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Tuesday

21

February 2012

44

COMMENTS

Morning News: The Return of Baseball and the Mystery of Human Hibernation

Written by , Posted in General

I realize we’re still several weeks away from meaningful baseball, but the ON switch for the 2012 season has been flipped.  Sunday the Cubs’ pitchers and catchers reported for duty, and most of the rest of the team will trickle in over the next few days.  While nothing that happens in the next month-and-a-half will do much to raise our modest hopes for the season, there’s a certain amount of cautious optimism and excitement to be had as the Cubs’ rotation and lineup begin to take shape.  We’ll have all season to gripe about what and where we’re lacking–for now, let’s bask in warmth of another new spring.  Baseball is back!

But it’s not all good news–I was shocked a tad surprised to find out the other day that our Blogfather Joe Aiello is not a fan of Spring Training.  I have half a mind to launch a Kickstarter account for us all to chip in and send Joe to Mesa next month so he can witness firsthand the sun-drenched majesty of Spring Training.

On a scale of Joe-to-10, where would you put your own excitement for the start of Spring Training?

Cubs News Roundup  Grantland’s Jonah Keri has been gearing up for the season by previewing a new team every day, starting with the NL Central.  It’s fitting that his Cubs preview went up on President’s Day, since the Cubs look to be taking the whole season off…  Gene Wojciechowski has some thoughts on the new direction for the Cubs in 2012, including their new in-house philosophy and purpose statement that Joe wrote about yesterday morning.  Called “The Cub Way,” the guide will not be distributed outside the organization, which only makes me all the more determined to get a copy for myself…  Blake DeWitt accepted his assignment off the 40-man roster, and will try to win back his spot this spring.  I don’t know enough about all the other infielders in camp to gauge his odds of making the team, but I’m optimistic he won’t be one our best options when April rolls around… Jeff Samardzija hopes to make the Cubs’ starting rotation.  Unless he’s figured out how to throw under thirty pitches across five-to-seven innings, I don’t like his chances.

UPDATE: The Cubs have agreed to send right-handed pitching prospect Chris Carpenter to the Red Sox along with a player to be named later as compensation for Theo Epstein.  Click the link to see Theo’s statement.  ESPN Chicago has more details.

It’s Only A Flesh Wound  San Fransisco catcher Buster Posey is recovering from his horrific knee injury last season and plans to catch the Giant’s spring opener.  The article points out that Giants manager Bruce Bochy has ordered Posey not to block the plate for the time being, and that he’s lobbying the MLB to change the rules regarding plays at the plate to better protect catchers.

Is The G.O.A.T. Heading Out To Pasture?  Yankee closer and future first ballot Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera may be ready to hang it up at the end of the season, but so far he’s not telling.  On a team known for prima donnas and me-first superstars, I always thought Rivera was unusually humble and likable.  I almost never cheer for the Yankees (they do occasionally play the Cardinals), but it will still be a bummer to see one of the game’s most consistent and dominant pitchers call it quits.

Mannyball  After spending big last week on an unproven prospect, the Oakland A’s made another mildly head-scratching move Monday when they signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal.  Ramirez will still have to sit out his fifty-game suspension for his second violation of the MLB’s drug policy, so you’ve got until mid-May to corner the market on dreadlocks wigs in Oakland.

I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means  Apparently the ESPN headline faux pas regarding Jeremy Lin was an honest mistake.  I’m inclined to believe the guy, especially since I know how poorly chosen my own words become the later it gets.

One Man’s Hibernation Is Another Man’s Debt Solution  You can’t run away from your mistakes, but apparently you can hide from them for a couple months in your car/igloo, surviving on snow, cigarettes, and comic books.

 

  • My Spring Training barometer hovers in the middle – let’s call it a 5. On one hand there is the level playing field – the Cubs haven’t lost any games like every other team. Thats good. Also a good time to get my fantasy ducks in a row and see who is hurt and who is ready.

    On the other hand, it coincides with March Madness and I get super excited about college hoops. When the NCAA tournament reaches its inevitable climax, it’s time to PLAY BALL!

    I would be in favor of an across the board ban on all things Manny this season. Would love to know VFTB was a safe haven from such nonsense. As far as I’m concerned they deserve one another. The A’s are notorious for their going all orgasmic over players who are juiced.

  • My Spring Training barometer hovers in the middle – let’s call it a 5. On one hand there is the level playing field – the Cubs haven’t lost any games like every other team. Thats good. Also a good time to get my fantasy ducks in a row and see who is hurt and who is ready.

    On the other hand, it coincides with March Madness and I get super excited about college hoops. When the NCAA tournament reaches its inevitable climax, it’s time to PLAY BALL!

    I would be in favor of an across the board ban on all things Manny this season. Would love to know VFTB was a safe haven from such nonsense. As far as I’m concerned they deserve one another. The A’s are notorious for their going all orgasmic over players who are juiced.

  • flyslinger2

    It’s good to be back home drinking my own roasted and fresh ground coffee prepared in a French Press and reading VFTB first thing in the morning versus drinking mass brewed coffee in a hotel lobby with ESPN 1, 2, 3, etc ad naseum blaring at you from the lobby TVs! 

