I haven’t had much of an opportunity to blog lately, and frankly I’m pretty disinterested in the World Series so I don’t have much to say about baseball right now anyway. I have, however, accumulated a couple of short nuggets that I have time to pass along now…
It’s great to have Lou Piniella back at the helm of a major league club. No matter how bad the Cubs are next year, at least there will be something to read in the Chicago papers every day. Piniella has a pretty good track record as a manager, generally speaking, but you have to wonder about how suited he is to this specific situation. The Cubs are an absolute mess, and there’s no clear plan for the future. The best bet for that organization is to rebuild with and around youth, but that’s not really Lou’s strength; nor is it in his wheelhouse to handle a fragile pitching staff, which is about the most charitable description you can provide when talking about the Cubs. I have a feeling things will start ok, go south quickly, and end badly. This could be Lou’s last year as a manager; the broadcast booth should be looking really good after managing this Cub team for a year.
First of all, let’s stop with the "gate"s already. No more.
My personal belief regarding what happened with Mr. Rogers is that he was caught doing what a lot of pitchers do, particularly on cold/dry days, which is why no one (including the umpires) wanted to do anything overt about it. Perhaps he was stupid to allow his stick-em or pine tar or what have you to be so visible, particularly in the only nationally-televised game of the day; nevertheless, it seems that this is a case of one of the "unwritten rules" that live within the baseball fraternity coming to light. Seems like much ado about not much to me.
However…perhaps Kenny Rogers is crazy like a fox? Now that everyone is barking up the tree of doctoring baseballs, no one seems to be talking about the fact that a 41-year-old pitcher is suddenly throwing 95-96 miles an hour. Or that a formerly subdued/sedate/seemingly comatose strikezone nibbler is now an animated, fist-pumping aggressor. Do these things not seem strange to anyone? Certainly, baseball is a game where anyone can have a few horrible or great games in a row. Jerry Reuss was a good pitcher, but you couldn’t expect him to throw 23 consecutive shutout innings (he did, in the 1981 WS). Alex Rodriguez (there he is again) is one of the greatest hitters EVER, and he had a bad 4 games in the ALDS. Jeter went 5-for-5 in ALDS game 1, then disappeared in games 2-4. These things happen. And importantly, I don’t have anything resembling proof of wrongdoing by Kenny Rogers. But if we’re allowed to speculate as to whether Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard are using performance-enhancing drugs, can we not wonder about the source of Kenny Rogers’ fountain of youth???
The Yankees picked up Sheffield’s option for 2007, and of course this upsets him. It’s almost time to reveal my plan for the 2007 Yankees, now complicated by the fact that I expected the Yanks to let Sheff go (and was in favor of it). You have to play the cards you’re dealt, so I’ll deal with that one and other topics (pitching? ARod? Melky?) in the next post, hopefully this week.