Since I graduated from high school, I haven't had much time to sit down and read the lovely articles within Sports Illustrated or Sporting News. The days of having three study-hall periods and being bored out of my mind are over.
Last week though, sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, waiting for my grandmother to have her check-up, I got a chance to just sit back and get back to doing the thing I enjoy most.
Read a great article on a baseball player that I would soon grow to love.
It was perhaps the longest article I've ever read in either magazine I get; it was also the most interesting.
It's articles like these that make me realize I need to set aside more time to read my weekly magazines, rather than flipping through them on Thursday and promptly throwing them on the stack in my closet afterwards.
What's Making Me a Fan
Tim Lincecum is no doubt the future of the San Francisco Giants in every way. He has the skill and the star power that the Giants will now need, with Barry Bonds no longer apart of their franchise.
He also has the most intriguing pitching mechanics in baseball.
Tom Verducci has a complete break down of everything you would want to know about Lincecum's violent pitching motion.
You would think, watching him jerk his body forward the way he does, that sooner or later he would pull something. Watching the motion seems fluid, but looks dangerous.
However, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Lincecum's delivery is perfectly safe and it has been something his dad has worked on since "Tiny Tim" started pitching.
I encourage you to read the article and learn about everything that went into what makes Tim Lincecum a future star. I learned a lot, including just why Mark Prior has worn down to the injury-prone nightmare he is today, and how he may never be the same again.
The article is informative and interesting, and it gained Tim Lincecum a new fan. His funky motion is just another statement to how baseball is ever changing.
What's Confusing Me
How about the amount of players being sent down to the minor leagues in the past few weeks? The two most notable of late are Tom Gorzelanny of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jeff Francoeur of the Atlanta Braves.
They join Rich Hill, Dontrelle Willis, and Brett Myers in the list of proven major-league talent that has been sent down.
What is going on with some of these people? These are players who have had at least one, if not more than one, decent years in the majors.
Some of them have been so bad that they aren't even sent to AAA, but some of the lowest levels you can go. Francoeur is on his way to AA, while Dontrelle Willis has been exiled to a club that is playing their season in halves.
Rich Hill looks to have taken a Rick Ankiel-like fall in terms of control and there may be no light at the end of the tunnel for him. While others like Francoeur have just been sent down to get tweaked, we may never see Hill again.
It just baffles me how a guy can go from some success in the big leagues, like Hill and Willis have, to having a complete meltdown. Is it luck, or are these Ankiel-like implosions going to continue?
What's Making Me Happy
How about the Tampa Bay Rays?
About a month ago, before the calendar turned to June, I wrote about the Rays and their turnaround. I believed that they were for real, and as it turns out, they are for real.
I'm always happy to see a team that does it the right way succeed. The Rays' organization is one that has done it the right way: through the farm system by drafting players. They didn't make any huge trades to restock the team like others have either.
Sure, they robbed the Mets of ace Scott Kazmir and dealt Delmon Young for two of their current pieces in Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza. But they've made few deals, and for the most part, they have drafted their entire core.
The franchise should be energized by seeing players like Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, and Scott Shields.
With no horse in the race anymore, I'm definitely pulling for Tampa Bay to make some playoff noise.
What's Making Me Sad
Obviously, the news of C.C. Sabathia being traded is finally official. I'm a little upset to see a guy I grew up with leaving.
Sabathia grew up in the Indians' organization, and being a young fan, I grew up watching him do the same. Now he is Milwaukee bound.
I've got cousins in the area, been there a few times, and for the most part, I think he'll enjoy it there. That is, as long as they pronounce his name right, of course. Listen here, Doug Melvin: it's Sa-bath-e-a, not Sa-bae-thea.
I'm not ready to kiss the feet of Mark Shapiro for the deal he made. I think he rushed to a decision and didn't get as much as he should have. I'm glad to have Matt LaPorta on board; he looks like he could be a great bat, but excuse me if Andy Marte has me a little shell-shocked.
It isn't so much LaPorta that has me worried, but what else did we get in this deal? Milwaukee is deep, and while LaPorta is their hands-down best prospect, where does Zack Jackson rank among that deep, Milwaukee system?
We don't even know what the fourth player is at this point. I don't like to grade a trade an hour after it happens, so I'll wait until it plays out before I say anything in terms of what was received.
Initially though, I think Shapiro pulled the trigger way too quickly.
What's Making Me an All-Star
Nothing is making me an All-Star, but I would be lying to myself If I said I didn't want to talk about it.
We still have injury replacements for David Ortiz, and maybe someone like Manny Ramirez, if he decides not to partake again.
I think it's a testament to the Tampa Bay team that they only have two All Stars. They probably should have more, but no one is having the spectacular year to warrant it. They are doing it as a unit.
Obviously, Jason Varitek is a very shady pick by the players. There are other catchers out there more deserving than him. But, for the most part, this team is spot on. I really have no overall complaints about who was selected to the American League squad.
Jermaine Dye sticks out as the biggest snub, but thankfully, the final vote gives him a chance to still make it. I'm not really sure if you could take off any of the guys on the team for Dye though.
What I Am Randomly Thinking About
I don’t have many random thoughts this week, but I do have a series that I’m looking forward to.
Minnesota is red-hot, and they are going to Fenway Park for a showdown with Boston. It should be a fun one to watch, if you can find it on your television. Also, keep an eye out to see if the Rays can take down another former AL East juggernaut in the Yankees in their streak.
Finally, be looking out for a thing I like to call the Non-Stars. A team of MLB players that are not All Stars, but players I feel have had a real impact on their team. I've assembled it the past two years and feel like this year will be just as good in terms of who makes it.