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Baseball Commencement

By Phil Janowicz

SPORTS COLUMNIST

Well, it’s been a while since my last installment of “Baseball Kinda Weekly,” so there’s quite a bit to cover. First and foremost, the Rocket, as of my writing this article, has yet to reach 300 career wins. HAHA! Take that, Roger Clemens.

In his first attempt at 300, Clemens faced the hometown Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Clemens started out okay, but imploded as his former team trounced Clemens and the perpetually hated Yankees. There was much rejoicing throughout Boston and the rest of baseball country. Next, Clemens tried his luck in Detroit. Despite pitching somewhat decently, the Yankees defense and bullpen threw away the game in the late innings. Once again, the baseball world rejoiced. I know that he’s bound to win it sometime, but he can afford to wait a while.

Woody “not Serena” Williams continued his strong season by pitching 8 innings of one-hit ball last Thursday. What makes this achievement even more impressive is that he one-hit the Toronto Blue Jays, the hottest hitting team in the AL. Woody also recorded his first triple of the season in that game.

Nice goin', Woody. Hopefully you, Matt Morris, and Albert Pujols can kick the rest of the Cardinals in gear.

The past few weeks have seen some no-name guys jump into the limelight with stellar performances. Melvin “We Want” Mora of the Baltimore Orioles has exploded and raised his batting average over 100 points to become second in the AL in batting. “Hammerin’” Hank Blalock and Milton “Stratego” Bradley round out the top three in the AL.

Jano Awards

Batting: Jeff DaVanon of the Anaheim Angels. Jeff DaVanon “Halen” has done everything for the resurgent Angels. He’s made outstanding plays in center field but most impressively in the batters box. In the past week alone, DaVanon has 12 runs, 6 home runs, 10 RBIs, and a .458 average. He had three consecutive multi-homer games in Anaheim and in Puerto Rico.

The only problem for DaVanon is that Darin Erstad is coming off the DL soon, and Mike Scioscia will have a big decision to make regarding DaVanon’s playing time.

Honorable Mention: Morgan Ensberg of the Houston Astros. The past week, he has 9 runs, 4 home runs, 12 RBIs, 1 SB, and a .643 average.

Pitching: Dontrelle Willis of the Florida Marlins. Dontrelle “WhatchuTalkin’ ‘Bout” Willis has been just what the Florida Marlins needed: a non-injured starter. He’s done even more than that by allowing only one run in his past three starts but allowing a cream pie to sneak up behind him and whack him during a post-game interview.

Involved in the salary-dump trade in 2000 that involved sending Willis, Julian Tavarez, and two other prospects to Florida and sending Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs, Willis has shown that the Marlins actually made a smart trade. In 2000, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said, “Next year or two years from now, when you see Dontrelle Willis ... you’re going to understand why we did that trade.” Now we understand.

Honorable Mention: Eric “Monsieur” Gagne of the Los Angeles Dodgers. How can you not be given an honorable mention when you haven’t blown a save all year and you average 2 strikeouts an inning?

Utility: Jody Gerut of the Cleveland Indians. Called up from Buffalo to fill the spot of injured Karim Garcia, Jody “Spans the” Gerut has done nothing but impress the Indians organization. The past week, he has 4 runs, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, and a .368 average. The adopted son of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight crew, Gerut has made diving grabs in the outfield and come up with clutch hits whenever needed. With Garcia starting his rehab assignment, manager Eric Wedge will hopefully sit Matt Lawton and not Gerut.

Honorable Mention: Ricardo Rodriguez of the Cleveland Indians. After striking out Jay “Mohr” Payton of the Colorado Rockies, “Ricky” Ricardo Rodriguez taunted Payton from the mound. Payton had already made his way to the dugout when Rodriguez started waving at him to come take him on at the mound. At least Indians games are interesting this year.

Boner of the Week ... er weeks: Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs. Everyone already knows about his whole corked bat controversy that is being dubbed “Batgate.” Even though I believe him that he just picked the wrong bat out of his 77 bats, it was still a stupid thing to do.

Honorable Mention: The New York Yankees defense. Errors errors errors. You’re the freaking Yankees! Steinbrenner bought all of you because you’re the best individual players in baseball money can buy, and you commit so many errors. I’m not telling you to stop. I’m just telling you that you suck. Related stories: