Friday, June 1, 2007

Yo, Meathead!

This will be my last post until mid-June, since I am going away to Florida. My wife is speaking at a conference in Orlando, and we’re going to visit Mickey Mouse while we’re there. As luck would have it, this is the second year in a row that I am missing the Red Sox–A’s series due to travel—I guess the obnoxious Sox fans that show their mugs at the games will be free from my heckling this time….

I’m sure my esteemed colleague, Ed, can hold down the fort while I’m away. Before I go, let’s have a look at what’s going on in sports today.

SEASONINGS: I am blown away by the fact that the Yankees are tied for last place and 13.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East! I just cannot remember the last time that happened—surely not in the Joe Torre/Derek Jeter era. It looks as if GM Brian Cashman’s strategy of hiring aging veteran superstars who have no sense of community with one another is finally starting to smell. In years past since the Bronx Bombers last won it all, this strategy has been enough for them to make it to the playoffs, but this was mostly on the strength of Torre’s brilliant managing and the play of the old guard who still remained—Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. While these guys still produce (albeit Mo is a little shaky at times), there is no one else in the lineup who is putting up numbers. Bobby Abreu? Please. With his .228 batting average, no one has shrunk from the spotlight more. Jason Giambi? Right. The Juice Man is back on the DL, this time with torn tissue in his foot. Didn’t Giambi get the memo that steroid use can cause more injuries as players age?

A-Rod? What a joke. This guy can’t seem to avoid controversy, whether on the field or off. When is he going to realize that most people actually DON’T CARE what he has to say? He has to grab more attention, first by being seen in Toronto going to a restaurant, strip club, and hotel with a blonde woman who is not his wife, and then with his low-class actions in a game Wednesday where he shouted to distract Blue Jays third baseman Howie Clark so that he dropped a popup instead of making a critical out, and the Yankees won the game. Why am I not surprised that Rodriguez is unapologetic? His head is so far up his own behind that he has no idea what the line is between classy play and boorish play. Just goes to show that no amount of money can buy classiness. Of course, what he did is not technically illegal, and the Yanks did snap a five-game losing streak that night, but Yankee fans should be hanging their heads in embarrassment. This guy makes more money than anyone else to hit and field a baseball, and his cheesy maneuver is the only way he can think to help his team win on this night? Yeesh!

The Indians are still in control in the Central, although Detroit is still right there, and it’s way too soon to count out the Twins. I’m hoping the A’s can take Minnesota down a few notches in a series that begins tonight in Oaktown.

And the Athletics will have to start winning soon if they want to compete for a playoff spot. The Angels sit comfortably on top of the AL West at 11 games over .500, with Seattle in second and the A’s 5.5 games out and in third. I really hope that the Rangers don’t take their lousy 19–35 record out on new manager Ron Washington and fire him too soon. Wash will be a good manager, but he’ll need a year or two to settle in, especially with this club. Roster changes next year can only help. It was nice to see him in the opposing dugout on Tuesday when I attended the Rangers–A’s game—his first series back in town after he left the A’s third base coach position to take the manager’s job in Arlington.

Over in the National League East, the Mets are starting to pull away a bit from the Braves, even though they can’t beat Atlanta in a series. While I’d like nothing more than to see the Mets stomp all over the Braves, it may not matter at the end of the season if Atlanta can’t even get into the playoffs. Meanwhile the Amazin’s are actually on a better pace than last year and they haven’t even been fully healthy yet. We’ll see if they can keep up their stride—a bunch of guys are returning from the DL, but they have lost a few outfielders over the last couple games. If Carlos Beltran misses any significant time (he was pulled from the Giants–Mets game yesterday after a collision at first), the Mets’ offense may slow down. Of course, with Carlos Delgado and David Wright hitting well again, it may not!

I still chuckle to see the Brewers in first in the NL Central. The rest of the division is a bunch of sad sacks. While it’s an achievement for the Pirates and Cubs to be tied with the Cards for second at this point of the season, the other teams are only coming down to their level. The Cardinals look nothing like the team that won the Big Dance last year, and Houston just ended a 10-game losing streak. Cincinnati is plain bad again. This could be Milwaukee’s year to make the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

In the West, the Dodgers, Padres, and D-backs are in a virtual tie for first, and all are playing pretty well. The Giants are fading, at 5.5 games back—the Barry Freak Show will be the only big story coming from the city side of the bay this year—and the God Squad from Colorado is 6.5 behind. Speaking of the Giants, GM Brian Sabean must have read Ed’s column from May 30 on this page. Two days after he had another meltdown on the mound, closer Armando Benitez was traded away to the Florida Marlins for Randy Messenger. Bye-bye, Armando!

Over in the NBA, you’ve got to hand it to LeBron James. After the Detroit Pistons won the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, King James led Cleveland to three straight wins, including James’s 48-point, double-overtime masterpiece in Game Five. Even if the Cavaliers don’t advance, LeBron has finally shown what he’s got in the playoffs, and expectations will be higher from here on. He deserves credit for raising his game and carrying the team like the truly great ones can do.

Lastly, to all those who call Tim Duncan boring, I wish my team was that boring! After beating the Utah Jazz to advance to the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs have the chance for a fourth championship with Duncan, and for any who say he has no personality, I say, who cares? Duncan wins games, and off the court, he never gets into trouble. He is a surefire Hall of Famer, even if he retires right now. What difference does it make if he is lousy in front of the cameras, as long as he stays out of trouble and brings the trophy home?

1 comment:

Star said...

Yo Meat! I love your picture! Your comments about the nasty Yankee's and the sorry Sox fans totally hit home (pardon the pun). Go A's!