Roch around the clock

ROCH AROUND THE CLOCK

The Kickoff

June 12, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO

In case you missed it, the Colorado Rockies traded former Oriole Eli Marrero to the New York Mets for Kazuo Matsui and cash. It's now safe to say that Matsui was really, really over-hyped when he came to the United States.

It's been a tough year for anyone named Matsui. I can think of at least two.

Seeing so many comparisons between Brandon Fahey and Mark Belanger got me thinking about the left side of the Orioles' infield, back when Belanger and Brooks Robinson were collecting Gold Gloves. Can anyone name a better defensive left side? Or one that at least comes close? I agree with the reader who listed Belanger's offensive stats and wondered if The Blade would have been reduced to utility status in today's game. A team would need to have enough offensive weapons to afford the luxury of an all-field, no-hit shortstop.

Numbers could never explain Belanger's brilliance. A ground ball had no chance against him or Brooks, just as any fly ball to center field was going to settle into Paul Blair's glove. I remember listening to Chuck Thompson on the radio when he'd say, "There's a long fly ball to center field. Blair's on his horse. ... " And you could relax.

Same thing with a ground ball to the left side. roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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