    Samardzija is good at one thing which is relief.  He can’t muster the consistency for 5 plus innings of starting pitching.  He should recognize that and concentrate on perfecting that role.

    The Lin fiasco continues to prove my point I made on here yesterday (in duplicate thanks to the incompatibility of this new blog addon and my wonderful IPAD) about the politically correct puke that ESPN has to bring up constantly.  How is it that men who have been training for YEARs to have the moxy, guts, determination and strength to persevere on the field of sports battle crumble quicker then flowers without a minute of nourishment when one word is spoken in a moment of mental fatigue or confusion?  It’s time to man up.

    • Was it Lin who crumbled over the reference? I missed that but then again I didn’t pore over every drop of ink dedicated to the young man.  From what I’ve seen and read he has been the modicum of decorum throghout this media driven side show.

      • flyslinger2

        It was an ESPN employee that said something to the affect of “chink in the armor.” that is what lit a firestorm of criticism.

  • flyslinger2

    It’s good to be back home drinking my own roasted and fresh ground coffee prepared in a French Press and reading VFTB first thing in the morning versus drinking mass brewed coffee in a hotel lobby with ESPN 1, 2, 3, etc ad naseum blaring at you from the lobby TVs! 

    Samardzija is good at one thing which is relief.  He can’t muster the consistency for 5 plus innings of starting pitching.  He should recognize that and concentrate on perfecting that role.

    The Lin fiasco continues to prove my point I made on here yesterday (in duplicate thanks to the incompatibility of this new blog addon and my wonderful IPAD) about the politically correct puke that ESPN has to bring up constantly.  How is it that men who have been training for YEARs to have the moxy, guts, determination and strength to persevere on the field of sports battle crumble quicker then flowers without a minute of nourishment when one word is spoken in a moment of mental fatigue or confusion?  It’s time to man up.

    • Was it Lin who crumbled over the reference? I missed that but then again I didn’t pore over every drop of ink dedicated to the young man.  From what I’ve seen and read he has been the modicum of decorum throghout this media driven side show.

      • flyslinger2

        It was an ESPN employee that said something to the affect of “chink in the armor.” that is what lit a firestorm of criticism.

  • BLPCB

    Manny is in Oakland so Billy Beane can trade him away at the deadline.

  • AC0000000

    Manny is in Oakland so Billy Beane can trade him away at the deadline.

  • Chuck

    Manny in Oakland on a low-risk high-reward contract is so Moneyball.  Why not kick the tires on Manny?  If he can hit, the deal looks great, if not kick him to the curb for little cost.

    • Norm

      I’m with ya Chuck, it’s a no-lose move for them.

      • Tommy

        We all lose when Manny is on any roster. He is bad for baseball and the sooner he goes away and stays away, the better for us all.

  • Chuck

    Manny in Oakland on a low-risk high-reward contract is so Moneyball.  Why not kick the tires on Manny?  If he can hit, the deal looks great, if not kick him to the curb for little cost.

    • Norm

      I’m with ya Chuck, it’s a no-lose move for them.

      • Tommy

        We all lose when Manny is on any roster. He is bad for baseball and the sooner he goes away and stays away, the better for us all.

  • cap’n obvious

    The bay area is one of precious few places that Manny hasn’t burned a bridge, so it actually makes a lot of sense to me.  If it works out, it will be pure luck.  Luck plays a much bigger role in the front office than on the field.

    The collision at the plate rule change is a tough one.  We all grew up with it…and it is one of the most exciting plays in baseball.  That being said, what experts are still learning about the link between concussions and CTE or ALS is frightening to me.  I used to be a purist, and I know that there are those who’d say that the players are well paid, deal wit it, but I’m not so sure anymore.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      I’d have to reread the story, but I think one of the reasons for reevaluating the rule is that collisions at the plate have been phased out of most high school and college leagues, so it’s not something these guys have a lot of practice with.  I agree plays at the plate are some of the most exciting in the game, but if these guys really don’t know what they’re doing, we can expect a lot more injuries.

  • cap’n obvious

    The bay area is one of precious few places that Manny hasn’t burned a bridge, so it actually makes a lot of sense to me.  If it works out, it will be pure luck.  Luck plays a much bigger role in the front office than on the field.

    The collision at the plate rule change is a tough one.  We all grew up with it…and it is one of the most exciting plays in baseball.  That being said, what experts are still learning about the link between concussions and CTE or ALS is frightening to me.  I used to be a purist, and I know that there are those who’d say that the players are well paid, deal wit it, but I’m not so sure anymore.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      I’d have to reread the story, but I think one of the reasons for reevaluating the rule is that collisions at the plate have been phased out of most high school and college leagues, so it’s not something these guys have a lot of practice with.  I agree plays at the plate are some of the most exciting in the game, but if these guys really don’t know what they’re doing, we can expect a lot more injuries.

  • Doug Bagley

    I’m with Joe.  Spring Training is just a tease

  • Doug Bagley

    I’m with Joe.  Spring Training is just a tease

  • Eddie Von White

    Welcome back, Fly from wherever you were. I noticed the void of your absence on VFTB. Your wit and humor, not to mention your insightful observations were missed.

