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Showing posts from March 19, 2006

Walk-Off Madness

The history of walk-off shots in the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's basketball tournaments is extraordinarily well documented to the point where we're quite familiar with the likes of Christian Laettener's unbelievable shots for Duke against Connecticut and Kentucky, Tyus Edney's end-to-end dash for UCLA against Missouri, Charlotte Smith's 3-point buzzer beater that won a championship for North Carolina's women and now Kenton Paulino's amazing trifecta that enabled now-eliminated Texas to knock out West Virginia a few days ago.

Those who know me know that my affinity for basketball goes well beyond the Division I level to the Division III game, having been weaned on such during my collegiate years and though I rarely intermix my appreciations, I felt it would be worthwhile to do so here, right during the heart of tourney time. So, in brief, here's a small sample of historic and memorable walk-offs from "The Little Dance," as it was refer…

Lastings but not Least

Alrighty, a rainout tonight, so I can catch up on this blogging thing a little bit.

I like what Lastings Milledge brings to the table in a number of different respects. I think the best thing about Milledge is that every time I've seen him, he's done something different that impressed me. I drove three hours last year to soggy New Hampshire to watch Milledge and Yusmiero Petit near the conclusion of last season. Milledge rewarded me with an opposite-field home run and Petit, now a Marlin, pitched a gem. Milledge has been swinging a good bat all spring, and made a laser of a throw to home plate (he was cost a putout by the catcher, whomever it was) in that Orioles game that the Mets botched earlier this week. He's got a nice hop in his step when he runs, whether its on the bases, or in pursuit of fly balls.

I've heard those on television describe Milledge as a "5-tool player," referencing his ability to hit, hit with power, run, field, and throw, but let us laud…

Lastings Impressions

The Mets top prospect, Lastings Milledge had a walk-off hit last night, and were it to have taken place in a regular-season game, I'd regale you with details and trivia. Actually, I still want to do that, but I have to run to work. Perhaps when I return this evening, I'll post something on Milledge in greater detail. Check back after midnight or Friday morning.

In the meantime, here's a link to a diary Lastings kept during Fallball out in Arizona. Note the reference to how much he enjoys getting walk-off hits.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051028&content_id=32169&vkey=news_l119&fext=.jsp&sid=l119

True Mettedge's know...Luis Lopez, released by the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, had a walk-off walk and a walk-off sacrifice fly during his Mets tenure (both of which I've written about). Ricky Bottalico, also cut by the Orioles, had one walk-off win in his Mets stint. He also was the losing pitcher in the Mets walk-off win ove…

Fortunato Cookie

Al Leiter may be retired and Armando Benitez may be a few thousand miles away but the memory of the two still lingers in the form of a Tuesday defeat to the Orioles that would be considered appalling were it to occur a month from now.

This is why you get eight weeks of warm-up games, so Victor Zambrano can frustrate and agitate in a Leiteresque manner (though this not walking guys thing is refreshing) and Bartolome Fortunato can foil a potential victory in Benitezian fashion. (it made me long for Danny Graves, or even Dick Tidrow) Hang around here and you'll probably hear that kind of Metsian phraseology a lot.

It seems totally ridiculous to rail against a team for an exhibition performance, so I'll try not to take this game too seriously (though it may be too late for that...I feel like a caller to "Mike and the Mad Dog"), though it did offer a scary foreshadowing to the prospects of life without Mr. Wagner closing games out.

I was originally going to write about Al Le…

World Baseball Walk-Off

Apparently there's some sort of basketball tournament taking place these weeks, with 16 franchises remaining to see who's the best of the best. My interest in that is somewhat minimized because I can't really seem to find a rooting interest. I didn't attend one of those Division I places where they make such a big deal about basketball that you'd think they actually make money off the games.

Likewise, I haven't really cared too much for this World Baseball Classic and must admit that the other day, when I saw Alex Rodriguez batting in the ninth inning against Mexico, I was hoping that he would enter a state of eternal goathood, even at the expense of a Team USA defeat.

Maybe I'll write about this NCAA Tournament at some point, but since the World Baseball Classic went down to the final two teams last night (Japan and Cuba for those as unintrigued as I), I'll pen something related to that competition.

It caught my ear the other day that the Japanese basebal…