I don't get sick often, but around the area where I'm currently working, there had been a nasty bug that has been terrorizing the area over the last week. It crippled me on Wednesday afternoon, and lo and behold, I was forced to call in sick on Thursday. A little bit of rest and oh, some OPENING DAY BASEBALL might make things better, right? Well, that's what I hoped for, since the should-be contending Braves would be facing the should-be pretending Mets. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as much as we in Braves Country would have liked for it to have, and we ended up on the wrong side of a 1-0 final score. But hey, I'll take the positives out of it - Tommy Hanson's curveball was sickeningly good (if he still had a mullet, guaranteed win), and Kris Medlen was dynamite out of the bullpen. But when Jason Heyward struck out to end the game, I didn't get upset or yell or scream, or anything like that; believe me, three years ago, I'm fuming. I guess I'm kinda beyond it, in my old age these days.
But no, I know there are people who will counter with the "a win in April is just as important as a win in September," which is very much true, but as far as an Opening Day loss is concerned, it simply doesn't matter, to me. Including the loss to the Mets, the Braves are a cool .500, 5-5 on Opening Days over the last ten years. Four of those years the Braves saw playoffs, and of those four years, the Braves were 1-3, the lone Opening Day win being the epic arrival of Jason Heyward, the former three being 12, 13 and 14. If anything at all, it kind of says that winning on Opening Day is almost like a jinx, because the Braves have won five of the last six previous Opening Days, and seen the playoffs just in one of those winning years.
Sure, it's weak and possibly grasping logic, but so's discounting and condemning an entire year based on a single game. Welcome back to the basement.
Jon Niese signs five-year, $25.5M extension - MetsBlog
Two options exist that could bump it up to $46M if all conditions are met, but good news for the new-nosed, fresh-breathing lefty, who has some stability for a few years to come now.
Mets hoping the revised outfield walls will boost, everything - NY Times
In one spot, the distance of the wall from home plate has literally been reduced twenty whole feet. The outfield wall in left is still high as it was, but there is now a party deck built along the edge that now counts as home run territory, where the walls are only eight feet high. The Mets are hoping that the Mets can get a boost in offense, since fans like offense and home runs, and subsequently make more people come out to the park.
Andres Torres likely headed back to DL - MetsBlog
Not only was Tyler Pastornicky's first-ever major league hit a triple, he also indirectly crippled Andres Torres in the process. Just a week ago, I thought he was going to start the season on the DL, and it certainly looked like he rushed himself back into the lineup, to absolutely no benefit to the Mets.
Should probably be titled "Michael Vaccaro believes another Miracle could happen," but whatever - NY Post
Everyone could use a little optimism from time to time, no matter how unrealistic it might sound sometimes, but hey, any team with fans like these mythical Mets fans, are lucky teams. Support and revenue from those who simply like baseball are always invaluable.
It's funny to me because it's still I-75 - The Apple
Personally, I really like this poster, the original one. But for the sake of the Mets, it kind of makes a little sense too.
Current Yankee Nick Swisher grew up with the Mets - NY Times
Did you know that Nick Swisher's dad was a manager in the Mets' system? The tail end of the spring training schedule brought the Yankees to Port St. Lucie, where Swish reminisces a little about growing up, literally on the Mets' farm.
Despite being named fifth starter, John Lannan shipped off to Syracuse after all - The Nats Blog
I figured one way or the other, John Lannan would end up at Syracuse, for no other reason than the fact that he actually had minor league options available to use. But it's kind of cruel the way the Nationals went to the point of anointing him the fifth starter, before ripping it away from him at the last second. In fact, it wasn't at the last second, it was during it - in the third inning of an exhibition game against the Red Sox.
And to no surprise, John Lannan is pissed, and now wants a trade - Nationals Journal
He didn't just say it to a bunch of nearby reporters, he went on record and emailed it to the press himself!
Davey Johnson says they won't trade Lannan - Nats Insider
In other words, they probably will, when the right offer comes along. They're just playing hard ball. Lannan shot his trade value in the foot by demanding a trade, Davey's just trying to get it back now. If all else fails, Lannan slots right back into the rotation once Strasburg hits 160 innings.
Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy will be on an Opening Day roster - Nats Insider
Best two words in the English language? De-fault. Due to placing Mike Morse (lat) and Rick Ankiel (quad) on the DL, the two journeymen veterans will find themselves on an Opening Day roster when the Nats open against the Cubs. Drew Storen is going to start the season on the DL, although I think I may have already mentioned this before.
Jayson Werth seems to believe that he'll be playing until he's 40 - Nationals Journal
If he keeps putting up years like 2011, I'm pretty sure he won't; even the Frontier League has standards.
Many "experts" predict the Nationals making not just the playoffs, but the World Series - The Bog
You know, I don't even bother to make predictions to the postseason. Nobody remembers if you're right, but everyone seems to remember when you're wrong. It's cool that the Nats are so good on paper that many have them in the playoff hunt, but in spite of their rotation and bullpen, 162 games is a long time for things to unravel, and to anoint them NL Champions already is a bit of a stretch.
Danny Espinosa fuels more reasons why the Nats need to get out of Viera - Nats Insider
The backdrop isn't conducive for left-side hitters. The switch-hitting second baseman's splits on the road in Florida are pretty drastic, and he cites that the home Space Coast Field in Viera simply isn't very good. Mmhmm.
MASN brings aboard Kristina Akra for on-screen eye candy duties - Nats NQ
Pretty much everything written here is true. Local Braves fans will remember Akra as the DEC (Designated eye candy) of the FOX programming SEC Gridiron Live, but she's taking her talents up north to Washington, where she'll take on side-line "reporting" for the Nats in 2012. Man, I miss Katy Temple. Braves programming is way too much of a sausage fest.
