Thursday, 21 February 2008

Around the Horn

Some points of interest, not all Jays-related:

* The dimmer New York Post-reading bulbs of Yankee Nation still refuse to believe that Derek Jeter is a pretty awful defensive shortstop despite hard statistical evidence to prove them wrong. Lots of steam and excuses, but nowhere do the Yankees scouts or executives quoted show any numbers to refute the findings of the Penn State Study. I'm sure he smells like a pleasant dream, though. I could really go a bunch of different witty, biting ways in closing this paragraph out, but I just can't be bothered. Yankees suck!

* A little over a year ago, the Jays and Rays may or may not have had talks about a Shaun Marcum-Elijah Dukes deal. Rumblings were squelched pretty early and I think JP really dodged a bullet (no pun intended), by passing on that one (not that he was ever interested by the looks of it). No one has disputed the 23-year-old Dukes' talent; more alarming is behaviour you would probably associate more with a street hood on The Wire than a baseball phenom.

The Washington Post lays out the recent troubles of the newly-acquired National:

Dukes's real father has been in prison for second-degree murder since 1996, and Dukes's own arrest history goes back nearly as far. Since 1997, he has been arrested at least three times for battery and once for assault, records show. He fathered at least five children with four women between 2003 and 2006, court records show -- two of which were born within eight days of each other -- and last summer admitted frequent marijuana use.

Last May, he threatened his estranged ex-wife and her children in a voice mail in which he said, "Hey, dawg. It's on, dawg. You dead, dawg. . . . Your kids, too." In June, the Rays placed him on the temporary inactive list, ending his season. He has also been suspended several times from his minor and major league teams for various confrontations with coaches, umpires and teammates.

The Nats certainly did take a gamble on a volatile player, but they can afford to as part of their on-going rebuilding efforts. Dukes, who will probably end up as the Nats fourth OF this season, promises that he's turned a corner after leaving some of the negative influences of his home town behind and will be on his best behaviour from now on.

In all seriousness, I'm hoping Dukes can get his affairs in order and go on to some success in baseball. If so many fans were willing to cheer on Josh Hamilton's comeback last year, I think we should extend the same courtesy here.

* Is Big Papi's surgically-repaired knee alright? The man himself says yes, but Red Sox Nation will fret about their loveable 268-lb hero all year long anyway. The real shocker of the piece is Big Papi's admission that "I like hitting home runs. I’m not going to lie to you about it.” Where is my disbelieving emoticon?

* The Royals say they don't want to be flipped to the NL in a scheme that would see the Brewers return to the AL Central. Both were proud franchises when I was a wee lad in the days of 1980s baseball card sticker scrapbooks; the Brewers are now a pretty hot young team, but there's really no end in sight to the terminal crappiness of the Royals even with a slick GM like Dayton Moore at the helm. Here's an idea: why not reconstitute them as a WNBA franchise?

* Fluff pieces on Eckstein in the Sun and the Globe. Here's a short English to baseball journo dictionary:

scrappy = tries hard all the time, almost always fails, but gets dirty in the process
throwback = no power, doesn't walk
all-heart = small, not very good
a team player = tries to mask own faults as a hitter by bunting frequently

And so on... Don't get me wrong, I like having Eckstein here, it's just the cliche-riddled drivel that comes with him that puts me off.

* Matt Stairs, the MVP of my heart, gets similar treatment here and here. Yes, we know, he loves hockey, but no mention of his wacky, off-season adventures thwarting Mr. Leahey and Randy with Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles down at Sunnyvale Trailer Park?

-- Johnny Was

1 comment:

The Southpaw said...

I love how the Post puts up the opinion of random Yank-fan-on-the-street and present that as exactly as worthy an opinion as that of those who had actually studied it.

Gotta love "journalists"