One of the only baseball blogs (to my knowledge) in the blogosphere that focuses on the Montreal Expos. Okay, mostly baseball in general, however with Montreal Expos references to be found within!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Finally, Vlad Guerrero is back in the Home Run Derby!

Finally, Vladimir Guerrero is back in the Home Run Derby! He participated in 2000, only hitting two homers in the first round, therefore not getting past said round. He was obviously there for a reason, having hit 38 and 42 home runs respectively in 1998 and 1999. In 2000, he went on to hit his career high of 44. And since then he has been very close to 40 every year, except for 2003 when he hit only 25, as he was out for a good portion of the season with a bad back. Had he been healthy, one can only imagine where the Expos would have ended up that year, even with the San Juan business! The road that year was the Expos enemy. I recall thinking had the Expos gone 500 on the road they'd would have definitely got the wildcard. Upon checking, they were 31-50, with that they ended only 8 GB for the wildcard. Reverse the numbers, and we (I do like referring myself as part of the team! As I am sure many sports fans address their teams as such, "we have to win this one"!) would have given Atlanta a run for their money! But of course with Vlad being out for as long as he was (he missed 50 games), and the crazy San Juan travel, it was our year to be that wasn't. Not really the same at all, but I am reminded of the "Next Year is Now" Mets, when Omar Minaya returned.

So anyway, once Vlad became an Angel, all of a sudden people 'discovered' him. No thanks to Bud Selig, et. al.!

Again I return to 2003. If you had the chance to see Vlad in a four game set against the Phillies, in late August, when we swept them, and tied for the wildcard, that is when you truly knew he was a superstar! He homered in 3 of those 4 games, and every at bat he received a standing ovation to cheer him on! One or two of those games were afternoon games, and drew some 20,000, and some Phillies players commented on it being louder than a stadium with twice as many people! Ah those were the days! I don't really miss the Expos per se, however it was a shame they had to go. I won't get into any details, but I'll say Expos fans past and present (present as far as history goes), will tell you how much unfond they are of Bud Selig, along with Jeffrey Loria, and David Samson (among others). Even many baseball fans in general do like care for Bud! Had they not messed up a good thing, we could have had a downtown stadium, where Vlad could have been hitting homers. It would have been only a couple blocks down from the Bell Centre (where our hockey team plays), with the downtown buildings visible past the outfield. Get a bit more about it here.

In 2002 he should have reached the 40-40 plateau, with 40 stolen bases, and 40 home runs. I was at the game where he homered (second to last of the season) at the Big O, and it went of the top of the wall. It was ruled a double, I'd have to see the replay again (I have it on tape somewhere!), however it definitely could have gone either way, at the discretion of the umpire.

So, anyway, it will be nice to see Vlad in the Home Run Derby. He definitely has the potential to win it. If you are familiar with him, he has amazing range at the plate, he can hit the ball out of the park on almost any pitch location, from his shoes to his neck. I think it was the second game of the Angels at Yankees yesterday, where I believe he was jammed inside, and still managed to get the ball practically out of the park! I believe with his swing he could manage to be up there with Bobby Abreu from 2005! Abreu was on fire! He too certainly has a nice swing! I wonder if Joe Morgan will blurt any anti-Expos stuff out this time around! Well, if so, hopefully Chris Berman will be pro Montreal again! I've mentioned it before, how he ultimately should be praising Montreal, at the very least since Montreal was a big part in breaking the colour barrier in baseball, when Jackie Robinson was playing with the Montreal Royals, before heading to Brooklyn the next year.

Anyway, much more could be added to that, and in regards to Vlad. However it is about Vlad right now in the Home Run Derby, and the All-Star Game itself. For those interested, Angels third base coach, Dino Ebel will be pitching to Vlad in the Derby.

Finally, Vlad is definitely a future hall of famer, to end with a statistic of note, He is on his way to his 10th consecutive year with at least a .300 batting average, and 25 home runs! Only Lou Gehrig has more, with 11. Below him with 8 are Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams, although Ted Williams did not play from 1943-1945 when he was serving with the United States Marine Corps. So I dare say, Vlad is in good company!

So, here's hoping to see a great performance from Vlad Monday and Tuesday! Go Vlad! (Oh, and as a Canadian, the same applies to Justin Morneau!)

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