My Favorite Ballplayers and more cooking

I’m a little late with naming the team, and I’m sure that people are going to disagree with me, but here we go.  Just remember that this is the team of the players that I have liked the best in the time that I’ve been watching the game. So now the task is going to be tracking down and collecting all of these guys rookie baseball cards.

I collected baseball cards throughout my childhood. It might make me sound old, but I can remember when they were only 50 cents a pack of 15 instead of dollars for a pack of 5. It kind of breaks my heart to see that it has really become a business and not a hobby that little kids can really enjoy. It has just become complicated and expensive. I know it won’t make much money, but I really think that it should have been kept as a hobby for the kids.

Without any further ado,

1. Starting Pitcher – Randy Johnson – One of the most intimidating guys I’ve ever seen. Dominated everywhere he pitched for a long, long career. Was very happy that he came to finish his career with the Giants and got his 300th win wearing the black and orange.

2. Catcher – Benito Santiago – This one is mostly for Dani. Benito was her favorite player when we first started dating and he made going to Giants games fun in the early 2000’s. Benito was always a player that people were talking about when I was growing up. I remember thinking that it was amazing that he could throw base stealers from his knees.

3. First Base – Will Clark and J.T. Snow – Just couldn’t choose between the two of them. Both of them personify first base to me, and are who I grew up watching at Candlestick and AT&T. Will is Will, The Thrill and was Giants baseball when I was learning the game. J.T. took the reins and was the workhorse for the next decade. Will destroying the Cubs in ’89, and J.T. saving Dusty’s grandkid in the ’02 World Series.

4. Second Base – Robby Thompson – Starting second base for most of my childhood and an All Star to boot. Just played the game hard and the way it’s supposed to be played. Sickens me to think of the day he was beaned by Trevor Hoffman and broke his face, but he came back and played with a mask at the end of the season. I played at second for a lot of my Little Leagues and this is the guy that I wanted to be like when I broke into the Bigs. I am proud that my son shares a name with a great major leaguer. It’s a good baseball name too.

5. Third Base – Matt Williams – One of the best third basemen ever. Maybe not the best like Schmidt or Brett, but someone that I would definitely put up to plate when I need a big hitter. 1994 was the worst season for him, about to break the homerun record and having the season of his career and all put to a screeching halt by the dumb ass strike. Played for three different teams in the World Series (winning one with Arizona) and the only player to a home run in a World Series with three different teams.

6. Shortstop – Cal Ripken Jr. – The Iron Man of baseball. One of the most stand up players in the league and the epitome of dependable. Another guy that owned his position at the All-Star Game and always seemed to come through when it counted the most. There were a ton of choices and a bunch that are still playing, but none compared to the King of all Shortstops.

7. Left Field – Barry Bonds – Say what you want, I’m not here to change your opinion of the guy. He is far and away the best player to play in my era. He was a threat anytime he was in the game. If he came to the plate with the game on the line…forget about it. I loved being at AT&T and watching the ball sail into McCovey Cove, the water cannons blasting the mist into the air and the career homerun number lighting up the huge screen in center. Only player that I know would consistently get walked even if it cost the other team a run…he was that dangerous. No one in the game today can intimidate or bring that type of fear to the plate.

8. Center Field – Ken Griffey Jr. and Kirby Puckett – This was another one that I felt so strongly about that I decided to go with both guys. Ken was the phenom that simply amazed me everytime I got a chance to see him play. I believe that he has the best pure baseball swing. It’s like he was designed to hit baseballs. Kirby was the best team leader that I ever got to watch. The ’91 Series when he hit the walk off homer cemented his greatness for me. I knew he was good before then, but that was the first time I knew a player was great.

9. Right Field – Tony Gwynn – One of the best! This guy was a hitting machine. You just couldn’t get the ball by his lumber, and you would never have known it to look at him. He is also a loyal hometown hero having spent his entire career in the San Diego area, college and pro ball in the same town. That is a type of loyalty that I wish was more prevalent in the game today instead of the free agency “Show me the money” players of today. The Padre’s are probably my second least favorite team, but you have to respect this guy and how he played the game.

10. Reliever – Mariano Rivera – I really didn’t want to have any Yankees on here, but come on. No one has done it better for longer than “The Sandman.” He is the definition of a closer and is so consistent that you know the game is over when his music blares over the speakers and he strolls out to the mound. Playoffs…lights out! I may hate who he plays for and their approach to putting a team together, but you have to give the guy credit…he shuts down a game like no one else.

So there it is. My twelve best that I’ve watched play the game. I welcome any comments or disagreements…bring it on. I think I did fairly well and would put these guys up against any others. All time ever, we’ll never know.

In other list news, I put together two more recipes from Tyler’s cookbook.

Penne with Sausage, Basil, Cream and Peas

The pasta was great and only got better. Making this dish was fairly easy and quick and tasted fantastic. I would highly recommend allowing the flavors to marry and getting the pasta to cool slightly. It makes for a better dish overall. I was concerned that the peas would be a weird combination with the others ingredients, but I really enjoyed their addition.

Simply delicious!

For dessert I put together the Lemon Riccota with Mixed Berrys for the crew. I really liked how it came out flavor-wise but I didn’t have a food processor to blend the cheese and it made the texture a bit gritty. Next time I will be blending it to a smoother, creamier concoction. That will have to be the only complaint that I had with this dessert. It is a great tasting cool treat.

I have been making great progress through the cookbook and it is making me stretch my thoughts on how to eat. It is much easier to eat better when your excited about the food. It is also great trying to use good foods and make things properly instead of all the processed crap that we call food these days.

Well, getting excited for San Diego and have booked a trip to Mexico where I will be getting an opportunity to see the Mayan Pyramids. Looks like another thing will soon be coming off the list early next year.

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