Chase Utley headed to Arizona for knee rehabilitation - High Cheese
Don't expect to see Chase Utley any time soon; the initial hopes is that Utley can join the team when the team heads west in mid-April, but there's no guarantee that he'll be anywhere near game ready by then. Watch him improve his knee, but being in Arizona for so long, get the same Valley Fever that plagues guys like Ike Davis and Conor Jackson.
Chase Utley: The Latter Day Mattingly - TGP
An interesting analysis of a capsule within a career, and the comparisons to the legendary Don Mattingly. It's a bit of a long read, but for those of you who don't believe Chase Utley is amongst the best ever, it could help nudge you in the direction.
What to expect out of Chase Utley's placeholder - Crashburn Alley
Freddy Galvis, making the big leagues in the absence of depth, will likely be starting every day until Chase Utley returns. The consensus seems that he's not quite ready, but due to the lack of depth, it simply is not much of a choice.
What Matt Cain's extension means to Cole Hamels - Phillies Nation
This is almost meme-worthy, the exercise of looking at a player who got an extension, and suddenly attempting to draw parallels to other players. But for what it's worth, Matt Cain's five-year, $112.5M deal has set the tone for Cole Hamels, who might look to match but likely exceed that amount, because he might be perceived as better, and/or because he's a lefty. At this point, could even the Phillies really support FOUR GUYS with $20M+ AAV contracts?
Juan Pierre has pretty much no power - Crashburn Alley
Nothing anyone really isn't aware of. But it's amusing to watch the gifs of his last two homers, because you know the pitchers that gave them up are like "no f-ing way."
Philadelphians with DirecTV will miss some Phillies games - The Consumerist
Welp, just like DISH Network customers in Atlanta, channel 17 seems to be missing. PHL17 broadcasts about as many Phillies games as PeachtreeTV (Chan. 17) broadcasts Braves games, and in both markets, customers of the respective services (including me) are going to miss out until this is resolved. Sadly, actions like this make it easier for Philadelphia to go on with their ideas of launching their own multi-million dollar sports network, while the Braves are locked in a contract until like 2099.
A little early for this, ain't it? - Fish Stripes
I remember in 2008 when the Tigers got Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria, lots of people pretty much crowned them the 2008 World Series champions. But then they started the season 0-8, and never recovered. After two games, it looks like a little damage control is in need for the team that dropped a couple of hundred-mil over the offseason. Kind of like what I wrote up top, with the volume turned up a little bit.
Jeffrey Loria uses clever ploy of stringing along Muhammad Ali to prevent getting booed - Palm Beach Post
Well played, Jeff. You could practically hear the boos start when the PA said "owner of the Marlins," but then when it was announced that he would be accompanied by The Greatest, it turned into this confused groan sound of people who really wanted to boo Loria, but simply couldn't have booing in the presence of Ali. Also, Josh Johnson kind of blames his shaky first start on not being able to get prepared properly due to excessive pre-game celebrations. I like Josh Johnson, but man, that's what we call an excuse.
If Ozzie is infatuated with Jose Reyes, what do you call how he feels about Derek Jeter? - Palm Beach Post
For starters, Ozzie thinks Derek Jeter is "a baseball god." And then he rants about how he wishes he had a daughter to marry off to him, and how amazing it is that he gets standing ovations everywhere he goes, not really considering how well Yankees fans travel and are transplanted all across the country, either.
But don't worry Hanley, Ozzie loves you too - Palm Beach Post
So much, that he's gone out and predicted that an MVP is in the making for HanRam this year. Or as Jeffrey Loria says "as it's called, the MVP"
What does Matt Cain's deal mean for Josh Johnson, too? - Sun Sentinel
In reality, not a whole lot. As much as I like Josh Johnson, it's pretty well known secret that he's been very, very injury prone throughout his career. Matt Cain and Cole Hamels, not so much. And as much #1 starter capabilities as Josh Johnson has, I would, in a heartbeat take the perceived homer-istic view of Cain and Hamels being #2 guys, and their reliable 200 IP+ capabilities, every single day of the week.
If you're wondering when you'll see Juan Carlos Leoviedo Nunez, don't hold your breath - Sun Sentinel
Regardless of if he makes it back to the United States (which he hasn't), he'll start the season suspended, for supposedly six weeks. No one's sure if it starts on Opening Day, or when he arrives, so don't expect to see him any time before May, no matter what.
Left field in new Marlins Park looks like it could be interesting - Palm Beach Post
Only a chainlink fence separates the playing field from the fans who loiter at the Clevelander bar, and if this photo is any evidence, not just LoMo, but left fielders all across the baseball landscape will have some distractions to possibly deal with.
RooFAIL already - Fish Bytes
Too bad it didn't happen during a game. That would have been pretty funny to me.
A whole lot of stupidity up in this article - Sun Sentinel
Ozzie Guillen on the home run sculpture:
"I hope those dolphins splash a lot," he said. "I hope they drown."
Predictably, third-party lots dominate new park's parking situation - Fish Bytes
The only difference between these third party lots and the ones in Atlanta are that Miami is charging arms and legs. But unlike Atlanta, it looks like a lot of them offer shuttles for up to probably twenty dudes.
Javier Vazquez not officially retired yet, but doesn't really want to play ball either - Sun Sentinel
Our old pal, Javy Vazquez hasn't officially filed his retirement papers just yet, but at the same time, he's got little desire to suit up just yet. He has stated though, that he's open to the idea of pitching for Team Puerto Rico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, since Marlins Park is likely going to be one of the venues.