Posted by: exileindixie | February 14, 2011

Beginning Again with an Insincere Farewell

Greetings from Dixie.  Since last posing 9 months ago, I have been exiled.  To Dixie.  Like I’m running outside in February.  Like I’m now a mini-season ticket holder with the Durham Bulls.  [Using best Snaggle-puss voice] Like the title of this website, even.

And now comfortable in my uncomfortable surroundings, I truly have a Twins-shaped hole to fill.  While the long brutal winter no longer forces the Pitchers and Catchers countdown to serve as Ground Hog Day Redux (like a harbinger of spring, not like doing the same thing over and over again… again… that metaphor didn’t work at all), the distance and the lack of any major league baseball for a few hundred miles has me checking the Twins website every few days to see if they’ve given Tsuyoshi Nishioka a number yet so I can buy his shirsey already (and shouting “INFICHIRO!!!” at my wife and pets in anticipation of the glory he will bring to the top of the order).

But the coming of Infichiro means that a certain utility infielder with sub-replacement level offensive skills and a penchant for diving into first base has been forced out of town.  Yes, I’m sorry to report that…

Nick Punto and the Twins have broken up.

I’m not here to take sides.  I loved them together, and I wish them both well.  But I wish the Twins more well.   And I’m sad that my Punto Shirsey now goes from “seriously, I’m trying to get behind this guy because he’s getting every day at bats and I can’t afford the anguish of hating him” to “ironic support for crappy guy that just about everyone wanted gone three years ago.”

Sigh.  It’s the end of an era.  I will never forget the September sweep of the Sox in 2008 (aka the year the Twins LOST game 163).  Span tripled to tie the game, Punto came up to bat, and the whole Dome chanted his name.  We the chanters were probably as shocked as Punto to find ourselves bouncing his name off of the Teflon, but we did, and he came through by taking enough pitches to walk, and it was glorious.  It literally brought glory to everyone everywhere.

So.  From one former to Minnesotan to another, Godspeed, Nick Punto, in your quest to dive face first into someone else’s first base.

Now bring on the Infichiro era!

Posted by: exileindixie | April 25, 2010

Arguing a point that doesn’t need to be argued, really

Lost amidst the excitement of Joe Mauer’s 2009 MVP award (which should have been unanimous, dammit!  more on that in a moment…), ginormous contract, video game cover shot and associated commercials, and sweet wrestling entry music is the ongoing badassness of Justin Morneau.  A few years ago, the Twin Cities flirted with the idea of calling Mauer and Morneau the M&M boys, knowingly or unknowingly nodding to one of the greatest 3-4 combinations of all time, Mantle and Maris.  While I’m very glad that we haven’t kept up with the misappropriation of an old Yankees nickname, it was indicative that the face of the franchise was a two-man unit.  Sports Illustrated ran an article on the feel good story of Morneau rooming with Mauer in St. Paul.  Pictures floated around of Morneau wearing Joe Mauer’s sideburns on the I-still-can’t-believe-what-a-good-idea-this-was Joe Mauer Sideburns night at the dome.Together, the two of them would lead us to the post-Torii Hunter promised land.  And things were good.

And then came the 2009 MVP award, the ginormous contract, the video game cover shot and associate commercials, and the sweet wrestling entrance music.  Mauer has understandably the face of the franchise.

Now, saying people forgot about Morneau is kind of like saying people forgot about Dre, which is to say that no one has forgot about him, he’s just not quite as celebrated as the reigning champ.  His jersey is everywhere that Mauer’s isn’t.  Female Twins fans will tell you he’s really cute, just after they tell you that they want to have Joe Mauer’s babies.  So, with that, I will give you a few data points and anecdotes about how great Justin Morneau is, even though you relaly don’t need them.

