- How much will the ballparks, money and holes affect the races?
The Mets are a different team at home than they are on the road and you have to believe that the confidence the pitchers have in the ballpark holding fly balls in the yard and the solid defense they've shown all year long----especially in the outfield (Jason Bay is telling UZR where to shove their numbers)----is helping them accumulate their 17-9 home record. They're still walking too many hitters at home and on the road, but there's a difference between saying, "here it is, hit it" at Citi Field and at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
The Phillies bashers have no problem getting the ball out of any park, but there's a big difference between a fly ball that would leave the yard with plenty of room to spare in their bandbox and in a cavernous outfield like the ones at Citi Field or Petco Park in San Diego.
How is the National League fuster cluck going to be affected by the ballparks as the season moves along?
It certainly depends on the division and how well teams have been constructed to thrive at home and survive on the road. Up until now, the Mets have been embarrassing on the road (6-14); the wildness of the pitching staff has run up high pitch-counts and necessitated the overuse of the reliable relievers Fernando Nieve; Pedro Feliciano; and Francisco Rodriguez. Unless they can translate the home success and gap-to-gap terror for which their lineup is essentially built to any degree on the road, they're going to have trouble.
People are wondering aloud whether the Padres are for real. I say they are because they have a deep young starting rotation; a well-stocked bullpen; fine defense; and enough hitting with Adrian Gonzalez to win close games. They're going to need a power bat if they're serious about making a run, but the pitching will let them hang around in the Western Division and Wild Card races.
Although they've slumped lately, the Braves are loaded with pitching and their offense is still a question. The Cardinals slump has coincided----here's a shock----with Albert Pujols having an awful month of May. It's safe to say that Pujols has a blazing hot streak on the way and the Cardinals will be fine. The Reds have been a thousand times better offensively than I thought they would, but their pitching is a problem when you look at Aaron Harang's continued descent; the injury to Homer Bailey; and a bullpen that totes gasoline cans into games.
It's going to be an interesting summer for teams that have differing philosophies on building to their ballpark. The Phillies smartly brought in players who can hit the ball out of the park; they have the speed in the lineup to account for away games and this, more than any other area, is where they miss Jimmy Rollins.
These issues will dictate team strategy as all determine whether they're in the race or not (and the only teams that should legitimately bail on the season are the Pirates and Astros) and how they try to upgrade.
Which teams will chase Roy Oswalt and the Stone Cold Killer, Cliff Lee?
Would anyone look at the back of Carlos Lee's baseball card and say his awful start has more to do with the way the Astros have crashed and hope that a change-of-scenery will wake up his bat? He's making a lot of money ($18.5 million annually through 2012) and a team would presumably get him for nothing in terms of players just by agreeing to take the contract. Lee's going to hit.
What about Jose Guillen? He's in the last year of his contract and has 11 homers.
Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott of the Orioles? They're cheap and useful.
Is Kenny Williams going to blow up the White Sox? Would that make Paul Konerko available? Don't you think the Braves would love to have Konerko, who's in the last year of his contract?
With the National League all over the place and so many teams in the middle of everything, trading will be competitive and rumors will be wild as the summer hits. It's wide open; the ballparks; team holes; money; and how far they're willing to go to win immediately will be taken into account as moves are made----and there's a lot of help available...at a price.
- I think I'm paranoid and complicated...
...but that doesn't make me wrong.
Ken Davidoff of Newsday called me "delusional".
Jane Heller said I'm not delusional, that there were similarities, but it wasn't, in her opinion, lifted or plagiarized.
Others felt it was clearly obvious that it was nearly identical in gist and content. (And there actually are others----some need to be kept nameless because of their position; others with whom I have a love/hate relationship and won't tell me I'm right just to agree with me.)
I report, you decide.
I'm not a regular reader of Sherman----I think he's a cheap shot artist; nor do I read the rag for which he writes. You can decide on your own whether you think I have a case of having been, at the very least, a helpful element for his conclusions.
I honestly don't know and, in a dual-pronged bottom line: one, there's nothing I can do about it; and two, mine was posted first.
On that, there's no dispute and no argument.
Even those who hate me or are too dumb to understand what I'm saying know that Saturday comes before Tuesday...or do they?
Any and all opinions on this matter will be printed and considered without prejudice.
- Viewer Mail 5.26.2010:
Matt writes RE Red Sox bench players and Jeremy Hermida:
Paul, I think you left Hermida off the Sox list of bench guys, and he's actually come up with quite a few very big hits for them. Don't get me wrong, he's no world beater but the guy deserves some credit.
Matt's right; Hermida has gotten some big hits. He's struggled overall in Boston and has never lived up to the status of a first round pick as he was with the Marlins in 2002, but he's got some pop and is better than his currently weak batting average--.231; and OBP--.289. He does have 24 RBI.
The Red Sox have played very well lately, carried on their backs by the hot streak of Kevin Youkilis and good pitching.
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Francisco Rodriguez:
Does K-Rod's fights with people mean he cares? Or does it mean he's as annoying as I thought?
K-Rod's feisty and quirky.
Due to the public nature of the scuffle (and other memorable ones in recent years like Prince Fielder flinging Manny Parra around like a rag-doll; Miguel Cabrera and Scott Olsen; Joe Girardi and Olsen; and John Gibbons and Ted Lilly) is that these things happen with every team probably 50 times a year; they just happen out of the public eye and are either kept from the media or unreported. To me, this is a non-issue. They're children. They fight. Sometimes over toys; sometimes over tantrums.
Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE K-Rod and the NY Post:
K-Rod's fierceness is what I like about him... that and that nasty awkward motion.
Still, he makes a good case for NOT having HD-TV. I hate to hate on anyone, but dude is so ugly he's ooogly.
As for the plagiarism... do you really expect anything else from the NY Post?
If anything, the Mets could use more of what K-Rod's got.
"Ooogly"? Is he worse that Vicente Padilla in your eyes, Jeff?
I know it's the Post and I don't even know if Sherman did anything untoward, but I'm not going to sit quietly if there's such a striking similarity to what I wrote to what Sherman wrote three days later. I innovate, not imitate. I win one way or the other.
Joe writes RE Mark Shapiro:
Shapiro shouldn't be criticized for 2010, because they are rebuilding. Small market teams have to go through this much more so than large market teams. I picked them to finish poorly, understanding what they were doing. Shapiro shouldn't simply get a free pass just because, he should get it because they are exercising the plan they intended on going with, once they traded Lee and V-Mart. And again, it is the plan to rebuild for the future.
I have a problem someone getting credit when they do well, but a pass when they do poorly. You can take into account the intent before the season started and the payroll issues, but if they knew this was going to be a rebuilding year, then why sign Russell Branyan? Why not play Matt LaPorta every day to see what they've got?
While you and I may have picked them to finish poorly, there were many people in the media that had them as darkhorse contenders in the AL Central. I'm not giving a fan of him a break when others have been savaged based on divergent philosophies rather than results. The Indians are awful and Shapiro is their boss----he's responsible and warrants criticism.
- The Prince on the Podcast:
I have a Podcast appearance scheduled with Sal at SportsFanBuzz tomorrow. He keeps me on the reservation, but simultaneously lets me go off----it's the best of both worlds!!!
The Prince of New York.
Enter at your own risk...