Okay, so I seem to be simultaneously struggling with writer's block and a clusterscrew pile-up of deadlines that makes Custer's Last Stand and Napoleon's invasion of Russia seem as trivial as a split end.
However, there's a bunch of random developments this week that has sparked my imagination a little bit—not enough to write a whole story on, so consider this a set of "quick hits."
- David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez together on the AL's Home Run Derby team (with Jose Bautista as a bonus wingman)? Yes, please!
- Can somebody please explain to me why the rest of baseball seems to be turning on Big Papi all of a sudden? For years he was one of those guys who just seemed to rise above all the fracases and frays of the game. Yet this year, he suffered the indignity of an intentional beaning by New York, and now this latest escapade at the hands of the Orioles. Once is an accident and twice may be a coincidence, but I'm not liking the fact that this seems to be the start of a pattern.
- And, of course, it would figure that this would happen directly after the end of interleague play, which would have offered the perfect time to serve whatever suspension is coming (and let's not kid ourselves, both Ortiz and Kevin Gregg are going to have ride the pine for a while after last night).
- Does anybody else think that given Josh Beckett's return to being Commander Kickass, that all he has to do is scowl his hyperextended knee into submission?
- And, while he's at it, could he obliterate whatever injury bug seems to be hanging over the team, particularly during interleague play? This is getting to be nearly biblical in scope.
- Derek Jeter is sitting out of the All-Star Game, allegedly to rest an injured calf. I would have thought his real ailment was "no longer able to play his position."
- Oh, and while we're on disabled Yankees, Alex Rodriguez may need surgery on his knee. First his hip, now his knee. Only six and a half more years at $25+ million per year, Yankees. Still looking forward to Cashing in on that deal, huh?
- A piece I have in the pipeline will explain my not-exactly-altruistic reasons for hoping that Tim Wakefield keeps pitching as long as he can. For similarly not-exactly-kosher reasons, can I hope that the Yankees decide to extend Jeter's and Rodriguez's contracts for the next, oh, fifty years or so?
- Jason Bay is starting to have a bit of a hot streak for the Mets. Sadly, that's not made much of a difference on his season stat-line. He's on pace to drive in less than 60 runs this season, and have fewer many home runs as Jacoby Ellsbury. It's sad to see a player like Bay, who by all accounts was a great clubhouse presence as well as a great hitter, fall on such hard times. But it's also a relief to know that it's not the Sox who are dealing with the financial fallout.
- As for Mike Cameron, effectively Jason Bay's replacement, yikes. It just didn't work out the way anyone hoped it would. And, oy, now do we have to worry about a Curse of the Manny (or the Coco) afflicting people trying to play LF at Fenway?
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia is coming along quite nicely, and perhaps better than most of us expected (although maybe not as much as we would hope in our wildest dreams.) On the other hand, he also seems to have gained the respect of the notoriously fickle media, as "Salty" seems to have caught on. As I posted in a comment, however, this may be just a coping mechanism—who wants to have to write out the longest name in the majors a dozen times in a single article. Too many possibilities for mishaps.
- And why aren't there more hyphenated long names in the majors yet? Surely there has to be a "Johnson-Williams" in the pipeline somewhere. (Oh, and I suppose Seth Schwindenhammer I hopes to see his name on a Sox road uni someday soon.)
- Finally, it's amazing what a difference a year makes, and how the collection of young pups and castoffs that Theo and Tito has collected this year seems to have made such a huge impact relative to last year's disappointments. I'm knocking on all the wood I can find that the Voltron pitching staff and rising young talent continues to get the job done.