“I’m walkin’ to New Orleans
I’m going to need two pair of shoes
When I get through walkin’ to you
When I get back to New Orleans”
--- Fats Domino
I’m taking Fats advice, packing my bags and heading for a few a few days of who knows what in the Big Easy.
Before I go, a few baseball and non-baseball thoughts:
Regarding the departure of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo: I’ve always questioned, based on what I’ve read in the media, his philosophy of “aggressive in the strike zone”. However, since I’m not in the clubhouse or taken a batting lesson from him I can’t say for certain that his philosophy was the whole problem with the Rangers offense in 2009. Although I can say this with some certainty: young players in their first major league AB’s struggle – take a look at some early career stats: Michael Young (966 AB - .246 Avg) Mark Teixeira (529 AB - .259 Avg) and Torii Hunter (720 AB - .266 Avg). It seems that a majority of hitters have to learn how to hit pitching at the major league level – no matter how successful they were in the minor leagues. This past season’s lineup was full of hitters who’ve not yet had even two full season’s of AB’s: (Chris Davis, Elvis Andrus, David Murphy, Taylor Teagarden, and Josh Hamilton technically falls into this category too) – statistical and empirical evidence suggests they were going have their ups and downs – which they most certainly did. What that says to me is that whoever is hired as hitting coach next season might receive undue praise for improvements. Younger players are bound to improve as they get more experience – no matter who is the hitting coach. So during the 2010 season when I read the bloggers and media wags who will point to offensive improvements because of the coaching change – I’ll be pouring a large grain of salt on their pronouncements. By the way – the same could be probably be said about the pitching coach change this season.
The playoffs: so the Dodgers and the Angels aren’t as invincible as they appeared during the season? I have to chuckle just a bit, I haven’t seen a team look as bad against the Yankees since, well, 1996, 1998, and 1999. I take small comfort in the fact that the Rangers are not the only ones who wither under the playoff spotlight against New York. It’s apparent (barring a couple of serious baseball miracles) that the World Series will be the Phillies vs. the Yankees. I can’t tell you how disinterested I am in that match-up – except that I think Philadelphia has a reasonable chance of defeating New York (provided the Phillies bullpen doesn’t implode). Do you realize that if the World Series winds up going the full 7 games, the last 3 games will be played Nov 1st, 2nd and 3rd - on the East Coast, at night? If the temperature is above 50 degrees – that will be another baseball miracle. Ridiculous! What’s even more ridiculous is that because of the World Series there won’t be any new episodes of “House” and “Glee” (yes I’ve been suckered in by that show) until mid-November. I know that Bud Selig doesn’t read my blog – but he should. He needs be aware that he is alienating this dependable, die hard baseball fan because of this prolonged playoff schedule. Of course, all Bud cares about is the TV ratings, since New York will be in the series those ratings probably won’t suffer – but I won’t be watching.
Planning my nights by the TV Guide: Speaking of television – the best new series in my always humble opinion is “The Good Wife” on CBS. The cast is terrific, especially Josh Charles (late of “SportsNight” - sigh) and Christine Baranski (who was great in “Mama Mia”). I already mentioned “Glee” on Fox – a guilty pleasure – and I hope an early sign that musicals might be coming back into style. I’ve also been watching “Eastwick” on ABC – I’m not sure it’s really that good – but I’m a charter member of the Paul Gross fan club (“Slings & Arrows”, “Due South”) and I’m kind of surprised how good Rebbeca Romijn is (all those X men movies – really?).
CD’s aren’t obsolete yet (are they?): I head about Rosanne Cash’s new CD “The List” bought it, can’t stop listening to it. The summer after she graduated from high school Rosanne went on tour with her dad – the man in black – Johnny Cash. They were discussing music, when he asked her about more traditional songs – she told him she’d never heard of most of them. Johnny sat down and wrote up a list of 100 “essential” songs he thought she need to know. Rosanne kept the list, and recorded 12 of those songs on her latest CD – it is excellent. Most notable: “500 Miles (accompanied by her daughter Chelsea Crowell), “Heartache By The Numbers (with Elvis Costello) and one of my favorite folk songs “Bury Me Beneath The Weeping Willow”.
On the bookshelf: Just finished Dan Brown’s “ The Lost Symbol” (thank you Mrs. Schmenge for loaning the book). I’m not a big Dan Brown fan – “The Da Vinci Code” was a fast read – but I didn’t think it was anything special – just good storytelling. The same thing with his new book – fast read, nice details, but not particularly impressive. On the other hand, I am impressed with mystery writer Cara Black’s Amiee LeDuc series. Each of the books is set one of the neighborhoods ("arrondissement") of Paris – the mystery usually reflects the character/history of the neighborhood.
Finally: It’s that time of year – less baseball more random odds and ends – 166 days until the home opener on April 5th. Meanwhile:
“I’ve got my suitcase in my hand
Now ain’t that a shame
Walkin’ to New Orleans”
Laisser les bons temps rouler! -- Marla Hooch