Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hindsight is Always 20/20

Post #49: Do-overs!

Yes it has been three weeks since my last post. Several things have occurred over those three weeks that lead to my absence from the virtual airways. For one, I’ve been busy with my animal rights class – who knew that brutally killing cows was generally frowned upon (speaking of which I have two steaks marinating in my refrigerator as we speak). The rest? Irrelevant; just be happy I’m back.

So about a week ago the Red Sox opened the season in Japan and in typical Boston fashion… they won. Sure they lost the next day but it was indeed painful for me to watch what resembles a “lapping” as may or may not happen in Nascar (I can’t tell you because I don’t have a half empty Budweiser keg in my trailer under my mom’s bed/pullout sofa).

I don’t want to see the Red Sox win the world series, the Celtics win the 2nd best and therefore 1st most meaningless trophy in basketball, only to have the Red Sox win the World Series again. One can’t deny that the Sox do look pretty good this year, both on paper and on Japanese astro turf. Their line-up is just as if not more stacked than it has ever been. With Dustin Pedroia and Jacob Ellsbury having cemented their positions in the everyday lineup, the Red Sox batting order is one which truly boasts no holes.

Then, assuming that Josh Beckett is healthy, the Sox rotation is downright nasty. Forget the fact that they’re anchored by one of the most (and few) consistent closers in the league; the Red Sox are a prime example, and 1 of a collection of perhaps 4 or 5 teams that opposing teams should be scared to face on a nightly basis. Or maybe 4 out of 5 nights now that Doug Mirabelli is gone and the back-stop has been named Tim Wakefield’s default catcher… but nonetheless – them Sawx make me pee myself.

Really, how could the Sox have looked any better? OH YEAH, there is that one guy who they so stubbornly refused to pry from Minnesota even when the award of the century was all but gifted to them by an overly confident, overly mis-managed Yankees organization – Johan Santana.

Sidenote – lets talk about pride here. For the 1st time in a longtime, both the Sawx and the Yanks seem to have a legit prospect support system. For the Sox there’s Buccholz (spelling), Ellsbury, Pedroia, Lester and Papplebon. For the Yankees, (who miraculously according to Yankees fans have the next 6 Greg Maddux’s) Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Joba Chamberlain give an aging organization some youthful promise.

Unfortunately for both organizations, this prospect presence turned into another war. WHOSE PROSPECTS WERE BETTER? The only way to answer this question would be to decide who would give up less for Johan – the clear measuring stick for actual player value.

In the end, both teams bowed out, perhaps persuaded by the pressure to establish more “street cred” for their young guns, and neither team took a flyer on Johan. Instead, Johan wound up with the team that actually needed him the most – the Mets (more on that in a bit).

When you talk about the top prospects in baseball, you usually quote the same Peter Gammons and Buster Olney predictions (because lets face it… NO ONE follows AAA baseball). There’s Evan Longoria in Tampa Bay, Jay Bruce in Cincinnati, Colby Rasmus in St. Louis, Cameron Maybin in Florida, Felix Pie in Chicago, and LASTINGS MILLEDGE in Washington (still waiting for an explanation Omar…). Albeit these guys are younger than the players both the yanks and the Sox refused to give up, but based on a lot of research and a lot of fantasy analysis, the two behemoth’s prospects are NEVER MENTIONED in the same sentences as those above. Teams like the Tigers must not have gotten the memo on just how valuable unproven assets are these days in baseball as they traded the entire farm for a sure-fire Miguel Cabrera and a “reclamation project without the high leg-kick that used to fluster hitters” in Dontrelle Willis. Break that trade down and you wind up with Cameron Maybin for Dontrelle Willis (the other 5 prospects fetching Cabrera)… And the Red Sox honestly couldn’t give up Jon Lester, a guy who figures to sit at the back end of a relatively young rotation for a considerable amount of time? Someone thinks their poo doesn’t smell accordingly, and his name is Theo Epstein ladies and gents.

But as a Mets fan, Theo, I thank you for your pride. With nothing left on the table the Twins were forced to take three career minor leaguers and a utility outfielder with a potential to be a “good player” in the mold of Jacques Jones, best case scenario. And two nights ago (March 31st – the start of the new era in Metsland), Johan shined on like a crazy diamond.

Three hits, 8 k’s 2 bb’s over 7 innings. Having watched the game, let me assure all of you readers who were not as fortunate of one thing – Johan looked like he could have pitched 15. His stuff only started painting the corners in the 6th, where he struck out the side. In the 7th, he was equally commanding. Willie must have felt that a 5 run lead over a lowly Marlins Team (david – 4, Marlins – still zero), presented a perfect time to get his bullpen wet, especially the pitchers who have not yet shown that they can be relevant in the suddenly competitive NL East (Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, Matt Wise, etc.,).

So we’re two games in and Johan’s record has one win and hardly a blemish. As a Mets fan I hope that he keeps his performance and his trade value up and that somewhere down the road, perhaps by nothing other than the grace of our almighty Allah (or god or whomever) that the Red Sox Make Jon Lester available.

Other Notes

Our other game may have represented the 2nd biggest baseball mistake in recent memory – giving Pedro a four year deal. After a whole off-season of promise and health, it takes Pedro 3 innings and 2 home runs to wind up back on the DL. Maybe we shouldn’t have expected so much, put Pedro in the 4th slot and let Ollie and John Maine prove that they are both capable (and are) Major League #2’s.

Follow your dreams. You can reach your goals. I’m living proof. Beefcake… BEEFCAKE

Look at the way he rolls… just like a woman.

I recently went to a little Chinese take out place to get some general Tso’s breading with chicken flavoring. Inside was a guy who asked me “is this place good?” I told him I didn’t know. He told me that he had 1 take out place that he ALWAYS went to, and he didn’t put up with SHITTY take-out places. I assured him that the place we were at had a good reputation. He must have believed me because he stayed just long enough to get his buffalo wings – a true purveyor of fine Chinese

They say beer can make you dumb. It are go good with pizza.

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