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Two things I want to see improve next year.


CanadianFishFan
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1) Juan Pierre has to have a better year of stealing bases. Last year he didn't shine on the basepaths like in '03. Was thrown out too much for my liking. I realize this is partially cause everyone is paying close attention to him, but I liked the days you never worried when you heard "there goes Pierre!"

 

2) Lo Duca has to throw out a higher percentage of runners trying to steal bases. Had a poor percentage last year, and people were having a fairly easy time on the basepaths against us the later part of the season.

 

I hate bringing up downsides of our team, but I think these are two things that can improve, and I certainly hope they do.

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I agree. Pierre's running was not very good last year and pitchers did a good job at keeping him anchored to first. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of Lo Duca, but he better do better in throwing people out because he's getting paid a lot.

 

Third thing I want to see improve next year: Attendance

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I think Pierre is taking too big a lead. He should stay back and rely more on timing like he did in '03. Pitchers are now very much aware of his speed, so they try to keep him close to the bag. I also think he should just stay at first more to make the pitcher nervous. When a pitcher is nervous he makes alot of mistakes. And when a pitcher makes a mistake over the plate we have a lineup that knows what to do in the situation. :thumbup

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Things I would like to see:

 

1.) JP needs to put an end to his reckless baserunning such as getting picked-off when down by 3 runs

 

2.) JP needs to stop trying to bunt for base hits ball 3 when he has a 2-0 count

 

3.) Alex needs to walk more than once every other week

 

4.) the 3rd base coach (forget his name) needs a new pair of glasses to prevent guys from getting thrown out at home by 20 feet

 

5.) Jack need to keep Cabrera out of RF. If Conine plays have Conine in RF and keep Cabrera in LF. Junior Felix played better RF than Cabrera. At least in LF Cabrera is adequate

 

6.) Jack needs to stop bunting JP over to 2nd in the 1st inning

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Things I would like to see:

 

1.) JP needs to put an end to his reckless baserunning such as getting picked-off when down by 3 runs

 

2.) JP needs to stop trying to bunt for base hits ball 3 when he has a 2-0 count

 

3.) Alex needs to walk more than once every other week

 

4.) the 3rd base coach (forget his name) needs a new pair of glasses to prevent guys from getting thrown out at home by 20 feet

 

5.) Jack need to keep Cabrera out of RF. If Conine plays have Conine in RF and keep Cabrera in LF. Junior Felix played better RF than Cabrera. At least in LF Cabrera is adequate

 

6.) Jack needs to stop bunting JP over to 2nd in the 1st inning

672370[/snapback]

Agreed. :thumbup

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Things I would like to see:

 

1.) JP needs to put an end to his reckless baserunning such as getting picked-off when down by 3 runs

 

2.) JP needs to stop trying to bunt for base hits ball 3 when he has a 2-0 count

 

3.) Alex needs to walk more than once every other week

 

4.) the 3rd base coach (forget his name) needs a new pair of glasses to prevent guys from getting thrown out at home by 20 feet

 

5.) Jack need to keep Cabrera out of RF. If Conine plays have Conine in RF and keep Cabrera in LF. Junior Felix played better RF than Cabrera. At least in LF Cabrera is adequate

 

6.) Jack needs to stop bunting JP over to 2nd in the 1st inning

672370[/snapback]

 

I agree :thumbup

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Things I would like to see:

 

1.) JP needs to put an end to his reckless baserunning such as getting picked-off when down by 3 runs

 

2.) JP needs to stop trying to bunt for base hits ball 3 when he has a 2-0 count

 

3.) Alex needs to walk more than once every other week

 

4.) the 3rd base coach (forget his name) needs a new pair of glasses to prevent guys from getting thrown out at home by 20 feet

 

5.) Jack need to keep Cabrera out of RF. If Conine plays have Conine in RF and keep Cabrera in LF. Junior Felix played better RF than Cabrera. At least in LF Cabrera is adequate

 

6.) Jack needs to stop bunting JP over to 2nd in the 1st inning

672370[/snapback]

 

I object to #6.

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Here's an oldie from last year on Pierre. An excellent read.

 

espn.insider.com

 

Juan Pierre is rolling through Alexandria, La., on this sunny fall day, but he doesn't have any wheels. He's made no special arrangements for his homecoming. No upgraded rental, no deluxe freebie from a local car dealership -- and he certainly could have pulled that off, because, after all, he's a World Series hero. Instead, he's borrowing his mother's Mazda sedan. It's middle-aged, slightly sunburned, the kind of car probably owned by thousands of moms and zero major league ballplayers.

