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…

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