“No one needs a vacation more than the person who just had one.” –Unknown
I think this is just credited to “Unknown” because whoever actually said it was too embarrassed to publicly subscribe to it. It’s one of those sentiments that probably everybody can relate to, yet no one actually wants to. Not unlike this scene.
Anyways, so yeah, I’m back from vacation and I already need another one. There, I said it. Despite the popular opinion that I need to sleep more, I’m up writing Part III of Wrapping Up the Off-Season, in the middle of the night/early morning hours, partially because, well nothing makes me happier than writing about sports, but also partially because I’m applying the ill-advised wisdom of my college roommate: “Staying up all night makes tomorrow come less quickly.”
This could not be further from the truth for so many reasons, and yet the next couple of weeks leading up to Opening Day, are going to be like that scene in Labyrinth.
That fire gang can either provide enough activity to makes things entertaining interesting, or just drive you bonkers and give you a migraine. Just saying. HOWEVAH, I do have to fly out to San Fran first week of April…and opening day tix to Dbacks/SF are a whopping $16. Just saying, again.
I didn’t do a whole lot in the way of baseball while I was in Florida, only hit up one spring training game, that featured the Sux taking the Fish deep early and often. I want to be able to make insightful assessments of the talent I got to see from an arm’s length away, but you know how I feel about scrimmages/Minor League/anything other than a real ball game that counts in the standings.
They skew study results. Too many variables, not enough controls.
I think the only time that a player’s spring training performance really gave me pause was when I went down to Bradenton years ago to see a Pirates/Yanks game. Kei Igawa was pitching. I’m playing it kind of fast and loose with the word “pitching” since I don’t think he was throwing hard enough to break a lightbulb. He actually looked like he was some rando that brought in to toss out the first pitch of the game, and everyone cheers when it reaches the plate within a nebulously defined strike zone.
But instead of skipping back to his seat, the rando decides to pitch the whole game with the same pitch, retaining an intimidation factor akin to a French poodle.
But yeah, beyond that Kei Igawa auspicious start, I haven’t really put a whole lot of stock in the output of spring training. I will say that the Marlins’ defense make the Mets look like a well-oiled machine.
I will also say that Red Sux fans apparently only shed their souls come opening day, since in a stadium brimming with B hats, there was not a single rabid bark of antagonism directed towards me and my Yankee-hat bearing companion. None that I could hear anyway, chalk one up to genetic near-deafness!
Back to business, some thoughts on the last week or so, as my magic number* has dwindled down to 10.
*I think you can figure this one out.
Yeah, he’s back to Justin status. Maybe for good. He was released from the hospital a few days ago “with a positive prognosis.” I guess “positive” depends on who you ask. I’m not a huge Chamberlain fan, if I haven’t made that clear in the last few years of blogging.
I think he’s unteachable and fat. And if you’re going to be morbidly obese, then you better have the skillz with a z of CC or Prince. You can’t just accidentally gain weight, look like a rhinoceros, and then be all “what, this is me.” Mac from Always Sunny BARELY pulled that off, and he’s not making his millions on his ability to outplay professional athletes.
So Justin’s fat exacerbated the collapse on his ankle as he was jumping on a trampoline. He’s so f’n lucky his kid was with him, because there’s no way the brass would be so gentle with this situation if Justin was just bouncing up and down on his own, while he waited for the cornhole boards to get freed up at the rec center. (Pause?)
Somehow any Chamberlain story ALWAYS ends up morphing into a “bigger picture” story about the Yankees. Whether it’s his role in the pen, his run-ins with the law, or his shattered ankle, it manages to spin into a what-does-this-say-about-the-impenetrable-Yankees??
Ok, I’ll bite. It says our Yanks may actually get some peace and quiet about the not-going-anywhere sleeve-tugging about the But..but..what are we gonna do about Joba?? Is he healthy? Will he ever be consistent?? And how does this connect to the reliever vs starter decision?
Then again, I’m pretty sure there’s a replacement Gunga Din of Controversy Bearing, just waiting in the wings. (Segue!)
Poor kid. Yankee fans are ruthless. If he doesn’t get his fastball up to snuff in about a week, he’s going to be entering the worst possible arena of them all, which is a preemptively skeptical NY fan base and media.
You do not under any circumstances want to climb out of a whole of negative perception, regardless of whether than perception is warranted/rational. That’s just sound advice in general.
‘Sides, Pineda himself has assured us we have nothing to worry about, claiming that he does in fact have plenty of velocity, it just doesn’t show during Spring Training. Which calls to mind this guy.
And just makes me feel all-around more at ease. I knew Pineda would have a reasonable explanation!
(I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Pineda only let up 1 run in 5 innings in his last start. If he isn’t the next Joba-Justin Chamberlain, I don’t know what’s what.)
(I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention how up in arms everyone suddenly is over dealing Montero for this Pineda clown. I sometimes think the whole “buy your team” attacks on the Yankees guides decision-making to small degree. Who cares if he’s a hot younger slugging pitcher? You can go to any cornfield in Nebraska and find a guy exactly like that one.
He’s a bargaining chip. I couldn’t care less they dealt him, but I could certainly care a great deal less-I couldn’t care more, really-about how we will hold on to the young’uns when, say, ROY HALLADAY is up for grabs, but will toss the boys into shipping crates when confronted with hopefuls.)
Fantasy Draft Season
Speaking of irrational decision making, there’s Fantasy Draft season, which means all MLB news has a fantasy slant, which can make journalism is either easy or tough—you know what your higher order thesis is, but how do you tie the Rangers inability to nail down their outfield or Bobby Valentine’s inability to nail down fundamental managerial decorum, to whom you should start on opening day.
Here’s what kills me about EVERY. SINGLE. PREVIEW. All the sleeper picks make me want to scratch up the newspaper like it’s kitty litter (and in that analogy, I would be a cat, presumably.) The thing with sleeper picks is that when there are millions of bloggers writing about their top secret insider scoop on the real gems of the season…there’s gonna be a lot of overlap.
This would actually be helpful to the reader, if the blogger cared at all about the reader, because then you’d see a consensus. You’d see corroborating opinions, and hence you wouldn’t have to rely on the out-on-a-limb predictions of a Joe Baseball Guru. The only “downside” would be that we’d have to stop calling them sleepers because no one would be sleeping on them.
This will never happen though since instead of contributing to this consensus, I see predictions that are so obviously trying to deviate from the “conventional” sleeper picks. Like, they’re making LEGIT sleeper picks.
Which is preposterous. Some of my favorite “no-really-he’s-gonna-light-it-up-this-year-just-watch” picks that I’ve seen: Younder Alonso, Brandon Belt, Bud Norris, Mike Moutsakas, Gaby Sanchez. I’m ok with sleeping through these draft rounds.
Did anyone else besides me just assume these guys were settling comfortably into “also-ran” status?
Alright it’s 5am, and I’m due at a midtown hotel conference room in 2 hours, so I’ll “to be continued” this post. Part IIIb to follow with more spring training/Florida musings, including my Dad’s relationship with a squirrel.
Also: more on my fantasy draft, which a purposeful avoidance of predicting sleepers, as well as a purposeful endorsement of my buddy Ollie who is-no lie, no hyperbole- the best baseball analyst I know. And yeah, I may as well bite the bullet and blog about the AL East, as seen through my always completely objective, if not somewhat physically impaired, eyes. So far, all I'm sure of is that the Yankees are my favorite to win the whole thing.