There are very few "big" stories right now, and I feel major media outlets are to blame for that.
See, what I do to prepare for this weekly powwow with my keyboard and the world of baseball usually involves bringing up all the major news outlets online.
Usually in-season, I'd make a list as the week progresses and jot things down. Right now when news is drab and boring, I just kind of look at the headlines from the past week and decide what I want to talk about.
To put it frankly, the headlines suck.
I'm tired of talking about Alex Rodriguez and his meeting with the MLB offices.
Why should I care? I'll never know what was said in that meeting, beyond the fact that the MLB said Rodriguez was cooperative.
The juicy details will never be made known, and if they are, it won't be for a long time.
I could also care less about Manny Ramirez's latest escapade with the Dodgers. There is no other plausible explanation for why he's pulling this quarrel over three-and-a-half million dollars in deferred salary other than he doesn't want to go to Spring Training.
He's going to be a Dodger. He knows that, Joe Torre knows that, Los Angeles themselves know that, Scott Boras knows that, and hell, even your girlfriend's Mother that knows nothing about baseball knows that.
It's just a matter of Manny wanting to work out wherever he is, doing his thing, staying in shape his way, and waiting till the last possible moment to report to Dodgers camp.
So with that, the top stories are both boring and predictable. These ones, however, are not. Maybe Sports Illustrated and ESPN should give them more attention.
Schilling Wants a Challenge
Curt Schilling is never predictable, in both what he's going to do and what he's going to say. Sure, you know he'll speak his mind and always tell the truth, but you never know what his latest rigmarole is going to be about. Not to say that half the stuff Schilling says is meaningless; the other half probably is though.
This time Schilling says he'd like to pitch for the Rays or the Cubs.
But there's only a 20 percent chance of him even deciding if he wants to pitch again, so not only does he need to have one of those two teams interested, he needs to be healthy, motivated, and oh yeah, not retired.
Usually when a guy takes this long to decide if he still wants to play, for this year at least, and his chances are as low as 20 percent, he's probably not going to be seen in 2009, at least not anytime in the beginning.
Sure, I could see Schilling making a mid-season return for a team in contention.
But if he comes back, it probably won't be till 2010.
What I want to know is, what's so challenging about signing with two playoff teams, one that just went to the World Series?
It would be easy to sign with the Rays or Cubs and win it all, probably harder for the Cubs considering the mental history. But it isn't as challenging as, say, signing with the Florida Marlins or the Oakland Athletics.
Oh, and for the record, signing with Pittsburgh or San Diego isn't challenging—it's impossible.
Sure Curt, challenge yourself by signing with a contender. Don't get me wrong, I love Curt Schilling and his “take the bull by the horns” attitude. I know he'd love nothing more than to sign with Chicago, break another historic losing streak for a franchise, and ride off into the sunset.
It would probably make his Hall of Fame chances skyrocket if he were to do that.
But don't dance around the idea that taking the Rays to a title is "challenging"; they are known contenders this year.
Team USA Losing Already
The World Baseball Classic is starting up this week, and Team USA is already losing, if you ask me.
Last-minute injuries have claimed a bevy of players from the United States roster, and while they are getting fine replacements, they are losing bona fide All-Stars.
It started with Grady Sizemore, who experienced some soreness in his groin when he was catching batting practice balls in the outfield a week or so ago. He tested himself out in the first few games of spring, but decided after stealing a base that he just didn't want to risk it.
Then, like dominoes, they started to fall. Brad Hawpe injures his finger, Joe Nathan felt some soreness, and now B.J. Ryan has just decided he's not at a level to compete.
Sizemore probably could have played, but he wouldn't be playing like Grady Sizemore plays every day for the Cleveland Indians, 162 games a year. Ryan, while not injured, decided basically the same thing.
Their replacements: Shane Victorino, Adam Dunn, and Joel Hanrahan.
Talk about a bit of a letdown.
Add in the fact that Brian Fuentes won't be available unless Team USA advances past the first round.
The Americans lose a little bit of hype and happening if you ask me.
Shane Victorino is kind of like Grady Sizemore in a way, just not as good, and Adam Dunn can definitely hit more home runs than Brad Hawpe. Joel Hanrahan is a nice arm out of the pen, but he is no Joe Nathan, not even B.J. Ryan either.
Sizemore is a dynamic player, someone who could have stabilized the top of the lineup. I'm not sure who Davey Johnson is planning on using to shut games down, but my money would have been on Nathan.
It hardly means USA is going to lose, but it doesn't help their chances of winning. They’ve lost some of their best talent and haven’t replaced it with equal firepower.
The Roundabout of Randomness
Following up from last week's story about the Nationals and the prospect with four names, in the wake of this "distraction," as general manager Jim Bowden put it, Bowden has decided to resign.
Along with that, Jose Rijo, Bowden's assistant and one of the people caught up in this "distraction," was fired.
Was it really about letting the "distraction" go, or did you really do something wrong? I have a feeling even though he's stepped down, that "distraction" is still going to revolve around the Nationals.
Adam Eaton was cut by the World Champion Phillies this past week. He quickly resurfaced with the Baltimore Orioles on a minor league deal. If someone making eight million can be cut, is there anyone out there safe?
A couple of big stars dealing with some injuries. Josh Hamilton and Johan Santana are both caught up in some issues this spring. Hamilton tweaked his ankle in the third of the 800 games this spring.
The 800 was according to Hamilton, exaggerating of course. Santana, meanwhile, avoided a trip to New York for a MRI on his elbow.
Corey Koskie has resurfaced with a Major League club. He's playing for Team Canada in the WBC, but the Cubs have brought him on with a minor league deal. He'll report after Canada is finished playing in the Classic. Good to see him back from that string of concussions.
I'm sure Yankee fans are pleased to hear Carl Pavano threw two perfect innings in his spring debut for the Indians. He recorded five of the six outs via the groundball and said he felt good about his outing.
I'm sure the Dodgers feel good that Jason Schmidt is in the last year of his contract. He can make the team and earn some of the cash they gave him, or they could just cut him like the Phillies did with Eaton and take the salary hit anyway. If he is healthy though, I'd be hard pressed to bet against him.
Add Braden Looper to the list of baseball players who've been injured by sneezing; that can't be fun. However, Looper took it a different way when he was told one of his favorite pitchers growing up, Goose Gossage, injured himself the same way.
Don’t expect to see this lovely series for the next few weeks. In fact, it’s going on a break until the regular season gets underway. Mondays will be occupied by my two-teams a day previews. So will Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. For four weeks leading up to the season I’ll preview two teams, four days a week.
Monday kicks off with American League Champion Tampa Bay and San Diego.
Nino Colla is Talking every Monday of the baseball season, or whenever time needs to be wasted, provided objects don't get thrown.
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