Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day

Some quick hits from baseball on Opening Day:

--Another day, another DL stint: Jason Bay was placed on the DL today for the Mets.  Strained ribcage.  I'll bite the bullet and admit that when the Sox let this guy go, I was angry.  Turns out to be a really good move, as he hasn't played a meaningful game (or, seemingly, consecutive games) since.  A good non-signing.  Those don't get as much credit, by the way, as good signings, but Ellsbury would have nowhere to play without him gone.  And that would've been a helluva lot of money tied up to a guy who doesn't play.  (I have Ellsbury's and Bay's autographs, so I wish them both well.)

--Which brings to mind a hilarious moment I spent with Bay at Fenway, which I'll share here during an MLB off-day.

--That's a textbook definition of many Mets players, too.  All the way back to Pedro, another good Sox non-siging, though he did have one good year before his arm fell off, which it was always destined to do.

--Pujols grounded into 3 DPs today, the first person since 1920 to do so on Opening Day.  He'll recover, don't worry.  Cards lost in 11.

--Speaking of 11: For the 11th straight opener at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees win.  Th-uh-uh-uh-uh Yankees win!!!  (Sorry.)  Tex and Granderson hit homers.  Granderson continues to surprise with the Yanks after a bad first year with them, as he still impresses while still not being a typical Yanks player.

--Such a player, by the way, defined as most Sox players: long at-bats, lots of pitches, foul off a lot, draw walks, make contact, wear the pitchers down.  Granderson doesn't do that, but still does well.  The second he loses a bit of steam, he's gone, take my word for it.

--Snow today here; 85 at Chavez Revine for the Dodgers game.

--Speaking of that game, Freddie Sanchez would've looked good playing for the Sox.  Oh, well.

--Mattingly is the manager for the Dodgers now.  Tim Wallach, with a little managing experience, is his 3rd base coach, typically a position for the next manager-in-waiting, outside of the bench coach.  Davey Lopes is the 1st base coach, typically a road to nowhere, if you have managerial aspirations.  Every time I look up, Davey Lopes is a 1st base coach somewhere, never a 3rd base coach, giving credence to his assertion that he's not looked at as a manager anymore.  Hmmmm....

--Sox games won't be the same without Gottfried as the AFLAC duck.  But that was a REALLY dumb thing for him to do, twitting uncouth Japanese jokes about dead women floating by, right after the earthquake--and probably without knowing that 75% of AFLAC's total insurance business comes from Japan.  Comedians said that it was an unfair firing because he's a comedian, who should have artistic license.  But he wasn't a comedian.  He was an AFLAC employee, and he would've cost a ton of money to the company--and its shareholders.  If you ran the company, you would've fired him, too.

--Tim Lincecum weighs maybe 160 pounds, which shows you it's all about mechanics and control.  He gets his fastball over all the time, and his cutter and splitter and off-speed stuff over all the time, and he can put them wherever he wants.  If you can do that, you'll be successful, no matter what you weigh.

--Pedro was the same way, and he was a tank by comparison to The Freak.

--How much did Bonds pay Dr. Ting?

--With the bases loaded, with one out and The Freak pitching, Buster Posey tries to pick the runner off 3rd base.  He throws it away, runner scores, runners move up to second and third, taking away the double-play, with the majors' best pitcher on the mound.  And he's struck out more batters in his first 4 years than any pitcher ever.  (Dwight Gooden had been first--and Hideo Nomo second!)  Sandoval called for the throw, but, still, what was he thinking?

--Miguel Tejada is still playing well.  Eric Chavez, who replaced him with the A's, not so much.

--Sandoval never met a pitch he didn't like.

--But for a bad back, Mattingly would be in the Hall of Fame.  He was a great fielding first baseman, too.

--The Brewers haven't had the best of luck in the 9th inning these last few years.

--Interesting Wade Davis signing today.  4 year deal, after going 14-12 with a 4.01 ERA last year, 7-1 down the stretch.  Three consecutive one-year team options in that.  Odd.  But the Rays know they have to sign the good, young ones now.  I'm pretty sure that they could make the playoffs this year.  They will surprise.  They'll be in it until the end.

--It looks like somebody went up to Dodgers closer Jonathon Broxton and said, "Betelguese, Betelguese, Betelguese..."

--I'm going to love the MLB Channel this year.

--There's nothing like seeing a baseball game that counts when there's snow on the ground here.

--It's good to see baseball back.  Baby, I missed ya.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lenny Dykstra and Frenzy-feeding on the Helpless

Why hasn't someone stepped in to help Lenny Dykstra?  I just saw him on another interview today, for NBC, and once again he seemed mentally unstable.  He still speaks with that slurred speech, as if he were always drunk, or drugged up, or on some meds that make him sound that way.  Once again he was denying his financial reality, saying that he lived in a $30 million home, but yet was on the streets for two years.  Again he says that he has all this money that he doesn't have; that his homes are not in foreclosure; that he hasn't been swindling anyone.  Why hasn't someone stepped in?  He seems confused, taking forever to come up with Gandhi's name, and then comparing himself to him.  Again he sounded paranoid, saying that bankers would assassinate him.  Again he had flights of fancy, saying that he could not be killed--after he said bankers would assassinate him.  He has a persecution complex.  I don't doubt he believes that he hasn't cheated anyone; I believe he believes he really does have all this money.  Why hasn't a friend or loved one stepped in and institutionalized him for his own good, especially when he was living on the streets for two years?

