First off, welcome to the blogosphere Mr. Page Fence, remember we are going to "The Stadium" next season.
TOP STORIES SO FAR 07 SEASON
How cold is it? As always weather trumps everything.
A Rod - 5 jacks in 6 games. Will he be A Rod again or is he the next Jimmy Piersoll ( is that too cheap?)
The Phillies - 1-6. I got home in time yesterday to see the Phillies implode in the bottom of the eighth against the Mets. I'm sure their bullpen is getting ripped again by the fans and the press but it wasn't entirely their fault. There was bad luck, Geary left Green with a toothpick in his hands but he still got a bloop hit to left. As well, it's not Geary's fault that Jimmy Rollins muffed a groundball with the bases loaded and 1 out. I've already seen speculation that the Phillies season is going into the toilet. Relax, it's April 10 and they play in the NL where if you can hang around .500 until August you're in the thick of the wild card at a minimum. Isn't parity exciting? Having said that, I agree with Jeff Blair that the Phillies are overrated. I think because they finished strong last season they were trendy amongst the chattering classes this offseason. But other than very strong starting pitching ( which is the most important part of any team ), Howard, Rollins & Utley, they're mediocre. But hey, it's the NL and everybody is in the hunt ( ok, not the Nationals ).
Really, the only notable occurrences this early in the season are injuries ( the long term or potentially long term ) and that always involves pitchers. Out for a long time - Kenny Rogers and Mike Hampton ( I think Hampton's season is done ). Out for a short time or longer? - Chris Carpenter & Ricky Nolasco. Do we even count Kerry Wood or is it only notable when he does pitch?
I watched the first 6.5 innings of the Jays home opener last nite.
In the bottom of the first with Wells on first, Campbell and Tabler were telling us that Wells has the green light to run this season. They think this is good, they want him to be "aggressive." Vernon Wells should NOT be running with Thomas & Glaus hitting behind him. Sometime during the 80's I was sober long enough to read an essay by Bill James which argued that stealing bases has an adverse impact on the hitter & resultingly on team offense. It's Bill James so you know he's got the empirical evidence. It makes sense to me, hitters taking strikes to allow runners to steal, the distractions to the hitter of the runner in motion & pick off attempts. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan disagrees entirely with this opinion, and well he is in the HOF and I am in my basement. The Jays have the type of offense that is easy to criticize when they don't score. They will hit doubles and homers, they won't steal, hit & run or sacrifice a lot. They will strike out liberally and hit into a lot of double plays. When they don't hit they will look lazy and Gibbons will be knocked for being unimaginative. But this is the era of Arena Baseball, particularly in the AL you need to score a LOT of runs and you don't accomplish that playing small ball. In this era speed is of much more benefit in the field than for offense.
Later in the bottom of the 1st Wells was easily thrown out at home by Emil Brown. I think Brown is getting screwed by the Royals. He's been a very strong player for them the past few years on some awful teams. This spring he was told that his playing time would be reduced, the Royals have a surplus of outfielders. I do understand that they needed to move Teahan to accomodate Gordon ( will Teahan return to 3rd if the uber prospect flounders?), but to reduce Brown's playing time to open up AB's for Gload is a mistake. Anyway, Brown was told he won't be playing as much because his defense is lacking, so I was happy for him when he threw out Wells.
http://mlnsportszone.squarespace.com/editorsraves/2007/4/2/mlb-civil-rights-game-latest-in-the-season-opener-gimmicks-misfires-in-memphis.html A rant about MLB's Civil Rights game that is right in line with what I've been writing. Thanks to Carl @ www.ottawalynx.blogspot.com for sending me the link.
Wonder why it's so hard to trade for pitching and why Ted Lilly, Jeff Suppan & Jason Marquis raked in the big dough this offseason? It's April 10 and look at some of the scheduled starters today: Rick Vanden Hurk, Chris Sampson & Randy Keisler.
I wrote last week that I was surprised to see Joey Thurston on the Reading roster and that we'd be seeing him here in Triple A. Well, it's happened, the Phillies dealt ( sold? ) Abernathy to the Nationals which opened up a spot for Thurston here. Thurston failed to make the Nats as an NRI this spring, we'll see if Abernathy fares better.