APRIL 25, 1999: Within the next week, I am going to be moving this page to another URL. Of course, I will let you know when I'm finished. Shouldn't take me too long. In the meantime, check out some of the links on my new links page!
March 26, 1999: It's high time I updated this front page, so here I am. I took off one of the links, because Tim Johnson is not longer the Jays manager. He was replaced by Jim Fregosi (and I just learned how to spell that today!) a couple of weeks ago, after Johnson was fired. Somehow, that just doesn't surprise me in the least, but that's just me. Anyway.
CONGRATULATIONS: Alex got married to a girl named Samantha during the off-season and since I just found out about it, I'm a little late getting it up here. Sorry. I wish them both all the best in their life together! Oh, and because I have a boyfriend of my own, who I am currently living with and plan on marrying someday, I wasn't upset at all when I heard about Alex getting married, even though I like him a lot and think he's really cute. I was never delusional enough to think perhaps someday I'd get to meet him and end up dating him and/or marrying him. I admire the guy, I don't obsess about him. Just as long as he's still a Jay...! =)
GONZO A HIT WITH FREGOSI
Jim Fregosi swears he was a fan of shortstop Alex Gonzalez before becoming his boss.
"I always thought Gonzalez was one of the premier shortstops in teh American League," says the Toronto Blue Jays' new manager.
Now, Gonzalez would like to prove that to the rest of baseball.
Playing in the shadow of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra, Gonzalez has mostly avoided the shortstop spotlight.
But it's not like he's been Manny Lee.
In 1997, Gonzalez led the American League with a .986 fielding percentage. A year earlier, in an April 26 game against Cleveland, he tied the American League record with 13 assists in a nine-inning game.
On offence, he hasn't exactly been an empty helmet either. Last year, he had 13 home runs, 51 RBI's and 21 stolen bases.
But despite soem bright moments, there have been critics umimpressed by Gonzalez's career .236 batting average and inordinately high strikeout total.
"When he stays within himself, he's a very good player," says Fregosi. "Sometimes he tries to do too much and hit too many homers, but when he's going the other way he's all right."
The man known as Gonzo has been doing that this spring. He's hitting .361 and has four doubles, both second on the team behind a sizzing Shawn Green.
Fregosi blames Cal Ripkin
Fregosi, a scout for the San Francisco Giants before being hired by the Jays last week, has a theory on what has led Gonzalez astray at the plate. In a nutshell, it's Cal Ripkin's fault.
"You know, in my day shortstops didn't hit home runs," said Fregosi, who was a six-time allstar at the position in the 60s and 70s. In 18 seasons with the California Angels, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates, Fregosi averaged a little more than eight homers a year despite being a fine hitter.
"But since Cal Ripkin came along, and along with guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez hitting a ton, maybe Gonzo is putting pressure on himself to try and keep up with them."
Gonzalez doesn't buy that.
"I don't even try to put expectations on myself. I do what I can do. I don't worry about what other guys are doing in the league. Obviously, there's some really talented guys playing shortstop right now, who have some incredible offensive numbers. But you can only ask from yourself what you can do."
Like many ballplayers, Gonzalez can rhyme off his own stats. He says his ration of strikeouts to at-bats has fallen every year. And he's right. From 1995 to 1998, his strikeout ratio has improved from once every 3.2 at-bats to once every 4.1 to every 4.3 to once every 4.7 last season.
Wants to stay in Toronto
"You're not going to cut down half your stikeouts in one season," says Gonzalez." It's a process that takes time. It takes awhile to learn what you have to do."
It's been a busy off-season for the native of Miami. He got married and bought a house in Toronto and hired a personal trainer who helped him add seven pounds of muscle.
He also signed a two-year, $5.3-million US contract with the Jays, which will expire just as he qualifies for free agency. But he says he loves the organization and the city and doesn't want to leave.
"They're the ones who came up with the two year deal. I would have liked to sign a three- or four-year deal, but it was their plan to sign me for two years, then take it from there. That was fine with me also.
"I feel proud to be one of a handful of guys who started in the organization and are still here. I'm very proud of the team. I take a lot of pride playing here.
"I'd love to stay."
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