March 3, 2009

I had hoped to be back at my cards today after a trip to see the family, but because of the recent snow up and down the east coast my flights keep getting canceled. I don’t have my cards with me, or my computer, and my insides have been in an airport-anxiety knot for two days. Also, this isn’t exactly the greatest time in history to have to start taking unscheduled days off of work. I’m supposed to be on the last flight out of town today (all earlier flights had been booked by the time the flight I’d been moved to after my first cancellation was itself canceled), but if it gets delayed even a little I’ll miss my connection and be stuck for another day. It’s as if some deity looked down on me and said, “So, you like punching yourself in the head during frustrating, stressful situations? OK, then, chew on this.” So far I have not punched myself in the head, probably because the worst moments have come in very crowded places, and I still have some desire to appear sane in the eyes of others. There was even a camera crew at the airport yesterday, filming everyone’s misery. I probably could have made the evening news if I’d started trying to knock my own block off.

But of course it could be much worse. I’m stuck, but I’m stuck with my family, so I got another chance to play with my niece and nephew and bond with my mom during our ten billion drives back and forth to the airport and talk with my dad about how his readings of I.F. Stone shaped his mind as a teenager and prepared him to enlist in the Navy at the end of World War II to go fight fascism. (Lucky for me he never got any closer to the action than upstate New York.)

So anyway, that’s why there haven’t been any new cardboard gods to consider. I’m hoping to rectify that situation soon. In the meantime, anybody got any infield chatter to liven up the stuck-ness? How about some spring training talk? Who’s your team and how many games do you see them winning this season? I’ve got Youk and Pedroia and a deep bullpen, etc, down for 93 wins in a killer AL East.


  1. Alright, I’m an Indians fan. I like our team, but there are huge question marks. I think the offense is good. If Hafner and Martinez have good years it is potentially very good.

    The bullpen seems solid, as long as Wood can stay on the mound.

    The rotation…who the hell knows? Lee can’t have another year like last year, but how far will he regress? Will he be able to take CC’s spot as the #1? Which Carmona will we get? Will it be the unhittable at times 2007 Carmona, or the poor to mediocre 2008 version? Pavano? Do I need to elaborate? Will Westbrook be effective when he returns? I feel like we can cobble together a decent back end, but that doesn’t win championships. A lot of questions.

    My prediction…89 wins. 1st in the Central.

    Always the optomist.

    That being said, would I bet my house that the Tribe won’t LOSE 89 games? No. I will not.

  2. Sorry to hear you are stuck at the airport. Happens way too often. If it helps ease your mind, consider that if your flight is delayed, there is a good chance that your connector will be as well.

    I’m sitting here in Tigertown, it is a year of great uncertainty. Pitching could be great if everyone comes through, could be terrible if they dont. All i know for sure is that I have a feeling Miguel Cabrera will be the best player I have seen wear the D in my lifetime (I went to my first game the year after Kaline retired, so I don’t count him).

  3. Oh yeah, sorry to hear about your airport situation. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in limbo like that. Bummer. That’s a bummer, man.

  4. The AL central is a real puzzle, as always. I’m kind of leaning toward picking the Tigers to have something more closely resembling the season they were supposed to have last year. But the team that always seems to sneak up on everyone is the Twins.

  5. I agree about the AL central. It should be a very entertaining division to watch this year. I think that the AL in general looks far superior to the NL this year.

  6. I’m feeling confident about my Royals this year. Not we’re-going-to-win-the-pennant confident, but I think we’ve improved enough to sneak up on .500 and have an outside shot at the division if no one else seizes it. The pitching is shaping up well with Greinke, Meche, Cruz and Soria as the anchors and the potential of Bannister, Davies and Hochevar lurking. If Alex Gordon and Billy Butler break out, we could decent. And the already-beautiful Kauffman Stadium has undergone a makeover, cementing it as one of the top stadiums in which to spend a summer evening.

  7. I hope to get to Kaufmann Stadium some day soon. (But not via airplane.) I like the Royals new centerfielder a lot (sad to see him leave the Bosox).

  8. I’m looking forward to seeing Coco and DeJesus cover a lot of ground. And hopefully they’ll get on base at a decent clip. Let me know if you ever plan on coming to KC to watch a game; I’d love to be your host.

  9. Your dad is olde than I thought, Josh. Irecall you mentioning jim before and I thought he was closer in age to a typical hippy.

  10. I’m feeling real good about the BoSox this year. I’ve heard a lot about Smoltz and Penny bumping Wake out of the starting 5 by July..I’m not buying it. I think he’s going to dominate…then again, I just really like Wake.

    My sleeper pick for 2009 is none other than the Pittsburgh Pirates. I think people forget the magic Kerrigan had with some players in his Sox era. Rich Garces was run-of-the-mill before Kerrigan. Random guys like Jim Corsi, John Wasdin. All the reclamation projects ala Bret Saberhagen, Kent Mercker. He’s the Pirates pitching coach, and I think he’ll help surprise some folks.

  11. Dodger Love!
    Martin Loney Kemp


  12. I like the Indians in the Central, too, and my Red Sox in the East (I love the depth they have). Cliff Lee will have to take a step back, but still, there seems to be many more places for the Indians to get better than there are spots to get worse. I’m kind of hoping the Royals do well this year, if only for Neyer and Posnanski.

