miércoles, 22 de marzo de 2017

My Favorite Moments.

Muy contento por la publicación de mi cuento en hardballtimes.com March 22, 2017 by Alfonso Tusa The HardBall Times. hardballtimes.com 1975-topps-1966-rookies-of-the-year-2 At sunset, Miguelin raced through the oak door. “Dad…Dad.. I have a question for you.” He managed to stop a few inches from the wooden rocking chair. Demetrio stood up and tried to push back the rocking chair. “What is it ?” Miguelin waited until his breathing barely rippled the white t-shirt. “It’s about baseball.” Demetrio broadened his eyes…Miguelin generally liked other sports. He said that he only liked baseball to play it, nor for watching, reading or having memorabilia about it. “The physical education teacher said whoever answers this question first will win a guanabana yogurt.” Demetrio opened his hands and shrugged his shoulders waiting to hear. Miguelin looked to the ceiling. “In the Venezuelan baseball league which two ballplayers played in the same season and later won the rookie of the year award” Miguelin added, “in the same year?” Demetrio tapped his forehead. “Haven’t thought about that in a while! That teacher of yours is really tough. Well, if you complete your homework by 8 o’clock tonight, we can talk about those ballplayers.” Miguelin wrinkled his mouth and looked down. Then he jumped into the air after 30 seconds. “All right. But you have to tell me the whole story.” Miguelin went to his bedroom and came back when darkness was sliding through the window. “Dad, I already did the homework, why don’t you tell me about the two rookies?” Demetrio studied Miguelin’s tricky face and Roberta’s serious cheeks. He suspected that Miguelin had barely begun to do the homework. Demetrio tried another strategy to avoid a fight for power. Demetrio said, “Do you like baseball?” Miguelin spun his chin from one shoulder to the other. “Then, why are you so interested in that question? You can get the yogurt if you order your toys.” Miguelin squeezed his hands and stretched them under the table. “I want to know who those rookies were. The teacher thinks that nobody will answer that question. I want to surprise him Dad. Are you sure you know what they are?” Demetrio pressed his lips. “You should say, are you sure you know who they are?” … Miguelin started to read the question about cardinal and ordinal numbers. He followed the first lines of the paragraph which identified the main idea, he pressed his lips, released the pencil. He asked if Demetrio had played as a child, if he had run to meet his friends. Demetrio smiled. “Your grandfather was very strict. When I finished the homework he made me paint the facade’s walls or asked me a lot of questions about the homework. If some of my answers were wrong he took minutes from my playing time and if I complained, he diminished the time even more. I looked at him the same way you look at me right now, with acid in my eyes.” Miguelin rebounded the ball against the wall. “But Grandpa always plays with me. Even if I have a homework to do.” “Grandparents, Grandparents! If only you had seen them when they were parents.” … The race brought scents of notebooks and chalk powder in his hands, Miguelin stopped by a garden’s side. “How does a second baseman perform a doubleplay? Why must a centerfielder be very fast? Demetrio stopped using the drill. The hole in the wall required more depth. “The teacher told us that one of the rookies was a second baseman who later won seven golden gloves and the other a centerfielder who made two spectacular catches in the World Series.” Demetrio blew the hole’s dust and slid the ramplug. “Oh son, that teacher is beginning to sound as an encyclopaedia!” “What do you mean by encyclopaedia?” Demetrio slammed two hammer punches on the ramplug. “He’s getting within the baseball history.” “Dad, talk to me clearly please.” Miguelin pulled a chair and put the backpack at the back of it. He noticed the same facial expression of that sunset of ignited oranges among the cobalt clouds at an atmospheric edge. The veins bubbled in his hands. The guy’s face was completely reddish. The client had ordered a painting with streets flooded in garbage and Demetrio left a corner completely clean. That broke all the sense the client wished in the painting. That sight would show that the town began to change and that wasn’t true, Miguelin looked through the door’s line. Thick threads of sweat burned at Demetrio’s eyes. Miguelin would have liked to come in the office to stand up before that furious guy. He wanted to squeeze the guy’s gaze and tell him to respect Demetrio. Not even at his profession as an artist, Demetrio articulated the tiniest word before the hardest complaints. When Roberta told him that he had to defend himself, Demetrio immersed with the best of his aqualung in the sea of blue traces from his planes. “Why is Dad so hard with me and remains as a scarecrow before those guys that are his clients?” “Hey. What’s the matter? Give me that painting,” said Demetrio. Something in the painting impressed Miguelin and he almost dropped it. “Look out! I’ve spent many hours at my free time and many unpleasant meetings, I don’t want that painting to finish turned into specks.” “Do you want to know what a second baseman is or how he performs the double play?” Demetrio asked from behind the canvas. Miguelin had his eyes glued to the canvas, it showed the same street as the other painting, this time it looked immaculate but there were two banana covers at a corner. “What’s that Dad? That’s the opposite of what the angry man ordered.” Demetrio put the palette at the table to add a little more of red to the mix for the banana’s cover. “Sometimes you have to change the perspective to understand the mysteries of the ground you’re stepping on.” “Don’t look at me like that. It doesn’t mean to give up, or get on your knees. There’s a human condition; yes, I know it’s very few times practiced, it leaves open places to share points of view no matter how opposite they could be” Miguelin looked how the tube with red paint squeezed out. “Dad, do you remember that you have to explain me what a second baseman is?” Demetrio gave two pats on his forehead and raised the palette. “Excuse me son, it’s just that painting and architecture sometimes suffocate me.” “Have you seen how a waiter acts in a restaurant? Most of all when he carries a tray filled with glasses and dishes. If anyone calls him from a table he turns around, listens and gets back on his way with everything untouched in the tray. Right?” Miguelin opened his eyes. Demetrio marked the yellow contrasts over the bananas covers with his index finger. “What does that have to do with a second baseman making a doubleplay?” Miguelin said. Demetrio raised his index finger from the canvas. “Imagine there is a runner at first base and the batter hits a grounder to shortstop, right?” Miguelin got two steps