A few baseball notes in the middle of winter
One of the things baseball has over any other sport is that the off-season is fascinating. OK, fascinating might be stretching it...but it's certainly more compelling than football or basketball off-seasons, which are only interesting during the week before the draft. There are a few obvious reasons for this - baseball has no salary cap, so it's a lot easier for players to move around. Trades like those that went down this week simply can't happen in football and almost never do in basketball either. Frankly, I think some of this is due to lack of creativity rather than constraint, but regardless...that's how it is. Any sport where stars - stars, I said - like Alfonso Soriano, Jim Thome and Carlos Delgado can be traded, let alone folks like Juan Pierre and others - makes it fun to pay attention.
There's even a dumb, geeky name for it: The Hot Stove League. (Which I guess alludes to keeping the stove hot even though its the winter? Right. Doesn't make sense.)
But, there were a few things I found noteworthy that I think haven't been called out enough. Given that at least three people read this blog, that shouldn't change dramatically with this posting, but I do what I can.
- Being a Giants fan is severely underrated on the Misery Index. Sure, the Red Sox, Cubs and even White Sox have or had longer periods of time without a World Series, and sure there are several franchises who have NEVER won a title. But being in what should be a big market area, and having to watch multitudes of top players never come NEAR Pac Bell Park, that hurts. I cna't understand why Barry Bonds doesn't complain about this - he's supposed to be a world-class douchebag, right?
- What the Marlins are doing is disgraceful. Last season, I lay down a pre-season bet for that team to win the World Series, and I almost didn't because the odds weren't great...the team was that loaded. Now, they've gotten rid of Beckett, Delgado, Pierre, Lowell and I'm sure I'm forgetting some others. Word is that their payroll this year will be $16 million. Or, putting it another way, about 2/3 of A-Rod's salary for the season. God, it would suck to be a Marlins fan - and to some degree, I was one last season. (OK, if not a fan, an admirer of the team.)
- The Giants couldn't have used Delgado at first? Thome? Look, J.T. Snow wasn't the answer, but MARK SWEENEY is? To coin a phrase, what the fucking fuck?
- Miguel Tejada is apparently unhappy about the direction the Orioles are taking and wants a trade. Oh, that's fine, Miggy. But when you turned down less money with better teams, and realized that to some degree you were tying the Orioles hands with your salary, what went through your head then? This is the A-Rod fallacy, and at some point, I'd hope players learned their lessons. Look at Paul Konerko - he just took less money to stay with the White Sox. Learn, live.
- On a related note, when he was a Dodger, I had Paul Konerko on my fantasy team and said loudly I thought he just might be the worst professional baseball player alive. Shows you why Brian Sabean doesn't call me for advice.
- I blame everything on Bud Selig. Sure, it doesn't make sense - and I don't give him the requisite credit he deserves for, say, the wild card. (Which has turned out to be a really good addition to baseball.) I blame Bud Selig because...he's Bud Selig. Watching him outright lie to Congress and then get called on it has to go down as one of the more pleasing moments in the last ten years.
- The range I went from finding out that the loathsome Dodgers signed uber freak and Giants killer Rafael Furcal -- depressed -- to hearing that Furcal and the rest of the Dodgers will be managed by none other than Grady Little - thrilled! - was pretty dramatic. I'm suprised I didn't hurt anything. (God, what a bonehead move. You'll note this picture actually shows Pedro giving Little the ball...a few pitches too late. God, I can't wait until he leaves Jeff Weaver in to pitch to Barry Bonds in the 8th inning of a tie game.)
- Having said all of this - none particularly interesting, I suspect - I'm still really glad its football season and not baseball. Baseball is way less compelling than it used to be. Nothing beats being at a game, but that only applies if your team is competitive and the weather is nice. It will be nice when Barry plays again.