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A little break between now and Game 2, so here is some (mostly) non-Jays material to ponder:

Small-sample sizes are fun, and one cannot get much smaller than one game, but yesterday's A's-Orioles opener was all too familiar for A's fans: high pitch counts for Barry Zito and the opposing pitchers, and a lack of timely hitting for the green-n-gold. Combine this with Bobby Crosby's back woes, Rich Harden's blister woes, and the general misery known as existence, and you can forgive A's fans for being dour today. At least they can take pride in the fact their home stadium is so lovely. Oh, never mind. Back to reading Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. That'll cheer me up!

Further up the coast, Richie Sexson's two home runs were as welcome to Mariner fans as a rainy day in Seattle. Yes, you heard me. As welcome as a rainy day in Seattle. We're in a drought, don't you know? Oh, yes. Sexson. Advice to fantasy owners? Sell high.

So Jeremy Bonderman is a trendy breakout candidate this year, and it's not hard to see whay. He strikes me as being comparable to Bret Saberhagen, with a bit more juice on his fastball and a touch less command. Of course, Saberhagen had won a Cy Young by the time he was Bonderman's age, so it's an imperfect comparison, to say the least. Zack Greinke is a natural comp to Saberhagen, but Greinke doesn't throw as hard, and I'm not sure Saberhagen ever threw a 68 MPH curve ball. One of my favourite things about the Bill James books in the early 1990s was his "most similar player" feature. For Kirby Puckett (and a few others I can't recall), he couldn't offer one. I suspect, when it's all said done, that Greinke will be one of those players. Not so much in the numbers, because one can always find statistical comparisons, but in his style -- in the way he pitches and carries himself on the mound.

I find it hard to resist the urge to comment on the games I'm watching live, because obviously the news is dead the second it hits the airwaves, but within five minutes I saw: 1) Jason Varitek hit a game-tying home run against Mariano Rivera; 2) Cesar Izturis hit a lead-off home run against Jason Schmidt; 3) Derek Jeter hit a game-winning home run against Keith Foulke. The NCAA men's basketball tournament is rightly praised for being one of the greatest spectacles in sports, but baseball has no shortage of drama. And it's daily! Woohoo! (And Juan Encarnacion hitting a grand slam against John Smoltz? Yup. Anything is possible, eh?)

I was subjected to the Devil Rays feed yesterday, and their announcers were pretty happy with Chris Singleton. Ok, so every home-team announcing crew pimps their own, stiffish qualities or not from the pimpees. And Ok, I know I'm a bitter fellow who is not often happy. But if the day ever comes when I'm happy with Chris Singleton being anywhere near my favourite team, something has gone horribly wrong. As I alluded to on the game thread yesterday, is Singleton really a better option than Michael Restovich?

A dozen or so Fearless Predictions, in no particular order of certitude:

1) David Ortiz will hit 50 home runs
2) Randy Johnson will finish with an E.R.A. higher than 4.00 (yes, I realize I picked him to win the AL Cy Young -- call it a change of heart)
3) Milton Bradley will finish with a lower OPS than Eric Byrnes
4) The Indians will win fewer than 75 games
5) Adrian Beltre will out-homer Jose Valentin by 15 (sorry, Gleeman)
6) Vernon Wells will hit 38 home runs, two fewer than Carlos Delgado
7) Jason Lane will have a higher slugging percentage than J. D. Drew -- and play in 40 more games
8) Miguel Batista will lead the American League in saves
9) Wait, I'm sorry. I meant BLOWN saves
10) Oh, forget it, I really meant that he'll be starting by July
11) The hell with it, he'll save 34 games
12) Scott Podsednik will hit .300, steal 75 bases, the White Sox will win the AL Central, and Jayson Stark will claim Podsednik is the MVP
13) A smarmy blogger will predict that Jayson Stark will vote for an unworthy MVP candidate

Opening Day(ish) Mini-briefs | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Chuck - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#109311) #
Carlos Delgado collected 2 RBI in his 2nd AB as a Marlin.

