Wednesday, 19 March 2008

(Early) Morning Roundup

Your humble narrator has taken more head shots than George Chuvalo from the Cruel Bitch Goddess Life this past week, but I press on nevertheless. There are, what, two dozen loyal readers out there, right?

As though you didn't need any reminder of the relative wackiness that accompanies the month's worth of real fake games taking place down south now, Sal Fasano stole a base on Wednesday. There you are, skeptics. Proof that John Gibbons is going to start playing small ball this year. Huzzah! (No, seriously: small ball is for cowards. Fuck off over to the National League if bunting and stolen bases pull your hair back).

Today's Grapefruit League action was marred by the worst display of working class solidarity since the unwashed masses shut Winnipeg down in 1919. Generally, I am a friend of the working man and once dated an NDPer, but I'm struggling to see why I should feel sympathic for washed up old semi-pros who get to jet across the world on the company's dime to eat sushi, toss BP for an hour or so, polish shoes, and take club house naps on a rota system. So, basically those who've parlayed their grade 10 education into a six figure salary working an 8 month a year fantasy camp job need a few thousand extra bob. Pardon me if I don't stand for the playing of the Internationale. I have two university degrees and 4/5ths of a doctoral thesis under my belt and I've got nothing but fucking tumbleweeds to show for it. Really, I'd like to add another layer of sarcasm here...

Brian Tallet probably got pushed into his fair share of lockers during high school, but I take serious offense to the amount of slagging off directed his way by Jays fandom over the past two years. He's been quietly effective against both lefties and righties during his tenure here, holding opposing hitters to a miniscule .611 OPS last year. Well, finally some respect for someone who seemed to be on the bubble: today Gibby announced that Tallet has indeed locked up a roster spot. I welcome this both as a fan of Tallet and someone who hates the feel-good schtick articles that hacks pump out about the random non-roster invitee du jour (see: Parrish, John).

Bastian kindly points out that Gibby had already issued a similar vote of confidence for 2007's Forgotten Man, Jason Frasor, meaning that we now have four locks for what will inevitably be a seven-man pen: Tallet, Frasor, Accardo, and Downs. The Beej, Brandon League, John Parrish, Randy David Wells, Brian Wolfe, and Armando "I blow saves" Benitez are battling for the final three spots.

Well, not really battling. If The Beej is ready at the end of the month, he goes north. Brandon League is achieving sexy results and may well be part of our own little late inning Nasty Boys clique with Accardo and the Beej. So it's most likely one spot that's up for grabs.

Sorry to all those Parrish boosters (Bastian included), but why in fuck's name would we need a fourth lefty in the pen? He's nice minor league depth, though. Wolfe has options, Benitez would likely benefit from an extended minor league tune up, and Wells is a Rule 5 pick who has to be offered back to the Cubs if he doesn't stick on our 25 man all year. I say its Wells rather than those other two suckers who takes the final spot in the bully, but I've always been a sucker for converted position players (Dave Stieb, Shaun Marcum, etc.).

Uncle Griff says that Curtis Thigpen "must learn to shake it off" after being sent back down to Syracuse. It probably wouldn't hurt if he also learned to hit and catch well enough to stick in the bigs. I didn't actually read the linked article because it's written by Richard Griffin and would surely make me regret wasting two minutes, but is he implying that we should feel sorry for young players who aren't good enough to make the team? If you want to root for crappy, second rate athletes, I'd advise you to stick to womens' hockey. This is a man's game, thank you very much.

I'm swearing more than usual due to the Wiser's and have developed a new appreciation for these guys.

-- Johnny Was


Anonymous said...

As one fo your few dozen loyal readers, I have to take exception to a few things.

First, as a resident of Winnipeg, and someone who is 2/5ths the way through a PhD in history and is quite familiar with the strike of 1919, I have to object to the negative connotation of the 1919 strike. The 1919 strike forced major changes in Manitoba in relation to labour conditions. Please remmber that this was a strike led by WW1 veterans who returned home to find a capitalist class which had profited greatly from the war, but who was unwilling to provide the most basic respects to the soldiers who were returning to the job force. Unemployed, underemployed, and without the basic rights that we take for granted, these veterans and fellow workers laid down their tools to force change - and indeed in the following years Manitobe enaceted much more progressive labour codes which, although not perfect, improved the lot in life for all Manitobans, with the exception of the moneyed classes who now have to treat employees like human beings.

Almost everyone in Manitoba, save for the extreme right, recognize this as one of, if not the most important moments in Winnipeg's and Manitoba's history. And the struggle is almost universally accepted as legitimate - hell even our right-wing mayor has approved city funds to be used to paint murals on the sides of priminent downtown buildings that feature striking workers waving banners that read 'Britons will not be slaves!'

All that said, I think what the Bosox did was great. these coaches had been promised months ago by John Henry and the BoSox management $40,000 to go to Japan. The coahces, who Francona has said make $100,000 a year, were probably counting on that bonus to make mortgage payments, go on a holiday with the family, pay for a kids college, etc... You cannot in good concience beleive it is okay for John Henry, whose estimated worth is $860 million, to just renage on a deal he had with these coaches who, like most upper-middle class north americans these days, are strugglign to make ends meet. I undestand thinking te coaches are privelaged, but so privealged that it's okay for a guy with $860 million fuck them over that bad?

Where I come from you live up to your agreements. Good on the players for having the moral fortitude to stand up for the least privelaged in professional baseball.

The Southpaw said...

Thank you anonymous for setting me straight; it was a pretty weak effort there yesterday, I admit...

For the record, my knowledge of the Winnipeg General Strike is somewhat hazy since the last reading I did on it was back in grade 10 history. Had I done so much as a wikipedia search (which is cited in as many as 25% of the undergrad papers I mark), I would've remembered the positives. And to be honest, I didn't learn that Henry had reneged on an agreed upon amount until I did some more reading this morning. I totally agree that it was pretty scummy to withdraw that.

The quality control department here has thoroughly scolded me for my oversight(s), and I apologize sincerely to you, sir.

And say hi to Propagandhi and the rest of Winnipeg for me, will you?