Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
After last night’s game, let’s take a break from the Cubs for a moment.
Two Weeks back, in this space, I informed the readers of VFTB that I would be following a team from each division in baseball. My declaration was met with a myriad of responses. Some people doubted me, some said I must have no life outside of gluing myself to the boob tube, and a few assumed I wasn’t married, or was without children and a job for that matter. I did get some positive responses laced with doubt, and believe me, the doubt is deserved as this is a mountain of a task.
Well, I am happy to inform you guys that the quest is moving along at a decent pace. The best part? I can honestly say, I am getting something from this. Now, I am not becoming worldly or anything like that, but I am getting a look at how the other half live….in baseball terms.
While my experiment is young, and I am certainly not an expert on any of these teams, watching “other” baseball has been somewhat enlightening. Keep in mind, I am not becoming a fan (yet, at least) of other teams, just following and learning about them. I use all modes of media, from twitter to local papers, and yes, a major chunk comes from the broadcasts.
I have never really done this before (I know, I sound like that girl who doesn’t want to come off slutty.) I have always sided with monogamy in regards to sports. What I am learning , however, is if you get a “subscription package” of some sort from a cable or internet service, one hell of a baseball orgy can ensue on any given night of the week.
For those that are not aware, Last week I asked our readers to give me an idea of who I should follow in each division. Below are the results…..
* all of these teams were chosen and finalized before the season started
** The Chicago Cubs and The Detroit Tigers were a done deal, as they are my favorites and I always follow them, therefore they were the automatic teams from the AL Central and the NL Central.
AL East = Baltimore Orioles
AL West = Texas Rangers
AL Central = Detroit Tigers
NL East = Washington Nationals
NL West = San Francisco Giants
NL Central = Chicago Cubs
Here is a quick look at what I have learned outside of Cubby Nation …..
Baltimore Orioles and the AL East:
First of all, one of the key qualities to “following” a team is their “watch-ability”. This team is very watchable. One of the main aspects of watch-ability is the ballpark a team plays in, and Camden is awesome. It can help when a turnout is less then stellar, which I am learning, along with the rest of baseball, that this is a league wide epidemic. Small crowds can crush the ambiance if a ballpark and a game (I will touch on this later when I talk about the Nationals games I caught.) Having a good ballpark atmosphere helps the viewer “stay tuned”.
Baltimore has a young and exciting pitching staff. If you have not had the chance to catch Zach Britton do it, now! Before long he will be the new Pitcher Du Jour, if he isn’t already. At least do it before his arm falls off a la Steven Strasburg. Yes, some have even compared the two.
Former Cub Felix Pie patrols the outfield in more then capable fashion. At the plate he is a miss as far as prospects go, but he was good enough to beat out Corey Patterson for the position a year or so ago…..he has that going for him.
Derrek Lee is hitting .219 with a dinger and 2 RBI’s. He has yet to hit into a double play. The announcers for the Orioles (Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer) have high hopes for Derrek.
Don’t utter the name Peter Angelos (Orioles owner) to any Oriole fan. Their head will spin and your discussion will end abruptly.
Texas Rangers and the AL West:
Josh Hamilton is large. I don’t want to point fingers, and I am just a lowly fan watching the games, but what are the chances this guy tests positive for something in the PED arena? I love him though, every time he takes a huge cut at the ball I cover my testicles. It’s reactionary, I can’t help it. He swings with such force. I feel like he may swing through the television set and blast my jewels into the right field seats!
Part of “following” a team is signing up for all the twitter feeds of pertinent people involved with said team. CJ Wilson is an avid tweeter….you can follow him at @str8edgeracer for you twitterites. Apparently he wants to be a race car driver.
AL Central and The Detroit Tigers:
Mario Impemba and Rod Allen make this difficult. I love watching my Tigers but Rod Allen reminds me of Joe Carter in the booth….remember him when he called a season or two with Chip Caray? Yah, that bad.
I watched Verlander pitch against the Rangers this past week. The powerful Tiger offense could do nothing against Alexi Ogando. Verlander on the other hand was his usual awesomeness….still taking the loss.
Oh and by the way, Miguel Cabrera is still lights out at the plate….sauce and all.
Washington Nationals and the NL East:
Ladies and gentlemen I give you my unicorn. This will be a tough one to follow, especially when they play the Marlins in Florida. The Nats stadium is nice, and the announcers are entertaining enough, but the teams in this division induce vomiting. The Mets and Marlins make me gag at first site. I tried to watch the nats play the Marlins in Florida the other day and I turned it off an inning in. That stadium is terrible and I am pretty sure nobody in Florida even knows they have a team. I think there were four people there….maybe five. I would rather watch bees hump on National Geographic then this empty cavern of teal and orange.
All of this, and Ryan Zimmerman, my favorite Nat, is hurt….again. Finally found a third basemen more injury prone than Aramis Ramirez.
San Francisco Giants and the NL West:
Lincecum pitching in Petco is unfair. The Padres had no solution and at times he looked like he was toying with them. One thing about Tim Lincecum, his delivery reminds me of Dontrelle Willis. Not saying anything, just saying something. Maybe he won’t be toiling in AAA five years from now…..who knows?
Here is an interesting article from the NY Times on Tim and his eating habits, etc….
Pablo Sandoval runs well for a fat man. He swings wildly in the spirit of Randall Simon. He runs the bases like a Panda on crack with reckless abandon….or at least he appears too. Yes, they call him panda.
AT&T park is awesome too….but most of us have watched at least one game or another at this park. An interesting fact…..they serve sushi!
Chicago Cubs and The NL Central:
One glaring little detail that I noticed watching the other games….. while Wrigley has watched attendance drop it is far from a problem. When Wrigley looks like Sun Life Stadium (Home of the Marlins) on a Saturday I would start worrying. Our worst crowds are average to above average by MLB standards.
Outside of that, the Cubs look World Series bound! There is no way Pena and Colvin hit below .200 all season and Dempster will become the dominant ace we need. Done and done. Right?
I promise not to make these updates a regular thing, or at least as long. We will go back to our regularly scheduled programming next week. Just wanted everybody to know that one week in and I am still following the teams, still married, and still have a job.
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