    BTW, how do the Royals have a $75M payroll? Is seems like they don’t have enough good players after finishing in the cellar for about 12 years in a row until the Tigers rescued them last year. This of all the bargains in baseball this year, I don’t think the Royals got one.

  13. Josh, now would be a good time to update the “Stuck in Lodi” thread. Stuck in an airport is close enough.

  14. The Royals got a good deal on Juan Cruz (except for losing the draft pick). They picked up Jacobs just as he was eligible for arbitration. They signed Greinke to an extension. The signed Farnsworth to a contract that would have been appropriate for Cruz. And they picked up a moderately priced Crisp. So, it was a mixed bag of good deals and bad that lead to a significant payroll hike.

  15. Tough deal with the airport storms. Meanwhile, it’s sunny and 75 here in Boulder, of all places.

    I have two teams; I don’t expect either to contend this year. For the Cardinals, a lot of things have to go right. Pujols keeps being Pujols. Schumaker pulls off the unlikely OF to 2B conversion. Ludwick proves that ’08 wasn’t a fluke. Chris Perez or somebody emerges as a reliable closer. Most of all, they need 200 or so vintage Carpenter innings from Chris Carpenter.

    As for the Rockies… well, I’d be happy with 81-81, and Dexter Fowler establishing himself in the majors by the end of the year, on his way to being the centerpiece of the next Rockies contender.

  16. Thanks for all the ’09 predictions so far, everyone. Reading them is a nice way to get rolling on my first groggy morning back in the regular life. They also make a nice complement to the Athlon baseball preview I passed the time with, along with some beer, in the Charlotte airport yesterday. I won’t have time to do any new posts today, so keep the predictions coming if you got ’em.

    Ennui Willie Keeler: My stepfather was part of the “age of aquarius”; my dad was part of “the greatest generation” (a term he scoffs at).

    redsoxeveryday: I’m rooting for Wake, too, as usual. He’ll come in handy somehow. Interesting point about the Pirates. I hope you’re right; they’ve been down too long. I don’t see anyone beating the Cubs in the NL Central though.

    perry534: How did the Rockies go from a future dynasty in ’07 to a team that might struggle to play .500 ball? Weird. I can only hope, as a Red Sox fan, that the same thing happens to the Rays, but somehow I don’t think it will.

  17. Future dynasty for the Rockies? Who thought that? A lot of people thought the ’07 team was very young because they hadn’t heard of them before, but a lot of those guys came to the majors pretty late and had already pretty much ceilinged. (Is that a word?) Since the 2007 WS Helton’s back issues have rendered him a shell of his former self (but they’re stuck with his contract, which eats up a huge percentage of team payroll, through I think 2011). Jeff Francis, putative ace, was terrible in ’08, had shoulder surgery a couple of weeks ago and will miss the season. Franklin Morales lost the strike zone. Tulowitzki had an awful soph season. Matt Holliday, the heart and soul of the team but an unsignable free agent after 2009, was traded for Huston Street and a prospect. Brian Fuentes left as a free agent. Ditto Kaz Matsui. Willy Taveras reverted to being Willy Taveras and was dumped. 2007 seems like a long time ago.

    The only reasons for any optimism for 2009 at this point are that Chris Iannetta finally started fulfilling his potential an now looks to be one of the better catchers in the league, Ubaldo Jimenez is possibly emerging as a #1 starter type, Tulo had a good last two months and is presumably back on the star track, and….ummm…. Dexter Fowler’s coming!

  18. Ah the Oakland A’s, slowing climbing out of the cellar and looking like serious contenders this year. Holliday, Giambi, Cabrera, Chavez, Zieglar, backed up by Devine, not to mention the up and coming arms race. It’s an exciting year to be an A’s fan. Maybe Rickey will decide he’s got on more season in him? That would make my year.

    And my other favorite, those scrappy Red Sox. Wow, Ellsbury puts on 15 pounds of muscle and Ortiz takes 15 off, if those two step it up to Pedroia and Youk level, there is no stopping this team.

  19. perry534:
    “Future dynasty for the Rockies? Who thought that?”

    That’s how I interpreted the hype as a complete outsider when they made it the World Series. You know, “young and already unbeatable.” I can see that the youth thing was probably overstated, but I still think Tulo is going to be a big star.

    Man, I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm for Ellsbury, but it’s hard. If he takes that next step, whoo, look out. He’d be the player I always wished they had through all their years of plodding one-dimensionality.

  20. I would love to see the A’s topple the Angels. Everybody complains about the money of the Yankees and Red Sox (Boston’s a LOT smaller than NY, Chicago or LA) and yet nobody seems to mind that the Angels win the West year after year after year. They might have even won more playoff series if Mike Scioscia weren’t so dedicated to showing he’s a great manager and running into outs at every opportunity.

    I’d like to see the Pirates do well again, but except for complaining about getting a new stadium (which I’ve read is fantastic), the organization seems content to do nothing except keep losing. I can’t think of another team that has tried as little to help itself as the Pirates.

  21. Questions abound, in baseball and in life.

    I’m a BoSox man, of course-as usual, we seem loaded for bear, again. Those AL East series are going to be real nasty-you’ll go into each series needing a sweep, and being happy to get out of town with one of the three.

    What fascinates me, the way an open flame does, is the Yankees. They have no excuses-no reason why they can’t win the division. And if they don’t, how sweet will that be?

  22. After today, I have never been so excited about a Dodger season starting as I am now!! All of my friends are excited, even the ones who don’t really follow baseball.

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