As far as A's broadcasts go, and with all due respect to our announcers, even Scott "Honey Hole" Hatteberg, my hands-down favorite A's broadcasts are when the A's are playing the Dodgers. Vin Scully is a legend, even outside Los Angeles, and it's because he's the very best. Despite the fact that the Dodgers play the A's no more than one series every 3 or 4 years, Vin tells us more about our players in a 3 hour stint than we might have learned in the entire season.
Did you know that Jonny Gomes grew up homeless in California? For all of the 7-0-7 love, when Gomes was very young, his parents divorced and he and his brother lived on his mother's small salary. They moved from place to place until they received the eviction notices, and then would camp out with friends.
Did you know that Ryan Cook's father is a drag-racer and that Cook was heavily involved in the sport growing up? He had the choice between being a ballplayer and being a race car driver, and he chose to go into baseball instead.
Did you know that Seth Smith was the back-up quarterback to Eli Manning at Ole Miss? Because of Eli, he never took a snap, but he did get in a game as a receiver. Ironically, as we learned the other day during the Rockies games, Tood Helton was the first-string QB at Tennessee until he got hurt and Peyton Manning replaced him.
Granted, none of this information is proprietary to Vin's broadcast. It's all out there with a quick Google search, but somehow Vin manages to bring these stories to life in a way that leaves his listeners wanting more. He adds a human touch to the baseball field, and finds the common ground between rich athletes and working-class fans. It's amazing.
And the tidbit I find most interesting: Remember Kurt Suzuki and his new special diet? Vin spent a half inning on how Kurt consumes 4000 calories a day; starting with two breakfast paninis and fruit, and an energy bar and a 600 calorie protein shake during his workout. He eats a pair of turkey burgers for lunch, plenty of snacks, and steak and mashed potatoes and another salad for dinner, and a late-night snack. This was in his "bulk-up" effort of 2012. I wish Vin had explored a bit more; maybe asked the obvious question: How is it working?
Kurt Suzuki is batting .218 through 59 games. His OBP is .250. He's slugging .272. His OPS is .531. He has hit zero homeruns in 206 at-bats so far this year. He has 16 RBI. But most (un)impressively, he has racked up 49 strikeouts, while only walking 9 times. That's...not a good ratio.
Now granted, the bulk-up effort may be more about trying to build more stamina to stay on the field; to catch more games. And I'm not discounting the clearly wonderful work he does with the pitching staff, or the work he does to block balls behind the plate, but my concern is that he basically is the batting equivalent of a pitcher right now. Let's put it this way; when you sort all MLB players by OPS, there is a scant handful of position players between him and the pitchers.
So, any idea why? Is it because he bulked up? Too many years of catching too many games? Just having a bad year? Trying to hit for power instead of just hit?
What do you think?
We'll see you back tonight at 7:00PM. And for you NRAFs, if you have the chance to choose Vin tonight, you should.
Athletics lead the series 1-0
WP: Brandon McCarthy (6 - 3)
SV: Ryan Cook
LP: Aaron Harang (5 - 4)
|3 - 0 win|
|Thu 06/21||12:35 PM PDT|