Wooden's World of Baseball

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cleaning Out The Sports Desk Drawer...

OK, I'll admit I stole that headline from somewhere, but with the baseball world slowing to a crawl, I don't really have a unified theme to write about. So instead of a meal, I'm serving up appetizers (or leftovers):

  • Crustacean Nation — That's the tagline for the newest professional baseball team in the Greater DC area, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. I'm not sure if I like it because it's reminiscent of the World Champion Boston Red Sox, or because the marketing folks are being clever and tapping into the psyche of the numerous N.E. transplants in the area.
  • Nationals Ballpark — Speaking of marketing, it's almost comical that the Lerners haven't sold the sponsorship for what's usually considered the crown jewel for a franchise. Some folks are applauding this, naively thinking this is a magnanimous gesture, but the real reason is more likely that they have a price tag in mind and nobody's come close.
  • Barry Lamar Bonds — Some folks think his indictment has effectively banned him from the Hall of Fame, but I strongly suspect that when the Mitchell Report is released, we're going to see that The Asterisk will be but one of dozens who were taking performance-enhancing substances. Unlike Mark McGwire, Bonds had all five tools and was a first-ballot HOFer prior to taking after the 1998 season. Like Pete Rose, the voters will punish him, ignoring their role in looking the other way, by postponing his induction until after his death.
  • Alex Rodriguez — Is anyone really surprised by this? The advice from Warren Buffett to eschew Boras and negotiate directly makes for a cute story, but let's face it: The Yankees didn't want to lose him and A-Rod didn't want to go. Neither party had the negotiating advantage, so the real winner is this saga is the Texas Rangers, who no longer have to pay part of his salary.
  • Mike Lowell — The ripple effect, presumably, is that once A-Rod is off the market, the BoSox will give in and offer a fourth guaranteed year. Don't count on it. In the Theo era, the only free agent that was not going to be let go was Jason Varitek. Between the options of moving Kevin Youkilis across the diamond, and trading Coco Crisp, Epstein is not as limited as most people think.
  • Fan Voting on Postseason Awards — Is there anything dumber? Will high school never end? One need look no further than the nominees for the 2007 [Cola deleted] Clutch Performer of The Year award as evidence: Ryan Howard, Jake Peavy, J.J. Putz, Aramis Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira. Four of the six nominees' teams failed to make the playoffs, and the two that did were swept out in the first round. This is "clutch" how?

That's all for now, kids.


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