JvsTW: Powers & Glory with Naylor and Alan4L


Yes, a new episode!

There is a catch: it’s a subscriber only show over at F4online. If you’ve got $10 and you’re not a subscriber, it’s exactly what you’d think: worth the money.

Plus, you get the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and I hear that’s good too.

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Spring Training 2010


So, it’s much later than I wanted to do this. If I wait much longer, I’ll forget the 5% I still remember I wanted to say.

Phoenix was nice. I don’t know if it even got to 70 degrees during the weekend I was there, but it felt like 90 from where I was coming from. It looked a lot different. Lots of empty areas; where as here, those empty areas tend to be places where someone had plans to build something and gave up half way thru, Arizona is a lot of subdivisions of empty houses next to tracts of untouched grass and not much else. Not a lot of grass though. You leave a lot of land unattended to here, and the weeds are taller than people by the time it’s cold. Phoenix grass is low to the ground and sparse.

The grass still is green, and so is the cacti, and so is just about nothing else. Where they’ve given up on grass, they’ve replaced it with rock and and sand, and the people designing houses and others buildings are a bit too attached to theme. The color palette seems to range from light sand all the way up dark sand. It was explained to me that the cactus are often secured to the ground to prevent people from stealing them, and it didn’t make much sense to me at the time why you’d want to steal something as painful to transport as a cactus. A few days later, I decided the people must desperately want a non-sand colored object in our life.

The spring training ballparks all seemed on the nicer side for what are essentially minor league parks. Besides Ho Ho Kam, we stopped by Tempe Diablo Stadium (home of insanely expensive concessions) and Peoria Stadium (a nice new two team facility, even if it does have a surprisingly small and generic gift shop), and went by a great majority of the other ones. I think, of all of them they saw, Ho Ho Kam looked the least modern. It definitely felt like they were desperately trying to squeeze as many seats as possible and had run of room for more. The extra grandstand extensions most of all looked ill fitting, like they were in such a hurry to get more seats than they didn’t have time to make it look good.

The Cubs played Arizona the first day, an exciting 8-7 comeback win. I left my camera in my luggage for that. Besides the backups making an inspired really to win, the highlight was Justin Upton crushing a ball to left field for a grand slam, the ball connecting near the top of the scoreboard.

I did take photos the next day (including at the SEA/SD building), when the White Sox¬†annihilated¬†the Cubs. I really need to get a scanner so you can appreciate my efforts at scoring the game. In some way, it wasn’t as tricky as I thought, because they were only planning to play 2 groups of players (they ended up with more; this is the game where Andres Blanco got hurt, and essentially lost his spot on the roster.) The Cubs give out lists of their extended roster, so figuring out who is who based on the number is too troubling; the trouble is figuring out who goes where in the batting order, or at least managing things until the new guys come up and you can verify their spots.

The last game never actually took place, but I had lots of photos of various warmups. I tried to get video of Starlin Castro taking batting practice (and special fungo fielding practice; he had one notable bad backhand try, and got a supportive lecture from Alan Trammell after.) The rain storm was the kind of rain storm where they’d probably try starting if this was a real game, and they did make an effort to dry things out as best as they could, but then suddenly gave up.

It did come down really hard shortly after they gave up on the game, but there are no long rain storms in Phoenix (expert knowledge of three days), and it was clear and drying up within an hour. Still got every game canceled.

Only baseball can get people to be so thrilled to see scrimmages. Basketball barnstorms into towns they don’t ever go, because the usual towns aren’t going to pay for 5 extra games that don’t matter. Football preseason is a plague. Baseball preseason is just inconsequential, but the locations and the timing make it feel much more like a rebirth (and much less like time killing.) I’m not sure if it’s something I’d want to do again, but that more of a personal thing (feels like I spend too much time on the irrelevant, or the barely relevant), but if you haven’t done it, I’d recommend it. It definitely feels like a vacation.

Spring Training roster, 03/15


I need to write about the trip, still, but this is quicker and those photos are someplace else.

