Saturday, March 15, 2008

10 questions I'm looking forward to hearing this baseball season

This is a list that has little to do with the play on the field. The best drama the sport has created over the last five years has been found in the courtroom, not the diamond. With that in mind:

1. What new phrases Bud Selig will come up with to explain the steroid issue?: Selig has used phrases like "sensitive issue" in the past. He's was also stuck on the word "eradicate," saying he was "not going to rest" until the league got steroids out of the sport. He must be tired. A few months ago, he used the term "meaningful strides" to describe the game's progress. He's not going away anytime soon, so I might as well enjoy his interesting perspective on the past and future, even if I won't do so in a way he would likely appreciate.

2. How many times will Richard Justice try to convince me Bud Selig is the greatest commissioner the sport has ever had?: I like Richard as a writer and reporter, but his almost hero-worship of Selig is hard to accept.

It ended up being a great vent piece for me, as I laid out a counter argument. The article later showed up on the Sporting News site. I read it again and still was toubled by it. But this is an issue I'll just have to agree to disagree with him on. And because the issue with Clemens and Bonds won't go away, I wonder if the the topic will come up again.

3. What team will create a media firestorm by asking about Barry Bonds?: Seriously, if Tampa Bay can get media coverage, imagine what happens when a relevant team calls?

4. Speaking of which, has there ever been a better case for contraction than the Devi-- wait ... Rays? Just Rays. For god's sake. The name alone means they'll lose at least 90 games this year.

5. How many days until one of the ESPN announcers asks if A-Rod is a true Yankee?: This was beaten to death last season. As long as he's wearing the uniform and on the roster, I'd say that's a damn good sign.

6. What will be the number of times Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro says the word "market" when discussing potential moves? Of course, it will be harder this year after the Browns went on a spending binge and the Cavs have the third highest payroll in the NBA. Mark should just speak the truth: The Indians can't get big stars because the fans don't buy enough tickets.

7. Who wins in a battle between Reds manager Dusty Baker and Reds' announcer and Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman?: It's true, the two aren't arguing yet, but Brennaman's penchant for telling it the way he sees it will probably irritate the Reds manager at some point, especially when the season goes downhill. And it will. Remember Steve Stone?

8. What is the most annoying thing about the Red Sox?: I think they have officially surpassed the Yankees as far as the team I hate most. And I still hate the Yankees. But last year's World Series title put me over the edge.

9. How many times will we hear about what a great guy Andy Pettitte is?: Everyone loved Pettitte for telling the truth. Some even called him a role model. But while the confessed cheater pitches to praise, the clean players play on. Maybe one of them will admit steroid use, just so they can get the positive press.

10. How will the Indians screw it up this year?: Sixty years and counting. It's nothing major in the grand scheme of life. But after watching this team, you just start to wonder what will keep the team from a title. It's always something. People have every reason to be positive about the Indians, but I'm a little shy to get on board. 3-to-1 vs. Boston with an ace on the hill and the Rockies waiting. If you can't get it done then, when?



At 11:33 AM , Blogger Vince said...

Don't you mean 60 years and counting?

At 9:02 PM , Blogger Dingo J said...

The Indians comment has a bit of ignorance with it. NFL and NBA share their tv contracts equally among all the clubs. Therefore the Browns and the Cavs have roughly the same revenue from tv as every other team in their respective league. In the MLB this is not true. Bigger markets -- Yanks and Red Sox -- have much bigger revenue streams because of the high price they receive from the local market TV revenues. (Ad time in New York is more expensive then ad time in Cleveland because your ad reaches more people in New York adn comapnies are willing to pay more for that) The high market teams don't have to share this (directly, anyway i.e. payroll tax) with any other team. Therefore, it is not a matter of how many tickets they sell but instead their location in a smaller media market.

At 7:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dingo, this blog is full of ignorance.

I'd say that your "experiement", as noted in your blog's headline, has failed.

This is terrible.

At 7:34 AM , Anonymous Erik said...

Maybe the Indians didn't "screw it up" last year. Maybe last year is as good as they're ever going to be.

The Indians *could* have won the World Series last year, but they were beaten by a superior team with more playoff experience and homefield advantage. Odds are, every year the Indians are going to have to fight against teams with deeper pockets, more talent and more experience to get to the World Series and try to win it.

The deck is simply stacked against the Tribe. Their best is only going to be good enough if teams with more resources don't perform at their best. Unfortunately, the Indians learned firsthand what having a couple of playoff-tested aces, a lineup full of clutch bats and homefield advantage can do for a team going up against a opponent that has none of the above.

The sad fact remains that the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and their big-market ilk not only have more playoff experience than the Indians, they can go out and get even more at the trade deadline, whereas the Indians probably can't, at least beyond an ancillary piece like Kenny Lofton.

Maybe the Indians aren't stubbing their toes and constantly screwing over the fans by not bringing home the hardware. Maybe they're just going up against teams that are richer, deeper and just plain better. After all, water is supposed to find its level over the course of 162 games and playoffs, isn't it?

The Little Engine That Could pipe dream of winning a World Series with a $70 million payroll is just that. You want the prize? Spend the money. The Indians can't.

At 12:24 PM , Blogger Joel said...

The Rays will be above .500 this year. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


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