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600 Homers or 3000 Hits?

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Last night, The MLB Fan Cave posed the following question on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/MLBFanCave/status/93080982881697792

(More impressive milestone: 3,000 hits or 600 home runs?).

First of all, both milestones are pretty damn impressive. You have to be at the top of your game to be able to notch up that many of either. To answer the question as it is posed, I would have to go for 600 home runs. There’s something about the home run that is┬áinherently┬áexciting to watch. It’s also pretty much impossible to get a bloop home run whereas bloop singles happen all the time (no disrespect of course).

Now we all know that the question in this instance is really Jim Thome vs Derek Jeter.

First of all, I have massive respect for both guys. As far as we can all tell, they’ve played the game the right way. Getting these records without resorting to steroids (especially during that era) is something that has to be commended. I’ve also heard nothing but good things about the attitude of these players, both on and off the field. Both seem like genuinely nice guys, who have a great passion for the game.

Obviously Derek Jeter is Mr Yankee, and Jim Thome has played for 5 teams (Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers and Twins). I think this gives Jeter a bit of an advantage in getting to his milestone, in that he hasn’t had to adjust to new teams and new ballparks.

Another advantage that Jeter has is regular playing time. He’s not that much younger than Thome (which surprised me when I looked it up – 37 to Thome’s 40), but he is still playing regularly at shortstop, and doesn’t show much sign of slowing down yet. Thome is now exclusively a DH, and has been hampered by injuries the last couple of years which have prevented him from getting regular playing time.

Despite all this, I would still pick Thome over Jeter every time. Even throwing out the anti-Yankee bias, I have had a soft spot for Thome since he started playing for the White Sox (a couple of years after I started watching baseball). He’s a genuine good guy, doing a lot of charity work with his wife. Even other MLB players agree – in 2007 he was voted the second friendliest player in MLB, tied with Mike Sweeney.

Thome is currently at 596 career home runs, and I will be watching very closely for him hitting the 600th. He deserves to get that milestone, and I would hope that he is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame 5 years after he retires.

Let me know if you agree…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

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Okay, now you have finished singing Christmas songs in your head (!), I don’t mean Christmas, I mean Opening Day, and how brilliant was it?!

I have to admit I was pretty nervous about whether there would even be baseball at Progressive Field, with all the snow in Cleveland. There was still 8-10 inches of snow on the field the day before ,but the grounds crew did a wonderful job of getting it cleared and ready for the game.

The game time temperature was a chilly 6 degrees, which can’t have been much fun, especially for Mark Buehrle trying to keep his arm warm while the team were bashing out runs left, right and centre!

The first half of the game was great for the White Sox, runs after runs. I was pleased that Adam Dunn did well, including a two run homer. There have been a lot of people saying that it was a mistake to trade for him, but I think he is going to prove his worth. He hasn’t historically had a good record against Fausto, but then again, he hasn’t been in the American League before either.

I was a bit disappointed with out bullpen though. We went from 14-0 to 15-10 in the last four innings. I was most disappointed with Will Ohman, he just looked like he was struggling. Jesse Crain gave up a run, but he looked like he had the passion last night, which is just what we needed to close out a great opening day.

I did like that Ozzie switched out a few position players half way through the game too. It was nice for the guys to get a taste of the opening day excitement. I hope it doesn’t happen all the time though, because I like having Gordon at second and Carlos in right.

I think my greatest investment this year will be the MLB.tv that I bought for myself for Christmas. I’ve always only been able to watch a few White Sox games a year, but now I can watch every single one! If I miss a game, I can even watch it the next day, which has never been possible on my iPhone or iPad before. The only thing that annoyed me last night was that my dad was watching the Indians feed at the other side of the room, and his was about 4 pitches ahead of mine, so I could see his reactions before anything happened. If that carries on throughout the season, I may have to stop watching in the living room!