away from the easel. “The shortstop grabs the ball and passes it to the second baseman, he gets it, steps on the base and gets the out, then turns to first base and throws the ball.” “Is it similar for you about what a waiter does in a restaurant?” “Dad, but the shortstop also can do that when the grounder goes to the second baseman.” “Sure son, but the shortstop has the play in front of him, he doesn’t have to turn towards first base.” Miguelin looked at Demetrio wanting to ask him from where he got so many explanations. How had he learned so many ordinary, simple things? Miguelin inserted two Lego blocks to complete the airplane. Dad you haven’t even told me why a centerfielder must be very fast.” “And I won’t until you explain to me what cardinal and ordinal numbers are.” The voice’s tone matched the brutality of the reggaeton vibrating over the neighborhood’s zinc roofs. Miguelin raised his shoulders and moved his feet in half circles. Roberta closed the windows and tried to talk. Miguelín put his index fingers at his ears. “That noise kills thousands of neurons per minute,” said Roberta. Miguelin tilted his face on the table. A mysterious music floated in the room. “What’s that thing, Dad? Demetrio left the compact disc box on the speaker. “It’s Franz Liszt, a Hungarian composer, a great pianist and professor.” Miguelin breathed, touched Demetrio’s shoulder. “Dad, that music made me remember a ball game at school. I was in the same team with the boy who always laughed at me. At the first chance, I put my foot on his way, If the teacher wouldn’t have been aware, he had hit very hard in his face. The teacher sat down besides me and stayed like five minutes explaining me that violence is like a vortex that kills everything.” Later in the game, the teacher brought the boy as a relief pitcher from right field. The first deliveries rebounded on home plate and hit me in the neck. The teacher came out so mad. “What`s the matter with you Demostenes? This is a team sharing an objective for the best harmony.” “His name made me laugh. Then you explained me that Demostenes was a great greek speaker in the age before Christ. The batter got on base on a walk. The next batter hit a line drive to deep right field. The runner on first base scored. When I saw the other runner reaching second base and keep running I suspected it could be an inside the park homer. I advanced two steps to third base. When I saw the right fielder throwing the ball to the second baseman, I shouted, ‘Demostenes, run home!’ When I saw the relay throw went over the third baseman I ran and slid on the grass. I got the ball in the mitt’s webbing. I passed the ball to Demostenes. The runner clashed against him and rolled in the dust. The umpire checked the glove and fisted his right hand. I called Demostenes twice. I hit him twice in his face. When the teacher put the alcamphor tablet under his nose and he opened his eyes, my sadness tears turned into happiness. I talked to Demostenes, I helped him to get up. We had made the out to save the team. I felt a peace like the one from that music you played Dad.” Demetrio scrambled Miguelin’s hair. That was the music where he sheltered while seeing his son burying his chin into the grass when Miguelin went behind third base to stop the second baseman throw. Miguelin raised his body on his chin because of the big impulse from his sprint. Demetrio wrestled with the field’s security guards. He needed to know how Miguelin was feeling. He experienced a thousand boilings on his skin. The blood came back to his veins when he saw Miguelin getting up and throwing the ball. At the music ecstasy, Miguelin opened a dictionary. Are cardinal numbers good to express amounts? To account? Demetrio tuned Liszt with his mouth closed. He said yes with his chin. And ordinal numbers are those to indicate the arriving order in a race or the parts of anything? Miguelin stared at Demetrio`s face and the dictionary’s page. … Another metallic sound raised to the ceiling. Demetrio spun the volume button and opened a color paint tube on the palette. With his eyes fixed on the canvas he began to mix the mustard with the black. When the mound took shape to the side of the banana covers, he added a little of red. Miguelin threw his backpack on a chair and unbuttoned his school shirt. He almost swallow his tongue. “Dad, why do you do so many things I don’t understand? What’s that music that seems like a dog crying? Why are you painting that dog’s excrement there? I thought the banana covers were enough.” The saxophone solo shook the curtains in the room. Demetrio tried to follow the rhythm with an imperceptible whistle. “It’s John Coltrane, one of my favorite sax players. It surprised me to find this Coltrane version of ‘My Favorite Things’ on the internet.” Demetrio’s fingers movements went from the palette to the canvas and then to some dancing steps between the lecter and the desk crowded with papers. “Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels. Doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles. Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings. These are a few of my favorite things.. Demetrio diluted a little the color mix with trementine. “Please Miguelin lift that backpack from the magazine box. Could you put it in your closet? How are you doing with the quest about the rookies?” A lightning raised the kid’s tilted face. The teacher had given more clues. He said that the center fielder played for a team called “the miracle” and that the second baseman won six gold glove awards. Demetrio tuned his whistle while moving the brush on the color tone of the dog’s excrement. “Have you seen how is the space behind the infield in a ballpark?” Miguelin’s absent face made Demetrio to leave the brush. He moved to the highest level of the wooden stand. He took out an old calendar. A large savannah displayed through the outfield of a very ancient Estadio Universitario. “Do you see all that mowed and shining grass? What is it like for you?” “It’s like a playing park.” Demetrio stretched his arm to show a better angle of the picture. “Doesn’t it seem to you like a big field? Miguelín smiled. “The biggest portion of that field is centerfield, that’s why the centerfielder has to be very fast, to run everywhere and catch all the lines drives and long flies hit there … Demetrio left for a while his daily journey to the sunset’s silence of orange tonalities, no matter he was very close to discover a new purple gradation at the horizon. Roberta checked Miguelin´s backpack and raised her voice with vehemence. That teacher was asking excessive hard questions to the kids. How is he going to teach trigonometry to fifth-graders? I’m going to complain tomorrow.” Demetrio coughed and a piano solo invaded the house with fresh air from streams and shrub bushes. Roberta tried to follow the rhythm while spreading the pomegranate grains