John Smoltz may be back in the rotation but lasted only 1.2 innings, just as if he were still a reliever. This has to be the year that the Braves finally fall. C'mon, an outfield with Mondesi and Jordan? No amount of voodoo can survive that.

Ron - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#109312) #
- I'm pretty sure TB is the only team that's going to have an opening day crowd of under 30,000.

- JJ Hardy looked good yesterday.

- How about that HR slugfest at Coors yesterday. I wonder how many HR's Bonds would hit if he played for the Rockies (assuming he was healthy and didn't get pitched around)? I'd say he would have a legit shot at hitting 90+ dingers in a season.
Lefty - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#109318) #
There doesn't seem to be any reports coming out regarding Crosby's back. I take it, thats not a good sign?
Andrew K - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#109324) #
I'd say he would have a legit shot at hitting 90+ dingers in a season.

I'm not sure that anything to do with him is legit, nor has been for some years.

Chuck - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#109325) #
The Delgado vs. Jorge Sosa match-up has come early this season. The result? Not a homerun, just a double.
BCMike - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#109326) #
Hey Gitz, I've got a question for you since you are in Seattle. If you had approximately $100 US for tickets to a weekend series at Safeco, what seeting combination would you choose?

I was thinking Friday night and Saturday afternoon in the left field bleachers, and closing it out with $50 lower box seats for Sunday afternoon.

I've never been to Safeco, but I'm hoping to make it this year. Any tips? :)
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#109327) #
I love these things. The Larry King approach to column-writing is one I've ripped off myself many times. But Gitz, even if RJ has an ERA over 4.00, he might still finish 22-10.

Oh, and this:
Back to reading Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure.
I can only assume you have a graphic novel of that overly longish slag, one involving screenshots of an unclothed Kate Winslet from the movie, title shortened to just "Jude" for marketing/PR reasons.

CaramonLS - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#109328) #
Too bad about Smoltz, after this spring he was talked about as a big Cy Young candidate, and of course still might be, but got knocked around.

Guess you gotta get your bad ones out of you early... Maybe that means Gus comes out here today and gets us a big W.
CaramonLS - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#109330) #
Hey Ron, how many HRs do you think VW would be dinging at coors?

Seriously think how many times we heard this:

"Wells hits it to Deep CF, XXXXXX Settles under it, Inning over.
Chuck - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#109331) #
Not sure who saw Smoltz as a Cy Young candidate. I would think there would be a great deal of skeptisism about his ability to log enough innings to even be considered.
CaramonLS - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#109332) #
After his incredible spring there were quite a few sports writers considering it.

Ron - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#109333) #
"Hey Ron, how many HRs do you think VW would be dinging at coors?"

Taking into consideration the past 2 seasons, I would guess around 40-45 dingers.

kpataky - Tuesday, April 05 2005 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#109427) #
I won't buy most of these predictions, sorry.
Gitz - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:26 AM EDT (#109537) #
I really wish you would buy them. I could use the cash.

But it's OK. It's a lot more fun predicting wild and crazy stuff than saying "Mark Teixeira will have a breakout year." That's crazy talk!
robertdudek - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:33 AM EDT (#109541) #
I'll take prediction #13. In fact - it's already come true! What do I win?
Gitz - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 03:18 AM EDT (#109549) #
As usual, your prize is my ever-lasting love. And don't worry if you think Craig B. still has it in a little box; there's plenty of Gizzi love to go around.

daryn - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#109556) #
I'm hearingl lofty predictions for the record this year.

Last year was what 67 wins?
I'm going with 75 this year
3RunHomer - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 09:06 AM EDT (#109559) #
I'm terribly distressed that there has been no thread covering the BBFL drafts. Oh for the exciting days of yesteryear when fantasy baseball really meant something ...
Opening Day(ish) Mini-briefs | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.