Here are some observations as we head to the launch of the new season:
1. RED SOX
Despite having the game’s most obnoxious fans, the players just did a rare and noble thing. Having heard that the coaches would not be given the same $40,000 stipend as the players for opening the season in Japan, they unanimously voted not to board the bus to the airport unless the coaches were paid. The league relented and approved it and the Sox are now winging their way to Tokyo.
Jason Varitek’s contract will expire at the end of the season and his agent the notorious Scott Boras is already making noise that he should be paid on par with the new deal the Yankees Jorge Posada just signed. Are you kidding me? Posada has it all over Varitek in every phase of the game from game calling to throwing out runners and especially hitting. We’re on to the game Boras is playing. He knows that the team captain is popular with the fans thus putting pressure on the club to re-sign him. Look for the same tactics when another client, Prince Fielder becomes eligible for free agency. The Sox will probably mistakenly relent.
The Coco Crisp drama continues to play out. Even though Jacoby Ellsbury proved that he will be a better all around player, Crisp continues to whine about being replaced. Look for him to be on somebody else’s roster (Cubs?) soon.
2. THE YANKS ARE COMING
GOOD: Kudos to the Yankees for playing an exhibition game at Virginia Tech yesterday in honor of the terrible tragedy that occurred on campus last year. The stars showed up, sat in the Tech players’ dugout during the game signing autographs. In a true show of patriotism, owner George Steinbrenner also donated $1 million to the college memorial fund. This is a heartwarming story that is all too rare today.
3. PUZZLING DECISIONS
As camps close and decisions must be made about who will be part of the club for opening day, one wonders what criteria some clubs use when final cuts are made.
Manny Parra has been nearly unhittable this spring in his quest to make the rotation yet the club has intimated that he may be sent down in favor of Chris Capuano and David Bush both of whom have been getting lit up. Now Capuano has a strained elbow ligament and may end up on the DL anyway. The club and Parra should not be penalized just because GM Doug Melvin has failed to move either of them. I thought the purpose of spring training was to prove yourself worthy of being part of the big league roster. I also thought that the objective was to try to win with your best players. If Parra is sent down in favor of Bush, then the Brewers are making a joke of this.
CARDINALS The Cardinals have one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball in Colby Rasmus and a hole in their outfield as wide as the Great Arch and what do THEY do? Send him down. It’s not like this team is going to contend for anything this year. Their pitching is in a shambles and Albert Pujols probably won’t last the season with his aching elbow. You would think that this would be the perfect time to begin working him in the lineup.
RANGERS Is it any wonder that the Rangers have been a perennial loser when they make pinhead roster decisions as well? This year they are considering sending Jarrod Saltalamacchia down in favor of Gerald Laird. He was part of the Mark Texeira trade last year and was the Braves’ number one prospect two years running (2006-07). You mean the team has a better chance of winning with a journeyman like Laird? Yes, he had a good spring but his track record doesn’t warrant him over the tremendously talented JS.
CUBS Anyone want Mark DeRosa? He’s been a productive hitter for years but apparently is disposable this year and it has nothing to do with his recent cardiac incident.
He has recovered well and it should not be a concern going forward. But the club is obsessed with getting Orioles 2b Brian Roberts. This will marginally improve them but what it really means is that the Cubs have joined the high rollers and now with their huge payroll must feed their egos like other members of that club.
1. Don’t complain that there’s no parking space when I’m five blocks away from my “Spot”.
2. Try to stay for at least one sausage race instead of heading to a near empty restroom.
3. Limit consumption of polish sausage to one during each series.
4. Do not let loud, rambunctious, sauced fans get on your nerves (Yeah, right).
5. Limit complaining that there is no pitcher information on the out of town scoreboard to
once a game.
6. Don’t say “I Told You So” when Eric Gagne blows out his elbow by July.
7. To get Prince Fielder to fire Scott Boras.
8. Do not wish that Geoff Jenkins were back no matter how bad left field is this year.
9. Try to at least lowering the volume of booing when Derrick Turnbow comes in to blow
10. Do not write more than three critical Ned Yost blogs.
11. Think of great home run calls for each player ala John Sterling’s “A-Bomb for A-Rod”
(“What can Braun do for you?” “A royal bash from Prince,” etc)
12. Tell the sound person NOT play “Jump Around” it doesn’t belong anywhere but in Madison.
13. Do not pick a fight with a Cubs’ fan.
14. Close my eyes every time Jason Kendall tries to throw out someone trying to steal.
15. Don’t count all of the intrusive advertising signs displayed all over the ballpark
(even in the Restroom!)
16. Think of some more of those ridiculous in-game sponsorships. You know like
“This call to the bullpen is brought to you by…”
How about “This walk to the mound is brought to you by Van’s Comfort shoes”.
“This argument with the umpire is brought to you by Universal Mediation Services”
“That player scratching himself is brought to you by Gold Bond medicated powder.”
“The third base coach’s signs are brought to you by Allstate. Remember traffic signs
are our friends.”
“That long stretch by the first baseman was brought to you by Viagra”
17. Make sure my daughter keeps the lids on her drinks so fans in front of us aren’t
deluged with spilled liquid.
18. Try not to channel surf to try to hear portions of every game during XM radio’s
home team broadcasts.
19. No longer wish how lucky Bob Uecker, Tom Hamilton, Marty Brenneman and
all the other play-by-play guys are. Realize it just ain’t going to happen.
20. Wait for the moment Ron Santo mispronounces “Fukodome”.