Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Last Picture Show



(Note: Use of the word "sublime" has nothing whatsoever to do with the public officials in the subject picture and everything to do with the fact that Jonathan Papelbon is wearing shades and a shit-eating grin during a White House photo op.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Song of an Innocent Bystander

Jayson Stark was talking Mets/Phils this morning on the radio, noting that the animosity between the two clubs was real and building. He predicted that the two clubs would have at least one "Jason Varitek/A-Rod-type fight" this season. So, to Whit and Nick: who starts it, who are the combatants, and what's the outcome?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Days

Today is Valentine's Day. If you want a few tips on how to get your lover in the mood on this most romantic of meaningless pseudo-holidays . . . uh, you'll have to go somewhere else.

Meanwhile, if you want a few morsels to get yourself into the mood as the dawn of yet another baseball season peeks around the bend, here you go. The practice of unearthing baseball quotes, quips, axioms, and adages is as hackneyed as they come . . . and it always works on me. What can I say? I'm an easy date, on Valentine's Day or any other.


"That's the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on a ball." --Bill Veeck

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." --Rogers Hornsby

"There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit." --Al Gallagher

"He asked if I was born-again. I said, 'Yep, each and every spring training.'" --Les Coole

"Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball." --Pete Hamill

And this one's for Nick -- or should I say it's for the legion of dimwits we used to call colleagues and still call friends, guys who will never understand baseball's allure. Pity them.

"With those who don't give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can't think of anything to say to them." --Art Hill

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Truck: A Love Story

I could write about Curt Schilling's shoulder (that 'la la' sound you hear is me with my hands over my ears loudly ignoring that issue) or Pedro's unique poultry-harvesting techniques, but it's 23 degrees and wickedly windy today in Northern Virginia, so I prefer to focus on something warm and sunny.

Today is Truck Day, when the Sox' equipment staff loads up the team's gear and ships it to Fort Meyers. Play ball is thisclose. Giddyup.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Human Seasons

Ah, the first week of February, sports' fallow season. The ending of the Super Bowl signals with abrupt finality the closing of football's long chapter. College basketball toils through its mid-season conference battles, still more than a month from the bedlam of March Madness' opening weekend. The NBA pops its head out, sees its shadow, and goes back underground until June, and the NHL allegedly continues its regular season.

In this time of respite and gloom, ladies and gentlemen, the whispers begin in earnest. Three words, only two of consequence, that signal rebirth and renewal, and hopes springing eternal (if your team of choice isn't based in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, or Miami, in which case hopes grunt, roll over, and go back to sleep). Pitchers and catchers, my friends. Pitchers and catchers. In the case of the Sox, those magic words signal a deadline only 12 days hence.

Friday, February 01, 2008

High Anxiety

Omar Minaya is channeling Nadia Comaneci.

On this very page, there has been an assertion that the Mets have sold the farm to get Johan (shouldn’t it be pronounced ho-han?) in Met pinstripes. ESPN’s Jayson Stark's take can be interpreted that the trade was one which certainly moves the Mets to the starting line in the 2008 marathon but at the same time it may have diminished their chances of staying in front for longer than a few seasons. (By the way, doesn’t that unnecessary ‘Y’ in the middle of Mr. Stark’s first name strike you as somewhat effeminate?) By 2010, it’s not a stretch to imagine Carlos Delgado will be returning to the Junior Circuit looking for DH work whilst Moises Alou will be ravaging South Florida buffets at 4:00 every afternoon. The Mets have only two position players ranked by Baseball Amreica’s 2007 list of their organization’s Top 10 and Carlos Gomez was one of them.

On other hand....the inevitable aging of everyday players is not unique to the Mets and the inverse of the Mets’ lack of everyday prospects is that the rest of the Top 10 is filled with pitching, pitching and pitching. Couldn’t that ‘glut’ of pitching be used to trade for everyday stars looking to get out of Mayberry markets?

On the other hand....consider also that only four Mets prospects appeared on the 2007 Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects. Mathematically, each team should expect at a minimum to place 4 players in the Top 100. That would seem to be the break even point as to whether the organization is growing or dying. Of the four, three are imminently about to familiarize themselves with the fantastic world of ice fishing, horseflies and the Farm Labor Party’s political philosophy. Also, moving pitching prospects for everyday players to replace aging veterans might also negatively affect how the Mets plan to replace Pedro and El Duque as they join Moises and the blue hairs in del Boca Vista.

On the other hand....the Mets’ new ballpark opens in 2009 which will inject an obnoxious amount of revenue to the coffers and they do play in New York which even if you were to assume that the Yanks got 2/3rd of the market revenue – which I doubt – it would still outpace at least 26 other clubs. Flushing, if you will pardon the pun, will be flush with cash.

We could go either way on this as I am sure Minaya did. In the end, doing something trumped doing nothing. If he is going to get cursed, it will be for the former which I am sure most people would prefer. Comes with the job I suppose. The question is not whether the move should have been made so much as whether Santana can deliver. We have seen Gotham devour superstars before. The verdict on the list of imported high dollar free agents who ditched Smallville for the bright lights is probably muddled at best. I offer an insincere good luck Johann. Let’s see how you handle the New York Post back page.