Around the bases: Tito, Tigers and Trials
Posted by athomeatfenway on March 7, 2013
The New Idiots
There is an interesting story by Albert Chen in the March 4 issue of Sports Illustrated about the new look Cleveland Indians. Chen tags them the strangest, most fascinating camp in Arizona.
Nick Swisher twirls a baton, hugs groundskeepers and bubbles with enthusiasm in the outfield. A former fireballing first-rounder named Scott Kazmir, now skinny and wan, seeks a roster spot. Daisuke Matsuzaka, the 32 year old Japanese hurler who once elicited $103 Million from John Henry’s coffers, is present. There is also Jason Giambi, the 42 –year-old former MVP who once had p.e.d.-related tumors removed from his privates. There is Michael Bourne, the free agent speedster that should have been grabbed long before the Tribe got him. And there is Mark Reynolds, a 1B/3B/DH man that could K 220 times, but might also deposit ball over fence 40 times.
And this is Terry Francona’s new team. There he is, stuffed into an Indian uniform and smiling broadly on the SI contents page.
After going 68-94 last year, the Tribe could rise with Francona and a new bunch of idiots.
There will be a happy clubhouse. There will be loosey goosey players hitting it, catching it, throwing it.
Go Tito. Go Tribe.
Today comes the news from Paul Doyle @ The Hartford Courant that former Red Sox top prospect, Ryan Westmoreland, has retired at age 22. He has twice had brain stem surgery to correct a cavernous malfunction and it has been determined that it is impossible for Ryan to continue his dream of a MLB career. The kid was said to have a tremendous upside although fate only gave him 60 pro games at Lowell in 2009 (.296, 7, 35 with 15 doubles). There is a good message in the following words from this young Rhode Islander for anyone who has taken a hit in life:
“I believe that there is a plan for me that will utilize my experiences, however painful some may have been, to do something special in my life. It is time for me to find that path, and to pursue it with the same focus and effort that I pursued the dream of playing professional baseball.”
Amen, Ryan. And thanks to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal for his piece on Westmoreland yesterday.
Be assertive, Jerry.
The Chi Sox circulated a new video to their fan base this week, the intent being to fire up the bugs for 2013. “To make an impact” featured hitting, throwing, running, sliding and leaping action from Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko while Hawk Harrelson makes the call. Other than praising off season workouts, I’m not sure what they are saying. The 85-77 White Sox finished a smidge behind the World Series bound Tigers. I hope the Chicago players shake up the Central Division better than their marketing folk are. Compare ”Impact” to “162 Chances to Restore the Faith”, the 2013 tag line of the last place Red Sox. Maybe take a Dale Carnegie class, Mr. Reinsdorf?
Young Tigers rising from the ashes
2013 is the 45th anniversary of the 1968 Detroit Tigers World Championship, the first Detroit crown since 1945. The Kitty Kats went to camp in Lakeland after having been eliminated by the Red Sox on the last day of the 1967 season. Ernie Harwell asked 26 year old Bill Freehan about the team’s chances in 1968. He answered, “I am convinced we can do it. We have some real good young talent. Our young guys went through something last year that they had never been through. I’ll tell you what, if we can stay healthy, yes, we can win it this year.” Freehan led his team to the ultimate victory, becoming an All Star, a Gold Glover, and finishing 2nd in the MVP voting only to team mate Denny McLain.
Keep the faith.