Monday, March 8, 2010

Burning Questions: Spring Training 2010

A few real questions, a few rhetorical ones and some things just make you say “hmmm?”

Why was it headline news on the first day of Spring Training that Derek Jeter wants to remain a Yankee – doesn’t this belong under the heading of “duh”?

Speaking of Jeter’s upcoming contract, let’s make these assumptions: 1. Jeter will remain a Yankee. My guess is his contract (yearly salary not necessarily length) will be bigger than ARod’s considering Jeter’s “status” on his way to Yankee Immortality. 2. My other guess is: Yankee Fans and the local Yankee infused press will not sanction having Saint Derek being paid less than that carpetbagger ARod.

Based on those suppositions here’s what I’m anxious to see: the local and national stat heads had a field day going after the Rangers about “value” of Michael Young’s contract – based mainly on his age. Granted, Jeter is a better player than Young – but – and here’s the big but – Jeter is also going to be 36 years old. Let’s say realistically he’ll want at least a 3-4 year deal. These same BP type number crunchers are always trumpeting their stats that (supposedly) prove that players over 35-36 years old are in decline (without exception). I’m interested to see what they will say about the “value” of Jeter’s contract. Will they stick to their formula of “no player over 30 should be paid anything because our complicated statistical truths state players in their 30’s aren’t any good” or will they come up with some new dense algebraic formula to “prove” that Jeter is the lone exception? The one thing I do know: there will be endless coverage of this contract negotiation in the national press, I envision an entire hour special on the MLB Network on the subject.  I suspect when the negotiations are concluded every player in MLB will be asked their reaction to the contract  and finally the Pope will likely be asked to bless the signed documents – because the only story in major league baseball is the Yankees – isn’t it?

If the Cowboys new stadium was supposed to bring all this “new” business to the Stadium/Ballpark vicinity – then why has another restaurant (Red, Hot and Blue) closed, and the former Mexican Inn and Barbeque place (whose name escapes me) have been standing empty for at least a year?

Enquiring minds want to know….

Rain during the first week of camp, Derek Holland, Josh Hamilton losing somewhat significant playing time in early games, the Khalil Greene situation leaving the Rangers scrambling for a utility IF (or two), more rain, Julio Borbon banged up early – not an auspicious start to Spring Training is it? Josh Hamilton on the trading block – what’s up with that?

Here’s what I love about the report on MLB Trade Rumors (which should really change it’s title to MLB Speculation, Fiction and Re-Tweets – because there is very little truth and not much original writing/research on that website). Anyway back to the report: it’s from a Boston writer – who I assume is with the Red Sox in Florida, talking with a scout – who I assume was in Florida too. These two guys are not in Arizona, they haven’t talked with the Rangers or even “unnamed sources” in Arizona, and this item was based on a “feeling”? As Jamey Newberg said this morning – after Hamilton’s performance in 2009 the Rangers couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to ask for as much in return. So do you think based on that fact the scout already knew that  he might have been trying to drum up some activity (which is proof that agents aren't the only ones "creating" markets for players) – what better way to get that message out than through the obliging twit(ter)…excuse me, reporter.

This reminds of a line of dialogue from one my favorite movies “Broadcast News”: Jane (played by the wonderful Holly Hunter) talking to Tom (William Hurt in his second best movie role): “Another thing I can't stand is when White House reporters [shoot the breeze] with each other after a briefing and then one of them has a theory and the other quotes it in his story as ‘White House’ sources say...”

Sound familiar?

The old adage is: those who can’t do – teach.  Ergo – those who can’t (or don’t have the ambition to) play professional sports become mouthy sports talk show hosts who question professional athletes abilities?

Just asking

Why can’t you buy into the rampant optimism expressed all over the web (and by Rangers team president Nolan Ryan) that the Rangers will win the AL West?

Look I think the Rangers are improved – if for no other reason the young players have some quality time at the major league level and (hopefully) are aware of their strengths/weaknesses plus they now know how much sacrifice and dedication it takes compete successfully at that level. However, two of the other AL West teams (at least on paper) are already better/or have improved themselves more than the Rangers. Many are writing off the Angels because of the loss of John Lackey and Chone Figgins – we’ll see, I think they’ll miss Figgins more than Lackey (replaced by Scott Kazmir) and that’s the basis of my conviction: pitching trumps all. Seattle: Cliff Lee and King Felix need I say more?  The Rangers pitching while better, still has too questions (can Harden stay healthy? can Feldman repeat? what are you really going to get from Brandon McCarthy and Colby Lewis? and, most importantly, who among the younger pitchers is going to show truly consistent improvment?)  Many Ranger fans are basing their predictions on the hope of  all the right things falling into place rather than proven performance - which is exactly what the Angels have in their favor and the Mariners have at the top of their rotation as well as at the top of the lineup (Figgins and Ichiro).  If the Rangers can prove they are worthy of all that blind faith, I'll change my mind -although just like Doubting Thomas - I'll have to see to in order to believe.

The final Burning Question today: What did you think of the Academy Awards?

The Dude will abide.

Looking for a fire extinguisher – Marla Hooch

1 comment:

The Dude said...

The award really pulls the room together.