Saturday, June 07, 2008

WILL BIG BROWN BE THIS GENERATIONS BIG RED?



We'll soon find out, in one respect he is now one step closer with the news that his most worthy challenger, Casino Drive, has been scratched.

Big Red is now in a Belmont field that seemingly has only one remaining threat to win in Dennis of Cork. When Secretariat blistered through the 1973 Belmont field, only Sham was considered worthy enough to upset the Triple Crown express.

What Secretariat did as far as winning the Triple Crown in and of itself was not so surprising, it was the way he did it. Winning the Derby over Sham, with the phenomenal performance of successfully faster quarter times and and the under 2 minute total race time, whetted people's appetite.

In the Preakness, he goes from fourth to first in the blink of an eye, while rounding a turn, an astounding feat of acceleration past his peers.

In the weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat appears on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated, achieving rock star status and setting the stage for the Belmont Stakes.

With the entire horse racing world and most of the rest of the sports viewing public now engaged, Secretariat stands ready to make his immortal run to history.

Now understand that, normally the phrase "and down the stretch they come", with any number of horses thundering down the homestretch vying for victory, is about as spine-tingling, hair on the back of your neck standing, awe-inspiring phrase as we have in sports.

But literally no sports call, short of the call of Bobby Thompson's home-run to culminate the "Miracle of Coogan's Bluff", can makes me to this day stand steadfastly still--a body-trembling, jaw-dropping paralysis--filled with a combination of emotion and inspiration, quite like the following track announcers call that brings Secretariat down the back stretch and into horse racing immortality:

“Secretariat is widening now, he is moving like a tremendous machine! Secretariat by twelve. Secretariat by fourteen lengths on the turn....Secretariat is all alone, he’s out there almost a sixteenth of a mile in front of the other horses.....He is into the stretch, he leads the field by eighteen lengths....Secretariat has opened to a twenty-two length lead. He is going to be the next Triple Crown winner! Here comes Secretariat to the wire! An unbelievable, an amazing performance! He hits the finish, twenty-five lengths!”



Secretariat gave us a chance to turn away somewhat from some of the "more important" events of the day.

We had virtually wrapped up our involvement in Vietnam and some of the emotional scars that divided our involvement in that war were still open and raw.

We had President Nixon in office and the Watergate scandal was developing as a daily distraction.

We had what would later form the so-called misery index of high unemployment, high inflation and high interest rates combined with low self esteem, low national pride and lower expectations for the future. Our leaders seemed clueless to find solutions to our nations problems.

Sound familiar? Sound like history repeating?

But for a couple of weeks at least--in a way that sports does as well as any past time in this country can do in a positive way--Secretariat provided an uplifting backdrop to temporarily escape from some of the madness going on in our lives.

And he gave us a chance to hope and dream again, when for a time it seemed like we had forgotten how to nestle into dreams without waking up to our real-life nightmare.

Well maybe today, Big Brown has his chance to be this generations "Big Red"--to do for this country's sports viewing public what Secretariat did for our generation 35 years ago--provide hope and inspiration. It's a tall order, but we really didn't expect Secretariat to do that for us.

But that's one of the reasons why they run the races and play the games...and it's one of the reasons why we watch...because you never really know in advance when you're going to witness history in the making.

Go Big Brown, rise up and make history.....

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Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter when he works out his command/control issues. When he misses, he misses by a bunch.
  • 2. Chris Shaw 6-3. 230 1B Lefty power bat, limited defensively to 1B, Matt Adams comp?
  • 3. Bryan Reynolds 6-2, 210 OF Switch hitter with average speed and polished hitting approach. Fits Giants mold of high-floor, low-ceiling prospects.
  • 4. Stephen Duggar 6-1, 170 CF Another toolsy, under-achieving OF in the Gary Brown mold, hoping for better results.
  • 5. Sandro Fabian 6-0, 180 OF Dominican signee from 2014, shows some pop in his bat. Below average arm and lack of speed should push him towards LF.
  • 6. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
  • 7. Heliot Ramos 6-2, 185 OF Potential high-ceiling player the Giants have been looking for. Great bat speed, early returns were impressive.
  • 8. Garrett Williams 6-1, 205 LHP Former Oklahoma standout, Giants prototype, low-ceiling, high-floor prospect.
  • 9. Heath Quinn 6-2, 190 OF Strong hitter, makes contact with improving approach at the plate. Returns from hamate bone injury.
  • 10. Seth Corry 6-2 195 LHP Highly regard HS pick. Was mentioned as possible chip in high profile trades.
  • 11. Jacob Gonzalez 6-3, 190 3B Good pedigree, impressive bat for HS prospect.
  • 12. C.J. Hinojosa 5-10, 175 SS Scrappy IF prospect in the mold of Kelby Tomlinson, just gets it done.
  • 13. Shaun Anderson 6-4, 225 RHP Large frame, 3.36 K/BB rate. Can start or relieve
  • 14. Garett Cave 6-4, 200 RHP He misses a lot of bats and at times, the plate. 13 K/9 an 5 B/9. Wild thing.

2018 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Ethan Hankins 6-6, 215 RHP Forsyth Central HS (GA) Mi 90's FB tops at 96-98, plus breaking ball. Vanderbilt commit.
  • 2. Kumar Rocker 6-5, 250 RHP North Oconee HS (GA) Heavy 98 FB, sharp mid 90's slider. Vanderbilt commit.
  • 3. Matthew Liberatore 6-5, 200 LHP Mountain Ridge HS (AZ) High 3/4 arm slot, 91-93 FB tops at 95, with good feel for pitching. Arizona commit.
  • 4. Slade Cecconi 6-4, 195 RHP Trinity Prep HS (FL) High 90's FB tops at 97, with mid 80's breaking ball. Miami commit.
  • 5. Carter Stewart 6-6, 200 RHP Eau Galle HS (FL) Highest spin rate breaking ball in draft. Mississippi State commit.
  • 6. Luke Bartnicki 6-3, 210 LHP Walton HS (GA) Low 90's FB with command, workable slider. Georgia Tech commit.

2018 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Brady Singer 6-5, 200 RHP Florida Sergio Romo-esque slider from whippy low 3/4 arm slot. Mid 90's FB, sharp slider and change-up. 3.4 K/BB rate.
  • 2. Casey Mize 6-3, 210 RHP Auburn Forearm issues, 96 FB with split/slider mix, 6.2 K/BB ratio.
  • 3. Logan Gilbert 6-6, 205 RHP Stetson Loose arm action, 3 pitch mix, 93-96 FB 3.2 K/BB.
  • 4. Ryan Rollison 6-3, 200 LHP Mississippi Smooth delivery from 3/4 arm slot, 89-93 FB tops at 94/95. Late 1st, early 2nd rounder. 2.8 K/BB rate.
  • 5. Shane McClanahan 6-1, 175 LHP South Florida Thin build, 3/4 arm slot, tall and fall delivery. 93/96 FB range. 3.0 K/BB rate.

2018 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects in Tampa Bay Area

  • 1. Connor Scott 6-4, 180 OF Plant HS (FL) Florida commit.