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A recap of transactions in the last week featuring all 30 teams.
I love road trips. From traveling up and down the east coast as a teenager to play in Strat tournaments, to the famed East Coast Hockey Tour of 1992-93 with some college buddies, to an 11-day, three-stop cross-country trip in 1994, and on through any number of short trips since then, I really enjoy getting out of town and doing stuff.
I’m in Phoenix, a few hours into a short run to see a Cactus League game or two. On Monday, I’ll be at the A’s/Diamondbacks tilt at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, one of the last games before teams in Arizona break camp and prepare for Opening Day.
When we dealt Keith Law to the Blue Jays for a player to be named (hey, J.P., you getting on that?), we lost a key member of our staff. Oh, Keith was great on economic issues, and a significant contributor to the book, and always good for a batch of brownies when we had bake sales, but most importantly, he was our fantasy baseball guy.
There are a lot of things I want to get to, some from the news, some from an overflowing mailbag, so let’s just jump right in
As an Extra Innings subscriber, I get this promotional magazine every few months from DirecTV. The content isn’t anything to write home about, but I do leaf through the thing when it arrives.
The latest edition arrived at my house last week, and inside it was a baseball season preview. Six national writers, all of whom you’d recognize, provided their top five teams and answered an assortment of other questions about the upcoming season. What surprised me was that four of them picked the Cardinals as the best NL team, and five of them picked the Redbirds to go to the World Series.
The second week of March may have marked a permanent change in Commissioner Bud Selig’s status. He’s no longer simply an incompetent, lying, permanently conflicted embarrassment to an office once held by judges and senators. Unless the owners who hired him wake up in time to stop him, Czar Bud will have become an active threat to their own wallets and a walking advertisement for the repeal of MLB’s anti-trust exemption.
Perhaps the question I get the most this time of year is “Who will win the Rookie of the Year Awards?” It’s a tough one, because winning the award isn’t just about being the top prospect in the game. Opportunity plays a huge role, as does age. All else being equal, a 24-year-old rookie has a better chance to win the award than a 21-year-old, even though the 21-year-old is the more valuable property. Rookies of the Year, in fact, are often older players having the best year of their career, while younger players who barely register in the voting go on to have the most success.
In general, it’s a bad thing if you can associate an umpire’s name with his work.
There is no competitive balance problem in baseball, even in the latest period of Yankee pennants. Supposedly, the Yankees play an entirely different game than other teams. If this is true, we should see this in almost any metric we choose, but it’s not there.
A few weeks ago at the BP Pizza Feed in Los Angeles, one of the attendees–sorry, I don’t remember who–asked me what we could
expect from Jeff Torborg in Florida. The Marlins, as you know, have a large stable of young starting pitchers, including perhaps
the game’s top prospect, 22-year-old right-hander Josh Beckett. The questioner wanted to know if there was anything we
could glean from Torborg’s history that would indicate how he might handle the pitching talent on hand.