AL­TUVE IS BASE­BALL’S LIT­TLE BIG MAN

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Bruce Pen­ton Care to com­ment? Email bru­ce­pen­ton2003@ya­hoo.ca

There are 30 teams in Ma­jor League Base­ball, with 25 play­ers on each ros­ter. That’s 750 play­ers. Ranked by height, Hous­ton Astros’ sec­ond base­man Jose Al­tuve, at 5-foot-6, is 750th. But when it comes to tal­ent and skill, he’s No. 1. Dayn Perry of CBS sports.com ranks the top 100 ball play­ers each month. June’s rank­ings had Al­tuve at No. 6. Au­gust’s list­ing had him at No. 1. “The most com­plete player in the game right now? Al­tuve ca­pa­bly mans a key de­fen­sive po­si­tion, he’s a high-vol­ume and high­per­cent­age base-stealer, and he hits for power while also hit­ting for av­er­age and be­ing tough to strike out,” raved Perry. In his sixth MLB sea­son, the 26-year-old Al­tuve hit be­tween .276 and .290 his first three sea­sons, but has been over .300 ever since. As of Aug. 6, he led MLB in bat­ting with a .355 av­er­age, was sec­ond in on-base per­cent­age, sixth in slug­ging (he’s only 5-foot6, for cry­ing out loud!), sec­ond in OPS (on-base per­cent­age plus slug­ging), sixth in stolen bases with 25, No. 1 in hits, 43rd in home runs (hey, he’s only 5-foot-6!) and sec­ond in WAR (wins above re­place­ment). No mat­ter how tra­di­tional or ob­scure the stats, Al­tuve ranks with the game’s best. Put them all to­gether and there’s no­body bet­ter in base­ball to­day. Among those most im­pressed are his team-mates. “It’s kind of a joke in here,” out­fielder Colby Ras­mus told the Toronto Star. “We’re all strug­gling to get hits — blast­ing balls into the shift or what­ever — and it’s like he’s got this in­nate abil­ity to get three hits a night against the best pitch­ing in the world.” Blue Jays’ Devon Travis, at 5-foot- 9 closer in stature to Al­tuve than most other play­ers in the bigs, is a big fan of the Astros’ star. “He’s one of my favourite play­ers to watch in this game,” Travis told Bren­dan Kennedy of the Toronto Star. “He plays the game the way I try to play.” Those who fol­low base­ball closely sug­gest there’s a three-way race for the Amer­i­can League’s Most Valu­able Player award. Toronto’s Josh Don­ald­son, who was last year’s MVP, is hav­ing another out­stand­ing year and could re­peat if the Jays go on to win the A.L. East. Mike Trout is hav­ing another Trout-like year for the An­gels and will be in the MVP mix. But if the Astros some­how over­come the Texas Rangers and win the A.L. West, or even win one of the wild­card play­off spots, look for Al­tuve to be voted MVP. Lit­tle man, big tal­ent, big year. • TC in BC, on quar­ter­back Michael Vick be­com­ing a free agent: “Does that of­fi­cially make him a stray?” • Head­line at TheKicker.com: “Ev­ery Olympic swim­mer tests pos­i­tive for all drugs af­ter dip in Rio bay.” • Mike Bianchi of the Or­lando Sen­tinel asks the ques­tion: “What will be more pol­luted at the Olympics, the wa­ter in Brazil or the blood of the Rus­sian ath­letes?” • Um­pire Bob David­son, to a pool re­porter, af­ter he ejected a heck­ling fan in Philadel­phia for in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage: “And peo­ple cheered me, which is un­usual in this town for me.” • Nor­man Chad of the Wash­ing­ton Post, on Twit­ter: “In ef­fort to re­al­ize record prof­its from Rio 2016, NBC to be­come first net­work to air more than 60 min­utes of com­mer­cials in a sin­gle hour.” • Brad Dick­son of the Omaha World-Her­ald: “Democrats say they want to put an end to the rich get­ting richer on the backs of the mid­dle and lower classes. In that case, they can start by in­ves­ti­gat­ing how the Golden State War­riors got Kevin Du­rant.” • RJ Cur­rie of sports­deke.com: “There was an up­set at the Rogers Cup ten­nis tour­na­ment. In a closely con­tested matchup, Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova edged Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska 23 let­ters to 18.” • Jimmy Fal­lon of NBC’s Tonight Show: “The golf tour­na­ment at the Rio Olympics will be played on a course that is ap­par­ently in­fested with 150-pound ro­dents. The of­fi­cial said, ‘Don’t worry, the gi­ant snakes will eat them. So don’t worry about them. Golf away, en­joy your­self.’” • From ABC’s Jimmy Kim­mel Live: “Surf­ing and skate­board­ing will make his­tory for the Olympics in 2020, in that these will be the first sports in which ath­letes will be tested to make sure they are dop­ing.” • Com­edy writer Alex Kase­berg: “At the Rio Olympics, the U.S. men’s bas­ket­ball team is stay­ing on a lux­ury cruise ship and many of the play­ers were seen par­ty­ing in a high-end brothel. Ap­par­ently their coach is Char­lie Sheen.” • Com­edy writer Jerry Per­isho: “There’s good news con­cern­ing the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter at the Olympics in Rio. The Zika mosquitoes are dy­ing of dysen­tery.” • Com­edy writer Tim Hunter, on com­plaints that a mys­te­ri­ous ‘creepy’ clown has been seen walk­ing around Green Bay, Wis.: “What makes him ‘creepy’ is that he’s not wear­ing a cheese­head.”

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