 

The loaner comes with a catch. About an hour into a photo shoot on the banks of the Red River, Pierre starts sliding his cell phone out of the pocket of his blue jeans and glancing at its clock. His mother, a preschool teacher, is about to get off work. He says it'll take just 10 minutes to pick her up, and he promises to come right back. "The good thing here," says the 26-year-old centerfielder, "is that it takes 10 minutes to get anywhere."

 

The most famous car-pooler in Alexandria putters away, operating on a tight schedule. He collects his mom, Derry, poses for a few last shots and then hustles to City Hall, where the city council is about to honor him on the eve of Juan Pierre Day.

 

At the council meeting, one of his former coaches introduces Pierre as a member of the world champion Florida Marlins, and the National League leader in stolen bases. "This is the hardest-working kid I've ever seen," says Jodie White. The councilmen all stand and clap.

 

There's only one degree of separation in Alexandria; many of the 46,000 citizens have met Pierre's mom or dad, or maybe one of their kids or grandkids attended high school with him. Pierre may have a house in Florida, but this is still home. He approaches the podium shyly, his black Nike T-shirt hanging over his jeans; he didn't know he was going to have to speak. "It kind of hasn't sunk in," he says into a microphone. "It's always good to come back to Alexandria. Home is home. They can have all the big highways. When I'm done, I'll probably settle someplace back here. I'm glad I'm making everybody proud." The clapping dies down, and then Pierre corrects the record with a smile: he led both leagues in stolen bases. The city fathers laugh loudly, delighted by their favorite son.

 

That's Pierre, a Yankee-killing blend of confidence and humility, intensity and charisma. At the beginning of October, he was invisible. By the end, he was the low-budget Marlins' answer to Derek Jeter, without all the credit-card commercials.

 

Like Jeter, he seems to be at his most relaxed in big games. Despite all the buildup before Game 1 at Yankee Stadium -- the Marlins were subjected to endless reminders of the Bronx Bombers' 26 World Series championships -- Pierre stood calmly in the on-deck circle, dissecting the Yankees' weaknesses.

 

While he waited to lead off, Pierre made a clear and conscious decision: he was going to bunt. "I knew that they weren't accustomed to that style of play in the American League," he says. "I wanted to set the tone."

 

On the second pitch of the Series, Pierre slid his left hand up the barrel of the bat and bunted the ball to the first-base side. By the time David Wells got his significant rudder turned and his body headed in the right direction, the ball was out of reach and Pierre was already halfway to the Bronx County Courthouse. When Luis Castillo followed with a hit-and-run single, Pierre raced to third. He scored on a sacrifice fly.

 

"I think the world saw in the World Series that if you put pressure on the defense and the pitcher, that makes a lot of people uncomfortable," Pierre says. "You can't measure that by statistics, but you can feel it."

 

Pierre would bat .333 and draw five walks in the Series from the clearly rattled Yankees. Their defensive alignment changed radically for his at-bats after that first bunt: all the infielders except Jeter played in on the grass. Pierre had never seen that before. "That let me know I was in their heads," he says.

 

Wells, who normally has exceptional control, drilled Pierre late in Game 1 -- an attempt at intimidation, perhaps. It didn't work. In Game 3, Mr. November himself acknowledged Pierre's game-changing ability. With Pierre perched, as usual, on second base, Jeter made eye contact with him. "Slow down," he said, grinning.

 

"I'll slow down if you do," Pierre replied. When Wells lumbered back to the mound for Game 5, Pierre again bunted in his first at-bat. Wells started after the ball and pulled up, aggravating an already painful back injury; he would not come out for the second inning. The Marlins won 6-4. They took the Series two days later.

 

* * *

 

The organizers of Juan Pierre Day got their hands on a home video from the early '80s. One by one, the 6-year-old T-ball players are asked to identify the fastest player on their team. "Juan," they all say.

 

The parent behind the camera poses the same question to little Pierre. "Me," he chirps, confident and focused even then.

 

Pierre was skinny and could run fast, and he figured out before his voice changed that when he hit the ball into the air, his chances of reaching base decreased dramatically. He liked Tony Gwynn, so he worked on slashing the ball and hitting line drives and grounders. His father, James Pierre -- a telephone company service technician who named his son after his favorite ballplayer, Giants legend Juan Marichal -- gave young Juan an orange highway pylon to use as a hitting tee. The boy rose at 6 a.m. each day and whacked Wiffle balls off the pylon for a half-hour.

 

During basketball season, he'd use this time for dribbling, turning onto Dixie Lane in front of his house and going around the block. Rashid Smith, now the senior point guard for Rice University, remembers hearing Pierre dribbling through the Deerfield subdivision. Neighbors told Derry Pierre that her son was their alarm clock.