And why are they still putting him in front of a camera?  So we can see that he's still nuts?  So we can see that he's in denial, and slipping even more?  Why are they parading him instead of helping him?  I saw another clip on tv--some kind of program on Paris Hilton--and some guy said that we, the public, just want her to continue screwing up, that we want her to take drugs, get arrested, and say stupid things for our amusement.

There's truth to this.  We are schoolyard bullies parading the clueless for our enjoyment, watching their self-destruction for our self-esteem, for giggles.  Instead of helping them, we jab them, prod them, tie them to the stake.  People like Dykstra clearly can't defend themselves, and rather than help them, we tie them to the media stake, unleash the media and viewer dogs, and watch for our own amusement as they get eaten alive.

Call it Britney Spears/Charlie Sheen Syndrome, call it whatever you want, but it says more about us than it does about them.  They are, or were, messed up, in the head, or as addicts.  But we sit at home, watch it all on television or the internet--more the latter now--and we laugh and jibe as they suffer and self-destruct.  We call them names, often really bad ones, which was even more unforgivable when it's someone like Spears, who was in her late teens and early- to mid-twenties during most of her self-immolation, still mostly a kid, in terms of life experience and wisdom.  But that didn't stop us from calling her horrible names, and puncturing her rather than helping her.  Maybe it's a mob psychology, that many of us are decent people on our own, but as a media saturated public, we become sharks and frenzy-feed on the helpless when they injure themselves.

Sickening.  And it's more us then them.  When did we start putting the popular in cages and prodding them for our own amusement?  Watch this clip,, and see what you think.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Morality Bloodhounds

Okay, so it's been awhile.  Okay, so it's been a long while.  Had some things goin' on, lost a family member, got really sick, got tied up with Paying the Man.  But now I'm back, talkin' baseball, so let's get caught up with a few things:

--The Bonds trial has quickly become a circus.  The topic in court today was how he walked around with a smaller size bat, if you know what I'm sayin'.  What that has to do with him perjuring himself, I don't know, as that soon won't be something you can lie about, if you further know what I'm sayin'.  This tells you something about Barry: Yuckiness seems to follow him, 700+ homeruns or not.  Bad for baseball.  Bad for my acid reflux.

--I worry a little about the Morality Bloodhounds.  First Barry.  Clemens is next, mark my words.  The same legal moral railing didn't turn out so well for Kenneth Starr, and it won't end well for whoever's in charge of this fiasco, either.  Bonds is a jerk, not the Antichrist.  Slap him with a year in jail, or probation, and take away his HOF entrance for 14 years (You can't keep him out.  He's up there with Ruth and Williams, 'roids or not, and you can't just whisk that away.) and move on.  Stop bathing baseball fans in the mud.

--The Yanks may win more games than you would think.  If they have the lead after the 7th, they'll win about 99% of the time.  Soriano and Rivera are the newest Rivera and Wetteland.  The Yanks may be playing 7 inning ballgames this year.  And with that offense, they'll have a lot of leads.  But with that starting pitching...Don't rule these guys out.  They could surprise and win the division.

--But I don't think they will.  Go Sox.  The Fenway opener against the Yanks will mean more than usual, even if it is the very beginning of the season.  Speaking of which, the games with the Rangers will show a lot as well.  But why start at 4, then 8, then 2?  I'm just sayin'.  I mean, we all have DVR.

--When I heard that Jeter's shirts and apparel were the best-selling in baseball, by far, his recent contract made a lot more sense to me.  It ain't all about the play on the field.

--By the way, Pedroia outsold A-rod, for those of you keeping track.  And I was very surprised that Pujols barely made the top-10.  That ain't right.

--Beltre could've hit 30 homers a year at Fenway alone, had he stayed.  Just take a knee, and swing.  I haven't seen a swing better fit for Fenway, ever.  That swing would make all of those shots go over the Wall for Beltre, too.  He didn't have too many wall-balls last year.

--There's something going on with Beckett that we may read about in a few years.  Maybe Pap, too.

--The Sox and Yanks measure up closer than you'd think.  Both have questionable starting pitching that could either excel, or flame out.  The Sox starters, overall, are better, with Lester and Buchholz, but if Beckett and Lackey don't perform, and Dice-K's arm falls off, this could be a very disappointing year.  The 8th and 9th innings should be great for both teams--with the Yanks getting the nod--and the offense should be stellar, as well, with the Yanks getting the nod there as well, though the Sox's offense could pull away, as they've gotten younger while the Yanks have gotten older.  But this year may be a draw, with the Sox getting the upper hand offensively for the next few years.  The difference could come down to middle relief, of all things.  Or injuries.

--Because of this, watch out for the Rays.  And Rangers.  The Rays may still surprise, despite the firesale.  If their rookies perform well--and they might--they could be in the thick of the wild card.

--Sox and Phils at the end.