There's something about the feeling of hitting a home run that makes players jump out of the batting box with that little spring in their step. Sammy Sosa did it nicely before he was made a pariah for his inability to speak English - you know, back in the good old days when columnists wrote gushing praises like they were a 14-year old girl with her first boyfriend calling on the phone to tell her that he loves her. Now, the columnists, the sports anchors, the radio personalities, the bloggers, and the fans still gush... it's just not over "those guys" anymore. Instead, it's over the new home runs hitters - the ones who couldn't possibly be juiced (Jose Bautista, Ryan Howard, et al.).
We forgive the new sluggers their tresspasses (all those strikeouts and that cruddy batting averages that so many of them carry). We like when they go yard - especially in the Second Year of the Pitcher. However, what do we end up with for this sensation of getting the guys to play yard ball?
In follow up to his statement about striking out a lot more since hitting Triple A ball, Chris Heisey of the Reds stated, "When I'm aggressive, I do a lot better. I'd like to put the ball in pay more, use my speed."
In 128 at bats after today's game, Heisey is hitting .273 with 8 home runs. He hit 3 of them in the 2nd game against the Yankees and helped the Reds wake up their offense. It was a nice moment. Can he continue on this torrid pace, or will this moment of joy just cause him to get more free swinging that he already is (33 whiffs in those at bats). So if you take away home runs, he's 33 for 120 in all non one swing wonder at bats. Either way, that's more than 1 K per 4 at bats.
But he is a local boy from this area, and we do applaud when our sons and daughters achieve in the pros.
However there is something about facing reality. In 2 part time years, he has 4 stolen bases. So much for that speed (or is it just that he's waiting for a green light?). Last year, he had 8 home runs in 226 at bats. He has that many this year, too.
So if he never does anything again other than just hit 3 home runs in one game to beat the Yankees, then he did something to endear himself to us.
That said, we just wish he would try for more contact than clobbering the ball. That's how you get to have the 10-12 year career he was dreaming about in the same Lancaster Intelligencer article. Frankly, that would be a lot better. Then, he could be fawned over like Ryan Vogelsong who is actually doing some good things this year from the other side of the spectrum (7 innings, 1 earned run, 3 strikeouts to bring his totals to 1.86, 5-1, and 57 Ks for the season with the Giants after not playing since 2006). It's stories like that, which make us smile at The Great Things I See in Baseball.