Dale Says

August 21, 2008

Rich Aurilia Night

Filed under: Profile — Dale @ 11:12 am

Last night turned out to be Rich Aurilia’s night after all. I was hoping he would have a good game, since his photo was featured on the game tickets as part of the Giant’s 50th anniversary tribute to legendary players. And Richie is a favorite of many loyal Giant’s fans. He was part of some very good Giant’s teams and had some excellent years as part of a very solid Giant’s infield. In 2001, for example, Rich collected a National League best 206 hits, and had a .324 batting average, 37 home runs, 97 RBIs, and was selected as an NL All-Star.

This year Rich is a seasoned veteran in the twilight of his career, still able to make significant contributions and willing to mentor the influx of younger players finding their way onto the Giants team.

Rich has had a solid year for the Giants, if not a spectacular one. He’s hitting .268 (.322 on-base average, 4th best on the Giants), with eight home runs and 40 RBIs. He’s played 111 games (6th best on the team), and has contributed to the Giants infield, playing first, short, and third. Last night he was at third base.

The game didn’t start well for Rich. In the first inning, with runners on first and third, he grounded into a rally-killing double play. In the fourth inning, he hit the ball solidly, but again grounded out. But in the sixth inning, with a runner on first Rich doubled to left scoring Aaron Rowand, then scored on a Fred Lewis single, helping the Giants to a 5-2 lead.

Rich grounded out again to end the seventh inning. That’s baseball. So he was 1-4, with a double, RBI, and a run scored. Not bad for a guy about to turn 37. But his greatest contribution was at third base. He played very solid defense all night making several nice plays, including diving for a line shot in the third inning and leaping (well, at his age jumping) to snag a solidly-hit line drive by Jorge Cantu in the eight inning to prevent a Marlins rally. And the Giants won the game, which I’m sure was more important to Rich than his individual outcome for the evening.

I like the mix of veterans and youngsters on the Giants this season, and I get a kick out of watching players like Randy Winn and Rich Aurilia who come out every night and give it their all. That’s a good example for the younger players and fun for the fans. And I especially enjoyed watching Rich have a good game – after all, it was Rich Aurilia night.

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