August 10, 2010

Faster than a speeding bullet

Tradition. That’s the word that’s been used as the theme for the 2010 season... Well, if there’s one tradition the Angels can point to more than any other, it’s having a history of fast, athletic center fielders; guys who can really get after a baseball.

Names like Jose Cardenal, Mickey Rivers, Gary Pettis, and Chad Curtis have covered center field like white on rice. Others such as Devon White, Jim Edmonds, Darin Erstad and Torii Hunter have approached legendary status for their abilities to rob hitters of homeruns, haul in sinking line drives to deny hitters of extra bases, and collect Gold Gloves.

The latest in this long line of center fielders is none other than Peter Bourjos. Bourjos’ name became known to many Angel fans for the first time last season when he was mentioned as a possible trade piece in the Angels attempt to acquire Roy Halladay. It’s no wonder. The kid plays a mean center field.

Bourjos is a 23 year old out of Park Ridge, Illinois where he was a 10th round draft pick by the Angels in 2005.

Last night, Angel fans got their first “official” look at Bourjos in Angels stadium (he made an appearance during the pre-season freeway series as well).

So, how fast is young Peter? Let me break it down for you…

Bourjos is so fast, the FAA has declared center field a “no fly zone” and the United States Air Force has issued a stern warning that any fly balls in the PB (Peter Bourjos) Zone will be terminated with extreme prejudice.

That’s right – Bourjos is that kind of fast.

He’s so fast, that he’s a threat to make it to second base on a walk. He’s so fast, that runners trying to tag up from third base on fly balls hit to him are often stunned to find him waiting for them at home plate for the tag.

If the Coyote had his kind of speed, the Road Runner would be toast.... err, lunch.

Let me put it to you another way. What does it say when Torii Hunter a nine time Gold Glover volunteers to move over to right field? It says that Peter Bourjos is the real deal and you'd better believe it.

Bourjos is so fast that once he gets on first base, he’s a threat to score from there on a squeeze play. Once a ball is in the air, he can run into the stands, sell some popcorn and then run back on to the field to wait for the fly ball to land softly in his glove.

He’s fast enough that he can catch fly balls in front of Juan Rivera. Okay, that’s not saying much,but this has actually happened since his call up. Let's just say I breathe a little easier knowing he’s patrolling center field.

Last night as we were watching young Peter’s Angels Stadium debut, 514 Fanatic Bo (also known as HaloBo from his comments on this blog) commented that” he’s faster than a rat running down a high wire.” I say “you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.”

Imagine an outfield with both Mike Trout (see the post prior to this one) and Peter Bourjos. That will be one high octane duo.

Yes Angel fans the future is looking bright. We have the kind of player in Bourjos that baseball fans just love. The kind of guy who only has one gear and that’s full bore. We love players that hustle and play great defense and it’s clear that Bourjos is going to be a fan favorite.

Speaking of fan favorites; Garret Anderson was designated for assignment by the Dodgers yesterday. Okay, I know many Angel fans have had kind of love/hate relationship with Garret over the years, but let’s be clear about one thing… Anderson owns virtually every significant statistical record for the Angels.

Even though I’ve never been a huge Anderson fan myself, I fully recognize his contributions and accomplishments as an Angel. Why am I bringing this all up? Well, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Angels sign Anderson for the rest of the season to let him retire as an Angel.

I think it would be a fitting way to pay tribute to Anderson for all he has meant to the Angels franchise. The rosters will be expanding in September anyway and wouldn’t it be nice to have the opportunity to thank and recognize Anderson as he moves on to the next phase in his life?

Moving on is something Don Wakamatsu the manager of the Seattle Mariners is doing today after the being fired by the Mariners yesterday. You know who really should be fired? All those so-called experts who picked the Mariners to win the AL West. I’m just saying.

Photos of Bourjos in this post were taken at spring training this year.

BallHype: hype it up!

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