Here’s Morneau’s Fangraphs page.  With a little guidance from yours truly, you’ll notice that his walk rate keeps going up while his power and contact skills remain remarkably consistent.  That’s badass.  Bert Blyleven had a very apropos comment during today’s game against the Royals, when he mentioned that Morneau is leading the league in walks thus far, just before Morneau killed a high fastball over the bullpen.  Also, over the past five or so years, Justin Morneau has overcome a concussion, a broken back, and a multitude of illnesses in 2005 the likes of which I can’t exactly recall, but I feel like appendicitis and chicken pox were prominently involved.  So dude is consistently smacking the bejesus out of the ball, gaining patience at the plate, playing above average defence, settling down and getting married, and over coming adversity.  And, perhaps only because Joe Mauer is the super-athlete equivalent of Shirley Temple, he’s doing so somewhat quietly.  Badass.

So, you are probably asking what the point is, since all Twins fans love Justin Morneau and he’s a former MVP himself and he gets tons of love in fantasy baseball circles and really no one ever says that Morneau isn’t any good?  For the same reason that Dr. Dre felt the need to release a best-selling single about people forgetting about Dre.  Because I love Justin Morneau like Dr. Dre loves himself.  And now you know that.

MVP voting madness

While my homework consists mostly of google searches and a couple of stories on the internet, it appears as though the one guy who didn’t vote Mauer for 2009 AL MVP was a guy who covers the Mariners for newspaper in Kyoto Japan, and that his main beef was that Mauer sat out the World Baseball Classic because the joint between his spine and his pelvis prevented him from squatting at the time.  I know!

Podsednik’s failure

My dear friend Hulk Smash picked up Scott Podsednik in our fantasy league, and recently (and drunkenly) bragged about how great Podsednik was and how much he always loved Podsednik.  So, continuing with Royals Schadenfreude weekend, I’m very pleased to offer the following Dick Bremer quotes from today’s telecast:

  • On Podsednik missing another fly ball to the left field corner: “Podsenik is going to bury himself in left field.:
  • On Delmon Young making a catch in the left field corner: “And Young makes the catch out there in the Scott Podsednik Memorial Corner.”

For as much as I hate Hawk Harrelson’s blunt instrument brand of homerism, I love Dick Bremer’s nimble brand.  Of course, I hate the Witch Sox almost as much as I love the Twins, so I suppose there’s no sense in going through a comparative analysis, as my objectivity is pretty hopelessly compromised.

And, naturally, as I write this, the Royals have taken the lead.  Doesn’t matter.  Podsednik’s failure will keep me warm at night.

Posted by: exileindixie | April 24, 2010

To Fight a Losing Battle (Against the Super Ego)

Terminology Challenges

Does it count as schadenfreude if you take pleasure in another team’s failures if said team is facing your own team?  Because it’s difficult to determine which pleased me more tonight – the Royals screwing up or the Twins capitalizing.

Before I get to the good stuff, the Royals outfield failed repetitively all game.  Podsednik over ran one fly ball to the corner and under ran another.  Mitch Maier came in late in the game when Rink Ankiel wounded himself, and immediately failed to come up with a diving catch.  I was still rooting for the Twins successes at this point, but the tides were turning…

In extra innings, I was out of my seat clapping when Dick Bremer pointed out that Bruce Chen (!) would be starting the high-leverage 11th inning of Saturday’s game to face the top of the Twins’ lineup.  Then, when Chen improbably looks sharp on the first two batters, BIlly Butler horribly misjudges an infield pop-up, putting Hudson on first.  When Mauer singles and Morneau walks, the Royals bring in a righty to face Cuddyer, who promptly drives a pitch to right for a sac fly.

As a side note, it took me some thinking to get Dick’s joke when Trey Hillman, Royals manager, came out to pull Chen: “Here comes Hillman, who’s odometer has already turned over on the year.”  See, because the Royals bullpen is so bad, he’s had to walk to the mound a lot more than usual.  Get it?  Because the Royals’ badness is funny.

The Royals equalized in the 11th, so the Twins got to have a go at the rest of the Royals infield in the 12th.  With nobody out and Hardy and Young on first and second, Casilla laid down a sac bunt anyone who has ever watched the Twins in extra innings ever knew was coming.  Except young Alex Gordon, who appeared to brace himself for a line drive before running to field the bunt and allowing Casilla to reach safely.  Then, JOY OF JOYS, Span’s would-be infield fly out is dropped by the Royals shortstop, Yuniesky Betancourt.  Delmon scores, Mauer sac-flies to center, Hardy scores, Royals don’t, Twins win.

