Uncle Charlie Yakker's Baseball Rants

A look into the mind of baseball fanatic.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Vladdy, not a HOFer yet!

Angels fans love the stud player in right field, Vladimir Guerrero. Some fans are already considering him as one of the greatest baseball players of all-time.

I disagree.

There is no question that Vlad is an awesome hitter. There is no question that IN TIME he MAY be considered one of the best of all time.

Before he's given a free pass to Cooperstown, consider the fact that it only takes one injury to a wonderful career. Don't forget that Vlad is making more money this year than his grandkids could ever spend. If the Angels go on a run and win the WS this year, who’s to say that he doesn't take the money and go back home. If the Angels go in the dumps, his automatic enshrinement could disappear quicker than a box of doughnuts in a police department squad room.

I guess the point I am trying to make is the fact that he is a very good player, (MVP, obviously) but he would need to continue the current pace for several more years to be considered "one of the greatest of all time".

Having that said, the fan from Canada would remember Vladdy's past. I seem to remember Vlad always being a total stud on the diamond, but there was a time he was considered to be fragile (or some might say, he had no heart), when he was playing on a very poor Expo's team. Am I the only one that remembers these early days?

I beg to differ that he's one of the greatest of all time. I would consider him about 6-8 All-Star type seasons away from HOF consideration. I would consider him at least ONE World Series title away from any historic notoriety. There have been a lot of players, playing a lot of years at an elite level that has never been considered for the HOF. Many men fall into the darkness of baseball history.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Umpires overreactions are ruining great games

I dislike the fact that umpires have such a quick trigger when throwing a player/manager out of a game.

Don't get me wrong. I know they have a tough job. I wouldn't even want that job at a Tee ball game.

Umpires are becoming too much a part of the game. For example, tonight while watching the interleague rivalry between the Mets and the overpaid team from New York.

Late in the matchup Gary Sheffield pounded a pitch off the glove of Mets fireman, Aaron Heilman. Second baseman, Marlon Anderson stretched out to get the ball and made an excellent snag. He throws to first for a bang-bang play at the first base bag.

C.B. Buckner, the first base umpire immediately calls Sheffield out. Sheffield reacts by slamming his batting helmet into the ground. Simultaneously, C.B. ejects Sheffield from the game. The heat of the moment, playing for the struggling pinstripers, Sheffield overreacted. That said, he was showing passion and determination that he has for the game of baseball. Fans drop a ton of cash to attend a game of this magnitude and they are obliged to see a player with the desire to win. There is simply no way Sheffield should have been thrown out of the game.

As soon as Sheffield realized he had been tossed, he turned on C.B. and got his moneys worth. Veins popped out and words, that I choose not to repeat, flew from Gary's mouth. It was truly a sight to see.

Having that said, I'll repeat myself. Gary Sheffield should not have been thrown from the game for his origonal reaction to the out at first base. If C.B. had made the call, as an umpire should, Sheffield may very well have gone directly to the dugout. He threw him out of the game before the player said a word. He threw him out, almost before the helmet left the head of the runner.

Not only do you have umpires calling balls and strikes with an ever changing, personal strike zone, they also get way too involved by ejecting players. Their objective should be to keep order in the game. They should not alter the entire game by using "the power" to punish players, teams, AND the fans.

Billy Boyer, Mark Trumbo, Stephen Marek

Today, along with two of my personal autograph hounds (15 year old son and 11 year old daughter), I went to the Orem Owlz batting practice.

The pitchers and catchers take the field about 2:30 pm, while the rest of the players filter in over the next 30 minutes. They work out pretty much until the game starts at 7:05.

We sat on the grass berm, even with third base bag down the left field line. As the guys filtered down to the bullpen, my daughter commented on how young the players are these days. Though this is not her first game, I remember saying that the first time I saw the Padres in 1986, one of my first games. I explained that many of these guys are just out of high school.

Sitting on a green plastic chair in the bullpen was #18, Stephen Marek. Immediately we went over to speak with him. He was very friendly and polite. I think its great when I get a chance to talk to ballplayers who don't have that "big league" attitude. I told Marek about FutureAngels.com and how there are mamy chattering on the internet about his recent signing. He seemed very happy about that, didn't react as if he was our "savior". He just smiled and continued the small talk. I asked him to sign a couple of baseballs. He promptly put his name onto the sweet spot of both Official Pioneer League baseballs.

After that I waited for Billy Boyer, to come out of the clubhouse. We talked for a second and I congratulated him on his hit for the CYCLE in the second game of the season. He said that he had just watched the feat on FutureAngels.com. That's a great compliment to Stephen, the owner of the site! Just then, I heard coach Kotchman in the growling in the background. I told Billy that we'd see him another day and then we let him go before the coach growled at him for chirping with the fans and not concentrating on baseball. Boyer commented that the coach was not too scary, just a coach.