on a mix of lemon juice and ginger ale. She smiled at the ice ringing on the glasses. Miguelin tasted the drink. “Dad. Who’s Pitagoras? The teacher sent us to search about him and about what’s the sine, the cosine and the hypotenuse. And the physical education teacher gave us other clues on the rookies”. Demetrio whistled the piano melody. He had took the Coltrane disc out and put this one with a different kind of jazz. “Dad, what’s the name of that song?” Miguelin took another sip of the pomegranate drink. Demetrio grabbed the compact disc box. “That teacher makes me to recall a scene in the movie Field of Dreams. When Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones go to Fenway Park looking for a signal. In the seventh inning stretch, Costner sees the name of a player at the scoreboard. The guy had played early in the century. Costner broke running to search information about the player. What did that teacher tell you now about the rookies?” Miguelín enjoyed another sip of pomegranate drink following the piano sounds. “He said that one was traded by the Cleveland Indians along with a pitcher named Tommy John and the other was sent along with the first baseman Lee May from the Cincinnati Reds to the Houston Astros for the second baseman Joe Morgan, the pitcher Jack Billingham and the centerfielder Cesar Gerónimo.” Demetrio looked at the picture of the musician in the compact disc box. “That teacher is giving all those clues because he’s for sure that you’ll never find those rookies’ names. But you never know, life has always amazing answers”. “Dad, you haven’t still told me the name of the song”. Demetrio almost closed his eyes while looking at Miguelin’s chin. “What’s that?” Miguelin tried of running away to the living room. Demetrio took him by the forearm. “That…is…a scar…That happened two weeks ago”. Miguelin’s voice almost disappeared into silence. Demetrio sat down and turned the music volume down. “It can have happened a year ago but I need to know about what’s happening to my son. Look at that scar’s color. I know it comes from a very hard punch”. tommie-agee-2Miguelin looked to the ceiling and dropped his head. “It was at school. A boy told the other classmates not to play games with me and fooled on me. I complained and he pushed me. They began to shout me ugly words and I almost started to cry. I raised up and faced him. He threw a very hard punch and I only could partially stop it with my hand. I felt a hammer in my chin”. Demetrio’s voice rebounded at the walls. “What about the teacher? What did she do?” Miguelín buried his gaze at a corner. “She just appeared when I tried to answer his punch back. She called me ‘violent kid’ and I spent the rest of the afternoon at the bottom of the classroom, hearing the laughter of the boy who hit me.” Demetrio went to the kitchen and turned off the arepas cooking fire. Roberta explained that she had talked to the teacher. When she noticed that Roberta went to complain with the school coordinator and they began to investigate, the teacher looked for Roberta. Demetrio turned the arepas cooking fire on again. “Why haven’t you told me anything?” Roberta took her blouse’s sleeve and dried some tear and sweat in her cheek. “I didn’t want to worry you more. I see how you have to deal everyday with the clients. I thought it was not the time to tell you about what happened at school.” Demetrio took a chair from the table and soaked his chin on his hands. Miguelin tried to get Demetrio away from that argument with Roberta. He tilted the blender machine vase squeezing the last pomegranate and ginger ale drops. “Dad Why are pomegranates so tasteful mixed with ginger ale?” Simón Díaz’s voice meshed through the piano sound. “Dad, you still haven’t told me the name of that song.” “It’s one of the main samples of a musical genre created by the maestro Aldemaro Romero. The Onda Nueva is like a Venezuelan answer to the Brazilian Bossa Nova. This song’s name is Carretera. The anecdote says that Aldemaro composed it as a tribute to his friend Simon Díaz when they traveled to Simon’s farmland in the venezuelan plains.” Miguelín tried to follow the lyrics. “Carretera… acortate carretera…que me ahoga la distancia…de que manera…de que manera…” Miguelín got some centimeters away from the table. It looked so different that world of tables, papers, easels and canvas from what he saw daily at his journey to school, pushing, shouts, bad words, tricks, threats, bullying, weapons. “Dad, what’s war?” Demetrio almost breaks his pen on the paper. “How come do you want to know about that?” “That’s what they talk about at the street. ‘It comes, the civil war. The chase of the people who think in a distinct way.’” Demetrio sat down on the floor. “If human beings are incapable of using the words to accomplish agreements, then, what for do we have brain? To bring violence?” What can you do to stop it, Dad? Demetrio almost got asphyxiated in a sigh. “It’s a daily task son. Because all of us make mistakes, thus we have to start by recognizing them.” After school Miguelín always got back home in a rush. That afternoon he came running by the brown bricks’ path through the garden. The sun’s last rays trimmed the bromelia and fidodendron’s plants shadows. “Dad. Where are you?” Roberta raised her index finger from her white kitchen apron and took it to the mouth. A scent of pepper and basil filled the kitchen. “Go silently, he’s over there where you can see those little green spots.” Miguelín almost fell down while running before the emotion of watching those little lights in the sunset shadows. “Dad, why are you looking at those fireflies?” Demetrio’s cheeks looked so large as almost never Miguelin had seen them. “I get very relaxed just by seeing those little green spots in the darkness. They are like a big fragmentary lantern.. … The next afternoon, midday breeze flowing matched the heat in the vineyard pipes. Demetrio had took the easel out to the rooftop. He painted some silver sargassum on a shadowed street. The canvas creaked while the brush transmitted shapes and colors. Miguelín jumped at the stairs three steps at a time. Demetrio wrinkled his mouth. He looked for some particular blue in the sky through the grape leaves. And whistled Coltrane’s sax that came floating from the living room. The music cheered Miguelín. He took his mathematics notebook from his backpack. As Demetrio read a Pitagoras’ biography, he put his fingers at his mouth. Miguelín looked at the canvas. “Dad, the roof line of that Cadillac seems as a hypotenuse. It was painted in a 45 º angle with a seized paint Toyota rustic. Dad, how do you do to portrait that seized paint?” My Favorite Things showed the duet of Coltrane’s sax and Demetrio’s whistle. He marked silver spots on the orange background of the hood. “Where’s the Cadillac driver? He’s parked in the wrong place, Dad. The brush painted some yellow stripes under the Toyota rustic. “It’s a scene from the cheating of a lot of guys. I could title this painting: ‘Two cheaters in action.’ The driver of the Toyota parked on a hydrant zone and the one from the Cadillac parked in double line and crossed.” Miguelin looked behind the Toyota. He wrinkled his forehead. “Dad is it really dangerous to park a car in front of a hydrant?” Demetrio tuned the musical note. “Sure son. It could cost the loss of many lives. If there is a fire and the firefighters need extra water, but a car is obstructing the hydrant, it could mean a very difficult moment and even a catastrophe”. Miguelin breathed close to the Toyota’s tires. Do you think the Toyota driver knows what an hydrant is?” “No. And if he knew about it, he forgot it the same that the Cadillac guy ignores Pitagoras, he wasn’t even capable of parking in parallel line.” … The gallium and chromium compass slipped from the fingers stained with ink. Three ring tones lighted his pants pocket. Demetrio got away from the table in his tiptoes and took out his cell phone. “What happened? Ok, teacher, I’ll be there in just a minute.” He pushed seven times the keyboard and phoned Roberta. “Yes. You have to go to the school. According to the teacher everything is alright. But you have to go for Miguelin.” Roberta checked a hematoma under Miguelin’s left eye. “How is it possible that the teacher says everything is alright and my son’s eye looks like the one of a boxer?” The kid went to the opposite side of the rooftop. Demetrio hid himself behind a drum filled with water. The little stones rebounded from the vine leaves. “Cut it out Dad! I know it’s you.” “Haven’t the teacher given you more clues about the rookies?” “No.” Demetrio put a hand on the drum. “One of them was elected Rookie of the Year while playing at a different position from the one he played for the most time in his career and the other was born in the same state where Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were born.” Miguelin began to forget his hematoma. “Who are Willie Mays and Hank Aaron?” Demetrio leaned on the drum. “They’re two of the best players in the history of baseball.” “Son, what happened at school?” “No. Mom is going to get mad at me.” “I’ll talk with her. She’s not going to get mad.” Miguelin tried a smile. “We were in a line to buy some snack and this girl came and took a place ahead of us, just because her friends called her. I complained that at least she should ask for permission to all of us in the line. It began a big fight and I got a punch at my face. I couldn’t see who hit me because I fell down”. Demetrio stretched his hand and turned down the music. “Dad, why do you see so much to that corner? It seems like if you had a treasure just there.” Miguelín climbed to the top level of the library furniture and moved the portrait of the day at the beach. The shadow of a box came out in the shape of a pile of cardboards. A chewing gum scent impregnated the wood grabbed by Miguelín’s fingers. Demetrio breathed, his breathing brought the square across the bookstore where he bought the baseball cards, some of them had chewing gum as a prize. Once he got the most wanted card but a bigger boy took it from him. Demetrio chased him for about seven blocks. The boy turned and hit him in the chest. Demetrio attacked the boy. They both rolled on the pavement until Demetrio pulled the card back from the boy’s hand. Then Demetrio was a fugitive of that boy and he had to tell it to his father. “Your Grandpa made an ugly sign with his mouth. ‘I’ve told you more than once that violence isn’t good.’ He went to talk with the boy’s father and after some quarreling they agreed that the boy would stop chasing Demetrio, but Demetrio had to apologize for the punches he gave to the boy.” Miguelin took the pack of baseball cards and passed it to Demetrio. “Why did you hit so hard that boy?” “It was the card of one of my favorite ballplayers. I spent several days flattening it. I put it inside a book and the book under the mattress of my bed.” “Who was that ballplayer?” Demetrio delivered some whistles as he emptied equal portions of brown and silver paint over the palette, then he added a little orange. He remarked some scratches on the rustic’s hood. Miguelin forgot about the cards for a while. “You are painting like the painter of that picture of flowers in the kitchen.” “You don’t know what you’re saying son. How am I going to even dream of being at the ankles of Vincent van Gogh? And most of all in The Sunflowers!” Demetrio pressed a card against the wall and let it fall down. “This was the game we most enjoyed.” He did this over and over, letting other cards fall down. Miguelin raised one of the cards. “Is this one of the rookies?” Demetrio smiled. “Dad. You still haven’t told me who was the player in the card the boy took from you.” Demetrio whistled again “My Favorite Things.” “What did you see in the level where the cards were?” Miguelín looked to the library furniture. There were some bottles.”I’m sure those bottles have ships inside.” When Miguelin tried to climb the furniture again, Demetrio took down two transparent bottles. It looked as if he was carrying a baby in his arms. Miguelín jumped between the canvas and the drawing table. “I see, I see! How did you do to put those cards inside the bottles? Tommie Agee…White Sox.” Miguelin looked to the other bottle. “Tommy Helms…Reds. Are these the rookies? Yes Dad!” Miguelin hugged Demetrio and sat down on the bench. “Are these your favorite players?” Demetrio spun the bottles to read the cards’ rear side. “Maybe not so much as in that 1965-1966 season when both came to play for the Magallanes Navigators. What was I going to imagine that the next major league baseball season those two players were going to be the rookies of the year? The day when my brothers came home with the news, I asked them if the players were the same that had come to the Venezuelan winter league. I celebrated for several days. I always kept the cards with me everywhere and as soon as I found the right person I ordered to put the cards inside those bottles.” Miguelín looked at the bottles from every angle. “Now I know why you were so sure about who were those rookies. I’m sure the teacher is going to be astonished when I tell him the name of the rookies.” About Alfonso Tusa Alfonso L. Tusa is a chemical technician and writer from Venezuela. His work has been featured in El Nacional, Norma Editorial and the Society for American Baseball Research, where he has contributed to several books and published several entries for the SABR Bio Project. He has written several novellas and books and contributed to others, including Voces de Beisbol y Ecología and Pensando en tí Venezuela. Una biografía de Dámaso Blanco. Follow him on Twitter @natural30. Leave a Reply

jueves, 9 de marzo de 2017

Duelos Épicos de Pitcheo: Joaquín Andújar versus Bill Lee.

