Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What I'm Reading Today

I've been sick this week with some sort of flu; you know, the kind that knocks you out so you don't feel like moving at all, but it also dehydrates you to the point that you spend half of your time thinking "I am thirsty... so thirsty... gosh, that bottle of water over there looks so good... but, do I really want to make the effort to move the five feet to get it?"

I have a pretty neat baseball project or two I've been working on in the sidelines though, at least while my brain is functioning properly.

Anyway, here are the some links to things as I've been catching up on the web:

The Veterans Committee decided once again not to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame this year. What's funny is the comments Mike Schmidt made about it four years ago as opposed to this year -- while he might be softening, I think his initial instinct of "It's hard to vote for anyone who didn't get in the first time around" is probably what's holding out some of these guys now.

(Of course, Mike Schmidt has apparently been talking a bit too much these days -- first he compared himself to Pat Burrell, then he had to apologize for inadvertantly calling Burrell "mediocre".)

Former Mariners outfield prospect Shin-soo Choo may end up stuck in the minors yet again as the Indians signed Trot Nixon. Poor guy. Maybe we should ask Cleveland if we can trade him back for Ben Broussard. No, just kidding.

If you like hockey and you like baseball and you like laughing, you may wish to check out the short of spring training with Clark, the Canadian Hockey Goalie.

The Onion reported that the MLB is no longer accepting new players. It's alarming how real some of the quotes in the article are!

The wealthiest man in baseball may actually not be the one that immediately springs to mind for most people, but instead, Matt White, a guy who's pitched all of 9 and 2/3 major league innings but has rocked the real estate market, so to speak, buying a piece of land for $50k that has a rock quarry worth around $2.4 billion. And yet, he's hanging around Dodgers camp as an NRI, trying to make the roster anyway. Why? "This is fun," he says.

On the other side of the planet, Paul White (no relation) is trekking through Japan blogging about spring baseball in various cities, and unlike my trip last year, he actually has a press pass and is getting paid to do this all, so his stories involve a lot more quotes from players and coaches. Check it out.

The NY Times has an article about the Yankees Japanese translators which is a good read, and Jim Allen, as always, has an incisive view of the relationship between MLB and the Far East.

I probably forgot to mention that Nori Nakamura signed a taxi squad contract with Chunichi, and Tuffy Rhodes seems to be on the verge of getting a roster spot with Orix. (Edit: Tuffy's signed, 1yr/$400k, and will be wearing Nori's old #8. Wow!)

In other news, in one of those "Dude, what gives?" sort of outings, the Marines beat the Hawks 5-1 yesterday. That in itself isn't so weird, but the funky part is Softbank starter Hideaki Takahashi's pitching line. He pitched 5 innings, threw 87 pitches, faced 21 batters, struck out 9, walked 1, and... lost the game by giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, 4 of which were doubles.

Not much has been said about Takahashi, as his top league numbers are nothing impressive, but on the farm team in 2005 he struck out 139 while walking 46 in 120.2 innings, and in 2006 he struck out 96 in 110 innings while walking 36. But that Lotte squad he faced and struck out a ton of yesterday was mostly a legitimate set of top-leaguers - Nishioka, Nemoto, Fukuura, Satozaki, Ohmatsu, Imae, Takehara, Saburo. This is yet another reason why Softbank scares me -- they've got such incredible pitching depth, it almost doesn't matter whether or not they ever get another catcher who knows how to hit a baseball with a bat.

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