May 26th, 2014

Memorial Day Memo

Let me being by thanking all the wonderful service men and women who are away from home and helping to keep our country free. Your tireless and unselfish efforts are beyond words and are most appreciated and respected. And let us remember those who sacrificed their life for our continued freedom.

The Chicago press has really had a field day with the Cubs signing Manny Ramirez as a player-coach for their Iowa club. The print media has column after column saying it’s a huge mistake to have someone who served a suspension for illegal substance use as a coach is not the right message to send prospects. Countering that, the Cubs brass have indicated Manny has learned from that and is an excellent teacher of fundamental hitting. Especially hitting the breaking ball. Whatever side you come down on, it should be another interesting chapter in the Cubs Long Range plan. I can see both sides. Believe me, Manny Ramirez is one of the most lethal right-handed hitters I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen quite a few. I remember when he was a skinny young man as a rookie with the Indians. He was shy and very humble. But as a coach? I really am not so sure.

I’ve been at Cellular One for the White Sox weekend games with the Yankees and now I’m catching one game against the Indians before I head to see the Brewers and Orioles.
There isn’t anything in sports quite like a Yankees game. People come out of the weeds to watch them play. The press box is always mobbed. And it was the last White Sox stop for Derek Jeter on his farewell tour. He made it a good one, getting four hits. Crowd gave him a standing ovation every time to the plate. And believe me, he busted his tail on a triple to right-center. It’s great to watch him play.

I got my first look at Masaharo Tanaka. As I said on twitter yesterday, I think he can throw a ball into a teacup from the mound. What makes him so good is his pin point control and command of every pitch. The splitter is really, really nasty. I think the best thing to do is move up in the box and try to hit the ball before it moves. Good luck with that.

I think what was then called Comiskey Park was the first home of the dessert cart for suite owners. A dessert cart came around late in the game and the suite dwellers could choose whatever they wanted. For a price, of course. The host always got a hefty bill. But it’s still going on. And the desserts are outstanding. Including the carrot cake.

I spoke with White Sox first baseman Jose’ Abreu in the clubhouse (thru an interpreter). He indicated he is on schedule for a return from the disabled list June 2nd. He had a big smile on his face and he’s raring to go. Quite a nice young man.

Michael Brantley is on my list as one of the most underrated players in the game. All he does is come through in the clutch. Can’t say the same for Nick Swisher. Not at all.
I hope Brantley is on the All Star team.

I met up with my dear friend Klauss on Saturday night. He and his wife and my wife and I went to a place called Antique Tacos on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. My wife had heard of it from the Food Channel. It was amazing. Lots of vegetables. But of course, I got the tacos that had the meat. Soft taco shells. I eat vegetables about once a week if I have to. I look it, too.

My wife replaced my worn and used Harry Caray tee shirt with a brand new one from a place at Water Tower Place. I’m lovin’ it. Every baseball fan should have a Harry Caray tee shirt. The shirt has nothing to do with the White Sox or Cubs-just the outlined face of Harry Caray. This outline is in blue, not like the one I have in black.

I had never seen Yangervis Solarte play. Now I know why the Yankees kept him. The man can rake.

The Rangers are reported to be looking to make a deal with the Nationals for a first baseman. And so-the trade rumors begin. From now until July, we’ll have to sort out fact from fiction.

Watch out for the Blue Jays.

The Trevor Bauer experiment is still a work in progress. He didn’t have a good outing his last time up with the Indians.

It’s really hot and humid here in Chicago today. But I guess it’s a welcome change from the cold wintery weather they’ve been having. Coming from Phoenix, I’m not at all used to the humidity.

Oh well, have a great week. And as always, thanks for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and listening to Short Hops podcast on iTunes. Please follow me on twitter @BerniePleskoff.

That’s it. I’m done.