Astros de Houston 2 – Expos de Montreal 1. Astrodomo. Martes, 14 de agosto de 1979. Los duelos de lanzadores siempre tienen detalles resaltantes por supuesto de la actuación monticular. Este tiene un elemento adicional poco común, por como y quien genera el movimiento de carreras que lo decide. Andújar retiró en fila los primeros seis bateadores de los Expos. Los Astros amenazaron en el primer inning mediante sencillo de Julio González (2b) a la izquierda, González fue sorprendido en primera (del cátcher Gary Carter al primera base Tany Pérez). Craig Reynolds (ss) fue retirado en elevado al jardinero derecho Ellis Valentine. Terry Puhl (cf) negoció boleto y robó segunda base. Jeffrey Leonard (rf) negoció boleto. Enos Cabell (1b) fue retirado en elevado al jardinero derecho. En el cierre del segundo inning José Cruz (lf) fue out con elevado al jardinero izquierdo Warren Cromartie. Art Howe (3b) sencilleó al centro. Alan Ashby (c) se ponchó. Andújar (p) descargó jonrón dentro del campo hacia el jardín izquierdo (primer cuadrangular de Andújar en grandes ligas) para remolcar a Howe. González sencilleó a la izquierda. Reynolds entregó el último out de Bill Lee (p) a Pérez (1b). Astros 2, Expos 0. Larry Parrish (3b) abrió el tercer inning con doble al centro. Chris Speier (ss) fue out de González (2b) a Cabell (1b). Parrish avanzó hasta tercera base. Lee (p) salió de segunda a primera. Parrish anotó. Cromartie (lf) entregó el ultimo out de segunda a primera. Astros 2, Expos 1. En el cierre del quinto inning, González salió de campocorto a primera base. Reynolds sencilleó a la derecha, fue sorprendido tratando de robar segunda base de pitcher a primera base a campocorto. Puhl sencilleó a la derecha, fue puesto out de cátcher a campocorto en intento de robo. En la apertura del sexto inning, Speier entregó el primer out con elevado al jardinero derecho. Lee sencilleó por segunda base. Cromartie forzó a Lee (de primera a campocorto), Cromartie pasó a segunda por error de Reynolds. Rodney Scott (2b) falló con elevado al jardinero derecho. En el cierre del sexto inning, Leonard sencilleó al centro. Cabell bateó para dobleplay (de segunda a campocorto a primera base). Cruz la rodó por primera para un out sin asistencia. En la apertura del octavo, Valentine sencilleó a la izquierda, fue sorprendido en primera base de Andújar (p) a Cabell (1b). Parrish elevó a primera base en territorio foul. Speier entregó el tercer out de campocorto a primera base. En la apertura del noveno inning, Tom Hutton bateó de emergente por Lee y sencilleó a la derecha. Cromartie forzó a Hutton (de segunda a campocorto). Rusty Staub bateó de emergente por Scott y fue out a manos del campocorto. Andre Dawson (cf) entregó el último out en línea al tercera base. Andújar dejó su marca en 12-8, al lanzar 9 innings. Permitió 4 imparables. 1 carrera limpia. 0 boletos. 1 ponche. Enfrentó 30 bateadores Lee cargó con la derrota y su balance quedó en 10-10. 8 innings lanzados. 7 imparables permitidos. 2 carreras limpias. 2 boletos concedidos. 3 ponches. 30 bateadores enfrentados. Tiempo de juego: 2 horas 5 minutos. Asistencia: 21.871. Árbitros: HP - Charlie Williams, 1B - Bob Engel, 2B - Dave Pallone, 3B - Paul Runge Fuente: retrosheet.org. Traducción: Alfonso L. Tusa C.

miércoles, 8 de marzo de 2017

Los 10 mejores segundas bases del beisbol para 2017.

