Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brain Junk - 5/18

Several random thoughts that I've had in mind but that did't seem to warrant a lengthy post.....

  • I decided when my Grandfather passed away in January that one of the things I was going to do to honor him was to "be a Cardinal fan" for 2011. It isn't a stretch -- I am a Cardinal fan, but typically would answer the question of favorite team with "Yankees". While I'm less invested in these Yanks than I have been any team since the mid 80's, it isn't like I just flipped the switch and dumped the team from my sports consciousness. But this current Posada/Jeter mess is just yet another example of what's become harder and harder to like about the team. My original plan was to write something about how tough it is when your longtime favorites no longer live up to the image you have of them. That has been both Jeter and Posada this year, and things came to a head with Jorge on Saturday when he asked out of the lineup. Rather than try to write something, I'll direct you to this article by Matthew Leach, which is far better than anything I could come up with. I couldn't help think of Ozzie Smith when I read this. I fondly recall the 1996 playoffs, mainly as the year that the newest Yankee dynasty was born, but the Cardinals were also one win away from treating me to a World Series featuring my two favorite teams. Watching that series very nearly rekindled my passion for the Cards the way the Yankees victory did my passion for the Bronx Bombers (before you say "fairweather fan", I'll remind you that this was still early days after the '94 strike, and it took a while for me to come back). I had actually lost some of my love for the Cards as TLR ran Ozzie out of town in favor of Royce Clayton. Didn't matter that it was time...this was Ozzie, and I STILL revert back to my 10 year old self at the mere mention of the man's name. I'm quite a bit older now and the attachment to Jeter and Posada is different, but it is still sad to see them both decline as they have. I still think Jeter makes something of the season, but Posada seems past done.
  • Ok, a little longer than I intended....So just when I think the Cardinals are looking like a contender in the NL, they go to Cicni and get swept. The Reds took a bit to find themselves, but they seem to be rolling now. And as the weather heats up, so do their bats....they have the potential to be a very formidable team -- especially if they make a few solid moves at the deadline. Walt Jocketty has a habit of making shrewd moves at the right time.
  • Speaking of the Reds, I think this has the potential to become one of the best rivalries in baseball this year. Dusty Baker and TLR don't like each other and that has definitely spilled over onto the field. There seems to be some little extra curricular thing that pops up every time they play. Hopefully it doesn't turn ugly like the fisticuffs last summer, but there's no doubt that there will be an abundance of drama.
  • Slight diversion from baseball....How much fun was it watching the Bulls blow out the Heat on Sunday? Loved every second of it. I still think the Heat win the series, but definitely rooting hard for the Bulls.
  • I've referred to the Cardinals as contenders in a few posts now. If that is to be believed, then something needs to be done to address the defense. I think some of it is just bad luck, but the fact remains that they allow more unearned runs all but one or two other teams. That is never a recipe for success.
  • Has Tony LaRussa ever met an outfielder that he didn't think was better suited playing 2B? But, good to get Craig's bat in the lineup.
  • Interleague play is almost here. I used to love it, but now my usual response is just "meh". I really think the novelty has worn off. For all the excitement of a team like the Cubs making their first trip to Fenway in over 90 years, or the Yankees coming to Wrigley for only the second time since the 1940's (didn't look that up, might even be 30's...yes, sometimes I'm too lazy for my own good), most of these series are of the ho hum variety. Even the cross town/cross state rivalries seem watered down. It'd be one thing if you had a situation where all the teams involved were at least mediocre. I really think MLB needs to cut the geographic rivalries down to one series per year. Or, given that you'll never convince an owner that it is good to give up the gate for those games, make it a 4 game series with 2 home games each. And then that's it for the year. Sure we'll still be stuck with that classic Padres/Mariners grudge match, but at least you restore some of the novelty to the event for the ones that fans do care about.
That's all the time I'll waste for today. Thanks for reading....

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