Locks That We Knew Going Into Camp and I Really Can Stop Mentioning,

01 SS Theriot
02 RF The Fuk
03 1B D Lee
04 3B A Ram
05 CF Byrd
06 LF Soriano
07 CA Soto
08 2B Fontenot

09 SP Dempster
10 SP Z
11 SP Wells – not that you would’ve known it today.

12 CL Marmol
13 RP Grabow

14 ?P Marshall – the position is another argument…
15 ?P Gorz – …and no one seems to have the first clue…
16 ?P Silva – …on even who’s leading here…

17 CA Hill
18 2B Baker

And I think that’s it, at least coming in. There’s three more who had/have hopes of being included

possible opening day Disabled List!

DL SP Ted Lilly – this one keeps bouncing back and forth like a metronome. Even best case, it makes since for him to start on the DL and get the extra warmup starts, since they may only need four starters anyway.

19 PH Xavier Nady – I don’t like the idea of an OF who can’t throw until June; doesn’t really work at most any position, but since the idea here was to platoon him with Fukudome, that’s not very helpful. I’d start him on the DL until he can at least do something, but Lou brushed off that idea.

DL RP Angel Guzman – :( At least he got one good season. I’ll be shocked to ever see him pitch in the ML again.

Up four grabs

That still leaves 6 spots, and four of those are in the bullpen. One of those jobs is already accounted for:

20 RP Esmalin Caridad – already know how this one plays out. He’s got a live arm, so Lou will be thrilled to give him a shot. He’s got a walking problem, so Lou will bury him deep in the pen. This is your anointed setup man!

I’ll get back to pitching in a couple spots, but the bench is easier to finish out

21 OF (who can back up all three) – this was clearly supposed to be Sam Fuld coming into the season, but he might have had it snaked from him. Tyler Colvin does not have the positionally flexibility (he’s really more of a corner guy) but has been killing the ball and has that 1st round draft pick tag. James Adduci has hit a little less, but still really good and offers more defense. Colvin’s thought of a prospect (though I doubt he’ll be much more than he is at this point), but Adduci isn’t really and it’s not as though the Cubs would be risking a great upside by having him sit on the bench 6 days out of 7. No idea how this is turning out.

22 ?? – This spot is supposed to be backup shortstop, which means it’d be Andres Blanco, but he’s been hurt a week. It was never going to be Starlin Castro…but now it seems like it actually may be some other position entirely.

Bringing in Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar on NRIs never made much since, because there really wasn’t going to be a spot for them on the 25. That math changes if Fontenot can actually play a little SS – there’s no need for the fourth guy, and there’s room for an extra 1B/3B type. (As I’ve pointed out too many times, this is why they shouldn’t have bothered to keep Fontenot, but he’s hitting good so I should lay off.) If this spot exists, it looks like it’s Millar over Tracy, with Hoffpauir and LeHair trailing far behind. I don’t know that any of them will actually hit when the calendar turns to April, but the bench could use one more hitter so it’s worth trying.

The thing is, Fontenot has played all of four innings of SS. Maybe he’s been putting in a lot of work on the back fields, or maybe that was enough for Lou, but I’m not so convinced this plan is actually happening.

And all of that was easier than the last three bullpen spots.

23 + 24 + 25 RP (or maybe starter?)

Gorz and Marshall probably won’t make the rotation, or at least won’t be there for long, so there’s no specific need for a LHP over a RHP. Past that? Who knows. Everyone left who’s pitched, minus those not on the 40 man roster, and those cut already

  • RHP M Parisi – Rule 5 pick, seemed to be here as a starter not at all (and definitely won’t be hid like Patton last year); has been good in short stints
  • RHP J Samardzija – coming in, the idea seemed to be start in ML or AAA with no chance of bullpen; does Guzman’s injury change that? Has been hit hard and not looked good.
  • LHP J Gaub – on the fringe of the bullpen coming in, has pitched good
  • RHP M Mateo – not this year and lit up
  • RHP J Stevens – probably had a spot at the start, but has been hit hard, who knows
  • RHP J Berg – like Guab, but with a win and a save
  • RHP B Parker – not this year and lit up
  • RHP B Schlitter – not the year and OK

If you based it on just Spring Training, which is both dumb and what will probably happen, it’s clearly Parisi, Guab and Berg as the last three, with Stevens and Samardzija on the perphiary. But there’s still plenty of innings to change things.