Matt Whitener. Morningbark.com. 20-02-2017. Hay una impresionante cantidad de talento en la segunda base del beisbol actual. Tanto en la Liga Nacional como en la Americana, hubo un finalista al premio del jugador más valioso quien juega la posición, y el ganador de los honores del jugador más valioso de la Serie Mundial también juega la posición. De la misma forma, los campeones de bateo de ambas ligas la temporada pasada juegan al campo en segunda base, así como también uno de los que quedó en segundo lugar. No hace falta decir, que es un lugar difícil para destacar, para ser mencionado entre la élite de talentos del juego. La colección de destrezas que se debe poseer para estar en la élite es exigente. No basta con tener poder al bate si se olvida el guante en casa. Ni batear los imparables sin correr bien las bases. No, hay que tener un rango completo de destrezas para destacar en la intermedia en el beisbol actual. ¿Quiénes son lo mejor de lo mejor en segunda base al empezar 2017? ¿Y cuales razones son esgrimidas para colocar a uno por delante del otro? Aquí está una mirada a la élite de los segundas base del beisbol actual y donde se ubican entre sus colegas. 10. Ben Zobrist, Cachorros de Chicago. Los Cachorros vieron los frutos del dinero invertido en la adquisición del veterano Zobrist el año pasado. Se convirtió en abridor del juego de estrellas por primera vez en su carrera, mientras agenciaba sus números más altos en cinco años en jonrones y OPS (porcentaje de embasado más slugging). Su valor como pieza versátil de la alineación también hizo efecto en la postemporada, cuando se mudó al jardín izquierdo para permitir que Javier Baez estuviese en la alineación con más frecuencia. El movimiento no lo alejó de seguir mostrando continuidad en la intensidad de su juego, al batear para .357 en ruta a ganar los honores del premio al jugador más valioso de la Serie Mundial 2016. 9. Jason Kipnis, Indios de Cleveland Un motor subestimado que dirige el ataque de Cleveland, Kipnis continuó haciendo impacto hace un año. Alcanzó un tope vitalicio de 68 extrabases, mientras lograba dobles dígitos en bases robadas por quinto año seguido. Agréguese un OPS sobre .800, promedio de bateo de .290 con cuatro jonrones y el segundo menor número de errores entre los segundas bases de la Liga Americana, y es seguro decir que Kipnis está llegando a 2017 tras los pasos de su mejor año hasta la fecha. 8. Dustin Pedroia, Medias Rojas de Boston Es más que impresionante ver a Pedroia ser el conejito Energizer de los segundas base en el juego de hoy. Año tras año, se mantiene alcanzando números como un pilar en Fenway Park y dejando huella a lo largo del juego. El año pasado, alcanzó los 200 imparables por primera vez desde 2008, cuando ganó el premio de jugador más valioso de la Liga Americana. También anotó más de 100 carreras, conectó 36 dobles, empujó su mayor cantidad de carreras desde 2013 y agenció su OPS más alto desde 2011. Agréguese que una vez más lideró a los camareros de la Liga Americana en WAR defensivo a los 32 años de edad, y eso afirma el hecho de que Pedroia sigue siendo uno de los infielders centrales más analíticos del beisbol. 7. Jonathan Villar, Cerveceros de Milwaukee Villar consiguió su primera oportunidad en un papel regular en su primer año en Milwaukee, y la aprovechó al máximo. Fue un terror en las bases, estafando 62 bases y logrando un porcentaje de embasado de .369, topes entre los campocortos de la Liga Nacional la temporada pasada, el lugar donde jugó buena parte del año. Además, mostró poder adicional, al batear 19 jonrones y alcanzar un OPS de .826. Eso, combinado con su total de bases robadas, lo llevó a liderar la Liga Nacional en relación poder-velocidad, un indicador de que tan diversamente peligroso se hizo. Este año, tendrá una nueva tarea, al tener que desplazarse para que el novato Orlando Arcia pueda unirse al infield. 6. D.J. LeMahieu, Rockies de Colorado Ya con un guante de oro y una presencia en el juego de estrellas en su haber, LeMaheiu actuó en gran forma en su sexta temporada en las mayores, como nunca antes. El año pasado ganó el campeonato de bateo de la Liga Nacional por el margen más estrecho (.3478 ante el .3465 de Daniel Murphy). También lideró la Liga Nacional en sencillos, y terminó entre los 10 mejores en OPS (.911), triples (8), y total de veces embasado (251). Agréguese el hecho de que terminó entre los mejores 10 del WAR ofensivo y defensivo (4.9 y 2.2 respectivamente), y eso muestra a uno de los talentos del juego con más mejoras contínuas. 5. Ian Kinsler, Tigres de Detroit. Hay poco o nada que Ian Kinsler no pueda hacer en el diamante. ¿Una amenaza en las bases? Kinsler tuvo una línea de .288/.348/.484, que le generó un tope personal de .831 de OPS en seis años. ¿Le gusta el poder? Conectó 28 jonrones y 61 extrabases. ¿Poducción total? ¿Velocidad? Terminó cuarto en la Liga Americana con 117 carreras anotadas y robó 14 bases. ¿Defensa? Kinsler terminó un punto porcentual detrás de Pedroia en WAR defensivo y tuvo más de 400 asistencias. 4. Brian Dozier, Mellizos de Minnesota , Dozier debe haber estado muy, muy ofendido por no ser escogido para el juego de estrella, debido a que después del receso del clásico de mediados de verano, Dozier despachó 28 jonrones, incluyendo 13 nada más en agosto. Pasó a Alfonso Soriano para convertirse en el primer segunda base de la Liga Americana que batea 40 jonrones y se quedó a dos de la marca para una temporada en esa posición que mantienen Roger Hornsby y Davey Johnson. Además se robó 18 bases y empujó 99 carreras. Si hubiese existido un campeón por el valor de WAR (en el cual Dozier tuvo una figura de 6.5, octavo en la Liga Americana), ese fue Dozier, sin sus contribuciones, los Mellizos habrían terminado últimos en carreras anotadas en la Liga Americana por más de 30 carreras. 3. Daniel Murphy, Nacionales Washington Despues que los Nats no pudieron firmar a Zobrist ni realizar un cambio para traer a Brandon Phillips el año pasado, fijaron su atención en la estrella de la postemporada de 2015 como su tercera opción. La fortuna los iluminó, cuando al final de la temporada, Murphy terminó segundo en el premio del jugador más valioso de la Liga Nacional. Su tremenda demostración en el plato en 2016 incluyó terminar segundo en promedio de bateo en la Liga Nacional con .347, los cual incluyó tres meses de números mejores que .370 (incluyendo un .416 en mayo). Agréguense sus mejores marcas en grandes ligas en dobles (47) y OPS (.985), y Murphy superó al jugador más valioso de la Liga Nacional de 2015, Bryce Harper, como la fuerza directriz de los eventuales campeones del este de la Liga Nacional. 