And I’m happy that the Twins win, but I’m probably more happy that I expected a Royals collapse and was subsequently correct.  That, friends and neighbors, most certainly counts as schadenfreude.

In the interest of full disclosure, it WAS raining hard all game, so the errors were weather assisted.  The Span hit was a tough play for the shortstop not to make.  The Twins had some fielding challenges, as well.  And Podsednik was definitely NOT out on the final play of the game.  While these concessions take a little something away from my narrative, I STILL enjoyed watching the Royals fail.  Sorry, guys, it isn’t nice, but it is human nature, and there’s no sense in suppressing my enjoyment when it comes to sports writing on the internet.

Joe Mauer

He’s good.

Target Field, Round Two

I made my second trip to the Twins new playground this week with Ms. Dixie and some friends, and it remains glorious (note: when speaking about Target Field, it’s important to pronounce glorious like Will Ferrell did in Old School when he had visions of Blue from beyond the grave).  The 300-level of left Field costs 18 bones a head on a Tuesday night, and comes with a free hot dog and soda if you like that sort of thing (note the second: after a few previous years of exile from Minnesota, pop has mostly fallen out of my vocabulary.  However, rest assured, friends and neighbors, upon resuming my Exile in Dixie, under no circumstances will “coke” represent my personal generic term for sweet carbonated drinks.  So don’t you worry about me.).  The view is fabulous, the people are merry, and there are significantly fewer people walking in front of you during at bats, mostly because the incline on those stairs is no joke.

Since I so enjoyed it the first time, here are some more at-bat music observations:

Orlando Hudson: On his first at-bat, Orlando Hudson came out to Hip Hop Hooray (hoooo heeeeey hooooo).  Now that’s a fine choice!  The rest of the game he came out to some laid back  singy-hip-hop, which is the at-bat music equivalent of Apollo Ono (ed. correction, Apollo Anton Ono) yawning before each race, I guess.

Michael Cuddyer: Cuddy consistently comes out to If this House is a Rockin (Don’t Come a-Knockin).  This song has been co-opted into sex jokes so many times that it frankly makes me a little uncomfortable when Cuddy steps into the box.

Joe Mauer: Still comes out to What You Know About That.  Except now that I’m used to hearing it, it has become more like a wrestler’s entrance music than at-bat music.  The PA crew seems to crank up Mauer’s song a few extra decibels for a little extra impact.  As such, every I hear that song, my internal thought process (and as Ms. Dixie can attest, my external vocalization process) now goes, “Wait!  That’s Joe Mauer’s music!!!!”


Fantasy Pick-up of the Week that I’m Most Fired Up About

I know you likely don’t want to hear about my fantasy teams and probably don’t want my advice, so I’ll compromise and relegate my fantasy $.02 to the end of columns.  Unless I can’t contain myself.  And with that, I give you…

Nate Schierholtz! As he did two years ago and again last year, John Bowker had a solid week of production before reverting to remarkable non-production.  Between Bowker’s suck and Aaron Rowand’s broken face (insert Frank Black yelp), Schierholtz is back to playing every day in right for the Giants.  He’s had great contact skills and .300+ batting average throughout the minors, and decent power and speed for an unknown guy.  So he’s basically 2007 David DeJesus without the taint of playing for the Royals.  I’m fired up.  In my NL only league, I dropped Akinori Iwamura from my U spot to pick Schierholtz up.  My only regret is that I will no longer have a daily reminder of how much fun it is to shout “Akinori Iwamura!”

Posted by: exileindixie | April 15, 2010

Span v Cuddyer

Back when, there was this (arguably) fantastic sit-com called Dinosaurs.  It explored typical early 90’s sit-com semi-heavy / nearly-after-school-specially moral and ethical dilemmas, except with animatronic dinosaurs instead of Bob Sagat and Mark-Paul Gosselaar.  So it was right in my wheel house, and, based on conversations with many of my peers, mine alone.

In one episode, Earl, the blue collar father, discovers something called “the happy plant.”  If you eat the happy plant, you are happy and carefree, but also detached from reality and unable to perform basic familial and occupational responsibilities.  Get it?  Under the influence of the plant, Earl proclaims, “This is the happiest moment of my life. No wait, this is. No wait, this is.”

