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Things Read in Other Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 03.20.10


Howdy sports fans. How are your brackets doing? Mine are atrocious. I've already lost a Final Four team, one Elite Eight team, and two from the Sweet Sixteen. With the first round done and done, I'm rocking 24 out of 32 points. My knowledge of college hoops are fairly rudimentary, and I tend to favor teams that I'm familiar with (read: most ACC teams), and I'm not going to pretend like I'm a bracketologist by any means (Is that like the nerdy college hoops fan equivalent of sabermetricians?), and freely admit that my bracket is a huge crap shoot in the end. I did awesome last year, nailing all the Final Four teams, including Michigan State, and the title game, winning a small pool, but it doesn't look like I'll be repeating such honors this year.

Anyway, enough about the sports nuts' one-month affair with hoops, because it's getting to that point in the more important Spring Training, that rosters are taking shape, the experimenting is winding down, and pitchers are throwing more than two innings. This week's Things Read in Other Moms' Basements is a little on the scant side, mostly because there really isn't a whole lot being written and discussed out there, except for each day's scrimmage games. But if there is a reoccurring theme for the week, it would be the cuts; it's always nice to hear of guys getting second chances, and prospects making the best of their opportunities, but it always feels kind of sad when familiar names are on the lists of those being sent home.

The most intriguing team this week - none other than the Nationals:

"Jesus" will start in the minors? - Nats320
Mike Rizzo has stated on XM radio that Stephen Strasburg will start the season in the minor leagues. I'm glad he sees the scenario like I would - the minors aren't just where to fine tune baseball skills, but the skills necessary to be a good baseball player off the field, too. But now, MLB reports that an official decision will be made Saturday, after he gave up his first runs of ST to the Cardinals.

Tony Gwynn, on Stephen Strasburg - Federal Baseball
The fine folks at FB have gone to the trouble of transcribing the interview legendary HOFer Tony Gwynn, also the coach at San Diego State University, about his former student, Stephen Strasburg. Fun stories about his discovery, the camaraderie they shared at SDSU, and the obligatory comparison to John Smoltz, who is apparently the measuring stick for all young pitchers who throw hard and have a nasty splitter or change.

Elijah Dukes released by Nationals -
This kind of took everyone by surprise, considering he was expected to be the starting every-day right fielder for the Nats going in 2010. The reasoning behind the move has been very hush-hush, and there's tons of speculation, since the Dukes did have one option-year left. Many assume it's his fault, but let us not be hasty to judge based on past indiscretions. GM Mike Rizzo, has a reputation of being a "chemistry" guy, always looking for ways to get the perfect locker room chemistry, and may have seen Dukes as an unsuitable piece. Also is rumors about the Nationals being interested in Jermaine Dye. All I know is that despite no longer being a National, Dukes could potentially be a huge bargain basement pickup for anyone in need of bolstering their outfield. It's a pity too, because I was really rooting for him to have a big season for the Nats.

Twitter fights do not exclude those in baseball - D.C. Sports Bog
Anyone who has been trying to figure out the reasoning behind the Dukes release, and scouring the Twitter lines to see if anything's been said, may have seen a snippet, where Nats GM Mike Rizzo states "People who are saying this (this, being assumptions that an incident is what caused the release) don't know what they're talking about." It seemed a little out of the ordinary, but apparently what prompted the words were none other than former Nationals GM, Jim Bowden mouthing off about the situation in his own Twitter account, but after Kasten's rebuttal, all commentary leading up to the snipe were all deleted.

A very, very well written primer on the concepts of Arbitration, Options, and Service Time - Nationals Pride
Often times, whenever the discussion of a hot young prospect comes up, the following concepts are discussed ad nauseum, and lots of the time, not everyone is completely aware of the accurate details. The following link is probably one of the best-written, not quite as confusing description of all the prerequisite knowledge to the call-up.

OPS guy not in any rush to work out extension - MLBlogs
Adam Dunn would rather not have his name being tossed around during the trade deadline this year, but at the same time, he's in no rush to see about an extenion happening to keep him in Washington.