2. Robinson Canó, Marineros de Seattle Con las molestia de la muñeca de 2015 bien detrás de él, Canó volvió a ser el año pasado, el bateador quien había sido la fuerza dominante en esa posición buena parte de la década pasada. Canó despachó un tope personal de 39 jonrones y logró otro tope vitalicio en carreras anotadas con 107. En el trayecto impulsó la rayita número mil de su carrera y se metió entre los primeros 10 segundas bases de todos los tiempos con más dobles vitalicios. 1. Jose Altuve, Astros de Houston No hay necesidad de debatir acerca de quien es el mejor segunda base del juego; es tiempo de apreciar que tan grande es el impacto que Altuve es capaz de hacer. Ganó su segundo título de bateo de la Liga Americana en tres años la temporada pasada, mientras lideró la liga en imparables por tercer año seguido. En el trayecto conectó 40 dobles por tercer año seguido y robó 30 bases por quinto año seguido. Hasta agregó un legítimo toque de poder en 2016, al descargar 24 jonrones, lo cual le ayudó a mejorar su antiguo tope de 66 carreras empujadas por 30 remolques. Altuve es uno de los principales peloteros de impacto del juego, y solo tiene 26 años de edad, apenas está comenzando. Se quedaron fuera por un poquito: Logan Forsythe, Neil Walker, Brandon Phillips Prevenido a la élite: Rougned Odor, Rangers de Texas. Este feroz pelotero de 23 años quizás tuvo sus titulares más grandes del año por el puñetazo que le dio en la mandíbula a José Bautista, lo cual lo lanzó al superestrellato de los mensajes y las fotos en las redes sociales, pero el juego de Odor también fue contundente. En su tercera temporada, despachó 33 jonrones, tercero entre los segundas basesde la Liga Americana. Además, empujó 88 carreras, anotó 89 y tuvo un porcentaje de slugging de .502. Fuera del bateo, probó ser un defensor muy capaz, al liderar a los segundas base la Liga Americana en factor de alcance al campo y dobleplays realizados, aunque su alto total de 22 errores, opaca algo esos resultados. Matt Whitener es un escritor del area de San Luis, animador de radio y entusiasta de la curva de gran radio. Ha cubierto Major League Baseball desde 2010, y también hace trabajos para WWE, NBA y otras eventualidades. Traducción: Alfonso L. Tusa C.

martes, 7 de marzo de 2017

Reflexiones en la bodega del buque (II): Receptores e inicialistas.

A medida que avanzan los primeros días de marzo, visualizo todo el trayecto que resta hasta octubre, y hay suficiente tiempo para planificar, coordinar, buscar y encontrar las configuraciones y elementos necesarios para tener un equipo consistente desde el primer día de la temporada y en consecuencia empezar a clasificar desde ese momento. Quizás la posición más determinante en un equipo de beisbol es la receptoría, el cátcher es quien guía al lanzador a través del juego, quien debe mantener una comunicación íntima con cada pitcher, quien ubica a sus compañeros en el terreno, quien debe conocer los mínimos detalles de cada bateador que se para en la caja de bateo, por eso es muy importante contar con al menos un cátcher experimentado que aconseje y mejore sobre la marcha el trabajo de los jóvenes receptores como René Pinto y Ricardo Valencia quienes para la campaña 2017-18, con una temporada más de experiencia en el beisbol organizado, deberían convertirse con más propiedad en dos de las opciones de los Navegantes del Magallanes para ocupar la posición 2 de su configuración defensiva, sobre todo en las primeras semanas del torneo. Ellos deberían darle paso en principio a los experimentados Jesus Sucre y Juan Apodaca (de quien se espera regrese completamente sano en octubre para que se alterne con Sucre en las semanas avanzadas de la temporada). Otra opción podría ser Josmil Pinto, aunque es más probable que con Magallanes se siga desempeñando en primera base y como bateador designado. En cuanto a la primera base me parece que la gerencia deportiva del Magallanes debería desde ya empezar a realizar los trámites ante la organización de los Reales de Kansas City para contar con Samir Dueñez como defensor de la inicial por el mayor tiempo que se pueda en la temporada 2017-18. En 2016 terminó la temporada en categoría AA, sería lógico pensar que en 2017 pase la mayor parte del tiempo en AA, lo cual le daría mayor profundidad en su juego para afrontar con más posibilidades de éxito una temporada en LVBP. Entre las otras opciones que manejaría el equipo para esa posición estarían por supuesto Josmil Pinto, Frank Díaz quien ha mostrado versatilidad para jugar en los jardines y mantiene buen nivel de juego defensivo en primera base, además de su solvente actuación con el madero. También está la posibilidad de Mario Lisson quién siempre está dispuesto a colaborar donde lo ubiquen. Ronny Cedeño y Luis Rodríguez. Estos últimos tres, a mi particularmente me gustan más en las otras posiciones del infield (Lisson en 3b, Cedeño en el ss, 2b y 3b, Rodríguez en 2b). Otra opción que no por dejarla de última es menos importante, sería que la gerencia se incline por traer un importado a partir de cierto momento de la temporada, y eso por supuesto pasa por conseguir alguien con el nivel ofensivo y defensivo para asumir ese reto. A especie de post data comento que aún los Navegantes del Magallanes tienen pendiente formalizar la situación del manager, si van a ratificar a Omar Malavé o van a nombrar un nuevo dirigente. Ese detalle es muy importante en la conformación de un equipo, a partir de allí empieza a gestarse toda la configuración que tendrá el equipo en la nueva temporada, mientras más tiempo tenga el manager de visualizar y diseñar su plan de trabajo, aumentarán las probabilidades de lograr resultados positivos desde el primer día de competencia. Alfonso L. Tusa C. 07-03-2017.©

miércoles, 1 de marzo de 2017

¿Donde están ahora? Joe Rudi. Mantiene su guante inactivo. No lamenta haber dejado a los Atléticos, ni al beisbol después.