That quote is a metaphor for how I feel watching Span and Cuddyer at-bats these days.  “Denard Span is my favorite baseball player of all time.  No wait, Michael Cuddyer is.  No way, Denard Span is.  No wait…” Except this happens over the course of several hours.  I’m a lot of fun to watch baseball with.  I’m sure I will make all kinds of friends when I move south.

(ed. note: the Span and Cuddyer sentiments are not at all related to any sort of happy plant.  The author has been clean for years, yo.)

Posted by: exileindixie | April 15, 2010

On Fantasy Baseball Writing

“You’re writing a blog about fantasy baseball?  You think that winning the league a few times has gone to your head, maybe?”

–Hulk Smash, a fellow competitor in my hometown league

So let’s start the fantasy baseball commentary with some meta-writing.  Why not?  Self-publication is inherently pretentious, so no need to hold-back when it comes to obnoxious statements of personal intent without any body of work to serve as a foundation.

There are a few inherent issues with amateur fantasy baseball writing.  The first is that there are several professional and semi-professional outfits that provide outstanding fantasy baseball news, and a working stiff like me just can’t compete.  In fact, the only site that I know of that can compete is razzball.com, and that’s only because those guys are complete and total badasses (and may secretly be professionals, or at least should secretly be professionals – I effing love those guys).

The second issue is more of an issue with fantasy baseball players.  It’s what Dan Okrent calls Okrent’s razor, the gist of which is as follows: fantasy baseball players’ favorite thing to talk about his own team, and his least favorite thing to do is listen to other people talk about their teams.  That is to say, if you go to a party and disappoint your date by striking up a conversation with someone about fantasy baseball, you don’t really  have a conversation; rather, you take turns exhausting a story about your own personal successes or failures, forcibly seizing the conch anytime the other guy takes a breath.

Taking these issues to their logical conclusion, here’s a practical explication (and yes, sadly, this next part can fairly be called “auto-biographical fiction”).  Let’s say you like Ryan Zimmerman and wish he was on your fantasy team.  You are considering trading for Ryan Zimmerman, and want some combination of statistical insight and expert guarantees that Ryan Zimmerman will have a better season than the player you’re giving up.  So you read up on your own.  You consult with the blurbs on your fantasy site of choice, or you check the advanced numbers on fangraphs.  You still can’t decide, so you pull out all the stops.  You ask other league mates and hope they shoot you straight (this time).  You send pleading emails to Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz’s podcast.  You breakdown and buy subscriptions to baseballhq.com and Rotowire in hope that they’ll tell you who’s better (even though all those disclaimers say, “sorry, we’re wrong a lot of the time”).  You go to Razzball and comment something like “LOL, so funny what you said about Jimmy Rollins’ injury!  Seriously, though, here’s my whole roster.  Would you trade Pablo Sandoval and Howie Kendrick for Ryan Zimmerman?”  You may even watch some baseball games.  And in the event that you get advice from any of those sources, you may or may not care to follow the advice, but you’re probably going to hear what you want.  You’re a freaking addict, no one can predict what random signifier will come to you at the right moment to tip the scales one way or the other.  You are legitimately neurotic and obsessed with controlling the uncontrollable.  Advice is just another drink, and eventually you’ll end up wasted and shouting, “I love Ryan Zimmerman!  He’s the best thing ever!” Or some variation on the opposite.  BUT!  Nowhere in this scenario do you actually want anecdotes or jokes about someone else’s quest to acquire David Wright, unless said anecdote or joke ends with a credible point of view on your own quest for Ryan Zimmerman.

So.  I want to bring some whimsey to one-sided written conversations about fantasy baseball.  I don’t have the time or the inclination to aggregate the daily news.  I won my mixed keeper head to head league three years in a row, but I also finished last in my NL keeper league and dumped before Memorial Day last year, so I’m not a savant.  I’m not above any of the behavior I just described.  What can I possibly hope to say that’s valuable and that wasn’t already said four hours ago?

Well.  I’ve just shared a bunch of indirect criticism as a substitute for quality output.  Further to the opening paragraph, I will really need to create a body of work to address the question.

