Friday, January 11, 2008

Are You Not Entertained?

So on Sunday, or tomorrow, I'm driving back up to my one-bedroom apartment, where I'll have a precious few hours to get everything clean and ready for the first day of class on Monday.

I know it sounds really weird, but I like everything to be neat and clean when I'm at the start of the semester because I know it only gets way, way worse from there.

Anyway, the point is, with the Spring Semester starting, it can mean only one thing:

Baseball is on its way!

I will give you that February in Syracuse does not lend oneself to thinking about spending lazy afternoons in the ballpark, but that's why they train down in Florida and Arizona.

So that means that now might be a nice time to take stock of the off-season, if not just for the Yankees, for baseball as a whole as well.

There is still a month to go before pitchers and catchers, but that doesn't mean we can't look at what has happened thus far.

The biggest news this off-season, of course, has nothing to do with any trades or FA signings (I'll get to A-Rod in a moment), but with that thing that some call a report. I won't recount the details of the MR; unless your dwelling involves a subterranean existence, you'll know to what I'm referring.

However, there's no denying the MR has been a major source of gossip, especially now as the McNamee-Clemens saga has ceased to be about 'roids, but instead has turned into "As the Roid Turns" soap opera. (Playing every day on ESPN, et al). It's a he said-he said, the truth somewhere buried on that island in Lost, and kind of like Britney or Paris, no matter how much we want to, we just can't stop paying attention to the anamoly.

Thank heaven, then, that other things have occurred this off-season as well!

Among the things you may have forgotten:

First, there was the A-Rod non story. In short form, A-Rod went from Deity-Rod to Playoff-Goat-Rod to Opt-Out-Fraud and then back to A-Rod. I certainly don't know A-Rod's thought process, but he might just be the most clever guy on the planet, willing to sacrifice his sense of dignity and pride just to get a top contract...wait, no, A-Rod would never do that...but that Agent dude, Boras (Bore Us? ), he might be just the type...

Second, there was that bit where Detroit and Florida did this thing where you send some players from Team A to Team B and vice versa. In baseball we like to call this a trade. Detroit sent Cameron Maybin, et al, to Florida for Dontrelle Willis an Miggy Cabrera. Most people think Detroit came off better in the deal, but I am actually of the belief that Florida will come out better. Consider:

1) Willis is an NL pitcher who struggled last year and now has to pitch in the bat-happy AL.
2) Miggy C has weight issues and defense issues that may be a concern, and will easily command a top dollar contract, like Willis.
3) Florida likes the five year rule, having won their first world series five years after their inception, their second five years after that (1997, 2003) and now, 2008...whaddya know, five years? Okay, so 2003-1997 is actually six maybe the Marlins are more due in 2009 or 2010, but that's besides the point.

Third, Oakland fleeced Arizona, giving 'Zona "ace" Dan Haren for basically the entirety of 'Zona's farm system. 'Zona's got a nice young team as is, but, as Yankees' fans know from the years 2003-2006, it's generally a good idea to have a farm system no matter how good your team is on the top level.

Fourth, Johan Santana is still a Minnesota Twin. First he was supposed to be a Yankee, then a Red Sox, now local articles have him as a Met, but if tomorrow was February Fourteenth, he'd be reporting to Twins' camp. There are all sorts of different ways this can be interpreted, and yes, I admit that it can be fun to play "let's pretend you're Bill Smith and he's Theo Epstein and I'm Brian Cashman and she's Omar Minaya", but that won't actually make the trade happen. Unless you actually are Bill Smith or Theo Epstein or Brian Cashman or Omar Minaya, in which case I say "Hello, and Thank You for reading the blog. Go Yankees!"

Fifth, in case you forgot, the Yankees managed to resign their most "key" free agents besides A-Rod: Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Jose Molina. Mo and Po earned their keep, getting unheard of contracts for closers and 36 year-old catchers. Andy Pettitte came back after, among other things, incredible fan support. If you missed it, Steve Lombardi of Was Watching initiated P46, a letter writing project to get Pettitte to come back, and it looks like it worked.

Sixth, in what seems like ages and ages ago, Joe Torre turned down a contract offer and in something that sort of resembled the dating game, Joe Girardi beat out Don Mattingly and Tony Peña for the manager's job. Torre landed softly on his feet in a job managing the LA Dodgers--Torre grew up a Brooklyn fan--and, whaddya know, his favorite reliever of all time, Scott Proctor is right there waiting for him. Of the Yankee coaches on staff for next year, perhaps none is more welcoming than the appointment of Dave Eiland as pitching coach--Eiland worked with the Trinity (that is, Phil, Joba and Ian) in the minors, and, well, we know what they can do...

There is still a month of the off-season to go, and anything can happen--if I know myself correctly, the second I post this, we'll all see Johan Santana has gone to the Angels and the Cubs have decided to stop playing at Wrigley--but that's the fun of it.

So, all things considered, I have to ask, of the past few baseball game-less months, in my best Russell Crowe voice, ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

I know I am very, very entertained.


  1. And this is just the off-season. I loved your analogy of steroids to pop princesses, but you left out Lindsay Lohan! Still, BRILLIANT! I'm also still glued to the Santana thing. I want him to remain unsigned so we can sign him at the end of the 08 season.

    Great post, but isn't it time for more of "The Season?"


  2. I can understand why you would think that the Marlins got the better end of the Miggy-Maybin swap, but the reason (or one of the reasons) is not Miguel Cabrera's weight or his defense. Who cares about his weight? The greatest hitter of all time was fat his whole career. It's true that his defense is sub-par, but it is not Ryan Braun bad, and his hitting more than makes up for it. Miguel Cabrera is a top 5 hitter in baseball and is only 24 years old. I think that the Tigers gave up a ton, and the Dontrelle will be a number four at best in the AL, and a long reliever at worst, but they got the centerpiece of their offense for the next 15 years with Miggy.