Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.

Posted by Mike on Saturday, March 06, 2004

From Baseball to Golf...

Espn.com is reporting that Ken Venturi will release a book next month in which he accuses Arnold Palmer of cheating in the 1958 Masters. This is not fresh news and the situation is well known and documented. The fact of the matter is that Ken Venturi, who finished third behind Palmer by the two strokes gained through creative use of the rules, is still experiencing sour grapes 45 years later. The fact of the matter is that Palmer managed to get away with it and the Masters officials that year bungled the situation. These things happen and unless NCAA basketball is running the show then nothing is going to be done about it years down the line. It is nice to see that Venturi has managed to find a way to try to profit from the bitterness that has so obviously plagued him since then. Ken, get over it.

...And Back to Baseball

Spring training has officially gotten underway and I was able to watch most of the first four games that ESPN televised. It's good to finally see some "real" baseball being played after a particularly intense offseason. The reason I say "real" is that it tends to be that way for the first 2-3 innings but degenerates into batter #78 vs. pitcher #83 later in the game. Neither will play in the majors this year and some will be lucky to see any action next season. Some information and questions can be drawn from these games thought because from a fantasy baseball perspective they are must-see TV.

Hideo Nomo was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers on Tuesday. They have no offense to speak of but their starters can always be of some value on a fantasy team. Nomo underwent off-season surgery and will be slowly worked back to full strength. His fastball topped out in the mid-80s and he was pounded for a bunch of runs but he looked "rusty" more than he looked like he was "recovering." I think he's a safe late pick, especially because he resides in pitcher heaven.

Sample size aside, I saw one at-bat of Nomar's and it looked like he plans on resuming from where he had left off in the playoffs last year.

On the flip-side, Derek Lowe looked great. Last spring he had a cancer scare that prevented him from arriving in camp in the type of shape that he wanted to be in and he attributed that to his poor performance out of the gate. This season he has no distractions and less pressure because of the introduction of Curt Schilling to the rotation. Added to that is the defensive upgrade at second base from Todd Walker to Pokey Reese. Lowe should have a much better season. I for one am predicting about 15 wins and an ERA in the 3.50 range.

Odds and Ends

1. Honestly, I did not realize Sandy Koufax was still alive. I also knew that he had split his ties with the Dodgers last spring after the New York Post essentially accused him of being gay. The company that owned the New York Post also owned the Dodgers until the McCourt sale in January. All that aside, I don't understand why I though Koufax was dead at the same time that he was still in the news. Strange.

2. The Red Sox - Yankees game this Sunday is NOT a must-see event as Sean McAdam of Espn.com would suggest. The media would love for the game to mean something but it will not. I will be sure to avoid the news Sunday night when all they can talk about is which team made the "first strike." If the first strike is defeating a bunch of non-roster invitees then I can't wait to see how much press the "second strike" receives. Seriously now, what will the headline be Monday? "Outfielder #98 (NOBODY knows his name) for the Red Sox commits three errors en route to big inning and loss." Tide-turning.

3. Josh Beckett took a paycut after his World Series performance last season. I don't know the terms or the circumstances but it sounds like he got a raw deal.

4. Espn.com reports that, "New York Mets outfielders Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer were involved in a dispute with two local residents outside a restaurant near the team's spring training complex." Yes, this is the same Karim Garcia who beat a Boston bullpen worker senseless in last season's playoffs. Looks like somebody has a case of roid-rage.

5. While on the topic of steroids, I cannot avoid talking about Gene Orza. Does anyone else think that the MLBPA has grown far too strong? The MLBPA will likely come under fire from fans, the commissioner, and if this situation is heading where I think it might be then the federal government might have something to say. Gene Orza is supposed to be protecting the players and their rights but instead he is helping to bring negative press and is not addressing the concerns of "clean" baseball players. This could be fun to watch when it blows up in the MLBPA's face.

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