But if I rally from this debacle and actually try to write something of substance about fantasy baseball, I can hazard a guess as to what the next post will look like.  It will go something like, “I love you Corey Hart!!!  They left you for dead but I believed!!!  Now please carry my team!!!”

Posted by: exileindixie | April 14, 2010

The Mountain Top

I went to Target Field today.  If you are reading this blog, you probably already have been to Target Field and think it’s the best thing ever, or you wish you were there already and are pretty sure it will be the best thing ever when you get there.  There’s no one here to convert (or here at all, really), so no sense in preaching to the choir.  Target Field is Glorious.  I will limit myself to a few brief comments before getting to the at-bat music game.

First, we took the light rail in to the game.  When the pre-recorded voice announced, “Next stop, Target Field,” some guy on the train let out the best celebratory whoop I’ve ever heard.  And this was at 10:30 a.m., so I’m pretty sure that it was from the heart and not from the festivities.  God bless you, unnamed sir.

Second, my wife pointed out that Target Field iconography looks like something out of the Jetsons, what with the big glass structures jutting out into a big glass city.  You can now sing songs about “Meet Joe Mauer” to the Jetsons theme song tune and thank me when you can’t stop.

Third, aside from a key Mauer at-bat, people went the craziest for Jim Thome’s pinch hit appearance.  Turns out, it wasn’t just me – ALL Twins fans have been closet Jim Thome fans for years.

Lastly, and a little maddeningly, the ONLY thing this new field lacks is courtesy ushers.  Mofos were NOT conscientious Minnesotans and did NOT wait for a break in the action before hiking up and down and up and down and up and down the aisles.  Seriously, it’s a 2-2 count with runners on.  You need to get food or return with your food right now?  Like a true Minnesotan, I did not say anything critical to any of the discourteous, but complained quietly about them to my wife.  Like a modern passive aggressive archetype, I then took my complaints to an open letter on “the internet.”

Now.  What you may not have been able to hear at home is the team’s current at-bat music.  And there are some amazing choices.  So I invite you to take the Exile in Dixie At-Bat Music Challenge! Our game is simple – I give you some music, you guess the batter, then you read below for answers and some mediocre jokes.  Ready?

Music:

  1. Phil Collins, In the Air Tonight
  2. T.I., What You Know
  3. Tom Petty, American Girl
  4. Aggressive Trolls, Aggressive Troll Music

Stop.  Guess.

Answers:

1. Phil Collins, In the Air Tonight – Nick Punto.  Maybe the best choice ever.

Also, Nick Punto hit a foul ball at an extremely improbable angle today and smacked the older lady a few seats away right in the chest.  It made a really unpleasant thump.  It was a little upsetting, and I had to go to my happy place, which is now and forever where Nick Punto plays the In the Air Tonight drums like a gorilla.

2. T.I., What You Know – Joe Mauer.  Maybe the most unlikely pairing of the decade.  Joe Mauer has been the best ever at everything since forever.  He’s probably way more competitive than his regional accent and boyish aw-shucks demeanor would suggest, but he’s also got a thick regional accent and a boyish aw-shucks demeanor.  So how much do you suppose Joe Mauer knows about the following? “Don’t you know I got key by the three / When I chirp shawty chirp back / Louis nap sack where I holdin all the work at… / Loaded 44s on the low where the cheese at / Fresh off the jet to the Jects where the G’s at?”

Personally, I’m skeptical, but then again I never turned the water into wine, either.

3. Tom Petty, American GirlJJ Hardy.  I heard this song later in the game (the actual baseball game, not this here game), so it may not be his go-to music, but how does this song make JJ feel about the upcoming at bat?  Nostalgic?  Kind of grooving in a non-descript way?  Like he should have been in a bar band and learned to cover “Hot Blooded,” too?  All valid, really.  And he does have to bat before Punto’s Gorilla, so kudos to JJ for realizing his at-bat theme is the opening act.

4. Aggressive Trolls, Aggressive Troll Music (ed. note: a google search reveals that the actual band and title are Powerman 500, Supervillian):  It’s Kubel.  He’s a troll who knows what he wants and knows how to get it.

