learning the position this spring. There's always left field if that doesn't work out.
Strange transition, moving from the 29 homers and 87 RBIs of 2011 to collecting leather in 2012.
How many gloves has Trumbo stockpiled?
He pauses. He glances at the two by his feet. He wheels around to take inventory in his locker. He crinkles his eyebrows. Finally, he thinks he has it.
"Over 10, easily," Trumbo says. "I have a first-base glove, third base, outfield. Some are shaped differently."
Such as: For now, he's playing third base with an outfielder's glove, instead of a smaller infielder's mitt. He likes the size.
"I'm a proponent of the bigger glove," Trumbo says. "A lot of plays at third base are reactionary. You knock the ball down. You're not turning a double play. Things happen super quick."
As such, Trumbo is more comfortable with the bigger glove.
But the outfielder's glove he uses at third is different from the glove he'll use when (if) he plays left. The one he's using in the infield is broken in so it's more round and wide. The tips of the fingers are pushed down toward the glove's heel.
The outfield glove, it's broken in so it's more slender and narrow (almost like folded in half). It looks larger.
Since the Angels signed Pujols in December, Trumbo estimates he's added five gloves to his collection for test-driving and experimenting with. Options are good.
"It's an art form," he says. "What's comfortable for you, nobody else can tell you."
Biggest danger now as he moves across the infield, it appears, is Trumbo pulling the wrong glove out of his locker.
"It's getting a little cluttered," he says, chuckling.
Sunblock day? Another windstorm took the temperatures down to 60 degrees Wednesday.
Likes: The baby back ribs at Don & Charlie's in Scottsdale. Hadn't been there in several years, but it's a classic old baseball hangout during spring training. Was there the other night and saw George Brett, Robin Yount, Bob Uecker, Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson, former agent Dennis Gilbert, Joe Randa. ... Maxine Nightingale's old hit Right Back Where We Started From. Heard it on the radio today, and can't help thinking of the great flick Slap Shot every time I do. ... Very enjoyable watching Yu Darvish in Peoria on Wednesday. Particularly enjoyable the way he attacks hitters and doesn't dink around.
Dislikes: A stiff wind really made for a chilly day in Arizona on Wednesday. I'll take Florida's early spring weather over Arizona's.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Well, I don't know, but I've been told
"You never slow down, you never grow old
"I'm tired of screwin' up, tired of going down
"Tired of myself, tired of this town
"Oh, my, my. Oh, hell, yes
"Honey, put on that party dress.
"Buy me a drink, sing me a song.
"Take me as I come 'cause I can't stay long"
-- Tom Petty, Mary Jane's Last Dance
Posted on: July 23, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 3:23 pm
There are theories as to why he had to wait until his second year of eligibility. Mine is this: An enormous bloc of the New York voters left him off of their ballots, penalizing him for the way his skills vanished almost overnight at the end of his career during his brief stay with the Mets. I think they confused the fact that he couldn't play anymore with their suspicion that he simply quit trying.
Consequently, I think that many of them withheld their votes from Alomar until this year. That's their prerogative and their right, even if I disagree.
The other, more prevailing theory is that Alomar was penalized in the voting for the one despicable incident in his career, when he spat upon the face of umpire John Hirschbeck. He long ago apologized, and the two men have maintained a good relationship over the years since.
As for that possibility, this is what Alomar says:
"Me and John, we have a great relationship. We have become great friends, and I want people to know that the year that I didn't make it, one of the first phone calls that I got was from him apologizing, [saying] that he feels sorry for me not making it ... saying that was one of the reasons why I didn’t' make it in the first round.
"And I told him, 'No, it's not your fault. It was my fault. And, you know, we just have to move on. Me and John have become great friends. We have done a lot of great things for the foundation. I became real friends with him and his family. John embraced me the same way I embraced him.
"And when I got in this year, he was one of the happiest men alive. He left a message on my phone. I still have the message. And it was a great message and, you know ... we both move on and hopefully people can move on and let this episode go."
Likes: The village of Cooperstown is like something from the set of a 1940s movie. What a great place. You can never go wrong by coming here. ... Reggie Jackson striding through Sam Smith's Boathouse and Blue Mingo Grill for dinner in Cooperstown. The Macadamia nut encrusted halibut is outstanding at the Boathouse, by the way. And the coconut cake with vanilla ice cream is sensational. ... Robin Yount and Paul Molitor coming in from the golf course Saturday morning. ... Talking about the late Sparky Anderson with Al Kaline in the lobby of the Otesaga Hotel here Saturday morning. ... Bert Blyleven's sense of humor. ... Billy Williams' smile.
Dislikes: Cell phone service is awful in the area. My phone is getting reception probably an average of 10 minutes every hour.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 6:45 pm
Hall of Famer Paul Molitor ranks ninth on baseball's all-time hit list at 3,319, just after Honus Wagner (3,415) and just in front of Eddie Collins (3,315).
Not only will he be watching as Derek Jeter becomes the 28th player to join the group, he's one of just a handful of players in baseball history who actually can relate to what the Yankees shortstop is going through now that he's just four knocks away from the milestone hit.
"You hope that as you approach it, you're swinging well and it doesn't become too much about sliding into it vs. marching into it," Molitor says. "You always separate individual goals and team wins as you approach, and you hope it's something where the experience allows you to feel pleasure in those things instead of the pressure."
With Robin Yount as a teammate in Milwaukee before Molitor punched out No. 3,000 while playing for Minnesota in 1996, a then-unknowing Molitor -- dubbed "The Ignitor" with the Brewers -- got a sneak peek of what was to come for him back in 1992.
"I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity to watch Robin do it a few years before myself," Molitor said of Yount, whose 3,000th came on Sept. 9, 1992, a single against Cleveland's Jose Mesa in Milwaukee's County Stadium. "I got a glimpse into the way you go about your business with that while trying to help the team win."
Jeter will become the first player ever to hit 3,000 as a Yankee, which puts him into his own unique and extraordinary category. But given what the Yankees represent and Jeter's consistent attitude throughout his career, the whole individual goals vs. team goals thing is extremely relevant. Jeter already has expressed some awkwardness about all eyes being on him.
On the other hand, as we've seen over the years, outside of a contentious contract negotiation, there is little that ruffles Jeter.
"Derek has never been one to be phased by too many outside influences," Molitor says. "He's always had an amazing ability to take the emotion out of at-bats, whether it's in October or during regular season at-bats.
"He's had a remarkable career. It's going to be a pretty special accomplishment."
Likes: Molitor remains the only one of the 27 members of the 3,000-hit club to triple for his historic hit. He did it against the Royals' Jose Rosado on Sept. 16, 1996. How'd he do that at 39? "You have to pay the outfielders off on the high fly balls into the gap," he joked.
Dislikes: Quick thumbs from umpires Joe West and Angel Hernandez. Those two are brutal.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Hot town, summer in the city
-- Lovin' Spoonful, Summer in the City