Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4/23 Wizards! Wrigley! Pujols! Quickie

*Is this what other NBA fans have gotten to experience? The ridiculous thrill ride of a close playoff win on the road, taking the most improbable 2-0 series lead in NBA Playoffs history?

It's surreal for me to process -- my Wiz winning that game last night, my Wiz going up 2-0 after 2 games in Chicago, my Wiz earning national cred -- but wow, do I appreciate it.

Funny: I'm so conditioned for #SoWizards that I still think this is some kind of cruel cosmic joke -- that Chicago will win 4 of the next 5 games and stomp on my soul.

It doesn't matter -- I'll still have the feeling this morning.

*Speaking of feelings, today's 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field has me feeling so nostalgic. When I graduated college, I moved into a classic Wrigleyville apartment with two buddies -- just two blocks from the stadium -- and had one of the great years of my life.

Imagine this: Living so close that when one roommate would come home with freebie game tickets from the office, we would just wander over whenever, take in a few innings, then head home. Or we would sit out on our front porch, offering friendly strangers a beer from a cooler -- sometimes they would give us their extra tickets in return.

In reality, that time for me was a million years ago, but it remains more vivid than anything 20 years ago should be.

*500 HR for Albert Pujols is an awesome milestone, when milestones seem to have lost a little oomph. 26 members of the club, and by the end of the season, he should be passing Ted Williams and be well into the Top 20 all-time.

I always like looking down the list and seeing who -- if anyone -- can join him. Among active players, Adam Dunn is next at 444 (no chance), then Giambi (438) and Ortiz (435) and Konerko (434) and Soriano (410)... no chance for those guys, either, although let's not sniff at the "400 Club." How about Adrian Beltre at 376? Let's keep in mind: That's 25 HR a year for the next 5 years.

The most likely candidates are Ryan Braun, sitting at a distant 217, and Robinson Cano, at 205. They aren't even halfway there, with plenty to get in their way; both are over 30. Maybe Evan Longoria at 164 before he hits age 29?

I'm going to predict that we won't see another addition to the 500 HR Club, full stop -- it will go the way of the "300 Club" in pitching wins, which has a weirdly similar 24 players making the cut.

The one guy with a chance to crack 500 seems to be Giancarlo Stanton (123 HR at age 24).

But if the choice is "anyone" vs. "no one," I'll bet on "no one."

-- D.S.

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