Ian Desmond the front runner for starting shortstop? - MLBlogs
GM Mike Rizzo states that money has nothing to do with it, in the argument that Cristian Guzman is due $8M and will therefore start. Desmond is having a hot spring, and if the sample size is any indication, his numbers aren't at all that impressive, but he has hit some timely and back-breaking homers against the Braves in the end of last season, as well as ST. If this is the MO for his career, he is going to be a thorn in the Braves' side for many years to come.

Zimmermann to have first bullpen session on Monday - MLBlogs
Pay attention, that's "Zimmermann" with a second "N" on it, as in Jordan, the highly touted pitching prospect before being shelved by DJA and TJS. If the veritable "if" comes true, then 2011 is looking at a possible 1-2-3 trio of Lannan, Strasburg, and Zimmermann anchoring down a potentially potent rotation.

Old Town Alexandria offering "Water Taxi" to select Nationals games - Nats320
Seriously - if they offer service in the late-September homestand against the Braves, I strongly am recommending this for us to troll do. As a former Virginia resident, I'm a big fan of Old Town Alexandria, and have spent many nights of my youth dining, walking, dating, loitering in Old Town, and the idea of taking a boat to the game is very intriguing to me.


K-Rod thinking about keeping the glasses - New York Daily News
Ah, superstition. After throwing a 1-2-3 inning in only seven pitches, K-Rod seems to think he's found the fountain of not-suck, and has been giving consideration to keeping the orange-tinted glasses all season. Much like Bono, I'll be hearing the lyrics "sunglasses... at night," whenever I see him pitch.

Pitcher Mike Pelfrey wants to be a pitcher someday - MetsBlog
Yes, I'm very much aware of what he's really saying, but it doesn't change the fact that it sounds a little silly. Props to the young man for being aware of his overall rough edges, and that he wouldn't consider himself yet to be an actual pitcher, but more of a thrower.

Carlos Beltran expecting to be back as early as May - New York Daily News
You know how when you're busy, and someone's calling for you, and you say "five more minutes," but you really know in your heart that it's going to take twelve? I find that athlete injuries are kind of similar, when they give themselves recovery timelines that state them returning sooner, but even they have to realize that they might need more time, but don't want to admit it.

17 roster moves, including a Dragon Slayer and a Knuckler - MLBlogs
Dragon Slayer Josh Fogg, and R.A. Dickey headline seventeen recent roster moves the Mets made to slice down 46 players down to a more mangaeable 29 in Major League camp. Interestingly, Josh Fogg threw not a single pitch for the Mets, due to hurting a muscle in his side.

Mike Cameron not impressed with hot prospect Jenrry Mejia - New York Post
Leave it to a Red Sok to play the arrogant card after Jenrry Mejia mowed down the Boston Red Sox in six pitches, which included himself, and Marco Scutaro, two everyday MLers.

Funny how it's news to the Mets -
This just in (to the New York media): Jeff Francoeur has a rocket cannon for a right arm. Guy throws a couple of ST assists, and all hail the king. Wait until he launches 80% of those throws into the backstop net during the regular season.

Oh, and he's going to become a base stealer too - Craig Calcaterra
In case you don't read the Fanshots, Jeff Francoeur's aspiring to add base-stealing to his repotoire of mediocre skills.

Doing the little little things right - Patrick Flood's NY Mets Blog
(hat tip: Amazin' Avenue)
Alex Cora was the National League's top guy in 2009 when it comes to making "productive outs." (narrowly beating both McCann and Escobar), but he also has shown a propensity for doing the little things well, such as taking ann extra base, or is really good at dropping down the bunt, or doesn't strike out a whole lot. But as all Mets-related infield coverage seems to do, it throws Luis Castillo into the fire, and debates if he's better than him or not.

Mets advertising away-game tickets for Philadelphia series - The Mets Police
This is very interesting - and potentially dangerous. The Mets spambots are apparently pushing New Yorkers to purchase tickets for Mets/Phillies series, down in Philadelphia. Sure, they're close, but I've never heard of teams pushing for ticket sales of another team before. That, and the fact that while I was at a Mets vs. Phillies game last season in Philadelphia, I saw at least six fights, and no less than four instances where people were being arrested and/or kicked out. And oh, the Phillies are encouraging their fans to go see the Phils up in iti Field.

Be thankful for Turner Field, Braves fans - The Mets Police
Speaking of tickets, like the headline says . . . because the Ted doesn't have fees as egregious as these.



