Billy from the Bronx called today. It must be getting near baseball season. That's the only time Billy ever calls me. Oh Boy! Here we go again. Billy's on a roll, and I can't hang up.
"I just don't know what the Yanks are thinking," Billy says. "They pick up a couple of Pitchers and this guy Swisher, and they think they can win it all? They lose Giambi, Abreu, and Mussina, that's a lot of production. I think they are going to have trouble matching last years record."
And so it goes in the baseball world this time of year. It's a time for the dreamers. And the pessimists among us. It's time for another baseball season, and we love it.
Just yesterday, Babe from Boston was on the line. She is a typical Boston fan. Right there for the start, but liable to quit the team at any moment, especially after a two-game losing streak.
She is worried, Shilling has announced his retirement, Lowell is a high injury risk. Ellsbury has no backup on the roster. Varitek looks as though he has lost the magic. Babe moans, "the Sox are really in big trouble, You watch! You'll see! They might really suck this year."
Meanwhile, on another line, there was Phil, from Philly. He ain't got a care in the world. His Phillies are the defending champs. He is raving about the early return for Chase Utley, hes seeing a big year for Ryan Howard.
And he is sure that Jason Werth is ready to explode on the Star charts. And, he adds, "How can anyone not like the effort that Shane Victorino puts forth every day?"
Phil made no mention with regards to the possible Cole Hamels arm injury. In his current world, there is no room for any bad news. As Phil puts it, "I'll be ordering my World Series tickets by July this year. This is gonna be easy."
Minutes after that call ended, in walks Wally, from Washington. You think you got problems? You gotta hear this guy. Has season tickets. Attends every game. Never arrives late. You think you got problems? It could be worse, you could be Wally.
Wally starts with the Ace of the Staff, some guy named John Lannon? In Wallys opinion, this guy couldn't even make most pitching staffs in the majors, or maybe even the minors. Wally adds, "Nick Johnson starting at First Base? He hasn't played a full season in his entire career."
His next target is Adam Dunn. "Didn't this guy Dunn lead the league in Strikeouts last year? And they think he can be their top star? Anderson at Second? Guzman at Short? And Hanrahan is the Closer? Who are they kidding? This isn't even a major league roster."
Like I said earlier. It is baseball season, and everyone has an opinion.
Dan from Detroit sent a short note. Dan is the opposite of Wally. Dans team took a major beating last year, despite being ranked among the elite during the preseason. Dan is ready for the bounce back.
He loves the winning chances of Dontrelle Willis. He sees Gary Sheffield returning to the star ranks. Granderson and Ordonez can do no wrong in Dans eyes. And his Sleeper of the Year is Pitcher Armando Galarraga. He sees him as an All-Star Team member.
Tex from Texas writes in every Spring. He is running out of excuses regarding his Rangers. He has been with them, as he states, "from the beginning." The day they arrived from Washington.
He has learned many lessons over all those years. This year he has finally discovered the answer that those team leaders haven't figured out. "The Pitching sucks. We need pitching in the worst way."
The King of the Texas Hill remains Kevin Millwood, a gutsy performer, with a rather high Earned Run Average every year. "You can toss them up behind Millwood," adds Tex." Guys like Padilla, Harrison, Feldman, and maybe Brandon McCarthy, if he ever remains healthy?"
Tex avows his loyalty to the club as follows, "I ain't quiting them, but I'll tell you what. They got no chance, no chance what ever of winning that division." And you know what? I think Tex is correct in that assessment of a very sad baseball organization.
Our final call of the day came from the Coast. It was our old pal, Louis from Los Angeles. Louie is on a high. As he puts it, "I'm riding a winner this year, for sure. My Angels are loaded. Top to bottom, no weak spots. We will not be beaten.
"Lackey headlines a solid rotation. Napoli is an upward bound backstop. This new guy Kendry Morales is a super star in the making. We'll get another year out of Vlad. Figgins will steal another 40-bags."
I could see Louie wasn't going to let up, I had to interrupt. I mean, the baseball season would be underway, and I would miss the next twenty-four or so calls.
It is spring time, blue skies are peeking through the clouds. Hints of green grass are beginning to appear. The crocus buds can't be far behind. And soon the cry will be "Play Ball."
Another season! It's the time for all those would be experts to get out those hats. We'll see hats representing the Orioles, Braves, Cubs, Dodger, White Sox, Reds, Pirates, and so many more. And with each team, will come the experts, with all their opinions. Some pro! Some con!
But we wouldn't have it any other way. It's Baseball. It's a Game. And we love it! Let's Play Ball!
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