Thursday, February 17, 2005
Uh huh. It's that time of year. The time of year when thoughts all across the country (and around the globe) turn to greener, diamond-shaped pastures; when old friends of close scrutiny make sure no one's forgotten them over the winter; when close scrutiny makes itself some bemused new friends; when we start realizing we have to come to terms with fat men who wear tank tops and hats that say 'Whiteboy' on them; when hope that something like a change of location can result in a change in personality springs eternal; when Sportscenter starts to be interesting again; when pictures of everyone's favorite Captain in various states of dress (or relative undress) do the rounds of every single sportsblog on the web*.
Yes, with the tantalizing hint of light in the sky at 6:30 pm, and the tantalizing hint of warmth on the air**, with the reporting of pitchers and catchers to sunny spots all over the southern bit of the US, Spring Training '05 has begun.
There are just a couple of things you need to know this early in the season.
1. The Boston Red Sox are DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPIONS.
a) Curt Schilling will smack you down, even on the internet. Also, he doesn't like Jose Canseco's book, so don't bother getting it.
b) You don't want to mess with Wade Miller. He looks like he could kill, kill, KILL right on the spot. And this is him in a good mood.
c) To a team of dubious cranial/facial hair decisions and dubious fashion statements we can now add dubious body art. Some say worst tattoos ever, although personally I think that one that's been doing the internet rounds of the explicitly gay mermen is markedly worse.
d) Jay Payton: Officially cute.
e) Keith Foulke-ites: My internet friends are pioneers of Red Sox obsession. I am so proud of them. Screw the long ball, chicks dig the pin-point slow change-up.
edit: OK, too good to pass up, I was cruising SoSH, and John Henry popped up to say a few things. Guys, John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, says 'LOL'. Life is awesome sometimes.
2. The Detroit Tigers are DEFENDING NOT THE WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL (thanks Arizona and Kansas City!).
a) Bobby Higginson is a creepy fucker. Exhibit the first. Exhibit the second. Yes, that second one is Higgy with a U of M co-ed. At a frat party. She might be younger than I am. Way to go, Higgs, you're the man.***
b) Troy Percival is so happy to be in Detroit that not only did he immediately cancel every other city on his offseason tour after visiting here, he turned up at spring training early, the first guy to show up, actually.
c) Ugueth Urbina, despite the number of bullpen arms picked up, is still on the team for now. The Dynamic Hugging Duo remains temporarily intact.
d) Carlos Pena: Officially cute.
e) All Star Game 2005, Superbowl 2006-- it's all happening here, bee-yotch. Natch, I'll be back in Boston for the summer by the time the All Star Game rolls around. My life is awesome like that.
In somewhat vaguely related news, today I found myself in Borders, digging around for another Neal Stephenson book to read (go read Zodiac, all of you. All of you). I found one, and was wending my way to the check-out counter, when a glint of shiny red type sitting on one of those 'New Paperback' tables caught my eye. It was only the one book. Clearly not a new release, just a book that someone misplaced and left lying there, waiting to snare an innocent like me.
"Pick me uupppppp. Buy meeeee."
"No. I don't want you. I don't need you. I have this huge book in my hand here. I'm in the middle of a lovely Charles Dickens novel right now. I have all the books I need."
"You know you want me. You've wanted to read me for ages now."
"Yes. No. Maybe. Doesn't matter. I don't even care, you're about the A's."
"Oh please, you've been a semi-fan of the A's even before you started this obsessive sports writing crap. You can't hide from me."
"No! *sob* It's true, god, they're American League, they compete against my boys and, against all reason, I kind of like them. I am so ashamed."
"You know you like Billy Beane. He's just like Theo Epstein. And he gave that great interview over at Athletics Nation. I know you were going nuts over that."
"Noooooooo not the Billy Beane/Theo Epstein card! I'll never cave! Never!"
"Oh, please, you were seriously considering buying Aces when it came out in softcover. At least you can make a case for reading me."
Kids, I picked the book up.
Then I saw another book, on a New Paperbacks table next to it. Also the only one of its kind there, obviously misplaced. Obviously someone wants me to just set fire to my bank account.
Game Time, by Roger Angell.
"You call yourself a baseball fan of a literary bent and you haven't read anything more than excerpts by me? God, Beth would be so ashamed."
I bought that one too.
Something like this happens every single time I go into Borders. I should just not be allowed within a 10-foot radius of that store for the rest of the semester. But since I have lecture in the Michigan Theater every Thursday (it's right across the street), the temptation to just go in for a quick look around is too, well, tempting. I am weak.
Oh, and if you're here from the Detroit Tiger Weblog, hi, welcome to the asylum. You won't find stuff here that you find on Billfer's site, by which I mean things like 'intelligent analysis' and 'interviews with ownership' and 'numbers'. I'm dead chuffed to be mentioned in the same breath (typed sentence) as Bat Girl, though. I feel it lends me a gauzy air of validity. I mean, guys, she writes in the third person. Clearly, a whole other level of writing entirely.
I close for the night with wishes of good health and speedy recovery for Tedy Bruschi, who was hospitalized earlier today with a mild stroke. God. Please be OK, Tedy, every single one of us is pulling for you.
Photo via Boston.com.
*Well, the Red Sox ones, anyways.
**Lies, it snowed like a bitch today. Thanks, Michigan.
***The guy in the background is some hockey player, but honestly, who cares? OK, it's Chris Chelios. There. No one cared.