I happened to catch my two first games of the spring season today. I was able to watch the Reds-Phils and Yankees-Jays games simultaneously--I love picture-in-a-picture.
Anyway, I didn't catch both the games in their entirety, but it was enough to whet my appetite for the upcoming season. The Phils lost in a nail-biter to the Reds in the ninth, 2-1. The Yankees pounded Toronto. I happened to catch two big hits by Jorge Posada, a homer and a seemingly catchable 3-run double (Is Jose Cruz Jr back in Toronto?).
But there were two things of interest, one per game, that I wanted to point out. The Phils-Reds game was particularly amusing because both teams wore basically the same uniforms, a red top and off-white pants. The only difference between the tops were the team names. The Phils wore pants with pinstripes while the Reds had ones with one stripe done each side. When I first tuned in, I thought it was an intrasquad game. I guess one team's traveling secretary didn't talk to the other's. It sounds like John Candy's excuse for how he ended up mud wrestling in a strip club in Stripes. It's spring training for them too after all.
In the Yankees game, it seems the YES broadcasters were already in mid-season form, sucking up the airwaves with their inimitable (let's hope) style. They were all over A-Rod for missing a bullet down the line because he seemed to hesitant slightly (even though it seemed to me that he wouldn't have gotten it anyway). They showed the replay about a half dozen times and cut to footage of Graig Nettles in the dugout as well as archival footage. All the while they were citing Nettles as saying that A-Rod's biggest problem will be reacting to the ball getting there quicker.
The next batter hits a soft grounder to second and Enrique Wilson can't reach it because his winter belly was in the way. There was no mention of Wilson's D and no replay. Here's a guy who never played more than 22 games at second in a season and who hasn't played a hundred there yet in his career. He's the putative starter at second and can't hit a lick. But they have to carp on about A-Rod's D. A-Rod is a two-time Gold Glove winner at short, the reigning MVP, and probably the best player in the league. Who cares about his D in the first week of spring training games? Of course, he'll have to adjust.
In all fairness to Wilson, he helped turn a nice double play by shuffling a throw to short from his glove. When Wilson came up to bat he infallible commentators said the usual, "You ever notice how often a player turns a double play and comes up to bat in the next half inning." It's a little bit ironic, don't you think?
Well, I don't. There are only nine guys in the lineup. With the number of good plays in a game, like a Spinal Tap drummer surviving fortnight, the law of averages catch up with this sort of thing. Anyway, Wilson struck out in his next AB. So much for the kismet.