By Josh Kramer
Back on July 8, 2010, Ubaldo Jimenez was hands down the best pitcher in baseball. He was sitting pretty with a 15-1 record and a 2.20 ERA. Jimenez was just a couple of days away from representing the National League as the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, and appeared to be on track to break records. Nearly two years later, Ubaldo’s world has been flipped upside down.
On April 1, 2012, Ubaldo Jimenez hit a new low. Going against his former teammates for the first time, Ubaldo took aim at Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki. There is no way to be 100% sure that Jimenez beamed Tulo on purpose, but his reaction did not provide any comfort for those on either side. Jimenez seemed ready to throw down with his former teammate whom most are aware was never his favorite person. I know that players get hit by pitches every game. Even at times pitchers drill opposing hitters on purpose. It is a part of baseball and has been for well over 100 years.
But this is Spring Training. The Rockies and Indians both officially open up the 2012 campaign later this week. I do feel Rockies Manager Jim Tracy overreacted a bit when he said, “It’s the most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball. I have lost all respect for him. To do something like that and walk down off the mound, and if there’s any suggestion whatsoever that the ball got away, I don’t want to hear any of that (expletive). He intentionally threw at him. He should be suspended. I am going to be very disappointed if he doesn’t get suspended. He deserves to be.”
Amid all of this controversy and Ubaldo’s five-game suspension, his insane decline as a pitcher has been lost. On Sunday, when the “incident” occurred, Ubaldo ended up giving up six runs and walking five batters in just 4 and 1/3 innings. Those awful numbers are nothing new for Ubaldo these days.
Since his God-like first half performance in 2010, Jimenez has gone 14 and 20 with an ERA around five. This is not just a regression, this is a catastrophic downfall. The guy is making a base salary of four million this year and is set to make eight million in 2014. Maybe Cleveland should rethink this investment? Better yet, maybe Ubaldo should rethink his career?
Ineptitude at its finest
Saturday, I thought I had the pleasure of tuning in to the ESPN National High School Invitational Championship Game. I must have been mistaken, because what I witnessed at crunch time reminded me of 1st grade basketball. Sure there were some dunks and glimpses of outstanding play, but the last four minutes of regulation defined the afternoon. Monteverde High School blew an 18-point lead that resulted in the game going to overtime. As you probably guessed, Monteverde High School ended up losing during the extra time to Findlay Prep. I do not think I have ever seen a team blow a game in the fashion that Monteverde did on Saturday. It made the “Memphis Meltdown” of 2008 look like child’s play. The inability to inbound the basketball, errant passes, invisible defense, missed free throws, an overall lack of direction, and I could go on for days. I am sure it was just an off day for Monteverde considering they were a top 15 ranked high school team in the nation that made it all the way to the finals of this prestigious tournament, but the closing minutes on Saturday were downright ugly. It is a period that anyone associated with the Monteverde program and anyone who tuned into the game will never forget. Better luck next year I guess.
The “Joey Votto Window” in Cincinnati just grew infinitely. In a real shocker, the Cincinnati Reds locked in their franchise player for at least another decade, in the form of a 10 year deal worth 225 million. If anyone deserves the money, it’s Joey Votto. I just got a little bit more excited for Opening Day on Thursday. Brandon Phillips may be the one person in Cincinnati that is not all smiles about this one.
Age is just a number
Who is currently leading the NBA in points per game? Who just dropped 40 points in a game for the 112th time in his career? Who has been under immense scrutiny from critics lately? That would be none other than Kobe Bryant. The ageless wonder continues to score at absurd rates and shatter records. Continue to question Bryant, and he will continue to answer.
Hard Knocks Round II?
Rumor has it that the New York Jets may once again appear on the hit HBO Series, “Hard Knocks.” I guess that is how it goes when you have the loudest coach in the League (Rex Ryan), the most famous player in the NFL who also happens to be a backup (Tim Tebow), and the bright lights of New York City. I would not be opposed to this by any means. There will be complaints about too much air time for Tebow. But the complainers will still watch.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.