Sorry to the five of you who read this or check in – school has been a bit of a downer for me lately – a lot of studying for end-of-quarter tests and paper writing (and presentation-giving = ew!), and yesterday I found out that getting in next quarter might not be as easy as I originally thought, because of the tripled enrollment. I’m not going to lie, there was some yelling…it looks like what was supposed to be a 10-month program may take me over a year, and I’m not terribly happy about that…
Anyway, what this means is that I have fallen a bit behind on my reading, so have been trying to make the rounds this morning. I did get a chance yesterday to listen to the tail end of the Kevin Calabro Show on 710 ESPN, as hosted by Paul Silvi. Shannon Drayer spent a few moments on before the Hot Stove (at 6pm Wednesdays!) talking about John Lackey, and not really doing much to dissuade me from thinking that it might still be an option, even though I know that it’s probably not. I’m paraphrasing here, but she said something to the effect of ‘Lackey’s going to go wherever he feels he’s most wanted, and that could mean he winds up in Seattle’. Again, I am paraphrasing, but what she said had a positive edge to it. I’m not holding my breath, but it’s fun to dream.
Another thing that’s fun to dream about is the other name that’s been thrown around a lot lately – Adrian Gonzalez. “But,” you say, all aggravated and stuff, “but what about Russell Branyan?!” IT’S ADRIAN FREAKING GONZALEZ! I don’t think I’ve been into this team long enough to understand what it means to have a consistent hard-hitting first baseman (“consistent” being the operative word here). I have no idea what it’s like. I knew Richie Sexson starting in 2007, so my experience with the first base position is one of the Bad Sexson/Bryan LaHair/Miguel Cairo/Tug Hulett variety. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be happy if Branyan decides to come back because I generally am not a fan of change in baseball (and I love me some Russell), but Adrian Gonzalez is change I can believe in. Also, I’ll get to use memes where I compare him to Dante in Clerks a lot. But I digress! If the Padres are willing to deal him (and it sounds like they might be), and Branyan decides that whatever Jack Zduriencik and company are offering him is not what he is interested in, then I am fully on the Gonzalez bandwagon, and would like our front office to go after him like a rabid raccoon.
Some awards have been given out in the past week as well; the Cy Young award and the award for Manager of the Year. The Cy Young was of course given to AL pitcher Zack Greinke, with Felix Hernandez arriving in at a close second. This didn’t cause as much of an uproar as I expected it to in Seattle, but some folks were a bit miffed. I wasn’t surprised in the least, and I’ll tell you why; repetition. After listening to some other teams’ press and then ours, I can tell you that our press folk are a little less biased toward home. Rather than be dismissive of the opposition’s talent like so many others, Niehaus, Drayer, the FSN crew, etc are all vocally in awe when they see a player do something amazing, and they tend to give credit where credit is due. Zack Greinke’s name was the most commonly-repeated name from our press corps, and it was always in a way where you thought maybe – just maybe – they had seen God. And this was even when we weren’t playing Kansas City. If Greinke threw a shut-out, a full game, or lowered his ERA, our people were on it and talking about it, during our games. You didn’t hear the same of the other potential winners, not even Felix. There was some debate at the end over who might get it between the two of them, with talk about who pitched in a more important game, or whose team had their backs at the plate, but by and large, I knew Greinke was going to take it; he was too highly regarded, and he deserved it. I spent no time worrying about this, however, because Felix has only just begun. 2010 is going to be an exciting year for Mr Hernandez.
Manager of the Year was awarded to Mike Scioscia of the Anaheim Angels (“There’s only ONE team that plays in Los Angeles“, as my Dodgers-loving friend says). At first, I was actually annoyed by this. I watched Scioscia almost blow a playoff game by taking the ball away from John Lackey and giving it to a lesser pitcher who promptly gave up 3-4 runs (and whose name escapes me right now). And no matter how badly I hoped for them to win, the Halos just kept losing playoff games to the Yankees. That one move alone was enough to make me think that it should go where I felt it should go anyway; of course, to the one and only Don Wakamatsu. Even after seeing Wak’s quote about how Scioscia kept the team together after the Adenhart incident (and one of the reasons I was pulling for them in the first place), I still thought ‘well, ANY manager would do that, it’s their job!’ But Scioscia has led the Angels to their third consecutive playoff series in 2009, which is no small feat. The Angels have been a hard team to beat for the past 3 years (so long, in my personal baseball history, that I’ve never known them as anything else), and Scioscia has been a driving force behind that. So in the end, I suppose I have no problem with him winning, and can completely understand why the award was given to him. It’s frustrating that Wak didn’t get it, but to me and a lot of other folks, he’ll always really be manager of the year.
Lastly, there’s this little bit from Dave Cameron at USS Mariner. I find this particularly interesting, because I always approached these at-bats from the standpoint of wearing the pitcher down. Sure, Jose Lopez had some successful long at-bats, but if you’re swinging at pitches that aren’t strikes, you’re just teaching the pitcher he doesn’t have to throw them. I never really thought about it that way, though I’m not sure why. Every time I think I have a grasp on this game, there is some little detail I completely gloss over that should be totally obvious to me. This is why the world needs analysts! Dave also has a slightly more recent article on jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none Ryan Doumit. It’s a good article, but I’d be lying if I said that the two bits that don’t stick out to me the most are the words “downside” and “Willie Bloomquist’s cousin”.
Around the rumor mill today is Jason Bay’s rejection of a huge offer from Boston, which will probably add more fuel to the fire for fans in Seattle that want him here. I doubt that Zduriencik is willing to pay him more than what they offered. Speaking of rumors, tomorrow is the 20th, and therefore marks the last day that the Ms have full control of making old friends new offers without competition before they hit the free agent market. I should probably go buy at least one bottle of champagne…