Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Night Before

The title of this post is taken from one of my favorite Beatles songs. And I guess it wouldn't hurt to say right now that the Beatles are one of my favorite bands, from their first single ("Love Me Do") right up through Revolver (I nominate "And Your Bird Can Sing" as the number one song Thin Lizzy should've covered, but didn't. At least, I've never heard their version, if they did one). I like the later-era Beatles too, but the timeline really pulls a Ken Griffey Jr.* of sorts on me: so incredibly talented and amazing right out the gate, you expect the sun, moon, and stars, until about halfway along the timeline (Beatles: between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper; Junior: The Injury Years) when they sort of level off into "very good, but..." status (here, Griffey's 2005 season is analogous to Side B of Abbey Road). Later Beatles and later Junior are still better than 90% of the competition (at least until Let It Be, or the trade back to the Mariners, at which point it's clear that the glue factory is gearing up for a Seabiscuit shipment if you catch my hopelessly twisted analogizing), but they just can't coast on the first half of their careers forever.

Anyway, it's The Night Before... THE FIRST MILWAUKEE BREWERS, MINNESOTA TWINS, AND CHICAGO WHITE SOX SPRING TRAINING GAMES! And I'm absolutely bouncing off walls and dancing on the ceiling! The Brewers take on the Giants, the White Sox meet the Angels, and the Twins stare down the Red Sox later that evening.

I haven't bought that gameday radio thing from yet, so I can't listen to the White Sox game. But you better believe I'll be tuned in to the Brewers, and then later on to the Twins (although I will probably miss the end of that latter game, because of band practice. Bands are dumb).

Mets and Braves (of Atlanta) fans got their baseball life back on March 2nd**. A few other teams, March 3rd. And everybody else joins in today, March 4th. But whatever the team you root for, the night before they play their first real spring training game is one of those nights where you might want to consider taking some extra sleep medication before bedtime. Bushmills Nerve Tonic works fine for me. You?

*Non-Beatles=Griffey fact: earlier today (or yesterday, depending on when you read this... ah heck, it happened the afternoon of March 3rd) against San Francisco, Ken Griffey Jr. walked in the first inning, tried to steal a base, and was thrown out. The next time around in the order, he was pinch-hit for by former Milwaukee Brewer Brad Nelson. Just thought I'd report that for you. I think it's a perfect example of that useless trivia we all know baseball is absolutely rotten with.

**Not counting pro teams playing against college teams, even if that pro team is the Pittsburgh Pirates and therefore the matchup is almost even...


  1. where do you put the white album in this whole scheme?

  2. Well, the White Album is almost perfectly on line with Griffey's first four or five years as a Red. I guess you have to throw Sgt. Pepper in there too. And Magical Mystery Tour, and Yellow Submarine... geez this is getting complicated! It's not an exact science, dammit. Anyway, from 2000 through 2004, he was still a better-than-average hitter when he played. He just didn't play enough.

    The White Album could shed 1/4th of its length (starting with the obvious "other Revolution") and be a better record for it. Similarly, if Griffey had 25% more plate appearances from 2000-2004, far fewer folks would complain about his wasted potential. He hit 103 home runs over those five years - bump that up by 26 and he's got 656 for his career. He averaged 92 games per season over that five-year period. Bump THAT up by 23 per year and he's playing 115 games - not perfect but a lot better. I could go on.

  3. Real quick - We'll see how Thome pans out, but I would be completely happy with him if he gives you anything more that 20 homeruns and a .250 avg I'd be extremely happy.

    Mostly though, Dalmon Young is a guy that is basically a bust for the number one draft pick of 2002 (2003?). I think a real blog you should have is comparing the first two picks of the draft that year (Rickie Weeks being the other) and decide who has had more production. I bet it's Young, only because he doesn't get hurt for swinging the bat outta control. have fun with that site, if you don't know about it.

  4. damnit, that 2nd paragraph should have been "I bet is't Young because he doesn't get hurt for swinging the bat outta control - he only throws bats outta control"

  5. Corey, you're a wise man! More along those lines soon. Very good idea. Fangraphs rules.