 

To this day, Pierre possesses an abiding faith that he can overwhelm any problem with effort. "He could have a bad day and you would never know it," says Bill Robinson, the Marlins hitting coach. "He could go 0-for-4 and have some bad at-bats, and he never swears when he comes back to the dugout -- just puts his bat down. And then he goes back to work the next day. Incredible athlete, incredible teammate. Incredible work habits."

 

After baseball practices at Alexandria High, Pierre and teammate Michael Boniol would hit in a batting cage together until dusk, and then into the night, swinging at battered balls they could hardly see. Michael's father, Don, is the longtime baseball coach at Alexandria. (Another son, Chris, earned a Super Bowl ring as a kicker for the 1995 Cowboys.) Don remembers glancing out at the diamond on a rainy fall day a few years ago and seeing Pierre, by then a pro, long-tossing at targets across the field, sprinting, hitting. He would come back day after day. "Eight-hour workouts, by himself," Boniol says. "Hardest worker I ever saw."

 

Pierre refined his bunting -- the skill that crippled Wells and the Yankees -- in Colorado, under the tutelage of Rockies coach Dave Collins. During spring training in 2001, Collins convinced him to shift his left hand a couple of inches up the bat when he bunted, enabling him to deaden the ball and control its direction. Pierre was such an eager student that he would bunt a bucket of balls, 50 to 60 of them, early every morning. (So early, in fact, Collins had to beg him not to show his face until the coach had finished his first cup of coffee.) At first, Pierre's bunt attempts were widely scattered in front of home plate. Pretty soon, though, he was bunting with precision, into buckets laid on their sides.

 

Although the Mariners drafted Pierre twice, after his senior year of high school and after his freshman year at Galveston (Texas) JC, Pierre was aware that the scouts had their doubts. At a time when power hitters were taking over the majors, Pierre was a slap hitter with a relatively weak arm, and while he was fast, he wasn't a blazer. After his second season in junior college, he wasn't drafted. "That was the first time I doubted myself a little," he says.

 

He regrouped, worked on hitting with a wooden bat in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley League over the summer, and accepted a scholarship to South Alabama. In 1998 the Rockies took him in the 13th round. He was in the majors two years later, unaffected by his sudden success.

 

While shagging flies in San Francisco during his first full season, Pierre was told by pitcher Mike Myers that Willie Mays wanted to meet him. Pierre was sure that Myers was hazing him. Willie Mays wanted to meet him? He approached the game's greatest all-around player warily, not wanting to bother him as he held court near the Giants dugout. But when Mays saw Pierre, he broke away from the group. "I like watching you play," Mays told Pierre, and then gave the kid his cell phone number.

 

"It was his number," Pierre says, still wide-eyed at the memory. "I called it, and Willie Mays actually picked up!"

 

The Rockies weren't as fond of Pierre's game. They thought he was ill-suited for Coors Field, where sluggers rule. So they did him what turned out to be a tremendous favor last winter, packaging him to the Marlins, who play in spacious Pro Player Stadium, for, among others, Preston Wilson. In his first season with Florida, Pierre set club records for hits (204) and stolen bases (65), and finished 10th in the National League MVP balloting. (It truly was a trade that helped both teams: Wilson hit 36 homers with a league-leading 141 RBIs.)

 

The climate was different, but the habits were the same. Pierre showed up every day for extra batting practice before regular BP. Robinson tossed balls at him from different angles, simulating righthanded pitchers and lefthanded pitchers. Between stints in the cage, Pierre would shag flies so aggressively that Robinson became concerned the six-foot, 180-pounder would wear out in Miami's liquid summer heat. And Robinson didn't know that, in the early afternoons, Pierre sometimes hit alone in the indoor cage. "Would you get a hobby, or read a book or something?" Robinson told him.

 

So the Marlins instituted a rule: starters were required to return to the clubhouse after batting practice. Every so often, Robinson would look out to the outfield and see his centerfielder violating the Juan Pierre Rule.

 

* * *

 

Alexandria smells like dirt. Soil. It doesn't smell bad; it just smells like a freshly plowed soybean field. The scent of the Gulf hangs over Louisiana's coastal towns, but in the middle of the state, in Alexandria, the air is filled with the scent of the earth, an honest smell.

 

Juan Pierre Day has arrived, and the guest of honor first speaks at his alma mater, where he was salutatorian of the Class of 1995. Old friends ask if he'd rap for them, the way he did at the Marlins' victory parade in a clip that was replayed over and over on SportsCenter, but he sheepishly declines.

