This Isn’t Your Mother’s Idea of Fun …… That’s Why It’s Baseball ……….
By tophatal …….
It’s never too early to talk baseball especially as the Spring Training schedule winds down and with it being a precursor to Opening Day on the 4th April 2012 . That being said , unofficially MLB does kick off its regular season with a game between Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome , Tokyo Japan on the 28th March , 2012.
Slide show for your perusal .
A number of publications I’ve read leading up to the start of the season seem to be making their own prognostications as to their final season standings and the teams they believe to be in the playoff hunt and for the World Series , itself . Sports Ilustrated and Baseball Today , both well-respected publications are there no doubt simply to inform while at the same time create an avenue for debate and conjecture amongst the fans . If nothing else it beats listening to the inane rants of Joe Buck , Joe Morgan and former ESPN analyst , now manager of the Boston Red Sox , Bobby Valentine . I’ve no doubt that each means well by way of their observations but let’s get real , does anyone really take them seriously ?
Valentine assumes his role as the manager of the Red Sox in th aftermath of last season’s debacle , with the team missing the postseason and there being talk of a lack commitment on the part of the players. No leadership , no accountability and the front office then led by Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino seeking to apportion blame squarely upon the shoulders of the organization’s former manager . Less we forget Terry Francona brought this organization two World Series titles in the space of 5 years ( 2004 & 2007 ) where before they actually went without the sniff of the series for over a century .
This season Valentine leads somewhat of a reconstructed team looking to make up for last season’s mind numbing failures in the final month of 2011. The Red Sox went 7-21 before imploding and missing the playoffs . The pitching as well as the team offense was an eyesore for those who witnessed the calamity and debacle first-hand . This season for the fans in attendance at Fenway Park they can only hope for something better , well at least from my perspective that’s what I think that they hope to witness !
Now the talk this season specifically within the NL may well be how good the San Francisco Giants will be . It’s my firm belief that alongside the Miami Marlins , Philadelphia Phillies this Giants’ team may well have one of the best starting rotations within the league . Brian Sabean , Bruce Bochy and the coaching staff knows that this team merely has to play solid baseball to perhaps have the AL West all to themselves . If there is to be a credible challenge coming from anyone within the division it might prove to be from the Arizona Diamondbacks or quite possibly the Los Angeles Dodgers . But given the uncertainty that faces the Dodgers and the very fact that a formal n announcement has yet to made as to who will take control of the team as its new owner . That sort of scenario I don’t believe plays out well for a team , the coaching staff , much less the fans of the organization ! At the same time I certainly don’t believe that Ned Colletti , Peter Wilhelm or anyone else within the front office of the Dodgers now has any damn credibility whatsoever . Not in light of these executives simply allowing Frank McCourt and his ex-wife , Jamie McCourt run amok while plundering the coffers of the organization . So much for the accountability of the owners within baseball as such , being held to a higher standard ! The actions of McCourt and those of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz do leave a lot to be desired but then again simply look at the idiots upon whom the game has been entrusted to as custodians ? The day the game sees fit to rid themselves of Bud Selig , the better off they will be !
With the return of catcher Buster Posey the Giants gets instant offense as well as one of the best defensive catchers in the game. And Posey alongside teammates …. Pablo Sandoval , Aubrey Huff and Melky Cabrera should prove to be all that Bochy desires from the team over the course of the season . At the same time the two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum , Matt Cain , Madison Baumgartner , Ryan Vogelsong and Brian Wilson will make sure that the San Francisco Giants remain relevant throughout this season .
The Diamondbacks as good as they were last season the one thing reason why I believed they came up short was simply through inexperience . That being said with a manager like Kirk Gibson , whose tenacity knows no bounds and he is liable to have this team fighting all the way to the very end . If the pitching staff led by Ian Kennedy can produce anywhere near the sort of form shown last season then they will give their opponents a great deal more than they can actually handle in 2012 .
From an offensive standpoint Justin Upton has to be viewed the consummate leader of this team . Besides from his all-round ability as a player he brings with the type of maturity not often seen in a player this young . Both Upton and teammate Chris Young are the focus of the team’s offense and they will be relied up to lead Diamondbacks with their prowess if the Diamondbacks are to have a genuine chance of making the postseason .
With the wildcard format expanded for this year with an additional team from each league being part of the playoffs it will be interesting to see whether or not the ball-clubs who missed out on that opportunity from 2011 will be able to acquit themselves even better in 2012. Certainly seeing the likes of the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox fail so miserably in their endeavors it’s hard to see how they could do any worse this season . But then again who really knows at this juncture ?
While Barry Zito still remains part of the Giants’ pitching roster with his outlandish salary providing no respite for the organization . I have to ask myself and those of you out there what the hell was Brian Sabean thinking to begin with ? I can only surmise that Zito’s agent Scott Boras had some compromising pictures of the Giants’ general manager perhaps doing something inappropriate with a farm-yard animal . Because that has to be only explanation possible to make such an outlay for a player who failed to live up to that exorbitant contract ! Seven years $126 million and as of yet Zito has offered absolutely nothing at all to the organization . And as crazy as this might seem this isn’t the only Boras’ client who just happens to have been overpaid because of an idiotic general manager and owner simply being duped by an agent . And there are fans within this forum who are of the opinion that these owners and general managers are some of the most astute individuals within the game with the business acumen to match . In what frigging universe is that still proving to be true ? Your thoughts ?
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And are your expectations for the upcoming season ones which will far exceed those of 2011 ? By all means simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and anything you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Colorado Rockies’ Jordan Pacheco (22) slides safely into home plate past the tag-attempt by San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez , left, on a ground ball by Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki . during the third inning of a spring training baseball game on Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….
(2) San Francisco Giants first baseman Buster Posey makes a play on a ground ball by Colorado Rockies’ Eric Young Jr. during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 24, 2012 in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …
(3) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws to the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a spring training baseball game , Friday, March 23, 2012 in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez … ……
(4) SURPRISE, AZ – MARCH 12: Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 12, 2012 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images … ….
(5) SCOTTSDALE, AZ – MARCH 01: Pitcher Barry Zito (75) of the San Francisco Giants poses during spring training photo day on March 1, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …
(6) San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey celebrates his solo home run with teammate Aubrey Huff, center, during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …..
MLB probable starting pitchers 26th March 2012
Buju Banton & ……. Wayne Wonder ……. “Movie Star”