In the movie Signs, Joaquin Phoenix played Merrill Hess, the brother of Mel Gibson, which seems to be a double edged sword. On one hand, the man makes great movies. On the other hand, he can't manage a wife, he has serious problems with alcohol, and he's got some serious issues with balancing his religion with the world around him, but that aside, he does make great movies. Do you remember Jaguar Paw at the waterfall in Apocalypto? I know we can do without all of his subtle effeminiate villain / gay bashing in Braveheart and The Patriot, but those were some pretty good movies.
And it's not like Joaquin doesn't have his issues either. There was that whole failed rap career and the sense of looking like Matisyahu, but he was a great drunken Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and as a minor league homerun hitter with a propensity for whiffs, he was great in Signs (who can forget how he was told to swing away at that alien). Nothing like taking out some intergalactic rubbish in definitive style. After Will Smith in Independence Day, that's up there.
Nevertheless, in all of my dislike of Ryan Howard and his excessive gift contract (and after Donovan McNabb's ultra long contract from the Eagles, which was recently shipped to DC, it seems like a Philadelphia thing), I have to wonder just how bad a player can be with the almight forward K and backward K before they don't get rewarded.
To this, I give you Austin Jackson. He's batting .314 nearly a month into his rookie season. He's hit his first dinger and has 6 RBIs. It's not tremendous, but it's a start. In fact, in 86 at bats, he has 27 hits. The problem is that he has 32 strikeouts.
This is unacceptable, but seeing as another first full yearer (not technically a rookie), Cameron Maybin of the Marlins, has 29 mighty swings and misses, this is a trend that bears watching. Similarly, Jason Heyward has 25 strikeouts for 4 homeruns. Kyle Blanks also has 27 strikeouts, 2 homeruns, and a batting average south of Mendoza, which means that the pink slip man is getting ready to come a knockin'.
On a better note, Stephen Strasburg of the Harrisburg Senators has 23 strikeouts - except he's throwing them. He did this in 17.1 innings pitched compiling a .52 ERA in large part due to his 16 batter performance that only had 1 runner on base when the catcher screwed up holding a final strike. Since he's on the fast track to Washington, they decided to end his no hit bid to keep him on a pitch count. He should be throwing again Monday. I'll be begging the wife to go to that game. I want to be there for this future pitching ace.
Tim Lincecum, all 4-0 and 32 strikeouts in 27 innings goes into Philly for his 5th win of the season. Since the Phils don't really have it lately, it should be a good game. Besides, he's looking for revenge after that Pedro game last year.
So in the quest for great hitting, men will lay down their self respect and whiff, whiff, whiff. Barry Bonds was the greatest misser of of old. Who will it be for this generation?
So many choices...
Swing away, Merrill.