Tuesday, March 07, 2006
A Giant Fave Retires
Rueter was never the best pitcher in the league, and his fastball wouldn't scare a Little Leaguer, but he always found a way to keep his team in the game and to carve out a win, even when he wasn't hitting his spots. His two best years came in 1997 (13-6, 3.45) and 2002 (14-8, 3.23), and not coincidentally the Giants made the playoffs in both years. He pitched well in every postseason he played in, and his semi-comical bunt hit in Game 4 of the '02 Series started a big rally that got the Giants back in the series. And, of course, we all know that it should have been Woody on the mound in that Game 7 instead of The Blob.
The first time I ever heard of Rueter was in this awful game. Rueter was a member of the Expos, and he completely dominated a Deion Sanders-led Giants (sarcasm intended) team, one-hitting them in what I believe was the only complete game shutout of his career. I had never heard of Rueter, and I doubt anybody on the Giants had either, but I'm sure this game is what pursued the team to go after him (ironically, the Giants got Rueter for Mark Leiter, the pitcher Rueter outdueled in that fateful game). I remember throwing shit around in my room after Sanders made the final out in that game and the Expos mobbed Woody.
When the Giants acquired Rueter in the summer of the 1996 debacle, I was excited. Rueter had been inconsistent with the Expos but showed flashes of brilliance, like the aforementioned shutout of the Giants. Rueter rewarded my excitement by becoming a stalwart in the Giants rotation. As the years passed and various VanLandinghams and Estes were oozing in and out of the Giants' rotation, there was always Woody, winning games with 87-mph fastballs, slurves, and lord knows what else.
It's hard to believe the Giants would have enjoyed the success they had from 1997-2003 without Rueter. He worked quickly on the mound, kept the defense on its toes, and kept his head up even when he took his lumps. He was an affable guy and a fan favorite, and he had ears that you just wanted to pinch.
So long, Woody, you were a great Giant, a Stankeye fave.
-It looks like Barry Bonds might be in some really deep poopy with this new book hitting the racks. This is going to be the story of the Spring, I'm afraid. The pundits can preach and pile all the shit they want on Bonds, but that still doesn't change the fact that he's the greatest player of this generation.
-I haven't been able to keep up with the Cactus League games as much as I'd like since I'm too cheap to get MLB Gameday and I have to work on weekends. I was kinda bummed that I missed the game vs. Team USA though. Apparently Chase Utley has to continue destroying the Giants even in meaningless games, even without LaTroy Hawkins around.
But as the WBC kicks into high gear...ah, who cares?
-I couldn't have exhibited more apathy to the Academy Awards on Sunday, though I was amused that George Clooney won a Best Supporting Actor award for his work in Syriana. Not bad for a guy who began his career running from killer tomatoes.