We’re now two weeks into the 2011 Major League Baseball season. Here are your my top 5 story lines.
1. The Royals don’t suck. At least not yet. Before Thursday’s games Kansas City is 7-4 and just a half game out of first behind the also surprising Cleveland Indians. The rookie relievers have been nothing short of excellent, and the offense has far exceeded expectations. The Royals tied their own record early this season recording 4 straight walk-off victories. I already reserved my playoff tickets for Kauffman Stadium.
The Kila Monster celebrates his walkoff home run
2. Albert Pujols has been abducted by aliens. Through Wednesday night he is hitting .229 with just 1 home run, 6 RBIs and an OPS of .609. To put into perspective how un-Pujols-like that is, his career OPS is 1.047. Keep this up Albert and you’re going to wish you’d signed that offer from the Cardinals. Or better yet, his stock will fall so far even the Royals could afford him.
Have you seen the 30,000 square foot home that Derek Jeter just built in Tampa, Florida? Folks in the area are calling it the “House That Derek Jeter Built” or even “St. Jetersburg” because it is the “biggest home in Hillsborough County.” Heck, it’s one of the biggest homes in any county.
The house has seven – count ‘em – seven bedrooms. So if you want to visit Mr. Jeter, I’m sure he’d be happy to let you stay in an extra room. (Or not. Probably not.)
The place also has nine bathrooms, which makes me wonder…. only seven bedrooms but nine bathrooms? Wouldn’t you normally have equal to or lesser than the number of bedrooms? Who is using all these bathrooms? Apparently he has a lot of company over that need to use the facilities.
Like the smart celeb he is, Jeter also bought the adjacent homes. (It’s that whole celeb thing where people who aren’t celebs may try to go to the adjacent house and take pictures. Not that that’s why I do, but some people have problems like that.)
I tried to think of a good housewarming present, and really the only thing I could come up with a bunch of toilet paper to go in those nine bathrooms.
Baltimore Orioles Strengths: Manager Buck Showalter joined the team late in the season last year and turned the Orioles into a respectable team. The additions of 1B Derrek Lee and 3B Mark Reynolds will add some much needed run producers to a team that had zero players with at least 80 RBIs.
Weaknesses: There are plenty to choose from, but the Orioles are very young. The pitching staff gave up runs in bunches last year and will need to improve if they hope to penetrate the .500 mark this season. If 2B Brian Roberts returns to form after an injury-plagued 2010, things will be looking good. If he struggles, a suitable replacement is nowhere in site.
Analysis: The AL East is arguably the best division in baseball; jumping over the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox is a monumental task. The leadership of Showalter will help, but the Orioles are a young team with few genuine stars. Look for them to improve over 2010 but struggle due to their weak pitching staff.
I’m at a loss for words about this whole Derek Jeter situation, and that’s actually a pretty rare occurrence. He still hasn’t signed a new contract with the Yankees. He’s shopping himself to other suitors. The potential outcomes of this decision range from horrible to gut wrenching.
Look, I can’t stand the Yankees. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved the underdog (which means I always root for the losers). When the Yankees come to Kansas City to play the Royals I laugh at all the bandwagon fans with their new NY hats and jerseys, most with the tags still on them.
But there’s a big difference between the old Yankees and the new Yankees, and that includes their fans. I can respect the fans who grew up watching the old Yankees and root for them because of their storied past. I can’t appreciate the new fans who root for the team because they just bully the rest of baseball (probably another post someday).
Jeter, though, represents the ghosts of Yankees past. He plays the right way. He’s a likable guy, on a team full of players I can’t stand, if only because of the jersey they wear.
So while the cool guys who interfered with Robinson Canoe’s home run have some newfound Internet fame going for them, if you consider being made fun of unmercifully “fame,” my question is, what kind of disposition does an umpire have to have to not review that play? While it wound up not being a factor to the game’s outcome, the fact the review was denied is pretty damn absurd, and, well, arrogant.
The technology exists for a reason. Is it not better to be sure — especially in a game of such magnitude — as opposed to acting like you’re right and Ron Washington is only wasting your time?
Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Officials gaffing in big games is par for the course in professional baseball. Hell, the bigger the game, the more likely you’ll see an umpire completely screw something important up. Just ask Google.
A quick-and-dirty congratulations are in order for Hideki Matsui and the New York Yankees for their World Series championship. The Yanks beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games, and were powered by Matsui’s absolute domination of the Phillies pitching staff. For the series, Japan’s first-ever MLB World Series MVP hit an eye-popping .612 and had three home runs and eight RBI, six of which came in last night’s clincher. While the Yankees’ 27th world championship is being treated as a welcoming party for Alex Rodriguez, he wouldn’t be in the “True Yankees” club if not for Matsui’s considerable contribution.
LSUFreek has more Hidekizilla goodness over at The Sporting Blog. It’s a fitting celebration for someone who destroyed a major city like Philadelphia in such a definitive manner.
And with that, no more baseball until next spring. Awesome.
I missed last night’s pregame performance — I blame the NBA. In other news, damn, Alicia Keys look really, really good. — but apparently, Jay Z’s and Alicia’s performance of “Empire State of Mind” was so incredibly moving, it inspired the New York Yankees to even the game with Philadelphia Phillies. And here I was thinking a just-as-good-as-Cliff-Lee’s-performance A.J. Burnett was the reason.
You know, I’d be more inclined to believe that Alicia looked so good, her natural beauty and talent touched something inside of Burnett that caused him to throw perhaps his best game as a Big Leaguer than I am the “Jay Z leads the Yankees to victory” thing. Sure the performance was fine — especially Alicia — but yeah, it wasn’t THAT great. Besides, if that’s what it takes to motivate the Yankees, I’m not sure what’s going to happen when they play in Philly.
It’s not like The Roots are going to serenade them.
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was on The Jay Leno Show last night, and whether you are a fan of Leno or not, Jimmy Rollins talking about the World Series is a good thing. As expected, Leno asked Rollins to make a prediction, and, as expected, he picked his team to beat the New York Yankees, and they will do so in five games.
Agree? Disagree? Think Leno should be canceled for an actual show driven by creativity? These are just some of the reactions I’d expect after seeing the lead video.