(ed. note again: the same google search reveals that Jim Thome’s at-bat music is from the 300 soundtrack.  Jim Thome deserves our crazy, sportsfans.  In fact, rather than make vague references, I’ll just give you the link that has everyone’s music, per FSN.)

*    *    *    *    *

One final comment on a previous post – Delmon Young’s defensive woes are not behind him.  He dove for a ball that landed a good 20 feet in front of him today.  Ugh.  Also, with a runner on first, he read the signs from the third base coach like they meant something much more profound than “the hit and run is on.”  Happily, his swing looks pretty sweet.  He’s not killing the ball, but he’s making good line drive contact.  And while praising former Baseball Prospectus’ former number one prospects, Jeremy Hermida’s swing looked pretty sweet, too.  So sweet that he buried the Twins with a bases-loaded double in the 8th.  Ugh again.  Good night, friends and neighbors.

Posted by: exileindixie | April 13, 2010

Update on Sac Bunts…

The Twins Geek had a much more reasoned take than I did on Span’s sacrifice bunt against the Angels.  He outlined the various factors that may have made the bunt attempt a good idea, and concludes that Span is probably too good of a hitter to sacrifice in this particular situation.  He avoids calling names, which is pretty big of him.

Posted by: exileindixie | April 12, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Even with the zealous wind of opening day at my back, it’s been remarkably difficult to devote time to this here endeavor.  I blame the following:

  • My rec league hockey team made a week-long playoff run last week
  • My good ol’ hometown softball team had its first practice of the year
  • I scoured my house in an attempt to sell said house to a yet-to-be-identified lucky buyer
  • Where I would have found writing time in the cracks two weeks ago, last week I burned that time watching actual baseball games

Suffice to say, when the actual Exile in Dixie begins, three of those four “distractions” go away, and I’m left alone with baseball, strange regional dialects, and you, gentle reader (oh, and my wife, Ms. Dixie – thanks for reading, baby).

So.  Without further hand-wringing, some bolded and bulleted thoughts from week 1:

Denard Span: He sure looks like he’s going to be just fine in center.  He made a-great-but-slightly-over-sold diving catch against the Witch Sox (formerly known as the Bitch Sox, but the B may be misleading to those in the Boston area, so they’ve been rebranded to better imply their “official” name – Apologies to our President since 2009), then failed to come up with a similar catch the next game.  I’m happy to chalk that up to a well-deserved sense of swagger.  He’s coming in fast, getting back to the wall, holding runners, plugging gaps, and generally covering the zone.  It’ll be a few weeks to get enough of sample size for statistical validation, but he sure passes the adequate center fielder sniff test.  Meanwhile, he’s resumed hitting like the prototype.  He’s fouling off pitches like he’s bored waiting for the good ones.  He’s making solid line-drive contact and making me yell “Span” an awful lot.  Which brings me to grumbling…

Why must Span sacrifice bunt?  Bert puts an exclamation point on every word when he proclaims that Span “Did! His! Job! By! Moving! The! Runner! Over!”  But what does the man have to do to get a green light?  Fangraphs says he hits ~54% of his balls on the ground, but he keeps hitting the ball hard and getting on base nearly 40% of the time.  I’m too lazy to analyze the actual risk and reward, but the emotional risk and reward is NOT worth it to me.  Span gets on base, and I want him trying to get on base, dammit.  Let Hudson sacrifice after Denard has a go at it.  Then let Mauer and Morneau see what THEY can do about driving in runners from second and third.  Which brings me to more grumbling…

Orlando Hudson: He looks like he’s got a case of the “my bads” so far.  He appears to be chasing pitches, missing balls in the field, and shrugging like Jacques Jones used to do – basically saying, well, I’ll get the next one.  I appreciate the that he’s not letting a weeks’ worth of playing time get him down.  But he’s got my love to earn…

JJ Hardy: Fitting in (like a boss).  Hitting third for Mauer (like a boss).  Turning DPs (like a boss).  Going deep (like a bowss).  This is how you earn my love with a very small sample.

Relationship with statistics: As you can likely tell, I like me the stats, but don’t necessarily command the stats very well.  You could say that I’m not in command of my  instrument.  You could also say that the off season is for stats, and April is for swearing.

