Monday, February 21, 2005

If You [Don't] Write It, They Will [Still] Come

Geez, what's wrong with you people? I take a day off to go hiking and you still click on the site? Don't you know it was a holiday? There can't be that many Montrealers reading this site! :) Do they celebrate Prime Ministers Day? (They DO!)

Here's today's round-up.
  • The Nationals signed Carlos Baerga to a minor-league deal. It'll be hard for him to play with the barbecue fork between his shoulder blades. He had a very good year for Arizona in 2004 (.343/ .396/ .464), but was miserable last year: .235/ .309/ .329. He's got next to zero chance of breaking camp. That is, unless he visits Mr. Applegate.

  • Esteban Loaiza is not only a mediocre pitcher. He's a mediocre practical joker.

    Glad to see that Vinny Castilla's in mid-season form with the cliches.
    "It's a young club with a lot of great talent," Castilla said. "It's a tough division, but we've got some talent. We're going to win a lot of games."

  • Frank Robinson likes the team's defense. Supposedly it's improved over last year, but is Cristian Guzman really better than Orlando Cabrera? Jose Guillen's acceptable in right and does have a cannon, but that's always overrated. Yeah, Castilla is better than Tony Batista, but you'll have an extra-gimpy, wonky-kneed secondbasemen watching ground balls scoot by him.

    It's not a bad defensive team, but it's not markedly better than last year's club--especially if Brad Wilkerson does end up in center.

  • Is there anything that DC doesn't do half-assed? Instead of making needed improvements to the Navy Yard station for the throngs of people who'll make their way to games at the new stadium, they're planning on leaving things as they are and forcing people to wait with the hordes.

    Why? Because, they're counting on thousands of pissed-off people to shop or drink instead of waiting in line. Yeah, sounds like a winning plan. You'll just be reaffirming the suburbian minset about DC and deterring people from making an effort to come into the city on non-game days.
    To save about $28 million off Metro's original $47 million expansion plan, they'll call for more fare gates and escalators but no new station entrance, as was originally proposed.

    The new plan, officials acknowledge, might create a logjam on sold-out game days that could keep hundreds or even thousands of fans milling about South Capitol Street and the surrounding area.

    That's precisely what the area's boosters want. Because time spent waiting for Metro crowds to thin out is time fans can spend in bars, restaurants and shops near the ballpark.

    "Anytime you get a crowd of people standing around with nothing to do, that's good," says Bruce Hoch, a managing director with DCG Corplan, an economic development consulting firm in Orange, N.J. "It's the whole notion of impulse buying."

  • Here's a fresh look at the bullpen. Apparently, they're a bunch of jokers. It fits the sportswriter template, I guess. Them and the wacky kickers.

    They'll also be one of the strengths of this team. But, that's for another article.

  • Can someone please tell Jim Bowden to stop scaring the pitching prospects?

  • I missed this the other day, but Boswell wrote a hagiography of Brian Schneider.

    Boswell notes that the team ERA with Schneider was 3.86. With the not-long-gone-but-already-forgotten Einar Diaz catching, it was 5.89. (I spot checked Einar's game log and it doesn't appear that it was just because he had the 5th starter spot. He had a bunch of starts by Zach Day and Tomo Ohka, especially early in the season. I guess he just stinks.)

    As a side note, hitting coach Tom McCraw sounds like a hard-ass.
    "Brian's a quality person who wants to be nice to everybody," hitting coach Tom McCraw says. "I sometimes think you have to be a jerk in this game. I'd like to see him get cocky at the plate. He lacks a little confidence. He needs to understand who's in control. Until two strikes, it's the hitter who's the boss."