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.