The Man from Vlad

The man from Vlad, Vladimir Guerrero, the Dominican Republic native with the Russian first name.  He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to lace up his cleats over the past 14 years.

Guerrero has played for Montreal, Anaheim and is now enjoying his first year with the Texas Rangers where he has played almost injury free in and is batting a cool .333, with 15 home runs and 57 Rbi’s.

His career totals are impressive, a .322 batting average, 422 home runs and 1,375 rbi’s. Along with those totals he’s got over 2300 hits and a nice .568 slugging percentage. Not bad for the Man from Vlad.

His Expos years were predominantly his best where he tore up National League pitching day in day out. He was and still is a player that strikes fear into the opposition, no question about that.

AFter being cast off by the Angels, he is still putting up fantastic numbers with the Rangers and have propelled them into first place.

Tough he has cooled off this past week, he has become in The Sports Rabbi’s opinion a leader who may finally reach the promised land.

Together with Josh Hamilton who is having a terrific month, the Rangers are on their way to bigger and better things this year.

Though this was not how the year started for the franchise. A dark cloud loomed over spring training for this team as manager Ron Washington admitted to using banned drugs. This set off mayhem for the team calling for his job and experts began to question the club’s ability to perform this year.

But look at what happened. The Rangers led by Hamilton, Guerrero, Ian Kinsler, Colby Lewis and closer Neftali Feliz who picked up his 19th save this year, sit with a 41-28 record having won 8 in a row.

As hard as it may be for Rangers fans to belive they may be one or 2 players away from really challenging the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees in October.

Perhaps a Roy Oswalt or Cliff Lee may do the trick. The lineup already loaded, would benefit from a top flight ace going into the stretch. And maybe this would propel Vladimir to his first World Series.

If you check out Guerrero’s comparable to other players names like, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Joe Dimaggio, Johnny Mize and Orlando Cepada all pop up. As well as contemporaries, Larry Walker and Manny Ramirez, a World Series championship will be a crowning achievement to a fabulous career.

Guerrero is no question a future Hall of Famer. He will be enshrined in Cooperstown beside those already mentioned above.

So Texas, go out and do what you have to! Get that top starter and get The Man from Vlad his title!

Thoughts from the Pulpit 

1) The World Cup has no gone 10 days and many groups are still wide open. Teams that should have qualified for the next round already and teams who should be in good position to do so, well are not. The Three Lions, England has a big total of one, yes 1! goal for the tournament and laid a total egg Friday against Algeria. England sits with 2 points, tied with the USA who at least have three goals this tournament in the middle of group C. The amazing thing is that both teams get to the next round with victories on Wednesday. Now that is quite something. One win and a couple of draws sees you through. Italy are also sitting in a bad spot after drawing 1-1 against New Zealand. The Azzuri need to show a little bit in their last game to go through. Other major disappointments are France and Spain losing to Switzerland. Let’s hope that the major teams make it through to round two and that the refereeing gets better.

2) Very quietly, the Sacramento Kings traded Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni to the Philadelphia 76ers for Samuel Dalembert. I believe that this is only the first of many moves that these two teams will make over the next week and at draft day, Thursday. I think that Sacremento wanted to shed a little salary to put them into position to take Hedo Turkolu off of the Toronto Raptors hands. And I can see them shipping Canadian/Haitian Dalembert to the Raptors with Omri Casspi for the former Orlando Magic small forward. Toronto would like to keep as few Americans on the roster due to dual taxation in America and Canada, a problem that has plagued Canadian teams attempting to attract American players. With a team of foreigners, it is much easier for the Raptors to keep their top talent and don’t have to watch players like Chris Bosh and Vince Carter leave.

This move also helps Doug Collins and the 76ers and gives them a little more depth as they begin to reshape their team. All they have to do now is get rid of Elton Brand’s contract. Good luck with that.

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