January 19th, 2014
I’m sitting at LAX in Los Angeles waiting for my flight back to Phoenix.
The Scout’s dinner last night was outstanding. Dennis Gilbert and several other very dedicated baseball folks do a marvelous job helping scouts in need. It was a heartwarming event.
Prior to the dinner, a silent auction was held in virtually every ballroom available at the hotel. To say it is a mammoth display of memorabilia would be an understatement. It doesn’t just include baseball. Every sport, cinema, politics, the music world and all forms of relics and treasures from Pop culture are represented.
Among the items I saw was the actual assignment transfer of Babe Ruth from the Yankees to the Red Sox. I believe the opening bid was $10,000.
An autographed blown up program cover of the 1969 Mets was listed at $4500.
My personal favorite may have been an autographed collage of Albert Einstein that included a formula in pencil above his signature. Price? Opening bid of $7500.
Then there were signature cuts of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. Are you kidding me?
If anything sold in the room after room of amazing items the proceeds went to the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.
So what’s on my mind today?
Yesterday on television I heard someone urge a colleague to “put his best foot forward.” I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out which of my feet was the best? Do you know which of yours qualifies?
I never get bored.
I think the Indians will hold on to Asdrubal Cabrera, hope he has a great year, let him go in free agency and claim the draft choice. No sense selling him short now.
While I like the Tigers rotation, I have concern about their depth. What if Verlander has to miss a few starts? With Doug Fister gone, do they really have 7 or 8 starting pitchers available? I’m just wondering.
I think the Reds will regret not having Bronson Arroyo if he leaves.
The Padres Chris Denorfia remains on my underrated list. He’ll be playing lots of innings-and I think he’ll hit.
I feel the same way about the Rockies Jordan Pacheco. He needs a sustained chance to play somewhere and I think he’ll hit. But where does he play? The Rockes have a loaded lineup. Loaded. But I still scratch my head about them giving up Dexter Fowler.
Don’t get excited in Spring Training if your targeted players hit a ton in the first couple weeks. Pitchers are getting their arms in shape and they throw lots of fastballs. “Cookies.” The true test could come in the last week. That’s when poker begins to change and the bigger chips come on to the table.
Spring Training tells me a few things about players. For example: is the guy in shape? How are his mechanics as a player or pitcher? Is he trying to perfect a new pitch? Has he changed his swing? It’s a time to work out kinks. So don’t put too much stock in Spring Training results. Look more for process than results.
I think fans get cheated when regular players don’t make road trips in Spring Training. If they aren’t going to play that day, take batting practice or throw on the field. Let fans see you. Spring Training tickets are not inexpensive. Then factor airfare, hotel, food. You see my point. There are allegedly supposed to be four regulars in every lineup in Spring Training. I don’t think that’s always the case.
I used to stay in a place just outside of Winter Haven, Florida that had the aroma of orange blossoms. I asked for a room at the back of the motel that faced the orchard. It was fantastic.
One year when I was with the Astros a hurricane had hit the area just days before camp opened. Every single mobile home was destroyed. They were a stone’s throw from the Astros complex. Not one item was destroyed at the Spring Training home of the Astros. It was a miracle. But those poor people lost everything.
I’ll be covering Spring Training from Florida and Arizona. I’ll keep you updated on what I see.
The Mariners and Padres will be moving in to renovated clubhouses this spring. The Cubs will be opening their new Spring Training home on February 27th. And the Oakland Athletics will be winding down their stay at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. They move to the former home of the Cubs in Mesa next season.
The entire arbitration process and salary business is one of the aspects of baseball that I give little attention. I am much more concerned with the actual game than player contracts. It’s a necessary part of the game.
My jury is still out about instant replay. I’ll let you know as the season moves along. But I do think the games will get longer. And I like the human element of baseball. I like the arguments. They had excitement. We need kerfuffles. Let’s not lose kerfuffles.
You won’t be finding me here for about a week. But my articles will be posted on MLBPipeline.com and I’ll be tweeting on twitter @BerniePleskoff. Hope you’ll check them out.
That’s it, I’m done.
And as always, thank you for reading and supporting my work. Much appreciated.