Results tagged ‘ Grant Balfour ’

Great season comes to tough end

Although winning the World Series was our main goal, we
were happy with what we were able to accomplish. To win the division, after
being counted out by so many from the start, it was really a personal accomplishment
for every player on that team

Grif (Ken Griffey, Jr.) made that final out (Grant
Balfour strike out to end Game 4), and it was kind of weird for all of us. It
was disappointing to watch them celebrate on our home field because it made us
realize that the season really is over. No matter what we want, we can’t go
play baseball tomorrow.

You could tell our team was mentally and physically
drained, not that it’s an excuse. Every guy on our team gave it all we had. I
think we are all excited about moving on and seeing what we can do next year
after what we accomplished this year.

On a personal note, the highlights for me were just a
couple of home runs in decently big games, and that walk-off hit against
Baltimore (April 26, nightcap of a doubleheader). And of course, that last out
that got us the division title against Minnesota
(diving catch to end the American League Central tiebreaker on Sept. 29) was
big, even though the timed dive was questionable on my part.

Team-wise, celebrating together was cool when we captured
the division title after so many people counted us out.

The biggest disappointment was not advancing as far as we
wanted. But we had a lot of individuals who dealt with adversity and came above
it. We had a lot of guys overcome a lot of different things.

We missed Carlos (Quentin) a lot (out since beginning of
September with a fractured bone in his right wrist). He was a big part of our
team, and we all know what he’s capable of doing. It really stunk when he got
hurt, but we appreciate what he did. Carlos really carried us for a few months.

And you know what if people want to be negative about his
injury (slapping his right hand on the bat after fouling off a pitch from Cliff
Lee), it’s those people who are just looking for a reason to be negative and
have nothing better to do. He’s a great baseball player and a teammate, and
deserving of any recognition and accolades he receives.

Besides Carlos, Alexei (Ramirez) was probably the biggest
surprise for me this season. He went out every day and consistently got big
base hits and hit huge home runs for our team.

Now, I’m just going to start preparing for next season. I’m
going to work out with that same personal trainer, Todd Durkin, who I worked
with last offseason.

I’m going to do the same stuff I did to get ready for
Spring Training and do all I can to make the team. My goal is to play every day
in center field. If that’s with the White Sox, that would be great. But if it
ends up being with some other team, that’s great, too. I will be playing every
day in center field somewhere–that’s my main goal going into next season.

One down and in search of two more

Coming
off the bench and hitting against Chad Bradford (which Anderson
did in the eighth) is one of the toughest at-bats you can have. Honestly,
you’re almost begging for [Grant] Balfour to come out.

Balfour
is a tremendous pitcher and he throws really hard. But I think if any hitter
had to choose, they’d choose a guy who throws hard as opposed to a guy who
looks like he’s dragging his fingers on the ground every time he throws. I
expect to go out there and get a hit every time, but I also understand that
when a guy has had the success that he’s had and pitches from that arm angle –
not so many guys are gonna be able to square up the ball on him.

Yea,
I don’t think anybody in the big
leagues
will come off the bench consistently and square it up
every time. It’s tough. But I cant complain. This is what I’m doing and I don’t
think anyone expects me to go up there and hit a home run or drive the ball
every single time, especially under the circumstances. But my job right now is
to play defense the best I can, do what I can to help the team, and if I can
come up and have a good at bat, then I’m happy.

When
did I think we had a chance to win this one? Well, when we got back on the
board, obviously you gotta score a run to win the game, but that one inning, Dewayne Wise‘s
ball that he hit down the line. It was a good job of hitting and it really gave
us momentum and carried us through the game.

I
hope no one gets offended, because it’s not meant to be offensive, but I really
do call him the black Ross Gload. He’s the African-American Ross
Gload, there you go. Ross Gload is so versatile and he’s such a great hitter.
But a guy like Dewayne Wise, you’re almost in awe, wondering why this guy is
not playing everyday somewhere. This guy was about to go play Independent ball
and he’s helping us win postseason games.

Especially
I the last inning with Bobby [Jenks] throwing, I had a chance to check out the
crowd. I was thinking to myself, ‘I wonder if I can make a request to the
people directly behind the plate in the first 5 or ten rows to not do that
[wave the white towels] so I could see the ball off the bat. But more times
than not, it helps the team.

A quiet Game 1 loss

I don’t know what happened in the seventh inning (with
Orlando Cabrera and Grant Balfour exchanging words). I wasn’t paying attention to
the swings and stuff. I was getting ready in case I had to pinch-hit, so I didn’t
see much of it.

Some guys just get caught up in the emotions, and I think
that got the best of Balfour. Stuff happens with him. He just got caught up. He’s
an emotional guy. He throws hard. He’s probably a great guy but just got caught
up a little bit.

As for my at-bat (leading off the eighth against J.P.
Howell as a pinch-hitter), I tried to put myself in a great hitting situation,
and I don’t know, man. I got myself in the best situation I could to hit and I got
out. It was a good call, strike three. It was a good pitch (on 3-2).

I don’t know where we go from here. I guess you have to
ask Ozzie. He’s the manager. But really, it’s a five-game series, so we just
need to put it behind us and get back going tomorrow.