It is mid-afternoon on January 29th here in Raleigh. The forecasters are predicting the apocalypse — or maybe a couple inches of snow. So what better time to write something about baseball?
Back on January 13th over on Rays Prospects they ran the numbers on Justin Ruggiano. As Bulls fans know, Justin had an erratic year in 2009. The article points out Justin’s skills at defense and his speed. To be honest, I think that I’d become so used to those two features of his play that I wasn’t paying much attention. What we noticed last year was the strike outs and the games when his bat seemed to come alive and make a difference. But he really is a terrific outfielder and very fast. Article worth taking a look at.
Then a few days later the Rays signed a catcher named Alvin Colina. I think we may have seen him when he was with the Gwinnett Braves last season and his record presents him as a solid AAA catcher — and that’s exactly what the Bulls need. So I’m liking the move on the Rays part.
Kevin Gengler profiled Reid Brignac on January 20th. The question for 2010 is the same as in 2009, is there a place for Reid at the top of the Rays organization? As Kevin notes, the Rays are in pretty good shape in the middle infield. However, looking at it from the Bulls perspective, it means that if Reid doesn’t get traded off, we’ll probably get to see a lot of him this year … and that’s a good thing.
As Bulls fans know so well, Desmond Jennings came up from Montgomery near the end of the year and really showed his stuff. Another profile from Rays Prospects takes a look at how he might fit into the Rays future.
One of the never-solved mysteries of 2009 for a Bulls fan was, who is this pitcher on the roster named McGee? Here’s a story from off the Rays website in which it is all made clear, sort of. At least it tells you who Jake McGee is even if it doesn’t tell you why he was on the Bulls roster. Guess it was one of those “everybody’s got to be somewhere” issues. At any rate, maybe this year he actually be in Durham and we’ll get the opportunity to see what he’s got.
Winston Abreu gets some attention over on Rays Renegade. We Bulls fans are well aware of the extraordinary double-season Winston gave us last year, but it’s interesting to see the year from the perspective of a Rays fan. What I thought was interesting about 2009 was the odd contractual arrangement Abreu was reported to have, i.e., call me up to the Rays by June 15 or let me go. That may explain the call-up and possibly explains why they didn’t give him much of a chance and then traded him. On the other hand, he later accepted a minor league contract and came back to the Bulls — and gave us a great year until that scary moment in the last game of the Governors’ Cup. It was reported that he had two reasons for coming back — he liked playing for Montoyo and his home is not too far away in South Carolina. Is he good enough to make it for the Rays? Does he really want to? Hard to tell. Sure wouldn’t mind seeing him back in Durham, though.
The cynic in me has always taken the view that Valentine’s Day is an invention of an evil cabal of greeting card companies and florists. On the other hand, what serious Bulls fan wouldn’t at least consider a dozen roses, a pink Bulls hat, and two opening day tickets delivered by Wool E. Bull?
Lastly, not many folks know that the announcer in the Bull Durham movie was a pretty famous North Carolinian in his own right. Here’s a nifty clip about the man who played the part, Garland Bunting.