Frank Viola: Nice Miami hoodie, big guy.  You couldn’t find a collared shirt for your close up?  How about the Twins jersey they forced on you for raising the little flag thingie?  No?  Gotta be the hoodie?  OK, you’re the Music.

Delmon Young: We’ll see where this goes, but Delmon looks checked in.  None of that bad route running stuff.  He’s clearly lost some weight, and was stealing in the exhibition games like he had something to prove.  He’s smiling for the cameras.  He’s lacing the inside pitches rather than slapping at them.  Delmon’s apparent rise to goodness is likely over-determined (bless you, passive voice with no one around to reprimand me), but one thing that can’t have hurt his motivation is…

Jim Thome: Whenever I’ve seen Jim Thome outside of the batter’s box this season, he’s been a) glad handing with the local media, or b) merrily stalking around the dugout with a bat.  Jim Thome, it’s taken far too long for you to arrive.  Here’s to hoping the Dugout wants to talk about you A LOT this year.

Brendan Harris: Look, he’s not a multi-million dollar player all season, but Brendan Harris on a luke-warm streak gets me carried away.  LOVE YOU, BRENDAN!  See you in a couple games!

Francisco Liriano: The F-Bomb looks… <sigh> promising <sigh again>.  The slider looks sharp when he hits his spots.  He threw it for first pitch strikes a few times and I fist pumped like an easy Jersey Shore character impression.  And then he didn’t locate it so well, and I fist pumped a lot less.  Still, he’s going to have to punch Joe Mauer or something to make a non-believer of me.

Andruw Jones: What surprises you more, that he’s been in the league for 12 years, or that he’s attempting steals?

New Uniforms: Effing Sweet.  Put Span number 2 on my list for any gift-receiving wish list you can think of.

Jason Kubel: Called up my mama said I’m in love with a bridge troll yo…

Fernando Rodney: Hey Fernando, do you remember when you ate it at the end of game 163?  Keep eating it, buddy.

Target Field: In preparation for my impending Exile, Ms. Dixie and I will be at the game on Wednesday to experience the Glory while we can.  I have every intention of sitting on a rocking chair on my porch, chewing on grass stalks, and talking about this trip to Target Field like I was the guy behind the plate when Bonds hit number 72.  “Nope, wasn’t there for opening day.  But I was there for game number two.  And let me tell you.  That was a damn fine game…”  At which point no one will be listening and I will proceed to entertain myself.  Which is to say, it will likely be a lot like this blog.  Same as it ever was, friends and neighbors…

Posted by: exileindixie | April 6, 2010

Very Brief Thought of the Day

A solid post was scrapped on account of Anaheim being too far west.

The best thing about opening day?  There’s 161 more where that came from.

Posted by: exileindixie | April 4, 2010

The Return of Eric Chavez, Every Day Player

Further to my note earlier about Delmon Young and the Baseball Prospectus top prospects, I’m also inexplicably / borderline-brainwashedly optimistic about all the main player-characters from Moneyball.   Specifically, I just can’t give up on Miguel “I’m not that old and I didn’t do it” Tejada and Eric “Doctor it hurts when I do this” Chavez (note: Nick Swisher and his saluting in right field of New Yankee Stadium are dead to me).  I blame Michael Lewis’ writing; homeboy may not be fit to give financial advice, but he could sell the value of one piece of dog stool over another to me and I’d aggressively argue his case with strangers at Petco.

If you haven’t read Moneyball, please read it, even if you don’t like baseball.  Simply put, no one tells a better non-fiction story than Michael Lewis.

If you have read it, perhaps you recall the quoted reverence with which the A’s staff talked about Eric Chavez.  The promise they saw in his career could bring a man with absolutely nothing going on his life to tears.  Of course, Chavez then underperformed and played through injury for several years, and then didn’t play through injury for a while.  And now he’s back!  The A’s look to be headed for mediocrity this year, and Chavez is probably headed for more of the same, but I’m looking forward to hoping for him this year (again, mostly because someone told Michael Lewis to tell me so several years ago).  Give ‘em hell, Eric.  You STILL could be the best ever.

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