Results tagged ‘ Raul Chavez ’
Sunday was Father’s Day, and since my stepdaughter is busy with summer school, I was able to “celebrate” Father’s Day by working the Buffalo-Norfolk game. Unfortunately, the game was miserable. The Tides lost, 16-2, in a game that was called after seven-and-a-half innings because of rain.
The game was every bit as miserable as the score indicated. Steve Johnson, the Tides’ starting pitcher just promoted from AA, was apparently intimidated by the Bisons hitters. He walked seven in 3 1/3 innings and helped put the Tides in an 11-0 hole. Then, in the top of the eighth inning, the Tides distinctive, 330-lb relief pitcher Jose Diaz walked three more Bisons while giving up the final five runs. There is nothing quite as tedious as batters drawing walks in a nine-run ball game.
Despite the lack of excitement in the game itself, two players provided an entertaining and interest contrast. Tides left fielder Kyle Hudson was entertaining to watch because of his hustle and all-or-nothing attitude; Bisons catcher Raul Chavez was entertaining to watch because of his “why bother” attitude.
Now I’m not really being critical when I describe Chavez’ attitude is “why bother.” First off, Chavez is a 38-year-old catcher, presumably continuing to play ball because there’s nothing more lucrative to do. Bill James once described Jim Sundberg as “not all that fast before he caught 1000 games”; I’m guessing that Chavez is the same. And Chavez has been around, and knows that there’s very little point in expending energy hustling to first on routine fly balls. We in the press box were wondering just how slow Chavez was, but he generally hit lazy fly balls each at bat, and he trudged toward first base after each one. It didn’t much matter, because all the fly balls were caught. As they are 99% of the time.
On the other hand, Kyle Hudson is the most entertaining player I’ve seen in several seasons. He’s not very GOOD, mind you, mostly because he’s been promoted too quickly (he really belongs in A-ball.) But he knows his limitations and makes every play as if it’s going to be his last. When he hits a routine ground ball, as he often does, he races toward first base as if Ray Lewis is chasing him. In the outfield, he tries to make every play he can, featuring all or nothing dives after line drives. He makes about 80% of those catches, but when he misses it usually ends up as a double or a triple. We know we’re going to see a great effort and sometimes an amazing play.
It’s a cliche that Kyle Hudson plays the game the way it should be played; he gives his all on every play. But there’s a case to be made for Raul Chavez; if you’ve only got so many ergs in your body, why waste them on long shots? It may not look good, but Raul Chavez is a 38-year-old AAA player. It works for him.