David Bush.SFGate.com. 21-04-2002. Joe Rudi, un contribuyente importante de los Atléticos que ganaron tres campeonatos mundiales y cinco títulos divisionales hace treinta años, también fue parte del temprano éxodo de los agentes libre del beisbol, lo cual particularmente afectó a Oakland. “Pienso que habíamos sido capaces de competir por un período largo”, dijo Rudi de 55 años, quien ha tenido una exitosa carrera en bienes raíces en Baker, Ore., desde que su carrera de beisbol terminó en 1982. “La mayoría de nosotros estaba en su mejor momento”. Pero las penurias del dueño Charlie Finley combinadas con la creación de la libre agencia causaron grandes deserciones y la dinastía se desintegró. Rudi, el jardinero izquierdo quien desde 1971-75 promedió .284 y 75 carreras empujadas por temporada, firmó su contrato de agente libre en 1977 con los Angelinos por un total de 2.5 millones de dólares por cinco años. Por supuesto, 500.000 $ al año es una pequeñez en los patrones actuales, pero Rudi no se lamenta. “Seguro, los salarios de hoy son astronómicos, pero muchas de las personas quienes jugaron en los años ’40 y ’50 pensaban que lo que ganaban era astronómico, así que todo es relativo al tiempo”, dijo Rudi mientras visitaba el Area de la Bahía para firmar autógrafos en un evento de la compañía Topps. “Y garantizo que habrá el mismo número de tipos en dificultades económicas cuando terminen su carrera en el beisbol, hoy, como los hubo cuando yo jugaba y en las generaciones previas a la mía”. Un campocorto en la escuela secundaria quien fue probado en primera base antes de ser movido a los jardines, Rudi mejoró la defensa lo suficiente para ganar tres guantes de oro. La fotografía de él virtualmente estampado en la pared de Riverfront Stadium en el noveno inning del segundo juego para robarle a Dennis Menke un doble que hubiese igualado el juego, fue un momento decisivo en el triunfo de los Atléticos sobre los ampliamente favoritos Rojos en la Serie Mundial de 1972. Rudi le da crédito a Joe DiMaggio, quien había sido coach de Oakland en 1968 y 1969 en uno de los movimientos de Finley que tuvo sentido, por prepararlo para su gran momento. “Fildear hacia atrás fue una de las coas más difíciles de aprender para mí. Él pasó mucho tiempo bateando pelotas por encima de mi cabeza para enseñarme a correr hasta un punto y atrapar la pelota”, dijo Rudi. Las primeras dos semanas yo corría y me volteaba y la pelota caía a 20 metros de distancia, pero gradualmente aprendí como llegar al lugar apropiado…Es divertido, cuando él hablaba de bateo, eso nunca funcionó conmigo, pero lo que hizo sobre la defensa de un jardinero fue increíble”. Los Atléticos de esa época tenían la reputación de pelear entre ellos, solo se unían en el disgusto por el dueño. Rudi dijo que aunque si había algo de eso, probablemente lo que se comentaba era exagerado. “En aquella época la única manera de que nosotros pudiésemos ganar algún dinero era ganando porque él (Finley) no pagaba nada”, dijo Rudi. “Y nos presionábamos mucho para ganar…Cuando se vive en conjunto, como un grupo por ocho meses, habrá desacuerdos, pero nosotros probablemente llamábamos más la atención porque ganábamos”. Rudi fue empleado como coach cuando Tony LaRussa se encargó de los Atléticos a mediados de 1986 pero renunció después de la temporada de 1987. En los años ’90, el antiguo compañero de equipo, Sal Bando, entonces gerente general de los Cerveceros de Milwaukee, lo contrató como instructor de entrenamientos primaverales, pero eso fue todo para él y el beisbol organizado. “Extraño el beisbol y me gusta entrenar”, dijo él. “Pero cuando no eres jugador activo es un mundo diferente. No hay seguridad, nada que diga que vas a estar trabajando en ese lugar por más de un año, y puedo hacer más dinero en casa que como coach…No es tan atractivo estar lejos de casa”. Traducción: Alfonso L. Tusa C.