I have been watching a ton of baseball this season; MLB TV is one of the greatest gifts a baseball junkie could ever get especially with all the Cubs games being on during the day, I get to watch them at work. So, I thought I would offer up some thoughts now that we're at the end of April.
- My first slam, oddly enough, is actually on MLB TV. Everything about this internet channel is great. The games look good especially if you have a flat screen computer monitor. They have a lot of good baseball talk shows that make me happy I don't have to rely on the sinking ship that is ESPN for all of my news. But the fact that the blackout rule still applies really irks the hell out of me. I guess if you're in a city where you have a team, and the home games get blacked out; fine. That's always been the way it is, but I think if you're plunking down 100 bucks for this thing you should be able to watch everything. But when I'm in Nashville, where we have no MLB team, and we still get the blackouts, that's outrageous. And it's for the Braves and Reds home games, and occassionally the Baltimore Orioles. What the hell is that about? You can still listen to the games on the radio station, but that's a much cheaper package. If I'm paying to actually watch the games, then silly me, I think I should be able to watch whatever game I fucking feel like.
- The Baltimore Orioles - Will people start actually giving this team the credit they freaking deserve. It's hard to get any props in a division with the Yankees and Redsox, but the Bluejays still manage. And I don't mean to piss off a bunch of Canadians, but the Orioles are the better team. They have a solid pitching staff all the way around; they have a line-up that can compete with any team on a give night. And I realize I'm saying this while they're in the midst of a bit of a slump. But mark my words, this team will prevail a lot better than anyone expects. They'll win at least 85 games and I wouldn't be shocked if they won between 90-92. I don't know if that will win the division, but I think they are going to cause a lot more trouble than anyone will ever admit too. And when they do, I guess we can all say wow, the Orioles were suprising. Although, I still can't figure out how a good team can be suprising. But whatever.
- The Detroit Tigers - Are these guys ever going to get to play three games in a row without weather affecting them. I swear at the end of May these guys are going to have played 30 games. And I'm sick of all the talk that the scheduling needs to be better early on. This is something we can easily call a fluke. You know why? Because in the history of baseball we've never had a day where seven games have been postponed like they were two Sundays ago. So, there...FLUKE!!!
- Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds - First off, I have to give Sosa props. He might not have the great average, but he is still killing the freaking ball, and I have to give him a shout out for that. He had his 63rd multi-homer game today, and broke a record by hitting a homerun out of his 44th ballpark today in Cleveland. The only two he hasn't hit them out of that exist right now are the new Bush Stadium and RFK, but since he hasn't played in the National League in 3 seasons, I think we can give him a pass there. Bonds, Bonds, Bonds. You know what? He's going to break the record; it's almost physically impossible for him not to. And no one will care, and that' s fine. I'm kind of on the fence about it. And if Hank Aaron doesn't want to be there, his perogative. But the MLB Commissioner? Sorry, Selig, you are a bigger asshole than I ever thought if you won't sit your freaking whiny ass down and watch him break Aaron's record. What does that say about baseball? Think about someone besides yourself you pollitically motivated piece of shit.
- The Chicago Cubs - I think I speak for all my fellow Cub Fanatics out there when I quote James Dean from the great "Rebel Without a Cause": "YOU'RE TEARING ME APART!!!" Seriousl, I had very little faith in them to begin with. Before the season started I was making comments all the time about how they spent 300 million for a fourth place finish, but still, I really had at least a little hope. They are dead last in a mediocre division with a paltry record of 8-13, and I've seen 19 of these games, so I know what the hell I'm talking about here. My favorite comment about the Cubs is that the hitting will come, the hitting will come. Well, you know what they're hitting the ball pretty well right now, just not all at the same time.
Lou Pinella, who I have nothing but love for, is being misjudged as well. People keep talking about how Pinella likes small ball, and that's what he's trying to bring to the Cubs. But I'm wondering, when the hell has Lou Pinella ever liked small ball? He had at one point a team with Griffey and A-Rod on it, not to mention Randy Johnson. Plus, most of his managing career has been in the American League where small ball has never been a hot topic. And to top it off the Cubs aren't even succeeding at this whole "small ball" theory that everyone wants to congratulate them on because they're 8-13. Let me give you a prime example of one of the many games that they could have and should have won. The other night they were up 3-0 on the Brew Crew in the 5th, I believe. Lee is on second with one out and Ramirez is up to bat. Lee decides on a 1-2 count he's going to try and steal third, and he gets thrown out. Aramis Ramirez takes the next pitch out of the park. Why is this important. Because the Brewers ended up tying the game at 4-4 in the 8th, and ended up winning the game in the 12th on a Prince "I Really Fucking Hate You" Fielder homer. Lee stays on base like he should with a power hitter like Aramis up to bat, and the game is 5-4 before it even goes to extra innings and the Cubs win the game.
And this whole theory that the bullpen has improved. What the hell are people smoking? You know how I know this? Because the starting pitching, with the exception of Wade "Why Are You Even on the Team" Williams, has been pretty damn impressive. Rich Hill only gave up one run in his first 30 innings pitched, and has since only given up 3 more. Ted Lilly is lights out right now with no run support; Zambrano has never had a good April, so nothing shocking there. And hell, even Jason Marquis is 2-1 with a respectable E.R.A. But yet you're still 8-13; therefore, you know what, the bullpen is awful. This team is pretty horrid. And yes I agree, that this is the type of team that can go on a 10 or 12 game win streak, and in that division, 85 wins will probably get you the title, but they can't even win more than 8 of their first 21, so tell me how that factors out to 85. We'll see, but I have a bad feeling about this.