Baseball: Notes, quotes and an opinion or 2

Rick Cleveland 2007.jpg

Notes, quotes and an opinion or two, while wondering if former Mississippi Brave Freddie Freeman has a legit shot at National League MVP….

By the way, I think he should. When Freeman comes up in the clutch, he comes through more often than not. At our house we call him 4F: Freakin’ Fabulous Freddie Freeman. He is now hitting .306 with 19 home runs, 56 extra base hits, 55 walks and 94 RBI. …

You write sports 40-something years, you learn to appreciate a good quote. Dusty Baker, the Cincinnati Reds always has seemed to this observer a good quote just waiting to happen. Here’s what he said about pinch-running Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton Tuesday night. “I didn’t send him out there to paint,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s not a secret.”

No, it wasn’t a secret, even though Yadier Molina, the best catcher in baseball was behind the plate, and even though this was Hamilton’s first Major League appearance. After three throws over to first, Hamilton took off for second, slid in safely and then scored on a double by the next batter. The Reds won 1-0. Hamilton was given the base as a souvenir and Baker gets my vote for quote of the day. . . .

And then, last night, Baker put Hamilton in the game again, with the Reds down one, in extra innings. Naturally, he stole second again off Molina. He scored again on former Ole Miss Rebel Zack Cozart’s single to tie a game the Cards went on to win. Cozart, by the way is hitting .252.

Former Southern Miss Golden Eagle Brian Dozier has become the Minnesota Twins starting second baseman, which doesn’t surprise me at all. What does surprise me is that he has hit 17 home runs this season. He had pop at USM, but I wasn’t expecting him to be a 20-homer guy in the Major Leagues. . . .

Two more Braves observations: (1) I have never seen anybody — yes even Ozzie — play shortstop any better than Andrelton Simmons. (2) Closer Craig Kimbrel continues to be absolutely filthy. He has saved 44 games, struck out 83 batters in 57.2 innings and has an earned run average of — get this — 0.94.

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