 

Midway through the season, Pierre and rookie pitcher Dontrelle Willis began improvising a pregame freestyle rap. Willis provided the beat and Pierre the lyrics, calling out the challenge the Marlins faced that day -- the opposing pitcher, the importance of the game, a hot-hitting teammate. Their rap before Game 4 of the Series was about ruining Roger Clemens' final start. Pierre's words and rhyme and tone melded so perfectly that teammates were spellbound. "Everyone was like, 'That's it, right there, that's it,'" says Willis.

 

Pierre and Willis are reluctant to reveal their lyrics, out of respect for Clemens. The only purpose of the raps, they say, was to get fired up. As Willis says, "Just a little dance to put the child back in the game."

 

No problem there for Pierre. "I think he's identical, as a person, to when he was that young guy running around the T-ball field," says Don Boniol. "He's just like a little kid in a big league uniform."

 

About a thousand chairs are arranged in Alexandria's convention center, and 20 minutes before the ceremony is to begin, every seat is filled. Another 300 to 400 people stand in back, crowded around tables holding sandwiches and cakes covered with teal frosting. Pierre's high school No.9 is retired. He receives plaques, proclamations and a key to the city. And then it's his turn to speak.

 

The best thing about the World Series, he says, is that he finally got his mom onto an airplane for the first time. "This is a small town, but it's the same town I grew up in," he tells them. "And I'm still little Juan."

 

When he's through, he signs autographs for friends and neighbors for three solid hours, until 9:45 p.m.

 

Nine hours later, Juan Pierre is back in the gym, working out.

181482[/snapback]

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Things I would like to see:

 

1.) JP needs to put an end to his reckless baserunning such as getting picked-off when down by 3 runs

 

2.) JP needs to stop trying to bunt for base hits ball 3 when he has a 2-0 count

 

3.) Alex needs to walk more than once every other week

 

4.) the 3rd base coach (forget his name) needs a new pair of glasses to prevent guys from getting thrown out at home by 20 feet

 

5.) Jack need to keep Cabrera out of RF. If Conine plays have Conine in RF and keep Cabrera in LF. Junior Felix played better RF than Cabrera. At least in LF Cabrera is adequate

 

6.) Jack needs to stop bunting JP over to 2nd in the 1st inning

672370[/snapback]

1- Juanpy running is what gets our middle hitters good pitches to hit.

 

2- How many times did he do that last year?

 

3- Agreed, but don't get your hopes up.

 

3- Wasn't he moved to something else?

 

5- Cabs is gonna most likely be in RF because Conine is the way superior LF and Miguelito has a cannon, something you look for in a right fielder. He needs to be taught the position well though.

 

6- How many times was that done?

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Things I would like to see:

 

1.) JP needs to put an end to his reckless baserunning such as getting picked-off when down by 3 runs

 

2.) JP needs to stop trying to bunt for base hits ball 3 when he has a 2-0 count

 

3.) Alex needs to walk more than once every other week

 

4.) the 3rd base coach (forget his name) needs a new pair of glasses to prevent guys from getting thrown out at home by 20 feet

 

5.) Jack need to keep Cabrera out of RF.? If Conine plays have Conine in RF and keep Cabrera in LF.? Junior Felix played better RF than Cabrera.? At least in LF Cabrera is adequate

 

6.) Jack needs to stop bunting JP over to 2nd in the 1st inning

672370[/snapback]

1- Juanpy running is what gets our middle hitters good pitches to hit.

 

2- How many times did he do that last year?

 

3- Agreed, but don't get your hopes up.

 

3- Wasn't he moved to something else?

 

5- Cabs is gonna most likely be in RF because Conine is the way superior LF and Miguelito has a cannon, something you look for in a right fielder. He needs to be taught the position well though.

 

6- How many times was that done?

672747[/snapback]

 

1.) JP shouldn't be stealing bases or taking huge leads to the point where he gets picked-off when we're down by 3 or more runs. Reckless baserunning.

 

2.) Several times. If JP was more patient at the plate and had better judgment on the basepaths he would raise his game up a level.

 

3.) I wont get my hopes up as long as the hitting coach continues to disregard the values of walks.

 

4.) I don't think so.

 

5.) As Miguel has said he sees the ball off the bat much better from LF than RF. Conine has played RF in the past and although he doesn't have the strongest arm he's very accurate and gets rid of the ball quickly. I would put Conine in RF and keep Cabrera in LF but I'm not gettign my hopes up.

 

6.) Jack's MO when JP gets on in the 1st inning is to bunt him over.

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I also agree, pierre needs to improve his base stealing skills. In the first half of the season, last year he kept getting out because he would start running after the pitcher released the ball. In the second half of the season he was doing much better. He seemed to of read the pitcher better unlike in the first half.

 

I thought Lo Duca was really good last season. He is a great substitution for pudge. We only had him half a season and he did some amazing throw outs that Redmond, and who ever else we had catching couldn't do.

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