Saturday, April 7, 2007

Yo, Meathead!

Well, baseball is finally here—it’s been a long, painful winter since Peyton Manning and Co. kicked Chicago’s tail, and I certainly have not been able to watch the product currently known as the NBA. Now there’s a whole summer to concentrate solely on baseball before the fall, and football again.

Of course, it’s early—only the first week!—so don’t expect any predictions from me! I’m going to focus mostly on trends, notes and anecdotes in this initial part of the season, and we’ll see how things shape up!

In the National League, it’s interesting to note that the Mets swept the Cardinals convincingly, with an overall series score of 25–2 in favor of the Metropolitans. The Mets starters looked sharp, including John Maine, who’s working in the third spot right now. I know it’s only the first week, but the Mets were shocked when they found themselves out after the NLCS last year, so they seem to be bearing down early, even though they looked awful in spring training. It is worth noting also that the Braves, smarting from their first year without a division crown in over a decade, are also 3–0, and hoping to prove something to the NL East champs when they play three in Atlanta this weekend. The Phillies, who boasted during the preseason that they were the team to beat in the NL East, were swept by the Braves and look lost so far.

Also, I am watching with trepidation as Barry “Steroid Boy” Bonds inches closer to Hank Aaron’s once-immortal home run record. The fans in San Francisco seem to be supporting him, which just goes to show that the people don’t really care much anymore about things like honor and honesty where the game is concerned, as long as they get to be there while Bonds works his way ever closer to the record he sold his soul to chase. The Giants’ other Barry, Zito, isn’t living up to his huge contract just yet. In his first game as a pitcher for the Giants, Zito was only average and the Giants got shellacked 7–0 by the Padres on Opening Day.

In the American League, I hope the Yankees are shaking in their boots! Yeah, I know they’re 1–1 (and losing to Baltimore) as I speak, and I know the Red Sox are only 2–2, but the Yanks looked pretty silly against the Rays on Thursday night. They had three errors, three wild pitches, and a passed ball, with Derek Jeter making two of the errors. Also, A-Rod failed in the clutch again (starting an all-too-recognizable trend?) by popping up with the bases loaded to end the eighth. The Yanks left 10 men on base. Meanwhile, new Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka looked terrific in his major league debut, striking out 10 and getting the win over Kansas City on Thursday, 4–1.

Nice to see Mike Piazza get a game-winning home run last night against the Angels for his first dinger as a DH for the A’s. It would be great to see Oakland have a strong start for a change, rather than going 10 games under .500 as usual, and then fighting back after the All-Star break. Rich Harden is on so far as the A’s ace—can he stay healthy for a full season, which he hasn’t done the past couple of years?

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