Monday, February 28, 2011

Razing Arizona & a Rocky Road for the future

With one out, a guy on third and the no.3 hitter up, the team up to bat must score. It's imperative; but far too often that runner doesn't score. Presumaby the team's best hitter, the no.3 guy will drive in that run with either 1) a hit, 2) a sac-fly, 3) a grounder to the right side of the infield, or 4) a squeeze bunt. The fourth option is literally NEVER attempted, although its probability for success may be greater than all of the other options, especially when ahead in the count. The typically bloated egos of both manager and hitter are no doubt partly responsible for their unwillingness or inability to pull of the squeeze play -- it's not a play that exhibits masculine prowess -- but there's another weakness on their part that seems even more disappointing. The fear of danger and deviance.

A failed squeeze play is just as exciting as one that succeeds. But the chances of a squeeze succeeding in the right situation are no more risky or prone to fail than any of the other scenarios outlined above. But for some reason, sports fans are quicker to chastise strategic guile and daredevilry and abnormality than we are to condemn conservative decision making when it fails.

When applying for that mlb "dream" job, they demand you send in a video clip answering some questions, which I'm unable and too lazy to provide. The job's fine print reads like a probation sentence; but watching and commenting on all that baseball could be crazy and fun, especially if they pay up big. One question on the app asks: "What will be the biggest MLB storyline of 2011"? To which I proclaimed 2011 to be the year we initiate a Fans Union. Shit, the timing couldn't be better!

Watched the Rox archived spring training opener yesterday in its entirety, and there were several interesting things to note...

1. This Salt River facility at Talking Stick is perhaps the most vainglorious land seizure of Indian territory for white man's recreation in recent American history. A casino, shopping village and golf course surround the excessively large baseball wonderland, providing several more reasons we should all burn that feckin' state to the ground.

2. The taboo of building white man's bullshit on Indian burial ground -- like cutting down a magical fairy tree in Ireland -- has long been an effective myth in preventing the objectification of the earth for capitalist ends. Those who fail to heed these mystical warnings are punished by having two of our star players collide in foul territory on the first batter in the first inning of the first spring training game ever on this field. Let that play not be forgotten, as it no doubt portends future disasters of cosmological proportions.

3. After grounding into a d.p. and moving sluggishly behind the dish for a couple innings, Chris Iannetta further demonstrated he's not our best catching option. Add to this an amazing at-bat by Jordan Pacheco, some great footwork and pick-off attempts from McKenry, and the promising past of Mauer back-up, Morales, the Rox have plenty of better options to go to this year, which could make our catcher not a weakness but an asset.

4. Dexter Fowler looked good from both sides of the plate and hit the ball hard both times. Top 3 defensive centerfielder in the game could be in for a solid season at the plate, which would be HUGE.

5. Johnny Herrera continues to show he's got the best batting eye on the team, good speed, and a solid glove at 3B. Goodbye Strikeout Stewart, you and Iannetta need to be traded for a young firstbaseman.

6. Good to see the vets put a HURT on the ball in each at-bat: Wiggy, Lopez and Jacobs all looked mean and confident up there.

With that said, here's my immodest proposal to J.T. for 2011 --

Suggested Rox opening day lineup:

1. Herrera - 3b
2. Fowler - CF
3. CarGo - LF
4. Tulo - SS
5. Lopez - 2b
6. Helton - 1b
7. Pacheco - C
8. S. Smith - RF
9. Jimenez - P

The third base coach is flashing signs to the no.3 hitter who, out of habit, looks back with feigned seriousness as if there's even a remote chance the squeeze is on. Nobody in the stadium expects it. The aging hot cornerman is standing well behind the bag. The man on third gets a very healthy lead down the line...the pitcher decides to work from the windup...staring straight ahead, focusing on the batter as he's been told so many times.

The runner anticipates the exact moment when the pitcher will initiate a series of subtle and coordinated moves -- looking down at the very instant his glove starts to rise upward while his weight rocks backward ever so slightly -- and he's off! In a sprint down the baseline against a 90mph fastball, with only the pitcher's windup giving him a small headstart. Is it a straight steal of home!? Can't be! Impossible! And the pitch comes in at 85mph right down the middle...our no.3 hitter in his head knows how to square up to bunt, but his body refuses.

This watermelon looks so juicy, just floating in there all big and round and right down the pipe! Give it a hack and hit it out of the park; it's worth two runs instead of only one. Simple fucking math! Adios, pelota....

And then....