Placido Polanco exits game early due to knee tweak -
Sure, all parties involved are saying that this is nothing severe, but this is pretty much the reason why I felt that Pedro Feliz was the better option; sure, he doesn't have the same bat that Polanco has, but has a lot less mileage on those legs, and would likely be less apt for tweaks as Polanco is.

Kyle Kendrick not making 5th starter job an easy decision -
All that time copying Roy Halladay seems to be paying off, as Kyle Kendrick has pitched a total of 14 innings and only allowed two runs, where as Jamie Moyer hasn't pitched to legit Major Leaguers all spring yet. So for yet another week, does the promising capable Kendrick get the job, or do we get our $8M worth out of Moyer and start him instead?

Ryan Howard unfazed by rumors of being traded for Albert Pujols -
I'll give Howard the benefit of doubt of like most of us basement dwellers, at laughing at any trade scenario that involves Albert Pujols. And the almighty one, had this to say about the whole fake rumor business:

"...two years ago, somebody said that I was going to get traded to the Cubs. And I was like, 'Pfft.' People always try to speculate and try to start something so they can say, 'I was the first guy.'"

Figuring out how to solve the impending Werth and Howard's free agency - The Good Phight
The guys over at TGP take a look at the facts surrounding both Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard, and examine the potential outcomes once they become free agents. Upon reading these, it's not quite as clear-cut as I had thought it would be.

Danys Baez likely to be interim closer if Lidge can't open season -
I remember when the Braves traded for Baez - Wilson Betemit for Baez, and Willy Aybar. Baez immediately goes down for an appendectomy, and Willy Aybar goes all Dominican Republic Beerfest on us. Either way, I was never pleased with the trade, and I was never impressed by Danys Baez. There was an old joke about how his name was plural, because he had the ERA of two men - at a career 4.04, it's up for debate, but the bottom line is that he's a fastball-splitter guy that doesn't exactly strike fear into my heart.]

Brad Lidge likely to miss opener - Beerleaguer
Interestingly enough, Charlie Manuel has come out and said that in his place, will be likely Ryan Madson, instead of Danys Baez.

Citizens Bank Park on record-breaking pace -
The Phillies planned on selling 28,750 season tickets. They've already sold 28,500. At the current pace they're at, CBP is going exceed the 3.6M tickets they sold in all of 2009 before they even play even one game in 2010. It pays to be a winning ballclub in the city of Philadelphia.

And because I wouldn't be me otherwise - Fightin Phillies blog
A silly picture taken during Spring Training.



PSA to all pitchers - New balk rules in effect - Fish Stripes
After balking twice against the Braves a few days ago, Josh Johnson was unaware what was going on. Apparently, he didn't get the memo: while off the mound, any pitcher who takes his hand to mouth, must wipe off said hand before rubbing down a baseball. So pretty much, all pitchers who take a quick lick of the fingers, well, I guess it's kind of pointless now.

Fredi Gonzalez may use stats to determine starting first baseman - Marlins Maniac
Unlike Bobby Cox, our former third-base skipper has stated that he might resort to Spring Training stats to see whom he'll use as his starting baseman, between Gaby Sanchez, and Logan Morrison. Interesting, but possibly effective at milking 100% effort out of his players, to see who gets the starting nod, and who goes back to the minors. Now most everything is going to be a sample size, so that kind of excludes all the advanced stuff, but as far as hitting goes, Sanchez was batting a cool .400 as opposed to Morrison's slightly less successful .058 as of Friday last week.

Put Han-Ram on the list of groin tweaks -
I remember a few years ago on the Yankees, they had this early plague of hamstring pulls, that ultimately led to the Yankees firing their trainer. So far, we have Maybin, Ross, and now Ramirez with some early-season groin pulls. Sure, they can play through the pain and all, but these are the things that really nag and nag and nag, as the season progresses.

Fredi Gonzalez wants his pitchers to pound the strike zone in 2010 - Miami Herald
It's reading stuff like this that makes me miss Fredi being on our side. I think he's a great blend of forward thinking, but also still remembers the little things, like how nagging and Murphy's Law walks can be throughout the course of a game.

Derrick Turnbow hurts shoulders, subsequently released -
So much for the comeback for the former all-star Brewers closer. Not been a good week for veterans looking to get another chance with a new team.

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