Sunday, December 25, 2005

Hot stove!

Well, Merry Christmas, and man did I ever speak too soon about there not being anything going on in the trades. Looks like the Yankees found their centerfielder. I have to say, I still have a ton of misgivings – I still think Damon may be too old and too injured, but then again, not one major league baseball team has ever called me to ask if I would be interested in being their general manager.

I must admit, I really can’t help myself, GOD is it funny watching the Red Sox Nation FREAK OUT about this. I am spending Christmas in New England, and really, being in the heart of the Nation is definitely the best vantage point. “How COULD he???” Uhhhh....the Yankees acted like they wanted him? I mean, I’m sorry, people couldn’t see this coming? It was obvious to everyone that the Yankees were desperate for a centerfielder last season. TONY WOMACK was playing centerfield, that would have been your first clue. The Red Sox have an All-Star centerfielder whose contract is up, and has been expressing discontent in various small ways all season. The Red Sox blew it by not making sure that Damon knew beyond all doubt that he was very much wanted and that they were willing to work with him to keep him – please, it’s not like Boston is hurting for money. I know a big deal is made about the Yankees being the best team money can buy, but it’s not like the Red Sox are the Royals or the Devil Rays. And New England LOVES Damon – so pay the guy! Because, see, there’s Brian Cashman standing right over there, drooling, with one of those really big Yankee paychecks.

Johnny looks good with his short hair, and will look even better as a lead-off hitter in pinstripes – no disrespect to Jeter, who was not exactly a slouch in that role. Quite frankly, thinking about that batting order is making me dizzy – I just start laughing, and can’t stop. No predictions as to what might happen in April – God knows, Randy Johnson taught me to not count chickens, etc. But December feels reeeeeally good.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Missing baseball

I was going to be a purist about this and not write anything until Spring Training, but I couldn’t wait.

First of all, how much do I miss baseball? At first it was nice because I had all this TIME. I have read so many books, seen so many movies, and have returned all of my email in a timely fashion. I can hold a phone conversation without having one eye swiveled rudely toward the score – when did I turn into the people I hate to date? But I’ve caught myself doing it more than once. “Uh...huh. What? Oh....yeah.” Not good!

But enough, thank you. I want baseball.

I just found out that my Dad got us tickets to Yankee Stadium to see a game in May. How cool is that?! We’re sitting on the third base foul line – I have to bring a glove. If I don’t, I’ll have Sheffield-pounded foul ball where my nose and orbital bones used to be.

Not much going on trade-wise. Tino’s gone (maaaaan...), and I still don’t quite understand what’s happening with Bernie. Tom Gordon went to Philadelphia. (Actually, Philadelphia should abandon the Eagles and focus on the Phillies – they’ve been quietly building themselves a very interesting team.) Nomar went to the Dodgers, Womack went to the Cubs, and the Yankees still need a starting centerfielder.

It made for lively breakroom discussion when Torre made the off-hand comment about Jeter or ARod playing centerfield. The tabloid media had a field day about how that was a serious consideration, but both platinum-caliber players had a fit, and Torre backed down. I don’t buy that, mainly because in the same statement Torre also mentioned that Mariano Rivera was a talented enough athlete to play centerfield. I don’t think that will be happening any time soon. Although it is sort of entertaining to imagine any one of those guys with throwing arms that strong and all that room to run.

And ARod. ARod ARod ARod. That guy has no off-season from the media – they seem to enjoy picking him apart as much for his spare-time activity as his play on the field. The thing is, as bad boys go, he’s really boring. The best he can do is be seen in a place with illegal poker games? Please. Not running around on his wife with some skanky stripper, not starting bar brawls, not getting mixed up in a sex cruise, not getting pulled over for DUI – what exactly is it about him that acts as the blood in the water for the press? He gets paid a lot. So? A lot of people get paid a lot. He didn’t know what team he was going to play for in the World Baseball Cup? So? If Mike Piazza can play for Italy when he was born in this country, I don’t really understand why it would be such a scandal for ARod to play for the Dominican. (God knows, they don’t have ANY other big names or anything, no team at all, really) I wonder if he decided to just sit the whole thing out because he realized that he was never going to win this one, and why risk getting hurt on top of it all. When in doubt, ask yourself – what would Hideki do?

I was really glad he got the AL MVP – very much deserved. I’ve even heard Red Sox fans admit that he deserved it over Ortiz, and that’s no small thing. And that, ultimately, I think will be the path that Alex Rodriguez needs to take to win over the hearts of the doubters. He’s never going to have that “Jeter thing” – his way may be by continuing to play his ass off and ignoring the media howling.