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Rockin' Joaquin Arias - an appreciation

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it might have been written and I missed it, sorry about that, but Jarias, for me, was the  wonderful untold story of the year,  and takes some of the string out of learning that the groovy old singing lady is often on tape and not truly rockin' out there with the people.

I had a special relationship with Joaquin because I was traveling in August, looking up scores as I could, and it seemed like every frigging time, the guy's huge, not singles with two out in the third but late inning gamewinners. And with pop. He hit .423 for the month; either led the majors in hitting or feel short of the required ABs, but it was a helluva month to pull off the end of the bench. Then came down Selig's ban on anyone throwing a lefty starter against the Giants (another underreported story), the set lineup and, for all intents, his season ended, although I have some memory of him getting into a playoff game and rapping two straight doubles off righties. And I remember him managing to get wood on the call in the 3rd game against  Cincinnati and how did that work out for you,  Scottie? I'm not saying it was a rocket or unplayable, but Arias put it in play in a tough at bat and hey.

Then there's the Catch and the Shuffle. Blanco levitates and saves Cain's perfecto. With all repect, what were his options at that moment? He's going to run as hard as he can at the instantly calculated angle, jump as far as he can, extend his glove and not channel Freddie Lewis. Loved it. Matt seemed to enjoy it as well.

Now it's the last of the ninth of a perfecto, and the ball down the line is not routine by any standard, A fast runner maybe beats that out if handled flawlessly. He fields it cleanly and then his back leg starts flopping around like a fish on the bank. Come back, leg, not quite done here. He reconciles with the miscreant limb, backing up a solid couple of feet (ok, I'll meet you halfway) and fires a seed. This is not a better play than Blanco's but it's a way more complex one, with two outs in the 9th of a perfect game. That counts for me.

He's a wonderful fielder with a strong arm. It says here that with two months of winter ball, he can be an even better left fielder than Alfonso Soriano! Seriously, any good infielder with an arm, or even whatever Chuck Knobluch kept under his sleeve, can play left. Shortstops can play anywhere; I've even heard of one who switched to catcher, (but he didn't go anywhere). B.J. Upton came up as a bad field good hit ss. Joaquin could play outfield and that would be a very nice lf platoon indeed.

Plus he's got The Look. Great intense body language. Fun guy to watch and root for.

They just picked up his option today.

I heard somewhere--not sure it's true--that when Texas traded aRod to Texas the Yanks offered Cano but the canny rangers insisted on Arias instead.  Their loss and now our gain.



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