The next player I really wanted to see came out into the afternoon air. Mark Trumbo, a big, strong first-baseman, slid his lumber into the wooden box in the corner of the dugout then sat down on the dugout bench. A few minutes later he grabbed his mit came up the stairs. We called him over and asked for a couple signatures. He obliged and chatted with the me and the kids for about 5 minutes. We wished him luck and praised him on the two homers the night before. I told him that after that performance, I had to get his auto quick because he may not be here much longer. He smiled and said that he's very young and doesn't expect that "they" would move him anytime soon. I don't consider myself a great judge of talent, but through the early part of the season, it's as if he's a man among boys.

He won't be here too much longer.

Good luck Owlz! Thanks for the treat. Days like this will be long remembered.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

6/12/2005 Stingers 8, Grizzlies 4

This morning I woke up to the sound of HAIL pounding the roof and windows of my house. The rain followed and lasted all morning. As I looked for a family member to be my partner to the Stingers game, I was turned down by all 5 canidates because they said "the game will be cancelled".

"They'll play it" I muttered.

"They'll play it" my wife said in a teasing voice.

I put on a few extra layers of clothing because the temp (for a June day) was well below comfortable for a baseball game. Then I found my old glove, a pencil, and a scorecard. I already had a stack of baseball cards to get autographs with my pens and sharpies.

After loading the Suburban (I live in Utah!), I came in for one more round of looking for a victim, I mean a partner to go with me. My wife and daughter were unable to think of a good excuse, so I hearded them out the door.

By the time we got to the stadium, the clouds had parted and the tarp was being rolled up.

I had great luck getting autographs from Luke Allen, Eric Cyr, Jeff Mathis, (local boy) Zach Sorensen, Dustin Moseley, Nick Gorneault, Ryan Budde, Brian Dallimore, and Brandon Puffer.

Chris Bootcheck started for the Stingers and went 7 full innings, allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits. In this elevation and notoriously high scoring PCL it is almost unbelievable how great this guy is pitching. He improved his record to 3-1, but I just can't see him staying in the minors too much longer. The Angels are currently down one starting pitcher, with Escobar on the 15 day DL, but every article I have read, says that Ervin Santana has the best chance of getting the next call up.

Eric Cyr was a little shakey giving up 2 runs in the 8th inning, the only inning he pitched. Then Dusty Bergman came in and sealed the deal in the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out one.

The highlight of the night was definately Bootcheck, but I also love watching Luke Allen. He hit a two run bomb in the 5th to power the Stingers to their 6th straight victory.

The Stingers currently have a 1 game lead over the Portland Beavers.

For the Fresno Grizzlies, its only fair that I mention the long bomb by Todd Linden in the top of the 7th frame. Although, it seems almost unfair to Bootcheck, because Linden had already taken several pitches in the 6th inning before Mickey Lopez was caught stealing when he wandered off 2nd base. When Linden came up in the 7th, he saw several more pitches before hitting the cover off the ball for the first run of the night for Fresno.

Just one more interesting detail that I wanted to illustrate is in reguards to Nick Gorneault. He went 0-2 on the night with a walk and a sacrifice fly, but he saw a ton of pitches. Tonight I watched as he worked the count to perfection. I didn't see one other Stinger take over 5 total pitches in any at bat all night. Nicks AB's went as follows:
1st inning- 7 pitch walk
3rd inning- 2 pitches (rbi, sac fly)
5th inning- 9 pitch swinging strikeout
7th inning- 6 pitch liner to short.

It's great to see a guy who can work the count. He was very patient, thus jacking the pitch count and allowing the batters behind him to get their timing and see the pitch sequence.

The loudest moment of the night is folling the intential base on balls to Stingers Slugger Luke Allen. Jeff Mathis came to the plate and hammered the first pitch into the corner for a 2 run triple!

The Stingers finished the night with 8 runs on 10 hits, while the Grizzlies scored only 4 runs on 11 hits and one error by Mickey Lopez.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

baseball Posted by Hello

Erstad Posted by Hello

wil Posted by Hello

Wrigley sign Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 04, 2005


I know your wondering why UNCLE CHARLIE YAKKER? Well, any well versed fan would know, but since you asked, I'll give you an answer.

The words "UNCLE CHARLIE" and "YAKKER" are both terms for a "Curveball".

Now your probably wondering How did the curveball come to be known by the terms, "Uncle Charlie" and "Yakker?"

A: The origins of both terms are rather elusive, according to Paul Dickson's definitive reference work, "The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary." "Uncle Charlie" came from CB radio usage in 1970s and was supposedly attached to the curveball because the two words contain "c" and "r" sounds that suggest "curve." "Yakker" is said to have its derivation in the bird world. It comes from the "yawker" or flicker, names for the yellow-shafted woodpecker.

(I figured that Yakker also has referance to do with a person who talks a lot. Since this is a blog, or a place for me to yak, it just fits.)

Hey, don't look so worried. This is my page and I got you to read this much. So, just relax and read on. I think my name is pretty darn creative. I am glad I can entertain you.