Well hello fellow friends, baseball enthusiasts, and passers by to my first blog here on Bleacher Report.
My name is Ryan, I'm a journalism student at the University of Delaware. Each week I'll probably get bored enough to post up a blog about current goings on in the MLB and how I feel about them.
So here are my top five for this week.
1.) Joe Torre
Some say the timing was bad, I say the timing was really bad. For those of you who have been living under a rock or have blocked all sports networks known to man, Torre will be featured in Tom Verducci's newest book, and will be seen being critical of key Yankee superstud, Alex Hotriguez.
Although it's obvious Torre's contribution to a book is not the focal point in a book that is a general biography about the Yankee's under Torre's guidance, you have to wonder why/how Torre would want to leak certain information.
I mean, no one likes Jerk-Rod, but you have to wonder why someone who is now basking in the sweet California sunshine would allow his own personal feelings about a player into a mass marketed book.
I figure either Torre A.) Is to old to care anymore, or B.) Really hates Madonna. Or maybe a little of both...I don't know.
2.) McGuire Mania!
I hold on my hands now a July 1998 issue of the Sporting News, featuring big bopper extraordinaire Mark McGuire on the cover. The cover also features the word "Hero" in letters about the size of his biceps.
Oh what a difference Jose Canseco, multiple steroid hearings before congress, and your brothers desire to make a quick buck make. McGuire's image has been forever tarnished from the loveable, home run hitting machine we all came to love. I for one am not as harsh about the steroid scandal as many.
Yeah, he cheated. Yeah Jose Canseco stuck a needle in his but. Yeah his brother sucks. But what about college kids using Aluminum bats to hit balls 800000 feet? Cheating yes. Is it an issue? No. Or how about the NFL? You mean to tell me steroids or HGH is not an issue in that league?
My point is we in the media make an issue out of whatever it is we think will be sexy, will sell a few more copies of a paper. McGuire cheated, but so have millions of others. And I for one still like to remember him and someone who SAVED this game, back during a time when it was rapidly waning in popularity. But I hate needles...yick!
3.) The Yankees
Okay, I got ya. You're like everyone else. Yankees go out, whip open their checkbook, dish out butloads of money, and once again are front-runners in the AL East, and some would say for the World Series. But wait a minute.
Are these the same people that are seeing what I'm seeing. Ladies and gentleman, I bring you exhibit 1a. Mark "Loyalty Rules" Teixeira. Don't get me wrong, I love Tex's on-base percentage, and ability to hit for average and play great defense.
But there's few things that concern me. First, this guy has never had an important at bat in his entire life, dating all the way back to his time at Georgia Tech. Secondly, is he a leader? I don't think so, if anything there are many rumors that suggest Tex has the leadership skills of a...well who are we kidding, he has no leadership skills.
So therefore my friends, you now send a guy who has not demonstrated leadership or clutch hitting capacity into the biggest market in the world and expect him to turn around the franchise. Three words. Not. Gonna. Happen.
Oh and toss in A.J. "Injured Again" Burnett, and C.C. "that stands for cold cut" Sabathia and you have three players who I believe fall short in the biggest aspect of what it takes to win in New York. Ability to perform under the heat.
4.) Most Improved NL team?
At this point of the offseason, I think it finally starts to become a valid question. Although it is always hard to rate which franchise is the most "improved," we can always get a general idea. In the national league, I'm going to go with the Mets (my friends are probably all going to put a bomb in my mailbox now, next week's blog is on hold).
But you figure the Mets sucked last year because the bullpen gave up runs like UD raises my tuition...very quickly. Throw out Joe Smith, Aaron " Mayonnaise" Heilman, and add in K-God and J.J. "I'm not a" Putz, and you suddenly have a solid plan, with a backup plan to the solid plan.
General Manager Omar Minaya thought right when he figured, hey so what if K-Kod's velocity is down? If he does not work out, at least I have J.J. To put it simply, if the Mets have a good bullpen down the stretch last season, we very well could be talking about them as the defending World Champions, instead of my beloved Phils'.
5.) Least Improved NL team
Well, as much as I want to stay in the NL east and pick the Marlins, you have to figure that this year, as in every year past, they will find a way to take that smorgasbord of minor league retreads and get 75 wins out of them. Which leads me all the way out west to the heartbreaking state of Arizona.
I know it's pretty hot out there right now with the success of the Cardinals, but the D-Backs have been pretty darn cold this winter in their quest to improve the team. Take away their hot start last April, and the Diamondbacks were only an average team the rest of the way.
There are some things I love about them currently. I love Mark "Wrap it in" Reynolds and who can't like Mr. Webb. However, when your prize offseason move is signing Felipe Lopez, you have about as much to be excited for as Twins fans. Which is nothing.
Seriously though, Arizona's lineup becomes an issue each day they do not re-sign Adam Dunn. The team lacks a big presence in the middle of the lineup, which will cause problems with runners on base. Also, the pitching staff lacks serious depth behind Webb and Haren, which as all good baseball fans know can stop a team dead in it's tracks.