The Marlins decide to pay Jeff Conine (.284/.332/.446) more than they would Kevin Millar (.283/.358/.489). The Yankees get overdue strong performances from David Wells and Bernie Williams. Jason Kendall’s still a Pirate, though probably not for much longer. These and other news and notes out of Florida, New York, and Pittsburgh in today’s Prospectus Triple Play.
The National League playoff race has thinned out over the past few weeks, with the Rockies and, unfortunately, the Expos falling out of contention. Seven teams are still playing for two spots, however, which will mean plenty of meaningful baseball down the stretch. How does the remaining schedule affect the chase? As I’ve mentioned a few times, there’s no team in this race that can’t go 16-4 over three weeks, which is one of the things that makes the game great.
Check out the schedule for the week of the 15th. In the mid-week games, the Phillies and Marlins play in Philadelphia, the White Sox and Twins in Minnesota, and the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in L.A. That weekend, effectively showdown weekend, the Royals and Sox play in Chicago, the Astros and Cardinals in St. Louis, the Mariners and A’s hook up in Oakland, and the Dodgers and Giants–just one contender, but these two could be 55-95 and play a great series–are in L.A. I’m not a fan of the Wild Card, but if there’s ever going to be a week for the sport to steal the audience’s attention and get some positive focus on the tremendous excitement generated by races, it’s that week.
Eric Gagne goes from slapshots to the consecutive saves record. Dusty Baker loves Tony Womack. Ron Santo loves Dusty Baker. Kerry Robinson isn’t impressed with Mark Prior. Lou Piniella doesn’t think Japanese players should be Rookie of the Year candidates–unless they play for his team. George Steinbrenner isn’t in the mood for hugs. These and other notable quotables in The Week in Quotes.
If I hear Andy Roddick called “A-Rod” one more time, I’m probably going to puke, but it does bring forth an interesting question. Here’s this up and coming tennis star, dating a singer/actress, and what’s he get for marketing? The already-used nickname of an undermarketed baseball player. Roddick hasn’t approached the popularity or consistency of Alex Rodriguez, so attaching himself to that image helps. I’ll leave the baseball business stuff to Doug Pappas, but without the Lords of Baseball doing their anti-marketing, baseball–even on the day when the football freaks teed it up–is running a close second. Pennant races and good baseball create fans.
Powered by more of the fabulous Beringer White Merlot and my new kick-ass corkscrew, on to the injuries…