The Daily Prospectus: Notes on a Monitor

by Joe Sheehan

Some days, the thoughts just don't come in clean…

  • I'm watching the Devil Rays/Blue Jays game, and home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley has screwed it up royally.

In the fourth inning, Luke Prokopec beaned Aubrey Huff with a fastball right off the earflap. It didn't look intentional—there's no history of bad blood, and purpose pitches tend to not be directly at a player's head, but under his chin. Immediately, however, Danley burst out from behind the plate and issued warnings to both teams.

Fast forward to the seventh inning. Two outs, no one on in a 4-4 tie, and Joe Kennedy's first pitch goes over Ken Huckaby's head (hitting his bat for a foul ball).

Danley immediately ejects Kennedy.

Look, beanballs and beanbrawls are bad, but if MLB is hiring umpires so paranoid that they can't distinguish between a young pitcher letting one get away and a purpose pitch, maybe it needs to rethink the training process.

  • I want to be the first one to say it: "Hey, I'm going down to The Juice Box to see the Astros tonight!"
  • There's a rumor afoot that the players have "conceded" that the owners can shut down some of their competitors and eliminate jobs without player input. This is interesting mostly for its timing: with the Twins all but guaranteed a 2003 season, MLB finds itself needing a second franchise willing to go the gallows. I still think the Marlins are the prime candidate, angry Florida congressmen aside.

I just hope any deal doesn't lead to 26-man rosters. Setting aside that it's a losing deal for the players, allowing teams to carry yet another pitcher could be a very bad thing for the pace of the game.

Know, however, that if MLB somehow finds a way to eliminate two franchises, they'll get back to 30 before the decade is out. The money grab of franchise fees is too tempting for the owners to pass up.

They've been a disappointment, but I think they need to avoid panicking. The spate of injuries they've endured would have wiped out most teams, and shouldn't cause them to give up on the current team. The core of talent they have can win.

It was fun watching Alex Rodriguez, who is just scary good, and worth every penny the Rangers are paying him. He's on a path that will make him one of the ten best players ever, and he has a reasonable chance to be part of the "greatest player ever" discussion with Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner. Watching him, you get the sense that he's still improving, that we haven't seen his best yet.

I wonder what his numbers will look like if he experiences the early-30s power spike we've seen from many players…that's a frightening thought…Barry Bonds as a shortstop (or even a third baseman).

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.

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