$0.02: It’s been smooth swinging at plate for Holliday
Colorado left fielder Matt Holliday is having one heck of a season so far. You don’t need ESPN stats monster Tim Kurkjian to explain that much.If you had to choose one number, though, to diagram exactly how well Holliday has tatooed opposing pitchers this year, it wouldn’t be his .328 average (fifth in the National League going into Tuesday’s games). Nor would it be his 11 homers, 13 doubles or even his league-leading 57 hits.No, the only number you need to know is 107 – Holliday’s total bases tally. The 26-year-old is the only National Leaguer within 19 TBs of baseball’s Paul Bunyon, Albert Pujols, who earns that title by a hair over the frighteningly large White Sox slugger Jim Thome.As detailed in a past edition of $0.02, Rockies third sacker Garrett Atkins (.313, 13 doubles, 51 hits), 26, is raking this year, too. Same goes for yet another 26-year-old, right fielder Brad Hawpe, who, at .340, sits third in the NL in hitting.
Maybe the Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton debacles were blessings in disguise. Since then the Rockies have cooled their free-agency instincts and instead given their farm system a chance to produce. It’s working. …Pujols Power = 22 home runs, seven doubles. There’s a reason he has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated twice in the past month and a half – and no, it has nothing to do with his seven doubles. …Somebody taught the best-in-the-bigs Detroit Tigers how to pitch this season (major league-leading 3.18 ERA, with an almost unfathomable nine shutouts), but it’s apparently come at the expense of their baserunning prowess. Detroit’s runners are a woeful 14-for-31 in stolen base attempts, by far the worst in baseball. But guess what: When you’re 30-14, nobody in Motown cares. …Jellybean Bryant, father of Kobe, was named the L.A. Sparks’ new head coach this week. In an Associated Press story on that subject, Sparks center Lisa Leslie was quoted as saying, “Jellybean has a really relaxed personality.”
What, you were expecting a man nicknamed “Jellybean” to be high-strung? …Sign of the times, twice over: Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt next season will become the first women’s coach to crack the $1 million salary barrier; she will make $1.125 (somewhere, you have to believe Geno Auriemma cringes). Summitt has won 913 games and six national titles, and she is generally thought of as the person to have brought women’s hoops into the national spotlight, if you had to pick only one. So the million-dollar mark is hardly a surprise. What does raise the eyebrow is the fact that Summitt’s contract structure stipulates she will make $350,000 for radio and TV commitments – or in other words, $25,000 more than her actual base salary. …I read an inventive column by Ricardo Setyon on http://www.si.com the other day, explaining that there is little more difficult in sports than making Brazil’s 23-man World Cup roster. Witty stuff, no doubt. But I’m a names guy, and so that was the fun part for me.
See if you can find the spotted puppy among all the monocolored ones: Rogério Ceni, Cafú, Cicinho, Lúcio, Luisão, Zé Roberto, Gilberto Silva, Edmílson, Ricardinho, Juninho Pernambucano, Ronaldinho, Kaká, Ronaldo, Adriano, Robinho, Fred. …The tragedy that became Barbaro last Saturday can be summed up in a pair of digits: 27. As in, the number of screws inserted in and around the thoroughbred’s right rear ankle to repair the horrific injury that marred Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. …In parting, I’m not sure how much this helped his ski-town poll results. When the U.S. Olympic ski and snowboard teams visited President Bush at the White House last week, the prez made sure to salute the “snowboarding dudes and dudesses” who won seven medals. Yes, this comes from a man who once argued “border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better,” but didn’t he mean dudettes?Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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