Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's Up With the Umps??

MLB umpires are getting worse and worse.

I'm not watching these Whirl Serious games, but I've seen two questionable calls, one in each game, that seem to have had a bearing on the outcome of the games.

Major League Baseball cannot afford this. While I acknowledge that umpires are human and, therefore, prone to make mistakes, I just can't bear to see the quality of officiating that we have had, really for the entire season. It's just been consistently bad.

Tonight, the home plate ump called one of the Rays out on a checked swing strike. Then he gave him first base. Which was it?? A strike out or a walk? How do you call a strike, then call a walk?? I saw the video clip. It was clearly a strike. His swing went past the point of no return. Does making a bad call tonight that benefited the Rays make up for the alleged botched no-balk call last night? Do two wrongs make a right? No, but three lefts do...

This is unacceptable. Perhaps if baseball had a real commissioner, he might address this issue. But since all we have is Bud Selig, that's not likely to happen. Sigh.

Rumors, rumors, rumors. Always one of the most fun parts about the off-season. And yes, as far as I'm concerned, the off-season started last Sunday night.

The most interesting rumor that I'm following is the one that has Mark Teixeira possibly becoming a Red Sox. I would love that. My daughter would also love that. We are both pretty big Tex fans, although it really pained me to see him with the Halos. I liked it better when he was with the Braves. And I really, really, really, really don't want to see him wind up with the Yankees.

But here's the problem. Do we need a first baseman? I dunno. A lot depends on Mike Lowell's status for next season. I love Mike Lowell almost as much as Dawn (ok maybe not...that would be kind of, you know, gay). If he's healthy, Youk plays first base, and we don't even need Kotsay (whom I don't feel is a good fit for the Sox anyway...he was a good bandaid). But if Lowell doesn't make it back from this hip injury, Youk could play third and Tex could play first base. Mark Teixeira is a fantastic switch-hitter (who walks a lot) and a gold glove first baseman. We saw his handiwork as we were playing the Angels in the playoffs. He robbed us several times.

I still feel like shortstop is our weakest position. What's up with that? It seems like all these years, we have never been strong at short. I don't even remember who was playing shortstop in '04. Then we got Renteria from the Cards, and he was forgettable. Then we had "E6" (thanks for that, Dawn...I love that), who is less than weak and Alex Cora, who is adequate, but not great. Jed Lowrie is ok, but still young with a lot to learn. And his plate performance leaves a bit to be desired. (I'm not just saying that because he made the last out of the season, either.) He wound up with a .258 avg, which ok, but even Lu--I mean E6--had a higher average than that. So, HEY THEO! Get us a shortstop!

We also need to get our starting rotation back in order. That kind of fell apart at the end of the season. I love Wake, but I think it's time for him to hang it up. Dice K was our best this season, going 18-3! He improved quite a bit over last year. Lester was next at 16-6. He had a pretty good season, too, along with a no-no against KC. But next was Beckett, who only won 12 games this year. He was disappointing this year, and I know he's tired of people asking him if something was wrong, but HEY...SOMETHING WAS WRONG!!

So for next season, we have Dice K, Lester and Beckett. Maybe Byrd. I don't know...jury's still out on him. I think he might be ok. We need at least one more strong starter, maybe two. The bullpen actually finished a little stronger than it started.

Ok. So. We have a few players that really need to get healthy over the winter. Lowell, Papi, Drew... We need a strong shortstop, and we need a couple of strong pitchers for the starting rotation.

I'm optimistic about '09.

Now I have to start thinking about something else to write about for um...*counting* November, December, January, February, March...*ahem* FIVE! Yeah, that's it. Five months. Dear Lord...might as well be 50! It would help if I liked football more. But even then, all we have is Jerry Diva Jones and his band of delinquent misfits and our girly-man quarterback. Pft.

Back to work with me!

TTFN, y'all!


~**Dawn**~ said...

Let me decipher some Rumor Mill for you, since I have been doing nothing but reading. ;-)

Teixeira: The "in" talk is that the Sox could look to trade PAPI. His numbers have been declining long before Manny departed but he is still someone who could bring in interesting trade offers. Youk is young, cheap & versatile, and Lowell had two good seasons before this injury-laden one, tough to penalize him for that, especially when he gutted it out much of the time. But Papi as a pure DH & not getting numbers is difficult to swallow. The plan would be you would have Youk-Teixeira-Lowell, two of the three would play in the field & one would DH, on any given day, and they would be in constant rotation to keep them fresh. I am surprisingly ok with that scenario... Oh & Kotsay will be heading into Free Agency for the first time in his career, where he hopes to be a starter. After what he showed us at 1B, a position he had minimal experience at before Boston, I think someone will pick him up.

SS: I still am bewildered on the front office's infatuation here. Instead of admitting their error, they don't bring back Alicea?? I can't think of a single other infield issue that E6. Lowrie gets a break here, literally: He is still wet behind the ears, yet played with a non-displace fracture that he sustained in Pawtucket in MAY. Look at Pedroia from last season & it seems we're growing them pretty tough in the system! I can't remember early 2004, but at WS time, it was Orlando Cabrera. Then Rent-a-wreck in 2005. 2006 brought my personal favorite (you know how I feel about defense & his was breathtaking) Alex Gonzalez.

Rotation: I say we keep Wake as a Number Five. He had his best ERA in a long time in 2008, believe it or not, and he is still capable of double digits in the W column. He's dependable & a solid veteran presence. With Timlin likely retiring, I don't think we need to lose them both at the same time. Matsuzaka & Lester will only continue to improve. Beckett, it turns out was pitching with a torn oblique this whole October. What he did was nothing short of jaw-dropping. (Considering this and Lowell, seems they make 'em tough in the Marlins organization too!) I give Josh a pass on this year for all the injuries he had too--I don't think he was ever able to get in a groove. And yet he had a 13K game, a career best. I think Byrd is the one to go, though for who I don't know. Another shot at Clay? Work Masterson back in? Make a move for one of those big name Free Agent pitchers? Got me.

There is also the Tek situation. I am scared. I think we need to give him the respect of going out as a Red Sock. I have heard the Sox were eye-ing Teagarden & thinking of platooning him with Tek, letting Tek mentor him. And once the Cap'n hangs up in the gear, I strongly suspect he will end up coaching for the Red Sox somewhere... and maybe even end up as a successor for Tito someday.

Two areas that need work in my opinion: The bench and the pen.

How's this for world's longest comment? =P Sorry, no answers on the umpiring problems though. Yikes.

Ted D said...

Bring back Tek for two years, pick up the option on Wake, trust Mikey will be healthy and Papi too for that matter.

Lowrie will do fine as SS; if they do more than pick up some bullpen help to replace Timlin and tweak a few parts here and there I'll be shocked. They got to within 1 game of the WS with half the guys being held together by rubber bands and super glue.

But if they could swing it somehow, I'd love to have Texiera. Can he play SS?