Now that the roster has been set and there are still three more real fake games left to be played, it's getting kind of anti-climactic around here. So here's just a bunch of random thoughts in no particular order:
* Blair checks in on League and Randy David Wells. Expectations for the former are high, the latter got his job by default. I hope RD likes crossword puzzles, because he's going to get bored as hell during the week-long stretch between appearances. JP hints he might be stretched out for use as a spot starter, and you know what? That's a really smart idea if he's just gathering dust otherwise. Wilner does NOT like my nickname R-Dub, which stung a bit, to be frank. I wish I could make up stuff like "Litsch slapped", but then again I'm not gainfully employed in the business (or in any business, really).
* Dave Perkins of the Star likes the Jays' pitching this year, but that's kind of like saying local children enjoy ice cream. You know what I like? Just randomly generating numbers like this:
If Burnett throws up an 18-7 season, he will use his opt-out clause to depart and take someone else's $20 million a season. If he visits the DL and ends up 9-8 in 21 starts, he'll stay here for his $12 million. The Jays could surely live with the first scenario.
* Bastian makes his preseason predictions, as do the dudes at ESPN (84-90 wins, only Olney really likes us but still doesn't think this is a playoff team). Rest assured folks, we are still a dark horse contender.
* As a pseudo-stat geek, I'm openly admit to being a fan of Billy Beane and the A's, so it was quite nice to see them come away with a split with the Bosox in Japan. Yesterday it was all Rich Harden, who will most likely be traded at some point this summer if healthy (to us?), and they put up 5 runs in an exciting season opener. Don't be surprised if the A's rebuilding period turns out to be quite short, which would please me to no end. (I hate the Angels NL-style of play). And with yesterday's Bosox loss were back in a tie for first place! Woohoo!
* It's looking grim for ex-Jay whipping boy turned stud Kelvim Escobar, who may end up losing the season. He always drove me crazy as a Jay because he seemed to lose focus and suck Josh Towers-style whenever he had a lead. He didn't transistion to the bullpen well, either, and seemed destined for bust status before resurrecting his career with the Angels. One more reason to dislike them.
* Now it seems as though the Orioles are backing away from trading Brian Roberts to the Cubs, which seems counterproductive. A team that won't see .500 again for three years at the least surely doesn't need a highly-paid and somewhat scandal-tinged 30-year-old second basemen, even if he is all-star calibre, right? Nevertheless. Another step backward for a once proud franchise.
* In an ominous sign of things to come, the hapless, antique-riddled SF Giants lost 4-3 yesterday. To their AAA affiliate. Brian Sabean is simply one of the worst GMs in the sport (trading away Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, Jeremy Accardo and Boof Bonser away for magic beans, compiling the most ancient and crappy collection of position players imaginable, etc.) and his continued employment defies common sense. His handling of the Rios-Lincecum talks was embarassing, just embarassing, and I will take pleasure in seeing his team lose 100 games this year.
* Sexual harassment scandal in Deeeetroit, but it has nothing to do with any players, coaches or management. There are two parts to the story. There were very sombre accusations of innappriate touching/comments directed at one female employee by a male coworker (bad). And then there were claims that Tigers photographers shot "softcore videos" and displayed them on the centrefield scoreboard. What this really boils down to is someone prudishly objecting to a cameraman zeroing in on some fine young thing in tight/revealing clothing in the stands (frivilous), which is a time-honoured baseball tradition. And cameramen also zero in on people doing goofy dances. And people with babies. And couples. And the aged. Really, come on... do you want to ban hot dogs because you find them too suggestive? And for the record, Comerica Park is a wonderful place to watch a game, even if it is in one of the most godawful cities in America and it's near impossible to get tickets anymore.
-- Johnny Was