    • flyslinger2

      Thanks! At least one person appreciates my warped sense of humor.

    • flyslinger2

      Thanks! At least one person appreciates my warped sense of humor.

  • Doc Raker

    I love spring training, but not for the big league games but for everything else. The weather in the desert this time of year is perfect, the tempo of spring training is laid back and the entire organization is in one accessible place. Just walk into any spring training complex and walk right up to a chain link fence and watch your team work out or play a minor league game. All you guys who like following the prospects should love spring training- full access for free. At the Angels camp we stood right next to some bullpen areas where guys were doing catching drills and throwing bull pens- no fence between us I could have jump into the batters box. You can listen to the coaches instruction and hear the players banter- it’s great access. We chat with the minor leaguers and coaches all the time. The major league games are a tourist trap but something one should go to if one hasn’t been. When you are done at the complex you head back to the hotel for a swim and then down to Don and Charlie’s for a steak. It is not uncommon to see a lot of baseball people at Don and Charlies. I had dinner with Bud Selig at Don and Charlies, a Seymour dinner- he was at the table next to me. You will see tables of umpires and coaches our about town all the time. What a great way to spend a day, plus the Cubs are always in first place during spring training since they have yet to lose a game for the upcoming season- hope springs eternal.

  • Bo Sox nabbed Carpenter for Theo’s compensation.  I was hoping to see him throw gas this season…

    • Joe Aiello

      So much for my dark horse prediction of him in the closer’s role at some point this season.

  • Bo Sox nabbed Carpenter for Theo’s compensation.  I was hoping to see him throw gas this season…

    • Joe Aiello

      So much for my dark horse prediction of him in the closer’s role at some point this season.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    The Cubs are sending Chris Carpenter to the Red Sox as compensation for Theo.  I linked the story, which includes Theo’s statement, above in the UPDATE section.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    The Cubs are sending Chris Carpenter to the Red Sox as compensation for Theo.  I linked the story, which includes Theo’s statement, above in the UPDATE section.

  • Doc Raker

    I saw Chris Carpenter at Don and Charlies………or was that Karen Carpenter….she didn’t eat much.

    • Eddie Von White

      Still chuckling Doc.

      I have never had as much fun as Spring Training brings. I became personal friends with Dwight Smith during spring training in the 80’s. He would come over from left field and talk to us in the bleachers between innings. You could buy a ticket the day of the game for 5 bucks. I haven’t taken in a game in Mesa for a lot of years now, but when we lived there, it was like what I imagine heaven will be like. Sunshine, laughter, and baseball, baseball, and more baseball. Nothing is quite as sad as when the teams pack up and head out at the end of March.

    • Sitcom idea:  Chris Cross!

      –A mix-up finds pitchers Chris Carpenter and Chris Carpenter both on assignment in low-A ball.  They end up sharing an apartment (Chris is a humble neat freak, while Chris is a messy party animal) and becoming close friends.  Karen Carpenter cameos as the wacky neighbor “Karen.” 

      • SNL kinda had a similar idea a few years back:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/274900/saturday-night-live-paul-simon-monologue 

      • Seymour Butts

        The Wacky neighbor chick also sings the theme song…”If I were a Carpenter”.

      • S1E1 – The Lease

        —In an effort to save money for a new pair of batting gloves, (messy) Chris Carpenter only puts one Chris Carpenter on the lease.  When wacky neighbor Karen (also the landlord) suspects some foul play, Chris and Chris both change their number to “00” and shave in handlebar mustaches.  Karen explains why rainy days and Mondays always get her down.  

  • Doc Raker

    I saw Chris Carpenter at Don and Charlies………or was that Karen Carpenter….she didn’t eat much.

    • Eddie Von White

      Still chuckling Doc.

      I have never had as much fun as Spring Training brings. I became personal friends with Dwight Smith during spring training in the 80’s. He would come over from left field and talk to us in the bleachers between innings. You could buy a ticket the day of the game for 5 bucks. I haven’t taken in a game in Mesa for a lot of years now, but when we lived there, it was like what I imagine heaven will be like. Sunshine, laughter, and baseball, baseball, and more baseball. Nothing is quite as sad as when the teams pack up and head out at the end of March.

    • Sitcom idea:  Chris Cross!

      –A mix-up finds pitchers Chris Carpenter and Chris Carpenter both on assignment in low-A ball.  They end up sharing an apartment (Chris is a humble neat freak, while Chris is a messy party animal) and becoming close friends.  Karen Carpenter cameos as the wacky neighbor “Karen.” 

      • SNL kinda had a similar idea a few years back:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/274900/saturday-night-live-paul-simon-monologue 

      • Seymour Butts

        The Wacky neighbor chick also sings the theme song…”If I were a Carpenter”.

      • S1E1 – The Lease

        —In an effort to save money for a new pair of batting gloves, (messy) Chris Carpenter only puts one Chris Carpenter on the lease.  When wacky neighbor Karen (also the landlord) suspects some foul play, Chris and Chris both change their number to “00” and shave in handlebar mustaches.  Karen explains why rainy days and Mondays always get her down.