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Juan Pierre: Master of 'art'


Ashley
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ATLANTA -- Center fielder Juan Pierre has four career home runs. That includes three seasons playing in Colorado.

That's okay with Pierre. He's old school and prefers to play the game like they did when he was growing up, when the stolen base was as integral a part of the game as the home run.

 

To that end, there may not be a better basestealer in the Major Leagues than the 26-year-old Pierre. The Marlins speed-merchant began the season with more stolen bases since 2000 (165) than anyone in baseball -- only teammate Luis Castillo (164) was within 20 of him.

 

Between them, Pierre and Castillo have won the last four Lou Brock Awards for stolen base leaders, with Castillo winning in 2000 and '02, and Pierre winning it in '01 and last season.

 

Winning the award is special enough for Pierre, who fittingly was born in Mobile, Ala., but to be mentioned in the same breath as Brock makes it even more special.

 

"It's a great honor," said Pierre. "To get an award, especially a stolen base award with Lou Brock's name on it knowing the work I've put into it. I remember watching stuff on him. I never had a chance to see him play in the game. I knew about him, I heard about him a lot. He kind of started the running game. Rickey Henderson picked up the torch, but he started it."

 

Pierre has had a rough start at the plate in 2004 -- he started Sunday hitting .222 and was in the throes of an 0-for-15 streak. He also hadn't swiped a base, allowing him to get passed by Castillo for the post-2000 stolen base lead, as the Marlins second baseman had two steals on the year starting action Sunday.

 

But Pierre is confident he'll get back on track and enjoys the challenge of doing so.

 

"Everybody's trying to stop me from going out there and stealing and doing those types of things that will help the team win," he said.

 

He gave a sample of his potential impact in the first inning. After working a four-pitch walk off Mike Hampton, he stole second and third off the lefty on consecutive pitches.

 

It's an art that he feels could be making a comeback, thanks in part to last year's Marlins.

 

"Most guys are hitting the ball out of the park now," said Pierre. "We showed last year by winning the World Series that it's important to have guys who could run. Not necessarily steal bases, but have that threat of stealing, to put the pressure on the defense. It was big in the '80s. St. Louis had Vince Coleman, Kansas City had Willie Wilson and guys who could run and they won championships. So hopefully teams will get back to it."

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He is an amazing baseball player who never ceases to work hard at what he does. Always good to see. Is it me or do the marlins have a TON of very marketable guys compared to a lot of teams excluding teams like the yanks n red sox

Nope, it's not just u. I seem to think we do. :)

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