Gammons: 3 pitchers whose restoration seasons have been put on hold | The Athletic ($)
The Rockies have two of the three on the list in Daniel Bard, 34, and Ben Bowden, 26. For now, their comebacks are paused, which I think just means that their success stories will be all the more amazing if they happen.
Bard’s is the most improbable. After his amazing run and eventual collapse with Boston in 2011, he tried comebacks as a starter and in the minors with Boston, signed minor league deals with four other teams from 2013-2017, including the Cubs twice, had surgery, and tried everything including changing his arm motion to rediscover the magic he once had that led to 25 straight scoreless innings in 2011. (For a beautiful video of Bard striking out Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and making him look new to the game of baseball in 2010, check this Sports Illustrated article.) He then retired in 2017 and was working as a mentor for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ coaching staff when he felt “it just came back. It felt natural again, maybe even better. I felt that joy being on a mound and throwing.” The Rockies signed him to a minor league deal and he is currently on the Albuquerque Isotopes roster.
Bard says that his comeback isn’t just planned for this year and he knows it won’t all be perfect right away. In three appearances in spring training this year, he recorded a 27.00 ERA in 2.1 innings, but one of those innings was a scoreless frame against the Dodgers with two strikeouts on March 7. Now, Bard is staying ready at his home in South Carolina and knows that he’s going to have to work hard and be patient for this comeback story to be a happy one.
Bowden’s is the hardest to believe, especially considering the story of him being so scared something would happen to his $700,000 check that was half of his $1.6 million bonus for signing with the Rockies that he pitched with it in his sock in 2016 for Asheville. Then came the freak-show injuries. A pulled hammy during base-running drills for pitchers in 2017. A hurt shoulder from catching an older woman’s luggage on a plane later that year, before hurting his back rehabbing and needing surgery.
The next two years went well and the lefty reliever climbed up to Triple-A Albuquerque. This January, Bowden’s grandmother got sick and wasn’t going to make it. He traveled back home to Massachusetts to be with her and he re-hurt his back, and needed more disk surgery. On the bright side, the COVID-19 delay to 2020 has given Bowden time to recover and he could start throwing this month. He’s been rehabbing in Arizona during the postponement.
If and when a 2020 season happens, rosters will likely be expanded and we may yet get to see the next chapters for Bard and Bowden.
Wolters, Rox find ways to say thanks, give back | MLB.com
This is a feel-good article featuring Tony Wolters writing thank-you posts to frontline workers and teachers on Twitter, while also Zooming with youth baseball players.
Ian Desmond and Ryan McMahon read books for the Denver Public Library. They were only up until May 6, but Desmond read a great and very informative story about the eating habits of dragons. It turns out they love tacos, but don’t like spicy salsa and peppers. Who knew?
Sam Hilliard gave a shoutout to teachers (and Garret Hampson did too). Jeff Hoffman honored nurses.
We all need more good news of good deeds.
Larry Walker on his Hall of Fame delay and his fuzziness, even now, on analytics | The Athletic ($)
Larry Walker appeared on the “Birds All Day” podcast, which is an Athletic podcast for the Toronto Blue Jays, and had the most optimistic of responses to his Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony being delayed a year: it means more time to write his Cooperstown speech and he’s already been waiting 10 years, so one more is not too bad.
Walker admits that his first go at the speech wasn’t very fruitful and he’s grateful to have more time, although he also said he doesn’t really enjoy talking in front of people and part of him just wants to “wing it.” He also admits he’s not into all the analytics that baseball is centered on now. Walker said it looks like Japanese to him, but he can still appreciate them.
One of those that he probably likes, as pointed out by Nick Groke, is the neutralized stats from Baseball-Reference that can take out fields and try to compare hitters on a more equal playing field across time and place. Walker’s ranks No. 33, which makes you wonder if it is a coincidence or a sign, out of MLB players all-time with a minimum of 8,000 plate appearances. As will be the debate forever it seems, the podcast and article focuses on the Coors Field and the blessings and curses it presents to Rockies hitters.
Colorado Rockies: Why they should have kept Roberto Ramos | Rox Pile
Former Colorado 2014 draft pick Roberto Ramos had been rising through the minor leagues to get to Triple-A Albuquerque in 2019, is now playing for the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. Considering Ramos is a first baseman who hit .309/.400/.580 with 30 homers and 105 runs driven in for the Isotopes last year, Noah Yingling brings up a very good question: Why is he playing in the KBO and not a possible solution to Colorado’s first-base problems?
Yingling concedes that his success in the MLB was unknown, but he sure did seem like a good prospect. In two games this season, Ramos has gone 3-for-7 with two doubles, a run scored, and one walk.
‘Which KBO team should I root for?’ We have you covered, and then some | The Athletic ($)
If Ramos isn’t enough to make you a LG Twins fan, there is another option. This article looks at teams, their histories, their rivalries, their current status, and even player comparisons to try to give fans a Korean Baseball Organization squad to cheer for.
For the Rockies, the comparisons aren’t good: No championship and not going to get a championship this year. Sounds great right? Are you ready to jump on board? If this sounds like your kind of team, then you also might like the NC Dinos. However, this is mostly because they have a dinosaur mascot. Although the NC Dinos seem to have two. One is a green Brontosaurs-looking thing that has been working out quite a bit, judging by the shirt-ripping size of its neck, but it is a longneck after all.
The NC Dinos mascot 쎄리 is one jacked dinosaur. We stan our jacked dinosaur mascots. pic.twitter.com/v8spuft6Bo— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) August 9, 2019
The other is a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Both can breakdance.
While I think Dinger’s existence is cool because it comes from dinosaur bones being found during construction at Coors Field, the triceratops is not loved by all.
Here is his arrival in 1994.
Sixteen years later, Dinger hit another important milestone.
So now comes the hard decision.
Which mascot would you rather have for the Rockies?
This poll is closed
Dinger. He’s got an origin story in Coors Field and he’s got the colors.
NC Dinos’ ripped green longneck. A player/dinosaur that jacked belongs at Coors Field.
NC Dinos’ T. rex. Those dance moves are incredible and we should at least have a carnivorous dinosaur.
None of the above.